Why is it that when you have a baby who does not sleep everyone else you meet seems to have a baby who does sleep?
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great. I am honestly happy for these people.
I don’t even mind when they tell me about it.
Which they do.
Every time I see them.
And that is fine.
Sometimes they are even kind enough to give me hints and tips on how to get my baby to sleep.
But as grateful as I am for their advice (usually delivered with a sympathetic head-tilt), it occasionally makes me want to punch them in their smug, fresh faces.
This is not good. I don’t want to be the kind of person who mentally assaults perfectly pleasant people.
So from now, when a fellow parent informs me that little Jack has been self-soothing his little arse off since he was three weeks old or suggests a sleep-solution ‘I must try’, I shall smile and share with them the joy of living with a ‘sleep-hater”.
Here are a few examples (based on actual things people have said to me):
PARENT: She is such a good baby. She goes to sleep as soon as I put her down in her cot.
ME: My little one is such a good baby. She likes to sleep on me so I get a lot of cuddles. There is nothing nicer than feeling your baby’s heart beat in time with your own.
PARENT: We are so lucky with our baby boy! We can take him anywhere and he just sleeps in his pram the whole time.
ME: We are lucky too! We can take our baby anywhere and she will stay awake the whole time gaining valuable stimulation and interaction. She is so alert and entertaining!
PARENT: We are blessed with our baby. She not only sleeps all night but takes regular naps during the day!
ME: Our little one rarely sleeps during the day and wakes regularly during the night so we get all that extra time with her. We are so damn blessed.
PARENT: We can’t complain; our baby sleeps all day.
ME: My baby doesn’t sleep during the day at all. But I didn’t go through ten months of pregnancy and childbirth just to look at a bundle in a Moses basket. So, I can’t complain.
PARENT: Oh baby still not sleeping? You look so tired. You poor thing!
ME: She is still not sleeping but that isn’t why I am tired. It is all the activities you have to do with them! We have baby sensory games in the morning, followed by crafts and stories; then I cook an Annabel Karmel meal from scratch for lunch. In the afternoon we have singing, stimulating outdoor play and swimming lessons. Finally, I whip up an organic casserole for dinner, then it is on to a full body baby massage, more stories, bath and bedtime. This parenting game is rather exhausting isn’t it!
You look amazing by the way. Not tired at all!
PARENT: Oh dear is she still not sleeping? Maybe she is teething or hungry?
ME: She is teething and hungry. In fact, that is the problem. She is so hungry she keeps eating her teeth. She is so clever.
PARENT: My baby is fantastic, she self-soothes herself to sleep.
ME: My baby is fantastic. She likes me to sing and cuddle her to sleep. Which is great as one of the reasons I had a baby was to have something cute to cuddle!
PARENT: My baby is so considerate! She goes to bed really early giving me plenty of time to go to the gym and burn of that baby weight.
ME: My baby is so considerate! She is helping me burn off the baby weight by letting me carry her around the house about 24 hours a day! In fact, I think I am fitter now than I was pre-pregnancy!
PARENT: Oh you let her sleep in your bed? You are making a rod for your own back there. She’ll never sleep on her own.
ME: Never, really? NEVER? In that case I had better get a bigger bed. It is going to be a bit of a squeeze when she gets to eighteen.
PARENT: Have you tried putting her in her cot, turning out the light, shutting the door and leaving her to cry?
ME: Err…no, because I quite like my baby.
PARENT: Do you put her down drowsy but awake?
ME: (I am afraid a mental punch to the face is the only response to this question).
Babies who do not sleep get a bad press. We tend to refer to infants who sleep a lot as ‘good babies’, while those of a more wakeful disposition we often label as ‘hard work’.
I say we change that.
No more counting the days until our little ones Sleep Through The Night. No more crying into our coffee because we have been up since…last week. Instead, let’s put on our best pyjamas and cherish every last tiring, wonderful, draining, glorious, frustrating, challenging, waking hour we spend with our exhausting, little angels.
Bad sleepers are the new ‘good’ babies. Spread the word.
Eye bags are the new black.
Pyjamas are the new skinny jeans.
Sleep-deprived is the new stylish.
Today, I start the revolution!
Actually, make that tomorrow. I am too knackered.