I have a confession to make.
I secretly hate parents of babies who sleep through the night.
Ok, maybe hate is a bit of a strong word. I don’t actually hate them; it is more that sometimes I want to punch them in the face. I am aware this is wrong and I apologise to all my friends with sleepy babies.
It is simply a result of exhausted irritation and just plain jealousy.
You can spot them a mile off. They nearly always have smiles on their faces, neat hair and matching socks. They usually have a massive changing bag containing little pots of homemade baby food, spare bibs, toys and neatly folded muslin cloths that haven’t gone grey. They DO not and NEVER would have an oversized handbag in which they have quickly thrown a few nappies, wipes and a packet of biscuits before rushing out of the house.
They arrive early for the parent and baby groups that always start at stupid o clock in the morning, and are bright-eyed and eager to join in the songs with aplomb.
They will usually be wearing ironed baby grows (I haven’t used an iron since 2010) complete with matching hat and with no ground-in yellow poo stains. They are almost always well-behaved sorts, playing happily with toys or (more often than not) asleep in their pram/car seat, while mummy or daddy enjoys a cup of tea and a chat.
TO ALL PARENTS OF BABIES THAT SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT…
PLEASE, spare a thought for us victims of the Sleep Stealers. You can’t miss us. We are usually at least an hour late for the baby groups- if we make it at all. But please forgive our tardiness. With exhaustion clouding our once fine memories, we have normally had to go back into the house from the car at least three times to retrieve some forgotten item before we can finally hit the road. We won’t have had time to dry our hair and we will probably have baby vomit/snot on one shoulder. If you look closely you will spot a manic ‘if I can just get through the day with my babies still in one piece I will be happy’ look in our eyes.
So, please do not complain too much because your normally sleeps-twelve-hours-a-night bundle of joy woke you up once for a drink, or about the night you only got five hours sleep when your little darling was teething, because it will probably make us cry…or punch you in the face.
In the spirit of confessions, there are just a few more things I need to get off my chest:
1. Sometimes I realise that I have baby snot/vomit on my clothes just before I leave the house but can’t be bothered to go and get changed. If someone spots it, I pretend to be truly horrified that I hadn’t noticed it before I came out.
2. I feel really, really pleased when friends with ‘good sleepers’ have had a bad night due to baby teething/colds etc.
3. I once squirted my own breast milk into my coffee because I was too tired to walk two minutes to the shop and buy some milk. (If you are thinking of trying this I would suggest milk before coffee to avoid a scolded nipple. I learnt the hard way).
4. I have occasionally not changed my own bed sheets after the baby has urinated, puked or pooed on them (and sometimes all three), when it is on husband James’ side.
5. I have tried to teach the toddler the clean/get me things game. The dream is to raise her as my servant. The way I see it – she owes me.
6. When pushing the pram around the park after a bad night, I sometimes see if I can close my eyes for a few minutes on the straight bits.
7. One night I had such bad insomnia I tried sucking a dummy to get myself to sleep. It didn’t work. I tried dunking it in whisky. It still didn’t work.
8. I let the toddler do annoying things in the hope of getting five minutes peace. For example; pour my tea into every available receptacle, spit her water into every available receptacle, take all the books out of the shelves, take everything out of the cupboards, rip up an entire toilet roll, smear peanut butter all over the coffee table and her personal favourite, taking all of the baby wipes out of the packet.
9. I once let the toddler play with the telephone for the same reason. I stupidly assumed she would not work out how to ring anyone until the police turned up at the door. Apparently, 999 is an easy number to dial.
10. I sometimes bribe the toddler with biscuits or chocolate – another victim of obese Britain?
11. I have dropped stuff on the baby’s head when I have been trying to do other things while breastfeeding. For example; a sandwich, my phone and an ice cream.
I am not proud of myself. Am I a bad parent? I hope not. It is a matter of survival. I like to believe that if I wasn’t so shattered I would spend my days preparing homemade baby food, ironing baby grows and making spaceships out of cereal boxes. Maybe….