It been 2 years and 2 months since I’ve slept. I nearly said since I ‘had a decent sleep’ but most heavily pregnant mothers will tell you that sleep in those later weeks is far from decent.
My favourite part about my toddler not sleeping is the advice you get from others ha!
The first comments were ‘Maybe he just isn’t getting enough from your milk….’ *insert emoji with the straight face and wide glaring eyes*
Then follows ‘wait til he’s eating proper foods he will sleep then’ or ‘wait til those teeth come in he will be okay then.’ You think they may be right.
Isn’t it funny the question that everyone seems to ask….”Is he a good baby?” As if a good baby is measured on how fussy or clingy they are or how much they sleep. I always found that question really odd.
Next to come is ‘wait til he’s crawling’ or ‘wait til he’s walking.’ We hit all these milestones and yet the longest sleep he can muster is almost 3 hours. Despite bathing at 7 every night it was a game of roulette as to whether he would be in bed before 8 or up with us until we went to bed.
By about 6 months others have seemed to grow impatient with the baby, especially as they’ve asked for the trillionth time “Is he sleeping any better yet?” Tired old me with my saggy eye bags and bird nest hair manages to string together the short sentence “No not yet.” The advice from here is usually “Have you tried leaving him? Just let him cry it out. He will soon learn.” This piece of advice breaks my heart a little.
The thing is, it isn’t just about being fed, having a clean bum and warm clothing. It’s also about emotional needs and right now at the age of 2 my toddler still needs me. He stills needs cuddles during the night. He still needs to nurse. He still needs me to wrap him in his blankie when he becomes untucked. Night time can be scary and maybe he just needs reassurance. Separation anxiety is a real thing too!
By about 18 months you learn to survive on what little sleep you get. Sure make-up is still for special occasions and my hair sees a hairbrush every couple of days. Clothes are whatever’s comfortable.
There are bad nights though. I’m not going to lie. These nights usually begin quite well. He goes down at 8 and sleeps for almost 3 hours!!! 3 fricking hours! My head hits the pillow and BAM cries of “mummy” shriek through our silent house. He’s awake for the next 2-4 hours. The frustrating part is that he doesn’t actually want to leave his room. I think i could cope if he would come to lay in bed with me but he has never enjoyed co-sleeping, much to my disgruntlement. He wants me to sit in the armchair in his room cradling him while rocking back and forth constantly (push push as he calls it) while he sucks his dee dum or nurses with his eyes closed making annoying repetitive groans.
It’s times like this where my body stays relatively calm while my inside is screaming. I’m begging, pleading, praying to a false God in the ceiling “Please make my baby sleep! I promise I’ll be a better person.” Then suddenly everything stops. He goes quiet. He’s asleep. Its 4am…..
Despite this, no matter how exhausted, no matter how much I moan. I pledge to you, my beautiful son, that I will cuddle you to sleep until you do not need me anymore. Every time you wake i will come to you as soon as i can and i will rock and sing you softly to sleep. I will kiss your eye brows til your eyes close. I will stroke your hair until your whimpering stops. I will hold you there til you drop off. I promise you this. Mum.