Sleep Wars : The Toddler Strikes Back

Please no book recommendations or links to sleep studies OK? I am a researcher by nature, and a momma with two masters degrees, I have done my homework! Much of it I did before Leia was even born. I know what is out there and I read and reread a lot. Though sleep training seems to be fraught with guilt trips and second guessing more than any other part of mothering babies! Sometimes I just want all those voices to be quiet! But then I would be left to the sound of Leia screaming so I often turn again to books and the internet for reassurance and guidance. Hard to believe anyone made it to age two before we had professionals to write all these books for us parents 😉

Also, no judgement please, well you can judge, but if you think I am a bad parent keep it to yourself OK? I think sleep training can be such a humbling experience, and at the same time one of those things that Moms quietly judge each other about.I know sleep training is kind of a mommy minefield these days, right up there with vaccines and the like. It’s tough to navigate all the voices and information and find what you believe and works for you. We are all trying our best and if you go a different route than me and it serves you that’s great! I just want to be open about where I am at and encourage others who make be in the same boat.

Anyway, I feel like Leia has just pulled out her death star in the sleep wars this week, and it has been so quiet and peaceful up until now! That’s the thing of it, you think you are good, you think the war is won and blammo it’s back on like donkey kong. A brief history of the war : Leia awesome sleeper 1-4 months, had to wake the kid up to eat!, 4 months breastfeeding issues and wacky sleep, no fun!!!, 6-12 months a few ups and downs, some crying here and there but overall pretty good.  A week of freak outs in the midst of weeks of peace. I credit schedule and some crying to a pretty good sleeper.

Yes, I said crying. For me sleep training involves some tears, mine and hers. I totally get why you wouldn’t want to do it. I hate it! However, I knew from the start we were not going to be a co sleeping family, that just ain’t us. I also knew I wanted to be committed to regular bedtimes and early bedtimes. My Mom had several babies when I was growing up, my siblings are all way younger than me, and my Mom was a Mom who never let a baby cry, and she can refute this if I am remembering it wrong, but I remember one tired Momma and a family whose life was kind of dictated by one little screamer. I think it kind of made me want to go the opposite way when I started thinking about it.  I guess I am more comfortable with the parent teaching a baby what they need school of thought as opposed to baby dictating what they think they need.  I suppose you could say I am more of a babywise or babywhisperer mom. Sorry if you hate me now, remember I am not letting your kid cry and I totally get why you might choose the opposite line of defense, that is just how it is for me and our family. So now that I am out in the open about the cry it out thing, up until now I have taken a pretty gentle approach to the cry it out thing. I would go in every ten minutes pat her or sometimes pick her up. It worked pretty well. There were tough times (Babywise is really unrealistic about how tough it is and the baby whisperer makes it sound easier than it sometimes is) but we muddled through and I felt like Leia learned how to self sooth and put herself to sleep in her bed, hooray.

Flash forward, after months of mostly calm she has started freaking out!!!! Believe me I check on her, do everything I can, give her stuff for teething pain but she just looses it in the bed, looses it!! It has escalated to the point where I think going in and patting and shushing is making it worse, I think I need to Weissbluth it. (Dr. Weissbluth is a baby sleep “expert” a part of his method is total cry it out). And even when I try and cheat and rock her to sleep, no dice, no matter how long I wait the second her head hits the pillow waaaaaaah! Has anyone else found a toddler to be a terror at sleep times, suddenly after being more or less good about going to sleep???? I feel like it is really different now that she is a toddler.  Believe me I check on her and try to address any actual need I think it might be, but she just screams when put in bed and I leave the room, she is fine during the day, fine right up until bed.

It is so hard and draining. I think so much about it and try and pick the course that seems right to me, but no matter which one I pick I feel doubts about doing the right thing, and then it is so hard to be consistent, which is so important, and on and on and on.  And then I think, geez it could be totally different with the next baby? Who knows what they will be like or what will work or not work for them?

I keep trying to remember “He gently leads those with young”, when I don’t feel led I feel lost. But I know that He is leading us and there probably is something I can learn through all of it. So I will keep chugging along, praying we will get over this phase, whatever it is, quickly if possible and I can grow in grace through it. Praying God will comfort both her and me because he loves us both. Aaah maybe that is a big lesson I should be learning, placing Leia in God’s loving hands, knowing He knew she would go through this and loves her too.






4 thoughts on “Sleep Wars : The Toddler Strikes Back

  1. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having this struggle now! That sounds really frustrating. I also know how frustrating it is to have people give you advice sometimes. I’ve been through that with health situations, where I’ve really tried a lot of things and talked to doctors and done a lot of research, and sometimes I just don’t want to hear any more suggestions because I’ve tried EVERYTHING, and maybe I just want sympathy and not advice, especially from people who seem to think they know THE answer and don’t realize that I might have a unique situation or something. Anyway, I do think that all children are different and teething is really hard, but I’m sure you’re not doing anything wrong. I hope this time passes quickly for you all! ❤

    • Thanks Denise! You are always so supportive! And I don’t mean no book recommendations in general, just about this 😉

  2. Amanda’s mom and Leia’s grandma here! I cannot refute with any validity the fact that I didn’t let any of you cry. I wish I had. I finally had to with your brother, Daniel. After two years – – yes, you heard me right, two years of being up at least every two hours with him, I had had it. I wasn’t a “young” mom either – – 38. And, yes, you are going to be always learning the lesson of placing your children in the hands of their Father. I’m still trying to grasp that one. Remember when you were in college and homesick? That was my first big lesson in giving my child to her rightful owner. Remember how I got pretty good at it and it made you mad? LOL. I love you and your are a great mama. She will be alright. At this point, it could truly be ungodly anger and wanting her own way. She’s not too young for that now. If its teeth she may be giving you cues. Time will relieve your guilt about this and you’ll wonder why you ever felt badly. Just like I wonder why I kept trying to keep you all from crying. Impossible.

    • Thanks Mom! I don’t know how you made it through all those years of no sleep! I never let her cry it out until I felt like something had changed and she was just crying because she didn’t want to go to bed. I think it really is kind of evident. I am definitely flexible to weird schedules, travel or of course sickness, but I just think a kid should learn they have to go to bed when Mom says. It stinks though! Like other moms who do cry it out though, we think the end result is worth it, and overall through the last 14 months I would venture the guess that I have gotten more sleep because of it and Leia has gotten more sleep because of it. That is the main reason I do it, i think babies really need sleep, kids are grouchy without it! Love you! Surrendering anything to God is an ongoing lesson, but it is probably the hardest with kids.

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