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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sleeper cell

We thought we were doing so well. The toddler had slept on the flight. She had napped in the car on the way back from the airport. She had had an afternoon nap to make up for the time difference and had not only gone to bed at the usual time, but had slept through! We were totally winning.

The next day she was a bit groggy, but we got her up at the usual time, she had a good day with her childminder, and again, went to bed at the usual time and slept through. We were clearly the best parents ever at managing children's jetlag.

Until the following night. Oh yes, she went to bed at 7 p.m. as usual. And then, just as we were going to bed at just gone 10 p.m. she woke. And screamed. And screamed. I went in, in case she was ill. She wasn't ill. She was Awake. I used a capital "A" there just to illustrate how awake she actually was.

I held her for a few minutes until she had calmed down, then I grabbed a spare duvet and flopped onto the floor of her bedroom to keep her company until she had drifted off.

"Hand, Mummy," she demanded, sticking her chubby toddler fingers through the cot bars. I held her hand for what seemed like about three weeks. It was probably about five minutes. I began to get pins and needles.

"Go to sleep now," I suggested, letting go of her hand and turning over so she couldn't see my face. The wailing started.

"It's OK, Mummy is here. Go to sleep." It went quiet. After two minutes, I hedged a glance over my shoulder. The toddler was standing up straight in her cot, dangling Toby Bear over the side, right above my head.

"Are you asleep?" I asked. I knew she wasn't asleep. I'm not that poor at childcare. I'm not even sure why I said it.

The toddler giggled and ran to the far end of her cot. This is harder than you might imagine, as she was wearing a toddler sleeping bag. From the far end of her cot, she started singing, "Twinkle winkle ittle aaar. Owwaee wonn aaaaah." As this changed to, "Baa baa back seep avy wool", I realised she was Properly Awake, and the only thing to do would be to start the bedtime routine again.

I brought her downstairs, gave her some milk. ("No! Warm milk, Mummy.") I warmed up the milk, gave it back to her, read her two or three stories, let her play with Monty Cat, then took her back upstairs, brushed her teeth again and put her to bed.

It was 11.30 p.m. by this point.

And the screaming finally subsided at about midnight. (I didn't go back in. Yes, you can judge me for being one of those awful parents who lets the baby cry it out, but we know from experience, the more you go in, the more it sets her back in her sleep routine.)

At about 12.30 a.m. TheBloke (TM) and I finally got to sleep.

At 3 a.m. there was an extremely loud thunderstorm that seemed to be located directly above our house and lasted for about an hour (or about five minutes, I don't know which). TheBloke (TM) and I sat bolt upright like frightened rabbits (not by the thunder, but by the fear that it would wake the toddler. It didn't. We, however, remained awake for at least another hour).

Virtual reality travel may be the way forward.

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