Recently I read the book Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. There was a part of the book, which didn’t really have anything to do with the overall story, but it stuck out to me because it was something that I have faced. The character was talking about her children not sleeping, and that people who had children who slept believed it was because of their great parenting.
If parents had children who were good sleepers they assumed this was due to their good parenting, not good luck. They followed the rules and the rules had been proven to work. Celeste must therefore not be following the rules. And you could never prove it to them! They would die smug in their beds.
I have spoken so many times on the blog and social media about Mr 5’s sleeping issues. It was so out of the blue for us, he was a perfect sleeping angel up until he reached 2. Then it went downhill from there. We hadn’t changed our bedtime routine and yet we had a child on our hands who was refusing to sleep.
He stayed awake for hours on end. He wasn’t crying, he wasn’t upset, he wasn’t hot or cold. He had block-out curtains on his windows to try and stop the streetlights from lighting up his room. We tried letting him sleep with the light on, we tried a night light and we tried having the room as dark as possible. On the advice from the psychologist we moved his bed time to a later time, still he was awake for hours.
One of the most common things I heard, mostly from strangers or acquaintances, was that if that was their child they ‘wouldn’t put up with that’. It was like they believed that I was letting him run riot through the house. It couldn’t be further from the truth. At bedtime he was put in his room. The only reason he was allowed to leave was to go to the toilet. He wasn’t allowed to play. I wasn’t ‘allowing’ anything to happen.
It amazed me the amount of people who believed that if I just tried what they were doing (which wasn’t a whole lot to be honest) then we would see a miraculous change in his sleep patterns. If we just ran him ragged then he would give in, if we just did anything they suggested which they were sure worked for their child, then we would have a good child too.
That was the issue. Mr 5 wasn’t bad because he couldn’t sleep. He’s not a horrible child because he has trouble falling asleep. I have trouble sleeping too, does that make me a bad person? It sounds ludicrous when you say it like that doesn’t it?
I’m so glad that melatonin has helped us. Mr 5 is finally able to fall asleep easily, he sleeps more soundly and I have noticed his tantrums are getting further apart. He wasn’t a bad kid, he was just chronically tired.
Do your kids have trouble sleeping? Are you sick of people telling you that they wouldn’t let their kid not sleep?
Oh the poor love. Thank God you found something that worked and he can fall to sleep easily now. When it comes to kids whether the issue is sleeping or getting them to eat or anything at all there is always an expert. Always someone to tell you you’re doing it the wrong way or you should be doing it this way. Everyone has an opinion. Often in my case it’s people with no kids at all!! I’m glad Mr 5 is now getting the rest and sleep he needs.
I hate it when people with no kids try to give me advice on my son. Although I just laugh at the ones who say ‘when I have a child they will do xyz’ because they are definitely in for a rude shock lol.
Thanfully my six have all been good sleepers (which is probably why I had so many).
I can understand your frustrations. I can say that every child is certainly different from personal experience. I have insomnia though! Glad your Son has improved.
Hahah! Yes, Mr 5’s sleep issues are one of the reasons why I’m not going back for a second!
All kids are different, just as all parents are. Miss now 9 was a terrible sleeper from 0 – 1, then really good and when she hit school she would lie awake from bedtime 7/7:30 till about 9pm. She still does now and is up by 7am. That’s all the sleep she needs. We put her to bed at 8, she reads till 8:30 and then drops off by 9/9:30. I think kids bodies, most of the time, apart from if there are other underlying issues, get the sleep they need. And no one telling otherwise will change that.
Yeh, I think that a lot of people forget that kids are little people sometimes and so just like some adults, some kids need less sleep. Mr 5 is averaging about 10 hours now..much better than the 5 hours he was getting before. He doesn’t look so sick now, because when he wasn’t getting enough sleep he would have a very drawn face.
So I had a baby that wouldn’t sleep, and when I went back to work after maternity leave, I found a whole group of men telling me that kids never sleep, and that it will sort itself out when they go to school (to which I’d reply in horror- I’ll be dead by then!) It was like their were 2 camps – the maternity leave sleepers and the back at work non sleepers….Glad it’s working.
