I know it’s easy to take a quick glance around this little blog and think that things around here are all rainbows and unicorns 24/7. But don’t let the random videos and heavily edited Instagram photos fool you. We are in the throws of the terrible twos. Big time. I have wanted to write about it for months now, but honestly, I’m just too exhausted all the time to even begin to about it. There is so much to write about, I don’t even know where to start.
I could tell you about how 2 weeks ago, Quinn went through a phase were she wanted nothing to do with me. Where one night, she actually said the words to me,
“No Mommy, I don’t love you. You are not my family. Buckeye and Daddy are my family.”
Buckeye is our cat, by the way. I’m glad the former stray animal that wants nothing to do with her and really contributes nothing to the family other than leaving us hairballs on the stairs every morning is higher up on the totem pole than I am.
I know that she didn’t mean, or even understand the words she was saying. But that didn’t stop me from locking myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes and crying my eyes out. Those are words you never want to hear from your kid. And honestly, I thought I had about 12 more years before they came out of her mouth. And after being stressed out at work and exhausted all day and then coming home to see your daughter that you miss SO much, only to have her run away from you and tell you to “Go AWAY Mommy!” every.single.day…it starts to wear on you.
Luckily, the phase ended after a very rough 2.5 weeks. It was hard, but she has come back. She still has her moments, which I can deal with, but her total hatred for anything mommy has passed…for now.
I could also tell you about the incessant whining. How every word that comes out of her mouth is a whine or a cry, or an “I WANT…” I could tell you how no matter what I ask her/tell her to do, not matter how I nicely I ask, or how firm I insist, it always results in one of three responses from her:
1. a firm, “NO!”
2. running away to the other side of the house or down the sidewalk
3. completely ignoring me
She is punished for not listening. But, an hour later, her little 2-year-old brain has forgotten about it.
I know that’s nothing unusual. That’s every 2 year old. And as annoying as it is, I know with patience and consistency, it will end eventually, right?
There are plenty of other things I could write about. But the main thing that has happened that has really gotten me freaked out lately is the bedtime BS, which started this past weekend. It’s getting bad and on the verge of terrifying.
Quinn has always been a pretty good sleeper. She likes taking 2 hour naps at home in her crib and has always (with the exception of a few random, week-long phases) never had a problem going to bed at night. We have our routine: bath, PJ’s, books, Rock-a-bye Baby Lullabies on the iPod (Beatles or Zeppelin), Ladybug nightlight shining stars on the ceiling and a small fan in the corner for white noise. After we read, we sit in the rocker and rock for a bit and sometimes she falls asleep in my arms or sometimes she doesn’t and I put her in the crib without incident. Sometimes, she’s tired and asks to go straight to her crib. She has never had a problem with her crib, never, ever.
Until this past weekend.
It’s slowly been building up for the past few days. But last night, I think just may have been one of the worst nights we have had as parents.
Simply put, she just does not want us to leave the room anymore. And she doesn’t care what she has to do to get us to stay there, to the point that it’s getting dangerous.
The night before last, I had to move the crib to the other side of her small room so that she wouldn’t open the bedroom door from her crib and scream at us. Last night, after our usual routine and rocking her for at least 20 minutes, I decided it was time to put her in her crib. Immediately she flipped out and started thrashing and screaming and lunging for me. When I shut the door, she climbed out of the crib, using the rocker to get down (she has never even attempted to climb out of the crib before last night). After I moved out the rocker and got her back in the crib I closed the door again and 10 seconds later she dove out of the crib and landed on the hardwood floor (she was ok). Jeremy came up and tried to get her to sleep, but a minute after he left the room, she simply climbed out quietly (no idea how she did it). We took out the mattress and tried to get her to sleep on the floor, but when I shut the door, she started shaking it and throwing things at the door (she’s freakishly strong, by the way). Then, she climbed on the changing table and started screaming.
We tried sitting with her, rocking her, patting her back, singing to her, reading to her. But after so long, you just have to say, “You know what kid, it’s time for bed.” Which of course would bring on immediate meltdown.
