Boot Skootin’ Snot Boogerin’ Nobody’s Sleepin’ Boogie

November 19, 2009

This is what 6am looks like at our house: saggy diapers and ukeleles and big, snot-smeared hugs.

It’s also what 8pm, 11pm, and 3am look like. Yes, he sleeps in those cowboy boots. No, not for any longer than two or three hours at a time.

He’s lucky that he’s got those big, snot-smeared hugs down to a perfectly cuddly art, because otherwise, seriously, there just might be a rodeo somewhere featuring a toddler calf-wrangler and ukelele half-time show.

(Don’t make me tell you that I’m joking, because then I’d be compelled to add a ‘sort of,’ which, you know, will bring out the haters.)

(Seriously, though, people, nothing is working, and although I hasten to stress that this does not make me a bitter, miserable person, it does make me very, very tired, and not a little bit cranky. So.)

(When your child can out-cry-you-out, and the co-sleeping is one long dance of head-kicking, hair-yanking pain, what do you do? Seriously. WHAT DO YOU DO?)

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    pixielation November 19, 2009 at 10:43 am

    That is one heck of a headbutt hug! Love the boots too!
    .-= pixielation´s last blog ..A right royal cockup =-.

    Annie @ PhD in Parenting November 19, 2009 at 11:50 am

    How much time is he spending running around outside on an average day? Doubling my son’s outdoor active time each day was the key to getting him to sleep better.

    I have other ideas here:
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..Nestle Answers: Auditing obscurity =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:55 am

    He spends a few hours at least, each day, running around. Outside? Depends on weather. There’s always at least *some* outside time.

    Could be worth upping the fresh-air time. What do you do when it rains?

    MidLifeMama November 19, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Boots and a rain coat! Puddle splashing is a great way to work off energy. Also a great way to increase your laundry though. When my son, now 3, was around 1.5 years old, he went through a phase of wanting to be up in the middle of the night. He would play for two hours if you let him. Which I wouldn’t after a few nights of that. One of us would get up, give him a bottle, sit with the lights out or down low, and as soon as he was done with the bottle, back to bed (his own, we never co-slept) he went. After a few weeks it was over, and he has slept through the night since. Something is interrupting your son’s sleep, and he is getting used to the pattern. I recommend finding a new pattern in how you respond to him, although it sounds like you have tried almost everything. It is so hard when they are old enough to demand but too young to really reason with.
    .-= MidLifeMama´s last blog ..Her name was Lauren =-.

    Annie @ PhD in Parenting November 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    As the working parent, I tell my husband to put on his rain coat and go outside!!!

    In all seriousness, our kids do love playing outside in the rain. We will dress them up sometimes and try to get them out. We also have a porch that is half-covered so that they can get fresh air without having to go into the rain.

    I linked to a few great posts on playing outside, two of which are about rainy day stuff:

    We also have memberships at an indoor playground and several museums in Ottawa, so at least they can get the running around even if they don’t always get the fresh air.
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..Nestle Answers: Auditing obscurity =-.

    Meredith November 20, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I wish had more advice, but mostly I’m loving all the advice as we have the same problem in our house. A questions about outdoor playtime: Do you ever find it hard just to find the time? I try to make this a priority, and it goes without saying that my life could use more organization, but there are a lot of days when all the life stuff gets in the way of really long outdoor playtime. I know that some people recommend two or three hours, and that sounds fantastic, it’s just that how do you also, you know, buy the groceries, cook supper, do the laundry, answer emails etc? Yes, it goes without saying that time with my kids is my first priority, but there’s a whole lot of stuff each day that just needs to happen, and that seems to get in the way of my fantasies of hours spent in the great outdoors. Any advice – anyone – about how to balance all that?

    Annie @ PhD in Parenting November 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm


    That is a great question and I don’t have a full-proof answer. A few things that we do that help:

    - We try to practice equally shared parenting and I find that often gives us time to have one person doing chores while the other does stuff with the kids (e.g. I cook dinner while my husband plays outdoors with them, he cleans the house while I play outdoors, etc.).

    - We plan outdoor play time around the other things that need to be done. For example, grocery shopping involves a stop at the park.

    - Walk or bike to do chores instead of driving.

    - Do outdoor chores and bring the kids along (e.g. hanging laundry to dry outside instead of putting it in the dryer)

    - For e-mails, get a blackberry or iphone and answer e-mails outdoors!
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..Nestle Answers: Auditing obscurity =-.

    Jozet at Halushki November 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    A friend in Germany has her children in an all-day all-outdoor preschool. Their motto is “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad outdoor clothing.”

    That’s taking it a bit far for Pennsylvania mountains, but it’s amazing how much farther some good rain gear and snow gear will take you when it comes to being out of doors and being comfortable.

    Sometimes I take the mattress out of the crib, put it on the floor and make it a jumpolene. Our Y and local high schools have swim time (swimming seems to particularly wipe out kids), and some skate rinks have tots classes where kids can start as young as they can walk in skates on dry ground. I also swear by putting my kids in bathing suits, giving them scrub brushes, and letting them scrub down any indoor surface that can stand scrubbing. Just more ideas.

    Annie @ PhD in Parenting November 19, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    They have one of those forest preschools here in Ottawa too. I wish it was closer to us. I would have enrolled the kids there for sure.
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..Nestle Answers: Auditing obscurity =-.

