Sweet Dreams . . . Not!

October 16, 2007 by Kailani  
Filed under my family

Ever since Baby Bug was a baby (hmm, maybe I should start calling her Toddler Bug) she was always a really good sleeper. All I had to do was put her in her crib, walk out of the room, and in about 10 minutes she’d be in la-la land. The best part was that she could sleep 11-12 hours a night!

Well, no more. Recently, she’s been refusing to go to sleep and has been waking up throughout the night. Take last night for example:

  • Put her in her crib. She cried and screamed and yelled Mommieeeee over and over. Then she climbed out of her crib(I still don’t know how she does this) and came running out of her room.
  • Put her back in her crib and closed the bedroom door. Same thing except now she’s pounding on the bedroom door from the inside.
  • Got worried that she might hurt herself while performing her Houdini act so put her in Girlie Girl’s bed instead. Came running out immediately. Put her back in, came back out, put her back in, came back out. Now I’m starting to cry.
  • Put her back in bed and shut the bedroom door determined to make her cry herself to sleep. She cried so hard that she ended up gagging and throwing up all over herself. I felt so bad.
  • Gave her a bath and put her back to bed. She couldn’t do it twice, could she? Same thing happened again. Gave her another bath. *sigh*
  • Put her to bed and laid down next to her. She was asleep in 2 minutes.

I know some of you may think I was a little mean to let her cry it out in the first place but I think she’s old enough now to learn that she can’t always have things her way – even though she did in the end. *wink* So what do I do now? I can’t keep going through this every single night! Any advice?

I bet your kids are good sleepers, huh? C’mon, it’s okay, you can tell me about it. I can take it. :-)


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About the author:
Kailani is the owner and founder of An Island Life. You'll find her sharing her daily life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii.


35 Responses to “Sweet Dreams . . . Not!”
  1. Papaya Mom says:

    She’s at the age where she can imagine things for the first time – be scared. Try reading her stories about how to take away scary things – give her a rhyme she says or a lovey that will protect her from scary things?

    Other than that the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers rocks my world – I don’t have a perfect sleeper but it’s all pretty good compared to what it has been before or could be.

    Crying it out just gives them reason not to trust us as their leaders and protectors – I’m sure you can find a better way to figure out what is going wrong with her and help her to grow as a little girl to get through it and back to sleep!

  2. JessicaK says:

    Have you tried SuperNanny’s technique yet? It’s so simple, and it really works. You put them through their usual bedtime routine, and then you sit quietly in the floor beside the bed without looking at them. Everytime they hop out of bed you put them right back in without speaking or making eye contact. The first couple of nights are misery, but after that you’d be surprised how well it works.
    I still think there’s nothing wrong with a few minutes of cuddle time either, though. Sometimes that’s all they need.

  3. Grace says:

    Whoever said the line “sleep like a baby” clearly has no kids!! :-)

    It is also hard to put my daughter to sleep so we monitor her naps. No naps in the morning (she is almost 4 now) and only 3 hours maximum in the afternoon. If she goes beyond that, we take her for an evening walk to burn all that energy then she can sleep better.

    It will also help if you sleep beside her, cuddle her a lot, darken the room, and pretend to sleep too. I don’t know but it works for me.


  4. Carey says:

    I wish i had some advice for you. Does she still nap? If so maybe it needs to be adjusted, either a shorter one, or an earlier one. Naps always effected how my kids went to bed. My 3 year old does not sleep well..never has. I have to put him to sleep on the couch every night then carry him upstairs. Then he is up by 11 and we will not sleep in his room(that he shares with 2 of the girls). Its been a very tiring battle, which i seem to be losing. You did the right thing though by putting her back in her bed. Hopefully it was just a one night thing. Let us know how it goes.

  5. Summer says:

    Honestly, my kids are and have always been amazing sleepers, so I have no advice. But I will say I certainly don’t think it’s mean that you expect her to cry it out at her age. Maybe if you keep being consistent with it, lengthening out the time you allow her to cry each night, she’ll catch on.

  6. maria says:

    We all hate to do it, but maybe cut out a nap, or move bedtime to later. Also one thing that has always, and in fact still does, helped my kids is to have quiet time for an hour before bed. No running or playing, just relax, give them a bath and time for bed.

  7. Lulu says:

    Poor Baby Bug! Or more appropriately, poor Kailani! I went through the same thing with my son when he was a toddler. Although, at the time, I had a full-time job, so I gave in most nights just so that I could function the next day!

    I wish that I could give you some wonderful, helpful advice, but I’m advice-less on this subject! I wish you luck!

  8. Mike says:

    We did the pick ‘em up, put ‘em down thing recommended in the Baby Whisperer when they were babies and never really had trouble except for a brief couple weeks when our daughter was about 1 1/2 and used to bang her head on the crib rail to try to con us into letting her not sleep in her bed.

