Monday, June 6, 2011

Phases of Parenthood

They are just phases, right?  It took some work but Lucas started sleeping through the night (from 8pm-7am ish) since he was about 7 months old, and then consistently since he was 11 months old.  In fact, by the time he was 13 or 14 months old (and I had stopped nursing him), we read a book, said a prayers, sang a song, kissed him goodnight, walked out of the door and didn't hear from him until the morning.  That was a great phase.

And a few weeks ago Lucas entered a new phase.  When we kiss him goodnight, he refuses to close his eyes and starts yelling when we attempt to walk out of the room.  He sits up and whines, yells, cries.  Lately we've set next to him until his lids get too heavy to keep open and he finally falls asleep.  If we walk out before he's good and asleep, he sits up and cries again.  The really fun part is that he does this in the middle of the night too, wakes up, sits up and yells.  We walk in to check on him and then can't leave because he, again, refuses to close his eyes and freaks out if we head toward the door.

I considered the idea that it was night terrors, but dismissed it because as soon as we walk into his room when he's yelling like that, he stops and is fine.  Usually, when kids have these night terrors they continue freaking out when you're there, and take a while to snap out of it.

Anya is 8 months old.  For a few months now she has been good at going to bed.  I sing her a song, lay her down and she usually falls asleep shortly thereafter (if she didn't fall asleep while nursing).  If she fusses at all, it's only for a moment, less than a minute or two.  But she won't sleep until dawn.  She wakes up every few hours and cries, sometimes every hour and a half, sometimes more.

I don't know what to do.  My kids share a room.  Between both of their sleeping issues, I am up a lot at night and the most difficult thing is that I can't go back to sleep for a half hour or more each time.  I'm sweet and comforting and understanding the first one or two times Lucas wakes up but by the third... I am cranky, tired, impatient... "why won't you go back to sleep!"

This is just a phase, right? A short one?
This is what I found after Zach went to comfort crying Lucas in the middle of his nap today.  Yup, he fights naps too and if he wakes up when he's no ready he's a cranky cranky kid, but won't go back to sleep unless someone's next to him. 


Darcy Taylor said...

Oh no, I am so sorry Lucas is not sleeping well now too :( Could he be having nightmares as opposed to night terrors? I wish I had a solution for you. For Anya, do you have the book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child? Mine was borrowed and lost, but it seemed to be a great reference for various sleep issues at various ages. It might even discuss nightmares and night terrors (didn't read to that point if it does).

Stephanie said...

Wow, that is frustrating. Sorry! I was going to suggest the book Darcy mentioned. It really helped me with my children and their sleeping. It even has tips and helps for kids up to age 5 or so. It might have a solution. Good luck! Nothing stinks as much as being tired, eh?

Courtney B said...

arlo is still like that at times... won't let us leave the room until he is completely asleep... or wakes up and won't go back to sleep without us comforting him (holding him or rocking him).

it may not be night TERRORS, but could just be plain old bad dreams. something making him nervous/anxious/scared and wants his parents there for comfort. i don't know why arlo does it either and some nights are hard. but, i guess it's easier for me to deal with since i don't have a 2nd kid that is also waking up frequently and he doesn't do it every night (maybe once a week, sometimes less).

arlo also will wake up before his nap if "finished" and wakes up cranky/tired and will NOT go back to sleep on his own. it makes for a not fun 2nd part of the day. i have tried to let him cry and he has not ever gone back to sleep. saturday he woke up too early and he cried/whined for 2 hours and then finally just stopped... started jabbering/talking, but never went back to sleep. it was frustrating (that day his nap was like 20 minutes long and he was EXHAUSTED).

i wish i had answers :( you need sleep! it makes it hard to feel like a capable/happy mom without much of it. i am amazed at what you are able to accomplish now! you are super mom!

Verenice said...

I will try to be positive. It is a phase. This to shall pass, but when you are in the thick of it it feels like it never will. You are making me not want any more children though :) So, I used to watch The Nanny, back in the day, and she did this approach, where she would start close to the children, but every 5 minutes I think after she put them down, she would move away from the child until she was eventually out the door. The next day, she would start further from the child, until eventually, you aren't in the room, but outside the door. Does this make sense? She would do it to wean the child from wanting you in the room. As for the waking up in the middle of the night, I think you might not want to hear it but I think it might be time to phase out the naps. He might still need one every couple of days, but you might want to try that to see if he will stop waking up in the middle of the night. Good luck! I don't envy you. Usually my kids sleep well until we are visiting other places. That's why vacations aren't always the most exciting for me. See you soon!

Verenice said...

I forgot to tell you, I sure do love that picture, even if the circumstances stink.

Hailey said...

Ok I have gone through this with Mae. Not totally the same circumstances but close. It must be something about the age, I don't know. I don't have any fixes because every kid is different. But YES it is just a phase. Mae has gotten over it (took a couple months) but now she is back to her wonderful sleep schedule 7pm to 8am. BEAUTIFUL! I can only imagine how you feel every day. Probably just in survival mode with all that lack of sleep going on. You are amazing!

Chad and Laura said...

I have no idea if it is a phase or something that will come and go depending on the response. I must not be a very good mom . . . I just tell her to lie down and if I see her out of her bed I will take away _____. (Usually cars). So it works because she's had them taken away enough times to know I mean business. The night time ritual is good, though (in my very expert opinion . . .) because he knows what is coming next. It's not like you're springing bedtime on him . . . he might just want dad and mom around because he doesn't want to sleep . . . ?? (That's what I've always assumed)

You'll figure it out. You've made it this far, right??? ;)

That picture is a keeper!

Ksenia said...

Thank you all for your sympathy, encouragement and advice. I should have checked out that Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child book a long time ago, as it was recommended to me when Anya was first born.

Verenice, I've been trying that method. Seems to be helping, but he usually still ends up crying, just not quite as much (I think). Any little bit helps.

We separated the kids for now to deal with their issues separately. It's nice to have a network of such awesome mamas!

Thank you all again!

Stephanie Córdova said...

I ended up doing the phasing out thing with Isaac when he was about 12 1/2 months old since he was still sleeping with us every night, and nursing all throughout the night, something I just couldn't do anymore since it was making me too tired and cranky. He did great and actually it was the same week I stopped nursing him (his iron was low because he wouldn't eat food, he only wanted to nurse) and despite the two major changes at the same time, he did great. However, he has started waking up once or twice in the night and before, we'd go get him and bring him into bed with us, mostly not thinking much because we were so tired. Now I let him cry/make noises for a little bit and he'll usually fall back asleep. But nap time is a nightmare. He refuses to nap in his crib which means he's with me and I am left getting nothing done during nap time. I might just have to get that book as well, especially once more little ones come. I'm sure there are phases and it sounds like you are handling things pretty well. Good luck and although I may not have a lot of good advice, at least know that you aren't alone! For me, it's always at least a little comforting to know that others are going through these things too!