    Megs November 19, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    My son’s childcare aspires to the German all-outside preschool model. Not yet a toddler, he does sometimes slow them down, but his wonderful caregiver suits everyone up in outdoor gear, throws Hank in a backpack carrier, and takes the group (mostly 1.5-3yrs) into the woods every day. When it’s snowy/rainy they go for walks, stay outsider under a covered porch, etc. She even naps them outside, bundled and on sheepskins.

    It’s not just the exertion of play but the fresh air/sun/sheer outsided-ness of it that seems to makes them sleep better.

    (But that’s at childcare. At home? we fail at outside time, every time.)
    .-= Megs´s last blog ..Dearest Stellar. =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Oooh, outdoor preschools/forest preschools? Sounds AWESOME.

    We’re in a small town and a train ride from the city, so museum visits, etc, aren’t everyday things. We’re more or less limited to playgrounds and the zoo. But it is possible to even just spend more time in raincoats in the backyard, or take the toys onto the front verandah.

    Mama in the City November 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    This is a great point. Our ‘never sleeping’ son is a much sounder sleeper when he has been out and about moving and getting exercise. When it rains we go to the gymnastics place and let him move and climb and tumble around.
    .-= Mama in the City´s last blog ..A Day Out In Raincity =-.

    Barb Desmarais November 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I love this little clip – a very realistic glimse of parenting a toddler. The cowboy boots are perfect.

    Having “been there”, if this is any comfort, these trying times when nothing seems to work – pass. If you can stand it, usually CIO works but you have to be completely committed and mentally prepared. It’s not easy. There are scores of books that promise a sleep solution but you’ll talk to as many people who have tried everything….

    Somehow we get through these things and then we’re on to the next thing. Talking about it with friends, getting support and sometimes just learning to accept what is, gets us through. Finding humor in it helps too – if you can.

    LindsayDianne November 19, 2009 at 11:52 am

    When Co-sleeping became too crazy in our room…. two big people and one big baby trying to sleep diagonally… We gave it up. On July 17th, 2008, we gave our daughter her own room. She was about 19 months old, and the transition was trying… But it came to a head one night and after that it’s been no problem.

    It’s up to you whether you’re ready. What I did was got a bed the same size as ours, and I’d lay down with her and sneak out after she was asleep, until she was used to sleeping in her own room and I weened her off that way.
    It’s not easy, that’s for sure!
    .-= LindsayDianne´s last blog ..Soy =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Jasper goes to sleep okay – pretty smoothly, in fact – but he invariably wakes up after a few hours, and then off and on again all night. And we’ve try some CIO, but he outlasts us (and escalates. MANICALLY.)


    Megs November 20, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    This is our problem as well, on and off. Hank is a champion of bedtime–he has had no problem with that holy-grail of sleep training: going down awake and falling asleep on his own. This was accomplished without any “training.” But it only works at bedtime; like your Jasper he still wakes up multiple times a night, and generally does not resettle on his own. And will whip himself up into a steaming soggy snotty frenzy when left to cry.

    Crying has only worked when I am physically not in the house. I slept at my mother-in-sin’s for three nights and my partner did whatever it is he did, and we got about a month of better sleep. Now we’re back in hell again. But maybe if you are not there–and if it’s explained to him that you are not there, he will wake up less often?

    I second the “it takes at least 2 weeks to see a difference/change a habit” idea brought up by a number of commentors. And the consistency thing (though we admittedly fail at that). Maybe target just getting him out of your bed (which might stretch him farther because he’s not stimulated by you).
    .-= Megs´s last blog ..Dearest Stellar. =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    When I was out of town overnight recently, he was more or less equally difficult – waking and hollering until he got into our bed. He managed without my hair, but it was still rough.


    Madge November 19, 2009 at 11:52 am

    K. My boys are 7 and 11 now. My eldest was the worstest sleeping baby/toddler ever. Or it seemed like it at the time. I gave up and let him sleep with me, laid down with him to put him to sleep. did everything everbody said i shouldn’t. my seven year old gave up napping at 18 months and slept like a baby. don’t mean to rattle on, just saying, do what it takes, don’t worry about what the experts say and just know — that little guy is going to grow up and one day sleep. and so will you (and yeah, my 11 year old still gets up around 6:30 or 7:00 — but takes care of himself — hallelujah….)
    .-= Madge´s last blog ..ok ok OK =-.

    julie@MommySaidWhat? November 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Please email me when you get the answer. I’m dying here. I’ve been up since midnight.
    .-= julie@MommySaidWhat?´s last blog ..The many faces of motherhood =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    *weak solidarity fist bump*

    Suzanne November 19, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I recently gave up on the co-sleeping with my 7.5 month old because the rolling/kicking/poking/smacking was unbearable, but I don’t know if any of my tactics would help. And the one thing I swear by might actually be worse than the sleep deprivation.

    We have a cd of children’s songs sung by the most monotonous boring people ever and recorded over the sound of a heartbeat. It has only 9 songs and is 20 minutes long…and we play it on repeat all night. ALL. NIGHT. All night I listen to robots sing about the farmer in the dell and dream of stabbing him with a pitchfork. But it works – the baby stays asleep and it only took 3 nights to go from constant nursing/kicking/crying to only one night feeding.

