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A big failure, I've let my DS down and it's my fault we have a problem

(26 Posts)
fluffyanimal Thu 24-Jan-13 15:44:31

Sorry this will probably be a rather long self-pitying moan, but I'm just so down about it all and don't see how to fix things.

It's a sleep issue. DS2 is 3 and he's got into some terrible habits, and it's my fault because I've not been tough enough on him, so I've got a lovely rod for my own back.

So the first problem is this: for comfort, and for falling asleep, he sucks my finger. This started when weaning him off the breast. I did it with DS1, and he sucked my finger for a few months, and then decided he would rather suck his own thumb, and all was fine. I thought it would be like that for DS2. But he has shown no interest in any other type of comfort item, either his own thumb or a dummy or a cuddly toy or blanket - it has to be Mummy Finger. I Am So Stupid.
However, I know he can fall asleep without it, because when DH puts him to bed he falls asleep without sucking anything.

Secondly, we have to sit with him when he falls asleep. This is just our own fault, I never liked the idea of controlled crying and we've never been able to give it up. Again, Stupid Me.

Now this much I could have lived with, and until the autumn we would put DS2 to bed, sit with him for a couple of minutes, he'd be asleep really quickly and then that would be it for the whole night. But then he got a bad cough, and after that chicken pox, and both of these disturbed his sleep and I often ended up going into the spare room to sleep with him. This started a pattern of him waking up at night and coming to get me. At first I could take him back to bed, tuck him in, ignore any pesterings to suck my finger with just a "shhh, go to sleep", and after a few minutes he'd go back to sleep. But he began waking more and more frequently, so that eventually I would usually crack and either let him sleep in our bed while I went to sleep in his, or sleep with him in the spare room.

Now, he wakes up about 2 hours after we put him to bed. If we are still up, he'll just go and put himself into our bed, where we'll find him when we come up to bed. If he falls asleep there, I can usually lift him and put him in his own bed without waking him up. But if we are already in bed when he comes, then I take him awake back to his bed, and he pesters to come back to our room and/or to suck my finger. Ignoring him and quiet "shhs" don't work any more, he gets increasingly hysterical. Eventually, he will drop off, but sleeps very lightly so that it is a nightmare trying to get my finger away from him and sneak out of the room. Usually, he wakes up again within the hour, and the whole thing starts again.

I've tried having him in with both of us, but then nobody sleeps because we all find it too cramped and too hot, so I usually give up and go elsewhere. I've tried not minding about not sleeping in my own bed with DH, telling myself just to relax and that it's just a phase and he will grow out of it. But I do mind. I mind very much. I miss my husband. I don't feel at ease in a different bed. Also, it's affecting our sex life as we never know if DS is about to walk in on us (we've had some very near misses).

You're probably wondering where my DH is in all this. Well, he barely notices me getting up all the time, or not being there, and doesn't seem as bothered as me about us effectively sleeping in separate rooms. I've never asked him to get up to DS, because I know he wouldn't have the patience to sit there for ages while DS goes to sleep, ignoring his protestations. He'd either get cross with him, which wouldn't help, or he'd just cave in and let him sleep in our bed. But anyway, he wasn't the stupid sap that initiated the finger-sucking habit or the sitting until they fall asleep habit. That was all me.

I'm so tired. DS is tired too. My heart sinks as each day draws to a close and I know I've got another miserable night to look forward to. I don't know how to fix this. I burst into tears for no reason, and feel it's affecting my joy in DS2 who is otherwise such a delight.

I've thought about toughing out the crying and hysterics: I don't feel that's the right way to go, I don't want DS to get unpleasant associations with going to sleep in his own room.

I've thought about sticker charts: I'm not convinced, DS is so stubborn that I can quite easily see that in the middle of the night he will not care about a sticker or getting enough stickers to get a reward, he'll only care about what he wants right at that moment (sleep in our bed/suck my finger).

I've thought about making a camp bed in our bedroom for him to sleep on; firstly, there is barely any room and secondly again, I can see DS liking the idea during the day, but at the moment of night waking will just keep getting out of the camp bed and into ours.

Please help me find a way out of this. sad sad sad

MaryRobinson Sat 13-Apr-13 21:36:58

This is a NC Hilary. I wanted to update.
Our original success lasted four nights - which was great while it lasted. Then back to mormal until two weeks ago. She just said she would sleep in her own bed until morning time. And she did, amazingly she has even got up to the toilet by herself and back to bed. Before she would call for us or wetthe bed because she didn't want to get out of bed alone.

Something clicked for her and now it looks like she is sleeping through.
Please don't let this jinx it.

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