Losing sleep

"If she starts to nod off, you fill your nappy and I will ask for a pain au chocolat, OK?"
“If she starts to nod off, you fill your nappy and I will ask for a pain au chocolat, OK?”

In my short career as a mum I have found the hardest aspect of the job to be the aching sleep deprivation. Prior to having children I really enjoyed sleeping…I could sleep anywhere from on top of rolled up floor cloths on the fly floor of a theatre to curled up with my backside in the air on the edge of a seat on the ferry to Orkney. These days sleep feels like a delicacy to be savoured and it saddens me slightly when it is cruelly snatched away from me at the break of dawn yet again with a “Wake up mummy, it’s morning time! I’m hungry. Can I watch Frozen?”.

I know that in 10 years or so I will have to drag the girls out of bed in the morning but at the moment I really wish they would appreciate sleep as much as I do. They both fight sleep as if giving in to it was a weakness and they (and I) end up quite grumpy as a result and then the tantrums begin.

Today we visited Catrin’s old childminder so she could play with one of her friends who is still in the childminder’s care. After several hours of building dens under the kitchen table, heated debates about fuzzy felts and perhaps slightly too much Haribo, Catrin consented to home time. She walked nicely next to me until we were out of sight of her childminder’s house (about 20 metres) and then turned into a mini diva. She refused to move any further either by walking or standing on the buggy board and staged a sit-in on the pavement in the incessant drizzle. I tried the usual tactics…calm explanation about the consequences of staying put on the pavement; firm instructions; firmer instructions; threat of naughty step; counting to 3; pretending to leave her and walking away (she called my bluff and didn’t follow me the 3rd time I tried that one). Eventually I ran out of options and ended up pushing Bethan’s buggy with one hand and carrying Catrin with the other. This was quite difficult as Catrin now weighs in excess of 2 stones and she was screeching like an excitable banshee and flailing her limbs about. I failed to style out the situation and the people at the bus stop probably thought I was kidnapping her, judging by the death stares I received from them as we passed.

I knew she was behaving badly because she was tired but, despite desperate attempts to get her to snooze when we got home, she didn’t go to sleep until late (after a very good impression of a yoyo popping up and down the stairs numerous times to declare “I need a green drink”; “the iPad has turned off”; “I’m hungry”; “I want my giraffe”). Bethan retired even later and yet I know that, come the drizzly grey dawn tomorrow, I will once again be evicted from my dreams and cosy, warm bed by a little voice informing me of the time of day and requirement for breakfast and entertainment. She doesn’t understand that I have been up feeding her little sister every couple of hours during the night and her smile when I open my eyes will melt me regardless.


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