Time for bed – part two.

Ten weeks ago I posted ‘Time for bed‘. I have just re-read it and cried. It was the post that made my friends text me to check I was ok. It was the post that made me realise just how badly Charlotte’s lack of sleep was affecting my whole life. It was the post (and the discussions afterward) that made me follow a few sleep consultants on Facebook.

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It was also the post I shared with Jennie Harrison when one of her Facebook updates sounded like she had been in the room with me that evening whilst I was trying to get Charlotte to sleep. She said she could help me and after reading her website I already felt a little sense of relief…someone had been through this stuff as well. Is wasn’t just me. Others had issues with getting their child to sleep too. Jennie pointed me in the direction of her Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and it sounded like exactly what Charlotte and I needed.

I had no idea what to expect with our first module ‘Calm Mum, Calm Toddler’ but from then on it all started to slot into place. I was definitely not calm when dealing with bedtime then and, although it seemed impossible I started to get there. I took some time for myself – whether I thought I had any available or not. I started doing my yoga again. I started to look at how my life was organised (or wasn’t!) and I started to change little things. Only little things to me or anyone else but those little things had a massive impact on how I could then cope with bedtime and life in general.

The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme has helped Charlotte go from not sleeping until 10.30-11pm most nights with a battle every single night, to generally being asleep by 7.30pm having completed a mutually calm bedtime. She used to wake when I went to bed if not before, and want to stay up and she would usually wake again at least once through the night for water or similar. Now, using techniques Jennie has taught us she usually sleeps through. She used to scream if I even suggested sleeping in her own bed, she now tells me that she is going to sleep in her bed and I am going to sleep in mine. Sometimes she stays there, sometimes she doesn’t but it’s a work in progress and I know we will get there. Hopefully the new Frozen duvet cover will I give her a bit more of an incentive!

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Throughout our time on the programme there has been no crying it out, no instructions on how you must do things but there has been an overwhelming amount of support available. We have had few late nights and a few nights that have gone awry but, because I know why it’s happened, I can keep calm and counteract that reason as soon as possible and get back on track. We have also worked on her nap transition (from one to none – eeek!) and how she copes with nursery. All of the above means I have a happier, more lovely daughter who is just gushing with affection and I feel the same way. I am still working full time and Charlotte is still at nursery full time but rather than me dreading picking her up because of the mood she’ll be in, we both enjoy our time together much more and there is so much less shouting.

I would say I’m an optimistic person but I think over time I’d lost some of my positivity. Something I used to pride myself on. Working with Jennie and having an amazing group of ladies in the Facebook group for the programme has given me that back. So many great things have happened since I started my eight week programme, it can’t all be a coincidence. Yes I think I deserved some good things to happen, but maybe I was the one who was blocking it, or maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

One of the things all the amazing mums in the group have said was that we wish we knew about Jennie sooner. We’d all been battling sleep deprivation for years not just months. Which is why I was so excited to hear that Jennie is just starting a new Blissful Baby Sleep programme. I think I know what I’ll be getting for any of my friends who are pregnant!!

Jennie has a Sleep Deprived Mums Club which I have signed up to, so I don’t feel too bereft after finishing the programme. Here you can get access to so many of the amazing resources I have had. She is also hosting a FREE sleep class next week so sign up now! You won’t regret it.

Never work with animals and children.

I haven’t yet introduced you to my other family member and sometimes the one who gives me most of the guilty feelings. My downtrodden, gorgeous and amazingly tolerant whippet, Sophie. If you are contemplating getting a dog before having a baby or maybe adding to the family by getting a dog then please read below.

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Five reasons not to have a dog with children.

🚫 both need exercise, but entirely different sorts. The dog wants to go for a long walk through fields and sniffing hedges, the child (and me sometimes) doesn’t want to and starts whinging approximately 15 steps in that they’re tired or need a wee. The child wants to go to the park, which nowadays are usually fenced with barbed wire just in case a dog ventures anywhere near, so you have to push your child on the swing whilst pretending the howling dog trying to hang herself with her leash isn’t yours.

🚫 a child can go in and out if shops with you, however usually, a dog cannot. Either there is nowhere to leave the dog safely outside the shop, or, see the howling/hanging comment above. Therefore no shopping gets done, just lots of longing looks into the windows, seeing what you could have had had you left the dog at home (howling).

🚫 as soon as a baby comes along, your quiet well behaved dog will become a guard dog. She won’t like the squawking, pink bundle much and looks at you like she’s wondering when your taking it back, but she will also not let the baby out of their sight and will growl or bark at anyone who ventures anywhere near you on the off chance they will snatch the baby away. The postman, the builders a block away, someone coming up the stairs past your flat etc. This includes that time you’ve just got the baby to sleep and your edging away slowly in the hope she’ll stay that way for more than 20mins this time.

🚫 she will find any nappy that you have not stashed at the bottom of a locked bin and destroy it all over your carpet or bed. You will then accidentally step/lie in the wet gel crystals after creeping into your bedroom in the dark so as not to wake the said baby.

🚫 they will decide to find the invisible fox pooh to roll in, on your busiest or most stressful day. Babies nappies have nothing on that shit, literally. I have never gagged over a smell before then.

🚫 not only does your daughter decide to join you in bed half way through the night and try and push you out, the dog will too and will work with the child to give you as little space as possible. And they are dead weights!

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But the the flip side is that…

βœ… dogs seem to sense when you need cuddle and I honestly think stroking my dog’s ears is the best therapy in the world.

βœ… watching Charlotte and Sophie can be utterly heart melting sometimes. They play, they cuddle, Charlotte loves helping to feed her etc. I’m sure it’s a good life lesson for her.

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βœ… they do get you out of the house. Those days when you feel rubbish is when you need a brisk walk and some vitamin D most and I love the quiet, contemplative time I get when walking her on my own.

βœ… I never have any food waste!

βœ… I’m never cold in bed (if I’m allowed to stay in it).

βœ… she never judges me on my parenting skills.

I keep swinging back and forth about whether I should make my life easier and find Sophie a new family who has more time and effort to give her, but she is part of my family and, at the moment, my heart won’t let me. However, if anybody’s interested in dog sitting some evenings and weekends please let me know!! Thanks.

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