Surviving a sleep thief can sometimes feel like a tough military expedition with the SAS.
Everyone has their own tolerance levels. I’m often up during the night with Big Bear but it’s the early mornings that are the toughest and I can’t function pre-6am. Which is a problem really, because he NEVER sleeps past 4.45am.
4.45am. CLICK, the landing light goes on and I hear the thump thump thump of Big Bear’s feet as he enters our room. I keep my eyes closed. I’m not sure why, it makes absolutely no difference.
The sleep thief stands next to my bed for a couple of seconds while I pretend he’s not there. “Mummy, mummy,” he whispers so loudly he might as well be shouting. “Can you take me to the toilet?”
Now, Big Bear is perfectly capable of taking himself to the toilet but we’re in one of those ruts where I just get up because I can’t bear a meltdown this early in the morning.
The sleep thief and I walk in silence and I stand in the bathroom with my eyes closed, pretending I’m still asleep, while he goes to the toilet and washes his hands. I take him back to his room.
“Mummy, can I have my light?” The sleep thief has a night light with a dimmer switch which I put out of his reach during the night so he doesn’t turn it on to its full brightness and stare into the glare. I’ve relented to giving it to him in the morning as months of resisting resulted in meltdowns and still not going back to sleep. I’ve tried replacing it with a dimmer light but then there are yells of ‘I can’t see the faces on my trains!’ Which brings me to the next thing..
Big Bear: ”Mummy, can I have my trains?”.
Me: “They’re next to your bed”.
Big Bear: “Mummy can I have some milk?’ I usually get him some milk.
Me: “Now, stay in bed, I don’t want to see you before six o clock.”
Who am I kidding?
5.20am (on a good day). Thump thump thump. Pause.
Big Bear: “Muuummyyyyy, I want to go downstairs”.
Me (eyes still closed): “No, it’s not 6 o clock yet.”
Big Bear: “But I’m not tired.”
Me: “But I am and everyone else is asleep.”
Big Bear: “No mummy,” starts stamping feet.
I get out of bed and take him back to his room. “Look, you need to stay in your room until 6, when the sun comes up on your gro clock.” I close the door and go back to bed.
*Repeat above between seven and 10 times*. There may be slight variations – the crash of a box of toys being emptied onto the floor or a train falling down the side of his bed.
6am: An excitable THUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP
Big Bear: “Mummy! It’s time to get up it’s six o clock. Come on mummy, let’s go downstairs!”
I have one of those too! Only mine can’t get up himself so just yells till I go in. He usually needs the toilet so I can’t blame him for shouting, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Bless him. I just hate the sudden waking up and having to be immediately alert at that time. I just want to pull the duvet over my head!
Start training him now and give in I the tv if it’ll help get th 2 extra hours in bed (or use it as a bribe for going to the loo alone or staying in his room for longer).
Ok it’s not pc, but I’m with you having had a 5am riser. Thankfully he’s old enough to go downstairs and sort himself out. I just get up 6.45 sort his breakfast if he’s not had it and get up properly at 7.
Ahh the joys… Max didn’t sleep through the night till he was nearly six, and that was with the help of melatonin (or he can’t fall asleep at all), and a sleep counsellor who helped and supported me through getting a solid bedtime routine in place. Nearly 5 years later I still read (recite!) the same story at bedtime. He goes to bed at 8pm and is out like a light. During term time he’ll sleep till somewhere between 5-7am but he’s old enough now (10) to get his ipad and cosy up quietly in bed with me till my alarm goes off at least. 😉
We’re on a really low dose of melatonin so I think it’s something I need to explore further. It’s good that your sleep counsellor helped. Ours was pretty useless tbh. I never thought I’d be missing the days when he used to wake up at 6.30!