    The cd is called Baby Go To Sleep and you can Google it if you dare. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
    .-= Suzanne´s last blog ..I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Warning noted ;) But I’m pretty desperate.

    Hollie November 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Agree with Annie..I had to take Roo to park for a good 2 hours every day.

    But even then for several years she would wake at night ( the joys of an Apserger’s daughter). When she would wake at night it was then that we did co sleep for several years and Catherine Yeah co sleeping in hell( that is why I have permanent bags under eyes). What worked most nights warm milk and classical soft music..sometimes though it took about an hr or two for it to work.
    I wish I had better advice, mine work up many a night till age 9!! YES 9! So I am sending cyber hugs and will send coffee..

    Hollie November 19, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    that is woke up not work..ugh can you tell I need some caffeine?
    .-= Hollie´s last blog ..Menu Monday: Simple and Easy Does It =-.

    DiaryofaNewMom November 19, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Aw, how cute. But as my mother always said, “It’s a good thing God made ‘em cute so you don’t leave ‘em on a hillside.” I am right there with you on the no-sleeping, 2-3 hr. stretches thing w/ my 8 m.o. Never had to sleep train my older son, and this baby takes “cry it out” as a personal challenge to set off all the car alarms in the neighborhood. Let me know if you find something that works!
    .-= DiaryofaNewMom´s last blog ..Zoo Days and Blender Days =-.

    Anonymom November 19, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Catherine, I don’t read HBM often enough to know about all the different sleep tricks you’ve tried–though I’m sure you’ve tried just about everything. When we “sleep trained” (shudder, yes) our daughter at 7.5 months, we kinda used a combo of the Sleep Lady shuffle (the book by Kim West) and the evil Dr. Weissbluth (you know, the Happy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child fascist). I hesitate to write at length about either of these books because I’m sure you’ve read every goddamn sleep book under the sun.

    But I will say this: using the sleep lady shuffle at night gave us the psychological comfort we needed to endure the process of CIO. I realize that doing this with a 7.5 month old is infinitely easier than a toddler, simply because a 7.5 month old can’t stand up in the crib, let alone yell, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” in that unbearable way.

    I will tell you, though, that during that week that we “sleep trained” (shudder, yes) her, I went out to a cafe and felt guilty and hopeful until my husband sent me a text to tell us the child-nugget had fallen asleep. My husband, for his part, did the sleep lady shuffle while wearing industrial-strength ear protection, the kind you see men wearing on construction sites.

    I’m sure *everyone* has told you that the trick with CIO is that you have to be mentally prepared to, as you say, stick it out longer than the kid. And of course, to have that mental fortitude, it helps if you’re not already feeling exhausted and brittle. You really can’t win.

    It did take my daughter about 3 weeks to fully get into the swing of it, not the blissful 4 nights like all the books tell you.

    Where Weissbluth came in: the role naps play with night sleep. Also, the whole hoo-ha about sleep associations (which I’m sure you’ve also read about). But that’s what Suzanne is saying about playing the music. What we learned from Weissbluth is that whatever prop the kid uses to fall asleep at night is the prop they need to fall back asleep during the night. Hence using music all night long.

    I’m sorry if I’m only going over territory you’re more than familiar with. I just really feel your pain, and wanted to see if there was anything I could possibly contribute.

    Annie @ PhD in Parenting November 19, 2009 at 12:52 pm


    There are some kids that will submit to sleep training right away. There are some that will do it if the parents work away at it for a while. And then there are some that will never give in and just get more and more upset. I don’t think it is always a matter of the parents just needing to be “stronger”. Sometimes it just isn’t going to happen.
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..Nestle Answers: Auditing obscurity =-.

    Jozet at Halushki November 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Excuse any repeats of advice. :-) I find a good general rule of thumb in trying anything new with my kids – from discipline to setting up a tooth brushing habit to getting into a homework routine – it takes at least 2 weeks of come-hell-or-highwater slavish consistency *without any deviation at all*. Also, trying to institute more than 2 or 3 new routine/habit/discipline changes at any time is a sure fire way to fail at all. Okay….

    1. Check to make sure no teeth coming in, earaches, snorkling snoring at night. Dr. visit lately? I’d say as with a new workout program, have a check-up just to make sure there’s nothing funky going on. If teeth, you could try a low-dose Tylenol before bed. Toothies always hurt more at night and wake kids up.

    2. Start winding down an hour before. Low lights. Carb snack. Warm bath.

    3. Try fiddling with room temps – I have one hot potato who needs light sheets and light pjs, another needs warmer pjs and room to stay asleep.

    4. White noise.

    5. Change of mattress. Some friends had success with putting mattress on floor. Don’t know why it made a difference, but I don’t question things that work.

    6. Super Nanny technique. First time out of bed, say “Time for bed” and lead child back. Second time just say “Bed” and lead kid back. Third – thousandth time, no words at all. It could take a full two weeks to see any diminishing wake habits. This is the only thing that ever worked for us for middle of the night wakings. With one child, it took almost a month for it to work. Any illnesses or teeth coming in and just figure that you will have to start over from scratch.

    7. Fresh air and exercise, but not right before bed. And it might take more and more. I can’t tell you how many moms at the rink or at higher-level soccer, etc. have said that it took their kids getting 2-3 hours of heavy-duty athletic exercise (like, I would be coughing blood kind of exercise) every day before they finally slept through the night soundly. Some kids are just wired to be long-distance runners, and it takes that much oomph every day to tire them out.

