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Within an Inch of my Sanity

August 7, 2012

The last two weeks have been…difficult. To say the least.

Aside from the constant nagging backache, being completely exhausted, the round ligament pain, a few work frustrations, and my sudden need to clean every surface in sight (despite aforementioned exhaustion)…I’m convinced it’s a full moon because Noah has been difficult.

Yes. This “sweet, innocent” little person is being a pain.

Numerous tantrums have been thrown.

I’ve repeated myself more times than I can count.

He’s not listening.

He’s being stubborn.

And he’s regressing in areas that we’ve had mastered for months. He’s had a handful of  potty “accidents” these last couple of weeks that have left me frustrated beyond belief.

Bedtime is a nightmare. So bad these last few weeks that I don’t even look forward to sleeping at night. In fact, I dread it. Wholeheartedly. A normal bedtime routine consists of a bedtime story, a goodnight hug and kiss and that’s it. This week (and last)? Bedtime story. Tantrum for a second bedtime story. Hug. Kiss. Need for another hug and kiss. Climb out of bed, run into our bedroom, climb in the bed with us, tantrum because we won’t let him stay there…you get the idea.

That goes on for about 45 minutes. I’ve resorted to everything I can think of to get him to stay in bed. I’ve let him turn his TV on…told him he could watch a movie but he had to stay in bed. Didn’t work. I made a small bed of blankets on the floor in our room. Told him he could sleep there but he had to stay put. I’ve used the “you don’t have to go to sleep, but you have to stay in bed” approach. Didn’t work. We’ve tried disciplining him for not staying put…taking away toys…the whole run him back and forth to the bed every time he gets up…

Nothing works.

I’m exhausted.

And annoyed.

And cranky.

I love this kid to pieces. But is a decent nights rest too much to ask?

It’s left me feeling overwhelmed and terrified of what’s to come.

I’ve been questioning myself…my parenting skills…my sanity for the last two weeks.

Is this what I have to look forward to when Jonah’s born?

Are we going to regress back to complete toddlerhood because the new baby is here?

What am I doing wrong?

WHY WON’T YOU SLEEP?!

 

For those of you with older kids and toddler who have added to your family, did you experience signs of regression? For those of you who have had trouble getting your kids to bed at night…what finally worked for you to get them to stay put?! How do you deal with tantrums?

The photos of Noah in this post were taken by Heidi Stutes Photography at our Gender Reveal Party. Linking this post up with Shell @ Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out

  1. Mandy@ asortafairytale

    August 7th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I noticed a little bit of regression with Bennett when Easton was born, but it’s definitely gotten better! And tantrums, time outs. That’s all that works for us… he just needs a little time to cool off usually. No suggestions for getting a kid to bed, Bennett has always been a fabulous sleeper (since about 8 months old) and I’ve never had an issue. Although, he’s still in a crib so we’ll see once I transition him to a toddler bed. lol

  2. Courtney

    August 8th, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Haha! Yep. We didn’t have any issues with Noah and bedtime either until he converted to his big boy bed. Not having him “penned in” and the ability to get up and down when he wants has been a lot more difficult. Before, we’d put him in bed at 8:00 and he’d play, chatter, etc. until he fell asleep and he’d STAY asleep all night. Now? He still sleeps deep and stays there once he gets there…it’s just the getting him to stay in bed part that’s difficult. 🙂

  3. Kirsten

    August 8th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Oh, I feel for you! This is completely normal for kids who have, or are about to, acquire a new sibling. Make sure your kiddo has opportunities to express any anxiety he may be feeling. Making leading statements can be a great way to initiate discussion (Example: “Things will be different around here when your little brother arrives” and then follow up with assurances). And when the baby is here, make sure you get one on one time with Noah. This will pass – he’s just making a huge adjustment. (hugs) I know it’s not easy!

  4. Alison

    August 8th, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Courtney, do I know this. Monkey is a little younger than Noah and he sleep regressed when he turned 2. He absolutely just did not want to stay in bed and he ended up sleeping in ours for 2 months (we did go on vacation soon after he turned 2, and that turns things upside down). Because the baby was coming, we knew it was essential we ‘re-trained’ him.

    Now, this worked for us, I’m not saying it’d work for you (especially since Noah is older – but it could work better because of that!), but it’s worth a try.

    Stick with your consistent bedtime routine, and be firm about how many stories etc. Once that’s done, tuck him into bed, kiss him goodnight and walk out. If he cries out or comes out, escort him back, retuck him in, say goodnight and add, be a good boy now, stay in bed. And just repeat as often as he gets up during the night.

