Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Abigail is turning three. She was a two-year old delight, most of the time. But the last month or so hints at looming meltdowns, control issues, and other power-grabbing tactics. Add to that the baby coming in a few months and I am not holding my breath on the potential for a good year three.

In an effort to arm myself to the teeth, and to win the most recent battle, I appeal to your collective wisdom.

We have completed the potty training, I think. Days without soiled underwear are promising. I just should have waited till now. No more relenting under pressure from grandmothers, now I have friends!

Alright, that was just a distracted side note. We are having serious bedtime issues!

We follow a bedtime routine--watch a video, wash and brush, pjs, discuss what we are thankful for, read a Bible story, pray, sing two songs (one per parent), bed. This used to work.

Then she started crawling out of her bed to play. We set the timer. When it goes off, she must stay in her bed. This worked for a couple of weeks. Twice she fell asleep on the floor before the timer went off.

Now she cries. Well, it is more like howling. Chris calls it the birthing of a cow. For a really long time. Like hours. Until we go to bed. Do you know how hard it is to watch Amazing Grace when your child is bellowing as if being stuck with sharp sticks. We are well into our second week of this.
  • We have prayed and told the monsters to leave.
  • We have brought fresh water.
  • We have taken her to the bathroom multiple times.
  • We have sat on her bed with her.
  • We have tried to reason.
  • We have threatened turning out all the lights. (I actually did this and she ran screaming from the room.)
  • Last night we threatened a spanking. She kept crying, but at a more ignorable pitch and volume. She fell asleep in her closet. No, we didn't put her there.
Tonight is coming quickly. I hope you all are reading and you have insight. Help, please!


Donna said...

I can't believe you shut all the lights off! That is a therapy moment when she is about 30. LOL Just kidding.
One thing to do is not to show her she is winning. I would put up a gate at the door and put all her toys away where she cannot get them at night. After the routine, she will be bored to go to sleep. BUT this is just me saying it. Would it work, probably not.
My one friend does positive reinforcement. Sticker chart and rewards. It works on her child. It would never work on Carmie...

Neely said...

If the girls don't stop talking after being warned after they have been tucked in, then we shut the door to their room. They don't have a nightlight. At the time of transitioning into a "big" bed we had issues with staying in bed. We would put the child back into bed with as little attention as possible. This would last a couple days then before we knew it they wouldn't get out of bed. I hope you find something that helps, you, Sarah!

Julia said...

As Donna has pointed out, what works for one child, may very well not work for another. I am a firm believer that all families are different and that there is no real right or wrong when it comes to these types of issues...it all depends on what works for your situation. And no one should think they know what that would be. With that said, I can only offer an extended attempt to help by simply sharing what works with us.
After the birth of my first son, Ethan, My pediatrician gave us wonderful advice!
* Set a good bedtime 7-8pm.
*lay infant in crib
*let cry until sleeping (do not enter room)
*repeat until crying stops and there you have your bedtime routine for years to come!

I was ready & willing to give it a try! However, I also had the overpowering words of loved ones telling me that I should be more caring, loving, and not let my new bundle of joy cry for any length of time deemed unecessary by them. We also found it a tiny bit hard with it being our first little one!! My husband much more than I ... continuing into my second pregnancy, until he realized that the attachment to daddy that he loved so much meant that our daddy needed to sleep on the floor next to the daddy's boy's bed every night!! He now was ready to cross lines and become a unified force! Armed with my pediatrician's golden nuggets of wisdom, and my now aching husband, I followed the above advice to the tee. Since Ethan was older and in a bed now, I enlisted aid from a door knob cover that meant Ethan could not leave the room at night. See, my little one did like to play as well, but not just restricted to his room! In keeping with saftey, we also kept use of his nursery monitor. Infact, we still use a monitor now. We no longer use the door knob feature, however, you would be surprised what three little boys, ages 6,5,&3 can plan in the midst of the night!
Our bedtimes with Ethan did not take long to change...a week or two maybe. Ofcourse, it was harder than infant due to they are smarter by then and our own stubborness has worn off on them! We became smarter too though...we never varied from Doc's advice with our next two when it came to bedtimes!! Now, I have all three boys in one room...8pm pjs, teeth, potty break, prayers, hugs, lights out, door closed, GOODNIGHT. Amen.

I hope that I helped in some way Sarah...and I am praying for you!!