Tag Archive | sleep

“Goodnight! Sleep tight”

For as long as I have known Buzz, he has always gone through a short period of time, each year, where has struggled to settle to bed at night. Bumble and I have always felt that this was linked to seasonal light changes – nights getting darker quicker.

In fact, although it took us a couple of years for the penny to drop, Buzzbee has ALWAYS struggled with the transition of light to dark. We have had many tricky car journeys where he has transformed from a calm and relaxed passenger into………. A helium filled Tasmanian Devil!

But I digress. Over the years we have tried everything we can think of to ‘reset’ Buzz’s bedtime habits and get him back into his bedtime routine. Usually we would be talking 3 or 4 weeks of exhausting and loooooong evenings sat at the top of the stairs, returning him to his room and trying to prevent the boys having the opportunity to communicate (I won’t even go into the lengths Waxy used to go to to ensure Buzz was high as a kite so that he didn’t have to get ready for bed).   Bumble and I found these ‘Phases’ stressful and they left us feeling confused and lost for ideas (traditional and unconventional).

While the Bumble and I often despaired about the longevity of Buzz’s seasonal bedtime Olympics, we clung to the knowledge that bedtime WILL return to normal eventually and we would be able to once again have ‘adult time’ evenings.

I suppose you could say, every year we experienced our own bedtime routine ‘groundhog day’.

Over the past 8 months everyday has been “groundhog day” with Buzz and his bedtime struggles. Currently Bumble and I count it as a ‘win’ at bedtime if we manage to settle Buzz to sleep by 10pm.

Buzz fights sleep and he will go to great lengths to drag us into a battle of wills, irrespective of the fact that he will openly tell us he is “knackered”. He was embarking on a path of self-destruction and always felt bad about himself the next morning, but appeared to not be able to help himself each night and the cycle of chaos would begin again.

In the past couple of months, we have found a couple of tricks that help him finally drop off, but they have only been successful if we have first endured his marathon sleep avoidance mania – Bumble and I were confused as to why he still needed to go completely ‘bonkers’ before he would allow us to ‘sausage roll’ (swaddle snuggly) him in his quilt and blanket and if necessary use deep pressure back rubbing until Buzz begins to gently ‘coo’, which is his cue that he has begun to self-sooth.

I don’t know why it had never dawned on us before, but being swaddled makes Buzz feel safe and secure.

So, why couldn’t he allow us to do this from the very beginning of his bedtime routine?

Buzz has always had a fascination for building dens or creating hideaways and occasionally went through spells of sleeping in his pop-up play tent or under a pretty fantastic, blanket construction. But each were always short-lived. However looking back over the last couple of years, the signs have been there all the time.dogbed

  • Buzz sleeps with hundreds of soft toys on his bed and my parents used to joke about the fact there were so many teddies that it was hard to imagine how Buzz could even manage to get into bed let alone sleep in it.
  • Buzz ALWAYS insists on his bed having at least 2 sides against a wall and ALWAYS he has to have his head facing the door.
  • Buzz ALWAYS went to sleep quicker in our bedroom – we have a 4 poster bed with drapes. Although there are other reasons too.

Finally:-

  • When we go camping and he has to sleep in a tent pod and when we sleep at my parent’s caravan, he falls asleep with very little fuss – both pretty compact and contained.

However, while staying at my parent’s house this Christmas, our suspicions were confirmed by Buzzbee while we all ate our Christmas lunch, but we didn’t fully understand the depth of his anxiety until an overnight stay in a premier lodge while visiting Bumble’s family – I could quite easily write an entire post just about this one night, and maybe I will later in the week.

The boys have slept at my parents on numerous occasions and while Buzz has been a little more challenging to settle and is quite vocal in his sleep, not to mention being unbelievably restless all night, he has eventually fallen asleep.

However, this year Buzz took the sleeping arrangements into his own hands and chose to create his own space in the bedroom with the help of the puppies’ playpen* and a large red blanket.bedtime1

* Before I go any further. I feel the need to let readers know that it was Buzzbee’s idea and choice to sleep surrounded by the puppy play pen, and he had full control over whether he stayed inside it or removed it. Our only rule was that he was not allowed to lock himself in the pen.

Settling any child on Christmas eve can be a challenge for any parent, let alone a parent who is trying to settle a child who is experiencing sleep difficulties.   With the support from my parents we kept to the boys’ routine and settled the boys into their beds, fully prepared for Buzzbee’s bedtime games, but after 30 minutes of listening out for sound or signs of movement. We cautiously popped our head around the bedroom door, expecting to hear a little voice excitedly begin chattering to us. Instead, all we could hear was gentle breathing and cooing. BUZZBEE WAS ASLEEP!!!!! And, not only did he fall asleep rapidly and without fussing, but he was sound asleep and relaxed – Buzzbee has always slept with his fists tightly clenched and tightly scrunched up in a ball. The young man snoozing in front of us, was snoozing peacefully with his whole body open wide (my dad joked that he looked like he was ready for a pinup photoshoot).

