Dispatch from Month Three of No Toddler Sleep

sleep It's 6am, and I've been up for over an hour already. Because of the two month old baby? No. Because of the almost two year old who refuses to sleep in her bed. That's right folks, I am trapped in no toddler sleep hell and there is no end in sight.

This all started a few months ago, right before baby #5 was born, with Talley throwing herself out of her crib. This was no gentle climbing over the crib railing and dropping to the floor like "Aw, look at you, big girl!". This was all out launching of her chunky little body clear of the railing and falling down, hard, onto the floor, sometimes nearly falling right on her head.

So we put the toddler bed in her room, crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. To which Talley said a huge N O P E.

She won't sleep in the crib. She won't sleep in her bed. She only wants to sleep in our bed, on the couch, in her car seat, on the floor in the playroom, ANYWHERE but inside her own room. She also won't nap in her room OR in our room but she will nap in the car every. Single. Time. Even if we are just driving to my mother's house a few minutes away. EVERY TIME. And no, she does not like to be woken up. If she does fall asleep on the couch in the family room we all know the drill, the older kids can tell simply by my facial expression that we have a Code Naptime and they need to evacuate the house until they get the all clear.

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What have we tried? We tried the "cry it out" method, the tricky thing with that method is if Talley gets herself worked up enough, she will throw up. After a couple nights of cleaning up vomit we decided to put the kibosh on that song and dance. We have tried reading to her, creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it religiously, I have put so much energy into creating the perfect toddler sleep environment for her that I am exhausted. We have sound machines and night lights and special stuffed animals and the moon on the wall and the turtle that lights up and seriously if anyone has ever mentioned a product that helps their child sleep I have purchased it, tried it, and failed. BIG FAT FAILED.

So, she sleeps with us, and we all get some sleep, right? Well, yes and no. Or maybe I should say NO and HELL NO because getting her to fall asleep in our bed is a multi step process involving sippy cups and Fu Fus (her stuffed bunnies), the right blankie at the right time (which requires a very complicated decision making process depending on a number of somewhat confusing factors that change on an hourly basis, and man that blankie better not be in the wash or WATCH OUT) and once she finally falls asleep on the couch she can be transported to the bed but you MUST make that trip as soundless and seamless as possible, if the dog so much as gently shifts in his bed she wakes up and the entire process must be done over again. Once she does get into our bed the same thing goes: no noise, no sudden movements, DO NOT WAKE THE TODDLER OMG PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

It's gotten to the point where if one of us asks the other how we are feeling we don't even say "I'm tired" because it's just a given. We are in a constant state of tired. Tired is the new black.

And there's no telling when she might wake up and be ready to party. There I'll be, finally back asleep after feeding the baby, let's say around 3 or 4am, and the toddler wants to talk. Right now it's mainly about going over the name of body parts. So I will get a chubby finger poked in my eye and will hear a tiny voice going "Mommy, EYE?" then a pat on the head, "Mommy, HAIR?!".

The thing is, she is just so damn cute that it's hard to be mad about it. Most mornings I wake up and she's like a little blonde cherub next to me, all rosy cheeks and tiny blond ringlets, sleeping like a little angel, and for a few moments I forget all about the excruciating lack of sleep. I mentally block it out forget about it until bedtime rolls around once again, and the older three all trot off happily to bed and I am left with a bouncy little blonde time bomb just waiting to explode right when I'm about to drift off to dreamland. It's a battle of wills and I am losing to a two year old.

If you have sleep advice I'll take advice. Sure. I'll also take an overnight babysitter and a hotel room with a really nice mattress and some fluffy pillows and room service if you are giving that too. Is there a Sleep Fairy I can reach out to? Anyone have her email address?

So what to do? Wait it out I guess. I buy more K-cups, keep going, keep moving forward, keep my fingers crossed that one day she will see how awesome sleeping in her room is and when that day comes I will savor every last second of sleep that we get. I will keep a dream journal and record every single precious dream I get to dream, and I have a hunch even my dreams when I am asleep will be about being asleep. I will sleep the soundest sleep any human has ever slept in the history of sleeping.

Until the baby wakes me up to feed her, that is.