Baby Boundaries

As a mom, we are told endless amounts of parenting advice and how to “train” our children. One of the most important to me is getting her to become a good sleeper. Like I’ve stated before, my girl is a pretty terrible napper. We have been lucky that since she was 3 months old she has slept through the night! Usually 7pm to 7am; it’s as wonderful as you can imagine.

Since the beginning of the year, this has changed. She is in a big girl bed and lacks self-control to stay in her bed any time she wakes up. She has become extra clingy in the recent months and wants to sleep in our bed. We have gated her in her room in an attempt to get her to stay in there!

Bed time is less of a struggle than it was in the beginning. She rarely gets up and comes to the gate, knowing that it is her time to sleep. I would say the past few weeks, she consistently gets up around 1:30 – 2:00 and again around 4:30 – 5:00 wanting to come sleep in our bed.

We have tried to let her cry it out. I struggle with this because from the way she cries, it sounds like I’m traumatizing her. She will make herself throw up, very dramatic. When we set boundaries that we will let her cry and throw up so she can learn these manipulative behaviors won’t make us cave in, they aren’t the most effective.

I am not the loveliest person when I am woken up. I hate getting up early. I hate being woken up. What kills me, is on the monitor I see my munchkin getting ready to come to our room. I want to know what goes on in her mind. You can see her climb out of her bed. Then she will come back and grab her elephant blanket “Ellie”. Then she will go back and pick out a couple more items and start making her way into our room.

This is the most adorable thing that she does. She must be like “hmm, what do I need to bring to go to mom and dad’s bed? A couple of toys? Check! A couple of blankets? Check! Yup, time to go visit mom and dad. Surely they will be thrilled to see me!” Then she will scream, and I mean fully commits to letting us know she needs to enter our room immediately!

She’s so cute, we let her get away with this. Unfortunately, I know we are only encouraging this behavior and this will make the pattern more difficult to break. While I love her more than anything, my grumpy, sleep deprived brain starts to plot my revenge. Oh yes! When she is a teenager and wants to sleep in, I’m going to force my way in her bed and make her snuggle with me. I’m going to throw fits until she pays attention to me and put my fingers in her eyes and nose. She will see how cute it is then!

3 responses to “Baby Boundaries

  1. Man that is a tough one! I commend you though for having such patience and for doing what you have been having to do, in regards just dealing with it. Sometimes, it feels like that’s all we can do, huh? Making herself sick? That would break my heart a little, I gotta admit. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that it’s just a phase and send some good vibes your way.

    We just moved to toddler bed and I was having a similar issue. We went in there and comforted him when he would get upset, let him know we were there but it was time to go to bed and gently placing him back, eventually he fell asleep (after maybe 5 bouts of this). I usually calm him down and then put him back (and I always try to tell him what’s going on so he’s not thrown off). I believe in “firm but polite”, sometimes that’s all that will work.

    The next night it took less time, and the next he was as good as golden. My sister told me she would have to stay in the room with her children (or put them down with a TV), but I wasn’t willing to do either. However, I feel for you having to deal with that in the midst of the night. NO fun at all. Like I said, sending good vibes to you!

    • Thanks! Our pediatrician believes the throwing up is behavioral. It absolutely breaks our hearts. I feel bad when I set those boundaries. She is a pretty strong-willed child. I’m sure at some point it will get better. It feels like the more we set boundaries, the more defiant she becomes. Or she will be the cutest thing on the planet, which melts our hearts and we give in.

      Sending to her bed has become so much easier and she tends to respect that it’s bedtime. It’s the middle of the night that is so hard. We are so tired ourselves it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it to battle it out. We usually cave and just let her come in our bed with us so we can go back to sleep. I know I’m just creating a cycle and she is learning that this behavior is acceptable. She’s not quite 20 months. I hope one day she will love sleeping in her own bed. I also know that one day she won’t need us or want to be around us as much, so I try to enjoy our cuddle sessions, even though it greatly disturbs my sleep. I’m very into sleeping. THanks for the good vibes. Good luck with your own toddler bed adventures!

      • Thank you!! I know I would do the same thing you’re doing. And yes, I will continue to send good vibes and keep my fingers crossed for you. Sleep well!