My Real Life

April 29, 2013

A Cry for Help

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, we’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of a pickle, over here.

A pickle.

I’m so sleep deprived I’m starting to sound like my Grandma.

Who, in normal circumstances, would not be a bad person to sound like, but, “a pickle?”

I think even she’d be embarrassed by that one.


We’ve always had quite a sense of pride over the fact that our children are excellent sleepers.

Monkey Girl started the trend when she began sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old, and I don’t mean midnight to six a.m.

I mean 7:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

She rocked it.

The only blip in the system was when Baby was about three months old and decided that 10 pm was the witching hour and he would only stop screaming if you bounced him in an inverted “V” pattern.

That only lasted three weeks, but it felt like three years while we were in the midst of it.

Tiny continued the pattern of great sleeping and allowed us to feel superior when others would complain of their bedtime woes.

Not only did our kids start sleeping through the night early, but we put them down awake and they’d happily chatter themselves to sleep.

Life was good.

But, like they say, karma’s a bitch.

You’ll remember when Tiny and I spent four days in the hospital, back in March?

Apparently, during that time, he became quite accustomed to me being there while he slept, and now…?

Now, he wants to be rocked to sleep and then put in his crib asleep, and if he wakes up in transition (and he always wakes up in transition) he starts screaming and we have to start the process all over again.

Our doctor said we should just let him cry it out, and that he’ll eventually come around.

He’s stubborn, though, and letting a toddler cry it out is very different than letting a baby cry it out.

Particularly because it’s not just crying.

It’s “Mommy!  Come get me?  Mommy?  Where are you?”

Breaks. My. Heart.

And so, I am humbly looking for any and all advice to help get this guy back on track.

No bashing anyone’s opinions, please.

Just share what’s worked for you, and I will be forever in your debt.


  1. My advice……do what you are comfortable with. I’ve done both…the cry it out AND the soothe til asleep. Both worked, both failed.

    At the end of the day Amy you know what YOU can handle. I get what Jen is saying and I don’t disagree, but I also know that having had the kid who screamed, vomited, etc that some nights….I was just not up to it.

    I’m not an attachment parenting mom nor an exclusive cry it out mom. I m a “lets get thru tonight and see what tomorrow brings” mom. Every day is different, every cry is different. And if tonight you feel he’s playing ya, by all means, call his bluff. But tomorrow if you really feel he needs the extra comfort, give it to him….and you. Given what I know about you and your family I firmly believe you won’t end up with a spoiled manipulator or a bitter party of one who remembers the crying.

    Comment by Heather S. P. — April 29, 2013 @ 8:11 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Heather. In the midst of it, it all feels wrong…you know?

      Comment by Amy — April 29, 2013 @ 9:33 am | Reply

      • I do. But if you truly follow your gut it will never “be” wrong.

        Comment by Heather — April 30, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

  2. Jackson went through a similair phase when he was just 2 and I remember very clearly the torture of having to sneak out of his room only to have him pop up and start crying again. I feel your pain. He was still in a crib at this time and we did what would probably seem like craziness to most, we got him a bed. It was more a timing thing, my mom was getting rid of a barely used twin guest bed and we knew we would need one soon, so we took it. For some crazy reason, it solved the problem. We left the crib in the room because we thought he would need to get accustom to the bed in his room with the comfort of his crib there also. The first night he slept in the bed, we moved him at night so he wouldn’t wake up scared that he wasn’t in his crib. He woke crying that we moved him! He loved the bed and did not like the crib. So, that’s where this mean momma took advantage of that and would threaten him with going in the crib if he got out of the bed at night, shameful! It totally worked and EVERYONE was much happier.

    Comment by Amy — April 29, 2013 @ 8:26 am | Reply

    • Great advice! Thank you!

      Comment by Amy — April 29, 2013 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  3. Well – He is old enough to be out of the crib now. So – I would suggest having a shared room with the soundest sleeping boy. Until you can get a toddler bed in there – just put his mattress in their room on the floor & let him know that this is not camping out – but sleep time. And, if he doesn’t stay in his bed, he will be back in his crib.

    Olivia crawled out of her crib at 15 months & broke her leg – so she was in a toddler bed as soon as the cast came off. She would get up in the middle of the night, crawl backwards down the steps, get her cinnamon bread from the drawer, crawl back upstairs – dragging the loaf of bread – and spread her blanket on the floor in my bedroom, eat a slice or two….then go back to bed. (she got hungry & didn’t like the mommy monster )see below) any more than I did – & we figured out a way to make everyone happy – DJ slept thru it all).

    Or – take the side off his crib & give him full reign of his room at night – he will be the one tired during the day – you should start on a weekend – and then don’t let him sleep during the day. BUT – if he comes out of his room – or wakes up anyone else – the side goes back on. He is old enough to understand how doing what is expected gets you a reward and doing what is not expected gets you no reward.

