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#1 of 14 Old 07-24-2010, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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PLEASE HELP.

My DS is 26 months old. He does not sleep. I lost it a little last night, and likely will lose it again tonight since NOTHING is helping. I am desperate.

He has never been a "good" sleeper. One time 12 months ago we got 6 hours () without a waking, but we're usually maxing out at 2-3 hours. We have a consistent, calming nighttime routine, and he usually gets to sleep without much trouble around 7:30. An hour or two later, he's up and won't go back to sleep without one of us there with him for another 20 minutes. Then, he's generally up one more time before we go to bed, and I usually nurse him down again to help him tank up for the night.

Maybe around 1 am, he will come into our room. With lots of cuddles he eventually gets back to sleep. Then at 5 am he's up, screaming, crying, inconsolable, violent, and no amount of shushing, cuddles, singing, you name it, touches it. Eventually we all give up and are up for the day. He is super tired, cranky, so the morning goes to sh!t until naptime (11:15-ish).

He nightweaned (save that last 10-11 pm feed) at 19 months. From that time until recently, DH would sleep with him in his room, and he seemed to sleep pretty well with just a few brief night wakings. I thought we got off easy having night weaning go so smoothly.

BUT, I want to sleep next to my DH. I think that's reasonable. But, then DS ends up with both of us at night, when DS is around me, this is how he sleeps. Screaming, scratching at us, kicking us in the face, mauling my nipples with his fingernails, hitting me in the teeth with his sippy of water early in the morning. It takes all my self control not to slap him. I consider myself a gentle parent, but I have reached my absolute limit.

He has no noticeable evidence of food intolerances/allergies. He has a nice daytime routine with a consistent naptime, physical activity, good healthy foods (he's a great eater!). During the day, he is a happy, content little guy. Everyone notices how sweet and joyful he is.

DH is about to go for CIO by putting a gate in front of DS's room. I admit, I'd do it too, but I figure we'd actually sleep 100 times worse with the crying. If I wasn't so afraid of spiders, I'd sleep in the basement and let him cry. I don't want to be that parent though, so please help me find a better solution.

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#2 of 14 Old 07-25-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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I'm so, so sorry, mama. s

I'm not sure if this will help, because it sounds like you have a really tough situation, but the key for us has been consistency. It sounds like you have a really good bedtime routine, which for us is critical. But we've gotten a little lax on our "if she wakes" routine and I feel like it is feeding into her waking more at night. Is it possible that your son would sleep better if he was consistently put back to bed alone in his room?

Our daughter has never been a "good" sleeper either, but around the age that your son is we saw a vast improvement. I think it was two things, first, she started sleeping in her own room, then she nightweaned.

You've already got the nightweaning part on your side, so that's good.

If our daughter wakes up before we go to bed we put her back in her bed after a drink of water. If she waked after we go to bed my husband will take her back in her room and put her down, or sleep with her or let her sleep with us (we also have a 10 mo old ds who cosleeps so my dh does all the nighttime parenting with my dd). The more consistent we are about putting her back to bed alone the better she sleeps and the less she wakes.

For awhile, when we were consistent about putting her back in her bed and not having her in ours, there were times when she just lost it and wouldn't go to sleep alone. Our solution was the "neutral" zone. My husband would sleep with her on the couch rather than having her get used to sleeping with us or having someone in her bed. (Of course we've gotten lazy about that part )

It might be some rough nights but maybe you guys could try that too. Also, since your son can leave his room (is capable of walking out) I don't think some crying in his room is cio (as long as there is no gate). I think returning him to bed if he comes out is fine.

My only other thought is to reduce naps. How much does he nap and how long are the naps? I know after a rough night the last thing you'll want to do is shorten his daytime sleeping but maybe that is something you can examine.

Anyway, I hope things improve, sorry, I'm sure this is very hard on you and your dh.

Momma to my sweet kiddos DD (2.19.07) and DS (9.27.09) and wife to the most amazing man (7.24.04)
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#3 of 14 Old 07-26-2010, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you, clemrose, for your thoughtful reply. You've given me some good suggestions! He normally naps a good 2 hours (usually wakes up once, but goes back down quickly after a cuddle). I've always tried to believe in the "sleep begets sleep," but since this doesn't seem to be the case for DS, I'll try shortening the naps a little.

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#4 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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Man, that's tough. The best thing I can do is recommend reading Sleepless in America. It gives some great tips for dealing with sleep disturbances and difficult sleepers. It does sound to me like he's tired.

