Some babies are great sleepers and some babies aren’t. But if you’re a parent, you’ve definitely had a least one (probably many) of ‘those’ nights.
She just knows
You know the ones. When your baby keeps waking and you can’t get him or her (her, in my case) to stay asleep no matter what you do. You wish you could float like a ghost over to the door because each time you try and tiptoe out of the room, she wakes. Somehow, her subconscious just knows. This is how it goes…
After some marathon-worthy rocking, patting or singing, she’s finally asleep. Well, you think she is. All signs are pointing to yes. So you pop her down ever so gently, removing any contact skin areas one by one in the hope she won’t notice your escape intentions.
You creep a few steps before the crucial stop-and-look-back pause to see if she’s stirring. Nope, looks good so far. After an appropriate amount of double-checking, you keep moving in a slow, tiptoeing motion; your body bent slightly forward and your arms up near your chest. You wonder briefly why tiptoeing makes you do that but decide to save that analysis for later.
Read more about baby sleep:
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Did she wake or didn’t she?
And then the floor creaks. Damn you, floor! You stand like a ninja statue trying not to breathe while you assess the damage. Did she wake or didn’t she? You wish you’d spread butter under your slippers so you could slide across the floorboards and eliminate all dangers associated with floor creaks. In fact, you make a mental note to remember the butter next time. Not that you should need to – you could’ve sworn you’d followed the slightly-zigzag-but-tried-and-tested creak-free path to the door.
But then joy-of-all-joys, you realise she didn’t wake. After a suitable period, you continue on towards the door and … you make it! This is an enormous win. The previous three jaunts in her room tonight did not result in such success. Things are looking up. You feel like fist pumping but don’t dare to, in case it creates a slight draft in the room.
You’re not safe yet
And anyway, you’re not safe yet. There are still dangers. You pull her door closed so no outside noises can wake her – like your heartbeat or the whirring sound of the fridge at the other end of the house… things like that. Because in your crazy tired state, everything seems so flipping loud.
And then you make it all the way to your bedroom. You’re still breathing as quietly as possible as you get into bed – even though her bedroom is now a safe distance away. You pull up the covers ever so quietly. You lower your head to the pillow and lie there thinking, “Yippee! I’m back in bed! I’m warm! My back is recovering from the marathon and it’s game on for sleeping!”
You snuggle in, pull the doona up to your ears and enjoy the quiet. You picture deep sleep and sweet dreams and just as your lids are getting heavy and the relaxation of near-sleep wash over you, she wakes.
The silent cursing begins again, until you realise silence is no longer needed. You wonder how many times tonight you’ve silently cursed and then you realise it’s not even nighttime anymore. It’s a new day. Birds are chirping, which means the dreaded sun will surely follow. When the heck did that happen???
Despite the fact you feel like you need clamps on your eyes to keep them open, you give yourself a little pep talk: You. Can. Do. This. You can. You can so do this.
Not really. You start weeping with tiredness and beg your partner, your mother – hell, even the new neighbours – to just take your baby for 10 minutes. Ten measly minutes. Okay, three hours and 10, max. Then you’ll be good as gold. No dramas here. You’re a mum now and this is how it goes.