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desperate, low and hating dd every evening - please help

(13 Posts)
aimees75 Thu 17-Dec-15 22:07:04

Hello, I'm looking for some advice. Currently 29 weeks pg with twins and already have a just turned 3yo DD who I adore (most of the time). The trouble is in the last 6 weeks she has gotten steadily worse and worse at going to sleep, and now it has gotten to the point where I am at my wits end, I don't konw what to do, I'm confused, angry, depressed, and it's taking away the only free time I get. I feel less close to my dd and feel we are not getting on so well anymore in general, and I feel like a massive failure.

She has been getting steadily worse ever since half term when we went away with a big group of families with lots of kids. She has been ill almost non-stop since then with colds and coughs and chest infections and consequently we had let her fall asleep in our bed with us as that was most soothing for her and quickest for us, but it seems we have made a rod for our own backs. She now won't stay in her bed and won't go to sleep either. She says she is not tired and doesn't like going to sleep. We try to put her down at 7:30 as always but she won't stay in her bed, runs around the room shouting and trying to talk to us/play etc, but in the dark. We usually try to sit with her but then threaten to leave her as she wont stay in her bed so end up leaving her and shutting the door. She then cries pitifully and desperately for us, often having a coughing fit in the process, at which point we (I mean one of us, usually me) goes back in and tries to soothe her and get her back into bed. This goes on until we lose our temper and shout/get cross. She thinks it's a game. At some point she falls and hurts herself and gets hysterical at being left alone, but when we are with her she just zooms about gabbling or trying to hit/punch us. It is quite scary being in the dark with an enormous stomach full of babies and a 3 year old running at you.

We stuck to our guns for 2 weeks and wouldn't let her fall asleep in our bed anymore, but the stress of it all became too much, we were having a full hour plus of screaming and madness every night and I was finding it too much, so we have tried the falling asleep with us on our bed again. That is not working either. It took 1 1/2 hours to get her to sleep this evening, and ended up with me holding onto her foot to stop her getting out of my bed at 9pm to look out of the window, while she is shouting, and I am shouting, and she eventually fell asleep exhausted after I had spent the best part of over an hour getting very cross and telling her off almost constantly

I don't know why this is happening or what to do anymore. I realise we have been inconsistent but nothing seems to be working and we are desperate to get our girl to go to sleep calmly again, to regain our evenings, and to not end every day on such a bad note.

Should I get a night light and just leave her in her room from 7:30? Should I leave her to cry? Should I try and soothe her? Should I let her go to bed later? Nothing seems to be work either way and I feel like such a failure as I have no clue.

Please please help. Sorry this is such a long post.

CityDweller Thu 17-Dec-15 22:14:34

Does she still have a nap? Could it be that she's genuinely not tired at bedtime?

But, other than that. How about giving her a nightlight and telling her she's allowed to sit and 'read' on her own after lights out? This works with my DD (2.8) when she says she isn't tired and doesn't want to go to bed. She's normally asleep within 10 mins if we give her that sense of 'control' over her own bedtime. However, she's still in a cot, so can't escape.

Another thing I've seen recommended on here is putting a stair gate on her bedroom door and leaving her to it. I guess the problem is that your DD has learnt that if she creates for long enough that one of you will come in. It's a tough cycle to break though because, as you point out, it's hard to leave a hysterical, coughing 3-year-old to her own devices.

Sorry - no real ideas I guess. But lots of sympathy. Sounds really tough, especially given how pregnant you are.

aimees75 Thu 17-Dec-15 22:31:26

Thanks CityDweller, for wading through my message at the very least! Im tempted to try the night light but also fear that could just prolong things even longer. Part of me feels that she is not tired, but she's getting much less sleep now as going to bed later so she should be tired. The childminders think she must be over tired so they have started napping her for 45 mins in the day, whereas she had previously dropped them 6 months or so ago (because she was not tired enough at the end of the day and we couldn't get her to sleep then as well until almost 9. Once we dropped the naps she would drop off much quicker and easier at 7:30). So perhaps we need to get them to drop the naps again and hope that exhaustion helps to get her out of this rut, but feel very guilty at the thought of making my child exhausted.

DangerMouth Sat 19-Dec-15 09:17:08

Drop the nap at the CM. I think that's a bit of a cop out by her tbh. Your dd can have quiet time there but not sleep.

My dd went through this. I would go in and lay her back down in her cot. Only did it for 2 nights and she got it. I would let her cry for a minute, go in and lay her down without saying a word. The first night is tough in that it takes them a while to see the pattern but keep at it. No talking and only let her cry for a short time as they become too hysterical for it to work.

