I am beside myself.
Since Olivia learned to climb out of her crib, she has refused to go to sleep on her own. We transitioned to a bed (because if she's going to climb out, at least she won't be at risk of hurting herself), and things are pretty much the same as they were two months ago when this all started.
We started out rocking her to sleep. It worked OK...sometimes it took awhile, but it was relatively painless. Then she wised up the the whole rocking-puts-me-to-sleep routine, and now it doesn't work. Her eyes will start to droop, and then she will start kicking one or both of her legs furiously to wake herself up. This will go on until you try something else or until she passes out, and the latter can take HOURS.
Tonight, for instance...I had no doubt that she was exhausted. She behaved VERY badly in church, as a very tired child would, so I assumed that she would nap when we got home. She refused a nap, and then we were pressed into an unexpected errand, which resulted in a short car nap. So, naturally, I thought bedtime would be easier than normal because she was more tired than normal. Oh, so naive.
Tonight was not unique, though. Most nights are like this. MOST. It is getting exhausting. We have tried the following techniques to put her to bed:
- Lay her down and leave. Results: HA! As if.
- Rock her until she falls asleep. Results: Works occasionally. Usually results in a lot of "keep myself awake" writhing, swinging legs and efforts to free herself from Mommy's lap.
- Lay down with her. Results: She uses this as playtime and tries to see how many times she can climb on Mommy or kick Mommy before Mommy gets fed up and takes her back to the rocking chair.
- Sit next to bed and put her back in bed whenever she gets out. Results: This was a suggestion taken from someone who watches one of those Nanny shows. It does NOT work for us. Olivia thinks it is a game. It gets exhausting after putting her back in bed the 20th time. After about 137 times, I get so frustrated that I start snapping at her and have to resist the urge to yank her back into bed (the not so gentle and Mommy-like way). I hate this.
- Stand next to the bed and command her to keep her head on her pillow whenever she moves. Results: This was a suggestion from my brother with five kids, and it has actually been the most successful. For the times I've tried it, it usually gets her to fall asleep in about a half-hour, but it can be a LONG half-hour. Plus, I think that my sample is skewed because I had rocked her awhile before and it was a later-than-normal bed time. It gets exhausting because she will do basically the same thing as with rocking. She kicks her legs, changes positions, moves her pillow...and I start to lose my patience. I tried this tonight and had to say a million Hail Mary's to keep myself calm while watching her make a fool out of me by jumping around and climbing out of bed and disobeying. I worked furiously to resist the urge to spank her. I succeeded only by finally returning to the rocker and held her tight while she screamed until she passed out from sheer exhaustion.