    It’s exhausting and requires commitment, but for us, within 2-3 nights, he was sleeping through the night again, and no more running out of his room looking for us. I think Noah is just looking for assurance.

    Good luck!

  5. Courtney

    August 8th, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Thank you, Allison! Last night (ironically, since I wrote this post) he stayed put the first time and only got up once around 3:00 and then went back to his bed. I will definitely give your approach a try. I’m up for anything right now. 🙂

  6. ilene

    August 8th, 2012 at 4:07 am

    I have had several moments where I have been within inches of my sanity, We can’t control the phases that babies and toddlers go through and I am not a huge believer in sleep training, etc., I think the most important thing is to take care of yourself in any little way that you can. Sleep when you can and make sure to eat. It sounds simple, but when my basic needs are met (for me, it’s eat, sleep, exercise, meditation) I can handle the worst of it with my kids with much more poise. Hang in there!

  7. Courtney

    August 8th, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Agreed. I do much better when I’m rested and have some quiet time to myself. 🙂 And truthfully…after the last two years (that’s how long Noah’s been in a “big boy bed”) I’m not too sure I buy into the idea of sleep training either. It’s starting to seem like a good way to make money selling books to mama’s who are desperate for some shut eye. LOL

  8. Patricia

    August 8th, 2012 at 4:24 am

    My oldest was four when our next child was born. He had up to that time been very well behaved and really never went through a tantrum phase. Then after the baby came, he went through one summer of being a real handful, defying us at every turn and having tantrums. Just as we were ready to pull our hair out, he stopped all of the bad behaviour and turned back into our sweet child. He’s much older now, and a great kid.

  9. Courtney

    August 8th, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Thank you so much for that reassurance!! I’ve heard other people talk about regression and bad behavior when new baby arrives as a sign of wanting/needing more attention. That part we are somewhat prepared to handle. We just didn’t expect it to start up. He’s not bad ALL the time. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a wonderful, sweet little boy. It’s just that he’s been having some rough days lately. Here’s hoping they pass!

  10. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    August 8th, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I have two boys – 5 and 3 – and we definitely went through some regression when the baby arrived. It’s a huge shift and change in their world – not that that makes it any less frustrating in the moment. Bedtime has always been the killer for us. We’d have to sit on the floor in my son’s room for an hour+ until he fell asleep. We would try sneaking out, disciplining, etc. but nothing really worked. All I wanted to do was sleep or enjoy a few moments with my husband before going to sleep myself. Then, one day, we just left the room, closed the door and he fell asleep and stayed put. I know that’s not much help but hang in there.

    But the other thing? It is absolutely amazing to see the boys grow and develop in their relationship and how they unconditionally love each other. It makes my heart swell and it makes the tough times worthwhile…most of the time 🙂

  11. Courtney

    August 8th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    We are already experiencing the sweetness of the bond between my son and his brother. He loves talking to the baby and feeling him move and we have to incorporate Jonah into every little conversation as well. It melts my heart. And after reading some comments this morning, I’m certain that getting toddlers to stay in bed and sleep like they are supposed to is a daunting task for most. Seems that we definitely aren’t the only ones struggling with this. Thank you!

  12. Amy Willa

    August 8th, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Oh, Courtney. . . <3 HUGS

    I have had my share of these types of days (erm. . . weeks sometimes) with Abbey. Usually, this type of behavior is showing that there is a need that she has that's not being met. And it's usually not something totally obvious. For example, Abbey lately has been hitting and biting a certain (like, her very best) friend and really pushing my hubs' and my buttons hard core. She's especially been making daddy crazy, and then telling him that he's mean and scary because he yells. She's also been throwing tantrums like no tomorrow and pleading with me not to leave her at school, even though she adores it there. It's been AWFUL.

    I finally figured out what was up. And it was NOT what I expected. Apparently, Abs is investigating emotions hard core. The other night at bathtime she was misbehaving like crazy. And when I'd instruct her to behave, she'd say "I don't like you anymore!" and "You're not my mommy anymore!" . . . I replied calmly – "I'm sorry you feel that way" and she stopped and told me: "But mommy, I want you to be SAD!"

    She wanted to see the emotion of sadness and when she wasn't getting to see it from me, she was upset. She enjoys pushing daddy's buttons because he gets really mad and yells. She chooses to hit and bite her best little friend (and no other friends) because that friend screams and cries and squeals and loses it when she's hit or bitten. She has been experimenting with manipulating emotions. . . I didn't see it at all until that time at bath time when I responded with NO emotion and she was upset because I wasn't sad.

