5.21.2008

Gratitude from the Sleepless

I am oozing with gratitude for all the amazing sleep advice this week. Even if I am now entirely confused.

Reading the comments is like a parenting style smackdown.
In this corner, we've got Tough love! Lock her in the room til morning the little rat bastard! in the black shorts. And in the opposite corner, the challenger: Aw, they're just so widdle and cuddwy and cute at that age - how about she takes the bed and you sleep on the floor? wearing the gray yoga pants and the Ergo carrier.
I was sort of hoping for that one commenter who says But wait! All you have to do is blink three times and say moogooloogoobooloo and your problems are solved, geez, didn't you see that in the parenting manual?

Darn.

I am honestly going to try a lot of these suggestions because I have a sense we'll tear through them in no time. Last night we started with the sleeping bag on the floor next to our bed idea, and it was immediately met with a big fat whiny NOOOOOOOOO but I like YOUR BED.

Reward stickers also - not so happening.

Basically, she'd like both to sleep in our bed and to have the stickers as well.

Moving on.

I have to admit though, my gratitude for all the ideas is mixed with an uncomfortable feeling of defensiveness. And I don't like it. It has nothing to do with how any of the comments were presented - you have all been nothing but gracious and open about your own skeletons in the closet (or sleepless nights in the family bed). But there's something in me, my tagline not withstanding, that bristles sometimes at not being the perfect mom with the perfect kid.

I am definitely a type A person who's become a type B mother (as Gray Matter Matters so wonderfully put it once) and that can be a challenge. It's like I act all type B, letting my kid sleep wherever and not worrying about it, until suddenly I realize the type A person within is melting down at the lack of order and my inability to control things when I want to.

I want to control things! Do you hear me universe? I WANT THAT POWER!

Motherhood sure puts an end to that pipe dream, doesn't it.

----

A few happy happy things this week besides the fact that I've discovered the boggle game on Facebook: A healthy little baby guy for Catherine and a positive quad screen for Kristen. Feel free to add your good wishes to the ever-growing list. One can never have too many for these sorts of things.


21 Comments:

Blogger veggiemama said...

Having slept very little last night, I can definitely understand your frustration with not getting much sleep. However, my daughter is 15 month. I don't know how old yours is. I didn't read all of your comments, but it sounds like some may have told you to let her "cry it out" essentially, which in my opinion is the worst advice ever. Little ones have emotions and needs that should be respected. And as parents, it is our job to nourish and care for our children. I would recommend reading:
The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Childs Sleep
by Elizabeth Pantley

That might help you. Sleeping by yourself can be scary for children. Our daughter sleeps with us and has since she was born. When she is ready, she will transition to her own bed. After all, it's only natural.

5/21/08, 11:45 AM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

My next suggestion is to get a larger bed. ;)

One thing is for sure, you never hear of a junior high school age kid still sleeping with mom and dad. You guys will get there.

5/21/08, 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Oh shoot, I was going to not comment at all, really. No, really!

But, I just feel compelled to point out that there is no solution that will only take one night or two. 7-10 days of something (you know unless it's really horrible) is really what it'll take. Though at the end of that really sleep deprived week looms the promised land.

Stickers only worked for *anything* with my third child. It was a dud twice. Can't even believe I tried it again.

Beside the bed? The answer is the choice -- here very quietly, on the cozy, cuddly floor or there in your soft squishy bed. Then that Jo/supernanny thing of minimal discussion right into quiet leading back.

But...7-10 days (though she's still young enough you might get away with 5). The bad news? The older they get, the longer it takes to change anything. After a certain point you just realize it will change when they leave for college. (Yes, I have a 17 year old).

5/21/08, 11:53 AM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

Give it time. I become more Type B by the day. Granted, I still have those Type A moments where I turn into a raving lunatic, but they grow fewer and further between.