Good luck, and good luck with your twins, very exciting!

3littlefrogs Sat 19-Dec-15 09:22:42

Drop the nap. It is possible that the CM is letting her sleep far too long.

Try to have a longish winding down period - no energetic/noisy play and not too much stimulation before bed time. I found that calm, classical music or a relaxation CD in the back ground was helpful for the last hour before bed.

I used story tapes (CDs now) that the DC were only allowed to listen to in bed. There are some lovely stories that are very calming, and long enough to fall asleep to.

Quodlibet Sat 19-Dec-15 09:30:07

Poor you, how knackering. We are in a similar loop with our two year old, and the only observation I can make is that despite trying really hard to be calm and patient, our eagerness to get her to bed/frustration with her when she won't must be obvious to her, and exacerbate the stress of that separation at the end of the day. I think she's too little to make the leap of us being happy to be with her all day, and then at bedtime expecting her to be ok with us leaving her when she is still requesting our company.

dementedpixie Sat 19-Dec-15 09:36:39

Definitely drop the nap. She had dropped it before so can cope without it again

DelphiniumBlue Sat 19-Dec-15 09:45:30

Sounds like its the nap causing the problem. Tell the CM that you don't want her to have one anymore.
But the period while the nap is being dropped can be difficult, be prepared for it to take a while to establish a new routine. You'll also need to avoid situations where she is likely to fall asleep in the afternoons. I have 3 dc and I do remember desperately trying to avoid car journeys after 4 pm as someone would always nod off on even a short journey and wreck the bedtime routine!
I'm also wondering if someone other than you can help with bedtimes while you are getting this established? Where's DH in all this?

Diggum Sat 19-Dec-15 09:45:32

Agree about dropping the nap.

A story board might help too- pictures or drawings of the bedtime routine so she knows what's coming. So "oh look at the clock, it's bath time!", "what's next? Pyjamas! If we get them on quickly we might have time for another story" etc.

At least then she knows what's coming but you aren't the bad guy- the board/clock is telling you both what to do.

I'd probably then implement PP's idea about saying goodnight, quiet time now, closing the door and going in every minute or so to silently put her back in bed until she gets the message.

If you get a nightlight go for one with reddish/yellow light as dim as possible as blue light can impact on sleep quality (based on some fairly obscure studies admittedly).

Good luck OP, and flowers.

3littlefrogs Sat 19-Dec-15 09:48:48

My DC are now 26, 24 and almost 18. I wish I had been a lot more relaxed about things with the older one - as I became with the younger ones.

In the end, they do sleep, in their own beds -some children just find the separation more difficult than others.

I used to make a little bed on the floor in our room that they were allowed to come and sleep in if they got lonely or scared. I didn't mind them coming and getting in with us as long as they were quiet. I do remember one night when there were so many people in our bed that DH actually fell out of his side, but was so exhausted he just slept on the floor.

Everything is a phase, it is just hard when you are going through it.

3littlefrogs Sat 19-Dec-15 09:51:44

Yes - I do remember the CM telling me proudly that DC had slept for 3 hours on a couple of occasions and being really fed up.

Lovely for the CM but awful for me at bed time.

2snugglets Sat 19-Dec-15 10:12:38

Simoalsituation here, I've stressed myself out no end with my 2 1/2 yr old I've now got it down to half an hour to ft her down to sleep. I play soothing music on a loop whilst reading her stories in the most weary monotone voice for the second book whilst she drinks a bottle of milk, when she's done she turns round and goes to sleep. I know she doesn't go to sleep until 8 ( still has a nap at nursery) so I don't bother with taking her up to bed till 7:30 now as I was just getting stressed out and angry with her for messing around.
A warm bath is really good, could she still fit in with you, would be lovely for her to get close to the babies aswell.
Good luck

Jemzy12345 Sat 19-Dec-15 10:13:56

Is she at childminders most days ? What time does she get back ? Possibly missed not seeing you and then she is put to bed without much time with mum and dad and then plays up for attention as she will get to see you for extra time this way. I think a night light or maybe some glow up stickers to put on ceiling. What is her night time routine ? Maybe she needs more activities in the day. Is the childminder doing enough with her in the day, if not she might be seeking it but at the wrong time. Or too much activity going on before bed that she is buzzing around rather than slowing down before bed. Do you tell her she is going to bed before you put her in ?

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