The Grabbing Hands, Grab All They Can

November 4, 2009

Things are getting desperate around here. Like, really.

I can’t remember the last time I slept more than two or three hours at a stretch. I had hoped that my brief trip to Chicago would provide a full night’s sleep, but, alas, I spent that night waking up every hour wondering why I wasn’t being woken up every hour. Which, you know: FRUSTRATING.

The source of the problem is this: wakeful little Jasper and his grabby little hands. The boy has been in some kind of continuous developmental spurt/growth spurt/teething bender/WHATEVER since early September and the only thing that calms him down when he wakes – as he inevitably does, every night – is a fistful of my hair, preferably clutched while his little body – conveniently relocated to the master bed – is wrapped tightly around my head. Removal of legs or arms or fists results in high pitched wailing.

jib-squash

Like this, only with my head, and much less charming.

It is not conducive to sleep.

We have tried letting him cry it out. We have tried letting him fall asleep in his preferred, mom-clutching position and then relocating him back to his own bed. We have tried relocating me to another bed. Nothing works. If we leave him to cry it out, he screams with an escalating fury until he works himself into a frothing panic, which then requires an even more intense session of hair-grabbing to calm him down. If we remove him from our bed after he falls back asleep, he wakes and protests. If we remove me from the bed, he wakes and protests. If we move me even a few feet out of his reach, he wakes and protests. If we do anything other than send me off to another city to sleep in a hotel, he wakes and protests, and even then, he still wakes and protests.

It’s all become a bit much. The last few weeks, I tolerated – even took comfort in – his neediness and my own wakefulness, because he was sick, and I was worried – so, so worried – but his breathing has improved and his lungs seem stronger and so there’s a little less anxiety available to fuel my will to lay awake beside him all night.

I am tired, so tired.

I am tired, and my hair is breaking at the ends, and I am reaching the point where little hands – any hands – reaching toward me fills me with cold dread and that just breaks my heart. I think. I am so tired that my heart could have been plucked by crows from my insensible, zombified person some weeks ago and I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t have noticed.

Need help. BAD.

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    { 83 comments }

    lb November 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Oh wow, I had a hair-grabber too. I remember getting up in the night and actually cutting a lock of my hair (from the back at the neck) and trying to get her to hold that instead of the stuff that was still on my head. She wouldn’t go for it though. The final straw was when she decided that she also wanted to have her TOES clutching my hair. She was stuck to my head like a monkey baby with hands and feet twined around my hair. After a few nights of that, I knew she was ‘ready’ to have her own bed! I found that once I made that commitment, that this absolutely had to happen, and I just buckled down and put all my energy into it, it happened fairly quickly. I’m not into CIO, so it just took a lot of me getting up, a lot of soothing pats and sitting by the bedside, a lot of lullabies and rocking, and within a week or so she was doing it. Not to say that this would work for you or for anyone even, I’ve really got no advice, just empathy.

    Lisa November 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I remember those days. I’m sorry it’s so difficult. It seemed everytime my kids were sick that it took twice as long to get them back into another routine. He’s too little for bribing, right? I got trading cards and my son would get a pack each time he stayed in his own room.

    VHMPrincess November 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Have you tried getting him a doll with hair? Or something like that? My little brother used to like to twirl my hair and suck his finger. After I got a huge knot one day, my parents got him one of those heads for little girls so they can do makeup and hair on them. End of story!

    Her Bad Mother November 4, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Tried and failed ;)

    VHMPrincess November 4, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I figured you had tried it, just thought I’d mention it on the off chance you did not. That stinks. I hope someone has a suggestion that works.
    .-= VHMPrincess´s last blog ..A rainy weekend… =-.

    Jessi November 4, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    We call it sick-spoiled and it is the worst. Good luck. I know you’ll need it. I dread it every time despite my unwillingness to do anything differently.

    Christine November 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    My younger boy did this. He wouldn’t sleep unless his hands were attached to me, not necessarily my hair, but some part of me. The years he did this seem like a weird dream now, because the lack of sleep for that amount of time made everything feel like I was surfing a delusion. The good news? Now that he’s a teen, he’s awesome. So, if you can manage not to throw yourself out the window, or throw the kid out the window, there is life after toddler-hood. I swear there is.

    Maxine November 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    You sure do complain alot! Life is hard but it’s not so bad.

