It gets easier they said. They’ll sleep later they said. Just wait until they start school they said. I reckon my girls, as babies, heard these heartfelt promises to their exhausted mummy, and took them as personal challenges.
I have to be fair – I know some parents have had it a lot tougher, up multiple times in the night, every night. I remember in that new-born phase you always dread going to bed at night because you know what awaits you in the coming hours.
Now, at 6 and 9, the little bears are dedicated to refining those bed-avoidance skills. They’re developing quite a creative list of reasons to delay them getting their head on that pillow. A personal favourite is the sudden need for help to learn all times tables before bed. And of course the age old request for that ‘one last cuddle’.
One thing I can say about my eldest is that nowadays, once she’s gone she’s a solid sleeper and you know that’s it for the night. Until about 5am. And she’s now nine years old. I’ve given up all dreams of this kid sleeping late. She just doesn’t need a whole load of sleep.
My youngest little bear is a more restless sleeper, will wake up shouting or crying because she’s got so involved in a dream, or will get up to go to the toilet and lose her way on the long perilous journey to the bathroom (which happens to be right next door to her bedroom).
They are getting better and better and being super quiet when they wake up and we have a 7am rule which means trying to get back to sleep (yeah, right!) or reading in bed until then. It took a long time for them to fully grasp that it was not necessary to first storm into my room to proclaim they were awake before retreating back to their own room to wait for 7 o’clock. Because here’s my problem. After 9 years of early starts, my body is trained to wake before our little human alarm clocks. Like a ninja. So from 5am – any noise at all and I’m awake for the day.
It’s not the interrupted nights I miss so much with parenthood. It’s those lazy pre-child lie ins. You know, those one’s that lasted all morning. When I hear about people sleeping until nine or, good grief – TEN O’CLOCK, and I’m like ‘how on earth does your body even let you do that??’ Mine is clearly uncooperative.
My little bears are visiting their dad for two nights, the first ‘two-nighter’ in a long time. Yesterday morning was pretty typical and although silence filled our little country cottage I woke up with the sunrise. But this morning – this beautiful and glorious morning – I woke up and checked my Phone. It was 7.45! I could almost hear the angels celebrating on my behalf. I looked over at Mr C who was still dozing and dribbling away on the pillow and did the only thing a kind and selfless wife could do. I woke him excitedly with the wonderful news that he too had slept until 7.45! He’s so lucky to have me.
I’ll perhaps write soon about my little bears’ visits to their dad and the complex heap of emotions that are dredged up as I pack them off and while they’re away. But for now I’m way too busy eating english muffins in bed and basking in the aftermath of sleeping ’till pretty much lunchtime… Well that’s how it feels anyway!
Mrs C x