Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I have a long tale of woe about my 2-year-old's sleep, or lack of sleep I should say. A recent move to a bed after potty training has made my nights a living hell. He is up every hour screaming and running around the house. I bought a gate and he climbed over it. I put him back in Pull-Ups at night and he took them off and peed over everything at 4 am.
Last night he was screaming so loud the doorman called me three times with neighbor complaints and one neighbor said she thought my son was being abused. My older child, who shares a room with his brother, is sleeping on a mattress on our floor and my husband is losing his patience by the minute. I could go on and on but it is a disaster of epic proportions that is now affecting my relationship with my neighbors.
Sleepless in Soho
I feel your special pain of a child who won't sleep and the agony of hearing one's child scream, for any reason. I will wait for the rotten tomatoes to fly, but I am definitely a proponent of sleep training and I feel so indebted to Dr. Weissbluth--if you don't have his book, get it--that I would give him a kidney tomorrow if he asked. Please consult with your pediatrician or any of the many wonderful sleep experts in Manhattan for advice about your son.
With respect to the neighbors, I would draft a letter defining your son's sleep history, medical issues if any, and the measures you are taking to rectify the situation.
Apologize profusely and offer to do what you can to ameliorate their distress until such time as your son is able to sleep through the night. If keeping the peace takes buying everyone around you a white noise machine and earplugs, so be it. Consider sending the aforementioned with a small gift such as gift card for a 10-minute massage (avoid wine and cookies if you do not know your neighbor's particular likes and dislikes) and hope for the best.
Stay strong, Sleepless. I am sure that when he is a teenager, you'll never be able to wake him up in time for school.
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to email@example.com and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.