Wednesday, 6 May 2015

My Toddler Has Broken Me...

Tonight I re-attempted a highly praised technique from the parenting bible that is the Supernanny guidebook. I made a promise to myself  that I would never surrender, tonight I will not be defeated! However...after over an hour of putting a screaming banshee of a toddler back into his bed every 20 seconds, him telling me he wants Daddy and that I am naughty, I cracked. I spoke to him and in those few seconds I realised my mistake.

Shattered and defeated I called for back up, I tagged in my wingman (Joe) and let him take over. I collapsed on the sofa tears of defeat, streaming down my cheeks, questioning my parenting ability and so deeply desperate for some answers.

My toddler had broken me.

For the past 3 weeks we haven't had a single full nights sleep and it is taking its toll on us. Our regular self soothing son has began to refuse to settle without one of us with him and has tried every trick in the book not to go to bed.

We have attempted to get him to settle himself by using the Supernanny approach mentioned above, resulting in lots of screaming and climbing out of bed every few seconds for hours on end. I have had him tell me he doesn't like his bed, there are spiders in it, he doesn't like it because it is blue, Mummy should sleep in his bed, Daddy should sleep in his bed, Zack and Quack are in his bed (Nick Jr Characters), he needs milk, he has no socks on and so on and so forth!

We have had to give in most nights and stroke his head until he finally falls to sleep and sometimes just let him get into our bed so that we could all get a small amount of rest. Unfortunately, I know this has left him not knowing where he stands or what the rules are.

Bedtime isn't the only issue though as he is waking every night despite being warm, having a nightlight and having enough food and drink before bed (etc..etc). We just can't work out what has changed for him that has thrown his routine out.

Joe is soldiering on but I have been an emotional wreck. My latest YouTube video almost feels like a cry for help after the lack of sleep got a bit too much. I have been in tears  most nights and totally at a loss as to what to do to help Ted settle. I know the past month has seen Ted have 2 sickness bugs and a weekend away but the sleepless nights started before any of them so I can't see them as triggers but could they be contributing factors?

He has also started to drop his daytime naps which made me wonder if he was overtired but I can't force him to sleep in the day despite my best efforts and the bedtimes aren't any better on days when he does get a nap in.

We have an appointment with the health visitor next week to discuss sleep problems as well as his development update so we will have to see how that goes. In the mean time we are just going to have to battle on.

I never realised how much Sleep Deprivation can actually affect your body and mind. I feel like a Zombie most days, more so than when he was a newborn and I struggle to carry out even the simplest of tasks. I have lost so many things lately and forgotten appointments etc. Work are so sympathetic so I am lucky with that and am able to just get on with things at my own pace but it is so difficult. I strangely find the days at work a break away as opposed to days of battling with toddler tantrums and generally looking after a 2 year old on a few hours sleep.

Fingers and toes crossed that things get easier and I welcome any advice anyone may have!


  1. Oh gosh I so know how you feel! For us it has been 5.30 wake ups with my two year old. Do you know, I subscribed to your blog right when you first started it but this is the first time I have left a comment? I wish it was a better one, but you have all my sympathies.

    I think mainly: don't beat yourself up. Don't feel like a failure. Toddlers go through phases just like babies, and Supernanny is just one voice among many, you are not a failure because you are not managing to stick to her guns (hers, not yours).

    Here are some ideas, off the top of my head, that you may or may not have tried:
    1) creating an all new but lovely soothing bedtime routine that Ted helps to invent (maybe blowing bubbles in the bath, warm milk in bed (and then toothbrushing,,,), three stories, then he gets to switch off the light and switch on the lullabies. Maybe being involved and making choices will help him feel more in charge of his bed/sleep;
    2) totally different technique: reward chart with sweets. Every night he sleeps in his own bed by himself, he gets a star on his chart and a sweet, and five sweets add up to a present he gets to choose in the shop;
    3) a heart to heart about why he is not happy to sleep alone, but have the talk when it is clearly NOT bedtime. See if you get any sense out of him when his answers are not immediately going to affect his sleep;
    4) kissing game: if he stays quietly in bed for two minutes, you will come in and give him another kiss. Give kiss, then say if he stays quietly in bed for three minutes, you will come in and give him another kiss. Slowly lengthen the time between kisses. This might end up in a lot of kisses. But it is a bit more fun and lovely for him than the stay in bed technique.

    Hope any of these help!!

    1. Judith what a special comment! Thank you so much for following our journey it makes me so happy to talk to people who have followed me for so long! Your tips sound fab and I especially like the reward chart idea :) Ted actually went to sleep on his own tonight with us calling him from downstairs to reassure him :) He just woke up with a start but Joe tucked him in and he has gone back down again. We have a HV appointment tomorrow so will ask for advice on the midnight waking :) Thank you again xxxxxx

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  2. I remember finding you on the Britmums Newbie forum, we both started blogging at the same time and our babies were a similar age. :) I will read on to see what the health visitor says!

    1. I do remember :) Sorry I haven't kept in touch, life seems to take over but feel free to say hi and follow on social media and I will follow back :) xx

  3. Hang in there, we've all been through it and it does pass, honestly. They grow, their sleep changes, they come back to a pattern that works for them and you, and then they grow and change again. I always tried to comfort myself with the words that my friend Penny would always repeat to me which were along the lines of; "You do know what you're doing, questioning what you are doing and trying what others suggest are always worth it if you think they might work, you do know what your doing!". And my friend Jennie who always said; "Toddlers are like terrorists, and we do not negotiate with terrorists"

    1. What amazing advice :) Thank you, I think I need to trust my instincts as a mother and try not to keep asking others for advice. I always wonder why others aren't struggling as much and then realise perhaps they just don't talk about it as openly as I do. Thank you for popping by xxx

    2. What amazing advice :) Thank you, I think I need to trust my instincts as a mother and try not to keep asking others for advice. I always wonder why others aren't struggling as much and then realise perhaps they just don't talk about it as openly as I do. Thank you for popping by xxx

  4. I am so sorry you're struggling. One of the best bits of advice I was given was to distinguish between an angry cry and an upset one - that really helped me hold my nerve. Hope the HV helps x #mbpw


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