It’s the 22 month mark. Just when you think you have it all under control, that you’ve mastered dinner time, bed time, quality time and spousal time – you’re faced with a so called sleep regression. In my case what this means is baby girl’s 8PM bed time has now been pushed to 9. An extra hour is spent sitting up in her crib crying for mummy and papa. As I once again turn to Google for parenting tips, it’s reassuring to read that I’m not alone but disappointing to confirm what I already know – there is no magic solution only advice that consistency and persistence will result in perseverance. Stay the course. Easier read than done as five days into the incessant whining I’m nearing psychosis.
In some ways her determination is admirable (if only I could apply the same discipline in dodging my nightly ketchup chip craving. Although, now that I think of it, the indulgence is likely a coping mechanism). Seriously though, it never ceases to amaze me how such a little being can turn your life upside down and how quickly they learn to manipulate mom and pop. If you listen clearly to the bedtime weeping you’ll notice that those aren’t real sobs but rather the work of an actress in the making. Her bogus attempt to induce vomiting in an effort to get us back in her room demonstrates how rapidly kids learn the concept of action and consequence. It’s quite the predicament. Give in once and you set yourself up for future conflict but showing no compassion can screw her up too. Balancing firmness with empathy has proven to be somewhat challenging. Our kids need to feel loved and respected but not to the detriment of set rules. Thus the importance of really understanding them, knowing which situations call for intervention and which require abstinence.
That said, when hubby asks me how I know if something isn’t wrong, frankly I can’t respond with 100% confidence that I do. That uncertainty has resulted in a much more consoling father and a toddler who has quickly turned into daddy’s little girl. It seems I’ve taken on the authoritarian role and she knows who to call when she’s looking to push the limits. I swear she gives me a triumphant “don’t mess with me mama” look every time papa takes her into the bedroom for sleepy time.
Not surprisingly, it hasn’t taken long for daddy to get tired of sitting bedside 45 minutes into Shark Tank so we’re back on the crying it out bandwagon. Thankfully, the whimpering has shortened in duration and softened in severity. No more forced gagging and subsequent regurgitation so it looks like we’re headed in the right direction. Although I hesitate to jump for joy, there’s no telling what she’s got lined up next.