Tag Archives: cry-it-out

Bedtime Redemption?

(Notice the question mark… after the past three months, I’m unlikely to be declarative about most things…)

As noted, the Pacifier Fairy (and some other things that are still being sorted out) had some unintended consequences in our house. Namely, Boopsie’s ability to fall and stay asleep disappeared. Gone.

At first, we tried to soldier on as we had… two books, potty and brush teeth, one book, go to sleep with some books in bed to look at. And it didn’t work. We tried putting her back in bed without talking to her (one night we did that 32 times). We tried doing bed checks (she would scream bloody murder and kick her closed door). In desperation, we began laying on her floor while she fell asleep, which could regularly take 75 minutes or more.

Reacting how I normally do when faced with a parenting dilemma, I reached for my old standby — books. I re-read pertinent sections in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Family, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, and The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight. I also hired a parenting coach, who suggested that Boopsie may have some sensory integration dysfunction.

In the interim, Daddy-o and I were having to stay in Boopsie’s room until she fell asleep and then we were often  called back in there in the middle of the night to sleep on the floor (in the middle of the winter, in the northland, as an alternative to having her end up in our bed). It. Was. Hell. This was all additionally complicated by travel and tantrums and being generally shell-shocked by the changes in our kid.

So we tried the “sleep shuffle” from The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight. And it took about three weeks. And it worked. Sort of.  But our kid still wouldn’t really nap and was waking still in the night. Oh, and she wasn’t actually falling asleep (usually) until close to 10 p.m. (Side note: Sleep deprived preschoolers and having one parent “booked up” with a kid until 10 p.m. every night are not great marital aids.)

Man and child outside Build A Bear Workshop

Daddy-o and Boopsie with the bunny.

We got a new night light. We got a new clock for her room. We tried letting her color in bed. We started playing music in her bedroom.We tried a reward chart. It took her 42 days to earn 15 stars. She earned a trip to Build A Bear workshop and was so overwhelmed by the crowds that she didn’t want to build a bear. So she picked a bunny she was thrilled about.

Then she got sick (and then we got sick).  And she needed more help falling asleep and we were back to sitting in the rocker in her room, trying to get her to stay quietly in bed, often threatening to leave and do checks (and sometimes leaving and doing checks). I felt like a hostage.

Finally, last week, with help from the parenting coach, I re-made bedtime again. The first two nights were tough, with tears and me having to prove to Boopsie that I would not come back to her until 9 minutes was up (she was gated in her room), no matter what she said. But then I made a little tweak and bedtime has gotten much better. In fact, one night my kid fell asleep on her own before 9 p.m. And she’s consistently falling asleep on her own (okay, is six days enough to say “consistently”?). Without tears. I won’t bore you with the details of her new bedtime routine because what works for one kid has no guarantee of working for another kid. I will say this: I cherish the time and mental energy I’ve gotten back. Getting 1-2 hours back into our evening has made Daddy-o and I much happier people. We can do little things around the house. We can have uninterrupted conversations. We can watch a TV show. We can work if we need to. We can just freaking be.

You may be wondering why we didn’t have her “cry it out.” I was actually very close to doing this in December. I queried other parents via Facebook and got a lot of support and tips. Here’s the thing: One thing that has been reinforced for us over the past three months is that Boopsie is an incredibly intense kid. And with the question of sensory issues still on the table, along with her the length and strength of her tantrums, we truly did not have any confidence that it would work. If anything, we figured she’d cry for hours until she passed out. And that wasn’t going to help her re-learn to relax and fall asleep. I don’t begrudge anyone who tries the “CIO” approach, but for our kid, it was a no-go.

So here I am… enjoying a whole hour of time I didn’t have this night a week ago, feeling like maybe, just maybe, we have found the bedtime promised land again. (As a superstitious person of Irish descent, I’m almost certain that by talking about this it’s all going to hell in a handbasket. Let’s hope not.)

Sweet dreams to you and yours…


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Filed under books, creativity, drudgery, lessons, relationships, sleep

Pacifier Fairy, Part 2

Wow. I was supposed to write this post more than two months ago. In fact, I even drafted it. It was going to be about how we sent a couple of “prep notes” from the paci fairy, and how Boopsie helped pack up all the pacifiers into a plastic bag, and how she helped me set them in the yard. And how she cried some at that bedtime, but slept all night and went on to get over it really quickly.

