Elizabeth is having one of her "Bad Sleep" stages. She goes through one of these periodically. And no matter how fine and handleable they seem to be when we're looking back on them from one of her Good Sleep stages, and no matter how reasonable we feel about them during the day, they always seem crazy and unmanageable at night.
Here is our daytime philosophy: These things pass regardless of how we handle them, so let's aim for what keeps us calmest/happiest and gets us the most sleep.
Here is how we feel at night: NOTHING IS WORKING! EVERYTHING WE DO IS WRONG AND WILL HAVE SERIOUS LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES! WHY CAN'T WE AT LEAST CHOOSE ONE METHOD AND BE CONSISTENT, RATHER THAN DOING WHATEVER OUR NIGHT-ADDLED BRAINS RANDOMLY SELECT FROM OPTIONS WE HAVE NOT DISCUSSED OR APPROVED??
In one of Elizabeth's previous Bad Sleep stages, I ended up rocking her to sleep in the recliner for about an hour each late-evening (she would go to bed at 7:00 as usual, but wake crying at 10:00 or 11:00). I worried I'd form bad habits, rocking her like that, but it worked to put her to sleep so I did it, and a couple of weeks later she stopped waking up in the night and I thought, "What was the big deal about rocking her to sleep for a few nights, if that's what she wanted and needed?" Did I feel that way while I was rocking her? No.
This time the problem is that she's waking repeatedly in the night and crying. Sometimes, as Paul and I lie in bed pretending to be asleep so the other one will have to deal with her, she will go back to sleep after a minute or two. Sometimes she will not, and will escalate into frantic screams. Sometimes if I go in and snuggle her and reassure her and put her back in her crib, she will cry for only a minute or two and then go back to sleep; sometimes she will go into the frantic screams. Sometimes we bring her to our bed, where she lies quietly but doesn't go to sleep but can't be put back in her crib either (see: frantic screams). Sometimes she goes to sleep in our bed beautifully, but then gets up at 5:30 a.m. when Paul does. Sometimes SHE sleeps great in our bed, but I can't, because I'm lying awake wondering if we're handling her sleep problems ALL WRONG.
I do what makes me feel least like screaming and sobbing. Sleep with child in recliner? Sure! Rock child to sleep while watching trashy television? Sure! Allow child to sleep in our bed despite our usual preference for non-co-sleeping? Sure! Put child in crib and close door, then sit in living room writing resentful entries in my journal while she cries? Sure! When one method starts making me feel fed-up, I try something else. I wouldn't say that any method "works," exactly--it's more like what passes the time until the situation resolves itself.
This time, though--NOTHING IS WORKING! EVERYTHING WE DO IS WRONG AND WILL HAVE SERIOUS LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES! WHY CAN'T WE AT LEAST CHOOSE ONE METHOD AND BE CONSISTENT, RATHER THAN DOING WHATEVER OUR NIGHT-ADDLED BRAINS RANDOMLY SELECT FROM OPTIONS WE HAVE NOT DISCUSSED OR APPROVED??
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...