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.





Wednesday, 6 July 2016

New Shoes

My littlest Blethering Boy got his first pair of shoes this week and he is super chuffed about them!

He loves his shoes.

I almost forgot how important these little milestones are for wee ones. And for us!

As a third child, I try really hard to not forget about all the wee things that make up Owen's babyhood.

It's not easy though, when we have so many other things going on.

Where most first-time parents are making everything about their littlest person, I am often caught unawares by the next stage.

It feels like my littlest guy, the one I wanted to hold onto the longest, is shooting up faster than I imagined.

With Thomas, it felt like I had an eternity of him; almost too much time.  I used to feel the strain of every minute detail and worried over the slightest thing. I did two baby books.  I wrote all the 'firsts' on a calendar. I made hand prints and foot prints and baby albums.

When Ethan came along, I felt the angst of dealing with two small children, picking at the small bits and trying my best to get through the day.

The two of them together were very hard work and I got little respite from that.

I always felt anxious for them to be more independent, to go to nursery, to spend time with others.  I needed the break, I needed to go to work, I needed them to play by themselves for a bit.  I needed to make sure they had good experiences and that I kept my promises and that we spent good time together as a famly; and we did.

And now, this third, sweet, delicious child.

The one we knew would be the last.

He fits in, slots in like we've had him forever.

We forgot the baby book.

We tried with the milestone cards (we really did).

But we are taking it all in.  Inhaling every moment deeply.

Every day I examine his face for changes.

I despair when he moves up yet another size in clothes.

His first shoes were a size 4!

We didn't spend £25 on his first pair, because we know a lot of things about baby shoes - how long they last, the liklihood of him losing one in the street, the grief and stress of spending wasted hours searching for the other shoe in parks and supermarkets; not worth it.

But he has shoes.

He is happy.

I wish he would stop growing!


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Shitty shitty day

Today was a heap of shite.

Today was awful.

Today I have spent all day cleaning just to have it all completely undone behind me by all of the boys.

I bought a new toilet seat last night which is, er, novelty, because basically I was pissed off at playing arse roulette every time I sat down because it kept falling off.

Now I have a horrid, twee, novelty one which says;

"If you sprinkle when you tinkle,

please be a sweet and wipe the seat!"

In a fancy font.  My kids have obviously taken it to be as ironic statement of intent - I gave a wry giggle as I lifted the lid to find tinkle all over it.

I would have hauled the buggers up for it, but I was also dealing with the sodden towels and soaked nappies after both husband and children had showered and stepped over/used all of them to mop up water spillage from the shower/bath that I chose to not fight that particular battle at that moment.

Both older boys have had haircuts today, and while I was very pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out (I did them myself) and the lack of tears and the good amount of sitting still from them both while I did it, I still had to contend with a day of clipping loose bits, sweeping up masses of hair (it gets EVERYWHERE!) and stopping the baby from eating various clumps.  He has a knack for finding shit you don't want him to have.

It's handy for cleaning the floor, mind you.

I'm trying to hawk all of my old baby shit on ebay and the like to make enough money so we can actually have food this month, but nobody wants any of it, which is leading to further bad mood-ing, only helped further by the fact I needed a new tyre anyway but now I need two, because there's a horrible slow puncture in the front one.

So, if anyone has a recipe for rubber ravioli, that would be grand.  I'm sure tyre tabbouleh could be accomplished somehow.  I'm sure I can magic it out of my arse like I can everything else!

We went out this afternoon for a drive (to get out of the house) and I took them to Toys R Us because basically I'm into self-flagellation of the highest order and I hate myself.

They spent the whole time asking for things/moaning about how we never buy anything and asking for more things.

I spent the whole time totting up in my head what Xmas/birthday season might look like this year and inwardly screaming.

We left TRU sharpish with promises of 'something' (nice, vague stab in the dark answer) at the next shop, which resulted in my spending of £4 of sacred food money on yet more stuffed animals with shiny eyes.

Fuck my life. What is with the animals with the shiny eyes?

I treated myself to some shapewear (woo hoo!) because basically I'm fed up of this weird shelf-thing going on at the front of my body due to three c-sections and carrying MASSIVE children. Tesco shapewear, very very cheap. Only the finest.

Which of course means it's probably going to be a massive inconvenience (think, rollydown and uncomfy and bulgy) and I am seriously going to miss that £5 at the end of the month, but it was almost worth it for the giggle I got from Ethan at mum buying the 'crazy pants!'

"It's so embarrassing, mum!"

I have had nothing but attitude from the oldest one all day - he is really busting my balls at the moment and I don't have a clue why - neither does he apparently.  Trust me, I've asked him.

I am constantly telling him off or calling him up for his manners, or cheek or behaviour and it's awful because he is my good one, he is my reliable one.  And now he's going through some kind of pre-pre-teen thing (I googled, apparently it's hrmones) and it's shit.  And it just makes me fear that the other two will do this too and I'll be left in a corner, crying at home videos of how cute they were when they were two and malleable.

We got home at tea-time, which meant digging deep for the energy to produce a decent cooked meal while the baby held onto my leg/ destroyed the kitchen/went into the bathroom and slipped on the still-wet floor.

The bathroom floor needs replaced because - hello- previous owner was a douchebag and put down the cheapest laminate flooring which you cannot get wet. Our bathroom floor has to be able to tolerate wet - they are boys, they are constantly pissing everywhere and they love to soak the floor while bathing.  We need, like, a sealed wetroom. That's the only way this is going to work.

It smells.  It's warped.  It's on my ever-growing to-do list.

*sigh*

Along with the front door, the hall, the windows, the bathroom light, school uniforms etc etc etc.

Well, off to bed.

More tomorrow.