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Am I a mean mommy!?

(26 Posts)
ladypop Wed 10-Jul-13 09:04:20

Our 3.5yr old DS has a continual issue with waking early. He has a Gro clock and whilst he still yo-yo's between our room and his when he wakes (any time after 5.30am) we promise him a 'sweetie' (a fruit chew in reality) if he makes it until 6.40 by mostly staying in bed which relucrantly he just about manages.
This morning he just kept coming back and forth and I said ' no sweetie this morning' and he had a paddy but then just accepted that was the case and decided to get into bed with me and our 12 wk old baby anyway.
My tactic then was just to ignore him. Problem is, baby is up and awake, all smiles and I am holding him. DS1 wants a cuddle too but I say no as it isn't time to get up. He was literally trying to put my arm aroun his and i wouldn't let him sad I feel really mean denying him a cuddle when his younger brother is clearly getting one. I did explain that baby is awake as he needed a feed.
It wasn't until I knew his Gro clock had changed that my attitude changed towards him (smiling and talking to him).
Not sure what else to do!? We tried putting the stair gate back on his bedroom door but the handle catches on it and it means he wouldn't be able to open his door at all. I don't think that is fair and not really keen on it from a safety perspective.

DonutForMyself Wed 10-Jul-13 09:10:35

I can't bear being woken up early and regularly tell my DCs to leave my room and go back to bed. I was about to say you are not mean at all, until I realised that you have little one in bed with you, so yes, from the perspective of a 3.5 yo it must seem mean that his little brother is allowed in your bed but he is not. I understand the logistics of feeding etc, but a 3.5 yo won't.

I think you need to make time for him without the baby in bed, so perhaps tell him that when the baby finishes feeding you will come and collect him from his bed and bring him into yours for his cuddle time. Put the baby in his cot so that big bro gets some time with you on his own.

I fear that you could be stirring up some real resentment if you're not careful about how you handle this one.

DonutForMyself Wed 10-Jul-13 09:13:23

and you probably need firmer boundaries about what constitute 'mostly in his room' - either he stays in bed/room or he doesn't. If you have to decide that he's allowed to linger in your room for 5 minutes, but not for 7 for example, it is confusing for him.

ladypop Wed 10-Jul-13 09:15:41

I see what you mean - the only thing is that he wants to cuddle baby too! But I might try that tactic and see what happens. I was cuddling baby after his feed as he wouldn't settle in his own room and I didn't want him disturbing his older brother! Feel like a can't win

TanglednotTamed Wed 10-Jul-13 09:23:05

I would not refuse a 3 year old a cuddle! They won't understand, and it's just mean.

I understand your pain. DS1 is 5.5 and has always been an early waker - only in the last 9 months has it moved consistently to at least 5am. We also use Groclocks with sticker charts (for both DSs). However, I accept that sometimes they just get up early, and I end up with 3 DC in the bed and not much sleep.

Also, if I'm up early with the baby and I can hear DS1 is awake but rootling around in his room, I tell him he can come down, since I'm awake anyway. It would feel mean talking and playing with the baby while he sits looking at his Groclock waiting for 6.30.

If one of the DC is in my bed and another wakes up, I'd never send that one away. I do try and get the first one back in their own bed when they wake up, but sometimes it just doesn't work.

But perhaps I am over-lenient. We are all surviving though.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 10-Jul-13 09:29:43

How can you refuse a child a cuddle? That's awful.

ladypop Wed 10-Jul-13 09:51:55

Ok thanks guys, which I had never posted now.

WaitingForMe Wed 10-Jul-13 09:55:06

I don't think it's especially mean. DH and I are strict with my DSSs and they understand there are different rules for them and baby DS - mainly that DS doesn't get XBox time!

nannybun Wed 10-Jul-13 10:01:34

It's not mean, he had to learn boundaries. Stick to your guns it'll work in the end!!

TanglednotTamed Wed 10-Jul-13 10:23:00

Well, you asked if you were mean, did you expect everyone would say no?

ladypop Wed 10-Jul-13 10:27:38

No, I didn't, just some support really as I simply don't know how to deal with the issue. Prob being over sensitive too as finding baby/toddler combo a real challenge esp as DH works shifts and isn't around at this time of the day so feel like I am tackling it alone a lot of the times.

JammieE Wed 10-Jul-13 11:09:28

I don't think you're mean. You are doing your best and trying to teach boundaries, but you're just unsure how to go about it. All children will react differently so being firm isn't always going to be wrong. Obviously, if your older child is getting distressed it would be best to try a new approach.

I think the fact that you've come on here asking for advice, clearly concerned about your child's feelings shows that you are not mean. You just need guidance.

DonutForMyself Wed 10-Jul-13 11:27:18

It is really hard juggling young children and babies, I think the general consensus is that the older one needs to feel like they are the priority much of the time, that the baby needs attention and its a bit of a faff having to feed him, but that spending time with the older one is a pleasure that you try your hardest to fit in around the demands of the baby.

I think however well intentioned it was (and we all do things sometimes that we feel are fitting, only to question ourselves later) ignoring him while feeding the baby was a bit harsh. That's not to say he should rule the roost or get his own way all the time. Supernanny would advocate no eye contact and no talking etc if it was going to bed time, so its not so different in the morning really, but its made all the more complicated for the little guy to understand because the baby is 'allowed' to be awake and in your bed.

I think as someone else said, maybe try stickers or a reward chart for staying in bed or at least in his room. No leniency. Stair gate would probably just end up getting rattled and waking you all up and not ideal for teaching him why he needs to be in bed.

