My Two Year Old Is Driving Me Further Insane

My two year old is probably like most two year olds, but I am not like most fathers and it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to tolerate her. The screaming causes me to scream. The mimicry causes me to smile, but get aggravated when she repeats it over and over again which leads to more screaming.

The thing that gets me fired up the most is when she openly defies her mother or me. That gets her a whipping and/or time out. Sometimes I send her to bed over it. I cannot tolerate it. It makes my blood boil. I hate to be disrespected and that is what she is doing. I have tried explaining it to her, but even though she seems to get it she does exactly what she just got in trouble for ten seconds later.

I know she is testing her boundaries, but she reached the end of them a long time ago. She does not respect us and she does not fear us (which is good), but I need something to change and quick because my hair is falling out AND turning grey and I am having to double up on my Klonopin (at the suggestion of my doctor).

My therapist thinks I need a break and I have taken them and they help, but it is back to the same when I return. I can’t take a permanent break as I can’t stand being away from her for more than a night or three (six has been the max and it sucked). So I miss her, but I want to get away from her. I love her, but I hate what she is doing. I don’t know what to do anymore.

Help me, please.

Advertisements

Nothing To See Here

Not much going on in my head right now. Not that I have room to rent or anything, just what is going on is either not worth writing about or I am choosing not to write about it (more of the second, less of the first).

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, for those in my country, and I am sure something will happen over those 3-4 days that will give me something to share.

I also have an anniversary (my 5th) coming up and I will talk about that at a later date as well (closer to the actual day).

My wife is well. We are still married (thankfully – it was touch and go for a while). My daughter is 2 which means she is hell of two short legs. The dogs play too rough and bark at everything, waking my entire building up.

Family Camping Trip Failure Leads To Mommy Blacking Out

My two year old daughter’s first camping trip started after her soccer practice on Friday evening. The tent was up before full dark and we were in decent spirits … until she realized she was going to have to sleep in tent. Not in her bed. On her own air mattress. Not in mommy and daddy’s bed. Without her music. Not in the climate controlled luxury of a home.

She finally passed out around midnight on my wife’s arm as we flitted in and out of sleep. She was being pinned in place and I was fighting to not fall off the mattress. I should have gone to my daughter’s mattress, but I refuse to sleep with an animal in my bed and the dog was occupying my daughter mattress.

We tried to recover in the morning, but as the cloud of condensation poured out of my mouth I realized that I packed nothing for weather below 65 and sunny. A morning trip to Walmart for clothes and McDonalds for a quick breakfast as it was nearing 8:30 am after the leaving the store and would be too late to get breakfast cooked by the time we got back.

We got back and the demon came out. She demanded that we go hiking so it wasn’t all bad, but as we had to drive to the trail because the one off the campsite was not suitable for a two year old, she screamed the whole way that she wanted to “GO HIKINIG NOW”.

Hiking started out marvelously.

On her own to start the hike

Getting a little help from mommy up the first hill.

This was the las happy face until it was all over.

The remainder of the hiking consisted of standing still and being carried, along with crying, hitting, kicking the dog, and butt busting. We cut the hike in half and went back to the campsite.

While we were relaxing my perfect angel poured an entire can of soda in the tent, threw the dogs water and food, kicked the dog again, went on a general rampage to the point that I finally said enough and started packing things up as my wife cleaned and helped me tear down. The first camping trip was over. It did not look like there would be another one.

I called and begged my mother-in-law to take our daughter overnight so that we wouldn’t go further out of our minds and she (thankfully) agreed. When we dropped her off I realized that I forgot to give my daughter her nighttime blankets and buddies which could have been one of the reasons for no sleep and we also found out she is cutting her lower rear molars. All of that added up lead us to believe that we could probably try camping again under different circumstances and if we took her brother to keep her busy (and out of our hair).

We headed home and contemplated climbing in bed and not getting out until morning even though it was only 3:30 pm.

We should have.

Instead we decided that we were going to go home and drink a little while we watched a movie which, somehow, turned into, “Let’s buy a bottle of rum and play a movie drinking game”.

Watching The Hangover (a great comedy) and taking a shot every time someone says “Doug” is impossible. I remember making it 32 minutes into the movie and that is only because we were laughing and missed some Doug’s.

I woke up with a horrible headache at 9 am. I freaked out as we had to have our daughter picked up at 11 am. I rolled over to wake up my wife and when I touched her I smelled it. She had vomited in her sleep. She warned me not to come near her as she woke up in it at some point and apparently rolled it up in the sheets (which are being thrown out) and passed back out.

