Deep breath. Deep breath. Deep breath.
My 15-month-old daughter is working my very last nerve these days. The screeching, the frantic foot-stomping, the attempts at biting her brother (who is having his own cranky times, of course). And the sleep, oh, the sleep. Come back, sleep!
We Ferberized both kids at 6.5 months. Rebecca took to it reasonably well, Daniel fought it tooth and nail. But, not long thereafter, he became my really solid sleeper. Longer naps, totally silent all night long. Rebecca has long persisted in briefly waking up and crying (not hard, just a bit) pretty much once a night. But 95 times out of 100, it lasts less than two minutes, and she goes right back to sleep. No idea what causes it, but it didn’t seem to have any lasting effects.
A month or so ago, she started periodically waking up and, instead of a momentary whine, it was a sudden, hysterical scream-fest. As though she had a bad dream and woke up too quickly. We broke our usual rule of non-intervention, and discovered there was almost no calming her. If you picked her up, she’d quiet down. But the moment you turn back toward the crib, the breathing gets fast and she loses it again. A few times, we went way outside our normal mode of operations and brought her into bed. Safe to say none of us slept particularly well on those nights.
My husband finally discovered he can get her to go back to sleep in her own crib if he doesn’t pick her up, but instead just rubs her back until she calms down, and then sits next to the crib (where she can just barely see him) until she’s asleep. God help you if you try to leave the room before she’s all the way out.
As I say, we’re generally of the do-not-intervene school of kids and sleep. But there was a certain hysteria in her screaming that told us it was the right time to break our own rules. Still, I worried. My little girl is a clever one, and is quick to exploit weaknesses in the system. Now, all of a sudden, she’s waking up and screaming again… but it’s different. It’s not the scared, hysterical variety. It’s the cranky, come-visit-me type. Hrmph.
Anyways, I wish I knew what was behind the waking and screaming. I’m hoping it’s one of those disturbances you see before a big developmental leap (and I’m hoping that leap involves spoken language), and that it will pass soon. (That would also probably account for the daytime crabbiness and frustration, too – lack of communication.) Just goes to show… for as much as I spout off about the wonder that is Ferber and all of that, sleep remains forever a tricky mystery.
[update: I started this post a few days ago, on a night when Rebecca was up and screaming no fewer than four times. Last night, I’m fairly certain she didn’t make a peep. Let’s hope we’re seeing the other side of this…]