The Failure of Optimism

We’re ready to cry. It doesn’t surprise me how quickly a good sleep schedule can unravel into a hellish limbo of uncertainty. We’ve been through it more than a few times. The thing that does amaze me is how quickly Trixie’s schedule takes a toll on our mental state. And for once I don’t mean the effects of sleep deprivation — I mean our expectation of what’s normal, of what we can place out trust in. That has now been shattered.

On the whole it hasn’t been a great sleep week. Trixie either has allergies or maybe a mild cold and it seems to have affected her sleep. Everything came to a head yesterday morning:

Wakes up: 6:10 am. (too damn early)
My thoughts: Well, at least she’ll take a good nap.

Afternoon nap: 1 hour 23 minutes (too short by 40-60 minutes)
My thoughts: Well, at least she’ll go to bed early.

Won’t go to sleep until: 10:10 pm (the latest she has ever stayed up. Also the longest she has ever been awake for one day: 14 hours, 36 minutes)
My thoughts: Well, at least she’ll sleep-in in the morning.

Wakes up: 5:51 am (the shortest overnight sleep in more than a year: 7 hours, 41 minutes)
My thoughts: I’m going to sell her.

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31 Responses to The Failure of Optimism

  1. Rozanne says:

    Oh, Ben. I know just how you feel. Danny slept until 7:00 the other morning, and it’s amazing how that one day of sleeping “late” raises my hopes up. Of course, the next day he was up at 4:15 AM…

    You probably know this, but the current prevailing theory is that when little ones get over-tired, their adrenaline increases significantly. The end result is that they don’t sleep even when you know they need to terribly. I sympathize–Danny does this no sleeping, too, when he doesn’t get enough sleep. It makes for long days, doesn’t it?

    One last thing…I hate to break it to you, but we spring forward this weekend. Are you ready to deal with more sleep issues?

  2. hannah says:

    Umm. . . if you’re looking to sell her, you might want to do a little less full disclosure about the condition of the product. I mean, I don’t think there’s a lemon law for baby sales, so if you just spun the facts a little different in your marketing, I don’t think it could come back to bite you in the ass. HTH.

  3. Kat says:

    Happy April Fools!

    Clearly Trixie is getting into the swing of things early, just imagine what she’ll be able to do in another year!

  4. lori says:

    How funny (but not really) that you wrote about this today, I almost posted a comment under the Sleep Thread yesterday…I’ve noticed Trixie *was* taking long naps (good), but that she was going to bed at night late (not so good, unless you’re night owls) and then getting up early in the mornings (again, not good…unless school starts at 6:30am).

    Sorry, I can’t offer any meaningful insight that might be helpful. (This is where I’m a *little* thankful that we don’t have a baby yet). Just have the cat. And he gets let out when he wakes up, then we go right back to sleep. But, then again, he naps all day long!

    As adorable as Trixie is, I have to agree with hannah.

    Best of luck next week as we start day light savings time…hey, come to think of it, I’ve been getting up a little earlier the last week or so. For the most part, it’s been easier now that it’s daylight sooner (I am so a night person). That might have something to do with her sleep (or lack of sleep) schedule.

  5. Judy says:

    I’m with you on this one – I have a FIVE YEAR OLD who does pretty much the same thing, minus the nap. Throw in a visit to Mom and Dad’s room about 2 or 3 every night and you have my child!

    I do know that when he is overtired he doesn’t sleep well at all. Sometimes, if he gets up extra-early, we all just have cuddle-time in our bed and he catches a few extra winks. This helps us get through the day sometimes.

    Hope you get things turned around soon – she’s just having too much FUN when she’s awake! HAHA

  6. kelly says:

    I also think it has something to do with the days getting longer….both of my kids have been getting up earlier and going to bed later. I’m *hoping* that daylight savings time will help. A girl can hope can’t she?

  7. giddy says:

    My pediatrician always says “good sleep begets good sleep” but it’s kind of hard to get that initial bout of good sleep in when they go on these “sleeping strikes.” Good luck!

  8. Amy says:

    BTW – Love your sight, been visiting it religiously for the past month.

    I have a daughter almost exactly Trixie’s age, and have had the same sleep issues the past week! We just took her to the dr. today, and yes, she has allergies. So I purchased children’s claritin and hope that works.

    Good luck!

  9. Dianne says:

    Are you sure you’re not talking about my son instead of Trixie? Been there, done that, and doing it all over again now. We had almost a full week of no nighttime visits to our room and then – wham! – it’s 2-3 times a night again with much noisier fussing about going back to his bed than ever. Ugh.

