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July 13, 2010



Hannah, I'm not sure you remember the 6 weeks of sleep hell we had with Larkin? She was 2 and 3/4 at the time. She raged and popped up and tantrumed for hours at bedtime.

We started off treating it the way we normally did tantruming/throwing/doing things that were totally against the rules - time outs. Which just fed what I think was her needing attention. I also tried staying with her, reading or cuddling or whatever, thinking that maybe she needed that. And usually she would hit me or push my buttons in a million other ways, and it was terrible. I felt like I was fighting her, and guppy and I ended up fighting over the stress of what to do too.

What worked for us was temporarily moving Tess into the packnplay in our room, so that we didn't have the stress of L waking or inadvertently huring her (I was worried she'd chuck something into the crib, although she never did), and removing anything and everything from her room that she could throw/damage (although she still climbed on top of the dresser a lot - I figured if she fell it was on to carpet and she'd probably be fine), including putting all her books into the locked closet and fixing the light so that she couldn't turn it on and off anymore.

We told her why Tess had to move out of her room, and that we loved her, but that bedtime was for sleeping, and that we weren't coming upstairs anymore after she got books and cuddling. We also put speakers in her room so she had something to listen to while falling asleep, and listening for one or two songs with her became part of the routine.

It took about a week for her to chill out, but she did, and within a couple of weeks things were so very much better. And the biggest relief was that we weren't fighting with her anymore, and I knew I wasn't going upstairs to deal with it, and I knew she was safe, so I was much more able to deal with hearing her scream and bang the door. It was basically a toddler level CIO.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we got through a similar horrible time that I thought was going to kill me. I hope some of this helps you out too, and know that eventually it really really will get better.


By the way, in retrospect we realized this all happened just as Tess got very mobile, and I think she was reacting to all of a sudden having to share parental attention more.


Just in case you do wind up going with your mother's suggestion, I really love our bedtime routine because it is my downtime now. Jeremy reads Penny 2-3 books, and then we trade and I go in and lie down with her until she falls asleep. It's usually pretty quick, but I read books on my phone (yay free Kindle app) so I can read in the dark without waking her up. We have a few minutes of either reading another story or just chatting (usually the latter), and if she's really lively I give her a book light and a book to "read" to herself. But once I start reading my book there is no more talking, and she usually falls asleep within 20 minutes or so. If it takes longer (which usually means naptime was too long or bedtime was too early) at least I have a book so I am not getting angry and impatient.

Since she was never in a crib and went straight to the regular twin bed, this routine was kind of necessary for a while to keep her from wandering. Now we're just both really attached to it. Sometimes she tells me to go away and she goes to sleep on her own, though.


Yeah, I think it is mostly my problem as much as it is Nathan's- by the end of the day I am fried, and logistically getting dinner on the table for me and Jeff and him to bed is just a big mess. And I like things predictable and scheduled and orderly. I was not meant to have a 3 year old.

By the time Nathan is falling asleep I've already read a good chunk of a book while rocking James down; it has crossed my mind that an iPad would solve my problems, though!

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