One thing: A bed, a girl, sleep


This week’s #onething is SO big it hardly even qualifies under #onething. But then again it does. It’s been something that has been hanging over my head since January last year (that’s 14 months) and each and every single day on one of those 14 months, I thought about this #onething and how I need to sort it out.

For those of you not playing along, #onething is where I do just ONE THING from my to-do list, but not your every day to-do list. Oh no, this is the list of non essential items that sort of kind of need to get done but it’s no biggie if they don’t get done until next week, or next month, or um, next year. Those things. Just one. Every week.

For anyone reading this blog for any length of time you would know my struggle with Harper and sleep. I have written this post or this one or this one just to name a few that came up when I searched Harper sleep on my blog. There are more, lots more. About Jan last year we hit the point where Harper was coming into bed every single night and I just couldn’t cope any more. I was tired, man SO tired after what seemed like years of sleep training, and then going back to the start only to do it all again. I was also angry, like resentful and going fro 0 to 10 in the space of 2.3 seconds when I would see her come in. Again. I wasn’t getting sleep, I was cranky and exhausted. She was too. So I gave up. I gave up giving a flying fuck about it and listened to what we both needed: she wanted me near in the night, I wanted a good nights sleep and so I moved a spare single mattress next to my side of the bed. And there she slept, and there I slept every night for 14 months. And we booth slept well. We were happier, rested and I just didn’t give one shit about it. Not even to mother and mother in law’s that I know where looking down (literally and figuratively) at that mattress. I made that bed every day, held her hand in the night if she needed it, and slept with our little friend there, like a communal little family. The more the merrier! The words of “Oh really?” and eye rolls over it did not bother me, I was too over it to care any more. We were sleeping. We were happy.

But I knew it couldn’t keep going. When we got pregnant we started to talk to Harper about moving back into her old room. Daisy didn’t want her sleeping with her anymore, because she is, you know, so grown up now. Harper knew that when the baby came, she would be out. But it always seemed like it was a bit of a while away. I kept thinking about it, worrying about it, it seemed my Mum did too, the days passing with promises of “yes, soon, when I’ma  big girl”. We had the start of school which is a big deal enough, exhausting, no need to push her, and more promises “yes soon”.

Last week she decided she would like to give it a try. Sure, there were promises of prizes and toys if she could do it, and she was ready. She went to bed in there and to sleep no worries, but a few hours later, in she would come and sleep next to me. On Wednesday night she asked if Daisy could have a sleepover. My heart broke into 234 pieces as I heard her big sister read Harry Potter to her before they both went to sleep, and just before they both fell asleep in the dark, an encouragement of “you can do it Harper”. And she did. Sure I was woken a few times, sure there were tears and sure there was sitting on the floor of her bedroom. Again. This. Again.

Thursday night she did it. All by herself. 3 or 4 wakings for me, but never for long. But she did it. Never seen her so proud.

It might just be one time, this one thing. But it’s a start and we will get through it. There will be more changes and transitions as the baby comes along, there will be months of adjusting for us all, but we are a little closer to her being OK with it and a new normal. I can’t tell you what a load off my mind just starting this has been for me.

There’s a cot in our room now, a constant reminder of how much we are just going back to the start. But from the start of this time round, there is more of a sense of not caring what “should” be done or what’s “right” but going with the flow, with intuition, with what works for us as a family and putting that first. What a load off that is. So many years of angst and anger when Daisy was little, the pressure to do what the books said I should, I just DO NOT CARE.


I know that Harper will eventually sleep, like her sister does. Her sister that put us through even more grief, who now reads her book, rolls over and we don’t see until the morning. I KNOW IT WILL HAPPEN. When the time is right, for Harper. And until then I’ll just keep doing what I can to make her feel safe and confident and make her toe the line when I know she is just taking the piss. We’ll get there. And throw another one into the mix while we are there.

Anyone else in the depths of sleep issues?
You know you are not alone right? It’s all going to be OK. I promise you.
What was your one thing this week?
Go choose something, right now, just have a look around and there will be something waiting…


  1. My D-Man is about to turn 4, started kindy this year & still comes into my room every night. It’s draining. All I have to do is lead him back to his bed, tuck him in, give him a kiss & he’s back to sleep. It’s just a habit & I know it will pass, but come on! This is now 4 years of non continual sleep at night!! More if you add in his 7 yr old sister. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture!! I’m taking note of your positivity about it all & just riding it out….. x

    • Except I was all positive after 11 hours sleep and her NOT waking me…ask me this morning and you will get a different story!!!

  2. Our 5 year old daughter who started school this year still comes in around 2am and sleeps in our bed every.single.night!! Drives me nuts, but I cannot be bothered going back and forth all night so I just let her! She is our baby so I just go with the flow! I’m sure one day she will stop and no doubt that I will probably miss having her there!! All the best xx

  3. You are right “It to shall pass”, eventually they all sleep, you just have to survive the best way for you. I had 3 children and 4 sleep school residential visits, trust me you will survive and guess what they all sleep now, I even have to wake them up in the morning. (Now 12, 10 and 8) Be kind to yourself: sleep deprivation really is torture.

