My Great Sleeper Is Suddenly A Crib Hating Tyrant

getting toddler to sleepMy daughter left the womb sleep trained. She never pushed her limits. She dozed off whenever the need struck.  She napped twice a day and fell asleep at night with little soothing. Even while she was nursing and woke frequently during the night, she was up quickly, did her business, and was back in the crib asleep before my body had a chance to really wake up. Through 23 months of change, growth, and development I have rarely uttered a sleep-deprived word when it came to my daughter. Until now.

That sound sleeper has done a complete 180 degree about-face. When it’s time for her nap, she runs away from me like I’m threatening to make her eat brussel sprouts. When I put her in her crib she screams and cries like her arm is caught in the slats. For a girl who loves her sleep and never gave so much a whimper of protest, this is all so confusing for me.

Not that I am a stranger to terrible sleepers. I myself am no fan of rest and that started when I was a baby. Karma dictated that my son also share my struggles with insomnia. From infancy, he woke up just after  five a.m. every morning ready to start his day. And he never wanted that day to end. Getting him to nap was an art. Read a book, sing a song, bounce left and right, turn around three times and do a jig.  It was a daily struggle. For the first two years of his life I spent his nap time walking around the city, through the cold winds of winter and the humidity of summer. As long as I kept walking, he kept sleeping. He dropped his nap completely just after his baby sister came along, probably because I could no longer accommodate his extensive napping rituals.

My daughter isn’t wired that way. She’s far more reasonable — just like her father. She played at playtime, ate at mealtime, and rested at nap time  Every single day. Until one day she went in the other direction.

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  • Dani Vello

    I feel like I could have written this article…except that I don’t have a son and my angel sleeper daughter is my first and only. She’s been very clingy during the day too. At least I know I’m not alone!

    • Carinn Jade

      Yes! She’s very clingy during the day too.

    • Dani Vello

      Let’s hope it’s just a phase! Seriously, if any of my friends read this, they would wonder if I wrote it. :)

    • Loes

      She could have an earinfection. Take her to the dochter.

  • christie tate

    It’s the WORST when the angel baby turns on you. My angel baby just learned to crawl out of his crib, but his in-denial mama won’t let him get rid of the crib. SO he bounds out at 5am ready to party and wanders around during the night. It’s made me very jumpy and grumpy. Now I have no angel babies!! They are real life humans.

  • Jen Maguire

    Oh, Carinn- no fun at all!!! Both my boys were great sleepers and as soon as they turned on me, we put them in a bed and the sleep returned. Keenan was just shy of 2….Liam did the same thing but lasted longer. Not saying it is a fix and Mike wasn’t at all convinced- he kept saying we can’t move them until they start sleepting again- but both kids went back to their restful ways once I gave them a little more space.

  • Sauni

    Carinn! Your little lady’s born-on-the-same-day-boyfriend is going through a crazy clingy phase too! He will wail for me even if he can see me five feet away. And the waking up asking for milk at night thing is starting to happen. I though maybe a nightmare? Let’s agree that it’s just a phase and our good sleepers will be back soon. Come back to me 12 hours of sleep a night baby. Come back. This is my mantra.

  • Arnebya

    We’re at the loss of a nap phase. I do not like the loss of a nap phase because I still need MY nap and I would appreciate compliance by all others in the house. You need to at least lie quietly for awhile while I actually nap. Is that too much to ask, really?
    We never had much of a regression issue with sleep. They either did it or they didn’t but there was never a back and forth, so I’m grateful for that. And I wish I had some Ambien to send you (for you, not her, silly (I’m supposed to specify that, right?))

    • StephKay

      I always used to joke around about how my daughter stopped needing her nap before I stopped needing that nap. Then I got pregnant again. I am so stinking exhausted that I am literally bartering with my just turned three year old for naps on a regular basis “if mommy lets you watch a cartoon, will you promise to not get into anything and sit right here next to me while I rest my eyes? Really, as long as you dont torch the house or break the dog, im happy. Please? Pretty please?”. I need naps back! *sob*

  • Sheri McShane

    We have been doing this from 18mos…to age 3. He’ll sleep through the night once every couple of months.

  • Myriam

    I think you might have to go “tough love” on her… Even if she doesn’t manipulate you, she KNOWS how to get what she wants… She’ll cry until you come and give her what she wants. If you’re not a fan of CIO, there are other ways. Something is not wrong, she is just growing up. Even if you messed up by letting her “win” a few battle, it’s never too late to start over. Adopt a strategy and stick with it, you’ll get through to her.

  • Krista

    my daughter was about 20ish months when she became super crib resistant. we put her on a full-sized mattress with some pillows on the side, and she went right back to sleeping through the night. try using a toddler bed with a little crib rail, or put her in a big-girl bed. if she doesn’t feel like she can’t get out, maybe she wont feel so separated from you. once my kiddo switched, she didnt even need to be rocked anymore. after that routine became normal, i felt like a zombie coming out of a coma – refreshed and alive again! :) good luck!

  • STFUParents

    Just saw this article and blog reference! Don’t worry, I don’t post “woe is mom” submissions about sleep deprivation unless the parent is ranting about her neighbor “rudely” mowing his lawn between the hours of 10am-4pm. Good luck to you. It sounds like she’s interested in testing her boundaries a bit!

  • Ashley Austrew

    Oh no!! I have no helpful words of advice. Just wanted to offer some sympathy and hope it passes soon!