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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am here for one thing only . . . SYMPATHY.

If you are in a space right now where you LOVE bedtime and appreciate holding and rocking and singing your child to sleep for hours on end because this is such a special time in your life, please don't tell me. I can't take it.

I try so hard to be a voice of reason and calm on these boards, but right now I just need to VENT. And vent hard.

My beautiful boy whom I adore is now 21 mos and bedtime is STILL, BY FAR, the hardest time of my day. I will spare you all the details, because most of you have BTDT, but suffice it so say that he still needs SO much help going to sleep and no matter WHAT we do (early bedtime, late bedtime, early rise, late rise, long nap, short nap, rough play b4 bed, quiet time b4 bed, strict routine, varying routine, bouncing, lying still -- do you get my drift here?!?!), it STILL almost always takes 45 minutes or more to get him to sleep.

And I find it to be tedious and BORING AS HELL!!!!

DH and I need a strategic plan for making this better, but GOOD GRIEF, when are we supposed to talk to each other? At 11 PM after ds has finally fallen asleep?!?!


Feel sorry for me. Tell me your night-life sux, too. Tell me that you, too, sometimes have fantasies of hunting down Dr. Sears and making him listen to your fingernails on a chalkboard for implying that babies fall asleep when they're tired IF you establish the perfect conditions.


But please don't ask me if I'm sure he's really tired, or I am going to drive my car off the nearest cliff.


Phew! Vent complete. Let's see if I have the guts to actually post it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the support, Everyone. And thank you for not questioning me about why I'm trying to "force" my child to sleep when he's clearly not tired, etc, etc . . . I have gotten that response one too many times here at MDC! And after 21 months of trial and error (oh, so many errors!), I KNOW my son and I KNOW when he's tired and I KNOW when he's fighting sleep. Thank you for trusting me on this.

Yes, some days I would like to give the AP philosophy a swift kick in the proverbial pants. I do believe that we have created this little problem in our child -- and I do believe it's quite common among the AP set, as exemplified by your experiences (and the sheer volume of sleep-related threads on these hallowed boards!).

But in retrospect, I don't regret anything we've done along the way, bc it was all done out of love and empathy and gentleness. There is no point in ds's life that I can look to and say that we should have been tougher or more distant or less THERE for him.

That said, I do hope that I will be so much less anxious with future children, such that I might interpret their cues slightly differently and possibly find a way to help them sleep easier. (Like, I bet I'll tolerate a little more "fussing," while with ds I couldn't take one PEEP out of him without picking him up!) We shall see.

Regarding your replies . . .

Denny, I am so sorry for your bruises! You poor thing! It sounds like you are deep in the throes of toddler HELL. My wish for you is that it ends quickly and that maybe you won't have much memory of it. Kind of like some forgotten trauma.


Mamabutterfly, I'm on to you. You've been doing secret emoticon tutorials with Curly Locks, haven't you?!?! Even CL was impressed with your display . . . ("and the student shall teach the teacher")
Thanks for the love, Mama!

Curly, You are definitely on to something with asking about the wake-up times and naps. My little punkin is a night-owl and he comes by it naturally. His preference would be to sleep until 9:30 am, nap from 3-6, and then be up until 11 or 12. And who can blame him?! That sounds perfect to me, too! But the problem is (as someone later pointed out) that WE NEED SOME FRICKIN' TIME TO OURSELVES!!!
I mean, I give him everything I've got ALL DAY LONG, but I have got to have some R&R at the end of the day. Ok, ok, preaching to the choir, I know.

SO I'm working on waking him up early every day, getting him down for an earlier nap, and not letting him sleep more than 2 hours, but all it takes is one late-ish night (dinner w/the g'parents, dh working late, etc) and he *immediately* jumps back to his natural bio-clock.

(And don't worry, you'll always be the emoticon queen to me!!!)

Iguanavere, I laughed SO HARD at your post. Wanna know what I did after I posted this last night? Went downstairs and had TWO GLASSES OF WINE!
AND I ate potato chips! It was so fabulous. Yessirree Bob, there is nothing like eating and drinking your problems away!
:

And you're right about mom and dad's needs being important, and my "tyrant radar" is up . . . I'm watching him carefully for signs that he truly does expect us to jump when he says jump (and those signs are there, let me tell ya!) . . . but I also can see that we are not quite there yet with the bedtime. I feel responsible for getting him to this unable-to-put-himself-to-sleep place, so I feel like I need to stick it out until I've taught him some better skills.

