SOS. {Save Our Sleep} PLEASE.

I am in hell.

Okay, I’m being dramatic, I’m in the Valley, but still – this sleep nightmare has got to stop. I am at my wits end.

Until a few weeks ago, I was incredibly blessed in the toddler-parent-sleep-department. Scott and I would drop Dee in her bed around 8 – read her Goodnight Moon, and wish her sweet dreams as she happily popped her thumb in her mouth and went to sleep without a peep. [rhyme!]

BUT OHMYFUCKINGGODINTERNET, I don’t know if it was the passing of our German Shepherd Maddie, my trip to NY, or just general terrible two-ness, but holy wow does this girl hate sleep.

Lately, bed time in our house has started to resemble…I don’t know – the world is kind of too offensive right now for me to crack a joke about The LA Riots or Arab Spring, but it’s bad up in this mix.   She screams.  She manipulates.  She pleads for mercy (no, seriously – if you haven’t yet had the joy of hearing your child scream the word PLEEEEEAAAAASE at blood-curdling decibels, you haven’t lived.)  And she is vicious.  It’s like she’s a Mogwai or the baby from The Incredibles or something.  Last night she drew blood from my nose [which reminds me – is it just me or do kids nails grow crazy ass fast!?] while raging out in her crib in a way that makes me fear for her future spouse.

The night before last was the final straw.  She was awake until 2am, and getting more demanding and agro by the minute.  So yesterday, bleary-eyed and cranky, Scott and I came to the decision we’ve narrowly avoided for the last two years.  We had to stop giving in.  We knew it was going to be horrible, but last night was just crazy awful and emotionally draining, and holy crap…we’ll take all the advice we can get.

Is this normal?  Have I fucked up my kid already?

18 Responses to SOS. {Save Our Sleep} PLEASE.

  1. TheMamaChaos says:

    You haven’t fucked her up. I swear they stop sleeping at two. It’s weird and it sucks.

  2. StaceyBall says:

    I have had my moments of giving in to Leyton. He was teething, he had an ear ache…so if he was upset I would go in and sleep with him or go to his aid. Only problem was I went from having this great baby that went down at 7pm to a MONSTER who wanted to wake up all the time. I realized that I created this monster. This week I not only decided to stop giving into this monster, but also to take away his nighttime pre bed bottle (which apparently I was supposed to do before 18 months). Needless to say, I mostly hide in the kitchen after he is put to bed because it’s the only place I can’t hear him. I hide in the kitchen and drink. Thankfully, each night it is better. Last need there was about 5 minutes of bat shit craziness and then out. I think you just have to keep at it and it will get better. Right now she’s just trying to see what she can get you to do. These kids are so damn crafty!

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    • the818 says:

      @StaceyBall oh my god, I just laughed out loud at “I hide in the kitchen and drink.” What has happened to our babies?!

  3. no1here says:

    Wait it out. By the time she hits 3, she’ll sleep again.

  4. TaraBurkholder says:

    Aidan did the same thing at this age. My mom suggested that she was rejecting the crib so I took the mattress out and put it on the floor & she slept like a baby. So, we knew it was time to get her a toddler bed. Seriously, she was screaming like a banshee, climbing out like something was trying to get her, doing everything to keep from going to bed. She’d sleep anywhere but her bed. I’d suggest putting her mattress on the floor & seeing how that works.

  5. jamespoling says:

    She’s way more likely to fuck you up at this age unless you’re just an asshole parent. We have a 3 1/2 year old daughter that went through the exact same thing around two. For us the way we dealt with it was finding the right balance of compromise, bribery and ignoring of said situation. This is when children start (somewhat) consciously putting together the tools they’ve been developing to calm themselves down at bedtime and our themselves to sleep. Oftentimes this can feel overwhelming which is why I think they act out, they just don’t understand what is going on. My advice would be to stock up on patience and don’t be afraid to let her cry it out by herself. It’s heartbreaking but it does work.

  6. thinkinunicorns says:

    My Amelia started this when we moved into a new house and gave her a toddler bed. I think we’ve finally got it somewhat licked four months later, which means I lay in there with her singing until she’s KO.

  7. MommaBeThyName says:

    My son is EXACTLY the SAME right now. He’s 23 months and he wakes up screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night, he’s run into my twins’ room at 2:15 am yelling, “Hi Baby! Hi Baby!” and he’s been in our bed more than I ever wanted a toddler in our bed. They say it’s because their sleep patterns change around this age to more adult sleep patterns, and they don’t know enough to just go back to sleep once they wake up, so they freak out, scream, and run around like it’s daytime. But I can totally agree that it sucks, and I can’t wait for it to be over. We’re just riding it out here. It’s totally not anything you’re doing or not doing. It’s just biology I guess.

  8. Submommy says:

    Here’s what I’m thinking: She’s developmentally able to have fear (albeit irrational) but has yet to develop the verbal skills to tell you, “sleep is scaring the shit out of me, Mom!”