    Her Bad Mother November 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I’ll give this sentiment some thought when I’ve emerged from the crippling fog of sleep-deprivation.

    Elle November 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Wow. What a thoughtful and helpful comment. When you get rested up I think you should file this one in the round file.
    .-= Elle´s last blog ..Good reading =-.

    Jody November 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I’m with Elle. Wow… As for suggestions, I am sorry that I don’t have any. Maybe try the doll with hair again. Maybe if you switched your hair out for the doll’s hair (after he is asleep), he might stay asleep. In any case, I hope you find something that works SOON!

    Kelly November 4, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I once read something about a mother in a similar predicament who started using fake hair. Wig pacifiers. It might be worth a shot.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Wardrobe Wednesday: My Flower Fairy =-.

    mommymae November 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    dear catherine, i do hope you get some sleep soon. not sure if you have sleep clinics up there that give you the tools to help little people sleep on their own, but it may be worth looking in to. here in the states, it is the cost of a co-pay, but i have no idea how that would translate for your health care coverage. it help us teach 2 of our kids how to sleep on their own & not attached to my boob.
    .-= mommymae´s last blog ..my third bee =-.

    Tricia November 4, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Well, if the wig pacifier (mentioned above) works, then you could have one kid carrying around a phallic (toadstool?) lovey, and the other one with a wig lovey. That would make for even more amusing conversations I’m sure.

    In any case, I hope you get some sleep soon!

    Her Bad Mother November 4, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    My husband would spontaneously combust at the very thought of Toady and a wig going on parade. Which is maybe sufficient reason to arrange it.

    Ariel November 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Can I send him a bear? My daughter has a bear with lovely soft fur that made all the difference…I guess its actually a dog, we got it from build a bear.

    Her Bad Mother November 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    They make bears with fur-like fur? That might be worth a shot…

    Val November 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Here’s another idea. Does he have a lovey? Can you get him to hug the lovey while he’s clutching you in bed. Then, after a few nights, lay at the side of his bed while he is clutching you and the lovey. Then, after another few nights, just hold his hand while he is clutching the lovey….and so forth. I think a gradual change, and giving him something else that is familiar to cling to might help.

    I had a much less severe, but similar problem. When my son started sleeping through the night, I found that I started missing the snuggling with him – so I would go get him around midnight for a snuggle. Luckily, he is very independent and would not fall back asleep until he was back in his own bed. But now, he has trouble sleeping through the night without a quick snuggle thrown in. I have created a monster! But it is getting a lot better by me not bringing him into my bed and gradually shortening the snuggle time.

    Another thought, he can probably sense your stress about the sleeping situation and it is making him stressed and clingy. Can you get some help for an hour or two during the days so you can get a quick nap in? (If I lived near you I would come by. :) ) It might help lessen your stress about sleeping at night and make the whole family a bit more relaxed.

    Final if all else fails idea: Children’s Benadryl. (only halfway joking).

    Whatever you do, hang in there. We need your wit and insight. Wishing all the peace in the world this evening.

    Her Bad Mother November 4, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    He doesn’t have a lovey. My hair is his lovey. We’ve tried to get him onto loveys, to no avail. He has a big bear that he sleeps with, but he ignores it when he’s really needy.

    Benadryl is sounding like a better and better lovey every day.

    Della November 5, 2009 at 12:58 am

    The whole shift-from-one-to-the-other idea isn’t bad though. Make sure if he’s holding your hair, he’s also holding lovey-of-your-choice, so he associates it?

    I dunno, but it seems like a good idea, even if it takes a long time to catch on.

    anymommy November 4, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I’m not sure if you’ve reached this point or not, but this lady is AMAZING.

    http://www.littlesleepers.com/

    One of my dearest friends is one of the testimonial families. She’s swears by her. It’s like a religion. The religion of mom actually getting to sleep ;-)

    She is expensive, but maybe she would be interested in having you blog or write an article about the experience?

    Anyway, I’m sorry. Sleep deprivation sucks.
    .-= anymommy´s last blog ..Teething =-.

    Joy November 4, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Oh, how I remember those days! You’ve stated it perfectly – a continuous stretch of developmental milestones, one after another, and a bout or two of sickness. I didn’t sleep for much longer than I care to remember. I don’t remember what (if anything) we did that started the end of that, but they do grow out of it eventually. Which is no comfort, I’m so sorry, but at 7.5 and 5.5, and 2.5, they are all sleeping, and so are we. (At least, I do as long as I remember to put myself to bed at a reasonable hour, and stop myself from waiting up for the next wake-up call!)