    We’re attempting No-Nap Saturday in order to try to get him into the time change with less of an overnight issue. But he naps less than Trixie and he’s older so I’m not suggesting you do the same thing.

    Best of luck to you and your sleep.

  10. Summer says:

    Oh you guys.. I know how frusterating this must be for you. There are good times that they sleep so good, and then there are times that you want to “sell” her! Just know that, this too will pass. When she is doing this, she might get into the bad habit of this. Maybe- don’t get her up in the mornings until a set time- say 6:30 or so.. Let her know that if she happens to wake up early, she either needs to go back to sleep or she will just lay there until it’s time for her to get up. The less sleep they get, the more they seem to fight it. So good luck getting her started sleeping well, then it should just continue to get better.

  11. Ugh! My heart goes out to you. Have you tried giving her just a *smidge* of Children’s Benadryl or Zyrtec liquid to help her go down? You can safely give her 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. (that’s half the normal dose for a child her size) an hour before bedtime, and it should help her doze off and stay asleep. If she has allergies, it’ll help ease those, too, as both liquids are antihistamines. Ask your pediatrician about it. We sometimes give 1/4 tsp. to our 18-M-O before bed for a night or two, if sheÂ’s been suffering from a cold and the consequent lack of sleep. It helps her get back onto her normal 7pm to 7am sleep routine. (If IÂ’m really desperate, I occasionally give her a tiny bit before naptime, too, which often brings on a nice, 3-hour snooze.)

    I notice that Trixie regularly goes to bed after 8pm. Have you ever thought about putting Trixie to bed earlier than 8pm … say, 7pm? I know it sounds ridiculous, but some children actually sleep longer/later when they go to bed earlier. TheyÂ’re better rested, and, as they say, ‘Sleep begets sleep.Â’ Our pediatrician is an author/sleep researcher and universally recommends an early bedtime (ideally, between 6 and 8pm) for all children under age 10:

    Just some thoughts. Good luck, and happy April showers!!!

  12. Nicole says:

    Trixie and my three-week old seem to be keeping the same sleep schedule. I am so very sorry.

  13. Amy says:

    Just a lurker, but I agree with Michele — try putting her to bed earlier. My 4 year-old ALWAYS gets up earlier when he had a later bedtime the night before.

    Not sure what your sleep philosophies are, but I am a big fan of the Dr. Weissbluth “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” book. He firmly advocates, and I agree, that sleep begets sleep and that many children are habitually overtired, which essentially puts their body into overdrive, thereby making it harder for them to get quality sleep. He pushes for bedtimes no later than 7 or 8 for toddlers/preschoolers.

    AND, I can add from personal experience, that the sleep issues only get harder as they get older and more willful/stubborn, so its really important to keep them on a regular schedule, with a happy “to-sleep” routine, so that bedtime doesn’t become an area of battling as they enter that lovely (ha!) period between ages 2-3.

    Good luck!

  14. jenni says:

    an hour and 23 minute nap is SHORT? name your price!!

  15. Maddie's Mom says:

    Must be a spring-time phenomenon, because Maddie is also having some problems with sleep. No answers, but lots of sympathy. I know that going to bed earlier should be helpful, but Maddie’s Dad doesn’t get home from work until after 7; he’d never see her if I put her down early.

    Maddie is also getting her 2 year molars, which doesn’t help the sleep situation.

    Anyhow, this somewhat rambling post is to thank those of you who offered suggestions. I may head to the pharmacy after work. 😉

  16. mole says:

    When my parents got tired of my sister and me waking them up at the crack of dawn they worked out a pretty sweet little system. We had a 7:30 bedtime, and we weren’t supposed to wake the ‘rents before 7 am. Since we often woke up wide-eyed and ready to eat long before then, they’d put out snacks (cheese, veggies, cheerios, etc) the night before. With snacks in hand we’d play quietly if we woke up too early. We were happy, and Mom and Dad could sleep. It made a huge difference for the whole family.

  17. jlp says:

    I have to agree with the above poster, having an 18 month old myself, an hour and 23 minutes sounds like bliss. We had a 30 minute nap today. Any nap over 45 minutes and I’m doing a happy dance.

    Mine only sleeps very poorly when she has an ear infection, which has been a lot lately. Good luck. Sleep deprivation for parents isn’t fun.

  18. Summer says:

    Yay she’s in bed early! See, it’ll be okay 🙂

  19. Judy says:

    I’m with Summer – noticed the earlier bedtime – hope it helps!