    She probably woke up one morning and you weren’t there (your business trip). “I go to sleep, Mommy is gone when I wake up.” And then, when your dog passed away, she thought, “I went to sleep and when I woke up Doggie was gone. Sleep sucks.”

    You could try a modified cry-it-out, unless she is the type of kid who works herself into a vomit lather when left to her own.

    My daughter was the queen of excuses at bedtime when she was little. We instituted snuggle time during this little stretch because there was something about having one of us laying down or rocking with her that was reassuring. We also gave her a running commentary – “You’re fine, mommy & daddy are here, we love you, and we’ll see you in the morning.”

    When she would call out, we’d wait at increasing longer intervals to go in, and not engage AT ALL. Just help her lay back down in her bed and say, “Goodnight, we love you.”

    It will probably take more than one night.

    Mine are five and nine, and I promise you DO sleep again. When she’s nine, you will probably have to pry her out of bed in the morning, like I do.

    Good luck!

  9. wa_tracy says:

    We’ve been dealing with sleep issues for…well I can’t even remember. Slightly different, but still I think the route of many toddler sleep issues. Started with Abby going back to me needing to rock her to sleep. Then it went to here waking in the middle of the night and only going back to sleep if she could lay in bed with us. That catapulted into her refusing to go to sleep in her crib at all…resulting in her joining us in our bed for the whole night…causing my night to end when she was in bed (well I did have my laptop in tow). When she joined us in bed, we realized via her talking in her sleeping, saying things like “NO!” and crying out, that she was probably having bad dreams. But then it became a clutch to her….you know giving in to her whims. Over the summer I made the decision to get her a floor bed. We toddler proofed the upstairs, got the best baby gate we could find to fit at the top of the stairs, and sleep has gotten better for all of us. Granted, it’s not perfect, but we don’t have the wailing cries anymore. Simply, I lay down with her to go to sleep. We talk about our day, read books, sing songs, and then I stay with her until she’s out. This way I can get up and do what I need to do. Sometimes she will sleep the whole night by herself. But those times are few and far between. Other times she wakes up, walks down the hall and tugs at me. I either bring her back to her bed and lay with her until she’s asleep, thus I fall asleep with her, or I bring her into our bed. So I guess I partly give in, but we’ve all got to get some sleep, you know. For a bit I was getting back up and into my bed after getting her back to sleep, but she would wake again and sleep was not good all around. Also, she started doing more of the sleeping through the night once she started to utter the words, “Mommy go to work,” and not cry when I had to leave her in the morning. Light Bulb Moment: Separation Anxiety! I still end up sleeping with her about half the week, but you know what, I don’t care. Sleep is more important. We will work on getting her to sleep on her own one of these days, but for now, it’s a battle I’m not going to fight.

    So yeah, I rambled on a lot, but I hope that helped give you some ideas :)

  10. keeleyryan says:

    Ugh. I feel you. 2 is a crappy age for sleep. Winter hasn’t slept well since we took her paci away at 2 (no more ear infections, but now no one is rested – I’m still deciding if it was worth it). Here’s what we’ve tried and has worked. 1). routine – stories, song, snuggle, sleep. Same every night. 2.) inching out – at first we rocked her to sleep. Then we sat next to her bed and rubbed her back until she fell asleep. Now we sit within sight in the doorway while she falls asleep. We’re hoping to move out the door eventually. 3.). Convincing her that being a big girl is f’ing awesome. Winter is desperate to big a big girl in every other aspect of her life so we talk a lot about how big girls go to sleep on their own and if they wake up at night, they put themselves back to sleep. They can pick with stuffies they want to sleep with, what books they want to read, what blankets they want to sleep with, what music they want to listen to, etc. And, we bribe her. If she goes to sleep “like a big girl” she can watch sesame street in the morning. But she has to go to sleep like a big girl if she wants to get the big girl perks. It’s not a perfect system but it’s working for us. Try bribing her. ;)

  11. saramoe says:

    can she get out of her crib on her own? i second trying a toddler bed, or do the smart thing like we did and go straight to a twin with a rail. that way you can easily lie with her for storytime and snuggles. also, have faith – if MY kid learned to sleep (most…some? of the time) i guarantee yours will too.

    • Morgan says:

      She hasn’t gotten out of the crib yet…but I do think we’re going to go for the twin. *sigh* I need you here for this shit, dude!

  12. lindsayll says:

    I hope it has gotten better since you posted this. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend picking up the Ferber book. It’s not just about cry it out, and I think it’s a book we will be referring back to consistently over the next 10+ years. It covers everything, night terrors, sleepwalking, bed transitions, how the rhythms of sleep change, etc.

    We didn’t implement Ferber strategies exactly as suggested in the book, but modified them for what we thought would work for our kid and what jived with our instincts. So far, so good.

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