One of Those Days
Do you ever have one of those days where you are so tired that by the time you take your kid outside for some fresh air you realize she’s still wearing pajamas?
I did. It was last week and no matter how hard I tried, my sweet 22 month old daughter would not nap. My once amazing sleeper was completely resisting naps. I KNEW the reign of her 3 hour afternoon naps was too good to last.
One of Those Weeks
“One of Those Days” was turning into “One of Those Weeks” and my sweet and adorable daughter screamed and screamed the minute she was put down in her crib or when I left the room. She would only sleep in the stroller and would always wake up shortly after we arrived home. The days of her 3 hour naps were surely over. At least she was still sleeping through the night!
My husband and I read Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block (“…and this is the band that holds it all together” was our mantra) and with a mix of magic (my husband Eric is a magician), Isla had been sleeping through the night from an early age. If she ever woke up in the middle of the night, she’d be able to put herself back to sleep. Last week, Isla woke up at midnight started screaming. So much so that she didn’t let up! This was new territory for us. We went in her room; Eric and I took turns and ended up being in her room for a total of two hours. Sleep finally happened for Isla but I couldn’t believe this was happening again; we were back to the newborn days of no sleep.
Her sleeping went back to normal until we stayed at my in-laws’ house for the Jewish holidays this past week (It’s 5776 but I keep writing 5775 on all my checks). I’ll summarize:
Night 1 at In-Laws’:
- Isla falls asleep in Pack-n-Play
- Isla wakes up screaming at midnight!
- Eric and I try to get her to stop crying and go back to sleep
- Eric falls asleep on bedroom floor
- Isla does not go back to sleep
- We reluctantly give in and BRING ISLA INTO BED WITH US
- Isla wakes up every hour screaming
- No one really sleeps
Night 2 at In-Laws’:
- Isla does not fall asleep in Pack-n-Play. Cries for 1 hour.
- Isla attempts to climb out of Pack-n-Play (as witnessed on video monitor), mother in law runs in to get her.
- My mother in law has the same luck we had previous night. Isla falls asleep in her arms twice. No transfer can be made; she keeps waking up.
- Isla sleeps over night in my in-laws’ bed. She sleeps through the night, mother in law does not, Eric and I do.
The Solution // The Day Everything Changed
My mother sent me articles the next day and got me reading about toddler sleep problems (which have also been starting to creep up on the message boards and Facebook groups for kids around Isla’s age). There are a plethora of reasons for toddler sleep issues and despite the fact that Isla is a great talker, telling us what is specifically bothering her doesn’t really happen. “Mommy, Isla crying!” is usually the extent of it.
I shared a few articles from WebMD with Eric on our drive back to Brooklyn so we could try to figure out a strategy to put Isla to sleep that night. We decided we’d make her room into a relaxing space. I put on Pandora’s “Relaxation Radio” while dimming the lights and closed her door. We played in her room for an hour before reading stories and doing her whole bedtime routine.
She knew bedtime was coming and could barely keep her eyes open. It was late. I was so hopeful. She let us lay her down. I was really hopeful. We covered her with a blanket and closed her door. I was extremely hopeful. Screaming started within thirty seconds.
We went in right away to calm her down. It worked; we redid her bedtime routine (minus the bath) and finally put her back down.
She screamed again so we went back in five minutes later (instead of right away this time). We calmed her down, redid the bedtime routine and left her in the crib (even though she was screaming again).
We set a timer for ten minutes, and before we could hit ‘start’, Isla’s bedroom door opens and I assumed it was either
1) the dog, or
2) Isla was screaming so loudly that the force of her voice and tantrum blew the door open (I actually thought this).
Instead it was option 3: Isla very calmly walked out of her room, said, “no nap.” My jaw dropped as I called to Eric and we couldn’t stop laughing. Isla climbed right onto the couch and started to fall asleep while muttering, “no nap, no nap…” Isla can also now open doors.
The craziest thing is how fast this all happened; there wasn’t even a loud thud to warn us that our not-yet-two year old daughter had just scaled her crib. We opened up the couch into a trundle bed, I opened the bed up and let her sleep there for the night surrounded by pillows. She didn’t wake up until 7:45AM.
A New Day
My father came by today to help convert Isla’s crib into a toddler bed. Isla has been playing in and around it all day and loves cuddling in it and putting her stuffed animals to sleep in it. It’s making my heart happy.
Playing in it is great; let’s see if she actually sleeps in it.
***Update on Isla’s sleeping, three months later found here (scroll to the bottom of page).