Thursday, March 22, 2007

This is all my fault

Last night, Hannah and I both feel asleep on the couch err, reading, no just kidding, watching American Idol. I woke up at midnight, grumpy that I forgot to go to bed, and picked up Hannah and laid her down in her bed, collapsed in mine, and in about 2 seconds she starts whining/crying, saying she's hungry, wants her back rubbed, wants to hold my hand, every trick in the book. She wakes up Jason, which makes me irate, because he wakes up so early and has to work his tail off all day. She finally sleeps and then she continued to do the same thing every hour on the hour. I was livid. I had my angry mom voice, but what leverage do you have in the middle of the night to get a kid to stop crying? "If you don't stop crying/whining right now I'll take away your blankets!" HUH? That's not going to work. I actually threatened to give her a spanking, which I'm not sure she even knows what that is, but I was desperate. And I'm kind of anti-spanking. So that was weird, and that's when Jason, sweet husband he is, said, "Honey why don't you just go sleep on the couch?" So I took up the offer. But I laid there for hours, so wound up I couldn't relax, and the boy in my belly decided it would be fun to practice his Kung Fu. By the time I started dozing off, Jason's alarm went off, and it was time to pack his lunch. I finally got back to bed and got some sleep early this morning, but now I'm just beat.

I am so ready to ship our kid out of our room to sleep on her own. Last night was the last straw. Supernanny, come help me! I am dreading this transition about as much as I dreaded potty training, which wasn't so bad after all. I've been horribly lax on the sleep issue with my daughter. And now, I am paying for it. I don't regret having her in our bed during the baby/breastfeeding stage. It worked for us and for the most part, it was great to have her so close. So I transitioned her to sleep on her crib mattress next to our bed, which after a minute of back rubbing, she goes to sleep and some time in the middle of the night, or very early morning, I have no idea when - she crawls back in bed with us. I don't really mind this either. But it's nights like last night that I feel like I'm going to pack up her suitcase and find out where attachment parenting guru Dr. Sears lives and drop her off on his porch, ring the door bell and run.

My first mistake - we don't have a bed time. She just sort of goes to bed when we do or falls asleep on the couch with us. We do the brush teeth, pick out jammies routine, but then I'm too lazy to actually put her to bed.

My second mistake - when I'm super tired and I don't feel like getting her in her own little bed, I just let her sleep with us all night.

So now what? Should I just rip off the band aid and start a new routine and sleep situation tonight? I'm just so pooped in the evenings and so is Jason, who wakes up waaaay before the sun even thinks about rising, so he's no help. I wish I had someone to delegate this task to. Should I wait until we get her a real big girl bed, with cute new sheets and blankets? I think it might be a bit easier. I know, I know, I'm the parent. Be the parent. Be the parent. Be the parent.


Blogger Xenia Kathryn said...

I went through this a few weeks ago, even though my girl's still a "baby" and breastfeeding. I got fed up with her night nursing and her constant "need" for me, so I tried to enforce a "YOUR GONNA STAY IN YOUR CRIB AND YOUR GONNA LIKE IT!!!" routine. My husband was a bit confused... when he'd go to pick her up out of the crib, I'd get mad at him. I was about ready to drop kick my AP ways.

But you know what my priest said to me the other day? He said that with all parenting styles, there is bad with the good. I think that's very true.

So what happened to my "NAZI CRIB" routine (this isn't really advice, btw, it's just something I want to share with you as a fellow frustrated friend with AP)? I realized that I a) needed to get Vasilia taking regular naps so that she'd learn how to sleep regularly and not bounce around our bed like a jumping bean when it comes time for sleep (which was part of the problem, too). B) I realized this was a personal battle for me, because I didn't want to take the time to nurse her down and soothe her calmly to sleep.

And when it is time for her to sleep, I have reconciled with the fact that it takes her about 20 minutes to nurse off to sleep, and I HAVE to stop what I'm doing and put her to bed. It's tempting for me to just keep her awake until I go to bed (I'm a nightowl and I don't like to pause), but by then she's a crazy baby.

