If you are a parent of a toddler - when it comes to sleep; Welcome To Fight Club!
1st RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB to other parents you pretend you are getting sleep because nobody cares how hard it is by the time your child is this age.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
3rd RULE: If your toddler 'cries' in the night, sleeping in his or her cot and any chance of you getting peaceful night of sleep is over.
4th RULE: Only the toddler gets any sleep the other guys (parents) get to a fight for the duvet and space in the bed.
5th RULE: One night at a time you lose sleep and your sane mind.
6th RULE: No covers, no sleep for you and your partner.
7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to - all night probably as your toddler head butts one of you while kicking the other in the face.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you will not win the fight and you will probably be sparring for sleep until they are 5!
Since Phoenix was about 7 months old and starting to stand his father and myself have been members of Fight Club. Up until then, we were smug about our baby and how easily he went down to sleep. He slept in his cot all night long from about 10.30pm until 10.30am from the time he was about 9 weeks old. It was awesome.
He still sleeps from 10.30pm until 10am but not in his own cot anymore, oh no, them days are over.
The things is, as soon as he could stand he wouldn't stay in his cot. He would stand up and laugh in our faces, little cherub that he is. This moment in time is where we committed our first offence as parents. We should have made him stay in his cot until he slept but we didn't. We didn't because he is so cute. So, we put him in bed with us until he fell asleep. Then we transferred him to his cot and all was smug again in the Callaghan household.
This was when Fight Club began. We didn't know it yet but we had embarked on a journey that's only destination would be getting mugged of sleep by our flailing around toddler a few months down the line.
You see, he starts his little dreamland journey in our bed with us now. He doesn't like his dad in bed with us though while he is falling asleep (cunning). So poor Ayden is banished from the room. Once asleep, Ayden comes back and Phoenix is transferred to his cot. This used to work happily for the whole night but not anymore...
He still sleeps in our room as I feel like his room is too far away. So we usually get a few hours of 'us' time, then we try and sleep ourselves. If we are lucky we get a few hours kip before battle commences.
And when I say battle and fight club I mean just that. It starts with a whimper of a cry. Usually Ayden gets up and he can often get him back to sleep in his cot. This doesn't last though and at some point, every night single night, our little tiny, sweet, punch throwing, karate kicking, head butting, one year old, ends up in bed with us.
He doesn't come in quietly though and just snuggle up to us like a little bear. It seems Phoenix sleeps best when he is doing impressions of the Tasmanian Devil.
He loves nothing more than to dream away with his head is on top of my head, but my head also has to be pushed in to the wall and he likes to have his feet kicking his daddy in the face all night. Ayden swears he feels around with his feet before he kicks him, so he makes sure he whacks him directly in the nose or eye socket!
Meanwhile, I am not allowed to turn over. If I'm not facing my little night time sleep thief, he wakes up and cries. He also refuses to have any duvet on him. He is all snug with his little blanket on, while I lay there, often with a dead arm and no covers on, freezing my poor titties off!
He does sleep through the night though and mercifully he doesn't wake me at dawn's crack to play cars like some of my poor friends toddlers do.
What's really sad though, is that now when he does sleep in his cot all night, I can't sleep! I lay awake worrying that he's OK and panicking about whether he's breathing or not. Both his father and me are guilty of getting up and prodding him make sure he's OK, only to find we wake him up to start 'Fight Club' all over again.
I have no tips to give others who live like this apart from, we are about to get a bigger bed!
You know what, it's all worth it. The bruised eye socket, from when he kicks his legs around, the wrinkles, the feeling like a zombie all day and the frozen shoulder in the morning is all worth it. Just to see his delighted, little face when he wakes up in the morning and snuggles in to us, makes it all worth it. I would miss sleep for a million years to see that little face. Who needs to dream, when you live with your little dream every day.