Night Terrors

Every day and every night, I write in my head. I look forward to the time when I can sit at my laptop and put those thoughts and ideas into actual writing. And then my life interferes. It’s like at work, when I decide I need to sit down and grade some papers, but first I have to make sure tomorrow’s lesson is squared away. Since I’m teaching a class this year I’ve never taught before and using a brand new textbook that is frankly way above their level, the amount of “scaffolding” preparation I have to do for each lesson is staggering. It will be easier next year, when I have all that prep work done. Assuming I get the same class next year.

I rarely get to the grading, because when I’m finally ready for tomorrow, I look up at the clock and it’s time to go home.

Ever since daylight savings time started, V’s bedtime ritual has been moving later and later. I thought we’d have a few nights of adjustment, then get her back on a 7:30 bedtime. But she happily dropped that hour, then added an hour to her elaborate and growing more elaborate bedtime ritual. When I used to nurse, she would usually fall asleep within 20-30 minutes. Now, it’s never less than 45 minutes. I lie next to her in bed until she falls asleep. There’s no point in trying to start earlier. If I try to put her to sleep at 8:00, she will toss and turn and be silly for nearly two hours. She will not fall asleep before 9:30 or later, no matter when we start. She will also not fall asleep EARLIER if we begin the jammies, books, cuddle time, soothing music LATER. She will take her hour and a half to two hours to fall asleep regardless of when it starts.

“Cry it out” seemed so inhumane to me back when people suggested it to me. I read articles about how it increases the cortisol in a baby’s brain and causes permanent changes in mood that can last a lifetime. The Attachment Parenting philosophy has always rung true for me. Dr. Sears writes that I am not just a parent during the day. I am a parent 24 hours a day, and I have to be as diligent in my “night parenting” as I am in my day parenting.

But right about now, I’d like to tell Dr. Sears to take a flying leap. Why do I have a feeling that his wife was doing all the “night parenting” while he was either on-call at the hospital, or perhaps sleeping? Or maybe he was drinking beers in the living room and enjoying some World of Warcraft while his exhausted pregnant wife stared angrily at the dark ceiling as their two year-old tossed and turned and took forever to settle down and fall asleep.

Tonight I scrolled through my friends’ Facebook status updates and a childfree buddy had posted a status about enjoying some champagne on a Tuesday. And I wanted to break down crying. Because I’m feeling so bloody sorry for myself, that I can hardly stand it. (Note: use of “bloody” instead of “fucking” is direct result of extensive media coverage of British Royal Wedding). Champagne on a Tuesday sounds bloody brilliant.

The Attachment Parenting books I read during my pregnancy and V’s infancy declared that any “sleep training” or scheduling was for the convenience of the parents and NOT the baby. That the baby would let you know what she needed. Being a stay-at-home-mom for the first 16 months, I felt that I owed it to my child to put her needs first in order to make her as healthy and well-adjusted as she could possibly be.

I was a rookie. I had no experience. Two years later, it feels like a grave error but I could not have possibly felt more conviction at the time. Oh well. I’m hardly the first mom who was too soft and paid for it later.

This is a long explanation as to why I’ve only been updating my blog once a week.

It’s going to get better. Every time I’ve ever made a major shift in my way of doing things, I’ve reached a point where I’ve said to myself, “I just won’t live like this anymore.” And I am there. I am SO there.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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8 Responses to Night Terrors

  1. Niamh says:

    Good for you! It’ll be difficult in the short-term, but so worth it in the long-term. May the force be with you!

  2. This is why mine gets updated sometimes every ten or 14 days! And mine are ages 14, 13 and 10. So it is not the sleep thing. Now it is the laundry and the kitchen/cooking/food prep thing…and everyone helps!
    But here is the deal after dinner time–well, there are lots of sports and then there is the managing of showers and bed AND homework i.e. helping quiz them on tests which occur every single week. And parenting/guiding on the issues of the day. Vive le weekend. And summer (I still work but there is no school work or sports in the evenings). Good news: when it is bedtime all 5 of us nod off within a few minutes.

  3. Mindy says:

    Crying it out seems slightly more palatable to me when they’re small babies. By the time they’re old enough to call for Mommy? I don’t know how one does it.
    I agree with the “24 hour parenting” thing, except maybe we can re-think it a little. Like, I will absolutely be there when you have a bad dream, or get sick, or need a drink of water. But night time is for sleeping, and the day must come to an end at some point. For everyone’s sake.
    I tell my kids we take naps and go to bed early so our bones can grow, and our muscles can get big and strong. Like super heroes! They’re boys though, so that might not have the same appeal to your daughter šŸ™‚
    Anyway, hope things get better soon. All these crazy phases we go through with kids…

  4. Chelsea says:

    All parents do the best they can at the moment.

    My sister-wh0-shall-remain-nameless never trained her kids to fall asleep on their own. Her son is in the flipping second grade and she STILL has to snuggle with him until he falls asleep. That’s not parenting — that’s slavery.

    V. will not be scarred or screwed up or otherwise damaged if you make her cry it out and sleep alone. I swear. As for the bedtime, how long of a nap is she getting during the day, anyway?

  5. Two years old is not a baby. She can handle it. She’ll be mad and she’ll protest, but she will adjust.

    Also? Some kids need to work it out on their own and parental involvement just prolongs things. My kid? Needed to be left to fuss (once she was no longer a newborn). She slept so much better.

    Like Moxie says, some kids cry to release tension, some kids ramp up tension with crying. I think some of the cry-to-release kids need space to get it all out.

    AP isn’t working if it’s making you miserable.


  6. mrsk6 says:

    I keep wondering… at what age can you reason with them? I can’t WAIT for that day!

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