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A Room of Her Own: DENIED

In preparation for the arrival of our third child, we booted Karenna out of the nursery and set up a crib for her in Avelyn’s bedroom. What fun! Sisters, sharing a room, keeping each other company and deepening their bond of love. Hahahhaaaaaaaaaaa!

It’s been horrendous.

The first few nights they stayed up until nearly 10:00, even though we tucked them in at 7:00 PM. They were fairly happy to be together, so I didn’t fight it or lay the smack down. The problem was that they were still waking up at their usual time, so after a few days of losing three hours of sleep a night, they were both grumpy beasts (well, even more grumpy and beastly than they usually are). No fun for anyone. Then the novelty of sharing a room seemed to wear off slightly and they were both falling asleep within a half-hour of being put to bed. It’s cute to hear them chattering with each other and I love that they enjoy each other’s company.

But.

Karenna, who is ALMOST TWO, is still not sleeping through the night. (This is where I ask you to please kill me. I can’t take it anymore.) For the most part, Avelyn has gotten used to her sister’s night-time shrieking and I’ll often find Avelyn curled up in her bed in the fetal position, both hands over her ears as she sleeps, in a feeble attempt to block out the noise.

I am just at such a loss with what to do with Karenna. We started different variations of sleep training with her once she hit about seven months of age and I was like, “um, I don’t think you need six bottles a night anymore.” We tried the Baby Whisperer method, the Cry-It-Out approach, the We’re Putting You In A PlayPen in the Basement Because We Can’t Handle Your Screams Anymore technique, and nothing has worked. She’ll randomly sleep through the night, then we’ll be right back to square one with her rousing once or twice a night and I have HAD IT. I can’t help but feel anger towards her, this little two year-old, for not having her act together enough to just go to sleep already. I feel like just letting her cry it out isn’t really an option anymore now that she’s sharing a room with her sister, because then I’ll have two little girls wailing at 3 am (like I did last night…it was super fun). Gah. No clue what to do next. And, oh yeah, we’ll have a newborn in the house next week, so that should really add to the peaceful flow of our nighttime routine.

I am just so tired. And I know I am only going to become exponentially more tired once the baby arrives and I’m not feeling up for it. How will we make it through, how will I be able to keep up with pumping every three hours in the night and dealing with a hollering toddler?

It’s stuff like this that makes me feel like I kind of suck as a parent and wonder why the things that seem so simple for everyone else are hard for me. Kids have been sharing rooms for centuries, so why is it such a challenge to make it work for our family?

Anyone else been there?

Jill - We just had a non-sleeper until 10 months. It was hell. We dreaded nights. I went to bed at 8:30 just to feel like I slept. I wish I could tell you the secret to what makes him sleep now but, it still baffles me. It was like a little switch went off in his head and now he sleeps.
You don’t suck as a parent. Your sleep situation sucks!
Bonne chance, mon amie… I’ll be praying for you!

Erin - As I read your post I wondered if she woke up at the same time in the night? If she does, there might be something waking her. My son who turns 2 next week can’t sleep through the night unless there is white noise in the room because we have a train that goes by our house twice in the night that always wakes him up if he hears it. The white noise of a fan keeps him sleeping.

No matter what, you are not a bad parent (you know you aren’t) and you are doing the best you can. This too shall pass.

Ashley - We struggled big time with Bethany waking at night until she was almost 3. For us, it was a sound machine that helped, and while she sleeps most nights now. The odd one she gets up and climbs into our bed. One thing I did do was get her ears checked, they turned out to be fine but I would totally suggest you do for Karenna. My very best friend had trouble with her ears for years, her parents chalked it up to being a bad sleeper, even though she’d wake up crying and screaming at night. When she was 4 they found out she needed tubes in her ears, they put them in and voila, fixed. The drs said it was because after her bath her ears were irritated and then being quiet and asleep the pain woke her up.

