Bedtime

Dot writes: I often think how lucky I am, especially when something awful is happening. For example: how lucky I am to have only two children with sleep problems, instead of three or four. Imagine having twin seven-month-olds who wanted to feed all night and refused to spend more than fifty minutes at a time in their cots, and twin toddlers who had developed the pernicious habit of waking at 1.30am wanting to occupy half of your already rather crowded double bed. We have also taken the plunge and removed one side of Hugh’s cot, thus beginning the transition to a Big Boy Bed. The 1.30am waking thing predates this change, but now Hugh can get out of his bed it also takes about an hour to settle him into it in the evening, not because he is unwilling to snuggle down but because he doesn’t have the self-control to stay there unless I wait until he is actually asleep. And it seems to take him a very long time to unwind; much longer than I suspected in the days when I used to pop him in the cot, kiss goodbye and leave. Last night we went upstairs for stories at about 7.45 and it was almost 9pm before I escaped again. Every time I thought he might be quietening he would bob up again and ask for “Anner bye? [another lullabye?]” or embark on an incomprehensible utterance involving boats and the childminder’s son Tom (who runned away, apparently). I love to hear him talk and he does like my lullabyes after all. See? I’m really lucky.

Anyway, we took the cot-side off on Sunday night and we also started trying to get Frank to sleep longer by having Ken pick him up instead of me until some unspecified point in the night when it would no longer be bearable. Hugh took a long time to go to sleep but slept through, and Frank came into the bed at 12.30. It wasn’t too bad. Monday night was bad. Ken ended up sleeping on the living-room floor. Tuesday night was bad. We all squashed into the double and I was the one who got the two inches left when everyone else had assumed their preferred position. On Wednesday I spent a certain amount of time crying on Ken’s shoulder and talking about a) what a terrible mother I am; b) how inadequate I am at my job; c) how we must ferberise poor Frank immediately (because although much quieter than his brother he is actually by far the worse sleeper of the two). It’s amazing how quickly lack of sleep reduces one to a teary, self-pitying wreck.

Well, last night we chickened out of the ferberising – we were just too tired, and I had pity on my innocent child – but when Hugh made his 1.30 call I did manage to resettle him quite quickly in his own bed. Frank seemed to feed an enormous amount, and isn’t sleeping noticeably longer in the early part of the night despite Ken’s efforts, but I got a long cuddle with a little snuggly baby and a fair amount of sleep in bursts. So I’m pretty lucky, really. And so is Frank, for the moment.

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4 thoughts on “Bedtime

  1. katimum

    I’m not at all sure you ought to ferberise my beloved younger grandson – it sounds very uncomfortable if not painful – possibly putting him outside on a February Night with a lot of fertilizer round him????

    I met an enchanting little blow up bed for smallish children in Norwich Camping and Caravanning on Saturday (It was N’s Saturday treat, so he could compare Tents. Not that we need another…..) It came in blue or pink and was rather like a small boat, presumably to stop small infant rolling out in the night. Do you think Hugh would like one? In pink of course…..

    This set me thinking – surely a blow up surround to provide a cot like enclosure round a normal bed would be invaluable for getting a child used to a single bed or when travelling so that a cot was not needed. While this idea make the family fortune??????

    1. Dot

      Yes, the bed-surround thing is a highly ingenious idea, though I’m not sure Hugh needs more excuses to think of a bed as a type of bouncy castle…

  2. Lily Roth

    Oh, you poor thing! Last night, Wrigoletto and I managed to sleep quite a lot…sacking out around 8:30pm and waking up at 7:00am. ‘Course there was quite a lot of snacking in between times…but in bed.
    I can’t bring myself to Ferberise Owen either…so you have my sympathy there. From the sounds of it, toddlerhood is more challenging than babyhood…something for us to look forward to I guess!
    Oh, the Mr. & I broke down and ordered a bigger bed…you might want to contemplate that if you have the room…

    1. kenanddot

      The killer is the combination – each child makes it harder to deal with the other one. Hugh has been much better the last few nights, which means co-sleeping with Frank has become more comfortable again. But I do think we are going to make the break fairly soon, before he gets really mobile. I know people who’ve co-slept to three years or even later, but we don’t want to.

      Ferberising is horrible and I was very reluctant to try it on Hugh, but it worked incredibly well on him – and incredibly quickly – when I finally gave in.

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