Everyone goes on about how amazing a woman’s body is – growing a new life, and all that jazz. And don’t get me wrong, all that baby growing stuff is pretty awesome; but I’m more impressed with a woman’s ability to function on 20 minutes sleep per night. Because seriously, sleep deprivation is used as TORTURE; and us mums are just over here like: “No sleep?! Meh, I’m in charge of another human(s).”
We were spoiled with K – she filled us full of false bravado about how awesome we are at parenting. You could wrap her and put her in her cot – AWAKE – and she would just chat herself off to sleep. When she woke up, she would wake up happy and chatting (again); giving me plenty of time to wake up slowly and fetch her from her cot.
When she was a babe I stuck to routine – I had a phone app to alert me to which breast she last fed from; and how long she was averaging between feeds. We would be home in time for her to nap in her bassinet/cot. And I could predict, to the second, when she would wake for a feed.
I would get out of bed; walk (in an upright position) to her room; feed, burp and resettle her, before placing her back into her cot. I was then free to return to bed and sleeeeeeeeeep.
This time round; not so much. This time I’m all: “Uh, the baby’s yelling at me again.” Even K has been known to say “I think she needs milk, Mum.”
This time there isn’t really a night time routine. The only thing we’re doing consistently, is waking at 5am – sometimes just for feed, and sometimes to start the day.
When M wakes up (in her cot), she wakes with a vengeance. And so help me god, if I don’t pick her up the instant she opens her eyes; she is going to scream this house down just long enough to wake her sister.
So to combat this; the second she stirs I am INSTANTLY out of bed, sweeping her up into my arms and thrusting a boob in her mouth before either of us is even awake. I often think that I should probably just leave her – she may resettle herself; for all I know, she could just be squirming into a more comfortable position. The issue is: I can’t actually help it, because I’M NOT AWAKE.
I honestly can’t remember how many times I’m feeding her at night, because aside from the one time I change her nappy overnight, I don’t think I’m even waking up anymore. Or maybe I’m not sleeping anymore. I’m not sure; but I’m definitely either always awake or always asleep. And I definitely don’t have any control over my actions. I literally woke up the other night with the jumper (that I had gone to bed wearing), folded neatly at the end of the bed. And I still have no recollection of getting hot, let alone taking it off and FOLDING IT.
I’ve tried to wake myself up a bit by checking emails and scrolling social media when I wake to feed her. But it’s not having the desired effect; instead I’m just finding that I’m reading/writing emails (that I have forgotten about by morning); taking random screenshots, and writing obscure notes.
I sometimes try to sleep during the day, but the girls work in shifts to keep me awake – when one is asleep, the other is awake. K is trying to drop her afternoon sleep and I refuse to let her; I feel she’s being ungrateful – oh, what I’d give to have a sleep in the afternoon! And I can’t attempt a sleep when K is awake – do people do that? Sleep while their kids are awake? I don’t know. But I certainly can’t. I can’t even glance in a downward direction without K yelling “WAKE UP MUM! WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING?!”
I’m almost certain that every other baby in a three mile radius is sleeping through the night. Hell, Mrs Smith’s baby slept for 24 hours straight and has just been accepted to study medicine at University – or so the snide woman in the supermarket informs me. Information which I’m sure would upset me, if motherhood were a competition and I could retain new information.
Instead, I remain optimistic that she will eventually sleep through. I mean, I can’t be sure, but I don’t think I’ll still be thrusting my sleeping potion (breastmilk) upon her when she’s twelve.. And that’s only a little more than eleven and a half years away..
For now though, I’ll keep making excuses for her: oh it’s just a growth spurt; she’s in a wonder week; she’s a bit hot, or a bit cold; she has the sniffles; the room’s feng shui is wrong; the cat looked at her funny.
And let’s be honest – at 5am this morning, she laughed at my yawn; and in the twisted world of motherhood, that makes up for everything.