At least ten minutes of the day was destined to be, to date, some of the worst ten minutes of my two- year old’s life, or at least that is what she thought.
The day started out nice, for the toddler and for mommy and daddy. After a night of peace filled with the quiet, content breathing of a sleeping two-year old, we all got up late – later than the regular 5:45 am when my wife usually got up anyway. We lounged about for a couple of hours and then the significant other went to her dentist appointment. I have an unhealthy fear of dentists, well of their instruments, and an appointment for me would’ve ruined the day. My wife did not share my common cowardice so it was not much more than a simple block of time taken out of her day. While she was out my princess and I cuddled and played with her toys; it was a good time. Mommy came home and we went out to Costco.
We picked up a car seat for the babysitter (my wife’s aunt) and a few other things. After dropping off the perishable items we had lunch at a wing joint where the baby ate two big grilled chicken tenders with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing along with a few french fries (a treat as we usually do broccoli or some other veggie). Still in a good mood, we took her to another store to get shoes but ended up getting bows and a coloring book instead (she’s not spoiled or anything). Running short on time we rushed over to (her friend) the doctor’s office.
We were happy until the nurse came back into the room after we disrobed our toddler. Screaming ensued and a prick to the big toe didn’t help. She refused to keep on a band-aid so we held a towel to it until she was convinced to wear on (we had to wear one first). Even with the aid of stickers we could not stop the crying when the doctor tried to check her ears. She was intelligent and backed off to let my daughter calm down and get to know her a bit. When she used the stethoscope and the reflex hammer the kid actually laughed, but she still didn’t want her ears checked and let us know by screaming in the doc’s face. We had to ultimately hold her down for a few seconds and then attempt to listen to the doctor as her screams slowly subsided. When the doc left our little on was almost smiling. That happy face was quickly shoved away when a nurse came in with a needle that was quickly thrust into her thigh and covered with a band-aid that was actually well received; her pant leg was pulled down and we were left to gather our things. For the toddler it was a rough visit, but, all things considered, she didn’t do all that bad. For us it was informative. Disappointment and some assurance was thrown in there as well.
The Q&A session with the doctor while the screaming child was cooling down was the part I was most looking forward to (it was the main reason I actually went to the appointment as I usually let mommy handle the doctors on her own and fill me in afterwards). We discussed some mundane things, like eating (she had lost a little weight – six ounces), talking (enormous vocab and sentence structure for her age), walking and more, but what sparked the long part of the conversation was when we got to sleeping habits. As I have written about, we have some issues in that department.
A quick review: She does not put herself to sleep – I rock and sing to her in her room. She sleeps with two night lights, a projection unit, a white noise generator and the door open. When she wakes up at night, which she does on most nights, she does not put herself back to sleep – if she goes back to sleep at all. Every time she screams we come running and cater to her every whim. She understands how to manipulate us and what and how to use guilt. We cannot stand to hear her cry – it breaks our hearts and causes us to cry and TV is our pacifier. We are doing almost nothing right and we have no idea where to start in order to fix things because we have tried many methods and have failed at all of them. We did attempt to let her cry it out when she woke up on Sunday (after I rocked and sung her to sleep) and she slept through the night Monday.
The doctor told us that it was our choice to do what we thought was best for our daughter and us, but the method she preferred and recommended to all of the parents of her patients was let her cry it out. That was what I expected as I had been told that by more than a few people and read several studies on it. She also confirmed that there was no trauma for the child at this age (the parent’s trauma was a real concern however). When we told her I put her down every night she balked and strongly recommended that that stop as soon as possible. She also wanted us to get rid of the lights and shut the door leaving her in darkness, the white noise was okay. She suggested that we do everything in stages – it could take a week or more for each transition to stick. My wife and I looked at each other and nearly cried. We knew that we would not last three weeks or more. We left the doctor’s office with quite a bit of information and things to discuss at length.
We agreed that things had to change and since I was the one to deal with sleep she basically left it up to me but wanted to be informed of my decisions. I decided to rock and sing her to sleep at least one more time as I was dreading giving up my daddy time with her as she was falling asleep in my arms. It was difficult to think that I would not be singing and rocking my daughter to sleep anymore. After she fell asleep I made a decision that that was the last night. I cried for five minutes after I left her room. I removed the lights and white noise generator and put her to sleep with the door closed. If she wakes up tonight she will have to put herself back to sleep. Tomorrow night I am not staging it out, I am getting it all over with at once. If there is no trauma for the child then why put the parents through their trauma for any longer than is necessary?
She’s down now. Sleeping heavily. With the door closed. I keep checking on her, but she is fine. My bed is calling my name and I am not going to ignore it’s cries any longer. If she wakes up I will wake up and deal with it then. Hopefully this will not drive me to drinking or back to smoking. Lots of Klonopin and breathing exercises, not to mention support from the other parent.
- It Was Difficult For Daddy, But Even More So For Mommy (anotherhallucination.com)
- Sleepless in Toddlerville (anotherhallucination.com)
- Another Night Succumbing to the Demands of a Two-Year Old (anotherhallucination.com)
- New Mom Sleep Tips (enfamil.com)
- Early Morning Awakenings: What To Do About Them (drcraigcanapari.com)
- Mastering the Art of Sleep (enfamil.com)
- Sleep Expert Says The Arrival of Spring Means More Daylight and Improved Sleep Patterns (endgamepr.com)
- Why does my toddler wake up at night? (drcraigcanapari.com)