You might be thinking that this is the most random title for a blog post. And I’d agree with you, but there is a reason behind it : Emily.
This girl is a nightmare when it comes to bedtime. You would not believe how many times she’s appeared in the middle of the night saying “Mum, I can’t sleep.”
She has always been a struggle to settle down for the night. As a baby she would cluster feed from 8pm-11pm, and she still doesn’t settle until around 11pm now. I don’t know if it’s an internal body clock that won’t change throughout her life. But I do know that hearing “Mum I can’t sleep” night after night is bloody annoying.
All the other parents I know have these magical things called “evenings”. Apparently, their children go to sleep at a reasonable hour, and then they can sit and watch TV. Interrupted TV, maybe even with a glass of wine! And some of these friends are able to get a babysitter in, and actually go outside the house at night time.
I can’t sleep because…
Maybe it’s become a habit, or maybe Emily actually sits there every night trying to come up with more and more random excuses. I don’t know. But if there was ever to be an award for the most bizarre reason to not sleep. She would win. Hands down.
Here’s a brief list of some of the reasons she can’t fall asleep;
- Her hair is too floofy
- Her pillow feels like a penguin 🐧
- She haven’t eaten a banana this week
- Her nose feels fizzy
- What if she can’t speak English in the morning?
- She doesn’t like breakfast
What are you supposed to say to them? As far as I know, she has never touched a real life penguin. And I have no idea how a pillow can even feel like one.
The banana thing is extra annoying because she doesn’t even like bananas!!
I still can’t sleep!!
When she shouts this sentence down the stairs, I just want to shout back : “FFS You say this EVERY night!”
But that’s not very parental. So instead I say, “Why not darling?” And I get reasons like this;
- I don’t like my toes touching each other
- What if I do a smelly fart and it wakes me up again?
- What if a spider wees on me?
- My eyelashes are tickling my cheeks
Something woke me up
Occasionally, she will lull me into a fall sense of security and fall asleep by 9.30pm. I usually don’t know what to do with myself when this happens. But hindsight always tells me that I should have gone to bed early too. Because if she does fall asleep at a more reasonable hour, you can bet your Granny that she’ll be up and down all night like a yo-yo.
This child of mine thumps and bumps around the house like a violent earthquake…
Except in the middle of the night.
In the middle of the night, she suddenly becomes this stealthy ninja child. She can get from her room to mine without; knocking over the hoover, falling out of bed, tripping over thin air or kicking over a stash of Lego.
Then she appears next to my bed and glares at at me until I wake up. It’s really quite unnerving being woken up because you can feel someone staring at you in the dark. And very unnerving when you can feel someone else’s breath on your face and you normally sleep alone.
I’ve given up asking her if she’s feeling poorly when this happens, and just wait for the reason why she can’t sleep. But the reasons she comes out with make me wonder if I’m still asleep.
Here’s a few recent examples;
- What if I wake up invisible?
- Ruby’s breathing all the air
- Which half of me is Scottish?
- If a fly has no wings what is it called?
- How does a phone know when it’s fully charged?
- If you don’t take your money out of your bank is it still money or just numbers?
- Why is Monday so boring?
- Why don’t they ask you if you can swim when you go to a swimming pool?
Some of these make me laugh, and others wake me up enough to have to search on Google for the answers. Which makes it very difficult to reiterate the importance of her going back to sleep.
The importance of sleep
Aside from sleep being important so she can grow, rest, and do whatever else her body needs to do, there’s another reason.
How early Emily falls asleep or how long she sleeps in one go, has a direct correlation to my mood the next morning.
The less sleep I get, the less I can handle the daily shit life throws at me.
It’s the difference between me laughing things off and me wanting to cry in a corner.
We have tried pretty much everything to encourage sleep.
She can’t stand any kind of noise when she’s trying to sleep, so playing white noise, nature sounds etc just doesn’t work.
We’ve tried bath before bed routines, but it seems to make her more awake than sleepy.
We’ve always read stories before bed, and whilst Ruby will fall asleep whilst I’m reading, Emily just comes up with more questions. Which doesn’t promote sleep. But if I don’t read something neither of them calm down enough to actually lie in bed.
I’ve tried giving her turkey or nuts a couple of hours before bed, because I read somewhere that they have a lot of tryptophan in them which boosts the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. This didn’t help much either.
Chamomile or fennel tea sometimes helps a little, but it’s a bit hit and miss. Warm milk doesn’t help at all, because apparently she can’t drink it without biscuits, and I’m not getting in to that.
One of the best things that worked was Sleepy cream from Lush. But this only worked for a couple of months, and then she seemed to get immune to it. So we’re currently having a break from it in the hope that it will work again in the future.
So for now, I’m just going to have to accept that she’s not a very good sleeper and make my peace with it. Hopefully, once she becomes a fully fledged teenager she’ll want to sleep more. But knowing my luck, she’ll only want to sleep in the day.
Unless anyone has any magical tips that might help?
If you do, PLEASE let me know!!