The 18-Month Demon Possession. I mean, Sleep Regression

Okay, you guys. I am about to lose my shit. And not in that cutesy way that’s all, like, Oh Em GEEE, I’m at the grocery store and, like, that guy is SO CUTE and I haven’t brushed my hair and I’m wearing yoga pants!

Seriously. L hasn’t napped in EIGHT DAYS. And she’s not hungry or wet or sick (I know this because I brought her to the doctor already and she was fine) and she’s not on fire. But the minute I mention sleep in any form, she goes batshit crazy and screams like she actually IS ON FIRE.

Now, before you get all, “She’s probably teething, or entering the Terrible Twos, or having separation anxiety or is on FIRE”, let me assure you that I am aware that all of these things are possible. (Except for that last one. Because, that would be harder to miss. Come on, you guys, I’m not a TOTAL idiot.) But do kids typically scream in their cribs for HOURS ON END? (Note: I have not let her stay in there for hours on end screaming, but she WOULD, I assure you.)

It started last Thursday. I went to put her down for her nap, a little early, I’ll admit, because she was acting like a maniac and I was about to stick a screwdriver in my temple. She went apeshit. APE. SHIT. She screamed for five minutes before hurling herself out of her crib and I heard a thump. This was my worst nightmare. Luckily, she didn’t have any bumps or bruises but she scared the bejesus out of me (and herself). So, I waited about two hours, let her play and tire herself out and then put her down again. This time, she screamed but she eventually went to sleep after just a few minutes. Success!

Friday was a lot like Thursday. INSANE protest at our first attempt. But the second attempt went swimmingly. Until Baby O lost his baby cool and screamed for 45 minutes (which he NEVER DOES) and woke her up after exactly 36 minutes. Sleep? Who needs it!?

Saturday, we were visiting my mom. Heh. NADA.

Sunday I got her to sleep at her normal time and I believed that all was not lost. And then MB wanted to wake her up early to have lunch with his dad before he left to go back home, out of state. And so we did that. DISASTER. She was a total asshole for the rest of the day. I wanted to run away from home.

Monday, I brought her to the doctor for her 18-month check up and she did great. Until I tried to put her down. SCREAM, SCREAM, SCREAM. No nap.

Tuesday. She was angelic. No problems.

Yesterday? Forgetaboutit. I am thankful for the Thanksgiving feast at my mom’s house which provided her with two 30 minute car seat naps.

Today? THREE ATTEMPTS at napping. Each involving 45 minutes of non-stop screaming. I am convinced that my neighbors are going to call CPS because I cannot stop the noise. CANNOT STOP IT. So, I called the pediatrician. Her advice? “Yeah, give her a little motrin or Tylenol just in case she is in pain. But you just have to let her know that it is nap time and she has to stay in her bed and go to sleep. So, just let her scream and go in every 15 minutes or so and console her. But don’t pick her up. She will eventually wear herself out.” Now, mind you, I have read every baby sleep book known to man. I have avoided the cry it out method as much as possible. And I had finally gotten L to a manageable level of slumber. But I have been using this method, exactly as she just told me, for THREE DAYS already and, unless I want to listen to my kid continuously scream ALL FUCKING DAY, I am not sure I can continue. Just now, after an hour and seven minutes of this, she has finally stopped (an hour and seven minutes in THIS attempt, 40 and 45 minutes in the previous two attempts) and she has either finally worn herself out or has banged her head, amidst all the thrashing, and knocked herself out. And I am afraid to check. Because if I wake her up and have to start all over again, I WILL KILL MYSELF.

I called MB at work, in the middle of my second meltdown of the day, trying to explain to him what it is like to NEVER. EVER. EVER. get to stop trying to get babies to go to sleep. Especially when you haven’t slept, yourself. He is no help. Because he has never had to do all of that while simultaneously trying to tend to an infant. I have never, in my life, felt so helpless. And, I mean, sort of hopeless too. It seems like I can never accomplish anything because I am constantly trying to get L to sleep. There is no time to do ANYTHING ELSE.

I have read about this 18-month sleep regression. And let me tell you, those articles and whatnot make it sound like it is just a rough patch. Like, you got a hangnail. I liken it more to COMPLETE DEMON POSSESSION.

Please send good sleep juju. Or an exorcist.


14 thoughts on “The 18-Month Demon Possession. I mean, Sleep Regression

  1. There are places and programmes that show mothers how to get their children back on sleeping track. Sorry to be so vague but I’m not sure what’s available where you live. You’re not alone wherever you are. Good luck with it.

  2. Oh I feel your pain! And not to minimize your pain, but this post seriously made me laugh out loud so many times because you stated exactly how I’ve felt like almost everyday for 2 years. My son is a SHITTY sleeper and napper. Finally got him to sleep through the night about 2 weeks ago. Napping….yeah….blood curling screaming. I effing can’t stand it either. I feel for you with the infant!

  3. I’m stumped. I’ve heard babies just screaming because they like hearing their own voices but this? I can recall on the days I ate spicy food and/or broccoli, my milk would actually cause discomfort to my 2nd child (not sure if that’s something you may be experiencing but it took some time to cancel everything out because it was so sporadic).

    How about a realllly good set of headphones/ear plugs and what the dr. suggested? Is it negligence? Nahhh. She’s within sight. As long as there’s food in the fridge, fairly kept home and child, there’s no grounds for CPS to take action.

    Wish you the best of luck.

  4. I feel your pain. I thought my son is the only one that does this. As soon as the word nap is mentioned, he shakes his head gives a very nasty grin then yells and runs everywhere. We never did the screaming tactic thing, because crib is no obstacle for him and he most certanly will try to make his escape and a concusion is simply not worth it.
    I try various tactics that do work, but not longer for a few days like telling him “No nap, you are forbidden to nap, we are gonna party all day!” , followed by me doing my best to party with him, music, jumping, back carrying and when he gets sleepy I don’t let him nap for like 2 tries. The spite kicks in and he goes to nap right away (unfortunatly, me 2, due to all the partying). I realise tho this would be impossible for you, with two little ones.
    What sometimes works for Seth is pretending I am going to sleep also.I take a pillow and pretend I am laying down on couch and sleeping and I invite him to do so as well, like a “lets do this together” activity.
    Whatever you do, hang it in there, you rock!

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  6. Have you tried baby wearing? I use the ring sling and now the kinderpack (good for toddlers) and it has saved my soul. They fall asleep in it. You can be hands free. You can be mobile. They stay on you so you don’t worry about what trouble they’re getting into somewhere. Anyway, you sound like baby wearing would be a good fit for you. It took me a few times before I got the hang of it. But it was a game changer. As soon as she starts the “I’m tired but not ready for bed/nap so all I’m going to do is be cranky up in your face” type-business, I toss her in the backpack and do dishes, laundry, walk around etc…and she falls asleep.

  7. oh god. this sounds terrible. I know i probably already said that on FB as I’m shamefully just now finding moments to catch up on all my blogs! I do hope that things are better now. I dread all these upcoming sleep regressions.

  8. Uh, ok… well… my neighbour’s child gave up day naps at 17 months, and my eldest did at 22 months. And yes, he screamed if I tried to get him to nap and no, he wasn’t on fire (I did check 😀 ).

    So I don’t know if that’s good news to you or bad news. I mean, we all like the day nap, but isn’t it nice to know that kids will be ok if they don’t follow the sleep books?

    Try not to get too frustrated??

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