Tag Archives: sleep training

Finding our way

3 May

Just the 3 of us

Last night Sam spent the entire night in his bed with Froggie but I did not expect to have such a range mixed emotions after the fact.

Sam was about 2 weeks old when I hauled him out of his beautifully crafted, mahogany-stained, french-style cot and stuck him in my bed at my boob and manage to sleep. My excuse was that I was breast-feeding. When his first winter came along then I said that it was too cold to kick him out. Summer came back and then I said that at a year HE wouldn’t want to leave so I kicked him out to try but I was too lazy to really see it through. Then winter came along again and my heart was too sore to leave him alone in the cold. And now two and a half years later I’m not that gatvol, I just want it to be different.

Last night while sitting his darkened room, I started to wonder if I had really created the monster that I was now dealing with. Who or what was the real monster? Was it me for letting him sleep with us for so long? Was it him for not wanting to leave? Was it that I had not sleep-trained my only child? Understand that I have issues, lots of them when it comes to motherhood but with the whole sleeping issue, you’ll see from this post that I battle to sleep alone, I love snuggling up to another body. During the course of the day, I was a comment on a blog post about encouraging parents, the comment was that there are no bad parents just bad parenting and I somewhat disagree. I do think that some people should not have kids and that parents do bad things but that should not make them bad parents (excluding abusers and the like). My sleeping preferences have been sanity-saving in my opinion and just because I now want to do things differently, shouldn’t mean I did it wrong to start of with.

And over here I’ve gone on and on about how hectically this year has been already. Apart from that I’ve really been wanting to do more work in the evenings with the emphasis on wanting, not getting to it because Sunny Bunny is still falling asleep at 9:10 PM and then I’m too tired to go back downstairs and work. My hubby just falls asleep with Sam and sometimes even before him so he’s no good at this either.  A while I ago, I stopped laying next to him, now I sit on the floor next to him and let him hold Froggie. This week I had an assignment due on Thursday and I had only started it on Monday. It was either on Monday or Tuesday night that I wanted to knuckle down and I really did not want to sit in Sam’s room for however many hours it took to get him to sleep. After about half and hour of sitting in the dark, I decided to kiss him goodnight, I told him to go to sleep and I walked out. I could hear him start to whimper and then go in to full-on cry-mode. I stood at the door & waited for a reaction. First he stood on his toy box to reach the light, put it on and then he tried to open the door. When he realised that he couldn’t (because I was holding the door shut on the other side) he began to bang on the door. A minute (literally because I was counting) later I walked in, switched the lights off and tucked him in bed again with Froggie, made sure he had calmed down, kissed him goodnight and walked out. And again, the whimpering started, I think you get my point. By the time the banging started, he started calling for Lester. Upon hearing all this commotion, Lester comes upstairs to investigate. I explained what I was doing and why I was doing it and how that we really needed our bed and evenings back as a couple. He seemed to agree and then asked when the torture was going to end. In all this time, Sam was still crying at the door. I go in and repeat the process only for the crying to continue. Lester came up again and “relieved” me saying that he knew I had work to do but he’s make sure Sam settled. You know that meant his heart was very sore for his botjie and that he would do all he can to make sure he was okay. Half an hour later, Sam was in our bed and out cold. Not quite how I had envisioned it. Lester then came down and we had (what I thought was a) discussion about why this needs to be done and how we’d go about it. He “agreed”.

We had try a few hours of sleep-training before Sam turned a year. It was honestly the most traumatic experience for us all. The child cried until he vomited and just would not stop crying after like two hours NON-STOP. By midnight we had decided to call it quits, we couldn’t bear the heart-sore cry and we would wait until he was older. NOW that he has some understanding, I don’t feel so bad. We eased him out, got a single bed in our room, then moved it to his after a few weeks.

Back to the story. The following night it was hubby’s turn to put Sam to bed and you guessed it, EPIC FAIL. All my hard work went down the drain. My heart sank when I saw them fast asleep together in Sam’s bed.Last night being my turn, I was going to show no mercy and take no prisoners (in the nicest way). We started off with our usual ritual of reading a book and then saying his night-time prayers. It all seemed to go off well. I turned off the light and sat by his bed side on the floor. While waiting for him to sleep, I prayed, thought about a few things and then remembered my glass of wine waiting for me by MY bedside. What felt like forever actually turned out to be an hour and a half!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the bugger still was not dead to the world so I walked out without even a kiss good night. I marched off the hubby to tell him how he had ruined all my plans. He then followed me back to Sunny’s room because we were waiting for the drama to start and to our surprise, Sam switched on his room light and just sat on his bed without making a sound. After the allocated two minutes, I walked in, put the light off, tucked him in again and walked out. And then there was nothing…. no cries. No flick of a light switch. Not a sound even over the monitor. He had fallen asleep on his own, holding onto Froggie.

I wasted no time, hauled out my iPod because I wanted to watch a few videos and enjoy my wine. Sam woke up once, I repeated the whole process again for like 0.2 seconds and then I was back under the covers next to the traitor. WE ALL SLEPT until our alarms went off a 6 am!!! It was beyond believable! While I then floated in and out of sleep, L went to check in on Sam and he was still snug like a bug in a rug. Around 7:30 he stirred and my helper took over. A full night’s sleep in my bed, snuggled up to hubby was heaven-sent! The reason why I had mixed emotions because I felt guilty for kicking Sam out of the family bed. He still came to love me this morning but then refused to kiss me goodbye when I left for varsity & I swear I nearly shed a tear. Then I remembered that I cannot keep up the whole-laying-in-bed-til-he-sleeps-thing, it’s not because I can’t, hell I’ve done it for long enough but it’s plainly because I just don’t want to anymore.

