Wednesday, 27 July 2016

My son didn't sleep for 5 years and I know how it ends

I have one of those kids.

The one that never sleeps.

I speak now from the other side (barely).

My sweet sleep-stealer


I am there.

It does exist: The Elusive Other Side.

I have spent HOURS on the fucking floor, at the end of beds, hovering at the doorway, waiting for the child to SLEEP.

I have read books on repeat, ad infinitum, hoping for that elusive moment where he is finally asleep...

Courtesy of www.crappypictures.com


I have tried sleep training, sleep cry-ing-it-out, sleep being-especially-nice and being entirely firm and shouting and crying and being so nice it hurts.
 Bribery, sticker charts, happy words, angry words, empathy.

I have been through the works.

I have had doctors, health visitors, friends, family, neighbours' opinions, hearing tests, sensitivity tests, blood tests...

Sometimes they Just. Don't. Fucking. Sleep.


I am speaking completely as a soldier from the other side of the war: in all honesty there is no secret 'thing', no tricks, no manipulation.

I'm so sorry.

The only bloody thing that has worked in the end, in the long run, at the end of the day, is TIME.

I've had all the books, the parenting manuals.

The bloody hypnotising rabbit.



I tried night lights and splitting the boys up and bunk beds and separate beds.

We had the family bed (my poor back), the floor bed (don't ask!) the sleepovers, the late nights, the early nights and the fairy lights.

Audio books. Done.

Sitting outside the door. Tick.

End of the bed.  Oh the endless hours.

Being a total bitch and telling him he HAS to go to sleep because we can't keep doing this, okay? You are a big boy now, you have to be able to go to sleep on your own...please...mummy has lots and lots to do and I'm just here, you can still see me, you can still hear me...while he sobs and pleads and begs and it all ends in tears from both of us...

Years.

Not days.

Not hours.

Not months.

Years.

Somehow...inexplicably...probably after one of those very very rare nights of sleep when Ethan was 4 years old and we had maybe had a holiday and some food and were genereally totally caught off guard, we decided a third child would be a magical addition to our brood.

Somehow.

Don't you judge me - being a parent is filled with the complete absurdity of spending a lot of time in absolute despair while also spending a lot of time in complete love and adoration for what you have made.

We had our third baby.

And LUCKILY, very very luckily, he is a dream to put to bed (much like the first).

Magically, Ethan has settled.

We have still had our problems.

It's not been perfect or smooth-sailing or completely a black-and-white progression, but somehow...it's good now (fingers crossed, touch wood etc etc)

He goes to bed alone.

In his own space,

He stays there all night.

Very occasionally. he gets into our bed and sleeps with us, but it's really not often (my back is a lot happier.)

Someone advised that I should write a piece to tell you all my secret of getting my son to sleep: I have no secrets.

There are no tricks.

He decided he was going to stay in his bed.

Some nights he still asks for s, but it's not half as bad as it was.


I know you came here on the promise that I was going to help you to get your kid to sleep.

I think what I really want to tell you is trope-y as fuck and a bit shit.

It will pass.

Your baby will stop being a baby.

He (or she) will consider himself (or herself) big enough to do it him (or her) self and they will do it.

And gradually, oh so slowly and surely, it will dissipate.

Suddenly it will be something that you used to do.

In the meantime, I suggest you do what you need to do.

I have regrets, sure , we all do as parents.

I DO NOT regret:

Putting him into nursery to get a break.

Buying more wine/beer to 'treat' myself after a particularly difficult session of getting him to sleep.

Trying absolutely everything with gusto.

Tapping out and letting my husband/mum/whoever else do it (so they can also realise I'm not making this shit up).

I DO regret:

The crying it out - it was fairly obvious he was never going to go to sleep this way and it made bedtime an absolutely awful process for both of us.

Not just letting him sleep in our bed when he requested it; there's an innate thing in a child to be nurtured - I don't know whose agenda I was playing to when I denied him that nurturing.

Not just going with my instincts and making a family bed. Or feeling judged for my feelings.   I was never FOR co-sleeping, but it sure as hell would have made or lives a helluva lot more easier if I'd simply just went with my gut feeling and let him go in the bed with us, if that was what it took to get a good night's sleep.

I'm sorry I have no magic cure.

I absolutley know what you were hoping for.

All I can say is, I have made it.

I am there.

There is an end.  It will come.

Hold on.  Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to your kid.

It will pass.