Sleep. S.L.E.E.P. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Sleep. Five little letters. Five little hours would be great actually. Just five, in a row. That’ll do. Its very annoying when you get yourself into a good routine and get a taste of what a good nights kip feels like and then, wham, something changes, and you feel like your back to the new born days.
I think we’ve actually been really lucky with Phoenix. He was settling into an evening routine from 8 weeks. We’ve always had our evenings and I can’t really remember a time when he’s really been up past 7.30. He’s in bed by 7pm and touch wood, fingers crossed (or whatever the online equivalent is) and he drops off peacefully with a snuggle of good old ‘sleepy Z’ and a gentle tune from ‘sleepy seahorse’ (can you hear my desperation in the naming of those toys?! He does own toys which don’t possess ‘sleepy’ in their title…one or two anyway. I think). So whilst I had more than my fair dose of night shifts in the early days with the night feeds and the transition to the big cot and all that fun, in comparison to some of the night terror tales I hear from other mums on the playgroup circuit, I think I should button my lip and count my blessings. However…this does mean when the routine comes off the hinges and things get a little bit off schedule, it hits me like a tonne of bricks; it’s such a shock to the system.
We’ve had some tough nights lately. Not really sure why. A combo of teething, fussiness, MMR, a cough, snot and a little bit of ‘hmmmm I’d quite like to get up now at 4am, this feels like a good time to play’ nonsense. It makes me yawn even typing about it. The night wake up calls are probably one of the worst bits of motherhood. You do strange things during a night get up. You snap at anyone in your bed (with any luck this will be your man, if it’s someone else’s then you should join your baby in the wailing pleas). You may try and attempt to do unrealistic things in darkness for fear of switching on the light e.g. administer medicine/search for dummies. You will also be guaranteed to stub your toe on everything and anything and this is all before mentioning my all time fave of the desperate sudden need for a wee when you’re seconds away from a successful resettle. The pelvic floor is not what is was, and you have to run out quickly to the loo to painstaking reawakening sounds of waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! No! And you were so close! Damn you bladder! A night full of resettles is beyond doubt frustrating, exhausting, and a little tiny bit soul destroying. You wonder what’s wrong, what you’ve done differently that day, panic about illness, and grump that you’ve been ‘blessed’ with an even grumpier baby than you and so on and so on.
Pre Phoenix I found that when discussing motherhood with mums it was quite common for them to moan about how hard parenting was and try and encourage me to put it off for as long as possible. I found this quite annoying and a little patronising – I’ve survived on little sleep whilst covered in puke, isn’t that what under age nightclubbing is all about? Give me some credit! Oh I see, different you say, Right, ok… I’m the total opposite of this approach, in fact I’m a contraceptions’ worst nightmare. My advice is the contary, yeah it’s tough, so what, it’s amazing so if you’re in great relationship, you’re ready and have a good home, then go for it, get on with it! BUT. And there is a but. 14 months in now, and there is a slight twinge of one of those older moany mums rattling round in me, just a little mind you. So whilst I welcome all potential new mums with a big smile, wide open arms and a plate of cup cakes on a Cath Kidston table cloth, straight into the glorious world of motherhood, I now issue one disclaimer, and as you’ve probably guessed, it’s about sleep. S>L>E>E>P…and it is this.
YOU NEVER GET IT BACK. EVER.
That sleep you loose in the new born days? Gone forever. Every bad night is another night of sleep lost for you and there’s no chance of getting it back. Here’s some scenarios pre and post baby to bring this to point to life:
Ok so first up, the pre baby days…had a big night? Feeling a bit hungover? Have a lie in! Had a busy week at work? Sleep it off on the weekend! Had a big sleepy roast dinner? Have a nap! Gone away for a romantic weekend? Have an ‘active’ lie in!
And now we move to the baby days…had a big night? Feeling a bit hungover? Get up at 5am and wake up to some loud banging and wailing! Had a busy week at work? Have an even busier weekend! Had a sleepy roast dinner? Go and run around the park! Gone away for a romantic weekend? Spend the whole night trying to de-snot tiny nostrils. And so on and so on…
And still we truck on, and yes I’ll do it all again. And yes I’ll loose even more sleep, lost to the ether, and only ever to be seen again in the form of the ever growing creases in my face. But look at this video below, and try not to ahhhhhh….come on weary women, all together now, ahhhhhh….