Still neck deep in the sleep war trenches

standard May 6, 2008 5 responses

So you think you’ve won the sleep war? After a few nights of torturous screaming your child finally consented to fall asleep in her crib without crying. You danced a jig. Then, to get your hopes even higher, she slept from 10pm to 7:30am. You danced an even longer jig while patting yourself on the back. All that screaming paid off. All those hours waiting for her to go. to. sleep. were clearly worth the torture.

But then she caught a cold. A small thing. No fever. But just enough to derail the whole training program. Because the stuffiness and the coughing made it impossible to let her cry herself to sleep. Instead of crying herself to sleep she choked and sputtered and you felt bad and pulled her out of the crib. And this baby, she is smart, way, way too smart, so she did it again, and again, until you realized that you were back at square one. Except it’s not really square one, it’s square minus one, because the baby now knows that you are a lot weaker than you let on, and next time she’s going to fight twice as hard.

Miraculously we haven’t regressed completely. Little L is now going to sleep on her own when we put her down for the night. If she does complain it’s usually because her diaper is dirty or she has a stuck burp. As an added bonus she is also falling asleep on her own at nap time and putting herself back to sleep when she wakes up about 45 minutes into the nap. But the nights are far from perfect.

We tried letting her cry herself back to sleep when she wakes in the middle of the night, but she’d gotten tougher and we’ve lost our resolve. The first night M caved and brought Little L into our bed, and since then I’ve had trouble getting back on track. Some nights are better than others, but no nights have been as good as those precious few when she slept all the way through ’til morning.

Out of desperation I grabbed a couple sleep training books off the shelf and I let myself be lulled by the theory that getting the bed time down pat would eventually lead to sleep filled nights. For the last three nights I’ve stumbled out of bed chanting quietly to myself “she’ll eventually learn, she’ll eventually learn.” But if I’m completely candid, I have to admit that I think I might be deluding myself because I’m too scared to go down the hysterical screaming road again. I don’t really need to sleep, right? Right?

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5 responses

  • oh jess…

    so sorry to hear that you’re back to this thing again.


  • This is hard.

    The only thing I can say is, that whatever path you choose, and however stubborn the child is, it has been my experience, that when they are around 2 years old, they do start sleeping through the night.

    How do you function 2 years (per child) without sleep, that’s a different question. The quick answer: not so well.

    A friend just emailed me this morning talking about her crazy work schedule and mentioning GUILT. I wish someone would have warned us that parenting causes so much guilt!

    Whatever you decide, good luck. I completely understand the dilemma.

  • I’m in the same boat but haven’t even TRIED to fight the battle yet. My 11 MO sleeps in his crib but wakes up every two hours. I come in and he’s just sitting there, crying. He either wants me to pick him up and rock him a little or he wants a bottle (I don’t think he’s hungry but just wants to suck) to help him go back to sleep. Then at 4:30 AM, he refuses to go back to sleep unless I bring him into our bed (where my 4 YO is STILL sleeping). We’re hopeless.

  • I am in the same boat as you. After a week of sleeping through the night, we’re back to up to two to four times a night – with an almost 14-month old! I know a large part of it is teething and I want to comfort her when she’s in pain, but I wonder if once the teething is done, we’ll be back to square one again, too. Argg!

  • Both of my kids took until about 13 months old before they would sleep fully throughout the night. Hang in there!

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