Live, Yours Truly

Unspoken

September 19, 2014

I write about pretty much everything on this blog. The highs and the lows. My health problems, my depression. All the good stuff in my life I celebrate here. I have always been able to just blurt everything out, have a quick read to check for spelling mistakes and then hit publish (I am not really an editing sort of person).

But there is one thing that I don’t write about. Sleep.

I just did a search and the first and last time that I wrote about the issues we were having with sleep was back in June 2011 – when Kate was six weeks old and our challenges began.

I don’t know why I don’t write about it. We have had troubles with everything – from bedtimes to wake ups. And everything in between. I have tried everything I can possibly think of. I have taken advice, I have stuck to my gun, I have drafted in friends for moral support. I have crumbled under the stress and strain of it all. I cannot remember the last time I had a good nights sleep in my own home. I have been to sleep support groups. I am at my wits end.

This week has been the worst. Bedtime is shot to shit, with the kids just up and out of their beds screaming, crying and carrying on. At the end of a long day I can usually dig deep and find the ability to deal with one of them but if they are both doing it them I have no chance. And then when I finally get them to sleep I know it is just a matter of time before they wake again – Kate has dreadful screaming fits – she is not really asleep, not really awake. If she wakes she wants comfort. If she doesn’t she just keeps screaming. Piran always wakes and wants to come in my bed with me. He wants someone to be with him all night long. He wants to have someone stay in the room as he goes to sleep and he wants someone there all night. Kate sometimes gets up and climbs into our bed too. Last night, like many before, I had both of them in with me.

It gets to the point where I will do anything for sleep. Being strict at bedtime is one thing, being woken after just 10 minutes of sleep and having to be strong is another.

I cannot stay in Piran’s room while he goes to sleep. I have such an adversion to it that anger immediately bubbles up in my chest and I have to get out of there NOW. I guess it is because I know if I do it once he will want me to do it forever. I cannot do that. Not with Mr C away most weeks and no one else to tidy up, finish the dishes or make tomorrows sandwiches while I just stand there doing nothing. And if I stay with him then Kate will want me to as well. No no no.

I know that there is one day out there in the future that all of this will change. As everything, this too shall pass. But I have been thinking that for over 3 years and I just want it to stop.

Last night I stood there as my two children screamed and cried and shouted at me. I had put them to bed countless times but yet they kept coming back again and again. I had been ignoring them as they followed me round the house for ten minutes. All I wanted to do was run away. Turn round, open the door and run away as fast as I could. I didn’t, I lost my temper and screamed at them that they were making my life horrible and making me so unhappy and ran up the stairs, more a child than them and dove under the duvet in the dark. They of course followed me shouting apologies and crying even more.

When he was finally asleep last night.

When he was finally asleep last night.

I think perhaps I don’t write about this because I see this as my failing. Where I fall down as a parent. It must be me doing this wrong because everyone else’s children don’t do this. Their parents have managed to impose a routine, make them stay in their room until a reasonable hour in the morning (I even consider 6 to be a reasonable hour after months of 5am wake ups). Their children don’t come in their beds at night. They get to spend the night in bed with their husband.

With Mr C traveling so much we all miss him. I miss him the most each night when I go to bed. Nights spent in the same bed are rare enough, and even rarer with the musical beds that we end up playing when he is home.

I am waffling now. I am glad that I have written this all down. I had meant to write down what a typical night is like but this post is long enough and perhaps I will save that for another day. I know I feel worse right now because at the start of the summer I had worked so hard to get a bedtime routine that they would stick to, and I did it. And for a few blissful weeks it was all good. And now it is not again, and I haven’t changed what I am doing. I follow exactly the same routine evry night and they just won’t go to bloody sleep. Neither of them is allowed any sleep during the day. Kate spends all day telling me she is tired but she won’t go to sleep.

*bands head on desk*

This isn’t going to be one of those posts where I can tie it all up in a neat little ending. This is one that I will just have to consider to be unfinished. At least for now.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Peggy September 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I feel for you, lack of sleep is one of the worst torture… Unfortunately I would love to give you lots of very useful tips but I don’t have the miracle cure. What I know is that I have a child who finds it very hard to settle himself to sleep at bedtime. What works with him is compromise and rewards.
    We have started a chart again and the deal is bedtime at 7.30pm and 30 min to get the monkey business out of the way (needs a wee, water, cuddle, soft toy left downstairs God knows where…). Then 8pm lights out and try his best to go to sleep. Everytime he manages it he gets a star, 10 stars he gets a treat. When he misbehaves and after having a couple of warnings he gets a strike on his chart. Three strikes cancel a star…
    Like I say it is not miracle cure but it seems to work for now.
    I have also picked up on a few tips from Jen at Mum in the Madhouse. She has a no screen policy 2 hours before bedtime and although I am not extremely consistent on it every time we do this, bedtime is a lot calmer.
    Other thing I feel you may benefit from is a sleep nurse. Have you thought about it? It maybe a bit of an investment but she might be able to pick up quickly on what is causing this issue and resolve it?
    Whatever you decide to do, I hope you find a suitable solution soon xxx

    • Reply Kelly September 21, 2014 at 7:31 am

      Thank you for your comment Peggy. Stickers never really worked for us in the past but I think it might be time to try again. I limit their screen time and it stops an hour before bed at the moment. They tend to be playing outside at that time anyway at the moment but as the weather changes I expect they will want to watch more tv.

