Mommy Brain: Probably the Result of Sleep Torture

Look closely. That was Dan, not JD. He was 20 months old, and he was apparently causing me to lose lots of sleep–not a good situation when you are pregnant.  (Noooooo, I’m not pregnant now. Stick with me here. This was 2012.) Daniel is 3 1/2 now.

Dan was such a good baby. I did not have to ‘sleep train’ him. Yet, somehow he gradually developed a bad pattern, and we had to work on it.  What is it with our toddlers??

The funny thing is I TOTALLY forgot that I ever had to “sleep-train” Dan at the ripe old age of 20 months. If you would have asked me, before I found this old blog post from 2012, what kind of sleeper Dan was, I would’ve said, “wonderful.” HAAAA!  The Mom Brain is a funny thing, full of selective memories.

I totally blame the sleep deprivation.

Don’t despair when you tell your woes to moms who are out of this phase. They have selectively pruned most negative memories, and they may think that you just don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t worry. That’s not the case.

So what gives with these babies? Sometimes you just need to examine the circumstances surrounding your toddler.

JD carries around his polar bear or a dinosaur everywhere he goes. Shout out to Amy and Sean for the dinos! Thank you!!!

We’ll get to what I did for Daniel in 2012 in a minute. First, let’s talk about my current toddler, J.D. This summer JD gave us FITS in the middle of the night. He still had to have a bottle. He still had to be rocked.  Some nights he would wake up every couple of hours. It was miserable.

Did I let JD cry it out? No. No. No.  This isn’t rocket science. In this case, I firmly believe the right thing to do was to suck it up and just be there for my baby. JD was in the middle of a domino-effect of life changes, and he was only a 12 month old. To ignore his cries actually would have been pretty mean because he needed some extra reassurance. We were out of our ordinary routine, moving from place to place, from the beginning of June through just a couple of weeks ago.

Guess what happened? Well, let’s NOT count our chickens before they hatched, but I THINK it worked itself out on its own.  We’ve had two glorious full nights of rest. Who knows–he may wake up once tonight, or he may sleep all night. Either way, this is not bad.

Honestly, I could never let a little baby just cry and cry without consoling them. I can’t do it for too long for a 20-month-old either, but apparently I did cave and let Daniel cry a while. I knew there was nothing wrong with him, and he was getting cuddled all day long, so it really did pay off.

For my first two munchkins: I re-sleep trained them any time it was necessary–pretty much just used the “Ferber” method. We would put them to bed, and then flee the room. We have always found that having an established bedtime routine makes a huge difference.  Once we left the room, if they cried without stopping, we’d go in there after 5 minutes, pick them up–yes—pick them up, console them for a bit, and lay them back down. I’d do this in increasing intervals. The truth is, I’m a softie, and usually by the third interval, my “consoling” would put them to sleep. This all worked just fine.

However, Dan gave me enough trouble that I had to get tough with him. In November 2012, I resorted to some longer intervals:

This is what I wrote in 2012 about sleep-training the Dan Man. He was 20 months old. Also, I should tell you, that Daniel was quite the mischief maker during the day. I described that too….

“-Daniel is still a sleep challenge. THANKFULLY, he DID finally sleep through the night last night. However, as we speak he is in the crying it out process in his crib….

Daniel, November 2012

-(About my missing wedding rings–sadness!) I still haven’t found my wedding rings. I am pretty sure they were flushed. I have good circumstantial evidence pointing in that direction.
Daniel went to sleep!!!!! Hallelujah! Sleep training= letting them cry it out, but never more than an hour. After a couple days of that, they decide crying for an hour is just not worth it!
-His current goal is to put his shoes on by himself. I find him practicing all the time. OH! Also, he said “Joshua”, actually “Yoshwa”, and “Caleb”, “Cay-cay”, this week! We were so excited!
-Tonight I walked into the boys’ bathroom, yes at our house there is actually a boys’ bathroom, to find Caleb putting toothpaste on Daniel’s toothbrush for him. Dan was leaning on the sink, waiting patiently.
-About Daniel’s name: I like Daniel, Dan, and Dan-Dan, even the Dan Man, but I do not like Danny–I really don’t like Danny at all. Just wanted to make sure everyone knows.
-Yesterday I wanted to shower while all the boys were running loose in the house, so I paid Joshua and Caleb $1 a piece to keep Daniel out of trouble while I took my shower. Best idea I’ve had in a while, and money well spent!”