Perhaps you need to play up how grown up he is and how well behaved he is as a big boy, unlike the naughty baby who keeps waking you up. If he thinks that helping you get more sleep will make you happy he might respond to a bit of sibling rivalry!

daytoday Wed 10-Jul-13 11:49:44

Denying one cuddle isn't the end of the world - neither is it awful, Christ alive! Poster, you sound like a lovely mum who is trying to forge a way forward so that you are not overtired and ratty.

It's really hard at this age. Some kids just are early risers. I can reassure you that if nothing else works, it will improve when they start school.

However in the meantime - there really isn't much you can do. You just have to get through it the best way you can and catch up on sleep. My eldest was a super early riser till he started school. I've pretty much read every article and book. What I would do when he woke up at 5.30 - everyday - is set him up in a game or turn on the tv, give him a beaker etc and just fall asleep either on the sofa or back in my bed, with DC2.

I told him I don't get up till 6.30 earliest.

ladypop Wed 10-Jul-13 12:04:33

I can see what is being meant by understanding it from the older ones poit of view and one that I hadn't really considered. This is by no way excusing this, but my parents (lovely as they are) are quite strict and I guess this has had an influence on my parenting style. Whereas DH parents are the complete opposite and our eldest can do no wrong!

Anyway, I digress. Thanks *DonutForMyself, If I introduced incentives/sticker charts, he may respond to it, but it doesn't get away from the fact that he can still see his younger brother in bed with me and the unfairness it creates. Baby isn't often being fed at that time, but has woken up early and needs help settling. So rather than being up and down trying to settle him, I often cuddle him or lie him on the bed next to me, just so I can get another half hours quiet time before the day begins!

I have tried explaining that the more sleep he gets, the more energy he will have for nursery etc and he does sometimes respond to this. The problem with him waking up early and then getting up is 2 fold: he wakes is younger brother (if he is still asleep) but it also means he is tired come mid morning and his behaviour reflects this (tantrums, agression towards other children.....maybe that's for another post!?)

As he likes watching DVD's --is helpful for me when dealing with baby--how about if I said he could watch one when we go downstairs if he stays in his room. If he doesn't, then there is no TV until a certain time (maybe until after we get back from where we are going that morning, or no TV before nursery)?

I just feel a bit confused and upset now.....partly through tiredness I suspect!!

valiumredhead Wed 10-Jul-13 13:24:58

I wouldn't have let him anti beef and then refused a cuddle but I would have taken him back to gird bad and told him to come back for a cuddle when his clock went off.

valiumredhead Wed 10-Jul-13 13:25:23

Anti beefconfused into bed

valiumredhead Wed 10-Jul-13 13:25:48

Gird = bed

Sorry, on phone!

TanglednotTamed Wed 10-Jul-13 14:23:14

I know how hard it is, OP, sorry if I sounded harsh before.

I think - and this comes from bitter experience - that when you're 3, no reward (stickers/DVD/chocolate etc.) is as good as getting into bed for a cuddle with Mummy.

The rewards have only started working now that I have two DSs aged 5 and 3, and they have got a bit competitive with each other about them (which I try to discourage). But they'd still rather come in with me than have a reward, and I can't help melting a bit at that, because there is something lovely about it. I have simply gone to bed very early (between 9 and 10) every night for years, and accepted early starts. It is a phase (albeit a long one) and will eventually pass.

Tbh, if I were to go back 5 years, I would simply buy an absolutely ginormous bed that was very low down and covered most of the room, and let everyone get in that when they need to, but still have enough space that I can sleep.

brettgirl2 Thu 11-Jul-13 06:45:16

I remember exactly the same issue. It started to resolve once baby was in own room and I could just be normally strict again. I can't remember what I did on the meantime, I might have altered the gro clock to 6 or something ridiculous to minimise the situation. On occasion I think I also bent the rules as I really didn't want dd1 to feel deffed put by dd2.

brettgirl2 Thu 11-Jul-13 06:45:54


WaitakereWaif Thu 11-Jul-13 07:21:50

Wakes at 5.30.....expected to stay in room until at least 6.40?
That's a long time for a little one to be on their own, entertaining themselves, when they know Mummy is awake and interacting with a sibling. You know its a quiet time in bed with a sleepy baby ...your child just sees someone else getting a cuddle he is denied.

I think you just have to accept that early rising may be your norm for a while, and allow your DS to join the family "morning cuddle". Rewards for not then being a wriggler, or disruptive, would be great.

ladypop Thu 11-Jul-13 09:42:52

I altered time on Gro clock for this morning to 6.10 to make him feel better about actually achieving it and even though baby was asleep in his own room when he woke up (ie out of site) made no difference, he only woke at 6am but came in twice within the space of 10 mins before it changed colour! even with incentive of sweet & DVD.......I give up!!
Every morning is different with a diff one waking early so I may as well just accept it and try to get some lying down time whilst it happens smile

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 12:05:32

I really feel for you. Early wakings are soul destroying especially if you are still feeding in the night.

I have a 4 week old baby and can really see where you were coming from as you really feel like you need to try and get on top of the lack of sleep, and you are particularly under pressure with your DP not being around at that time.

I think you are right though to try and overlook it now and work round it - as you are still in early days with 2 kids and don't want to set yourself up with resentment issues.

ladypop Thu 11-Jul-13 16:14:19

Contrary to my earlier message, I am glad I posted as it has helped me see it from all angles. smile

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