But yes, where is this part in the AP manual?!?!?
:

Pumpkinseed, Thanks for chiming in! Misery does love company in this case, I'm afraid!

Asherah, I am SO sorry. I think you may have it worse than me, Sister. At least my child is sleeping at night (well, for longer stretches, anyway, and only for now, I'm sure!) Really and truly, I could not do this if I had to get up and go to a job in the morning. You are one tough cookie. And your ds is one LUCKY boy that you have toughed this out for him! Hang in there, Hon! I'll PM you if Sleep Fairy visits my house and bestows the magic answer upon me.

Speaking of which, has anyone else considered Baby Valium in a fit of desperation?!?!


It's so funny that we use only homeopathic rememdies, but there have been moments when I would have mainlined valium into one or both of us if I'd been able to!

Darshani, Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I smiled when I read them bc we have done so many of them. Altho for us, co-sleeping works quite well. It's just the beginning of the night that is making me BONKERS! I like the idea of having the chid turn out the light -- I think we'll start that tonight! And I jokingly said to dh last night that I need a walkman! I'll have to think about that one . . . I'm afraid it would just be one more thing for ds to perseverate on. ("M. see Mommy's headphones. M. see Mommy's headphones. M. see Mommy's headphones. M. see Mommy's headphones. M. see Mommy's headphones. M. see Mommy's headphones.") AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!


All this being said, I feel the need for a caveat, in case the AP police are watching: All of the above is said with MANY grains of salt and MUCH intended humor . . . I am head over heels in love with my child, LOVED rocking and nursing him to sleep for the first 16 months or so (and frankly, would do it until he was TWELVE if it worked!!!), and would NEVER hurt him or myself, with prescription drugs, or cliffs, or hammers to the head.

And I will admit that today, like yesterday, he fell asleep in the sling at naptime -- snuggled under my neck, stroking my boob (hey, it's his Lovie!), and all before the 2nd Bonnie Raitt song on the CD ended. SO it's not all awful at my house. Only after 8 PM.


You guys are awesome. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey momcat, You know about the Commando-Day-of-No-Naps, too, huh?!? Yes, it works fabulously to get him to bed early and to re-establish a more sane schedule.

But then, my dear child, SOMEONE has to BE with him all day until he finally collapses from exhaustion. Is that SOMEONE going to be little 'ole ME?!?! Not today, Toots.

My plan is for dh to take a day off from work to do it. While I go to the pool.

He doesn't know about this plan yet. Would you be willing to email him and ask him for me? Pretty please?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In the 90's in WISCONSIN?!?! What the . . ?

On a serious note, Analisa and Darshani: Does the booklight not distrub them as they're trying to fall asleep? I've always assumed that the reason I could put ds on the bed awake at night but not for naps, was bc it was dark. (During the day he thinks it time for "jumpin' on da bed!" so I have to sling him.)

If it's not too much light, maybe I'll give that a try.

And yes, Analisa, PM us or something -- We need to know how many lima beans are in there!!! (You didn't know you had so many "partners" sharing in your pregnancy, did you?!?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Moon, how do I get one of those sleeping babies, next time around?!?! Please let me know, 'cause I think asherah wants one, too!

That's what dh and I will toast to tonight, at midnight, after ds is snoozing:

"Here's to the next one being a Sleeper!"

(not that we're even TTC, but I'm thinkin' we may need to toast to that MANY times between now and then!)

LizaJane'sMom, you may as well start toasting to that, too . . . Maybe it's not too late for your little one!

Oy. We're getting PUNCHY around here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
sozobe, I think that's a fabulous suggestion (no need to cower . . . I was just trying to scare away the polly-annas with my original grumpy post!).
I think it's important to remember that it's the TOTAL amount of sleep that counts, not neccessarily the exact timing of it. Good for you for being so flexible and creative!

Unfortunately for me, dh goes to work very early (he's gone by 7 am), so I could potentially get up before ds and have alone time, but I would miss out on dh time at night. ('Aint no WAY I'm getting up at the crack of dawn to be with him . . . at least not until we're sleeping thru the nite!) After ds goes to bed is the only time dh and I get during the week, and we've learned (the hard way) that it is *very* important to our relationship and overall happiness.

