Trying to make some sense of it all …

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.]

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14 thoughts on “Trying to make some sense of it all …

  1. Um…do you think that maybe it has something to do with your sister coming, given the timing and everything? You were super excited on Twitter for her to arrive and maybe it’s as simple as Luca picking up on that (clever little thing that he is) and being a little bit jealous.

    Jackson can be a complete asshole when he thinks he doesn’t have my full and complete attention. Like for example…he never, EVER wets the bed and hasn’t slept with a nappy at night since he was like 2 and a half, but if I ever go away for work or fun without him (even just for a couple of nights) he will wet the bed once before and twice when I come home GUARANTEED. I’m sure it’s just to punish me and make me feel bad and like he’s going to regress to babyhood if I ever, ever, EVER leave him again.

    Kids eh? Masters of manipulation, but oh so sweet with it too.

    • I think it does have a lot to do with the huge changes in his routine of late: school holidays, my sister being here, me being home so much because of all the holidays. Also apparently “age-appropriate” behaviour according to The Book and a few friends with toddlers around the same age have mailed me since I posted this, saying that they’re having EXACTLY the same problems. Just got him to go down for a midday nap in his own bed, with no tears. So pretty chuffed right now…

      Yip…kids!

  2. Kiara slept well until two aswell! I always assumed it was because it was around that time I moved out and back in with my folks!

    But recently I have read about alot of babies at this age who suddenly “stop” sleeping.

    My battle with Kiara was LONG and HARD 😦 I have no advice except to maybe find a method, stick with it and if that fails – do whatever it takes to get a good nights sleep :-/

    • Going to follow the advice offered in Toddler Sense – tone down the colours of his room, make it more “sleep-friendly” as it’s definitely more of a bright, fun, toy-filled play area at the moment!

  3. We’ve got the crying thing happening every night as well. He used to cry a bit and then settle himself, but this isn’t happening anymore. He now cries until you come and fetch him and “fix it”. Unfortunately the only way we are able to “fix it” is with a bottle, otherwise he writhes and screams in your arms (satin nightie + polar fleece babygro = huge fail!). Babyice weighs 12.5 kg now and he is STRONG, so it’s quite a mission!

    Please share your Toddler Sense findings! I’m willing to bet separation anxiety or night terrors…but EVERY night?! I don’t know…

  4. Omg, Colten went through the exact same thing
    I let him sleep with me as I thought he was having night terrors an after a few nights of no sleep, I decided to turn off his monitor, bad mommy thoughts in my head, and let him cry it out. this continues for a few nights, which I cried a few of them, but it stopped.
    Good luck nix, do what feels right to you
    xxx

  5. Hey Nicki,

    I have followed a series of books written by Gary Ezzo since Levi was born – Baby Wise, Pre-Toddler Wise, Toddler Wise etc..

    I too didn’t think I needed to get the next book (Toddler Wise) as everything was going swimmingly until Levi really started to play up.

    So, I bought the Toddler Wise book and man did we realise that we were parenting him wrong – we needed to change the way we dealt with him, spoke to him, disciplined him etc.. Basically we were still treating him like a baby and hadn’t developed ourselves along with his developments.

    We haven’t got to the ‘bad sleep’ stage yet (and praying we don’t!) as Levi is only 18mths but I have read up on it and think (hope) I am prepared…

    A snippet from the book regarding nap/sleep that I thought might be useful:

    There are some defiant behaviours that are actually only symptoms of other problems. As a result, parents tend to treat the symptoms and not deal with the root cause. They focus on the outward actions rather than the real need. Temper tantrums, for example, are often the result of an over-stimulated child in the need of sleep. The action of the tantrum should be considered secondary to the real problem. It is not discipline that the child needs, but rest. Have you ever seen a well-rested child throw a temper tantrum? Think about it, it is very rare. Recheck your daily routine. Is there something going on that is wearing your toddler’s batteries down? How much extra activity is going on in his little life outside of home? Is he getting enough sleep?

    Like how some mums have mentioned already Luca could be acting out because of so much going on at the moment!

    Hang in there lovely lady…

    xx

  6. My friend is a master googler, she researches all the kiddy stuff for me… she advised me (before the time came), that kids start realising that these mother things are not actually attached to them from roughly 18 months onwards… usually it’s a kind of separation anxiety, but i imagine it’s a whole host of recent changes that are unsettling him (preggies, hols, Lauren etc)..

    Best of luck sweets,
    xx

  7. Urgh! I have a neasrly 15 month old and am going through something similar. Was also beginning to think it was night terrors or sometrhing. She has slept 12 hours from 9 weeks and sulddenly she is up 3-4 times a night. I am not a happy mommy!

    • Argh … not fun! Luckily Luca’s issues have subsided … for now! I just stopped fighting with him to get him to sleep … let him stay up a little later and it seemed to work. We also had major disruptions at home with my sister here from the UK for a couple of weeks, plus school holidays, plus me being at home a lot during the day. I hope your LO sorts herself out soon! x

  8. So I am new to your site (from HV) and just wanted to say my four year old wakes up in cold sweat of feverish nightmares from Toy Story 3. I am not sure that could be contributing – but if he isn’t able to voice it like mine is – something to consider? that freaking monkey gives me the heebiegeebies…

    • Hi Jenny!

      Thanks for popping by and for your comment!

      I’ve noticed a marked improvement since I stopped TV in the afternoons and early evenings … I think it was a show on CBeeBees called “Zingzillas” that was totally freaking him out! He just watches “Woody” in the morning when he wakes up and NO more TV for the rest of the day. For the last week, he’s been sleeping perfectly, in the afternoon and at night … so I think we’re a-okay! (FOR NOW!)

      Have a fab day!

  9. Oh gosh … thanks for that small insight into all the “lovely” things I have to look forward to in the coming months LOL

  10. Pingback: Winter « Life Or Something Like It!

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