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DottieHarley 10-11-2012 09:49 AM

Does this sound like separation anxiety (sleep)?
DD is almost 21 mos and has been sleeping STTN 7p-7a for almost a year (with notable exceptions while teething). Occasionally (1/week?) she'll wake up, generally b/c she can't find her lovey blanky. We go in, hand it to her, she rolls over and goes back to sleep. Generally a solid 2 hour nap 12-2 or thereabouts - with me, DH, or daycare. Minimal fuss at naptime/bedtime... into crib awake and generally falls asleep quickly.

But for the past two weeks:
-She has skipped naps twice... just sailed straight through after 1 hour of screaming. No appearances of being tired early, either.
-Probably 2 nights out of 3, she puts up a serious fight at bedtime. Stalling tactics (re-reading books, get baby, get Pooh, get water, get baby...) and general attitude (no prayers! no sit! no rock!). At least 30 mins of hysterical screaming once she's in the crib. She throws things out, etc.
-Almost every night this week, she has woken up around 11p screaming, shrieking, inconsolable and looking for ME. Generally she is just as happy with DH as me, but at these times his presence only makes her crazier. She IS awake... I don't think these are sleep terrors. She's not saying/doing anything that gives us a clue.
-When I go in, she does not quiet until I pick her up (which is soooooo against house rules, but oh well). Rocking and snuggling calms her down immediately. As I put her back in her crib she says to me, "mommy night-night?" meaning will I lay down next to her crib until she's asleep. Well, really I think she would prefer all night long. Laying down for 20-30 mins seems to be the ONLY thing that keeps her calm enough to drift off. Once she's asleep I sneak out and she sleeps for the rest of the night, wakes up happy.

She is not sick, teething, wet, poopy, hungry, etc. Has not received any vax in the past 3 mos. Does not actually appear to be afraid of the dark or actively dislike her crib (plays "night-night" happily during the day and has no issues with lights off). Nothing else in her life has changed (no big moves, new babies, new people). The only thing I can think of, is she DID spend a long weekend with her grandparents 3 weeks ago. They claim she had no sleep issues and was a perfect angel. And I did not sneak out for the long weekend while she was asleep...

She does not appear to have any other "manifestations" of separation anxiety - during the day she is not noticeably clingy or fearful, etc. Could this be something else? Any tips? We do not co-sleep or CIO and DH is available (but lately has felt frustrated/rejected by his princess, lol).

NiNi 10-11-2012 09:55 AM

Could it just be the age? Isn't there sleep regression around 2? (maybe not I could be seriously making this up! Haha)

sent from my iPhone. excuse all typos :)

EmilytheStrange 10-11-2012 01:19 PM

Re: Does this sound like separation anxiety (sleep)?
There is a sleep regression around 2 and it generally deals with anxiety and parents often having to stay in the room while the child falls asleep. I have no practical experience with this one as DD has not gone through it. I suppose we have more time, she's just turned 2, but let's hope not.

A lot of parents do the whole 'sit in a chair' while the kid falls asleep and slowly move the chair closer to the door, then eventually halfin/halfout of the room and then not staying there at all. It's an option - I don't know if it would work for you.

Some of the rest of the things sound semi normal. For instance, DD skips naps all the time. Well, it's on average 1-2x a week and she's fine for the rest of the day. She's not in a crib though, so she actually gets out of bed and reads her books and plays with her toys and I allow it. I call it 'quiet time' and practice for when she gives up naps altogether. She can't often skip too many or it catches up with her.

She also gets into this whole 'no cuddles, no hugs, no kisses' tantrum sometimes at bedtime or even naptime. We just lay her in bed, give her kisses and tell her to have a good night.

You might think about moving bedtime if she's resisting constantly. 7-7 is about 1 hour longer than DD sleeps. She goes to bed at 8 and well, these days, is up at 6:30. Of course, not every child needs the same bedtime, so it might not work, but I cannot imagine trying to put her down at 7 - my DD is not sleepy enough for bedtime that early. Only you can be the judge of that for your daughter, but I'd consider it.

Another thing - do you ever put the stuff back in her crib after she throws it out? I would not. If DD throws her bear (her lovey) off the changing table (yes, I still use one with a 2yo :) ) and starts screaming for bear, I make her say 'please bear' before I will get it. So atleast she knows she can't just throw things and then ask for them. Sometimes I will make her wait to get bear back until after the change is completed because she threw him - but that obviously wouldn't be what you'd want for bedtime.

I don't know if any of that helps, hope it does!

knodceo 10-11-2012 01:25 PM

My daughter got night terrors about then. It was like wasn't awake and shrieking. I would have to clap or pick her up to get her to snap out of it

*KaiMom* 10-11-2012 01:41 PM

Re: Does this sound like separation anxiety (sleep)?
Sounds like she's turning into a two year old. I'd set firm boundries now and try to stick with them so that bedtime doesn't become a power struggle. With naps I'd just say play it by ear. Maybe she doesn't need one because she's sleeping 12 hours at night? Some kids stop naps early others continue well into childhood.

DottieHarley 10-12-2012 08:51 AM

Re: Does this sound like separation anxiety (sleep)?
Thanks all... It makes me feel a tiny bit better, having a reminder that this is normal!

Originally Posted by *KaiMom* (Post 15798809)
Sounds like she's turning into a two year old

Sigh... yeah, this is coupled with increased toddler-isms the rest of the day. While she's awake it's either cute or "annoying but not really an issue"

DH does not function well when sleep deprived, but pitches in 50% at night. Her rejection of him at night is not helping things... he feels resentment, guilt, etc.

The "staying in the room til she falls asleep" is reasonably do-able and we have done it in the past. I'm just concerned that she gets dependent on it... she is now specifically asking me to stay and telling me to sit down.

I do generally toss the blanky back in the crib, and usually it's one toss and then she goes to sleep, but not lately. I don't hand it to her, though - I toss it over her shoulder so she has to bend down to get it (and hopefully stay down)!

We did chat on the issue at 430 this morning, when DD insisted that she was awake for the day, uggggh. DH is convinced that teething is still PART of the issue (she's been working on incisors and molars for so long it's just status quo around here) but it turns out that daycare has been letting her take 2.5-3 hour naps. Those need to be limited to 2 hours in our opinion - I think it's contributing to "I'm tired but feel like I just woke up" later in the evening. Maybe we'll push bedtime back a tiny bit.

AniMommy 10-12-2012 02:54 PM

Re: Does this sound like separation anxiety (sleep)?
I'm in the same boat with my 27 mo old. She used to be a champion sleeper but the past two months....arg! Pretty much every thing the OP talked about my LO is doing too.

It seems to have gotten better the past few days. Knock on wood.

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