Sunday, September 02, 2007

This Ain't Gonna Be Pretty

The Bug is making me insane. She will not fucking sleep. Not for love or money or pleading or crying or anything. She falls asleep, only to wake up 20, 30, 60 minutes later. She can't put herself back to sleep, so she stands in her crib and screams. Screams and shrieks until you would swear I was pouring boiling water over her. This is maddening at 8 p.m. but at 3 a.m., I'm ready to start punching holes in the walls.

She doesn't have a fever. She's not hurt in any way. She doesn't appear to be teething, although I've been giving her Motrin over the last couple of nights, just in case. It's not doing shit.

She wants me and only me all. the. fucking. time. TCBIM won't do. She screams right in his face.

So I rock her and rock her and fucking rock her until she falls asleep. Then I put her in her crib and invariably, she wakes up, just about instantly, and the whole fucking thing starts all over again.

She's exhausted, I'm exhausted and I am rapidly losing my shit. I screamed back at her tonight because I am so fucking frustrated with her. I don't know what to do. TCBIM doesn't know what to do. Because she's not sleeping, neither of us is sleeping. We certainly can't take it out on her so we're becoming short-tempered and snotty with each other. Not to mention, we haven't had sex in weeks because she won't fucking sleep.

Boo isn't much better. She has about 8,947 meltdowns a day, complete with sobbing in the hands. If she knew how to rend her clothes and tear out her hair, I'm sure she would. She whines incessantly, about everything. She also talks constantly. "Mama, can I have a cup, can I have a cup, can I have a cup?" "Mama, play blocks with me, play blocks with me, play blocks with me." I can't even get a word in edgewise to ask her to hang on or to say "OK." She just keeps going and going and going, like that fucking battery rabbit. Forget it if I say no - then all hell breaks loose. And I know, she's 2-3/4 and I should expect this, but between her and The Bug, I'm about at the end of my rope. I feel like I'm always on edge with them, just waiting for the next fucking storm. The calms only last for a few moments. It just sucks.

I need advice. I get out once a week, by myself or with TCBIM, so it's not like I'm house-bound with them. TCBIM is generally home in the evenings to help out - he plays hockey twice a week, but rarely leaves before they go to bed, so I do have help. It's not that - it's the fucking shrieking all night long and the whining all day long. It's driving me around the bend. It's driving TCBIM around the bend. If this doesn't end soon, I'm going to be a.) an alcoholic or b.) insane. Locked up, white jacket, padded room insane.

Where's the fucking wine?


Beck said...

Hmmmmmmmm.... Is she old enough to be bribed? With one of my kids, we made a sticker chart, and every night that she managed to NOT wake us up as much - maybe only twice that night - she got a sticker. When she had a manageable number of stickers, we took her out for a milkshake.
ANOTHER thing that helped was giving yet ANOTHER kid a stuffed bear who needed, we told him, help falling back asleep at night, and who needed to be rocked and cuddled quietly so that he could go back to sleep.
It's SO easy to get caught in a really destructive sleep pattern with toddlers - rocking them to sleep doesn't seem like that much trouble when they're BABIES, and suddenly you have a two year old who won't SLEEP AT ALL. Oh, I've been there. What you have to do - and it's miserable - is wean her from the rocking back to sleep and teach her how to fall back to sleep on her own. It is AWFUL, but it's doable.

Major Bedhead said...

She's only just turned one, so a sticker chart won't work. She dozes off by herself, but she can't seem to stay asleep and seems to sleep so lightly that the slightest thing will wake her up.

Jess said...

Any chance she has reflux? Will she sleep in her car seat or bouncy?

I swear, it's like if the wind blows the wrong way, R is pissed around here too. So NOT looking forward to C going to school so it'll be just her and me.

I'm sorry, J. Can TCBYM get her to sleep at all? Even with a bottle?

Christina said...

How long will she continue crying if you don't go in? Cordy was like this as a baby (until about 18 months, really), and we had to do the tough love approach of letting her cry it out a little.

We'd never go longer than 15 minutes without at least going in to tell her everything was OK (but not pick her up), then let her go another 15 minutes and repeat if necessary. It was tough at first, but slowly she cried less and less.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with that. I know how frustrating it is.

meanderings said...

You're bringing back memories - and they're not good ones. We did the same as Christina (above comment) after doing everything you've done. It was NOT easy - and it seemed to take forever - but each night it got a little better. They never showed up to put us in the little white jackets, but there were nights that we wished someone would take us away, far away. Hang in there, it does get better!

Stomper Girl said...

This sucks. Do you have maternal care services available to you? We have "sleep schools" where you stay for a few nights to learn settling techniques. The problem sounds like she hasn't learnt how to put herself to sleep and relies on you to do it for her. All babies can learn it but it can be a tough couple of nights and hard to do if she is disturbing your other kids - which is why going away to a sleep school can work very well. The basic technique, like Beck says, is to put her in her cot awake and when she screams you come in and soothe with voice only, no rocking or patting, and walk away. Come back in 1 minutes time the first time, then wait 2 minutes the next till you get to 8-10 minutes (you're not supposed to leave it longer than that), keep waiting 10 minutes, go back in. Repeat until she falls asleep. It's 2-4 nights of this which is torture and fucking hard work just so you know but it works and then she knows how to do it herself. But be consistent. Same thing each time, just calmly (!!) repeat "shhh" with your hand calmly on her back. But not all parents want to work this way and there are theories about co-sleeping and such. You have to know what you are comfortable with. It helps to remember that crying and screaming don't cause your baby physical harm. Get help if you can. Farm the other kids out while you're doing it so you only have one thing to concentrate on. Support each other during the process. 4 nights of hard slog and feeling like your heart will break, years of good nights' sleep ever after.

