Need. More. Coffee.

coffee

Today is a five-cups-of-coffee type of day. Heck, maybe a whole pot. I’m not usually so dependent on an outside stimulant to wake me up and give me the energy I am greatly lacking, but with our toddler problems we’ve been dealing with, sometimes you just need to call for outside help.

Over the last week or so, we’ve been slapped with a real dose of reality. Our two-year-old has entered the bedtime-cursing-hours. She is refusing to go to sleep in her bed without either Adam or I there to snuggle with her until she drifts off into a peaceful slumber.

Before this past week, I had no idea what exactly parents would hate about the bedtime routine. I thought, what’s so hard about giving them a bath, brushing teeth, reading a few stories, and tucking them into bed?

Well, a week later, I now know. It’s not the routine of the bedtime that parents hate. It’s the feeling of getting that little person into bed, closing the door quietly, tiptoeing down the hall, breathing a sigh of relief and putting your feet up on the couch to get your first real break for the day, only to realize a little shadow followed you out that bedroom with stealth-like skill and it will take hours to put said little person back into bed and finally have them stay there.

I’m not sure what changed Brooklyn. Sure, she didn’t sleep through the night until she was 14 months old. Sure, as a toddler she would wake up every once in a while during the night, crying out for me to come give her some water or find her paci. But she’s never been this difficult before.

I’ve never had a parenting issue that I have felt so helpless in. Adam and I are searching the internet and parenting books on how to deal with this. Spanking isn’t working, holding the door closed so she can’t exit her room isn’t working. Nothing. We’ve tried reasoning with her. We’ve tried sitting on her bed next to her, then five minutes later moving a foot closer to the door, and another foot closer, etc. etc. until we are almost out of the room only to have her pop her head up and ask for snuggles again.

Night lights don’t work. Reassuring her doesn’t work. Promises of snuggles the next morning isn’t working. The only thing that keeps her in that bed is if we stay there until she has fallen asleep and manage to sneak out before she knows it. And, when she wakes up during the night, the whole fiasco starts over again.

I feel backed up against the wall. What is your trick to getting your toddler to stay in their bed and not get out? After the last few nights of hardly any sleep, I am getting desperate. With now two children waking up during the night, I am becoming that mother who {gasp} has bags under her eyes and will soon be unrecognizable to friends and family. I don’t want to become her! Help a mother out.

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5 thoughts on “Need. More. Coffee.

  1. I’m not very good at mothering, but this is the one area I feel is my strong suit. I think you have two things going on here: fear and will. Here is my suggestion: do your bedtime routine(if you don’t have white noise and/or a lullaby music to play while she falls asleep I recommend adding one or both). when you put her in bed, kneel next to her and say these exact words in a quiet, calm voice almost as if you are telling her a secret, “Brooklyn, dear, you are safe in your bed. this bed is safe, this room is safe, this house is safe. Daddy and I are going to watch over you and scarlett all night long. I love you very much, and so does daddy. And I love daddy and daddy loves me more than anything. Daddy and I will always love each other and we will always stay married. You can sleep in your bed now.” this will help immensely with the fear part of the issue. as for her will, after you say those words to her, stay in her room–but not her bed–until she is calm and pretty much asleep. this might mean bringing a chair into the room, maybe a book too(for you). if she talks to you, just repeat what you said to her calmly. keep telling her she is “safe”, that you are going to take care of her all night, and that she “can fall asleep”. if she chooses to throw a fit, it cannot last forever you can choose to either 1)take turns sitting with her until she calms down(do not talk to her at all) or 2)leave her in her room and tell her you will come back when she is calm. I do both depending on what’s going on.

    I hope this helps–it is a technique my dad taught me a few years ago(his area of work/research is healing through accessing the subconscious mind–which is what that little speech I wrote out for you is about) and I find that it comes in really handy during these phases–L and E have both gone in and out of rough bedtimes. I hope you all get some good sleep soon!

    • Thank you, Heather! I really, really appreciate it! We’ve been so stumped on what to do. We have looked at like 6 different doctors on what to do, and I am willing to try anything! You’re right in that she is very willful. That is problem #1. I thought she might be scared, so we have a night light on and also her noise machine (with white noise). I’ll try the sit-in idea with her and see if that works. Thanks!

  2. Sarah…maybe not the idea you are looking for but we would lay in bed with Ellie until she fell asleep. We often fell asleep with her but then the spouse would come in and give a tap on the foot to alert us to wake up and we can leave. I would get annoyed with this at times because I wanted to have some time with my husband. I tried just holding Ellie’s hand and then moving farther away. I also just would bring my computer in and sit with her until she fell asleep but could get some things done.

    We put “tough-its” in our room so if they woke up they up they would come in our room and go to their tough-it to sleep but not in our bed. We got this idea from our neighbors. The kids could come in their room but they would have to tough it out on the floor. We put a sleeping bag and blanket on the floor with pillow. The kids love it and most of the time we never know they are in our room until we wake up. They feel safe and we still get a good nights sleep.

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