Once again it has been a long time since I wrote a blog post, Meanderingdaugher2 is here and has been for 10 months, Meanderingdaughter1 has recently had her fourth birthday and is definitely no longer a baby or a toddler but a small person with a personality all of her very own. It is fun having my two girls, I am achingly proud of them both and love them completely. It's also exhausting and frustrating but show me a parent who doesn't say that!
I have come to realise that Meanderingdaughter1 was a great sleeper and if I every complained about her then I apologise, I was wrong and a fool. Meanderingdaughter2 has shown me the light in this respect. In the last 10 months I have had one complete nights sleep. Sometimes it's great and she only wakes up two or three times and goes back to sleep quickly, other times she refuses to sleep in her cot and spends the night kicking and crying in our bed, feeding six times or more although to be honest I kind of lose count after a while. It's always worse after we've been away and she is unsettled.
I think what makes this worse is the guilt and uncertainty that goes alongside it. She is what some may call very well attached and what others might call clingy. She wants her Mummy, and will often scream this need to the rafters. Now she crawls I have a little shadow around the flat and if I stand still she crawls up to my legs and headbutts me 'til I pick her up. I keep reminding myself to appreciate it, it won't always be like this and if I'm honest it does feel so very good to see that little face light up when I walk in the room.
I have come to realise that however you decide to parent your children (if we do actually decide and don't just fall into whatever is easiest), what we all have in common is someone making us feel that we are doing it wrong and for me, right now, it's my approach to the sleep. I know the sleep deprivation is probably making me over sensitive but I often feel weak for giving in and feeding her in the night, I know it's not going to cause problems in the long run but it's that middle run. Am I making it harder for her to sleep through by giving her what she wants? Taking the easy option for both of us? I was recently told by a mother of three that at three months her children are put in their own room and left to cry. If she knows they are clean, fed and safe then that's it. Apparently after a couple of nights they sleep through like angels. I'm not going to say this approach is wrong, if it works for her then I am delighted for her.
My issue is that I have seen Meanderingdaughter2's face crumble when I walk away, I have heard her scream when she thinks I am not coming and I have held her while she sobs herself to sleep after I have turned up. I have never left her to cry herself to sleep because I do strongly believe that to do so would fracture that bond we have. It wouldn't break it, she'd still love me in that primal way that babies do but it would teach her the meaning of rejection at a young age in a very harsh way and I am not prepared to do that. So it goes on, I will continue to wake with her in the night and I will continue to feed her when she does wake to get her back to sleep quickly and with no stress. One day she will sleep through and this will seem like a distant dream / nightmare.
I would never dream of telling anyone who gets their children to sleep the other way is wrong or cruel, it's just not how I want to do it and you have to do what works for you. What I would like is for others to stop telling me to let her cry it out, I may be building a rod for my own back but you start building that rod the day you start trying to conceive. It's called being a parent, it's not easy and it is exhausting but it is worth it and it is your choice how you decide to go about it.