18 Months: Welcome to Hellville

Did someone come and replace my daughter with an attitude filled, sleep hating toddler? I want answers people!

Just within the last week or so things have gone to hell and a handbasket. Technically sleep started getting bad in November when we lost DST. Charlie never really recovered from that change and she started waking up around 5:30 am which sucks hardcore. But we’ve been trying to work with it the best we can and sometimes we can either get her back to sleep for a few hours or she’ll just randomly sleep in and surprise us.

What the REAL problem is is bedtime. My previously sleep trained (via Happy Sleeper method, highly recommend) happy to lay in bed until she fell asleep peacefully baby is now screaming these blood curdling banshee screams as soon as I exit the room. When I go back in for five minute checks she will INSTANTLY lay down and try to go to sleep, but if I leave the banshee comes back. So what we’ve been doing is just sitting next to the crib. When we do this, she’s asleep in five minutes…..but why do we need to do this? What’s happened?!

I read somewhere that at 18 months a new bout of separation anxiety can hit pretty hard and I definitely want to be sensitive to that, but I also don’t want to create bad habits and crutches that are going to be hard to break in a month or so when this period is over. Does anyone have experience with this particular regression? I welcome advice. WELCOME IT.

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7 thoughts on “18 Months: Welcome to Hellville

  1. We were still cosleeping around 18 months, so I can’t comment much on any regressions around then (we were also moving, and all the fun stuff that goes along with it then, so in general it was just a shitshow).

    Regarding giving in, and creating crutches at bedtime — Gus will have little windows where he calls us in 2-3 times before falling asleep, or asks to come in our room (we always say no), or asking to “calm down in the chair with me” for a few minutes. Most nights I do it, and he might ask for a few nights in a row, but eventually he loses interest, or forgets, etc. So, for me, if you just want to get bedtime over with, it’s worth the risk. I’ve yet to come across a request that ended up being permanent.

    • I just accidentally lied to you. He used to beg to bring these big, hard, lumpy toys to bed (cars, trucks, trains, etc.) and I’d tell him no (figuring he’d roll over them and wake up) and it was always a fight. One day I gave in and just let him bring it, and it was fine. So now, most naps and every night he has to pick a toy to bring to bed, and that’s been the case for probably 8 months, haha. But you’ve gotta pick your battles.

      • She’s been wanting to do this too, but it’s such random stuff. She has to be holding at least one thing when she’s nursing and it can be ANYTHING. Last night it was two medicine droppers. Tonight it was one of her velcro shoes (which I kept having to put on and off her foot for her) and sometimes she wants to take whatever it is into bed with her. That wasn’t the case tonight, but perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss letting her have a shoe in bed with her if it’ll make her feel more secure.

        That last sentence is fucking ridiculous.

  2. Gigi has turned in to a demanding little shit at night. I still rock her to sleep, and that goes fine, but she’ll wake up in the night and DEMAND me. Not like a sad, “mommmyyyyy” but like a “WOMAN, YOU GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW OR I SWEAR!”. Last night I had to pee before I went in to settle her and I told her “one minute. Mommy has to potty” and the little wench went “NO MOMMY! NO! UPPA!”

    So like, love her dearly, but I feel you on the where-did-my-sweet-girl-go?!?? And I have zero advice. Just solidarity.

  3. It is normal as around that age children develop a different understanding of ‘gone’ and ‘separateness’.
    I think each child and parent finds their own way through this as each situation varies.
    Tremendous patience helps.
    For some children talking about it helps. I knew a child that found a ‘nap’ more acceptable terminology than going to sleep or bedtime/nighttime.
    Seeing this time as a meditative period where you do a repetitive behavior silently and watch your breathing can help some people some times.
    Very best wishes and remember things will change again. Count your blessings during this time.

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