So, she was up every hour and a half last night. But it’s OK, it’s totally OK. I’m on it. I’ve noticed the cues; the ear flicking, the slow blinking, the staring- she’s nap ready! We can save the day from disaster! She’s already bundled up in the car seat, we’re about to start our 30 minute journey- jobs a good-un’! She ALWAYS sleeps in the car. This should all work out perfectly- by the time we get into town to meet my fellow CSM, she’ll have had a decent sleep and we’ll be on schedule! I am an NCT protégé! A natural earth mother! Mwah ha ha!
Ummm, she’s still awake. We’re 7 minutes into our journey and she’s still awake. Like, wide awake. She’s starting to play with Owly. Why the arse is she starting to play with Owly? It’s nap time- she should be napping! I’ve done it all right, I’ve gone through the checklist; she’s clean, dry, fed, tired (but not OVERtired- very important distinction). Oof, I can feel the adrenaline creeping up, my heart beating harder, the dread starting to build… No, no, no. She’ll sense it, they can taste the fear- they thrive on it, it gives them energy! Stay positive and calm…positive and calm…calm…calm…..
What the actual hell. 10 minutes in and she’s laughing. Full. On. Laughing. I can feel a cold sweat starting. Nope, calm…..calm….positive…and…cal-
She’s trying to make eye contact in the mirror- she just caught me out, I looked at her. I looked directly at her. Balls, now she’s trying to chat to me, trying to impress me with her best raspberries and waving. No! I will not give into you! You can’t make me! I will not look! Although well done on the waving, darling.
We’re almost there and she’s 100% awake. There’s no hope of saving this one. What am I actually going to do?! There’s no way she’ll sleep in the café. It’s OK, it’s OK. Breathe. Just get her out and into the pram without looking at her. Don’t look at her. Well, you have to look at her a bit or you’ll drop her, you moron. Right, she’s in the pram. If I can just get her snuggled with her blanket, she might drop off. Blanket. Blanket? Arse, I’ve forgotten the arsing blanket. It’s freezing- here I am in full-on coat and wooly scarf and my child is in leggings. Leggings. Social services would have a field day. Will have to buy an emergency blanket from John Lewis on the way past. OK, it’s OK. Just don’t look at her.
Right, into the lift. She’s starting to stare again. Eyelids looking heavy…slowly closing… yes! Yes! Go on… Go- oof, lift’s stopped. Oh no. No, no, no. Nice old lady getting in….she’s looking at the pram. Back off, lady. Back. Off. Don’t you dare-
“Ooooh, hello beautiful! Aren’t you a charmer! Look at that smile!”
Pleeeeeease sod off. Please. Read my ‘sod- off’ face.
“How old are you then?”
She’s pretty much IN the pram with Pickle. Are. You. Serious? Sod off! Stop talking to her. I am going to cry if you keep talking to her. Please don’t make me cry in public. It’s OK, it’s OK. Just be polite, but firm:
“She should be asleep actually. She’s overdue her nap, just trying to get her off…” Be nice, be nice. She knows not what she does. Be ni-
“Oooh, not sleeping are you? Dear, oh dear! You little tinker!”
Please don’t make me hurt you. Please don’t make me strike a senior citizen. Please take the hint.
“What’s your mummy going to do with you, eh?!”
She’s definitely not taking the hint. Silence. I’ll solve this with an awkward silence.
Good, it seems to be working. Over-chatty lady has started staring at the ceiling. She’s glancing at the lights flashing from floor to floor, tight smile across her face. Thank goodness, we’re at our floor.
Lift doors have NEVER taken this long to open! Are they broken? OPEN YOU GITS! Good, we’re outta there. Right, blanket. Blanket, blanket, blanket. She is SO awake. It’s OK, it’s OK. Blanket equals snuggled, equals sleep. Lovely sleep. Please sleep, I beg you.
£16 is the cheapest one they have. I literally have 20 of these at home. This is the most expensive coffee date ever. Screw it- hand over the money and get walking. Smile through clenched teeth. No thanks, I don’t need a bag, it’s going straight on her. I’m just a terrible mother who forgot to attend to the basic need of her child to be vaguely warm. Thanks.
Right, just get walking. Walk, walk, walk. We’ve got 7 minutes until we need to be there. She could go off in 7 minutes. I’m sure she could. Couldn’t she? Oh, please sleep, my darling! I’m so close to tears. I’m so very tired. So very, very tired. Please go to sleep.
It’s not going to happen. She’s not going to go to sleep. She’s so tired she’s actually completely unable to fall asleep! I have stopped my child from being able to physically sleep! I can feel the lump in my throat. The tears are pricking my eyes. This is all my fault- why did I assume she’d sleep in the car?! I should never have come out! Time’s up. I HAVE to get to the café, they’ll think I’ve forgotten or something awful has happened. Why is EVERYONE in my way?! It’s like bloody slalom. Surely you can see the desperation in my eyes, the white knuckle grip I have on the pram. Do not screw with me. Get out of my way.
Right we’re here. There they are, over there. Of course her baby is asleep. Of course it is. I am so utterly crap at this. I am totally not cut out for this. I should be better at this by now. Don’t cry, don’t cry. Just have a brownie. That’s right, a lovely big brownie. And a hot chocolate. With cream. Yes, and marshmallows please. Yep, pile them on. I plan on eating my feelings today. Yep, a few more if you’ve got them. Thanks.
Right, I am going to do the thing they say not to do- I’m going to feed her to sleep. I don’t give a flying arse anymore, I just need her to sleep. I don’t care that I’m making a rod for my own back. I know she’ll expect it next time. I know I’m setting myself up for trouble. But right now it’s about survival. I need to survive the next hour or two until I get home and can cry and call for back up. And if that’s what it takes, that’s what I’m going to do. I just. Need her. To sleep. I just need to be able to focus on something other than her NOT sleeping for a few minutes. I just need a few minutes of feeling normal again. Just a few minutes.
She’s asleep. Thank everything above, she’s asleep. I can feel the relief washing over me and the adrenaline falling like a stone. Man, I feel wrecked- I’m so tired. But she’s asleep. And that’s all I care about right now. I feel lighter than air. I feel free.
And in 4 hours time, we’ll do this all again.
*Don’t worry, we’re now recovering from this episode and on nap bootcamp!