I mentioned in sleep issues we have been having in the Sleep Edition of our 18 month update post. I went on to tell you how we had decided to just sit with them and for one week things were looking better. Unfortunately things deteriorated again and then to add insult to injury they needed the cot sides removed so they didn’t end up hurting themselves. The transition went fairly smoothly after the first day, but the broken sleep continued. And Chris or I has spent some period of time almost every night sat in the chair in their room.
The three weeks ago they went to Nan and Granddad for a sleep over (so Chris and I could celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary) and when they got back from that one night Pudding flat refused to allow me to walk out the room after putting her down for both naps and at night. I know it was my own fault because the night after the sleep over when she protested I said I would sit with her until she fell asleep (I figured she had missed us as might be feeling a little insecure). Well that was that, I have had to sit with them every time they go down since then. Even Chris was not good enough, only Mommy. Which also meant that only Mommy was good enough in the middle of the night. And eventually only Mommy was good enough to get them out of bed in the mornings too! Interestingly during the week when I am not around they go down for their afternoon nap exactly the same as they always have, no requests for the au pair to sit with them. In other words they were just manipulating me.
It has made for a VERY rough three weeks. Every night sitting in their room in the dark until they fall asleep, sometimes over an hour before they are asleep. And then sneaking out hopefully without waking them. And then finding myself in the chair repeatedly during the night sitting there waiting for them to go back to sleep and then having to get up when they wake up in the morning. If I try walk out while they are awake Pudding is very clear about “Mommy sitting” and screams blue murder if I try walk out.
We had a very rough weekend with Friday night seeing a full on 30 minute long tantrum at around 1am, wake up at 4am and nowhere near enough sleep the whole weekend. Whining grumpy toddlers from sleep deprivation and very grumpy parents from both sleep deprivation and the whining toddlers.
Monday night was the last straw.
Around midnight I heard one of them screaming for me, I was so exhausted and out of it, it took me ages to get to the room and they were really letting me have it. You know that gut pain, that sinking sick feeling you get in the night when one of your kids screams. The one where your heart is hammering in your throat, your vision goes blurry and you feel like you can’t breathe (tell me it isn’t just me who reacts like this when my kids scream in the night). But I was also angry, so when I walked into their room and saw what seemed to be Sausage on the floor between their cots I shouted at him asking what he thought he was doing out of bed and he had better get back to bed. Then I looked closer and realised I was shouting at a blanket on the floor and Sausage was in fact asleep (well he had been before I started shouting) in his bed. Yes go ahead and laugh at the crazy sleep deprived Mamma shouting at a blanket, I did the next day). The screaming had been Pudding who was stood next to her bed and couldn’t get back into bed. (The sleeping bags have probably mostly helped with the transition to the big beds because they can’t easily walk around the room, so tend to stay in bed, but when they do get out of bed poor Pudding simply cannot climb back into bed while in the sleeping bag. So she finds herself stranded and becomes quite angry and shouts for help. Yes this is the same child who could climb out her cot in her sleeping bag – go figure?). So I put her back in bed and sat in the chair waiting for her to go back to sleep. The problem I was furious, I was so angry at this ridiculous situation with sleep, I was so tired and tired of having my sleep ruined for what really seems no reason, just a habit now. I was literally shaking I was so cross and when Pudding went back to sleep and I went back to bed I literally cried myself back to sleep out of sheer frustration and exhaustion.
The at around 4.00 on Tuesday morning Sausage kicked off again and I was back there. Calmer but broken. Eventually I found myself lying on the floor between the cots desperately trying to sleep. Problem was while Sausage had gone back to sleep quite easily Pudding kept calling “Mommy” to make sure I was still there so neither of us was going back to sleep.
And that was that, something had to give.
Please bear in mind we have tried co-sleeping on numerous occasions and it never works. Neither of my kids will go to sleep in our bed. We have had about three nights of ‘success’ getting them to sleep in our bed, one night Pudding thrashed and called out all night, another night Sausage ended up falling out of our bed. So we know that co-sleeping is not a solution. My step-mom suggested putting little beds next to our beds so that if they needed to be near us we would all at least still have our own space and I have to say this idea seemed to make the most sense, but for us it seemed like the last resort option only. It feels as though every time they have pushed a sleep boundary in the last three months we have given a little and they just keep pushing the boundary and if we put them next to our bed eventually they wouldn’t even go to sleep in their own beds which would mean we need to go to bed when they do. Not a long term solution unless nothing else works.
So Tuesday I spent researching sleep training approaches. Bear in mind we successfully sleep trained with no tears at 6 months which had been the best thing for all of us, but I did know that that approach was never going to work again, we needed to do something different. If you read that Sleep Edition of our 18 month update you will know that Cry it Out was not something I could stick with, but now I was desperate.
Chris and I sat down and discussed options and what we felt we could do and what seemed realistic and agreed that we should just get on with it. So Tuesday night sleep training began. Following posts will give details of our sleep training journey so far.