    My 10 year old non-sleeper now wakes at 6am for an hour workout before school, and then works out for 2 hours after school. This is what it takes to tire her out and to settle her down so she can concentrate in school.

    8. Careful with the stories right before bedtime. I have one kid who seems to get dream-activated (I made that up) if we do to much story-telling or tv watching before bed. On the other hand, soft music (think simple lullabies, not complex jazz) will work with her as will meditation tapes.

    9. Diet. Take a look at it and see if it needs tweaking. Maybe play with milk and carbs, adding, subtracting. Check about having a multi-vitamin on board (again, don’t know if you already have done this, so be patient with me.) B vitamins, calcium, magnesium…from what I understand, these are the muscle/nervous system soothers, but check with your professionals (that’s my disclaimer.)

    10. If you try everything and it doesn’t work, wait a few weeks and try it again. I can’t tell you how many times I got foiled in plans because while I was trying to get my kids to do something new, they were in the process of getting an ear infection or growing 3 inches in a week and that’s just not a good time to try anything new.

    I’m sure much of this has been said before. But just in case…I said it again. :-)

    Her Bad Mother November 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Am going to try all of these. Twice. At least.

    Jozet at Halushki November 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Awwww. Well, you’ll hit upon something. I do think that your intuition that some kids just developmentally are being bombarded with all sorts of new skills (that they want to practice at all hours) and new bodies (that wake them up because they just feel different and weird from day to day) is a good one.

    Really, it took until about 2 – 2.5 years old for all my kids to really settle in to the point that wakeful nights became out of the ordinary.

    Which I know doesn’t help you now.

    Whatever you do try adding or changing, try it incrementally and only one or two adjustments at a time. You’ll sleep again, I promise.

    Deb on the Rocks November 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Wow, Joset has some good ideas. I’ve been feeling for you, because it is torture not to sleep, and I had an extremely hard time when my youngest was a toddler. We made tiny progress with solutions like those listed above, but the only thing that really made a difference is constant noise all night (he still at 16 sleeps with music on) and then a big break in patterns: because of a family tragedy, I had to leave the house every evening for about two weeks to be with a dear one all night long as she died. I had to. It was one of those essential life things. And somehow, either the abrupt change in routine, or the absence of me and more consistent behavior mod from his father, made it possible for him to sleep alone by about the 3rd or 4th night, if I remember correctly. And then finally, amazingly, I slept too.

    kootnygirl November 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    When you say he outlasts you for CIO, how long are we talking? I know how time expands exponentially when a) it’s the middle of the night; and b) your baby is wailing for you.

    Have you seen SuperNanny deal with this? It sometimes goes on for HOURS, and is completely heartbreaking, but it does eventually work.

    Hugs. Parenting is so, so hard at the best of times; doing it while you’re totally sleep-deprived is nearly impossible.
    .-= kootnygirl´s last blog the internet can make you care =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    We’re talking, oh, anywhere between half hour and an hour (it tends to blur at 2am). Longer, if you count my husband going in and doing silent back pats and whatnot.

    The thing of it is, it escalates, and the longer it goes, the longer it takes for us to calm him down afterward. Ugh.

    daysgoby November 19, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Catherine, did he sleep while you were gone this fall?
    .-= daysgoby´s last blog ..don’t tell my husband I posted… =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Yeah – he slept more or less okay while I was gone in August, some wakeful nights, but not every night. Then when hubs and kids joined me out west for a few weeks it got harder, because J slept with us most nights. Then stuff just went BAD BAD BAD after we got back beginning of December. Now, J has always had trouble with the sleeping through the night – out of his 18 months of life, we’ve maybe had a few weeks where he slept through the night, on his own.

    So, yeah. Don’t know where/whether there’s a pattern there.

    solemom November 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Felix is 17 months, and – same as Jasper – has slept through the night a grand total of about 12 times in his life. He also falls asleep just fine on his own, but can’t seem to get back to sleep when he wakes during the night – even though everything is the same: white noise, temp, humidifier (winter, dontcha know), dark dark dark (2 sets of blackout blinds because we live downtown), etc. I konw he doesn’t NEED to nurse, as my mom has been able to get him back to sleep when she visits, with little to no resistance, but he doesn’t settle for simple back-rubs from boobs mcgee (aka mama.)

    I’m not willing/able to let him CIO fully – I will let him complain for a few minutes, but if/when it escalates, I know he won’t go back down by himself so I go in his room. I tried for 2 nights (in a fit of desperation), and wound up with a baby who wouldn’t even go to sleep initially without me, for almost a month! So… yeah… not trying that again any time soon.

    Anyhow – all this to say – I feel your pain, and frustration. I just keep telling myself that lots of bad sleepers start sleeping wonderfully well around 2 yrs of age… Mine WILL be one of those! (Or he may not see 2.)

    VHMPrincess November 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Son #2 would NOT like to go to sleep. IF we let him cry seriously, he would throw up. EVERY TIME.

    So when we tried CIO, it was a bit different. I sat outside his crib (12 months old) and sang for a bit and talked to him, butt-patts, etc. Then I just laid FACING AWAY from him until he went to sleep. IGNORING HIM TOTALLY. I couldn’t leave him there to cry, but I didn’t mind a little crying if I could see that he was ok, and he didn’t escalate to serious crying if he could see me.

