Our second child who is now 8 months old slept through (or as good as) from 6 weeks. I then stupidly bragged about how well she was sleeping, considering our first never slept. He was always awake. So after all the bragging and the blissful nights, it’s no surprise she decided she would start to wake in the night. Not just once and not just for a quick feed. No. That would be too easy. She would wake every two hours and sometimes for a three hour long stretch of crying. Aren’t we lucky.
Every night we put her to bed hopeful. Cooing over that sweet face drifting off in to sleep. Wondering ‘could tonight be the night?‘. And let me tell you, tonight is most certainly, not the night. Minutes after we leave the room she’s wide awake. Screaming at maximum volume, standing in her cot and swinging from the railings.
She doesn’t want milk, of course she doesn’t she’s just had her bottle. What does she need? is the question we ask each other every night. Sometimes we even ask her ‘what do you need?’.
After a period of persistent rocking mumbling for fucksake under my breath, over and over because that programme I’ve been looking forward to watching has started (and the mass of housework that needs to be done). I give up. It’s not easy rocking a baby who obviously is not in the mood for rocking and cuddles and at the risk of waking the toddler, the risk that’s never worth taking, I bring her downstairs. She’s now beaming with a smile from ear to ear. Wanting to bang my head against the wall.
So, what now? She’s tired, but she won’t sleep. I can never understand that. Tired but won’t sleep. Jesus, if someone said to me ‘go on, get yourself to bed’ I’d give them a swift high-five and be in the bed before they’d even finished the sentence. We usually spend an hour downstairs, watching the same episode of Mickey Mouse we’ve seen hundreds of times because I keep forgetting to record another. You know the one, Pete is a leprechaun and all the crew want to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Scratches eyes out. Towards the end of this hour there’s a glimmer of hope that she may just go to sleep! You’re shitting me? She might actually go to sleep? That’s right, you were shitting me. She’s not going to sleep.
By now I’ve lost all hope, me and Mr Firstooth are drowning our sorrows, wine for me. We can’t win here. She stays up with us, she’s restless and crying. She’s in her cot, screaming her little lungs off. It brings me to tears every, single, evening. It’s a mixture of sadness because nothing I can do will settle her and anger, I’m not ashamed to say, it annoys me. The constant crying and no reasoning throughout the evening is enough to tip anyone over the edge. I have to hand over to Mr Firstooth for a breather, a walk in the garden and a top-up of wine.
Eventually a calm daddy settles her to sleep. How the hell? I don’t care, she’s asleep, hurrah!
We then convince ourselves that the amount of milk that she’s just had and the amount of crying she’s just done, must be enough to wear her out. She will sleep for at least 4 hours before her next waking, perhaps even until morning, she is exhausted after-all. Ha! We have no hope. None whatsoever. She wakes another six times following this horrific evening.
I will lay rigid for a few of these night-feeds (not even a night-feed she has a few sips, a cry and then back to sleep, it’s a midnight snack every hour) Mr Firstooth will experience an elbow in his ribs and a small amount of shin-kicking as gentle persuasion to just feed the baby. You do it. I’m not doing it. I hate my life I hate my life.
Morning arrives and the baby wakes up like nothing has happened. Bright as a button. Probably because the lucky little bugger gets to nap when she fancies it. Sneers. I, on the other hand, am struggling to keep my eyes open and instead of putting the milk in the fridge, it somehow always ends up in the cupboard. I am now officially a grumpy mum for the rest of the day.
Overall, night ‘feeds’ *rolls eyes* are shit. They are the bloody awful part of having children. I don’t really hate my life, but I hate night feeds.