I think it's been a month now that our DS2 has been waking in the wee hours and pitching a fit. These aren't night terrors. In fact, he wakes up slightly fussy, like a normal I-need-blankets or I-need-water waking. He usually needs a diaper and probably needs to pee. He won't let me change his diaper (if I do, he goes into full tantrum mode). It's like he's irritated that he's awake, he doesn't want anything stimulating like a diaper change or a parent comforting/talking to him, that might keep him awake longer. So he fusses, which keeps him awake, and he escalates. He won't let me or DH touch him, talk to him, won't say yes to anything, just gets more and more frustrated, escalating to a full-blown tantrum at 2am or whenever it is, shrieking, kicking, yelling at me and DH, getting out of his bed so he can stand or sit somewhere that isn't right next to us (his bed is next to ours).
We've tried everything, it feels like. I'd love any suggestions...
Things we've tried (that I can think of right now)... Singing to him, picking him up, holding him firmly but not hurting him, putting a hand on his back/stomach/arm/head/whatever, changing his diaper when he first wakes up in the night, trying to take him to the toilet to pee, offering him all sorts of things he could want at that time, bringing him to our bed, getting mad at him and griping at him for pitching a fit (not the usual reaction, but it's happened), turning on the lights, taking him into the rest of the house to show that everything is dark and quiet and it's time to sleep, looking outside at the stars/moon/clouds, etc.
The only thing that doesn't make him MORE angry and scream LONGER is just letting him lie there while he cries it out, without making much of an effort at all to do anything for him... It basically entails asking him what he wants, and when he won't tell us or won't let us do what he says he wants, we say something like, "well, I can't help you then, goodnight," and then lying back down without touching him (makes it worse), asking him what he wants again (makes it worse), etc. If he starts saying "momma" or "dadda," we'll talk to him, but he still won't say what he wants to let us do anything. I don't like that solution, but it's honestly the ONLY thing that has worked at all... it cuts his tantrums from about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to about 20 minutes (only if we do this from the start, not even changing his diaper), and sometimes he stills cries for over an hour. Doing anything for him at all, trying to connect with him in any way, including changing his wet diaper, only infuriates him more.
The only thing I thought of while sitting here typing is Rescue Remedy. Anyone have experience with that for toddler tantrums? Any other ideas?
Just have a sec--DS 1 did this & a friend told me to carry him to the bathroom & put him on the potty. He was apparently needing to pee, was still mostly asleep, and something in his brain was telling him not to pee (we must have been working on using pull-ups or something & I do think he was a bit older than your LO)...and it would make him hysterical. My ex-husband had to be the one to carry him because he would thrash so badly. Hope this helps...best of luck!
I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brother.
Does he have sleepy-music that you use at bedtime? When my DS (18 months) starts getting unreasonably fussy in the middle of the night, one of the first things I do is hit play on his sleepy CD. That seems to help get him back into sleep mode.
Caedenmomma - I think we'll try that. It seems to be likely the reason he's waking up - he needs to pee. We haven't really started structured potty training yet, but he will use the toilet when we take him and ask him to. I have noticed that his diaper is already wet when he has these fits, but he needs to pee too. It seems like he is waking up because he needs to pee.
Blackannis - I usually sing to him at bedtime, and singing to him at other wake-ups works, but for some reason it doesn't work once per night. Sigh...