Posted by: donteatus | April 13, 2010

Where’s the Benadryl???

I have been interrupted 5-6 times the last couple hours by a whimpering and wide awake Lucy.  Although this is a walk in the park compared to our days getting toddler Caleb to sleep, challenges still exist.

Tonight with Lucy I rocked and sang the alphabet.  As soon as I stopped, she lifted her head and cried, “More, more!”  I decided to try and sing it backwards for awhile.

“Z,Y,X,W…”  Way too difficult.

After five minutes of attempting without success the alphabet in reverse, I noticed Lucy’s breathing more rhythmic.

This small window is when stealth is imperative.

Do not stop the rocking chair abruptly.  Instead, let the rocker rock itself to a rest.

Step like a ninja the pre-mapped path from rocker to crib.  Sometimes trial runs in broad daylight are necessary.  If there’s a squeaky floorboard, or a creaky crib spring, find it before game time.  Nothing’s worse than running the last 50 meters of a race and being disqualified for stepping out of your lane.

Support the head.  Any haste can cause a whiplash guaranteed to trigger crying.  Set the child’s head down as if it was an active grenade.

Army crawl.  On all fours it’s possible to minimize shadow casting thereby avoiding detection.

Try not to close bedroom door too quickly.  A child’s eyelids are supermodel thin.  They will detect relative light change even if they are shut.

And despite all of these techniques, sometimes failure’s inevitable.

Like tonight.  I’m tempted to bust out the Benadryl…

I bet many of you have pretty amazing stories about the lengths you go through to get your children to bed.  This is your day to comment.  I want to hear some good stories.  If I don’t, I’m not blogging anymore.

Just kidding.  I’ll keep blogging.  But seriously.  I want to hear about ear infection nights and sleeping-in-bed with Mommy/Daddy nights and 3AM lullaby nights, ect.

The only parent I do not want to hear from is one that says, “I let my child cry themselves to sleep and now they sleep for 12 hours without a peep.”  If that’s you, congratulations.  You have an iron will and an ice cold heart.

So, comment with stories of the crazy lengths you go, or have gone, to get Junior to bed.  It will make us all feel like better parents.


  1. Great blog. I don’t have a great story…but I have a story. About 2 months ago we determined that Olive has night terrors. It took us awhile to figure this out. My mom was here one night when Olive woke us up crying. When trying to calm her down, the situation escalated. Screaming you could hear around the whole 2,000 sq foot house. I was contemplating calling a priest. It lasted about an hour straight. When my wife finally started crying herself, Olive woke up and was wondering why she was crying. Good times. Weird times….

    • Those night terrors are crazy. Caleb used to have them when we lived in married student housing. Maybe that’s why we never had the same neighbors for more than a couple months…

  2. Benadryl, Albuterol, Omneprozole, water, 3 pillows, humidifier, and Vicks on the bottom of the feet. Poor kid was probably passed out from drugs, not exhaustion. We learned years later all it took was removing wheat. Go figure.

    Although for our other child, Vicks on the feet has worked 100% of the time.

    • That is quite the collage of attempts! Vicks is a good avenue we have yet to walk. I’ll try it! We’re already gluten free here. Thanks Jean!

  3. We have a little elmo doll and Scout bear that Lilly sleeps with. Every night we ask if she would like to go tuck elmo and Scout into bed. Sometimes she falls for it and goes and lays down with them “to tuck them in”

    • Nice. Psychological manipulation. Works like a charm. Do you tell her about Santa Claus too?

  4. Well as you can see by what time it is right now (3:05 AM) I am not one of those who let my kids cry themselves to sleep. But I will also return to bed after getting this one in my lap to sleep to another child asleep in my bed. You know our stories of getting Soren to sleep. Around 1 year was when he was the hardest. Sometime it would take 2 hours of walking him, then rocking, then patting him and slowly increasing the pat time until we could stop patting all together! Most nights I would end up just crawling into his crib with him and falling asleep in there. Getting out of the crib without waking a sleeping toddler is very difficult! Well got to go, this one just fell asleep and I heard the other one calling out for mommy!

    • That’s the kind of story we want around here. The good news for you is: They may be up half the night, but at least they’re still really photogenic in the morning!

  5. My kids are now 6,5 and 3 and I still am up at least once a night. Someone wants a drink, I had a bad dream, I want a snack (cereal at 2am?). At least one of the younger ones crawls into bed with us around 3am and Im having to carry them back up to their own bed because they wont stop squirming and mom cant fall back asleep and THEN they want me to lay with them for a while and tickle their backs until they fall back asleep, which I enjoy watching them doze off into a peaceful slumber of hopefully happier dreams=) I wake up at 5 to get ready for work and my eyes will hardly open most mornings but its all worth it when I go wake them up for the day and they say I love you mommy, thanks for makeing my bad dreams go away. We have a purpose as parents and it feels good when you get it right and see your good job by looking at your kids, even if your eyes still are not all the way open=)

    • I can’t describe how perfectly Lucy’s head fits to my shoulder. I always feel guilty when I sigh at her crying, because 5 minutes later I’m rocking her and thanking God I can provide that sort of comfort for another human being. Great job at keeping the bad dreams away!