Good luck! And baby next week? Are you scheduled for induction or is that your due date and you’re plannin’ on it?

Amie - We worked out with Isabelle that going pee in the night would wake her so when we cut her evening drinks and night time milk down to just 3-4oz she never woke up anymore. When we realised we were like “REALLY, it was THAT simple???” there are so many things it can be that can wake them up. Moving here seemed to help a lot too, I can’t believe how long she naps and well she sleeps since we moved.

SarahD - Our 3 yr old is up almost every night, and comes roaming into our bedroom. It is tiring, and I feel your pain. I am pretty sure (in our case), it is because he knows he has to pee, so he wakes and then we take him and he just doesn’t like to get back in his own bed. Maybe Karenna already feels the sensation that she needs to go and it rouses her? Playing tapes worked for our oldest, we just bought night lights today to see if that would help, and we made a bed on the floor in our room so that if he insisted he wants to be with us, that at least he was on the floor and not kicking me upside the head.
Ya, not fun when you have an infant and toddler up in the wee hours, but hey, if you’re already going to make a bed for you in the baby room…make another there for Karenna?!

Amy Quarry - Dude…Stella still gets up lots of nights. Something that did help hugely in getting her to sleep through the night was taking her to the chiropractor. Huge for us. Might be worth a shot? Also these for Avelyn might help;)? http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Banz-Hearing-Protector-Earmuffs/dp/B002SW3F0A

Good luck! I don’t envy facing that kind of sleep deprivation. Does Steve ever get up with the girls at night?

EM - You are so not a bad parent, but I know what you mean by feeling like one, it sucks. I have not walked this road, but I think my advice to you in addition to all the other great imput people have written is, to try to get some help during the day so you can sleep. I know your mom is coming when baby arrives, but maybe try to line up someone to come and watch the girls for a couple of hours every other day after she leaves, specifically so you can sleep. If you are like me that will be hard to do, and hard to ask for, and you’ll feel like you should be able to handle it all on your own, but your family will thank you, your body will thank you, your mind will thank you and it won’t be forever. The sleep thing will happen for all of you someday, in the mean time provide for yourself so you can provide for them (kind of like 1st aid).

p.s. race you to the delivery room! I can’t wait to get this little gaffer out of me!!!!!

Amy - I feel ya. My 19-month-old is still waking up at night. Not every night, but enough to make me feel crazy and exhausted! I hope you can figure it out, but I have no help or suggestions.
I did have a name to share. I don’t know if you found one yet or not, but I just heard the name Anais the other day. I had read it previously, but didn’t know the pronunciation…uh-NAY. I love it! I might use it someday, but since we’ll probably never cross paths, I felt that I could share it. :)

Mama in the City - Karenna and my boy are almost the exact same age. I remember when they were both babies and being so jealous reading on your blog about how she slept for chunks at night. I kept looking over at my baby wondering when I could be so lucky for sleeps lasting longer than 1 hour. Anyways, that is besides the point and a total tangent.

I really hope this work outs for you guys soon. I don’t have any big sleep tricks for a nearly 2 year old. The only plus that I can think of, in this situation, is that you will be up frequently through the night with baby #3, so let’s hope that they will at least be up around the same time as each other. Is that crazy?

Oh, and my baby name to offer would be Baby Anya. There is my official vote.

Laurie - Oh, Amanda, I hope this resolves soon. I remember reading when Avelyn wouldn’t sleep through the night and you cranked on your window AC and ignored her. I loved that and I still remember it!

In regards to welcoming baby 3 next week, something that has worked well for me is to not think ONE MINUTE ahead. I just live in the moment because if I had to think about nursing-premature-twins-and-pumping-and-24-minutes-between-feeds I would soon SNAP! Never mind the 2 year old who gets up at 5:30am!

