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Last year, I wrote about how the twins hated sleep. Well, they still do! Yippee!
Why does no one talk about toddlers who hate sleep?
When you have a newborn and you say you’re tired, no one’s surprised. Everyone expects newborns to keep you awake. And then, as the baby starts getting older, those sympathetic smiles turn into well-meaning comments about how you’re doing it all wrong and it’s your fault that your baby doesn’t sleep through the night.
But no one talks about toddlers who don’t sleep. And I think that’s because the parents of those toddlers get so sick of those well-meaning, but basically stupid and cruel comments, that they just stop talking about how tired they are and just smile and nod and change the subject instead.
But, you know me. I think it’s important to be open and talk about the things that pull us down as much as we talk about the things that lift us up, so that’s what I’m doing today.
It’s actually totally normal and more common than you’d think
After all, adults don’t actually sleep through the night. Most of us just don’t remember waking up between sleep cycles. I always do, though. I’m a terrible sleeper. I don’t recall a single night where I haven’t spent at least a bit of time staring at the ceiling. Is it any wonder my kids don’t sleep well, either?
I’m actually being a bit unfair. Jack really isn’t that bad. He does occasionally sleep through without calling for me, but I don’t get to reap the benefits of that, because Alice definitely got my poor sleeper gene.
It’s not that she doesn’t sleep
She just doesn’t sleep unless I’m right next to her. And that’s actually normal, too. We all like to sleep close to our loved ones. No one tuts at me because I like to sleep next to my husband, but apparently it’s not normal for my not-quite 3 year old to want to sleep next to her mummy.
I really don’t mind cosleeping. In fact, I love it. At least, I did. Now I’m starting to love it a little bit less. If Alice just wanted to sleep next to me, I probably wouldn’t be writing this post at all, because I’d be OK with that. But she doesn’t. She likes to sleep as close to me as she can get, as if she was superglued to my skin. And if I manage to wriggle away a little bit after she falls asleep, she just moves with me, and then Jack cuddles up on the other side, and I’m left sleeping in a really uncomfortable position, sandwiched between two very lovely toddlers who do not respect my personal space. I wake up every day with a back so sore, it takes me ten minutes just to be able to sit up and I have a dull ache all day.
So what am I going to do about it?
Honestly? Probably nothing. Writing this post to get it all out of my head is probably the extent of what I’m going to do. I mean, I’m her mother and, right now, she needs me in order to get a good night’s sleep. If I sleep in their room, she doesn’t wake up at all. Or, if she does, she just sees that I’m there and goes back to sleep. But if I try to escape back to my own room, she wakes up hourly and I spend the night walking back and forth between the two rooms.
Do I like it? No, not really. But when I decided to have children, I signed up for putting their needs before my own. This is just what she needs. And it’s just a phase. Because everything is just a phase. Jack was a terrible sleeper this time last year and he just figured it out on his own. Alice will, too.
I don’t even know if there’s anything I can do about it. Sleep training doesn’t sit right with me, so that’s not an option. We night weaned a year ago, hoping that it would encourage her to sleep a bit better. And, for a while, it did. But it didn’t last. All I can do is muddle on and hope that this particular phase ends soon.
They’re only little for such a short time
As annoying as it is right now, Alice will eventually grow out of needing me close to her in order to sleep. When that happens, I’m sure I’ll miss the sleepy cuddles and conveniently forget about how uncomfortable it was!
If you’ve got a cuddly sleeper, I’d love to hear how you deal with it in the comments below.