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somebody come and talk to me please, having a nightmare time with dd1

(18 Posts)
silverfrog Fri 05-Jun-09 19:36:08

hello <watery smile>

dd1 is, fo rreasons known only to herself, being a complete horror at bedtime.

she goes up to bed willingly (even asks to do so).

co operates with getting changed/teeth cleaning/stories etc - always has done, and is her usual happy little self.

then i settle her down (she doesn't take much settling, tbh, just a quick hop into bed, a hug and a kiss, and that's it) turn out the light, close her door, and the screaming begins.


she stands at the door, rattlign the handle as though she wants to get out (she is just aout able to open the door if she wants to), screamiong "hug for daddy" over and over again.

really bloodcurdling screams. actually, they are quite mournful - totally heartbreaking anyway.

the problem being, daddy is not here (neither is he ever bloody here for bedtime, but that's another story).

so i get to listen to a good 2 hours of her screaming this, night after night after night.

I have tried ignoring her - it just gets worse, and she ends up getting very upset (proper tears)

I have tried going in to her, talking for a bit, re-settling her etc. she calms ok, but then starts up again as soon as I leave.

i have tried shouting blush

it doesn't help.

she is disturbing dd2 who is trying to sleep, and gets very upset that dd1 is crying (over the monitor, between the screams, I hear "mummy, help dd1. dd1 crying. it's ok dd1, all better", before dd2 dissolves into tears too, and then dd1 gets even more upset (she cannot bear other children crying) and the whole thing descends into hell)

so what should I do?

failing any inspiring ideas, jsut chat to me please, to stop me goign and shouting again blush blush

mumgoingcrazy Fri 05-Jun-09 19:43:05

I'm afraid I have no advise but will be watching this thread with interest. DD2 is doing exactly the same at the moment. Totally happy with the usual bathing, stories, drink etc, hug, kiss. Put her down with favourite toy, lights off and walk out and then screaming starts. She's 2 next week and delayed so she isn't saying anything but oh my god does she scream. It's piercing!

So far tonight she's screamed for 50 mins and still going strong sad

Does your head in doesn't it.

notfromaroundhere Fri 05-Jun-09 19:44:01

Do the girls share a room? Would sharing/separating them as applicable help? A night light? Or maybe doing something silly to break the routine like getting into bed and doing fake snoring??? Sorry if that sounds weird but DS1 really responds to silly humour and it is the only thing that will break a hysterical mood (although sadly not always).

I hope she is nicely asleep...

anonandlikeit Fri 05-Jun-09 19:44:23

does she genuinely want her dad or do you think this is just a habit.
How does she behave if he is there at bedtime.

Tiredmumno1 Fri 05-Jun-09 19:48:50

I have had similar problems with my ds, i use a stair gate on the bedroom door and leave the landing light on, and unfortunately i had to go against my principles and get a tv + dvd player for his room, he gets to choose one dvd + if it finishes + he is still awake then its tough, but it usually works. If not how about a pretty nightlight show, or the glow in the dark star stickers for the ceiling, + ie u have an uplighter stick them round the edges, when u turn off the light + stand under it, it looks like a spaceship in space lol. I do know how it feels i have 2 boys, + it is bloody hard, otherwise ask ur hv 4 ideas. I hope u will b ok, just keep talking to people whether thats in person or online, that helps. throwing hugs ur way x

silverfrog Fri 05-Jun-09 20:05:33

thanks everyone.

she is still going strong sad - that's an hour now, and she'll carry on unitl she falls asleep.

the girls don't share, but are just across the corridor from each other. both ahve monitors (although i don't switch dd1's on until she has fallen asleep at the moment!)

I'm not sure about them sharing,tbh. we put them in together when we go on holiday, and it usually works out ok, but can be tough to begin with.

I think what started this off was our last holiday, where we were all sharing a room. when it came to bedtime, dd2 got upset as we left (to go down to dinner) and cried a lot, thus upsetting dd1 who is particualrly sensitive to crying noises. we solve dthis by taking dd2 down to dinner with us, letting dd1 fall asleep alone, and then all going up to bed later. this worked ok, and dd1 did not get upset at all after the first night (where she was only upset by the noise dd2 was making, and fine as soon as we removed dd2 from the room)

whether she now thinks that I will take her downstairs if she keeps up the noise, i don't know, but that is a possibility I suppose.

she does genuinely want her dad, but knows that daddy is onlyhere at the weekend for bedtimes (has always been this way, since she was about 10 months old). at the weekends, when he is here, she still shouts for him, but if he goes up to talk to her, that works. no fuss, just a "dd1, it's bedtime, no need to shout, we are all here, night night now" type talk.

she has a nightlight, which she turns on or off according to mood (or plays with endlessly)

I do think it has just become habit, as some nights she will scream for a while, then sing nicely for a bit, before going back to screaming for daddy.

I wish i knew waht to do, as she is genuinely upset as well as it being a habit. screaming out of habit/control I can ignore (and do so everyday when she wants more choc/biscuits/raisins etc). screaming crying because she is upset and needs a hug is a different thing, but what are you supposed to do when the 2 types are happening at the same time?