But I will keep this in mind as another strategy if we truly get stretched and need to change something.

And thanks Moon, for the reassurance . . . I've always hoped it isn't just me, but we won't know until dc #2 comes along . . . and given the state of things around here, I'm guessin' that's still a ways off!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
. . . but ds went down in about 7 min tonight.


Here's what we did, but I would NEVER be so arrogant to assume that it had ANYTHING to do with our stellar parenting, or even that it will EVER work again!

Last night he didn't go down until 10:30 (hence the ranting and raving).

But this a.m., he woke up at 7:30, even tho he usually sleeps for 11 hours. I was WIPED, but knew it *might* be the change we needed.

I was a VERY good girl and cut all activities short so he was down for a nap at 12:30. He slept until 3:15, at which point I woke him up. I knew I was violating the long nap rule, but I figured he was making up for waking up early, so in reality it was only a 1 hr nap. And he was up by 3:30, where yesterday we wasn't up until 5:30.

Then we were very disciplined again tonite and left an outdoor concert after only an hour, so that we were home by 7:15.

Bath at 8:00 (he had a very long poop in between or we would have been in there earlier -- sorry, but I know *some* of you are interested in these kinds of details)

Jammies and nitetime dipe on by 8:20

Walk around neighborhood, home by 8:45

Sweet sleepy talk on the way into the house ("goodnight trees, goodnight stairs, goodnight M's bathtub, etc etc")

Nursed for 5 min

Quick and silent handoff to dh at 8:50

Ds put his head right down on dh's shoulder, and then next thing I knew, dh emerged from the room victorious at 9:00!!!!!!

Thank you, Goddess, Universe, Creator, or whomever is watching over me tonight!

Note that the nitetime routine was *exactly* what we always do, but somehow we managed to time things perfectly so he was really tired, but not yet manic.

Good Gravy. I have two graduate degrees and this is BY FAR the hardest thing I have EVER done!

Hope you all have some luck tonite (or in the very near future) too! I'm sending out soporific vibes to you all! (Sorry, it's one of my favorite Beatrix Potter words!)

 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Denny, You are my new best friend. I knew that dh wouldn't be home in time for bedtime tonight, so I took ds swimming. I just had a feeling that would work for us -- the best sleep he's ever had in his life was around his 1st birthday when we went to the beach for a week . . . He slept from 9 pm to 6 am EVERY NIGHT without waking! And tonight he was out in 15 minutes!!! (We went from 6-7, after dinner, and came right home and got in the tub. He was alseep by 9. PHEW!) Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me of this HEAVENLY trick!!!


girrllie, I have a friend (who's probably reading this very thread!) who wants to write a book with the TRUTH about AP . . . that it's INTENSE and hard as all get-out some of the time, but worth it, of course. Sounds like you're in for a chapter, huh? Maybe the_dalai_mama and Curious would like to collaborate as well?


And beanma, you're a special mama . . . I happen to know you've got a bun in the oven and you're STILL willing and able to stay up with your little marine biologist 'till the wee hours!!! I don't know how you do it.

I will say that I suspect the reason we are so sleep-obsessed in this culture is bc we work all the damn time -- Right now everyone in Europe is preparing for 6 weeks of vacation. Today millions of Latinos (in *other* countries) took a ciesta. But we work and work and work until we can't remember why we're working, and we are some sleep-deprived folks. Truly, if I couldn't sleep until my punkin woke up each day (which is thankfully at a very humane hour and NEVER the crack of dawn), AND take naps when I needed to, I couldn't do this AP stuff. You WOHM's who AP are a wonderful, self-sacrificing mystery to me!

So you see, all that whining DID help me, 'cause I found out that I'm not alone in this AND I got some good ideas! But isn't it interesting that sometimes, *sometimes*, when you feel you can't go on any longer, something shifts and you don't have to? Not that my bedtime ordeals are over -- but two good nites in a row sounds like a winning streak to me!!!!

Hoping your wee ones are asleep before the wee hours,
El
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
CL, I was *actually* thinking of you when I included the poop reference -- KNEW you would appreciate that!