    15 minutes. We braced for it to be HOURS but he just laid down and went to sleep.

    I hope you get that lucky, but it might be worth a try to just sit with him, in his own crib and without your hair and see what happens? You can always stop if he starts escalating or he’s been crying too long.


    Heather November 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    If your pediatrician doesn’t have any methods that have worked, ask for a referral to a pediatric sleep specialist. Don’t let them talk you into an adult sleep specialist who works with kids. You need a pediatric sleep specialist who works with families and kids all day long. You should do a sleep study (they let you stay with him) and see if there’s something else going on and then you need to be really open-minded about doing everything the specialist says to do. You’ll be amazed. I guarantee it. Don’t know if you have a specialist where you are, but we have one here in Rochester, NY, who’s fantastic:
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Woodie’s birthday =-.

    Jozet at Halushki November 19, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Other thoughts…is he a super-soaker? Maybe a quick diaper change middle of night might get him though the next 2-3 regular wake-ups. I know disposables are pretty awesome in staying dry, but it still might be getting heavy/cold. Or limit drinks before bed to keep peeing down to a minimum. I don’t know if he’s waking up because of pottying, but worth a thought.

    LD November 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    We’re in the same place.
    The only thing that works for us is that I go to bed early (whether or not the baby is asleep) and my husband stays up. And then I take the early shift.
    And we try not to let the baby wake up the 5 year old. Because that is a whole different hell.
    Some other minor things that sort of help us. We have noticed she gets hot so she pretty much sleeps in a diaper – no pj’s.
    And she still sleeps with us because she just doesn’t sleep in her crib ever.
    Also, we give her a bottle of water in the night. It seems to help a little.
    But, still. I’m a zombie.

    My son who is 5 had major sleep issues and we give him melatonin (under the advice of a pediatrician and psychiatrist). It works like a charm. But we just started recently. I’m not sure how young kids can be, but I’m afraid to give it to my 19 month old, and I’m not sure if she has a sleep issue per se or if it’s a routine thing.
    .-= LD´s last blog ..Chaos =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Hmm… I keep hearing interesting things about melatonin. Might have to ask our doctor.

    Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire November 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I have no advice-but I did want to tell you how incredibly cute baby J is. I cant’ believe how big he is now.
    .-= Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire´s last blog ..Meet Anissa =-.

    Tina C. November 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    you’re sure he doesn’t have an ear infection or teeth coming in? that would wake up a person after a few hours of sleep. perhaps some tylenol would help him sleep.

    one time we laid on the floor next to owen’s crib and pretended to sleep. we would get up every 5, then 10, then 15, etc. minutes and put him wordlessly down in his crib with his binky and blanket. up he would pop until the next interval. the 1st night was like until 35 minutes, then he collapsed on the bed. i think it took a few nights to get him to lay down without a struggle. we did that when rocking him wasn’t helping him sleep and he wouldn’t sleep in our bed with us. somehow being in the room but not interacting might’ve made it less traumatic though it was still traumatic. somehow i would fall asleep on the floor as the crying was like white noise after a while.

    good luck.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    He’s had lots of teeth coming in, and has been ill – but it’s been going on since before he got sick last month, and longer than it takes for teeth to come in. I’ve wondered about continual developmental spurts…?

    Tina C. November 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    they definitely get into their patterns of sleep, just as we do. i mean, when i get into a pattern of waking up at a stoopid early hour and then do it night after night for no good reason, then have to break my body of the habit – how do i do it??? alcohol one night, major meditation, staying up all night for a day to become super tired that night to sleep through???? just trying to think of ways for little guys to break themselves of the same kind of habit. sometimes it takes something chemical or bigger than themselves to get through the first few nights of not waking up when they’ve gotten into the habit of doing it. not sure exactly what will work for your guy – maybe changing diet, maybe tylenol or advil, maybe a change of scenery/personality in the middle of the night who greets him when he wakes, new bed, new location of bed in room. 18 month old dudes can understand stuff like – lie down and go to sleep. practice saying it at nap and throughout the day, maybe??? GOOD LUCK lady!

    WestEndMom November 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Have you tried a fan? Get a loud fan and turn it up to high (not pointing at baby!) and leave it on all night. If there is any noise in the house that wakes him, this will muffle it cut down on the noise that could be waking him up. The whir of the fan is supposed to mimic the womb. White noise machine is also an option, but they are more expensive and in my experience less effective. Good luck!!

    Jennifer November 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Routine, routine, routine. I also did a bit of CIO, but we started at 30 second increments and worked up from there. We did the same routine every night, put her in her bed and sang the same songs once she was in. Then I would tell her that Mama is always nearby and leave. She would scream, I would watch my watch, go back in, rub her back, tell her it was night time, and then leave again. Each time I waited longer and longer until she fell asleep. It worked within a few days. The nice thing was I felt like I wasn’t “abandoning her” because she knew I would always come back. She’s now a happily adjusted almost 3 year old who sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG. This was just to get her to sleep on her own…night wakings and night weanings were a whole different story.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..I want to hurl… =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    yeah, this is night wakings. we have a bedtime routine that is more or less pretty effective at getting him down. Getting him BACK down? waaay harder.

