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June 04, 2008

Parent vs. Toddler vs. Parent


Parenting a two and a half year old has proven to be quite the challenge.  To marathon runners I say, "I don't need to run a marathon.  I have a toddler".  We've entered the stage where the toddler has decided that she runs the show..or at least "thinks" she does.  I sit here, as she screams bloody murder through the monitor.  She's doing it again.  She does not want to nap.  She did not want to sleep last night.  We were awake for about four hours with her in the middle of the night.  She wouldn't tell us what was wrong.  She would only point her finger in our faces and say, "I NOT going to sleep ANYMORE!"  I can  only assume she may have had too much sugar and napped for too long yesterday.  The daily routine has been working just fine but all of the sudden, we are having major issues around bedtime and nap time.

This new change is making it very hard for me to concentrate, especially since I work from home.  I could turn off the monitor but that doesn't stop the echo of wails and banging fists on the crib rails, which we just  re-attached to the toddler bed at three a.m. this morning.  That was all we could think to do, after putting her back to bed a countless number of times of her getting up, screaming and following us back into our room.  I question what could be the matter.  Could she have had a nightmare?  A stomach ache?  Could she be thirsty?  I've made an attempt to soothe her by rubbing her back and her tummy. But that's not it.  She just doesn't want to sleep.  She wants to test us.  She wants to see how far she can push us.

My husband and I have different parenting styles.  I'm very thankful that he is such a hands on father but at the same time, maybe he's paying a little too much attention.  His argument against me would be that I'm not patient enough with her.  He's likely to bring her into bed with us when she doesn't want to sleep in her own room.  My idea is to let her stay in her room.  Why break her routine if it's the only one she's known since birth?  I don't want to start bad habits and for us, a bad habit would be that she constantly comes into our room to sleep.  I don't have anything against co-sleeping but it's just not for us.  I'm a big fan of having my space at night.  Up until now, we've really not had a problem with our sleep routine.

I called my mom right away this morning after I dropped off our toddler at the sitter's house.  I told her what was going on and her advice to me was basically do what I did.  Try to comfort her as much as possible and if that doesn't work, it's just something that she'll have to grow out of.  Problem is, we live in a town home and sharing walls with another family when your child sounds like she's being attacked isn't really something I want to have to tell the police in the middle of the night.  Luckily, they haven't called the police yet and hopefully they know us well enough that we would never lay a hand on our precious little girl.  Doesn't stop the thought that we're going to get a knock on our door though.  I'm not liking this no-end-in-sight deal.  Did I really sign up for that?

Fifteen minutes have passed and she's still sobbing and refusing to give into sleep, which I know she desperately needs.  I desperately need it too.  At least the screaming has subsided.  How long can I keep up my guard?  How long do I have to stand my ground before she is the one giving in?  My heart is breaking and my mind is swimming.  Talk about questioning your parenting skills.  I have truly been put to the test.

Welcome to my "official" world of parenting a terrible two.

*Original Chicago Moms Blog post.

Amy M. can be found talking about adorable clothing and other assorted items for her tantrum-throwing two year old at MumsTheWurd.com and ParentSphere.net


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