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what is worse: cio or monster mama? help. - Page 2

post #21 of 33
So he just wants an audience? That's your cue to leave, IMO (and IME). If (when) he freaks out be reassuring. You'll be back in 5 minutes. And then leave for 5 minutes. And come back like you said you would. Show him that you know he'll be fine. He'll take his cues from you! If you react to his tantrum you're sending the wrong messages, I think. That you don't believe he's capable of spending 5 minutes by himself AND that all it takes to get his way is a tantrum.

At his age there is nothing wrong with him being in his bed alone for 5 minutes. He doesn't have to like it at the start but he has to do it. Just like you don't like sitting there for ages, you did it anyway. Well now things are changing and that's a great thing. Be positive!
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

So he just wants an audience? That's your cue to leave, IMO (and IME). If (when) he freaks out be reassuring. You'll be back in 5 minutes. And then leave for 5 minutes. And come back like you said you would. Show him that you know he'll be fine. He'll take his cues from you! If you react to his tantrum you're sending the wrong messages, I think. That you don't believe he's capable of spending 5 minutes by himself AND that all it takes to get his way is a tantrum.

At his age there is nothing wrong with him being in his bed alone for 5 minutes. He doesn't have to like it at the start but he has to do it. Just like you don't like sitting there for ages, you did it anyway. Well now things are changing and that's a great thing. Be positive!


yeahthat.gif  I've also found it very helpful to turn off the lights that are outside ds's room so that there is very little light (we're in NYC so there is a city glow even though the shades are closed).  It seems to help him fall asleep.

 

post #23 of 33

Not wanting go to sleep at naptime and then up later at bedtime really sounds like your DC is ready to drop a nap. Sure he'll be grumpy in the evening during the transition period, but he'll go to sleep easily at night.

 

And to answer your title question, being a monster (grumpy) mom doesn't cause permanent neurological damage and adult stress related diseases like CIO does. So I'd have to pick be a monster mom temporarily. Here's a link http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/linda_folden_palmer2.html . Yelling just teaches your DS that yelling is appropriate behavior. You can probably counteract that if you stop yelling once his sleep patterns settle down again.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tavamom View Post


My DS1 was that age when he started resisting naps.  I took it as a sign that he was really moving away from them, not that I needed to enforce them.  And mind you, my son was taking 3-4 hour naps (he would literally sleep for 3 or 4 hours every day), so it was odd when he seemed to be stopping his naps.  I felt like he "needed" them if he was sleeping so long, but really he was ready to transition.  Yes, it meant grumpy kid falling asleep mid-evening for a week or so, but really he was ready to stop taking regular naps.  I wished so badly that he would take his naps again, but he kept resisting.  We tried "quiet time" at his naptime, I tried to take a "nap" to encourage him to do it too, we would lie down together and try to sleep, but he would just toss and turn (even when I could on rare occasion get him to be quiet).  We tried meditation at naptime.  Really, I think it helped to create a quiet time during the day, to give us both a rest, but he still stopped napping at 28 months.

 

post #24 of 33

i agree he is probably ready to drop his nap. DS1 dropped his around age 2 and began going to bed much earlier, and much easier. and you dont have to "cio" to teach a toddler to fall asleep.. the pp's have good suggestions

post #25 of 33

My two older kids (both boys) also quit napping by two.  With the oldest I felt just like you're describing -- I was so tired, and so angry, and so confused, and felt like half my day was spent trying to get this child to sleep.  If he napped - which could take 2 hours to get him to nap - he'd be up very, very late.  I finally cut out his nap, and all of a sudden bedtime got easier.  It still wasn't easy, but it was better.  BUT, that involved moving bedtime much earlier to make up the difference.  For him, that meant 7pm -- so in bed by 6 with a goal of falling asleep by 7.  As crazy early as that sounds, I was at the point where sleep was what mattered.

 

My second son showed signs of dropping his nap around 21 months, but that time round I recognized the signs and just went with it.   Likewise, we moved his bedtime back to 6:30 and bedtimes went from hours long battles to quick and really pretty peaceful.