EllasMama, LOVE your dry wit. You make me laugh! If anybody gives you that kind of "helpful advice" again, I got your back, Girlfriend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Hi Everyone,

Wow. I must say that I am overwhlemed by the sheer *volume* of frustration out there. I know we are a self-selected group, bc happy, well-rested parents of Sleepers don't respond to threads like this, but I do not think it would be a stretch to say that this is a real drawback to AP, at least as it is "advertised" these days.

I've been mulling this over for days -- especially as I have been toiling to fix our own little sleep problems -- and I thought I would make a feeble attempt to pull this all together and at least move us in the direction of healing (for lack of a better word) so that we're not just stuck in our frustration and helplessness.

First, let me say, elismom, BusyMommy, PumpkinSeed, Emma, OklahomaMama, nuggestmom, ksmeadowlark, Jennifer Z, and Nanner, you've all been HEARD. I read all of your posts with great empathy, and while I wish I could respond to each of you personally, consider yourselves HUGGED!

(((((((elismom, BusyMommy, PumpkinSeed, Emma, OklahomaMama, nuggestmom, ksmeadowlark, Jennifer Z, and Nanner)))))))))))


Curious and Iguanavere, thanks so much for your words of wisdom and advice. They mean so much coming from mamas who have experienced sleep success.

On a personal note, I wanted to reinforce what Iguanavere said about being very disciplined with the routines . . . This past week my dh was working 20-hr days and I was basically a single mom, so I KNEW I had to get ds to sleep more reasonably.

Thanks to this thread and some others, I came to realize that I have been making several mistakes with ds's sleep:

1) letting him sleep until he wakes up each day (which varied from 7 to 9:45)

2) letting nap times vary according to when he woke up, so that he was going down anywhere from 12:30 to 4

3) letting him nap until he woke up, and sometimes nursing him back down if he seemed grumpy when he woke (so he would sometimes nap for 3-4 hours!)

4) starting the bedtime too late (due to social functions or simply waiting for dh to get home so ds could see him)

I will also admit that I recently read Weissbluth's book on sleep training (something about Happy Baby, Healthy Sleep) and while I think the man has the emotional intelligence of an ACORN (encouraging parents to let 4 mos old babies cry for 4 hours -- please!), I was able to glean a few nuggets of helpful advice -- mostly pertaining to the things I just listed above.

So now we:
1) wake up each day before 8:00, regardless of what kind of HELL we went thru during the night
2) nap at 1:00 (or earlier), no matter what kinds of fun thigns may be going on
3) are out of the bath by 8:15 (even if it means a standing-up sponge bath so we're out in 45 seconds)

and he has been asleep by 9:00 every night since I first posted this thread. (and yes, as dalai_mama said, things do happen to disrupt, but I then put everything into fast forward to make up for it -- and I no longer let social activities disrupt -- very hard!)

Note that I am still putting him to sleep -- slinging, back-rubbing, etc., and we have made NO progress in getting him to fall asleep lying down, but for my own sanity I had to shorten the duration of the falling asleep first. When we've got this down pat (like, this works for a MONTH or more), maybe THEN I will have the energy to try teaching him to help put himself to sleep. (Also note that I am not claiming long-term success . . . I fully realize this could all change at a moment's notice, but for now, we seem to have found a pattern that works.)

And let me tell ya, keeping to this pattern is HARD. And it is NOT the AP I read about in any of the Sears lit. THIS is where I think we all have been lead astray . . .

Sear and others convinced us early on that if we just "follow babies cues" and "respond to baby empathetically and lovingly" that all would be rosy. Frankly, I think Bill and Martha are either full of it, or they have conveniently forgotten, bc there is no way in HELL those people had 7 babies and NONE of them were sleep-fighters. Maybe they were doing something so obvious to them that they neglected to write about it, but in any case, as wonderful as they are, and as much as they have done to promote excellent parenting, I belive they have missed the mark on this one. (trying to avoid any flaming here)

I also think that the AP message has been that if you just "incorporate baby into your lives" that you'll be happiest. And for many, many months, this was true and I wouldn't change a thing.

I believe that AP parents do much of what they do in an effort to put Baby first. They are self-sacrificing, selfless, empathetic, and hard-working. And it now appears to me that in order to put Baby first, that is, so that Baby gets the sleep s/he needs, AND save our sanity at the same time, we must make some sacrifices during the day. It is SO much easier for me to sleep until 9:30, especially after he has woken 6 times in 6 hours!, or to let him nap for 3 hrs (what a break!), or to keep him out late at a fabulous outdoor concert.

