Cultural differences

Sleeping Arrangements

12:21 PM

I am bracing myself for one of the toughest battle of parent vs. toddler starting tonight: Ishita has to start sleeping in her own bed!

When I was pregnant, we bought a crib, as I was against the idea of co-sleeping, having a Queen size bed to begin with, and not trusting myself or DH not to squish her in our sleep. We even bought a pack and play pen with a bassinet so that she could sleep in our room the first few months and prevent some drama from happening in the first 3 weeks my MIL was due to visit and stay with us.
By 3 months of age Ishi was sleeping through the night, and we moved her to her big crib in the other room, using a baby monitor to keep on top of things, she was doing great in there, she kept sleeping through the night, with no issue whatsoever until she turned 9 months old, by then she was a mobile little one, walking confidently just holding the furniture with one hand (she took her first steps without holding anything at 10 months) and with her new found mobility, our princess decided that it entitled her to have an opinion about certain things like where she slept. The first 3-4 days I would take her in my arms, let her sleep, and put her back in her crib, inevitably she would wake up again, and again and again and again until I decided to try letting her cry it out, which was a terrible mistake, she cried no stop for an hour and choked herself to the point of throwing up. DH pointed out it was better to keep her in our bed, and that beside that’s what people in India do anyway. I was so sleep deprived then that I agreed, she was till tiny and not moving too much anyway. My family found that weird, they questioned it and I ignored it, and was relieved to hear my cousin whose daughter is just one year older than Ishi was giving them the same hell over the sleeping alone thing.
Years passed, we hoped she would change her mind about her now turned into a toddler bed crib, she still regards it as a great pretend play game and she still goes to our bed to sleep. But the past few months have been less than peaceful at night. She kicks, she stretches, she claims our pillows pushing us aside, and basically ensure that both DH and I end up with nights after nights of broken sleep. And if that weren’t enough, she thinks she is eligible for room service whenever the craving for a soy milk bottle strikes, and I had one too many argument about her call for  “bleh” (her name for soy milk) at 4-5am. I explained that no milk would come her way until the sun was up, and for the past week she decided that she would still give the “bleh call” at 5am a shot, and upon hearing the word sun would stay awake and kick us and watch outside the window for the first sign of dawn at which she shouts “SUN” (generally around 6 am), by which time I drag myself out of bed to get the milk from the fridge, hoping that she would just let me go back to sleep.
No such luck, parents of toddlers reading this will all nod in agreement. Toddlers rise with the sun, and once they had any form of nourishment hit the spot they start their day. Ishi is no different, and her next request is for a pair of panties, and the TV. And if you think the TV will allow you to go back to sleep, you are or 1) Not having a toddler in the house yet 2) Having a very cooperative lil one (tell me how you did that please!) or 3) have a toddler that just hit that stage and you aren’t yet used to the drill.
So in our house TV means wake up and be ready to serve me! For ages I have been on constant negotiation to extort a please out of my pint sized despot, and while please is still a very elusive notion, I at least feel grateful she decided “tee koo much” is something that is worth saying 80% of the time. By 10.30 am I am glad it’s time to get ready for school because I then desperately need my “Me time” after a morning of running, cleaning, preparing food and packing lunches, and the sleep deprivation is not making it any easier, beside I am not a morning person at all, and never will be.

