The night terrors

The night terrors are upon us – and I’m not referring to our kids. Just when we think we’ve outsmarted them, they go and raise the bar.

People who talk about those first few sleepless weeks of babyhood as some isolated phase, clearly have not had toddlers. Between babies, coughs, nightmares, shenanigans, Christmas Eve searches for Santa (3.30am the spectacular new low), I think we’ve probably had about 5 full sweet slumber-filled weeks in 3 years.

I almost yearn for the moon-lit feedings of a newborn – at least you are prepared, at least it has a routine, and at least you can read a book. But to be rumbled from your dreams by a slumber-killing screech at some unpredictable time of the night because your wobbler wants a hug, her dummy is on the floor, the batteries have run out on her mobile, or just because she is bored, can shatter your sleep for the rest of the night. And every time we find a solution for the newest nocturnal nemeses, we are woken to a new nightmare.

For several weeks, Daisy started coming into our room at some un-godly hour. The first time she did it, I had to peel myself off the ceiling after waking to a demented mad-child standing beside my bed saying “mummy, mummy, mummy” over and over again like Damien from the Exorcist. Eventually I solved this problem like most other problems with children – with bribery. I put a timer on her bed-side lamp and promised her a lolly every time she stayed in bed until her light came on. (The joy of this is I set the timer an hour later at the weekend!! Wahoo!).

Phew… back to bedded bliss. That lasted about 3 days. On the fourth night I was snatched from my slumber by a murderous shriek and leaping into their room found my 19 month old standing beside Daisy’s bed poking her. Daisy was rightly a little scared and upset. I was frantic. My baby is tiny. I put her into bed inside a sleeping bag in a tall cot. Had someone broken into our house and taken her out??

Dazed and confused I put her back. As I made my way back to bed wondering if I was actually dreaming, I heard a “thump”. I opened their door to find Poppy sitting on the floor grinning at me. I couldn’t believe it. There was NO WAY she could get out of that cot! I padded the floor with pillows, put her back in and took position lying prostrate on the landing floor peering under their bedroom door (the things you find yourself doing at 4am when you have kids…). Sure enough, the little minx hoisted herself up on the rail using her arms like some Russian gymnast on the bars, rocked forwards and backwards to gain momentum, and with one final kamikaze lurch, threw herself head first in a backward flip over the top of the cot onto the floor. Needless to say, there was more no more sleeping that night!

Our short-term solution is to put her in the travel cot. But it’s too small for her so we have to come up with something else. At this point in time however, I’m too tired to figure out what that may be. I guess I’ll just have to sleep on it.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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4 Responses to The night terrors

  1. that girl? says:

    I know exactly what you mean! We just crack one thing with our girl then something else pops up. She is nearly four and nowhere near dry at night, therefore still in pull ups. They are rarely dry in the morning so when she wakes and asks to be taken to the toilet then so be it… any progress is good. When she comes back in half an hour later and asks us if we heard her really loud “permp”… hhmm… not so good! On the nights she does sleep through she often sleep shouts. Not sleep talking mind.. sleep shouting! Oh well… time enough for sleep when she’s a teen.. just before she stars going out whilst I stay up clock watching!

    Like

  2. that girl? says:

    I know exactly what you mean! We just crack one thing with our girl then something else pops up. She is nearly four and nowhere near dry at night, therefore still in pull ups. They are rarely dry in the morning so when she wakes and asks to be taken to the toilet then so be it… any progress is good. When she comes back in half an hour later and asks us if we heard her really loud “permp”… hhmm… not so good! On the nights she does sleep through she often sleep shouts. Not sleep talking mind.. sleep shouting! Oh well… time enough for sleep when she’s a teen.. just before she stars going out whilst I stay up clock watching!

    Like

  3. Medela says:

    Hey the situations are almost the same here! I can therefore relate much to this entry! thanks for posting it.

    Like

  4. cath c says:

    not to completely take the wind out of your sails, but even taking into account the do not leave your bed til 6am rule, my 10 year old still wakes excruciatingly early, and will either ‘sneak around’ (not much sneaking, as he’s the loudest kid on 2 feet)or entertain himself by replaying entire movies through his mouth on the opposite side of our bedroom wall. granted, there are extenuating circumstances with his neurology, however, now with an infant, ugh. i haven’t had 4 solid hours in a row since early in my baby’s pregnancy. she’s ten months old now. electrodes hooked up to my brain would have a very monotone read at this point, rather flatlined. however, having said that, my 13 year old was a night waking baby, and now slumbers the sleep of the princess in the old fairytale with the castle swallowed up in vines. he has done so since age 4.

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