a whiny bitch post about how my toddler won’t sleep anymore and also the heat

So my cute toddler who once slept like a little badass has started waking up and having some kind of fuckery in the night. (The books call it separation anxiety; I call it fuckery.)

She had trouble sleeping when we were out of town, which I expected, but the trouble continued once we got home, which I did not expect. Now every few days, she wakes up in the middle of the night and screams. It is almost impossible to console her and usually takes an hour or two to get her to go back to sleep. She holds onto me in a death grip with her arms and legs and won’t let me lay her down in the crib. She says MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY, and something that sounds like afraid, afraid, which is a little disturbing and a lot heartbreaking.

It's a good thing I'm so cute.

Lies, damned lies!

I rock her, give her drinks of water, sing to her, shake her (RELAX, I’M KIDDING OKAY?), drug her with Baby Tylenol (doesn’t do a thing) and I’ve even tried putting her in bed with me, but she just does gymnastics on me, head butts me, kicks me, basically does everything but sleep.

robot baby

Robots also don’t sleep, coincidence??????

She’ll wake up for good at 5 or 6 a.m., defy logic by only taking a 45 minute nap and then she’ll be cranky and ready for bed again by 6 p.m. (WAY the fuck too early). And the cycle continues.

This goes on for a couple of days until finally, out of sheer exhaustion she sleeps for 13 hours and we temporarily get back on track. (Sidenote: I do have a husband and yes, he does help, but since his work hours often limit his ability to be home at 5 a.m. and since his income is the reason I get to be a stay at home #motherrunner in the first place and because he never learned to breastfeed, the nighttime wake ups just naturally became my job.)

Last night was Night 1 of the cycle. She was up from 3 until 4 a.m. and then 5 until 7 a.m., when I gave up trying to get her back to bed, put on Yo Gabba Gabba and drank a pot of coffee.

You'll never take me alive, baby.

You’ll never take me alive!

I can’t pinpoint anything specific that has caused the change in her sleep. Our pediatrician would probably smile and nod and say it’s a natural phase of development and she’ll grow out of it. She’s not teething right now and she hasn’t experienced anything traumatic. I can’t think of a thing she’d be afraid of (we do all of our crack smoking and corpse fucking behind closed doors because, come on. We care!).

Anyway, that whole melodramatic intro was to explain to you why I tried to run 12 miles this morning and only made it to nine: five hours of sleep, and also it was like 85 degrees outside by 8 a.m. and the heat did me in.



I did four miles with Kenzie in the stroller (where she was in surprisingly good spirits) and five more while she was in the gym childcare. At about 8.5 miles, I sat down and drank a whole bottle of Powerade. And after that, there was too much liquid sloshing around in me to run anymore, so we went home.

And now it is 9 p.m. on a Saturday night and I am headed to bed. I thought briefly about pouring myself a whole pint of vodka, but the only thing worse than rocking a screaming toddler back to sleep at 3 in the morning is rocking a screaming toddler back to sleep at 3 in the morning when you’re drunk. So a cold shower and a good sob will have to do.



22 thoughts on “a whiny bitch post about how my toddler won’t sleep anymore and also the heat

  1. I madly appreciate that these stories about life with a very young child being madly difficult ( because I have no doubt it is) are not accompanied by sentimentL apologetic bullshit about how the beauty of unconditional love for your child makes it all worth it. I know you love her, but it has to be moments like these that make you question…and yet you. just deal. I think it’s the fear of having these moments and concluding the love was NOT enough that dissuaded me from children so much of my life. And then I was old and my womb was all cobwebby.

    • Haha, thank you. I hope others also realize this isn’t that kind of sentimental BS blog. It’s about me and my narcissistic God complex! And I love your cobwebby old womb.

  2. I hate that husbands are no good with that whole BFing thing.

    Hope it gets better. (Sidenote: we were out on a walk when Xavier was 10 days old. At the park, a dad saw us trying to take pictures and offered to help so we could all be in it. After he asked the age he asked how we were coping, if we were sleeping, etc. When he saw our faces he gave us a mini pep talk and ended with “it gets better.” It made me wonder if there should be an It Gets Better campaign for new parents… unless it really doesn’t as new challenges arise.)

    • Haha, yes there should. That kind of reassurance, even from strangers, is always welcomed! The only thing I hate is when people are like, “My little Toby slept through the night at 9 weeks old and he never makes a peep!” or the moms who say they’re OMGSOTIRED and then admit their kid sleeps in til 7:30. Those people should die in a fire.

  3. Funny… I always found the rocking and singing easier when drunk.

    Relax… It’s a natural phase of development and she’ll grow out of it. Long after your trail half that you need to be training for is over. Ray o’ sunshine. That’s what they call me.

    But seriously, IT DOES GET BETTER.

