I think our sleeping troubles may be a combination of factors: developmental growth spurt, teething, and maybe a dash of separation anxiety thrown in.
Since Husband left yesterday on a business trip, FrostedBaby has started learning how to use a fork (he’s been working on utensils the last couple of days and really got the idea with the spoon, but yesterday he was showing that he had an idea of what to do with the fork, just hasn’t figured it out totally yet – oh, and totally cute, I help him spear his food and then he puts it in his mouth and then I tell him what a good boy he is, and he grins, puts down his fork, and then claps for himself. How adorable is that?), started signing “more”, and this evening he pulled himself up to a standing position between the couch and ottoman and then took a few steps over to the ottoman to be on it more squarely. That’s the first he’s felt comfortable enough to do it on his own and he hasn’t taken that many steps before, especially on his own.
He’s been chomping on his fingers on and off lately and has been a bit more drooly than usual, but I hadn’t thought too much of it. We tried giving him T.yle.nol earlier this week when he was chomping during getting ready for bed and he slept for 6 hours straight, which he hasn’t done in over a week. I didn’t think much of it until today when he was chomping again and being really whiney and clingy. I gave him some Tyl.en.ol and within 20 minutes he was cheerful and running around on his own playing as he usually is. He also took a nap before he was completely exhausted and couldn’t stay awake any longer. And he’s been so cheerful the rest of today, though I haven’t given him any more. I googled it and apparently the two year molars can start causing symptoms this early, especially in an early teether, and can take months before you see anything. Oh boy! But it means I might have an answer, which I could have used yesterday when he was whiney and clingy all day and I wanted to scream.
This is also the age apparently where it’s common for separation anxiety to peak, and that combined with maybe not feeling too well from the teeth and the crazy brain growth and that could explain why he’s not wanting to sleep on his own. Last night he went down at 11 and slept until 2-something. I nursed him and tried to put him down but he was having none of it so I brought him into bed with me and we both got some sleep, more in a row than we’ve had in many nights. He woke up again to nurse but it was easy because he was right there and we both went back to sleep easily. I’ve tried doing that a couple of nights before but maybe it was because Husband wasn’t there or maybe he was less awake and he didn’t complain this time. I’ll definitely try it again if he does that tonight, but I’m praying a dose of meds at bedtime and when he wakes up in the night might make him okay to stay on his own.
He has certainly seemed more like himself today, so whether it’s because he slept, whether he’s feeling better because of the Ty.len.ol, or just because I’m not sure but I’ll take it. I feel so much less exhausted and dragged out today, which is good since Husband is gone for another few days.
Oh, the other thing was the signing. I’ve been trying to teach him “more” and “all done” as useful signs because those are things I have trouble figuring out sometimes and it would be easier if he could tell me. A lot of other things he’s able to communicate to me in other ways so I haven’t bothered with the signs. I haven’t been very consistent with it so he hasn’t really picked it up, but today at dinner I was doing the sign for “more” and he copied me, and then would do it if I just said, “more?” And he stopped doing it when he was done eating. So I think he gets it? It’s not actually the real sign, but it is distinct from anything else he does, so it’s fine. He interrupted my writing this to climb up and wanted me to kiss him. So I was kissing his head and face and cheeks (he loves this) and then he pulled back, very carefully signed “more”, and leaned back in. How cute is he?!
(whispering) He went down really easily tonight and about 3 hours earlier than he’s been for the past several nights. Please let this not be a fluke, please let it be the Ty.lenol because that’s at least something I can control.
And apparently I either didn’t press post or it didn’t work because this is still sitting here. He ended up sleeping with me again last night, which was not very restful since he was wiggly and moved away from me on the bed and I kept jolting awake thinking he was on the edge and about to fall off. Meds did not work last night, as although he slept in four hour blocks, he would not go down by himself after waking up in his crib the first time. Tonight I try a nightlight and see if that’s why he’s okay with going down at naptime and at bedtime and not afterwards.
I’m so torn on what I should be doing to deal with this. This is really common at this age, so it’s just a phase that will pass eventually; hopefully soon. But in the meantime, is bringing him into bed with me the best move? It does ensure that we both get maximum sleep, but is it setting him up for wanting to sleep with me forever? I am really not open to this idea. All the things I’ve read said to keep going in and reassuring him that I’m there, but without picking him up. I could sit in the room until he falls asleep, I could pat his back and tell him he’s okay, and then leave. I could leave him to cry all by himself until he’s so exhausted he falls asleep. That last one I’m not up for beyond about 10 minutes. If he’s not asleep by 10 minutes, he’s not going down on his own. And in the past, when we were nap training him, going into the room just made it worse because he was excited I was there to rescue him and then it would start all over again once he realized I wasn’t. Which leaves sitting and rocking him to sleep until he’s asleep enough not to wake up, though I have no idea how long that is. Or bringing him into bed with me, which quiets him down immediately. I tried letting him cry a bit last night but he was just getting more upset and awake so I gave in. I know I need to be consistent but I just can’t get behind the idea of letting him cry all by himself. If this is separation anxiety, that’s not teaching him the right message. I want him to feel confident that I am available when he needs me, so that he only cries when he really needs me…. which is usually what he does. But then I hear that it’s not SA, it’s dependency or the kid is too attached to one parent or whatever. And it’s only at night – during the day he’s pretty good. He has moments but overall if I ignore his whining he goes off to do something else after a minute. I don’t know, I just feel like nothing I do makes a difference and it might just be down to how we decide to ride it out.
And when I put it that way, I decide to do it with less crying and more sleeping.