4 yr. old Nightly Wandering

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mom_to_3, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    My almost 4 yr. old grandson loves to wake up in the night / early morning while everyone else is sleeping and wander around the house and get into things. He has done this ever since he could climb out of his crib and for sure now that he is sleeping in a regular bed. He does this at his home and at our home. Mostly, what he does is annoying things such as chewing up a whole PACKAGE of gum, stringing a container of dental floss from one end of the house to another, using my easy child's mascara all over himself and of course working it into the carpet too and who knows what else. He has had other antics, but that was what he did the last time he was here that we know of.

    We put a baby gate up, to hopefully block him from the main part of the house and to let him have the ability to come wake us if he wants or needs to during the night. We have instructed him to come to us. That doesn't work, he climbs over it. I have even raised it a bit trying to make it too tall and unstable for him to climb, but he is too smart for that! He is an escape artist! We have a swimming pool in the back yard and that has always concerned me. We changed out the deadbolt lock to one that uses a key on the inside and outside and when our grandson is here, we take the key out of the lock and hide it after he goes to bed. Hopefully we have that problem solved.

    This is a huge safety issue. He could decide to cook, there are many things that could hurt him if left to his own devices. We have to come up with a solution. The last time we had him and he spent the night, I told him that if he didn't stay in his bed like he was supposed to,that we would have to take him home in the morning. I also told him that if he stayed in his bed like I asked or came to me during the night he could spend another night. He loves being here, begs to come, but guess what???? He was up wandering around getting into stuff! :frown: I hated it, but I had to take him home. :sad:

    His mother did this basically her whole life and drove me bonkers! It doesn't make for a peaceful life for anyone. I would like to come up with a solution. I never figured one out for his mom, and thus far I haven't for him either. I'm a bit afraid that my sweet innocent, darling, beautiful grandson is going to end up with a bipolar diagnosis too. :9-07tears: Oh, the similarities between him and his mother are AMAZING!

    I have been looking at alarms. I have found numerous alarms that are battery operated. I can't very well put one in his bedroom here, because he does get up to use the restroom at night and I don't want to frighten him with a loud alarm going off at least if he is getting up to use the restroom. I have considered putting one in the hallway leading towards the living room. In that case, considering the safety issues, I am not so concerned about a loud alarm scaring him a bit AND letting me know that he is up and about.

    What are your opinions and suggestions and other options concerning this???

    What I really would like to find is an alarm that is battery operated with an infrared beam. That way when and if he crossed the beam the alarm would go off. I have yet to find anything like this. Could it be, that this is my opportunity to patent a child safety product and make my millions?????!

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    We used a set of wind chimes on our Duckie's bedroom door. She would fuss about the door being closed despite a nightlight, so we would very carefully close it just enough that she couldn't slip though without moving the wind chimes and alerting us.
    The real problem is trying to get your grandson to sleep through the night. Has your daughter had him evaluated? I can tell you that my Duckie was an extremely bad sleeper from birth on. We recently began her on a very small dose of melatonin and the change in her sleep habits is incredible.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    i am so sorry. This is a tough issue. My daughter was a night waker, but she mostly just wanted us. She slept with us for years, for a variety of reasons, but this did factor into the equation.

    Can you put an alarm on doors to areas that are unsafe for him? We used a door alarm when my oldest was sneaking into my daughter's room to torture her. He was very violent and dangerous and it was a very short term solution so that we had some measure of safety for her. She also wore an alarm around her neck.

    Do a search for spy shops, infrared motion detectors, things like that.

    I would alarm doors to the kitchen, keep all the makeup up, door to the pool for sure (he may find the key or take it one day).

    I know I bought a package of alarms on ebay for aroun $15 shipped, but this was a few years ago.

    Can you set up some things he CAN do at night? Safe and acceptable things?

    Melatonin is also a big help for sleep and many many docs recommend it - we have had 4 psychiatrists, 3 pediatricians, 1 developmental pediatrican, and 2 pediatrician neurologist and a pediatrician cardiologist all recommend it for various children of ours. Not to mention how many of OUR docs have suggested it.

    It is good that you took him home, the consistency and follow through will be a support in the long run.


