Sleep training. One of the most emotionally draining suckiest parts of parenthood EVER. In my opinion anyway. It compromises of a rush of emotions, frustration (the child), knackerdness (you), and down right bloody mindedness (both of you).
I’ve experienced it on and off for more then three years now. With The Beast it was slightly easier, firstly I wasn’t quite as exhausted, secondly there was nobody to worry about being woken up (except Matthew but he doesn’t count), and the “5 minute” rule worked with him, he hated it when I went to lie him down, so eventually gave up and went to sleep, by the third night the pain he always got the message and we were back to normal (until the next tooth/spate of illness/nightmare came along and changed the routine).
With Fatty it’s not so easy. Firstly, given the weight behind him, the full FORCE of his screams are VERY VERY LOUD, and I so don’t want him to wake up The Beast, I really don’t want to deal with two children awake at 3.30am, they’ve had enough sleep to be “lively” but not enough sleep to be reasonable (and I’ve certainly not had enough sleep to be reasonable OR lively). Secondly, all he usually wants is his dummy, or me to stroke his face, it’s so easy for me to just go in and lie him down and pop his dummy in, he goes back off straight away – for like 30 minutes until he drops his dummy again. So instead of the 5 minute rule, I have to just leave him to scream it out.
I’m currently exhausted. I know it’s karma coming to get me, he slept through from 8 weeks old and was always in the same position I’d left him in 12 hours earlier, smiling up at me. However since we were on holiday in October last year he’s discovered moving and thrashing about which means he inevitably cracks himself against the side of the cot. Now every night I have to get up to him and I either find him hanging over the bottom of the cot waiting for me “DIDDY!!” bouncing up and down ready for a play or lying in a funny angle with his back of his head against the bars after falling over to take a drink from his flask of water left on the shelf next to him. The drink thing always worked for the Beast, if he woke up thirsty he could have a quick sip then lie down back to sleep. I often used to get a flutter of pride when he stood up and I heard little slurpy noises before he snuggled back down for a peaceful sleep. Not fatso.
What’s even worse, is that somewhere along the line, I’ve trained myself NOT to sleep. Even when the children are asleep. So used to the routine, I wake between 3-3.30am every morning. I lie there, and my mind automatically whizzes through everything I’m worrying about, and I wait for the cry. I hear a small moan, I hear him stand up, I hear the cup fall over and land on the floor, I hear a “CLUNK” then I hear the wail. I go through, pass him his drink, pass him his dummy, lie him down and by the time I’ve stumbled back to my room, and hit Matthew until he gives me space to get back into bed again, he’s gone back to sleep.
I, on the other hand, lie awake. This morning it was until 5.30am. I lay there thinking about this blog, about my book, about my deadlines, about my clients that don’t respond to their emails for 3 weeks then expect me to wave a magic wand.
So here I am. I have a sleep routine of a 4 month old. I go to bed at about 9pm, I sleep restlessly until about 3.30am, then I lie awake tossing and turning, fall asleep in time to then be woken by one of my children. Or more annoyingly Matthew nudges me and tells me the children are awake. That’s when I feel a tad stabby.
So what do I do? I have to bite the bullet don’t I? I have to lie and listen to the scream, and deal with The Beast if he wakes up. I MUST be brave and suffer about 3 nights of pain so I can have my life back. Even my trusty lack of sleep survival guide isn’t working.
Plus, I’m fed up of not talking to him any more, he’s quite cute when he talks.