Sleep: that commodity so plentiful and easily squandered in your twenties that instantly becomes so hard-won when young children enter the equation. When that young child is a light sleeper it can require fiendish strategic planning to secure each night’s desperately needed rest.

Hard to settle, easy to wake

You may begin to notice the difference when they’re a baby. At cafes you see other people’s babies sleeping soundly through a cacophony of noise and you wonder why your child never does that.

As the months pass you listen to friends talk about what they get done at home while their child sleeps and you wonder how, as your child stirs at a door clicking, toilet flushing or an unguarded cough.

Much of the realisation happens, unhelpfully, in retrospect. Sooner or later there’s sufficient weight of evidence to finally convince yourself that the extreme lengths you go to for a sound night’s sleep are not typical.

Tired but improving

Living with a light-sleeping child is tiring. We’ve come to terms with never getting enough sleep and living a hushed existence after 8pm. We’re fine with that as our daughter is brilliant and we love her to bits. It’s just that we’re permanently shattered.

On the plus side, things used to be worse. When Tilly was one if she heard the slightest sound that indicated you were leaving her room after being put to bed, she’d flip over and start screaming. Living in an older house with creaky floorboards and clunky door handles this was pretty much impossible to avoid. I’m so very glad those days are behind us.

The master plan

We’ve learnt through months of trial and error to work around Tilly’s light sleeping as best we can. On goes her white noise and off goes anything likely to disturb.

It may read like something from 1984 but here are our rules of the house in effect from 8pm each evening:

  1. The dishwasher. Are you crazy? It’s right below Tilly’s room. Run it if you must but absolutely no loading or unloading. Clinking of plates is ruinous.
  2. The bathroom / cloakroom. All adjacent to Tilly’s room. Pulling the light cord is guaranteed to wake. Mope around in the dark instead.
  3. Conversing downstairs? Only with the hallway door closed, otherwise zip it!
  4. Conversing upstairs. Now you’re trying my patience. Whisper. Better still read or sleep!
  5. Stairs. Several creak. Learn which ones and apply your ninja skills to avoid them.
  6. Vacuuming. Have you not been listening? Not a chance.
  7. Want to cross the hall to the study? With the noise that door makes! Walk the long way round through the freezing cold conservatory and be glad of it.

In short we go pretty significantly out of our way to avoid making any noise. It does make life tricky when we have guests though, as it makes us feel like overzealous librarians, hushing the most modest of noises. When you’re only ever just about getting the minimum amount of sleep you need to function, it becomes pretty important.

Sound minimised, our current obsession is with Tilly’s bedding as something about it is caused lots of restlessness. Not only do we have a light sleeper, she seems to have taken lessons from princess and the pea.

Still, with just about enough sleep we have some wonderful days together.

Linkys

This blog is featured on the following linkys

 

The List
Stopping at two
Tagged on:                         

17 thoughts on “Walking on eggshells: living with a light sleeping child

  • 31 January 2015 at 3:37 pm
    Permalink

    Good plan 🙂

    Having had five kids….most of them adults now, I’ve known both the sleepers and the known sleepers..give me a sleeper anyday!

    Good luck with the master plan 🙂

    hopping over from #weekendbloghop

    Kimmie

    Reply
    • 31 January 2015 at 3:38 pm
      Permalink

      none sleepers I meant #typo o_O – Anyone would think Iv’e had no sleep 😉

      Reply
      • 31 January 2015 at 3:41 pm
        Permalink

        OH I give up ‘non’, I meant non! o_O – *scuttles off *

        Reply
    • 31 January 2015 at 5:02 pm
      Permalink

      I had a theory that parents of good sleepers went on to have more children but it sounds like you stuck it through thick and thin!

      Reply
  • 1 February 2015 at 9:19 am
    Permalink

    I Hear you! I have a light sleeper, I’ve even Magee to work out a way to walk down the stairs to minimise creaking & where to walk in the bedroom so I’m not on the creaky floor boards. Ninja parenting!

    Reply
    • 1 February 2015 at 2:39 pm
      Permalink

      It’s really reassuring to hear we’re not the only ones. Sometimes we wonder if we’re bonkers!

      Reply
  • 1 February 2015 at 11:55 am
    Permalink

    This is definitely us in our house. The worse thing is the creaky floorboards as I make my way to bed. 4 out of 5 nights he will wake as I’m crawling into bed. Hoping he will get better as he gets older.

    Reply
    • 1 February 2015 at 2:41 pm
      Permalink

      It does get easier. Tilly may be disturbed by us going to bed but very seldom wakes. Thanks for popping by the blog!

      Reply
  • 1 February 2015 at 1:40 pm
    Permalink

    I have two bad sleepers (and a newborn) but luckily when they’re asleep, they’re dead to the world – I can even go in an tidy their room and put clothes away! #sundaystars

    Reply
    • 1 February 2015 at 2:58 pm
      Permalink

      Well that’s something! I have about one opportunity a week to sort out Tilly’s clothes so by the end if the week I struggle to find anything!

      Reply
  • 1 February 2015 at 2:06 pm
    Permalink

    Love your opening paragraph about squandering sleep in your early years – how I wish I could go back to uni now! Remind me not to come round to your pad after 8pm as, no offence, it sounds a bit boring haha (I’m only jealous as we’re being woken up every 2 hours at the moment!)

    Reply
    • 1 February 2015 at 3:01 pm
      Permalink

      We go from Brazilian street party by day to police state by night! As for sleep, it’s one of those many things where you need to live two lifetimes so the second time you get it right!

      Reply
  • 1 February 2015 at 6:19 pm
    Permalink

    Oh no! My two aren’t light sleepers (but will happily wake up a couple of times in the night just to keep us on our toes) and a lot of your noise reducing techniques are very familiar – especially the “over zealous librarian” shushing with guests!
    Thanks for linking up #SundayStars
    http://www.stoppingattwo.co.uk

    Reply
    • 3 February 2015 at 8:24 am
      Permalink

      Glad to know it gets better! Thanks for visiting the blog

      Reply
  • 6 February 2015 at 9:49 am
    Permalink

    I can really relate to this – R has always been a light sleeper and barely slept during the day unless he was in a dark, silent room!! Even now I daren’t even breath near his room as we creep past to go to bed…just in case!!

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList

    Reply

Leave a Reply