As much as it pained us, we tried ‘crying it out’ Sunday night.
I talked to the neighbors who matter to us and informed them what was going on so they could voice their objections and they had none. When I put the sleep-deprived toddler down at 8:00 pm she went down quickly and without much incidence. Between the zoo, hiking, and the lack of sleep over the last couple of weeks I was hopeful that she might actually stay down – she had to be ready to fall down where she was and not regain consciousness for more than a couple hours (mommy and daddy were).
My wife went to bed around 9:30 pm because she had to work on Monday and had to be up at 5:45 am in order to get her and the baby ready (I help out some mornings, but not every morning as if I don’t get enough sleep I could have a min-breakdown and not be back to my version of normal for several days). I finished writing what I had been working on off and on during the day and waited to see what would happen with my baby girl. I had determined that I was going to let my head hit my pillow no later than midnight if we didn’t hear from her.
I finished my cathartic writing at 11:30 pm and sat on the couch in the darkness just relaxing. Ten minutes later screams came from down the hall in the bedroom with more than a little pink. I sighed heavily and waited to see if she would just go back to sleep after whining a bit like she was known to do some of the times. Five minutes later and the screams were indicating that she would not be going back to sleep and needed intervention from mommy or daddy (she wanted mommy, but we don’t always get what we want).
I made my way into the room that was bathed in twilight and the pale glow of night lights and, with a soothing voice, tried to comfort my daughter as I picked her up. She realized I was not mommy and screamed louder so I took her into our bedroom so she could cuddle with mommy (I could sleep on the couch). We had not decided to make Sunday night the night we caved in and let her cry it out, but after several minutes of thrashing around in our bed and screaming for mommy when mommy was within two feet of her and trying to touch her, I scooped her up, kissed her, calmly told her that she would be going back to her bed and headed in that direction. I rubbed her back and sung to her on the way there which infuriated her even more so I stopped. Kissing her and telling her that I loved her and goodnight, I gently laid her in her bed.
The screaming was ear piercing. I thought the windows would break or the neighbors I hadn’t talked to would surely call the authorities.
I told my wife that it was time to leave her be as we had tried everything else, more than twice. She was reluctant, but she knew we had to do it. A tear rolled down her cheek and she agreed. I made my way back ou to the living room and sat on the back of the couch facing the hallway so that I could listen to make sure there were no issues and she didn’t make herself sick.
The wordless screaming became filled with a word after a couple of minutes. Monkey. She was going to be focused on that and it would make it harder for her to go down until it was fixed.
When she gets mad, excited, or scared she throws things. It was not unusual for her to throw Monkey or her bed babies out of the bed while screaming. I quietly walked down the hall, conferred with the wife, and picked up Monkey. I explained that if she threw something it was gone for the night and she had to stay in her bed and be a big girl. More screaming.
That was the last time I was going to go in there and told my wife so. She didn’t so much agree as not disagree. I went back out to my perch and listened as the screams turned into cries for someone to pick Monkey up as it was on the floor before I had made my way back down the hall. After no one came in she started pathetically calling for mommy because she knew mommy would cave and rush in to save her because she couldn’t take the guilt (manipulative two-year old). Mommy text messaged me and said that she was not sure she could take it. I tried to comfort her as best as I could through the digital medium.
After lots of screaming and texting silence ensued. I held my breath and looked at the clock. I was going to give it ten minutes to make sure she was down and the reprieve didn’t even last a full minute.
That happened six times. Four times I got my hopes up. The rest of the time I just waited for the sound to come back to my ears, slowly deafening me. Mommy was at her wits end and we were only two hours in. It was going to be a long night.
Not two minutes later the screaming stopped again. Little whines broke it here and there and I waited to be graced with the screams of my daughter.
Eight minutes later a smile grew on my face and the tear stain grew on my shirt. I turned off all the lights, tiptoed down the hall and went into my bedroom where my wife was laying on her side and I could hear her crying. Slipping off my clothes and climbing into bed, I did what I could to comfort her, but she wanted to not be touched.
I stared at the ceiling until I heard the cute snoring of my wife. No sounds came through the monitor and I passed out.
My daughter didn’t get up until after 6:00 am and my wife got to get ready without a toddler pulling on her. When she did wake up there was more screaming. My wonderful wife let me sleep and took the baby out of immediate earshot to get her ready. They left and I went back to sleep for an hour.
Talking to my wife, we are reluctantly committed to sticking to this as long as we can and hopefully as long as it takes or until the police ask us to stop.
- “Mommy, where are you going?!”: Bathroom tales (nextmommyoftheyear.com)
- Letters to my son: 21 months (jennetcetera.wordpress.com)