    So, to meet this need that she's having lately to explore emotions, I try to play pretend with her more – and indulge her pretend friends and her stories about why they feel mad or sad or shy or crazy. Instead of just letting her pretend, I pretend WITH her as much as possible. We draw sad and happy and frustrated faces, and take time to make them in the mirror and giggle about them.

    We also had a serious talk about the fact that it is NOT ok to disrespect daddy or mommy or anyone else, including her friends, in order to see emotions.

    I guess my point is that usually, there is something going on inside that little preschooler brain that is causing the acting out and the tantruming. Figuring out what it is is sometimes really tough, but once you've pinpointed it, you can help meet the need that your child has so that they don't have to act out anymore.

    <3 HUGS Courtney. You're a fantastic mommy, and you will see this through! 🙂

  13. Courtney

    August 8th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Thank you, Amy!! I really appreciate that. I was laying in bed last night thinking about this post and Noah’s behavior. He crawled in bed last night and stayed put like he was supposed to, so I’ve been trying to figure out what we did different yesterday that we didn’t do the day before, etc. After reading this, I’ll be paying much more attention to see if I can nail down what’s going on. THANK you for such a great and insightful comment! 🙂

  14. Laura

    August 8th, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I would say that this is probably normal. Even though the new baby isn’t here yet, Noah notices a difference. You’re likely able to do less with him. He likely has to be a little more careful with you. Attention needs to be pulled away from him and onto your pregnancy. He likely feels it. And it is heartbreaking when that starts to happen! I know!

    You’ll survive. Noah will survive. It might get better and then get worse again when the baby comes. My suggestion? Try giving Noah tasks. Make him a bedtime chart (clean up toys, pjs, brush teeth, potty, water, read books, lights out) that he can follow and accomplish each night. Maybe implement a reward system for every night that he stays in bed (stickers leading to a toy or something?) Get him one of those clocks that shows kids when it is sleep time and when it is awake time so he can see it himself.

    Give Noah tons of attention when you can but don’t let guilt engulf you when you can’t. If you can, get out for a coffee or something on nights that your husband is home, even if Noah isn’t sleeping so you get a break. It is tough and has nothing to do with your parenting!

    Loves!

  15. Courtney

    August 11th, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    THANK YOU for the idea for the chore chart and checklist. We’ve seen a HUGE difference the last week with his behavior and his attitude. He’s loved being able to color in his circles (or his polka dots as he calls them) at the end of the day for his good behavior. 🙂

  16. Laura

    August 12th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I am SO SO glad it worked for you! 🙂 That’s my little secret weapon. We had a night routine chart for Cameron but it only worked for a few days. He was old enough to understand it but not really old enough to care. Soon I’ll have to make one that is much more interactive like what you’ve made for Noah! Glad I could help! 🙂

  17. Sean Miller

    August 8th, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Not a mom, nor do we have more than one kid, so not very qualified to offer advice other than Maddy goes through spells of not wanting to go to sleep, Mandi tries to ensure that Maddy is good n tired that next day, (swimming, not allowed to take rests/naps, a lot of activity, etc..)

    If Maddy is wiped out by the end of the day usually her physical desire for sleep outweighs her emotional desire to push back/stay up/etc

  18. Courtney

    August 11th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks, Sean. 🙂 I think that lack of getting enough “exercise” is partly to blame here. It’s hard to get out when it rains 6 out of 7 days a week and it’s 40 degrees with 40 mph winds. Makes it difficult to drag a toddler out for sure. LOL Hope you guys are good in St. Kitts!

  19. adrienne

    August 8th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, sweet girl. I wish I had some words of wisdom here, but i can only offer my prayers. My kids are six years apart. While the second did cause some changes in my oldest, he wasn’t a toddler. Hang in there!! This too shall pass.

  20. Courtney

    August 11th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you, Adrienne! I really appreciate that! I’m hoping that as the weeks continue to pass and the idea of a new baby becomes more of a reality that he’ll continue to adjust.

  21. Shell

    August 8th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    With bedtime struggles- I just made it clear this is what bedtime is, here’s our routine, period. Any fits and I’d just leave them in their rooms. It sounds harsh, but the fits didn’t last long if I weren’t there to witness it and if they didn’t get what they wanted from it.

    I hope you can get some rest soon!

  22. Courtney

    August 11th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you, Shell! I’ve stepped up the “putting my foot down” mode this week and it seems to be helping. Plus, we’ve been much more consistent on what time we start/finish the bedtime routing.

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