The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
Amy – 14 months part II

The photos in this post are of Amy and her friends from mothers group playing in Sonya’s lovely garden! The rest of the text is part of the ongoing update of Amy at 14 months old.

Sleeping is on an up and down pendulum from very good, to downright terrible, but I guess that’s just what having a baby is all about. Amy usually has two naps a day and recently has been sleeping for more than two hours at a time leaving me ages to get things done! But sometimes she won’t sleep at all during the day, especially (and understandably) if we are out and about when she will just snatch 20 minutes in the car. I have never liked to run my life around Amy’s sleeps but it really does make sense not to plan too much at 9.30 or 10am because if Amy has a good, long sleep in the morning, she is just such a joy to be around for the rest of the day and its more fun for us all. Night time sleeping is alternatively excellent where she will go down at 7pm without a squeak and sleep right through till 7.30 or even 8am! In fact Ron has been late for work a number of times recently because our ‘alarm clock’ has slept in!

But then the flip side is that Amy is having what we think are night terrors more regularly now. I think they started around her birthday in early July and it was something that happened maybe once in two weeks or so. Now it’s happening two or three times a week where Amy will wake up, fast, and quickly turn hysterical. Usually if she wakes naturally we can pop in, give her a dummy, turn her onto her tummy or gently push her back down if she has sat up and she will drift off to sleep again easily. Not so with the night terrors, if you try and give her a dummy she gets hysterical, swiping at our hands and crying. Trying to gently lay her back down again has the same affect. We have tried picking her up but she just fights against us and tries to escape. Sitting down in her room with her cuddled on my lap used to work but now she just wants to climb down and walk off.
I find these night episodes really hard to deal with. I always imagined that I would be able to comfort my own child. It was an abstract concept that I would cling to when I found it hard to relate to young children or babies before I had Amy, I would console myself by thinking about how I would surely be able to calm and soothe my own baby by holding it in my arms and cuddling it softly. However the reality is very different. Amy has always been quite an independent and feisty child and not content to lie in my arms and be peaceful. We discovered early on that often it was best to leave Amy to settle herself, it was quicker and less traumatic than trying to cuddle her to soothe her.
But it’s hard to do in the middle of the night when your child is hysterical and all you want to do is pick her up and soothe her. Instead we have realised that the best way to handle the night terrors is to leave the blue nightlight on her baby monitor on, make sure there is at least one other extra dummy floating around in the cot and to just put our heads under our pillows when she wakes up screaming. She will cry for a while, alternating hysterical weeping with quieter sobs until she drifts off back to sleep. Later I will sneak in and she is usually cuddling her teddy, sleep muslins clutched in her hands, little neck sweaty with the effort. I cover her with the blankets and get back into bed and try to breathe calmly and go back to sleep myself.
I have said it over and over again, both to friends and family, and here on this blog, parenting is an ongoing lesson in humility, patience, and self-discovery. As Amy grows and develops a personality of her own, so Ron and I are developing and growing as people and parents. I know that I am a very different person as a result of becoming a parent. I am more tolerant, less judgemental, more emotional and empathetic. I feel more, love more and care more, about my relationships, my surroundings and of course, my child. I always used to think about raising children as being about the kids, not the adults, how humbling it has been to discover that there is as much growing happening within myself!
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