Sleep woes.. Overactive toddler, driving me crazy

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Joined: 11/15/08
Posts: 34
Sleep woes.. Overactive toddler, driving me crazy

Since my husband went back to work a couple of months ago, Tyler's sleep schedule has completely turned around. I'm due to have daughter #2 in 3 weeks and I'm so sleep deprived, I don't know how I'm going to have the energy to give birth... Let alone raise two sleepless babies on my own (hubby will be working otu of town for 6 weeks after the baby is born).

Naps rarely happen anymore, even though she's sooo tired and I can tell. They used to be around 3-3.5 hours long. Now I'm lucky if she will sleep at all, but if she does it will maybe last 1-1.5 hrs. Getting her to bed at night is usually not so bad. The last week or so we had a few episodes of her getting up and wandering into my room (or wherever I am) and then she's impossible to get back to bed (usually just end up locking her in her room and letting her scream until she falls asleep -- I HATE to do this). But generally, she's pretty easy. But, she'll wake up. Usually from 1am-3am. Usually it's some problem that has no cure. Like, she'll ask for water. Then give it to her and she gets mad and throws it on the floor, claiming she doesn't want water. Then as soon as it hits the floor, she wants it again. This game could go on forever. She just needs a reason to be angry, so she creates things to be upset about. Because she's TIRED!! Then there are the times she simply wakes up wide-awake and happy. Like this morning. At 3AM. :eek: Because she was not kicking and screaming, I let her join us in bed. She was happy to lay still and snuggle, but was a bit too awake and talktative for the hubby who has to get up for work at 4:30am. I gave up and went and slept on the couch and turned on the TV for her. I knew that putting her back to bed would be a struggle and nobody would sleep through her screaming. She eventually fell asleep on the floor, around 7am, and slept until 9:30am. This is going to put a huge rift in her already ridiculous sleep schedule -- though it probably would have been no better if I put her back to bed to scream all morning. She has been known to lay on the floor, kicking the wall or door, screaming, for up to 4.5 hours before she'll finally sleep. And then nobody else sleeps either because we have to listen to her.

I NEED SLEEP!!! I'm soooo scared that I'm going to have a terrible labour because I'll be sooo tired. My last labour was 37 hours... A sleepless 37 hours.. put that on top of the sleepless nights I already have, I swear I'm going to die.
She used to be SUCH a good sleeper. It's only been the last couple of months. I have tried everything I can think of. I bought all sorts of sleep remedies. I tried melatonin, a bunch of different homeopathic preperations... They seem to make it worse, if anything. I spend all day trying to tire her out, thinking it will make her tired enough to sleep all night. All it does it make ME even more tired. I'm broke right now, otherwise I'd take her to the naturopath and have her tested for food allergies.

During the day, she's mostly happy and fun. I take her to the beach most mornings for about an hour to let the dogs swim, and she's always upset when we have to leave. She runs up and down the beach and throws rocks in the water. She'd throw rocks for hours if I let her. Then we always go to the playground on the way home. We'll stay there for about an hour. She'll go up the stairs, down the slide, the entire time. Around lunch time on weekdays we walk down the road and let out a lady's dogs to pee, and she'll run around their yard and throw a ball for the dogs. They live near a playground so we'll go play on THAT playground for maybe an hour. Walk home. Her favourite thing in the world is pulling the cushions off the couch and using it as her personal trampoline. She will jump on the couch for hours screaming "Yay! Yay!" I'm actually getting her a trampoline so that the cushions can stay on the couch. I have her in different programs. Monday she has playgroup at the centre down the rd for 1.5 hrs. Tues we go to the pool for a couple of hrs. Thurs we go to the toddler group at the Library. Fri she has her Play Pals program at the rec centre, an hour of running and playing and crafts with other kids.

And of course she's also very mentally stimulated. I know how important this is for getting the dogs tired so I've applied the same thing to her. She's very smart. She knows all of her ABC's, what they are called and what sounds they make. She counts from 1-10 and we're working on higher numbers now. She knows all of her colours, sooo many different animals. Her vocabulary is skyrocketing just the last couple of months. She was having a terrible stuttering problem so I saw a speech therapist; They said that her brain was developing faster than her speaking skills and that she is very bright, and bright children tend to do this. Recently the stuttering has almost subsided completely so I guess her language skills are catching up. She draws pictures of things that I can't believe she can already draw. She can read several different words. We spend alot of time reviewing with books and flashcards etc. She loves the stimulation.
I'm running out of ways to keep her busy, Lol. Next month she starts two new programs, "I'm Two and Growing," and "Pee Wee Paint N Putter."

