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To consider doing cc with dd for the sake of ds?

(46 Posts)
LiegeAndLief Thu 04-Aug-11 20:48:54

Am posting this in AIBU because I'm after brutally honest answers, so am bracing myself.

Dd is just 2 and has always been a rubbish sleeper. Doesn't nap at all. Never goes to sleep at night without a fight. Often wakes in the night screaming, sometimes up for 1-2 hours.

Typical bedtime: bath, milk, stories, everything calm. She has gone to sleep on her own a handful of times but generally needs someone with her, so whoever is doing bedtime goes to tuck ds in and then stays by her bed. She invariably plays up, tries to get out of bed, hits, kicks, pulls my glasses off etc, so we leave the room for a few mins. She screams blue murder. We go back in and try to comfort her. Repeat ad nauseum until she finally wears herself out and goes to sleep.

Last night ds (5) told me in tears that dd "always annoys" him at bedtime and wakes him up in the night. He has bags under his eyes and often seems tired. She also often wakes him up in the morning as she needs less sleep than him hmm and makes a lot of noise from the second she wakes, so it's hard to get into her in time. The poor boy pretty much always goes to sleep to a background soundtrack of dd screaming, which just seems horrible.

Co-sleeping unfortunately just doesn't work for us - we do it occasionally on the really bad nights, but neither of us can sleep properly with dd.

So now I am a bit stuck. I feel so sorry for ds, and also dd really because she never has a calming bedtime, but I just don't know what to do next and the only thing I can think of is cc, which I don't really want to do (am also worried that I won't stick it out and will just make things worse). Obviously I am too sleep deprived to think straight. WWYD?

talkingnonsense Thu 04-Aug-11 20:50:53

Do it. Should take less than a week and she won't remember it, sounds like your ds is really suffering. They need their sleep in order to grow and learn. It is in her vest interests long term too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 04-Aug-11 20:52:43

YANBU... Do whatever it takes. When you have a power struggle on your hands, sometimes you have to do stuff you promised yourself you wouldn't do as a parent. There are bad sleepers and then there are kids that are just giving you the run around... Good luck

thisisyesterday Thu 04-Aug-11 20:53:28

i wouldn't personally, although i know how awful it is when you have a child that doesn't sleep.

we used the no-cry sleep solution for a gentler approach to sleep training and it worked quite well.. there is a toddler version too.
it's no quick fix, but it is effective IMO.

do you think there is somethjing the matter with her though? screaming for 1-2 hours at night isn't um "normal" (for want of a better word!)... what is she like during the day? happy? any concerns?
I'd really be wondering what was causing her to cry for so long tbh rather than going straight into a sleep training regime.

BertieBotts Thu 04-Aug-11 20:54:19

It doesn't sound like CC is going to make much difference, TBH - she's already screaming before going to sleep, and it's not going to stop her waking early.

Is she in a bed or a cot? I managed to get DS to just get out of bed and walk into my room if he wants me, which means he doesn't tend to do the screaming thing unless he's had a bad dream or something. Then if I really can't sleep with him there I carry him back through once he's asleep.

Have you tried an earlier or later bedtime for her? If she's kicking off that much it sounds like she's overtired, but I know DS will mess around if he's not really tired when I'm trying to put him to bed. (Then he tends to stand at the stairgate and do really obviously fake crying, though, so it's easy to tell as if he's playing up due to overtiredness and I go downstairs he's distraught sad)

rhondajean Thu 04-Aug-11 20:54:51

Whats cc - controlled crying?

Do it, sounds like everyone needs a good sleep, shes got herself in the habit of getting up, one week of pain for long term gain. Sounds like you are doing a lovely bed time btw.

alowVeraWithPurpleTwuntyPants Thu 04-Aug-11 20:55:20

Could you put DS in your bed to fall asleep (move him back once DD is asleep) whilst you do CC with DD?

You will have a few terrible nights with CC to start with, but if you start it, you have to follow it through, it is easier the first time you try it, than trying it again after giving up. (takes longer 2nd time round)

Whatmeworry Thu 04-Aug-11 20:57:06

Do it. This is a classic terrible 2's power struggle and rest of family must take priority.

