(Seriously, if you do nothing but answer the headline of this blog post, I’d be forever grateful.)
Do you ever find yourself in a beyond frustrating situation with your kids, and wonder how, despite all your efforts to not, you ended up there?
When it comes to sleep, Eamo and I have been pretty lucky with Rex. I say lucky, what I mean is we are usually allowed just enough rest to be able to function the next day (note I use the word function very loosely). I know parents with kids who are a lot older than Rex and have way less sleep, so I guess we’ve done ok. Up to this point, that is.
Stuff of nightmares
Rex’s bedtime used to be Eamo’s thing. He would always make sure he’d be home in time to put him to bed, and I have to admit to loving him take on that responsibility. It meant I almost had a ‘clock-off’ time, which was like a dream when I was on maternity leave, making the really trying days so much more bearable.
About a year ago, Rex insisted I insisted I take him to bed. I knew it was going to be a stand-off, but we stood firm and said Daddy was, as always, going to take him to bed. He was absolutely inconsolable.
I don’t know why, or what brought this on, but having a toddler get so upset about bedtime it almost makes him physically ill, was really not ideal situation to be in. Thinking it was ‘just a phase’ that he would get past, I started doing bedtime.
This ‘phase’, where I take Rex to bed and it takes anywhere between 20-60 minutes to get him down, shows no sign of change. And it’s taking it’s toll on the entire household now. Eamo feels frustrated as he’s effectively lost the one thing he had with Rex. I feel frustrated because it puts so much pressure on me as the one who always has to do bedtime, and as a result, Rex often feels the brunt of that frustration in a total lack of patience on my part.
I should point out that putting Rex to bed isn’t just a case of reading some stories, giving him a kiss and cuddle and leaving him to fall asleep. If I leave when he’s awake he gets beside himself upset, so I either get in bed with him or sit by his bed until he falls asleep. While it can be absolutely wonderful, if he’s decided he’s going to dick about for half hour before he even lays down, mentally, it’s fucking exhausting.
I mentioned this situation to someone recently in the hope of getting some valuable insight/advice. Instead I got “you wanna get him out of that habit.” Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.
I know there will probably be people reading this thinking the same, or ‘what an idiot, he’s walking all over you’. And they may well be right. But the simple fact is, I don’t want bedtimes to become this awful stressful experience for Rex. Of course I don’t want us to be in this situation. But if me putting him to bed is the only way he can feel calm and safe at night time, then, until I find a solution that offers him that same comfort, so be it.
Three’s a crowd
Believe it or not, this isn’t the toughest part of our sleep struggle right now. If we had to do this each night but then he was asleep until the morning, I could probably cope. But now he’s in his own room, he wakes up in the night and constantly comes in to us.
For months now he has either ended up in our bed all night, kicking the living shit out of both of us. Or I have to get up and get in his bed with him until he goes back to sleep. And even then, he often wakes an hour later and I have to do it all again.
Sleep deprivation in recent weeks is absolutely breaking Eamo and I. Especially as neither of us can see any signs it will get better any time soon. Honestly, I’m so fucking tired, I don’t even know which issue to start with first.
Like, honestly, what is up with kids. Bed is the BEST. THING. EVER. Why would you a) not want to go and b) squeeze into a bed with two other people when you have a huge one to yourself? The mind genuinely boggles. But like most of my parenting issues, I guess I’m not looking at this from a two-year-old’s perspective. But right now, I’m frankly too tired to. Answers on a postcard. Please.