Friday, December 18, 2015

Sleep regression - ITS REAL (part II)

She's back!!! Only a day or two after I posted this Camila only woke once. Then the next two nights she slept through until 7:30. She will go down on her own also (Papi still stays with her before bed but she doesn't NEED it). Also, fun realization: our baby monitor has a microphone. I don't know why I hadn't thought to use that before! Well, I do know why. Last time I used it I chose an insanely scary voice to speak in and scared the sh*t out of her (stupid mommy moment...). BUT if you use a normal voice it's brilliant! She responds to me talking through the monitor as if I'm right there with her. Hallelujah! 

Baby becomes toddler. Toddler really GETS sleep. She knows her routine and often says "BYE!" as you walk out of the room. Sometimes it takes her 2 minutes to fall asleep, sometimes 20, but she always does it on her own. She sleeps all night - even noisy friends, a too-loud radio and thunder cease to wake her. She awakes at 8am, happy as can be, playing in her crib. Mama and papi sleep great (despite an over pregnant belly). Even when newborn arrives, nursing very 3 hours around the clock, mom still is able to get a decent nights sleep.

Then, something happens. Toddler starts waking 2x a night screaming bloody murder. OK, a few bad nights, no biggie.

Then, something more happens. Toddler starts waking 3-5 times a night (3 on a GOOD night). She only wants mommy. She wants to nurse. She wants in our bed. She wants mommy in her bed. She wants to sleep but she wants to be awake. Toddler also starts refusing bed time and naps. Every time is a fight and mama and papi revert back to rocking her to sleep. She ALSO decides that 5:30 is an acceptable wake time (FYI its not).

Sound familiar? If you remember my post on the 4 month sleep regression then it probably does.

I kinda saw this one coming. Her 4 month one was pretty intense compared to others I have talked to. Luckily she seemed to skip over the common 8/9 month one, but I had read that almost all kids hit the 18 month one, whether it effects naps, bedtime or both. A good friend who has a daughter 3 months older than Camila went through the 18 month with her daughter, and she also had a newborn son at the time, so I was just waiting for it to hit. And it did, right around 17 months, from one day to the next.

And once again it is most definitely tied to a developmental leap. She's starting to become more sassy and is talking a ton. She has a huge vocabulary but she's now trying to form short sentences and phrases. She's also reached a huge milestone in her language in that she's truly becoming bilingual. If I say, "Quires una manzana?" (do you want an apple) she says, "Apple!" When I say, "Do you want to eat?" she said, "Tengo hambre!" (I'm hungry). She doesn't always respond in a different language, but its fascinating when she does because you can see that she really, really gets the two different ways to say things. So this regression makes SENSE. We SEE it. But its HARD.

The hardest part about this regression? We have a new baby. Yea, he's incredibly chill and easy thus far (knock on wood - he's almost 4 months). But even so, he still eats every 3 hours, and he needs to eat whether or not his sister is currently throwing a fit at 2am. And guess who's on call? Yep, that would be me. Don't get me wrong, Donovan is AMAZING. But he works, and needs to be up and halfway functional at 5:30 am. Even if I get zero sleep, I have the option of lounging on the couch all day or finding time for a nap - he doesn't. Despite that, he of course still wants to help, but as much of a papa's girl as Camila is, in the middle of the night, its mommy or nothing. And unfortunately Donovan isn't lactating, so that leaves me Joaquín also. However, what we ended up resorting to during the hardest few days was relying on pumped milk and mini bottles of formula so Donovan could take over Joaquín's feedings if I wasn't in the room. This is in some ways more inconvenient because then I have to pump in the morning, but with Camila nursing also, its almost like she kind of took over his feedings as horrible as that sounds.

So my philosophy, whether or not its the right one, is generally this: She and her brother are the reason I stay home. I want to be a present, emotionally responsive parent. And so crying it out overall doesn't work for me or Donovan, as effective as it may be. In certain situations yes, but I could tell off the bat she wasn't doing this on purpose. You know those nights where you are forcing your eyes to stay closed because your mind is just racing? Well thats her. All night. Also, especially lately with two babies, we are very much on a "do what works" mind track. So I resorted to comforting her every time she woke, which only took 10 minutes vs letting her cry and dragging it out, and having Joaquín sleep in our bed pretty much the whole night (if I could feed him half asleep, at least I was half asleep and not fully awake). On especially tough nights we would let her sleep with us, but she would still be tossing and turning and waking frequently (this is part of how I knew it wasn't behavioral - if it was, she would have been happy sleeping all night in our bed, but she wasn't. It didn't make it better, it just made access to me more convenient.)

This all started on November 23rd. Yes I remember, and yes its been almost a month. From what Ive read the average is 4-6 weeks. And that they will magically go back to normal just like in other regressions. However after two really bad nights, mainly because it was combined with Camila having a yucky cold, we kind of started to feel that her cries weren't as frantic as they were before...they were more whiney. It seems like she's moved past the worst of it and is now just used to having us there. So for the last few days we've been thinking, ok little chick, you're fine now, you need to SLEEP. We are DONE. So we've been letting her cry more and weaning her off of needing us to sleep (from rocking her to just our hands on her back to us sitting in the rocking chair in her room).

Its already getting better and so fingers crossed this all ends soon. We don't even want to THINK about transitioning J into his crib until she is sleeping through the night again!