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.