I went past a discount bookstall in the mall near home and brought The 3-Day Nanny. Hubs and I both read it, thought it was worth a try, heck, anything would be better than getting up the 3-4 times a night we were doing with Peanut. It says to clear your diary for a few days, so we planned on the sleep solution being done over Easter, where I had six days out the office, what with an ADO, an extra grant day, and working from home on Wednesdays.
Before I start, Peanut has improved, but I cannot say that he’s sleeping through the night, because he isn’t. He will still get up and out of his room, but will also settle back down much more quickly, and without demanding a bottle to do it too.
However, shutting your toddler into his bedroom and standing outside for ten minutes at a time while he screams and sobs, is not conducive to a good relationship, in my opinion. She may well be a Norland Nanny, and heaven knows, there was a time when I contemplated training with them and becoming a Nanny myself, but she does not have children. Like Gina frickin Ford, because the best parenting ‘gurus’ are those who don’t have children.
Hubs and I have issues with controlled crying, we always have done, all it teaches is that no-one will come to help you when you cry. Remember all those horrific images of the Romanian orphanages? Watching those news reports with the voice-over telling me that the children don’t cry, because no-one takes any notice, showed me definitively, that leaving a child to cry is simply barbaric. There were times when I needed to get in the shower to get some peace from Peanut when he was a baby, but systematic neglect is something different. When does ignoring your child’s cries start and stop? When he cries for help because he’s tangled in something, he stops crying when he chokes? It can and has happened, it’s why blind chords should be secured to the wall.
I went to a seminar run by Pinky McKay, an Australian parenting expert who has five children, who said something very profound at the beginning of the session, ‘If it’s not respectful, don’t do it’. Shutting Peanut into his room scared him, he was running round it trying to get out, sobbing and screaming, almost vomiting with fear. I read the book, I said what I was told to say, stood outside so he couldn’t hear me, so he didn’t have an audience, and felt my heart break.
At 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am and finally 5:17am you try saying “What has happened here? You have left your lovely bed. Now it is the middle of the night. Let’s get you back.” to a screaming toddler and see how far you get. In theory, I shouldn’t have even known he woke up then, because his bedroom door should have been shut. After standing in the kitchen, listening to our son for nearly half an hour, we stopped after the second night.
We carried on with the reward chart, he’s so proud of his stickers he kept taking them off the paper to show us. We also brought this little clock to help with reminding him when it’s time to get up and when it’s time to stay in bed. The only problem is, obsessed as he is with monkeys, he wants to cuddle the clock, he was standing in his room trying to reach it, crying with frustration, he eventually brought it into me to show me that MoMo was still asleep, at 4am. How he reached it, how he didn’t drop it, I don’t know, but it’s now way out of his reach.
So sleeping through the night is a work in progress, but you know what? He’s happy, he’s healthy and after spending six clear days with him, he’s a joy to be around. Him waking up a couple of times a night is a small price to pay compared to some of the issues other parents have. I don’t give a shit anymore that he’s not sleeping through, it’s not a competition, give me the boy who says please and thank you when we take him on a train at the weekend any day.