Monday 9 April 2012


Yesterday's bedtime was particularly challenging.


 Challenging from a sleep perspective. In that there wasn't enough of it to fill either my quota or that of a 2 year old. In fact one 2 year old in particular who we fondly refer to as The Wee One.

Our story begins where my evening should begin, free from children, in control of the remote control and a laptop poised for blogging inspiration. There may also be beverages and snackages within easy reach.

Last night however, The Wee One failed to recognise the normal prompts for sleep, like a cot, pyjamas, sleeping bag and teddy/rabbit/iggle piggle/plane/blanket. Instead he saw this as his opportunity to wail like a banshee, screech like nails down a blackboard and scream like you want to go faster. This is not normal behavior. In fact we have been (previously) blessed with a toddler who would sigh with relief on being placed in his cot. So we have a new model with a faulty off switch.

After 30 minutes of protesting, intermittent patting on head and returning thrown comforters, that were failing to comfort, back into the cot I gave up and tried the emergency plan B.

Don't shout, but I picked him up and gave him a cuddle. Immediate relief was achieved and peace was restored. Until I returned him to the cot. When the previous wailing, screeching and screaming paled into insignificance relative to the renewed vocal efforts now being emitted. Under normal circumstances, that is when everyone isn't over tired from days of confectionery consumption and heightened stimulation, I would have let him get on with it, safe in the knowledge that he will collapse exhausted before social services arrive.

But this was untested territory and plan C came into force.

Don't shout, but I picked him up and took him to my bed where I lay down next to him giving him a soothing head massage. This worked. A sigh was emitted. A snuggle was administered and his breathing slowed. I waited for him to nod off. For one hour I waited while he sang to me, played planes using my face as a landing strip and experimented with sticking his fingers into my ears and eyes.

In frustration I got up and left the room. He got up and went in search of new toys.

I gave up and, don't shout, took him downstairs so I could get a cup of tea.

I caught up on the final episode of America's Next Top Model (Lisa won as expected) while The Wee One wandered about, sang, shouted a bit, emptied the previously refilled toy box over the sitting room floor.

Two hours and forty minutes after he was first taken to bed, I returned upstairs and, don't shout, took him back to my bed to lie down next to him to make soothing noises. This exercise continued fruitlessly for a further 20 minutes.

Plan D was to try yawning. You know the yawning phenomenon where you yawn, and someone else is compelled to yawn. Not surprisingly I didn't have to fake my yawn. And as predicted, The Wee One caught the yawning bug and joined in very convincingly. I yawned again, now catching his yawn, and he yawned back. Wow, we could keep this going for hours. Thankfully we didn't have to, because a mere five minutes later, he nodded off and was returned to his cot.

I sank gratefully back into my own bed. And couldn't sleep.

Tonight I am starting the controlled crying technique. It will be louder and more stressful but ultimately I get to have an evening again.

How to you get your previously content sleeper back into contented sleep? Advice needed but please don't shout.

Out of idle curiosity, did you yawn reading this post?

I've linked up with The Crumby Mummy's Terrible Twosday!


  1. Yes I yawned! We've been there and done that with all your plans - so no shouting here - and I suspect we did them all more than once. Eventually the controlled crying combined with elastic band method worked. You start by staying in the room, maybe even putting your hand in the cot/on the child's head but you don't engage with the child. Over the next few nights/weeks you move further and further away until eventually you are outside the room. We managed it in about a week but my BIL & family are still working on it several months later. I suspect they cheat and get involved in conversations instead of completely ignoring the child that they allege they want to go to sleep....

  2. Hello, no yawning here! Have been here too. Controlled crying technique worked for us when Z was younger. We did not then really have a problem with getting him to sleep - he loved his bed and would go down without a sound. I enjoyed many evenings of happily watching eastenders on the sofa, slurping wine and blogging.
    But, recently he has taken to unzipping his grobag and climbing out of his cot, resisting bedtime completely. I think he is ready to drop his lunchtime nap but until then, I have no idea what technique is best for him to get him to stay in his bed - he will be 3 in August. Good luck - do let me know how you get on and what works for you :)

  3. I too did the controlled crying technique. I have found that it works well so long as you are the right kind of mother. Some mums cannot help but cry their eyes out listening to their children crying, others can take it if they know that it's for the greater good!
    I put in earplugs for ten minutes and set my mobile to vibrate to prompt me to check... I am such a mean lady!
    A lot of the time it's the going through the process of trying various techniques one after the other than can prove counter-productive and actually cause a little one to be more unsettled.
    Move over Gina Ford. lol
    I hope that it sorts itself out soon x

  4. Controlled crying seemed to work with us too as long as daddy doesn't interfere and make me feel like the worst mother for making him cry. It didn't work when he was younger though, so I had to stay with him by his cot until he fell asleep but tried again recently and it took 3 days and now he pretty much falls asleep himself without much crying. And by the way thanks for telling about ANTM result, I hadn't watched yet!! :))

  5. No shouts from here. We've been there. Going from good sleeper to bad and back again. I think it's just life... I have days where I can't settle and go to sleep just like children don't we all.....

  6. Controlled crying worked for us, as hard as it is you just have to keep going with it...certainly isn't easy, especially at the end of the day when you are tired yourself!

  7. Brilliant! Just found you via the BritMums Spring Blog Hop.

  8. Hope the controlled crying is working! My daughter has never been good at sleeping and I usually give in too. going to try tough love from tonight. She is so stubborn though so I don't know if it will work. Whoever came up with the phrase 'Sleeping Like A Baby' has obviously never had one! Thanks for linking up!


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