After another few nights of playing Musical Beds and being out of my bed (and in the Toddlers or feeding the baby) anywhere up to five hours of the eight I like to spend upstairs I’ve been musing over my complete and utter obsession with baby sleep.
I mean, I never used to be obsessed, sleep after all was a given right and the worst I had to contend with was completing a day in the office after a night on the razz counting down the minutes until I could board the sweaty, stinking tube and go back to the land of nod. Gratefully sinking into a clean bed with fresh sheets and fluffy pillows. Not a bed with dubious stains on the sheets (from the children!) that I attempt to sink into these days.
No, these days sleep is a luxury. A fight for a weekend lie in. A trip up to bed at 9pm is winning. A baby sleeping for four hours straight at night is a miracle. A baby napping anywhere other than me is a bigger miracle. And to pop the cherry on top a baby in his cot sleeping longer than the 30 minutes he appears to be programmed to do is a reason for a party.
That was just the Toddler when he was a baby, now I have TWO of them to obsess over.
From making sure the Toddler doesn’t nap, unless I want him to be awake until 10pm to making sure the Baby does could involve me driving round and round whisper-shouting the Toddler to stay awake and praying to the God of Sleep that the Baby will stop crying and close his eyes.
To monitoring the time as to when it’s acceptable to wake up (must invest in a gro-clock) so far as long as it starts with a 6 its deemed socially acceptable, 5:59am is met with a (whisper-shout) it’s still night time.
Sleeping while travelling? Desperate attempts to get them to sleep on a plane resulting in night flights with no sleep for anyone followed by staying in places where you don’t have your appropriate sleep aids to hand, such as a baby gate to keep them contained within the sleeping area at least.
Then of course there is sleeping through the different seasons. Dubai is fairly consistent, being closer to the equator and all, that all year round the sun sets and rises within an hour window. Even in the height of summer we have darkness by 7:30pm. Which is lovely. The UK? The seasons mean different things…..
On one hand your heart sinks at the cold, rainy weather. The central heating on. The being trapped indoors by your dislike of being wet.
On the other? Dark nights and gloomy mornings lead to Baby (and Toddler) sleeping heaven. It’s dark therefore it’s night time therefore it’s sleep time.
***Disclaimer – this is just a theory, please be warned that Toddlers and Babies have minds of their own that never often don’t conform to behaviour we ourselves would expect***
British summertime. That extra hour of sun (ha). The joy of having the outside available at all times, trips to the park, to the beach, even walking to the shop….
Then there is the being light until 10pm at night.
Gro-clock or no gro-clock the sun is still awake therefore I must be too.
At least this is what we had to contend with when we went home to my mums this summer, coinciding with the heatwave we had left Dubai to escape incidentally, we tried everything to convince the Toddler it was nighttime.
We had foil on the window to black out the room – that resulted in great fun in tearing it down.
We had towels hooked over the curtain rail – that resulted in the curtain rail collapsing from the weight in the middle of the night.
We just tried to have the curtains – that resulted in 11pm bedtimes……
What we needed was blackout blinds (Mum are you reading this ready for next summer??) Beautiful dark inducing blackout blinds. I’ve even been busy pursuing sites to find a perfect match. (Mum, if you’re wondering VELUX blinds do them #justsaying). Saying that I’m sure we will get the black out blinds up and it still won’t help….
And why not I hear you cry?
Babies (and Toddlers) have this inbuilt mechanism to avoid sleep when you want them to sleep.
My King of the 30 minute nap? Well he’s sure to sleep for 90 minutes the day I pop him in his cot (and he stays asleep) when I have plans for us to be somewhere. Sure I’ll be skipping that I get a long *in parent world that’s approximately 3 minutes and 17 seconds when you’re in sole charge* shower. That my make up goes on smoothly without me jumping and therefore smudging mascara up my face. That my hair actually gets done. Then I’ll be all dressed up with nowhere to go as he SLEEPS THROUGH WHEN WE ARE MEANT TO LEAVE.
My none napping Toddler? Guaranteed to close his eyes to nap as we pull into our drive. Then the mother of all tantrums will kick off when I move him from the car.
Or when he just crashes on the sofa and my heart sinks when I realise I will be up all hours (again).
Or even better….climbs under the Jumperoo before promptly nodding off.
The bedtime routine I think I have got down to a tee? Where I feel good in the knowledge I can get out of the house at 8pm with two sleeping children.
And ha again.
Still, sleep is for the weak right?
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