Saturday, January 6, 2018

When your toddler still doesn't sleep through the night.

The kids are asleep so I fired up the rocket ship aka my laptop to finally get around to writing an update on Ava's sleep or lack of. Before I delve into that, you might be wondering why I call my laptop a rocket ship. It's so loud. I made the mistake mid last year of leaving a full glass of water next to my laptop while Ava was around. 

Never trust a 2 year old with a glass of water. Never. 

She climbed up on my chair when my back was turned because I had gotten up to put something away, and she just casually decides that she's going to take that glass of water and just dump it right into the keys of my laptop! I had just turned around as it was happening and I launched into a slow motion NNNOOoooooooooo........

I immediately tried to mop up the water with towels and I could hear the fan of the laptop get really loud and slowly start dying. I thought I had lost so many memories and business documents because I hadn't backed up in awhile, but miraculously it ended up working a few days later--minus the keyboard anyways. I have to use a cordless keyboard and mouse to use my laptop, but I'm just happy it works. H has his own and we have an old school computer as well so worse comes to worse I have a backup plan when this old thing goes kaput.

I digress, back to Ava. So she's currently 28 months old and she's still waking up every single night. I never imagined I'd still be sleep deprived 2 years later with one of my children. By far the worst sleeper of them all. The approach we took with Ava was just doing whatever it takes to get her and us back to sleep as quickly as possible. This back fired in the worst possible way. As with most breastfed babies, they tend to wake up more than formula fed babies. I nursed my other babies and I intended to nurse Ava well into 2 years old like I did baby #3. The problem was Ava was waking up 3-4 times a night. By 16 months I couldn't do it anymore. I needed sleep. I decided to cut out nursing and I was so afraid the night I decided to do it that I was going to be up constantly. It was surprisingly easy. I gave her a bottle of almond milk and she was out within 15 minutes. Shoot. I should have done it sooner. Right away her sleeping improved. A few days of waking up just twice and then down to once a night. The problem with that she's still waking up that "once a night" and she's over 2 years old. My next tactic was to move her out of our room and into Layla and Mariam's room. I did that in August I believe and it hasn't helped. She wakes up between 12:30 and 2:00 and starts crying for me. I get up quickly to get her as to not wake the other girls and then I bring her into our bed. For awhile we tried putting an air mattress in her room so H could help me out, and he could go get her and keep her in the room so I could sleep, but it didn't do much good. I would still hear her and she would want me. 

I was this close to paying $500 for a sleep trainer to come to my home, evaluate it and give me a detailed plan along with help along the way--minus her actually sleeping at my house, but my pediatrician told me to save my money and said "here's what you need to do". The problem is of course it involves some crying it out and H and I just aren't the crying it out type. Now that she's this big, it would have been harder anyways and would have taken longer. My biggest fear is that I'll put her through a week of torture and the rest of the family and it still won't work. She's stubborn this one and I'm convinced she hates sleep. Almost all of her naps (when she takes one) still consist of her waking up and crying. Like she's mad she actually fell asleep!

I'm sort of out of options here, but I've got one more tactic I can try. A friend mentioned not bringing her to my bed anymore when she wakes up. Like I know this but I haven't caught up on any sleep to try this. She mentioned getting a chair and when she wakes up, not pick her up and just pat her back down to sleep from my chair, not laying next to her. I didn't mention that when I put her to sleep the beginning of the night, I lay next to her--in her crib. Yep. It's bad. Well let me tell you how that one started. So yes I was doing whatever I could do to get her to go to sleep. As a newborn she started off in her bassinet and pack and play, but it somehow morphed into her co-sleeping in the middle of us. I wasn't comfortable with that since that's not what we did with the other girls, and I missed snuggling up to my husband. I started to put her in the crib, climb in there with her and nurse her to sleep. Basically getting her to sleep better was like taking one step forward and two steps back. 

The biggest problem here is I never trained her to put herself to sleep on her own. I missed the boat. If you're expecting heed my advice. Don't miss that boat. While I'm tired every day, my body has grown accustomed in some ways. One thing that doesn't adjust much is your mindset though. Being sleep deprived means I have to keep my moods in check. While I still do a lot, everything including regulating emotions is 5x harder when you are tired. I keep waiting for the day where I'll get a small break where she'll sleep through the night and I'll wake up not feeling tired. She has only slept through the night 6 times in her whole life. I used to google ways to get her to sleep when she was a baby, but haven't looked up much about toddlers that don't sleep through the night. I've never been in these shoes before! So I guess I've got some homework to do and I need to try some new things. If nothing else works well I hope when she's around 3, I can implement some sort of reward chart that entails staying in her room and not waking up mommy and daddy. 

She's so lovable though. As tired as I am, there are some nights I welcome feeling her fluffy curls next to my face and having her pick at my nails as she likes to do while drifting off to sleep. I know only too well just how fast they grow up. As tired as I am, I know I'll look back on these days and miss them. 

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