Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Toddler Tuesday - with Erinn

Ladies! I am so excited for this weeks edition of Toddler Tuesday.  I have Erinn guest posting today and she is by far one of my most favorite bloggers! It's really come full circle having her here on the blog today since she was the first blog I guest posted for almost a year ago!  She has some top notch tips for keeping your sanity during the all time favorite subject of bedtime!

Be sure to check out the giveaway I'm hosting for a pair of Freshly Picked Moccs HERE

Life on the Parsons Farm

Hi everyone!  I'm Erinn from Strawberry Swing and Other Things.  I'm a wife and stay at home mom of two sweet little girls.  I'm excited to be sharing some of my learn on the go toddler wisdom today.  Ashlynn is just a month shy of two and half and regarding the topic of toddlers and sleep, we've hit all the hot buttons.

In A's babyhood, I was a coddle mom, getting up at all her cries and nursing her  to sleep.  Finally around ten months she finally starting making it through the night, or close enough, and all was right with the world.  Until I became pregnant two months later and I needed to wean.  It actually went smoother than I ever dreamed cutting the feedings, but she still was in the habit of being rocked to sleep each night.  Of course, I enjoyed this part of my day. A few books, a few songs, and sitting in the dark rocking until I could transfer her to the bed.

As my belly grew... and her body too, this became a bit more difficult.  Plus, I knew once the baby arrived, I wouldn't always be free for a 30 minute bedtime production and it was time for dad to take over.

We started with just having dad do bath and books, and I'd tag team in for songs and rocking.  Slowly he took over and started singing and rocking and doing the whole thing himself.  Of course, at this point (somewhere between 15-18months) she would still wake here or there looking for a lost pacifier or needing a quick night time snuggle.  By the time her sister was born at 19months, she was doing great, even better sleeping through the nighttime newborn cries.

Until 22 months.  And I'll always remember it was 22 months.  It was February and about two days into this 'sleep crisis' our region was hit with an ice storm that left some residents without power for a week.  Some of those residents being my in laws who came to stay in our warm house... and listen to the absolute madness.

At 22 months, out of nowhere.  She no longer wanted to be put to bed.  As usual, dad would lay her down, and she'd pop up and frantically cry.  He tried a few attempts to resettle her and then left her hoping a few minutes of tears she'd settle.  She didn't, so in came the big guns, mom.  We re-read a few stories, calmed down, and when it was time for bed.  The same. Hysterics that were so bad and lasted so long when I tried letting her cry it out she ended up hyperventilating. That night, I had to stand at her crib and wait for her to fall asleep.  I sang some songs and made up stories. After two nights of this, we needed a new plan.

We purchased a Cloud B Ladybug and hoped the novelty of watching the stars change colors would be a good enough distraction, and it worked enough that we could at least get her to lay down in bed.  She has had a crib soother since she was 4 months so now she had two things to entertain her as she tried to fall asleep.  Except, it wasn't enough.  We started leaving her door open, and I would go to our bedroom, which she can see from her bed.  I would watch her on the monitor and every time she stood up, I'll yell over for her to lay down and that mommy was here in her room.  She eventually would settle and fall asleep and I could leave my room.  After a week of this, I started heading down stairs, but still leaving her door open.  A few nights later we were back to our regular routine.

During this hiccup, which seems like almost all toddler parents experience - my one friend would find her almost two year old laying on the bath mat in the bathroom in the middle of the night! - we ordered a Tot Clock.  We taught her that if it was blue, it was night time and she had to sleep or stay in bed, only when it was yellow, was it day time.  This worked wonders.  She no longer insisted on getting up at 5:30am for the day and her naps lasted longer too.  I truly believe it's what made our transition to a toddler bed last month so smooth too.

My small bit of non-professional advice I'd offer parents going through a sleep transition with a toddler is simply patience.  The first few nights are definitely tough, but they are working through something - fear of the dark, fear of being alone, maybe even cutting molars.  Something is new and it'll soon end, try out some new routine shake ups, books before bath, or books while laying in bed instead of the chair.  Maybe a new stuffed animal or light up toy to help them feel secure and be excited about bedtime and not fighting it tooth and nail.  Of course, as tough as it is since we all want to punch the time card come bedtime, it won't last until kindergarden and will be over probably within a few days.   And when all else fails, just grab a bottle ... of wine for yourself!

Thank you Ashley for letting us share some of our toddler sleep history!  I would love to hear what advice other toddler moms have about sleep issues since no two kids are the same. Have a great week!

This info is certainly coming in handy as Ellie is starting to cut her molars (ALL FOUR at once!!)  Thank you so much Erinn for posting here today.  You always have such great insight and your girls are just adorable!!

Do you love this series as much as I do?  Do you have a toddler and some wisdom to share?  I would LOVE for you to guest post on this series!  Just send me an email or leave a comment and I will get you on the schedule!!

♥ Ashley

1 comment:

  1. Thank YOU, Ashley! I hope Ellie doesn't have too much sleep disruption with those molars!


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♥ Ashley