The Sleep Thief and The Dreamer…
I am going to talk about the holy grail of parenting, getting your child to sleep.
Spoiler: You can’t. Don’t try. People will claim they can make this happen, or suggest they know ways how to make your baby ‘sleep through the night’ but I am going to call bullshit on all of these things. Your baby will just decide when they want to do it and if you’re lucky, it will happen sooner rather than later. You can attribute it to one of the many things you tried in order to make this happen, but mostly it’s coincidence. Sorry to shatter your dreams and crush your soul.
I have two boys. One is 3 1/2, the other is 6 months. The big – he did. not. like. sleep.
I am talking, night after night of waking after 45 mins, 20 mins, 1 hour. I can completely understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture, after about the 4th night I would have admitted to anything you wanted me to, if it meant I could get some sleep. But it went on for a good 18 months. I would zombie shuffle, from baby class to group, whilst other mums would humble-brag about how their darling children just loved sleep “We struggle to wake them sometimes”. Oh that’s nice, Brenda. Tell me again how I should model my parenting on your exact method!
I tried it all. Convinced I had a duff model, I consulted the internet on how I could restore him back to factory settings and start again. Try Ewan the Dream Sheep. (Ewan, cute as he was, was a big fat no score) No Cry Sleep Solution. (HA! Tears from everyone, love). Shh, pat. (My husband used to have to shh pat him down the hallway all night) We ended up co-sleeping so I could shove a boob in and hope for the best, but we still had to get by on shattered, broken sleep. However, some of the funniest stories come from being sleep deprived. I remember one night when we decided we need to take shifts, I awoke for mine to find Mr M hunched over the side of the bed, looking like he was cradling the baby in his arms, but when I asked for him to pass him over, he turned to reveal he was actually just cradling his mobile phone. Cue a panic from us all, but S was just snoozing in his crib. FOR ONCE!
But trying to find a solution was just as exhausting as accepting our fate. The best advice I was given was from a lovely breastfeeding counsellor at a baby group I went too. “Some babies don’t sleep. It’s ok. Stop trying to fix it, take help where you can and just remember, it will get better”. When you’re living in that situation, you can’t see the end in sight. But it’s true, it does better. From then on, I stopped asking how people got their kids to go to sleep. I just got on with it. It did feel like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and it was still hard, but I stopped thinking of it as something we needed to fix.
His sleep gradually improved. He starting sleeping through the night from about aged 2 and at the age of 3, he finally decided to sleep in his own room. He still gets in for a cuddle on occasion, but we don’t mind that!
His brother, on the other hand, sleeps like a dream! We knew we wanted two children, so we were fully prepared for another 2 years without sleep but nope, other than a handful of nights where we think teeth or illness has played a part, he sleeps for glorious 5 or 6 hour stretches and often from 12 – 7. Long may it continue, but if it doesn’t, at least I know am confident it won’t last forever.
What about you? Did you get sleep thieves or dreamers?