But then something happened. On the day after I posted Pacifier Fairy Part One, all hell broke loose with our kid. What do I mean by all hell breaking loose? Well, let’s see:

  • She went on a sleep strike… bedtime became a multi-hour battle, naps were treacherous
  • She started having epic, violent tantrums including throwing things, hitting and kicking
  • Her personality changed into one I didn’t really recognize. Boopsie became much more anxious, whiny and angry.

I’m not sure how to convey the impact this had on our family, in part because we are still trying to find our way out. Our attempts to find our way out have included:

  • Scouring the interwebs
  • Hiring a parent coach
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Putting a lock on the outside of her door
  • Multiple trips to the pediatrician
  • Reading books… lots of books (more on those to come)

We’re still trying to figure out if we’re somewhere on the continuum of “normal” or if there’s something else going on with Boopsie that we need to address. But that’s what’s been happening in the silence — stress, fear, anger, exhaustion and worry. So much worry. Thankfully, there’s been joy, too, and fun. And I think (and hope and pray) that we’re getting back somewhere more familiar.

All that to say… hello, strangers. More soon.

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Filed under adventures, lessons, mom guilt, relationships, sleep

The Things I Will Say Yes To

In our little corner of the world, Daddy-o is the “fun” parent. He’s usually the chaser and the thrower, and I’m usually the one saying things like, “Don’t shake her upside down! She just ate!” or “Please calm down, it’s time for bed.” It’s not all bad. For instance, I’m often the “comfort” parent, and the one Boopsie wants to snuggle with in the morning (which is awesome unless I want to sleep in a little. Eh-hem.)

The downside of being the “bad cop”/stern parent is that I feel like I say “no” a lot. A lot. It’s not that Daddy-o doesn’t or won’t say no, it’s just that I’m usually a little more on top of what the situation is and where it’s headed. You want Froot Loops at the grocery store? No. You want to go outside in your pajamas when it’s 20 degrees? No. You want to throw the ball “10 more” and “10 more” and “10 more times” before bed? No. You want to wear just your undies at the dinner table? Okay, maybe.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed a few things I seem to always say yes to… I guess these are my parenting weaknesses?

Books. Dear lord, please don’t let me go into a bookstore with Boopsie. It will be at least $38. At least. Thank goodness she’s also a superfan of the library, because we would like to help pay for her to go to college some day.

Art projects. “Mama, can we do a craft?” I usually say yes, even if I’m trying to do something like make dinner. (Because nothing says “recipe for success” like simultaneously cooking and crafting with a three-year old. I realized this was one of my key weaknesses a couple of weeks ago when Boopsie was painting and requested that to paint her feet. Yes, her feet. And yes, I said yes.

painting her feet

Sure, why not?

I mean, what can go wrong, right?

painted preschooler feet

Who can say no to those feet?

Truthfully, it turned out okay. And I was happy I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no.”

My third “yes” has to do with food and the grocery store. No matter what the fruit or vegetable Boopsie wants, I will say yes. Jicama? Sure. Five different kinds of apples? Okay, great! I figure it must help balance the multiple “no’s” she hears in all the other areas.

What about you? What do you say “yes” to?

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Filed under creativity, Fun, mom guilt

Winding down the weekend…

Daddy-o has been out of town (for work) since Thursday morning. Thursday evening I had to call in the cavalry as I got a migraine. Grampie came to the rescue and played with Boopsie while I went to bed with earplugs and a pillow over my face. Things went really well otherwise… until this morning.

This morning Boopsie drank a cup of milk and then coughed… and threw it up all over us. The rest of the day she kept saying she had to “cough” (aka barf), but didn’t. Interestingly enough, those moments seemed to happen as soon as I picked up the phone or said I needed to do something. Suspicious? I thought so.

Tonight at dinner she wouldn’t eat a thing, and talked the whole time about throwing up:

“I need da bucket.”

“Th yellow gonna come out.”

“I gonna cough again.”

I tried to play it very blase… and ended up just giving her a bath and putting her to bed, explaining (as usual) there wouldn’t be any food/milk until morning. Now she’s in there wailing for “milky.” Here’s a few recent pics to help me remember that I love being a mother. (I need the reminder right now.)

Toddler watering flowers

Watering plants in fuzzy polar bear footie pajamas, pink rain boots and her bike windbreaker.

toddler picking yellow dandelions

Picking dandelions…

Black goat with toddler running toward it

Chasing goats at the zoo… apparently Boopsie loves goats as much as I do.

There, I feel much better now. (And it helps that she’s fallen asleep.) Let’s face it, this could be worse: Daddy-o is currently stuck in an airport, where his flight is delayed three hours. Blech.

Now, say it with me… “Please don’t puke, please don’t puke, please don’t puke.”


