Sleep. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the sleep deprived Dad.
Sleep is necessary. It’s so essential that according to the Geneva Convention, you can’t deny a prisoner of war sleep. Babies, it seems, are not signatories to this treaty.
Even a baby that sleeps well will wake up. New babies need food, lots of food; and they need this food at hugely inappropriate times. Missy has a keen sense of her surroundings, so food is generally demanded just as the rugby kicks off, or when sensible people are fast asleep.
I have to admit, I was conned a bit by the baby books: two hours between feeds they said. OK I can deal with that, but what they don’t say (or more likely what I didn’t get around to reading), was the bit that the ‘two hours’ is from the start of the feed, not the end. Ie if your child takes an hour to get what is for us a couple of mouthfuls of milk down, 1 hour later you are back on the job.
This hardly seems fair. I’m expected to survive on 3 meals a day, and snacking is not only frowned upon it is downright discouraged. Babies can have 8 meals a day, and seemingly have them whenever they want They just have to look in your general direction and stare you down with the unspoken promise of screaming, to get you up and frantically making a warm bottle of milk.
At night, like a prowling thief, my daughter will wait till all is quiet, my wife and I sinking into the sleep any parents will know, when food is demanded. To be fair, sometimes it’s a nappy issue – apparently leaving my daughter to sleep in her own filth isn’t “good parenting”. Stupid books.
Rubbing it in, Missy started out as the perfect child; she was a textbook baby. My beautiful daughter decided to sleep 8 hours a night when she was a mere 8 weeks old…lulling us into a false sense of security and sleepy happiness. After a period of relative ease and dream filled nights, she must have sensed our contentment; and possibly my idle boasting to unimpressed and sleepless friends.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, the angel baby started to wake up during the night. Well, when I say wake, I actually mean stir. You see Missy is a busy sleeper. She talks in her sleep and moves constantly round her cot, getting caught in corners and up against the sides.
So now my dreamy nights are a lot less dreamy, as I get up to reposition or to untangle her. Central to this is the fact that Missy generally sleeps through the process and so she wakes each morning refreshed and ready to play. Her bleary eyed parents are greeted with a smile and a wave, a smile and a wave that erases all the pain and weariness of the night before.
That’s just not fair!