You’re a great mom and you’ll do it. Your own way and whatever works for your family.

christy - Okay, So this is what I would do.
Put Karenna down to sleep in the crib and Avelyn to bed in your bed or on the floor in your room. Give Karenna one week to shriek it out all night long. It won’t take long before she sleeps all night. Then, once she’s a bit more consistent at sleeping through you can put them together. What we do with our girls is Olivia goes down first (since she falls asleep faster) once she’s down Megan goes to bed. It works for us. You need to crack the whip before this baby gets here! The last thing you need is two/three kids waking you up at night. Or, put Karenna in a playpen in the basement to cry until she sleeps better. I know it sounds terrible but you’re running out of time!
Poor Manda, it won’t last forever, I promise.

Angella - I know we talked about this last night (and I have no advice) but just wanted to say that I love you.

Tamara - I like Christy’s advice about either having Avelyn in your room for a short time or putting Karenna downstairs for a little while. You do have your guest room set up, right? Maybe for now that can be Karenna’s room. She will get it sooner or later! You WILL sleep again some day!

BriD - Hey Amanda,
We have our two girls in the same room and we did what Christy suggested. We did baths together, then the younger one got 3 stories and was put down in the shared room. Then the older one gets three stories and fell asleep in our room. I would often lay with her for a bit (score a couple of minutes of extra sleep for me). Before we went to bed we’d put the older one in her own bed. After a couple of months of this my husband got tired of the two diffent story times and started a single story time. Then everyone goes to bed at the same time. The other things to consider is putting actual bed time back by 30 mins to one hour (even though mentally it might be tough on the parents), kids might not be tired enough just yet. Lastly, and the hardest to consider, is that Karena might not need a such a long nap during the day…not even sure if she is still napping. Our second daughter is still up at 9pm sometimes (in bed) and I know it’s cause she still sleeps 1.5-2.5 hours during the day, I’m just not that ready to give the nap up yet.

Susie - I wish I could offer you some whimsical life changing sleep giving advice…. but I can’t. Some kids are sleepers and some just aren’t. That’s my take at least. Kynan didn’t sleep through the night until well over three. Ava almost slept through the night her first night home from the hospital. And Eli started out like Kynan, horrible at sleeping, and is now more like Ava, loving the sleep. So you just never know. Pray that your third is a sound sleeper. Smiles.

Michelle - The more sleep a child gets the better she will sleep. Proven time and time again with my girls and with Jen’s girls. Nap time or quiet time, in separate places in the afternoon. Strict bedtime routine, same thing every night. And whatever you do, don’t let her out of her bed when she wakes in the night or she’ll continue to do it. :)

Danica - I’m with Christy. The only thing that ever worked for us was ‘cracking the whip.’ It feels horrible, but she’s right, you’re only going to be worse for wear yourself when you throw a baby into the mix.
:-( I feel so bad for you. My heart breaks to read that you feel anger toward your little girl, because I’ve been there. You feel angry, which feels terrible, and then you feel guilt for the anger. You’re not a bad parent. Not at all. Because you care so much.
Crack the whip. :-(

kirsten - I second white noise machines, I think they make all the difference with my kids, and having STRICT bordering on military bedtime/ naptime routines. Litteraly read the same book, sing the same song or whatever, sit in the same place when you read it and then have the same good night hug a kiss like a robot, for week or however long it takes. And when she wakes at night same thing, be completley robotic, don’t even make eye contact, lay her back down and say ” Its night night” and then leave, it might take a week or so to make your point, But if you can stick to routine, routine, routine, it should make a difference. And a white noise machine will help.

agirlandaboy - I haven’t been there, but I wish I could pop over to your house and help you out when things get too crazy for you. Stupid miles between here and there. Boo.

Nichole - We moved our kids into the same room not too long ago, and they’re both in my room at least once every night. My husband takes them back in some nights. I don’t wake up easily, though, and they get in on my side, so usually it’s morning before I notice that there’s an extra 5-year-old, 3-year-old and cat in our bed.