Tuesday, June 15, 2010

if you give an inch...they will surely take a mile....

And I do mean that with every ounce of my being.


I have been writing this post in my head for the past 9 weeks. It's title has changed, of course, from...... "Keeping your toddler in their bed" to "I love Super Nanny" to today...."If you give them an inch....they will surely take a mile."

And the reason I am finally writing this tonight is because it is fresh. And I will be more passionate about writing it. (just in case you were wondering).

So.....you may have read before about some of the problems we were having of putting Parker to bed in her big girl bed and her staying there.

{To save you a click....basically.....since Grace was born I began having even more problems keeping Parker in bed at bedtime. I was usually having to hold Grace because this was Grace's fussy time....and not being able to give full attention to Parker was hindering our (her) routine. She would end up not going to bed until I would finally get Grace to sleep around 9:30 or 10:00....which would have maybe been ok if she slept in.......but no.....she would still get up around 6:30 or 7:00....obviously still tired.}


Now to fill you in on what's been happening over the past 9 weeks.

It was the day before Grace turned 12 weeks old (and I will tell you why this is significant in a minute). It was a Sunday evening. Geoff had been working a lot over the past 2 weeks. So much, in fact....that he had not been home at bedtime in 2 weeks. So that night....I was more than ready to pass the torch onto him!!

I was nursing Grace and trying to get her down.....while he was trying to get Parker down all on his own.

It didn't take long until he came out of her room so frustrated that she would not stay in her room. That she was throwing a fit. Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

In my mind...I was thinking..."Yes...welcome to my life!!! Now it's your problem."

He was pretty upset, I'd say.

He kept asking me what I did to get her to stay in bed everyday? To get her to listen? What was her routine?

And to confess to you right now...as I did to him then (although, it wasn't really a confession to him because I had been telling him how hard it had been....but I guess until you live it....you really can't grasp the reality of it, you know?).....I told him that I would drive around until she fell asleep so that I would not have to mess with the whole bedtime routine. I told him that we had been keeping our days busy....and that if she missed her nap...I didn't really care because then I could go to my sister's to eat dinner....leave by 7:00....and she would fall asleep before we got out of the neighborhood (my logic here is.....it saved me a little heartache {and my sanity} while also dealing with a fussy newborn....as well as.....for her own good because she NEEDED the sleep!).

I'll never forget....he said, "You drive around everyday??"

I started crying. Did he have a better idea???

This.....is what I had been trying to explain to him....to everyone.....to anyone that would listen.... that this is what I was dealing with. And that if he felt this frustrated after one day....imagine how I felt.

So that evening....I got Grace down (I don't remember the time now)......and I started the Super Nanny method (don't know if that's what it's called....but basically.....you put them to bed....do your little ritual....and if they get out of bed....you don't talk to them....you just keep putting them back in their bed....over.....and over....and over...and in our case.....over again. And this can take a looooong time).

But on this night.....I did it for about 30 minutes.

And it was hard. To hear her crying. Wanting me to hold her. Wanting me to sing to her. But it was all just a ploy to delay bedtime. Yes- she is that smart. And honestly....none of these things made her happy. We were going in circles....and going nowhere fast.

I just had to keep telling myself that I was doing this to her for her own good. She needed a good night's sleep. She still needed to be napping (which I had been withholding some days so she would fall asleep in the car!).

The next night I was alone again. Dreading the evening, as usual.

But on this night....Grace was not as fussy. And I was able to put her down 'for good' at around 7:30 or 8:00 and she stayed down!!!

I was then able to hold Parker in my lap while watching Word World. Brush her teeth, read her books....all without holding Grace.

Then I did the Super Nanny thing again. And it wasn't even as bad as the first night. And to be honest....I can't really remember any other nights specifically....so none of them could have been that bad.

It was also easier to do the Super Nanny method at this point....because I was now spending almost a full hour with just her....doing her bedtime routine....giving her, alone, all of the attention.

Anyway....things got better. A lot better. Two to three times a week she would stay in her bed and not even come out once.

I felt more confident as a parent. I couldn't control how she would act or if she would stay in bed or if she would get out of bed. But I could control my actions. And they were consistent.

And I didn't have to sit there and wonder "what am I going to do this time when she gets up?" I just knew. And I had a plan. I felt in control. And it helped me to stay more calm....and in my opinion....a better parent.

I started enforcing nap time again. She is not ready to give this nap up yet. She will even sleep for almost 3 hours some days....that tells me....she still needs a nap.

However......when she does sleep that long....she does have trouble falling asleep (to which I feel bad)....so now....I have decided to not let her sleep past 3:00 in the afternoon....and for no longer than 2 hours. But she wakes with the sun (between 6:00 and 6:30, usually) no matter what time I put her to bed....so she is still needing the nap!

OK.

Now for the good part.