  4. I'm going crazy!!!

    I'm going crazy!!! New Member

    my son has always been a night waker when he was just walking i woke up one morning to find a meat cleaver and large knife out so i bought those door knob covers and placed it on the inside of the door but we slept in the same room
    more recently we have woken up and found him and most surfaces in his bedroom covered in peanut butter; half gallon of ice cream in his room; pitcher of tea in his room
    luckily he was not harmed, when i brought this up to his pediatrician she suggested we lock him in his room but we just were not comfortable with that even though we would have considered it if we couldn't find anything else that worked
    melatonin helped him go to sleep but it did nothing to keep him asleep now he takes 2 benadryl and 1/2 .1 mg clonodin that's probably too much for your grandson and i wouldn't do anything over the counter without the doctor's approval unless you and the parents feel it's completely safe i doubt this was very helpful but this is my experience
    in my opinion it is very important that yall find something to help him sleep it's just not healthy for him
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does he have any delays or other problems or is it just this? Are you concerned with him on more than just this one level?
  6. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    Well, I DO have other concerns, I just didn't want to make my post confusing to others. It's a long story.....

    My grandson has no delays that I am aware of at all.

    My difficult child daughter, (grandsons mother) does not have custody of him, she in fact has left the state and him. :9-07tears: She was not good for him here and I know it is not good for him that she left. What a double edged sword.

    Our Grandson lives with his bio dad and his new baby's mama / girlfriend. I guess that is what you call her. What a mess!

    My grandson is a least in a pre-k class for 3 yr. olds and I think that is good for him. But, he has behavior problems almost daily. :sad: I offered to try and help with a positive reinforcement reward. If he got a green card in school for the day, he could call me and I would praise him like crazy and if he was able to maintain for a week, we would go shopping at Wal-Mart and get more Thomas the Tank toys. He was excited, but guess what? His dad and his girlfriend have never called and their cell phones are now shut off. :grrr:

    One time I had picked him up a couple of months ago, and we were nearing my home and told him I should call his mother so he could talk to her and he said "NO! don't call, they might make me go home!"

    The last time we had him and had to take him home early for his night escapades, he said he didn't want to go home. I asked why and he said because his baby sister (1 yr. old) bites him. I told him she is a baby and didn't know better and maybe now she will quit? Just trying to make the transition easier for him. Then he said.............. "I don't want to go home because I HATE MY DAD!!!" I was shocked and said oh no, you can't talk like that! I know children looooove their grandparents alot! But as it should be, they (if things are right) loooooove their parents even more!!!

    Our grandson has been potty trained for a while now. He always does very well for me. He loves to please his grandma! :smile: He took a while being consistent getting those BM's in the potty, but this grandma :smile: gave him a piece of gum EVERY single time he managed to get even the tiniest BM in the potty. He loves, loves,loves gum. Now, I'll tell you why I felt the need to mention all this.........

    The last night our grandson spent the night and got into trouble, he had a pull up on and had a HUGE BM in it when we realized he was up and about. He can go to the potty by himself. He talks very well, he is able to tell us anything! I am very, very concerned about this. I pray I am making something out of nothing, but there are too many warning signs.

    My husband and I stopped by his house the next weekend (remember no phone) to ask if our grandson could go to lunch and spend a couple of hours with us. His dad's girlfriend answered the door and it appeared that our grandson was being punished in his room. He heard my voice, ran out of his room, jumped with joy and squealed GRANDMA! and hugged my legs. Dad's girlfriend told him to go back to his room. :devil: Who does that to a child when their grandma comes to visit? They did allow him to come with us.

    Another odd thing............ girlfriend told me that our grandson did not have any underwear on because he had peed them all up. WHY??? We don't see that behavior. So yes, I am concerned on more than one level.

    I called CPS. This stuff is just not normal to me. Any thoughts?
  7. I'm going crazy!!!

    I'm going crazy!!! New Member

    I don't really have any ideas for you but I will be praying for yall and I know it's hard but it sounds like you did the right thing by calling CPS maybe they will make it better and not worse.
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    For starters I would use some sort of monitor system to increase the chances that you will hear him wake up.

    Make sure that you have baby proofed to the extreme. All knives, medications, household cleaning products, things that he really likes (such as gum), enticing such as makeup, etc. should not just be put out of reach--they should be locked up. Visit the home store and look for additional locks that can be added to rooms you don't want him in. A chain or slide type lock installed high up on the outside of a bathroom door can often deter a kiddo long enough for adults to hear him.

