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Mama always get you

We've had a bit of a sleep regression around these parts lately. Ok, so that's putting it mildly. Mia's been sleeping for shit, and therefore I've been sleeping for shit too. (Chris sleeps like a log, thanks, I'll let him know you inquired after his well-being). It takes at least an hour, more likely two, of screaming and whining and crying and coddling to get the kid into bed and asleep every night, and then I am damned lucky if I don't spend another three hours in the middle of the night either getting her back to sleep in her bed or giving up, bringing her to bed with me, and then getting her back to sleep with the added bonus of losing my pillows and getting kicked until morning. It sucks.

Do not give me advice. No really. Step back, take a moment, and read this again. Do not give me advice. I've heard it, I've either dismissed it as cruel and insane or tried it, it didn't work for shit. Do not, under any circumstances, give me advice.

And don't get me wrong, I let her try to work it out on her own. The new rule at bedtime is she has to scream for the entire time it takes me to complete a Soduku puzzle from the book Chris gave me two Christmases ago before I go back in. Because it's screaming, not crying, not anything really wrong, just a tantrum. At night, she has to overcome my overwhelming desire to be in bed, which with the combination of being out of practice at this and pregnant to boot is pretty hard to overcome, before I go see what her deal is. I am not jumping at her every murmur, but neither am I letting her cry it out. When I hear crying, I move on the double. Screaming gets a longer leash.

Invariably when I ask her in the morning what the problem was the night before, she tells me "attitude." Hey, at least she's honest and we are all on the same page here.

I've been beginning to feel like I did it all wrong, made a huge mistake, like regardless of how absolutely against everything I believe about parenting and nurturing this child it is, I should have sucked it up and let her cry it out at 4 months and had done with it. And I don't even really believe it works - I think sleep is an individual thing and draconian methods of trying to control it are inappropriate and that leaving a small child to cry alone in the dark has to be, simply must be, damaging to that child. And yet, I was still thinking maybe I should have done it, that maybe I should do it with the next one.

And then yesterday morning, we were playing Naptime. This involves Mia tucking her dolls in for a nap and then getting them up to change their poopy diapers and then tucking them in for another nap over and over for hours. It's scintillating. Mia had Dolly, and Dolly was all wrapped up in her blanket ready for naptime, and Mia had already sung her Rock A Bye Baby and the ABCs, and then Mia said to Dolly "Don't cry, Mama right here, Mama always get you."

And with that, she saved me. Sure, I may have to rock her to sleep every night until she's 35, but my kid knows that Mama is always there for her, Mama always comes, Mama will always help her. And that? If I never do another good thing in my life, that is enough.

Comments (71)

that is all that we want right, for our kids to know they are loved and we will always be there.
Even if it kills us in the meantime.

Awww!!! So sweet. Well, the last part, at least.

My wife and I went through the same kind of thing when our daughter was about a year old, for a few months time. You can hear all the advice in the world and even try most of it, but what it all boils down to is what ends up working for you. We spent $$$ on books, researched on the web, listened (patiently but skeptically) to crazy friend remedies, and in the end, it just took time and seemingly never-ending trial-and-error to get through it.

It WILL get better, and I just hope you manage to keep your sanity until it does. Sudoku sounds like a great idea to help out with this...much better than watching the clock!

It feels good to know that you've done something, anything, right. You're a great Mama, and that's the most right thing there is.

See? You don't need any advice. You already know. Mama, always there. You're doing fine.
PS: Did you think all of us Mom's got those gray hairs because we don't eat something important in our diets? Ha! It's lack of sleep.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwww- something about that post just says "Give Beth a big internet hug" and tell her "she's doing a great job and everyone I know with a kid went through this around the same age as Mia..."

This stage too shall pass...

If it makes you feel better, and this is not advice, we did let Michael cry it out. (Before anyone flames me, this is a kid who would not be rocked to sleep. Crying it out is the only thing that worked for him, all kids are different). And, he has had a major sleep regression also. It takes over an hour to get him to go to sleep at bedtime. He is not crying, hes playing. And hes up 3-4 times a night because he can't find a stuffed animal or his pillow. I'm ready to lose my mind.

It sounds like you REALLY don't need any advice anyway. Maybe we should send brownies instead?

Hopefully it will pass quickly.

Yeah, even if I did have advice to give I probably wouldn't. Bedtime isn't a pleasant time around our house. Here's hoping it's just a "phase" and ends soon. Sleep is sooooo important for parents - never mind the kids.