  4. I did the bribe thing way back when. One small Pink Poppy something at the end of each week she stayed in her bed and then a DVD for every month (probably stuff I might be inclined to buy anyway). It worked. For us. She knew if she was sick or scared she could come in no question (and sometimes she did – still remember the night I could just sense the vomit was coming with her and I wore it in my bed) – but the lure of the stuff was enough to break the back of the habit. I tried it. It worked. And was right for us. Judgement about bribery notwithstanding she is a total whiz on negotiations, bargaining and the power of the dollar.

  5. I too gave up caring about years of sleepless children, because that was all I had left to do after trying everything else. Every now and then it catches up with you though and I have a internal meltdown wondering where I went wrong. Pretty sure third time around I am not having any more luck. All you can do is kill every person who claims their child has slept through the night since 4 weeks and keep on keeping on. Good luck!

  6. Oh Beth, reading this with the tears streaming down my face. It is soooo true ! I’m there with my 3yr old & 7 month old but you know it will eventually get better & their need for us will slowly fade away-that also makes me sad !!! All the best for the amazing ride your new bundle will bring-sleep deprivation is the pits but the love & cuddles are so worth it xx

  7. Does a dog count? Our 12 lb
    Maltipoo starts in his own bed at night, but 2-3am he’s on my side of the bed wanting a lift up to snuggle in between us! Hubs is fast asleep and never heard him whining.

  8. Go you! You are doing a fantastic job 🙂 Going with your intuition and doing what feels right for your family can never be wrong. They DO grow out of it when the time is right, our babies are 17 and 19 now and they NEVER hop into our bed anymore and gosh we miss it sometimes! Every now and then they allow us to lie on their beds for a chat (for all of about 2 minutes) and it is heavenly!

  9. Here as well. 6 years old & baby due mid year. Her older brother was the same & he never does anymore. She also cries at school drop-off (a new this year habit) if I go into her classroom – strangely not if I don’t go in! I’m looking at the first 1/2 of the year as salad days because I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better after baby arrives.

  10. Wait until they are teenagers, then all they do is sleep!!! It’s bliss!

  11. Beth, I hear you. My son could not think of anything he would like less than to sleep with us – even as a baby he couldn’t stand it. My daughter who is nearly 7 sounds exactly like your daughter. About 3 years I just gave up. I couldn’t face the interrupted sleep, the lying on her bedroom floor(wtf?), the nightly screaming at sleeping alone. She needs company while she sleeps. So, she starts off in her room each night, then at some time during the night, she makes her way into our room. Occasionally she will stay in her room all night. It’s better since we got her a full, double layered blind for her window, because she feels safer. I don’t love having her in the bed, but I positively hate the alternative, so, what can we do?

  12. I went through this with my 2nd as well, and I agree with you Beth, do what’s right for your family and bugger whatever anyone else says or writes. after all its you guys that have to live with decisions you make and it seems to me your doing a fantastic job xx

  13. Beth there are no ‘shoulds’ only what works for each little person and you as the big person who holds it all together. Take it from someone whose twins literally slept attached to me in an arm each on a mattress on a floor for the first two years of their life (it was that or put up with constant crying and at best waking every 40 minutes by one or both of them and sheer and utter bone tiredness like I had never know before otherwise). Eventually even they managed to sleep alone. It took until they were 6 before they both slept through the night albeit I still had to lie between them while they went to sleep and they were sharing a double bed but now at 16 they manage to sleep for hours on end with no help from me and in their own rooms! Their sister (Miss Almost 10) still prefers to hold my ear while she drifts off to sleep (weird I know but it has always been her thing) but only just this last week she told me she thought she was too big for this and my heart broke just a little bit at the thought of it. As number 3 she was always a much better sleeper than her sisters although maybe that’s because by there was only one of her and my standards had dropped so low by the time she arrived that I was over giving a flying crap about any ‘shoulds’ and just went with whatever we could muddle through with. Well done Harper and well done you on the move to the big girl bed. It will make the morning cuddles you get and those occasional late night visits all the more special from here on in. J x

  14. Fiona Guglielmi says

    Oh Beth, I too got sick and tired, literarily of people rolling their eyes at us for sleeping with our third child, sometimes you just do the very best that you can to try and get some sleep, it’s really hard when you have to get up in the morning and get two older children to school.hang in there. X

  15. I love this post. I really do.

    My biggest epiphany has been to throw the ‘book’ out the window and do what’s right for me, what’s right for my kids, what’s right for our family not what’s ‘right’ by experts or by anyone else. Some times it takes a bit trying this and trying that to work out what works. I opted out of all the emails and stopped following the kids sites on FB because I was sick of seeing what I ‘should’ be doing.

    My sister-in-law is Vietnamese and she thinks Australians are incredibly cruel by putting babies and young kids in a room by themselves with the door shut and light off. She was shocked when she first saw it. “They must be so scared and lonely!” she’d say. I sort of saw her point, up until then all the “experts” had told me that this is what babies/kids needed and (strangely) I hadn’t seen it any other way because I wanted to do the right thing. Not that I think that it’s cruel, but I can understand little ones wanting to be close to their mums. In fact, for years, I too slept on a single mattress next to my mum’s bed and then one day decided to sleep in my own room.

