Thursday, February 06, 2014

Parenting help! Help! He-e-elp! HALP!

My India is basically the cutest thing I have ever seen except for when Jordan smiles at me so sweetly and then I'm pretty sure I've never encountered anything more adorable and so it goes.

They are always the most amazing children I have ever laid eyes upon as I imagine yours are for you and this is as it should be and we are all correct.

India has started saying, "No, tank ou!" when she does not want something. And if she bumps into you, she will say, "Sorry!" in her little tiny girl voice and this I also think is the sweetest thing ever on the planet forever.


Just like a hippopotamus, she can turn on a dime, and when she is angered, oh, the rage. The RAGE.

In fact, I have a Very Terrible little video of her shreiking like a banshee, and I would happily share it with you but for the fact that 1. she is all nakey, and I fear that someone creepy might come across it while searching Youtube for naked shrieking babies, and 2. you might sue me for causing hearing loss.

But in any case, if you have ever been to Target and seen a kid on the floor of an aisle, back arched, mouth open, terrible, hideous, evil screams emanating from his or her mouth, you will know what I am talking about.

And if you have not, well, how nice for you.

So here is where I need some help. Because we did not and do not have this with Jordan. Jordan is a sleeper.

When he was small, I would sing to him and put him down and he would stick his little thumb in his mouth and put his butt in the air and he would sleep. He still naps on the weekends, and he sleeps hard.

He doesn't necessarily want to go to bed, but once you are in bed telling stories in the dark (which are now, as directed by him, about Lego Jordan, Lego Goldilocks, and Lego Sophie, who go on adventures and fight Lego giants. Yes, it is a bit cumbersome to have to insert Lego before each name and object. "So then Lego Jordan got into his Lego car and rolled down the window." "Was it a Lego window, Mama?"), he winds down and then he goes to sleep, generally without protest.

Beelzebub, on the other hand, is now infuriated by having to go to bed.

Even if I lay it out for her ahead of time. Every night. Because we have the same fucking routine every night.

"We are going to read two (or however many) books, and then we're going to turn off the light and sing, and then we're going to go to bed. OK?"



Every night, when we get to the bed part, even if she's fine when I put her down, she commences screaming when I close the door.

Sometimes at the end of singing, when you ask her if she's ready for bed, she says, "Bed!"

So you think she's all ready to snuggle in with her friends doggie and lion and graff and blankie.

She is, until you leave.

Sometimes she begins wailing before I go, and then I stay and try to pat her back but she is all, "NO, ASSHOLE. PICK ME UP OR LEAVE ME ALONE TO HOWL IN PEACE."

Last night she said, "Bed!" And then we got up to go to bed and she said, "Sit!" Which means, "Mama, plant your butt firmly back in that chair and keep rocking me."

And then she said, "NO BED! NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

I rocked her a bit, then went and put her down, and by that time she was kicking and screaming and when I set her down she really let me have it. No, I could not touch her. No, I was not allowed to do anything to try to make her feel better. No no and no.

She can maintain this level of rage for a long time. Like, over an hour. Last night she yelled for two hours. TWO HOURS.

If she hears your footsteps approaching, she'll quiet down. If you don't go in, all hell breaks loose. If you go in, it's all sweetness until you get ready to go.

And she screams and screams.

Then she falls asleep exhausted, and typically sleeps the night.

We've gone in and patted her, gone in and rocked her, gone in and soothed her until she was sound asleep. But the more we go in, the longer she keeps it up.

I am a cry-it-out parent, and I leave her be when she's having a tantrum. I have let her rage on many a sidewalk when she isn't getting her way.

But this is different.

I don't want her this upset every night. But I also feel like the more we go in, the more she knows that if she yells, she will summon one of us.

She used to fuss in bed, but not at this level, and not for this long. And then she went through a period where she'd be all calm and sweet, and sometimes even say, "Night night!" when you put her down. And she'd go to sleep.

We've had this nightly caterwauling for a good week or so now.

What do we do?


  1. This may or may not help...but this thing really did wonders for us. It's great because the kids can have it in bed or on the nightstand and it's easy for them to turn on & manipulate. Having a bit of control over her environment really seemed to help my oldest.

