How to turn your kid into a great sleeper?

Only kidding. I have no idea….

Anyone got any tips? PLEASE?! Before I end up buying a one-way ticket to Goa and taking loads of recreational drugs and pretending like I never had children.

My youngest is four and she’s never been a great sleeper. When she was a tiny baby (before she was one… I think… it’s kind of a blur), she used to go to bed about 7pm and would usually sleep through.

However, when I say ‘sleep through’, what I mean is, she would sleep for about ten hours, then she’d be up, ready to face the day from about 4:30-5am. Every morning. Even on weekends. No matter what.

It was hell.

It wasn’t just the sleep deprivation that was bad, but also, there was only one thing that would actually stop her from constantly grizzling until the rest of the world was awake.

Was it a two-hour breastfeed? Nope. That would have been fine. Maybe a frantic, pram-push around the icy, dark streets in my PJ’s? Not so much fun my lovelies.

The only thing that would keep her quiet was… endless episodes of Baby Jake on YouTube.

If you’ve ever seen Baby Jake you’ll know what a low point this was. Forget Japanese war torture, two plus hours of ‘Yacky yacky yoggi, doo doo dee…’ was enough to drive anyone to despair. I’m actually getting flashbacks of terror just thinking about the theme tune (shudders and covers face with both hands).

‘F*cky f*cky f*cky, you you you, you are so annoying I WANT TO KILL YOU!!’ Pengi Quin and the Hamsternauts can do one as well!

There were many other annoying layers to this – up before the milk float stage, including:

  • No life or adult time in the evening, as I would usually end up crashing at the same time as the kids.
  • The constant stream of useless advice from people who either didn’t have kids or didn’t have kids with this problem. ‘Have you tried this?’ and ‘Maybe you should try that?’ YES. I have tried all the obvious ones hun. I have read endless forums, consulted all the books and have even spoken to my doctor and my health visitor. Nothing works. NOTHING. Trust me, I want to crack this more than anyone.
  • Feeling so tired all the time that I could barely function. I once remember being so sleep deprived that I couldn’t remember whether my little girl was a male or a female baby. Honestly. That happened to me whilst changing her in Ikea once. It was very strange and slightly terrifying.
  • Blinking on the bus and realising I’d fallen asleep for a few seconds.
  • Having to rely on nanny Netflix to look after my older sibling in the afternoon as by that point, I had about the same amount of energy as a rohypnoled sloth.
  • The constant bickering with the husband about whose turn it was to get up with her to start the Baby Jake marathon.

So that was then.

She’s now four and a half and I’m glad to tell you that stage is over, however, she’s still a rubbish sleeper. We now have a new problem. (Motherhood doesn’t half like to keep us on our toes eh?) We now have a night-time waker. Hooray!! (this is sarcasm) Only last night she came into our bed three times. I know… What a dick.

I quite seriously have no idea what I’d do without caffeine.

Now, I wouldn’t actually mind letting her come into our bed with us, except that means, I myself, get NO shut eye. This is because I get punched, kicked and farted on all night because my friends, she’s like a windy, jumping bean on speed when she’s asleep.

I have been known to let her into our bed, and then I go off and sleep in her bed. This is not ideal.

I mean I love Rainbow Monkey… but not enough to want to replace my husband with him.

Rapidly returning her to her bed is something that works, if you’re consistent. But this involves fully waking yourself up and actually doing it, which at 4am is tough.

So here we still are, in a – Googling the sh*t out of it and frantically trying to find an answer, sleep deprived HELL!!

Because that’s what you do right? You read all the Mumsnet feeds and you scan reams of professional and non-professional advice online. You read the books and speak to other mums. You try feeding them more carbs at teatime, you try black out blinds, lavender bubble bath and expensive, gadgety clocks. When they’re a baby you think the answer lies in letting them sleep less during the day… or then more during the day? You try ignoring them when they wake and letting them cry it out a little… which is even more torturous than Baby Jake… but only just. You put them in an extra vest and a thicker duvet in case they are waking cold. You try opening the window and giving them a thinner duvet in case they are too hot. You try reward charts and sanctions. You leave the light on in case it’s too dark, or you try turning the light off in case it’s too bright.

Don’t know why he’s looking so smug…YOU DON’T WORK MATE!!

None of it works my friends. Because guess what? Cruel fate hath mocked us so. We have given birth to a sh*t sleeper, and there is nothing on this goddamn earth that is going to change that. Better start counting down the days until they can get up and sort themselves out. What are we thinking 8? 7? Come on surely we want them to be independent, right? (winks)

So, like my four-year-old did with the early rising stage, is it just going to be another case of her growing out of it? Probably. I mean, she’s hardly going to be coming into our room having nightmares about killer spiders on the stairs when she’s sixteen. Surely?

But hang on, should we really be wishing these years away?

I once read a blog post about an old guy and his wife passing a family with very young children on the beach. The old man looked over longingly and said to his wife – ‘Those were the days eh?’

My point is this, once my girls are all grown up and they’ve flown the nest, will I be looking back at this blog post thinking – ‘I’d give anything for a night-time snuggle or an early morning hang out right now.’ (okay, maybe minus the Baby Jake)

So instead of wishing it was all over, and wanting them to be older and more independent, maybe I just need to remember that – THESE ARE THE DAYS. These hazy, tired, caffeine filled days when my girls needed me, whether it be at 3am or 3pm. Where each challenge was met head on, and coped with…. kind of.

So for now I’ll try and remember – these are the days… The BEST days.

(However I’ve just been on Skyscanner and flights to Goa are coming in at less that £300… and quite seriously, it’s tempting!)






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