I remember years ago when I worked in Real Estate, being sent out on a course on customer service (were they trying to tell me something??). I remember the presenter talking about when you have to criticise someone, you use a strategy that is somehow likened to building a hamburger (or a shit sandwich!!). You build the layers up of positives, so the bun, the lettuce, the sauce then bam, you get to the meat and you hit them hard where it hurts, discuss the main issues etc, then soften it up with the cheese tomato and bun. I think it’s a great metaphor. I’m now going to have a go at building my own hamburger; I absolutely love being a mum to my four beautiful children and I realise how blessed I am to have healthy children who don’t all hate me (yet) but here it comes, my 3 year old girls are driving me absolutely effing mad and won’t go to sleep! Correction, they will sleep, but Darling 4 will only sleep in our bed and Darling 3 will only sleep with Dora blasting out of the DVD player with me lying beside her in a single bed. I’m having nightmares about Dora!. Most nights I fall asleep before her somewhere around 11pm whilst my husband has the other child sleeping diagonally across our bed, demanding milk, back tickles and that he put cartoons on the TV (he draws the line at watching cartoons in our bedroom). It is like this every single night. Darling 4 who sleeps with DH likes to hog the bed, kick the blankets off and deliver swift kicks to the back so I know he isn’t sleeping very well and is also feeling crap during the day. This worries me especially since he has had issues with his heart.
About a month ago I was ready to grab my car keys, turn my phone off and run for the hills, never to be seen again. How the bloody hell did DH and I allow ourselves to be totally and utterly manipulated by two 3-year old’s and let them run the house. I’m sick to death of it, I’m so tired ALL the time, I never get a second alone and I can feel myself growing very resentful of these two beautiful girls; I know the term threenager was coined for a reason, but I’m honestly worried I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. I cannot continue living like this with these little Nazis that I’ve created. I can honestly see why people split up over the stresses of having children because it can really take a toll. Things that would usually be classified as cute during the day is now just plain pissing me off. I don’t think we would have put up with it for as long if we didn’t have the two older kids who need to get their sleep for school. I’m sure we would have addressed the matter earlier. I’m always saying that these two are my last babies and I want to enjoy them as much as I can, but I’ve put myself in a situation where I feel exactly the opposite. Rather than enjoying them I want them to hurry up and grow up. And not only that, I feel like a complete and utter failure who can’t seem to get anything right and I can feel myself spiralling back into a depression and wanting to isolate myself. Everything just seems too hard on no sleep How can I not get two kids to sleep, how hard is it really?
REALLY REALLY HARD!
I considered putting in a super urgent call to the Jo Frost the Super Nanny and begging her to come to Australia and help but knew this was way too farfetched, I considered employing a ‘Baby Whisperer’ to come to the house for a couple of nights to help us sort out the sleep arrangements but they charge three figures per hour and I could see the costs quickly sky rocketing. I also considered applying to sleep school Tweddle, but how was I supposed to coordinate getting two kids to and from school daily whilst being on the other side of town sleep training two 3-year old’s. Logistically it just wasn’t going to work. The only way we were going to get this done was to do it ourselves, even though we are both dog tired and feeling like shit, it had to be done and would be worth it.
I did some research online and spoke with a Psychologist who specialises in ‘The Circle of Security’ and sleeping issues and decided the best course of action was going to be the ‘Super Nanny’ method. This involves putting the girls down to bed and walking them back to bed each time they got out. Darling 3 has taken very well to it and hasn’t put up too much resistance. Darling 4 however, she is another story. My father has nick named her the velvet sledge hammer. The first night there were a lot of tears from Darling 4, she just wants to sleep with us and loves cuddles and that’s beautiful, but she must sleep in her own bed. DH did the early shift of walking her back to bed and I picked up the later shift and I lost count at 14 trips down the hallway. As long as Darling 3 had Dora playing on her TV she was happy to be in her own bed. She would occasionally cry for me to get in her bed with her when I was walking her sister to bed, I would give her a cuddle and kiss and say good night and leave the room. This continued like this for the entire first week, but we were very strong and consistent with her and she would then start walking into our room fully expecting to be either walked or carried back to her own room. DH and I got to have uninterrupted conversations about the most random things and just enjoy being in each other’s company without any children jumping all over us. It was worth it just for that alone. We almost had it down pat, but it took about 3 weeks and during those three weeks we felt frustration, anger and there were definite discussions about giving up and just putting her back in our bed when neither of us could be bothered getting up but once I had started I couldn’t stop. No way. Then fate intervened, Darling 4 took a fall and hit her head hard about an hour before bed last night. She is usually quite dramatic with injuries and this was no exception, but I didn’t’ want to take any chances with head injuries. We iced her forehead & kept a close eye on her until bedtime. I really didn’t feel comfortable letting her sleep in her bed down the other end of the house (I had visions of overnight seizures and the like), so I put her in bed with us. She was absolutely fine, hogged the bed, kicked off the covers and slept like a log and has been running around happy all day and hasn’t mentioned her head once today.
Guess where she thinks she is sleeping tonight? the battle starts again………