It has been building up for a while, this resentment of my space, sleep and privacy. It is also tempered with the ever-present guilt of how have I let this happen? Am I a bad mother for letting it get this far? Am I a bad mother for not wanting her in my bed? GG used to be a good sleeper, after a shocking start as a baby, but then she moved to a big-girl bed and everything went pear-shaped. I persevered and got her going to bed at a reasonable hour (8pm, even though I'd prefer earlier), but once she realised she could climb out, we had problems. I tried the whole putting her back to bed again and again, but felt that her screaming the house down and keeping hubby awake was selfish, as he only gets about 4 or 5 hours to sleep most nights anyway, between his early morning starts with one job, and late finishes with the other. So I gave in, and would let her climb into bed with us, usually ending up with hubby relocating to the spare bed, and her shoving her feet up my nose for the rest of the night.
Last night kind of happened; without my usual over-analysing, building up nerve and planning for it. I just simply couldn't take it anymore. So when she woke up last night and padded down the hall to me, I was tired, frustrated and just couldn't face this going on and on, for God-know-how long. Would she be 3 and still doing this? 5? 8? 24?. I took her back to her room, laid her down , sang Puff the Magic Dragon about 17 times, and she still wasn't going - so I stood up, kissed her and said "Time to go to sleep now" and left... and unleashed hell. She wailed, begged, screamed, sobbed and shivered. Hubby and I tag teamed putting her back to bed. She cried, I cried. Hubby then chose this precise moment to question the wisdom of making her sleep on her own. I was already sobbing my heart out, feeling wretched and cruel and stupid for even letting it get this bad. Yeah, thanks for the moral support honey, love knowing you've got my back. I'm even starting to cry again just thinking back on last night, it felt horrible.
In the end, hubby ended up sitting with her until she feel asleep in her bed. Given that I was a sobbing wreck by this stage, he seemed the calmer influence, she only got more upset when she saw I was upset. I was so impressed by his ability to maintain a pleasant, calm voice, and patiently keep putting her back in bed, unperturbed by her screaming and hitting out at him.
She did end up staying in her bed the whole rest of the night, bouncing into my room this morning full of smiles and giggles and forgiveness. I told her how proud of her I was, staying in her own bed, and how I loved her sooo much. Her little chest puffed up and she beamed, face aglow. I told her I was sorry she got upset, but she's a big girl now and needs to sleep in her own bed. I told her again how much I loved her. I think I was actually afraid she would feel less for me, as though I had failed her, hurt her. She gave me a look about a hundred years too old for her actual age, held my face in her hands and said "Guess what? I love you too!" I think my heart broke.
So now I have set this train down the mountain, I guess I better hang on and see it out. Even though hubby will be at work tonight, and it will be just her and me. I will be strong, calm and patient. At least for as long as it takes, then I will be broken, crying and shaken, but I'll be broken, crying and shaken in a child-free bed. I know I need to get this issue sorted, especially as I want another baby soon, but I'm finding it hard to justify. I feel guilty, selfish and drained.
Wish me luck. Or vilify me, whatever...