Thursday, December 11, 2008

The 2 a.m. power struggle

Alexandra hasn't been sleeping well for a little over a week. First it was her first tooth cutting through. Then it was a cold and a nasty cough that would shake her awake and now it's the second tooth cutting through.

I list all these things as reasons for poor sleeping because it's what I think is wrong with her. But how the hell do I really know.

So when she cries out at 2 a.m. -- as she did last night and the night before -- I go to her and try to calm her. For lack of a better idea, I gave her Tylenol and Oral gel to ease the so-called tooth pain she may or may not be feeling and put her back to bed. But both nights, she'd have nothing of this "going back to bed thing".

So she screamed and screamed and screamed. She screamed because she figured once she was awake, I might as well feed her.

But I don't want to. I know she's able to go 8 to 10 hours without eating at night. She's done it a lot in the last month. So I hold out. And 2 a.m. turns into 2:30 a.m. Which then turns into 3 a.m. And she's still screaming. Every now and then she whimpers off and I lie there thinking "ok good, she's calming down and going to sleep" but then after a few minutes she starts up again.

On Tuesday night, this went on for two hours. Two hours! And finally at 4 a.m., she won, I got up and fed her. Afterall, it had now been 8 hours since she had last eaten. As soon as she was done, she was out like a light.

Last night, this routine repeated, but I gave in after an hour. Having first tried giving her a bottle of water to see if she'd take the hint. It failed miserably.

Alexandra seems to have a one-track mind when she wakes in the night. And so we're locked in this power struggle. Her screaming herself hoarse from her room and Ryan and I lying awake in our room wishing we had earplugs and watching how close to morning the clock is getting.

I know the only way she'll learn to stop wanting to be fed is to not feed her when she demands it, but that's the million dollar statement -- if we want to get any sleep after 2 a.m. these days, she wins the power struggle every time.

Let's just hope that once this second tooth comes in and this cough goes away she'll go back to sleeping through the night.

4 comments:

Vone said...

I'm right there - I hate playing that game in the middle of the night. If you just feed her she will go back to sleep but will wake up every night - it's hard at 3am.

Nancy Downard said...

Please, Please, Please win this "power Struggle" before Dec 26!!!!!

Carole said...

Don't worry, Nancy. She doesn't play the game at grandmother's houses!

Nancy Downard said...

Oh, yes she does - in spades!!!!!