Buzzbee slept ALL night and there was not a peek from him, something we are not used too because he has always shouted and sworn loudly throughout the night for as long as I can remember, and as I said earlier, he is always thrashing around. In fact, we had 3 blissful, undisturbed night’s sleep

Okay, confession time! Buzzbee’s bed is in our bedroom at my parents and I am an incredibly light sleeper, but I have got used to his mumblings and my sleep being disrupted. So when I couldn’t hear him in the night, I jumped out of bed, panicking something was wrong and wanted to poke him to check he was still alive – My parents found this highly amusing.

Over Christmas lunch, one of my parents (can’t remember which) joked about Buzzbee’s sleeping arrangements and asked out of curiosity why he liked sleeping in the puppy pen.

“I feel safe when I am in it. Nothing and nobody can get at me, that’s why.”

He felt safe. How did I not think of it before?

Fast forward a couple of weeks and several attempts at different ideas for creating a ‘safe sleeping environment’, some of which were almost suitable and certainly helped reduce his bedtime anxiety. However, each of the ideas had one fault- they were not particularly transferable and really we needed something that would be safe and that we could take with us when visiting family or going on holiday.

After several hours of research and long discussions about what we felt we needed from a portable sleep tent, we discovered the ‘Privacy Pop’ which ticked every box not only for Bumble and I, but for Buzzbee too.

And, boy does he love it!popup

 

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out

How? What? When? Why?

I think I am going to give ‘Half-term’ a new name in the Hive. I am going to call it “How? When? What? Why? Week”! Ok I know it is the Easter Holidays but these 4 little words are overtaking my days at the moment and I am as guilty as both boys for using it.

  • “How many times do I need to repeat myself before you do as I ask”?
  • “When will you two stop fighting and just get along”?
  • “What have I told you about teasing the dog”?
  • “Why did you tell your brother, you hate him and don’t want him around anymore? When we both know he is the most important person to you”!
  • “How come he can say ‘sorry’ to you and you accept it but I simply say ‘sorry, NOW CAN I GO BACK ON THE COMPUTER?’ and you are still cross with me”?
  • “When are you going to get us our snack”?
  • “What is in it for me if I tidy my bedroom and put my clothes away”?
  • “Why can’t we play on the computer at 8am in the morning”?

Ok these are some of the more tense comments (there are lots of lovely therapeutic ones too) but you can get a picture of my days at the moment.
I am always being told off by Bumble or Buzzbee’s previous therapist, Jemima for being too hard on myself and using ‘I should have been able to…’ to further beat myself up. However last night I got myself into an emotional pickle and couldn’t get “How? What? When? Why?” out of my head. So, I found myself writing the following at 2am in the morning simply so I could settle down for the night!

  • How can you anyone be expected to heal from scars you cannot see if they still feel they are being blamed for it happening? When will they understand there is no magic wand to fix what happened? Why won’t they accept that you are doing the best you can and slowly you are getting there?
  • How can you begin to learn to trust again when so much damage has been caused and you are afraid of what would happen if any more pebbles were thrown into the pond? Why is this so difficult for you to understand?
  • Why does everyone feel the need to jump to conclusions about someone’s abilities as a mum anytime they have a ‘wobbly’ day? When will they stop blaming your past history of depression for the reason that you are feeling teary today? (It has been a stressful, emotional filled day THAT IS ALL!) How can we help them accept that some days we have the right to feel upset? It doesn’t mean we are about to fall apart again! What would you do in our shoes?
  • What makes people think that because your child did not come from your womb, they have the right to criticise or interfere with your parenting? How dare they? Why do I let other people’s opinions get to me? When they have walked a month in my shoes, then they can come to me and say they have the right to judge!
  • When will I stop trying to be Supermum and let people support me? How can I expect people to understand where I am coming from, when I still don’t feel safe enough to be open with them?
  • Why do people refuse to look beyond my boy’s behaviour? When will they start seeing the amazing boys I see? How can I help this happen? What will it take?
  • When will school understand, I am not the enemy? How can I make them see all we want is to work as a team? Why do they refuse to take on board our advice but then accept wholeheartedly EXACTLY the same advice from professionals?
  • When will I stop feeling that I have to justify my every decision to people?
  • Why do I keep smiling while my heart is breaking?
  • What can I do to make people understand? I am the boys’s mother and no matter what they throw at me, I will never give up on them. I LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY!
  • How do I keep going?

This list I think would have gone on forever if I hadn’t finally fallen back to sleep. Sometimes I really do wind myself up by worrying about things I have absolute no control over?

Time to treat myself kindly and eat mountains of chocolate Easter Eggs, I think!

(Sshhh! Don’t tell the boys!)

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out