As I write this, PB is upstairs trying to get a rather grumpy BB off to sleep. Teething, over tiredness, a day full of over activity and over stimulation all seem to have coincided and as a result, tonight is a fight filled with sad wailing and screams…. from BB… soon to be from us too probably! This week I have been so tired and struggling with patience because just as we think we have cracked our sleeping pattern and moved 10 paces forward, things feel like they have suddenly hit a brick wall and taken 9 steps back, with both getting him to sleep and then keeping him asleep. Last night and the night before went like a dream. The night before that he had a slight babble session and played in his cot for 20 minutes before passing out and the night before that he played with Babbit the Rabbit, his bunny bear soft toy, in silence before slipping off into slumber.
I have absolutely no idea what influences how our night’s unfold 99% of the time. I wing it, completely. Hoping for the best whilst deep down expecting and preparing for the worst has become the norm and I can’t remember the last time I either put him or myself to bed without having dread and hope cross my mind in equal measures. We stick to a routine every night, with dinner being followed by half an hour’s quiet play before a nice warm bath, clean PJ’s and tooth brushing before a bottle of milk and bed. Some nights, in fact most nights really, he is bundled up and in bed between 7pm and 8pm without complaint, we sleep through until at least 4/5am, before a nappy change and drink coaxes him back into slumber until 7.30/8am. I know I am extremely lucky with this and I could have things a lot worse. But on the nights where he is up at what I like to call ‘witching hour’, usually around 3am when it feels as if everyone else in the world is asleep except for you, my eyes are burning, my body aches and I feel overwhelmed with having a full day ahead without proper sleep.. I really lose sight of the nights where things go well. Then you have the inner check list you go through in your head as to why he’s not sleeping and all kinds of scenarios have the chance of being played out each night.
Sometimes he wakes up and either babbles away whilst playing with anything he can reach from his mattress based cell for 2 hours or he screams the house down because he wants me to come and sit with him and join in his games. Speech has become a massive source of excitement, and practise makes perfect of course…. therefore some times you can be woken by him practising his new phrases and sounds in earnest. The other night I was treated to ‘Mummumumumum, heyjo deddy, bubbye’ on repeat for half and hour before he realised no one was there to congratulate him on his efforts so he started to cry as a form of insistence that I come in and pat him on the back. Often, waking happens because his nappy has sprung a leak, which means I feel like I am on a Crystal Maze challenge, completing a full nappy and PJ’s/sleeping bag change in break neck speed time so he doesn’t wake up fully and start to get the notion that the day has in fact begun! Other times the dreaded teeth are breaking through, leaving a fractious infant with day glow cheeks not knowing what to do with himself whilst his helpless parents clumsily dart about the upper floors searching for Calpol, that infuriatingly easy to lose syringe that comes with it and the magic teething granules, all in the dim lighting because heaven forbid anyone switch a light on and mimic the sun!
As I listed before, this week has seen no end of different beginnings to sleep each evening and as I now sit here in peace and quiet (well done PB, I knew I could count on you to restore order tonight!) it is a case of, yet again, realising that we can’t expect to ‘crack’ certain aspects of parenting. Our children are individuals, just like ourselves. I can’t remember having the same amount and quality of sleep every night (even before I became a Mum!) and so I can’t expect that of my children either. All we can do is carry on with faith in our routine, embrace the great nights and breathe through the bad. Even in the dead of night, when my head feels like a pressure cooker about to explode and I can’t even cry because I am consumed with running on empty… I have to remember that one day my nest will be empty and my heart will be full of longing for the times when I had a small person on the other side of the wall, babbling or crying for me and dependent on my answering their call. Plus the cute bed hair and beaming smile that greet me in the morning make up for a hell of a lot of sleeplessness!
|BB and Babbit the Rabbit|
Additional Information and findings from this week:
– The syringe used to administer Calpol can actually turn into a pretty nifty bath toy as well. I use it to ‘shoot’ water at BB and he giggles away manically every time! Can imagine him getting his own back on me one day when he masters the skill for himself!
– It is bloody freezing outside! And we are a little way into the countryside now so when I get frost on my car, I REALLY get frost on my car…. to the point where my car resembles an igloo and I expect the cast from Happy Feet to pop out from the boot!
|On a cold and frosty morning!|
– Certain episodes of the Twirlywoos make BB break down in floods of tears. Most of them have the complete opposite effect on him, but when there is something he really can’t handle (usually Peekaboo dressed/wrapped/covered up in something with just his eyes peeking through) he just absolutely goes to pieces. Have never moved so quickly in my life as I do to switch off the offending episode…. talk about instinct propelling you forward to protect your child’s needs!
– BB is getting increasingly impatient with being strapped into his buggy or high chair. It is now simply not enough to observe the world that surrounds him. Nope, now he wants to be IN that world… no matter how much bigger it is than him. In some settings it is fine… such as the park, soft play, friends and family’s houses, at home… even in big expansive areas where we can pop him on reins such as garden centres, super markets or big high streets where there is plenty of room for manoeuvrability. In restaurants where people are trying to enjoy their meal times uninterrupted, or whilst visiting a loved one in hospital or when going to witness your pregnant mother get a flu jab/whooping cough vaccine… these are not toddler appropriate times for a run about. And the frustration of that fact has resulted in many tears this week. At times, even full on tantrums.
– Receiving a flu vaccine in one arm and a whooping cough vaccine in the other arm was pleasantly pain free. Trying to hear the nurse over my tantrum toddler was not. I caught the words ‘slightly achey’ and shrugged it off as a mild possibility but by the evening when it felt like Mike Tyson had done a full round of his type of jabs on my arms, her words came flooding back and the mild possibility became a great big massive definite reality. If the NHS ever describe something as mildly/slightly/a tad/a bit or unlikely to be achey/sore/uncomfortable or painful… run. Just RUN! For the hills and don’t ever look back.
‘Don”t ever look back, don’t ever look back….’
– Oh, ffs! That last line just triggered another ear worm. Ear worms are catchy tunes and lyrics that get impossibly stuck in your head for ages on end and you feel ever so slightly mad by the time they do leave you. Sleep deprivation heightens the probability of this happening to me and for the past couple of days I have had Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ circling my weary brain, as well as the theme tune to Cbeebies ‘My Pet and Me’ and ‘Justin’s House’. Help!
*** Update: As I finished this post, BB woke up screaming in terror…. bloody heart wrenching and fear inducing to hear your child screaming in fright from a nightmare! Completely new development and one that has my heart beating and PB singing ‘Soft Kitty’ in the dim light upstairs. See…. one can never crack the human mind and body, it is completely full of surprises! Shall resume humming Katy Perry now… ***