She was lucky that she wasn’t sleeping on her back or she would have choked to death as she was not sleeping, she was passed the ‘f’ out.

Sad part? Probably the best night I have had in years and even thought it took me until 3 or 4 pm to recover enough to not vomit every time I moved, I know I would do it over given the chance and I plan on doing it again. The next time we will wait until the guys get to Vegas to start drinking and instead of slamming shots we will drink mixed drinks and beer, adding a few rules of our own.

So now the house is a mess. Our daughter is asleep after being drugged with teething tablets and Tylenol. My wife is asleep on clean sheets, covered with a clean comforter. My week looks atrocious as I will be struggling to find a way to get back into a routine. And we all feel like we were in the back of a box truck rolling down the side of a mountain.

  • Camping with a cranky toddler – bad.
  • Drinking with your wife – good.
  • Drinking until you blackout – bad.
  • Smiling at the end of the day because you realize the love that exists in your familiy is strong, deep and real – wonderful.

How was your weekend?

A Day Of Family Fun With Hiking, Waterfalls And Caves

My plans never go as I would like them to, but this time – even though I nearly broke down because of the extreme change in my intentions for the day that I made concrete in my head – an wonderful time was had by all.

We have a toddler so there were obviously fits thrown, but they were not as bad as they could’ve been (until the end). The good times pretty much overshadowed the times where I had to fight not to wrap my hands around my – never mind.

I won’t bore you with what my plan was versus how the day actually went, so I will just get straight to what made the day wonderful and the points that I am trying hard to forget (I don’t really want to forget any of the day).

I got up at four-fifteen when my daughter started to fuss. I should have let her go as she probably would’ve gone back to sleep, but I was too freaking excited about the day ahead of me (I slept about as well as a rabid raccoon insomniac). I brought my sleepy smurf to bed with me and hoped that she would lay down for a bit while I ran over my plan in my head for an hour. That way I would be sure to have a breakdown if any little thing was to go wrong. She did.

At six-thirty or so the roused rug-rat let me know she was awake by sitting on mommy’s head who promptly yelled at me for bringing her into the bed in the first place (perfectly poignant point). I got up, with the baby, and got both of us ready. My plan (okay I might sprinkle my plan here and there) was to leave no later than 8:30 am. I was informed the night before that my father-in-law was concerned about us taking our car (which is almost two decades old) on a five hour (round)trip. Since he had a perfectly valid point and was actually being quite nice by allowing us to use his car, I took the change in direction relatively (relatively) well, but my leave time needed to be adjusted.

It takes 12.16 – 13.42 minutes (I have timed it 7 times) to get to my in-laws house from our apartment so, using the ‘worst case scenario’ logic, That moved our leave time to 8:17 am. It would take five minutes to transfer the kid’s seat (or so my wife said) so, 8:12 am. We never leave my in-laws house in less than 20 minutes so we are down to 7:48 am. My father-in-law is neurotic so he would have to explain everything about his car to me so another 25 minutes and we end up with a leave time of 7:23 am. My wife hates it when I am so precise, so 7:15 am. My wife gets out of bed at 7:40. We left at a quarter till 8 (I take longer to put a shirt on).

I freak out on the drive over, taking deep breaths and turning the music up to drown out all the noises (including my wife’s voice yelling at me to turn the music down) and by the time we get there I am (almost) fine.

Everything that I expect to happen happens and they thought they would throw in one more thing just to piss me the hell off. They tried to feed us. I nearly got down on my knees and kissed my wife’s feet when she politely refused the offer. I sighed audibly and got the evil eye. I kept m mouth shut about the annoyances when we left (I’m learning – even a stubborn mule can be taught to shuffle) and we hit a McDonalds drive-thru scoring sausage McGriddles and a sausage burrito for the chitlin’. The sodas and juices would keep is out of our cooler for most of the drive as well.

The drive up, which was supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour drive but turned into a 3 1/4 hour drive, was really good. Our daughter slept for most of it, which was nice, and we listened to our music (I hateVeggieTales) up until the time that we turned the radio off so that we could focus on finding the portion of the national forest that I wanted to visit first.

The weather (that morning) indicated that the low would be 45°F and the high would be 57°F – good weather for hiking. I wanted (more of that plan I said I wouldn’t bore you with) to hike a half mile and one place and then connect to another trail that would be another half mile which would put us at our second destination and the whole reason for our trip up.

