Toddler Sleep Update 20 Months

The fact that I am even writing a sleep update tells you everything, right?

But first, a quick tantrum update

I blogged a while back about the screaming from baby F that was driving us crazy. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point that has all settled down. She still has her moments, but the complete hysteria seems to have abated. We did actively ignore several massive tantrums, returning only to see if she was going to quiet down, so I think that might have been the key (ignoring also worked a treat when L was a toddler and he became obsessed with throwing things – it’s really hard to do, but it seems to be just about the best parenting strategy for horrible behaviour!).

So that’s good.

The sleep thing

Almost two weeks ago baby F picked up a vomiting bug, and as is so often the way with illness, her sleep routine has now fallen apart.

For the last few months she has been going down at around 8pm (late, I know. She hates sleep). Then, she might have a bit of a cry at around 12am/1am. Then she would sleep through til around 6 to 6:30am.

This wasn’t too bad – I tend to be in lighter sleep in the first half of the night and sometimes I didn’t need to go in, she’d just settle back down.

Now she is waking at least twice a night. She does the 12am/1am cry and then at 4am/4:30am she does a much bigger cry. I always have to go in, pick her up, soothe her, and try to resettle her.

On top of that she is getting ever more demanding at bedtime. She goes into her cot for 6:45pm. We follow a bath-teeth-pyjamas-story routine that we have done since forever. Once she’s down I start bedtime for C. He’s 5 and he needs to be down asap after 7pm because  he needs more sleep than average. He’s a great sleeper and is normally asleep within 10 minutes of being in bed.

However, Baby F meanwhile is crying on and off and calling for mama. This means every few minutes I pop in to reassure her, while also trying to get C into bed. She will be fine for a few minutes and then the crying starts again.

The husband has been coming home earlier since F was unwell, so we’ve gotten into the habit of one of us sitting with her to keep her from crying. However, it will take an hour, or sometimes longer, for her to actually fall asleep. We can see she is exhausted, as she’s rubbing her eyes and looks completely worn out. But she fights sleep for as long as she physically can. I swear, most nights, she passes out from sheer exhaustion.

Too tired to keep on doing this

The whole bedtime crying, followed by 1am crying, followed by 4am crying is taking its toll. My joint pain is getting worse as the days go by and I’m still struggling to recover from the run I did on Sunday (it’s now Wednesday). Not to mention that my patience and tolerance for everything is really low.

Last night I left her to cry at 4am, which she did for around half an hour before I finally got up, told her everyone was sleeping and came back to bed. And she went to sleep straight after I’d been in there.

It seems to me that she just has extreme anxiety about being left alone – either because she is unhappy being on her own, or because she feels she is missing out on what the rest of us are all up to in the house.

I don’t know how to solve this, and I feel awful today. All I can think about is how much I want to spend the next 48 hours in bed. Preferably sleeping and maybe watching a movie when I’m awake enough to actually have my eyes open. The lure of the soft blankets and the dark room…

Sigh.

Solutions, no solutions

So what shall I try? The rational part of my brain says I need to steel myself for a few nights of wailing and just ignore it. The fearful, guilt-ridden part of my brain wonders if I’m going to give her some awful sleep complex if I do this.

One alternative is that we move F into our room and see if her being in there helps. At least that might allow me to get some sleep. But then I have the problem of the cot being back in our room, which I don’t really want. And maybe going through all this again at some future point.

I know that she’s not hungry, and some days she will barely nap for 40 minutes, so she’s not sleeping too much in the day. I am certain it’s an emotional, not a physical issue. How best to calm it?

I have even thought of changing the room sharing around and putting her in with C or L to make her feel less alone (perhaps she wonders why everyone else shares a room??).

Maybe I should put all three beds in one room, and use the other room as a playroom?

I just don’t know. I am just so worn out and tired today, I can barely do the minimum required to parent three kids, let alone anything else.

 

This Week’s Goal + Training Log #7

Photo book cover 2010

Goal

Photo books 2010-2017

I had to overcome some reluctance to carry on with my current goal this week. I forced myself to sit down and do an hour’s dedicated work to get me through a boring sorting job in order to start the year 2010. Once I had all the photos ready to go my enthusiasm returned. In total I spent 7 hours 23 minutes on my current goal.

Progress

2010: Arranged up to December
2011: Done, awaiting printing
2012: To be started

Emotions

It’s invoked some interesting emotions going through old photographs. There is something about creating a photo book that allows you to lay the year to rest. I became a mother in November 2009, and 2010 felt like a very long year. I had a traumatic birth and very little support either physically or emotionally after my son was born. Becoming a parent opened up a whole new perspective on my own childhood, which I found emotionally difficult to deal with.

I began the year with a 7 week old baby, a body I barely recognised, dreadful insomnia in the aftermath of my enormous post-partum haemorrhage (2.8 litres), and a whole torrent of emotions I’d never experienced before. I simultaneously found motherhood almost impossibly challenging and also the source of the greatest love I’d ever felt. This tiny baby I’d brought forth into the world instantly became the absolute centre of my universe, and I was terrified of anything happening to him.

Also, I put pressure on myself to carry on exactly as I had before. I wish so much I’d had a wise person to advise me that I needed to rest, and to stay at home with my baby. I wish someone had told me I needed to stop worrying about everyone else’s opinion and not feel obligated to join all the mother and baby activities and groups that everyone was always talking about.

However, as the year progressed, I can remember those feelings changing. I remember getting back to feeling a little more like myself, and a deep contentment at being a mother.

As soon as 2010 is finished I’ll be starting 2012. That was the start of a three year journey to have my daughter, involving many miscarriages. I’m sure that will be emotional, but there is still much to celebrate in that time with my two boys growing up through baby and toddlerhood to school age.

Training

It’s been a bit of a bare week. Life gets in the way, often, of our plans to exercise and be healthier, and this week was a good example. Baby F’s bout of vomiting and diarrhoea coincided with the start of the school holidays, so I only managed a 5k race on Wednesday evening. At the weekend however, I ran my planned long run – a 12km jog around Southsea seafront.

My joint pain has been bad. This is mainly down to interrupted sleep, as it plays havoc with my arthritis.

Now I’m three months into regular running, I’d like to start exercising 4-5 days a week, perhaps with shorter runs and more hill/sprints. I’m still pretty sore from Sunday, so I’ll hold off on that for now!

Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – 5km race 30:07 (mis-recorded, I think, as 30:17)
Thu – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – 12km long run