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#5 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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Do they do sleep studies on toddlers? Sounds like he has a lot going on... I would go that way if the book doesnt work.
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#6 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 04:04 PM
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Does he have all his molars in? My DD didn't sleep well at all when she was getting teeth. Also most of her night waking stopped after they were all in at 2.5 years old. We never night weaned. It was just the easiest, fastest way to get her back to sleep. When she was getting teeth in a single dose of ibuprofen really helped her sleep better. Also at his age his sleep needs may be changing. How many total hours is he getting a day? 12 to 14 hours is normal for his age. My DD dropped her nap at 27 months. She would be up really late, 1 or 2am, anytime she napped so we cut it out.

I bet your DSs 5 in the morning waking is from hunger. Have you tried nursing? Even after my DD stopped all her other night wakings, she'd wake around day brake, nurse back to sleep and then sleep a 2 or 3 more hours.
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#7 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I bet your DSs 5 in the morning waking is from hunger. Have you tried nursing? Even after my DD stopped all her other night wakings, she'd wake around day brake, nurse back to sleep and then sleep a 2 or 3 more hours.
That's what I was thinking... what you described at 5 am sounds like it could be related to low blood sugar. If he is going to sleep at 7:30, by 5 am he is probably pretty hungry! I'd try giving him a snack at 5 and see if he will go back to sleep. Keep something at the bedside so no one has to get up.

Also agree with the PP about teeth - my 2 older kids both magically started sleeping through the night once all of their teeth were in. Prior to that they both woke several times a night (every 1-2 hours, sometimes 3). I did read in a book once that this is pretty normal, and to not really expect kids to sleep through until they have all of their teeth. I think it was in a Dr. Sears book? I know it's not much consolation at the time, but hopefully that will be the case for you too... unless of course he has all of his teeth already, in which case you are probably cursing at your computer right now :P
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#8 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
Do they do sleep studies on toddlers? Sounds like he has a lot going on... I would go that way if the book doesnt work.
Yes! Most sleep study centers will work with toddlers. I just discovered this option when reading Sleepless in America (we're desperate here too for more/better sleep).

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#9 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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I've always tried to believe in the "sleep begets sleep," but since this doesn't seem to be the case for DS, I'll try shortening the naps a little.
It's always been completely untrue for my DD. She (or, well, I) dropped her nap about that age and she didn't go to sleep until 10+ p.m. or she'd do what your son is doing. She's a tough sleeper, and I've found that I have to sometimes COMPLETELY revamp bed times, wake times, routines, etc to get a full night sleep on a regular basis.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#10 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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He's truly awake in the early morning when he's being violent towards you, right? My one thought was that I had night terrors at that age and would strike out at my mother when she came in to sooth me.
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#11 of 14 Old 07-28-2010, 03:11 AM
 
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I agree with the nap discussion. My ds, now 4, was like that exactly at that age, actually around 22 months is when it started. We dropped the nap completely and PRESTO a brand new kid. He falls asleep easily at 7:30 most nights, sleeps straight through and wakes about 7:00 in the morning. He does wake up ready for a bottle (he quit nursing at 3.5 yrs but still likes a bottle of milk in the morning.)

A 2 hour nap and then 12 hours of sleep a night is a lot actually for that age. Some kids need that much, some need 10 to 12 hours total in a day. Mine needs 12 almost exactly. Maybe yours is closer to that too.

My younger guy still takes a 2 hour nap and then sleeps 12 hours at night though and I think he will for while yet though he is the same age as the 4 yr old when we dropped the nap.

Good luck! I hope you figure it out soon. I know its rough. I remember that stage so vividly. You could probably search my posts in this forum and find something very similair
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#12 of 14 Old 07-29-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mama2soren View Post
BUT, I want to sleep next to my DH. I think that's reasonable.
First off, I can totally relate. My now almost 5yo was a horrible sleeper. And my relationship with her has totally suffered from it. That being said, I have to laugh (not meanly!) at the statement above, because that is exactly how I felt with DD1.

I suggest, if your son is sleeping well with your DH, you may want to try to go back to that.

I would LOVE (triple emphasis) to be able to sleep all. by. my. self.
I absolutely adore DH, but after baby number 2, who is now 16 mths old, and not much of a better sleeper than her sister, I could care less about who I am sleeping next to. I just want to sleep!!!

Also, I would also suggest reducing sleep time at his age. My DD1 gave up naps at 2.5 (which were only 40 min long anyway). My 16 mth old has begun sleeping longer naps (btwn 1.5 - 2 hrs, with nursing back to sleep in the middle), but has taken to waking up for 3 hours in the middle of the night. So, we keep her up later some nights, because she simply does not need the number of hours she was getting before.

