Care and Feeding

It’s 2:40 a.m. and I’m Getting Desperate

The witching hour at our house is full of shrieks, however now not from witches.

A baby cries in front of a clock.
Photo illustration through Media7. Photo through Marcos Paulo Prado/Unsplash and PM Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Care and Feeding is Media7’s parenting recommendation column. Have a query for Care and Feeding? Submit it here or post it in the Media7 Parenting Facebook institution.

Dear Care and Feeding,

My 2-yr-antique has constantly been a terrible sleeper, however recently he’s constantly up from 1 a.m. to about 2:30 a.m., and we’re at a loss. Letting him cry it out takes forever (he’ll cross for an hour or two), and it hasn’t modified the behavior. He desires to sleep in mattress with us or have me sit down at the ground in his room even as he falls asleep. If I felt like some thing become wrong, I might do it! And perhaps something is incorrect due to the fact he constantly can’t sleep? But I’m 7-months pregnant, and we ought to get this looked after before toddler quantity 2 rocks our world (now not to mention it’s very uncomfortable to be 7-months pregnant and sit down at the floor for an hour). He’s constantly been a touchy youngster and though he doesn’t understand it, I’m certain he is aware of a few big modifications are coming. Are we just doomed till he adjusts to a brand new infant in numerous months?

We discover ourselves preventing the urge to yell at a 2-12 months-antique to forestall crying within the middle of the night. We cross in periodically and plead with him to sleep, get him water, let him know we’re right here however now not going to bring him into mattress with us, provide to show on one of these ceiling picture light things, and many others. I fear the buddies are troubled; I worry he’s getting to know we received’t consolation him if something is inaccurate; I’m involved something IS incorrect that I’m no longer catching; worried not anything is incorrect and I’m being played; I’m involved he’s now not drowsing sufficient; I’m concerned I’m going to try and surgically dispose of my ear drums one night time out of desperation—I had REALLY hoped we’d be out of the bad sleep level through now. I’m scripting this at 2:40 a.m.

— Please Let the Next One Be a Good Sleeper

Dear Please,

This one genuinely hits me. Your suspicion that your son detects approaching alternate is probably a good one, and it additionally means (hold on tight) that there may be additional levels on your son’s adjustment length beforehand. My advice to you, primarily based on my constrained understanding of the quantum mysteries of sleep, is that your best wager lies with guidelines: consistency, and exhaustion. On consistency: If you don’t want to take a seat at the ground for an hour or take him into your mattress, stick to your guns. But I do agree that checking on him appears higher than letting him cry for an hour or two each night. You may want to try developing an (preferably brief) recurring for the ones mid-night time wakeups, with the same matters in the equal genuine order, on the danger he turns into comforted via knowing what to expect even in the course of those upsetting bouts of awareness. A backrub with a hummed lullaby (no pleading). A diaper-alternate. A lovey with unique “moon” powers that you hand over best at 1 a.m. And a promise to go back very quickly. Very (yawn) quickly.

On exhaustion (his, now not yours): The frequency of the wakeups makes me surprise how the original bedtime is going, and I would simply go away you with numerous inquiries to discover. Is he geared up for any adjustments to his daylight sleep schedule? Is he sincerely going for walks the tank to empty before dinnertime? 2-12 months-olds hit another gear in terms of energy and mobility, and given which you’ve been busy incubating every other toddler, it’s feasible his bodily pastime hasn’t risen to fit.

Some or all of this can assist him with his restlessness, however I also ought to be sincere: There’s a danger none of it will work, and the phase will simply ought to burn itself out. Which leaves me with the maximum critical question of all: Can your companion take this on, leaving you with a nice set of earplugs?

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Dear Care and Feeding,

How long is it “adequate” to allow my 22-month-antique have tantrums when she’s disenchanted? She’s currently located she has emotions about matters and can describe them. If I do something she doesn’t like (flip the TV off, tell her it’s bedtime, and so forth.), she stomps her toes, yells “mad!” and shouts/cries until I can redirect her. Right now, my method to her having a meltdown is to well known that she is mad, now not punish her for appearing out, and try to get her centered on some thing else. “I know you’re mad. It’s good enough to be mad, but let’s go search for vans outdoor/examine a e-book/play with a fave toy, and so forth.” At what age is it no longer desirable for her to meltdown with out results? As the oldest of six youngsters, I recognize tantrums are part of younger youngsters mastering a way to cope with their feelings, however I don’t need her to analyze it’s ok to usually explicit being mad with a tantrum.

— Let’s Regroup in Boston

Dear Let’s Regroup,

I sense that what you're surely asking is whilst it is going to be adequate to switch from “redirecting” to “punishing” while your daughter is having a rage-fest, and if that’s so, it might be the incorrect question. The goal right here, as I see it, is less about teaching her what’s proper and greater approximately giving her the tools to manner the suffering of figuring out there are matters now not below her control—an discomfort so as to lessen but in no way depart. What to do after the tantrums begin is truly well worth your attention: Redirection is an honorable strategy and works nicely with a follow-up after things have calmed, in which you ask her “you had been mad after I said screen time changed into over, weren’t you?” This can provide her a risk to examine her feelings without being inside the muck of them. But I also encourage you to spend time assisting her put together for what feels to her mind like unexpected, arbitrary, and intolerable changes to her day. Give sufficient warnings, describe the destiny, and negotiate. Alert her while she has just a little time left, make certain she acknowledges it, and perhaps even set a timer. Give her a clue approximately what you're going to do next together, so she knows what’s coming. Give her one extension if she asks for it. Let her be the one to turn the TV off. All that is to assist her experience she is making the transition with you, in place of that everything is occurring to her. The phantasm of a bit electricity goes a protracted manner.