    I hope that now he’s feeling better, he can be persuaded into some longer stretches of sleep, so you can get some, too. ((hugs))

    caramama November 4, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Oh, man. Sucky suck suck!

    My daughter used to need to play with my hair to get to sleep, and nothing else would work. But my hair was (and is) long enough that I was able to deal with it. Also, once she was asleep, I could leave.

    But we’ve been through those sleep regressions where nothing or almost nothing works. It just plain sucks.

    So no solutions (I’m guessing you’ve already tried a bunch), but plenty of sympathy, empathy and comisseration!
    .-= caramama´s last blog ..The Girls Go Trick-or-Treating =-.

    liz November 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Ask Moxie had a post on exactly this problem. It ended up with over 50 comments, so you may find a solution there
    .-= liz´s last blog ..Dammit, Maine! =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 4, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I’ll check it out; thank you!

    ginabad November 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    We went through this with my daughter several times. She has autism & sensory disorder and requires plenty of support for sleep – I’m not suggesting that your son has these issues. The ONLY thing that worked was by putting her in her room with a child-proof doorknob guard inside the room (I won’t lock the door), and fiddling with lights & blanketing & such to get a perfect mix. You can put up a child monitor or a nanny cam but you MUST not respond (or let him even hear you CREAK the floorboard outside his door). We let her cry it out for a long time, and I sat in my bed, awake most of the night, feeling like the crappiest special needs mom in the whole world.

    Two nights later, she only got out of bed once. A week later, she didn’t get out of it at all. We’ve run this problem more than once, but every time she goes through this, it takes less time to get her to sleep through the night, esp now she’s in preschool. Now, we all sleep in peace and I once thought that could NEVER happen!

    Good luck.

    Good luck!!
    .-= ginabad´s last blog ..Love, Marriage, and all that Good(?) Stuff =-.

    JUlie November 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Been there, thank god it is a distant memory. No helpful words of wisdom unfortunately, try to take care of Mommy.

    ginabad November 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Oh, one more thing: I obsessively child-proofed the room when I did this. No high objects, outlet covers on, nothing even remotely sharp around, not even toys! You may want to leave a night-light on so no bumping around, or put mattress on the floor, to make sure that he’s safe. HTH.
    .-= ginabad´s last blog ..Love, Marriage, and all that Good(?) Stuff =-.

    Maxine November 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    LOL I figure you’d complain about my comment. My husband was killed in a car accident when our twins were 6 months old so I’m not some pampered princess, for the record. I like your writing style alot. Just wish there was something positive to read once in awhile. Anyway, that’s all I have to say. Don’t want to keep giving you things to complain about–you’ve got plenty without my help apparently!

    Her Bad Mother November 4, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I didn’t complain, actually. Just noted that I was too tired to complain. Which is maybe a complaint, but I’m too tired to parse the logic.

    So sorry about your loss. For happier things to read here, try the posts about Rainbow Robots, or haircuts. In the meantime, I’ll work on NOT BEING SO TIRED, so that I can write happier.

    edenland November 4, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Maxine
    You’re not the only one
    To take the whole world on
    But no one’s ever won

    Catherine, my son is almost the exact age as yours. While I don’t have the hair grabbing … he has poor sleeping habits. (UNDERSTATEMENT). So tired. All the time.

    Just wanted you to know I understand, sending you a sleep-deprived high-five.

    It’ll pass. Even kidney stones eventually pass.

    XO
    .-= edenland´s last blog ..Thirst =-.

    Sarah Denley November 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Maxine,
    You really got me thinking. I have thought the exact same thing at times. I’ve just never said it because I’m not sure it’s my place to criticize how someone chooses to chronicle their life.

    I follow HBM on Twitter as well and I’ve sometimes thought “does this woman ever even like her children?” (Catherine–I can tell you LOVE them). Then I read posts like the hair cut one and I realize she does take pleasure in her children. Anyway, I’ve considered not reading anymore, but I still keep coming back. I love her writing style as you said, her honesty, her humor, and her strong convictions on certain issues.

