Jan 8, 2015

It's Impossible to Reason with a Toddler

Do you know what it's like to have a toddler who doesn't sleep more than about four hours a day (and night) for about a week about two weeks?
I do!

Yes that's right. The girl who once slept twelve hours a night and 2 1/2 hours during the day is sleeping about a total of four to six hours. It makes me want a to cry a little just thinking about it. I forgot what sleep is like actually. You expect such things from an infant but I don't have an infant. I have a 2 year old. Pardon me while I weep for a minute.

So here's what's been happening lately. All the sudden after taking an awesome nap she proceeded to scream for a couple hours that night. We thought she was suddenly afraid of the dark. After I stayed with her until after 10, rubbing her finger lightly over her face she finally fell asleep. I crawled out and life was good other than I was tired and had no time to myself. But at 2 something later that same night she was standing in our room upset. Rob ended up sleeping on the floor of her room for a couple hours until she went back to sleep. We thought maybe it was just a bad night until it happened again.

Only this time it was during nap time. And let me tell you that deeply upset me. I love nap time. I really really love nap time.  But this nap time was nothing but screams. So we ended up moving her to her big girl room (that post will be coming soon). Then that night she was up until 9 but it required Rob laying in the hall and reassuring her over and over. But we felt good about that night.

Until the next night. This was the night from hell. I kid you not. We are not ones to have her sleep in our bed it that night we gave up. Because it was 12:30 and the kid just needed to sleep. That was a power struggle that night and we did not win. Especially since an hour later she was up and screaming for twenty minutes. No clue why. But we got her calmed down and back to sleep until and hour later she was up and screaming again. Not as long but still hard at 3:30 in the morning after very little sleep already. I'm not going to lie, it was the first time I ever said that you going to ruin Christmas and meant it. Because it was the day befor Christmas Eve when we were heading to my parents and things were only going to get worse.  Sleeping is always worse when we are away from home.

But things weren't horrible. Mostly thanks to grandma being there. Sleeping was still tricky but not as bad as it could have been.

Then we got back home and we continued on with the late sleepless nights. She screamed and screamed. Rob ran her back her to room for more than an hour. She was getting so tired that she couldn't even walk down the hall anymore but was crawling down the hall completely out of energy. We ended up putting her mattress on the floor, giving her a couple books, standing in her room together then sneaking out when she had the book up in front of her face. We had to chase her back a few times but the screaming was gone. Then finally she passed out, arm hanging off the bed even. She was up again at about 3 and Rob spent the rest of the night in her room.

And the next day we were hoping she was tired enough that napping would go better. But no dice. After spending time at my parents house for Christmas, we were all talking about the situation and we decided to try moving up her nap time. The thought being that she was sleeping too late in the day and not tired for bedtime.

Unfortunately we couldn't even get her to nap. We had to keep her awake later in the day because she was falling asleep. Rob told me as she got crankier and crankier that had had high hopes for the day and her going to sleep. But I was still doubtful.

I had done some research and learned that this is normal for a 2 year old to go through a sleep regression. The reason could be a few different reasons. They need less sleep, they go through more nighttime fears including nightmares and fear of the dark, and they also have a renewed separation of anxiety. And since she has the same reaction regards of nap time or bedtime, my money's on separation anxiety.

So we had to put our foot down. We had to take the power back. This is just a stage but we have to be careful to not start something that will become a habit we have to break later. To stop her from leaving her room, we put up the gate in her doorway and we were back to cry-it-out again. When we go in its not to lay down the law, tough tomatoes kind of thing but instead to just reassure her. We just had to be consistent and not give her the power and control.

But back to that last day with no nap....She was falling asleep on Rob's lap about 4 but we had to force her to stay awake. Which lead to her mega meltdowns. Some earplug worthy meltdowns. But we made it through. And then bedtime. The dreaded bedtime.

We went through the routine as normal. We told her to get into bed so we could read then put the gate up unnoticed. I went about cleaning up this crazy messy house while Rob laid on her floor for a few minutes. She was out quickly. We both breathed easily. We had no idea want the night would bring but for now we had a little time to ourselves. A little time we hadn't had to ourselves in a week. Of course we saw her at about 3 that morning and Rob ended up sleeping on her floor to calm her down.

It has been a battle. One that we fight and try to keep our cool. And let me say that keeping your cool when your 2 year old wakes you up screaming at 3 in the morning is a hard thing to accomplish. And as not helpful as it is, we just keep reminding ourselves that this too shall pass. That it is just a stage.

Man I really hope it is just a stage....

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