Our household is in a bit of a sleep-funk. Emily was always a fantastic sleeper as a baby, she’d generally sleep 12 hours a night all the way until she was nearly 12 months old. Since then, the last six months have been hit and miss. Copious winter viruses and the adjustment to part-time nursery seem to have scared away the Sandman and have punctured our full night’s sleep with endless pacing up and down on the landing corridor.
The last couple of weeks though, have seen us enter a whole new level of insomnia. She hasn’t slept through the night once. Aside from a bit of a runny nose, she’s not sick, she’s happy through the day and she’s eating well. But every night without fail, for almost three weeks now, she’s standing in her cot crying at least once in the middle of the night, and needs to be soothed back to sleep.
She settles to bed without any problems; I put her in her cot as usual around 7pm and she gets herself to sleep without so much as a whine or a whimper. I’ve read about the elusive ‘18 month sleep regression’, but I’ve always just felt that labelling any sleep issues as a ‘sleep regression’ is sometimes a way to help parents justify why their baby inexplicably won’t sleep. And I totally get why, when you’re so tired that you find yourself hunched on the sofa dribbling down your own cleavage at 2pm, you’d want to search for any reason as to why your baby won’t just go the fuck to sleep. I’m almost getting there myself. But I just think some kids are good sleepers, some aren’t, and most go through little phases or experience sleep ‘speed-bumps’ as they grow up. It’s just finally getting to me that these ‘speed bumps’ are turning into nightly catastrophic debris blockades on the road to sleep.
My husband seems to be able to settle her quickly, but whenever I try to do it, she never wants me to put her down. We can be up for hours until she finally settles. This has given me a nifty get out of sleepless jail free-card for the past few weeks, as Daddy seems to do the trick and we can all quickly get back to sleep.
All of my chickens have come home to roost in a major way this week though, as Super-Sleep-Dad is away all week with work. And last night was brutal. I think I managed five hours’ broken sleep after what felt like decades sat in the rocking chair trying to settle a sleep-phobic toddler. What seems to make matters so much worse is that even when I do finally settle her back down, I’m so wired and awake, that it takes me around another hour to finally get back to sleep. When your wake-up time with a toddler is inevitably before 7am, that leaves very little time for restorative sleep. In fact, that’s barely time for a disco-nap or even 40 winks.
I have laid in bed for hours before giving in to temptation and checking my phone out of sheer boredom. When your active mind won’t shut down you can’t help but be curious about the strangest things that pop into your head. My most recent 3am Google searches have included:
- How can I make my eyelashes grow faster?
- Why is my dishwasher making so much noise?
- How to fold a fitted bedsheet
- Bloom married?
- What is a baby cheetah called?
- Alexander Skarsgard shirtless pics
And when you’re a blogger who has a major narcissistic social media obsession, the temptation to while away hours on your phone, or even the iPad or laptop, is often just too great. Sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘I wonder if anyone has unfollowed me on Instagram since I went to bed? I’ll just quickly check the app’, or ‘I wonder if I could just quickly photoshop my crows-feet out of that picture of me I want to post tomorrow…’. Before I know it, I have spent 45 minutes writing a post on the notes app on my phone, about something that could only be written by a victim of sleep torture, like ‘why my baby reminds me of Baby Sinclair from the 90s Show ‘Dinosaurs’’. Needless to say, none of these posts have been remotely coherent in the cold light of day, and have only cut-short my valuable sleep time.
Given how many parent bloggers there are out there, surely this inability to literally ‘switch-off’ after settling the baby must be a common phenomenon? I can’t be the only person that insta-stalks a mum-crush at 2.30am whilst simultaneously co-ordinating a blog site re-design when I should be trying to get back to sleep? Does anyone else experience this?
I’m trying to make a promise to myself that after settling the baby tonight if / when she wakes, I’ll leave my phone in the hallway so that I don’t feel the temptation to scroll through social media when I can’t get back to sleep. Given how shockingly tired I am today, I’m going to have to try to stick to this promise so that I don’t look like an extra in The Walking Dead tomorrow. I’m literally amazed that I got through this post without falling aslee…………….