Littler is going through a phase.
One Of Those Phases.
One of those phases that means that she has decided that she Will Not Sleep except with me within hand touch.
Which is incredibly tough. Which means that bedtime is for the first time in her life an awful struggle. Which means that I am questionning the wisdom of leaving her during the day – despite the fact that we have gone for the village approach to childcare*
I mean how do you go about leaving a child during the day if you can’t even leave her in her bed.
Which brings us to bedtime and the parenting battle ground that appears to be.
I read a wonderful statement on Twitter thanks to Liveotherwise that said something along the lines that you are raising a small, complete human being rather than an inconvenience.
And you see what made me horribly sad was that when I asked on Twitter what was going on – was Littler going through separation anxiety, vaguely remembering that Bigger did a similar sort of thing. I was mostly told I should let her cry. That I should train her to sleep in her bed no matter what.
In fact friends suggested that I should train her ‘like you do a dog’ to sleep in her own bed, to sleep apart from me.
Admittedly friends that don’t understand that I believe co-sleeping helped Little stay alive – that helped her keep breathing when her breathing wasn’t so great at first.
But either way, and putting aside the pathos, would you really want to train your child like a dog?
My mother in law tried to teach Littler to stay sat in her high chair by using Barbara Woodhouse’s techniques over Christmas so the concept of toddler = dog is obviously not one that is exceptional but really?
Do people really want to train their child that when they cry in distress they will not come?
Do people really spend five evenings in a row sat on the corridor outside their child’s room listening to them scream in distress and not go to them because it is For The Best?
Do parents really teach their children that when they are distressed Mummy or Daddy will not come to them?
Because you see I can’t.
I have come close to considering it but faced with a Littler that will not even lie down in her bed on her own, that is reduced to screaming panic, I cannot, I will not leave her on her own to cry and to scream. I cannot teach her that Mummy will not be there when she is distressed.
So we have had nights when she has happily curled up with us in bed, when she has only slept when able to reach and touch my boobs, when she has decided that this is what she needs now.
And yes, it is far from ideal.
And yes, I know that bedtimes will be awful until this phase passes.
But most importantly I am teaching my child that I am there.
I may not be teaching her to sleep in her bed what may. I may not have a child that always sleeps through.
BUT interestingly her sister, who had the same treatment does sleep wonderfully, so I travel in the hope that once this phase passes, I will continue to have a confident, assured, loved child who will sleep on her own in her bed when she is good and ready.
*You know the theory that it takes a village to raise a child so we work on the basis that lots of people who adore our children is the way to for childcare – people who we trust to love them. If that wasn’t the case I don’t know how I’d cope. Simply.