· If you ignored Tuesday’s Care and Feeding column, read it here.

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Dear Care and Feeding,

My husband of 7 years and I are new mother and father, and it’s time to do what I’ve dreaded for years: babyproofing. We’re one of those couples whose differences balance every other out, but we've drastically special tactics to cleaning. My anxiety makes it clean for me to be crushed via litter, so I do my nice to tidy as I pass and love while things are in their area. His ADD (which he's medicated for; I’m not currently taking tension meds even as breastfeeding) makes it more tough to maintain matters tidy, and he tends to wait until a place is in desperate need of attention after which pass on a cleaning spree. This has caused anxiety through the years, but we're generally able to work collectively to find compromises in relation to family venture timing and delegation.

I actually have worked in childcare formerly, and I recognise how essential it's far to have easy, secure spaces for younger children. I’d love to comprise Montessori-aligned spaces for our infant into our household, but that looks like a pipe dream at this factor. I’m worried approximately the naked minimal: How do I ensure that our rooms are saved free of litter which can pose a threat to our infant? I’ve visible a few oldsters with ADD on TikTok who speak loads approximately the unfairness of trying to put in force certain degrees of tidiness when it’s contrary to how a brain with ADD capabilities, and I understand I may need to offer additional aid to help it occur. But is keeping a baby-secure space an excessive amount of to invite?

— Don’t Want to Put Baby in a Corner

Dear Baby in a Corner,

What you don’t say is whether or not the litter is truely dangerous in your new child. Is your husband letting his sword collection gather in a corner? (Yikes!) Is it unread New Yorkers stacked beside his nightstand? (Hmm.) Is it unread New Yorkers stacked to a height of several toes? (Yikes!) For the sake of this solution I’m going to expect it’s instead fashionable-difficulty mess, and that what's absolutely taking place is that your previously plausible Felix and Oscar habitual, while it become just the two of you, is accomplishing a actual loggerhead with the newborn. What I’d recommend is slicing the (metaphorical!) infant in half of. If your husband’s rhythm of accruing and purging clutter is something that you are inclined to grant as crucial to his well-being, then that already counts as an awesome amount of help from you, by means of my reckoning, and in flip your own request for support can be to conform to designate specific areas in the domestic as areas you'll each keep as tidy and infant-pleasant as possible. Good luck.

Dear Care and Feeding,

My wife and I are expecting our first child—yay! Now that we’ve shared the information with friends, colleagues, and cherished ones, and now that I’m starting to be visibly pregnant, we’re questioning a way to navigate the questions on our toddler’s gender. Both my spouse and I know that there’s a distinction between the sex assigned at start based totally on external genitalia and all the complicated components of someone’s gender. We don't have any goal of getting a “gender display” birthday party or leaning too much within the “pink-blue” binary. That stated, we recognize studying the sex of the child is an critical milestone in being pregnant. And it’s applicable to others—particularly our families and closest buddies, some of whom don’t percentage our evaluation round gender and some of whom are trans, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming. How can we share the news with individuals who are simply excited and need recognise in a manner that doesn’t require them to proportion our gender framework OR over-inflate the importance of our baby’s genitals? Saying “the toddler has a penis/vagina” appears bizarre (!), but pronouncing “it’s a boy/girl” just isn’t … accurate. For what it’s worth, we mentioned announcing we’re no longer finding out the intercourse or not sharing, but we are locating out and we do need to share, simply in a way that feels genuine to us and doesn’t make it into an entire component. Thoughts?

— Genitals Aren’t Gender

Dear Genitals Aren’t Gender,

Since you are asking with reference on your close pals and own family, and no longer the way you’ll respond to queries from strangers and pals, I suppose the answer is each straightforward and unspecific: Be sincere, be lighthearted, and consider that your deeply held values do not want perfect verbal encapsulation at all times. That probable method don’t ship an e-card to everyone without delay announcing the assigned sex with an asterisk and a protracted disclaimer, however instead to reply according with who is asking. That could imply your extra conventional family members get a seasoned-forma, “The intercourse is female, however we’re excited for whoever our kid turns out to be.” Or: “The sex is female, however we’re no longer doing a gender display party—we’ll leave that part up to the kid in the future.” And for the ones people for your lives who do share your values greater closely, you could be more forthright: “We’re no longer definitely positive how to speak approximately this!” They would possibly help you suspect via this very question higher than I can.

But in the end, don’t stress too much! As lengthy as your pals and family love and aid you, this is a tiny little bit of awkwardness in a very massive international, and I’m positive they may be all extra interested in the important work of welcoming your toddler.


More Advice From Media7

My 15-12 months-antique daughter does particularly well in college, wherein she has many friends and is worried in extracurricular sports. However, outside of school and organized activities in our community, she not often spends time with friends. She prefers her very own agency, gambling musical gadgets, being at home with her dog and her family. When I ask if she desires to invite friends over or make plans to go shopping or to the films with them, she says no. She identifies herself as an introvert; she is very articulate and could indicate that her social gas tank is empty and he or she desires to recharge. While she says she enjoys the silence and her personal agency, I worry that she is missing opportunities. My question is not about her, however for me. Do you have tips about how I would possibly prevent perseverating about this and alternatively matter my rattling advantages that my child is wise, well-appreciated, is aware of herself, and is glad?