Opinion

It’s goodnight to any sleep with the kids

EXCUSE me if I nod off halfway through a sentence. It has been a very exhausting week. Actually month.

Come to think of it three years.

Going into this parenting gig, I knew sleep deprivation was a part of it.

Little babies need constant feeding. They wake up. They can be unsettled.

But it is safe to say that knowing and actually experiencing are two completely separate things.

The one thing I didn't expect when it comes to sleep? That you never get it back. That it is not only newborns that wake constantly through the night.

That it is teething one-year-olds, sick kids and there are some that just don't like to sleep (did I mention I was one of the lucky ones to end up with one of the latter?)

We come across the usual: "I want to sleep in your bed. I don't want to go to sleep. I don't want to sleep in my bed."

Then there is the unusual: "There's something in my room. The birdies/kookaburras/owls are going to get me."

Then there is the downright annoying. Put the blanket on. Then in five minutes blanket off. And back and forth until you lose your patience.

One thing I have learned is that being a bad sleeper is in their make-up. It is not learned behaviour. It just is.

Mr H. will go through periods where he sleeps fine, goes to bed easy and doesn't wake at night, but these times are the exception, not the rule.

He has always been this way, and I now know he probably always will be.

I was always so pleased that our second, Mr T, was such a better sleeper. He slept five-hour stretches from day dot.

He slept through the night at six months old (six months faster than his brother) and was a good napper.

He had his odd moments, but generally you could just lie him down, give him a quick pat on the bum and back to bed.

Until a month ago. Then he started getting more teeth. I don't remember his last lot of teething, because he got seven teeth in about two weeks.

Then nothing for more than six months. Then in one week he has cut three molars and one front tooth, with one more molar just about through.

Let's just say he hasn't hand led this well, which is kind of understandable.

Unfortunately it takes about as much drugs to settle him as it would to take down a baby hippo - and also a good two hours.

This week, these kids have tried everything on. Where one is awake for two hours and then the other is awake for the next two hours.

When they are both awake at the same time and they don't like sharing Mummy at the best of times, let alone in the middle of the night.

Poor Dad has had to be very involved in the night shift the past few weeks.

We have dragged the mattress out to sleep on Mr T.'s floor. This doesn't really do anything except save me the exacerbation of getting back to bed, only having to get up again five minutes later.

It also has the added effect of him wanting to get up as soon as he wakes, which has been 4.45am, as opposed to entertaining himself for a bit.

So the last month at least has been lost in a weary fog.

Because trying to catch up on sleep is like trying to run through quicksand - impossible.

Why is it that no matter how bad they sleep during the night, they are still awake by 5am or 6am and then they also never feel the need to catch up during the day?

And of course they never nap at the same time.

It is why they make kids so damn cute, because no matter how tired and cranky you are, they can still make you laugh and smile.

Lucky for them.

Topics:  editors picks opinion parenting sleep



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