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Night-time tantrums
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Night-time tantrums

Our daughter is 31 months old.  She has never been a great sleeper, but a couple months ago she got obsessed with leaving the light on, and her bed time shifted from 8 to about 9:30.  We have weened her off naps, but she still struggles to stay awake as long as possible.  Now she even makes excuses- that she is hungry, thirsty, "neeeeeds to watch Dora", wants to play, make mommy a cake....  Anything to stay awake.  We don't generally grant these wishes, but occassionally let her fall sleep in our bed.

About 2 weeks ago she had her Adenoids (adenoids) out, and since then she has been a TERROR at night.  She is an absolute angel during the day.  But at NIGHT it all begins.  BRIGHT lights on, she will scream, bite, pull her own hair, scratch at her eyes, throw things, bang her head on the ground or wall.  We are nervous she will hurt herself.  We've tried leaving her alone, tried restraining her gently, tried singing, calming-- but once she starts- it's 1-2 hour (until we cave, or she tires enough to negotiate).

We also took away the pacifier after her operation. She was only using it to sleep.  She asks for it 1 of 3 tantrums.  Tantrum occur from 8:30-10PM, and 3-5AM (yes, 1-2 hours, usually 1.5 hours on the button.)  

Yes, our life is hell, but more importantly, we are nervous that something is seriously wrong with her?! Now we are at the limit and either we will be mean- letting her cry and hurt herself in her room for 2 hours + (yes, she can have these tantrums that long) or give into her requests for milk, food, play, etc.  (If we have to be awake, at least we'd like it to not hurt...) Can you help?  
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You do not have to be concerned that anything terrible is occurring  - it is not. Be consistent with your limits, and don't 'give in' at all. Every time you do you are reinforcing the things you want to eliminate. And it is perfectly OK, as a matter of fact helpful unser the circumstances, to allow her to have the pacifier at night. You'll only be exacerbating the problem by keeping it away at night.
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is she really hurting herself? is she pulling her hair out and bruising herself? if so talk to your doctor.  but if it is just a mega tantrum- start bed time at 7.  have her in bed no later than 7:30.  read a story, have a drink then shut it down.  leave on one light in a hall or something.  when she gets up, gently,but firmly tell her it is bedtime and put her back in bed. after that, do not engage her. let her get up and come out then walk her back to her room and leave her there.  it WILL be a battle.  but you must not engage her. don't even tell her no to her requests. just put her back. it sounds like you are wore out already, so pick a weekend and be prepared for a LONG night. just keep doing it but DO NOT GIVE IN. when you give in you are showing her that she just has to give you hell for 2 hours and then get what she wants. early bed time it key here too to get her to sleep well through the night.   after  a few time of not giving in and it will get easier.  also, it sounds like you are jumping 2 hurdles, bedtime and paci.  you might want to just do bedtime for right now. then take away paci after bedtime gets better.  maybe trade paci for a new dolly.  don't forget to be postive in the morning for going to sleep the night before.  you are not being mean.  this is a very common problem.  
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