  6. as a mom of 5, I have spent the last 12 years of my life awake a lot at night. There is no sure fire thing that works, as all kids are so different. I learned what works for each kid. (with A LOT of trial and error to find out) My best advice: lots of patience and remembering they are only small for a very short time. Give them all they need while they still let you! Some day you will look back and wish you could have all that time back. Late night bonding can be some of the best times. It is worth losing sleep over. :)

    • Can you send some “Patience” in a PDF attachment please? It’s great to hear from mothers who can give us young parents a glimpse into the future. Sometimes I need to be reminded that we’re given “inconvenience” for our own good. You’re right, I think those late nights can be some of our most memorable.

    • Love this attitude and so true, I would love to have them all home with sleepless nights.

  7. I always helped my children learn to fall asleep on their own. I didn’t let them cry it out for long periods of time, just taught them that the crib or bed was for sleeping. I know that isn’t everyones approach but honestly for me it worked best. I don’t have a patience at night after caring for kids all day to stay up all night helping them sleep. Ands I found that if they expect it it will continue. My kids are great sleepers now. (They are 7 and 3)

    • Perfect! You’re just the nanny we need. What’s your number???

  8. Too bad I can’t post a picture. I have a good one of my husband asleep in the crib with Kyan. Thankfully he never broke it. Although getting out of a crib without waking Ky was interesting to watch.

  9. That would be a great pic for your blog! I’ll be looking out for it…

  10. How about this one. With our firstborn, yes it is your wife, we had to stand in the bathroom with running water to sooth and calm her to sleep. We even tried to tape record the sound to play next to the crib. Can’t believe I even dare admit such a thing. We survived and now I still do the ninja tricks putting my grandkids to sleep. Good to know I have company.

    • Tape recorder? Really? That must have been Tom’s idea. Diabolical…

  11. We do have good sleepers – can’t complain, but I like to think that they have no shot of failure by the end of the day. Keep them busy playing hard, running hard, and over socialized until they surrender happily at the end the the day to the stillness of their beds :)

    • You have an advantage because you have four children and they wear each other out.

  12. We also used running water for our first born. (my smart husband can take all the credit for figuring this one out). Elizabeth had colic the first 4-5 months and we would take turns holding, rocking, swaying, walking, switching to carseat, swing, bouncy chair and using different white noises… running water seemed to do the trick most of the time but there were always nights there was nothing we could do but take turns holding our crying baby until she finally closed her eyes.

    Now she is 2 1/2 we say our family prayers by her bedside and she falls asleep knowing the two people who love her most are near. Usually she falls asleep within 10 minutes. Have to make sure she has her soft bear to rub his ears as she falls asleep to prayers. She has made up for her colic days and is the sweetest girl ever. I am blessed enough to be home with her everyday.

    • If you made it through colic you are a seasoned veteran for sure! Elizabeth is beautiful by the way.

  13. oops, I guess this is one I won’t comment on….I know you were talking about us! :)

    • You are a diamond in the rough Terri. Not many people can get their baby to sleep in a tent anywhere they go. But it sure was nice for our Settlers of Catan nights!

  14. Celine Dion – Miracle A Celebration of New Life CD was brought into our nursery. Now I’m a huge fan of her voice (it’s no Beastie Boys, but still enjoyed the ballads). Of course this was only after I installed a flat screen TV and hooked up Satellite to watch the games as I sat in the “rocker” for a few hours (with a cold beverage). I remember turning the back light of the TV down to dark so to reduce the glare and put a blankie over my sons face to provide additional shielding from the sports action. If he had a fever, I’d cut up potatos and place on palms of his feet and that usually reduced the temp. Good times. Good luck.

    • I’m literally laughing at my computer. That very well may take the prize for best story. It makes me wish we were neighbors when our boys were little. Two cribs, two rockers. We could have kept each other company. I would have added the mini fridge. I hope Noah’s doing well!

  15. Oh yeah, I’m the parent who let my kid cry herself to sleep…we call it baby bootcamp. The details aren’t for the faint of heart. But after 3 days of agony for all – we finally had a happy, rested and SLEEPING child!!!

    • Only 3 days? Maybe next Good Friday I’ll try that trick. That way on Easter we’ll have even more reason to celebrate!

  16. going for a ride in the car was the last resort for me – they would go right to sleep, getting them in the crib was another…… some nights they would just sleep in the car seat by my bed – i do remember one night that i slept in the car, that was so that when she woke up again i could just drive around the block. My kids are all adults now and the good thing is that with the years and love they return, all the sleepless night seem to fade – i still get up 25 years later at 2am for a snack – i blame for that habit!

    • Ah, the car works wonderfully. Unfortunately an hour nap costs about $15 dollars in gas these days!
      Don’t worry, when my kids are grown, I’m going to blame all my bad habits on them too…

  17. Well, Marshall has slept good from day one (even as an infant he woke sporadically for a bottle at 3am)…as he has gotten older (he’s 11) he has more troube going to sleep! He keeps busy during the day and he knows when he is tired and when he will have trouble falling asleep (he’s usually right)…

  18. Hmmmmm. Our son has had 12 ear infections since September, on top of sever GI reflux disease. We’re obviously so blessed that his health issues are treatable, common issues. However, I feel bad for Drew that they are both things that make him constantly uncomfortable and sleep is always elusive around here. If this past summer you shook your head in disgust when you saw a haggard woman pushing a stroller around Minneapolis at 2 in the morning, then I shake my fist at you! ;)

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