You are getting sleepy

At 4am this morning I got back into bed after tucking Amelia in for the forth time and thought 4 at 4am. By 5am it was up to 6. This has been going on for weeks – really ever since she first got sick with the last big cold. She wakes and grizzles until we stagger into her room. “Tuck in?” she will say, followed by “Cup of Drink?” and then she says “night night” and turns over and goes back to sleep. On average it happens about three times a night but last night was particularly bad.

Perhaps it’s my fault. I may have been making a bigger deal out of it than I should and she’s picked up on it and it’s making it worse. Mum and Dad are away at the moment, so we decided to use this opportunity to go for broke and try a little of the comfort crying thing on Saturday night. She woke around 12 and started to grizzle. I stuck my head in the door and said “I am just here lovey, but it’s time for sleep.” That was fine for five minutes and then she started to grizzle again. I decided to just let her go and see if she might settle back to sleep. Wishful thinking indeed. Five minutes later she was totally hysterical, bawling “where are you mummy? Where are you mummy???”. Of course, this was too much for me to bear – I found that I was crying and shaking myself and rushed in and grabbed her, hugged her and then brought her back into bed with me to calm her down. Total failure.

Yesterday I rang our Maternal and Child Healthcare nurse and asked her what we should be doing. She said that a lot of times at this age comfort crying won’t really work and that we should see if we can ride it through, doing what we’re doing by tucking her in, minimal comforting, minimal eye contact etc – it’s probably just a phase. So I was a little relieved that she didn’t heavily suggest we keep going with the comfort crying, and she reassured me that I am not setting up any bad habits for life. But it’s no fun to have to see this kind of thing through. Big-P and I are taking it in turns to have a night of sleep in a room downstairs with the door closed. Yesterday (after my night of sleep) I felt fantastic. Today after 6 nocturnal tuck-ins I am fractious, volatile and ready to cry. Poor little Amelia has to deal with me while she is exhausted, whiney and tantrumy. We made a fine pair at Gymbaroo this morning. Thank goodness there were ducklings (real baby ducklings!) to cheer us up.

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13 Responses

  1. Oh my, can I relate. Don’t worry, Claire. It gets better. I promise. And it’s true–bad sleeping habits at this stage won’t necessarily stick. Just be patient. Just ride this out and soon you and P will be reminicising (sp?) about how sweet little Amelia had that crazy spell of waking us up 5 to 6 times in the middle of the night. Pretty soon, she’ll be older and “too cool” to be jumping into bed with mom and dad. And then you’ll miss it. Best of luck, C. It’ll get better!

  2. says:

    Even after our attempts at controlled crying our 10 month old has bad nights…and then it gets better again. Have you tried talking to her about it during the day? She’s probably old enough to know a tired mum is a grumpy mum… or a reward if she makes it through a night? May the sleep fairy be with you…

  3. says:

    I so feel your pain. I seem to function on just about five hours of sleep. My middle child, who is three gets me up just about every night when she wakes up and does not see me there. Wears me out.

  4. says:

    Ahh, I remember it well. Only my daughter had this “ritual” we had to go through EVERY NIGHT before we could turn out the light. She would say, “My blankies?” and then I had to arrange three favorite blankets in the proper order. Then she would say, “My night light?” and I would turn it on. Then I had to blow on her butterfly mobile over her bed to make it move, then I had to kiss her. The last thing I had to do was to arrange her stuffed animals in the PROPER ORDER, and then and only then could I say, “Good night” and leave. Toddlers are funny. I haven’t had to do that in about 4 months, and she just turned 5 in May. So we did that, what? Three years? My goodness. She also would come and get into my bed at some time in the night for a couple of years (btwn 2 and 5 yrs old). With 4 children I am always so tired at night, so I just rolled over and let her in, I think. I was always surprised to see her there in the morning. She doesn’t do that anymore, either. I suppose it took until age 4 or 4 and a half for her to “settle down” and sleep through the night. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? 😀 I think they just want to know we are there for them. Good luck!

  5. Claire- I don’t know what the exact sleeping situation is, but this is what worked for me when mine were little. Instead of putting them in bed with me, I would get in bed with them. If worse comes to worse, you fall asleep in their bed and if by chance, they awaken again, you are there.Pretty soon they don’t wake up anymore and the routine is established in her own bed! Once they are sound asleep, you can just sneak back to bed…Yahoo! I remember telling my son just call me if you need me, and he would be in his room calling “I need yooooooou! I need you!” Heh.It goes so fast! Good luck.

  6. says:

    We put our daughter’s mattress on the floor next to my side of the bed and she slept there for oh, about a week. Knowing I was there beside her, (but not taking up space in our bed) made her feel safe. Maybe worth trying ? *keep smiling*

  7. I know exactly how you feel. My two year old (turns three in a month) started sleeping through the night recently. But of course, I have my 7 month old to get up too. I have not had a full nights sleep in almost three years!

  8. We put a mattress beside our bed for our son and he was there for about, oh, five years. I finally convinced him about 6 months ago as much as he and I both liked him being there (and I had to admit that I was able to keep a good eye on him, keep the covers on him attend to his thirst etc.) it really wasn’t good for him and voila he moved into his own bed that night and hasn’t been back bar two nights when he had a fever. Now for my 10 month old….

  9. says:

    In only the nicest sort of way, I feel so happy to read all of these posts and know that at 2,3,4 and 5 in the morning that I am not alone. What I haven’t read though is about the partner’s who develop selective deafness. My husband will be sound asleep while I am going between my girls rooms. I just get one back to sleep and the other will wake up. Alice’s crying wakes Beth, so I have always just given in and fed Alice. Consequently, she is nine months old and still waking every night and I am still feeding her. Meanwhile, my husband wakes up and asks if I had a good nights sleep? At this point, I practice the art of self restraint to the nth degree.

  10. Oh, Claire, I feel for you. We have the 5-month old twins and Sophie (18 months) and when one gets up, they ALL wake up. And then they take turns. When you’re up in the middle of the night, know that somewhere in the state of NJ is a mom up with her kids too (though it would probably be lunchtime here, but you get the picture). Best of luck with the sleepies.

  11. i never usually comment, but thought you could use some sympathy (or is empathy…I cnat remember.) Our daughter slept with us for a long time. It wasnt until she was about 4 that she went to bed all on her own!But one thing that helped when our son was shifting from co-sleeping to his own bed at 2 was having a night time routine, that way he knows whats happening and its not a big surprise.
    We still have some nights where a fit is inevitable but less than usual. Good luck(and remember the mean mommies are the ones that lock their kids in closets, not the ones that want their children to be a little more independent.)

  12. says:

    Being Mama to a 9 month old who continues to wake twice each night I sympathize Claire. I appreciate Jo’s reminding us in her post above that we are not alone. Now, whenever I am up in the night I will think of all of you out there doing the same thing! A heartwarming thought.

  13. The Pie is two and she is a waker also — I found a bit of relief by taking her to target and letting her pick out a nightlight that is not to bright has flowers and looks like a little lamp.I think they just get a bit scared at all the darkness and their awarness of it.
    Sometimes the two babies (Zander is 3) and I sit at the window look up and count the stars and contemplate the night. I get scared sometimes in the dark too…dont you?
    Its all natural.