Last night it was my turn to wake up for Babyice. I was determined. After Rudi’s caving the previous night I wanted to put my foot down and put a stop to this nonsense once and for all. I was asked on Twitter to blog about the process so that other parents could learn from our experience.
I put Babyice to sleep myself last night. After his bath he played a little as it was only about 18:30 and his bedtime is around 19:00. I enforced the ‘no TV rule’ to ensure that we avoid any night terrors. This means no television for at least 90 minutes before bedtime. I warmed up his Hot Hugs ducky’s tummy (a stuffed animal with a removable inner that is filled with beans to heat up in the microwave) and put it in his bed. Only his night light was switched on in the room. I got his bottle and dummy/pacifier ready so that I had everything at hand in his room so that I did not have to leave the room again. I put him down in his bed and gave him his bottle to drink. While he drank his bottle I read to him from a book in a calm, steady and quiet voice. While he was drinking I could see that his eyes were rolling every so often, so he was clearly tired. Once he finished his bottle I took it from him and gave him his dummy. I told him “Shhhh. It is doe doe time now” and put the light off. I did not leave the room, but sat next to his bed in a chair. He tried to get up a few times, each time I would put him down firmly, pat him on the back/bum and say “Shhh. It’s doe doe time” or “Shhhh. Doe doe”. He tossed and turned, flipped back and forth and before long he was fast asleep. He brought to my attention that we need to move the bed bumper closer up to the head of the bed as he nearly wiggled his way off the bed once or twice while he was tossing and turning. As the bumper fits under the mattress I did not want to move it last night, so I put a big stuffed animal between the chair and the bed in order to cushion him in case of any incident. I quietly left the room. Rudi looked at me with a surprised expression and enquired ‘Is he asleep?’. He couldn’t believe that it had happened so quickly. He struggled for 45 minutes to an hour the previous two nights. I wonder if Babyice has cottoned on he can take chances with Rudi that he cannot take with me. This part went better than expected and I was relieved I did not struggle too much, especially considering he was not medicated last night at all.
He woke up again after midnight crying and screaming. He writhed in his bed and started flipping over and kicking. Putting him back down and saying “Shhh. Doe doe” was getting me nowhere, so I picked him up and continued to repeat the mantra. He continued to scream and cry, throwing in some kicks and arching his back for good measure. He then said ‘Bottie. Bottie. Bottie’. I offered him some water in a bottle. As soon as he tasted it he pulled away and started screaming all over again. I stuck to my guns. He asked for a bottle again, again I offered him water. After a few more minutes of continuous screaming, he said ‘Juice. Juice’. Negotiating much? Testing his boundaries much? Again I offered him water. At one point he drank a little water (screaming like that must make your throat dry), but did not go back to sleep. Although drinking from the bottle soothed him, when I tried to put him down the calm disappeared and he started screaming again. I told him he could scream all night and continued chanting ‘Shhh. Doe doe’. I then firmly patted him on the bum repeatedly. Harder than a regular pat; a firm, loud pat. This seemed to subdue him slightly at times, but he continued to scream. I closed his bedroom door and after he coughed a few times, threatening to throw up, I spread an old towel on the floor to save some of the mess in case he did. I heard Rudi saying ‘Stupid woman’, obviously expecting the worst. Don’t ask me how I managed to find a towel in the dark and spread it out on the floor with no hands as I was still holding him, but I did.
Obviously all the screaming was keeping Rudi awake and distressing him. He has a very low tolerance for this sort of thing. He came into the room, grabbed the bottle with the water in and went to throw some Purity apple juice into the bottle. He turned to me and said ‘I hate you right now. You are torturing this child’. I wanted to cry. I know what I am doing is the right thing. I know that what I am doing is in the best interest of our child and it will benefit us in the long run too. Not having Rudi’s support is very difficult. He doesn’t seem to understand that I have read literature about this and that I am following the advice of our pediatrician and other parents that have been through the same thing. I know he loves Babyice and hearing him scream and cry breaks his heart, but it does mine too. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. I pulled myself towards myself and continued to chant to Babyice and just kept on doing what I was doing. Fortunately he did not ask for the bottle again after Rudi had put the juice in. If we replace milk with juice, he will wake up for juice. If he is really thirsty, he can and will drink water.
Finally, he went to sleep. For about ten minutes he was just screaming in my face with his eyes closed, his head dropping forward every now and then. Then he laid his head on my shoulder and moaned. I kept chanting. Holding him in my arms in a sleeping position is no good since it is much easier for him to control me that way and to stretch and kick himself out of my grasp. I find holding him upright works much better. At this point he finally went to sleep. I put him down and he threatened to start crying again, but I chanted and patted his back and bum firmly. When I was satisfied that he was asleep I made sure he was covered and waited until I heard his breathing change to a relaxed, deep breathing before leaving the room.
The whole exercise probably took about an hour in total. My arms were sore and heavy. He is not a light child. He weighs between 13 and 14 kgs now and was not sitting still while I was holding him. Usually I have trouble falling asleep after being woken up to such an extent, but it wasn’t the case this time. Perhaps the satisfaction of not giving in to him helped me sleep 😉 He slept through for the remainder of the night, until around 6:00 after we were already up. I am really grateful that he did not wake up again. I might have lost my sense of humour.
Tonight Rudi goes to darts and will most likely not be home if/when he wakes up. Wish me luck!