My old friend sleep, oh how I have missed you.
Not that you’re back, exactly. No, you’re more like that best friend from high school who you see maybe once a year now but when you’re together it feels like you’ve never been apart. Well, sort of, anyway.
For the first time in her entire nearly three years on this planet, Freya slept in her own bed last night. All night (7.30pm – 5.30am). You would think, given that I’ve had more than a thousand disturbed nights since she was born, I would have been out like a light.
Her sleep issues, for the last year, at least, are my fault. I accept full responsibility. And this isn’t a moan, as such, more a chuckle at how daft I am because instead of catching some much needed zzzzzzs, I spent my time wide awake worrying about why she wasn’t wide awake.
Here are the five things I did while Freya slumbered on:
- Googled. In the old days when the only way she would sleep was sat up on my chest, I used to Google, one handed, phrases such as: “When will my baby sleep?” and “Why won’t my baby sleep?” Now that my baby was finally asleep, I Googled: “What diseases can you catch from a seagull feather?”, “Ingredients of Mr Whippy ice-cream” and “Will it wake my child if I prod her?”
- Kept vigil. Even though I established that she is unlikely to have caught plague from the feather she played with, that the ice-cream, while not exactly healthy, did not have anything in that should disagree with her and that I should leave her well alone, I was still worried. Thankfully we went completely over the top and bought a video monitor when she was born (even though we live in a tiny flat where you can hear a person breathe through the walls) so I was able to sit and watch her sleeping. For hours.
- Celebrated. Wait a minute. Could this be the night, after many many false starts, that people have been telling me about for two years? I felt euphoric. Like I was finally winning at parenting.
- Panicked. If this is The Night, how do I make sure this happens again? What exactly did we do in the day that has made her sleep so well? Am I going to have to take her to the beach, feed her ice-cream and let her paddle in the sea every day now? (That doesn’t sound like a terrible way to live).
- Reminisced. Sleeping through the night. She’s so grown up now. She’ll be off to university soon. She’ll get a job. Move out. Maybe have a family of her own. Will she remember her old mum? I kind of miss her sleeping next to me. Those little baby grunts and snorts. Those not-so-gentle kicks to my head as she tried to get comfy. Waking up with her face half an inch from mine as she whispers: “Is it time to get up?” At 3am. Awww. What if she never wants to cuddle again? What if all those people telling me to “enjoy every moment” and “make the most of her baby years” were right and all those nights I have wished, no longed, for sleep come back to haunt me?
This morning, feeling like I need a vat of coffee to get me through the day, I praised Freya approximately every five minutes for sleeping in her own bed. As I continued to ponder exactly why she had such a good night, I remembered a conversation we had in the car yesterday on the way to the beach.
“Did you have any nice dreams last night?” I ask.
“You woke me up?” She said in a grump.
“Yes, you were snoring.”
For the record, I obviously don’t snore at all, especially in a way that would rival Daddy Pig because, as we have discussed, I don’t actually sleep. I’m sure this must have been in her dream.
“Well, if you were to sleep in your own bed, you wouldn’t be able to hear me snoring,” I tell her, even though it is technically not true (and I don’t snore anyway).
“All night?” She asked.
“All night.” I confirm.
Could it really be that simple?
I’ll let you know tomorrow morning.