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...
Oh I understand. GG is a bit older than Monte (he is almost 1) but I have had the sleep thing all year, heart breaking and I am a softie like you but my head is being done in. We are at my parents at moment while house is being renovated so though we had him sleeping all night now he screams on the hour every hour and I take him to bed with me - though he is not getting up myself I do not know how to stop this again...... its a fine line between 'feeling' as though you have broken their hearts and our sanity... the fact she gave you that adult look and said "I love you" tells me it doesn't break her heart like you think it does - but I hear your pain sister - and oh so hard once you set the train down those tracks to stick with it... Good Luck.ReplyDelete
I wish you luck! Been there, done that and cried oceans of tears while doing it. Unfortunately for us it didn't ever take for longer than a few days.ReplyDelete
I'm hoping things go more smoothly for you.
God love. What a nightmare. The thing that kills me the most with kids is the sleep-deprivation and lack of personal space. As an introvert its completely overwhelming.ReplyDelete
I wish I had words of wisdom to give you a boost the way you gave me a boost yesterday with your comment about 'trusting the path I am on.'
Hang in there. Stick to your guns and she'll get the message soon. Also, bribery? or incentive as I like to call it. Can you reward a night in her own bed with money, lollies, use of the car?? Pocket money and bribery with candy canes restores calm and stops me hitting that wall at high speed on pretty much a daily basis at our house.
You are not selfish and have no reason to feel guilty and anyone would be drained. Be kind to yourself. What you are doing is parenting. Setting boundaries and teaching your little one the ways of the world. You should be really REALLY proud of yourself. Its a bloody hard job.
Jazzy tries and she is 2....I have no patience with it whatsoever because I am a light sleeper and and all my offspring are zombies.ReplyDelete
So when I say bed time it is bed time. Hubs looks at me like I'm loony. But no. A few stories then bed. I don't care if she cries cos I would happily cry too.
(She writes this after about 2 hours sleep...joy)
I co-slept for 9 long years. I was lucky, Boy 1 was a quiet, calm sleeper (once in bed with me) all he used to do was snuffle an "I love you Mum" every now and again. I know we should have been tougher, but because he deals with so much in his manic mind due to the ASD we didn't. And he finally came to the conclusion he would sleep in his own bed. When things overwhelm him he will still every now and again come sleep with me, we lie and talk it all out, and he still, at nearly twelve tells me I save him from falling.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your solidarity and support girls, you have really lifted my battered spirit on a rough night. It took an hour of putting GG in bed, walk away, turn around, put her back in bed. Sucks that she can open her door. Eventually she ran out of steam and started staying in bed. She would call out to me, I would answer from the other side of the door. If I talk it my sleep tonight it will be "It's time to go to sleep now. Goodnight". I am quite proud of the fact I stayed calm and patient and strong, and didn't escalate the situation. GG feel asleep in her own bed, with no patting, singing etc. from Mummy. Fingers crossed for the rest of the night, I don't know if I can keep this up.ReplyDelete
Oh my - we really do live somewhat parallel lives! You get nothing but solidarity from me. Although my bebito is younger than GG he has been sleeping woefully (again) and I too am shattered. Stick at it if you can! We're all here for moral support. xoReplyDelete
I was there... My youngest tried that a few times with us. I stuck to my guns and she began to sleep in her bed on her own. I know it is tough but you and GG will get past it. Be strong!!!ReplyDelete