When you have a bad sleeper, you don’t really imagine things (i.e.sleep, or lack of it) could get any worse. An average night with Dangermouse, age 18 months, normally involves several zombie state trips round the corner into her room, to fumble around for her bunny-rag and dummy (patting around the bed / her face in the process), re-establishing a happy, sucky, cuddly state, and collapsing back into our own bed. Repeat 2-8 times, alternating turns with increasing frustration.
I think once, she slept all night. I emphasize the SHE, because as the law of sod would have it, that (obviously) was a night her sister had nightmares / tummy ache / fell out of bed. I can’t remember exactly, It’s all a bit of a blur. Tiredness has become a way of life.
Last week, to our despair, things took a turn for the worst. We had the usual first night wakening unusually early, not long after we had gone to bed, but she was standing in her cot, crying ‘Mumma’ with her arms out to me. Wide awake. Fiercly rejecting the idea of going back to sleep, we went through several hours of trying to calm her down. Our bed, Calpol, the disappearing chair, sleeping on her floor, cuddles, controlled crying. We were all, all over the place.
During the morning debrief (when obviously all was forgiven courtesy of those big brown eyes), we discussed the potential cause for such a horrendous night, reminiscent only of those newborn sleep deprivation days.
Maybe it’s her teeth?
Maybe she’s got a stomach bug?
Maybe she’s scared of the dark?
Maybe she’s sleeping too much during the day?
Deemed inconclusive, we did all we could do. Limp through the day, grab a mega early night and pray to God for a better nights sleep.
REQUEST DENIED. Cue round two. And we thought last night was bad…sparing you the details, it was more of the same only for longer, and with less fuel in the patience-tank.
By night three, we were really wallowing in self pity. Is this the end of life as we know it? Are we going to have to cancel our overnight babysitter this weekend? Do we even want to go out anymore anyway?
The good news is we did get a respite. A couple of nights back to ‘normal’ (including our date night, thank goodness or it may have been the last ever kind offer from Nanny). We even, shock horror, had a whole nighter (amazing!). But, it seems this is not the end, as we were back to the scream-a-thon last night.
By the power of Google, and the moral support of other Mums, I’m learning about this thing…18 month sleep regression. Apparently kicking in around the time a child drops down to one nap a day (check), and is making some major developments in the brain causing a peak in separation anxiety. She now knows we are next door snuggled up in our big bed, and she knows how to try and make her way to join us for cuddles.
It seems this is another phase, but maybe, whats on the other side is a better place than where we were? Things just might have to get worse before they get better. Here’s hoping.