So, two weeks after going back to school my “Small Boy with Big Feelings’” mojo has returned. The funny, “generally” happy and relatively stress free side of him had appeared once more.
Now, I also have an older boy (The Teen) and I am not sure that “The Teen” was as happy with “Small Boy's” come back as we were – and perhaps this will demonstrate why!
"The Teen" gets terribly embarrassed by us all – and it’s not unusual to hear “God you lot are so weird” which is pretty normal I suppose given his age!
This one particular morning, he was upstairs getting ready for school and as usual his friend knocked for him. “Small Boy” answered the door and proudly announced " He won't be long ..He's just washing the poo off of his hands "! A loud protest came from upstairs.." I'm only brushing my teeth!" Fits of giggles erupted from the rest of the house ..me included I confess! And Que a red faced Teen exiting the house at top speed, give the “evil eye” to “Small Boy”!!
The return of the mojo has made mornings much easier to deal with, he is enjoying school and doing much better there than I ever thought possible. Things are pretty good, in the daytime that is!!! The nights however are a whole different story – He has only slept through the night without waking about three or four times in five years! The good nights are the ones where he wakes and wanders the house for a bit, they chucks himself down somewhere – (usually someone else's bed) and goes back to sleep.
Bad nights , which we usually have for a few days at a time are those when he wakes up just as I'm thinking of going to bed and is WIDE awake till about three in the morning, chatting, wanting to engage, asking questions.
Before I had "Small Boy" and "Small Girl", I had SLEEP, beautiful sleep, usually a blissful eight hours of lovely, uninterrupted, peaceful sleep, in my OWN bed!
When “The Teen” and The Tween were tiny .. (yes I have 4 children in all)!! I still had sleep. I occasionally had a broken night or trouble settling one of them and of course there were the night feeds, but generally sleep was not an issue.
I suppose, to be honest, I was quite smug about it! I can remember thinking when I heard other parents talking about their children keeping them awake ..... “What was this nonsense? Small children keeping adults awake? Not in my house”!!!!!!!!!!! But that was before I knew better.
“Small Boy” and “Small Girl” kept me awake long before they were born. I was the size of a house and felt that I was incubating an octopus! It was the “Twin Olympics” and the thrashing of 8 tiny limbs was not conducive to a good night's sleep - and I can state that with absolute authority!
They arrived eight weeks early, in the middle of the night (of course, when else would they decide to come, they clearly didn’t want the sleep)! and life would never be the same again.
Sleep AND any other bedroom related activities became a thing of the past! It was then I found myself doing all those things I swore I would never do .. All the things that I had heard about from other parents, the ones that I had reflected about, smugly! I had become a member of the “sleep seekers”! That band of parents who are used to looking in the mirror and seeing an expression that betrays lack of sleep! Desparate and willing to try anything to get an extra hour of sleep out of their child.
Interestingly, “Small Girl” became pretty good at sleeping, quite early on in fact! But “Small Boy” had other ideas! Believe me when I say we tried it all ..The driving around in the car, the rocking the car seat, singing lullaby’s, the purchase of any baby device that claimed to be calming, soothing or vibrating. He was not going to have any of it .. I was no longer smug just utterly exhausted!
As he grew, things improved slightly. A travel cot bought us a few hours of sleep a night ..It appeared that he liked the firm pressure from this type of cot. And so, we left the transition from cot to bed as looooong as possible. In fact until we were afraid the fire brigade would have to come and cut him out of it due to his size!
We now use meditation (no not medication, meditation) to help him get off to sleep. It now takes about twenty minutes rather than two hours to get him settled...quite amazing actually. Which makes the nocturnal wanderings easier to cope with now bedtime is not a battle of wills.
So to all of those sleep deprived “sleep seeking” parents out there ..I hear you! Our time will come though, I sometimes just wish it would come quicker!! And I know in my heart that it IS a phase, but until then ..caffeine, endless amounts of concealer and guilt ridden day time naps at home or on the train to or from work, (safe in the knowledge that we won’t be woken by a little person) all these will be our best friends, and I suppose if things get really bad there are always matchsticks..chocolate ones of course!