When my baby was born she wouldn’t sleep.
Well, she would, but not without me rocking her with her magic blanket (the magic blanket they sell in sets of two from Primark – who knew magic was so easy to get hold of). Fast-forward a few months and we’d gone past the rocking. She still needed the magic blanket and, on special occasions, the boob. But on the main she was happy to go into her cot, with the blanket of magical qualities, and fall to sleep.
She’d wake a few hours later of course. But after some boob and a cuddle she’d be back into bed. Eventually, eight months after arriving into the world, she slept through the night without waking – once. But then she did it again a week later. And then it became a regular habit until now, at 12 months, she is what is generally known as a “good sleeper”.
Or she was.
Because, for the past two weeks, she has reverted back to her newborn ways. Bedtime comes, she’s tired, inevitably she does a poo on the carpet and then has a bath. Then it’s time for milk (out of a cup now, rather than the boob – this is a recent thing), followed by story and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and bed. That’s the plan anyway.
What actually happens is a tantrum of epic proportions as soon as she’s out of the bath, followed by a brief respite during milk, story and song time, followed by more tears as soon as she’s in her cot. Even the magic blanket doesn’t work. It will all go quiet after thirty seconds or so. I’ll relax, pour myself a glass of wine and settle at the laptop, only to be rudely interrupted ten minutes later by a distraught Frog shouting into the monitor. Or blowing raspberries.
This goes on for an hour or so. During which time I become exhausted from running up and down the stairs, rocking, cuddling, relaxing into a false sense of security and then running up the stairs again. Each sprint to the top of the stairs is punctuated by a quick round of “Don’t give in to her” from the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine who claims she never, ever does this when I’m not around.
So what am I doing wrong?
When Frog eventually gives in for the night, I can’t switch off, because I know that in a few hours she’ll be awake again crying. Except it’s not just crying anymore, it’s “Mamamamama” over and over again. Talk about emotional blackmail.
I’m back to those days of insomnia, where the thought of bed seemed like a pointless idea because I was just going to be woken five minutes after my head hit the pillow anyway.
I know it’s probably “just a phase”, or “her teeth”, or a million and one other likely causes. I know there’s no answer – just like I knew it nine months ago when I thought I’d be rocking her forever – and that she’ll just stop doing it one day. But it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with right now. I’m terrified we’re going to lose our “good sleeper” forever, to be replaced with a “bad sleeper” who blows raspberries and shouts “Mamamamama” at 3am.
So I’m not looking for advice (although if you have any I’m always open to suggestions – I am a very suggestible person) but, rather, some company in my sleep misery. Sleep misery loves company and all that. Consider this a shout out to all of you with “bad sleepers” on your hands – come and join my club. Because at 3 o’clock in the morning, it feels like I’m the only one in it.