Saturday, 9 January 2016

The tale of the toddler in the night time

Once upon a time - or at least, about a year and a half ago last Wednesday - there was a little boy who would not, could not, sleep through the night in his own bed.

It started with crying at regular intervals in response to loud lorries thundering past, the demon children upstairs who ran, screamed and stomped with wild abandon at 11pm and the sibling with the permanent hacking cough of a octogenarian who smoked 100 a day their whole life.

Having been a stout supporter of at least two bottles of milk through the night the child knew comfort would come.  Having been conditioned to getting up several times a night from about 4 months pregnant the mother resigned herself to never, ever having a good night's sleep again.

At first a cuddle was all that was needed.  On extremely rare occasions the husband/father would rise from the sleeping dead and provide zombified succor but this happened once in a purple moon.  Blue moons are more common than you think.

The cuddle then became a rocking motion with an internal headcount, first to 50 and then to 100. Things got better for a while but as always, our tale takes a turn for the worst.

A period of illness led to continual wakings in the night and the requirement for longer cuddles.  In tired despair one night the mother brought the child back to her bed and they slept.  All was well. Rejoice, rejoice.

But it didn't last.  The toddler discovered that by sleeping in the big bed he could sleep with both parents and feel their warmth all night long.  He no longer needed a duvet, which he hated thoroughly and continually tried to kick off, as he could nestle in the middle of the two humps of parent.  A foot here, a hand there.  Practising his basic ninja octopus moves to perfection.

Night after night after night it continued until both parents had had enough of aching backs and sleepless nights and toddlers who stole all the duvet even though they weren't even under it!  The mother read articles and advice from all manner of 'experts' but nothing seemed to work.  The toddler would not sleep in his own bed in his own room.  He loved his mummy too much.

An inner voice would say to the mother - co-sleeping is fine, it's good for everyone, you'll get used to it, you see animals all heap together to sleep, its normal.  But it didn't stop the mother wishing for some comfortable space and a full night's sleep.

In the end grumpiness levels couldn't be sustained and so the toddler's bed was reinstalled in the parents room.  And he danced and danced with glee and spent happy moments climbing in and pretending to sleep.  It is here our tale ends as we do not know what will happen next.  Will the exhausted parents finally achieve a full night's sleep?  Will sleeping in the same room as his beloved mummy finally stop the toddlers panicked night time screams?  Let us hope we have a happily ever after.

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