Tuesday, 25 July 2017

My Kids Won't Sleep



If somebody asked you how you'd rate your skills as a parent, what would you say?

My answer would probably vary greatly depending on the moment.

Sometimes I'd put myself at a 4 - when the biggest two are bickering and I'm counting down the hours until bedtime, or my middle son is screeching in the supermarket because I won't let him open the Barnys right that second.

Sometimes I'd put myself at a 9 - on those rare but oh so precious days when it all goes to plan, the ones where everybody gets along and tantrums are few and fleeting.

Most of the time though, I'd say I'm a solid 7 - call me cocky but I think 4 years and 3 kids in I've found my confidence in most aspects of parenting these little boys, I know how to take the rough with the smooth. I know how to ride the tantrums out.

But ask me in the dead of the night...in the wee small hours when all the other parents and their offspring are sleeping soundly in their beds (or at least that's how it feels...) ... and my answer would be very different.

When the sun goes down and bedtime rolls around, I feel as though I must be the crappiest mother in the world.

Because no matter what I try, no matter how many books I read on the subject, no matter how much effort I put in - my kids just will not sleep.

Sleep has been an issue for us from the get go - our eldest son Tyne was never a good sleeper as a baby, infact he absolutely refused to sleep in his moses basket at all. After weeks of no sleep, we started to co sleep with him and at last - we finally got some shut eye! Our prayers were answered....or so we thought.

While I'm reluctant to say that co-sleeping was a mistake, because it was the right thing for all of us at that time, I do wonder if its contributed to Tyne's ongoing need to be comforted to sleep.

Even now at 4, there's rarely a night that he doesn't end up in our bed and he cries every night to be "cuddled" to sleep...and usually we do it because who wants to see their kids crying themselves to sleep?

And although that in itself makes me feel like a below-par parent, because I don't hear about anybody elses four year olds sleeping in their parents beds night after night!, it's not the real problem - we can deal with the bed invader, infact it's something we're all quite used to.

The bedtime battle is another thing that I can make peace with - it's far from enjoyable when the mere mention of the word "bedtime" incites shouts of rage and fits of tears, begging and bartering for "just five more minutes"  - but I know it's just one of those things. I doubt there are that many children who want to go to bed when they're told to - I know I certainly didn't as a child!

Then come the hostage negotiations . I offer one bedtime story, they demand 3. We meet in the middle at 2 but then I usually end up giving in to the whining and reading the third one anyway.

And then it's time for lights out

....and this is where it all goes wrong.

They're in and out of their beds every few seconds.

Crying.

Asking for cuddles.

Asking for fresh drinks.

Needing just one more wee.

Demanding a different cuddly toy.

Wanting the light on.

Wanting the light off.

On and on and on it goes.

Then there's the Domino effect - Usually started by the baby who wakes up crying....which is fair enough...that's what babies do.

But this then wakes up the eldest - who starts crying too and demanding that one of us stays with him to cuddle him until he goes back to sleep.

Meanwhile, the baby is still crying.

Then the middle one gets woken up by all the noise...now he's crying too.

He also wants you to stay with him...but the eldest now wants to get into your bed RIGHT THIS MINUTE...he's screaming for you to take him through into your bedroom, but the middle child is screaming for you to stay put.....and the baby? Oh he's still crying...waiting for someone to come to him!

Bedtime starts in our house at 7.30 pm, but I cannot remember the last time that anybody other than the baby was asleep before 9.30.

And maybe that 2 hour battle wouldn't be so bad if once they fell asleep they stayed asleep, but they don't.

All night long, they wake up - one after the other - crying out for cuddles, demanding to come into Mummys bed, etc etc.

Tonight, as I write this at 2.30 am, all 3 have only just gone back to sleep after an hour and a half of waking each other up - tag teaming us.

There's no such thing as time together for us of an evening, quality time has become a shared eye roll as we pass each other on the stairs while we each see to one of the kids.

And when there are three of them all awake at once the real fun and games begin - you're outnumbered! How do you handle it? Who do you go to first when they're all too little to really understand the need to be patient?

It's in the dead of the night, when it feels like every other family is fast asleep and we're trying to find a way to soothe 3 children in different rooms back to sleep all at once, that I feel like an epic failure as a parent.

Ask me at 2 am what I'd mark my parenting skills, and it would be a big fat zero.




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9 comments

  1. Oh bless you. Remember you are trying to deal with three tiny humans, you are amazing! I struggle with one! Don't beat yourself up for the cuddling; they are little for such a small space of time. He won't want you to cuddle him when he's 18, or 15 or even 8, 9, 10 I'm sure! Things will get easier. I hope you have a settled night tonight. Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam.

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  2. Poor thing! How do you not end up in tears every night yourself? My daughter (almost 5) is going through a difficult anxious stage where she wakes up during the night screaming - but no more than twice a night. And that alone has made me almost insane. Fingers crossed for all of this passing soon for you! #sharingthebloglove

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  3. Oh Hayley, you poor thing! Everything is harder in the middle of the night when you're so so tired. I think nothing has hit me harder with parenting than the sleepless nights. I honestly don't believe in 'good parenting' making good sleepers - I think it's just luck of the draw as to what kind of baby you get. My son seems to go through phases - we've had pretty rough patches in the past, but luckily at the moment he's pretty good on the whole (which is a relief, as I'm up so much in the night with his little brother right now!) I'm honestly in awe of how you manage with three, and so close in age too. I'm sure it will get better for you as they get older - it's no reflection at all on you as a mum. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  4. Oh Hayley I hear ya! We had a particularly bad year with sleep with both my girls and I some how survived on just 2 hours a night, every night. I look back now and I really don't know how I coped. Well I didn't really I just existed! We did get through it, but even now Holly wakes up most nights. I hope things improve soon and honestly you are a great mum. No one can make anyone sleep! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  5. Oh you poor thing that sounds exhausting!! Don\t worry about the 4 yr old though, my nephew went through that phase at about that age but that was around the time he got a new sibling I think. Try to remember, "it'll pass!" (hopefully!) and don't beat yourself up I bet there are others who feel the same xx #SharingtheBlogLove

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  6. Oh I feel your pain, it's so damned hard isn't it. But you're not a big fat 0. Who knows if co-sleeping did or didn't contribute, you'll never know so don't beat yourself up about it. You're not doing anything wrong (IMO). I hope things implosion for you x
    #sharingthebloglove

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  7. Oh crumbs. If it's one thing I hate it's sleep deprivation - it's pure torture! Hopefully things will turn around and you will get the sleep you need. #SharingtheBlogLove

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  8. Oh this must be so hard! I always say that, if you've had a good nights' sleep, you can cope with anything. When your sleep is disrupted, it makes everything sooo much harder to deal with. And it's so hard when they all wake each other up. It sounds like you're doing a brilliant job, still being there for them every night, after all this time. You're not a failure - you're showing them exactly what love is: faithful, determined love that forgives and tries again, time and time again.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the #blogcrush linky. Feel free to collect your "I've been featured" blog badge :) #blogcrush

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  9. I feel for you with this! It's so hard, I was so lucky with my first daughter who sleeps really well and my baby is the complete opposite. Hope it gets easier for you soon! #SharingtheBlogLove

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