Zen. (Not so much, then.)

June 16, 2009 at 11:36 am | Posted in milestones, Sleep (for the weak | 24 Comments

I never should have posted about the lack of night waking after Baby O walked that first day.

And yes. I know I said I was all Zen about Baby O’s night wakings.

Because I thought they were transition related. You know, big milestone like walking means night wakings.

Because when I look at it from his perspective, it makes sense. Because I hate the idea that *I* get to drink something when I’m thirsty, or get another blanket to get warm, when Baby O is essentially depending on US to do so.

Because he USED to go right back to sleep, with minimal intervention from us.

But people. I’m DONE with waking up in the middle of the night.

For the past TWO nights now, he’s woken up at 3:30. And here’s been our routine:

3:30am – go into his room at the fourth or fifth yell (because he doesn’t really cry. He yells “AH!” briefly. It’s like he’s calling “MA!” or something) to find him sitting up. Reposition him on his back. Cover him with blanket, give him bear, search the crib with bleary eyes to find lost pacifier. Rub belly/back/legs in the hopes that he’ll go right back down. Knowing that it’s probably a fruitless endeavor, but we need to try, anyway.

3:35am – leave room, tell J to go get sippy from downstairs. Go into bathroom. Pee. Put drops in eyes so that I can open them fully. Go back into his room. Take crying, fussing toddler out of crib and whisper that dada’s getting him some milk.

3:37am – sit on rocker while he gulps sippy. Shift weight because the damn thing won’t stop creaking. Spread blanket over baby and my own legs so I don’t get too cold.

3:45am – put wide awake baby back into crib, walk downstairs to put sippy away, go back to bed and try to ignore the sounds eminating from the monitor.

3:53am – go into his room to find him sitting up yet again. Reposition him on his back. Cover him with blanket, give him bear and pacifier. Tell him “it’s time for sleeping.” Rub belly/back/legs in the hopes that he’ll go right back down. Know that it’s probably futile because he’s kicking and bucking, wide awake.

3:54 am – leave his room, listen to him cry. And cry. And cry. And WAIL.

3:56 am – go back into his room, where he is now STANDING, looking at the door, crying. Pick him up. Sit on creaky fucking rocker, cover him and me with the blanket, and rock him until he calms down and zones a bit.

4:05am – put him into crib, where he thankfully lays there calmly. Tell him, “it’s time for sleeping.” Shut door, go back to room, turn of the fucking monitor. Ignore the sounds from the next room for the next half hour.

Lay there and pretend to sleep. Try not to move to wake J, who remarkably seems to be very much asleep. Stare at the clock for the next HOUR until it rings and I can get up and end the torment.

So this morning I announced to J and Baby O that there will be some changes to our overnight routine.

  • There will be no more milk. Baby O now will get a sippy of water, which we’ll put in his room every night before we go to bed. That way J doesn’t need to get milk and I don’t need to put it back in the refrigerator. And Baby O will learn that milk no longer is served when it’s dark out.
  • We will give him the water, put him back into bed, and leave. We will turn off the monitor. He can play on his own, if he wants, but J or I will no longer get involved with the rocking and the trying to put him back to bed.
  • The rocking chair will get some WD-40.
  • Baby O will be woken up at 7:15am every day. There wil be no “sleeping in” if he is up for an hour overnight. If we need to put him to bed early the following night because he’s sleep deprived from the prior night? Then we will do so, no questions asked. But there will be no sleeping until 8am to “catch up” from last night’s party.

I mean, really. I’m trying to be REASONABLE here. But I have to say that I believe that fifteen months is old enough to sleep through the freaking night. And as much as I want to be reasonable, and look at it from his perspective, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that *I* get a decent night’s sleep too.

And I don’t care if I sound selfish, either. I’m DONE with being up in the middle of the night. It’s been 15 months. And I can count on maybe two HANDS the number of nights where I haven’t had to get up once with him.

So. Zen? Not so much.

Let’s hope this helps.



