I Slept in the Crib Last Night (Adventures in Toddler Sleep Problems)


Photo by Brienne Michelle, Hi Peanut Photography

I slept in my son’s crib last night.  Yep.  That’s right, in the crib.  It was 2 am when I was awoken by toddler screaming.  In case you’ve never experienced this, it’s a sound worse than that iPhone alarm that sounds like your house is being bombed – you know the one – the one NO ONE Should use EVER (REEENH REENH REEENH).  This came after an evening of the little one refusing to fall asleep until around 9pm, oh, and refusing to let his daddy near him – mommy mommy mommy mommy!!!!! UGH.  I love the kid – but by Friday night at 8pm, I’m ready to have some mommy mommy mommy ALONE time with some red, red wine.

Remember when we sleep trained FOREVER ago – FYI, it’s not so much a lasting effect.  Hate to burst your bubble if you are embarking on sleep training and think it’s simply three days of misery and then your precious little one will magically sleep soundly and peacefully for ever and ever, Amen. That is not so much how it works.  It is in fact three days of misery that you will get to repeat on an endless loop, like a horror movie version of groundhog day.  We pretty much gave up on the fairy tale known as ‘sleep training’ after we realized that it really only works until the next “phase” of development interrupts sleep behavior, or the next tooth is trying to break through, or your little one suddenly decides they are afraid of the dark, and imaginary spiders, and the elephants that are “coming” and whatever else adorably creative thing they can imagine.

So there we were. 2 am with a screaming toddler.  I say we, but let’s be honest Micah was snoring away dreaming of juju bees and bon-bons, while I was forced to decide what to do.  Naturally, I did what any self-respecting parent would do…I pretended like I didn’t hear the deafening sound, put a pillow over my head and tried my best to not feel guilty as I unsuccessfully attempted to ignore him.  This lasted about 30 seconds.  The screaming was not going to subside and clearly I was not going to be able to resume slumber until it did. Half awake I stumbled down the hall into his room, picked him up and cuddled him close, reassuring him it was ok, that mommy was here and it was night-night time (aka go the F back to bed kid!!!).  We rocked, his back was rubbed, songs were sung, yet sleeping did not ensue.  After half an hour of trying and failing to get him to sleep, barely able to stay awake myself, I brought him into our bed.  (I must admit this was partly to share the joyful it’s-the-middle-of-the-night-and-the-toddler-won’t-let-me-sleep ‘experience’ with Micah – who soundly sleeps through ANYTHING – in hopes that he would wake up and volunteer to help. This did not happen.)

Avery decided that coming into mommy and daddy’s bed OBVIOUSLY meant it was time to play and proceeded to turn the bed into his own personal bounce house; giggling and flailing his little body about with no regard for the people and sleeping dogs in his path.  Clearly plan B was going down like a sinking ship. On to the next phase of operation “get the toddler back to f*cking sleep”!  We moved back into his bedroom and yet again tried to rock.  However, this time still amped up from his unexpectedly exciting middle of the night field trip to mommy and daddy’s room, he decided rocking in the chair was an invitation to scale my body like a mountain and proceeded to furiously climb up toward my shoulders.  I was too tired to keep him from turning my body into a jungle gym, so I put him in his crib.  This resulted in a cascade of epic screaming, and frantic grabbing of hair, clothing and body parts.  If you aren’t aware, toddler hands are like dinosaur-strength vise grips when they don’t want to let go.  I could not pry his little hands from my neck!  Half awake and desperate for sleep (for him and well, mostly myself), I stepped back, grabbed a hold of the side of the crib and pole vaulted inside.

I quickly told his giggling little face that yes, silly mommy was in the crib, but that she was sleeping and would only stay in the crib if he slept too.  Sure enough the little stinker snuggled into me, closed his eyes and started to fall back asleep.  Success! Side note: I thought the crib would be claustrophobic, but it is surprisingly cozy in there – like a perfectly warm hug.

So there I was in the crib, toddler finally sleeping when I realized, I was now trapped in the crib and if I had any plans of sleeping with my limbs extended I had to try to make my escape.  My first attempt was thwarted by lightning fast toddler arms latching onto me.  I swear, he can go from out-cold to desperate grabbing faster than a race car.  We laid back down, but this time instead of lying on my side, I set myself up in a child’s pose-ish position to minimize the amount of movement needed to escape.  I waited.  He dozed off yet again.  I SLOWLY started to move toward the edge of the crib and as carefully as I could hopped out.  I was home free.  Until the floor creaked. UGH.  Toddler awake – this time still drowsy, yet aware.  Thanks to desperate quick thinking, I blurted out, “mommy will hold your hand”.  I laid down on the side of the crib and reached (stuffed) my arm through the tiny little rungs until I felt five chubby little fingers death grip my pointer finger.  It took three attempts to pry my hand away after I felt his little grip soften as he fell deeper and deeper asleep.  Once my fingers were free and I wrestled my hand back out of the crib, I ran out of the room as fast as I could and curled up into my own bed.

It was 4:30 am and while Micah, Avery and our dog Riley filled the house with the sweet sound of slumber, I realized that thanks to the two and a half hours of trying to get the little one back to bed, I was now WIDE AWAKE. GRRR.

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