    Also I did sticker charts for everything and she loved them! We did a sticker chart for good bedtimes and it helped a lot.

    1. She has a turtle, and we put it on and look at the stars while we sing and rock...but we do not put it in her crib with her. Maybe she would like that. Thanks!

      I think she's old enough to get the concept of a sticker chart...she'll be two in April. But I think when she is older that would be a great idea.

  2. Both my kids did this. My daughter did it a bit later than my son, but both in their own time. Basically they just had to learn that their little demonstration wasn't going to get them the attention they so desired. And they both eventually got over it. My daughter took a bit longer to get through the phase (it was a very long, heartbreaking few months), but in the end, they come out the other side and for the most part go down no problem.

    So basically, my recommendation is earplugs and lots and lots of wine.

    1. I think this is her being furious about lack of ability to express herself and lack of control over her life. And it is terrible. Wine and earplugs. Thank you for the advice!

  3. Oh god. I feel for you all. I wish I could help. The only thing I can think of is what we did when Muriel wouldn't want to go to bed, wouldn't stay in her bed, and wouldn't want to get up in the morning. In our case the worst problem was the not staying in bed, so we started with that. We used a calendar and stickers, and each night that she stayed in bed all night, she got to put a sticker on the calendar for that day. Once she had ten stickers on the calendar she got a reward, usually a new toy or a special outing. Later we added Peaceful Bedtime and Peaceful Morning, and if she did all three then she would get a sticker. It worked, but it was still off and on for a while. She definitely didn't earn a sticker each time. And, of course, realizing she hadn't earned a sticker was upsetting at first too... but she got used to this system fairly quickly and in the end it did work. And eventually she lost interest in the sticker calendar, so we're not stuck forever tracking that and trying to think of new rewards.

    But I think she was a little bit older when we started this, so I am not sure how well it would work. I think she was about three? Two years nine months? Something like that.

    The other thing I would say is, when it's happening every night, one week is a fucking eterninty. Hell, one session of that seems to last an eternity. Don't forget it's temporary! It all is.

    1. I do think we can do sticker charts and rewards when she's older, but she won't even be two until April. We kind of sucked at it with Jordan when we were trying to potty train, but then he learned of the joys of peeing outside and Nick bribed him with some large vehicle if he would sit on the toilet to poop and he basically sprinted forward from there.

      I would like to keep her in her crib as long as possible, though, because I am pretty sure that she will terrorize the house once she gets in a bed.

      You are also right - one night, one week - it's all fucking eternity but in actual fact it's temporary.

  4. can you just have her sleep in your room for a while? That sounds pretty traumatic :/

    1. No. I mean, I'm not opposed to having her in our room, but the issue is when you leave her alone, and as she goes to sleep bed way before we do, I'd be leaving her in a portable crib in our room, and I think it would have the same effect.

      She can't sleep in our bed because she doesn't sleep if she's with us. I love the idea of being all snuggled up with her, but when we've tried, she spends her time giggling, poking you in the ear, the nose, patting your head, etc. No sleep for anyone.

    2. could you snuggle with her or sit in the room reading or something while she falls asleep and then leave and do whatever you do in the evenings afterwards? That's what I do. Whenever kids cry, especially alone, it floods their brain with cortisol which kills neurons and also increases the chances of anxiety and depression later in life...

    3. oh I just saw the comment about putting Jordan to sleep after. Maybe you can look into a toddler baby carrier like a Tula or Kinderpack, and then you could wear India (the walking around while wearing her will likely put her to sleep) and then be free to do things with Jordan at the same time.

    4. Oh, thank you for checking in and for further suggestions. I really appreciate your input.

      I am really not sure which direction to go with this. Lately, I give them a bath together, which they love, and then we put on jammies and we all sit together in India's room and read books. They love this, and so do I. But it also means they wind each other up, because when we go into India's room, Jordan starts running around, and then she does, and then I wind up telling him we can't all read together if he's going to make India all excited. But even when he calms down, they make each other giggle while we're reading as well.

      When we're done reading, Jordan usually will get up and turn out the light for us and say goodnight. The other night he wanted to sing the songs, so he stayed in the dark.

      But now she gets upset when he goes.

      I used to wear her, but wound up giving away the Ergo when she was about 14-15 months because she had had enough with being carried and wanted to WALK. She'd have a fit when I tried to put her in it.

