Today is the first day in a few weeks that I’ve felt more like myself. I’ve had a few days where I’ve had a sleep while the kids are sleeping (1-2 hours) and a few nights with only three wake-ups between the three kids. Actually, last night it was just Chanbe (once) and Darby-doo (twice). Quindy is sleeping through like a champ. Two weeks and three nights ago, we started gently encouraging the kids to sleep in their own beds “all night long”. Somehow, about 5 months ago, they both got into the habit of coming into our bed during the night and sleeping there for the remainder of the night. I’m not going to lie. Hubs and I were quite enjoying all the snuggle-time with the four of us in our big, warm, king-size bed. But about a month ago, it was just becoming ridiculous.
Chanbe would lie across the bed and kick Hubs half the night; Quindy would wake up at 3am and want to look at the photos on my phone; and Darby-doo was getting woken up with all the hullabaloo, and wanting to be boobed back to sleep. Of course.
So I sat them down on the Monday morning, after a particularly ridiculous night’s “sleep” and gently explained to them that it was time they started sleeping in their own beds “all night long.” I told them that if they wake up and would like a cuddle, to call out to me and I would come in to them. We talked about it a fair bit that day, and I set up some incentive milestones – for one night, they got a little surprise (I can’t even remember what it was now – maybe a piece of chocolate with morning tea???); for one week, they got a toy (Chanbe got Dusty Crophopper, fire and rescue plane and Quindy got a Peppa Pig phone) and for one month, they will get a bigger surprise (yet to be determined. Most likely Lego of some sort.)
And it has worked. The first week was really hard going, with wake ups/cuddle requests/feeding 1-2 hourly; the second week brought some good nights and some really ridiculous nights (hourly wake-ups between the three of them!!) and the last few nights or so, have definitely been better. I knew it would take a little while, but I also knew it would totally pay off for everyone. The kids are getting better sleep, Hubs is getting much better sleep, and I know there will be a time in the near future that I will get to sleep “all night long” as well.
I’m feeling a real sense of achievement around it to be honest. I didn’t want the kids to feel unwelcome in our bed, and I didn’t want them to feel abandoned. But I also knew that we couldn’t keep going the way we were going, and function properly during the day. So much of parenting is about encouraging kids to be more independent, but also letting them know that you’ve got their back.
I started weaning myself off my meds around the same time as we started this exercise, and I realised that it was a really bad time to do so. I’m just not ready yet, and that’s okay. There’s no hurry. Good sleep, clear thoughts, and joyful moments are much more important at this time.
Sweet dreams everyone.