Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

To sleep perchance to dream...

According to my mother I was born tired!

Sleep has always been one of my favourite pastimes and I think people that state, 'I'll sleep when I'm dead', obviously have no appreciation for sleep and the pleasure that lies therein, they also, clearly do not have children! Having Emily did not bode well for me in the sleep stakes.

I may have experienced minor bouts of sleep deprivation when I was younger, partying all night and then going straight to College or work the next day but trust me they were short lived. So nothing and I mean nothing could have prepared me for the tiredness and exhaustion I encountered after Emily was born. Sleeping would never be the same again.

A baby is not born with the ability to distinguish between night and day, this is something that is learnt. And once it is learnt it can very easily, on a whim, be unlearnt. Or at least temporarily forgotten. There is an art involved in getting a baby off to sleep and one that most will learn the hard way.

You will feed them and rock them, you will sing to them, you will pace back and forth while you cradle them in your arms willing them to sleep, you will cry, they will cry, you will wind them and change them and by this time they are hungry again and so you must go back to the beginning and start the whole process all over.

When you are pregnant you spend so much of your time, naively talking about what you will never do after they are born. 'we won't let her sleep in our bed', 'we will never give her a dummy', 'we will only ever allow her to sleep in her moses basket' but at 3am when you haven't slept for days and you have rocked the moses basket until your arm has gone numb and finally dropped off, you'd do just about anything for some sleep, you'd sell your soul and everything that you own just for some sleep. So you cave, you put them in your bed, forcing your partner into the spare room again. Stick a dummy in their mouth and listen to them contently sucking away snuggled into you as you drift off to sleep. And if you are lucky, if the gods are smiling down on you, you could get 'ohh' at least a whole 30 minutes of beautiful, wonderful, blissful sleep before they wake again!

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