How to deal when you're exhausted, they're exhausted, but won't sleep? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-17-2007, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been lucky for the most part that my girls are generally not that hard to put to bed. Since they were about 13 months old, most nights we do our bedtime stuff, books, etc. and when I see they are tired and ready (usually about the same time each night, but 15-20 minutes either side of that time happens plenty) I turn the lights down, put on their bedtime music, and they go peacefully.

Then there are nights like tonight. They had a big fun day at the play area in the mall, and they fell asleep in the car on the way home, but still, at 7:30 they were starting to rub their eyes and yawn. Then when I put them to bed, the screams began. I know Kate would've gone right to sleep if not for Lilly, who pretty much sounded like she was being skinned alive the second I got near her crib.

One or both of them (mostly Kate) have been sick for the past 4 weeks, and I haven't had more than a 2-3 hour stretch of sleep in that entire time. I think I'm actually getting less sleep now than when they were newborns. My husband is never home for their normal bedtime, so it's all me, all the time.

I know they were tired tonight. But for whatever reason, Lilly was worked up and wouldn't go to bed. (They are awake up there right now with my husband, who got home around 8:45, thank goodness) I got so frustrated I wanted to scream. Actually, I had to leave them alone screaming for a few minutes so I could do so without screaming at them.

How do I keep my cool when this happens? And how do I handle them in general when this goes on? I hate the idea that I may be reinforcing the "scream bloody murder and you can stay up as late as you want" idea, but then again, most nights that is not what happens (though it is more frequent lately . I obviously hate the idea of just leaving them there to CIO. Where's the middle ground. and how can I stand there with at least a shred of sanity?

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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Old 11-17-2007, 01:09 AM
 
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Sounds like you need a

It also sounds like your girls sleep pattern has gotten out of wack, and it might take them a little bit to get back into their normal pattern. They are probably having trouble getting to sleep because they are *too* tired. I know my dd has a harder time sleeping when she's overtired sometimes. Sometimes it takes a few extra long naps to get back into her regular pattern. Also, my dd is 4 1/2 and can deal better with feeling tired. But at 18 months, they probably are having a hard time understanding why they are feeling so yucky. Also, when they are over tired, sometimes they need extra cuddling, time with you, etc.

I know when my daughter's gets out of wack, it takes a few days and sometimes a week to get back to normal. But when things get back to normal they usually stay that way unless they get out of wack again.

As far as how to deal with your frustration?, I would close your eyes, take a deep breath, and breath out slowly. Do that until you're calm enough to give them hugs, kisses, rock them in your arms, etc., whatever works to help them calm down and be able to go to sleep. Do you ever lay down with them or let them sleep in the same bed?

I found Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution" was a big help.

Hope this helped.
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Old 11-17-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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Whiskey?

Seriously, I can totally empathise because bedtime is so hard for me. I put my baby and my four year old to sleep, and luckily my dh puts the toddler to sleep. He wiggles and kicks and re-arranges everything and sighs and fiddles and fixes his pillow and gives you a hug and tells you he loves you and thirty minutes later he finally falls asleep. I can't take it, and I'm so lucky to have dh to lay down with him every night.

Anyway, maybe you could try sneaking out the disrupter and setting her up with a video, and once the more tired one was asleep you could go back in? I lean heavily on the TV when dh isn't home.

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Old 11-17-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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By the way, their pictures are sooooo cute!

Mommy to kids

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Old 11-17-2007, 02:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Whiskey sounds awesome!

Thanks for the empathy - right now that might even be more meaningful than the advice. Sometimes I just feel so alone in this!

BTW, I realize I need to redo my signature - my girls are actually 22 months. The 18 months part was how long I EPed for them, but I really don't feel the need to broadcast that so much now.

I agree that they are probably really overtired. They are short nappers, and that messes with their days when they have any big activities. Like today, when they slept from 11-12, and then played their little hearts out at the mall play area (we've been practically on house arrest for weeks) and were so tired that they fell asleep in the car on the way home. I think they slept just long enough to disrupt bedtime, but not long enough for that whole "sleep begets more sleep" theory (which never has worked here) to kick in.

We've had so much disruption with the illnesses and Daddy's vacation in the middle of it (lucky him - he got to spend a week at home with sick kids!! ), the time change, and the cold weather kicking in so suddenly. I guess I shouldn't be surprised they're such a mess.

I will try and work on the deep breathing. And I'll consider taking Lilly out to hang out in my room when she's clearly keeping Kate from going to sleep. Thanks for that thought. I sometimes get very stuck on the "you must be synchronized or Mommy will never get any free time!" idea, particularly because they are usually scarily in synch (I've often watched their eyes pop open at almost the same moment in the back seat of the car, etc.). But since it doesn't happen every night, I should let Kate get her sleep and give Lilly her extra 30 minutes or whatever when she needs it.

BTW, Daddy finally made it downstairs at 9:45. He said that for the last 15 minutes, Lilly was practically begging for her crib and saying "Daddy, bed" (which he first thought was "Daddy bad") but he was afraid it was a trap so he made her stay up longer to be sure she was really tired. :

I'm getting my hair cut in the morning, having breakfast out by myself, and going shopping afterwards. I think that will be almost as good as deep breathing for helping me withstand the next onslaught.