5/21/08, 12:01 PM  
Blogger eastvillagemom said...

type A person, type B mom--such a perfect description of how i so often feel as a parent. I do research for a living so I thought that if I read enough on the subject I could figure out parenting. HAH! one thing I realized pretty quickly is that there is no magic formula, or perfect book, you can only try different strategies until you find one that "works" and then everything changes and it no longer works 2 weeks later. I hate to hear that you feel defensive, please don't, we ALL go through these sleep struggles, i wish someone had told me that sleep was going to be the defining preoccupation of my life after having a baby.

5/21/08, 12:03 PM  
Anonymous sherry said...

Thank you for saying you're a Type B with still some Type A tendencies. I feel much the same way most days. Sure, I make my own playdough, but fuck if I don't lose my shit when the kids grind it into the rug.

Sleep is one of those things that I doubt anyone really masters. And, if any mother tells you she has? Likely, she's lying.

One other suggestion: Ask Moxie has an entire section on sleep issues, and that might be a good place to read, too.

Good luck, and may the wine be with you in times like these.

5/21/08, 12:51 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

That's brilliant, a Type A person turned into a Type B Mommy. That's so exactly me, and I also occasionally have meltdowns and the complete lack of control and order in my life.

I have no sleep advice, other than do whatever gets the most people in your home the most sleep, and don't feel bad about it. Good luck.

5/21/08, 12:59 PM  
Blogger Jozet at Halushki said...

"It's like I act all type B, letting my kid sleep wherever and not worrying about it, until suddenly I realize the type A person within is melting down at the lack of order and my inability to control things when I want to."

Oh yeah. That. I try to schedule all my meltdowns to the week before my period. Just get it all out at once for a complete physical and emotional cleansing.

I hear that when they become teenagers, they sleep all the time. Sort of evens out?

5/21/08, 2:13 PM  
Blogger Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

I had a meltdown JUST THIS MORNING because my Type A personality could. not. handle. the messy playroom and the whining and the tattling (see my blog for further proof). I am still having sleeping issues with my daughter (who will be 4 in Aug) and son (who will be 2 in Sept). And we have #3 due in July. So I completely sympathize. Things have gotten better here since we started bringing my daughter back to her bedroom when she comes to our room. And since we just lay my son back down in his crib instead of giving in and carrying him into our room. We are down to 1 wake-up per night usually (per kid, but my husband and I each take one, so each of us only wakes up once). And things are getting better...some nights, no one wakes up anymore and in the morning I am all confused b/c I actually slept through the night!
Anyway, that was a long comment to tell you, good luck and know that whatever tactic you choose, it will take TIME to make it work.

5/21/08, 2:28 PM  
Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Umm yeah, motherhood beat the Type A personality out of me right quick.

On a happier note, I actually got some sleep last night! Wow! We got the two girls (6 mos. & 15 mos.) down to bed at 7:30 PM and our son (3 years) in bed at 8:00 PM.

Once the girls were asleep, I heard not a peep out of them. My son came out of his room a couple of times wanting this or that and I just escorted his cute little bottom right back into bed and tucked him back in each time. He finally gave up and went to sleep.

The baby woke up refreshed and ready to play at 5:30 AM but I got her back to sleep within an hour. The other two kids were still sound asleep when I left for work.

Hooray!

5/21/08, 3:03 PM  
OpenID necktraction said...

give it some time and don't despair. after all in future years you will remember even these horrible nights fondly

5/21/08, 3:26 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Oh! I love the Type A person but Type B mother. That nails it for me.

I must have missed this sleep post that you are referencing, but I am on my way to check it out. We are having "sleep in Mommy's bed issues" (groan) and I'm wondering if they are the same...

5/21/08, 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

I just wanted to say that I completely GET your feeling of defensiveness. Everyone was super supportive with their comments which really shows how much respect your readers have for you and your blog! But I so understand how much you want to simply HAVE the answers and not feel like you are doing something not quite right with a bedtime routine. These kids of ours and their varying personalities certainly put a kink in our plan to be the moms we think we are - lol. My friends have the same issue when trying to give/recieve advice, we tread carefully w/ each other and say things to start such as "You are SUCH a great mom, I am sure that once...blah blah blah". We all have different parenting styles and different expectations of ourselves as moms, its really apples and oranges and pears and mangos and you know what I mean.

