Getting a Toddler to Sleep Through the Night: Let's Not Talk About It

I hesitate to write this. A sense of fear is seizing me and every cell in my brain is yelling "shut the hell up." Every time I talk about it, it backfires. Just last week, when I broke down and dared utter those unspeakable words to my best friend, I was punished good. But this constant avoidance of the topic that literally rules my universe is too hard. I just have to tell someone:

My baby has been sleeping through the night!

Uh-oh. I just broke the first rule of Fight Sleep Club -- never talk about Sleep Club. Because as soon as you do, the wailing begins.

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I have serious PTSD about the baby sleeping. It has been traumatic. I know how that sounds but we are not talking about 6 months of waking up for night feedings here. We are talking about 16 months of not knowing what my night holds. Of never knowing if tonight we will sleep or if he will wake up just crying or will it be blood curdling screams of pain? Will it be a 10 minute rock and pat or will we be in that damn rocking chair until my ass, elbows and soul are numb. (Oh, how I loved that chair when I picked it out, how excited I was about it -- now it just mocks me.) And naps, not so much.This is a kid, who for the first 9 months, would only take a 20 minute nap and it would take an hour of rocking, rolling, pleading, screaming and feeding to get there.

God, even as I write this, the anxiety is travelling up my neck and down my arms. “Shut up, shut up, you are jinxing us.”

This first year has easily been the best and worst year of my life and I have just stopped talking about a major part of it. It isn’t just that when you dare say those words -- slept through the night -- that you get immediately jinxed. It is also that talking to other people only makes you question yourself and your choices. They all have suggestions and opinions and they just don’t understand how seriously suggestible and vulnerable a sleep deprived person is.

Case in point, the doctor. My little guy has some issues -- nothing big or scary but there was reflux and near constant ear infections. So inevitably we’d get to the part where I’d say yes, he’s better but still no sleep and the doctor would warn us against creating bad sleep habits and we’d feel bad and take him out of the swing or feed him more or play a different kind of white noise and it would result in yet another sleepless night.

What’s worse is that he has actually been sleeping lately (ear tubes, it was life changing) and I truly had not uttered a word for fear of jinxing it. His dad and I have literally just been ignoring this big giant elephant in the room -- waking up every morning cautious, very carefully choosing our words so as not to jinx it because the inconsistency of it all has been the worst -- sleep one night, don't sleep for the next six. Sleep for 2 weeks and then randomly wake up just when we thought we were finally over the worst of it. And then I blew it, my best friend was visiting from out-of-town and my tongue would not hold itself and I told her all about how we were all sleeping, how the tubes had worked, blah, blah, blah.

3 hours later he woke up. For 3 hours. FML.

Do you believe in the baby sleep jinx? Are there other things you are afraid to talk about?


Image via eyeliam/Flickr

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