Hi I’m Cristina, the mom of a 10 year old boy with dyspraxia. Some thirteen years ago, I became an accidental stay-at-home mom, but deep down I still consider myself a banking professional (my old job). Though I have spent these thirteen years managing the health of my older daughter, and becoming an amateur child psychologist, GI, pulmonologist, developmental pediatrician; in short a mom of a SN child.
Some months ago I had seen a thread on the Special Moms Network FB page about this pop up bed tent. A mom shared how her child had chosen this as a safe place to sleep, where before they had a lot of sleep interruptions and difficult nights. I am so grateful for that mom for sharing, because it saved our sleep.
Well I’m here to also share a similar story. Sometime during 3rd grade, my son suddenly developed a fear, more like a terror of sleeping alone. This was my previously good sleeper, who all of a sudden refused to stay in his room alone. Shadows, thoughts, and every noise all of a sudden became unbearable. As is the case with many of these kids, they cannot shut out background noises; every air vibration is captured and omnipresent. Once a thought has entered their minds it’s almost impossible to let it go. My husband started spending hours in his room every evening until he fell asleep, and I would often end up staying with him after a 3 am wake up. We tried everything from sleep training like when we was a baby, to rewards, all the way to threats , but no results. Any attempts seemed to make his despair even worse. At the beginning of 4th grade I just moved myself into the guest room, and let my son sleep next to my husband for a whole year. It frankly felt hopeless. I felt like I had capitulated. I felt embarrassed about our sleeping arrangements, and didn’t even share with my mom or closest friends. One day as I was lurking on Facebook, I saw the post about the pop-up tent and I showed the tent to my son. He immediately wanted one. I didn’t ask him what the appeal was or how he could possibly feel safe in a place blocking the outside, but maybe that was it. It reminded me of this black hanging sack from his OT sessions which he enjoyed. Fast forward, we recently moved and put up his tent in the new room. Since we were all in a new environment, I took a chance and the first night, I just walked him to his room, zipped him up and turned off the lights and left. I’m happy to say that the first ten days, I had to walk him back to bed a few times at night, but each time I would just kiss him good night again and walk out. My husband commented that he woke up again a bunch of times, but I was determined to only look at the up-trend, after all he was back in his room alone even if it was only for three hour stretches. Now if he wakes up to use the bathroom, I hear him zip himself back in, and that is that. It has been a solid three weeks, and he no longer seems to wake up in the middle of the night, and we’re finally both sleeping again in our own beds!
Cristina is married and is a mom of two. She has lived in six countries and speaks four languages fluently. Cristina describes herself as the accidental stay-at-home mom since the birth of her daughter, but her background is in investment banking working with structured derivatives. During these last years she has not only committed her dedication and abilities to helping her family, but she also spearheaded a Parent Advisory Council at MSCHONY after her daughter was born, and chaired several committees with the Junior League over several years, helping improve the lives of the disadvantaged in her area.