People telling you that it will sort itself out by school, or whenever are really not helpful. It really does feel like it will never end when you are in the midst of it all.
All my three love their sleep. Always have, I’m very lucky. I’m not so lucky and some of us for one reason or another need help in this department. For me, I find when I give up coffee and don’t have screen (computers/phones) after a certain hour, I’m not as bad. As you know, lately due to the Thyroid meds and hubby away, things have been beyond bad.
I hope that your sleep and health issues start to get better soon x
Oh I’m glad he is sleeping better for you now. My 2 year old has been a terrible sleeper since we was 3 months old. The first 12 months almost did me in . He’s still not great but he’s a lot better than he was . I have always hated the smug attitude and the unwelcome advice.
My baby daughter is a much better sleeper. Luck of the draw…
It really is luck of the draw sometimes.
Oh yep, I have miss 2 who doesn’t sleep through. Apparently I should lock her in her room, let her cry, not put up with it blah blah blah…everyone who doesn’t have the same problem is an expert, apparently. I’m just going with the flow. She comes in with me most nights and we both get more sleep like that. She just needs reassurance and closeness.mif it’s not our job as parents to provide that then I don’t know whose it would be.
I usually answer with ‘you don’t think I haven’t tried that’. I seriously wonder what goes through their mind when people say some of the things they do.
There is nothing worse than a non sleeping chld – especially when they are older and you haven’t changed your routine or done anything different. I’m glad you’ve found something to help him sleep. Now for my Phoebe to start to sleep a bit longer through the night would be nice….
I think that is what I struggled with the most, that he had been a perfect sleeper before and then, regardless of what I did, he just didn’t want to sleep. I hope that Phoebe starts sleeping through for you soon.
I’ve had those comments too Tegan. But now he sleeps beautifully. My son needed his tonsils out as he had sleep apnoea. Huge improvements in behaviour and speech. So pleased you have found something that works for your little boy.
I’m so glad that your little guy is sleeping well too. It’s so heart breaking seeing how tired they are, but they are troopers that’s for sure.
Sleep is hard. Parenting is hard. Other people telling you what they would and would not put up with is – pointless. I’ve been a mum now for almost eight years – I still have no idea what I am doing or how I am doing it. What I do know – is that with many things kids settle it out or figure it out on their own and when they are ready. I wonder sometimes if “parenting” rules and what nots bears any impact on our children. I know it seems extreme – but like a child learning to walk – they take those very first steps when they are good and ready – whats to say the rest of their journey in life is not governed the exact same way?
That’s an interesting thought Josefa. It’s interesting too that we push our babies to do all of these different things and we seem to forget that they are just little people. They have feelings, thoughts etc just like us and it’s unfair to think that they ‘can’t’ have the same problems that we as adults have like sleeping, not eating food they don’t like etc.
It is just awful when your kids aren’t sleeping. You end up suffering all day because of the chronic tiredness that results. Unfortunately as humans we all seem to give advice, or relay our own experiences good or bad. I am so glad you have found a solution for your situation.
It’s made such a difference to everyone to have him now sleeping properly. It’s also meant that we can focus on other things now that his sleep is under control. We cocooned ourselves so much because I was just too tired to go out.
We did a sleep program with Bailey that is apparently 98% effective and he bucked the system. He just refused to sleep at all.
Eventually he did, but not when he was ‘supposed to.’ That was a great learning curve for me. I believe a lot of the time what we as parents do influences our kids, but there is also a great deal of time when we have no control at all, and we don’t need judgement then. I’m so glad you have something working for you now. xxx
I think people with more than one child (like yourself) are more understanding of the whole difference in kids even though the parenting is the same. However some people just like to judge, even if it’s not their place to do so.
You’re a great mum.
So many children wouldn’t have a mum who went the extra mile to find a healthy and positive solution.
