/ The RE's Muse: Oh, the screaming...a call for help

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Oh, the screaming...a call for help

No, not mine.

Bedtime for J has become a ritual in patience. From 12 weeks on, she's been a champion sleeper--going down easily and staying that way.

For the past month or so, more times than not, she will put up a fight when we tell her it's time for bed. Ultimately, though, we prevail and down she goes. Until lately that is.

Now when we put her into her crib, she screams...and screams...and then screams some more. In the case of crying, flame me if you will but we've always done CIO and that method usually finds her petering out within 10 minutes max. But with the screaming, oh no, it goes on and on and on. This now means that either A or I will have to go into her room and sleep on the floor next to her crib to get her to stop screaming and ultimately go to sleep. During the frantic ear-piercing screams, she scrabbles and scrabbles up the posts of the crib, trying to climb out (luckily, so far no success). It is not pretty.

Here's the worrisome part. This Wednesday, A is going out of town for business for two days and two nights. There is only one of me, and two small children, one of whom I have no doubt is going to scream bloody murder when it's bed time. One whose screaming typically wakes up the littler one, who then needs to be soothed back to sleep, or occasionally, fed. Trouble is, one of me, two hands/arms, two children who may need me at the same time. Normally I can manage this (it's not pretty but I get it done). But for two nights? People, it may get ugly. I may not get any sleep. I may be a wreck.

I am dreading Wednesday and Thursday nights. Dreading with a capital "D."

Any hints on how to deal with the screaming? How to alleviate it going forward? And yes, on particularly bad nights, we've tried putting her in our bed, but once there, she wants to play, or rifle through our bookcase, or just generally be anywhere but in the bed.

I am at my wit's end with this and have no idea how to handle it. It's only getting worse recently. I know she's exploding developmentally and also dealing with D's arrival and that either or both can cause sleep disturbances, but this goes way beyond that. This is not a sleep disturbance. This is all-out screaming with everything she's got. At times it's scary and always it is heartbreaking.

Hints? Tips? Valium (for me, not her--just kidding)?

10 Comments:

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Cricket said...

Not valium, but maybe benedryl?

We all need a crutch occasionally.

If not that, maybe some Bach's Rescue Remedy would calm them.

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger Chebbles' Mama said...

I don't envy you, Dee, and I can completely understand why you're dreading Daddy's departure!! What a heart-wrenching situation -- we're CIO people around here, so I don't know what I'd do if the Chebs suddenly became so frantic and desperate about going to bed -- I'd definitely panic. She also has no interest in sleeping in our bed, so I'd be without solutions. Oh, here is an idea -- and this is directly from "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" -- what about putting her to bed earlier? I know that sounds insane, but that generally works for us. Maybe she's overtired by the time she goes down???? The Chebs has gone down as early as 6pm and still slept through to the morning -- just one idea, but I'm sure you will prevail!! Good luck!

 
At 2:36 PM, Anonymous BrooklynGirl said...

You've got me....We're going through a similar time here and it's kicking my butt.

We were in the car a lot for Easter and The Boy fell asleep really well in the car...and transferred to the crib well. Any chance of trying that if you get desperate?

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Frances said...

Oh Dee...I'm a total loser in the toddler sleep department, dealing as you know with our own long struggles. Weissbluth's book helped tremendously though, and I think we're on the right track. I echo the earlier-to-bed idea, if it makes sense for you. At first you may have to spend a little more time with J encouraging sleep, but when it catches on, it's nice.

I can tell you when Smacky comes to bed (in our bed) it's a strict routine with a firm lights out, no negotiations. If he tries to get up I plop him right back down on his pillow. Sometimes he'll cry and attempt negotiations but I stay firm. I do stay with him to ensure he doesn't climb out and get himself into trouble -usually he'll pass out within 10 minutes. After that I stick a video monitor on him and go about my night. Of course I would never recommend cosleeping ever again to anyone, having learned from our mistakes. But if becomes a last resort for you, that's how we function and though a transitional situation, it's working for now.

