So it’s half past two in the morning and I’ve been up for the last hour with the twins.
I’m not sure what’s happened to them lately but my brilliant sleepers have turned into the worst sleepers on the planet. I need sleep.. this is certain.
Those of you that don’t know, when the twins were babies they didn’t really sleep well and when Toby died they became awful. Being in a 2 bed flat, I shared the big room with the twins and it was bad! I think back then I was getting 2-3 hours of broken sleep a night. I was completely wrecked but I think in a way with everything going on maybe I needed distraction. I probably wouldn’t have been sleeping anyway.
So I carried on like that for months and when they turned one there were two ways I could go.. get these kids sleeping or have some kind of breakdown.
So I decided to sleep train.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know. I did lots of research online. I read up on supernanny again (having done similar with Sienna), I read up on other twin mum’s stories on leaving their babies to cry it out and I embarked on a journey that probably saved my sanity.
So, I started with a nap time, giving them a kiss, singing them a song and putting them in their cots and shutting the door. Wow. The outrage, especially from Willow! I had read about leaving it so many minutes before I went in and I decided that I would give them 3 minutes and then go in to comfort them and then add 2 minutes onto the time each time I went in. So I set my alarm on my phone for 3 minutes, went back in, then 5 minutes, went back in then 7 minutes etc and went up as far as 15 minutes. I never left them for more than 15 minutes and after 45 minutes of screaming the place down , they settled themselves to sleep and had a 30 minute nap!
The nights were the worst as they woke constantly through the night and I had to carry on with the process but each day got better and we all got to sleep! Now it didn’t take 3 days or a week, like some experts suggest.. it took more like 6 weeks from the end of November to January .. but it worked. The twins went from being rocked asleep with 20 wake ups a night to sleeping 13 hours a night and having 2 hour naps in the day!
Fast forward 2 and a half years and my dreams have been shattered by them not wanting to go to bed and waking up through the night. So today I sat and watched old reruns of the 3 day nanny. I read some of her interviews and tips online and also picked her book up on amazon. I know everyone has their own methods of parenting and leaving a child to “cry it out” isn’t a popular choice, but for me, as an only parent, I know I have to be strong. I have to draw boundaries and stick to them, I have to have a good routine and stick with that routine otherwise it all goes to pot. I don’t have anyone here to help me, to take over of an evening or sit with me and say “yes they’re crying but they actually are fine.. keep going.” So this time around with them being almost 4, it’s tough. They can say things to me, like “mummy I need you”, “mummy please let me stay in your bed” and the age old… “I neeedddd juice”!! But one thing the 3 day nanny went back to was that lack of sleep really affects the routine and that if the parent is running on empty, it throws everything else out of sinc.
And I’m now definitely running on empty!
So.. this afternoon I picked up a stair gate from my sister in law. When the twins came home from their grandparents’, I showed them the gate and told them that tonight the gate would be closed and they would sleep in their own beds all night. I’d also bought them little jars and some Pom poms to go in (an idea a friend gave me). Before bed we decorated the jars with stickers so they’d know which one was theirs and I explained that with good behaviour they would get a Pom Pom to put in the jar and that when the jar was full they could choose a treat from the shop! They loved this idea. They listened really well, they helped tidy up and did all their bedtime bits and were rewarded with a Pom Pom. Then we sat in bed to read some stories. Willow was a little put out that we wouldn’t read in the living room, but another thing I’d taken from the 3 day nanny was to shut down the living room, visually showing them that that room was no longer open for the evening. We read stories and I told them what was going to happen “I’ll sing you a song and then I’m shutting the door and I’ll see you at breakfast.”
Well then it all went to pot abit! They screamed at the gate for a while wanting juice, I ignored them and told Sienna to stay in her room so not to distract. Now, whilst I think the 3 day nanny gives good advice I do think it’s much harder than what you see on the tv. Generally because you’re sat doing it alone feeling like the shittest parent ever whilst your kids escapes from prison -aka the stair gate!
So after they broke out of the stair gate I gave in and said ” I’ll give you juice, take it to your bed and leave it there and then lie down and go to sleep.”
And they did just that. Win!
At 1.15am they woke up, opened the door and cried for me. I did ignore them, for aslong as I could, but I’m petrified of my neighbours complaining (we live in a block of flats), so I went and tried to hush them from the other side of the gate. I got them back in their beds and shut the door to them coming out again. It was sad to hear them so upset. Rocco kept telling Willow he had a good idea!! Then they escaped again, it wasn’t great!
But after 45 minutes they got back into bed. I wasn’t quite as strict as I wanted to be. I’ve left the door open and sung to them. They are currently in bed but Rocco has twice come to the gate waking Willow up, the latest one being just now, 3am.. a good half hour since the last time.
I didn’t want to negotiate but also I couldn’t take the screaming and this way, atleast for now it’s quiet.
I hope they sleep soon.