I’m sorry. I was that smug Mum that you got chatting to who you wanted to poke in the eye, as she described how her baby slept all night every night from a ridiculously young age. I realise now how much you must have hated me.
I hope it consoles you that I am paying for it now. ‘No two babies are the same’; never was a truer word said when it comes to sleep, in our house.
So, a year into my sleep deprivation saga, here is a round up of some of my
favourite worst types of rubbish nights.
1. The newborn cluster feeds. These aren’t so bad to be fair – I actually loved the silent night time snuggles when the chaos of the house was at peace. ‘Enjoy them while they last’ I told myself through the haze of newborn love.
2. Baby confused night with day. For no apparent reason, baby decides to wake up in the small hours and decide this is a brilliant time to seize the day. Happy, wide awake, playful, standing up in the cot and certainly not going back to sleep anytime soon…this all night raver will be doing the walk of shame back to bed just as the rest of the household needs to get up to start the day.
3. The ‘not really awake’ awake. Less of an intense stint of crying / playfulness than point 2, this favourite of mine involves baby grizzling in sleep – losing a dummy or comforter, and crying just enough for you to go in to soothe them – in time to watch them drop back off as you approach the cot. Repeat this up to 1000 times throughout the night – baby never really woke up…you never really slept.
4. The poorly baby. One moment you’re in a zombie state muttering ‘FFS’ under your breath, the next you are hit with a sledgehammer of guilt as you realise your baby has been sick / has a temperature / is covered in spots / any other ailment…that explains it. You go from asleep to awake in 0.2 of a second and adopt full maternal caring mode. Poor little mite. You will happily cuddle them all night long to know they are okay. Plenty of time for sleep tomorrow night.
5. I think it’s her teeth. Can present in any number of ways (1-4) amongst others. You won’t really know what the hell is going on but it’s probably to blame somewhere along the line from age 12 months – 12 years.
6. The Tag Team. It’s a conspiracy they planned together against you surely. One just dropped off, the other wakes up. Then vice versa. You and your other half have lost count of whose turn it is and the result is a game of musical
chairs beds. You wake up in the morning in a blur of who is where, the toddler finds it hilarious. You, not so much.
7. The kids went to bed too early. They were tired, they missed a nap, they’d got up so early, they had a really busy day…so being sounds asleep by 6pm was such a good idea at the time. At 4 am the next day, when they’d had their quota, it doesn’t seem to have paid off.
8. The kids (and us) had a late night. They coped pretty well and will surely lay in. Will they HELL. They’ll get up earlier than normal just because you’re so tired, and all of you will be miserable most of the day.
9. Why am I awake? I’ve moaned all day about how tired I am. I’ve dreamt about being in this bed (daydreamt, obviously). I just got the baby / toddler off to sleep again, the house is silent, and I am WIDE AWAKE. Possibly the worst of all the above, your mind just won’t switch off, and you’re painfully watching the minutes on the clock get closer to the time you know you’ll be getting up for work / the baby / the school run. These night time soul searches will be when you’ll probably think of amazing christmas present ideas, have a new blog written in your head, or have some other amazing idea…but you won’t remember any of it tomorrow.
In my experience, any of the above nights generally result in one of two outcomes:
a) I’m so tired I can’t cope with anything today. Going out, staying in, the TV, any activities, any crying children, cooking, bathtime, getting dressed…
b) I’m so tired and I have no idea how or why I’m feeling absolutely fine?
Either way, stick the kettle on, get some coffee inside you. Try and get some fresh air and some (adult) company to moan about your night to. Plan your early night, go to bed at the same time as the kids – heaven.
Tomorrow can only be better…can’t it?