So tonight, the same process will continue… I’ll give it a week and see from there… wish me luck…. with the traitor that is!!!!

It’s not him it’s me!!!

8 Feb

I’ve spoken extensively about the issues I’ve had with Samuel’s sleep patterns and how erratic they were. Sunny Bunny has his own bed but it used to be in our room, exactly where his cot was – right next to mamma! And that’s just the way I secretly liked it. There I said it! I liked having my son right next to me. In fact, a few nights prior to the “big” move I was sandwiched between my husband and my son and all I could think of was how much I loved it. I got that warm (not because it was a summer night) fuzzy, lovey-dovey feeling that made me feel all mushy and gooey inside. To be honest, I’m not that disturbed (yes, some people think I’m crazy) but I kind of liked the way things were. I used to be a breath away when he was sick. I could easily reach over and feel his body to tell if he’s had a temperature. I was there when he’s kicked the blanket off and I can cover him again (because I like to be covered).

The truth is that I don’t like sleeping alone! There I said that too!!! I hate sleeping alone!!! I’m so useless, I have the worst sleep when I sleep at my parents place because Sam sleeps with  my parents so I spend a good night tossing and turning. My parents had me in their room until I was three, that doesn’t sound long right?! Then they kicked me out to share a room with my baby brother. We shared a room until I was about ten or so (can’t really remember) but I do remember not liking being alone. Our little family moved to Durban when I started standard nine and my brother and I had to share a room again for a bit which was fine by me. The paranoid part of me even led me to sleep with a knife or scissors under my pillow until my parents got back from their night out. And this is while we stayed in Fort Knox!!!

There are so many articles out there saying that “allowing” our kids to share a bed with us leads to the kinds of problems I have. Sounds like separation anxiety that just never left. Then it got me thinking: what it was about the dark/night-time that made me anxious about sleeping alone. I did have a moderately active imagination and sometimes couldn’t tell between my dreams and reality, especially the scary ones. Point in case, at about eight or so, alone in my room, I clearly remember the light fitting being on fire and screaming for my dad. He comes storming in to see the commotion and the light fitting WAS NOT ON FIRE AT ALL!!! Even when I was older, I used to see figures in my room. Horror movies and the like were off-limits from when the movies “It” and “The Gremlins” were released, no lie! So if I stayed away from all that scary stuff, how was it that I still “saw” stuff??? What I found so comforting was that my parents never turned me away from getting into their bed when I had a bad dream. I doubt I stayed there for the night and I’m certain that my dad took me back to my bed as soon as I fell asleep again.

Do I feel safety in numbers by having my boys surround me? Or have I lost my marbles? Am I suffering from the after-effects of co-sleeping? I have no idea. What I do know is that some people prefer sleeping alone and some like being with someone….. (Another) truth be told is that I may not take Sam back to his bed if he comes to mine and I’m not really concerned that I might be subjecting him to the same drama I’m currently facing…

Sam is now finally in his own room (and I’ve had the crappiest sleep ever) but I know the problem is me… It’s definitely not with him…. so you think they offer sleep training for adults at all???!!! Maybe I should sign up.

Sleeping Like A Baby

14 Nov

Would you like to sleep like  a baby or sleep like the dead?????? I prefer the latter. For those who have slept near a new-born (or older child, like me) know that these little angels can make quite a bit of noise without actually being awake. They grunt, whimper, sigh and even cry all while far away in La-la Land unbeknownst to the parents mother. Believe it or not, you don’t really want to sleep like a baby. Why? Babies’ sleep, especially in the early months, is typically full of interruptions. Their sleep cycles are much shorter than an adult’s, and it takes time for those cycles to get longer and for your baby to learn how to fall back to sleep on his own if he wakes up in the middle of the night. So why would people associate sleeping soundly and peacefully with babies???

To this very day, I cannot fall asleep until Sam is lying next to me and that’s my fault because I know he’ll wake looking for me long before the clock strikes midnight!!! Once he’s in my bed, he’s lights out and only the good Lord knows what magic secret ingredient is in parents bed. I would happily head off to the land of nod if I could count on my husband to see to Samuel but my little munchkin won’t have any of that so its Mom-to-the-rescue.

In a desperate attempt to get some shut-eye, I took half a sleeping tablet a couple of nights in a row and guess what, Sam slept pretty well, a friend believes it’s because I was dead to the world and not faffing over him. Probably true but let me just add, in my defense, that I was still able to hear Sam AND get up to see to him, the difference was that I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow – like literally, I’ve never been able to say that before! Needless to say, I battled to be “fully” awake at five o’clock in the morning when my little Sunshine woke so that put a swift end to the tablets. My next bet was a homeopathic remedy called rescue, which helps provide a sense of calm and that’s helped me fall asleep pretty well.

There are many families in the world willing to sleep with their kids in very close proximity and I have to wonder how other parents manage to sleep. From the moms that I’ve spoken to, unbroken sleep seems to be a way of life until your kids decide when they want to sleep through the night.

At least I know I’m still not alone – Sleepless in South Africa…. (yawn). On second thought, maybe I need to be sleep-trained….

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