Does she just not have an offswitch??? :eek: I am guessing this is just a phase because she has been growing so much lately (she's noticably taller in the last month or so) and she has days where she'll hardly eat anything, and then days where she'll suddenly want to eat ALL day long, and I suspect it's a growing thing. Has anyone tried any sleep remedies that actually work? I suspect that if she goes into a deep sleep right off the bat and doesn't wake up in the early AM that she will sleep right through. The melatonin is supposed to do this, but it seems to make her worse.

This seems to be her version of the "terrible twos!!!"

Here is my girl..


Throwing rocks..




With Fidji

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

:bigarmhug:

Is there someone who can take her for the day so you can rest and try to catch up on some rest a day every week or so?

Joined: 11/15/08
Posts: 34

Unfortunatly no -- My mom is going to take her when I go into labour, but can't take her any more than that because she's not really allowed to bring kids to her work. Atleast they'll let her when I am having the baby!

The last several days I've been allowing her to just stay up as late as she wants and nap when she wants, and suddenly she is sleeping. Much much better. Seems she likes to fall asleep between 10pm-11pm but she'll sleep until 6:30-7:30am, and has only woken up early (3:30am) once so far since I've been letting her do this. Her naps tend to be whenever she happens to crash wherever she is, but they've been every day and she'll actually sleep for a good 3 or 4 hours. They always say that routine is needed when trying to get kids on a good sleep schedule, but it seems like the more routine we got, the less she slept. I think this will just have to do!!!

Pixacious's picture
Joined: 11/13/08
Posts: 650

I could have written this post. My son has never been a sleeper and the more we push a routine the less he sleeps. We could have him take walks around the neighborhood (a mile or more) and he would still be ready to play. And by walks I don't mean in a stroller, he does the walking! He never stops for even a second. Our house could be completely trashed with his toys in a matter of seconds. He is like the Tasmanian devil of kids. He normally falls asleep between 9 and 10 and then is up several times a night. His doctor suggested Melatonin, but we can't start that til he is 3. He naps for about 1-1.5 hours after lunch and wakes up screaming every time, but will not go back to sleep even though I know he is still tired. Blah! Let me know if you figure out something!

mommyvolc's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 1296

My daughter tried that scenario around 2 too. I gated her in her room, rather than closing the door. I also put her silently back to bed...the first night I think I did it 40 times. She gets no stimulation or response at night. I do put them to bed with a sippy of water so they can get that if they want. I also impose the "no talking" at night rule. They can get up if they want to, but they must stay in their room and they must be quiet. I also implemented quiet time for Alicia now that she's 3 and rarely naps. She has to go to her room for an hour of quiet time every afternoon. She knows that she can read, do a puzzle etc, but she has to stay in her room for that hour. My kiddos share a room, so DJ naps in the master.

Good luck!
Nicole

Joined: 11/14/08
Posts: 105

How are things going for you? You have a cutie! Ethan sleeps well once he is asleep but getting him to sleep is a struggle. I have been trying to keep the same routine (bath, story, sippy cup, prayer, lullaby CD on) and sometimes it works and sometimes is doesn't. I have been putting him back in his bed everytime he gets out and tell him that this is where you sleep. He usually ends up in our bed at some point during the night and I usually don't even wake up. He just crawls in and goes back to sleep. Sorry I'm not much help but I hope things are going okay for you!

BFrantz's picture
Joined: 11/14/11
Posts: 86

Have you thought about doing less on the activity side? I know everyone immediately jumps to "wearing the kid out" however when too much is going on, the 2 year old brain gets over stimulated. He brain will switch into constant drive, where she can feel as though she needs to be constantly on the move. Naps decrease naturally, the older a child gets the longer they can. and will go between sleep periods. Joshua takes 1 nap a day, and at this point an hour is a seriously long nap, usually its 20 -30 minutes. Bed time is 9 pm for him every night, and has been since birth. I'm a stickler about scheduled sleep, both because I'm so busy, and because it's far less dramatic.

also her sleeplessness could be caused by a good old fashioned case of new baby coming syndrome. 2 year olds don't have the capacity to understand a new baby isn't a replacement for them, they also don't understand that even though they will have to share mom and dad, it doesn't mean they won't be important.

You could try the alert system - "It is nap time in 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute"

A nice lavender bath, some dim lights, soft music help encourage sleep as well

Josh has a stuffed dog that he likes to hug, so we give it to him at sleep times.

And even though she is 2, a nice swaddle can still be exactly what she needs.

Of course these are only my suggestions, they work with my kids, but i can't promise they will work with yours, but maybe worth a shot for you. I hope something works out for you!