I too would be super-nervous about two days/nights without A. I get nervous when S goes away now - and we've only got one. I hope it's not as bad as you suspect and you can rest a bit.

 
At 7:34 PM, Blogger Klynn said...

Ok, now if you've ever seen my responses to any sleep-disturbance posts, this is going to sound like a broken record. It was always the problem for us, so naturally I project on to everyone else. Every time Boog had sleep problems, it was either an ear infection or teething. If she's not waking up in the middle of the night, though, that may not be the problem.

I'm a sucker, and I hang out in Boog's room (usually on the edge of his twin bed) until he's asleep. Once he's out, I can sneak out with little difficulty. Don't know how you could manage that with the little one, though.

In any case, I'm thinking of you and hoping you have peaceful sleepy evenings in your near future.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Miss W said...

I wish I had some helpful advice. I always let the lowercase go to sleep in my arms and then he sleeps with us...but not having the 2nd child, I have absolutely NO clue how one does it when there's more than one little one involved. I will offer you good thoughts and hope for the best for you.

 
At 11:37 PM, Blogger Heather said...

You've probably totally already thought of this, but I thought, hey, why not throw it out there? Does J sleep with a nightlight? Any chance she could be afraid of the dark and/or a weird shape or shadow being caused by her nightlight? P & E do have a nightlight, and one night, completely out of the blue, E started doing the screaming thing. It. Was. Maddening. Fast forward a couple nights, and G got the bright idea to partially obscure the nightlight so that it wouldn't cast so many weird shadows. What do you know? Worked like a charm. Maybe it's a long shot that the same thing is happening to you, but you just never know what might be going on in those little toddler minds.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger lagiulia said...

Oh, I'm sorry Dee. We did CIO (you may flame ME- I let them cry for 2 hours when we were first training them. your 10 minutes is nothing to worry about.) They have been champion sleepers for a long time now. I don't know what I'd do if they became bad sleepers all the sudden, and I know it could happen as they change and grow.
I don't know what to tell you, other than that it may be time to re-assess sleep habits, like the time she goes down, bedtime rituals, and naps. I would make a plan and then go through with it, but I wouldn't start until your husband comes back. For those two nights, I'd just do whatever she wants you to so she (and you) can sleep, whether that means sleeping in her room or whatever else.
I know what you mean about the two against one thing. When they are both sick (or even one of them is) I sincerely think I am going to lose it. Everything seems bad and hopeless and impossible. Can anyone come stay with you while your husband is away? I wish you lots of luck and send hugs.

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Menita said...

Every kid is different, so what we're suggesting may or may not work but hey, here's my two cents.
I had a similar situation when P was 16 months and J was 2 months old. Daddy had to go out of town for a week and I was alone with both kids. At that point putting P to bed was an endless ritual that ended in waiting untiil she was utterly exhausted and falling over herself, the only way she wouldn't scream when put into her crib. Of course, the problem with that is that she'd get to that point oh roughly at 1 or 2 am.
So when Daddy left I changed the regime right away. I turned off the radio, TV, everything that made any sort of noise, at 6 pm. I put her Fisherprice acquarium back in her crib (I'd taken it out a few months before). At 8 pm I snuggled with her and gave her a bottle, and then took her off to bed as matter of factly as I could. She yelled for about 5 minutes but then she found the acquarium and spent about an hour playing with it before going off to sleep.
Somehow the change of routine plus the surprise distraction in her bed did the trick, and it's worked pretty much ever since (except I did move her bedtime to a bit later so it would fit our schedules better - I teach until 9 pm often).
It was great that this worked as I was able to put them both to sleep in the same room from that moment on (of course it helped that J was an amazingly sound sleeper from very early on). Good luck!

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger Toffee said...

All good ideas above...I would try bed earlier, less nap, benadryl, ear plugs (for mom and little baby), letting her stay up until she falls over, or slumber party in one room. Wee one is displaying some terrible 2's stuff so maybe this is part of that too. Hey, we need something to blame it on.

 

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