Well, there's your proof right there that you're doing this right!

Both of my children had/have major sleep issues. Probably my fault because I never let them cry it out, but hey, what are you gonna do? If it helps at all, the 6 year old goes to bed on his own at bedtime with no rocking or cuddling, just a kiss goodnight and a story. He sleeps all night long. The 4 year old still gives me some trouble at bedtime, but sleeps all night long.

It will happen. And when you look back on it, it won't seem so bad. Just a blip on the radar.

I think that's wonderful that she knows Mama is always there. She will take that feeling of security with her everywhere she goes!

I think I'm going to cry.

It's so true - they're cute, so they don't get thrown out windows :P I hope she starts sleeping better soon, and that Wally is a little dream sleeper!

(Oh, and even though it's adorable to imagine in Mia-voice? I just finished reading a thriller/mystery sort of novel, so the title actually kinda creeped me out.)

This is just so, so sweet. It makes the sleep hell seem worth it, and it's not even MY KID who said it. Thank you so much for posting this.

You're a real trooper. You're a great Mama to Mia. I'm impressed that she seems to understand the concept of "attitude." You'll always be there AND you're teaching her to reflect upon her actions and articulate her emotions. Amazing.

you can be like that creepy mom from "love you forever" who climbs into mia's window when she's all grown...


just kidding. Beth, you are such a GREAT mom. really.

Heh, heh. Hang in there, Beth. Its all temporary. Before you know it, she'll be driving off in her car for college, with everything she owns, and you'll wish she were keeping up crying for just one more night. :)

For what it worth, my son's sleep routines became disrupted every time he had new teeth coming in.

I really needed to read that today, thank Mia for me...

Lovely sentiment, indeed.

Now, let me give you some advice....

It's okay. Or, it will be. I don't think it would have made any difference if you'd done something differently when she was a baby. In my house, anyway, we've noticed that each "sleep stage" seems to start from square one. This is good news if I feel like I did the wrong thing earlier, bad news if I feel like I conquered anything.

What a great reminder that you are indeed doing a great job with Mia.

We've just rounded the corner of the whole sleep regression thing. It took about two months of the screaming and fighting at bedtime and many nights of sleeping with him in his bed, but we're finally back to a normal bedtime routine. Let's hope Mia does the same soon.

Dammit, you made me cry! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this today. I really needed to hear that. I'm having the same problems with Aeralyn, and I too refuse to let her cry it out. And while I was up for the 5th time at 4:25am this morning, I started cursing myself for not letting her cry it out all those many months ago. I know that I'm doing the right thing. And for right now, atleast I still have breastfeeding to shut her up in the middle of the night. When she weans, I'll have no idea what to do!

Okay, that made me a little weepy.

I feel your pain on the sleep issues, I really do. I wish you a pan full of warm gooey brownies as comfort and the hope that soon you'll be able to sleep for more than 2 hours straight at a time.

I hear ya sista. Matthew is almost 30 months and he started in on this again as well (about six weeks ago...) Maybe its a stage... who knows but I also know that we did not cry it out and I have thought OMG I did it all wrong but I know I did not. I did what was right for us (and me and my son) at the time so in my mind it is just a stage.

Just know that there are other parents going through this same stimulating bed time routine and the night time wakings!

As an aside, I happened to be visiting the ped last week for a cold and asked her about this. She said it is normal... hmm, not sure whether that is good or bad but that kids this age are becoming more and more aware of their surroundings so it is hard for them to sleep or want to rest because they want to experience all the new things they are suddenly seeing and discovering. Which seems really cool until it is 3a and I am sleeping on the floor next to my kid's bed...

Aw, that last part is sweet.

Aren't the battles of will fun? Ours isn't over sleep (usually)- it's over the refridgerator.

Lack of sleep makes your brain all wonky- don't be down on yourself.

What a wonderful testament to how she feels about you - she knows you'll always come get her!

But what bad timing for this to happen, just when you need that sleep the most. At least there's ice cream.

She's so dam cute.

No advice here, promise. Just symathy and hope for the new one. My daughter is a terrible sleeper but my next two - dream sleepers. Exactly what you hope for, lay them down awake, sleep all night, don't say boo from 8pm to 7am. I don't know if its gender (my youngest two are boys) or birth order or luck but Mia will outgorw it someday and you may luck out with a great sleeper next time. I hope so. Meanwhile, sleep deprived or not, you know you've impressed on Mia one thing that we all want our kids to have faith in - that we'll be there.

