I have not written in a long time. Mostly because life circumstances have been overwhelming and having a newborn and a toddler take up a lot of my time. Some day I will write about what has happened the past several months but today is not that day. Instead I’d like to share about something that I never thought I would have to deal with…a toddler who will not eat or sleep.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Little man has never been a good sleeper. He would constantly wake up in the middle of the night. Usually once an hour. It gets better when he is able to spend time outside and burning energy but lately he would wake up around midnight and not go back to sleep until 5am-ish. This was killing me because having a new little peanut is exhausting enough.
We tried everything to wear him out from shoveling snow to buying a trampoline for the basement. This child would not sleep. It occurred to me that he wasn’t sleeping because he was hungry. Little man wasn’t eating dinner. At all.
Up until about September he was doing fine. Then my dad moved in with us and had a lot of hospital visits (the life circumstances mentioned above). Little man was kind of thrown to the wayside and was given anything to pacify him so that we could deal with other situations. He was confined to a hospital room on multiple occasions and we would just give him videos to watch and his bottle of milk and he would be content. This situation became normal for about 3 months. Our routine was shattered and that is when I noticed regressions. We started going through 4 gallons of milk a week. Unknowingly, little man was using milk as a meal replacement. I was too exhausted to realize this because of my dad situation and my anemia and being super pregnant…I would do anything to pacify the little man so that I could get what little rest that I could.
About a month after the peanut was born I decided to crack down on the milk issue. We cut little man back to 3 bottles a day, stopped giving him sweets and no longer let him watch videos on our phones. For heavens sake he became a monster. I had no idea how much milk that child consumed in a day until we cut back and how little food he was actually eating.
James 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
I decided to start a new routine to have dinner at the same time every night. The first week was awful. He screamed and refused to sit at the table. We hadn’t been doing this because life was so chaotic up until this point. I tried to force him to eat, that didn’t work. I tried a gentle approach, that didn’t work. We tried good cop/bad cop, that didn’t work. We tried bribery. That didn’t work. By the second week I was defeated. I ended up crying at the dinner table because I felt like a failure as a mom. My child is two and a half years old and he won’t eat! Then the third week happened. I had heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well guess what? Our consistency paid off. Not only did he eat a whole plate of Mac and cheese but also asked for chicken nuggets and ate 8 of them! 8 chicken nuggets! He eats breakfast pretty regularly and has eaten at least part of his dinner every night. Lunch has been a problem but I figure if he’s eating two decent meals lunch isn’t a big deal. Today he ate all of his lunch though!
Not only is little mans eating improving his sleep has improved, he naps regularly and his attitude has changed. His tantrums have been reduced tremendously! Now, we still have some bad moments and he still likes to wake up early but I will take the improvements!
I say all of this because we all have times when we struggle with our kids or other areas of life. Just persevere and be consistent. We are living proof that you should never give up. Keep working towards your goal. A solution won’t happen instantly but if you keep moving forward things will get easier.