The good news first: Hannah has slept through the night for four nights in a row now!
But now to backtrack. I guess one problem about posting on this topic on Momaroo
is that some bloggers who aren't subscribers don't know the background to my problem. One poster commented with all the research against Crying It Out, and another poster just plain called me a neglectful parent. Ha! Any of you reading this know that, if anything, I need to take a chill-pill when it comes to raising my daughter.
Anyway, here's some more background information.
At 19 months old, Hannah is not an infant. (I was scolded for not tending to the needs of my helpless infant).
Hannah is a toddler, and a very smart one at that. When I ask if she needs her diaper changed, she says "Diapie!" When I ask if she is hungry, she replies, "Eat?" When I ask what she wants to eat, she says, "Cackuh" (cracker) or "fuit bah" (fruit bar). Or if she doesn't want any of those things, she has no problem saying "no!" (What toddler doesn't?) I also know all of her cries. I know what her cry sounds like during a night terror, I know what she sounds like when she's hurt, I know her sick-cry, and I know her frightened cry, usually from a nightmare. But the cry I know best is her temper-tantrum cry.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is the cry I find myself face-to-face with at 4:00am. Night after night of doing everything I could think of to meet her needs (diaper change, food, drink, playing with toys, reading a book, watching tv, and yes, even a car-ride), Hannah was still just plain ticked off. And yet so tired that she could hardly walk straight (me too, for the record). And that is when I decided that, for the first time in 19 months of her life, that it was time to start crying it out.
The method I listed in a previous post seems to work very well, although it did take her about 2 hours to stop crying some nights. (She's very willful.) I also followed some good advice I received from other mamas. Since her diaper has been a big contender in this whole process, I followed the suggestion to cut off food and drink about 1 hour to an hour and half before bedtime. But so far, the best advice I've gotten is to be sure I wear her out during the day.
Seems like a no brainer, but it occurred to me that my abnormally active toddler might need an abnormal amount of activity to burn that energy. This sounds horrible, but I've started to think of it the same way someone might walk the dog. We all know what a destructive disaster a dog is when he desperately needs his walk, so why would a toddler be any different? And shouldn't I treat my daughter even better than a pet?
So we've spent a few hours at the park every day this week, especially because the weather has been amazing. And you know what, she's slept through the night ever since. She still peeps and sometimes cries out around 4:00am (probably still wetting her diaper), but that doesn't last for more than 30 seconds, probably because she knows now that I'm not coming. The other night, she woke up at 2:30am and starting singing the ABCs (so funny), but she never got upset so I never went in.
So I apologize to those who think I'm a bad parent for letting my toddler cry it out. But guess what, in combination with a few other changes, it worked. And I would/will do it again.