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Kirsty McCabe is: 'Sleepless in South London'

Our weekly columnist, mum-of-two Kirsty McCabe, considers the two child-sized reasons for her week of very little sleep

Posted: 23 May 2014
by Catherine Hudson

Sleep can be a fine art

If I have appeared slightly tired on my Channel 5 weather broadcasts this week you can blame it on two things; Ethan, 3, and Logan, 1. As much as I love my little boys, I do wish they were better sleepers.

To be fair, Ethan is usually pretty good these days and once he's asleep very little will wake him. My husband and I have even performed middle of the night nappy changes on him and he has barely stirred, even though we were gagging on the smell... However, he's not good if he gets too hot or too cold (thanks to kicking off his duvet to rectify the former) and sometimes he has night terrors.

These happen out of the blue when all of a sudden we hear him sobbing uncontrollably from his room. He's so upset and can't explain what is wrong. It takes a while for the sobs and screams to stop but suddenly he'll snap out of it and act normally again. He doesn't remember being upset so I think he's actually been asleep the whole time and has only just woken up. From what I've read he should grow out of these night terrors – fingers crossed he doesn't progress to sleep walking like my cousin's daughter.

Logan, on the other hand, is a light sleeper and will get into a right pickle if anyone other than mummy comes to resettle him during the night. Because the boys share a room we usually end up moving the noisy one into our room to calm him down before sneaking him back into his own bed once he's fallen asleep. It may not be what professionals would recommend but I'm of the 'if it works for you and you are all getting as much sleep as you can, then that's just fine', school of thought.

This week we've been ticking all the sleep upset boxes. It's been hot and muggy which means we've had hot and sweaty boys for most of the night, followed by a chilly damp spell around dawn. If someone could please invent sleep wear that automatically regulates body temperature that would be just great, so I don't have to anticipate temperature drops and add on blankets at the appropriate time.

Then Logan decided to cut some new teeth. On the plus side he no longer has just his fangs but on the downside it's been tearful and the nappies have been atrocious. He's also been extra hungry so we've had occasional requests for extra milk in the wee small hours. I'm so glad we've moved on past the formula steriliser stage to grabbing the milk from the fridge.

While Logan likes to have a dummy to fall asleep, his big brother Ethan is a fan of the thumb. Either will do. But now he's three we are trying to break the habit. Painting his nails with nasty-tasting solution made no difference, he simply licked or washed it off. My dentist recommended thumb guards so he's had them on for a couple of days and nights now.

So far it's been OK, but there have been some middle of the night moments where he's woken up and got very frustrated that he can't suck his thumb and has then woken up the entire household and the neighbours. End result is at least one child in our bed and another bottle of milk for Logan.

Come morning I could really do with a lie in but the children take it in turns to be the early riser and encourage the rest of us to join them for a spot of puzzle solving or train track making while CBeebies plays in the background. A scene repeated up and down the country if my friends' updates on Facebook are anything to go by!

I'm feeling optimistic about sleep this weekend. The nights aren't so humid, no new teeth are imminent, and hopefully no thumbs will be required. Just need to tackle my husband's snoring now...

How do you ensure your family gets a good night's sleep? Do you have any top tips or particularly nightmarish stories? Let us know by commenting below...

Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk every Friday. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine and watch out for the hashtag #somethingfortheweekend to join in with the conversation

Read Kirsty's columns: 

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