Awww...very sweet girl!

yup, that makes it all worth it! Now if she just doesnt start commenting on the dark circles under your eyes you will be fine. LOL!

That was the sweetest thing I've heard in a long time. My father basically raised me on his own, and I've never really known what I've missed out on till now. It's beautiful. :)

That Mia is one smart cookie. She knows she has attitude, and she knows her Mama is always there for her. Well done, Mama.

Oh man -- Oh man -- To think I was so close to never having to put up this sort of craziness ever again :-) I'm so looking forward to it!

Excellent post. If Jayla gets nothing else out of this whole toddler stage thing, I want her to know that mama will ALWAYS ALWAYS be there for her. I'm pretty sure she knows it but, to hear her say it would absolutely melt my heart. That's certainly a nice dose of motivation/patience for you...

Those darn kids... they always figure out a way to just yank the heart right out of your chest, don't they? *sigh*

Now that my three year old is sleeping through the night ninety percent of the time we have begun to wake her up in the middle of the night to go potty. Most nights she goes right back to sleep and then there are nights like last night where she just wants to sit there and visit at two in the morning. I wouldn't change a minute of it! You are pretty blessed to have such an intuitive daughter to give you exactly what you need to keep you going. :)

Awww... well no advice. I just wish you both some good sleep sometime relatively soon! :)

amen, sister!

That girl of yours is just too damn adorable.
Thank you for this post today after having only 3 hours, not in a row, of sleep last night. Molly is tha same age as Mia and we have been having sleep issues for the past couple of weeks, this after months of sleeping through the night (it's just not nice for them to tease like that!) and now with the waking two and three times a night and insisting I lay with her to put her to sleep. I think this is just a phase they go through at this stage, at least that's what I keep telling myself. Please let it just be a phase...

Awww. It's that confidence and security you're giving her now that will shape her future. Soon the sleep issues will be a distant memory. When Mia has her own children, you can the wish for her a child with the exact same sleep issues. :-)

Parenting is so tough sometimes! Our kids are constantly testing us and figuring out the world around them. My 5 year old still has a night here and there when he needs mama to be there and I am. I suspect that won't change for a while yet.

I remember being 12 or 13 and being half awake/half asleep and crying in the middle of the night because I had a god-awful headache. Mama was still right there and it was comforting.

AND!!!! There is new brain research out that states that a child crying it out is B-A-D. If a baby is not responded to appropriately, their brains began to be wired incorrectly and it can lead to all sorts of problems. When scared, tired, alone, cold, hungry, lonely, the appropraite response is crying. And the appropriate response to crying is comfort! So Yay! We are helping them wire their brains correctly.

We (obviously) don't do the cry it out thing over here either. Glad to see someone actually talk about it openly. Well done!

Okay, you're making me cry.

Precious Mia girl - I just love it. I will remember this when MY time comes - even though I love sleeping with my own kid so much, I don't think I'll be able to give it up!

Thanks, Beth. I needed a good cry. I'm sure that spending a total of 6 hours trying to get my 13-month old to sleep last night has nothing to do with the fact that this post made me weep. I'm just sure of it...

That's about the sweetest thing I've ever read. Now I don't know whether I have dust in my eye or if it's those damn pregnancy hormones again.

Ugh, that's painfully sweet. That kid of your sure does rock. Except at sleeping. She totally sucks there.

Not advice, I promise: My kid is doing it, too. And it's my 3rd. I know all the tricks, I have done everything. She hates me and she will not sleep. I'm right there with you, dude. Mayve they should have nighttime playdates or something, and we could get in a nap.

I feel your pain. Ours is on the nap front though. It's driving me slowly into being put into a mental institution.

You're always going to beat yourself up about what you could have done, or what you could be doing. I doubt any parent needs lessons, but if you do, I'll be teaching the graduate class, as I've graduated with honors at "I suck at Mamahood."

But in the end, you do what works for you. I'm not a fan of crying it out either. I give him up to ten minutes of crying, but after that, I can't let him wail like that, because like you, I feel on some level, it's damaging to the child. I'm sure he sees my guilt and works it to his advantage of course, but if his method of falling asleep is in my arms, well, then, I guess laundry or emptying the dishwasher will have to be put on hold. Not like I'm itching to actually do it anyway.

