Sunday, 3 January 2010

Gertie the Friendly Ghoul

I seem to have been writing about sleep a lot lately, mostly because I haven't been getting enough so it is frequently on my mind.

But as well as the baby, Gertie has her own sleep issues. We have had a nightmare (pardon the pun) getting her to sleep in a bed. We tried to make the transition from cot to bed back in May, just after her second birthday. Partly because we would need the cot a few months later for Gilby when he arrived and we wanted to disassociate all the change from him by doing it early, and partly because Gertie was moving into her own, grown-up bedroom so it seemed a good time.

And it was. She has always been a good sleeper (unlike her little brother!) and for a few nights it all went really well. Then for some reason we had to have the travel cot out and that was it. She wanted to be in the travel cot and not in her bed. She also liked to fill the cot with dozens of her 'people'. This is what she calls all her soft toys and dolls even though it makes her sound like the leader of a cult of cuddly animals.

And as she herself has grown over the last six months, and filled the cot with more and more toys until it just looked so uncomfortable for her to be in there. It also meant that she had to wear a nappy at night since she simply couldn't get out of the cot to go to the toilet.

So after all the disruptions over Christmas we did a really mean and parenty thing and pretended that we had left the cot behind at Gertie's grandparents house, thereby forcing the issue so that she would have to sleep in the bed.

Again, this went well for the first couple of nights, after the novelty of getting up once or twice to go to the toilet had worn off. But then the midnight visitations began.

Silently she will enter our bedroom. We will be fast asleep and will sense rather than see the ghostly, thumb-sucking, blanket-trailing form that might then suddenly loom out of the darkness by the bed. It is really eerie. And unlike during the day when she can talk for Olympic Gold, during the night she says nothing.

So I don't know if she is sleep-walking or not. She is happy to be ushered straight back to bed but may well appear again a few hours later. She has also taken to coming in and not waking us up; I know this because her door and our door will be tellingly ajar come the morning. One night this week I discovered her just sitting on the step outside the bedroom door.

So our sleep is disturbed once again. And annoyingly, Gertie's appearances are usually between the hours of midnight and three, just at the time when Gilby seems to be soundly asleep and not needing a feed. And my ears are constantly on the alert for Gertie the Friendly Ghoul...


  1. our daughter started doing this around the same age. We didn't 'do' anything about it, sometimes let her climb in with us sometimes sent her back to her own bed and it pettered out after a while. Some times, once or twice a month, she will still do it, if she is feeling unsettled about something or there has been any change.
    It can be just them seeking some sort of reassurance when they wake at night. Although yes, it is annoying when they do it whilst the baby is sleeping. It seemed to be the only time she did it as well.

  2. very familiar.
    Our six year old comes in most nights, just climbs over Daddy and snuggles down between us.
    I hate to say it but we're constantly tired after 15 years of 3 children doing it...they are lovely though.