Saturday, 21 February 2015

#100BloggingDays Day 4 - Sleep

I am completely confident with Betsy during the day, I know what to do and when to do it, I can generally read her quite well so know what her cries and whines mean, I know when she is happy and sad and fed up. I know what she likes and dislikes (although this changes on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis so I cant never be TOO sure). I know I am capable. I can look after her. I may find it tough and a struggle sometimes, particularly if I am having a 'dark day'. But ultimately I know what I am doing.
That is, until 7pm. Bedtime. When it gets to this time of the day, I am back to the nervousness and anxiousness of those early days when she was a new born and I didn't actually know what I was doing. I was just winging it, learning on the job and just hoping everything would turn out ok.
When Betsy was very small, she was a great sleeper. I hate to admit it, but I was the sort of parent that now drives me insane. The sort that would listen to you telling me all about your shitty sleepless night you had just had, and reply by telling you how good a sleeper my Betsy was. I would wear a smug smile on my silly naïve face when people commented on how lucky I was. I wish I could go back and give myself a slap!
I cant remember when things started going down hill, but they did at some point, and have continued to. Quite frankly I cannot believe there is any more hill to go down. Usually though there was something to blame it on; teeth, coughs, colds, etc.

Just lately though, there is nothing.

It started with the waking in the night. She began waking usually between 2-4am, full of beans. We would go in and give her a bottle which she would drink in seconds, then she would just stare at us. Try to climb us, pull my hair, poke and prod us. Anything to get us to interact with her. When we put her down she would scream and scream hysterically. This would continue until she tired herself out and eventually went to sleep. Usually at least an hour later, sometimes two. This lasted a couple of weeks, with me and Ashley taking it in turns to sit in her room with her. All of us exhausted the next day. Until one night when I got a bit desperate and brought her into our bed. She rolled about for a few minutes, then went straight to sleep. It was magic.

So this carried on for a few days. It got worse when she started to have a meltdown whenever we attempted to put her in her cot. She used to be very good, had her naps in it during the day and slept fine in it at night. Now, she is having none of it. She screams and screams and screams hysterically for however long we leave it until we break and get her out. The only way we can get her to sleep in it now is by letting her fall asleep on us, and giving it a good 15 minutes, then carefully putting her into her cot. However, this doesn't always work!

She has her naps in the daytime either on the sofa or on our bed, which she will sleep fine on. She sleeps in with us most nights, sometimes from the start, sometimes halfway through the night, but it is very very rare that she will go all night in her own cot.

And I struggle with this. I struggle with it all at night. Quite often I will lay in bed, even when she is asleep, and be wide awake worrying. Worrying that we will never break this bad habit, that we will be having her in our bed forever. I don't feel like I can leave her with anyone over night, or even for an evening, because of how she is. I am completely and utterly clueless. I cannot read her at nights, I cannot make sense of what the issue is. I feel like I'm failing.

The only advice I seem to get from well meaning mums and Google is controlled crying. Something that I just don't have the patience for or fully believe in, if I am completely honest. She goes from 0 to hysterically crying to the point of being unable to breath within about a minute. I don't know how I am supposed to leave her for 5, 10, 15 minutes. I am also physically, mentally and emotionally drained by the end of the day, I just don't have the energy to deal with this.

I know I am probably the root of this problem. I should never have brought her into our room, I should have been stronger from the start and nipped whatever it was in the bud, rather then let it escalate to the point that it has now reached. I know I continue to be the problem really, because I just cannot bring myself to deal with it. I keep wondering whether it is 'just a phase', maybe she will just grow out of it, but deep down I feel like this is not the case. I feel like every single night I dig myself into a deeper hole with her, a hole which is so deep the opening of it is a tiny dot above me.


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