I have been awake since 2.30am. I used to see posts of mums saying similar things and I thought it couldn’t be right. You actually get up and go about your day even though you’ve been awake since two hours after you went to bed? What. The. Fuck.
When we first moved here, and the girls’ regular 7.30 bedtime was thrown out of whack thanks to daylight savings and whatnot, and I was on the edge of sleep deprivation breakdown, I knew it was time for things to change.
If you had told me when I wrote that post that my almost 19-month-old toddler was going to start happily drifting back off to sleep during her night wakeups WITHOUT a breastfeed, I would never have believed you. It seemed like it was a behaviour that was so comforting and entrenched that it would be tantamount to torture to change it.
Well, it’s true. She pops back off to bed with merely a couple of “shhhhh”s from me, or perhaps some humming of the Sleepy Song from Cloudbabies. At the very most, a stroke on the forehead. And she’s taken to the change with no trouble, which leads me to believe it was time and she was ready.
As I’ve chatted to people about the no-sleep sitch, I hear a lot of groans and see a lot of wincing faces as people remember their own early parenting years. “The patting – THE PATTING. I hated it,” they’ll say. “No sleep nearly did me in,” said another. “We only have one child because we were too scared to go back and do all that again”, said a third. I am relieved to know that feeling half-crazy and at your wit’s end sometimes is perfectly normal and we all suffer from it to various degrees.
So why 2.30am, if my kid is self-settling more? Well, I’m a light sleeper. When she needs resettling at 2.30, sometimes it takes me a full 90-minute sleep cycle to get back to sleep. Guess who wakes up again then? An hour after that next settle and a little head pops up next to the bed with an enquiring “mum? toash?” and it’s time to start my day.
While I can’t say I’m getting any more sleep than I was when I wrote that last post, I finally feel like we’re moving in the right direction. Like every night she settles with less and less intervention from me, that we are one step closer to her not needing me overnight. That makes all the difference in the world.