    Adelas November 19, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I just want to chime in and say I’m sorry. Still. I’m sorry it still sucks.

    I have no advice for you AT ALL.

    I’ve got one just a little ahead of you guys (21 months next week) and I’ve noticed about every 4-6 weeks, we have a period of 5-7 days where he wakes in the middle of the night for 2-3 hours. He likes to yell at the top of his lungs to entertain himself during these times. By the third or fourth day, I usually panic and whine about how sleep deprived I am. By the fifth or sixth day, I remember how the cycle works, and magically he “grows out of it” and I know I have another 4-6 weeks until he does it again.

    That’s nothing to what you’re going through, but it does give me enough of a taste that my heart goes out to you in your continued frustration.

    A comment about when folks have mentioned teething – seems so obvious, it’s easy to blow off the suggestion, BUT we have cut a tooth a week for the past four weeks, literally [the canines], and there were 2-3 weeks of pain before the first one finally cut. That is SEVEN weeks. AND there is a FIFTH one [a 2-yr molar] just starting to bud now too. Point here? Even if it feels like he’s done teething, since he just finished a bunch, maybe not.

    I’m sure, coming from me, it’s assvice, because I don’t think there’s anything that hasn’t been covered, but who knows…

    I have read that all kids wake in the night, and some have the ability to put themselves back to sleep and some don’t. My understanding of what is needed is the ability to self-soothe. Which, if you have a lovey or paci, might be as simple as popping the paci back in, hugging the lovey, and rolling over.

    What I’m wondering/suggesting is perhaps Jasper is old enough to learn a game/routine about going to bed. You have your night-time routine, yeah, but I’m talking about a part he does himself and also applies to nap times. Even if you have to make up something yourself, like…

    Say Night-night. Wrap arms around self in “hug” and rock back and forth.
    Lay down.
    Say Night-night. Pat self on tummy.
    Say Night-night. Rub self on shoulder.
    Hide eyes behind hands.
    Sign “sleep” [palms together, both hands at side of head, the same way you would mime it]
    Roll onto tummy. Pat the mattress.

    These are all things my toddler is capable of doing, and he is always proud of being able to do follow the leader games.

    Anyhow the idea is, once you get the routine down, (and maybe you can even do this with your hair in one hand), then if you go to him in the night, you walk him through that part of the routine (not doing the REST of your night time routine, bath, book, etc). Presumably, he would (1) learn the routine, (2) eventually know it well enough to do it without much or any prompting, and then (3) EVENTUALLY be able to do it on his own without you being there, essentially “giving himself permission” to go to sleep because he has done “what you’re supposed to do” when you need to go to sleep.


    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    hmmm… interesting. he does respond to cues and rituals. maybe something that we could employ middle of the night… worth thinking about, for sure.

    (and, yeah – it’s possible that he’s also on a teething bender. he’s got TONS of teeth coming in.)

    Jozet at Halushki November 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I really like this idea of a sort of Pavlovian set of cues. We’ve done this pared down version of our initial bedtime routine with success for the middle of the night wake-ups. Lots of good ideas here.

    Adelas November 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I know I started that with “i have no advice” and meant to fix it when I started the second part, then forgot. Derrrr.

    yannyhow, that’s just something I thought up on the spur of the moment, not anything i’ve tried myself.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    no, it’s good advice. and I need all the help I can get. will try anything ;)

    And Then I Was a Mom November 19, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I wish I had something more than “I swear, it will pass, eventually.” For now, I second the fan idea. We live by fans in this house…
    .-= And Then I Was a Mom´s last blog ..The Second-Child Decision =-.

    daysgoby November 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    What did Mr. Bad Mother do while you were away? I honestly don’t mean to sound like a sleep nazi, but if he’s better at it (and J is winding himself up with you – plus the OW OW OW OW OW OW hair thing – that’s what I think in my head when I read about his grabby paws) then…maybe you can find an evening yoga class?

    Or, yanno, a wine date with girlfriends? For a few weeks?

    Plus some Tylenol (for him) some time with Mr. Beaver (okay, NOW this is starting to sound….strange) some extra exercise during the day and a fan/white noise /sparkly unicorn humming machine near his bed?

    You’ve got a lot of great ideas here. It’s just figuring out which works.
    .-= daysgoby´s last blog ..don’t tell my husband I posted… =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 19, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    we’ve been trying to keep me out of the sleep picture… me in another room, me in another bed, me in Chicago. Dude knows when I’m in the house, and Chicago, well, I can’t move there, and also, he was still difficult that one night I was away this month. SO. GAH.

    but yeah, will be tryng everything here.

    mythoughtsonthat November 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I have worked in the field of child development for more than 25 years and this I know: You have to either accept his sleeping habits and go with it or let him cry. Even if he is a maniac, even if he makes himself throw-up. He won’t die from this (although you might!) Those are your choices, really, and if you decide to accept his sleeping habits, there is nothing wrong with that. But you really just have 2 choices. Peace.
    .-= mythoughtsonthat´s last blog ..I Spend My Day With Children =-.