My kids sleep quite well … although Mr 10 still wakes up in the night from time to time … often with a bleeding nose. But all in all our sleep is pretty damn good these days.
Except for Husband … he is a bit irregular in that regard. Sleeping patterns like someone with a permanent state of jet lag! With no plane in sight …
So happy you found a solution.
Hope it lasts!
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
Poor Mr 10. We were at our absolute wits end with his sleep and I knew that we needed to try something to help him get a decent amount of sleep before he starts school next year.
Some people just like feeling superior to others, even if (especially if) they have no reason to. Shame they are always the mouthiest ones too. So glad you finally found out what was wrong, for all your sakes!
They definitely do. The squeakiest wheel and all of that. I’m so glad we found something that works. We had another appointment at the hospital on Wednesday with a different paed and she said she doesn’t see the point in taking him off the melatonin if it is doing its job. It was such a huge relief as the other paed wanted to take him off it after 6 months.
Thank goodness! I am all for avoiding meds etc when possible, but sometimes it just isn’t! Bet the doc wouldn’t be so keen on taking him off it if he/she was going to have a few years of bugger all sleep.
The great thing about Melatonin is that it’s just a supplement made into a prolonged release tablet so there are no side effects for us. The body just gets rid of the melatonin it doesn’t need and he doesn’t have the hang over effect that lot of traditional sleeping meds have.
Very good news 🙂
Advice just because it worked for one person is the worst to receive! Having said that, ever since you posted about this, I’ve been talking to Ben about getting melatonin for him because he has huge issues falling asleep; probably related to whatever is wrong with him but until any doctor bothers to give a crap about that maybe he’ll get to sleep more than 5 hours a night.
Yep it really is the worst kind of advice. Especially when they believe that you aren’t taking their advice and so deserve what you are dealing with. Good luck with the melatonin. It doesn’t work for everyone, but hopefully it gives Ben a break.
Well I can tell you that when I don’t sleep well or am woken through the night or toss and turn trying to go to sleep, I’m not the best behaved adult, either! I sometimes wonder about these parents whose kids sleep so well. Mostly I wonder, “Are they lying?” I’m so glad the melatonin is helping! Nick is awful when he’s over tired, but then he’ll have a big sleep and make up for it. I know it is easier said than done, but try not to let all those comments get to you. We all do the best job we can. x Aroha
LOL I was one of those smug people who had a baby who slept through the night at 10 weeks. Oh man how Murphy’s Law pulled into line on that one!
You poor little man Tegan. How stressful for you all. I am so glad the melatonin has worked for him. I have to be honest if I was talking to someone about their kid not sleeping I might have had some of those thoughts you speak of. I really never realised perhaps ignorant of me but that children can actually have insomnia. I guess I just never heard of it before. But like most things we must learn to reserve our judgment until we are educated. So Thank you!
To be completely honest, I had those same thoughts before Mr 5 started having his sleeping issues too. It’s definitely one of those situations that until you experience it yourself, you just don’t know what they are going through.
I’m lucky I have two good sleepers, but they’re both so different. One is asleep before you’re out the bedroom door, the other can take up to 40 mins, and I’ve done nothing different.
Easy for some to be judgemental, and totally sometimes those without a routine can have bad sleepers, but more often than not, it’s not the parents fault!!! Just the child.
Glad you have the reason behind your sons sleeping sorted out x
Thanks. Absolutely people with no routines will have kids who might not sleep well, then there are kids who just love their sleep. My partners grandson can go from playing to asleep within seconds!
The advice gets so frustrating after a while. I have one who has trouble getting to sleep (improving) and another who easily goes to sleep but wakes in the middle of the night and can’t (won’t?) go back to sleep.
Glad you’ve found something to help.
Oh my gosh I know exactly what you mean! My two year old literally tosses and turns non stop for an hour in bed before finally falling asleep. Sometimes he’ll even be yawning and saying “tired” but still unable to fall asleep. He’s trying. He has the exact same bedtime routine as his older brother who falls asleep in approximately 5 minutes.