 

I'll add that my first is really not a sleeper.  While he gets really grumpy if he doesn't get enough sleep, he doesn't need as much as his peers (he's almost 10 now) and he still doesn't recognize when he's tired.  It also takes him ages to settle down to a state where he can rest.  So for 4 hours before I want him to fall asleep, we keep things calm and quiet.  As a toddler and preschooler, that meant parks & activities and playdates were morning only.  By dinnertime, and for the hour before, we were on to quiet activities.  Now, he needs an hour of downtime after dinner, an hour of reading, and he still lays in bed for an hour before he falls asleep.  It's no longer stressful -- I've learned to build it into our day.

 

My youngest - in preschool now - climbs into bed when she's tired and gets her own pj's on, and tells us good night.  It's not you, mama.  They really are wired differently.

post #26 of 33
OP - what is your bedtime right now? (for your DS).

I am like the PP's that when we cut the nap bedtime became as early as 6. Definitely by 7.
post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 

DS's bedtime is 6 but he usually isn't asleep until after 7pm, the earlier, the better. We start eating dinner at 445, but sometimes he eats for an hour, so it pushes things back.

 

I've tried to drop the nap, and as previously mentioned, he starts to wet, get cranky (it hit at 11am on Friday, for example) and become violent (kicking, hitting, etc.). He's like me, his body can go forever without enough sleep, but he becomes sensitive and oh-so-grouchy. 

 

Update: I turned the converted crib around so he couldn't get out on Friday and he talked himself/ stuffed animals to sleep after a brief period of whining and anger.  DH has taken over nighttimes for the past two nights (alas!) as well as naps this week-end. Hopefully things will fall into place when I get back to it tomorrow.  As with previous experience of missing naps and then having naps, it is much easier to get him to sleep when he is well rested. He also has less nightmares. No wetting and no nightmares since Friday.

 

 

 

 

post #28 of 33

I've been both the monster mama and tried CIO. Both are devastating. There is no easy solution is my conclusion. I have read every baby sleep book out there.

 

Good night, Sleep tight has some very good bits, but the sleep lady also makes me want to punch her in the face a couple times. Her sleep lady shuffle, though, is a good system that I know works. Especially with older kids, like 2 year olds. You just have to be very consistent every single day for 2 weeks or more to get the results. I can give you more details on sleep shuffle if you'd like. Some people consider it a softer version of CIO. But even Dr. Sears says that if you resent it, change it. I don't believe in CIO (even though I let my DD cry for an hour when I was in midst of mental breakdown) and I don't think it works. But it doesn't mean there won't be tears involved at bedtime, especially when they are tired and have difficulty adjusting to new expectations.

 

Also, Sleepless in America is a good book. It talks about why naps are important and how to achieve them, and some other pointers about why it might be hard getting kids to sleep. What you might take away from this book: don't drop the nap!!

 

Lastly, you are not alone. As the other posts suggest, and my own experience, bedtime can be difficult especially when you are so closely attached to your children.

 

I hope you find some relief soon!

 

 

post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post

DS's bedtime is 6 but he usually isn't asleep until after 7pm, the earlier, the better. We start eating dinner at 445, but sometimes he eats for an hour, so it pushes things back.

 

I've tried to drop the nap, and as previously mentioned, he starts to wet, get cranky (it hit at 11am on Friday, for example) and become violent (kicking, hitting, etc.). He's like me, his body can go forever without enough sleep, but he becomes sensitive and oh-so-grouchy. 

 

Update: I turned the converted crib around so he couldn't get out on Friday and he talked himself/ stuffed animals to sleep after a brief period of whining and anger.  DH has taken over nighttimes for the past two nights (alas!) as well as naps this week-end. Hopefully things will fall into place when I get back to it tomorrow.  As with previous experience of missing naps and then having naps, it is much easier to get him to sleep when he is well rested. He also has less nightmares. No wetting and no nightmares since Friday.

 

 

 

 


why 'alas' that your DH took over bedtimes? Sounds to me like things have turned a corner, no?
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post

DS's bedtime is 6 but he usually isn't asleep until after 7pm, the earlier, the better. We start eating dinner at 445, but sometimes he eats for an hour, so it pushes things back.

 

I've tried to drop the nap, and as previously mentioned, he starts to wet, get cranky (it hit at 11am on Friday, for example) and become violent (kicking, hitting, etc.). He's like me, his body can go forever without enough sleep, but he becomes sensitive and oh-so-grouchy. 