    • I’m more concerned that I’m doing something in the meantime to ruin her/prolong the issues. Like putting her in bed with me is going to turn into a lifelong habit and she will still be sleeping with us when she’s 16.
      Neuroses, I haz dem.

      • My third kid would NEVER go to sleep. He started jumping out if the crib at 16 mos. That whole “just keep putting him back in!” notion was bullshit. One night I counted…35 times. Like a fucking jack-in-the-box. But he also was (on his own with just a tiny bit of encouragement) out of diapers totally before he turned two. There are trade offs. Maybe your girl will be a total angel through her teens 🙂

      • I so identify with everything you wrote here, including the neuroses. My dude had a phase where he slept through the night and now it’s over (he’s 22 months) – up every night, sometimes multiple times, AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH. So yes, it seems to be normal. It might help if we all just let go of the idea that children are supposed to sleep and/or that we can help them “learn to sleep.” You might be able to do some intervention that helps for a while (e.g. crying it out) but not long-term. I try to look at the really big picture and think, well, I don’t know many 12 year olds who need their parents to get up with them in the middle of the night on a regular basis so whatever happens now is probably not forever….

      • You’re absolutely right and I don’t even think the (totally pretend, now worthless) sleep training we did at 8 months wouldn’t work now because A) I could not bear to make her cry it out with those blood curdling screams and the MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY business and B) I’m just not confident she WOULD go back to sleep on her own. At 8 months, she cried a little the first night and then shit was all good. Now, I think she would cry all night. Just further proof that any time I feel all smug and accomplished about something I’ve done, it comes back to bite me in the ass. =) Good to hear from you again by the way. Hope you and Cheeks are doing well despite the whole not sleeping thing.

  4. My one year old is going through some kind of sleep regression. I eventually give up and take him in my bed-then I’m constantly woken up with punches and kicks. It sucks-I wake up so effing tired and grumpy. At this point I don’t think it will EVER END.

  5. I totally get your pain. My toddler goes through long phases of disrupted night sleep. It’s actually 50-50 lately on her not needing me at least once a night. The one thing that does help is that she can turn on music for herself (it’s a toy on an 8 minute timer). Often I’ll hear the music but I don’t need to go in there. If music is no good, what about those pillow pets that have night lights to make stars and shit on the ceiling? Kids love stars and shit.

    Um. Good luck with it. I’m sure it will get totally better and your life will be unlike mine.

    • Haha! “kids love stars and shit.”
      All the sleep training books are like NO TOYS IN BED NO MUSIC and NO STARS AND SHIT, but really, fuck those books. They’re are written for people who can’t handle their shit and never should have had children in the first place. (Of course I might feel differently if I’d slept last night: OMG THE BOOKS, THEY WORK TRUST MEEEE!)

  6. Hey, how old is your little one again? My spawn went through the same thing about three months ago. It went on for a few nights. One of the nights was so scared, because he was screaming bloody murder, I called the advice nurse, who told me it was night terrors! But, this only happen for a few nights, not even a week, and then it was back to normal. It’s super weird.

    • She’s 20 months. My neighbor is a pediatric nurse and said they all go through this phase starting at about 18 mos until basically they’re good and ready to quit. Did he wake up when he had them or was he screaming in his sleep? She does that too, where she’ll scream (just enough to startle me awake) and then go right back to sleep.

      • He was sleeping at first, and then it went on for 15-20 minutes after he was awake. Finally, I turned on a Baby Einstein DVD to see if I could distract him, and it was like a switch off in his head and he was all smiles. It was fuckin’ scary and weird.

      • I did this with Kenzie last night at 2 a.m. after almost 3 hours of trying to get her to go back to sleep. It was Elmo and worked like a charm SO THANK YOU.

  7. SAMESIES. With the running, baby not sleeping, sobbing, not drinking for fear of waking up at 3 hungover, etc. (And sobbing is me, not them)

    Uggh. But at least I have a clue as to what is causing it. They started back at daycare last week after the summer of Daddy Daycare and even though they have been there before, apparently it’s like we’ve put them in a real life horror movie. My son has been up between 4-5 each morning and crying/whining for at least 90 minutes. That’s when we usually stop trying to go in and soothe him and just get up for the day. Maybe he would cry longer. Ugggh. Nothing works! Neither of my two will sleep in our bed with us – they think it’s playtime, so even though I know in the long run that’s good, some sleep is better than no sleep.

    I’ve lowered my expectations in every part of my life right now. The thing that really sucks, is even when people offer to help or “give us a break” it’s during the day when I want to be with them because they are happy and fun. I want someone to take them at 4am!

    Sigh. Thinking of you.

    • HUGS. We need to put our babies in a crate and get drunk together.
      Last time my parents were here, they offered to take the baby monitor one night and let us sleep in and it was the best gift ever. Of course I still woke up at 6 a.m. because that little monster has me programmed.

  8. Pingback: On the Wabash-Heritage Trail (half marathon race report) | Cheaper Than Therapy

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