Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Desperate cry for help

Cooper's never been a great sleeper, but he got to be a pretty good napper once he was really walking/running around all day. It got to the point where we could sing or tell him stories for 15 minutes, put him in his crib, & check on him a few times & he would go to sleep.
BUT, this week has been HELL. Every naptime and every bedtime is preceded by an hour, or two, or two & a half, of horrendous tantrums & blood-curdling screams. I'm not a believer in the "cry it out" method, so we've been trying to calm him down & stay with him when we can, but it's become impossible.
At bedtime, Cooper has his stuffed elephants, blanket, & a sippy of water in his crib. He screams if he's missing any of those. Then he screams harder when we give it to him. We offer to tell him stories or sing to him and he says, "no" and screams louder. We bring him into our bed (our routine before we put him in his crib; he gets 3 stories in our bed then goes to his crib to sleep) and he's fine, then screams when it's time to go in his crib. Or he screams in our bed. We've offered books in the crib, more cuddling time with mom & dad, a new stuffed animal, a nightlight. We've refused to tell stories or sing songs until he's calm (so then there are none). We've stayed with him for half an hour or an hour while he screams. We've left him in his room for half an hour while he screams.
And through it all, he's screamed louder, flailed around (hitting his head), turned on the bedroom light, taken off his pants & diaper, and generally been a demon child. But only at bedtime. Sure, he's testing us a little during the day, but nothing like what's happening at night or naps. And then when he does fall asleep, he sleeps just as much as he normally would.
So, any suggestions? I'm really, really ready to try almost anything.


Kathleen said...

I gather naptime today didn't go any better?

Sarah said...

Two hours of screaming, plus he peed & it leaked all over his shirt & sheet 'cause he was messing with his diaper. Then a nap that was about 2 hours.

Luluquack said...

I worked as a nursery nurse and mothers for many years, I think it is very tempting to get into a conversation to try and convince your child that they need to sleep. This can be so frustrating I know especially when your child is upset. I think the main thing is that you need to keep going in and laying him back down, dont try to reason with him and dont talk to him either. Just try and stay calm and firm. I wouldnt offer to read a story or sing to him as this is just giving him a choice therefore giving him power over you.

Karen said...

the above is good....be firm!Also, u might want to have his ears checked.

Valerie said...

I swear by a book called "How to teach your child to sleep through the night." It basically advocates a humane method of letting them cry, not just abandoning them, because that's scary, but checking on them at intervals, NOT picking them up, hugging or otherwise consoling them. Just a quick, "I love you. It's time to sleep." and back out of the room. You slowly lengthen the time between checking on them. Once they learn that they aren't going to get their way by screaming and crying, they quit doing it.

I had to sit in the far side of the house with headphones on because I couldn't handle it. Mommy heartstrings! Hardest 3 days of my life! (until they reached their teens)

I agree with Karen, if your child previously was sleeping well, it could be something else is up.

laugheveryday said...

I'm sorry I'm so late to this. We had a terrible time with Ben when he was around 4. I bought a book of those little round reward stickers and if he stayed in bed he got a sticker and if he threw a fit or wouldn't stay in bed, we'd go in and remove the sticker. It sounds weird, but it changed our lives. We were at our WITS END.