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Filed under drudgery, firsts, Fun

Things She Cried From the Crib

Boopsie spent the most of the day with Grammie and Grampie, after they rescued us from a “President’s Day, which no one but schools, municipal employees and day care providers get off” crisis. And apparently she had just a little too much fun, because tonight’s bedtime stalling was epic. To be clear, I’m pretty sure on the inside, she felt like this:

Toddler sleeping in car seat

This is how tired she FELT.

But what she said, as she was being put to bed (and after) was quite different. Here are the things she said:

“Elmo need to go potty!” (Okay. Elmo taken into the bathroom to go potty. Her? Not so interested.)

“Puppy need to go potty!” (Hmm… no.)

“I need a snack.” (Crying pitifully. Daddy-o and I puzzled over what to do for a couple of minutes… was she actually hungry? Then she transitioned to…)

“I need to color.” (Err… no. And no snack.)

“I pooped!” (She didn’t.)

“Change my diaper!” (No. This is an ironic request given how she treats 9 out of every 10 diaper changes as sheer torture.)

“NOT THOSE BOOKS!” (She gets to take two books to bed. She was hysterical, unwilling to accept several pairs and then unable to pick two of four offered. I left all four in there. None of the four were “correct,” apparently.)

“I NEED A KLEENEX!) (*Over and over, wailing as though the world was ending. Almost as suspicious as the diaper change request, but funnier, by far.)

“I want to sleep with you!” (No, sorry. I want to wake up with all my teeth. And still love you in the morning.)

“I need Dora Rocks! I need Dora Rocks!” (A book previously deemed unacceptable and thrown from the crib.)

“Cover me up!” (Apparently unable to reach the blankets bunched at her feet.)

“I want to see your jammies!” (Yes, I was wearing my jammies at 8 p.m. Judge away. She has never made this request before…)

“I need another blankie!” (Apparently four is not enough.)

After all of that, I think she fell asleep basically mid-cry. And she’s still sleeping. (Knock on wood! Quickly!) Let’s hope she stays that way until morning.

*The Kleenex request was my favorite. I wish I would have tape recorded it…

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Filed under drudgery, sleep, Stuff Toddlers Say

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sleep Training/Fight Night in the Hizzy

Sooo…. I was fired up. We had a video monitor. And then we ALL got another cold. Yuck. I blame it on the endless winter/lack of spring this year. So we waited. Boopsie’s cold got better, but a diaper rash didn’t. So I took her to the doctor. No ear problems, no teeth busting through, nothing that should prevent us from trying. But THEN it was Mother’s Day weekend, and I was exhausted and cranky and we had a babysitter lined up for Saturday night. So we waited again.

And suddenly, without any intervention, Boopsie started waking up once a night (instead of two). And then a few days later she went two nights without waking up to eat. Suddenly not letting her eat at night didn’t seem too scary. Starting last Tuesday, we started reducing how much formula Boopsie got in a bottle if she woke up. (I had a table that included first bottle and second bottle, just in case. Because I AM that much of a project manager.)

We came around to Friday night and I decided it was time to draw a line in the sand. The most she’d had at night during the prior few days was 4 ounces. We knew she could go all night without eating. I declared it fight night in the hizzy, and we went to bed wondering what would happen…here’s what transpired:

2:55 a.m. – Boopsie woke up and started fussing. I thought perhaps she would go back to sleep.

3:09 a.m. – No such luck. She was getting very wound up, so I went in, patted her head and told her, “Shh, it’s time to go to sleep.” She FREAKED OUT, which woke Daddy-o up. He joined me in the kitchen for a video monitor spy session.

3:13 a.m. – She stopped screaming, but continued kicking and rolling. Daddy-o went back to bed.

3:18 a.m. – Back to sleep???

3:22 a.m. – Okay, it seemed she really WAS back to sleep. I trundled back to bed.

Frankly, it felt blissfully anti-climatic. Between the video monitor and going into to knowing she could sleep all night, I was confident this would work out. But then she stopped crying even faster than I thought she would. 23 minutes of fussiness and about 5 minutes of full-on crying? Oh, we can live with that!

Last night, Boopsie slept 12 hours. Yes, 12 hours. She woke up a couple of times for about 5 minutes each and then went back to sleep.



Filed under lessons, sleep

Who needs a life?

Apparently, I do. Outside of work. This type of stuff is taking a LOT of my attention. Daddy-o came to wake me from a nap yesterday and found me covered in a pile of books. These books:

Books on Bed

I need a life. Stat.

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Filed under books, feeding, sleep