In this Photo: Using her Jedi mind tricks on me.
I accept that my daughter will sleep through the whole night when she moves away and goes to college. For the time being, she will continue waking up every 20 minutes all night every night after sleeping for only two hours. I’m not interested in solutions, advice, methods from Ferber, Sears or your Grandmother. I’m writing this so I can look back and laugh, and for others who can relate and take comfort in knowing they aren’t alone. To the other parents of toddlers, you aren’t crappy parents. We thought we were crappy parents, since every other toddler in the entire world seemed to sleep through the night, not climb out of their crib, never cry or whine, and it only took them a few days to "sleep train". We’ve trained for 22 months. There were times she would sleep through the night without waking up, but those were stages. Anyway, I’d like to share what a typical night is for us.
8:40pm – I take 40 minutes to 1 hour sitting with her by her toddler bed in her room, while she talks to herself and sings herself to sleep. Or my husband holds her dancing for 10 minutes until she falls asleep and he puts her in her bed.
11pm – We hear the beginning of whimpering on the baby monitor. We hold our breath and wait for it to get louder. When it doesn’t, we rejoice but hold our breath for the next 5 minutes because she will cry more so I don’t know why we even bother to wait since she never goes back to sleep for good anyway. One of us goes in and tells her to lay down. She sleeps for a solid 20 to 30 minutes. My husband and I get ready for bed. As we are brushing our teeth…
11:30pm – one of us exclaims "are you effing kidding me?!" even though we both expect it. She screams on the baby monitor like she’s been betrayed. We didn’t stay by her bedside rubbing her back all night like she assumed we would. My husband and I argue over which one of us is going in to soothe her to sleep. He will go in and I jump into bed and pretend to sleep. 20 minutes goes by and my husband goes to bed, and snores peacefully after thirty seconds as I lie in fear waiting for the wailing to begin again. Because next it will be my turn to put her back to bed. So I ask myself why bother falling asleep? I’ll only have to wake up then I won’t be able to fall asleep again. So I lay there waiting…..
12:15am – "mommy….MOMMY….MOMMMMMMMYYYYY". I get up and try to put her down. Her eyes are heavy and she goes down easy. Takes me 10 minutes. Too easy. I run back to bed and try to fall asleep ASAP so my husband can take the next shift.
12:35am – "mama?" a small tired voice over the monitor whimpers. I feel so bad yet I don’t bother moving. My husband wakes from his snoring slumber. He stumbles down the hallway to her room. "sssshhhhh ssshhhhh, go back to bed baby". “All done, all done, all done", she repeats. I keep the monitor on because I like to hear what’s going on, because I like to torture myself. She fights with him….sobbing, whimpering "mommy mommy mommyyyyyyyy". I picture her big sad eyes with salty tears rolling down her plump cheeks. And all she wants is her mommy. And what kind of monster am I that I can’t tend to my whimpering child who only wants my comfort? I get up and ask my husband if he needs my assistance. He gets annoyed because she’s using her manipulative Jedi mind tricks on me through the baby monitor and succeeded. Sobbing, she reaches up with her arms toward me and I scoop her up. She showers me with kisses and says, "mama baby hug". I of course eat it all up. She points to our bedroom and says "baby tired tooooo", smiling as if nothing happened. I notice the whimpering, the sobbing, the crying is nonexistent. I fell for it the 164th time but I don’t care. At least one of us is getting some sleep tonight.