It's my life, but not as I knew it!

Sleep. We all love it. All parents want to know whose getting it, whose not getting it, how much they’re getting and how can we get more. We have all known someone or read a comment on an internet page from someone whose child has been sleeping through the night since they were three weeks old. What is their secret?! How do they do it?! What is wrong with me and mine that means that hasn’t happened?
In the grand nature vs nurture debate having twins means I have been able to see how very different two children can be. Biscuit and Cracker were born a minute apart, have been raised virtually identically, had the same food, been on the same routine and yet have totally different sleep habits. Biscuit has been sleeping through the night from the time she was about four or five months old. Now she’s 16 months old she would quite happily sleep for 13-14 hours a night but she is not a fan of naps and often has just an hour before lunch. Cracker, however, woke up for milk in the night until he was a year old. Even now he wakes two or three times a night and cries for us (if you’ve never had twins sharing a room you don’t know the terror of the possibility of one twin waking the other one up with their shouting) but he would happily have a couple of naps a day. We compromised on the nap front between Biscuit wanting none and Cracker wanting two to giving them one in the middle of the day but if we’re out and about Cracker will often have a cheeky snooze in the buggy or the sling. Cracker is an early riser and Biscuit has sometimes had to be woken so that we can all have breakfast.
As well as their different sleeping patterns, Biscuit has suffered from night terrors since she was three months and nightmares since she was about 4months. The terrors mean that although she’s got her eyes open and is screaming, she does not seem aware during them and we just have to wait for it to pass (there’s nothing you can do apart from be there and be calm and reassuring and not wake her up) and then she’s straight back to sleep. Night terrors appear to be worse for the observer than the sufferer. The nightmares are when she is woken from a bad dream, is awake and alert and scared. It takes a while to calm her down and settle her whilst trying to show her that there is nothing to be frightened of. This is hard when she’s so young, but again being there is what she needs. We have seen our GP and a specialist (as she started having the terrors much younger than research has shown they normally start) but they can’t find any reason for these sleep disturbances and as she is developing well (and at the same rate as her unaffected brother) they are not worried. It is something that we’re hoping she’ll grow out of, but we are open to all suggestions and help that may be offered! Cracker has never had such sleep disturbances. Perhaps it’s an inherited thing- Rob sleeps from the time his head hits the pillow but I have always had very vivid dreams and nightmares and wake a lot from these?
I wish I had an answer to sleep problems, not only would I be a very wealthy lady but I wouldn’t be quite so exhausted! I wish I knew what would make Cracker sleep through the night and learn to self-soothe if he did wake. I wish I could stop Biscuit’s sleep disturbances and help her not be scared. I wish I could find out who made up the saying “sleeping like a baby” and ask what on earth was he on about? Surely the expression “sleeping like a teenager/someone without small children” would more appropriate?



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