Major Bedhead said...

dgb - she won't have anything to do with TCBIM if she knows I'm around. I don't think it's reflux, I think it's pure cussedness.

Christina - she'll scream until I go in there. I've let her go as long as 20 - 30 minutes.

SG - I don't think we have anything like that here, but I can look into it. The problem is that she wakes up and stands up immediately. When I go in there, she just lunges for me and clamours to be picked up. I know I shouldn't, but I usually do, and then I lie her back down and try to get her to calm down. Sometimes, if I catch her early enough, she'll put herself back down, but that rarely happens. I usually wind up taking her to bed with me, but that's still a struggle because she wants to nurse all night long.

Zazzy said...

Julia, have you and your doctor ruled out physical causes like sleep apnea?

There are bulletin boards for parents with children who have sleep problems - maybe you could find some answers or at least some empathy there.

And maybe this article will give you some places to start.

Hugs to you

MsPrufrock said...

Do you ever read Moxie ( know finding the time to read helpful stuff on the internet is limited, but it has been my saving grace in the past few months regarding P's sleep issues. There is a handy sidebar with all the main issues listed by category, so if you can find the time, try and have a look.

I will say that some commenters so far have mentioned letting her cry it out, and my kid is proof positive that it doesn't work for everyone. She would get more upset rather than crying herself to sleep. I read on Moxie that some babies cry to release tension, whereas others cry and gain tension. Lucky me, I have the latter.

I hope you find something that works because I know how maddening it can all be. Good luck.

LJ said...

a little whiskey in her bottle?
*kidding of course*
how about a little whiskey in yours?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this will help and most likely you've tried it.

Warm bath before bed followed by long massage with lotion. Have some slow classical music on a loop going in her room. The smell of lavender is supposed to help. If this all fails, do it for yourself (ha) and try the cry it out. We had to resort to this. Took a week and was the hardest thing we had to do but it worked!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I posted a huge comment, and then quit out before I sent it---nice.

Anyway, to paraphrase what I wrote before---I am soooo sorry you are having a hard time. Been there, and barely survived myself.

For us, the only answer was the family bed. I couldn't handle the lack of sleep. Husband slept with our 2yo, while I slept with out baby. Screwed up and not for everyone, I'm sure, but it allowed me to sleep which was the A-#1 paramount thing.

What fucked me up the most was when our 2nd child started waking up almost every night SCREAMING and hitting and kicking. 4-5 nights a week, for up to 2 hours at a time. She did this from age 2 to 3 1/2, and it didn't matter where she slept (she wasn't in our bed at this point). I had the WORST possible mother thoughts during these episodes, and I ranted, cried, threw things (luckily not her) and basically had mini-nervous breakdowns several times.

The girls are now 4 & 6 and share a bed. Nightimes aren't perfect, but they are soooo much better. However, when we finally decide to kick our almost-3 year old son out of our bed (he's never slept anywhere else), I fear for those nights.

Anonymous said...

No advice, just sympathy. Keep a bottle of beer on the nightstand?

Angewl said...

{{{hugs}}} I have been somewhat been there. Mine was when they were younger, though. The last two had colic ALL NIGHT LONG.
I don't know what to suggest. I did have to do the cry it out method. S will wake up some nights and stay up all night, but in her crib. She plays and talks. I hear her laughing. She has a night light on and some stuffed animals and dolls in her bed. She calls for me, but I won't go. Sounds harsh, I know. I will only go in there if she starts fussing. Then I know I have to change her diaper or something else is wrong.

I was wondering about the reflux as well. I am not sure what else to suggest.


Anonymous said...

I'm with mrs. incredible - I have no advice for you, unfortunately. I don't have any human kids (and my doggy just likes to sleep near me, not too close). I really hope you all can get into a pattern that works for you. And soon!

Sending you sane thoughts,
Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

Anil said...

We went through something similar with both of our kids. Turned out they were not full enough. We started pumping in extra milk before they went to sleep.
They also sometimes go through anxiety phases where they just need their mama. But continuous nights without reason, that was definetely related to their stomachs in our case.

Washington Crunchy Mama said...

You must be fried. I'm so sorry ((hugs))

Not much advice here. R was a terrible sleeper up until about 3 or so months ago. Nothing changed, she just decided to sleep better, I have no idea why.

She was just like the bug though, and she IS just like the boo when it comes to daytime drama.

I'd like to suggest making sure you get out more than once a week. Not for long, maybe an hour walking or grocery shopping every other night. LEAVE the house ALONE. It's amazing how it can help you collect your thoughts and get thru the next day, you really need a mental break daily.

And wine. Yeah, wine is good.

Whirlwind said...

Can you let her cry it out? We had to do it with Einey - she cried for like 2-3 hours (we just kept going in and reassuring her) but it only took 3 nights.

Poppy Buxom said...

This sounds terrible. For all of you. All of you are sleep deprived at this point.

Your daughter's only one, so even though she has a well-engrained habit at this point, it's not like she's been acting this way for 8 years.

There's a pediatrician in Chicago my friends and I call the Sleep Nazi. We used his book when my first child was having difficulty getting to sleep.

I strongly suggest you check it out. Some of what he says is going to be difficult for you, but just remember, like a good parent, he's firm and consistent.

Unknown said...

The sleep Nazi sounds cool. Short of that, perhaps a hot totti or a shot of bourbon, for you and the Bug? :)

Thinking of you!!!!!

Unknown said...

I forgot to say that my sister just bought a noise-maker machine thingie for her one year old and it has helped tremendously. The white noise lulls him to sleep and all the little and big noises, including his 3 year old brother don't wake him up anymore.

It's been here a week. It's made a big difference.