Even as super nanny's #1 fan, I honestly believe the bottomline is: DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU FAM. Who cares what the books say, what "they" say, what anyone says.

And even as super nanny's #1 fan, I am sitting here rolling my neck trying to unkink the knot I have from sleeping at the edge of my bed last night. I have no idea what time he climbed in with us but I am quite sure he laid claim to 95% of our bed for the majority of our night... (grumble grumble...)

5/21/08, 4:23 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Just in terms of where you were at with the sleeping bag thing, I do think that to make that sort of thing work, it often helps to present it as a choice where it is the lesser of two evils, and where there are not other choices, in a sort of "You can sleep on the sleeping bag, or you can sleep on your own bed" type format. At least, that's what tends to work in our case, pretty well.

That said, it is tough to fight the sleep fight when you are whipped by exhaustion, and I am soooo not looking forward to gettnig back on that train. Ugh. Good luck!

5/21/08, 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Ree said...

I am the woman that other mothers hated. Shortman slept from 7 pm - 2 am when he was 6 weeks old. Got up to eat and went back to sleep until 6. Ate again, then back to sleep until 9.
Even as a toddler, he never wanted to sleep in our bed.

But, he had to have a pacifier. Otherwise, there was hell to pay.

5/21/08, 8:21 PM  
Anonymous my minivan is faster than yours said...

After being an amazing sleeper during his 1's & 2's, a couple of months ago out of the blue Colin kept waking up (if I could get him down at all), wanting our bed, getting up at the crack of dawn, etc. I ordered him a twin bed thinking his toddler bed is too small for him at 3 yo, which it is, and while I sit here waiting for the bed to arrive on order, of course out of the blue he's back to sleeping through the night, no problem.

Just giving you hope. Or making you jealous. One of the two :-).

5/21/08, 9:31 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

OMG, that whole type A/type B parent thing---that is totally me! I'm sure that doesn't screw my kids' heads' up too badly, does it?

And, uh, yeah, there were times, I'd let the girls take over my bed and just go to sleep in theirs. Sometimes, sleep, wherever it is happening, is better than no sleep at all.

5/21/08, 9:55 PM  
Blogger MamaMichelsBabies said...

Erm... Nanny 911 could roost here for a while as well as I have not one but TWO critters that come wandering into our bed. Like yours, they also find it more comfy with their head on my bladder and their feet under their fathers nose.

I have yet to find a solution other then possibly becoming Mommy Dearest and tying them to ther beds. When you figure it out I want to be the first to know... and I'm sorry as all get out that I can't help any, just know your not alone.

5/22/08, 11:14 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Oh, good heavens-- please do keep in mind that any advice I ever offer you is ONLY because my child is slightly older than yours, and so I've been to the end, or at least the middle, of some roads you're just starting down. And NOT because I think I am in any way a particularly capable parent. Cuz, as far as parenting goes? I'm wingin' it. Probably more so than you are, given you are older and wiser than me. (But somehow you still manage to look younger, and sound funnier, than I do. How do you do that, Liz?)

5/23/08, 4:29 PM  
Anonymous HollyTriedIt said...

Well, at least you are consistent! I hope you find the strategy that works best for you and your little one. From all the comments you've received, it looks like you could be "consistently" trying things for years! And then she'll be begging YOU to let HER sleep in her own bed.

5/26/08, 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Kim Lefko said...

I love your story - I can relate as we are making the transition to a "big girl" bed with our 2 year old before our 2nd child arrives in July. I too am a Type A person and a Type B mom (at times). I recently read a blog on "Dirty Little Secrets" we all keep...and mine is motherhood & sleeping. Recently my husband was out of town and when our 2 year old daugther woke up - I quickly responded with pulling her into bed rather than the tough love - cry it out approach. I find peace in knowing the softer side of me is the side I'm sharing with our children. Thanks for your story.

5/30/08, 12:23 PM  

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