I’m sending out an SOS to SOS – Save Our Sleep. You see my son has, over the course of the last 6 weeks, regressed to the sleeping level of that of a colicky newborn. Complete with fits of uncontrollable sobs and endless stretches of unrelenting tears (and by 4.30am this morning that was just me!) we are suddenly missing long sections of sleep during the night that are leaving us all feeling like we’ve a hangover of epic partying proportions come morning – except for the small fact that the night before is anything but a partying paradise.
I truly thought our “controlled crying days” were over. While Harrison was never an excellent sleeper during the day, night times were always his “thing”. We’d always get complimented on how well he’d go down for us. It was a simple exercise of sleep cues – pop him in his grobag, cuddle and croon to him his favourite song (Baa Baa Black sheep, I’m forever indebted to you) and kiss him goodnight. You’d exit the room free from any fuss and barely have to see him again til morn. Mind you, he’s never been good at sleeping in to a reasonable hour (like 6am!) but NEVER have we endured this mammoth (and multiple) middle of the night malarky on such a consistent scale.
This morning I felt like all the sleep deprivation of the last 6 weeks had come and slapped me in the face with a steel bat. My head throbbed, my eyes stung and my body ached. Its one thing to feel like this with a helpless newborn child, because you kid yourself that those unending nights of broken sleep and buckets of tears have an expiry date.
Apparently they do not.
To hear your child sobbing with all the intensity of a stream of fighter jets, pleading for you to stay with him, for him to go to your bed, to just get out of bed altogether. Basically anything that does not involve him being in his bed all alone….It just breaks your heart... And you ask him, whispering into the still of the night “why do you want me to stay?” and he’ll reply through his salty tears “Because I love you”. Way to play fair Harrison, and pummel me with the big guilt guns!
And the clenches he holds you in, ohhhh. With all the might a superhero would muster in their efforts to save the world, my son clings to me. Literally CLINGS. He will wrap both his arms around your neck (part headlock, part frightened bearhug) in an attempt to ensure you do not leave his side. And should you dare move a muscle the little voice breaks the darkened silence with a whimpered “just stay in bed a little minute Mummy, stay with Harrison”. Just plunge that guilt edged knife in that little deeper, thanks son!
Because it does go against all my motherly instinct to leave him when he appears to need me most. Damnit if I haven’t gotten all soft in my mothering. I was queen of the controlled crying when Harrison was a bub and had to be taught to sleep. I could restrain myself in comforted thought that I was doing him a great service in teaching him to sleep unaided. And for so long he did just that. Guess that is what happens to those smug mums of the great sleeping child – you cant have it so good for so long without a tasty little reminder of the reality.
So now I feel bereft of answers. Part of me does wonder if it’s possible that he is spooked by something, because he tells me “my bed is broken mummy”. Not sure how to fix that exactly and call me selfish but I don’t relish the thought of having to share my bed every night for the next 7 – 10 years. I struggle enough with sleep as it is and having a small person in my bed on the odd occasion is fine, but every night is not on. Somehow the smallest person in the bed seems to take up the most room and the husband and I are left each clinging to an edge and meant to wake peacefully after a night of that? Then there’s the squirming, kicking and flailing while he locates that apparently elusive comfortable spot – which in the early hours of this morning was the small of my back.
But whether or not its some hang-up he has introduced after the departure of his beloved Dummy (because sleep and re-settling all on his own came breathtakingly easy back then) of there is something more sinister at play (I swear I suspected night terrors the other night, after an all consuming onslaught of tantrum-y tears lasted 90 minutes, and NOTHING could console him, utter fatigue eventually winning the duel in the end) all I hope for tonight is a miracle that somehow puts a stop to this vicious sleep depriving cycle and reinstate the blessed old norm.