We pulled into the parking lot and up to a picnic bench with a charcoal grill at my indicated destination and were disappointed by the extremely overcast skies. We got out of the car and got right back in. My wife and I grabbed our sweatshirts and she looked to me with a pissed off look.

I thought it was supposed to be mostly sunny and not cold!

My phone had no reception so I didn’t know the exact temperature, but my breath was forming steam in the air. I am no science nut so I don’t know what temp range that put us in but it was a cold one. I hadn’t packed cold for any of us, including the two-year old. My wife was ready to pack it in and drive back home (probably in silence other than Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber from VeggieTales singing the water buffalo song). She took a deep breath and suggested we give it a go and see how it went. I was shocked. It seemed like I couldn’t apologize enough for not packing appropriately. She understood. She saw the weather as well. She was just as baffled. I was happy that the day wasn’t over before it started.

I got out of the car and set up the grill as we were to eat an early lunch before setting out for the day (as per that plan that I had) and my perfectly (out of character) patient partner got the kid in layers of clothes that were suited for early spring and not late fall. I tossed the size 3 soccer ball out into the grass and when my daughter was put down she ran after it. My wife helped me get the items I needed to assemble lunch out of the car and then went to play with our daughter while I lit the charcoal.

Once the Big Red Smokies were black, brown and red we gathered at the damp picnic table and ate our lunch. As we were eating we looked over at the little one and watched as she shivered. Her hands were blue and her lips were losing color. She was literally freezing. We packed it in and I was ready to scratch it all and head home.

My wife surprised me again.

You planned a wonderful day for the family and I don’t want the weather to ruin it. Let’s find a pair of gloves for (my daughter) and then try to see if it get a bit warmer at a higher elevation where the waterfall is.

I had to force myself to clench my teeth so my jaw wouldn’t hit the steering column. My smile could be seen from space (even though I was inside a moving car). We search for a store on the GPS and found a general store that was only 8 miles away. I doubted they would have gloves, especially kid gloves, but it was worth a try as the next store was 26 miles away.

I sat in the car with the wee one as my spouse headed in the backwater ‘general store’. After 15 minutes and 4 VeggieTales songs, my wife climbed into the passenger seat with an ice cream sundae and an energy drink for me. Something had to be wrong because she hates when I drink the energy drinks. The trip had to be over. She sat the sundae on the dash and looked to me. There came the talk. Instead she pulled out a pair of purple fuzzy gloves. They were big for my daughter, but they looked like they could be shoved on her hands and rolled at the cuff so that they kinda fit. I, again, nearly pooped myself.

She encouraged me to head to the trail-head that would lead to the waterfall that I had told my daughter about. She had been asking about the waterfall since we had got in the car. I was ecstatic.

When we pulled into the lot, it was packed. That was a good and bad sign. Good that it was drawing a crowd that was convinced the weather wasn’t bad enough to warrant them not come, but bad in that my daughter and I hated crowds (read: people). My darling dear ran for the hole in the ground in a brick box they called a bathroom at parks and I tried the gloves on my baby.

When I got out of the car the first thing I noticed was it was about 15 degrees warmer. I slipped off my sweatshirt only to put it back on. It wasn’t that warm. The gloves were a pain in the behind to put on, but they did kinda fit with a balled up cuff. My daughter was thrilled that she was wearing ‘mommy’s’ purple fuzzy gloves. My wife came back from the potty and commented on the weather. She was happy with it and we were (finally) going hiking. Yeah!

We started off down the trail all walking. A long set of stone steps approached and my wife scooped up our daughter who wanted to do it myself. She would’ve taken a full minute on each stair and their were somewhere near sixty stairs. We were not interested in taking an hour to traverse a tenth of the trail. Little fussing ensued, but ten minutes or so went by and she was back on the ground begging mommy to pick her up.

We got to a bridge that went over a stream that was fed by the two waterfalls and the little on decided that she was done. We coaxed her onto the bridge (her first bridge) and, once she realized that she wasn’t going to fall in the running water, she refused to get off the thing. Other visitors had to maneuverer around her to cross and there was virtually nothing we could do. She was so happy I just couldn’t bring myself to rip her away from her fun.

When she finally got bored with the bridge she carefully got off of it and walked down the trail. The first waterfall came into view and she went nuts. She was absolutely amazed and I was so happy. Until a group of boy scouts came and ruined the serenity of the situation. We let them pass and, after scooping up the people hating princess, we went to the main attraction. When we got there we saw another boy scout troop, several naturist groups, a wedding party, another wedding in progress, frat boys running through the pool that was off limits, elderly couples complaining about the frat boys, newlyweds fawning over the wedding festivities and generally just a lot of people.

