Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sleepless Easter

My parents arrived on thursday of last week. Oliver stopped sleeping through the night thursday of last week also. He may have been up for 3 hours between 2 and 5am. Crying like it was going out of fashion. We were up, my parents were up and we all had a terrible night. This would have been bad enough without a series of unsolicited advices from my parents on what we should do (obviously the opposite of what we were doing) and recollection of what they were doing with me when I was small (again, never did what we were doing etc). I talked to them the day after saying they weren't really helping and to please stay in bed and let us do our own things. Friday night was much of the same, Mike took the first shift and 5 minutes later he was back in the bedroom because my parents decided to take over. So I got up, my mum was holding Oliver, chatting to him etc. I took him and told them to go back to bed. More comments on how they never let me cry that much.
Miraculously, Saturday night was much better. Another good night on Sunday, though it took Oliver a good hour to fall asleep (more crying etc with my parents saying he was awake and we should just let him be up for a while) and back to hell-night last night. We are wrecked and also back in work.
My parents are leaving on thursday and want to babysit Oliver (no crèche), which we have no problem with, but we have to find a solution to this behaviour.
Let's talk about what these two terrible pair (Mike and I) are doing that is so wrong and by all means do comment and let me know your point of view.
1) We believe in routine. Oliver has dinner around 7pm, then we have happy time in the bath and then he goes to bed, takes his bottle while we chat to him telling stories or just talking to him about our day, he gives us the bottle when he's done we kiss him and cuddle goodnight and close the door. Normally he goes asleep no problem without a sound. Occasionally we have to go back him a couple of times if he really doesn't settle.
2) We believe in a scheduled nap time (routine again I suppose). Same as when he is in the crèche, we put him down for his nap after lunch and he can sleep between 1 and 2.5 hours but he has to be up by 3 or the rest of the afternoon is a mess, then he doesn't want to eat/sleep etc.
3) When he wakes up during the night, we assess the situation (he's well, dry and doesn't really need anything other than company), give him back his soother if he has lost it ("soother emergency") and we consistently put him back down in his bed. Often he goes right back to sleep. If he's very upset, we give him a cuddle but keep the talk to a minimum, the light is always off (bar the night light), we do not engage in playing or other activities that may delay the go back to sleep. Of course if he's not well, we pick him up, give him paracetamol or similar, and stay up with him looking out the window etc. If we think he's hungry we of course feed him and by now I think we can have a good guess from his crying at what the problem is. I know there are different opinions on this but I am not sure there is just one right way of handling a crying baby or everyone would follow that one!
4) We don't have Oliver falling asleep in our bed, in front of the telly (which he doesn't watch yet) or other places. His bedroom and bed is where sleeping happens (of course the car seat is a valid alternative for him or the stroller if we are out during nap time).

I don't have anything against co-sleeping or never let a baby cry and such, but just it doesn't work for us and I think that being consistent is the most important thing. If Oliver has a bit of a fall or hits his head against a chair I tend not to make a big deal at all of it and he's quickly on his feet and back playing. If he plays with a drawer (safe content and safe drawer) he can just do it without me obsessing on the possibility that he may catch his finger in it (if he does, I console him and kiss said finger and he can keep playing if he wants to). I cuddle him loads and have lots of fun together playing any sort of games and he seems really happy to me. I cannot believe that I have to let him do what he wants when is sleeping time or else I'm a bad parent.

I think I'm realising now that perhaps I never knew how my parents would react to a particular request because there was not a consistent behaviour (yes to a brand new moped, but no to sleepovers. I could have my opinion but I had to be careful how I express it, while they could just say it as they saw it).

We had a series of disagreements on what we should do in particular situations (my father is convinced that if he has a bit of a cough we should not bathe him. As if we are bathing him on the balcony in cold water...Yet we should bring him out for walks no matter the weather. He should not sleep in a sleeping bag because he cannot stand up easily if he wakes...I argue that the sleeping bag is the safest thing) and I know that they just want to let me know what they think but this is my son and I don't think I have to justify what we do to them! It's tiring.
One last thing I need to vent. I mentioned we will be doing a FET this summer and my mother commented "Do you think you can handle two?" do I even have to answer?
I love them dearly and they would give their life for me and my sister but at times I just wish they stopped treating me like a child who doesn't know what's best.