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natensarah View Post
By the way, their pictures are sooooo cute!
Thanks! I just realized those shots are over a year old! Holy cannoli! Considering I take like 200 pictures a week, you'd think I could find something recent.

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:28 AM
 
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Hi! I'm a Betsy too!

I have a younger babe, and a singleton, but she has always been a cruddy sleeper. We have lots of soothing tricks for nighttime parenting.

Babe is 14 mo and still BFing frequently, so often that works. Sometimes she just needs a fresh set of arms. Sometimes she really only wants Daddy. Sometimes she wants to be bounced and sung to, but I picked the wrong song. Sometimes she needs me or DH to lie down with her, which is odd since cosleeping on a regular basis was a disaster for her.

She's rather schedule-driven (internally) and never sleeps well after a day that's out of the ordinary. Right now she's transitioning to a single nap a day ( I think) and it's made her nighttime sleep patterns pretty wonky. She's up every 2 hours.

But I know, like so much else, that this too shall pass.

When she's being a real bear to get down for a nap, I often look at a photo I have frame of her at 4 months old. She's tiny. She's beautiful. And I think to myself that she'll only be this small for a short time, and she'll only want my help falling asleep for a short time. And I think about how I have no idea how she was sleeping when that photo was taken. That it's really inconsequential how long it takes to get her down or how exhausted I feel that day. She won't want me rocking her, bouncing her and singing to her for much longer, in the grand scheme of things.

It's exhausting being a parent of one most days, I can only imagine what life must be like with two!
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Old 11-17-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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Oy. Yes, we have this problem too. They scream when we leave the room when they don't want to sleep. My current solution is to pull the rocking chair into the crack of light from the bathroom across the hall and read. I can then say calmly, however frequently needed, "girls, it's time to go to sleep. please lay down." If either one can't be quiet, they get the choice of going to our bed or staying. They don't like to go to our bed because the dog sleeps in their bed

Oh--and calms forte for kids has worked miracles with their sleeping when they're having a hard time. We seem to be in such a pattern now, so they get it every day...
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:16 PM
 
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Happens to us every now and again, I try to avoid longer car journeys in the afternoon at all costs .
Last night I have been trying to put my younger one to bed for over an hour and she would have none of it. I usually carry on as long as I can but when I feel I am getting frustrated or annoyed I just put low lights on, pull out a couple of "quiet" toys and let whichever dc it is just play quietly while I read a chapter of my book, knit, go on computer, or unload dishwasher or whatever takes my fancy. Usually after a little while when the pressure is off and we are both calm I try again and the babe drifts off quite easily. I think that they sense me being tense or upset or angry and just can't settle. Good luck.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for all the support. We had a bunch more scary bedtimes. Saturday night wasn't so awful, except they screamed as soon as we walked out of the room, for exactly 1 minute. Then they were both up at 1:30 and ended up in our bed, restless and cranky until morning.

Sunday we took them to the aquarium. They slept for almost an hour on the way there, ran around like lunatics, and stayed awake for the ride home. I actually had an event to go to, so my husband did bedtime. I thought they were a shoe-in to go to bed at 8, or even earlier. Nope. He said every time he got them near the cribs, Lilly flipped out. This is a horror, because Lilly has been my reliably good sleeper for nearly a year! Nooo, Lilly, noooo!! When he finally put them to bed, it was quiet for a minute, then Lilly starting shrieking. The only saving grace was that when he went back in there, Kate was already asleep. He said he picked Lil up, rocked with her, and she was chattering away, telling him all the stuff in the room, plus a lot of imaginary stuff (she has somehow gotten the idea that there is a turtle in our bed and an owl in her room somewhere). He said it took 20 minutes and then she fell asleep on him, so he put her in bed. That was at 9pm. At 5am Lilly was up screaming and wanted to be in our bed, so she came in. She was all chattery then, too, and I finally settled her back to sleep around 5:45. Kate slept right through, though - first time in ages - yay Kate!

I am so scared of tonight's bedtime. I am working today, tomorrow, and wednesday, which is very rare - and very exhausting for me. I freelance and usually WAH, but this particular job requires me in the office these 3 days. I get home around 7, and if they don't go to bed until after 9, I don't eat dinner until 9:30 or 10pm. :

This has to be a phase, right? Can someone fast forward past it, please? Part of me wonders if it's the 2-year molars, actually. Lilly's been saying "teeth hurt" lately. But I think it's because I asked her once if her teeth hurt. She said yes. Then my husband asked if her toes hurt, her ear hurt, her foot hurt, etc. Either my kid is in constant total body pain, or she just likes to tell us what she thinks she wants to hear. : I felt around but didn't notice anything back there that felt toothy, although I know it can start hurting before they start sprouting. Ugh. I just wish I had answers! And a solution! That would be nice, too.

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGGH!

I had them calmed down, and about 2" away from agreeing to go to sleep. Their Daddy comes home, and for some reason ignores the fact that I had the white noise on, their bedtime CD playing, and the lights down super-dim, barges on in, and suddenly it's PLAYTIME!!!!!! all over again. It took every inch of restraint I have to ask him exactly how stupid he is not to notice those signs. Every. Single. Inch.

And then I left the room and told him to play for a little bit and I'll come back for bedtime soon. Which means he's going to run them around, hype them up, they won't go to bed for at least an hour, and I'll be eating dinner alone. :

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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