Ah, child sleep issues. If you go to Amazon.com and run a book search on “child sleep” you get 39,000 titles, ranging from Richard Ferber’s Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems (the classic on the cry-it-out method) to children’s books like Adam Mansbach’s Go The F**K To Sleep (a runaway bestseller intended to amuse children and adults alike).
I myself have written something like ten pieces on child sleep issues… and yet I can write more.
Last year, with a bedtime-resistant and multiple-nighttime awakening toddler, and hubby and I losing our minds, like two bipolar zombies, we employed the cry-it-out method. It was painful. It worked. We achieved bedtime order and full night sleeps, and it felt better than drugs. I extolled the virtues of cry-it-out to anyone and everyone.
It lasted maybe a few months.
Then, we had a ten-day trip out of the country, followed by The Winter of Endless Illness, and we fell back into bedtime disorder and nighttime awakenings. By spring, Babygirl was up usually once, sometimes twice a night. Not nearly as bad as it was last year, but it wasn’t ideal. So at the beginning of this summer, we tried cry-it-out again.
Now, it’s different with a two-and-a half-year old than it is with a one-and-a-half-year old child. Babygirl can talk. Really talk. And, she still vomits when she gets upset. So, cry-it-out meant enduring forty-five minutes to an hour of Mommy! Daddy! Where are you? I need you! I need a hug! From you! Now! WHERE ARE YOU MOMMY????? I NEED YOU!!!! AAAAAGH! I puked! It’s all over my crib! Yucky pukey! Mommy! Daddy! Come clean me up! I puked! I have puke on me! It’s all over me! AAAAAAGH!
And then we went in there and had to scrub the rug, mop the floor, change the entire crib, and run another bath for her. Just not worth it anymore. Done with that.
Then, there’s the loosey-goosey summer schedule. We’ve had a few trips, many late evenings, more missed or late naps… Our schedules are all over the place. Hence, her schedule is all over the place.
So, today. It was Thursday, my day off. Hubby is traveling. As usual, we crammed an unbelievable amount of commitments, appointments, and errands into the day. Babygirl fell asleep in the car at 5 p.m., while we drove to Babyboy’s speech therapy appointment, and slept for an hour or so. Of course, I knew that would mean a later bedtime. But this late???
Thanks goodness Babyboy is, and always has been, a good sleeper. After tubby time and books, he’s pretty cheerful about lights-out. He cuddles with his lovey and murmurs to himself for awhile. That’s it.
But Babygirl? I tried. I stuck to the routine: we tucked Babyboy in, then went to her room, turned her lights out and dream lights on, and rocked in the rocking chair. And rocked. And rocked. And sang. And then took her to use the potty because she insisted she wanted to pee in the potty (she didn’t). And then tried to put her in her crib and she kicked and screamed and I didn’t feel like cleaning up puke. And then let her cuddle with her lovey on the floor because she insisted that’s where she wanted to sleep. And then chased her in the hallway and tried to get her to lie down again. Laid down on the floor with her and rubbed her back and sang to her… She’d been up for so long, she got hungry, started begging me for food. I gave up.
So here we are now, she and I, at 11:30 p.m., sitting on the living room couch. She got her cheddar bunnies with sun butter and jelly, and a Caillou marathon (really annoying cartoon on WBGH Sprout). I got the kitchen cleaned, the kitty litter scooped, the cats fed and brushed, the dishwasher running, the toys all picked up, the clothes folded, and a blog post written.
Productive? Of course. I may be mentally fried and physically finished, but I can still do housework, and write.
But I’d really like to f*****ing go to sleep.