This is the blog post, where I confess that I have made a parenting oops, and what some would see as a rookie parenting mistake and talk about children and sleep. You know you have missed my posts about sleep….
I guess it depends on your point of view and how you parent your children, but I am struggling in this area and I know other parents have too. We are trying to deal with what we see as a mistake we made and a habit we have allowed to form that is now causing us some issues.
I nannied for several families, before I trained to be a pediatric nurse, and also babysat for many other families, whilst studying to make ends meet, and one thing I swore I would never do, would be to sit in my children’s rooms at night, until they went to sleep. I saw it as a huge parenting error.
Of course, like most things, you think you know better until you have had your children, then you realize you actually know very little about parenting, and that your children haven’t read the manuals and don’t all come with the same instructions. Big Girl, was a very good sleeper, once she grew out of her reflux, and would go to sleep alone, in her cot or bed, and sleep all night, with very little help or “training” and generally loves her sleep.
Little Man, if you are regular reader of this blog, has not loved sleep so much, and we have had some major ups and downs, with him, in terms of him stopping sleeping after initially being a good sleeper, for his age, his behavior, working out what the problems was eventually, then getting him the help he needed and grommet surgery, then him eventually starting to sleep a bit better. Through all of this, I have been the one to take most of the strain, I get up with him, I settle him, most nights, and he wants me, and me alone, if he wakes in the night, and he struggles to go to sleep, unless I sit with him, (he will let LSH, if I am not at home) and yes, some nights I am sitting there for a LONG time. He used to settle to sleep very easily, usually within a few minutes of head hitting the pillow, he was out and soundly asleep but recently, bedtime, has frankly, been a bit hellish. He is definitely in a challenging stage, and add that onto struggling to fall asleep by himself, and you have a not particularly fun affair.
However, I would add, that I sit by his bed, willingly, (ok, some nights, I grumble a bit, and get a tad tetchy, when the bedtime procrastination gets silly) but I also struggle to go to sleep, at the ripe old age of 38, and always have, and also wake up in the night, quite frequently. I think he and I are a lot alike, in temperament, and sensory issues, so most of the time, I want to help him fall asleep and I get all soppy and emotional when he is finally asleep and snoring slightly, looking all sweet and still my baby.
But, with nearly 4 years of sleep deprivation, still taking a toll on me, and the struggle at bedtime, I am finding it all a bit wearing.
I don’t want to let him cry it out, or sob himself to sleep, I don’t want to go all SuperNanny and fight battle royal every night. My son, whilst maybe in what some would see as a bad habit, and part of me does feel like he needs to learn to go to sleep by himself, is pretty highly strung, and from experience, battles like this do him and me, more harm than good.
I have done a bit of reading (yes, I know, shock, horror, from she who claims NOT to read parenting books) and have decided that we slowly and gently need to teach him how to fall asleep without someone there, and to hopefully eventually be able to sleep most of the night. My expectations are different with him, he is not his sister, he needs some help with this, and I need to take a breath, and patiently teach him, and work out the best way to go about this. I am hoping that with a little help, and as he get through this stage, we will have some better bedtimes and better nights and I won’t spend my evenings and middle of the nights crouched down, over a toddler bed, knee roaring in agony.
So that’s us. I probably made a mistake, but circumstances being what they were, I don’t think we did anything wrong. My old nanny self would be telling me off sternly, for being soft and allowing such a bad habit to form, but I am a bit older and wiser now, and I know that this too shall pass, and he will not always want his mum sitting by his bed.
Sleep is for the weak, and the dead, I am neither of those, thankfully! 😉