I’m breaking the unwritten rule of speaking about a parenting success here and even though I’m sure it will result in all success flying out the window completely tomorrow, I’m taking the risk anyway.
For the last year or so Eamon has been a worse than average sleeper (read – terrible). In and out of our bed all night and usually needing to be completely wrapped around my neck to sleep. I should have done something about it earlier, but mostly I blamed myself (or us) for why he was sleeping so badly.
It started when we moved from Bell and in with my parents for a month. Sleeping in the same room as him for that month meant more often than not he ended up in my bed when he woke in the night. Then we moved to a new house on the coast and were planning on going overseas a month later so I never bothered trying to get him back into his own bed because I knew that travelling, he would be in the same room as us anyway.
I don’t really have a great excuse for why I still did nothing about it when we got home. Other than Andrew and I weren’t in a good place and I couldn’t face the stress of trying to get him to sleep by himself that I just did whatever worked. Then Eamon and I moved into a little unit of our own, and I really wasn’t in any place to enforce any sort of sleep routine. In fact I think I probably needed his arms around my neck more than he did at the point. Mother guilt and the fact that in the moment it is easier to do what gets him back to sleep the fastest stopped me from making the change to get him back into a good routine of sleeping.
But a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I’d had enough of the hour-long bedtime routine where he stuffed around with excuses and stalling requests. I was over going into his room a number of times in the night or having him in our bed wriggling non-stop. We’d all wake in the morning feeling like we’d only dozed all night and never made it to that deep sleep.
Finally having enough probably also coincided with a minor pregnancy freak out where I imagined what life would be like with two non-sleepers and couldn’t fathom how I would possibly manage that. So I decided we needed a new plan. Or at least we had to try something new because what we were doing wasn’t really working.
We’d done the whole crying-it-out thing when he was a baby and whilst it worked, every time we went away or changed his routine we’d have to repeat the whole stressful process. In the end I decided the stress it caused all of us just really wasn’t worth the outcome and mostly just made me feel uncomfortable and doubt myself.
The new plan certainly isn’t rocket science or anything new. It mostly just involved having a routine again (who’d of thought that what I used to be so strict about when he was a baby was exactly what he still needs – duh!) Shower (we still have no bath), teeth, pjs, read two books, drink of water (to eliminate the requests later), then sleep. And rather than lying down with him, I decided I would sit on the end of his bed so that he had to get to sleep by himself. (also because at the moment when I lay down I’m usually asleep before he is).
The first night, it took us only 45 minutes for him to fall asleep and he only woke once. The second; half and hour and he slept through. The third, 15 minutes and he was out!
It’s been a couple of weeks now, and although we’ve had a couple of bad (croup-related) nights, it’s mostly been an easy bed time and sleeping by himself until 5am at least.
Of course, whilst I’m cheering that Eamon is finally sleeping better, this doesn’t actually mean that I am.
Pregnancy is ensuring I’m at least up a couple of times a night to pee. Awesome.
Will I ever sleep again?