Rito did this too for a month when he was one. It took me over an hour to get him down at night and another 2 hours in the middle of the night. It drove me batty and I was so tired I spent some days crying.

Now as a medical sleep specialist speaking, she will get through it and one night you will all sleep. I did do something I felt at the time was a little cruel (to me, since I like to snuggle him asleep) to get him sleeping again, and it worked. Thank goodness.


Love it! I hope that this doesn't come across as assvice, but as we're struggling with this same thing, my mom kindly informed me "if she's crying or screaming, at least you know she's breathing (and there's no reason to enter the room to check on her)." Good luck!! If you have any profound revelations, please let the rest of us know - you're clearly not the only one struggling with this!

Good luck, maybe it's just a phase. It's a good thing we get little snatches of pure sweet sentiments from our children sometimes. Otherwise, the human population would have died off years ago.

We've been there; best of luck to you. What a sweet, sweet thing to see your best self reflected. Those moments are gifts that you have to dredge up in the darkest moments.

I keep swearing that I'll do things different with #2. I'll get her on a schedule, never take her from the co-sleeper into the bed for the night, etc. The truth is that there will be good months and bad months and then she'll turn ten and it'll all be downhill from there.

OMG so precious!! Don't worry Beth... you're not alone. Drew still wakes on some nights and ends up in our bed. And he'll be 4 in November.

Drew is my 4th child. And ya know what... all 4 of them were very different. Somethings worked on one and none of the others... some stuff worked on more then one of them...There is no saying for sure what works for each kid besides...Mia showed you... you've done everything right.

Beautiful ending.

"Invariably when I ask her in the morning what the problem was the night before, she tells me "attitude." Hey, at least she's honest and we are all on the same page here."

This is just priceless. She is such a little smarty-pants!

p.s. SOOOO glad that Chris is sleeping well. Whew!

Amen. What a sweetheart. I'm of the same opinions as you and, though we're currently in a good stretch at 16 months of age, I'm sure we'll be back with you soon. I didn't sleep a whole night until my son was 13 months old (except when he was 8 weeks and tried to trick me into thinking I had a good sleeper). Does commiseration feel better than advice? You're not alone, but you ARE an awesome mommy!

Oh dear goodness I would NOT give advice on this one. Keli didn't have a decent going to sleep/bed experience until ... never mind. You're doing great. Truly. Follow your heart. Is that advice? I suppose it is. I'll shut up.

You don't need any advice.

But you should know that even if you had let her cry it out at 4 months, it doesn't mean this wouldn't be happening now. They go through sleep 'stages' -- big changes can trigger these things, too, so you'll just have to roll with it and try to figure out what works for her. And you.

Hang in there.

i know the feeling! seems i had a kid in my bed for at least 10 years! never could do the cry it out thing, but swore i would be much more firm with baby #2. Ha-ha!!! there were a lot of sleep-little nights, but now my kids are confident, happy, and, they know, well loved kids. My girl told me she would sleep alone when she was 13, and you know what? She does! when i tell my boy (he's 8) i love him, he says "i know - who wouldn't know that?" and they have become good sleepers! i believe in the whole "nest" idea

love it - good for you

Beautiful. Truly.

I've been thinking about all the not sleeping that's happening in our house a lot today. . . I'm right there with you. we tried everything with my son then gave up - we LIKE laying with him and rocking him. Plus he's happy and thriving. I do wish it didn't take over an hour to get my son to sleep (and that I didn't wake up in his room at 3 am so often) but I wouldn't change it. Still its nice to know I'm not the only one . . .

Just when your ready to sell them on the black market they slay you with love!

Hell, she's not mine and it got me. My daughter is two and a half and I still sometimes rock her to sleep.

No assvice, sweetie. Just sympathy. My son was sleeping through the night with very little input from us, at 11 weeks.

It all went to shit just before he turned 2 and I had nearly 2 years of hell every single night trying to get him to sleep.

My daughter is 2 1/2 and has NEVER slept through the night.

Night time really sucks ass sometimes.

That was beautiful.

Been there, done that. All I can say is that you will sleep again. Someday, who knows when, but it will happen. I sleep like a baby now that my kids are 9 and 10.

you know, my kids say the same thing. momma loves and is always there for them; and yes, i did do CIO. i'm thankful they're well-rested, and as a result, so am i. a win-win for everyone.

oh, YOU? You totally rock. that was awesome.

I think they just know, somehow. Helena did the exact same thing.

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So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

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