Toddlers Sleeping Through The Night

Baby Max Asleep
Baby Max Asleep

It would appear we’ve come full circle…its time to get Dodge (1) to sleep through the night like we did 2 years ago with Max (3).  Dodge is stubborn…real stubborn.  He’ll kill you with kindness during the day, but at night it is clear who is in control of this family.  Dodge.  He likes to sleep…but only if he is held.  My wife and I like to sleep…but only when we’re not holding a baby.  Max likes to sleep…and can sleep through a Mac truck derailing a train into an air-horn factory.  My wife Kate and I are at our limits of patience and needed to make a change.  We can’t leave him with a sitter because he just screams in their faces till he’s blue and stubbornly refuses to go to sleep.  He throws toys out of the crib, pounds his fists on the railing, and no matter what…he will not lay down.  He stands.  Stubborn little dude.

A little research online (funny enough) brought me to this article:  “1-Year-Old Not Sleeping Through The Night.”  Its my own article I wrote about Max when he was exactly the same age as Dodge and I was ready to pull my hair out as a new parent at the end of my rope.  Dodge frustrates me like Max, however, I’ve seen Max evolve into the wonderful kid who puts himself to sleep and sleeps through the night.  I know the answer is within sight and this time next year sleeping won’t be an issue.  Sleep is coming soon…sleep is coming soon.

Sleepy Dodge
Sleepy Dodge

With Max, Kate and I made a plan and it worked.  It was a very new parent 1st kid plan.  Lots of thought went into it because I was reading about how you can’t nurture your kids enough and should hold them anytime they cry and books about how to ween them away from needing you and teaching them to sleep on their own.  This time around?  Less plan – more adult sleep.  Dodge woke up crying after Kate put him to bed and I went up to comfort him.  He calmed once I entered the room.  As usual, he would not lay back down and threw a fit when I tried to help him back to sleep…so I picked him up and cuddled him in my arms.  I like to press my face against his cheek, kiss him relentlessly, and sing softly to him.  He was asleep in my arms in seconds.  However, now is the part where he opens his eyes every few minutes to check and see if you are still holding him and still rocking the chair.  It can sometimes take 30-45 minutes to get him back to sleep (which he could easily wake up from again in an hour) which is ridiculous.  Limp in my arms I placed him into the crib and his eyes shot open, the tears came pouring out, and the crying began.  Kate prepared to come in to take over and instead I just put up the “stop” hand, looked Dodge in the eyes, gave him a kiss goodnight, said “night-night,” and left the room.

Dodge cried.  Dodge stood.  Dodge stomped his feet.  This is what Dodge does every night.  The difference this night was no one responded to any of these actions.  Game on!

Sleep Standing
Sleep Standing

I sat angrily on the couch and kicked a pillow.  Its frustrating not being able to put your own kid to sleep!  It sucks putting in hours every night on a project that fails!  Kate and I agreed to let him cry for 15 minutes to tucker himself out as we have done in the past.  After 15 minutes we decided to give it another 15 to see what happened.  Once we hit the 30 minute mark we figured “why not?”  We went for 60.  After an hour of crying and stomping Dodge ran out of steam.  He fell asleep…sort of.  Stubbornly refusing to lay down he rested his head on the crib railing and went to sleep standing up.  STANDING UP!!!  That’s stubborn!  Adorable…but stubborn!  He tossed and turned trying to find a more comfortable position but there is nothing comfortable about sleeping while standing.  Seriously…I’ve never seen anything so stubborn.

He stirred when we came upstairs and cried for a few minutes.  Kate looked at me wondering what to do.  I looked at her wondering what to do.  We looked at the monitor.  Still sleeping…sort of…standing up.

Photo Apr 14, 11 24 26 PM
Still sleep standing…moments before giving up and collapsing for the night.

I put my airplane-grade earplugs in, cranked up the sound machine, turned off the light, and went to bed.  Somewhere around the 2 hour mark Dodge gave up and laid down.  He went to sleep on his own.  He woke up around 6:30 AM when he normally does, cried, rolled over, and went back to bed.  He didn’t wake up till 8:45 AM!  A full hour after Max!  Since I was the last person he saw the night before I wanted to be the first person he saw that morning.  He was fine.  His head had not fallen off, he had not turned into a devil, and he was happy to see me and held no grudges.  All was fine.  Last I saw he was playing cars with his brother Max, sporting a giant smile, and looked as happy as he does every day.  The only difference was Kate and I got 7 hours of sleep and felt fantastic.

blood-moon-nasa-eclipseThere was no plan last night.  The plan was, “Are we doing this?”  Yes…its on like Donkey Kong, earplugs ahoy, and let him cry it out.  There’s a saying I always tell the sitters that I had to tell myself last night, “No baby ever hurt themselves from crying.”  Max is using the potty, Dodge is gonna sleep through the night, and darn it all…I’m going to not step on a toy car in the middle of the night when I get up for a glass of water!  The kids can have their day in the sun…but Dada and Mama will have their night in the moon.  Oddly enough last night was the “Blood Moon” which began about an hour after Dodge laid down and went to bed.  We had planned on staying up to see it since we’d normally be up with Dodge…but plans changed.  Second child experienced parent changed.  Good night…and good luck.

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