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  1. Sounds like a plan! I fell really really bad for you – I don’t know how I would survive if Hulk didn’t (usually) sleep through the night. I’m sure that I would have the same feeling as you – he may be thirsty, big milestone, whatever. But – the first night he slept all night – I wanted every night to be like that. I knew he could do it – so why wouldn’t he!?

    I hope this works for you.

  2. Here dat. I dropped the hammer at 11 months and it was the best thing I ever did. You may have a small handful of rough nights but then it will be great. My girl started sleeping 10+ hours straight after I cut out all middle of the night snacks. I think she was a little peckish the first two nights but she figured out pretty quickly to stock up at dinner time…cause that was it! good luck and stay strong

  3. As the mom of a 13-month-old boy who is the SPITTING IMAGE of your son in regards to sleeping, I can FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!! It is awful, isn’t it? Some nights, I am okay with getting up once to rock him back to sleep or nurse him, but I am getting soooo so soooooo tired of waking up every night. I hope your plan works well!

  4. I agree with Casey…stay strong! Possibly a short-term unhappiness for a long-term happiness for everyone involved. You can’t beat that!! 🙂


  5. Oh I feel for you! I have a great sleeper but we had a few week strech recently where because of travel and then illness and then another illness I had many nights of interrupted sleep. I actually felt like your post discussing why you get up in the middle of the night for him was sweet and amde sense, but I do think the milk in the middle of thr night might be causing him to wake up, plus just the promise of your company is surely alluring. Hopefully you’ll get it figured out soon, at 15 months it’s time for mom to get a full night’s sleep. Good luck!

  6. Here’s hoping Sandman keeps him company and you get some much needed sleep!

  7. Ethan still does not sleep through the night.

    BUT we do not get him. Unless his crib vibrator/white noise machine has run out of batteries. Then we change them and leave.

    Two babies = must sleep, and really, one baby + working = must sleep. I hope it works for you!!

  8. My dr. said to never remove lily from the crib. Go in after 4 minutes, rub her back and say night night over and over. Then go in after 8 minutes if need be and keep doing the same thing with 4 minutes added to the wait time. You could leave the water in there to “self-serve”, but I dont blame you for shutting off the monitor. Momma needs her sleep!! hth 🙂

  9. There’s a new sheriff in town!! Way to go Serenity. I think you’re on the right track. A no nonsense approach is the only way to go at this point. Baby O is a dream, but he’s loving this attention at 3 am. Time to lay down the law. Hang in and stay strong!

  10. Awesome plan. Before I got to the end of your post I was saying in my head, “He’s getting his rewards for waking up”. Take away the reward and he’ll learn that waking up at night is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    We did this with K, although a bit harsher than you, no water or anything, period. She slept throught the night from then on unless she was sick or a serious milestone was occuring.

    Good luck and you know, a few nights of crying will be worth it in the end. Good job!!

  11. Wow, I’m with you on this one. Lemy is only 10 months and I’m done with getting up. It’s not selfish to want sleep at this stage, its normal. Months and months of sleep deprivation is ROUGH to deal with, I know since I’m in that same boat myself.

    I will be hoping and praying that your plan works and you all start getting more rest–especially because we may need to implement something similar here very shortly.

    ((MANY HUGS)) and keeping my fingers crossed for a restful night tonight. 🙂

  12. It’s not selfish! You are doing him a favor in helping him learn to sleep. I mean it is pretty hard to rock a 10 year old to sleep after all. I hope this works and very quickly for you.

  13. You will not regret this decision. Really, toddlers may need a little water here and there at night, but if he’s waking up at the same time every night then it’s probably more of a habit than a need. Especially if he’s staying up and partying.

    You can do it! And so can he!

  14. You put the milk back in the fridge?

    /briefly takes out bad mother badge, puts it away again.

    er, wow.