  1. Hi, Fran, I have been reading you since forever, but only now delurking. Better late than never, huh?!
    You have my sympathy. Your parents may mean well, and they do, but you are now the parent and what YOU say is THE rule for your child. It is never easy to deal with interfering well meaning people, but you have to explain to them that this is just one thing that is not negotiable and it is in the best interest of Oliver to have everyone follow the rules this parents set. regardless of the topic, be it nighttime routine, treats, play time or toys. If you say yes or no they have to accept it, not agree.
    But from my experience, this is easier said than done.
    You know all this already, the problem is they don't...
    I hope you find a way to make them understand that what works for you is what you stick with and that is all. Fingers crossed. And you are the best parents Oliver can have, never forget that.
    As for the second child, if your mum had two, and they turned out fine, surely her children can do the same, right?

  2. I think you are an amazing parent! As my doctor said to me last week when I was bleary eyed because Liam was up 3 times that night, he's a growing boy and his needs keep changing. In our case, it's teething and we're doing what we can to keep sane in the midst of the crying some nights.

    You have lots of positive (and sleep) vibes being sent your way from Bermuda!!

    Some days I'd jump at the chance for a second child and others I feel that I can't even keep everyone in my house organized, let alone add another one. Them my mom reminds me that I was 19 months when my brother was born and we all survived that!!! You'll be better than fine when your family grows!

  3. Maybe you could tell your parents that they need to step back so that you can put the problem solving skills they taught you to good use?

    I'm sorry the visit is not going well. I know how hard it can be to try and be a grown up around your parents. They don't make it easy. And the comment about you being able to handle 2...ugh...dagger to the heart.

    You are doing a fine job and don't ever doubt that. And of course you can handle 2. If there are people that can handle 5 or 6 or 19, then you can handle 2 (or however many you want).

    Big hugs coming your way and keep up the good work!

  4. o dear... maybe your parents aren't used to sleepless nights anymore! And maybe they think *they* couldn't handle two right now... Little projection maybe?
    I'm sure they'll be over the moon for a sibling for Oliver.
    Yay for consistency.
    Wishing you a good night of sleep, and Oliver and your parents too!
    from Amsterdam with Love

  5. Oy, I'm sorry your parents are interfering with your parenting style. I think everything you do makes perfect sense and I wouldn't change a thing! I'm all for routine and scheduled naps and consistency too! Good luck!

  6. Dear Fran! You and Mike sound like fantastic parents! I am sorry it was such a tiring weekend and that there was a clash of parenting cultures going on...I think it's very generational - old style vs new style...And as for the, "Do you think you can handle two?" question I am confident that you will prove her inference wrong.

  7. You are doing everything with the sleep EXACTLY as I would, with one exception (feeding him at night). I wonder if he is breaking a molar? My twins both barely noticed the other teeth but molars oh my.

    At 2 1/2 both of mine are still wearing the sleep sacks and I absolutely swear by them. They not only can stand up but easily walk around in them (if they run off before we can take it off in the morning). Aside from the safety, Oliver's age he'd have a hard time fixing his blankets in the middle of the night when he invariably kicks them off -- and then you'd have a blanket emergency (or a cold baby). If I could use a sleep sack myself, I would!

    One thing to consider about your parents' meddling: they see their daughter struggling, and their grandson struggling, and they just want to make it better. I do think they mean well, even though they should learn to respect that you are the decision-maker with Oliver.

    Hope you sleep better soon!

  8. Fran, there is not much input that is going to come from me, for the reason that I am not dealing with a toddler and that I seem to not have a sleeping philosophy as of now. If x puts her to sleep, I do it. My routine is around my daughter's right now.

    Helpful but unsolicited advice is already flowing in. I say, just give them an ear, but do what suits you and hubby best.

    I like BabySmiling's response really...esp the last bit.

  9. Oh Fran...I cannot disagree with you because it sounds as if I wrote this! My kids have only ever slept in their own beds and when they wake up at night .... they usually whimper and cry a bit and I just ignore it until they work it out (unless it goes on too long)...usually...they just need to learn how to soothe themselves back to sleep. Keep doing what you are doing and he will be back on track soon.
    kd in CA


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