You know about Occam’s Razor? In my own words, it’s basically that between two options the one with the fewer assumptions, the simpler solution, is better. Oh, if only I had applied this principle months ago to the little dudes’ sleep issues.
You see, we’ve been in toddler sleep hell for about 3 months. For a couple weeks prior to the boys’ two-year well child check, their sleep had been pretty off. Elliot especially was having a hard time. It would take him much longer to fall asleep or he would wake up in the middle of the night and just be awake for a couple of hours. At their appointment, we brought up the sleep issues, talked about their allergy meds and slightly increased the dosage, explored their language development and all the other typical things that happen at these appointments. Our pediatrician thought their sleep cycles had just gotten a little off and recommended we use liquid melatonin for no more than 4-6 weeks to help reset their circadian rhythms. We started using the melatonin, and it was like a dream. They were actually tired at bed time. They went right to sleep. They slept like beautiful little angels all night long, and their parents rejoiced. Then, the day came when we had to say goodbye to our magic sleep potion. And, friends, it was bad. So, so bad. That very first night both boys took a full two hours to fall asleep. They didn’t fall asleep until about 10 p.m., after many trips into check dirty diapers, tell them to lay down, tell them to stop jumping in their cribs, etc., etc. The next day went the same: it took a full two hours for them to calm down enough to finally fall asleep even though we knew they were exhausted. They acted happy and hyper and they just could not fall asleep no matter what.
Thus, started the next two months of trying bloody everything to get them to go to sleep. We moved naps earlier. We cut naps to an hour. We moved bedtime earlier. We moved bedtime later. We made our bedtime routine even more specific and added an extra song to really give them a chance to relax before laying them down. We went into the room to tell them they had to lay down and not talk. We stayed out of the room in hopes that the lack of our “visits” would keep them from getting worked up again. I googled “2-year sleep regression.” I googled “toddler sleep.” I reread the toddler sleep sections from every sleep book we have. Nothing worked. Nothing even fazed them. No matter what, it took at least two hours to go to sleep. We started putting them to bed as early as we can so they would hopefully be asleep before it was too late. Even so, seven o’clock was about the earliest we could get them to bed, so they were always going to sleep an hour late, best case scenario. The loss of sleep built up until all of us were hating life every day. Mr. Blue kept asking if I wanted to go back to work because I was so stressed out by the end of the day every day. I kept telling him I knew this was just a phase and that I would be much happier when my days weren’t filled with two toddlers who were absolutely exhausted and therefore, whiney and tantrumy every single day. Not only were my days stressful and exhausting, but the two hour stretch of trying to get them to sleep kept me on edge all evening, too.