 

Update: I turned the converted crib around so he couldn't get out on Friday and he talked himself/ stuffed animals to sleep after a brief period of whining and anger.  DH has taken over nighttimes for the past two nights (alas!) as well as naps this week-end. Hopefully things will fall into place when I get back to it tomorrow.  As with previous experience of missing naps and then having naps, it is much easier to get him to sleep when he is well rested. He also has less nightmares. No wetting and no nightmares since Friday.

 

 

 

 


Great update.  So glad that your dh took over.  It sounds like the sleep game was something that your son was playing with you...much like my son does with my husband and food. 

 

post #31 of 33

 

Hi!  First, a hug: hug2.gif  The myriad sleep issues of the preschool set is just... there are no words.  That anyone makes it to age five without losing it at their kids is amazing.  

 

I have one rule in my family and it's not negotiable, and kept me on track during the tough times.  It is: no one in my family cries alone; I stay and I listen and I always offer affection to an emotional child or adult, even if they're angry/tantruming.  

 

As simple as that sounds, that rule gave me a solution to most issues that came up with my marriage and kids, including the sleep issues - which obviously meant that CIO was not an option for me, at any age.  My first child is now 9 and I still wouldn't walk away from her if she was upset.  

 

Both my kids went through that awful stage of one nap was too much, but no nap was too little.  If my son napped, bedtime was a drawn out, frustrating nightmare.  Without the nap, he was cranky, demanding and having tantrums by midday.  By September last year, I cut the nap out altogether, he was 2yrs 5mths, and it was about 6 months overdue, in hindsight.  I decided to deal with the day meltdowns instead of sapping of my time and energy each night trying to get an un-tired, fidgety, playful boy to sleep.  It had taken me 1 to 2 hours to get him to sleep, no matter what I did, or how wonderful the routine or how early or how late bedtime was... I tried everything, in the end I realised the nap had to go.

 

Then I had to deal with his emotions during the day, and to help this I welcomed the wise words of a child psychologist friend who specialises in attachment parenting.  She said, "No one gets emotional because they are tired.  Fatigue does not cause emotions, it simply weakens the defenses enough that emotions can no longer be suppressed."  She explained how those times were wonderful opportunities for parents to help their child heal old (and new) traumas and stresses.  

 

This also fit with how my son was behaving, or what pop culture calls "over-tired signs".  His emotions built up from frustrations or whatever until he needed to let them out.  Then he'd do things that would eventually lead to him falling apart.  Or he'd demand things until he found one I couldn't deliver then he'd turn that into his releasing excuse.

 

I'd hold him while he cried.  If it was a tantrum, I'd give him my full attention like I do my daughter and husband when they're expressing, and offer to hold him if he was rejecting affection until he came to me and fell apart in tears on my shoulder.  After a supported, validated emotional expression, it was like a switch... the crap was emptied, and now my real boy who was underneath all that was able to shine.  For several hours, or even the rest of the day, he would be sweet, self-occupying, attentive and happy.  It was like a freakin' miracle.

 

Sometimes a meltdown is poorly timed, and I try to suppress it as only a mother knows how.  But I knew it was just on hold, so when I got home I'd keep a look out for signs and be ready to dedicate up to 20 minutes hugging or calmly listening to a crying child.  Time investment well worthwhile.  A child without stored up emotions sleeps easily and deeply, whereever they are, no fussy routine or dark or quiet required.  

 

If my son gets aggressive with his sister, moody, or in any way starts THAT spiral (we all know the spiral I'm talking about), then I say, "Do you need to get some feelings out?" and he will often immediately ask for something he knows we don't have and then bam, fall apart.  The causes for his upset would be gone, but the need to release them remained.

 

I felt gentle and feel I've still lived up to my philosophy, yet I was not living in fear of my children's emotions.  

 

The current situation with my 3 yo son (his third b'day in a week) is that if he is relaxed yet tired, he'll sleep, whereever we are.  If he needs to release, he'll get irritable and clingy and come looking for me if I'm inside or whatever and whine and find ways to tantrum.  It is at this point that it is up to me to find some selfless compassion and be there for him - and if I'm elbow deep in a project, that isn't easy.  After the release, he'll occasionally fall asleep on me, but mostly he just goes about his day because he only naps about once a month.  Then at about 5.30 the four of us crowd on the couch and watch Brady Bunch and he's usually out by 6pm with his head on my lap.  If he's still awake at 6.15, I take him to the bedroom and lay with him while he falls asleep... 10 minutes tops.