    Sometimes, though, I do feel like there is a competition going on in the blogosphere for who has the worst childbirth/breastfeeding/sorted past/messy divorce/CIO story. Of course, on the other side is the mommy blogger who keeps an immaculate Pottery Barn decorated house, has Martha Stewart style refreshments for her playgroup, and prefaces the rare nonsunny comment with “of course I’m SOOOO thankful for my children”.

    I think you just kinda have to realize that some bitching is just integral to being a “Bad Mother” blog.
    .-= Sarah Denley´s last blog ..Telegram to My Dear Husband =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Some bitching is just integral to a blog written by a diagnosed depressive who’s committed to chronicling her struggles with motherhood. *I* think that it’s obvious that I love my children and my life, but this is simply not a blog about sunshine and rainbows. The fact that I love my children is a given, but that’s just not something that’s interesting to write about over and over and over again.

    And, it’s not *WHY* I write in this forum. I write to work out my thinking on certain issues, to ask for help when I’m struggling and to express my most complicated feelings. At this moment in my life, I’m coming off of having lost my father, having had a child so sick that he stopped breathing, and not sleeping for over two months. It’s not cheery shit, and I wouldn’t be an authentic writer if I pretended that the most pressing thing on my mind was whether the clouds were puffy like angel ball gowns, or spun like cotton candy, when really I’m stilled gripped by grief and anxiety and too tired to see straight.

    That said, I’m glad that something keeps you coming back ;)
    .-= Her Bad Mother´s last blog ..The Grabbing Hands, Grab All They Can =-.

    Sarah Denley November 5, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Like I said, I love your honesty. And I should’ve started the whole thing with “this has to suck and I hope someone helps you figure out a solution”. I hope I wasn’t too hurtful; I really do love your blog!
    .-= Sarah Denley´s last blog ..Running the Race =-.

    Lisa November 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Sarah and Maxine,

    I don’t think you understand how these things work. If you want a say in what someone writes, you have to pay them to write. I think you want is to become a publisher, not a reader of someone else’s blog.

    There are fifty-bajillion blogs out there. You might even find that has just the right balance of what you want.

    Or you could write your own blog.

    Or you could go off and be a film director, then you can get exactly what you want.

    All of these are better options than trying to tell someone what you want out of their online diary.

    Sarah Denley November 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I don’t think I tried to tell anyone how to write. I said I had thought about not coming back and decided against it. I was just stating that I had felt the same way as Maxine before, but in the end I felt the quality of writing and the honesty of this blog made it worth it. I do have my own blog and I would be interested in what keeps people coming back to it. I guess my comments did seem a little snarky, but some of what I said was in defense of this blog.
    .-= Sarah Denley´s last blog ..Weekly Happenings Post #34 (November 9-15)–Better Late Than Never =-.

    Amy November 4, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    God, I so feel your pain. I have a seven month old and a four year old and they have been seriously tag-teaming me in the sleep deprivation department. I don’t have the hair issue, but the complete and utter despair about sleep – yep, check! I went out of town about a month ago and did the exact same thing – waking up every hour. SO frustrating! I wish I had some awesome advice to share, but just wanted to empathize. Trying to write this coherently has been quite a challenge!

    Amy November 4, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Has anyone suggested shaving your head? At least then you wouldn’t get the sharp pain of having your hair pulled. (I’m kidding, of course. Or maybe not. Depends on how desperate you are.)

    Ariel November 4, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Have you checked out pictures for sad children?
    http://www.picturesforsadchildren.com/index.php?comicID=296
    “If you want to hang out with a dude who feels differently, you will have to find a different dude”.
    I like you just the way you are. I wish I could help.

    cagey November 4, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    We are co-sleepers and I am down with that. However, my little girl has to have my tummy. As in, all night long she says “I want your tummy”. And then, she has to rub it. Like, WTF? Am I Buddha, granting her some sort of grand luck? Fortunately, I can sleep somewhat okay with this, but there are some nights when I just want my tummy all to myself.
    .-= cagey´s last blog ..Here piggy, piggy. =-.

    Trilby November 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    I used this trick to transfer both my boys from the bassinet to the crib.

    Get a t-shirt, or soft jersey material shirt and wear it for a day, or night if that’s better. Wear it long enough for it to *smell* like you. Before you put him to bed, put it on his mattress and tuck it in as best you can then lay him on it. (it helps if the shirt is warm when you lay him down. I put a heating pad on it for about 30 minutes before bedtime, then took it off before I laid them down.)

