Saturday, September 18, 2010

Outwitted by the Toddler Once Again

I promised myself that my daughter would take a good nap in her crib this afternoon. Famous last words. Everything started well. She dined of broccoli, a sweet potato and half of an apple at a proper 11:50 a.m. After lunch she washed her hands, I changed her diaper and gave her her pacis (Yes, plural pacis. She sucks on one and holds the other in her hand. I know, I know. Don't judge.) I asked if she was ready to rest, and she replied quickly and enthusiastically, "Yes!" My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief, but hey, we always have hope. She had her pillow, special blanket, both lovies and the sound of the ocean playing in the background. All was right with the world. She went down without one word of protest. Amazing!

That lasted about 15 minutes.

My husband had gone outside to wash our cars, and I'd intended to update my blog. (So sorry I've been such a slacker lately.) I did get the table cleaned off and the dishes stacked in the sick, but I'd just sat down to begin typing when I first heard her call for me. Perfect. I'd not had the opportunity to write at all, and we all know the quality of sleep at night depends on how well a child sleeps during the day. So I went into her room, covered her back up, told her I loved her and that it was nap time and left. Cries rang out before I even made it out of the room, but I stayed strong and kept on going without looking back. I waited the first five minutes (probably more like four and a half, but who's counting) through constant cries and went back in to repeat the covering, patting, assuring my love, etc. and left again determined that she would eventually sleep. I. Never. Learn.

My husband and I have gone back and forth with multiple cry it out methods, but truth be told, we're weak. We don't have excellent follow through when it comes our daughter being upset. And I'll admit that most of the time it's my fault. I know she needs to be able to console herself, she should be able to nap independently and she should not be able to manipulate this well so soon; however, I really have a tough time when she's crying for me. I want her to know that no matter what I'll always be there for her. Always. I don't want to think she needs something or someone and I've just left her there trapped in her crib to deal. She's not even two years old yet. But I also know she gets her way entirely too often, and it worries me because again, she's not even two yet.

To save you the details of the drama today, just imagine the scenario going on for nearly an hour with me playing my role every eight to 10 minutes. Determined to prove that I was the boss I finally went back in to lay her down again and firmly explained that she would nap today. She stopped crying and looked at me as if she understood I finally meant business. I told her I loved her again and left. Silence. I smiled and walked back to the computer in the family room. Still nothing. This went on for about seven minutes. I sat in front of my computer and waited. I assumed she was asleep at last. Ahhhh. Peace. But then, I thought, I hope she's okay. I had to make sure she was still breathing. (I know. I have issues.) It'd been enough time. I could tiptoe in to put my hand on her chest just to make sure she was fine. I walked with a mission, purposefully missing each creaky spot on our living room floor. I tiptoed forward, and just before I turned the hallway to get to her room I heard a soft, sweet voice, "Mommy, I love you. I love you, Mommy." I froze. What? I had not made one peep! And then again, "Mommy.....Mommy, I love you." I melted and knew it was over. My white flag might as well have been tossed into the air. She was already standing up and smiling, holding her blanket, extra paci, pillow and both lovies. (The girl can use those small hands like a champion!) She got her way. Again. I picked her up, gave her a hug and kisses, and we went to the rocker to snuggle.

I feel like such a loser, but I still have hope that tonight will be a good night.


  1. We didn't ever do the "cry it out." We have a rule that if she doesn't want to sleep, she has to do something quietly, like look at a book or one of those hypnotic "Baby Einstein" videos, in her bed. (Or, ahem, ours.) Usually if she's really tired, she'll fall asleep.

    It might also help to find out if she has a routine at day care, and try to follow the same one at home. It's always amazed me how at naptime at "school," she just lays down and goes to sleep on her mat. I think it must be peer pressure.

  2. You are a better mother than I. Much to my dissatisfaction, my daughter co-sleeps with us or anyone else in the family... and has since the first day she came home from the hospital.
    She also demands being held for all naps. Now that I am alone with her (totally devoid of help from friends and family) it KILLS me.
    I caved to pressure from everyone around me and allowed her in the bed/every waiting pair of arms... and now I'm left to deal with the little nightmare we have created; alone!
    After several discussions with a husband who is not supportive of making the toddler sleep alone, I have just given up and resigned myself to sleeping with her for the rest of my natural life. Heck, I guess that is one of the reasons we have a king-sized bed... and in 16-more years I'll look back on this time and regret it passed so quickly. Right? Who doesn't love little size 6 feet scrunching in their hair and tiny butterfly hands fluttering over their face for reassurance that you didn't leave during their blissful slumber? -- On the up side, it is nice to have baby crawl on my chest every morning, grab my face with both hands and kiss me awake.

  3. Hey, Kristi! I very much like the idea of doing something quietly if she doesn't want to sleep. I'm using that one starting today! Thanks!

    And my daughter is great during naptime at school too. It's amazing! She also just lays right down on her little cot and goes to sleep with only one paci and her fav blanket (We have two of the same.) It's unbelievable. I agree that it's the pressure. Ha!

    Tonya, I feel your pain during the naps. I love the closeness, but I really want to get something accomplished while she was snoozes so I can fully enjoy the playtime when she's awake. Now, we're doing the hold during half the nap or three quarters of the nap plan. Ha! I agree, we'll miss it....probably sooner than later.

    On most nights my baby girl does well at night until anywhere between 5:30 to 6:15 a.m. That's when she wants to come on into our bed for some snuggle time. We love it too and are happy to plunk her in between us for a little while. What's funny is that we tried the co-sleeping plan for a while early on when she was having lots of difficulty sleeping at all. Ever. She's a VERY restless sleeper so no one got any sleep. Eventually, I think she realized she was more comfortable in her bed with her space. Until the early am, that is. :)