And don't misunderstand me -- if this is still working for a family, more power to you! But if you are burning out like me (and nearly everyone above) then I think it's time to act more like a "traditional" parent who watches the clock very carefully.

And it's trade-off. There are some definite feelings of being trapped . . . can't stay at the pot-luck past 7, and it didn't start until 6 . . . can't go out to dinner bc dh got home form work too late, etc, etc.

One other thought: It seems to me that for AP parents, CRYING is to be avoided at all costs (it has been in my house) -- not that we don't let ds feel his sad or angry or hurt feelings, but extended crying jags related to sleep have been avoided like the plague! But you know, people who nightwean experience some crying, and happily report that their children are not adversely affected -- and I believe them that their children's trust has not been violated -- so why it is that we couldn't have a little crying as we try to learn to fall asleep?

I know, I know, there's a fine line that none of us want to cross, but I guess I'm wondering if we all aren't so afraid of the crying that we haven't really given our babes a *chance* to learn to fall asleep. (flames may fly for that one!)

I feel certain some of you already do all these things I'm suggesting, and they still don't work for you. But are there any others of you who are making similar mistakes as I was, and if so, do you think you want to try shifting? You don't need to answer me -- it's more food for thought.

One thing I KNOW FOR CERTAIN after my 21 mos as a mother is that NOTHING will work for EVERYONE. SO I would never presume to prescribe a program with a "guarantee" (blows my MIND when the "sleep experts" do!). I guess I'm just grasping at straws.

And if I could make helping AP parents get their children to sleep AND STILL AP my life's work, I think I would go for it.

Sorry for the novella. I just couldn't STAND to post a thread where all we do is wallow in our frustration . . . I want AP to WORK, DAMMIT!

(P.S. I know at least one person has posted while I was writing -- hope this won't be redundant!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Yes, Curious, my routine does feel a little militarized, esp in comparison to our old life (and to those of most of my AP friends) but I choose it over the heart-wrenching, back-backing struggle of a 2-hr sleep fight. And I guess my hope is that once we've established this routine really well, maybe we canback away from it on occassion. As our life was before, one late night was all it took to turn everything on it's head. And that was not working for this little family!
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
sozobe, ds is awake now so I have to hurry, but wanted to say, YES! Advice is more than welcome at this point! Thanks for asking -- you're a great listener!


I'll be back tonite after bedtime -- look forward to responding and hearing more!
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Hey Iguanavere, Here's the sire for the mag:

http://www.brainchildmag.com/

But the Dr. Sears article is no longer up there -- they only post articles from current issues. PM me if you want me to mail you a copy -- too bad I don't have access to a scanner!

--------------------------------

You guys may want to kill me, but I haven't been posting in this site bc we finally, finally, FINALLY seem to have found a peaceful and relatively quick bedtime routine. There's probably a fair amount of luck involved, but our move to a more "strict" routine *directly* coincides with when things got WAY easier.

After a few days of me waking ds up at the same time each day, he internalized that routine and he now will not sleep past that time even if we (and HE) desperately need him to!

Naptime is the same time every day, weekends and vacations too (no small feat, let me tell ya!), and after several days of being awakened after 2 hours, he now wakes after 2 hours ON THE DOT. (and will no longer be nursed back to sleep, even if I try).

And his internalization of these wake up times makes the consistent (and early) bedtime even more crucial, bc if he goes to bed late, he will not sleep in the next day to make up for it.

At naptime it's taking 1-5 min to get him down, and at bedtime, anywhere from 5-20 (with 20 seeming like an eternity these days). Note this HUGE caveat however:

He is falling asleep in the sling at naptime, and is practically asleep in the sling at bedtime -- dh does put him on the bed when he's still slightly awake.

So when we move to wanting him to fall asleep lying down, I imagine we will back to the hellacious struggle you're all experiencing right now.

I'm so sorry for those of you in the thick of the struggles. It truly is TORTURE.

Here's a thought: I'm thinking my next baby needs to know how to fall asleep lying down BEFORE s/he is mobile. That way, s/he can fuss and I comfort, but I won't have to do any physical restraining to keep him/her on the bed. Which is the part I just can't get past and the reason our 22 mos old is still being put to sleep in the sling!