We all but ran away down the trail that continued past, that was virtually vacant, and stopped at a rock formation that overlooked another waterfall. We sat there and took pictures of each other and the kid. We wasted a lot of time. Eventually we decided to head back to the car.

When we got back to the big waterfall it had cleared out. Instead of nearly 60 people, there seemed to be only a handful. We got pictures of the falls and pictures of us in front of the them. In retrospect we should have gotten one of the elderly couples to take a picture of all of us, but –

Wasting more time there since the little lady was no longer scowling at every person that was within eyesight, we eventually ended up back at the car. The weather was continuing to warm up and once again my wife wanted to continue our outing. She refused to go back to the cave we started at as the low altitude was still not going to be warm enough, but there was another cave. A better cave.

The rock formation that was known as the Rock House (a clue as to where I am) entranced my precious for over an hour. Ninety pictures on the cell phone and camera later and we finally drug her away from her new favorite place.

We were finally done (My wife’s knee had had enough, my back was breaking, and the kid was starting to whine).

Getting dinner on the way back was the worst part of the trip. We ordered our food and my child turned into a demon. The waitress got punched, kicked, and hit with flying objects (including liquid filled ones). My special someone got firm voices and when I was about ready to … I took her out to the car, moved the cooler and put her in time out for three minutes. She screamed and screamed and threw herself out of the car. I caught her and started the timer over for four minutes. After 6 minutes (a total of 18), she was being strapped back into her car seat and was strangely docile. I thought she would fall asleep, but instead she just sat there and talked to Monkey.

The drive home was uneventful and at 7:45 pm we got home. Bedtime for Bonzo is 8 and bedtime for mommy and daddy was 8:30. The unpacking and exchanging of cars was left for the next day.

Overall a wonderful day with only a few slip-ups and a meltdown that would not mar the day. I would do it again a hundred times. Now my wife is almost convinced to let my drag her and the toddler camping this summer, almost.

The First Night In The Second Level Of Parent Hell

Sleeping baby

No More of This

I’m not sure what the actual levels of Parent Hell are, but I am certain they exist. Wednesday Night will now forever be known as the night my daughter got so pissed that she (not to be crude) shit herself.

I have talked a bit (or a lot) about the issues that we have been having surrounding sleep and that, after swearing that we were never going to put our daughter or ourselves through methods like ‘crying it out’, we finally tried to end all of the crutches at once. We took away the night lights, the projection unit and shut the door. I stopped singing to her and rocking her. We were leaving her to cry and scream until she learned to sooth herself or passed out from exhaustion. We fully expected the first to be out of reach in the beginning and we were right.

For the last few months our routine has been almost the same, from the time she gets home to the time she falls asleep, the only changes or digression from the norm have been minute with the exception of nights that she was watched by my mother-in-law so my wife and I could go out or we would go out to dinner (which was not very often – 4 or 5 times a month). Okay we could probably maintain more of a constant until sleep is settled, but even though most days I find myself in a very anti-social mood, my wife has trouble relaxing at home after a hard day’s work and usually like to get out (shopping, dinner, etc.) – there are also some days when my claustrophobia overrides my agoraphobia and I absolutely have to get outside and I cannot or do not want to drive by myself.

On a normal weeknight my wife gets home around 5:45 pm and I have dinner ready. We eat as a family almost every night and usually around the dining room table. Then I clean up while mommy and baby play with toys. When I am through mommy backs off and I have my play time with my princess. We take a bath, eat a snack, drink a half glass of milk (or juice if she refuses the milk) and then brush our teeth. The little one cuddles with mommy and watches a few minutes of television until 8:00 pm when I pick up our daughter and she says goodnight to mommy and Frankie (our black miniature poodle). Monkey, baby and daddy go to her bedroom, turn on Froggie (a projection frog that is also a white noise machine) and shut the door about halfway – leaving it open about two and a half feet.

