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.