Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Grumblebees

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Princess has taken to school life like a fish to water and I have no doubt in my mind that she loves every second of it.

She will often tell us stories of what she's been up to that day, what stories they've read and charm us with newly learned nursery rhymes. The last week or so however, she's been different.

She won't sleep.

Now in Princess world, this is nothing new. She stopped napping at 10months old, will often still be awake gone 10pm at night and bright as a button in the morning. This time though, it was something different keeping her awake. She was scared.

This is new for us. There's not much that scares Princess. Don't get me wrong, she has the odd small anxieties like shadows in her bedroom and she was rather freaked out by the Scream masks during the Halloween period - but nothing has ever scared her enough to stop her from even venturing upstairs.

I've been on annual leave from work for nearly a fortnight so I initially thought it may be the change in routine. After about the 4th or so night of melt downs, tears and tantrums whilst trying to get her to bed, she finally succumbed and told us the reason.

She was frightened of the Grumblebees.

A flash of recognition came in to my mind. Earlier that day, on the way to nursery, she had told me that once we got home she was going to help me tidy my bedroom. When I asked why she said that if my room wasn't tidy, then the Grumblebee's would come and get me. I didn't think much of it at first, just assumed it was a story she'd heard, or even one she'd created - her imagination is huge.

Later that night though, after again another round of tears trying to get her to bed, we gave in and left her be on the sofa. She was quiet for a while, fiddling with her fingers and I assumed it was because she was tired. Eventually she came over to me crying and showed me her hands. She had picked her nail right down, and then had even started picking it across so only half of her nail was left.

When I asked her why she had done it, she said because she was tired.

I could have cried. My happy, confident and bright girl had physically hurt herself in order to stay awake. She was that terrified of going to sleep.

I was furious. I googled the Grumblebees and found the book online. It's about 2 older bee's who teach their niece & nephew a lesson by showing them how 'gross, uncomfortable and horrible' things can be when you don't 'clean up after yourself, get enough sleep and misbehave'.

In some ways it sounds fairly innocent, but I don't agree that the nursery should have read it to her. For a start, the reading age is 4-8years which is not within the right age group anyway. I've had a word with her teacher, and explained how it's effected my girl. The teacher herself was shocked as I explained the lengths Princess had gone to in order to keep herself awake. She too was worried, and rightly so. She agreed to speak with Princess and explain to her that the stories we read in books aren't real. I'm not sure if it will work, but hopefully hearing it from someone else will help her realise.

 The nursery haven't mentioned anything since, but Princess is still afraid of the Grumblebee's; even after Grandad said he had captured them all and put them in the bin. She's not slept properly in nearly 2 weeks. The lack of sleep is causing her to be grumpy and misbehave. Ross and I are struggling to handle bedtime because she simply refuses. We've relented and agreed to let her sleep on the sofa until we go to bed, but that just means she'll mess around for as long as possible, fighting sleep.

There's not much more we can do. We've spoken to the source who have agreed to help. We've tried reading her different stories at bedtime in the hopes it will take her mind off of monsters. We've tried having her in our bed which doesn't make much difference.

All I can hope, is that it is another night time phase she will grow out of. We've always had trouble with her sleeping routine and bedtime habits - she's incapable of sticking to a routine for long. Most of the time she settles in to a routine that suits us all by herself, but after a few weeks, that routine can change. It doesn't matter how strict, persuasive or adamant we are - if she doesn't want to sleep, she's not sleeping.

In future, I will have more interaction with the nursery about the books they are reading to Princess.  I don't want it to get to this point again. I think her overactive imagination and the fact she's an intent listener has just allowed her to misinterpret the story. But even so, I think parents should have more involvement in the books they read to our children. 

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