Wednesday, 8 October 2008

383 Days

That's how long it's been since I had a full night of uninterrupted sleep. 383 days. One year and two and a bit weeks of being woken at least twice a night, often more, by my son.

When I tell people (the doctor, family, work colleagues) that no, he still doesn't sleep through, they sympathise
. But it's not the sympathy they gave me in the early days, when my boy was still a teeny babe in arms, a screaming, scrunched up bundle of newness, all red and cross. That was genuine, the early days are so hard, they'd say. It will come. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Sod the housework. Get your husband to make the dinner. Now they look sympathetically at a weak mother, it must be something I'm doing of course, I need to take my son in hand, show him who's boss, who knows what sort of havoc he'll wreak in coming years if I let him get away with so much now.

But do you know what? I'm quite prosaic about it. Yes of course I'd like a night of uninterrupted sleep, but I'd also like to win the lottery or get into a pair of size 10 jeans, and lets be honest neither of those are going to happen. And I don't want sleep enough to go for any of the drastic schemes other Mums promise me will work. They all have different names, different book covers, different exponents, but really they all involve the same thing, put him down, leave him to cry, he'll soon learn.

I didn't intend to be a hippy mother. I'm really not a lentil-weaving type. Honestly. I'm writing this whilst shovelling a packet of Tesco Value Jaffa Cakes down my neck. I like all the trappings of capitalism, Starbucks, McDonalds (a guilty pleasure) and Disneyworld. But somehow, I've become the accidental Attachment Parent. Still breastfeeding (yes he has teeth, ten, no he doesn't bite, no no plans to stop, no I wont be offering it through the school gate), washing cloth nappies and co-sleeping.

Co-sleeping, it's such a cold word, a cold couple of words. It doesn't reflect the amazing power and confidence I feel when I curl up and close my eyes, wrapped around a gently snoring baby. It doesn't immediately conjure up the smell of his head, the warmth of his neck, his hot little hand which stretches out in its sleep and rests on me, just to be sure. Then he snuffles, rubs his head from side to side, sits up, eyes still closed, and flaps his arms. I know what he wants. I arrange my pyjamas, let him feed and go back to sleep, and so (that's the plan) does he!

So this is me. A first-time mum of just over a year.

Who doesn't need more sleep? He'll sleep through when he's ready. I love us sharing a bed.

But if I really didn't care that he's never ever ever slept right through, would I have counted the days? Would I be writing this blog at all?

So this is me. Conflicted.

And this is the journey of that conflict. 383 days and onwards!



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