    Jennifer November 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    If it makes you feel any better, my son NEVER slept more than a few hours at a time until we moved him out of our bed (because he was constantly kicking us in the kidneys). That was just after he turned a year. After that it still took six to eight months for him to sleep a five-hour stretch a few times a week. I seriously had to send him to full-time day care so I could sleep when I was not at my part-time job. How is this supposed to make you feel better? After he finally started sleeping good, no problems for the last two years or so. He sleeps through the night, through anything–he slept through me accidentally having my second son at home one early morning! So it’s been great since he decided to finally calm down.

    Carrie @ Who Knew? November 19, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I wish I had some helpful advice. I read a great book by Weisenberg or something, Healthy Sleep Habit, Happy Kids (I think). I followed it pretty well and my daughter sleeps beautifully. Sorry I’m not trying to make you jealous.

    Good luck.
    .-= Carrie @ Who Knew?´s last blog ..Lady Parts =-.

    Beth November 19, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Mornings are more colourful with children!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Birth Story- Honey =-.

    Derek November 19, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    We’ve tried everything…even professional coaching with a baby sleep expert. We finally tried a white noise machine. A sound machine will do the trick. It worked for us…and we’re still using it even though our kids are older now. We bought ours as

    Good luck!

    Jennifer November 19, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    I am a long time lurker. But the timing of this post and this comic were just too funny.

    Redneck Mommy November 19, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    So I have nothing to add.

    But my scalp hurts thinking about what that poor kid does to your hair because I’ve SEEN it.

    I just wanted to squee in public about how that kid makes my heart pitter pat.

    And cowboy boots as well. It’s like a straight shot to his auntie’s heart.

    .-= Redneck Mommy´s last blog ..Hope Floats With a Good Boob Grab =-.

    Bobbie Sue November 19, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Take him to an indoor pool for some vigorous swimming right before bed. (It sounds laughable and you are probably rolling your eyes…but I read some research a few years back about vigorous activity just prior to bed and the significant increase in amount and quality of subsequent infant sleep. And, the activity was swimming.)

    I also had some success with putting my youngest son to bed an hour later or skipping his nap. Skipping the nap ensured his sleeping through the night. (The two hours prior to bedtime resembled the seventh circle of hell, but the uninterrupted sleep was worth it. Sometimes.)

    Sleep deprivation sucks donkey sack. My heart goes out to you. :)

    kblogger November 19, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    It just takes time. Really… that’s all, just time. Every child will “sleep through the night” (and I put it in quotes because honestly, does ANYONE, child or adult really sleep all the way through the night with nary a wake to pee or get a drink or pull up a blanket?) when they are ready – and that’s usually NOT on their parent’s time table.

    The reason they don’t sleep when adults want them to is because they aren’t little adults, they have very different bodies with different needs – teeth coming in, ears that get infected, brains that are processing things for the very first time EVER (things that we see & hear & process so very often that we don’t even see or hear them anymore) and on & on.
    That being said…

    Children are so capable of far more than we usually believe they are. I believe a child even 18 months can be helped to learn how to sleep in a way more um… “acceptable” to us as adults. Meaning, not waking every 1 or 2 hours (except of course, and probably don’t even need to mention this, when the child is sick or teething – all bets are off, then). With a clear matter of fact expectation in place (we sleep at night and when we wake Mommy will come to you, help you realize all is safe, and you’ll go back to sleep), and the tools given to the child (a very regular & predictable bedtime & waking routine, a bed they can get in & out of themselves, a door they can open, regular meal time, enough daily exercise, etc. etc.), they can learn how to sleep better. Because its a skill just like any other – though, as I mentioned above, I believe closely linked with physical & mental maturity (they’ll go through growth spurts & need 13 hrs of sleep, then suddenly only need 11 or they’ll be going through major language or motor skill development & be up every couple of hours to “practice” their new skills). I don’t think all 18 month olds will be able to sleep through the night; I don’t think they should have to or be expected to. But they should be expected to be able to communicate their need upon waking (hungry, thirsty, need to pee, scared, etc.), and then be able to understand that nighttime is the time we sleep, and morning is when we wake – so after the need is met, we go right back to bed.

    With both of my children, right around the 2 year point, I saw a large shift in their ability to put themselves back to sleep & sleep longer stretches. They were more open to suggestions & expectations (ex.: we’re not going to nurse when I come in when you wake at night, we’re going to cuddle instead), and as they approach the third year & empathy develops, the true UNDERSTANDING of “Mommy needs to sleep because she’s tired & you’re tired too – so we need to go back to sleep since its nighttime” kicks in, and things get so much easier.

    FWIW, both my children “sleep through the night” now, and have from right around 2 1/4 yrs on (DD is 5, DS is nearly 2 1/2), and I never used the cry it out method in any variation. I have many reasons but most simply put: because I’d never want to fall asleep that way myself. I also didn’t use a crib, primarily because my babies slept best with me, and then as toddlers, I believe the ability to get up & out of bed, to learn their room, themselves is an independence that a child needs in order to be able to learn how to sleep. Obviously the room & house accessible to a nighttime wandering child needs to be baby proofed. But I am so saddened by a toddler confined to a crib where they want to get out, they know what they want & need, but can’t get it. Its so disempowering.

