Monday, 4 October 2010

Houston, we have a problem.

"I love you mommy",Mr C said like he tells me a million times each day. "I love you my sweetie" I say like I do a millions times every day. " You do not love the people at work, do you" he asks? And all of a sudden I realized what was wrong. A classic example of attachment anxiety. Actually I though that we had a sleep issue. It's been weeks that little man C has not slept though. That he wakes up every night and then wants mommy to sleep next to him. In utter exhaustion I gave in and then he falls asleep within minutes. But I do too with the result that I have a new sleeping partner. And I need to sleep next to my hubby for my own emotional well being.

Amazingly I should have noticed a pattern before - often over weekends he sleeps through, as he did every night while camping and the week following. I thought we had it sorted. On Friday night the plot thickened because now he refuses to go to sleep at night , and then he wakes up during the night. I think it might be because daddy was not there or simply he needs to drop the day time sleep. Or maybe, just maybe it all boils down to wanting mommy just to him. I really do not know. .

So yesterday we attended the christening  of the 2nd child of friends. He was running around being the happiest and cutest of boys possible. Really, no hint of the issue at hand. And while being complemented on his people skills and outgoing personality, I just had to tell the sister of our friend about our current little problem. And then we got talking about parenting and sleep books, all the advice etc. Our nursing sister recommends sending mommy away for a few days, which has worked well for us every time. This mom recommended literally strapping him to you, giving him all the attention and more than he might need, until he feels re-assured and let you go by himself. An overdose.  In a perfect world it seems like the "right" thing to do.  For me simply, it's not practical. He is too heavy. Also I have a Princess who insist on her attention and hugs and sitting on mommy's lap. Little man L although being Mr Independent himself, do come for the occasional cuddle and re-assurance and gets extremely upset if it is not dished out immediately.

So really, I need some help, some opinions. Any ideas?


  1. I think there's a way to do what the lady suggested, in a modified way.

    Just really focus on him and give him lots and lots of 1:1 time. Maybe make "dates" with each of them and start with him.

    Can he "help" you get supper and bath stuff ready?

    I cook on Sundays with Kendra in her high chair in the kitchen and we chat (!) and she eats tomatoes... and things that are okay for her while I cook. She loves it (already we can see). Connor likes to play in the study with me nearby. It almost seems like he's not cared about me but if I get up to pee, he's after me like a shot :)

  2. Keep him as close as possible even with the other two around. Give him "big" things to do - while you are busy i.e carry the big (light) box of cereal to the table, and emphasize all the time how big he is getting. Your other two will probably chime in- but that's fine - keep him focused on how big and special he is. HTH!

  3. Just make some time each night where he for example gets half and hour of your undevided attention and so also with the other child. Where you just sit and cuddle and talk and touch. Good luck.

  4. This is a tough one!
    I think we should give our children what they ask of us, and if it's lots of attention, we should give it! Until they learn to trust us/the world!
    I know it's not practical, but it seems you are trying to keep up with the demand!
    Maybe you should also sit him down, and tell him how much you love him, and that he's got a special place in your heart etc.
    Ask him why he is afraid to not go to sleep?
    Please keep us up to date about the outcome... I'm sure we all struggle with it sooner or later with our kids! Good luck! :D

  5. Sjoe Skat! I don't kknow. Perhaps, the trick, as the other girls say, is to spend a small amt of one-on-one time with him daily. I know this is difficult to do, given your hectic schedule, but surely he'll soon get into it and realise that you ain't going nowhere - and then you can fizzle it out?

  6. Sjoe my friend...strange how quickly one forgets these issues when your children are all grown up. We see the same pattern emerging with Lukas not wanting to sleep on his own. With all the pressure on children to grow up quickly I assume that they need a lot or reassurance and one-on-one time. I hope you get a solution to this problem.

  7. I too was going to suggest a mommy date for each of the kids. A daddy date too for that matter. Each child gets to pick something fun they want to do with you. It could be a coffee date. An hour or two at the park. Shopping. Anything that the two of you are together and having fun. Yaya loves her daddy daughter dates so much. She thinks it's pretty cool to have time alone with him. She gets me all the time so I'm not sure I'm as special. LOL

  8. Cat - I went through the same thing with Kiara.

    She refused to go to sleep without me and would then take 30-45 mins to fall asleep!!

    I also originally gave in thinking its issues with the divorce etc - which it may have been but 3/4 months later I was like NO! ENOUGH!

    So we did the hard thing. We weaned her off. I would sit with her and then leave, come back tell her I love her and then leave again and go on until she fell asleep! It did take a few nights but now its sorted.

    She also woke often during the night and I would have to lie with her, it just got too much so we did the cold turkey on that too!

    It was hard but honestly the broken sleep is a killer added on to that not sleeping in your bed and it makes for a unhappy mom!

    I cant explain WHY he is doing it but I can sympathise having gone through it myself!

  9. Sho... Ek het nie raad nie, want my viervoet sorg vir homself :P


  10. I remember my kids, my son in particular, really acting up when I was grocery shopping. Tired of constantly reprimanding him I put him in what looked like a headlock and very peacefully we walked through the store. It dawned on me he just really needed some physical contact.

    Boys are very physical creatures. Maybe you can't "strap" him to you but sitting him next to you, resting your arm over his shoulders, any sort of quiet contact as you are doing other things have incredible impact.


So what's on your mind?