About 2 weeks ago....I felt that Parker was doing really well staying in her bed after kissing her goodnight. I would never hear a peep!

Since she had done so well after almost 2 weeks... I thought maybe it would be ok to put Grace in her crib in her room (which is right next door to Parker's room) instead of in our room. I had hesitated putting Grace in her room because a) she is still getting up in the night and feared she would wake Parker up, and b) because I feared Parker would wake Grace up while trying to get her down.

So a week ago Monday....I bit the bullet. Prepared myself that Parker may wake Grace up....and to not get frustrated (sometimes it helps me to build these things up in my mind).

And I was so impressed. Parker was so good. And so quiet. And stayed in her bed all last week.

And when Grace would cry in the night....she did not even wake up Parker!!! Which was definitely an added bonus!!!

So I was happy. Feeling like we were really getting into our routine. Our normal. And hey.....I was able to lay in my bed and watch TV again!!! :)

But then the weekend happened. And for some reason....she started coming out again. It wasn't too bad......but she would ask for things...like..."Sing Twinkle, Twinkle" again....and "I need milk" (which we do not usually let her do)....and I would do it....with the hopes that she would, in fact, then stay in bed and go to sleep....and ultimately....not wake up Grace who was sleeping a mere few feet from her.

And, for the most part, she would stay in bed. But I could see how she kept testing the waters more and more. One night.....not going to sleep until 10:00. And yes....still waking up at 6:30....which is not enough sleep for her (as evidenced by her incessant fit-throwing and acting like a baby....literally).

Which brings us to the title of this post....."If you give an inch....they will surely take a mile."

So by Monday....I had decided that I was going to put Grace back in our room. I wasn't going to let Parker keep coming out of her room....only to go back to square 1. I'd worked too hard. and especially when she had been doing so well.

And sure enough....we had some fit throwing and such.....but not too bad....and I think she was in bed by 9:00.

Tonight....she did it again. Only it was worse. Much worse.

She is smart. And she has figured out that if she urinates in her pull-up....I will come into her room and change it.....not just put her right back to bed.

This really irritates me because she is potty trained (I guess if you don't count at night). Pull-ups are expensive.....and maybe I just need to quit using them anyway. But I'll save that for a different post on a different day. :)

I make her use the restroom before I ever put the pull-up on...and tell her if she needs to go....that she needs to tell me. (yeh-right!)

We do our routine. We read. We sing. We kiss goodnight.

Then....a minute or so later....she opens the door and tells me....she has urinated in her pull-up. I changed it.

TWO minutes later. She did it again. I changed it.

TWO minutes later. She does it again. (If you are keeping count....I have now gone through 3 pull-ups-- including the one she is wearing-- in FIVE minutes). {No lie. No exaggeration. This is the truth.}

I tell her that I am sorry that she tee-teed again...but that she is going to have to go to sleep with that pull-up on (see....in my mind....I always want her to go to bed with a dry pull-up on....but it is evident to me, at this point, that she has figured this out.....and is definitely taking advantage of the situation....and how much urine could be in her diaper after urinating 4 separate times over a 10 minute period??? So I figured she would be fine.).

Well...she loses it. She is crying so. hard.

She starts coughing and gagging.

And yes. You guessed it. She throws up.

She cried so hard...she threw up.

To my surprise. I was very calm. Not flustered. Not frustrated. I take off her pajammies. Clean her up. Clean up the carpet. Tell her to wash her hands. Put on another (the FOURTH) pull-up.

She is calm now. I think by this point....she was surprised at herself for getting so upset that she got sick.

So then....

I held her (like I always do).

Sang to her (like I always do).

And this time........

She stayed in bed.

_______________________________________


I was thinking tonight that one day (and the future....far, far away)......I think I will look back on these experiences and think to myself "Why did I let that get me so stressed out?" And then laugh.

_______________________________________

And if you have made is this far in the post......I applaud you for sticking around!!! I just had to get this all out. I feel better....and am glad that I will have this to look back on.


3 comments:

Snider Family said...

You know I hung around until the end. I actually am thinking about copying this post and posting it to my blog in about 6 months. I am sure I will be going through the exact same thing. Then I will talk to you, like you are Super Nanny and you will laugh and say...Don't stress out so much, eventually Reagan will stay in her bed and it will all work out!"

Jennifer said...

Oh my goodness! Bless your heart!

Kat said...

I feel your pain! I remember when my oldest was that age, she also figured out ways to delay bedtime. But like you said, it eventually passes. All you can do is stay consistent and assure them that you are there and love them no matter what (I think for us these problems started happening when she started becoming afraid of the dark and to be alone at night, we had to get a night light and start leaving the door way open.) We also got her a white noise machine and let me tell you it's been a lifesaver!!! When we had baby #2 we got ohe for him too and now we don't worry about them waking each other up at night or during naps in the day (http://www.marpac.com/soundscreen.asp). Good luck!

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