Pregnant and being tortured to the point of suicide by 4 year old Tiny Torquemada(13 Posts)
This is half whinge, and half a desperate cry for help.
For several months, my daughter has been getting up in the middle of the night and waking us: usually for fairly spurious 'reasons'. Toilet, 'bad dream' (usually no real sign of this being the case), more hot water in water bottle, the 'wrong toys' are on her bed- etc etc. I now find it nearly impossible to get back to sleep, and am getting angrier and angrier every time she does it. (I do 6 nights out of 7, with one 'night off'.)
I have been ill with a very heavy cold for the last fortnight, and can't take any more time off: I am at work now, but feel like a zombie and have a crippling earache. Nothing I say, whether at the time or at another, 'neutral' time, makes any difference to her. She knows I am ill. She knows I am pregnant (29 weeks). She knows I can't cope the following day if she wakes me up. She doesn't care. I know she's four, but I am starting to feel very negatively towards her.
I've tried a reward chart for staying in her bed at night- we managed three blissful nights. We are now back to square one, for no very obvious reason.
I am worried I'm going to become mentally ill (I have a history of depression, including postnatal) if this carries on. I feel like walking away, to be honest, but obviously that isn't an option, so I'm trapped. I honestly think I'm going to start being really emotionally abusive to her if I don't find a solution soon. I do not come from a healthy family background, so I struggle with things as it is. I so want to have the Christmas Fluffies like every other f*cker on FB seems to have, but she's hard work even when you've had a full night of sleep (think 'spirited').
There's no family close by or interested, and not many friends in a position to help, so we have no external support- unless Social Services get involved, which I'm beginning to see as inevitable.
So... has anyone experienced similar and found a solution..?
oh poor poor you, that sounds utterly grim.
our DS (3, 3rd child) has been through phases like this. Reward charts don't work for long for him, unless there's some wonderful visible prize that he can see he's going to get SOON (2/3 days - no longer). Does she like sets of anything? Could you get a set of lego/barbie/Sylvanian families/animals and give her a piece every time she sleeps through? Don't take them away if she doesn't: it's a reward, not a punishment.
I think she may have some anxiety about the new baby and is attention seeking. My ds did various things during my pregnancy, but not night waking, and it is hard. It's a massive change for them.
Perhaps before bed you should try talking to her about it abd read one of those books about a new baby. Perhaps some reassurance that you will still love her and spend time with her. Do you have a grow clock? Maybe go back to the reward chart if it worked. If it's attention seeking but her silently back to bed, take toys off her bed so can't decide wrong ones are there, fill up drink for her before bed so she can get it during the night herself.
If fails, I took the hard approach with ds after early waking and told him I would put his stair gate up In his room and shut the door if he carried on. So far just the threat has worked.
Poor you, that's really hard.
Apologies if I missed it in your OP but do you have on OH who could help? I know you said no family.
Have you a partner that can put her back to bed at night? Also be consistent with saying no to all these requests. Perfect her bedtime routine and reduce liquids after dinner so she wont wake to pee. But if she does she can take herself and go straight back to bed without waking you. Leave the bathroom light on if she needs it. But anything else and its a "no" and straight back to bed. No chat or discussion about it.
I feel for your OP. We have a 3 year old who is usually a fab sleeper but will occasionally have a rough patch. From your post I'd take away the excuses - no toys on the bed at all, no hot water bottle, limit drinks before bed so she shouldn't need a wee. This means that when she does wake up, all you do is put her back to bed and say 'it's nighttime, go back to sleep.'
No negotiations at nighttime over anything (unless they're ill). She is attention seeking but needs to appreciate that daytime is the only time it's going to happen.
Hello all of you- and thank you so much for taking the time to respond: I feel such an evil witch I don't feel I deserve it at all!
Firstly, I'm not sure it's about the baby: she started this pattern of behaviour long before she knew about it (this really has been going on for a long time, with an occasional respite of a day or two here and there). She's excited about the baby, and we do talk about it quite a lot. However, I could perhaps introduce a book or two on the subject to see if it helps any.
