I wrote this a few weeks ago now, in a semi delirium after battling the hell that is night waking. Somewhat controversially, I believe in the controlled crying method. Not in leaving an infant to be upset and in pain or hungry, of course if that is what is happening then I am there without question. But if it is simply because our son wakes up and fancies a chat and a party in the wee hours of the morning, then I choose my pillow thanks. And, after a cuddle and a reaffirming ‘It’s time for sleepies now’, I lay him down and leave so that he can learn how to fall back to sleep without relying on me to do it for him… just like he learnt to roll over, sit up, walk and now (kind of getting there) talk. I don’t want to chat and party… that’s what day time is for. I’ll have to write a post on it actually, since I wrote the entey below, we have actually had success and now get 10-12 hours a night. The ironic fact I am about to drop with BB2 is not wasted on me though, I assure you. Anyway, this particular night (technically morning) was trying. Controlled crying wasn’t working, I hadn’t the mental or physical strength to carry it through and it felt as though we would never sleep or function normally again. The following is me babbling it all out.. the peak of my delirium hitting in rhyme for the last paragraphs. For all parents, you shall nod knowingly. For all non parents, you will appreciate your slumber all the more! Either way, I hope you all enjoy the read and the glimpse I’m about to give you into that particular night of sleep deprivation:
“It’s 3.30am. For over three hours now, myself and PB have been trying to cajole our 21 month old back to sleep.
It started out uneventfully. BB stirred with a bit of a grizzle so I changed his nappy and offered up some water and left the room. Then silence. I sank into bed again, confident that all was well. Then came a gradual babble of nonsense. Lots of ‘Hi’s and ‘Who’s that’s (his favourite phraaes right now), with the occasional bumps and thumps as he launched himself from one side of the cot to another. Then came the excited shrieks and giggles. That then led to full on screaming.
I went in, patted his back til he fell silent and sleepy. Then left the room. Thirty seconds later the screaming started again.
To and fro, back and forth, each time losing a little bit more patience and peace of mind. Each time heaving my weary pregnancy bump laden body out of bed to lean over and linger around a cot.
My back feels broken and my bump feels sore. And all the while, a triumphant BB smiles, and giggles and babbles at me for coming to his bedside… for nothing.
An hour passes and I have to lay down and stop my muscles screaming. Why does everything scream at me nowadays??
PB takes over, but the cycle continues.
I scoop BB up and bring him to our bed. If I can just calm the babble and get him to snooze.. surely then I can put him back in his bed and we can all get some rest.
He plays with my fingers and the hairs on my arms. He pinches my skin and traces my face. More babble and attempts to interact. He tries to sit up and wriggles around. It isn’t working. Another strike out. I ask PB to return him to bed and he does. But when he comes back to our room, the wailing begins again.
Nappy is changed.. again. Milk is proferred. There goes my hopes of dropping the night time feeds. Failure and guilt tugs at my conscience but I simply have to sleep. It is guzzled down greedily but seems to fuel more babbling and screaming… and a temper begins. How dare we not play? How dare we leave him? How dare we try to tell him to sleep?
More taking turns over the cot. Controlled crying is attempted and failed… more over concern for the neighbours who are now banging on the wall than over anything else. One temper tantrum brinks on hysteria, causing PB to consider it being a night terror. Cue all the lights on and a lot of soothing. Which causes me annoyance and I descend on them both in the nursery, seething.
Out go all the lights, I storm up to the cot. Go to sleep is my mantra and lost is the plot. PB gets annoyed and says I’ve dismissed him. I just feel angry that he has broken the system. No lights on, no contact, no weakness should show. So we end up at logger heads, and both sit on the bed. Heads in our hands, BB shouting bub bye. Myself losing all hope of any shut eye. The buggy, its needed… get it out of the car! So PB puts his trainers on, and complains it’s too far. I don’t care, we’ll try anything. I need to rest! I’m 35 weeks pregnant and meant to be on the nest! Bundling up BB, who was still full of chatter, he leaves and they go down the stairs with a huge clatter. I lay crying and losing all hope for myself… how can I give birth with such poor mental health? I miss sleep, and makeup and washing my hair. I know it’s the way, sometimes life is unfair. Children and family are really a blessing. But right now, at 3.30 I can’t help confessing. Sometimes it is hard… sometimes its a mess. So much worry, such heartache and such endless stress. If we could all sleep our full quota and get some more rest, there’s no doubt in my mind, it would be for the best. But for now, it is simply a case of keep going. Of patience and nappie changing, more to-ing and fro-ing. One day, I will look back and miss these old days. But right now, I miss me…. in so many ways.”