When you here that little voice say 'Mummy stay' how do you turn away?
I became a mother in my early thirties. I read all the books and blogs and listened to the advice of the friends who had had there children before me. Sleep training wasn't for me. I couldn't - it felt so cold.
At seven weeks old my little champ started sleeping through the night (eleven until four thirty but it's kind of a big deal). While my Mama's group friends were exhausted I looked like the breath of spring. I was happy, sparkling, rested, exercised and put together. Sleep training?! What is with that - my little dude has got this!
Then the skills started. Grabbing, rolling, crawling, talking, sitting, standing, walking. Each new skill eroded his ability to sleep. He called out over and over again for Mummy and I was so, so tired I pulled him into our bed. Sleep is our priority - I was working again, he was in daycare we needed to rest. He could learn to sleep in out bed, we'll teach him. The wakefullness at night turned into snuffles and reaching out before quickly falling back into sleep. But he was getting bigger. His sleepy limbs were kicking and punching and grabbing - they had a force behind them, it hurt. Our sleep was compromised again.
Just before he turned two it was time for us to move him into his own bed. We were so out of depth. After five months of taking turns sleeping on a mattress on the nursery floor we called in help. We got a coach and we trained our son to sleep. It wasn't awful. In fact the anticipated screaming, crying, angry toddler only appeared once or twice. Bed time went from being an hour and a half spectacle to a succinct half hour. Night time wakings went from five to eight times a night (an under-exaggeration as I only counted from AFTER we went to sleep) to once or sometimes no times. My husband was no longer falling asleep at the wheel. My awful high calorie diet improved as I felt rested. Things are better... so much better.
What I learned from this is that you should never say never in parenting because one day you will be on the floor of your toilet promising ice cream and rainbow unicorns if they will just do a poo on the potty. Never is a specific time when the gods of parenting laugh at you while they test you to the absolute limit. Never will turn you into a hypocrite.
The other thing I learned is that there are so many ways to do things. Shutting the door and walking away just isn't my bag but there was a kinder much gentler way to help my little human sleep. We found it and it's lovely and we still 'sneak' him into our bed for morning cuddles. It's us and it works.
And when that little voice says 'Mummy stay' I stay. Sometimes for a few minutes or sometimes until he sleeps. I rarely get that request anymore, so once in a while it does no harm. Besides it gets me out of cleaning the kitchen.