      I suppose I could try having us all in Jordan's bed, as they love some of the same books...Maybe that is something to try, although timing of that will be hard.

      I don't want to let her scream and scream. We did do CIO for the night wakings, and eventually she went from up every 2 hours to sleeping the night, and we were all a lot happier. This changed our lives. But this early evening screaming is awful, and is not good for anyone.

  5. I am truly impressed by your resilience and patience! While I am also generally a cry it out parent - certainly when they're having tantrums - I have always been lazy and taken the path of least resistance when it comes to bedtime. I still hang out in their bedroom until they're asleep. This usually happens pretty much straight after their story so it's not too bad. But not always! I justify it to myself saying that it's a nice opportunity to hang out with them with no distractions while they're all sweet and calm (ha!, like THAT'S true!)

    I realise that for you if you did this it may be loosing hard earned ground that you've gained, but if I were you I would just give in to it and make myself enjoy the moment. It's not forever (is my mantra!). I'm not you though and I guess in the end everyone is different and it boils down to what you are comfortable with.

    1. My main constraint is that after I get her down, I need to put Jordan to bed. And India doesn't have a story and a song and go to sleep. She could easily have 50 stories and 50 songs and still want to be held. I actually love the lead-up to bed, because it is mostly sweet and calm - up to the heading to bed point, when it all goes to hell.

      Since Jordan is the second one to bed, I can hang out with him till he falls asleep - although I don't need to - and it's so sweet to cuddle with him and tell stories in the dark.

  6. There must be lots of advice on Google. Because just about everyone I know has gone through this. Now this is going to sound so new age and out there....but, I believe there is something to the sign we are born under. If you think your little one is pretty much what she Aries maybe? Or a bull? You might try researching what makes her sign tick. Just a thought. I just laid my two year old grand daughter in the big girl bed for the first time at my house. She was already asleep. Praying she stays that way all night! Good Luck, Lisa. This too shall pass, as they say.

    1. I believe it, too, because I am such a Leo, and other Leos always, always resonate with me.

      So, I just looked her up, because honestly, I don't know what any of the spring signs are, and she's an Aries (a fire sign - good with Leo!), but the tail end, so almost Taurus:
      The independent nature which is so predominantly a feature of your Aries character is heightened by being born at the tail end of your Sun sign. The next sign of the Zodiac is Taurus and if you were born between the 13th and 20th of April you will exhibit many of the traits of the bull.

      I'm glad you're having a good visit! I hope your daughter is fine. I'm thinking about all of you.

    2. Yes, Im a Leo and thats why you always make perfect sense to me ;) We are having a great time. And good news from the doctor has made our day! Hang in there!

  7. Valleybroad - I have too many aliases! This is Miranda!

  8. Reading through all these thoughtful suggestions, another thought occurred to me. What if you read the stories while she is laying down in the bed? If she can get to there, then it might be easier for her to just fall asleep during the stories or during the singing. That would mean less cuddling and rocking, which I found hard to give up when we were facing a similar problem, but it might work? And there is time for cuddling and rocking at other times of the day. So, maybe, like, have Jordan in his bed and her on your lap for a story in his room, then they say good night to each other, then have her in her bed for a story and singing, or just read until she sleeps, or read, sing, then sit quietly until she sleeps? Then back to Jordan? Oh jeez that sounds like it would take forever. But if -- if! -- she is able to accept the change in routine (getting into bed before stories in her room) then there might be less trauma.

    When she is older, you *will* be able to read a story, bid good night, and shut the door with no problem.

  9. Jane was sort of the same way. For a long time she nursed to sleep and bedtime was no problem. Then we graduated to laying next to her crib on the floor and holding her hand through the bars until she went to sleep. Then laying there with no hand holding. It usually worked well, but frustrating if your kid takes a long time to go to sleep. When she was probably a bit over 2 yrs., we'd start saying "Oh, mama has to go potty, I'll be right back" which usually worked and then we'd just never come back. At nearly 3 I still use that trick, but now she'll also (depending on her mood) just accept the explanation that I will be right outside the door. Good luck!

  10. p.s. above from frugalveganmom, we're on a lobby computer.


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