Thursday, September 14, 2017

Parenting Help Needed (and send wine)

Blog alert: this post will make apparent some of my largest parenting weaknesses. I’m aware of these weaknesses, low on sleep and high on emotions, so be kind.

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About two weeks ago, CB and I decided that our lives were too stable and pleasant and so we decided to potty train our 2 year old. For the non-parents among us, let me break it down for you:

You try to convince a person who still looks at the color red and calls it yellow and has peed and pooped into a diaper since minute 2 of her life that now it’s going to be really fun to hold it and pee and poop somewhere else! Why is this fun? I don’t really know the answer, my dear, so instead I’ll buy you a small, plastic toilet with eyes on it, some Peppa Pig underpants, and remind you over and over that this is what “big kids” do. Oh! And we won’t be leaving the house for, like, a week because pooping on the floor of CVS is frowned upon and cabin fever is fun!

That’s potty training in a nutshell.

However, it actually was OK. As OK as that situation can be given the fact that we also have another human being in the house who still, apparently, needs our attention. And the fact that we stocked up on a lot of paper towels and wine. (that’s my tip for all potty training parents: Bounty and Pinot.)

The sneaky little devil part that not ONE SINGLE PARENT told us about was the after-math of sleep. Now, to be fair, maybe we’re (a) awful parents and this is all our fault, (b) our kid is just super awful and this is all her fault, or (c) every parent blocked this part out of their brains because it was too traumatizing/they didn’t want to admit they didn’t have it all together at all times when they had two kids at or under two, full time jobs, were potty training, and then the toddler decided that sleeping was for punks. (for reference, it's not b). 

Because that’s what happened. As of Monday, our sweet, energetic, great sleeper of a toddler gave a big middle finger to bedtime.

Night one: Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – very unlike her – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, 4 feet away, and you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same drill as above, and she’s down for the night by 7:30.

Night two: Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – very unlike her – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same thing. You have a three and a half minute conversation with your spouse about how odd this behavior is, she cries out again, this time in a shrill, pterodactyl-type way. You run in, REMIND HER MORE FIRMLY THAT HER SISTER IS SLEEPING, close the door. Screams. Now her sister is up too and you’re over this shit. You and your husband grab her from the crib, take her in another dark room, and use your best YOUR PARENTS ARE PISSED voices while explaining to her that this is not ok. This goes on for about two minutes (which is an eternity in toddler time), you give her a little cup of milk, read her one more story, and she’s down for the night. You high five with your husband that you definitely got  through to her this time and peacefully watch the final episode of Narcos at 7:50pm.

Night three: Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – more and more like her – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, 4 feet away, you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same thing. You have a three and a half minute conversation with your spouse about how odd this behavior is, she cries out again, pterodactyl in the house, you run in, REMIND HER MORE FIRMLY THAT HER SISTER IS SLEEPING, close the door. Screams. Her sister is awake and screaming now, too. You want to take your own life but, instead, you and your husband grab her from the crib, take her in another dark room, and use your best YOUR PARENTS ARE PISSED voices while explaining to her that this is not ok. She then tells you she has to poop, you and your husband jump like the jokers you are, grab the potty with eyes, she pees into it, and you tell her what a great job she did by letting out half an ounce of urine at 7:45pm. She’s very proud, knows that she’s won and dominates the earth, and goes to sleep happily.

Night four (last night): Normal bedtime routine, put her down in the crib, close the door. She lets out a cry – completely like her at this point – and you go in, soothe her, remind her to be quiet because her 8 month old sister is sleeping in her crib, 4 feet away, and you leave and close the door. She cries one more time, same thing. You have a thirty second conversation with your spouse about how this behavior has GOT TO STOP as she cries out again, this time, completely throwing caution to the wind. You swing the door open, REMIND HER MORE FIRMLY THAT HER SISTER IS SLEEPING, though now you realize that’s not true, grab her from the crib, take her in that same dark room, and use your very ineffectual YOUR PARENTS ARE PISSED voices while explaining to her that this is not ok, though, who cares at this point? Clearly nobody in this room.She then tells you she has to poop, you and your husband jump like the jokers you are, grab the potty with eyes, she pees into it, you tell her what a great job she did, she’s very proud, knows that she’s won and dominates the earth, and tricks you into thinking she’ll go to sleep.

You eat a Ceasar salad in the dark for the next seven minutes while she scream-cries and your husband goes in and loses his mind in a whisper until she seemingly, miraculously understands logic, and he comes out.

It’s quiet, but you know better. You both start whisper-talking like the captives you’ve become and start to Google “toddler sleep regression” as she lets out a scream that can only mean that someone has climbed up to the 10th floor window, gotten into her room, and decided to take your curly haired toddler and stab her with needles all over her body. You go in this time while your husband eats his salad standing up in a dark kitchen and she monkey climbs up your body while hyperventilating and you realize that you’ve lost. She’s won. You’re a failure. She’s the queen.

