Tonight I rocked my sobbing toddler to sleep as tears rolled down my own cheeks. By this point she had been crying for almost an hour and I didn’t know what else to do.
Up until three nights ago we would pop C into her crib, hand her a pacifier, pat her on the back, say night night and walk out. She would roll over, gather her doggy close to her and go to sleep. She’s never cried herself to sleep and has always been happy in her crib.
Since Tuesday I feel like I have a different child. She’s fine during the day, and has apparently napped without any problems at daycare. She perfectly happy to go to her room when we say it’s bed time, but the instant we put her in her crib she looses it. She doesn’t want a pacifier or her bottle, she doesn’t want her doggy or her cow, she just wants me. I keep wanting to write it off as a simple tantrum. To say that she’s playing us. But she seems genuinely scared, or at least genuinely upset, and it’s killing me that she can’t communicate well enough to tell me what’s wrong.
If she were just screaming and carying on it would be one thing, but she’s not. She’s perfectly capable of calming down if you talk to her. She’ll even talk back to some extent. But even when she calms down a bit she just sits there looking sad and lost. It breaks my heart. And if I take advantage of this calm in the storm to say goodnight and tell her I’m leaving, she starts to keen and shortly after the wail follows. It’s like she can’t control it.
Last night I managed to get her to go to sleep by getting really angry and telling her to cut it out. I told her on no uncertain terms that the tantrum was over and that it was time to sleep. She was so surprised that she grabbed her doggy and rolled over. Tonight that didn’t work. It just made her cry harder and made me feel like a monster.
After a while we just left her in her room, crying. She calmed down for a bit. I think she fell asleep standing with her head resting on the railing of her crib. She woke up again when I went into the bathroom and that’s when I caved.
If my baby can’t sleep because I made her go trick-or-treating the least I can do is hold her until she falls asleep. I want her to feel safe. I want her to feel that we are there for her.
I just don’t know where to go from here…