    The idea is that when he wakes up, he’ll still be able to smell you and know that you’re near and it’ll comfort him enough to be able to go back to sleep on his own.

    Granted that my boys (3 yo and 1 yo, now) were around 8 weeks old when we did this, but, any port in a storm, right??

    I hope that helps, and I really hope that things take a happy turn and you can sleep peacefully.

    cindy w November 4, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    We moved when my daughter was 18 months old & it messed with her head enough that she could only sleep in our bed. Crying it out didn’t work because she’d get more & more agitated until she vomited. FAIL.

    Here’s what I did: I put her in her crib, sat on the floor and reached through the slats to rub her back until she fell asleep (this was HELL the first few nights while she freaked out & wailed for me to pick her up – took over 30 minutes for her to get calm & lie down). Also, crib slats = sexy forearm bruises. HAWT. If she woke up in the middle of the night, I’d do the same thing – not pick her up, just reach through to comfort her back to sleep. Finally, after like a week of that, I just sat next to the crib while she fell asleep – no eye contact (usually playing on my iPhone). Then I gradually moved closer & closer to the door until finally she was ok with me putting her down & walking away. Be warned, it took several weeks.

    Two other things: you might try some calming music at bedtime (we use the Baby Einstein lullaby CD, but whatever works). Also, Jasper might like a nightlight in his room, if there isn’t one in there already.

    Good luck! Nothing worse than sleep deprivation. Hope you get some rest soon.
    .-= cindy w´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

    Alex November 4, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I totally sympathise with you about the sleep deprivation. With 4 kids I haven’t slept in 10 years.

    There’s not much you can do but soldier on. They (hopefully) grow out of it.

    Good luck. And take some Vitamin B. It helps.

    Malke November 4, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Have you tried any calming measures before bed? A little chammomile tincture and some lavender mist in the bedroom can work wonders. A lavender bath gel bubble bath at bedtime? Catnip tea (cooled, with honey) cures just about every childhood ill known to mothers — good for the daytime teething/anxiousness, could possibly make the nights better?

    Marianne November 4, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Well, he screams in protest because it works — he ends up getting what he wants. If he learns that screaming won’t get him what he wants, he’ll stop. BUT …. the problem if figuring out how to break the habit without making things even worse in the meantime.

    Perhaps a lovey that is as similar as possible to your hair … maybe a wig, washed with the same shampoo you use? If you time it with a hair cut of your own, and perhaps a change of shampoo for yourself, maybe it would help him shift to the new hair-lovey?

    Amelia Sprout November 4, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Have you thought about the commercial cop out of letting him go with you somewhere to pick out a lovey? Some place with an excess of stuffed things? Like Build-A-B3ar?

    Perhaps the best fifty bucks I’ve ever spent was at that place getting my daughter to give up her pacifier. We won’t talk about how she’s started having nightmares and needs me to sleep on the same floor as her….
    .-= Amelia Sprout´s last blog ..Wanted: Alone Time =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I think he’s still a bit young for that – he’d respond to something enthusiastically and then abandon it at bedtime. (We did this with Emilia though, to get her to give up her paci, and it totally worked, so yeah, it’s a useful strategy ;) )

    kgirl November 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I haven’t slept in 4 1/2 years, so nothing but understanding from this camp.

    karen November 4, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    If you’re going to go the slow route, how about putting a mattress for you (or both of you, as necessary) on the floor in his room. At least it breaks the habit of coming into your room. Baby steps, so to speak.

    Sick-spoiled is a good word for it.

    Meredith November 4, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Oh, I feel your pain. The worst is that feeling you describe: the dread when those little hands reach for you….no one wants to feel that way, but it is so hard not to when you are sleep deprived and it’s all physical contact all the time.
    We went through a bad night-waking phase with our fifteen month old recently. Crying it out never, ever worked; our children possess an uncanny ability to scream for hours, and then take it up a notch. Well, this might not be popular, but we resorted to a homeopathic sleep remedy called Quietude (company is called Boiron, I believe you can buy it at Shoppers Drug Mart). While you may only give it to them for ten days, it did get our son to sleep through the night again, which eliminated the middle of the night histrionics. He does still have some wake-ups, but he seemed to get over some of his need to clutch, squirm, grab and scream bloody murder after a few nights of good sleep.
    Good luck. This shit is hard.

