The velcro baby’s sleep regression

Emerson napping
EJ napping last weekend, after I stood by his crib to help him fall asleep.

For the past two weeks, EJ’s schedule has been a little off. It’s summer, the days are longer, we’re all a little more relaxed and we want to be outside as much as possible. We were camping for four days, then we had friends over for a weekend, we’ve eaten out, and so on. Despite the slight timing shifts, his bedtime routine is consistent and we’re trying spend as much time with him as we can.

He recently started using “Daddy” and “Mommy,” and is using them interchangeably with “Mama” and “Dada.” And lately, there is a certain kind of whine attached to those words, so it sounds like, “Momm-eeee” or “Dadd-eeee.” He wants us, more than he wants anyone else, and the tears at daycare drop off have returned.

He’s always been a velcro baby. Now, as the toddler years creep in, it’s fascinating to see how his independence can flourish at times and how his velcro baby tendencies take over at key times during the day. The past month has been the start of a mommy/daddy phase. It was “Daddy” only for about a week, and for the past week or so, it’s been a true “Mommy” phase. True to the extent that he wants to be in my arms and interacting with me the minute I get home, in the shower with me in the mornings, he wants me to feed him, and at bedtime, he wants to be in bed or in the rocking chair, with me. All of which I am soaking up, and is met with only the tiniest bit of exasperation.

No criticism here please, we all need some “me time” and I’m getting very little of it this week. Mainly because, for a few nights this week, he absolutely refused to sleep! Bedtime started at 7:30 on each of those nights, but he didn’t fall asleep until between 9:30 and 10:30, wailing “Momm-eeee” the minute I tried to leave him in his bed, without letting up.

He tried to climb out of his crib several times, and would be dead asleep in my arms, or A’s arms, and then would wake as soon as we were out of his room. Then, in the middle of the night, it would start again, “Momm-eeee! Momm-eeee! Momm-eee…” For hours. We went through this cycle of wake, cry, rock to calm/sleep, bed, wake… We’re all exhausted.

However, victory followed last night when A (quite literally) tore a wailing EJ away from me after his bedtime story, to take him to bed. He rocked him for a few minutes to calm him, then put EJ in bed and said the usual, “Night night, love you.” EJ screamed, “Momm-eeee” for about five minutes, before pulling the tail of his musical monkey and laying down to sleep. He slept 10.5 hours and just like that, we are almost back to normal!

So, what the hell was that!? He’s 21 months next week and there are an abundance of things it could be. Maybe it’s the toddler sleep regression. It could be that his molars are coming in. It also sounds like separation anxiety.

I’m out of the house for an average of 10 hours Monday to Friday. I often get to see EJ for 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, as we rush out the door, or for one to two hours in the evening, before bedtime. Usually, I’m stressed or tired both times, from the long drive, the rush to be on time, or from my day. Cue the tiny violin. I feel ultra guilty as a working mom.

I am doing my best to ease EJ’s feelings of anxiety, by;

  • Being consistent with a quick daycare drop off
  • Being consistent with bedtime routines
  • Staying responsive, affectionate and calm
  • Giving him my full attention and explaining his feelings of frustration, sadness or fear

Whatever this phase is, I’m sure this isn’t the end of it, but AlphaMom says, remember that, “This nonsense too shall pass!”

If you have any advice – I’d love to hear it!

xo

Coco

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