Jan 13, 2015

Plan V

Smelled of desperation and exhaustion. And a touch of insanity.

Last week I wrote about our sleep battle with our dear little poppy. And I wished it had ended that quickly, but it didn't.

Okay so let's start where I ended last...

We quickly realized that what was going on with Addison was all separation anxiety related. If we stayed in the room, she was fine. If we left then it was meltdown central. So primarily we stayed until she fell asleep. But that couldn't last forever. Rob had to stop sleeping on the floor of her room. We gave her the power and the control and it had gone on long enough. It was time for us to take back on the power.

But first we had to figure out a way to keep her in her room. We were okay with cry-it-out. We did it before and I was more than okay to do it again, but now she was in her toddler bed and we couldn't even keep her in her room. We spent days chasing her back to her room until well after eleven each night. She would get so tired that she couldn't even walk down the hallway anymore. She was crawling, barely dragging herself down the hall until we gave in and sat in her room until she fell asleep.

We were all exhausted and barely functioning. Rob and I were frustrated that we couldn't even keep her in the room. It wasn't working. Rob was heading back to work and we had to get this under-control. After doing some reading, I discovered that this is common for this age. I also discovered that we were definitely not the first to go through this. Which meant that I was able to find some ideas on how to handle this.

The first and major idea that I discovered was telling her that if she stayed in bed and in her room then we could leave her door open, but if she got out of bed and left her room then we would have to close the door. Of course, she got out of bed. So we closed the door.

The first night went okay. She got herself back into bed after hours of screaming and pounding on the door and fell asleep, waking up a couple times in the night. But for now we won and we were able to finally get a little bit of sleep. However the next morning, we discovered her forehead was covered in bruises. What we thought was that she was pounding on the door with her hands, but instead she was using her head. We knew we had to figure something else out because we couldn't have her slamming her head on the door.

We ended up taping up her door with some blankets in order to pad the door. We had to protect that
head of hers. That didn't stop her from pounding on the door. It took hours but finally we won. Of course she was back up several times in the night again. By the third night we could hear her running at the door, hitting it hard. Since her head is right at the level of the doorknob, we figured out a way to cover it to protect her head.

However, it didn't make a difference. She was running full-speed from her bed across the room and hitting the door hard, bouncing off and hitting the ground. Which is the two thumps we were hearing. She was hurting herself in order to get our attention. And it was working. I had no problem with cry-it-out, but I draw the line at her hurting herself. So it was time to come up with yet another plan.

We had tried putting up the baby gate, but she had already proven that she could climb and throw
herself over the top. That was actually the first thing we tried before the door closing. So we knew that wasn't going to work. We couldn't just leave her door open because she was just going to leave her room. So we figured out a new plan. We were going to put up her baby gate only higher up. Which was a problem because she could crawl under. So we had to figure out something we could put under to keep her from doing it. So we rigged up her baby gate higher, then put two boxes of kitty litter under and two 25-pound weights on the back side to keep her from pushing the kitty litter out of the way.

She screamed and carried on, but she wasn't hurting herself. So we knew we were on the right track. Leaving her door open was definitely the way to go. And so far this new plan was working. She couldn't climb over because it was too high and our kitty litter and weight setup underneath was keeping her from crawling under. She fell asleep and we were happy. She was also waking up less in the night, so we felt like we were on the right track.

But by the next night she was figuring out a way around. She was screaming still and suddenly it was silent. It sounded like something was moving, so Rob raced up to find her on the other side of the gate. She had figured out that she couldn't free herself by pushing but if she pulled then she could the kitty litter on her side then she could crawl under. I had to give it to her that she is smart. But we had to figure out a new method. Rob got a board to put between the gate and the kitty litter and weight setup. The only problem was that our little Hulk somehow managed to pull the baby gate completely out of the doorway, even after Rob had tightened it even more.

That plan was out.

Time for yet another plan. We decided we finally had to pay the money and buy a tall gate that she couldn't climb. The only problem was that we couldn't find any in stores. So we did a rush order, but we still had to figure something out for the time being until our saving grace gate came.

So Rob being forever the engineer started working. While our strong-willed child sat in the hallway and read. Not realizing her freedom was able to be taken away again.

After about thirty or so minutes, we finally had a cage for our beast.

He used PVC pipe, a safety net, zip-ties, and our good old fallback kitty litter, weights, and boards. And there was no way out for her. It's not that she didn't try, but for at least one night she couldn't figure out the weakest.

Of course I thought his plan was insane. Did he really expect me to take this apart every day? He had to be insane. So he continued on his brain-storming so there was only small things I had to do every day to make it workable.

Did I happen to mention that the man I married is pretty dang inventive? All I had to do each day was hook that corner back to the PVC pipe behind the door. I had to left Addison in and out every time but it worked. And even better it worked because she couldn't find any weakness. No matter what she tried there was no way out. We finally had a solution.

She was angry for several reasons. The major one being that she couldn't get out. And the other one being that we could finally do cry-it-out on our terms, which meant we weren't in her room. When we went to check on her, we didn't go into her room and we had minimal interactions with her. That made her even more angry, which resulted in throw everything she could find over.

Books, dollhouse pieces, stuffed animals, picture frames. But still that didn't get her the attention she wanted. She finally gave in and fell asleep. Of course it was on the floor by the door, but she was asleep. And finally we got to the point where she was only waking up once in the night. And if we didn't go in or make our presence known, she put herself back to sleep.

Things were finally looking better. We were getting more sleep. It wasn't hours of screaming, but maybe five minutes before she just gave up. We were finally getting control back.

Now we are a couple days into our fourth week of this craziness. And things keep on improving. We are getting our gate today or tomorrow and we can take down that crazy net. Even though things are getting better, we know that we are going to need that gate for awhile still.

So I guess for all those parents out there that are also going through or are going to go through this crazy, sleep-deprived phase. It'll get better. Don't give them control. Be careful not to do something to get her to sleep temporarily that will start a bad habit that you'll have to break later. And it's just a phase.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go take a nap.

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