My Toddler And Her Shitty Sleep Habits

23 Jan
please note: this blog post was started yesterday…so “this morning” is really yesterday morning, but I am completely uninterested in going through the entire post to change times. So lets just pretend that I posted this yesterday (January 22) Thanks! :D

Sitting at the foot of my toddlers bed at 5am this morning, while she tossed and turned, letting out the occasional whimper or cry because of one reason or another, I lost it.

There was nothing I could do to stop the tears as I sat there, completely exhausted. I’m not talking about just tears, I’m talking full out sobbing. I had already been in her room for half an hour, trying to get her back to sleep. This wasn’t the first time I was up last night dealing with her, though the first time, I fell asleep in her bed for almost two hours, causing cramps in my neck and back and yet another awesome round of braxton hicks contractions. But this time included crying because of sheer exhaustion. She’s been doing so good with sleeping lately…but it seems like she only does it for a day or two and then she goes back to waking up multiple times a night, crying (like actual crying, not fussing) and needing comfort. I’ve considered that she has night terrors, which is what wakes her up within the first hour of her falling asleep, but that doesn’t explain the constant waking up every 2-3 hours after she goes to bed. From what I have read about night terrors, it usually happens within the first hour of sleep because they haven’t reached deep sleep yet. So 2 or so days a week, she sleeps wonderfully…maybe waking up that first time at night, but then sleeping through the rest of the night, waking up around 5-5:30am. But the rest of the week involves me going into her room and laying in bed with her or sitting there rubbing her back or legs until she falls back asleep. Or there’s nights like last night where she insists on sitting up and then laying on my in one way or another. She always wants to touch me too…mostly the top boob area, where she rubs, pinches and pats for comfort. It drives me crazy and when I (nicely) put her hands down, she freaks out even more. I’m at a complete loss at what to do.

Here’s a breakdown of what happens at night with Ophelia:
7:00pm — go lay in bed and go to sleep (usually less than 15 minutes…up to 20-30 minutes though if she’s having a hard time settling down)
7:45-8:15pm — Ophelia wakes up, I go upstairs and lay with her until she goes back to sleep (usually less than 10 minutes)
10:30-11:30am — Ophelia wakes up at some point within this hour and just wants some love. Rub her back until she goes to sleep.
This is where I usually fall asleep — someplace between 10:30pm-11:30pm. Usually closer to 11pm but sometimes not until closer to midnight.
12:45-1:45am — Ophelia wakes up. Repeat. This is when I usually go lay in bed with her and fall asleep in her bed.
2:00-2:45am — Around this time I wake up and go back into my room to go back to sleep.
4:00-4:30am — Ophelia wakes up, physically gets out of bed (she’s in a toddler bed), walks to the baby gate in the doorway and starts fussing or yelling “mama! mama! mama! mama!” This is when I usually grab her and try to get her to fall back asleep in our bed, but it takes at least half an hour and it usually involves a lot of wiggling, kicking and talking to mama or dada about eyes or “hehe” (sissy) or Mocha.
5:00-5:30am — Ophelia is usually asleep again by this time. During the week, my alarm starts going off at 5:30am (and I hit the snooze button about 3 times and officially get up at 6am)

This isn’t always how it goes…sometimes she wakes up at 5:15 after falling back asleep in our bed and that’s it…she’s up. With the exception of the last couple Sundays where Brad has been awesome and gotten up with the girls, I’m usually up by 6:30 on weekends, and on weekdays I’m up at 6 to get Reilly ready for school and the bus and stuff.  Sometimes she wakes up within the first hour and promptly goes back to sleep for the rest of the night. Sometimes she doesn’t wake up between 10:30-11:30 but does around 2:00am. There are many, many variations of Ophelia’s sleep schedule, but it follows the times pretty closely.

I have lots of problems with this. Firstly, I am not getting enough sleep. I’m growing this baby inside me, who needs me to get some sleep so he can keep growing. I need to sleep so I can have the energy to not only deal with my toddler, but to have the energy to carry this baby around for 3-ish more weeks. Every hour of sleep I lose at night, even though I can nap during the day, I just feel like I’m not being a good mom. I have less patience during the day…and subsequently at night with both of the girls. I get frustrated with the tiniest things because I’m just too tired to think things through rationally all the time.

I’m well aware that some kids are great sleepers and some kids need a little bit of time to get on a schedule that they can work well with. I was really lucky with Reilly…by about 6 months, she was sleeping through the night and was easy to get down at night. We did a trial of letting her “CIO” (though, I would be hesitant to say she was crying it out…it was more like fussing herself down to sleep) around the time she was a year and a half after going through some stressful stuff, and after that, she was amazing. She only wakes up when she needs something (like to go to the bathroom) or she’s sick. She’s always been like that. She’s always been a great sleeper.

Why did my first baby have to be the awesome sleeper?

I’ve been trying to be patient with Ophelia. I don’t know what I can do. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been letting her fuss a little bit longer, but at what point is it considered crying it out vs letting them figure it out themselves? Is there a magic time limit that we should be setting for our older children? I’m obviously not talking about letting babies cry. But I am fully convinced that Ophelia understands that it’s bedtime and she knows she’s sleepy and she just can’t figure out what to do to make herself comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay asleep. Its very, very trying for this mama.

I just need to figure out how to help her do that without being there all night with her or letting her back into our room or bed. And yes, I am very adamant about that part. While I know she sleeps better when she’s in bed with us, there will be another baby in the bed in less than a month and we only have a Queen size mattress. I don’t want to put my newborn son at risk because I have a toddler in bed with us too. She needs to have her own space. And she needs to be able to go to sleep without mama. Because for awhile, I’m not always going to be able to physically be there every single time she needs me. I don’t think her schedule and Bachman’s schedule will mash up very well like that. I wish I could say “yea! Let’s just keep her in bed with us…that will solve everyone’s problems!” But it won’t. And I need to figure it out and soon. I did take some internet mama’s advise and read “No Cry Sleep Solution”…but it didn’t really give me any solutions that I didn’t already know. I mean, I read the book and was like “wtf is this? I do this already.” And I did. I still do. And it didn’t help.

So I’m at a huge loss. Anyone have any magic get-baby-to-sleep potion they can give me??

Update: The morning of January 23. That’s today, not yesterday. Ophelia woke up at 2:30am because she had wet through her diaper. That was partially my fault…I actually let her take a cup of water to bed last night, which she doesn’t normally do, because she just clung to it and wouldn’t let it go. She actually fell asleep with her puppy in one hand and her cup in the other. Anyway, she went to bed at 7:30pm, after a bath and trying to wear her out by letting her run around the couch and stay up a little bit later than normal. It apparently worked a little bit because she didn’t wake up the first time until after 10:30pm. I went in and put her back to sleep rather quickly. She stayed asleep, until 2:30am, like I stated, and then she didn’t fully go back to sleep until about 4:15am. She was then awake at 5:00am, when I went and got her and brought her into our room, where she fell asleep until 6am. I fell asleep a little after 11:30pm, so I got about four and a half hours of sleep last night.

Update Two: Took half an hour to get Ophelia settled tonight. We’ll see how tonight goes. I’m leery. Wish me luck.


2 Responses to “My Toddler And Her Shitty Sleep Habits”


  1. All or Nothing « Mom plus Wife - 26 January, 2012

    […] other day, I wrote this post about Ophelia and her crappy sleep habits. For some reason, whenever something huge like this is […]

  2. Sleep Habits: An Odd New Development « Mom plus Wife - 27 January, 2012

    […] the other day I talked about Ophelia’s sleep issues here and then I did kind of a follow up post here. So today, I’m actually blogging about last […]

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