When I was contemplating sleep training my infant three months ago, I never thought we’d try to sleep train my toddler. It is just harder to sleep train a toddler who is accustomed to a certain way. We were able to get her in her own bed of course, one of us needed to stay with her or play musical beds all night long. It was a mess! We decided to hire a sleep consultant. When I first E-mailed her, I thought she’d help me with the infant. My goal: Sleep train one of them – the infant is the easier one to train – and life would be somewhat easier. The Sleep “expert” or consultant, however, had another plan. Sleep train the 2-year old, and the infant, we could train after 4-5 months of age. Well, as you have been reading, the sleep training of the toddler did not go well at all – we gave up after 8 nights and decided it was harder on our family to sleep train than to just deal with the game of musical beds all night long, everyday. So, we are back to square one. During transition back to the “way it was”, our toddler slept through the night for 2 nights and now has reverted back. What took 9 days to build (and trust me, we did not build much), only took 2 nights to undo.
When it comes to sleep training a toddler, there is no magic solution. You can use Pantley, Weissbluth or any other book out there. You can even pay someone to come into your home and tell you what you are doing wrong (probably alot because you suck as parents) but there is no magic wand you can wave to get a toddler sleep trained. All you can do is exercise patience and pray and hope that one day, she will just do it on her own. For now, we are back to square one but there are two things we are taking forward that we learned from this whole experience: (1) Earlier bedtime and routine – definitely a must in our household – it is obvious with her meltdowns, that our child is truly ready for bed by 730pm and (2) She has to remain contained until one of us can get in there- that is, she does not get to open the door and wander through the home at will. She is after all, TWO!
With those two things going forward, who knows? We may all sleep in our own beds agian by the beginning of the next decade… most likely, we will continue these games well into 2011. Good night, and Good luck!
So, we have started sleep training our 2-year old – better late than never I suppose but when you start this late, you must accept some pretty harsh consequences. If you sleep train a child between 6 and 10 months, it is easier. Granted, it is never easy to hear your child crying for you from the next room over but it is easier because they cannot say your name, they cannot completely understand everything going on, and for the most part, the kids are still unaware of what is happening. Moreover, they will not remember much and training can be done within 2-3 nights. However, now flash forward to that same child at age 2 … what a nightmare!
Our daughter is very intelligent and understands what is going on. What is worse is that she screams our names- “maama… please open door! Mamma please come here, lay down here sleep- (name) crying…” It is so sad it breaks your heart. What is worse, it breaks my husband’s heart even more. She screams for him and he does not come because we cannot. We are supposed to do something called “compassionate” sleep solutions. My theory is that anything that involves this much crying does not involve compassion. Let’s call a spade a spade- it is cry it out but controlled cry it out.
Why are we here if we cannot stomach it? Well, it is even harder for us to stomach playing musical beds every night. Since the infant arrived, it is harder around nap times and bed times to handle them both especially since neither can self soothe or go to sleep on their own. So, nap times and bed times are very stressful on the whole family. What is worse is that the infant wakes up to nurse almost all night and the toddler gets up several times too – so, it becomes quite the juggling act for the two of us, enslaving us to the kids. Man to man coverage is great, but what if one of us has a business trip? Then what happens? So, we are hoping for some good results from this. And if not, we figure, the alternative is not bad either- the toddler will sleep with us in the king size bed, and we will just wisen up and sleep train the infant in 3 months. For god’s sake – we need just one to sleep through the night!
In the meantime, with all the sleep training going on, no one is getting any sleep in the house – not the toddler who is crying her eyes out, not the parents, and the only one who is unfazed by all this is the infant who seems to be getting sleep when she needs it 🙂 Good nite to all! (We HOPE)