Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Early Morning Shenanigans

For the most part Madaline is a good sleeper. I have counted my blessing for that on more than one occasion.

Within the last 6 month, she has been waking up repeatedly at night. To play. It's not reflux related. For a while I thought it was because she was cold - we have our house thermostat set between 62 - 64 degrees and it's been cold this winter. Nope. Some nights I thought maybe it was because she was too warm. Nope. Actually, Mads has become articulate enough to tell you why she is up - it's to play. I have asked her - many, many, many times. The answer is always the same. This usually happens between 3 and 5 am.

For safety reasons we put a new baby gate in the upstairs hallway. It worked. Until the one night one of us forgot to lock it. I got up, I heard her downstairs. What I found rocked me to my core. She has taken one of her play set chairs into the kitchen, and proceeded to remove every knife from my knife block. I cook a lot - and my knives are v e r y sharp. I praised God or whoever was watching her that the damn chair didn't slide on the tile and her fall with one of those knives in her hand. I asked her what she was doing. It seems that she was trying to get the plastic ties off a new package of hair ties. After many conversations, it seems that just days earlier she has watched my husband open something with plastic ties, using a knife. Monkey see, Monkey do.

It seemed to get better. We moved some toys into her bedroom - and for a while it worked. She would wake up, play with her toys and be done with it. If was insanely early, I would usually hear her, go in, and put her back to bed. No big deal. Our mantra has always been you can get up when it is light outside. Dark = sleep. Light = awake. Madaline will even tell you that she can get up when it is a new sunny day.

Until last night. Madaline called for me about 4am to cover her up. I got up, went in, tucked her in and gave her kisses. I thought all was good. I climbed back into bed, cursed my alarm clock because I knew I would be back up in less than 2 hours. I heard her for a little bit, chatting with Morris kitty (who sleeps most if not all nights with her) and then I didn't hear anything. I feel asleep - and assumed that she did the same. I got up this morning at 6am and she wasn't in bed. She was downstairs. And, by the mess I found, she had been up for a while.

She had climbed the gate. She found and dumped a whole box of Q-tips on bathroom floor, and the water was running in bathroom sink where she washed her hands, I don't know how many times. There was one of the play set chairs in my kitchen, and various things strew across the counter that she had played with. My water glass that always sits on the dining room table was broke on the floor (and yes, I stepped in it - full force, bare feet). Our toothbrush cup and toothpaste I managed to locate by the cat dish/litter box. And, did I mention that she got hungry? She helped herself to a quart container of strawberries in the fridge. Oh – and she even turns light/lamps on so she can see. She’s quite the independent little girl – a little girl that is 2.5 going on 16.

I was at a loss for words. I was so angry with her I was seething - and it took all I had not to string her up by her ears. I don't know what to do. It's becoming a safety issue - one that is soon going to have me sleeping on the couch to hear her when she winds up downstairs.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?


Molly Louise said...

Well, ye didn't tell me you'd stepped on said glass....

Erm....my idea is that somebody might have to be sleeping downstairs until you can find some way to keep her corralled upstairs.

lz said...

That is so scary!
My cousin had climbers, too, and she ended up putting a screen door on the bedroom door and locking it from the outside. She hated doing it, but too many tumbles and close calls made it necessary. When they were potty trained, she put up 2 stairs gates - on on top of the other.
I agree that someone might want to sleep outside her door or downstairs for a little while!
Poor you - good luck getting some sleep...

Wendy said...

I really like the screen door idea, or maybe a dutch door on her bedroom and make sure there is nothing on her side that she can use to help her climb.

Do you have child locks on all your cupboards? You can also put doorknob covers on rooms you would prefer she not be in. I had to do that when my youngest learned to open our doors and he would sneak outside. Can the knives be in a high cabinet or on top of the fridge during the night?

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

hmm... that's a tough one... I'd say, put a hook-and-eye lock on her bedroom door on the outside. Only lock it after she's gone to sleep.

Of course, though, that didn't work with our Linus. He hated that lock and threw things at the door. So, we had to sit outside his door until he fell asleep.

You COULD do some sort of reward thing, like, Here's a quarter. If you stay in your room until I come get you in the morning, the quarter is yours. If you come out of your room, you don't get it. You could use stickers or nail polish or whatever prize she finds valuable.

Good luck!

Connie Weiss said...

Alex went thought this about 6 months ago and we had to put a lock on his door.

She's independent...that's for sure!

Krajcimama said...

I really don't have any suggestions for you...sorry, I know that doesn't help. :(

I will tell you, though, that I can COMPLETELY understand the feeling you got in the pit of your stomach when you saw her with the knives. That happened to me when I left the dishwasher open to run upstairs...my little girl had ALL the knives out of the dishwasher and lined up on the floor.

Good luck - hope it gets better soon!

girlytwins said...

Wow. That is my biggest fear. I don't have any ideas for you but I hope someone does. She is definitely independent. Mine would never last more than a few minutes without needing something from me LOL.