  • Reply Elizabeth Rebecca September 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I honestly think the battle with sleep is one that never finishes – even as adults, we can enter patterns of poor sleep and have to cope with that. Hopefully they’ll learn how to manage themselves more and get back into a good sleep rhythm.

    Lizzie’s Daily Blog

    • Reply Kelly September 21, 2014 at 7:31 am

      Fingers crossed! I am sure that it won’t last forever, it just feels like it at the time.

  • Reply Laura McIntyre September 19, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Im sorry your going through such a hard sleep time , it can be so difficult and something alot of people don’t understand – or even worse say they do by following up with “yes i get it , my baby did not start sleeping through the night till they were 8 weeks old and it was horrible” .

    I have always let my kids sleep in my bed when younger if they want , my youngest (six tomorrow) just moved into his own bed full time during the summer. But getting them to go to sleep alone was my real fight.

    I remember a time when it involved , feeding and putting the youngest down in one room , the middle in another room then spending easily an hour plus trying to get eldest down (and youngest was normally screaming by then ) .

    Same when moving my youngest into at least going to sleep in his own bed, we would both normally end up in tears by evening end.

    For a long time getting them to bed (my husband was nearly always at work during that time) and then keeping them in bed was a nightmare , i would dread and look forward to bed time all day long .

    It is much better now , in the last year siutations have improved so much – all three go to sleep alone and sleep all night in there own beds and even till a decent time. They are 9 , almost 8 and 6 though .

    Hope things improve for you all soon

    • Reply Kelly September 21, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Thanks for your comment Laura, I am sure we have had similar chats on Twitter in the past. When it is more than one child it can just feel completely impossible. I am glad your situation has improved.

  • Reply Claire September 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    ive no words of wisdom & sounds like you’re doing all the right things. But wanted to sympathise. Doing it alone most of the time is effing hardwork. So big big hugs xx

    • Reply Kelly September 21, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Thanks lovely x

  • Reply D September 21, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Nothing much to add but sympathy. A decade in and I still have bad weeks, although the ones that you describe have finally faded. I know well the anger that you have described, and the struggle to suppress that before you can even start on the children’s behaviour.

    It is one bad habit for another but I did find that a gentle book on DVD that could only be listened to in bed allowed a bit of calm in-bed time that often led to sleep. Problem is that in my small house I began to resent the sound of the books being repeated. I only allow it now on nights I know will be restless.

    I also know the wish to just be able to sleep in one’s own bed untroubled and unpestered, and how the suggestions of “a night in a hotel” are pretty nearly the last thing you might want. A reverse holiday would suit so much better where the children are foisted off on someone else for a night (or, bliss, two!) and you and hubby if he’s around, can sleep late or early in fresh sheets.

    I am a very single parent, so I do know the struggle of doing it alone – non-stop here. I co-slept for the first few years, and even now end up bedsharing occasionally when the goal is everyone asleep as soon as possible.

    It’s so very hard to be short of sleep.

    • Reply Kelly September 21, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Thanks for your comment, we used to let them listen to stories but they just kept asking for more and more and in the end I stopped. Sleep is so precious that I will do anything to get some but I think I have to learn to sacrifice some of my own to make Piran learn to sleep in his room by himself – by getting up and dealing with this stuff in the middle of the might rather than just letting him sleep with me because it is easy.

      Other than that I am just going to do my best to wear them out every day.

  • Reply D October 14, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Just hoping things are stabilising, or that you’ve managed to catch some stolen sleep, or….I don’t know….something. It’s a hard thing, and so I wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you, for what little that’s worth!

    • Reply Kelly October 15, 2014 at 6:32 am

      Thank you. They have a little. As usual I am waiting for the next bump in the road but in the meantime I am trying to get as much rest as possible.

      • Reply D October 19, 2014 at 5:26 am

        exciting news in your latest post though! (perhaps you can move a camping cot in there as well….(can’t suss the translation to UK, so I hope you know what I mean)

  • Reply So tired. – A place of my own March 11, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    […] situation but it has turned out quite flippant really. Things have changed since I wrote ‘Unspoken‘ last September. I worked really hard on bedtime routines and that part at least can be […]

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