SheWhoMustBeIgnored Fri 05-Jun-09 21:51:41

what about a tape of daddy reading a story or saying night night that she can play?

mysonben Fri 05-Jun-09 22:06:23

Bump ! ds did that (minus the calling for daddy) for two months when he was just over 2 y old , then it stopped as abruptly as it started. Never figured out what happened!

silverfrog Fri 05-Jun-09 22:37:58

she has gone htrough phases of it beofre, but never as extreme.

last tiem she did something similar, it was solved by going back in (just once) and giving her a quick hug.

the problem this time around is the length of time she can go on for, along with it being so upsetting for dd2, who at just 2 is getting ery distressed over her beloved big sister being so upset.

we do have a talking photo album somewhere, SWMBI, which we bought with the intention of doing a "daddy bedtime routine" story for her, must have been last time she was flipping out over bedtime. I must find that again, and get that going, as it might help.

MatNanPlus Sat 06-Jun-09 19:53:59

Can Daddy call her at bedtime, when she is in bed?

Would a daddy hug from a teddy bear/soft toy help?

mum2fred Sat 06-Jun-09 20:27:06

when i was dealing wth a huge sleeping issue with my ds1 when he was 10 months we consulted a richard ferber book and it worked like a dream. he does stuff fo kids of all ages. will see if i can locate the book and find anything.

r3dh3d Sat 06-Jun-09 20:27:33

I think part of the problem (OK your DD1 is a lot higher functioning than mine, but...) is they don't have the same sense of time, or at least the same sense of what the wait period means in terms of likely response. If DD1 is awake and squeaking, she will just carry on till she gets tired and drops off - sometimes minutes, sometimes hours. If DD2 (NT) is blithering about something she will go for 5 or 10 mins before realising no-one is going to come to her, and giving up. So either you accept that it's going to be 2 hours, maybe every night - or you try and solve it. And you have to solve it in a way you can live with forever if the solution "sticks".

Does Daddy give her a hug at the weekends, when he is there? Is it possible to swap that for something else that could still be replicated in his absence? Like the story tape? Or maybe Daddy can give a teddy a kiss, and the teddy gives the kiss to her - so that during the week teddy is still giving her Daddy kisses? I know if he doesn't see her much in the week it's hard not to hug her at bedtime the weekends - but maybe the key is to change her belief that's a necessary part of bedtime, iyswim.

r3dh3d Sat 06-Jun-09 20:29:44

Oh ps - we replaced all our doors with very solid "engineered wood" (like solid wood but I think cheaper and definitely heavier - almost like MDF really) ones, which really helped reduce the sound transmission between the DD's bedrooms.

silverfrog Sat 06-Jun-09 23:15:47

thanks again, everyone, we really are considering all options right now.

dh can't reliably call her at bedtiem, so that would be a non-starter, sadly, as it would get her hopes up in a different way, and we would not always be able to deliver.

r3, i think you're right about the time issue. it really does just go on and on.

sadly we can't replace doors (we are in rented), but we do have to find a solution that is workable.

the daddy thing is a bit of a red herring, i think. Not because she doesn't really want to see him - she does, but does understand he is at work in the week. But because it is the thing I cannot supply. tonight, when dh was here and putting her to bed, her initial mutterings/panic were for extra hugs form mummy, as we were making sure she got lots of hugs form dh, in the hope of staving off the shouting.

we have a behaviour consultant that we use, and have consulted him.

his suggestion is to work on breaking the screaming habit first, by jsut taking away the whole routine (I am already not explaining this well, but it is late, so try to bear with me). so, at the first sign of somethign not right with dd1 this evening, we just brought her downstairs with us. the idea being that she would then not get inot the cycle of being distressed, and eventually get sleepy enough for us to take her upstairs without the screaming.

it is now gone 11pm, and she is still bouncing off the walls hmm

she is tired, and if we could get her into her room without her getting upset, she would undoubtedly go to sleep (we can't get it low-stim enough down here for her to switch off, plus the change i nroutine has thrown her a bit). she has at least been happy enough, so my eardrums get a rest, but I have been bounced on for an extra 4 hours today now, as well as being jabbered on at, and am now knackered grin

this is the plan for the next few days, to break the habit of screaming for daddy, and then we can work on gettig her back into her room at a reasonable time. (looking forward to that bit already grin - dd1 has always had a bedtime of 7pm, since she was about 7 weeks old, when she first slept thoruogh!)

fingers crossed!

scoggins Sat 06-Jun-09 23:36:11

Have you thought of staying in with her until she falls asleep? SItting in a chair or on the floor away form the bed and not engaging at all with her (take a book or newspaper) if she talks to you just repeat, 'sssh it is time for sleeping now' try this until she falls asleep with no trouble, then onto stage 2.
STage 2 is where you say good night and then leave the room for 2 minutes (potter about) and then go back in for 30 secs saying goodnight and reassuring of your presence - continue ad infinitum until falling asleep. Gradually you increase the time out of the room but you always go back when you say you are going to even if you think she's gone to sleep. Keep it always low key and calm. Very time consuming but maybe better than listening to hours of screaming which is awful.

scoggins Sat 06-Jun-09 23:38:19

Sorry very brief post not really explaining properly - will expand if you wish

silverfrog Sat 06-Jun-09 23:44:19

she really wouldn't go for that, scoggins, unfortunately.

she cannot settle at all if I am in the room (have done it a few times when she has been ill - she usually falls asleep, exhausted and upset, at around 3am!)

I am off to bed in a minute (dd1 is still going strong), and dh will deal with ehr as she plays up less fo rhim, usually.

scoggins Sat 06-Jun-09 23:52:47

Just a thought - OK good luck!

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