The Stand Off.


That’s how many times I didn’t doze, but fully and completely fell asleep at the crib’s side rail.

How I didn’t fall off? I’m not quite sure. I believe how I was positioned played a role in keeping me from crashing to the floor.


Or maybe it was four? Could even possibly be six. That is how many times, sitting on the floor, I completely went out, with my head propped against the side of the crib. Its slats keeping me from going forward or backwards when I fully fell into sleep.


The number of hours it had been since this whole ordeal started.


The number of times, with my forehead pressed against those slats, I quietly asked my child of nearly 17-months “What’s going on buddy? Why won’t you sleep in here?” And on the inside, felt like I was dying and completely exhausted.


That one time, sitting completely upright, a patchwork of his blankets across my outstretched legs and one wrapped around myself, that I legitimately fell asleep – upright – then heard just moments into my sleep, “Momma”, in a tiny little whisper from the crib. I turned to see his little face pressed against the side of the crib, eyes wide.

A few nights earlier, this song and dance suddenly started. The moment it became time for him to go to bed, if it was in his room and in his crib, he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. At first, it was because we thought it was too quiet in his room. I’d done my best efforts, since his arrival, to make sure he was a child that could sleep in environments with noise. Daycare is noisy. The crane service that abuts the back part of our property is noisy. The five kids next door are noisy. ALL the dogs in our neighborhood (except our grumpy old man dog) bark, all, day, long. Our own house can be noisy at times (daddy watching soccer). I wanted him to be comfortable enough to fall asleep in his world and not become stressed because he did not have the quiet place to do so. I started to wonder if I accomplished this TOO well, and now he needed noise to sleep. So out came the sleep sheep from my baby shower. He would fall asleep and 45-minutes later, when it shut off, he would be screaming and appearing terrified.

So the continuous play “white noise” app was downloaded on a spare phone. For two nights, we achieved success.

Then that stopped working.

Which is how I ended up, desperate for him to sleep, desperate for sleep myself, wondering how the hell I was going to be on the road, headed two hours south, by 6:45 a.m. that day, when it was 12-oh-whatever, and we were both still, as stubborn as we are, having some type of stand off.

Defeated, I took him from his crib and brought him into bed.

I’m a working parent. My husband and I are up and out of the house early in the mornings for our jobs. We don’t have the time to wrestle with a child that has clearly inherited our stubborn gene, over bed time.

I had considered the pack ‘n play earlier in the day the “stand off” as I’ve dubbed it now, happened. But, I just figured it was a phase. He was dealing with separation anxiety, his room is the quietest room in the house, and was just getting over a cold and ear infection.

I look back on that night and realize the complete ridiculousness of the entire thing. Three hours. Trying to prove a point that all would be okay to my son, who, at 16-almost-17-months old, can’t quite grasp the concept that the world isn’t ending over mommy being in a different room, for three entire hours, was pointless. He took nothing from that night, he probably doesn’t even remember it. I got less sleep, and was stressed out over it, and barely functional the following day.

That weekend, the pack ‘n play was moved into our room. I looked at my son and said “I know you’re not going to understand this, but this is what we call a compromise. Mommy and daddy need sleep. YOU need sleep. But you have to do it on your own buddy. So for a few nights, you can crash here, in your pack ‘n play, in our room. This way, you’re with mommy and daddy, while you work on realizing we’re not going anywhere and the world is NOT going to come to an end because we went to the bathroom and you couldn’t come.”

The separation anxiety bit is getting better. Drop offs at daycare are less meltdowny again. Sleeping in a different room, most times, is okay again. We’re getting there.

Just as we need to learn to deal with that crazy being stubborn thing.

Posted by

Mother. Photographer. Writer. Founder of Fit Fridays for Mental Health. Former powerlifter turned weightlifter. Coach & Nutritionist. Spondy/PCOS/Endo. Bully breed advocate.

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