I haven’t said much about this because babies not sleeping? So normal, so common, right? What about toddlers who abandon their formerly stable and predictable sleeping routines? Still not abnormal and certainly attributable to any number of things. And God knows I’m not alone here, right?
Unfortunately, we’re not dealing with a little bit of sleeplessness or the occasional night waking. No. P has decided recently that sleeping and napping? It’s for suckas. And I honestly believe that in my quest to be a good mom, I may have created a proverbial monster.
How on earth did I do that? By always answering every cry or whimper. By never letting him cry for longer than it takes to appear cribside with a ready hug or cuddle or…the wrecker of all sleep habits…the “let’s snuggle for a minute on the big bed while you settle back down”. I know that last one is the culprit because now whenever I go to see what’s wrong, P leans his entire body, safety be damned, towards our bed, pointing and speaking in that mysterious language he prefers over English.
I just want to clarify that the waking isn’t just waking. It’s also the flat refusal to sleep in some cases. Either way, he goes from being perfectly fine to basically standing up in crib screaming like he’s being with poked with an electric cattle prod.
The first thirty or so times, the huz or I would go running in, convinced that he was, in fact, dying. But after innumerable diaper checks, itchy checks (he has a touch of eczema on his arm and sometimes it flares up and itches), considering the possibility of teething (and thus administering some pain relief) and countless bottles of milk (Yes, I said bottles. Shut up), we have concluded that there is actually nothing wrong with him other than his newly developed sense of autonomy, which we’ve decided we pretty much hate (and so does his sister because she can hear him through the walls.)
This means we have to do it. The evil three letter acronym…
Yes, we’ve resorted to the hated but generally very effective CIO (cry it out) or extinction method to put a stop to this because we have to dissuade him of this newfound and very accurate notion that if he cries, we will come running without fail and give him loads of love and affection. And I certainly don’t blame him. Who wouldn’t wake up several times a night for a yummy back scratch or a tummy rub or a cozy snuggle? But this waking up 4-5 times a night or just refusing to nap at all is like having an infant again. Except he’s nineteen months old.
And before you jump all over me, just know that it’s tearing my heart out. Listening to him cry like that and knowing that if I run in and pick him up, I will cancel out any bit of progress we’ve made, is incredibly painful for me, too. And the idea that he may think we have abandoned him is just twisting the knife. But I know it won’t work any other way so after going in one or two times and hugging him (without picking him up) and then laying him back down, we don’t go in anymore for at least 15-20 more minutes, which is an eternity for all of us.
It seems like the total crying time is slowly decreasing but it’s still horrible and admittedly, it’s also aggravating. WHY won’t he just give it up and go to sleep, I wonder silently? And eventually…he does. But we know he will be up again later so we brace ourselves and fight the urge to drink copious amounts of NyQuil so we’ll sleep through it next time. (Kidding. KIDDING!!!)
Dissenting opinions are allowed. Sanity-saving suggestions are welcomed :)
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