Things are going better for us. I find that I'm less stressed when I accept the fact that putting her to bed takes just takes time. But once it's done, I have enough time to myself to eat a cookie or drink some tea and read. I NEVER thought that would happen! :) Now? I just need to work on getting her to bed earlier.

Oh, and a lot of my frustrating at night stemmed from my husband's early-rising, too. But it's amazing how "chill" husbands can be everything. If only I were more like him ;)

Good luck with whatever it is you decide to do! I'm sorry you had a horrible night. I've totally been there with the "seething and restless on the couch for hours" bit.


3:08 PM  
Blogger RW said...

I found you through Vic's blog - my suggestion is just bite the bullet and get it done now. I had twins that we allowed to develop a dependency on us to go to bed. We were losing our mind. They would not stay in bed; or go to sleep unless one of us was laying down with them.

I followed a very specific routine - the book said it would take two weeks. IT DID. It was the absolute worst two weeks of our lives but it worked.

I can't quite remember the book - I will do some research to see if I can find it.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

There was a point with our son where he was refusing to go to bed (around one year). So we eventually forced him to stay in his bed and if he cried, we let him cry for a bit. It worked out wonderfully for us because he goes to bed easily now: we have a schedule that we follow every night and he basically always goes to bed at the same time (except for church nights). He also has a very strict napping schedule. And even if he isn't tired, I still put him in his bed, even if it is just to let him play until he goes fall asleep, which he always does eventually.

I agree with everyone and say "bite the bullet"! You can do it. And it will make things SO much better once your little one is born.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Bluecanopy said...

Poor tired mama, I hope you got a nap! Ultimately you have to choose what you see best for your family but I just wanted to share my experience, mainly because I appreciate hearing how others have done things...

When Basil was about one I started trying to help him get on a sleep schedule. It was an odd transition because I was used to him falling asleep with us. I think we set bedtime for 9pm, which followed a routine of bath some nights and stories and prayers each night. It was hard at first because he wasn't used to it and it took him forever to fall asleep that early but eventually, he came around. I would lay down with him until he fell asleep. I enjoyed doing this and even after J was born, I still did it...kind of a mommy time.

I set a naptime during the day too. This helped him to be tired at the right time for bed at night. It was at noon. Somehow we just grew into this pattern.

Let me tell you, it was totally freeing because I had quiet time in the afternoon and the evening. Now they both nap at the same time and J goes to bed a bit earlier than B.

Basil was on a toddler bed next to ours until a few months ago. We moved him into his own bed in the other room in prep. for the baby. Also Aaron started putting him to sleep instead of me. The first few nights were hard for him because he wanted me but needed to learn that he was CAPABLE of falling asleep with dad. Pretty soon he really liked it.

For a bit over a week now he's been falling asleep on his own in his room. He knows we'll come if he wants something. Sometimes he talks to himself or plays with his "cuddlies" but it hasn't really been a big struggle. Who knows, maybe it'll be harder down the line.

So, I think my best advice is set a routine and BE CONSISTENT so they know what to expect and know what is expected of them every night/day.

It also helped us to take a gradual "little by little" approach to the transitions and realizing that we don't need to rip ourselves away from him (he's three after all). Acknowledging goals and talking about them with him...with a "this is just the way its going to be" sort of attitude, while at the same time realizing it will be hard for him also helped. I think/hope he sensed that we were being firm but loving and compassionate.

That's just what has worked with him. We may choose to go a different route with Juliana, having three and all. But he doesn't dread bedtime (usually) and we get some time alone together in the evenings...and I get mommy time in the afternoons.

Good luck with whatever you decide, you can do it Mom.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Lauren S. said...

Thanks, reading your comments are so encouraging. We're still doing the same thing for now, and plan on starting once we find a big girl bed and get it in her room. I realized the awful nights were because of a growth spurt. The next day Hannah was eating everything in sight. She does that every so often. She'll sleep horrible and be hungry and want to eat all of the time for a week or so. Next thing I know she'll have grown out of her pants! I think maybe she really was hungry that night. Anyway, she's back to her normal self, but I'm really going to try to set up a bed time and nap time. I think that will be really good for all of us. I need to be more disciplined in doing that.

9:25 AM  

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