When you're a blogging kinda gal, you get close to those around you - so when Josie from Sleep is for the Weak announced that she would be hosting a 'Sleep Deprivation' carnival, I wanted to help her out. The ony problem was, apart from laying awake all night trying to think about what to write for her (which she assured me didn't count as 'authentic' sleep deprivation), I really didn't know what I would write.
You see, the thing is, although I'm a Mother of two small children, I don't really suffer from sleep deprivation, as such. Yes, my favourite thing to say when people ask me how I am is 'exhausted', but that's more about the fact that I've been up fiddling around with the computer all night, rather than the fact that my children haven't been sleeping.
You see, they sleep rather well. Amazingly almost.
This morning I had to wake Renée up at 8 o'clock so she had time for breakfast before school. And Edie followed shortly after. They had both been in bed since 6.30 the night before.
And they hadn't woken up.
When I tell people about my children's sleeping, they often think I'm lying, or else, they tell me that I'm extremely lucky.
Lying. Why would I? When my child does a poo at a smart garden party and I manage to step in it, I tell you. When I am in tears because I think my (then) unborn child has a cleft lip, then I tell you. Why would I lie about their sleeping? It would be much more fun to tell you that they've both been up all night and I'm currently dying of exhaustion (and I'm sure it would elicit far more sympathy too). But that wouldn't be the truth.
But am I lucky? Well, yes, of course I am. BUT, that luck didn't just happen. I like to think that I made it.
There was once a time when I was dying of exhaustion, believe me. After giving birth to Edie, I was miserable. I was over the moon to have two beautiful children, but in truth, it was so much more work that I could ever have imagined. I loved having one child. I loved everything about it. I loved gazing at my adorable newborn and imagining that I was the only person ever to have such feelings of happiness. I slept when she slept, revelled in my new role as natural mother and truly thought I had found my vocation in life. So when Edie came along, I thought it would be even easier.
I was wrong.
Not only did she not sleep.
But she fed like a demon and I never seemed to have enough milk for her.
I remember when she was a tiny baby, she'd be awake all day and then I'd pray for her to sleep at night. Just an hour. Anything. But she wouldn't. Instead she'd toss and turn in her moses basket, fidget next to me, cry and fuss on top of me. And I'd cry too. So much. And just when she'd finally drop off to sleep, I'd catch a faint whiff of her tiny newborn nappy and I'd know that she'd have to be woken up for a change.
It was soul destroying.
When she would eventually find the knowhow to drop off to sleep, her big sister would wake up, full of joy and full of the energy of a two-year old.
In those early days of having two children I reckon I had two hours sleep a night and never was that in one go.
Like I said, I was miserable.
But instead of driving myself insane, which I could easily have done, I decided that I absolutely, definitely had to do something about it.
My husband works away from home a great deal and therefore, although I'm married, I often feel like a single Mother. And that means that the children are my responsibility, 24 hours a day. If the children don't sleep, then I don't sleep. And if they stay up all night, as my French in-laws would have them do, then I would never have a moment to myself. As much as I adore my children, I don't find that a very welcoming prospect.
So what did I do?
Controlled crying is what.
You've probably heard of it. And if you have then you either find it a barbaric thought, or you swear by it. I fall into the latter category, as does Really Rachel who wrote a post about it too.
I'm not sure you need boring with the finer details. I think Really Rachel gives a good account.
All I can say is - it took three nights. That's all. Edie was about seven or eight months old. Not yet able to pull herself up and rattle the sides of the cot or shout 'Mama' (as Renée had done a couple of years earlier). It was hideous, obviously, to hear my darling child cry and wail. But it was more hideous, for both of us, to get no sleep.
They are now five and almost three and they both sleep like a dream.
I don't wake up in the morning feeling like I've drunk five bottles of wine (chance would be a fine thing). And they don't spend the day getting cranky or whiny.
They love their sleep.
And so do I.
Night night my friends....
Jo posted a blog post
1 hour ago