 

So I really recommend not pushing the nap or even setting one up, and just seeing where the fatigue takes him.  If he is "misbehaving" or pushing boundaries, see if there is a phrase you can use to trigger the tears or rage (tantrum), setting the stage of safety, that he is safe to express.  I use "do you need to get feelings out?" but sometimes what it takes is following his lead to see what he's doing to make himself cry or rage or if he keeps hurting himself - some kids only feel safe to cry when they're hurt because that's the only time someone meets their emotions with empathy, and needless to say, those kids are known as "accident prone".   

 

I watch sad movies, I love a good sob and feel great for weeks afterwards.  

 

A note of warning... this becomes second nature and just part of the routine of being around emotionally sane people who express themselves, adults or children... but the first few times can be overwhelming.  Be prepared if you decide to stay-listen to emotions, as they can run deep and can trigger your own unheard pain, causing bad reactions. The other thing is, if you try this... stay-listen.  It is not healing, and could be counterproductive to healing, to leave them to cry or rage alone... tender ages need a validating ear, and preferably some words to their feelings (you sound angry... you seem very sad... it can be frustrating when we want something we can't have... etc).

 

Hope there's something in there for you.   Good luck.  Family sure is one helluva ride. 

 

 

 


Edited by Calm - 3/28/11 at 3:41am
post #32 of 33

I'm a bit puzzled at all of the talk here that seems to be looking at the bedtime parenting as the either-or of "good mama staying with child" or CIO . . . it sounds like you and your son have a middle ground, much as my son and I do. My DS is 18 months old, and likes to play games with Mommy as well--he has for quite a while, actually, and we've had to institute a caregiver switch-off for whenever Mommy's getting angry and frustrated. Frankly, I'm not a good mother when I get frustrated. It makes me angry with my son, angry with myself, and I can't be patient and loving. So, when I get to that point, DH takes over and gives me a break. We've also, over the past six months, started drawing a very firm line and reacting differently to DS angry vs. DS upset. When he's angry and throwing a temper tantrum, we just let it run its course. We don't respond to it (except to give a hug if he seems to want it and if wanting a hug at a bad time wasn't what set it off!), don't try to stop it, and above all, don't give in to it. Temper tantrums still happen with relative frequency (saying "no" to anything is the simplest way to get them going! wink1.gif), but they tend to be fairly short in duration and very easily ended with re-direction. When DS is actually upset, he gets held and loved. We use this distinction at bedtime too, and it's helping to cut back on the unwanted games. Most important for me, though, has been DH's willingness to take over when DS starts playing games that get me frustrated. When you get frustrated and start feeling like "monster mommy," let your husband take over completely for a while so you can take a sanity breather. Some of us just need that--we don't have endless reserves of patience, and we need a mental break to refill our reserve of patience.

 

Anyways, it sounds to me like you may have something going on that's similar to what I've been dealing with with my son, and honestly, the only way to reshape it into healthy habits is to get your partner to help. Get a tall enough gate to put over the door that your son can't leave the room, and switch off turns soothing him with your husband. The gate is necessary IMO because the rule that's worked for us at bedtime is that above all, when the bedtime routine starts, DS does not leave the room where he sleeps, and he preferably only gets to come out of his bed if he's being held/snuggled. We don't let his feet hit the floor--just crib-arms-crib-arms. And we switch off; I start, since DS nurses before bed, put DS in his bed when he's done nursing, and leave the room. When he decides he's unhappy about being left alone, DH goes in and hugs him for a few minutes, then puts him down, pats his back to get him settled, and leaves the room. If he gets up again, I go in, then the next time DH, wash-rinse-repeat. Since we've been doing this (about two months now), the number of times we've gone back in has been steadily decreasing, and he's started sleeping for longer stretches. It's kinda cool. It does, however, involve letting him fuss a bit, especially if he's trying to break the rules and get down from the crib or our arms. In my view, however, that is not in any way CIO, and anyone who tries to tell me it is needs to butt out of my family dynamic.

post #33 of 33

Calm---thank you so much for your post. I am struggling with DD2's sleep--as I did with DD1's--and your comments about children needing a safe opportunity to vent their feelings and frustrations was just the reminder I need for both my daughters, as well as for myself.


 

 

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