    Anyhow, DD chose to move out of our bed into her own bed around age 3. We moved DS into DD’s bed/room around 18 months. I spent the next 6 months mostly in there… first, the majority of the night, next, just the starting point, then the late early morning, next, just the start. When I got to the point with each of them (right around 2 yrs) of not being able to be woken every 1 – 3 hours through the night, I started by clearly letting them know what I expected – that we don’t get up & play or fuss or nurse (though BIG caveat here – any child under 2 who is breastfeeding, if they wake & say they want milk – I still consider this a NEED, and wouldn’t recommend nightweaning – particularly not if they are still teething) when we wake in the middle of the night we fix what’s wrong – cold, hungry, thirsty, then we cuddle back to sleep. I involved them in the process – asked them how they liked to go back to sleep – cuddling, back rubbing, singing, etc.? I reminded them & practiced with them during the day, “this is how we cuddle back to sleep. Mama LOVES cuddling to sleep. Nighttime is for sleeping.”, and reminded them again before bed. I say we’ll cuddle for x number of minutes then you’ll go to sleep. I never leave at that point, just less actively participate in helping them back to sleep, and let them decide to roll away a bit if that’s what they want. Eventually, they stop waking as often & when they do wake, they stop needing you as much per waking. Its very gradual, but kind & empowering to the child.

    It just takes repitition & patience & empathy & a realization that this too shall pass… but that you’re giving them the tools now to learn how to help themselves for the rest of their life feel comfortable with sleep as they do with their waking hours.

    Anyway, I’ve made it through two VERY frequent (for two+ years a piece) wakers who are now stellar sleepers – they sleep in their own bed, happily go there, prefer to have me cuddle them to sleep, and most times sleep until our alarm goes off in the morning. You can do it too. The most important element here is time.

    .-= kblogger´s last blog ..Montessori Inspired Organization at Home =-.

    kblogger November 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Oh, and wanted to second the white noise machine idea – though I’ll one up it by suggesting the best white noise machine is a HEPA air purifier. We’ve always slept with one, and the kids do too – it covers all the small potentially waking noises while cleaning the air (that you breathe & rebreathe all night long) – I’ve read that allergies from dust mites are a trigger in night waking.
    .-= kblogger´s last blog ..Montessori Inspired Organization at Home =-.

    kgirl November 20, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Damn, lady, looks like you have tried it all. I’m out of tricks.

    The only thing I can add (unless someone has already said it?) is, send in the huz. Every time. Your kids want you, natch, but they’ll still be getting somebody, and you can at the very least, stay in bed. Hopefully, pretty soon, Jasper will stop bothering to wake up, because dads are no fun.

    And also, as I once heard someone say, in the waking hours, run him like a dog. Tired kids eventually sleep. (Not mine, mind you, but most.)

    love and coffee.

    Major Bedhead November 20, 2009 at 12:57 am

    I’ve been having major sleep issues with my two, who are 3 & 5. Velma, from A Smeddling Kiss has suggested melatonin. I’m getting some tomorrow. If it works at all, I will let you know. Maybe you can ask your pediatrician about it for J.
    .-= Major Bedhead´s last blog ..Better =-.

    LAVENDULA November 20, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    oh hes so adorable!!!!! sorry its so hard for him to stay asleep at night.geez HBM i have no ideas hope someone else had some good advice that will work

    magpie November 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I have no suggestions, but that is ferociously cute, that baby.

    Dina Williams November 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Your son is seriously adorable! I’m sure the sleep thing is very tough. I don’t have any advice for you, just sympathy. Hopefully it’ll get better soon.

    sixis November 20, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    He’s unbelievably cute!

    Do you let him have entertainment in his crib? I mean a board book he really likes or one of those crib musical devices?
    I put my two down with those items [plus a sippy cup of water - at 13 and 9 they still sleep with water] and sometimes in the middle of the night we’d hear the music box playing because they’d figured out that they could.
    This worked pretty well if they woke up in the middle of the night – they would look at their books or play music and fall back asleep. Of course if you have an escape artist who’d build a platform to hurdle out of the crib, then that would be a real problem. Or if he’d eat the book rather than look at it, ditto.

    Anyway – I really feel for you, not sleeping is AWFUL! Email me if you want more info on the crib music gizmo.

    Chibi Jeebs November 20, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Oh, that FACE, though! That *look* he gave you when he outstretched his arms – he KNOWS already! Lady, you are trouble in about 12 years… <3

    Melanie November 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so this may have already been mentioned, nor would I know if this would work for your specific child, but…maybe you want to consult with an occupational therapist. Maybe your son is having difficulty organizing/calming to fall asleep at night and then managing his arousal when he wakes at the end of each sleep cycle (mention that there is much kicking before/during sleep). OT’s can be great at using sensory approaches to improve sleep.

    Melanie November 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    One more thought…if it IS a sensory issue, then increasing his arousal during the day by upping physical play time may only make the problem worse.

    sixis November 23, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Sensory issues? Been, done that.

    We did brushing [using a surgical scrub brush in long strokes from hip to toe, shoulder to arm and down the back]on my older daughter but I cannot remember why.

    Hope SOMETHING works for him.

    darcie November 29, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Um…Wow! Hoping to find some tricks that we MAYBE haven’t tried! We seem to have the exact same problem!
    A queen sized bed, a hubs, me, a just turned 4 year old and an almost 3 year old – throw in a 100# dog and there’s certainly no need for birth control.
    I am going CRAZY!
    .-= darcie´s last blog ..Goodness Gracious Great Balls of…. =-.

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