    The basic concept is that you comfort them when they are sad/scared and then as soon as they calm down (and before they fall asleep) you get out of the room. Repeat as necessary. I think the premise is that it builds the trust that if they really need you, you will come but at the same time they are responsible for getting to sleep by themselves. People are always shocked at how easy bedtime is at our house and how they stay in bed for 11 to 12 hours almost every night. I’m not sure if we just have lucky kids or if the book worked.

  9. karen meg says:

    I sympathize – little G went through that a few months ago. She would wail, cry, I would pick her up, put her back down; she would get up again, want another couple of books, I’d put her down, she’d get back up… I’ve been there, letting her cry it out a few times. It’s tough, especially when you’ve got the bigger one just next door also trying to get to sleep!
    I guess she just outgrew it. We switched her to a big girl bed a couple of weeks ago and she loves it! Now when we tuck her in, and we want to cuddle she’ll whisper “Go away, I have to sleep now!”. Dont’ know if I like that too much either, but it beats the hissy fit!
    So there is a light!

  10. Lissete says:

    Is there a nightlight in her room? Maybe she is now afraid of the dark.

    We were fortunate that my girls were both really good sleepers. But my oldest was an escape artist! She would get out of her crib & her playpen. Funny thing is, she would climb out of the playpen, pick up what she dropped, then climb back in!

    As for the crib, I set up a video camera because I couldn’t figure it out either. It still amazes me how she would climb out so easily!

  11. Angela says:

    First of all…too weird, Norah’s gone from being the “perfect sleeper” to keeping me up all night the last 2 nights in a row. Hers is due to a bad cold…poor thing just feels awful and wants to be cuddled.

    And for the record…I totally don’t think you’re a bad mom for letting her cry until she gagged. We went through the exact same thing about 6 months ago, and while I felt bad about it, it did seem to help her get the message.

  12. Maddy says:

    Yes mine are good sleepers on the whole [now] But we had many a long year of what you’re experiencing and I fully sympathise. I think the ‘routine’ whatever you decide, is crucial, the same, the same, the same and no wriggle room. Best of luck

  13. Renee says:

    You said it only took 2 minutes for her to go to sleep when you layed down with her…right? Try that tonight. It may take longer for it to work if you start off with it (since she didn’t wear herself out climbing out of a crib & crying) but in the end I think you’ll all sleep easier.

    The only times we’ve had sleep issues are when this kid insists on staying up all night. Seems she does it mostly when we have to be somewhere the next morning at 9am! grrr! I now just go to sleep…I need my beauty rest or I’m gonna be a bear!

  14. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says:

    Aww, poor Baby Bug! We’ve been lucky with pretty good sleepers too, although Becca has done the crying and screaming, “Moommmyyy!” thing too a few times recently when she’s woken in the middle of the night. Sometimes she’ll go back to sleep on her own and sometimes not.

    I don’t have much for advice that hasn’t already been mentioned – good luck and I hope you can find something that works for both her and you to get some rest! Hugs…

  15. donetta says:

    Hello, Sounds like you’ll need the nap today:)
    I think you have been given some good counsel. I found that looking through their eyes is important. My daughter suffered this a lot. For her the reasons were due to sensory stuff. She felt like she was free floating. Going through the screaming nightly was hard.
    The mention to the developmental stage was important. When they are entering into the fantasy stages they can not delineate between fantasy and reality. We named it.
    Fiction/non fiction. We played pretend verses real. Helped them to identify. At this stage shadows or images they see in the room can trigger the mind to try to figure it out. Based on a limited knowledge base it can be frightening. With her doing this all of a sudden I think something is scaring her. Investigate and put yourself in her space look around (turn off the lights) look for shadows. We had to remove all things that were to high above her field of vision. We also held our girl up high and did this with both lights on and off.
    By the way, we pretend I am the tooth fairy they know truth verses fiction. Think about it, scary to think some stranger can come swipe your teeth. Honesty does not have to stop the fun!

  16. Melissa says:

    I don’t think your a bad mom at all. We did that with our oldest. And now we sometimes have to let Little Bug cry it out :S
    With my oldest he went through this huge screaming phase. He was testing the waters… how long would he have to cry before we would give in. One of our neighbors approached us at one time and said “Is he okay? We hear him screaming every night…” BLAH! Anyway, it took awhile (I know that’s not what you want to hear) but we just let him cry each night. When we went in to check on him we tried not to say anything to him. Just pick him up, put him back in bed and then walk out… easier said than done I know! Good luck!

  17. Desert Songbird says:

    Uh, no…not so much. My son is 8 now, and still has difficulty going to sleep before 11:00 p.m. We STILL find him in our bed in the mornings (probably 1-2 mornings per week).

    Sigh. I’m glad he loves us so much that he wants to be near us, but it really cuts into the adult time, if you know what I mean.

  18. Tiffany says:

    My girls slept excellent. My son? Not so much. He goes down just fine, but its the 2am wakeup call that kills me. And he is 3! So I feel your pain.

