I know this! Everyone knows this so why did it take for my mum to say those words before I realised that Little O wasn’t being bad, she was crying to get a need met? That’s why little children cry so much right? They cry to get fed, they cry to get changed, they cry if they are cold, they cry if they want a cuddle and it is ultimately our job as parents to soothe them, figure out what they need and fix the problem for them. In the light of day this is easy to do but when your little baby who has been sleeping through the night suddenly starts screaming and crying big wet tears for prolonged periods through the dark hours it hits you with such shock and unexpected force that you automatically get cross or frustrated, or at least I did. That’s not strictly true, I didn’t get frustrated immediately, On the first night I put it down to her ear infection so I cuddled her back to sleep and lay next to her shhhhhing and singing until we both fell asleep. Then the next night I did the same until a week later, ear infection cleared up, I was too tired to realise that I had in fact developed a bad habit for both of us. As the weeks have gone on and tiredness has increased to the stage where I walk into classes full of precious babies that I have taught for months and I can’t remember their names (sorry Jake) I have realised that I am not dealing with the issue I am just surviving the issue. I was sleeping on O’s bedroom floor and dozing off in between bouts of screaming but I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to, I wasn’t figuring out what was wrong, soothing her and fixing the problem! This is where my mum’s second pearl of wisdom comes in…
MAYBE SHE IS LONELY!
I thought through when this had started and why it might have started and when I broke it down I thought WOW, my little lady has had it tough the last couple of months. I realised that she started October with a sickness bug accompanied by an ear infection resulting in a burst ear drum; followed quickly by a secondary ear infection while in Spain and another perforation! She then took poorly again with tonsillitis and has just last week recovered from another sickness bug! Is it really any wonder she is looking for some extra cuddles from mummy! Probably not! When I really think about, she has been telling me exactly what she needs. Through the tears and sobs she has been saying the words ‘mummy’s bed’, ‘mummy cuddle’ and ‘mummy’s hair’ I have put this down to her trying to find ways to get out of her bed when actually she has been telling me that over the weeks when she has been poorly she has become accustomed to mummy cuddling her more, ultimately she has been able to hold my hair more during these cuddles ( O’s comforter of choice is always mummy’s hair, followed quickly by her sheep skin blanket, affectionately named ‘loy loy’) and she did often get brought into my bed for cuddles. Judge if you like but at the end of the day for me the choice between her and I crammed in her cot for cuddles while she is poorly or us being comfortable in my king sized bed is an easy one! I realise that by comforting O through being poorly, by nursing my baby and holding her close when she needed me I helped her to feel better at the time but then I suddenly expected her to sleep without me, without cuddles, without me singing ‘Ally Bally’ on repeat as soon as she was well again! How unrealistic of me! How unfair of me! So once again my mum, otherwise known as Super Granny was again probably right! O probably is feeling lonely and that is something that I can help her with. I had a think about what might help her feel less lonely and the answer was obvious; a companion in bed! Now that companion could no longer be myself or her Daddy and as much as big sister would have loved the chance to cuddle her baby to sleep, this would have ultimately ended in much less sleep and many hours of hide of hide and seek under the covers so I thought about little O’s next favourite thing; my mum and dads dog, Cassie! No I’m not crazy, I did not adopt Cassie nor did I buy a puppy (as much as the girls would have loved me to) no, I took a trip to IKEA and I bought a great big cuddly dog!
I was delighted to see that IKEA’s range of cuddly toys had grown in size and when O found a gorgeous brown dog and started saying ‘Cassie cuddles’ repeatedly while desperately trying to get out of her pram to get to the basket of dogs I knew we had found her night time companion! So Cassie came home with us and only 3 nights later O asks for Cassie cuddles as she climbs into her bed. She snuggles into her very own friend and is much happier to go to sleep! Now I know that lots of you will be thinking children shouldn’t have stuffed toys in their cots and it’s unsafe, I agree completely with this for babies and infants who are unable to roll over or move away from the soft toys however for O is strong enough to climb out of her cot I have no worries about her sleeping with her new best friend and I am happy that she no longer feels lonely in her bed night.
HOW ARE THINGS GOING SO FAR?
I am pleased to tell you all that last night we had success! I know it might not last, it might be a one off, but last night when O woke up at 2:30 I went through thinking I was in for 3 hours of a battle so when I returned to my bed at 2:45 having left O snoring soundly I had to pinch myself a little. I did of course lie awake thinking that it would be harder to get up again when she started shouting if I let myself fall asleep but the shouts never came so let myself fall asleep and didn’t wake again until O arrived at the side of my bed with Cassie in her arms and asked for Porridge at 6:30! Please don’t think that buying a cuddly toy has solved our sleepless nights, I have implemented a number of new techniques to help O and I will tell you about them in my blogs over the next little while but for now I am feeling hopeful, there just might be a light at the end of this tunnel!