And now look at us, 2014, and dealing with so many of the same issues all over again!

We’ve read Babywise and tried that. We’ve Ferber-ized. You name it; we’ve done it. I also read that if you want to keep your children from waking up in the middle of the night, you should be sure to spend time talking (NICELY) to your spouse each day. Make sure your kids are watching while you chat with your spouse to really build up security points!!  That gives them security, so they wake up crying–or walking to your bed–less at night. I will say, Alan and  I were in two different states for half the summer, so that also could have contributed to JD’s insecurity.

They call the parent-talk time “couch time,” and I do think that’s a great idea. Google it.

So, in summary:

1. Different times call for different measures. You choose what works for you and your baby.

2. These are not hard and fast rules. There are none. Even if the American Academy of Pediatrics put out guidelines about it, you’d still need to go with common sense.

3. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

4. Every kid is different.


Quote of the week:

Alan: I’ll put the trampoline together right now if ya’ll can tell me all the states and capitals ya’ll have learned.

Boys:  Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Alan:  What’s the capital of Vermont?

one of the boys:  Massachusetts!!!!!!

Alan: This could take a while.

🙂 They’ve got it down now, and the trampoline was a life saver today. 🙂 Roll Tide. Yep. It’s that time of year again.

  • queenmommyjen

    You and I are part of the no sleep brigade it would seem. My moms says that is why older people like her sleep so much, they are worn our from their children!

    Talk nice to your spouse? I have never heard that one with sleep training, but hey it just might work!

    LOVE the camo edged trampoline!

    • We can so relate on this and many things! The authors of a book called Growing Kids God’s Way day that if you take 20 minutes a day to sit on the couch and talk with your spouse your children will all sleep better. Alan and I usually forget to do the couch time. …

  • Oh, this one really struck home with me. My first 4 boys were great sleepers (although it took a while for any of them to sleep through the night) but this one…Sheesh! He’s the worst sleeper ever and like you I’m too much of a softy to let my kids cry a lot. I never give sleep advice to new parents because I know every ones’s situation is sooo different. But I do pretty much live by one baby-raising rule that I’m willing to share: The first year your job is to obey baby. After that your job is to teach them to obey you. Keeping it that simple has kept me sane!

  • Oh, sleep training. I could vent for hours about it after these three. My youngest can stay awake for HOURS at night, either crying when I’m not there or talking to me if I’m there. But the second I start nursing her she is out. Great for when she was a newborn, TERRIBLE now that she is 8 months. I desperately need some uninterrupted sleep!

  • Oh darlin… How right you are! Children are not business processes or lines on a state mandated sheet of regulations and rules! Each and every child is its own puzzle. Our first child, our daughter, slept through the night at2 weeks. No kidding. Our son? Not so much. Ate every 2 hours LIT ER AL LY around the clock for 6 months. I was so sleep deprived, I didn’t know what end was up. To this day, he struggles with sleep. He is now 26… My daughter, 28, has an internal mercury switch. Lay her down, she sleeps. Go figure…

  • McMom

    Two nights of good rest…woo hoo! Hoping many more follow 🙂 Also, I am loving the camo trampoline – ha! If that doesn’t say little boy, I don’t know what does!

  • Oh sleep training. There is so much trial and error, along with so much exhaustion! It is a horrible mix! But, I feel like it is a great learning and refining experience. I felt like it helped me become more patient. At least a little. 🙂 Anyway, I loved your advice, and think it is just plain awesome that you can go back and look at what you wrote when you were sleep training Dan. I imagine it is comforting to look at now. I hope he sleeps tonight!

  • Hi April! I’m Michelle. 🙂 I’m laughing over our parallel lives here. I also lost my wedding rings years ago. It still makes me sad to think of them. I also started out on xanga and am trying to get them printed in book form. Thank goodness they were all archived. I just finished year 2005. Sob. I also have 4 kiddos but two of them are girls. My youngest is 3 1/2 so thankfully my sleep deprived days are behind me (course now that I’ve said that…) but potty training this last guy nearly did me in. Anyway, just wanted to say hello and I’m glad to have stumbled onto your blog and am looking forward to reading more!

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