Hang in there, tired mamas!
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
Yeah, this author is so full of vitriol and venom that I found it very difficult to get past my knee-jerk reaction (now I understand where this term comes from -- boy, did I want to kick her in the pants!). She clearly was an incredibly insecure (and ambivalent) new mother, and was no better than Dr. Sears in her assumption that if it didn't work for her, then it couldn't work for ANYONE.

I will say, however, that I too came away with that "babies whose needs are met hardly ever cry" message, and that MAY be one of the reasons we're in this sleep predicament today! (that msg was also reinforced by Our Babies, Ourselves, which I loved)

Didn't meant to hijack my own thread -- maybe if people want to dissect this article, we could start another thread . . . altho I'd be very surprised if there wasn't one already!
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Well, if you have even the slightest sadistic streak in you, you'll be happy to hear that I am back to HATE-HATE-HATING naptime again!!!!


Things were SO easy, so peaceful, so *sleep-inducing* there for a few weeks, and then last Thursday night, ds was awake from 4-6 a.m., so we let him sleep in until 8:45 (almost 2 hrs after the strictly scheduled wake-up time). And sure enough, even after delaying nap time for 30 min, ds would not, could not fall asleep. So I let him play for another hour, then tried again. And tried again, so that at 4:15, I finally took him out of the sling for the last time and said [MUCH TO MY DISMAY AND REGRET!!!!], "I guess you're not taking a nap today."


Dh seemed to get him down fine all weekend, but then today, after sleeping until 8:30 for the 4th day in a row (what can I say, we're all so sleep deprived, I just couldn't drag us out of bed?!?!), ds asked for a nap at his regular time, and was clearly very sleepy, but after about 5 min in the sling, he popped up and said,

"I'm not takin' a nap today!"

"Yes, you are." I said calmly. But I knew right then and there that I was SCREWED.

So I decided -- right there on the spot -- that it was time to "sleep-train" ds to fall asleep on the bed, and I knew it could take hours and that he probably wouldn't fall asleep today, but somehow I felt committed to teaching him -- he seems ready.

That was at the *beginning* of the 2 hours (which I insisted on bc that's how long he usually naps). At the *end* of the 2 hrs, I felt utterly defeated, beaten, bruised, exhausted and demoralized. (I probably don't need to tell you that he did NOT fall asleep.)


How in the HELL am I going to go 2 weeks (or more?!?) without a break?

Rhetorical question, mamas. Just thought some of you might be relieved to hear that the suffering continues in this part of the world, too.

BTW, I forgot to tell you guys that I pulled out my Baby Book recently and found that Dr. Sears thinks that a 9-mos old waking more than 1 or 2 times a night needs a change -- meaning, no more unrestricted nursing.
In fact, when I read several sections on nightweaning, I realized that he would find my situation (and most of yours) to be absolutely INSANE. (Altho I will say that in his little paperback on How to Get Your Child to Sleep), any time someone says they are still rocking their 18mos old to sleep, he replies, "what a lucky baby."
:

So how did we all get here? How did I miss those sections of the book? And what would this man say if he learned that he had unknowingly lead ALL these families and babies into naptime, bedtime, and nighttime HELL?!?

Do you think there's any way we could compose a group letter to him PLEADING for his assistance? I've emailed questions to him in his web site but have never been answered. Or might one of the MDC experts be helpful? Ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #100 ·
Yeah, I'm thinkin' these AP'd kids are gonna have to learn how to have quiet time BY THEMSELVES in a room WITH THE DOOR SHUT. It is not the end of the world, being alone, and that may be the only way to hang on to that last shred of SAHM sanity.

I'm not kidding. This will be a new goal for our family: By the age of 4, ds will be able to have "quiet time" alone, without me, for at least 45 minutes.

Between now and then, I'll meet you women over the cuckoo's nest!
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
[peeking around the corner for the AP police]

I figure that anyone who is sick of this topic stopped reading long ago, so this confession is for you die-hards still hanging on out there . . .

The day has arrived. I am *finally* ready (which means that I am 100% confident that ds is ready at 22 mos) to teach ds how to fall asleep without the acrobatics and dog and pony show. You know why? Because I want to have another baby, dammit! And we cannot have this craziness when I am in my first trimester . . . I know this to the core of my being. (And some of you mamas of 2 helped convince me!)

