Unlike with the first, we actually might remember a lot of this experience and it won’t be all a blur of bad memories!
|Sporting the ‘stach for Movember.
(Donate to Tim’s cause here!)
|The Kids’ Table|
|The Grandparents’ Table
(+ Grandchild/Great-Grandchild for entertainment!)
One of the biggest struggles with blogging is whether to keep my posts real without sounding too much like a “Debbie Downer.” I never wanted to be one of those bloggers who only showed one side and made you jealous or envious of the life I live because let’s be honest, there’s not a lot to be jealous or envious of. Instead I wanted to show you the raw side of being a mom. Not as raw as Jenny McCarthy might reveal, but, nonetheless, honest.
Lately, I’ve found myself uninspired to write. When I sit down to type about what’s going on in my household, all that comes to my mind is hopelessness and negativity. And who wants to hear that? So, I simply leave Blogger, and move on over to Pinterest to try and drown my worries and frustrations in DIY design tips and ideas.
It occurred to me today that by not blogging, I’m letting myself down. I was so good in the beginning about sharing the positive with the negative, but lately, all I’ve wanted to do is show the positive.
Is that real life? No.
So instead of trying to keep up with appearances, I’m going to let it all out. Bare with me if you’re a happy person and hate to hear negativity. I promise I won’t do it often.
Since we came back from New York, the Little Man just hasn’t been the same. Although I’ve been told he had trouble sleeping in the Pack ‘n Plays set up at our parents’ homes, he didn’t ever experience any anxieties or attachment issues with us being gone. Since we’ve been back and life has been more stable, it seems like he’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
His sleep patterns and eating habits were the first thing I noticed that seemed to have changed. He’s always been a great eater with the exception of teething. So when I noticed he wasn’t eating as much, I naturally assumed he was beginning to get his 2 year molars early. This wouldn’t have been a shock to me considering he’s been an early budder with all of his teeth; however, when I started paying closer attention, I noticed a lot of the other teething symptoms weren’t appearing. There wasn’t swelling, excessive drooling, or biting. I figured he must just be going through a phase.
The next unexpected change came literally overnight at bedtime. Normally we’ll give him a small glass of milk while Tim reads a bedtime book to him. Once he finishes, he goes right to sleep without any issues and will sleep until 6:30 or 7 the next morning. One night while Tim was getting ready to read his book, he started freaking out about going near his room. He refused any of his milk, and when we tried to put him down he started getting hysterical. When he finally did fall asleep, it was almost an hour later than his bedtime, and we were completely exhausted from all the comforting.
We thought it was just a one time thing, but he was up bright and early at 6 the next morning. Usually, whenever he wakes up early, I’ll give him a little milk to help him go back to sleep and he’ll almost always get another good hour or two in before officially waking up. But this morning, when he finished his milk, he went ballistic. Almost like he was afraid to be in his bed!
This continued at nap time, and for the next few days with each bedtime. Nap times slowly became easier on Sunday, but there’s been a few times since then I’ve had to completely wear him out before even going near his crib without crying. Bedtimes haven’t been easy; especially when I tried to go out on Monday night for Book Club. Even though I tried to sneak out at dinner time, he heard me open the garage and started screaming for me. Around 9:30pm, Tim texted me and said he was still awake and had been basically crying for me the whole night. It took 3 tries to get him to bed, and even then it ended in tears before he finally fell asleep.
Thankfully, last night was a good night, but he was up at 6:30 this morning, 5:40 yesterday morning, and 6 the last 3 mornings before that. It’s been iffy whether he’ll even go back to sleep and when he does wake up, he’s in a terrible mood.
In general, he no longer wants Tim to hold him unless I’m within eyesight, and if he even thinks I might be leaving, he’ll attach himself to my leg afraid to let go unless he’s extremely distracted.
I don’t know if it’s separation anxiety or just a toddler stage. I’m not sure if the sleep problems and eating problems are related to separation anxiety or something completely different like teething or growing or who knows what else. My first instinct would be to assume that he was afraid of us leaving again, but he had a few great days once we were back at home before all this commotion started going on.
I’ve read when some toddlers begin acting this way towards their cribs it’s because they’re ready to transition into different beds, but at 17 months, this seems too soon.
Fortunately, we’re not traveling anytime in the near or distance future, so hopefully his worries of us leaving for a long time will go away if that’s what this is; however, he starts Mother’s Day Out next week and MOPS the week after that and I’m nervous he’s going to meltdown.
So, this is what’s been on my brain the last few weeks. Life hasn’t been easy in our house, and it makes everything that much more stressful. I’m hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but right now I can’t see it.
It’s been a little over a week since we started the Ferber sleep training, and a week since my last posting about it. I’m happy to say by Night 5 & 6, Mark was officially sleeping all the way thought the night. And I’m not just talking the medical sleeping through the night of 6-7 hours. He now sleeps from 8pm to 6am. Occasionally, we’ll hear a whimper in the night, but he goes back to sleep pretty quickly.
Nap times are also on schedule. He goes down at 10:30am and 3:30am with a little bit of fussing, but once he’s asleep naps range from 1-3 hours.
|He’s even napping right now!|
Words cannot describe how much of a difference this has made on our lives. Leading up to the sleep intervention, I’m not ashamed to say that I was not enjoying my son. Anytime I was around him, he would scream and cry in my ear. He was just fussy all the time. Naps times were a beating. I was convinced I was going to break my ankle at the rate I was having to rock him; or at the least he was going to fly out of my arms.