    If you aren’t comfortable with him out of the crib (& based on his physical fearlessness – I would recommend getting out of that mindset soon.) – another option:

    He sees you frazzled & yelling every once in a while, right? Next time you need to yell at someone – make sure he sees it. Then say that you are sorry – but you aren’t sleeping at night because Tiny won’t let you & that makes you all cranky (in my house, it was “The Mommy Monster is about to come out”) – and then tell everyone that they need to help you get more sleep, so you can stop being so cranky. Have Monkey Girl suggest a mommy sub doll….(real excited & say that she has heard it works for some kids who want their mommies in the middle of the night).

    Take him to walmart to pick out a mommy doll. He can marker it up so it looks like you (in his mind) & he can go to sleep with her. And, if he misses you in the middle of the night, he can give her all kinds of hugs and kisses and tell you all the things he wants to tell you – & she will keep it for you until the morning & then give you all the hugs and kisses she saved up. (When she starts hearing secrets he doesn’t want to tell you directly, but see if she tells you – this will get a bit complicated – but you know how the telephone game works – things don’t get repeated correctly).

    The last option – Ear plugs. Or make him go to bed earlier & earlier each night – until he knows that he can only stay up later if he lets everyone go to bed at their assigned times.

    Not sure if any of these options are going to work – but you need to sleep. The only option – rotate who gets the luxury of sleeping in the basement while the other one deals with the cries for help.

    Good luck!

    (From one person who still only manages to get 4-5 hours of sleep – ON A GOOD DAY! & is always cranky).

    Comment by Carla ckaycambpell at aol — April 29, 2013 @ 8:32 am | Reply

    • Carla, I’m replying to yours last because it gave me a lot to think about! Interesting advice, all of it. I have so much to think about!

      Comment by Amy — April 30, 2013 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  4. We had a similar issue and it was short lived- not sure if that was a result of what we did or just coincidental timing. Anyway, we got my daughter one of those Starry Night turtles. (You may have one already with 4 kids!) We made it a game that at bedtime she picked the color for turtle that night (there are 3 color settings) and then we would sit together for a few minutes and talk about the stars and try to find the moon int he projection on the ceiling. She loved it, it gave her some extra night time moments with mom or dad and seemed to help her go to sleep on her own b/c she could look for big stars and little stars and the moon all on her own when we left the room. It also served as a temporary night light that only stayed on 45 min. Occasionally, she would try to pull the “Where are you” card if she stayed awake until turtle went off but we reinforced that it was bedtime and would turn turtle back on and leave the room. Good luck! These bedtime woes always seem so terrible and so long lasting when you are in it. (I’m in one with my 11 month old now!)

    Comment by Jenny — April 29, 2013 @ 8:59 am | Reply

    • Love that idea! Thank you so much for the advice!

      Comment by Amy — April 29, 2013 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  5. I remember those days and we went the tough love “let them cry it out” route. We went through the normal bedtime routine & then put the baby gate across the doorway & said goodnight. We went back in no more than 2x to reassure her that all is fine… this madness only happened with my daughter…memory fading fast, lol. If she ended up sleeping on the floor so-be-it. This only took a couple days and she figured out for herself that everything was indeed OK & that the bed was more comfortable than the floor. Happy to say she’s now 28, no apparent scars from the tough love and will probably be facing this issue in a couple years with her own child who was born 6 days ago.
    Good luck, I know it’s hard.

    Comment by Darlene — April 29, 2013 @ 9:12 am | Reply

    • We did cry it out with Monkey in the Middle for a little bit and it worked beautifully. It just feels like so long ago, and despite the fact that anxiety runs in my side of the family, I have always worried that it may have stemmed from that, despite the fact I know that’s nonsensical. Thank you for the advice!

      Comment by Amy — April 29, 2013 @ 9:31 am | Reply

  6. I obviously don’t have any advice for this quite yet but now I know why you have four children!! It’s because the first three are good sleepers!!! We can’t complain over here either though. Andrew has been sleeping through the night 9-7 since he was about 2.5 months old. Good luck!!

    Comment by Kasia — April 29, 2013 @ 10:03 am | Reply

    • I just thought how my comment could be interpreted in different ways… I meant it as if when your babies sleep well, you obviously feel tons better and having another one doesn’t seem so tough!

      Comment by Kasia — April 29, 2013 @ 10:06 am | Reply

      • LOL, Kasia…I knew what you meant. 🙂

        Comment by Amy — April 29, 2013 @ 10:25 am

  7. […] You may remember that last week I posted about our troubles with Tiny and bedtime. […]

    Pingback by Sending My Son to Therapy, One Lullaby at a Time | My Real Life — May 7, 2013 @ 6:04 am | Reply

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