The new one isn’t so new anymore. In a couple of weeks she will be two. She isn’t a fan of sleep. This isn’t my first time at the sleep deprivation rodeo and for the most part its fine. My first two children slept well. They slept from early on. This was clearly down to me being an amazing parent……….Then I had two more children. Some babies sleep, some don’t. I know that and generally I am okay with this but it’s getting in on me now as we reach two years of broken sleep. I am ageing more rapidly than I should. I have a constant greyish pallor and I need too much caffeine to function. This is currently how our sleep pattern goes but is subject to rapid and unexplained change.
Anytime between 8pm and 9pm– In a very recent development the child goes to bed. Generally her Dad brings her. Going to sleep could take anything between 10 to 50 minutes. It’s quite exciting not knowing how long it will take.It keeps us on our toes.
10pm-11pm – She will stir or wake up. Sometimes a quick feed or cuddle will settle her. Again though its back to the exciting unknown what worked one night may not work the next.
Midnight – She wakes. The very sight of her Dad who she is really very fond of during daylight hours, enrages her. “SHE NEEDS THE MAMA” Her Dad tries to comfort her but no “SHE NEEDS THE MAMA PLEASE” or ” NEED THE MAMA NOW” all manners are lost if she is very furious. The Mama goes into her room as the mama is very aware of her three other children who need to get up and go to school in the morning and don’t need their sleep broken. The mama feeds her for however long. This time with the added excitement of “Oh holy fuck is this tiny cute toddler bed going to hold my weight. Due to chronic exhaustion I have no energy to lose weight. Was that a creak? Are we going to collapse onto the ground. Will the whimsical canopy collapse on us as we fall? I am definitely not eating any more easter eggs. There is no way this bed can hold my weight” And the fear continues until she sleeps. Then , ninja like, I extract myself from the pretty bed and leave the room.
10 to 40 mins later– She wakes up. No more energy to carry on the facade that we don’t co sleep anymore and either I go get her, the husband goes to get her or she creeps initially ninja like out of her bed before transforming into full-blown angry tiny person , horrified that she was left in her bed alone as she crosses the landing, kicking in our bedroom door and losing the ability to speak so great is her rage. She hollers in anger. She is placed in the bed. She goes back asleep. I do too, content in the knowledge this bed won’t collapse under me, for now.
1.54 am– She wakes. Sometimes I don’t hear her waking, the first I know about it is a small but deadly hand clamps down on my head, usually gathering leverage in my eyeball as she twists my head around to face her. Last night, for added excitement, her small but deadly hand clamped down over my mouth. I woke up initially thinking a crazed murderer had broken in but no it was just 21lbs of the toddler sized energy bunny mixing up her torture methods.
Between 2am and 6.30 – She may wake once more or four times. Then at about 6.30am/ 7am she slumbers peacefully. Some days, like today, this is possible as the husband can bring the kids to school.
9.05am – she stretches luxuriously, beaming and delighted with the world. She looks for her siblings. I explain they are gone to school. She stretches again and smiles to herself no doubt mocking her brother and sisters in her head for getting up so early, the fools.
11am- “MAMA I NEED TO GO TO BED“. Acting like a child who is fond of both sleep and bed. It’s a good act. I bring her to bed. Some mornings I am so tired I consider getting in for a nap too but by this stage I am jittering slightly like a crack cocaine fiend and sleeping would be impossible. This morning, after 20 mins she fell asleep. I extracted myself using the well practised ninja like routine. I went downstairs. Sure I may as well have more coffee. Its going to be a long day. I sit down. The house is silent and then I hear “Where is that mama?” Ah the seven minute nap. These brief naps happen after she has had the luxury of the sleep in. She’s awake, she’s ready to party. The day continues.
4pm-8pm- the backlash of the 7 minute nap. She is tired. She is not tolerant of anyone or anything. If we get into the car she will sleep. She is watched like a hawk, if her eyes start to droop, I talk in loud exaggerated tones like a CBeebies presenter, irritatingly noisy so as she doesn’t sleep.
8pm- 9pm We start all over again. Will she sleep or not? The husband and I have a variance of the same conversation we have been having for pretty much ten years, weighing up the likelihood of sleep, calculating nap times, remembering how she slept five weeks ago for a five-hour stretch and trying to recreate that steps to make that happen. I don’t know anything about his job or his mood and vice versa because all we talk about is sleep. She goes to bed. She sleeps for a while.
Jesus I am so fucking tired.