So, anyone who knows me will be aware of how amazing Lily has been with toilet training. In just three short weeks we went from nappies to being completely nappy free!! Woohoo. Surely we could apply the technique we used for this process to her sleep issues….. in the words of Lily herself, “Give over”!
For as far back as we can remember she has had sleep issues, from not going down, to getting up in the night, and staying up! I’m unfortunately the soft touch and usually give in for a quieter life (dressing it up as not wanting to wake Allan or indeed the neighbours!). Being the clever mummy that I am, I thought if the technique we used for toilet training worked so well, it must work for retraining Lily’s sleep routine! (excuse me while I weep for a moment….). Lily loves stickers, so this is what we used for rewarding her for a job well done. She got stickers for everything toilet related, and the poster she had for putting them on very quickly filled up.
Let’s now jump forward to recent events.
Being 2 years and 2 months obviously comes with big responsibilities for making your own decisions, and one of these is to decide when you go to bed and how many times you will wake in the night, and if it has a detrimental effect on the grown ups, then that’s really not her problem! Cue the screaming, shouting, begging and big doe eyes! (that’s me by the way). This has continued for over a year, and quite honestly, I’m almost broken with exhaustion, as is Allan. It’s time to get the big guns out. Our previous attempts to keep her in bed have failed miserably. We have tried all the text book advice from controlled crying (this one kills me), gradual withdrawal and just good old begging! None of it has worked. Maybe we haven’t given any of them long enough to work. So, out comes the poster and stickers again. Allan has made a brilliant poster with numbered steps and characters from In The Night Garden. It has little parcels with ribbon drawn round them, and when she hits one of these she gets and extra reward ie: a little gift. We explain what we expect from her and (prematurely) triumphantly rub my hands together in anticipation. To cut to the chase, we are still having issues but there is some progress. She is screaming blue murder on going to bed, usually for half and hour or so, getting out of bed and hot on your heels even before you have left the bedroom, like some super ninja warrior! Gallantly I have handed the gauntlet over to Allan (which one of you shouted ‘coward’?) and I have reluctantly agreed to his Terminator tactics. I have to admit to some success, as when she has risen in the middle of the night, he has returned her back to bed and she has stayed there. For this we have give her a sticker, in the hope it will encourage her to go to bed and stay when she first goes up. Toddler training sucks big time, I have to say.
When I get exasperated and lose my cool with her, she has responded with her finger jabbed in my direction and growling at me, “One day mummy, one day”! Gasp, did she just threaten me? Or was it reassurance that one day she will be good? Gulp… I’ll lock the knife drawer, just in case!