Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Go the Fudge to Sleep

OK, so maybe 'fudge' isn't the exact word the author of this brilliant ADULT (not children's) book used, but I'll try to keep things G-rated. Or at least PG-13.

Let me start by saying that as I sit down to write this, my darling little man is hysterically screaming my name, over and over again, in a last ditch effort to get me to lay in bed with him. No, I'm not talking about my husband. I'm talking about my other darling little man,my 3 year old little howler monkey, Luca. Before you think I'm the meanest mom on Earth (although I definitley have earned that title some days), my very patient husband, Saint Chris is in there, speaking in soothing tones, talking our distressed child off the ledge. I'm sitting on the couch, iPad and snoring dog in my lap, trying to muster up the energy to get up and pour a much deserved gallon glass of wine to drown my guilt and sorrow. "Why so guilty and sorrowful?" you ask. "Surely you must be impervious to crying children by now. Just take out your super awesome hearing aids, and turn up American Idol!" Well, the truth is, I have to admit that I am 100%, maybe even 200% (if that's even mathematically possible) to blame for this nightly bedtime mama drama.

We were bit spoiled by our oldest, Bella, who despite a few nights here and there, has been always been a champion sleeper (knocking on wood now!). When Lucs came along, things seemed to be easy peesy for about the first five minutes or so...and then it all started going downhill.

Despite being a scrawny, six pound/twelve ounce peanut, he was starvin' like Marvin, summonsing his private dairy cow, aka ME, every 2-3 hours, round the clock. Out of pure exhaustion, and against my better judgement, this worn out Holstein started the very bad habit of nursing and snoozing...aka co-sleeping. In my PK (pre-kids) days, I could be found standing on my soap box, declaring, "Babies belong in their own cribs. I would NEVER let my baby to sleep in our bed." I'd like to grab that PK me, hit her over the head with her soap box and laugh in her face.

Inconsistency became the key to our downfall. When the L-man was around 16 months old, I was still nursing him just at bedtime...and then (three times) once during the night. Knowing this was a Lindsay Lohan-sized disaster, I closed up shop. I cried, stuck some cabbage in my bra, and tried to remedy the damage. What I soon discovered is that it was tooo late.

Since then, it's been an uphill battle. He sometimes fall asleep in his own bed, sometimes in our bed (watching *GASP* Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). There are nights when he passes out on the couch by 6:30 pm, from sheer exhaustion and we just pick him up and put him in his bed. I have to admit, those are jackpot nights. I couldn't be happier if I won a lifetime supply of under-eye concealer and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges.

For a year and a half, we've done everything, short of filling out the online application for Super Nanny, to get our little monkey snoozing peacefully. We've bought six different night lights, filled up countless sippy cups of juice and milk (yes, can't wait to get that dentist bill!), camped out in a sleeping bag on his floor, curled up into the fetal position and slept in his bed (years of chiropractic care are in my immediate future), traded the toddler bed in for a super cool race car bed, begged, pleaded and cried for him to just GO TO SLEEP. Eventually, yes, he does fall asleep. But on the rare nights, when all of the stars are aligned, and he does fall asleep in his own room, he still somehow makes his way back into the mothership (literally) between the hours of 3 and 5 AM. 99% of mornings, I wake up, hanging off our king-size bed, with a drooling three year old, and two Boston Terrors stealing all of the surface area and covers.

I know there are solutions. My stock of parenting books rivals Barnes and Noble's. I've read and reread the sleep Bible, Sleeping Through the Night by Dr. Jodi Mindell. I've googled and purused thousands of message boards, taking notes on Ferberizing, accupuncture, slipping Benadryl into a sippy of milk... Kidding, kidding. I have friends who have climbed their way out of the deep, dark pit of sleepless nights. At one point, my mommy partner in crime had two of her girlies taking up prime real estate in her bed, all night, every night. One day, she woke up, put her very tired foot down, and instituted a "Kid Ban" on her bedroom. Within a couple of days, she was completely kid-free between the hours of 8:00 pm-7:00 am. I couldn't be anymore impressed if she had trekked up Mt. Everest wearing 3-inch platform heels.

So what's a mama to do? First off, I have to remember my mom's own parenting mantra, "This too shall pass." Secondly, I know the key to effective parenting is consistency. At this point, I'm about as consistent as Kirstie Alley's dress size. Starting tonight, no more Mrs. Nice Guy. No more nonsense. No more tears. This kid is sleeping in his own room, in his own bed, solo.

I just need to get some Valium and ear plugs first...

P.S.- would love you more than bacon if you want to share your sleep (or lack thereof) stories and suggestions. Help!!


  1. "howler monkey" - love it!

  2. Mine are a bit younger than yours so I don't know if my two cents would help or not....just let them work it out...let them scream and cry. And know when they get up in the morning...they are totally over it and fine.

    They won't need therapy later on in life!

    He'll work it out and don't feel so bad...your doing an awesome job!

  3. Funny! I just read 1 post so far.. Must say I'm hooked :) being a new mother, I can relate