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2-&-a-Half year old's sleep

As a general rule, The Girl Is a good sleeper. She has her off days (or weeks) but there is always a cause. Teething, usually. New bed/place. Poorly. We forgot to sing twinkle twinkle. Hunger, in the early days. The 18-month one went on for a while until we figured out she was hungry. Normaly, once we have worked out the cause, it dosen’t take us long to fix it. Normally she will sleep through 7pm(ish) to 7am(ish). In this respect, we have been lucky.  

Since halloween, we have had an issue with sleeping. Halloween was awful, with her refusing to even lie down to sleep, she eventually nodded off but woke up at about midnight and would not sleep again. We tried everything, and ultimately the only answer was to lie down next to her cot and wait her out. 

We are still not sure what the issue was, (or is). Part of it was fireworks...but that wasn’t all of it. Delayed clock change response? Delayed reaction to being home after a week away? The next day we tried calpol before bed. No change, plus, there was more fireworks, and more lieing down next to the cot for daddy.

The next day I spotted a cheeky new molar in the top left of her mouth. We had wondered if there was any more teeth to come, and the dentist wouldn’t be drawn on an answer. This confirms it, one, plus the enavatable three more to follow. A quick google suggests these teeeth appearing is common at 2.5, and while she is distracted during the day, lieing down can make them feel worse and she will notice them more with nothing else to focus on.

So, this could be our culprit.

But calpol hadn’t helped the going to bed, so teething can’t be the only thing. After a few days at nursery these bed-time meltdowns were just getting worse and worse as she became overtired from the excitement of nursery.

Eventually I hit on the idea of taking her to a fireworks display, to show her what they were, that they weren’t scary, that they were just a bit of fun and she was safe.  

That was a mistake. If anything it made it worse. She was terrified of the fireworks and really wouldn’t sleep on her own, actually won’t be on her own at all, even in daylight hours, needing to be in physical contact with one of us at all times ever since.  

She asked me 100 times the next day if there will be any more fireworks. I told her no, but we walked the dog early and I drew the curtains early so there was no risk of seeing any, and I played music at tea time and bedtime so there was no risk of hearing any.  

Still, daddy took his place at the foot of the bed. Tranquil Turtle had fresh batteries so that there was no risk of him (her?) running out before sleep happens.

We have tried leaving her to cry, it dosen’t work and it sucks for all of us. We have tried putting her in bed with us, which she thinks is so much fun she won’t sleep. We have tried normal routine and different routine and extending the routine and distraction and so far the only thing we can make work is one of us sitting or lieing in her room (usually daddy) and ’ninja-ing’ out once she is asleep. (Her sleep is unsettled so this is bedtime and any night wakes as well).

We have discussed it at length (actually we argued about it at first because what else can you do while you listen to a toddler choke on her own sobs? We were both hurting and at a loss as to how to fix it). We know she is fed, she is clean and warm, she is safe and well, and dry and comfy and loved...The only solution we can come up with is to inch out. For whoever does bedtime to sit further and further out of the door night after night until she can manage without us again. Fingers crossed, like so many things with toddlers it is just a little phase.

I hope we’re not still sitting by her bed while she falls asleep when she heads off to uni...

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