Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just getting worse

I have blogged in the past about Eloise's sleep issues. She is seriously a horrible, awful sleeper. She has been forever. She waivers between being an okay sleeper and being a horrendous sleeper. Once in a while she surprises us as a great sleeper for a night or two. I can count on one hand how many times she has fallen asleep without needing to be nursed or snuggled up with. It's getting infuriating because the work it requires to get her to sleep is a nightly, hours-long affair. Matt and I are both at the end of our rope with her sleep issues.

We are even at the point that we would let her cry-it-out (CIO) if we thought it would work. The only night it did "work" was after we had literally been laying with her for hours and she passed out from sheer exhaustion at about midnight. Not exactly what I would call a success.

The last two times I brought Eloise in for a doctor's appointment our family doctor suggested we let her cry at night. At first I laughed it off, now I wonder, would it work? I mean, would it work eventually? Before the neighbor's called CPS on us? How do people in apartment buildings pull something like that off, especially when it would take hours upon hours every single night of ear-piercing shrieking for god knows how long? Yeah. I think we would be thrown out. We would be homeless because our daughter hates to sleep. We have let her cry at times simply because we can't tend to her sleep needs another second longer. It's a survival mechanism, letting her cry, for her survival.

It's hard because we're getting to the point where we're just so resentful of her. Of the time she needs, of how unhappy she is, of how much our relationship with each other suffers because of how intensive her sleep needs are. Every night and every nap for TWO YEARS. I am about to pull my hair out.

So what now? I have no idea. We just want a break from the madness. We want her to sleep, or at least we want to not have to deal with it for a good, oh, month. It sucks because I want to be done nursing her. I want to be done co-sleeping with her. I want to be done with everything because of how much trouble her sleep is. I can't even imagine what a better mother I would be to these girls if Eloise actually was a decent sleeper, which makes me resent her even more. Which makes me feel like somehow along the line we failed her.

See, the other side of the coin is, we've never been good at establishing healthy sleep habits. She doesn't have a consistent wake up and bed time. She doesn't have a night-time routine. We haven't tried exactly the same thing for long enough periods of time in order to see if it actually helps.

So now we're stuck with a two year old- Two!- who hates to go to sleep and who has now made our lives mostly a series of nights that are shitty and even shittier. Fun times.


  1. oh dear. hang in there. i won't pretend to have any magic answers. but i am glad that you are seeking out the advice of people who do have some potential answers for you. it sucks. no doubt about it. but it can and will get better. ((hugs))

  2. Sybil, I'm sorry! GraceAnne was a terrible sleeper, too, (she still doesn't like to sleep much, but she doesn't bother us anymore), and it took some serious work with her. We had to have a consistent night time routine and when we let her CIO it took days because she is so stubborn. I'm not a very organized person, so the consistency she needed was so exhausting for me, but ultimately better. What we had to do was dinner at 6:30pm, bath at 7:30pm, story time with Daddy, song with Mommy and lights out at 8:30pm. I will say, though, the bedtime was easier to deal with than the nighttime wakings. Of course, she was also under 1-year-old, in her own room and not nursing...I'm sorry, I'm no help at all! :(

  3. I'm sorry I don't have any magical cures for you, since as you know Signal is a terrible sleeper as well. I find that having a consistent nap time (12:30) and consistent bedtime (7:30) has really helped him know what to expect. We only established that at about 18 months though, when he began to show a desire for more consistency. He is still up 2-3 times a night for milk, but at least getting him to sleep (rocking with a bottle) isn't a battle anymore.

    One thing that has helped our sanity is having him sleep most of the night on his own mattress beside our bed. We get down with him when he wants milk, and then get back up into our own bed afterwards. Just a little space from him has added a lot to our night time happiness. Yes, he still sleeps with us part of the night a lot of the time, but we get some space too.

  4. Sleep problems are the worst. I don't have any great advice except you're on the right track with the whole consistent bed time and consistent bed time routine. I know EJ does better when we keep her on a schedule for bed. A lot of things - like being strict and letting her know what the rules are and not giving in even when she acts like the rules are killing her - those things seem to in the long run make her happier even though instinctually I feel like they're awful. But I'm starting to see it works. The whole CIO thing still totally rubs me the wrong way but it's not like we haven't had to do it too. Sigh.

  5. I'm thinking about you guys and can't wait to hear about it all!!


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