Sometimes my girls have trouble sleeping. Like all children they have to have their bedtime routines but even when those routines are firmly in place, they can still have difficulties either getting to sleep, or they might wake in the middle of the night unexpectedly. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a big problem but recently it had me reflecting on how children’s sleep has shaped my life over the past 10 years.
The girls are now 7 and 9 and have had their ups and downs when it comes to sleeping. Like most children of their age they’re not that keen on going to bed when asked. They like to stay up with Mum and Dad in case they might miss something exciting, and they’re always pushing the boundaries around the routine. When they were babies, it was quite a different story. Miss E was a dream sleeper. We were big fans of ‘The Baby Whisperer‘ and had a strong routine which suited the baby and she slept for 12 hours per night from about 6 weeks old. I know, that’s not what you want to hear, but she would fall asleep anywhere and everywhere whenever she needed to. Huh, it’s a different story now though and she fights sleep at every turn. She struggles to get to sleep so we have hypnotic cd’s, warm milk, dim lighting and plenty of wind down time. Oh so much easier than it sounds! But once she’s asleep, she stays there soundly and resists getting up. I think the teenager in her is making an early appearance.
On the other hand Miss R, almost 7 was a shocking sleeper as a baby. With colic, I would pace the floor for hours on end trying to send her off to sleep. The Baby Whisperer patterns certainly didn’t suit her and she fought sleep at every opportunity. With an active 3 year old and a tricky baby, days were long and nights were often longer. But we came through it and now Miss R will fall asleep readily and struggles to make it past 8pm to be honest. When we were on holiday last year, and she wanted to watch the evening entertainment she’d struggle to make it to 9pm and then fall asleep on our shoulder before it started. In recent months we’ve given her a bedroom makeover and having a new kid’s bed has really made a difference to her willingness to go to bed at night. The trouble is she wakes a lot with probably growing pains, and suffers with nightmares occasionally.
With the girls growing up and changing a lot in recent years, some of these times seem a lifetime away. Isn’t it funny how we move on and don’t think about these kinds of things anymore? It’s not that we’ve forgotten but the children change and we change with them, leaving these memories tucked up ready to be discovered again when the mood takes us. I have to say it doesn’t fill me with pleasure thinking about some of those times but you get through it and move onto the next challenge. The children grow and the challenges change. At least they don’t wake 3 times every night wanting to be fed anymore. Well not that often anyway!