So what suddenly made me decide to tackle the great “Sleep in your own bed battle?” Well first the idea has been there for a while, but I figured out we would need cooler nights so we could start the process when the AC was no longer needed at night, if Ishita has to wake up alone in her own room at night and panic that might as well be so with all doors opened giving her a bit more comfort in the process. Then there was the fact I still secretly hoped she would show an interest in her own room. The past week in our bed has however taken a turn for the even worse than usual with Ishita feeling the need to drag a zoo worth of stuffed animals in our bed: a turtle, a crocodile, a frog, a cat and a bunny no less! We can still kick the menagerie out by the time we make it to bed, but still might face her suddenly waking up and screaming for one of her plush pets. Last night she decided to not only  bring the zoo in bed, kick us half the night and push DH off his pillow but removed her diaper in the bed for me to finally put my hand into a suspicious wet spot on the mattress and piece all the pieces together: yup she peed in our bed! worse she removed a perfectly fine diaper to do so. The minute I woke up she whined “pee pee” just in case I would not have guessed. A quick glance at the clock revealed it was 2.30 am! Not happening, too dead beat from a previous day where she didn't;t nap, and an equally pooped out DH I decided to not change the bed sheet immediately. Went grabbing the first towel I found in the dark, put it over the pee pee puddle, grabbed another diaper for Ishita, and told her to go back to sleep. Would have been a perfect fix if the queen herself didn’t object to the idea of having a towel in bed and pulled it off only to scream “weeeeeeeeeet”. By then I was so tired, and pissed and grossed that I was about to ship her to her own bed, but seeing how serious I was she calmed down and agreed to sleep on said towel, only to wake me up at dawn for her milk fix…gah!
Needless to say I was in a bad mood, but so was DH who for the first time ever said “I don;t want her in our bed, or I’ll sleep on the guest mattresses!
So I am pretty much dead set on getting her in her room tonight, if that means a few more night of broken sleep to get her to do so, then be it, but I just can’t share a bed with her anymore, a bed she in the absolute should never have started sharing in the first place (but babies don’t follow rules all the time). I however rejected DH’s idea to drag the whole toddler bed to our room and make her sleep there. Because I know that I might as well get Ishi to agree on both her bedroom and her bed at the same time to spare myself another epic battle in a few months when it will be time to move the whole thing back where it belonged all along.
To maximise our success rate tonight, I plan not to let her sleep in the afternoon, not that she will as she is really doing away with the whole idea of napping anyway.
I reached a point where the sleep deprivation is taking the best of me, making me moody and in permanent PMS mode, I feel unproductive, and not even inclined to do much more than sit all day, and have little tolerance for her whining. We truly reached that point where co-sleeping make no sense at all anymore and is not benefiting either of us. I am realising it, Ishita hadn’t but for the sake of our mother daughter bond she will have to, as right now, I feel I would be a much better parent if I could just sleep at night. we have so many other things to focus on, like getting her to start speaking at an age appropriate level and getting her ready to tackle Jr. Kg next year, and if all I do is discipline and screaming and feeling frustrated as a response to chronic lack of sleep, it won’t be done.

That said I hope the battle won’t last too long and she will agree to my terms without throwing too much of a fight.

6 comments

  1. Wow, I m suffering from Sleep deprivation thanks to my newborn son and I thought you were lucky to have gone past this stage. But you are painting a totally different picture to what I had envisioned. Guess my pre-kid sleep without any disturbance is gone forever... Thanks for letting me know what the future holds for me

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  2. Oh my goodness I feel for you. I pray everything goes smoothly and that you get some adequate sleep. Fortunately my preschooler is an awesome sleeper and mostly doesn't bother me while we still co sleep. My snoring husband on the other hand has caused quite a few sleep deprived nights.

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  3. It went more or less smoothly, I will post an update about it. I also deal with the snoring husband...and snoring dog! So if I can get kicking toddler out of the bedroom it's already a big stp toward getting a little more sound sleep :-)

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  4. Oh gosh the early sleep deprivation is the worst. It gets better once the baby sleeps through the night, but goes back to being annoying when they are past 12 months and start napping a bit less during the day. My advice is if you can get your son to sleep in his own crib by the time he sleeps through the night, do it, he might stick to it and that will make your life easier in the long run. I swear the biggest mistake for us was to really indulge my then 9 months old Ishita's whim. kids start asserting their idependance once they get mobile, and it only gets more trying as they grow older, by the age of 2-3 they are aware of them being individuals in their own rights and constantly tray to test their boundaries, so for us it seems it's a good time to establish a set of new boundaries regarding our bed and bedroom :-)

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  5. In our complex, some friends of my daughter ( When my elder one of 8 years old)use to boost about their own bed room, and therefore our kids also wanted to have a separate bed room - And the problem resolved!! SO simple .. isnt it?

    This post remind me of those good old days.. :) Now my elder daughter has completed engineering, and the second is in First year BTech..:) Days , passed so fast , very hard to believe.

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  6. yeah Ishi wasn't sold on the idea seeing her friend's room, but since she is into princesses and want to be one, it was easy to sell her the idea saying her bed was a princess bed :)

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