Bedtime Battles

Okay, I’m doing something wrong. I know I am. The last couple of nights it’s a freaking scene trying to get Vivien to sleep. I admit it does not bring out the best in me. I just want a little TV/reading time and then to go to sleep.

Just a few nights ago, she told me to beat it, and she went down peacefully all by herself. But the last two nights are indicative of what about 25% percent of my week is with her. I say, “last cartoon.” Then we go and book out picks, have some milk, brush teeth, a little talk or song, and sleep… except she is writhing around and doesn’t want to sleep, can’t sleep. I stay with her while she sleeps. I have since she was tiny. It bugs Mark, but I’m like, hey you aren’t home at bedtime most of the time anyway, so what do you care?

I can stay till she goes to sleep, that’s okay… when it’s a few minutes, but these nighttime battles are making me bonkers.

My neighbor said yesterday that her kids pass out at 7:30. Wow, that would be a dream. Her kids are a little older and no longer have a naptime at school. Okay, so I told Vivien, “You don’t have to nap at school” hoping she would be so pooped I’d be watching “Modern Family” all relaxed with a facial mask.

Mark looked horrified when I said “no nap.”

“But she will come home in a terrible mood.” Let’s try it, I said.

Sure enough.  After school Vivien, my sister Cecily and I all played Zingo till Vivien threw all the pieces down on the ground and rushed from the screaming, “You aren’t going to win, you aren’t going to win.”

Later, dinnertime went fine, last cartoon, fine. Reading books, teeth brushing, check and check. The lights when out.  And “Mommy I do not want to go to sleep.”


I said, fine, take your time, but I’m moving on. I didn’t say, “I’m tired of being your hostage.” Though I thought it. But she follows me out and says, “What should we do now mommy?”

Go to bed, that’s what we should do. Go to sleep. I remember some child development class saying stressing them out about bedtime is a bad idea, but now, I’M STRESSED.

Rex is looking perplexed, but now he see’s Vivien, so he is excited and he isn’t going down. Now I need to nurse him and get her down. And it’s 9:12 and I want to shut my door and watch TV by myself or take a bubble bath, or put a hobo sack over my solider and jump on a freight car.

Sleep Travails

Okay, so this sleep thing… um, well. Saturday night went great with Rex. He slept from 9:30 to 5 (here he is napping at my mom’s).

I should have had the energy to go to an early morning yoga class, but as life would have it Vivien–not her norm–woke up at around 2 or 3. Not sure, a blur, just realized she was wedged between us, and Mark was saying “She’s had a bad dream.” She rolled on me a few times till I took her back to her room where I passed out briefly and then went back to my room. One wake up after another. I calmly said, “Vivien, if you don’t go to sleep soon, I’m going to be in a very bad mood.”

The next night, my stepson is here, which means Rex is in our room. Well, forget it, you can’t sleep train when the baby smells you. They are like wild animals. So that night was a waste. The next night back into Oliver’s room (aka, where Rex sleeps when Oliver is elsewhere). Went better. I fed him twice in the night and didn’t jump up at every little cry and gurgle. I have noticed allowing him to cry for a few minutes at bedtimes does help him stay asleep longer.

The next night, again the room was occupied with a teenager who doesn’t need to be part of sleep training an infant, so I put Rex down in the play room (and by that, I mean the space off the kitchen).  But we had noticed he had a little runny nose, so I was not tough loving it. I was jumping up and holding him to me when I thought he need it. Or when I did.

I think between the cold and him getting shots tomorrow, I can’t pull another feeding from him this week, right? Shouldn’t I wait a few days? That’s what I think. And I’m not that busy this week so I think I can sack up and do it.

Sleep training can resume on Saturday.

Sleep Training… Sort of

Last Friday night, Rex woke up every 1 hour and 45 minutes. No, not every 2 hours; I know because I looked at the clock. Each time I would sleepily take him out of his bassinet near my bed and tuck him on to nurse. We would both pass out. Sometimes I managed to put him back in the bassinet, sometimes Mark did, and often everyone just passed out for… you know… like 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Now, he has never been one of those great sleepers. And the next person who tells me their kid always slept at least 6 hours at a time is going to get my two fingers jabbed in their eyes a la The Three Stooges.

Saturday morning, I was on the verge of disowning Mark and Vivien as I tried to nap, and their chatter kept waking me up. I finally realized I had to make a mental choice to “wake up” even though I felt awful. All that was left for me to do was to consume a high calorie breakfast. Carbs and fat would have to be my fuel; fortunately there is a restaurant in the family that serves a good brunch.

I also decided, that’s it. Got to Ferberize the kid. I did it with Vivien when she was around 1, and it worked well. But since the move, I haven’t been able to find my book. Then, after brunch, what comes in the mail but the Ferber book! Looking like it had been ordered on Amazon as a used book. I thought, wow, I guess I’m not as totally super out of it as I thought ’cause in a moment of clarity, I bought this.

30 minutes later, my very good friend Bonnie called from Marin county (north of SF), “did you get the Ferber book?”

Good news: I have such a thoughtful friend who has listened to my needs and took care of me.

Bad News: I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

It’s funny how with a second child you sort of think a lot of these issues won’t fell you. You know what’s coming. Honestly, I knew it would be a challenge, so I had planned to hire massive amounts of help. But, um, then there was this Ponzi scheme, so jokes on me!

So, it’s a two part deal. #1 get him off the breast at night. Before we can do the classic Ferber, we need to tackle that. Mark is a trooper at helping, but I need to let him sleep sometimes, so I’m going into the piggy bank–happily this week. Saturday night our sitter/nanny/my real wife Dolly took the night shift. We agree Rex would get a bottle of pumped milk at 1 and at 5. That’s it. She said in her heavy accented voice,

“Missy Daphne, no matter you hear cry, no come in.  My responsibility.” I am a light sleeper and jump to him in seconds. Dolly and Mark said I’m making it worse. Which I sort of resented, but since they are helpful I’ll take it.

Mark took the next night. Thinking we need another Dolly night for his health though. It seems to be getting better. But it is so painful not to take him to my bosom when I hear him cry.

But I’m doing it. I have to. So far.

To be continued…