  15. Yay you! Yes, you need your sleep too! I’m rather impressed that you have lasted this long. I think you are totally on the right track. Especially with the tuening off of the monitor- you know he’s safe in there, nothing is going to happen- it’s best YOU get what you need.
    At 11 months I called it quits with the night feedings and shenanigans. I felt like an all-night buffet. It took six nights to get where we are today. While Sacha doesn’t always sleep right through the night (he may wake up here and there for 5 minutes or so), I never ever go into him. Stay strong, you can do it!
    While things are amazingly improved, I think that I am the only one in the house who still essentially doesn’t sleep through the night. I can’t seem to break the habit for myself! I don’t know what is with the men being able to turn over and go back to sleep!!

  16. Serenity, I so so get where you are at. I don’t NEED a freaking monitor, the screams are so loud. I’ve had a hellacious few weeks crying it out (him and me) but now I think we are turning a corner. Woot.

    And, he is such a happier baby! He was sleep-deprived too, who knew!

  17. great plan! stay strong, it will be hard at first, but it will work and will be SO worth it in the end. i speak from experience 🙂

  18. I’m so with you here, we haven’t completely weaned T yet so S is having to be in charge while I lie in the other room and listen to the screams. I really hope we can turn the corner soon especially since my other half is so grumpy when he is sleep deprived.

  19. Those sound like great steps, and he’s certainly old enough to learn now. That said my 2.5 year old has decided the last 3 weeks that he will wake up and stay awake between 10-1am, babbling to himseef off and on. And…like you, I made the mistake of giving him some milk in a sippy(which I left with him and took out after he was asleep), and now he’s come to expect it. So then I switched to water. But its lost its cuteness(its been a while since he needed me in the middle of the night so I was okay with it at first), and now we make sure he’s plenty hydrated before bed, and no water unless it feels really hot/humid in his room or something. Its a bad habit we let him get into and now its time for him to relearn, just like Baby O. He slept through the night(10pm-10am) from 2.5 weeks old so I was very spoiled by him, so I gave him some leeway on this the few times he relapsed(also around milestone ages)…and it always stopped after a couple weeks, but I think giving him the milk in a sippy as opposed to nursing him like I did before wakes him up more ans set him into daytime mode. So good for you for recognizing the daytime milk aspect 🙂

    Your WD 40 comment made me LOL 🙂

  20. i’d like to say all my kids even at 6 and 4 sleep through the night. At least 3-4 times a week, someone will wake us up for something.

    Last night, Moira fell out of her bed. I ended up staying up all night staring at her to make sure she stayed alive and well.

    Parenting is hard.

  21. I think the game plan sounds great. If your mornings stay the same–you are going to end up in a padded room. And all this crazy sleeping isn’t good for him either.

  22. Sounds like a plan. LIke others, I would ditch the water as well and only go in if things are really bad. There is a pacifier-holder you can get here which holds a pacifier so he can find it and put it back in himself. It’s a cuddly toy with paws made thin and with velcro on so they can close round the handle of a pacifier. Think it’s called cuddle-me or something similar. Also, try putting him down with multiple pacifiers, that helped us.

    Hope it works!

  23. Oh sweetie, I don’t think you’re selfish at all. Incidentally for someone who’s getting up so much i’m so impressed with how well you’re doing with staying awake during the day. Seriously.

    we do the “extra nuks”(pacifers) thing and I only go in if they are screaming, I have gotten to the place where you can soothe yourself buddy and mommy is tired.

    GOOD LUCK!!! Hope things start to settle down soon.

  24. It’s days later and you’ve received plenty of advice, but can I offer my own experience? We had similar problems w/ The Fuss and eventually had to do what you are doing. Turn off the monitor. Stop w/ the drinking. Our rooms share a wall – if she cries that loud and hard, I can hear her, but I don’t have to hear the small sounds that don’t require my attention. I sleep better. I go in once to check on her when she does cry. She gets her monkey and her paci given and rarely does she get picked up out of the crib. It only took a week of learning time to be completely up on the new system (we gave it a week – didn’t need 7 days – it was more like 3 or 4)

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