So in general I don’t swear that much in my blogs or social media posts, not sure why as I swear like a trooper outwith the blogging world haha!!! I have to say this is one time when I could swear, why won’t you go the fuck to sleep!! This is is said in jest and in relation to the book Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach.
Sophia since 7 weeks old has been what I would describe as an angel when it comes to sleep, don’t get me wrong, she has had her days like any baby but in general a good baby knocking in 12 hour sleeps overnight from such an early age, a dream in any parents eyes I’d say. This is not a flashback to the early years don’t worry, just setting the scene I guess. However, since Oscar arrived in our lives shes’s been a bloody nightmare. Up and down 4-5 times a night, doesn’t sound a lot, well I guess not but when you are used to getting a decent block of sleep each night apart from getting up to feed Oscar then this comes as a bit of a culture shock. Its not like she just gets up says hi and goes back to bed……no that would be too simple wouldn’t it!!!
So this is how it starts, you first hear the feet hit the floor in her bedroom, Then the door opens, then thud, thud, thud, thud as the tiny pitter patter of a 2 year olds feet (to me sounds more like a heard of elephants but each to their own right?) across the landing to our bedroom, our squeeky door handle then goes and the door gets flung open and then slammed shut waking even waking the dead up 50 miles away followed by the short journey to my side of the bed. Now we’re eye to eye, shit just got real, who’s blinking first!!! ‘Daddy’ in a whisper, ‘what sweetheart, its sleepytime’ boom ‘nnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooo’ here comes the waterworks. Batshit crazy!!!! Not every time to defend my daughter. There is a real desire to get in our bed, a power struggle ensues, who can out last the other. Stay strong. I get out of bed and gently remind her it’s still the middle of the night and we need to go back to bed, I pick her up and carry her back to her room, we have a nice cuddle and I put her back into her bed. ‘pat pat’ comes the war cry, Sophia likes a back rub when she’s put into bed for the night, it’s a quick rub/pat of the back and a firm but caring ‘goodnight’ from me, door shut and back to bed. Right lets see about getting more sleep. An hour goes past and the same happens again, this little face off happens 4-5 times a night, should I not be craving sleep so badly I should’ve really timed one of these events and calculated how much sleeping I’m actually missing out on a daily basis.
Now before anyone starts, I love my daughter, more than I can describe and I would take a bullet for her and certainly wouldn’t entertain anyone saying anything negative towards her. I am not here just to toddler bash. Simply laying it out in front of you, the facts, I’m tired, she’s tired and we’re not getting the sleep we should. FACT.
So what did we try, we tried the softly softly approach, you know the gentle whisper ‘it’s ok’ along with hugs and reassurance. We tried the grumpy ‘it’s not funny anymore, go to sleep’ approach. We tried somewhere in the middle, firm but caring approach. All had the same result, no difference. Mrs D did suggest putting a lock on her door haha. We have settled for the throw as many obstacles in her way and hope for the best approach!!! We have put up a bed rail, you know the big ones to stop them falling out of bed, but ours is more a lock them in type of rail. Secondly we have put a baby gate in-front of her door, we’ve bought a Gro To Bed Duvet (yet to be tested) and finally a sticker chart e.g. have you brushed your teeth, check you get a star, did you sleep all night, no, no star!! You get the idea.
I have done a little reading up on it and sleep regression is indeed a thing but it’s no shocker that this all started properly when Oscar arrived. I certainly feel that sleep regression has merit and there is probably elements of it which are relevant in this blog. Just because your child can sleep for 12 hours doesn’t mean they are going to, right!! I accept this and I know not every night will be silent bliss. Oscar’s arrival has certainly rocked the boat. Sophia loves Oscar, she loves kissing and hugging him and helping mummy change him and her favourite phrase is ‘oh Oscar, such a cute mannie’ hahaha!! However, and again, my personal opinion this stems from an element of jealousy pure and simple!! Oscar is in the bedroom with Mrs D and I and Sophia is not, somewhere in that toddler mind of her she’s thinking ‘he’s in there and I’m not, how’s that fair!!’ And so the calling out in the middle of night is a call for attention, and that breaks my heart, how do you explain to a 2 year old that you love them very much and they are in their own room as mummy and daddy trust them and believe they are big enough to have their own room? That Oscar is in fact is to small to look after himself and that mummy and daddy need to have the baby in their room to look after Oscar? Tough right, our little girl is in many ways her own worst enemy. Her other catchphrase of ‘I’m a big girl’ is coming back to haunt her.
However after having started writing this we are now a few weeks down the line and we’re starting to see some real improvements, whether this is coincidence or not but but the chart and rail are looking like the real deal. The chart I think is a real winner, it brings structure and organisation to her night time routine and includes a build up to sleep and then the overnight part, giving her something to focus on before bed and then when she’s in bed knowing she might get more stickers the next day if she’s good and sleeps all night etc. I think the bed rail has helped as well, not because it’s making her like prisoner but because I think it gives her comfort, she hasn’t had sides to her cot for months now but I think this gives her a happy medium, its not baby cot sides but yet still has something which resembles that giving her some security. Sophia’s sleep is down to maybe an early morning call around 4 or 5 am and most nights not even that. We’re making progress!!! Update on that…she has now had a few nights in a row where she’s slept right through!!!
It’s maybe all these changes have helped, its maybe she’s resided herself to the fact she’s in her room and Oscar is in ours, it’s maybe none of this and she just hit a bump in the road and we’re now on the straight and narrow again. Really who knows, all I know is my little girl is starting to get the sleep she needs. I would say so are we but we’re still up with Oscar but that’s OK as he needs us. Sleep is such a hard topic of conversation and every child is different, this is what worked for Sophia, nothing to suggest this would work with another child or even Oscar if/when the time comes. As a parent we just need to try different things until we find the 1 thing which works for you as a family.