When I was eight years old, my Mum gave birth to my little sister. She was my Mum’s fifth child spanned across a period of twenty two years. So my Mum was both a young mother and an “older” mother. My little sister however, of course didn’t care at all where she came, and how much time my Mum had for her in amongst getting other children ready for school, fed, cleaned up after. But little sister didn’t sleep. Never more than an hour or two at a time. Until she was two years old. She wasn’t much of a crier, but she rarely slept. There are several photos from that time of either my Mum or Dad sitting up with bed hair and bleary eyes playing with play people with her and if my memory doesn’t deceive me, I think there were also 2a.m. baking photos. My parents left her to roam at one point with the safety gate at the top of the stairs and woke up to find talcum powder spread across the landing. I don’t think they cared about it that much. They had managed to sneak some much-needed sleep. My Mum still remembers (this is almost thirty years ago) falling asleep standing up talking to someone once. This is micro-sleeping, right? When the body and brain is just so exhausted that it compensates however possible. When my Mum went to her local G.P. she was horrified when he suggested giving something to little sis to help her sleep. He looked at my Mum and said, “sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture in prisoner of war camps, you know” I’m not sure whether or not my Mum took him up on this offer, but at some point after the age of two or three, little sis slept. Then hit her teenage years and of course it was impossible to get her to actually wake up then.
Why this anecdote, you ask? Well today is day two of a full night’s sleep (ish) for me. I almost feel as if I’m jinxing it by writing it down and I hate to count my chickens so soon, but I am feeling tremendous. This is the most sleep I’ve had in about 12 months and wow it feels great! Sleep is so very very underrated. Little F, despite having a grizzle time in the evenings is a relatively easy baby (shhhh, tempting fate again!). She loves mornings and often wakes up with a smile on her face. She has her last feed at 10:30p.m. and then has been waking at around 5:30a.m., which is still a little early for me, but I feed her, then play her music and turn off the light and after about an hour or so of fussing/wriggling, she goes back to sleep. She’d be sleeping like a log if I didn’t wake her at around 8 to get ready for the nursery run. I get back home, feed her again, and then she sleeps until around noon, or is awake and usually relatively happy until her next feed. Then she’s awake when it’s busiest, the children are back from school, running around making noise and I just let it be. No use in trying to quiet them, and it’s their house too, so I try to just put up with it, and it doesn’t really bother F all that much anyway. Then she gets evening colic, which can be quite stressful, but a warm bath seems to help. We all hop in the bath together, which she still really loves. Thankfully, there was only the one incidence of a poo explosion in the bath, where I’ve never seen H and L get out so fast, and I had to wait for Y to run the baby bath to put her in while sitting in a bath full of baby poo. Thank God Y was home that day.
So this is a celebratory post and a plee. If you see a Mum or Dad with a newborn and they don’t seem to be making much sense/looking their best, be nice. They’re probably suffering from newborn sleep torture xxx