    Her Bad Mother November 5, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I’ve actually seen that stuff – might need to go buy some today!

    Karen November 4, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    OMG, Wig Pacifier!

    No sleep really sucks, so sorry. I am a big Rescue Remedy, Lavender Oil fan. Have you tried hot steamy salt baths, make him drunk on steam, stick him in foot pajamas and maybe he’ll pass out.

    I used to work daycare & one little toddler in my class was very grabby at naptime. I finally did hand massage with lavender oil. Once his hands were relaxed he was off in dream land. He didn’t go for my hair, but I also was not his mama.

    My mother was lucky. She was allowed to dose us with whiskey – and herself. Gotta love the 70s.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..By the Numbers =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 5, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Salt bath? How do you do that – just put table salt in the bath?

    I’ll try anything at this point.

    Mandi Bone November 4, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Could you wear a wig then once he fall asleep you slip off the wig?

    Her Bad Mother November 5, 2009 at 10:28 am

    That? Is actually genius.

    Julie@MommySaidWhat November 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    I haven’t slept since my daughter was born. She’s 22 months old and came on the heels of her 3 year old brother – the perfect sleeper. My daughter is not a hair grabber, and we don’t co-sleep, but I understand about how “crying it out” only makes it worse. I’m reading “Raising Your Spirited Child” and I highly recommend it. I’m also considering Melatonin as I’ve heard only good things.

    I wish you lots of luck and I hope you can at least take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.

    jonniker November 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Have you read Ferber? The whole thing? The latest versions have lots of anecdotes just like this. I know he’s known as a CIO proponent, and while you might have tried that, there might be something in the examples that helps. I’m not a fan of CIO in general, but I have to say, I loved Ferber, and found it really helpful in getting my kid off the boob all night long (every 45 minutes. No shit. It was hell.)

    Whatever you DO decide, give it at least five days no matter how painful it is. Because consistency is the only way you’re going to dig your way out of this.

    daysgoby November 4, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Oh, God, Catherine. What a mess.

    There HAS to be a better way. (And I’m not sure what that is, but sweet jesus you must be EXHAUSTED.)

    Have you tried a taggie blanket?
    .-= daysgoby´s last blog ..24 Hours London =-.

    Rebecca (Playground Confidential) November 5, 2009 at 12:33 am

    When Colum was night waking a kazillion times at 15 months we used The Baby Whisperer. You need to clear a few nights and it’s hard, but it worked and didn’t seem as totally brutal as just leaving him to cry. I don’t think there’s going to be a gentle way to fool him at his age. He’s just gotta learn some other way to fall asleep — and he ain’t gonna like it.

    Stone Fox November 5, 2009 at 12:56 am

    i feel awful for you. going without sleep is maddening, and messes with a person’s entire life.

    the only thing i can think of is maybe send him to grandma’s or an aunt’s house for 2 or 3 solid days and nights? i know you were just in chicago, but maybe if he got to go to a family member’s house just by himself, he might snap out of it. he’d have to be in the ‘ready for a sleepover’ stage.
    .-= Stone Fox´s last blog ..I’ll even let you kick my ass. =-.

    Liz November 5, 2009 at 2:00 am

    I so feel for you. I always need my sleep and both of my kids have been awful sleepers. The first one won’t go to sleep, the other wakes up in the middle night crying my name just so I can take her to the bathroom and then she climbs into bed with dh and me. And she is a snuggler, and I am a light sleeper, so hence, I don’t get much sleep. Some suggestions for your situation, take them or leave them:
    1. Giving him a due date of when things are going to stop. Mark it on the calendar and let him pick out a “lovey” (as people are calling it here) or a cool toy on that day to celebrate. this worked with my daughter and potty training. I just told her that after this box of pullups were finished, I wasn’t going to buy anymore and she would have to use the potty. Worked great and although I didn’t have to buy her a toy to “bribe” her, hey, bribery is okay in desperate situations.

    2. We used a reward chart for my daughter, the screaming of my name in the middle of the night. Gave her a sticker every morning that she woke up in her own bed and when she filled a chart with stickers she got a prize (she usually chose McD’s). We fall back on this method if she starts crawling in bed with us again.

