By MeOhMy Founder Siobhan (@meohmymum)
As I lie on the couch writing this, I'm all blissed out while my kids nap peacefully, right?
All I can hear is Harry screaming his lungs out in his room. It's killing me. I feel sick inside.
Before I tell you why, let me tell you a little about his use of the old D-U-M-M-Y (we have to spell it rather than say it these days!) since he was born.
When I was pregnant, my husband and I were all holier than thou. We said we'd NEVER use a dummy. Tsk tsk tsk, why would you?! Those things are addictive and such a bad look, right? Oh how naive and stupid we were.
BAHAHA, it only took a good two weeks into Harry's life for us to reach into the cupboard desperately in the wee hours of the morning to find that yet unopened packet of dummies that we had there 'just in case'. I remember he wouldn't settle... I was exhausted and desperate to try anything.
So started Harry's use of the dummy. Only to sleep. Until he was around 2 years old, he had it at nap times and at night. It worked a treat. He self settled like a boss. As soon as I gave him one, he would drop off to sleep. Miracle.
It wasn't until he was 2 (he's now 2.5) that he started wanting it during the day. Actually, demanding it. Sometimes because his daycare hadn't been as religious about taking it off him after his nap, like I am. And, in moments of weakness, we gave in and gave it to him. Because sometimes you just want to enjoy your breakfast out at a cafe in peace, you know? Nothing wrong with that, in my book.
Anyone that follows me on Insta will know about Harry's ears and the ongoing ear infections he's had. He had grommets inserted a few months ago and it's made a HUGE difference to his speech. He's now talking so much better than he used to.
I've always wondered what effect the dummy had had on his speech. In hindsight, we definitely should have gotten rid of it earlier but it never seemed to be the 'right time' (Aoife being born, his ongoing ear infections, his ear operation, our New York trip...). Now that we've got some normality and stability it was the right time to get rid of it. So, we did...
The last few weeks without it have been very up and down.
We went cold turkey with it, and it was only a day or two before he stopped asking for it. But his sleep.....OH DEAR LORD has that changed!
He won't settle for his lunchtime nap AT ALL. It's ridiculous. I wanted to cut back on this anyway, but he still needs a little one otherwise the afternoons are hell. So if he doesn't get any sleep at lunch, in the afternoons he behaves SO badly. At daycare he has been hitting and biting. Yep, my child is a biter. F-U-C-K.
At home, he refuses to share his toys with his sister (normal, I know) and when she tries to grab anything at all he'll hit her. Time outs don't do a thing. Outings are horrible as he refuses to walk for long, throwing a tantrum and screaming. I know it's because he's SO tired.
Then at night, he won't settle until 8 or 9pm, he just runs around in his bedroom despite me repeatedly going in there to reinforce that it's 'rest time'.
Suffice to say, by the next morning he's exhausted, goes to daycare and ends up sleeping for three hours, then stays up again all evening...
It's a vicious circle, because it repeats itself over and over.
He's acting out all the time. When he's tired he's a huge SHITBAG (love you buddy!).
I'm now wondering if this behaviour could have been prevented. I've been asking myself so many questions...
What happened to the sweet toddler I used to have? Is it just the terrible twos? Has he been badly behaved for ages and we just hid it with the dummy? Did the dummy stop him learning how to behave properly? Could this have been prevented if we got rid of the dummy earlier?
I don't regret using dummies. I think it really helped him settle to sleep so well as a baby. And it's hard to know now what's just 'normal' little boy behaviour and what's attributable to getting rid of the dummy (I probably should read some literature on this, but I haven't read a baby book since Harry was a baby, haha).
And I'm really happy we've now given the dummies up, as he was pretty darn addicted and I didn't want him walking around with one in constantly.
So back to him screaming. Yep, he's up there refusing to sleep. I've taken away his toys and he's having a tantie on the floor. I'll go up soon and put him back in bed. And I'm sure the screaming will continue until he drops off. He's definitely tired enough!
Like all things, I know "this too shall pass". I know, from my chats with you guys on Instagram, that a lot of this is normal.
Our babes will always have these little stages and tough periods, and we just need to do the best we can to ride them out! Here's to staying strong mamas...wine and coffee help, right? (I'm pretty sure the worse Harry's behaviour gets the more my red wine consumption goes up!).