I’m not sure how many times I can sit down and talk about how Lucy doesn’t sleep.
She wakes up approximately every 60 to 90 minutes, and she comes running down the hall to my room. All night long. Every night.
A couple of weeks ago, we went out for brunch at IHOP with the girls’ daycare friends. The mom seems really nice and easy to talk to, and the kids adore each other, so it sounded fun.
The little boy in the middle is Kameron. He’s in the toddler room at daycare with Lucy, and they adore each other. His mom and I were talking about kids and sleep issues, and she mentioned that Kameron (who just recently turned two years old) had only been sleeping through the night for about a week, and it was because she finally took away the baby bottle.
I have said in the past that I didn’t care about Lucy’s bottle addiction. And I didn’t. It made her happy, it made my life easier, it worked. She could’ve kept the bottle until elementary school, as far as I was concerned.
But desperation for sleep makes you do crazy things. So I decided that if there was a snowball’s chance in hell that weaning Lucy off the bottle would get her to sleep through the night? Well, it was worth a shot.
I dropped her off at daycare one morning, and I came home and packed up every bottle in the house. I put it all in a hefty bag and shoved it in the back of my closet. (I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, just in case this experiment failed.)
Then I wanted to cry and throw up. I kept thinking about her happily walking around the house that morning before daycare, drinking her bottle, and she had absolutely no idea that was the last bottle she was ever going to have.
Normally when I picked up the girls at daycare, I would bring a bottle with me. Lucy would come running to me, give me a hug, then say, “Baba?” She knew I would always have it in my bag.
That day, when I picked her up, I had a sippy cup of milk instead of a bottle. She screamed as though I had betrayed every faith she’d ever had in the universe.
Halfway home, with Lucy still screaming to the point of nearly-vomiting in the car, I was trying not to lose it, and Catie was in the backseat with her hands over her ears. Finally, Catie yelled, “Don’t you have those DVDs with the music on them that she likes?!!!” I realized she meant CDs, and yes! Actually I did. I popped in a Wiggles CD, cranked it loud enough to drown out Lucy’s screams, and she actually quieted down and listened to the music for the rest of the way home.
(Don’t judge me for the Wiggles. I will listen to “Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy” all the livelong day, if it means I don’t have to listen to my kids cry.)
When we got home, she ran to the fridge, and I opened the door to show her that the shelf that normally contained her bottles? Was now stocked with sippy cups of milk. She threw herself on the floor and wailed some more.
Grief is tough, man.
The next several days were a lot like that. She’d hopefully ask, “Baba?” And I’d say, “No, Lucy-goose, the baba went bye-bye.”
I kept repeating, “Babas are for babies, but Lucy is a BIG GIRL now.” Most of the times she’d angrily shove the sippy cup of milk away rather than drink it.
Then I had an epiphany: Lucy wants everything Catie has. And Catie still drinks milk in a sippy cup at bedtime. (Yes, she’s 6. No, I don’t care. She drinks out of regular cups all the time, but she likes to have a sippy cup on the couch sometimes, and it means I don’t have to worry about spills, so that is FINE with me.)
So, one night, while I was still holding the sippy cup of milk that Lucy angrily rejected, I said, “Wow, look, Catie sure likes her milk in a sippy cup.” Lucy looked over at Catie, then turned around, grabbed the sippy cup out of my hands, and slurped it down.
She hasn’t asked for her “baba” since then.
And a weird side effect of all of this? Lucy has suddenly turned into a major cuddle-bug. She’s always been sweet and affectionate, but normally she was always on the move, she never wanted to sit still and be cuddled. Now, she gives all of these spontaneous hugs and she wants me to hold her on my lap all the time. And it just sort of occurred to me that she always got her comfort from the bottle, and now she’s been forced to seek her comfort from, you know, other humans.
So it’s good.
But, the whole reason for taking away the bottle? To get her to sleep? No dice. It hasn’t improved her sleeping habits even one tiny bit. So I’m essentially back at square one there.
To that end, and the whole “I’m at the end of my rope and I’ll try pretty much anything at this point if it means I can get some damn SLEEP” thing? I’ve hired a child sleep coach. I’m meeting with her next week. I have no idea if this will work or not, but it’s basically my last resort, trying to throw money at the problem to see if maybe outside professional help can fix it.
She comes over on Tuesday. Cross your fingers for me.