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Meltdowns from lack of sleep - both DS and me!

(10 Posts)
LucyLockwood Mon 13-Jan-20 09:12:00

DTS1(4) has always been a poor sleeper and suffered from utter meltdowns during the day, far more than his twin brother ever did, even during the terrible twos.

He had the D&V bug over Christmas and slept a lot; went to bed easily and slept till he was actually refreshed, maybe 7.30am ish. I didn't realise what a difference it made till he recovered and is back to his usual routine of fighting sleep at bedtime, then waking up too early in the mornings. He goes in a cycle of: wake up too early (say 5.30am), refuse to go back to sleep, get manic and hyper and silly, then by school time he's practically sobbing with tiredness. In the afternoons he's still tired - then he gets overtired by 5pm and manic and silly again - hence bedtimes can be hard work.

We had a whole term of this last year and when he woke up at 5.30 this morning and wouldn't go back to sleep I eventually lost it with him. I was so, so cross and tired, he was being silly again despite yawning his head off, and in the end I was screaming at him. Poor DTS2 woke up and sobbed too. I am just utterly tired and fed up of it and can't see how to change things; if he naps during the day (very rare) then he won't go to bed for hours.

It's affecting his life and ours, I don't think he can concentrate properly at school as he's tired, and his constant meltdowns are really wearing. He's invited to a classmate's birthday party soon and I don't know whether to take him, it's at a soft play which makes him hyper at the best of times, and I can't trust him not to have a meltdown/ get incredibly silly and manic/ start scratching and pushing at people, which he does when he gets too wound up. I still have to watch him like a hawk at playgrounds etc; as far as I know he hasn't done it at school, but I don't know if I want to risk it. But on the other hand how long can I not take him to parties etc? And it seems unfair to DTS2 who would be ok there, I couldn't take one and not the other.

He is a poor eater, always has been, we've tried various things for it but I wonder if that doesn't help (DTS2 is a great eater!).

Apologies for the long post, I am just at the end of my tether with tiredness, PMT and the knowledge that there will be a meltdown to cope with later sad I've spent most of this morning sobbing. I feel like such an awful mum but the DTs constantly squabble and bicker all the time too and I'm worn down by having to be constantly vigilant in case they physically go for each other. DP is incredibly lazy with them and I feel like it's all on me. Today is really a "I don't want to do this any more" day and I don't know where to go from here.

ButtonandPickle19 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:54:40

I would go and see your gp and ask for a referral to a paediatrician. They can refer children to sleep clinics and help with sleep hygiene (the fancy word for routine etc)
It must be exhausting and frustrating with one who seems fine and another who is a constant struggle. My DSS sounds similar to your DS, he would wake up early, disturb the whole household, then be absolutely awful and grumpy because he was chronically exhausted. We had to put a very strict routine in place, same thing every night no matter what, set boundaries in the morning time etc and now he’s much better. But that’s with one!
If DP won’t help get some professional support. DSS has just been diagnosed with mild ASD and ADHD. It’s possible something else is going on - you never know x

LucyLockwood Tue 14-Jan-20 09:50:57

Thank you so much @ButtonandPickle19 - I do wonder if DTS1 has some sort of ADD going on too - although no idea if I'm right or if he's just being a normal 4yo with lots of energy! I can see that DTS2 is more aware of 'boundaries' (he will fight with his brother but no-one else) whereas DTS1 has less concept of personal space. I'm really worried about this party too, would hate for him to act up and all the other school mums to see him have a meltdown sad

You're right, boundaries really help; FIL is forever saying "oh just let him stay up a bit later, then he'll get up later" - nope!! I will try to make a GP appointment with him just to rule out any medical causes and perhaps ask for extra help. It's getting to me too now, I'm crying a lot and keep thinking it will only get harder for him if he can't learn now to stop being so manic. Thank you again x

ButtonandPickle19 Tue 14-Jan-20 10:06:24

It’s really difficult with two identical in age - at least I can send one to bed and stagger things so I bet you’re doing an amazing job.

With DSS it doesn’t matter whether he goes to bed at 6, 7 or 11 he will be up at 5am! And he wakes frequently during the night as well. He has no concept of personal space, he will be aggressive and difficult with other children and he has an absolute melt down if you say no or he gets overwhelmed.

