Harry & Sophie The Sleepers

I have to start this month by talking about something that I am still struggling to find in the parents manual.  It’s not on any of the posters that you see in the NCT groups nor do parents seem to talk about it.  The dreaded toddler sleep regression – or as I like to call it 2 weeks of soul destroying, sleep depriving, insanity inducing torture.  Yeah it happened.  One day Harry woke up and decided that the room which he has adored for 5 months now, he hated.  The bed which he drags anyone who visits in to see, like leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he was scared of.  What was going on?

He has always been a good sleeper and we revelled in the fact that he would go to bed at 7pm every night once the Pontipines and Wattingers had finished their neighbourly disputes.  It was always a fairly relaxed process and he would even take himself off to bed every now and then.  We worried that when Sophie came along this might knock him out of kilter with it all, but it didn’t.  Everything seemed fine.  Then one day as we sat down to watch another episode of Altered Carbon Harry just strolled out of his room and it began.   Three hrs later we were still desperately trying to negotiate with him to go back to bed but he wasnt having any of it.

We then hit a spiral of non sleeping and excessive tiredness that turned him into a hissy-fitting monster who would melt down at the smallest thing.  A personal highlight for me was him throwing himself to the floor like Deli Ali and then when neither of us took notice he stood up and did it again!

This video shows day 2 where I went head to head with him for 2 hrs to try to get him to go back to bed.

It was, without doubt the hardest 2 hours of my life to date as I just couldn’t reason with him, nor could I stop him throwing himself around (and banging his head off the bed!)

Over the next few nights we tried everything from climbing into his bed to try to invoke his jealousy (you can see the ongoing negotiations here)…

…to sleeping on the floor next to him stroking his face, but nothing would work and we were all dying! (Apart from Sophie who slept through the lot waking only to demand her early morning feast).

We had to change it, so we read up on everything.  Mumsnet gave us 200 different anecdotal stories of the same thing with a platter of conflicting advice on how to combat it.  People we spoke to just nodded and said “yup, the terrible twos…”

We formulated our plan and decided on an abridged, military version of the Ferber method.  Harry was going to have his very own, tailor-made hell week.  Ok so slightly dramatic, but the plan was to go through his usual bedtime routine with 3 or 4 books and then try to leave the room.  When he then kicked off we would leave the room and not let him leave with us.  This meant holding the door handle – something which I am sure will divide opinion.  On Mumsnet it certainly did, people talked about locking the doors but we didn’t have a lock and didn’t feel comfortable adding one.  Instead I held the door handle.  Harry screamed, hammered the door, cried and shouted “come back daddy”.  It was awful.  I have cried on 4 occasions that I can remember – when I carried my nans coffin, when Harry was born, when Sophie was born and the scenes leading up to the execution of John Coffee in The Green Mile.  These 7 minutes that first night became the fifth.  Nikki sat in the living room crying and i held the door shut blubbing.  We did it knowing that he was OK and that we could see him on the nest cam.

It worked.  After seven painfully long minutes he gave up.  Stopped crying and walked over to his bed and climbed in, rolled over and went to sleep.  We couldn’t believe it had worked.  We just sat there in silence for about an hour too scared to move in fear of waking him up again.  Night 2 started the same but this time only lasted 4 minutes and was a lot less dramatic – no door banging, just some forced tears and again he walked over and got into bed again.  Night 3 was 1 minute and night 4 he just sat up in bed as Nikki left.  I write this on night 6 and he now just says “night night mummy” and rolls over when his book is finished – it really had worked and touch wood he is back into his normal sleep pattern of 7pm – 5.30/6am.

On a much lighter note Harry celebrated his 2nd birthday in Feb so we enacted our new tradition and took him and Sophie to Bristol Zoo.  We took him for his first birthday and he loved it

Nikki also knocked it out of the park when it came to his birthday cake creating this little beauty.  I’m not sure if it could do the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs but I’m fairly sure it would make Chewie look fabulous!

Sophie is doing well and plumping up inline with where she should be.  In fact ahead of the game, at her last visit from the health visitor we found out she is in the 95th percentile for both weight and length!  We have already had to move her out of her Moses basket and into her cot in her room as she is too long!

She is holding her head up already, something we don’t think Harry was doing at this point.  Her hair is just starting grow again and is in the gorgeous fluffy stage – aside from the growing bald spot on the back of her head.

We are so blessed to have 2 little beauties that are so clearly in love with one another.  I’m sure the years ahead will bring arguments and bickering but for the moment it is amazing to watch Harry dote on Sophie and equally to watch Sophies eyes follow him round the room.

Until next time, when hopefully it will be a little more light hearted!

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