I begin singing as I walk to the crib, turning around so that I face the door and she lays her head on my shoulder. The sining starts off with Hush Little Baby and continues with Rock-a-bye Baby, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and You Are My SunshineAt that point she lies down so that her head is cradled in the crook of my left arm and my right arm is cradling her bottom and her legs. I continue to sing as I acquire Blanket (her nighttime blanket – we personify things way too much) and cover her up with it. My rendition of Blue October‘s Blue Does comes next and is followed by two verses of Silent Night and the singing is wrapped up with two verses of Amazing Grace. If she is still awake (recently she has been as it has been taking me longer and longer to put her down which is what triggered our decision to correct our bedtime methods to benefit her in the long run) I slowly hum The Ants Go Marching In. There are times when she is still not asleep after my humming so I start over. I repeat until she has been asleep for five minutes when I gently lower her into her crib. Tiptoeing out the door I leave it ajar quite a bit and start my evening routine.

My wife and I usually watch a television show that has been DVR’d and then go to bed. Some nights I stay up to write a bit, but usually my writing is done during the day while she is at work so that I can spend time with her and we can cuddle in bed before we fall asleep. The baby usually wakes up between midnight and 1:00 am. We would bring her to our bed to let her fall asleep there. If she refused to go back to sleep we would get her up and lay on the couch while she glued herself to the couch, eyes wide and barely blinking as she absorbed all that is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We felt bad about doing that, but I have mentioned the reason before – my wife needs a few hours to survive work and I could not stay awake longer than 30 or so hours or I have a breakdown that I don’t recover from for a couple of days. So basically we cater to her every need and she was not learning to do anything on her own.

Sunday night I decided to start a change. My wife reluctantly agreed and after we let my daughter know that we were not far from her and that we loved her, we let her scream until she put herself to sleep. Two hours. Monday night she slept through the night. Tuesday was The Day Of The Twenty-Four Month Doctor Appointment which solidified our decision to change things and fast. That night I sung her to sleep one more time as I was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I would no longer be rocking and singing my baby girl to sleep anymore. She slept through the night and we were hopeful. Wednesday night my wife and I were in agreement that we were going to let her put herself to sleep no matter what it took.

After following the routine I took a precious angel to bed. She asked for Froggy and I told her that he was on vacation. She didn’t fuss over that at all. I took her to her bed and she laid her head on my shoulder. I choked back the tears and pulled her forward, kissing her and telling her that I loved her very much. She smiled and I almost lost my nerve. I went to lay her in bed and she started crying that she wanted to lay on my shoulder. I couldn’t hold back the tears forever. I put her down and told her again that I loved her. I tried to explain that she had to go to sleep by herself, but she is two and I doubt that she understood much of it even though I tried to be as simple as possible. I turned away and the ear piercing screams began. I shut the door on my way out, muffling her cries and went to the couch to talk to her mommy.

We were both crying before long and tried to use the TV as a distraction. Yeah right. I attempted to rub her back, which she enjoyed, but that wasn’t enough a distraction for her and it wasn’t benefiting me at all. The screaming turned to cries which turned to silence. We were surprised, but hopeful. Then the crying started again. It was low and odd. I crept back to her door and listen. She was singing Hush Little Baby while she was crying. It was sad, pathetic, horrifying and I balled my eyes out. I broke down and opened the door. I told myself I was just going to assure her that we were still there and she didn’t need to worry about anything. The I love you was a given.

Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. I love you daddy. Lay on my shoulder. Daddy sing. Daddy.

I could not take it. My emotions and empathy have return recently and in a big way. I knelt down beside her crib and wrapped my arms around her. It took everything I had not to pick her up and rock her.

Poopy.

She stunk. She had gotten so worked up that she defecated in her pants. She had not done that since before she was a year old.

When we were through changing her diaper she went back to bed and I had to fight once more to not cradle her in my arms. I did start sining to her though. After two rounds of singing and no humming I kissed her, laid her back down and left while her screams resounded off my back until I shut the door, nearly running away from the terror.

Not ten minutes later my wie and I were standing outside her door listening to the silence. We slowly opened the door and found her sleeping standing up in her crib with her neck resting on the top of the bars. I rushed to her and laid her down – mommy stayed outside at my request. She opened her eyes and fussed, but I don’t think she really woke up. I handed her Monkey and Blanket while she tried to stand up. I laid her down and she continued to fuss but did not stand back up. I met my wife outside the room and we listened until we were sure she was out. Checking on her and finding her safe and in a deep sleep we finally went to bed and cried ourselves to sleep.

Tonight were are going to steel our nerves and do whatever it takes to stay strong and not cave in. I have even made a CD of me singing the songs so that we can put it on repeat to help her. It will be bad, but hopefully not overly so. God I hope I can make it through this without ending back in a bed at the local mental health facility.

The Day Of The Twenty-Four Month Doctor Appointment

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

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.