What a bullshit saying. As any parent will tell you, a lot of things are for babies (sometimes it feels like all the things), but sleeping bloody well isn’t.
Baby will not go to sleep. We went to the playground for a while. He had his dinner. Rough-housed with the dog in the garden, had a bath, finished a whole bottle, and . . . nothing.
I’m sat on the chair in the nursery listening to him toss and turn and kick the bars of his bed. We’ve been here together an hour and a half. If I try and go downstairs he throws everything from the cot, including his dummy, and sobs like a wild thing until I come back upstairs and put everything back. He keeps standing up, I keep laying him down. He talks and laughs and squeals and I ignore him.
I know I should be grateful. A guy came over a few nights ago to give us a water-softener demo, and he mentioned that his 16 month old battles him every single night. Puts up a right fight, with fists and kicks and screaming. Ted at least settles in the cot. But for the love of god and my sanity, just sitting here is driving me crazy! I’m getting so restless and frustrated. Like dude what are you doing, go to SLEEP. I want ME time! Given, it’s only to watch some trash telly I recorded, but still.
Of course I almost had him down half an hour ago, but I had to go and fucking sneeze didn’t I.
I’m hungry too. No idea what I want, but because I want something and I can’t I’m getting cross. So I log in to Just Eat and Deliveroo and I order and re-order dinner. Gives me a little thrill like ‘oooh, will I have the stir fried tofu with ginger and spring onion, or with salt and chilli.’
I don’t order anything though. My cash card is downstairs, of course. Hubby has a work-dinner, so won’t be home till late. I’ll probably end up having a bowl of cereal, sprinkled liberally with simmering rage (since I don’t have the luxury of work dinners, even though I work). And he’s probably at the pub right now, having a beer. Simmering might be an understatement.
You wake up from a deep and restful sleep. The house is quiet. The sheets beneath you are clean and fresh and soft, and you stretch languidly against them. Light falls through the window and onto the bed just so. It is morning, and you have nowhere to be and nowhere to go.
You feel a little hungry, so you swing your legs over the edge of the bed. Your slippers are just where you left them. You walk slowly to the kitchen. The house is spotless and everything is in its place. You boil the kettle and make yourself some toast. Grab a piece of fruit. Pour yourself a drink.
You sit and enjoy each mouthful. Sip hot coffee. Think of nothing in particular.
And when you’re done you walk back into the bedroom and lay down, to rest. To sleep a little longer. Because you’re tired, and the bed is soft, and you have nowhere to be…
I know, right? I swear my pulse just slowed. I may have squealed a little too. Picturing that. Remembering that.
If you have no children (or pets) you might think yeah okay, this is a normal weekend morning when I haven’t gone out the night before. So what. No big deal.
YES BIG DEAL.
So many people said to me ‘enjoy your sleep while you still can!’ when I was pregnant. Which was a little late. Because by the time you’re pregnant enough for people to comment you’re probably not sleeping very well. And you smile politely but think ‘oh shut up already’.
But you don’t know. You can’t possibly know just yet. You will though.
And I was one of the lucky ones. Baby slept through the night from a few months old. A solid 12 hours. I was baking then. Sugar free! Feeling a little smug (not arrogant mind, just a sprinkling of oh yeah I got this).
Until we flew London-Australia-Thailand-London at the 6 month mark, and The Great Unravelling began.
The flights were okay. Jetlag was okay-ish. Getting back to a ‘normal’ routine when we got home wasn’t really okay. And then:
Weaning. Crawling. Teething. Oh my.
Now I survive on sugar. I’m pretty certain I’m addicted. Peanut M&M’s, peppermint Aero bars and custard slices (£1 for 2 from Sainsbury’s which is BAD). My mouth is salivating as I write that which is BAD. I really must start a sugar detox again, on Monday I think (which is BAD and makes me want to cry). If not sugar what?!
I’m tired, I think. So very tired. I say it so often these days the words have lost all meaning.
I actually have a hierarchy of ‘tired’ that I use when my husband asks how I am:
A bit tired.
Really really tired.
I am going up to the loft now to sleep.
That last one doesn’t sound very tired, but trust me, it’s the mother of tired. If I need to take myself off to sleep – and I’m not talking shared weekend parenting (you nap and then I’ll go nap) – it means I’m nearing collapse and the temporary fixes (red wine, chocolate, caffeine) aren’t working any more.
We say to each other being tired isn’t a competition. Hubby works very long hours, often away from us, and with little sleep. If it was a competition I’d blow him out of the water though. So it’s not a competition.
Remember that game ‘have you ever’? Here goes.
Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t unpack the dishwasher?
Couldn’t hang out the load of washing you just did, so you left it in the washing machine to be rewashed the next day? For three days.
Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t bear to walk upstairs for a tissue so you used a wet wipe?
So tired it feels like you’re drunk-pramming?
So tired that you wore the tights you had on all day to bed, and then kept them on the next day (and then wore them to bed again)?
So tired you dozed off at the hairdresser’s, sitting upright, while they coloured the front part of your hair? Because you thought ‘they won’t notice if I close my eyes for just a second with all this hair in front of my face’. And then when you woke with a jerk from your micro-sleep and discreetly wiped the drool from the corner of your mouth, you thought fuck it and closed your eyes again?
Yeah me too. At least I’m only pretty tired tonight.
Hubby and I went looking for a new bed last weekend.
We’d had a bad night with baby, and where usually I’d bring him in with me (he sleeps better if he can kick me in the stomach and stick grubby fingers up my nose), and hub would head upstairs to the loft bed, we’d been cleaning out the eaves and there wasn’t room up there. Hubby got to experience the first-hand joy of sharing a bed with a miserable/sick one year old. And me. In a double bed. Let’s just say there was a lot of huffing and little sleeping. It did make me laugh though: waking up in the early hours with baby nuzzled in the crook of hubby’s arm. Sideways. Hubby’s head off the actual bed, hovering mid-air. Sleeping.
Hubby thought it was a strategic move on my part to get a bigger bed, but while I’d love to take credit, my brain is too fucking tired most of the time to come up with anything that clever.
So we went to a bed store, and the salesman had us lay down side by side on a special bed that measured the pressure that different parts of your body apply to the bed surface. With baby in between us.
‘Would you consider yourself restless sleepers?’ he asked.
Mate really? I thought, as baby stood up and tried to launch himself over the edge, then cried when we wouldn’t let him.
Turns out hubby has booty. Common in men, the salesman said. Fucking hilarious I thought. His whole crotchal-region showed a LOT of pressure. I felt smug. Until I realised baby had pulled my shirt up to my boobs on one side and my mum tum was hanging out for the whole store.
We walked around and tried out different beds, some hard and some soft. Managed to find one we both liked, in between stopping baby from sticking his finger in fans, climbing down the stairs, and chewing on cushions.
‘Sold!’ I said.
‘We’ll think about it’ said hubby.
‘Let’s buy the damn bed already’ I whispered to him as we left the store.
‘Let’s go check out another store next weekend’ he whispered back.
Damn our opposing shopping styles! One night with baby obviously wasn’t enough.
So for now I will sit here, tired and impatient, waiting for baby to go the fuck to sleep. I will go downstairs and have a bowl of cereal. I will lock up the house, check on him as I pass the nursery, and go to bed in my little second-hand (inherited when we bought the house) bed. I will think I am so tired I really should go to sleep, and I will dick around on my phone for 2-3 hours.
How do you deal with no sleep?