And now, he’s a completely different kid! He’s happy during the day, and loves to be around me. We’ll have “giggle time” in the afternoons, and he’s just so sweet. I feel like I have my Little Man back. Another benefit is that I’m not falling down exhausted anymore. I’m getting continuous sleep, and I have time to myself during his naps.
Now, to be completely fair, he did have 2 top teeth come in right around the weekend we started the sleep training. Tim will tell you his behavior was 80% teething. I’ll slightly agree with him, but I think it was more like 40%. I only feel this way because he never slept this way before he started teething either. Nap times were no where near as good as they are now. At the most they were 30-45 minutes.
I hope by blogging about this it helps a few people. I know the Ferber method hasn’t worked for everyone, but I will say it’s at least trying if you can stick to it.
In the end, here’s a few of my personal tips I have if you’re interested in making it work:
Last night was . . . awesome! I’m saying that without trying to get my hopes up.
Yesterday was a little chaotic, but when Mark did go down for a nap around 1:30pm, he slept until almost 4pm! Although this was fabulous, it did make us late for Trunk or Treat; which is why our trunk was so poorly decorated (if you saw us.)
We made sure he went to bed on time to make up for his one nap yesterday, and within 2 minutes, he was out like a light again. So it looks like we have the nap and bedtime thing down!
I was even more thrilled when he slept through the night and didn’t wake up until (dun dun dun) 5:30am! I tried to keep him down until 6:30am; going in every 10, 12, 15 minutes. At that point, Tim and I turned on all the lights and got him out of bed as if it were his normal wake up time. We didn’t want him to think he’d won the battle. We just needed to get up early to head to the airport, so having him stay in bed until 7:30am just wasn’t possible.
I hope this is a turn for the better! We’ll see how today and tonight go when I’m on my own.
Here we are at night 2. For some reason, this one seems worse than last night, and I think it’s because he seems to always be on the verge of falling asleep, and then wakes himself up again.
He first woke much later than last night; a little after 3:10am. After 5 minutes of crying, he went back to sleep! I couldn’t believe it. But of course, just as I was getting settled and falling asleep myself, he woke up again, and has been awake ever since. We’ve been following the 12 minute intervals tonight, and there have been several times I’ve delayed going in there thinking he’s almost out, and then the wailing will start again. I felt so much for confident last night than I do tonight. Yesterday was such a great day though, I HAVE to stick with the program.
After being awake for over 2 hours last night, we all slept in slightly later than usual (8am). Ferber wants you to wake them at their normal time no matter what time they ended up falling asleep so that they won’t be making up that lost sleep during the day, and carrying it into the following night. So, we did.
We decided on 2 nap times for Mark based on Ferber’s recommendations, and stuck with them. We ran some errands in the morning, and at 10:30am put him down for his first nap. It only took 4-5 minutes of whimpering before he was out. He slept for an hour and a half! His longest nap in days.
His next nap came around again at 3:30pm. Again, he slept until a little after 5pm.
Not only was he napping well, but his attitude was a complete 180 degrees. I couldn’t believe this was my child! Now, I will be honest. I’m not sure if it was 100% Ferber because yesterday morning his 3rd tooth broke through, so I’m sure that had something to do with it, but I’m hoping it was a little bit of sleep too.
…. And at 5:14am, he’s out!
Just a few weeks ago, I had struggled with our pediatrician’s recommendation to break his night time feedings. At the time, Mark would go down for the night around 8pm, wake up once (no more than twice) a night to eat at 3am, and then sleep until 6:30 or 7am. Although this wasn’t ideal, and was slightly unpredictable, I had decided I was “ok” with this because whether he woke up at 3am or 5am, he was going to have to wake up for a nightly feeding anyway. I was under the impression after 8 hrs, all babies need to eat. Why listen to him “cry it out” for a 2 hour variation? Plus, this pediatrition was new to me, and didn’t know Mark. I’m sure he was just telling me what I wanted to hear, but I know what’s best for my son.
Then came the double ear infection.
For a week, I was up anywhere from 1 to 3 times a night comforting or nursing Mark back to sleep. And just as the wake-ups seemed to be dwindling back down to once a night, the teething began. And to top it off, Tim and I left Mark for 4 days for his corporate retreat.
Upon returning, you can imagine what awaited for me! (I say “me” because Tim sleeps through it all.) I’ve been up on average 3 times a night, but it’s now begun to affect nap times! There have been days where he’s only gotten 30 minutes of sleep instead of his usual 2-3 hours. He’s also fight me when he gets near our rocking chair or crib; full out exorsist behavior.
So, I decided I’m not just “ok” with this anymore, and it’s time for a sleep intervention.
I’d played with the Ferber method before, and knew the basic principles of how it worked, but had never been able to follow through. We accomplished getting him to sleep on his own for bedtime, but night wakings and naptimes had been an epic fail. So, I smartened up, and bought the book to do it right this time.
In the one day it took me to read this book, I immediately saw that some of what I thought was Ferber actually was bad information. For example, you’re not supposed to just cover your head with a pillow and let them “cry it out;” it’s controlled crying. I also had been taking him out of the crib to try and comfort him if he cried for too long. I’d also heard that for some kids, Ferber just doesn’t work for naps; however, the process extends into naptime. If you’re not following through from from night into day, then the exercises are ineffective.
So here I am . . .3am. Night 1. Mark’s been crying since 1:51am. I’ve been going in every 10 minutes to pat his chest and then leaving quickly.
I’m surprisingly more calm than I have been in the past. I know the plan and the structure. Thanks to the book, I know understand what’s going on in his head which is also helpful. Each time I feel like giving up I refer back to the basics of what I know. He’s safe. He’s not in pain. He’s just mad, and that’s okay.