You know those dreams where you’re smashing your junk on the netball court, being all awesome and such, and then the siren blasts just in time for you to score the winning goal against the New Zealand Ferns and you.are.the.hero. Except that you’re not a Diamond, you just farted in bed and that screeching is your alarm. Yeah, that kind of dream. People who get more sleep than me will have a name for this kind of awakening, but until I get corrected I will continue to call it Dream Bashing (not to be confused with those times when I take a bat to Mr Wonderland while he catches some zzz's). This morning I was bashed. Read on, my friend.
I was on a beach, lying in the sun looking gloriously tanned and svelte. Those who know me will not be fooled, as the more accurate scenario is me lying in the shade to avoid my pasty white dermis from peeling off in scorched layers, practically fully dressed (because, bathers NO) and reading a book pretending I’m all intellectual and not really bothered by this beach scene. But in this dream, I was enjoying my newly found hotness with some beach action, when Mr Beach-a-lot sauntered over, wet from the surf. He stood over me, depositing little droplets of refreshing ocean on my face. He was a vision, and reached out a hand to help me up off the flattering sand. And then, DREAM BASHED!! (you have to yell that bit out loud like Will Ferrell or possibly Steve Carrell) Instead of his hand reaching lovingly for me, was actually the wet elbow of my four year old, and those beads of seawater were little splashes of vomit landing on my face. Thankfully the vomit was due to a coughing fit and she infected no one else, but there is nothing quite as joyous as waking to the dulcet tones of a small body almost-silently retching beside you. Motherhood is so fun.
There are two parts to these early morning antics that are unacceptable. 1. The spew, obvsies. 2. She was in my bed.
Let’s skip number one because and go and ahead and dissect number two. In my bed. This is the child, who as an infant, I 'sleep trained' for many, many, many nights. I ‘trained’ her so she would lie down and nod off to sleep without any assistance from me. Trained! Ha! Becoming a mother hadn’t turned me into a complete holier-than-thou-advice=giver though, and I still had empathy for those with babes who weren’t fans of snoozy-town. I didn’t think I could fix babes who opted not to snooze, but I concede that I was possibly, maybe, a little bit smug. Turns out that today, this ‘trained’ child is the worst sleeper in the house, which by most standards still isn’t awful, but she’s certainly causing more wakage than her younger siblings.
So, how did this perfect example of a baby turn rogue? Well, the transition from the cot was frightful, we did it too early and she wasn’t ready for the novelty and responsibility of a big girl bed. Then, when she was ‘trained’ to go to sleep without being a yoyo, one night she realised she wasn’t locked in and went for a midnight wander, and we were back to square one except it was in the middle of the night instead of 7pm. Once upon a time I gloated about our sleep trained child and said “we deliberately got a high bed so they CAN’T climb in”. Shut up, stupid, thinner version of me, you know nothing! Lastly, this happened partially because I had three under three and for a while there it was a whatever works kind of arrangement. You know, sanity and all that. We were but infants in our parenting and thought we were making the right choices.
But, that’s what we do as we learn to parent. We think we’re doing the right thing, we have the best intentions, we love them beyond explanation and we want their well-rounded happiness to be our greatest achievement. And whilst aspiring for that, we occasionally screw up. We give in when we should stay strong, we stay strong when some softness is what they need, we make concessions because they’re sick but it turns out they only had a rice bubble up their nose.
In truth, this bed-sharing bullshit is my greatest parenting challenge (fail) at the moment. I love it for the first three minutes as we fall back to sleep, cheek to cheek, warm, snuggly and blanketed in love. We're practically an Anne Geddes photo. Then, the remaining hours involve me removing impossibly pointy elbows and sharp little toes from my soft fleshy parts, stealing back the blanket and shoving small people across the mattress, all the while, I only doze. I wake up sore, cold and grumpy. Possibly angry, definitely exhausted. And you know the shittiest bit – at some stage during the night, my husband, who could sleep whilst I pierced the webs of his toes and changed the sheets underneath him, is somehow lucid enough to get up, walk down the hallway and sleep in a child’s empty bed. It seems newborn crying is tranquil whale sounds to him, but jab him in the neck with a small foot and he pulls a Houdini routine. Some mornings I want to shove sharp things in the gums between his teeth. I don’t mean that (I totally mean it).
My baby (who is not actually a baby anymore but la la la la, I can’t hear you) is my favourite child at the moment.Just joking, as if I have a favourite, that’s ridiculous, hahahahahahahaha (too much nervous laughing?). But, peeps, she’s hard not to adore; she’s still (stuck) in the cot, can’t talk much, eats the food in her bowl, blows kisses, stills thinks shoes are totally rad, wears a onesie and has no negative disposition towards the car seat. Never change, tiny child, never change!
Tonight though, I take control. I will calmly walk wandering children back to their own rooms. I will re-settle said children in their beds, whilst making calming sshhh sounds and rubbing their backs. I will sleep soundly, and arise refreshed and resume my position on the pedestal of Mother of the freaking Year. And if I don’t, I will shave my husband’s eyebrows off just for shits and gigs.