a blog about raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning unexpected lessons along the way

Sunday, February 20, 2011

SuperNanny Knows

We have begun making a few changes to Oia's room in preparation for what's to come this summer. Until just one week ago, Oia was still sleeping in a crib. Since we were fearful of her standing inside it and perhaps flopping over the rails, we literally just placed her mattress inside the crib frame on the floor. Essentially, the crib acted as the ultimate toddler cage; she couldn't get out and she never even tried. Bedtime and naptime in the crib was a piece of cake and I hated to fix what wasn't broken but the fact of the matter is that Oia was getting too long for her crib and the crib will soon have a new occupant.

Onto the next chapter... a "big girl" twin bed accompanied by what I knew would happen; a fight at every bedtime.

Oia will not, I repeat WILL NOT, fall asleep in her new bed without one of us laying in bed with her. I understand we've rocked her world by taking away something she felt comfortable in so I'll accommodate her for now. However, she has even begun waking in the middle of the night, crying out for us, and walking down the hall to our room. Again, same situation. She will not fall back asleep unless I lay with her once she's placed back in her bed. This behavior is new for Oia. She's a great, sleep-through-the-night sleeper.

You can call it lack of patience, I prefer to call it structure, but I'm not willing to deal with the middle of the night wakings by laying with her until she falls back asleep. I need sleep too, in my own bed. So, I resorted to the SuperNanny tactic, you've at least all heard of the show.

Here's the scenario:
Kid wakes and cries and crawls out of bed.
Parent picks up kid, puts kid back in bed, walks out.
Repeat. Over and over and over again until kid gives up and parent wins, no matter how long it takes.

Sounds easy but I assure you it's everything but that. That was the scene at our house Friday night. I felt ready to tackle the beast at 3:27am. Oia woke, sat up in bed and cried. I came in, laid her back down, covered her up, walk out. She cried, sat up again, crawled out of bed, I entered her room and put her back in bed, then walked out. It seems brutal and after 30 minutes of this dance, I was determined to not give in but it felt like no end was in sight. Oia gave it her best shot but after all the crying and fighting to get out of bed, she worked herself into extreme exhaustion and just couldn't do it any longer. Her surrender came exactly one whole hour later after a minimum of 35-40 attempts to escape her bed.

I felt victorious but I knew the true test would be the following night, if she was to wake up again. And she did. She sat up and cried but never tried to get out of bed, just waited on me to enter the room. This happened just 3 times in a row which took only about 2 minutes as opposed to the previous night's ordeal of the one grueling hour.

Around 7:30 or so that morning, I woke to the sound of her shuffling down the hallway into our room where she headed straight for my side of the bed wearing a big smile on her face. Thank goodness she still loves me.

I'm calling it success and sweet dreams for all. No SuperNanny needed here (at least yet anyways!)

Pictures of Oia's bedroom re-do coming soon.


  1. I did that for two hours once when Libby was that age. Guess who won? She did-I know, horrible parenting but I couldn't do it anymore. Congrats to you for winning the battle! So glad they are so forgiving too!

  2. Who needs SuperNanny when you have a SUPER MOMMY!

  3. Good for you! Totally the right thing to do, but Oh-so-hard to actually do it. Good for you!

  4. Oh Mo I am right there with you sister! Uggggggg! But way to go with your determination and perseverance! That little face sure must have been hard to be firm with!LOL!

  5. AH! So hard for me to do! Glad it worked for you though. :) Looking forward to seeing pictures!

  6. Sorry, got super behind in my reading. YOU ROCK. I have never been able to be a sleep master but you really ROCK, Mo! I am so, so impressed. If either child is a little sick or has a bad dream or just some minor disturbance they always wake and I try to get Dad to handle it because they won't mess about with his head, they only work on me because I am a softie. If H is really sick I actually sleep upright in her chair so I can feed her and watch her closely, and because I am weak willed when it comes to babies crying. I spend time with each girl at night before bed and because I work all day I am not willing to make the bedtime ritual short - it has to have books and songs and cuddles and lie downs for the girl in a bed, but they have really been great sleepers and I'll never know if it is partly because they get plenty of mommy time right before bed. I violate all the rules and I really do hold babies until they sleep, unless they want to get in the bed before that but it is mostly for me to get cuddles and petting, which I don't get enough of. You, woman, are made of steel.