So thinking that we will probably TTC 6 mos from now, I figured I had better get started. So this past Monday was the official first day, and while it is EXHAUSTING to have to work so hard, and to even not get a break in a given day, I am no longer in conflict over this, so it is much easier emotionally.

Here's what I'm doing at naptime (dh is on his own at bedtime -- I've just asked him not to change anything until we've seen some progress during the day):

We're still sticking to a stict routine (for waking, napping, and bed), but now after 2-3 songs in the sling, I am lying down with ds on the bed and basically holding him in a bear hug. [here's where the AP Special Forces team storms my house]

I tried letting him crawl and roll and kick and bounce around the bed on Monday, but that was the day he stayed awake beside me for 2 hours and ended up with no nap (this is the child who has consistently napped for 2 hours for the last 3 mos or so). So that did not work.

But I reasoned it out with dh that ds is used to falling asleep in my arms, in the SNUG sling, so if I want to change only one element at a time, the next step is to have him fall asleep in my arms, held SNUGLY, but just lying down.

And yesterday he fell asleep after 30 min. (I also added some Native American chanting, bc I think the quiet was also too sudden a change.)

Today it took an hour, but BY CRACKY I am COMMITTED to this!!!!!! I am breathing and trying to stay relaxed, and am visualizing that by this Christmas, lying down on the bed will be his new sleep association. Just in time for me to TTC and *hopefully* be dead on my feet for about 14 weeks!

And if I have another child like this one, I will not let it get this far. But I'm guessing there's SOME chance I may get a sleeper next time. Right?!?!

Thanks for listening, mamas!
 

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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
momcat and Megsmom, I thought of both you today as I held ds to sleep . . . it helped me be strong!


Re: the bear hug . . . Curious, I think your analogy may be right on. My little guy is so PHYSICAL -- there is just no way I could set him "free" to fall asleep on his own -- he wouldn't know what to do with his busy limbs!

As it was, I was lying there today (took 45 min) wondering if I should be quiet or sing, stimulate him in some way or leave him alone. He would get very still and his breathing would slow, but then he would push his feet off of my legs trying to propel himself out of my arms and then we would start over with getting him still and calm. At one point I realized that he needed soothing from me. Even though he's a thumbsucker and even tho he was in my arms, I was very aware that he needed some rhythmic and gentle touch from me. So I began stroking his head and within 2 minutes he was out.

I think I was conflicted about "helping" him to sleep, bc the whole point is to teach him to fall asleep on his own, but again, I was skipping ahead to too many steps at once. I imagine this little person may need soothing from me for many years to come, and once I thought about it, I realized I'm happy to do that for him for as long as he needs it. I mean really, what's 20 min of back rubbing compared to ANY time bouncing and pacing with him in the sling (esp when he's 4 years old!)?!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #114 ·
Thanks for sharing your story, Kay. I'm sorry to hear about the sleep-fighter in your home, too!
(they need an EXHAUSTED smiley, with bags under the eyes, don't you think?!?)

We are also having HORRIBLE nightwaking, which I haven't even broached in this thread, 'cause it just seems like too much whining all at once. But I will say that last Monday, the first day I tried the sleep-training, he did not nap, and that night he went to bed in 5 minutes and slept for 7 hours and then 4 hrs.
:

Dh and I were tempted to conclude that he should never nap, but then we remembered too many times when he missed his nap and STILL slept horribly.

I don't understand this at all. But I'm starting to tell myself that I have a special-needs child, and that his sleep difficulties are physical (he has MANY MANY food allergies and Dr. Sears always has those on his list for nightwaking). Sometimes I think labeling like that will make me feel better. Other times, it makes me feel worse!


If anyone wants to come to my pity party today . . .

Last night ds went down at 9:30. Dh and I watched a movie then went to bed at 12:30. Ds woke at 12:31 and 3:15, at which point he stayed awake, alternating between talking, whining, and SCREAMING (bs I needed dh to try to put him back to sleep) until 5:45. And then he woke up at 7:30 for the day.

I swear, some days I think this is going to be the death of me. Really, like I start to think that I may be dying.

Enough melodrama from me . . .

Hope you others are sleeping better than we are!
El
 
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