When I say meltdown, I don’t mean like crying and whining. I mean full-fledged panic-stricken, dropping my body in boiling lava, ripping apart my vocal chords screaming. It was so bad, I thought she was going to throw up. She would scream for me to come back, scream to come downstairs, then, she would stop and talk to herself (babbling about going to bed and wanting mommy or daddy) and then start screeching again. The whole time, I am standing outside her door completely heartbroken and wondering how Linda Blair got into my child.
Finally, after 3 hours and moving ALL the furniture out of her room except the mattress, I got her to fall asleep by lying with her on her tiny crib mattress on the floor and snuggling her. I love to snuggle her, sure, but I’m not excited about starting a habit of having to lay with her to get her to fall asleep, but whatever. Desperate times …
At 1:30am she woke up screaming again and Jeremy and I took turns going in and sitting with her. At one point, I laid next to her on her crib mattress for 40 minutes before sitting up and crying my eyes out. I just felt so helpless. She of course, was wide-awake and asked me why I was “laughing”.
Jeremy heard me and came in to relieve me, but I couldn’t fall asleep. After 30 minutes I walked into her room to see my 6’ tall husband wrapped in a blanket on the hardwood floor next to her mattress. She was still, wide-awake.
I told him if anyone was sleeping on the floor, it was Quinn. So we went to bed and I threw and blanket on the floor next to my bed. She followed us in and I told her if she wanted to be by us, that was fine, but she would have to sleep on the floor.
Mother-of-the-year, I know. Write nasty comments all you want. Now is not the time to begin co-sleeping. I have used a lot of attachment parenting methods over the past 2 years, but that’s the one where we draw the line. We are very adamant about not having her sleep in our bed. It works for others I know, but that’s just our thing.
She tried to climb in our bed a few times and I calmly told her she would have to stay on her blanket if she wanted to be by us. She did. I think by that time, she was just too exhausted to fight us.
Finally, at 3:30am she fell asleep. We all did. And then, my alarm went off at 5:30am. We all got roughly 5 hours or broken-up sleep. And we are all miserable today.
This is the 2nd night in a row of less than 6 hours of sleep because of her bedtime shenanigans. I thought she would be so tired last night she would fall asleep, but no. It’s like, the more tired she is, the more power she has. And man, she was POWERFUL last night.
So, that’s where we are at: exhausted, broken-down, sad and trying our best not to freak out on a scared and confused two-year-old at 3am that doesn’t know any better. It’s hard. I’m proud of us for somewhat keeping our cool, but it was really hard. Usually, we have been able to go with the flow when it comes to parenting. We don’t read a ton of books or go online for a lot of help. We tend to trust our instincts and go with our gut. This has worked until this point. But last night, as I sat in her room at 3:30am crying, I realized I had no idea what the fu%k I was doing.
And I can deal with the lack of sleep. I never get more than 6 hours a night anyway. But it’s the thought of her freaking out, being scared and even hurting herself that has me worried. I have honestly, never seen this side of her.
Last night before bed, I showed Quinn photos on the Ikea website of “big girl” beds and asked if she would like one. She seemed excited and even this morning, she remembered and said she wanted to sleep in her “big girl bed”. The soonest we can venture out to Ikea is Monday, so we’re hoping we can survive until then. I know it’s time for her to transition and I was probably holding on longer than I should have. I guess she’s letting us know. I’m just kind of sad that the last time I rocked her in her rocker and sat with her in her “nursery” had to be during such a traumatic moment. It would have been nice to get her more excited and transition her to her new room under better and calmer circumstances.
People have offered me different theories as to why she is doing it. Honestly, I think it’s a separation anxiety. She started a new room at school a few weeks ago and we thought she was doing fine, but now that I look back and see how all her other behaviors have panned out, I think it’s all related. Three of her best buddies at school are no longer in the same class too, so I know that’s hard. Quinn thrives on consistency, so I think this may be throwing her off more than she lets on.
Any advice on transitioning to a big girl room or just dealing with sleep issues in general are more than appreciated. We can’t be the only ones out there dealing with this insanity, right?