Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Sleep Whisperer

When my babies were babies, we got ourselves in some doozy bad sleep habits.  Yes I rocked Baby No 1 to sleep, and would creep along the floor on hands and knees avoiding creaky floor boards to keep him asleep. Don't get me started on the evil baby hammock thing that started off a life saver but quickly became an addictive dependency for Baby No2, and god forbid if anyone raised their voices, closed doors or tried to live a normal life around any of my sleeping babies, for they would quickly feel the wrath of my death stare.   But thankfully I married someone of sterner stuff than myself, who after months of watching me form bad habits (from the comfort of his bed mind you), would take it on himself to "break" our babies.

And yes, I know there are those shuddering at that last phrase and all it implies, but I live in the world of "whatever works for you right?" school of parenting.

And so the Sleep Whisperer would tag me and I got to go gratefully back to sleep and listen in despair to the next 3 nights version of "Mommy Hell" as the Sleep Whisperer got my babies into sleep habits they should have had from the start if I hadn't been suck a woosy, sad sap of a mum.  Baby No 2 is made of the same stubborn stuff as his Dad so that may have progressed to 5 nights, with one night where he put on an admirable effort of crying from 1am-5am.  But he only did it once.
Baby No 3, much to his brothers consternation has always been an Angel-Baby and has done whatever I asked, even sleeping, so this story doesn't relate to him.
Even though there was a small amount of pain to suck up with the "I-told-you-so" from the Sleep Whisperer, the result (i.e. a full nights sleep was always worth it.)

And as the babies slept happily the Sleep Whisperer packed away his tenaciousness and grit (and stubbornness) forever.
Or so we thought.
Until we realised we had an 11 year old.

The Sleep Whisperer is back, but this time he's brought with him a steely determination, a one-strike-and-you're-out strategy, he is taking no prisoners.  And he is has trained me to be his sidekick.  Because an 11 year old is more savvy than a 4 month old, and this is a two person job.  And no it's not sleep, we're training here, we are training our gorgeous 11 year old to be a gorgeous boy and a gorgeous young man.  But there are barriers to our job, lets call them anything electronic, hormones, attitude and being an 11 year old.  I still take comfort in my woosy, sad sap of a mum approach, because they are still my babies (and I would walk through fire for my children).  But I have seen the success rate of the Sleep Whisperer before, he brings a perspective to the table that I don't see, when buried under sappiness, homework, activities, and microwave timers for electronic anythings.
And we only get one shot at this.
I hope his brothers are watching and learning as our eldest paves the way to adolescence.

The following images show one of the tactics employed by the Sleep Whisperer - and with his razor shape accuracy, the Coconut Hurling technique can be quite effective.  In this instance both the coconut and the 11 year old were not harmed.



  1. Parenting - it's so relentless,challenging and exhausting ah Lise? X

  2. Ohhh, your story sounds so much like mine!!! Damn those squeaky floorboards. When they are little it is so hard to take the tough approach as a mum - dads are so much better at it because they have some distance and perspective that you've lost through hours (and hours and hours) of round the clock feeding and sleep deprivation.

    And you are so right about needing to get all tough again at the tween/teen stage - I could be accused of being a bit of a pushover with my young teen, and then her dad comes in all business like and reveals me to be the puffball I am.

    A high school teacher friend of mine (at a boys school!) says her strategy is to be as tough as boots in the junior years, then lighten up in the senior years when they are nice and well trained. Don't know if that works in the home environment but it sounds like a plan :)