Monday, July 9, 2012

Trouble in Sleepyville

Kinley was a champion sleeper.  At 9 weeks old, she slept through the night.  By 9 months, we could put her in bed awake and she would self soothe and fall to sleep on her own.  And then around 18 months-ish, it all fell apart.  We were back to having to get her to sleep (usually rocking her) before laying her down...and now, we lay on her floor next to her bed until she's asleep.  Ugh.  How did it come to this?

She is two (and a half) and should not need us to lay next to her bed for her to fall asleep.

We did the cry it out method for a while--and while it SUCKED--it worked.  It hasn't been every night since 18-ish months, but there were gaps when she would self soothe to sleep.  Do they still call it self soothing at this age?  So cry it out did work for us.  I think that it took at least five years off of my life--but it did work to our benefit.

At this point in the game, I feel that she's too old for the cry-it-out.  She can talk, she can reason, she can put the guilt trip down.  It wouldn't be so bad if we could go in with her and then thirty minutes later, she would be asleep.  Oh no---we're talking an hour to two hours EACH NIGHT being on her floor next to her bed while she's talking, singing, reading, playing.  I know, I know...we're crazy.  But don't judge.  I've yet to meet a perfect parent.

For a few months around her second birthday, we had it under control.  We had a routine and she did well.  Bath at 7, brush teeth, read books, say prayers, and good night.  We left her room and she was left to fall asleep.

I blame ourselves for the situation that we're in.  We got lazy.  We got tired of the routine and quit.  We kept pushing bed time later and later and eventually just quit it all together.  I think that we were tired of being tied to the apartment every night at 7 to start the routine. Especially now with it staying light out so much later and Richie working longer days.  Starting a bedtime routine at 7 just made us feel robbed of our evenings with her.

So I know the problem is us.  But what can we do about it now?  It's going to be difficult to get it under wraps at this point...especially with her and I being home all summer.  Let's face it, the child sleeps till she wakes up--instead of her 5:50 a.m. wake up call during the school year.  So she's sleeping later.  Nap schedule is not consistent because of the sporadic wake up time and our schedule varying day by day.

Geez, there is no consistency in our child's life.  Yikes.  I guess that it took me typing that all out to realize it.

But we have to fix it.

For our sanity and her well being.  It's just not a good situation.

We are planning to start our bedtime routine again.  I've been researching it online and have found that at this age, it's important to make the child feel like they still have choices in the situation.  So I can let her choose her own jammies (she does anyway--had to move her underwear and jammie drawer to the bottom of the dresser so that she could make her own choices), let her choose three books (you put the limit on how many books but she chooses the ones she wants to read) and put her to bed.  But what I'm unsure about is the end part.....put her to bed.  Do we go back to cry it out?  Is that healthy at this age?  Will it be effective?

I have noticed that on the nights that she falls asleep dramatically (as in, hysterical crying, because we're trying to fix this problem), she wakes several times throughout the night.  If she falls asleep peacefully (with us on her floor) she will sleep {mostly} soundly.

No joke, I sometimes feel as if I have a newborn again.  There are nights that I am up three or four times to put her back to sleep.  I am thinking that it could be night terrors, or something.  I'm really unsure.  And a  friend of mine said that when her 2.5 year old has to cry herself to sleep, she goes somewhere where she can't hear her, to help her sanity.  Well, we live in a tiny apartment.  I can't go anywhere but outside, and that's illegal and super unsafe.

What do you suggest?  Have you had experience with this?  Advice?

This night, she decided to sleep on the floor.
Daddy usually falls asleep there too.
Do we suck it up and let her grow out of it?  We have started taking headphones into her room with us (usually only one of us lays next to her, sometimes both of us) and listen to the Dave Ramsey show on our phones.  It is much better than just laying there staring at the ceiling, just waiting for her to pass out.  Our parent's generation, and older, tell us to cherish these days when she wants held or rocked to sleep.  I get that.  I really, really do.  But I also know that it's not healthy for her--our our marriage--to keep this up.  We DREAD bed time.  Because even if we try to rock her to sleep, which I feel is crazy {for me}, she will think it's play time.

I know that she has full control...she has full control in every aspect of our life.  And we are aware of that.  But slightly unsure what to do to take it back.

Any ideas or advice is welcomed and appreciated!


beachbride0507 said...

Joy, You are not alone. Reagan's sleeping habits are not nearly as good as they were..It's like around age 2 everything changed...I'm not sure what is going on..but Reagan wakes usually at least 1 time a night..minimum. Sometimes, it's 3-4...she usually just wants to go potty..or wants covered back up...whatever...but the worst part is, she wakes up early now! she used to sleep till 7 or it's 5:30-6...and she is going to bed later...around 9. I have read that some of this sleep regression is due to the fact that at this age..they still need a nap but are sort of transitioning out of it...? I have no clue...she still takes a nap..2 hours usually...It is frustrating neice just turned 1 and is sleeping better than Reagan is. I also understand the whole not wanting to be tied down to being at home at 7 to start the routine...we start ours usually at 7:30. Anyway, my advice would be to stop staying in her room and laying on the floor...if she gets out of bed, put her back in bed, no matter how many times it takes and i bet after just a few nights, things will be better. But again, i'm no expert...LOL.
Good luck!

Christy said...

One other thing I do - and I only do the go where I cant hear her when it is particularly bad and I just can't handle it (keeps me from getting angry) - She picks out jams and books normally. If she is fighting going to bed, I tell her that she does not have to go to sleep, but she does have to stay in bed. I give her a stack of books and tell her that she can read to her animals, but she has to stay in bed and read quietly. If she starts to get loud, I let it go for a bit, then I go back in there and tell her that she needs to read quietly to _____ (Usually Mr. Cow) and that she needs to stay in bed.

Sometimes I have to go in several times, others, she is all talk and is asleep in a few minutes.

On days we are off of work, I still try to get her up by 8 (week days - we sleep till about 7:30) But not much later than that. Even though she is not in school, you can still get her up early-ish - maybe have a set thing first thin - like a reading time, or a sing along, or a morning walk, so that although she is getting up and not going to school, she has something scheduled to get up for?

IDK - good luck! 2 year old are different creatures!!!

Renee said...

Thomas had always been an amazing sleeper until he hit 2.5 I am not kidding it was awful. We too were laying with him until he fell asleep. It is definitely a phase. He at 3 is back to the amazing sleeper. He goes to sleep without any issues. As my mom always tells me "This too shall pass." I know it seems like it will never end, but it will.

Renee said...

Thomas had always been an amazing sleeper until he hit 2.5 I am not kidding it was awful. We too were laying with him until he fell asleep. It is definitely a phase. He at 3 is back to the amazing sleeper. He goes to sleep without any issues. As my mom always tells me "This too shall pass." I know it seems like it will never end, but it will.

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