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this is only the beginning and already I'm at the end of my tether...

(8 Posts)
TettyLouBar Sun 03-Jul-11 08:36:14

I posted on here a few weeks ago when DH left for 4 month tour to Falklands. Well the daily routine is fine and I'm getting on with things fine.

The night time is the problem. DD1 has just turned 3. She's missing her Daddy so much its effecting her sleep. He went in to her nearly all the time before he left if she woke at night because I was normally in feeding DD2 (now 22wks).
She really got upset (as expected) when she realised at night that it was me coming in because Daddy wasn't around anymore.
She's gone from sleeping 7-,7 to waking earlier and earlier. Sometimes 4am, 5am, 5:30. Once she's up, she insists on staying up as its light outside. I cant convince her to try and sleep.
Ive tried getting her to lie in with me.
Lie in her bed and try and go back to sleep.
Play quietly in her room (she refuses to be quiet and normally wakes her sister up)
Ive tried a timer on the little wall light in her room set to come on at 0630, she's never there to see it come on.
I've asked to her to have a nap in the day - flatly refuses.
I've started putting her to bed earlier at 1830 which, for a while helped. Instead of waking at 0530 she was waking at 0630, but that lasted for about a week and then deteriorated.

She's now having nightmares and shouting out to Daddy in her sleep. She twists and turns and flails around in her sleep dreaming and uncovers herself, then she wakes up cold at 4am and stays awake. I've tried turning the duvet and tucking it in really far under mattress. I've tried putting her in an all-in-one baby grow type thing and letting her sleep with no cover, she hated that. She fell out of bed 2 mornings ago she was dreaming so much.

Its upsetting to see her so unsettled. She called me last night about 6 times, each time because she wanted Daddy and wanted to get up. I reassure her, give her a cuddle and tuck her back in.

She has a map on her wall with footsteps from UK to Falklands to mark where Daddy is. She has his pictures all around the outside of the map that she talks to and talks about whats happening in each pic. (Birthday, day out etc)
We sent him a package yesterday, she drew pictures. We spoke to him on the phone yesterday and he's skyping us later.

What else can I do to help?!? I'm so exhausted. I just want a few hours unbroken sleep. DD2 has gone from sleeping through, to waking twice a night for feeds. I think its a combination of teething and weaning readiness etc.

Is there anything anybody has done that has really helped their kids settle in daddys' absence?
She's so tired during day that she is really awful to keep occupied and acts up alot, answers back, generally really naughty (really not like her at all) She gets bored so quickly and ends up hurting her sister with rough playing. I'm trying to occupy her with reading books and activities while DD2 naps but there's only so much we can do.
We have close friends who also have a Daddy away and she spends alot of time playing with their kids who are in the same situation. She knows their Daddy is away too but I dont think its helping. He's due back in 3 wks and I'm dreading it incase it upsets her that her Daddy isn't back.
Sorry for long winded message sad

Gonzo33 Sun 03-Jul-11 12:21:20

Bless you. I want to give you a big hug.

In relation to practical advice, all I can say is keep doing what you are doing. Maybe invest in a black out blind so it is still "dark" outside when she wakes. Does she have a bath every night before bed? Both of my children do. My youngest I add a bit of Lavender oil to the water which helps send her off.

Do you have the book "My Daddy is a soldier" or "My daddy goes away" (something like that)? I read it to my youngest, although she is not bothered in the slightest that Daddy has gone again!

I hope it gets better for you.

g xx

swingingcat Sun 03-Jul-11 16:32:19

I'm hearing good things about Gro Clock to help little ones develop their sleeping patterns.

My Dc made a good adjustment to Daddy going away, we never made a big thing of it.
Could it be attention seeking because of new baby?

goinggetstough Sun 03-Jul-11 17:06:05

Keep on with what you are doing.... you sound like a brilliant Mum!
I would second the black out blinds (ikea do reasonable ones) or black out liners that clip inside the curtains.
I think often children wake up just to make sure Mummy hasn't gone away too. Often they do this subconsciously. The end result is a tired child and a tired Mummy - have been there myself. All I would say is be careful not to spend too long settling her, if you do it might appear to your DC that it is worth waking up as Mummy comes......

TettyLouBar Sun 03-Jul-11 20:47:25

Thank you all for the posts. We already have blackout blinds. But she see's the light around the edges and just knows its light. She sometimes comes out of her room and into mine and sees that its getting light.
I have limited what attention I do give her during the night and I always leave her as soon as I've reassured her and tucked her back in.
I know things will settle but I was a wits end this morning, (hence the long rant, soz)

I have had a small breakthrough though. I mentioned to her that the pictures on the wall next to her bed of Daddy, and the map could be moved down stairs and put on the lounge wall if she didn't want to look at them from her bed and she nodded quite enthusiastically. So I moved it all today and she seemed very happy about that. Maybe waking and seeing the pics and the map were just a constant reminder? She could just about see them in the dark from the night light on the monitor.
We'll see if that makes any difference tonight hmm

wheresthepimms Mon 04-Jul-11 13:54:58

Feel for you, have been through this many times with my 4DCs. Have you washed all DHs clothes if not try putting a t shirt under her sheet, the smell of daddy worked with one of mine. If you have washed them all ask daddy to post one back unwashed that smells of him. By the time he gets back she will be settled and probably end up ignoring him for a month just to pay him back if she is anything like mine grin

DrGoogle Mon 04-Jul-11 13:59:35

Hope you had a bit better night last night. It's so hard for them to understand at that age. I wish I had a magic answer for you, my dh was away for 6 months when my dd was about the same age so I can only tell you what helped us.
I had about 3 layers of blackout as my dd hated any light at all (still does) and if she woke and there was the tiniest bit of light, there was no chance of getting back to sleep at all.
She didn't really have a comforter at night so we got a teddy for her 'from daddy' for her to look after and cuddle at night. She also had a calendar downstairs so we could cross off the days and also write on things to look forward to (days out etc).
We have used the light on a timer for getting up and still do, could you start by setting it earlier and then moving it forward 5 mins each day until you get to an acceptable time? I had the tv in my room and used to let her sit in bed with me watching tv if she woke up early while I dozed, although I know this might be totally impractical to do as you have dd2 aswell.
I wouldn't worry about putting her to bed early if she is tired and cranky, I started the bath running at 5pm many times, it didn't seem to make much difference to her waking time and you need to get your rest wherever you can.

I found it a really tough time, and I only had the one dd, you are doing a fantastic job in really difficult circumstances and I hope that she settles soon and you can all get some rest. x

TettyLouBar Mon 04-Jul-11 21:15:11

awww, thanks ladies. Its just sooo nice to talk to people in the same boat. Last night was much better but I feel that the comments made by goinggetstough rang in my head.
When she woke at midnight last night I was firm but fair. Cuddled her and gave her a sip of water but then I insisted that she sleep and told her that I won't be coming in and out of her room all night just to tuck her back in. She must have taken notice because I didn't hear from her again until 0630!!

Drgoogle we have extensive blackout system going on! Black out blind then dark curtains with thick linings. She STILL knows its light from what manages to creep around the edges (not much at all!)

I feel better today than I have for days, the girls are settling slowly but I hate this all the same and I'm so grateful that I have somewhere like this to vent! smile

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