Hardgoing Thu 04-Aug-11 20:57:14

You don't have to go full on and just leave her, you could try what Jo Frost was saying the other day, which is put them to bed, then leave, then come back two minutes later if they are crying, then leave it four minutes or whatever.

To be perfectly honest, how can controlled crying (done in a sympathetic and reassuring way but firmly) be worse than 1-2 hours crying every single night. Clearly your daughter feels stressed/upset at bedtime anyway. I would personally crack on with it to save the stress not just on the rest of the family, but on her as she is not happy night after night

PieMistress Thu 04-Aug-11 20:58:37

I'd also say do it but that's because it worked for us. We had 2 bad nights then 2 not so bad nights then job done. We used the 'verbal reassurance' method from this website www.thesleepstore.co.nz/Sleep+Information/Toddlers+and+Preschoolers.html they have a good facebook page too where you can post questions for feedback

We found it easier if one parent did a whole night and the other one slept with earplugs downstairs. That way there was nobody to argue with in the middle of the night over if you were doing the right thing or not.

It doesn't work for everyone though. Once you start though you need to see it though as they will have spent hours crying for nothing, that's what kept us going.
The Millpond Clinic 'Teach Your Child to Sleep Book' is also worth a read.

Good Luck x

LiegeAndLief Thu 04-Aug-11 20:59:40

thisisyesterday - sorry, made that sound worse than it is, she doesn't cry for 1-2 hours. She wakes crying, sometimes is only half awake and goes back to sleep again with a cuddle, other times is more alert and is awake for ages tossing and turning although she seems sleepy. She is fine during the day, really bright and happy, rarely seems tired!

BertieBotts - I thought cc might (eventually) get her to settle herself without all this messing around crying. Also help to settle herself when she wakes in the night. She is in a bed - could try to get her to come in but I'm not sure she's awake enough when she wakes in the night to really be aware of what she's doing iyswim?

We have had various theories about whether she's too tired/not tired enough and tried different bed times, but it doesn't seem to make much difference. It's true though that if she's really tired she goes into a sort of frenzied manic mode.

nethunsreject Thu 04-Aug-11 21:00:46

Agree with thisisyesterday. NCSS much gentler. But I certainly wouldn't judge you for considering cc for a 2yr old. Not for me, but not 'wrong' in this context, providing there is nothing actually wrong with her.

Is she happy in the day?

FabbyChic Thu 04-Aug-11 21:01:38

Has she any food alergies? Have you had her checked?

bumbleymummy Thu 04-Aug-11 21:01:40

I wouldn't do it but I appreciate that you need to do something! Do they share a room? If not, could you try some interesting sleeping arrangements for your DD eg. Sleeping in a little 'tent' in her room orcould she pick out new duvet covers/pillowcase? Anything to make bedtime more appealing for her. Do you know what it is that upsets her/why she is avoiding sleep? Does she have a nightlight? Some people really disagree with this one but it was a tempoary solution that helped us with DS1 when DS2 came along and he was getting out of bed a lot - a DVD in her room at bedtime or listening to a story/music. We use music and cuddles/feeding for DS2 (age 2) to get him to sleep and he is quite a 'strong-willed' child.

FabbyChic Thu 04-Aug-11 21:02:37

Sorry I asked because she sounds hyper, which could be a resulting factor of something she is eating/drinking on a daily basis.

BitOfFun Thu 04-Aug-11 21:02:47

I think you should do bb in the ff on the off-chance of dbt.

BarbarianMum Thu 04-Aug-11 21:03:26

I think the argument would be that cc will help because once she realises that screaming won't get her what she wants (ie lots of parental attention at bedtime), she will stop doing it, learn to settle herself and go to sleep more quickly.

OP we had a similar but not quite so extreme situation with ds2 when he was 2. Used to sit with him for a good hour every night whilst he monkeyed around before finally falling asleep. One night I lost all patience and just left him to it. He howled but was still asleep within an hour. Next night he cried for 10 minutes, after that he was quite happy to kiss me good night and fall asleep. My only regret is that I started the whole sitting with thing at all.

