The Bebefiles: Stubborness, Thy Name is Khalid

So it seems like a quarterly tradition- ever so often we try to sleep-train Khalid again. My Bebeface, who is now 21 months old, will still insist on being rocked to sleep and then wake every two hours in the night, which is a behavior more appropriate for a newborn than a toddler. Previous attempts at sleep training (from the Ferber method to the Sleepeasy Solution) have all gone bust- instead of Khalid learning to soothe himself to sleep, he cries longer, harder, and sometimes to the point where he throws up.

The difference between the Ferber method (throw kid in crib, walk away, don’t look back, go eat a carton of icecream) and the Sleepeasy Solution is that w/Ferber, the kid’s on his own. With Sleepeasy, you go back in and check on the kid at regular and increasing intervals. Unless, that is, showing your face to the kid doesn’t calm him so much as it gives him a reason to go up three decibels for another twenty minutes. We’ve tried the Sleepeasy solution twice, and two days before Eid, we went back to Ferber.

Lo and Behold, Khalid is putting himself to sleep, but not in the way he’s supposed to. Case in point:

Day One: Khalid cries for two hours and 45 minutes. Both he and his Momma wake up the next morning looking traumatized and ready to call it quits, except his Momma is hackingly sick, six months pregnant and woefully incapable of waking up and rocking him every two hours. So we decide we’re going to stick with it and go for…

Day Two: Khalid cries for one hour and then passes out. There is much rejoicing. He wakes up at 8:30 in the morning, still looking traumatized and cranky, but there is progress, so we carry forward.

Day Three: Khalid cries for one minute, but here’s the catch- he stands, bouncing silently in his crib, for two hours before falling asleep standing up and eventually collapsing out of exhaustion. To which his stressed-out, guilt-ridden, and still pretty darn sick Momma goes What the ?!

They do not say ANYTHING about your kid bouncing for two hours continuously, or finally falling asleep with his head hanging over the edge of the crib, and then slumping down and waking up eight hours later looking miserable. Last night was night six, and he’s done the bounce & collapse two hours later routine every night, except last night, he regressed a bit and cried for an hour and a half first. Where my rule is that I will NOT pick him back up once I’ve put him in his crib for the night, his is that he will NOT voluntarily lay down, no matter what. I have laid in bed watching him sleep standing up, he periodically wakes as he begins to slip, whines a bit, readjusts his standing position and then goes back to sleep.

HF, who watched him yesterday night as well, crawled into bed after Khalid had collapsed to sleep and whispered to me, “I feel so sad…” I nearly broke out in tears, because up until that point, I had been relying on HF to be my extra source of courage and determination. To know that he felt as miserable about Khalid’s stress as I did was hard to hear, because I was hoping that I felt horrible because I was Khalid’s Momma and a big fat softie and that I was biologically programed to feel like crying myself whenever he went off. To hear that HF, who has no such biological programming, felt badly too meant that Khalid was genuinely pathetic and darn-near tragic, and it wasn’t just me. If Khalid hadn’t already been asleep by that point, I would have thrown in the towel and called it quits for sleep training until he was in his teens.

Last night, as I said before, Khalid cried for an hour and a half, and I stayed in the room with him until he finally quited down and eventually passed out. It was an incredibly stressful night, we put him in his crib at 8:40 and he finally slept at 11. This morning he woke up at 8:30 as usual. Where is he now? Sitting in my lap and periodically swiping at the keyboard. A few minutes ago, he was making faces at himself in the bedroom mirror. Before that, he was vacuuming the floor for me (as well as the bed and the top of the dresser, good help is so hard to find!). He’s fine. He gets stressed out when he knows that bedtime is coming, but that’s to be expected I guess. Until he realizes that all he has to do is lay the heck down, bedtime is pretty stressful for him too.

We’re going to keep with it though, because leaving Khalid to figure it out on his own seems to be easier on him than checking up on him. When I checked up on him, he screamed continuously until he passed out. When we let him think he’s by himself (I put a curtain up around his crib and I sit wringing my hands behind it) he quiets down and then just bounces. I don’t know whether he’s bouncing because he’s bored or whether that’s how he’s putting himself to sleep. He’ll learn though InshaAllah. He has to learn. As stubborn as he is, he can’t keep this up forever, and as much as I love my Bebeface, we have another one coming very soon, and I am only one Momma, with one lap and only one rechargeable battery.

Please make dua, that God, in His Infinite Mercy and Kindness, teach my crazy son how to lay down and go to sleep, and that he give us both health and patience and strength, Insha’Allah.


Abez is a 50% white, 50% Pakistani, and 100% Muslim. She is also chronically ill and terminally awesome. She is the ever-lovin Momma of: - Khalid, a special little boy with autism - Iman, a special little girl with especially big hair -Musfira, an especially devious baby Spoiler, Abez is also Zeba Khan on

  1. Abez

    Over ten years later, reading this still hurt my heart. Sleep-training Khalid was failure, and at this point we were still months away from his autism diagnosis and two more years away from him sleeping through the night for the first time. Khalid still struggles with sleep. Apparently sleep-disruption is such a common feature of autism that is used to be included in the diagnostic criterion.

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