As I’ve said before, we have been having sleep issues with Harrison for a few weeks. It’s been drama and exhaustion in our home as we are all running on 2-hour spurts of sleep, including the toddler.
Toddler without sleep = bear waking up from hibernation. ANGRY, I tell you.
My husband was trudging through the work day, I was living off coffee, and our normally obedient and sweet-natured child turned into a defiant hurricane of two. We felt short on tempers and started pointing fingers as to who was to who was to blame for this lack of REM cycle. I was in tears every night at 3am, stuck to the rocking chair with a toddler that screamed anger every time I even attempted to move him back to the crib.
We realized that our toddler held all the power in our home over sleep, and therefore over our moods. That had to change immediately.
We tried bringing him to our bed, but he is less keen on snuggles and more interested in how he could get Curious George on the television. (Also? Ninja kicks from the toddler to his momma’s face. Ouch!) My husband spent more nights out of our bed and on the toddler’s floor trying to convince him to have a “sleepover” or a “camp out,” but no dice. I spent hours rocking him, thankful for the quiet moments together but dreading 7am. We tried warm milk and back rubs and none of it worked. NONE OF IT.
So I dusted off my old Ferber book, got the stopwatch on my iPhone ready, and we began sleep-training our 27 month old two nights ago. We did a few other things, like turning off his light at the source and removing all toys from his room, just to give us all the best chance possible at this technique working.
What surprised me a bit is the (albeit few) commentors on my blog that suggested we just “ride it out” and that it was a phase. BY GOD, THIS IS PARENTING AND YOU SIGNED UP FOR IT, their comments imply. I understand that I signed up for sleepless nights and hard times with parenting. But I really hate the idea that parenting also comes with the acceptance of pure exhaustion and abuse.
What we decided to do is entirely up to us for what works best for OUR family. If rocking your toddler to sleep every night at 3am works for you, then YOU GO MOMMA! Rock that baby! Work that updo! (name that skit!) For us, our little boy operates best on 8 hours of straight sleep minimum, so I feel it’s my job as his momma to teach him how to get there.
It works for us, the way rocking and snuggling in the bed works for you. Check it and respect it.
P.S. The first night he was up 2.5 hours. Last night, he was up 25 minutes. We’re hoping for an uninterrupted night’s sleep soon!