  19. Chief Family Officer says:

    I have no words of wisdom, but wanted to commiserate and wish you lots of luck (not to mention lots of sleep tonight!).

    P.S. I don’t think crying it out makes you a bad mommy.

  20. TopChamp says:

    hello – this will sound bad probably.. but it worked on me!

    I have been told (ALL my life) about how bad a sleeper I was as a kid. And most of the stories end with: we put the baby gate on and left you to play.

    They show all these parenting programmes where you have to not react as far as possible and all the difficult(? can’t think of a better word) behaviour just disappears – but for me I just happily played by myself. So it can’t always be attention can it?

    Anyway – don’t be taking parenting advice from me!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Stacey says:

    Nope I think you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. She needs to be able to get herself to sleep. How will she explain you to her husband I ask?! Can’t be done.

    My kids all went through it. Then they slept. And now–the teenagers think they are entitled to be awake until who knows when. It’s a circle we run. Sigh. xoxo

  22. Michelle in Mx says:

    Well, you’ve got your selection for answers don’t cha? I only read through some of them since I’m still on the milk-machine every 2-3 hours . . . but I feel for your sleepless nights! I so understand the crying part . . .um, your’s, that is. I’m bawling with you!
    So, my two cents . . . I like the super nanny’s method as well.
    Here’s to a good night sleep for the both of you!!!!

  23. Sparky Duck says:

    um My cats are champion sleepers, if that helps

  24. Alice says:

    i’m no mom, but it seems to be the way to go. it’s not being mean, but children do eventually have to learn that they cannot always have their way. I see family members push and push that moment away all the time and they end up with spoiled, inconsiderate kids. :(

  25. Christine says:

    Katelyn is the only one who has ever as long as I can remember who crawled into bed and literally puts herself to sleep. Even when she was 2. We’d be at my MIL’s and it’s so quiet we were wondering where she was. She was asleep. Easy! Then there is Josh, being diabetic he gets up alot and was in and out of our bed until the last year or so, because I felt safer having him close. Now Lindsay, she’s a good sleeper once she’s asleep, but lately she’s been really hard too, to put asleep. And they all got a good half hour to 45 minutes at the park too, so I don’t know why she’s having a hard time.

    Poor Baby Bug! Glad she was able to finally fall asleep.

  26. Rach (Heart of Rachel) says:

    I wish I could give you a good advice but I’m having issues about my son’s sleeping arrangement. He co-sleeps with us and now it’s VERY difficult to convince him to stay in his own room.

    I know you had Baby Bug’s best interest at heart when you stood firm about letting her stay in her room. Hope you’ll all have pleasant dreams and worry-free nights from now on.

  27. Pass the Torch says:

    Oh many – it looks like you have some great advice above. Best wishes, Kailani.

    Who ever knew parenting would be so complicated?

  28. Mary says:

    I’m in the same boat as you… only it was my own doing. Both of my girls slept with us from birth and Anna ONLY started sleeping in her own bed, on her own because Emma was about to be born. Emma still needs us to lay down with her to go to sleep. She is very stubborn and no matter how long she cries , she ain’t going to go to sleep on her own.

    I’m thinking that Baby Bug is probably at that age where kids start to have separation anxiety. You might have to give her some comfort then put her back to bed? Since I am currently walking in your shoes so to speak, any advice would be futile ;)

  29. Twisted Cinderella says:

    I have no words of wisdom. Sorry you in such a tough spot

  30. Jill says:

    I do not think you’re mean for letting her cry it out. I do the same thing with The Boy. And it sounds like they are a lot a like in that they don’t have an off switch when they cry at night like that. He defintiely has a “point of no return” where I have to go in, give him a hug, lay him down, cover him up, give him his stuffed duck and that usually does the trick. If Hubbz goes in, he always gets him out of bed and rocks him, but I try not to get him out of the bed at all. That’s where I draw the line — same reason as you, so he learns that he can’t always get what he wants.

  31. SeaBird says:

    The only advice I can offer is to remember that everything is a phase… I would have done exactly what you did. When our boys’ GERD was so bad the first year they would sometimes cry so hard they’d puke, too. Aghhh!

  32. Beagoodmom says:

    I think the key is to convince them that the awake world is no more exciting than their bedroom. It takes awhile to convince a kid of that, but they all get it eventually. SuperNanny says not to talk to them when they wake up, just pick them up and put them back to bed. Boring for you, boring for them. But effective.

  33. Pinkjagxj says:

    My advice is useless because…my children are grown and when the grandbabies are sleeping over, the boys ages 4 & 7 sleep with us and I lay down with my grand daughter, age 1, in her bed until she’s asleep. I’m the grandma, I can do this! :)

  34. Pamela says:

    sounds like she’s getting old enough to be effected by things in her environment (television?)(Imagination?)


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