It definitely cuts into DH and my alone time, but it kind of "is what it is." We try not to fight our kids' sleep needs/habits any more. It just isn't worth it. My relationship with DD2 is much easier. I just go with the flow and have minimal expectations.

Teething was also a big deal for both my girls--DD1 also had night terrors from the age of 9 mths. I ended up taking her to a homeopath when she was 3 and she began sleeping through the night (until her sister was born 8 mths later anyway!).

Good luck!
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#13 of 14 Old 07-29-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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It seem that he might be insecure in sleeping separately from you and
this might be the only way he can express his frustration - by agression and anger directed at you.

I totally respect your prefference for sleeping just with your DH.
I think this is just what the Little one feels too.. just as you want to
be close to someone you love, just the same way he wants to be near you.
To understand it better imagine if your husband would ask you for your own good and his comfort to sleep in the nearby motel and not to come till the morning... however you would love him that would be just hard.

Little humans are like little animals.. they just need closness of the mother
and this is genetically coded, it comes in the package. I know that many people fight it, many kids are even okay with it and many succed but regardless.. across the board this is actually not our fault or idea.. this is
mother's nature design.

Mother provides safety, security and comfort. Night is very scary for a little ones, the sounds, the darknesss.. and the sound in the darkness..

now he is older and he fears mor and understands more and kids somehow have stronger fear onsets during growth spurts (cutting teeth is one visible
sign of the growing)... hormons do somehow increase sens of anxiety and fear... just like ladies going through PMS have anxieties of unknown soruce..
however strangely it seem...

therefore respecting little ones needs is something that might be taken into consideration. senstive children tend to experience fears stronger, and anxieties too.. and they will and they do became agressive as they can't help to communicate their pain other way..

what he is showing is just the pain he feels... he is puting it inside out.
happy kids usually don't act that way do they? just a thought.
the tough part is to understand the seemingly obvious signs and adress them
as we have our own needs and wants and they sometimes do conflict with theirs.

I for one will never forget being traumatized by darkness and separation from my parents in the next room and it was horrible horrible horrible memory that nothing can errase.. later they took me into their bed and when I found out that that happened when I was 2 I was really shocked as adult that I actually had such a strong negative memory from such an early infancy.


as other posters suggested I would make sure he is well fed before bedtime.
We are doing oatmeal for bedtime food here.
Furthermore you might try to do extra Desitin or some other ointment
for his night diaper to see if maybe his urine is not waking him up.
sometimes this is really itchy and painful when they are on solids for a while
and their urine make up changes and is stronger and more irritating.


My DD sleeps in her bed next to ours.. I asked her if she wanted to
move to her room when she was 4.. guess what!... the answer was
few weeks of anger and aggression at night before I figured out that
although I decided that she is not going anywhere she will stay where she is
but she was just angry and insecure thinking I will put her into her room
for sleeping. I had this long night talk with her and reassured her with kisses and hugs that she can sleep with us as long as she wants - which is actually the case - as I do believe that she will be fed up with it just as I was when I got to school age and wanted to be independent at some 6-7 years of age... so we are sleeping in family bed again as we always did..

and good thing - she stopped acting angry the same night I reassured her that she can stay in our room indefenetely. It is somehow connected in them with love. Sleep issue for us adults is just practicaliity and comfort.
For them this is their whole world, sens of secuirity, safety and all that stuff..
so I learned to be vvveeeeeeeery careful how I play it.
She is very sensitive child and I know that this kind of kid can get very badly affected by such a strong negative emotions.

On the note on CIO .. I would recommend you to ask forum for those links as someone once posted acutal Harvard research on negative changes in kids brains - those who were treated to CIO.. so whatever you choose..
make your choices wisely..

it is only few years and there is a lot at stake.

Good luck
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#14 of 14 Old 07-29-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post
He's truly awake in the early morning when he's being violent towards you, right? My one thought was that I had night terrors at that age and would strike out at my mother when she came in to sooth me.
This is exactly what I was thinking. When my DD (now 5 1/2) was about that age, she would wake up in the night and scream for about 30 minutes and nothing I said or did would soothe her. We have always co-slept, so it wasn't like she would wake up, come in the room, and start screaming at us. It was eerie, almost like she was still asleep with her eyes open. She would start out by screaming and then sitting up and crying/yelling/screaming. I would cuddle her through it and she normally let me, but there were times that she was very irritable. Sometimes just turning on the TV to a kid show would calm her down and then she would drift back off to sleep. She did that for a couple years - about 3 or 4 times a year. I started to notice a trend when she was exhausted this would occur.

I hope you find a solution soon!

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