Oy. How do I even start this post? I could say that I have become accustomed to the constant hum of exhaustion or that I am now immune to the monotone pitch of the seemingly never-ending moaning. But I’m not! Who could be?!
My heart officially bleeds for the mothers of babies who cry non-stop, who fight sleep every night and who never appear content. I’ve had it up to *here* and it’s only been 2 weeks.
For almost 2 full years we seemed to be getting off scott-free. That is, however, until about 2 weeks ago. The night before my sister arrived from Manchester, Luca fought sleep. I had been on my way to the airport and Dave had given Luca his regular 7pm warm, cow’s milk bottle. He popped him into his cot, still awake, as we have been (successfully) doing since Luca was around 5 months old. Instead of chatting softly to himself before drifting off into la-la-land, however, he cried. I wasn’t there so am not aware of the intensity of those tears, but Dave believed them to be intense enough to warrant fetching him from his room, so I am going to say that he was NOT happy. He had already been waking at around 1:30 almost every night, to do a little cry (max, 2 minutes) and then drop back off to sleep again. He did it that night too. But we were “used” to it, so it was [kinda] okay.
I found out, however, that he was crying when Beauty put him down for his day time sleep. Which is not normal. He usually loves that sleep – sometimes even asks for his “appohl” [bottle] and practically climbs in your lap to drink it and get ready for his midday snooze. Nope, Lol informed me that he was protesting. I’d also posted on Facebook/Twitter a while ago that Luca had started to become fussy when I was dropping him off at school as well. He used to run happily into the class, give me a little kiss goodbye and sit down to play with the other toddlers. I started to believe, some time yesterday, that all of these things were related.
I read and “followed” Megan Faure and Anne Richardson’s Baby Sense and Sleep Sense books when Luca was little, and kept meaning to buy the Toddler Sense one but never got around to it. So, after a long (in the positive and negative sense of the word) weekend of doing everything possible to entertain Luca, so as to avoid any potential meltdowns, I bought it. And flicked through the pages on sleep.
He could be experiencing anything from sudden separation anxiety (my money’s on this) to night terrors. Last night, after I tried (VERY unsuccessfully)to rock (an almost 13kg, screaming, writhing toddler) him to sleep, I eventually gave in and let him lie on the couch with me and watch Toy Story 3 (for the umpteenth time that weekend) in order to chill out. I will point out that, the Toddler Sense book says that any toddler with sudden onset sleep issues should not be watching ANY TV AT ALL, but I’m only human, and it does chill him out – sue me. About half-way through, he got up and asked me for another bottle. I handed him a nappy (one pair of Huggies pull up pants won’t hold more than one bottle’s worth of pee overnight) and told him to take it to Daddy on our room, to change his bum. I made his bottle and took it through, where he was lying, quite happily on the bed with Dave. We all climbed into bed, where he drank his bottle and fidgeted arounfd for about 20 minutes (which is just what he does when he’s getting ready to sleep) and eventually nodded off. Hallelujah. No tears. No screaming. Dave slid off the bed and I signalled that I would join him in the lounge once Luca was properly asleep. I also had to devise a plan to get him off my numb left arm.
I’m not happy that I let Luca sleep in the bed with us. Althoug I’ll admit that at times I had wished that he’d want to come and snuggle with us. I’m just happy that we made it through one night without the 1:30 scream-fest and feeling that awful maternal guilt that comes with listening to your child screaming “MOMMY! MOOOOOMMY!” from the next room, until eventually passing out from exhaustion. It’s not fun. Not at all.
I’m not ready (and don’t think he’s ready) to move him into a “big boy bed” just yet – can you imagine that drama? A screaming toddler, able to move around his room at will? I’m not of the opinion that sleep-training is something that is going to work for him at this point. The Book (and I’ve also discovered their website) says that a toddler’s EQ starts to develop from 18 months, so forcing him to “cry it out” when he may feel that I am being the most unemotional and cruel mother on the planet, just doesn’t sit right with me. I also have one HELL of a month coming up in May: 3 exams, 3 x 4 hour weekend “booster” lectures, another month where out team is short-staffed which undoubtedly means that the pressue will be on … I don’t need to be dealing with a miserable child and guilt on top of all of this. No. I. Don’t. After these exams are over, and when Luca is NOT on holiday, I want to take a couple days leave to have some “ME” time. I think that if I don’t … I might lose the plot. Also, this poor baby in my tummy is not having the most relaxed first few weeks of his/her life either. Sorry baby.
AAAAAAAAAANYWAY, I hope you all had a great Easter weekend and that if you’ve travelled, you’ve arrived safely. Remember, the drive back home is just as chaotic, so take it easy and be careful of all of the other @ssholes on the road.
[Side note: I have decided that TV will be limited now to mornings only, when it is literally 99.9% impossible to get ready for work and pack the lunch that I should have packed the night before and get him dressed and fed without a tantrum occurring, without CBeebies on. After skimming the pages of Toddler Sense, it has occurred to me that he may be confusing reality with TV and developing a fear of being on his own in his room. Or something. Oy.]