Sleep. What the hell is it?

One thing that all expecting parents fear is the lack of sleep.

When my wife and I were expecting our first, I heard on the grape vine that there will be little sleep. I really didn’t do much research at all when becoming a parent for the first time. Poppy usually deals with the important stuff and I go with the flow and adapt as I need to. That method works for me.

I was not prepared (at all) for the 2 years of sleeping issues that we faced with Taormina.

She didn’t sleep through in her own bed until the age of two and a few months. It was only a couple of months before our second children was born that I could put her in bed in a calm manner without any hysterics or negotiations, leave her and she’d drop off after 20 minutes or so leaving me to have an evening to either complete some chores, work, or to work my way through a TV box set like Game of Thrones or Sons of Anarchy.

When our second was born, my lovely evening’s got ripped away from me quicker than Usain Bolt can run 10m. All of a sudden I went from having a nice chilled evening doing what I fancied to having to work out a routine that suits us as a family. Deep down I felt violated but I’m happy to do what needs to be done. Plus I have done it all before. Again, I will adapt to the environment quickly. When you have your second, you half know what is coming so it isn’t too much of a shock to the system.

Any way, as I was working out our new evening routine with the new-born, it happened… A month after Wolfie was born, Taormina bed time habits went backwards. I could no longer put her to bed how I had just come to get used to! She would be in hysterics if I left the room. I won’t bog you down with the minor details but basically I had to stay in her room to get her to sleep. This could take an hour or two. Then in the night she would wake multiple times screaming.

Pops and I quickly jumped to our responsibilities. She looked after the baby and I looked after the toddler. It just made sense as the baby was breast-fed. So we had a new-born feeding every couple of hours and toddler waking at similar times.

NIGHTMARE, although I wish it were a nightmare because you have to be as sleep to have a nightmare!!!!

Lack of sleep really is one of the hardest things a parent can face. It does really horrible things to an individual and has a terrible knock on effect on the next day and when you have several bad nights in a row, you never have chance to catch up.

You really can’t prepare yourself for no sleep as an expecting parent so my advice is sleep as much as you can before you have children because you might never get that lie in again!

During this period, Taormina also got big enough to get out of the her cot. I was reluctant to take the sides off because I knew she would just do what she wanted but as soon as your child can get out of the cot, in my opinion, you’re better off taking the sides off to prevent any accidents.

At the moment our sleeping arrangements are a little unorthodox but it works for us. The way we sleep can be found on my why won’t my wife sleep with me post.

 

There’s been a few times I have pulled off the impossible and it has been achieved via blagging and chancing my luck which has led to a massive parenting win. We seem to have a break through with Taormina.

I usually lock the cat in the kitchen before I put Taormina to bed otherwise the cat will be a nuisance by coming into her room and waking her up, but we was rushing around one evening as we were behind schedule and I forgot to lock her in. When I was putting T to sleep, the cat burst into the room doing what she does best – being a pest and Taormina asked me to get her out. I come up with a complete story that I have to take the Skylar cat to the kitchen but I can’t leave her in the kitchen because she will eat our lunch that I was making for tomorrow. I further explained that I either let Skylar roam the house including her bedroom or I have to go to the kitchen and stay there to make sure Skylar doesn’t eat the lunch and Taormina has to go to sleep on her own.

Taormina chose the latter and accepted a kiss good night and wanted tucking in.

The next night I told her the same story which she accepted and again I tucked her in, said good night and job done.

The 3rd night, I took her to bed and she actually told me to leave her on her own so she could go to sleep. I could not bloody believe it! I was in shock. I was waiting for Jeremy Beadle to jump out or something.

She still ends up waking in the middle of the night, quietly may I add, and helping herself into my bed. It’s rare that I notice to be honest so that’s how it is at the moment.

My wife and I have been blessed with what’s called in the trade as a non-sleeper. We actually have two! Wolfie is also up most of the night still. In fact, I’m writing this post at 2 in the morning because the little blighter is wide awake.

I’m looking at him thinking yes you’re very cute, but in my mind I’m saying “go to sleep you little shit!!”.

It’s actually amazing how the human body can function with such little sleep. Don’t get me wrong, we are all effected in different ways. I feel I deal with it much better than most but it does take its toll on me.

When I hear of expecting parents worrying about the sleep issue especially when I tell them my story, my advice is simple; what will be, will be. Don’t set your expectations too much because anything can happen when you have children and it can also very quickly change. You could have a non sleeper but you could have the opposite. You could also have two children who are completely different in every form. Just take it as it comes and deal with it how it works for you. Every situation and family is different.

In the meantime I will counting down the days, when Wolfie is able to be left with grandparents so the wife and I can enjoy a childless night…. to sleep.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. May 6, 2017 / 9:40 am

    Much like ageing a tree by counting the rings, count the wrinkles round my eyes and you can see how many years of child-induced broken sleep I’ve suffered.
    I look like a 42yr old Yoda!
    What gets me through is knowing it’ll not be long before they’re lazy lying-in teens. And when that happens I’m planning on waking up every few hours to go through and give them a dig in the ribs. Let them know how I felt. Not that I’m bitter or ‘owt!

    • dan
      May 6, 2017 / 10:27 am

      I agree Mark, I’m also planning on keeping them up when they are teenagers!

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