Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sleep training is a four-letter word

So my kids are apparently 19-month apart twins (yes, I am already explaining to strangers that a skinny toddler + a fatty 4 month old does not equal womb-mates.) Come on people, the (slightly) larger one speaks in complete sentences, while the shorter fatty dabbles in projectile vomiting and gummy smiles. So yes, anyway, clearly twins.

As I sit here contemplating whether or not to air their dirty, sleep-deprived laundry on the internet, the slightly smaller one is moaning at me from his impeccably decorated nursery (maybe it's too pretty for him to sleep?) while the bigger fellow utters plaintive cries from the basement. Which is now his bedroom. Which I can only hear because they drift up through the floorboards and slowly erode what was left of my sane mind.

Ironically, the last two nights have been our best ever. Ever. In nearly 2 years of exterior parenting. And tonight, by golly, we will try our damndest to painstakingly re-create the magical elixir of ambient sounds and circumstance to try for a hat trick. So, here's hoping.

The thing about these two precious boys is, they were both born without the desire to sleep. One prefers falling asleep briefly and popping up every, oh, 20 minutes or so to say heeeeeeeey, and the other prefers to scream/talk/whine it out for about an hour until he surrenders to a slumber so light, we brush our teeth slowly so as to make less noise. And forget about flossing. What if he hears the box click shut? Oh the horror.

We've read our way through the gamut of sleep-training handbooks, everything from the mildly sadistic Babywise to the straight up commune-style Dr. Sears manifesto. And a few in-betweeners like the Baby Whisperer, Healthy Sleep Happy Child, and, while I've yet to crack open my own copy, I've heard good things about 'Go the *$(% to Sleep.' So maybe we'll try that next.

Anyway, last night was awesome, naptime today is crashing and burning, and I just ripped 'Bun Bun,' Joey's beloved stuffed rabbit gifted to him at birth by grandma, from his clutches. And now he is softly weeping himself towards what I hope is dreamland and not the psych ward.

Time will tell.

Any hints, mamas? And not to get all judgy, but we just got the small fatty out of our bed and it would take a home invasion of vigilante tigers with machetes and napalm to get me to take him back under our covers, so ... yeah. We're not into co-sleeping.


  1. I wish I had some advice for you. But, maybe it will make you feel better to know I am fighting the same battle. People give me all kinds of advice. Cry it out. Co-Sleeping. yada yada yada. Nothing works with this kid. It usually ends up with her screaming in her bed while my husband and I swear at each other. 6 months of cry-it-out and nothing to show.

    Wow. Sorry. I'm going to stop myself from wallowing now.

    Many prayers that you sleep someday.

  2. Wish I had hints to hand out, but I am in the process of trying to sort this out myself. :( Good luck and prayers!

  3. This is an issue we all struggle with - with a kid, or two, or three.......! Mine are now all older, and unfortunately, with all the advice out there, each child is different. What works for one child or one family, doesn't necessarily work for others. My youngest is now 7, and I have 5 kids, so I'll try and give you some ideas. My oldest was a sleeper from day one. Couldn't pry that child from bed. No problem. My 2nd was attached to me in every way possible and was in our bed EVERY.FREAKING.NIGHT promptly at 1:30am until he was 2. And I was 8 months preggo with #3 and I cried uncle. With him, we did the "letting him cry routine" and after 3 nights he went in his bed and slept all night. With #3, we did co-sleeping until right around 3 or 4 months (like you) until I couldn't take it anymore. Up into the crib. He finally slept through the night about 11 months. Sometimes, I would nurse in the bed and let him sleep there. Sometimes back in the crib. Same with #4 and #5. #4 is a total lark and gets up(still)at the crack of dawn. He is forbidden from leaving his room until 6:30am. He has a clock in there. We have tried all different methods with all the kids and basically boiled it down to being firm, putting them back in the bed, letting them cry a bit, repeat, repeat, repeat. Eventually, they will sleep. I promise. And then they will be teenagers and you can't get the OUT of the bed.

  4. "Go the **** to Sleep" is awesome, if just for you and your husband. Maybe the audio version read by Samuel L. Jackson will make all the difference for your kids.
    Seriously though, I have no concrete advice other than to get into a good bedtime routine with lots of "wind down" activities. And people always suggested "try putting a fan in his room" which doesn't have consistent results but neither does an evening schedule carved in granite; at least around here. But three nights out of five in mostly unbroken sleep are better than five nights laying awake listening to ear piercing screams that keep the whole family awake. (True story.)
    Hang in there. They will sleep, someday.

  5. Hi. I have three boys under three. We have followed the "No Cry Sleep Solution" book and I can say that it is quite helpful. There is no "cry it out" but it also recognizes that we aren't interested in being martyrs. We begin to employ the ideas from this book around 5 months but I know lots of people who didn't start with it until the kids were toddlers. Another thing that we find SUPER helpful is a white noise machine. Conair sells one (got mine on Amazon) for about $25 but it is worth about 50million to myself and my husband. We only use the white noise option on it and we play it pretty loud esp in the beginning. We have had light sleepers too. Although the near 3yr old is no longer that way and he didn't become dependent on the white noise like many people predicted. We just gradually turned it down over time until he went without. He now shares a room with the 18 month old and we do still use it b/c of him. A fan or humidifier would not be nearly loud enough in my opinion. The boys also each have a blanket that they are attached to and I am more than ok with that. It gives them comfort and seems to help them fall asleep as well as put themselves back to sleep during the night. Also, a consistent bedtime routine seems to help. I really try to make their bed be a place that they feel secure and content. My kids don't play in their room - I have NO idea if that makes any difference or not. There is no particular reason why they don't except that I keep them out in order to not destroy things in there. Not sure if that helps them associate sleeping with their beds etc..... that is probably a stretch! My 5 month sleeps in our room - he cosleeps for the last few hours of the night b/c I am lazy and prefer to nurse and sleep. He usually nurses for the first time around 3 and then again around 5:30 so I just keep him in bed after the 3am feeding so that I can get better sleep. Good luck, I hope it gets better. Kyla

  6. Me again. I highly recommend Kyla's suggestion of the white noise machine in the room. Also in you room - I have one and it totally blocks out my loud children scampering around at 6:30 in the morning, when their mama desires to sleep until the more dignified hour of 7:00am.

  7. Babywise did it for me. My first child was false advertising and slept through te night on her own at 6 weeks. My second child, not so much. A friend of mine had her first baby 2 days after her second, and she was sleeping happily at 2 months while I was literally losing my mind. She'd read Babywise and recommended it, so I rushed to the bookstore (when there were still bookstores) and bought it. About 5 or 6 weeks later (I started it when he was 5 weeks old) he was sleeping 10 hours a night. Trust me, not at all sadistic. Kids need to sleep more than we need them to sleep. Good luck to you!


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