    I guess I'm a little confused as to the reason for your call to CPS unless there's more going on you aren't explaining here (which is understandable) or that you have strong suspicions that your grandson is being abused or neglected. I wouldn't be the least bit thrilled about the differences in potty performance at home and grandma's house or the behavioral issues at preschool or expressing he hated his dad but it doesn't sound like the sort of abuse/neglect charges CPS typically gets involved with.
  9. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member


    I understand your confusion about CPS. There has been an open case on our grandson with CPS since June because of neglectful home conditions and "inappropriate discipline". According to the CPS supervisor I spoke with last week. His dad and current girlfriend just quit their half way decent jobs and then up and moved and their phones are cut off. We had just seen our grandson 3 days before they left where they were living. Not one word mentioning that they were moving, not one box packed or any indication of them moving. We happened to go by (drove 45 min.) to try to see our grandson and the house was dark and empty. Neighbor told us they moved to girlfriends mothers house who according to the girlfriend is a drug user. No one is making the children a priority it seems to me and all this instability is unhealthy. I really feel that someone reasonable has to be keeping an eye on my grandson. I am afraid for him!

    My difficult child is no better. She talks a big game,but has not sent a penny towards support of her son. :sad:

    Don't you find it highly unusual for a 3 yr.old to say that he hated his dad???? Or am I delusional?
  10. I'm going crazy!!!

    I'm going crazy!!! New Member

    yes i find it very unusual at that age they usually only say it out of revenge for punishing them not as a reason not to go back home however my son has told me that he wanted a different person to be his mom but that was because she let him do whatever he wanted
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Thanks for the explanation regarding CPS--that makes more sense now.

    quote=mom_to_3]Don't you find it highly unusual for a 3 yr.old to say that he hated his dad???? Or am I delusional?[/quote]

    It's definitely not something I would like hearing but I don't think it's totally out of the realm for an almost 4 year old. At that age kids mimic a lot of phrases that they hear in their surroundings. My kids at that age spent almost all of their time with me so I know it was improbable they were hearing "I hate ____" type comments. But a child who has spent a lot of time in a day care or preschool setting or whose parents/caretakers are less careful with the kind of programming they watch is going to have been exposed to a lot more. Occupational Therapist (OT) kids who spend time in the company of older children or siblings would be more apt to pick it up at a young age.

    In most typical family settings I'd take the "I hate _____" statements with a grain of salt and it wouldn't alarm me in the least. Even my easy child kids blast out those comments from time to time when they're frustrated or angry.

    I don't mean to excuse this away but personally I wouldn't be too concerned about that comment unless it was accompanied by signs anxiety or fear.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't want to scare you, but I'd be terrified of sexual abuse. How well do you know the father and his girlfriend? I know from foster care that peeing and pooping CAN be a symptom of child abuse. I think it's unusual for a child to say he hates his fatherThe whole story is fishy to me. At the very least, I would be afraid of harsh physical and/or emotional abuse. Calling CPS is a good idea. My heart bleeds for you and your little guy. Is there anyway you can try to get custody. Living like a nomad, with unemployed parents (are they doing drugs?) is not stable for the child.
  13. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    Thanks for the responses. I tried calling the two numbers we have for their cell phones again today and they are still shut off. I am going to try, to drive up to his school tomorrow and ask his dad or his girlfriend, whoever picks him up, if I can take him out for lunch and spend a couple of hours with him.

    I am not all about calling CPS on people. Our difficult child did that very thing to us and it wasn't cool at all, but I am concerned. I can usually read a situation correctly and do trust myself. I can't put my finger on what the problem is, but do feel that there is one.

    I am not thrilled about his living situation, or how his "parents" parent him. But, I firmly believe that children belong with their parents, except in the case of abuse or blatant neglect. My grandsons parental figures are immature, irresponsible, ignorant and selfish. I do believe that his father does love him and cares about him. I haven't witnessed the girlfriend do anything that I would consider abuse or neglect. I also believe that my difficult child daughter loves and cares about him too, but all those negative attributes listed above get in the way. I am hoping that with intervention from CPS, his current parental figures can learn appropriate ways of parenting and my grandson and his sister will have some sort of stability in their lives.

    The CPS supervisor I spoke to this week, told me that they could do psychological testing on my grandson and that they would visit him this week. I think that's a good idea. I have heard good and bad regarding having CPS doing the testing. I hope I will be able to see the results, I probably shouldn't be allowed to, but I have been amazed at the things these people have told me.

    MidwestMom, interesting that you asked if they were doing drugs. The lady from CPS asked me the same thing. That is what she thought it sounded like. I am not aware of any drug usage. Of course my difficult child daughter is no longer married to my grandsons father, but she is still friends with them. My difficult child oddly never had a problem telling me about things that she as a teen, especially a difficult child teen did. She told me all kinds of things she participated in without an ounce of embarrassment. She never mentioned that bio dad did drugs.