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Not sure if this is a nighttime parenting issue, and family bed issue, or a GD issue, but I'll put it here.

My 5 mo has been sleeping very poorly recently, but last night she was doing great! Only two wake ups and nursed right back to sleep both times. I share a bed with the baby, and my 2.5 yo DD sleeps in her toddler bed next to my bed. Anyway, when the baby woke to nurse at 3:00am, it woke up DD and she wanted to climb into my bed too. I said, okay, but to close her eyes and try to go back to sleep. She proceeds to hug the baby, prod the baby, poke the baby and eventually, for some unknown reason, turn on the radio next to the bed at top volume
: . I was PISSED! I've had 5 weeks of crappy sleep, my baby is finally back to a normal sleep pattern, and I'll be da**ed if DD1 wakes her up in the middle of the night.

After she turned on the radio, I jumped out of bed, picked her up none to gently, spanked her
:, and deposited her back in her toddler bed with a stern warning to GO TO SLEEP! Not nice. Not gentle. Not the way I like to parent.

How can I remain calm in the middle of the night? And how can I get DD1 to understand how important it is to NOT wake up the baby.
 

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i too have a very difficult time parenting the way i want to late at night. my dd (17 mos.) is a night owl to the extreme, and we are never in bed before midnight... well, very rarely. the later it gets, the shorter my patience gets, and i find myself snapping at her for all sorts of things that i would never even be annoyed by during the day. i hate it!


i don't have any tricks for remaining calm in the middle of the night, except to try clear your head of any anxieties about having to get up early the next day. when i have someplace to be the next day, and all i can think about is it's 2 AM and i'm only going to get x hours of sleep and dd is going to be so cranky, etc., etc., etc... that's when i really start to lose it. if possible, push all your activities to later in the day so you don't have to fret about getting everybody up.

as for making your dd1 understand the importance of waking the baby, other than suffering the natural consequences of a tired, unhappy mama the next day because you were up all night with the baby... maybe when dd1 wakes in the night, she could crawl quietly to the other side of the bed, where the baby isn't, and you and she could read a book at whisper-volume or you could tell her a story... and maybe the quiet, calm sound of your voice will help her settle back in for sleep.

FWIW, i would have been ultra-pissed too if the same had happened to me. NOTHING makes my fuse shorter than being woken up, or dd being woken up before we're ready.
:
 

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I don't have any advice, only support. I have the same issues. Neither of my children sleep well, and some (most) nights I only get three hours of sleep. It's so hard to be a "gentle" parent when you are cranky, tired, and annoyed.
 

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Oh man, the 3 AM wakeups are THE WORST. DS still does this with regularity and the ways I cope are by:
  • NEVER looking at the clock. It doesn't matter what time it is, really. This has worked wonders for me!
  • Repeat what you want the child to do over and over as calmly as possible. In my case, DS always wakes up screaming and can't calm down enough to tell me what's wrong. So I often find myself saying, "DS, I can hear that you're upset, but I don't know how to help you. Can you calm down a little and tell me what's wrong? That way I can help." Just keep repeating it.
  • If all else fails and he his still freaking out, I tuck him in beside me and make him feel as comfortable as possible, then I tell him, "DS, Mommy is tired and needs to sleep. I am going to sleep now. I'll be right here if you need something from me, but I am going to sleep and won't be talking to you anymore." Then I "go to sleep" in that I don't respond to the crying any longer. He is right there with me, but I am no longer responsible for finding the thing he needs to fix whatever his problem is.
Doing this, especially the last one when things are bad, really helps me to keep my cool. It doesn't always work, especially if there is illness involved. In your case, I would have tried to separate the two children as calmly as possible and if the older child couldn't have calmed down, I would have put her in her toddler bed and made her stay there. No one is going to be at the pinnacle of patience at 3 AM. It's just not going to happen.
 

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I also wanted to say that this system was born from my less than stellar nights when I would yell at DS to Just. Go. To. SLEEEEPPPPP! That didn't help at all. And I would always feel terrible.
 

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i know how that goes. typing one handed here. we moved ds to his room b/c he was too tempted to mess w/ the baby at night. if ds1 wakes up at night, dh tends to him b/c i'm usually nursing the baby.

we are having sleep fighting issues though!
 

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Oh mama,
to you. I can not imagine how hard that must be,. I can barely parent my 1 child, 18 months, at night, let alone two! I also dont have much advice, as I am not so gd at night either. I wanted to just let you know that you are not alone. It is very hard to be patient and kind when you are sooooo exhausted. I'll be lurking here too...
 

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I just want to thank the brave mommas who posted on this thread. I am glad (and sad, I guess) to learn I am not the only person who has ever shouted GO TO SLEEEP (which has to be the LEAST effective strategy ever). I feel like I very very rarely lose my temper with DS, but when I do, it is at night.
: I have actually made an appointment with a therapist (tomorrow!) because of this (and some DH related things). Hope to get some good coping strategies there.
 

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I know darn few people who can be GD at 3 AM!

As someone else said, forgive yourself, find a different strategy for next time and go on.

I too have (just once, but it's clear in my mind
) shouted "GO TO SLEEP" at ds. This was at naptime actually. And as soon as I said it, I realized how STUPID that command is. But you know, sometimes our primal brains take over and we do stupid things.

Are you a single parent? If not, it's time for your partner to step in and help night parent. If you are, then I would strongly suggest seeing if you can get some help so that you can take a nap. Self care is crucial to being able to parent. Sleep deprived, hungry parents are never going to be at their best.
 

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Thank goodness for this new time change. DS *hates* to sleep. His eyes can be droopy from being sleepy and he will do something to wake himself up.

This past Friday night was the worse. My head was pounding and I felt my montly cycle coming on and I was tired from working all day. He fought sleep all the way until 1:30am. I was so mad and he screamed at me because I wouldn't let him look at PBS Sprout.

So I said in a firm and not so gently voice "DS will you please go to sleep for Mommy PLEASE! PLEASE!" He finally went to sleep and I felt awful for that.

You are not alone. Sleep (or lack thereof) is just dangerous for the mind.
 

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We have been on a LONG road to a decent sleep arrangement. I think we are almost there. I really understand how this goes. We try to be non-coersive with dd. In the day, this is no problem. But dd has been an AWFUL sleeper since literally the day she was born. At 3 years and change, she still has never ever slept through the night (even if I cheat and call 5 hours "through the night"). This has been a conflict since day one since I am one of those people that needs 9+ hours a night AND I suffer from lifelong insomnia. This makes for a VERY cranky mama in the middle of the night. I usually can gracefully handle wakings 1 and 2, but by 3, I am not a happy camper and I seem to have little control over my temper. Luckily, dh is able to step in and help. We have a deal that I handle night wakings but after waking #2, dh takes over. This is great until dh travels and then I fret all day about what is going to happen in the middle of the night
That is our situation tonight. I do all sorts of things to help myself out. Dd and I chat right before bed about night wakings and how we can make it easier on one another. I make sure to go to bed when she does. And then when she wakes, I repeat in my head over and over, that this is temporary (I think) and that I NEED to get through this gracefully for everyone's sake. I also take the pressure off. If dd is going to have a long waking, I have no problem with getting everyone out of bed to watch a movie. We have a National Geographic documentary on Beavers that puts dd right to sleep and is calm enough for me to doze through. I can doze while she watches and everyone is sort-of happy. Not sure how that would work with a baby as well. But I feel your pain and kind of feel like this is a big dark secret that NO ONE tells you about BEFORE you have a baby. It is hands-down the hardest part about parenting for me.
 
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