The last few weeks have seen an increase in horrendous bedtimes. Little Legs has been part of our family for significantly less than a year and still requires bucketloads of reassurance that we love her and want her. There are pinch points during the week when we know she will most likely need a little more focussed attention.
A big pinch point at the moment is that when she goes to bed, she needs to know that we will still be there when she wakes in the morning. Her sisters’ presence appears to alleviate some of her fears – as our birth children, they have no frame of reference for her anxiety and worry, so at these tough points they often become a calming influence on her.
But some nights are just horrid. For all of us. Little Legs goes to bed at an age appropriate time. Her next two sisters (with whom she shares a room) go an hour later. Last night she was still awake over three hours after she was taken to bed. Niggling, calling out, three toilet stops, crying, turning her bed upside down, hiding her dummy and chattering to her sisters (who were shattered by the time they fell asleep).
Trying to keep up parenting her therapeutically during bedtime is one of the things I find most challenging. By then I’m tired myself. Having had the girls home all day, I need them to settle and sleep. Those are the times that Shouty Mummy makes an appearance. Never my proudest moments.
She has also taken to wandering in to our room in the night whenever she wakes. This is a new phenomenon over the last week that I am hoping will stop soon. One night this week she came in four times. Nothing wrong. Just popping in to say hi. Falls straight back to sleep once back in her bed. No obvious anxiety or fear. No tears or requests for anything.
People who know me well will know that I don’t do well on a lack of sleep. It has a huge knock on effect over the rest of the day. Especially as the girls are home with me all day, every day. I would love to be one of those people who can sleep for five hours and be super productive. Or even seven hours.
I need a good ten hours every night to even feel human. Having children has been a huge challenge to my need for sleep. We are fortunate that all of our girls are generally great sleepers. So when we have a blip like this current one, it hits us hard. We lose our evening time together to sitting in Little Legs’ bedroom until she is sleeping. Often up to two hours at the moment. And I don’t get to bed when I would like to.
Tiredness affects my patience levels, my ability to be calm and rational, my willingness to be affectionate when requested (or demanded). I know this only confirms that I am human! But I need good sleep to be on top of my game for my girls. Especially for the one who needs that little bit extra.
And so the cycle continues.
Any advice from those who have gone or are going through a similar thing would be most appreciated!