Tuesday, October 7, 2014

when toddlers go all-out crazy

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Since birth, Riggs has been an easy child. And when I say easy, I really mean it. He latched on immediately after birth and nursed great until he weaned at just over two. He slept great, with us for nearly eight months and then in his own room in his crib with no problems after that. While not the most adventurous eater, he still ate well and tried lots of new foods when offered. He was happy and easy going and rarely cried.

Well lets just say things have changed. I'm typing this in my dark living room at six something in the morning, not because I'm one of those moms who has everything together and likes to be up before my kids ready to face the day. Oh how I would love it if that were the case. Instead, I'm out here with bloodshot eyes ready to give up before the day has even started. 

My tiny little three-month-old baby who you'd reasonably expect to be the cause of my bone-deep exhaustion? Peacefully sleeping like a little angel. My two-and-a-half year-old who has always been an amazing sleeper? Mumbling to himself in his room, still awake after getting up at 4:45. And this is like the 46th day of this. I'm so tired.

It started out somewhat innocently. We switched him to a toddler bed just before Raina was born, and he actually did great. Going to bed was when he'd try and push his limits, which was rare. And then after Raina was born, his normal 7-7:30 rising started to creep earlier and earlier. 6:45am felt like it was still the middle of the night at first to me after being up a few times in the night with the baby (who now only wakes once or twice at the most from 7:30pm to 7am to nurse). 

And yet as early as it felt, I know from reading books on sleep that 6:45, 6:30 or even 6am is a biologically normal time for young children to wake up, and that his sleeping habits might just be changing slightly as he got older. I think this was my first mistake. Instead of putting him back to bed and making him stay there until 7, I let him get up and start the day. Day by day this kept creeping earlier and earlier.

When he started getting up before Steve's alarm even went off (at 5:15am) we'd just tiredly pull him into our bed in the hopes that we could all go back to sleep. Which may have worked, if that alarm didn't go off five, ten or fifteen minutes later. And if Steve didn't have to turn lights on and make normal getting ready noises for the next thirty minutes.

Thinking about it now I'm realizing that we started making mistakes in how to respond to this from the very beginning. Thinking it was just a fluke at first, it didn't even cross my mind to make him get back in bed. And then when it kept happening, I still didn't mind because I'd just pull him into bed and enjoy the thirty minutes of quiet cuddle time. And I wasn't too worried about the hour or two less sleep because he was still sleeping at least two hours for nap time. Until suddenly, he wasn't. 

About two or maybe even three weeks ago (the days are all blurring together at this point) he just started waking up after only an hour of sleep. This was instantly concerning to me, because I knew he needed to sleep longer. He was waking up cranky and grumpy and crying at the drop of a hat. This wasn't the normal wake-up adjustment period either, it would sometimes last an hour or two. This is the point when I started to get really worried about his sleep situation. 

Coinciding with all of this, he's become a very selective eater. Some days he'll happily eat up anything you put in front of him, but most days he eats very little and will cry on and on for the foods he wants (yogurt? chocolate milk box?). I've been feeling like a failure constantly worrying that he's getting enough nutritious, filling food. 

On top of everything, over the last two months all four of his two-year molars are coming in, he had hand-foot-and-mouth, and now all four of us are sick with a nasty head-cold. You guys, I'm so tired. I'M SO TIRED. 

Sorry to yell, but really. Today it just hit me. And I feel that building anxiety of wondering what on earth I'm going to do to get him back on track.

So. Please. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. And if you have gone through a similar situation and have some magic cure, PLEASE share. 

BUT if you just want to share whichever sleep training plan worked amazing for your baby or something, I'm sorry to sound rude but I'm just not interested. He goes to bed great at night and has no problem falling asleep for naps. At this point I think the problem is perpetuating itself because he's so over tired. I'm looking for tips on how to get his 'sleep bank' filled back up so he'll sleep longer at night. 

Thank you all in advance and please if you see me at 7am at Target in my PJs looking a little bit like a bum, don't judge. 

8 comments:

  1. Oh Whitney, I'm so sorry. I don't have any tips because my boys have never been what anyone would consider "good" sleepers. So I DO feel your pain on the tired part...it's really hard to function when you aren't getting much sleep. I hope that you figure something out soon and that Riggs is back to sleeping like he used to. I need that sweater too!

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  2. Ugh! So sorry you are exhausted. Life just isn't as much fun when you are tired! Have you seen these? http://www.target.com/p/ok-to-wake-owl/-/A-13243938?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=google_pla_df&LNM=13243938&CPNG=Home+Decor&kpid=13243938&LID=25pgs&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=13243938&kpid=13243938&gclid=CjwKEAjwns6hBRDTpb_jkbTv1UYSJACBhberfP5TmDCF2yJrYPnqGw90wi25cuBbWGupIiBA5IUSWxoCxnTw_wcB

    There are several variations out there, but basically you set it to turn green when it is OK to wake up. That way when your kiddo wakes they can see (without disturbing you) that it is not morning yet and (hopefully!!) go back to sleep.

    As the mama of two early risers I feel your pain! Mine were a little older when they started getting up at a ridiculous hour, so we used a regular alarm clock set to show 7am when they were allowed to get out of bed. It was really 6:30, but we covered the minutes part so that they just saw the hour and when it switched to 7 they knew they could come out. Now that I have written all of that I am not sure it makes sense...sorry!

    Prayers for rest for you and your sweeties!!

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  3. I can only sympathize. My little guy is a good sleeper too, but he's transitioning from 2 naps a day to just the 1 and it's been hard! I hope you can get Riggs back on track! Soon! When my second one comes in December I'm hoping that he "regresses" in the form of taking 2 naps a day again. ;)

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  4. Thanks Jessica. I know babies and toddlers go through stages, some that are harder than others. I'm just hoping that he does better soon!

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  5. Thanks for the info Andrea! I've heard of those 'alarm clocks' and think I will go ahead and get one for him. He does good with boundaries and I think it would make him feel better to know when he could get up. Thank you!!

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  6. haha thanks Charisse! I understand completely, I'm so scared for the day when Riggs stops taking naps completely. :0

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  7. Okay at the end of this I just wanted to lean out and give you a big hug, snuggle up on the couch with some tea and chat the rest of the day away. I'm so sorry! It's so confusing and frustrating when stuff like this goes on with our kids. Ben has started being a weirdo at nap time, fighting them like never before, and then I'll go in he will be crying and asking for a 'cup milk', and then 10 minutes later, a 'cup of wawa!!' and then 20 minutes later, 'read that book!'....I quickly realized the manipulative tactics he was starting. ;) Hahaha! So early! We basically told him no, it's nap time, and you can either spend the time sleeping or crying, your choice. Sigh. Stay consistent, stay the course is my motto with Ben.


    How has the transition been for him with Raina jointing the family? Maybe his habits are changing in reaction/regression to a life change. In any event, it doesn't really matter WHY because you're tired mama! I'm so sorry and I hope you all get back into a good routine soon. Those hard days and nights can be so hard and wearing, but you always come across as someone who really focuses on positives and appreciates the small things and beautiful moments in life that make all the hard ones worth it. You're amazing and such a good, good, good mama to your babies.



    Big love to you!

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  8. They stop taking naps? Say it ain't so!!

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