Ultimately though it is a personal choice (and you do need to stick with it for a few days once started).

nethunsreject Thu 04-Aug-11 21:03:42

Maybe she's just not tired enough at bedtime?

Some kids don't need a lot of sleep (sadly wink)

The night waking and needing a cuddle sounds normal to me. The being wired for ages can be to do with developmental leaps. But bedtime sounds miserable for you all sad

LiegeAndLief Thu 04-Aug-11 21:04:14

alow - they are in separate rooms and ds's room is actually further away from dd's room than ours is, so unfortunately he can't get any further from the noise!

whatme - I think you are very right about the power struggle, as it's started over all sorts of things. She is definitely a lot more stubborn than ds!

FakePlasticTrees Thu 04-Aug-11 21:04:25

I can also recommend the No Cry Sleep Solution.

BertieBotts Thu 04-Aug-11 21:10:00

Actually the DVD might be worth trying. Controversial, yes, but it might just get her to relax, and no people = nobody to fight against.

LiegeAndLief Thu 04-Aug-11 21:10:05

BitofFun - grin that's what I thought after I posted!

FabbyChic - not that I know of. Honestly she seems normal in the day, completely fine, normal and quite calm (usually) during bedtime routine. It's just when she realises this is time to go to sleep that it starts.

Some nights I think she isn't tired enough. Some nights I really know she is but it doesn't seem to make any difference.

bumbley - good idea about story cd, maybe we could try. I am still feeding her but I think this is again something she is trying to gain control over as she was only feeding once in the morning and has started trying to pull my top down and asking for a feed all the time, so I don't really want to get into feeding her to sleep again, although I think it might work.

Will also check out NCSS. I think my friend has the toddler version which I coudl maybe borrow.

bonkers20 Thu 04-Aug-11 21:18:59

What time does she go to sleep and what time does she get up?

When you say she often wakes at night, what do you mean?

I'm trying to establish if the real problem is just the bed time routine, or the whole night.

As for her early waking disturbing her brother, I think that's hard. I also have a 2 yo who likes to announce to the world when he's up...and he's still in our bedroom. I just have to whisk him away as quick as I can and hope DS1 can go back to sleep.

I think they key for you is to work out what's making her SO fretful at bed time. It's quite normal for her to need someone with her while she nods off, but the playing up and kicking etc would indicate that she's either not tired, or is worried about something that she's unable to tell you about, or she's just got herself into a funk about bed time.

How did her bedtime routine go up till now ie before she would have story time or when she was too young to kick off and pull your glasses off?

I do know a bit about CC but not the NCSS. Is this where you sit with the child and gradually move away each night until you're sitting on the landing in the dark like a right twat ?

LiegeAndLief Thu 04-Aug-11 21:25:46

bonkers, you're right, it's not really the night waking. It's not every night and it's rarely more than once a night (although she might cry a few times whilst we're trying to get her back to sleep if it's a bad one). The real problem is bed time.

I used to feed her to sleep. That stopped working at about 13 months so I/we rocked her, standing up, swaying etc (rod for own back anyone?!). Then she started wriggling to get out of our arms into bed (about the time we moved from cot to bed), so we knelt by the bed and cuddled her. This worked pretty well for a while until all this kicking off started. Bath, stories etc started pretty young, probably about 6months ish, as we were already doing it for ds.

I really don't mind cuddling her to sleep. I think it's completely normal at this age and beyond. Just need to get her to do it without all the screaming! You're right, we need to work out what's at the bottom of it, I just don't know how..

I would do CC, it's not as painful as your DD's current 1-2 hours a night of distressed crying.

Try it for a week, there's nothing bad about it - it's not like you're just going to shut the door on her and stand in the garden with your fingers in your ears is it?

Remember the advice - go in every 10 minutes, be firm but fair, etc etc. If things at bedtime are this bad you've nothing to lose for trying a firmer approach for a week.

'Controlled crying' is a weird and unhelpful phrase and doesn't really describe what most people actually do when they do it, IMO.

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