The Karate Kicking Octopus

When Z was first born I was scared witless about putting him into my bed. Both midwives and leaflets had hammered into my that you should NOT SHARE A BED WITH A BABY! Arrrgggghh, yes Miss, I won’t I won’t! I was so scared of crushing him or suffocating him I would never, no matter what put him next to me, even for a cuddle. Just in case. Z has been a rubbish sleeper from the start and would get up countless number of times in the night. Like any zombie sleep deprived new mum I would rock him back to sleep and put him back in his cot.

I started getting used to the zombie mummy lifestyle, thinking this was just part of motherhood and that I must become a woman that survives on about 4 -5 hours sleep a night. Every so often I’d crash and burn and sleep most of the weekend.

Then one day, when he was 11 months old, and grown up, and much more “solid”, and like a proper little boy, I was so tired I stuck him in our bed. And like magic, he slept. Wow. Sleep. Pure sweet, more than 4 hours at a time, sleep. And so it began, Z would start off in his cot and then end up in our bed about 4am. I wasn’t too bothered because I was finally getting some sleep for the first time in ages.

But over the last few months, this creeping into our cot is getting earlier and earlier. Some nights as early as midnight. And most nights he needs to be looking at me. Making sure I am there and sometimes even holding his hand until he drifts off into sweet slumber. How do I get out of this?

As he’s gotten older he’s also become a lot more active in his sleep. He’s always been a “sleep kicker” and as he’s grown he’s starting to resemble something of a mini karate kid, kicking us repeatedly in the gut whilst he probably dreams of getting his black belt. This is no doubt great fun for him but slightly uncomfortable for us. To add to that, he’s now developed the ability to make it seem like his limbs replicate during the night, and get longer (and maybe they do). At a point when you’re in a very deep sleep he will wrap both arms around your head and then try to wrap both legs around your head too (if he hasn’t kicked you first. Or decided he’d rather sleep-break-dance). Whilst its comforting to know your son loves you to bits, sleeping next to a karate kicking Octopus can be absolutely knackering. And whilst I love my OH to bits he doesn’t look that great going to work every day with constant blood shot eyes from being so tired. (“No hun, you look great!! Now drink your black coffee, take your pro plus and wake up!! Ahem..” etc.)

SO….we are about to embark on a quest. The quest to get him out of our bed and get him to sleep better. I’ve googled various methods and the lovely mums on Twitter have suggested a few good books to read. Being a complete wimp I just can’t seem to do the controlled crying (although I may have to use it as a last resort. Not too sure how yet but thats for another day). So I’ve started reading The No Cry Sleep solution. I’ve only just started it but its given me massive insight into how babies sleep, how their minds work and the things they want / like etc. So far, so good. I snuck ahead and implemented a teeny tiny thing already which is about using words that you want your baby to associate with sleep. Where as before I’d just whisk him upstairs, I now announce its “sleepy time!” and make a bit of a fuss about going upstairs and saying goodbye to Mummy or Daddy. This was an instant hit with Z and he’ll wave and blow kisses to whoever is downstairs. TINY step but really great result.

I know there is a massive element of his Daddy in him when it comes to sleep. My OH is half tree, half Octopus so I know Z will always be a wriggly active sleeper, but if I can just get him to go to sleep without him lying on our bed watching me like a hawk then I will be very happy and less zombie looking. My second quest will be to tackle why the karate kicking Octopus still wakes up in the night.

Wish me luck sleep!

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8 Comments

  1. Sue June 30, 2012 / 4:34 pm

    It is hard to get some children into good habits. My oldest boy was never a problem but the youngest…well..when he was about 18months he would only go to sleep if we were still in the room. Then the slightest sound and he’d scream the house down..
    I was exhausted and OH was at the end of his tether too. We spoke to the Health Visitor who was less than useless. It wasn’t until I found myself at the top of the stairs with L in my arms ready to throw him that I realised I needed help. OH was already on his way up and got him to sleep.
    Next day saw us at the doctors and he was brilliant. We tried the controlled crying method and put up a gate.. Two nights later he just went to bed and slept.. no more issues. We were so lucky..(and so was he.!)

    • notmyyearoff July 6, 2012 / 11:16 am

      Wow – Glad they could help you. Its so hard to know where to turn to for help isn’t it? Especially when a lot of the time the stock answer is “some babies are just like that”. So so exhausting but he is getting better now thank god although we still have a way to go!

  2. Jenny paulin June 30, 2012 / 6:37 pm

    I can it believe I missed this, I guess it’s because I was away at Britmumslive! Sorry!
    Do you know what, sometimes I wish I had co slept with my two when they were newborns because I also had bugger all sleep, like 2 hours tops and it I did ever doze off with them on me I would wake up scared witless that they could have rolled off me! I too was told how dangerous it was so I avoided it. And that you struggle t get them back not their own bed,well cot!
    Anyway, I would be very interested to know how you are finding the book. I hope it works for you as you need the sleep xx

    • notmyyearoff July 6, 2012 / 11:19 am

      We are getting there slowly. There is a part of me thats starting to wonder about controlled crying though.

  3. Rebecca June 30, 2012 / 7:42 pm

    I think you have to do what works for you and your children. We had to do controlled crying in the end and it worked for us but i kniw its not everyones cup of tea.
    I love the description of half tree half octopus.
    Hope you find something which works!

    • notmyyearoff July 6, 2012 / 11:17 am

      I do wonder if I’ll have to do that too. I seem to be ticking off other things (that aren’t really working!)

  4. Trouble Doubled July 1, 2012 / 12:33 am

    Has he got a soft toy that he can cuddle up to? Some company, even if it stuffed, might be worth a try. Good luck.

    • notmyyearoff July 6, 2012 / 11:17 am

      I’ve never actually tried that yet!!!! I wil try two tonight on either side!

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