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early rising DD - am I doing the right thing? Sorry it's so long, I'm desperate...

(4 Posts)
lindy100 Thu 14-Jul-11 08:35:12

DD is 1.11 and has always gone down well, settled herself etc. I am 8 months pg and still working part time, until next week.

For the past two months or so, DD has almost constantly woken by 5am and refused to settle again, shouting from her cot 'Mummy, I want to get up now' and other similar things. She either comes in bed with us and jumps on my tummy for an hour before I can drag myself out of bed, or we go downstairs and watch TV. The earliest is 4.15am so far, a morning when I silently cried with desperation for over half an hour, trying not to let her see.

DH is good with her, often gets up and brings her into bed, but he never gets jumped on so can either doze more, or decides to go into work early (so he can leave off a bit earlier at the end of the day), leaving me to deal with it.

I'm worried cos I'm so tired and am wondering how I'll cope when the newborn arrives if she's still doing it. So we've looked at what we might do - the current decision is to try limiting her nap to an hour (what she usually has anyway, unless really tired), with the hope that she'll be tired for a few days, then will start to sleep longer and an hour nap will be plenty. It's not working yet sad but we're still trying.

The reason I'm posting is that I had an argument with MIL this morning at 6.45, when I dropped her off (she looks after DD two days a week while I work - DH usually drops her off, but was early to work), as when I mentioned she woke early but please still only let her have an hour, she said something along the lines of 'sometimes you just need to let them do what they do'. At which I burst into tears and considered shouting some rude and cruel things at her (I didn't, of course) about how she doesn't understand, never worked when childraising etc. I'm at my wits' end.

Am I trying the right thing? Is MIL right, should I just go with it for now? Or should she respect what we are trying to do, even if she doesn't agree? To be fair, she's never been a 'My house, my rules' kind of person, and if she was DD wouldn't be there at all.

Anyone got any advice about how to handle this with MIL/what to try next with DD?

Thanks and sorry for the long post. Letting off steam!

southfacingpuddles Thu 14-Jul-11 12:03:44


My DS has done this on and off for ages. I feel for you - the number of times i've got up at dawn and just felt weak with exhaustion wondering what the hell we can do, ugh, it's miserable. We went through lots of nap cutting/early bed/later bed, everything. Two things have helped - when he was younger (maybe same as yours ish) putting him to bed earlier helped A LOT, it's a Gina Ford theory (hmm) that if they're too tired at bedtime, they fall into deep sleep too quick, then come out of it too early - what time does she go to bed? Try half an hour earlier for a few nights if poss?

We're in a slightly better patch at the moment, I think because he's just old enough to realise that it's better to try and go back to sleep (he's 2.8). However, what did really turn things around when he was about 2 (and still works, most of the time) is this clock which turns yellow when it is time to get up. It's called a groclock but there are other types called bunny clock or sleep training clock (sounds a bit fierce but it's not too mean). Basically, you set it to change from a blue star to a yellow sun at whatever time you want them to get up, and then you somehow train them to wait for it before they start shouting for you.

When we started using it when he woke up at 5.45am every single day, (probably sounds like bliss to you at the moment but we were knackered!) and I think we initially set it for 6.00 or 6.10, just as a start. We explained it all the night before, and showed him how it looked when it's time to get up etc. The first morning he woke at 5.45ish, and one of us went in and just sat there in the dark saying 'you can't get up yet, the sun isn't up yet, it's not time to get up yet' etc etc and trying to be boring and firm. Then when the clock went yellow we whooped and cheered and got all excited and got him up. Then for the next 3 or 4 mornings, we did the same thing, possibly changing the get up time to 6.15 or so. After a few days, it worked! Now it's set for 6.55, which is when we have to be up for work, and normally he wakes at about 6.40ish and chats to himself for a bit, and then at 6.55 we hear him bellowing 'THE SUN IS UP' until we come in and help him out of bed. (he's in a bed but hasn't spotted that he can get out of it on his own, miraculously!)

We have had a few phases of earlier waking, but it seems to wear off quicker, but i hope these tips help... Sorry i've gone on so long. pure procrastination!

Lola10 Thu 14-Jul-11 12:45:12

Maybe try to put her to bed latter at night.

Mine 18 months old sometimes won't go to bed until he can see the sun light through the curtains, and the same in the morning.

Good luck

lindy100 Thu 14-Jul-11 15:26:54

Thanks for the replies, that groclock sounds interesting, I might look into it, South.

Thanks, Lola, so desperate not to lose my evenings, but I guess I'd rather have my mornings!

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