I’ve been blessed over the course of my mummyhood with three babies who have slept quite well. I’m not smug enough to attribute this solely to my own mad skillz and motherhood prowess, but I’m also reticent to credit it all to luck. I mean, maybe I am just so lucky that I’ve had three individual and very different babies who have all slept in very similar (and ultimately quite pleasing) patterns… Or maybe, I’ve just flukily blundered upon a technique that works. Let me just caveat that by saying that it works for our family, our kids, in our household. I’m no sleep expert, I don’t purport to give advice to others about fail safe techniques to getting a good night sleep with babies in the house. I can’t even eat a meal without slopping food down my front, I don’t think I’m in any position to give advice about anything, to anyone!
What I do know though, is that parenting is hard damn work. Not least of all because you’re usually working under some form of sleep deficit, whether it be a big one or a comparatively little one. And what of this sleeping through the night business anyway? Child and youth health define “sleeping through” as your baby sleeping five hours in a row. Once your baby can do this apparently you can proudly tell your friends, mothers group and random strangers in the supermarket who ask (as is so frequently the case), that yes indeed your baby does sleep through the night. Calloo callay. I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t a bit of a beat up. Don’t get me wrong, five hours ain’t bad, but if that constitutes sleeping through the night, then throughout my entire pre-parenting life, I was doing it wrong.
People do silly things when they’re sleep deprived. Things they might not like to speak about. Things like wearing their Tshirt inside out all day at the zoo when they’re meeting up with new friends they may have been hoping to impress. Things like, oh I don’t know…accidentally using a concealer stick as lipgloss when ordering a coffee at a very chic hipster cafe, and subsequently walking around unknowingly for the next two hours with thickly applied beige lips. I mean, I imagine that’s what tired people might do. I can’t know for sure.
Your judgement isn’t great when you’re sleep deprived either. You do crazy things like buying a 1kg jar of Nutella and hiding it in the pantry along with a teaspoon which you just use over and over again for fear that someone might see chocolatey remnants on the spoon if it takes its rightful place in the dishwasher, and be onto you. When you suggest to your three year old that you aren’t her slave, you accidentally laugh and agree when she responds with “Santa rides on a slave” instead of appropriately using it as a learning and growth opportunity and pointing out the very distinct difference between a slave and a sleigh. Good times.
All of these completely fictional anecdotes not at all based on real events taking place in my actual life. Of course.
See this stuff happens even to mums with “easy” babies. In fact, don’t tell a mum she has an “easy” baby, because even easy babies aren’t easy all the time. And babies are “good” whether they sleep through the night or not. Every mum can only play the hand they’re dealt and I can guarantee you that for pretty much every mother, sometimes it feels less like playing and more like losing all your money, not to mention your dignity, in a single round of black jack in Reno, to an old lady wearing a sparkly jacket.
And even so, as my “easy” baby (who has decided today that forty minutes is enough for an afternoon sleep, when she usually has two hours) vomits on my shoulder… What I can tell you is this. There is one easy part.. And that’s loving her.