    After many years of sleepless nights all mine are sleeping in their beds all night, although one can’t/won’t go to sleep before 9pm and another wakes before daylight – there’s always something and we’ve just gotta do what we’ve gotta do to get through it. As long as everyone’s happy! xxx

  16. The best and only advise my mum gave me was ” if you are not screaming and the kids not screaming you are doing the right thing” more children throughout the history of mankind have slept with their parents than in a dark room by themselves its a first world problem let them feel safe and loved.

  17. My kid is the world’s best sleeper and never comes into our room.

    But I am the worst sleeper ever and a certified insomniac who is awake all night and never sleeps.

    Did you ever get to the bottom of why she comes in? Is she anxious of afraid?

    Wishing you much luck with the sleeping issues. x

    • She just talks herself out of going back to sleep…rather than rolling over she will start to think…and her mind will tell her she can’t do it, she is scared, she is alone….on and on it goes…x

      • She is me! I start worrying and then I can’t sleep either. It sucks. On the upside I get tonnes of reading and other stuff done x

  18. Oh yes I’m dealing with this one too Beth.The most important thing for us is that everyone gets some sleep, doesn’t matter in what bed. Most nights my 2 1/2 yr old comes in around 2am. Once a week my 7 year old comes clambering down the hall shining her torch in my face after an intensely vivid dream. She sometimes asks why Mummy and Daddy get to sleep together and she has to sleep all alone. On those nights where they both come in, either me or husband move into the spare room or someone else’s bed. We all get a good nights sleep, nobody feels scared and we’re all happy. The battle to have everyone in their own bed is just not worth it! Interesting, I have only just recently remembered that my Mum used to keep a mattress on her floor for me, which I occasionally still used up to the age of 12. I felt safe and I was glad Mum never made a fuss. Trust your own instincts and you won’t go wrong 🙂

  19. I always despaired a bed full of children for life but found as each new baby came the older one just got it and stopped coming in baby is now 6 and no more babies climbing in the bed. Good luck and gentle acceptance always seemed to work well

  20. I am with FF. No problems when the kids were small with regards to sleep.

    The sleeping problems belong to me and all me. I need complete darkness and complete silence (including earplugs) and even then, sleep is a challenge. It’s a curse. Lack of sleep is a curse, whichever way it comes about.

    Good luck! Whatever works I say…

  21. I hope Harper’s sleep continues to improve. So glad you’ve had a little progress.
    Our one thing was to start painting our gutters. A huge win. We’ve got big ideas for the exterior of our house and have put it off for too long. To actually see that new colour go on feels so good!

  22. Lisa mckenzie says

    My daughter was the same,I ended up just going with the flow and eventually she slept in her own room ,so don’t worry Beth it will happen one day!

  23. You may find she gets extra anxious knowing that she is being moved on and out because of the baby. Could Frank sleep with her at the foot of her bed? She seems to need attachment.

  24. Before my 3rd was born I remember lying awake at night worried about how I was going to get my ( then 3 and 4yo) to sleep independently before bubs arrived. Bubs is now 21 mths and the now 5 and 6yo still co- sleep. We’ve made sure we have enough double beds in the house..there’s always a way to make it work ‘unconventional’ as it is..we all get a good night’s sleep! Some kids are just more sensitive and need more attachment.

  25. Katherine says

    After finally, FINALLY getting our 6yo into her own bed I decided it was time to introduce my 6mo to her cot. Madness. Sheer madness!

  26. Should I not tell you my now 22 year old slept with me pretty much every night until she was 15? And then she slept with me any night my now partner did not stay. Tamika still comes over and wants to take a nap next to me.
    I guess for some they just need the comfort more than others. Or maybe it is me? Jarvis is almost 3 1/2 and he sleeps with us every night.

  27. Sadie turns 7 next week and for almost 7 years she has spent most of her nights in our bed. Not our choice but hers. She would be so heartbroken going to her own bed that the Mama guilts would kick in and I’d feel so bad for her that I’d allow her to sleep in between us. Things is once she was in our bed, it was easy, she’s a deep sleeper, she doesn’t kick or snore, she’s easy to sleep with so we just kept it going because she was too scared to sleep on her own. I’ve had the eye rolls and the judgement thrown at me and I know I should have been tougher on her but it just kind of happened that way and it was easy. Now though, nearly 7 she’s getting longer and bigger and the bed is starting to feel a little squishy. So this week we’ve started the routine again of making her sleep in her own bed. There have been tears and hours and hours of begging her to go to sleep. This time I’m going to persevere as I’m starting to worry she’ll be 16 and still sleeping between us!


  1. […] have been reading about Beth ticking off her to do list One Thing at a time and love them. I find them so motivating. I thought I would write about my attempts in […]

  2. […] a little in any case and give you a little background to our non sleeping middle child, Harper. This post from just over 2 years ago gives a little bit of an update into our continued issues with her and […]

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