But we have put rules in place and the consequences are consistent - for instance he can wake up at 5am no problem, but he cannot wake anyone else up, if he does there will be no dessert that day (for instance and he loves his dessert). But he is 10 now so a bit easier to reason with!

We also have a chart for him and a zone plan the therapist gave us (following GP involvement) that works well. I can share it with you if you would like? So you can see what it looks like

LucyLockwood Tue 14-Jan-20 11:16:51

Any help you can give would be amazing thank you @ButtonandPickle19! Yes, DTS1 will always be up at much the same time, it was lovely when he was under the weather and slept properly. With two the same age the silliness and overtiredness escalates very quickly, as you can imagine!

I feel really sorry for him as he loves to play with other children, but they don't enjoy it because he just gets too much for them unless he's very calm. And he is too quick to scratch/ push/ hit still too - I thought he'd grow out of it but not yet. When he was small the HV told us it was his way of communicating because his hearing and hence speech were poor, but I don't think it can be that now as he's had grommets fitted.

When he's calm and paying attention he is a sweet, kind, caring little boy but I just don't think the other DC (and their parents) see that side of him sad

ButtonandPickle19 Tue 14-Jan-20 11:59:21

The aim is to keep in the green zone and teach him to recognise the other zones for himself and use a tool to get back to green. He’s lovely and kind really but he’s best behaved when one to one with an adult. When he has fun with other kids he gets too excited and we have to pull him away with a job like “can you help me put this in the car”, 5mins away and he’s calm enough for the group again. The tools he uses are specific for him.

We use the same time for bed every night, no technology in the hour before but we will do anything else before hand (play read etc) and we do bed before over tired (tricky if he’s over tired before even school!)

He’s been under a paediatrician since he was a toddler and finally a diagnosis at 10 but lots of help and ideas from the therapy teams in between then

LucyLockwood Wed 15-Jan-20 09:59:12

That's really interesting, thanks @ButtonandPickle19. I definitely recognise the diversion tactic; "can you help me do x" to pull him away from a situation! And like your DSS, he is best one on one with an adult, he'll be calmer and more focused without other DC there. I still don't think his hearing is great, which doesn't help him concentrate on things either.

He is on the go from the second he opens his eyes (6am this morning!), he did stay in bed but was literally bouncing, kicking etc. I don't think he can control his energy and then it gets to manic point.

As I said DP is incredibly lazy with them and happy to stick the DTs in front of the TV/ on tablets for hours a day. Makes me so cross and doesn't help him cope with RL!!

I did try to make a GP appointment today but they only offered me today (couldn't do because I'd have to take DTS2, plus it's not urgent) or Feb 5th. No idea how they decide which dates to offer as yesterday I was told they only offered a week ahead! Fingers crossed they can offer me something tomorrow which is more convenient.....

LucyLockwood Wed 15-Jan-20 18:59:03

Perhaps I should have taken the GP appointment today..... he was having a meltdown by 3.45pm!! Sigh!

ButtonandPickle19 Wed 15-Jan-20 19:35:46

Oh dear! Fingers crossed for tomorrow! Have you tried a chill out zone? DSS likes the cat bed (not most hygienic I know but that’s where he feels safe!) it’s a darker corner in the smallest room in the house and he curls up with the cats and a blanket

LucyLockwood Mon 20-Jan-20 10:51:27

@ButtonandPickle19 I love your DSS's chill out zone!! DTS1 doesn't have one but mainly because DTS2 (who is LOUD at the best of times) would only come along and say "WHY YOU IN THERE? COME AND PLAY! MUMMY, HE IN THERE!" and so on...... we don't have a very big house therefore not much opportunity for his own space.

We've had no internet either for a few days which is a right pain! Hopefully sorted properly tomorrow. Still no luck with the GP either, if all else fails I'll go in tomorrow or Wednesday rather than phoning. I worry that it sounds a bit petty but I'd rather rule out any medical causes and then if we have to look at anything else such as ASD at least I'll have started the ball rolling.

He has been slightly better these past few days and seems to understand the concept of waiting for his gro clock, even if not the actual practice! He nearly got run over today on a pedestrian crossing - he waited for the green man, set off, then I had to snatch him back as a woman driving towards us hadn't seen the lights change and did an emergency stop a couple of feet from him - we were both shaking and he kept saying "but I didn't do anything wrong Mummy!". Nearly broke my heart sad

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