Since the 4th of July, my 2 and half year old's sleep has been in the toilet. We moved to a new house, and a toddler bed (we discovered she could climb out of her crib), and the combination of that, plus fireworks, plus 2 year old molars = hell. My mental health tanks with sleep deprivation. Further, sleep is a trigger issue for me because I get anxiety-related insomnia from time to time. It's been tough, and I've been feeling it.
We're working on doing some sleep training. My kid responded really well to the Ferber method of sleep training -- she likes structure and knowing we're there, but she could put herself to sleep up until this point. I know my decent sleeper is in there somewhere. I think just the combination of a bunch of life change, plus developmental leap, plus teeth was just too much for her.
In the meantime, we're trying to support one another as much as possible, take breaks, tap in/tap out, and prioritize self-care. One thing that's been helping me is to realize all the things I did do during the last few weeks of sleep deprivation and survival mode:
- faced my own fear of sleep training and participated fully
- gave gifts to friends
- hiked in the redwoods
- tried a new brewery and a new restaurant
- was a good co-parent, partner, and friend
- did yoga
- ate a lot of plants
- exercised, and even made it to CrossFit once, where I PR'ed my 3-rep max bench press
So, this near month of survival mode/developmental stew has had its blessings. I'm able to be fully present for my daughter, even when she's having a tough time. I can listen to the crying and big feelings and see them for what they are: her struggling to learn something new. I tell her how proud I am of her. I tell her how much I love her. I listen and recognize her feelings, so she feels heard. But I also let her try to learn the hard thing.
That feels right to me and for our family. Because I know we'll all feel pretty resentful if we don't have time to decompress in the evenings and if we're co-sleeping every night. This is what we all need for better sleep. Plus, her outlook and attitude have improved a bunch since we started doing this. She seems happier and more flexible, so even though progress is slow, I think it's the right thing to do.
And in the meantime, I haven't had time to fixate on my body or self-esteem, or any of that stuff. I'm mostly just grateful I can eat pretty well and move my body on the regular. I focus on doing what I can when I can, and working to right the cart so that this survival mode period doesn't have to last longer than it needs to. I'm also setting more realistic expectations about what may or may not happen, and how much we can all get done because of that. I'm embracing the season of life we're in, and not avoiding it -- the full catastrophe. It feels a lot better than the constant stress of "Are we doing something wrong? WHAT is going on with her?? What should we do?" Letting go of some of that hyper-vigilance is good, I think.
It is what it is. She's going through what she's going through. We're going to help her as much as we can, but she has to ultimately learn this for herself. I'm going to do as much self-care as possible to stay grounded, and I'm going to let the rest go.