Toddler Wakes Up Grouchy

Archived Q&A and Reviews

See also: 27-month-old is hysterical when she awakes from nap
Our 18-month-old son snuggles down and goes to sleep BY HIMSELF every night in his crib and usually sleeps through the night. Our problem, you ask? He sleeps eight hours (or slightly less) at night, every night- 9PM to 4:45 AM is typical- and wakes up in a hellish mood. This past week, he has awakened several times in full tantrum. He's desperate to be held, holding his arms out to (usually) Daddy and pleading, but when we hold him, he struggles against us and screams as if we are beating him. It's only a matter of time until the neighbors call CPS. It's a true tantrum- he has no idea what he wants, and he's as freaked out by his emotions as we are. He won't even take a bottle or hold his blankie, two things that usually soothe him. The only thing that has calmed him down is a Sesame Street video. This morning, however, even that didn't work so well. He naps about 1.5 to 2 hours during the day. We would love for him to sleep longer or at least wake up just slightly grumpy instead of possessed by the devil. Has anybody out there dealt with this issue? Is it just a matter of time or is there something we can do?
This is a reply to the mother with the child with demonic behaviour after waking up (unfortunately I deleted the posting already). Exactely such a behaviour is described in a book by Marc Weissbluth (Healthy sleep habits, happy child), and he might suggest a daytime nap to improve the condition. In general it is a very helpful book that was repeatedly recommended to me.
In response to the 18 month old who wakes so very early each day, grumpy as ever. Our daughter has finally learned to sleep through the night. She, too, requires little sleep but now will sleep from 9pm -6am. She began her 'through the night' sleep time with a 4:30 or 5am wake up call, and was always very grumpy. We decided to go to her, just as we did to help her sleep in the middle of the night, and explain that it was still night time and that she needed to go back to sleep. We then left the room. After 10 or 15 minutes, we would go back to remind her it was still night time and that all was safe. After about 1/2 hour, we would cheerfully greet her and start the day. Our intervals increased (as we yearned for more sleep) until we reached our goal of 6am. There ARE days when we are up at 5:30, but the pain of crying was worth it for all involved. She is now napping 2-3 hours each day (before it was a painful 1 hour nap, waking very grumpy). Good luck.