My other half is the main breadwinner and suffers with sleep problems himself (although I do seem to spend resentful hours listening to him snore every night!). He doesn't cope at all well with interrupted sleep and has been on meds for depression for the last few months along with possible weight-related apnoea, so I have tried to allow him to sleep through if I can. Although if I'm honest, the last couple of nights I've been so pissed off with it he has ended up waking anyway. He works from home, though, and always seems to manage to take himself off for a long nap in the afternoons somehow so perhaps I should be less self-sacrificing!
I will try removing the toys and hot water bottle; she does go to the toilet last thing, but will perhaps reduce fluid intake more. We have a Gro Clock, but in the middle of the night she doesn't care about it for some reason.
She hasn't been into into sets of things so far, but that is a cunning idea: I will try to get her interested. The reward chart just doesn't seem to do anything for her- we'd said 5 stickers for a pretty good reward though, so maybe it was too distant for her to maintain interest in.
Consistency- possibly we do need to make sure we're doing exactly the same thing (if she doesn't get what she wants from me, she wails and cries for her soft touch daddy), and making that a firm 'no' with as little interaction as possible. And we've joked about Gaffer tape, but actually a stair gate might be the win. Although she's very good at climbing and I can just see it going horribly wrong, or her figuring out the mechanism (she's sneaky like that!).
Thanks again. I may send the edited highlights to my OH and see what he reckons...
I have sympathy for your partner but you do definitely need to be less self-sacrificing - can you take it in turns - you do a few nights, he does a few nights?
In terms of actually curbing the behaviour from my experience the less communication the better. My DN was a nightmare like this right up until he was five years old and eventually my sister did the supernanny technique of just picking him up and taking him back to bed, repeating as many times as necessary until he stayed there without speaking to him. He shrieked the place down but within three nights he was sleeping right through and he's been a great sleeper ever since.
Otherwise at this time of year threats of father christmas not coming always work a treat
I was thinking it could be anxiety about the baby but you say it started before.
I think what I would do is explain to her before bed that she must not get up in the night because you need your sleep and she needs her sleep to grow big and strong.
I'd explain that if she gets up you're not going to be able to talk to her because it's nighttime.
Then I'd see it through, make sure she's got a drink of water and can access the toilet by herself then when she gets up just silently take her back to bed. No communicating other than to say it's bedtime now, and repeat.
I'm almost sure if that's the only response she gets that after a week she will give in getting up.
Just realised I've said what everyone else has said!
My DD is like this, and has always been. Light sleeper as well, so always wakes when I check on her before bed. She's now 7.
I have tried just about everything. I have spiralled through angry, feeling bad for her, guilt, sympathy, anger again. It's tough, and you have my full sympathy for what you are going through.
TBH, I don't have any new ideas for you, I have struggled though and she is only now getting better, though we still have set backs. What helps her (but wont help you) is that she sleeps much better, deeper, and less likely to disturb when she sleeps in the same room as a sibling, which we do sometimes. She was also scared of the dark, so she has a light now. PLus, she's now old enough to understand consequences and can be bargained with and talked to.
Sorry, OP, it's tough - I feel for you.
Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who made suggestions. My daughter has now managed 7 nights without coming through (three consecutive!). After posting this, I sat her down and told her that because we were all getting very tired and grumpy because of lack of sleep, there would be no talking when her Gro Clock was showing it was night time, and no cuddles in Mummy and Daddy's bed; she would be taken straight back through to her bed.
The first time, she cried and yelled for about ten minutes, but settled in the end. The second time, she just accepted it. We've had the odd incursion since then, but she allows herself to be led back to bed, quietly. I know we may have been very lucky, and that this may not last, but it seems like this may have been the key to it! She is now enthused about her reward chart again and was very pleased this morning when she realised she had earned enough for a big treat.
(Oh, we also removed the mound of soft toys...)
Join the discussion
Please login first.