My 2 1/2 year old is absolutely exhausting us, and I don't know what to do.
He's never been the best or the worst sleeper, but from his first birthday until a couple of months ago, he has generally slept through from 8 pm until 6 am.
We moved him into a new room and a single bed in Oct, a couple of months after his little brother was born. (Before that, he had slept in a cot in the room beside ours). He went willingly into the new room, and for the first couple of months it was all fine... until we had family come to stay for a week over Christmas and blow it all out of the water.
Their 3 1/2 year old DS was "nominally" sleeping in the room with DS1. He wsn't used to a closed door, so we let them leave it open at night. Now our DS1 gets upset if it's closed when he's going to bed, or any time throughout the night, when previously we'd been able to simply close the door on the way out each evening and that was largely that for the night.
At bedtime, their DS tends to wander out a few times each evening before finally going to sleep. Our DS1 started to copy this, but we have largely resolved that problem. It's an occasional annoyance, but not a major issue.
Their DS also has a habit of getting up mid-way through the night and heading into his parents' room and finishing the night in their bed (a habit he developed because his dad is in the armed forces, and seldom home, so it's usually just him and his mum). Our DS1 obviously had a lightbulb moment when he noticed this, and suddenly realised that there wasn't actually anything stopping him from getting out of bed at will.
So, we now have the problem of DS1 waking at least once a night, and often several times, wandering through the house to our room, and banging on the door until one of us gets up to deal with him. (When it started after Christmas, he had been opening our door and running straight in, until we started locking it).
Sometimes he will go straight back to bed and let you tuck him in and leave. But usually, what follows is a painful hour (or two) of repeating the process, him appearing to be asleep for 5 minutes but then getting straught back up again, demands that we stay in his room, demands to sit on the couch, etc.
This is absolutely killing us, and my DH in particular seems just utterly exhausted and fast reaching the point of losing it. We have our 6 month old in a cot in our room and he's still waking for feeds a couple of times a night. Plus, he often gets woken by DS1's banging on the door and crying on the monitor. I try to deal with it myself as much as possible, but because we frequently end up with both boys awake, it's often just not possible. DH is in a really busy period at work lots of deadlines in the next couple of months. (Pre-kids he spent most evenings and a large part of many weekends just trying to catch up on work). It's not the kind of job where you can just say "work less" - it's kind of all or nothing. And with me on maternity leave and my employer having retrenched lots of people and looking decidedly shakey over the last two years, he feels the weight of being the income earner. He feels like he's just getting tireder and tireder and hence getting less done at work, which is all becoming a vicious cycle. Neither of us is getting any opportunity for exercise at the moment either, so that's probably exaccerbating our tiredness levels.
As to what's causing DS1 to wake up - I don't know! He won't communicate what the issue (if any) is, despite being a great talker - I think it may have become a habit to stir, then instead of self-settling, go and wake up everyone else instead. His wake-ups are occasionally accompanied by crying, but not always.
As to what to do about it - I don't know! Letting him sleep with us is not an option - he is a thrashy, annoying sleeper, our bed isn't huge, and DH would never accept it anyway.
We dropped his day sleep a few weeks ago and that has helped at bedtime, but he still wakes up for stupid periods of time at night.
I suspect there may be some jealousy/ feeling excluded involved, so am planning to move DS2's cot into the room beside ours this weekend. I can't really do much about the fact that DS2's night feeds take precedence to trying to soothe DS1 back to sleep (often to DS1's chagrin).
The only other thing I can think to do is maybe to put a lock on DS1's bedroom door. (I've avoided it until now because I don't like the concept of locking kids in, but am fast reaching the point of resorting to it).
Has anyone got some insights into changing this behaviour? No-one in this house is getting the sleep that they need (DS1 included). "Acceptance" is not an option!
ETA: We live on the opposite side of the country to all family, so no opportunity to ask for respite help.