Also, you flash to this conversation you had with her not 12 hours earlier:

Me, folding laundry quietly in the living room.
Her: “No, I don’t want it.”
Me: “Um…don’t want what?”
Her: “No mommy.”
Me: “Ok.”
Her: “I don’t WANT pancakes.”
Me: “Ok, nobody was even talking about pancakes. You don’t have to eat pancakes.”
Her, jumping up and down: “I want pancakes! Mommy I wanna make pancakes!”

Which should’ve been your first indication that maybe the logic and reason route wouldn’t work. THINK, Becky, THINK. What has worked in the past? Consistency. What does she respond to? Structure and consistency. What does every toddler thrive on? Pushing boundaries and seeing how far you’ll bend to their will. What are you doing wrong in this scenario? Everything.

And so obviously the only logical solution is that you take her into your room, rip back the covers, and get into bed.

Mom brain: “It’s 8:15, it’s an hour past her bedtime and you guys aren’t fixing this tonight. She needs to sleep.”

Dad brain: “Um, wtf are you doing? No, she’s going back to her bed.”

Spoiler alert: OF COURSE he was right, I know. Please don’t tell me, I need no extra advice on this. I know he was right and I was wrong and my mom guilt and exhaustion got the better of me.

And then, like magic, he talked to her for a few minutes, worked his goddamned voodoo magic, and she went to bed. Until 4am.

Which is why you’re now on your third cup of coffee before 10am and blogging to strangers asking for help. While Google has told me that toddler sleep regression during potty training is completely normal, I’m looking for tips. What’s worked for you? Do we essentially just sleep train her like she’s 6 months old again? We plan on moving her sister out of their room and into our room until we can get this taken care of. Because the last thing we need is two little ones who hate us and the world because they had a super disruptive sleep. Also, the lovely ladies at daycare do not need this shit.

Ok, go! Advice! And remember – be kind. (and feel free to forward, re-post, whatever. I'm clearly not above graveling at this point...)


Thanks, blog world! 

11 comments:

  1. I got a full time stepdaughter last year. Another human girl who lives in my house ALL THE DAMN TIME. Logic is not a concept. It doesn't get better as they get older - the lack of logic is super frustrating. You have my condolences - and pinot.

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    1. Oh man, my condolences to you, too! Thanks!

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  2. is she in undies at night or pullups? with both kids i did pullups at night until they were waking up dry consistently - b/c daytime and night time training 'aren't the same' (according to the books i read). if she's in undies, she might be stressed that she'll have an accident if she falls asleep (i'm just saying that b/c she has peed a few times during this new get up time). ben was in underwear over night pretty quickly and would wake up if a DROP of pee was in his underwear (screaming 'i wet my bed' even though i could feel his sheets and even his pj pants were dry). sydney would fully wet the bed and sleep right through it so she was in pullups over night for a month or 2 but now she's good.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, she's in Pull-ups for naps and bedtime, which hasn't seemed to be a problem. But my mom suggested having her go potty just before bed, so maybe that'll help? But WHY the screaming.....

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    2. to torture you? hang in there, it sounds like she's doing great with the potty. no sleep/interrupted sleep is torture though - i've been woken up no fewer than twice a night by syd for the past week and she's 3.

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  3. Fiona was NEVER a good sleeper. She goes to be done by 9:30 (if I'm lucky) and often ended up in our bed around 2 am for over a year. Her sleep problems were slightly worse when we pottty trained but honestly it was bad before. I just bought this miracle and I have to say (even though my husband thought this had a snowball's chance in hell) it actually worked!
    https://www.amazon.com/Its-About-Time-Stoplight-Enhancing/dp/B00NF0ELJ8

    The first night I used it we made a BIG deal about taking the clock out of the box and plugging it in. Then I turned it on and explained "Red mean she you stay in bed, green mean she it is time to get up. If you stay in bed until the light turns green you will get a prize (I strongly believe bribery is the only way to survive parenthood)". She has stayed in bed EVERY night.

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  4. I'm not a mom, but I am a dedicated aunt who has watched many siblings go through this, so I'm just going to say the only thing I know: You're awesome and it's all going to be fine.

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  5. You are doing a great job! Just remember that not only when everything is going well I.e. when you and your delightful toddler just made organic pancakes from scratch, while unicorns and rainbows cavorted above your heads, but remember it when your rocking in a ball on the floor in your closet snot crying cause you feel awful. You are doing a great job!! Seriously, we have all been there, and will be again. Just whisper or scream to yourself that you are a great mom, doing a great job!!! hugs :)

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    1. Aw, thank you! That's a good reminder. ESPECIALLY during snot-crying! :-) hugs right back!

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