  20. Amy says:

    Add me to the list of parents who are having the same issues–ours are exacerbated by a recent spring break trip (our 9-month-old’s first!) during which she was up every hour and a half because of the strange room, strange bed–we were in a hotel, though, and couldn’t do the usual letting her cry. SO, massive sleep deprivation for 4 days, and then all this spring early-morning sun stuff. Tonight she went to bed at 6 instead of the usual 6:45…here’s hoping it works! Only one little peep so far…well, ok, not a peep. A tortured, “my head is stuck between the crib rails” 4 minutes of shrieks from holy h***. The older they get, the more the lungs can hold, eh?

  21. Valerie says:

    Nicole: Your three week old sleeps more than three hours at a time? My four week old only sleeps about 2 hours at a time, if I’m lucky. I’m switching to formula because I just can’t keep up with his demand during the night and I will be a much better mother if I can just get some more sleep! How do you do it?

  22. Peach says:

    I threaten to sell my son Alexander to the Gypsies.

  23. aidens momma says:

    Peach: I say the same thing! and people always look at me funny!!

    aiden is a 7-7 kid on good nights…im not one for the drugging idea, but we do give a ‘hot’ bath, some Bach’s Rescue Remedy, cuddles and then if all else fails…he can cry a bit. but we are also in the catagory of short naps…i think he took one 3 hour nap once, and i kept going in to make sure he was breathin!!!!

  24. Suzanne says:

    Well, Sagan’s the night owl (he’ll be 3 in a couple weeks). He wakes up between 7:30 and 8 in the morning, takes 1 hr 1/2 to 3 hour nap, then doesn’t go down until 10 at night. Daddy’s threatening to take away his naps since he’s been fighting those (not going down until 3:30 or 4 sometimes!) Daddy’s the stay-at-home dad so I leave those decisions up to him.
    Bodhi on the other hand wakes up around 8:30 to 9, takes naps happily every 3-4 hours, then goes down around 9 and sleeps all night long, again happily. He’s 7 1/2 months old.

  25. Amber says:

    This sounds TOO familiar. My 6 year old son would do that and still does every weekend. Most of the time he can get up and will not come into our room to wake me up. But for the past 2 weeks of his spring vacation he has come in the bedroom and wakes me up wanting to eat at 5:30am. I go to college too so me not going to bed till 12am then waking up then is horriable.
    I am glad my 4 month old sleeps through the night. *knock on wood*

  26. Wendy says:

    I’m feeling your pain. Maybe we could do a two for one deal. My daughter, Emily, is 22 months old and hasn’t been to bed before MIDNIGHT!!! this week and is getting up around 7. I took her in Thursday and found out she has allergies…Maybe I should be giving her Benedryl instead of Zyrtec! I think you should try what Judy suggested and bring her to your bed in the a.m. for some extra cuddle time. This usually works with Em and we get another hour or two.
    P.S. I came across your site about a month ago and I have to say that I am SOOOOO envious of what you’ve done!!! I wish I could have done something similar for Em. I’m having a hard time even STARTING her scrapbook. Of course I have good intentions(millions of pictures and keepsakes from trips, the zoo, etc.) but haven’t gotten around to organize them. Now I’m expecting again in August!!

  27. Cheryl says:

    Ben…..I started visiting your site about a year ago when my 14mo. old was still newish. Trixie is approx. 6mos. older so it’s fun to get a feel for where we’re headed. I’ve noticed there are many Weissbluth fans that leave comments, so…..I used his book with our first child (now 11) and had great success. I bought another copy when the one year old came along because I’d forgotten everything I’d read during the ten year interim between children. Then I found I had no time to read and really needed someone to just tell me what to do……Long story longer….I found a website with lots of info in a short amount of space and the ideas are all based on Weissbluth research. If you’re interested… was and continues to be very helpful in deciphering the sleep needs of our baby so that she and everyone else around here can get some REST.

  28. kat says:

    Ouch. My SIL is going through the same thing right now…and my mother likes to point out that when my neices become teenagers…they will catch up on all that sleep. 😉

  29. jenni says:

    cheryl, thanks for that link!! great time saver for those of us who can’t stay awake long enough with a book in our hands to turn one page…(somehow i can sit for hours in front of the laptop, however!)

  30. DavidNYC says:

    My thoughts: I’m going to sell her.

    I really hope you get some Kim Kommando-type link today so that people can go apeshit and start calling Child Services and the Department of Justice on your ass.

  31. Heather says:

    Three cheers to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It’s done wonders for my very high-needs 5 month-old and overtired 3.5 year-old. The key to any method, I believe, is being consistent… and the great thing about Weissbluth’s ideas is he makes it easy to do so.

    You’re already doing a lot of what makes it work — keeping a sleep log, for example — so I hope his other ideas can follow naturally for you. (They did for us.)