Wednesday, July 16, 2014

big girls do cry

Dulcie keeps surprising me lately with how much of a big girl she appears.
Here she is, looking very grown up while she watches TV, wearing the dress I made her a while back.  I had to wrestle her into it for some reason, probably because every task these days involves wrestling, but once it was on, nobody could deny how good she looked, not even Dulcie herself.  It fits her much better now than it did a few months back.
But really, she's still only little, I know.  I have to keep reminding myself of this fact in an attempt to keep myself sane.  Much of the time, she is the absolute epitome of a stereotypical terrible two-year-old.  The crying.  Oh, my god, THE CRYING.  She will scream about absolutely anything and everything, mostly about me not giving her enough attention or making her do one thing when she wants to be doing something else.  And you can guarantee she never wants to do anything we actually need to do - going to the toilet, eating meals, going to nursery, sleeping, getting dressed, visiting the supermarket...  And when you picture her crying, don't think of a stifled sniffle as a solitary tear trickles down her peachy cheek, it's more of a glass-shattering, eardrum-bursting scream, a red face and flailing limbs.  Once the screaming abates, she'll sometimes say something horrendous like, "I'm sad because of you, Mummy."
After a mammoth decorating marathon (helped massively by my parents on their recent visit) Dulcie finally moved into her own bedroom this weekend.  The room is lovely.  Dulcie still whispers, "Wow!" every time she walks in and gives actual guided tours to her soft toys.  She thinks having her own bedroom is the best thing ever.  But sleeping in it?  Hell, no!  After spending ages fighting with me about whether or not it can be night-time when it's still light outside (every night - aargh!) her real gripe is that she does not want to be left alone.  She begs and pleads with me not to leave her and will only stay in bed long enough to go to sleep if I am close enough to her so that she can actually hold onto me, usually by my hair.  Ouch.  Once she's asleep, I sneak out of the room.  This is the unhealthy manner in which I've been getting Dulcie to go to sleep for ages.  The thing is, while she was forced into a sharing a room with us, I would be back by her side by the time she woke up sometime between midnight and dawn.  All I would have to do to get her back to sleep would be to reach out my arm and let her know I was there, I hardly even had to wake up myself.  Now that we're in separate rooms, she wakes up on her own and sets up a blood-curdling and hysterical-sounding screaming session.  She keeps it up until I get out of bed, go to her room, tuck her back in and sit by her side while she falls asleep again, definitely not something I can do in my sleep.  Last night she woke me up at 2.30.  And 3.00.  And 3.30.  And 3.45.  And 4.30.  And 5.  Basically, I was awake from 2.30 to 6.15...and my alarm was set for 6.30!   Ugh!  (Yes, I really did go back to sleep for those 15 minutes...and loved every one of them!)  Graham tried to do his bit and went through a few times too, tucked her in, sang to her, even tried to reason with her, but this just made her more hysterical still and meant it took even longer for me to settle her back down afterwards.  It's nice to be wanted and all, but I need to sleep.  Our new king-size bed is proving to be super comfortable and spacious and it's so frustrating that I'm not reaping the benefits of that.
Dulcie was actually pretty sweet in amongst the hellish frustration and exhaustion last night.  I think it was around 4.30 when I finally succumbed to silent tears.  Dulcie, stroking my face, realised I was crying and said, "I want to make you happy, Mummy."  I honestly didn't have to work too hard to resist the urge to shout, "THEN GO BACK TO SLEEP ON YOUR OWN, YOU EFFING BLIGHTER!"  Ha!  No, really, I was still sitting watching her sleep and marvelling at how bloomin' beautiful she looked by 5am.  (What can I say?  I'm truly besotted.)  But something's got to give.  Even Dulcie herself was suffering as a result, looking pasty-faced and exhausted when she had to get up for nursery this morning.  And every day she promises that tonight will be the night she settles herself and every evening she goes back on her word and I'm left asking yet again, "What would Supernanny do?" and thinking that her solutions just wouldn't work for us, but obviously everything I'm doing is not working either.  At least doing things my way, the neighbours aren't disturbed for quite so long, right?
I feel like such a crap mum.  And a tired one :(


  1. Oh such a hard one! We eventually resorted to controlled crying as we'd had enough of getting up so many times in the night and then having Anya play around in her bed when we were trying to get her back to sleep. It was very hard though and I spent the first few nights crying on the stairs listening to her screaming (we did warn the neighbours first!) We slowly went up in increments of about 5 minutes I think and I did the first night sitting next to her bed and reading for a bit before moving to the end of the bed the next night and then closer to the door on the subsequent nights. It did work after about 5 days though and it worked for us but it may not work for you/may not be what you want to do. Another tip we were given was to go in and soothe but don't look at the child and don't talk to the child so that they eventually realise that while you will give them comfort you won't engage when they want attention in the night. The controlled crying was to get Anya off to sleep in the first place and the ignoring/not engaging was for when she woke in the night. It did work!! Fingers crossed you find something that works for you soon x

    1. Thanks, Lynsey. I remember you telling me about controlled crying when Dulcie was still a baby and I sort of wish I had done it back then, but feel like I may have missed that window now. I'm still undecided really, but (despite being up five times) I feel like we did make some small progress last night. Small steps, but at least they are in the right direction. Yawn!

  2. Having a similarly shattering experience with my youngest at the moment. It's so hard to function on such little sleep and is not helping my health (physical and mental) at all. I have no idea what to do for the best and it's even more frustrating that my husband manages to sleep through it all! You're not alone!
    PS- I saw you & Dulcie at the Fairy thing at CHildrens Wood a while back but my damn nerves and awkwardness stopped me saying hello. You both looked lovely and happy though! x

    1. Aw, make sure you say hi next time! I promise I'll be equally awkward :)

      We've actually made amazing progress since I posted this. Touch wood, etc, it could just be a lucky night or two! Last night Dulcie slept right through to 6.45! In fact, it was even better than that because she still woke up in the night, but cried briefly and then settled herself. I didn't have to leave the comfort of my own bed once. Wowsers! The previous night, I had gone through when she screamed but was firm about standing a little bit away from her bed rather than letting her hold onto me, the thinking being that every night I would move a little further away. I didn't expect it to work so quickly, but like I say, it could just be a coincidence or (god forbid!) a one-off.

      I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of us. Sweet dreams! x


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