    3. We purchased the Floppy Sleep Game CD, which my son really enjoyed listening to at night. It is this CD where a woman talks calmly, teaching kids how to relax and pretty much meditate to help them fall asleep. There is a fun story she says and sings a couple of songs. I don’t know exactly how old your son is but this may not work until he is older. My son enjoyed listening to it at about the age of 4 but really didn’t “get it” until about age 8. But maybe it can be presented as a new way to go to sleep at night.

    Good luck with it all. I soooooo feel you on the sleep deprivation. I think it was one of the causes of my depression a couple of years back. Please take care of yourself. :)

    liz

    Elly November 5, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Poor Momma,

    My wee on didn’t sleep through the night till he was nearly 2…I can empathize with the exhaustion

    This too shall pass, hopefully very soon.

    On the bright side, good thing he is a hair man, not a boob man!

    Wendy November 5, 2009 at 8:14 am

    You should contact this lady: http://www.sleepdoula.com/index.htm

    I saw her speak once and the tips that she suggested are exactly what I needed to get my little one to sleep.
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..being a parent during a pandemic is bad for your blood pressure =-.

    Gliding through motherhood November 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

    This reminds me of my nephew who would only sleep holding on to someone’s ear, and since the intense grabbing was less painful to the ear than the piercing screams that came otherwise they generally let him do it. He’s almost 4 now and only needs the occasional ear grabbing session in moments of great stress. I hope you get some sleep soon!
    .-= Gliding through motherhood´s last blog ..I so sleepy =-.

    looneyjen November 5, 2009 at 10:48 am

    ugh. just… ugh. my third is currently in the mode where he won’t sleep unless attached to someone. namely, me. I did discover that it had a lot to do with the warmth. he runs cool or something so he needs to feel another’s warmth. (and maybe that has a lot to do with my husband needing to keep the house at 62 degrees :)

    Alison November 5, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Oh my god sleep deprivation is the worst form of torture.

    Wish I had some fail safe remedies for you but just sympathy.

    I like the fooling him with a wig you then slip off idea!
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..town mouse V country mouse =-.

    Carrie November 5, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Hey! I feel your pain, my middle son got used to brushing my hair against his face while he nursed and then decided he had to have my hair to fall asleep. I got one of those fake hair ponytail holder thingies and put it around the neck of a small stuffed animal. But before I did that I washed it in my shampoo so it would maybe help a little to trick him. So maybe do that with the wig before you try the slip it off once he’s asleep idea. Just wanted to make that suggestion! Good luck!! :)
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..Pose of the month-Tree Pose =-.

    gretchen from lifenut November 5, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I wish I had words of wisdom. It sounds like you’ve tried everything and more.

    We have sleep issues, but nothing like what you are dealing with.

    I do like the title of this post. Everything counts in large amounts, right? ;) Too bad it’s isn’t a large amount of sleep.

    rebecca November 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    There’s a site on the web that will make a doll or lovey from your own hair that you cut and send. I wish I had discovered them when my 3yo was in his hair grabbing years. It stopped sometime around the 2year mark on its own. No lovey or doll or bear or wig or anything worked, sorry. This time (due next week with #2) I am totally contemplating the buzzcut for myself just to avoid hair entrapment again.

    Theresa November 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Hello fellow Canadian!

    I’ve been lurking and following you on Twitter for a few weeks now. I love your blog and I love that you’re practically a neighbour :) Hooray! A cool Canadian blogger!

    My 2-year old is sick with two ear infections and tonsillitis right now and I am already dreading the breaking of the bad habits I have created over the last day or two! Her health issues are mundane compared to what your little guy is going through so I can’t even IMAGINE the stress level.

    When you are feeling up to it and really determined AND YOUR HUSBAND AGREES (because omg you have to be on the same page, yes?) you will be able to break his bad habit. I go with a cry-it-out method myself but you will do what you have to do.

    Just remember – what’s good for Mama is good for EVERYONE. You can do it!
    .-= Theresa´s last blog ..Sick Day plus Big Plan =-.

    Lorien November 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Oh, I feel your pain! That said, the thought of any baby going through CIO breaks my heart.
    Other than the braid/barrette/ponytail not giving him anything to clutch, I have no advise.

    Please read this before you choose CIO:

    http://www.phdinparenting.com/2008/07/05/no-cry-it-out/
    .-= Lorien´s last blog ..The next chapter in my frabjous life =-.

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