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Well, Now That’s Out of the Way

RR has been sleeping less well at night. We’ve become accustomed to plenty of peaceful nights. Nights that began early in the evening and extended well into the 7 o’clock hour. Oh, we were so refreshed. We woke up feeling like new souls every day. Life was shiny in the way that it can only be when you are not peering through the veil of sleep deprivation.

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Lest you think it has always been this way, let me assure you that in child-time, two weeks is practically forever. Hell, in sleep-time, three nights is enough to make me forget that I was ever tired to begin with. But we’ve had our share of sleep trials. Apparently, now is also one of those times.

Suddenly a nighttime wake-up has morphed into a bedtime reset complete with requests for rocking, singing, and story time. RR is dissatisfied with any attempt to wrap it up and howls if you try to put her back in the crib. Repeat. At least twice. By now you know me well enough to know that my tolerance lasted one night before I morphed into stumbling, bleary, antihero who approached nighttime wake-ups with an attitude that would shame the most cantankerous of honey badgers. That, I assure you, soothed RR back to sleep immediately.

And then my wife and I reached that point. The one we’ve never reached in three years of parenting. It’s possible the words have never been uttered in the many years we’ve known each other. Implied, probably. I’m no saint. But there it is.

“This is all your fault.”

I don’t suppose those were the exact words. I was half asleep at the time. But sure enough. In my daze, I informed my wife that the reason we were going to sit here and listen to RR scream was because she had indulged our daughter in an increasingly long series of demands to be rocked and held and cuddled in the middle of the night. Whenever she felt like it. And while that child was accustomed to me refusing to pick her up (I am, after all, the bottom tier mother in a series of layers that also includes dracula ants and Norman Bates’ mother), her reluctance to simmer down had swiftly snuck me down the path of rocking and cuddling.

When I realized I had been duped by a two-year-old (not the first time, I assure you) I resolved to stick to in-the-crib soothing. On the spectrum of cry-it-out and god-no-anything-but-that we are closer to the latter. As she has gotten older, we’ve been able successfully substitute verbal soothing for physical consolation. Surely, she would understand.

“It’s okay baby. What’s wrong? Here are your things, let me tuck you in.”
“Rock me, mama.”
“It’s nighttime, it’s time to sleep not rock.”

And that left me and my wife in the bedroom with blame drifting down around us. Maybe it’s because my long-suffering wife is used to my my inability to be rational at night. Or maybe it’s because she has the patience of a saint. Whatever it is, she let it pass with only a mention the next day. Thanks, she said, for getting that out of the way. You guys, we are not divorced. Which is the best possible outcome. Also, RR is mostly sleeping through the night again.

Rest assured, I am under no delusion that this is the result of some success on our parts so much as it is the result of her having wrapped up whatever developmental stage she was in. That said, the stage was not potty training. More on that catastrophe another time.



6 Responses

  1. We went through that stage. Actually, we have revisited it a few times over the years – as she got older and in a big girl bed, that meant she crawled in with us in the middle of the night. All well and good until she realized recently that there’s not enough room for her. Now she’ll just stand over me and talk to me until I agree to go back down to her room with her. Or let her in our bed, where I get squished in the middle.
    Still, this stage is preferable to the bedtime meltdown, which took on epic proportions at this age. And is why she’s an only child.

  2. We so have the same issues around here! Dear wife indulges every wimper and plea, at bed time and at wake ups. It has gotten to the point that our 2 yo tells me to “Go!” When I go in to her room at 3am! Having said that, it is rare that we have a wake up more than once every week or two, though a couple weeks back it happened every night for a week! We were all exhausted and at out wits end!! I have switn we will not make the same mistakes when #2 arrives! We shall see how that goes!!

  3. Wow, I’m impressed you guys went so long without the “this is all your fault” sentence ever coming up! In our case it happened at one of the pre-1 year sleep regressions (maybe around 7 months? It’s all a blur!) In our case, I am the rocker and soother (and thus At Fault). That regression also passed, I am convinced, on its own, and not as a result of any change in our behavior. It’s sort of reassuring though – just do the reasonable stuff (make sure the room is dark enough, warm or cool enough, that dolly is in the bed, that she doesn’t need tylenol for teething), and that’s all you can do. Most of the time that works. Sometimes kids wake up. Yes, this is awful when you are in it, but at this point, I now always have hope that it will end. It has every other time.

  4. Oh my! ME TOO!!!! It is a curse. I’m working in it right alongside you. If you find something that works, pass it along!

  5. Kind of creepy, because it’s like you’ve been spending every night in my child’s bedroom. Lengthening sleep routine, check. Love of my life who indulges lengthening routine, check. Bad mama blame game, double check!

  6. Oh lady, I totally hear you. Actually at this very moment I’m listening to Maya wailing in her room. She’s already come out 3 times crying, “I don’t waaaant to be in my wooom. It’s eeeeenoying!!”

    Rebeca has to handle these meltdowns because IT’S TOTALLY HER FAULT!!

    When I put Maya to bed, she stays and falls asleep super fast. Rebeca is the one who will indulge her for EVA. So too bad for her, she gets to handle these almost nightly drama sessions.

    At least she knows this. So we’re not getting divorced either. 😉

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