(or Bring on the All-nighters)
Dragging my weary feet behind me as I traipsed up and down the hallway, I desperately tried to keep my eyes open while half-heartedly muttering lullabies through gritted teeth.
When dawn finally broke, I contemplated the dark thoughts running through my mind during the seemingly endless night and flinched at the memory. Who in their right mind would consider walking out of their home and abandoning a crying baby?
I’ll tell you who - an exhausted mum home alone with her nocturnal offspring.
One thing I discovered in the early months of motherhood is that the rational mind only tends to function during daylight hours. When nightfall sets in, however, so does the insanity emerge.
The evening can start off well enough; baby has gone down with minimal effort, you’re having dinner on the sofa (yum, crisps and chocolate again), watching a bit of telly and thinking ‘ah lovely, some time to myself’. You deny yourself bed because this ‘me-time’ is so precious. However, eventually when your eyes feel as though they may start bleeding with the sheer effort of focusing on the screen, you take yourself off to beddy byes.
‘Better just check on the little one’ you remind yourself and peek your head around his bedroom door. Your little cherub is lying peacefully in his cot, looking so adorable you can’t help but edge further into the room to gently caress his soft head (quick check that he’s breathing while you’re at it). At this precise moment in time you feel so in love with your wonderful bundle of gorgeousness you could weep.
Then you recoil in fear. No no no no…..’ Oh please God NO….
HIS EYES ARE OPEN.
You begin to make a hasty retreat, stumbling over scattered toys on your way, not daring to take a breath. Then, just as you close the door behind you here it comes; the unavoidable, piercing ‘WAAAAAAAHHH!!!!’ indicating that the night shift has just started.
So here we are again, back to yet another sleepless night. The endless pacing up and down, trying everything possible to comfort your baby whilst simultaneously endeavoring to block out that desperate ‘run for the hills!’ urge.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing much we can do about sleep and babies. Contrary to advice found in many a useless baby help book the majority of babies are not and cannot be programmed to sleep straight through the night. Our expectation that they fit into our routine is idealistic and improbable and we’re letting ourselves in for a big fat disappointing fall if we believe for one second our babies are just going to step into line with us.
My advice? Convert your evening ‘me-time’ into ‘sleep-time’. Forget watching just one more episode of ‘Breaking Bad’, forget that really important email you just have to send to your high school friend who you haven’t seen in a trillion years. Really, just GET YOURSELF TO BED; I didn’t heed this advice and temporarily went half mental in the process.
NB – Don’t worry, I didn’t ever actually abandon my baby in the house.