So it appears that enough time has passed since my last post for a new geological age to begin- sorry about that. Full time shift work and mumming in-between has somewhat swallowed my entire life. But I felt it was high time I put pen to paper/fingers to keys and write about something I feel pretty strongly about.
Pickle is now 14 months and still not overly fond of the idea of sleep. We’ve improved to a huge degree in that once she’s asleep, she sleeps through the night, and daytime naps are pretty consistent (sorry, not trying to be smug- see my previous posts for the odyssey we went through getting to this stage). But good grief, come 1900 hours it’s like someone has turned her cot mattress into a sodding charging dock. Average time from starting our bedtime routine and her actually being asleep currently lies around 60-90 minutes… And it’s beginning to wear incredibly thin. By the time she’s down the evening is gone- there’s just enough time to eat some sustenance and crawl into bed. Yes, we do all the stuff you’re meant to do; created a calming and predictable bedtime routine, tweaked things here and there, read the baby sleep books etc, etc. She just takes a bloody age to switch off. What I find really difficult and guilt provoking is when I actually AM here to put her to bed, my sheer knackerdness means I have very little reserve left to deal with her shenanigans. I find myself smiling through tight lips, muttering silent expletives and imagining a large glass of red for the vast majority of the ordeal, which makes me feel a bit bad for wishing my short time with her away. On the whole though, I’m not here for bedtime which means poor husband bears the brunt of it, and that just makes me feel equally terrible- like I’m playing hookie whilst he deals with the really crap bits.
Tonight has entered another league. Tonight she is going utterly bat-shit crazy. Like insane. It’s 100% her teeth. She’s only got 4 and we have all shed blood, sweat, tears and almost spinal fluid going through the trauma of getting those buggers through the surface. And here we are again, the same familiar hellish territory. Tonight I’ve already had to extract myself from the situation and hand over to my far more cool headed and patient beau as I was painfully aware I was on the road to going a bit bat-shit myself. And like a modern day knight in a Hawaiian shirt, he took her off my hands without even a grunt of irritation or resentment. Because he knew- he knew I’d reached that point where I just. Needed. Out.
I cannot count the number of times that I have honestly thanked God for that man since we became parents. It’s also these moments more than any other that make me regard single parents with dumbstruck awe for doing this stuff alone day in, day out. Quite simply, there are times where I just can’t. Can’t do it on my own and need to hand over to him. There are also days when he just can’t, and I step in (granted these are exceedingly few and far between). The important thing is we recognise when we’re in that place and we call in back up. We no longer have any pointless pride when it comes to asking for help- it’s just wasted energy and makes everyone cross and shouty. There were times that we’d hiss at one another: “Back off, I’ve got this”, when inside we were silently screaming at them to take the squirming, screaming bundle out of our arms and far away. It was utterly redundant and miserable. I’m not sure when it happened, but we just seemed to reach this understanding that it was ok to ask for a ‘Time Out’- that the other wouldn’t think we were a rubbish parent, or assume we were trying to pull a fast one so we could watch Made In Chelsea whilst they wrestled for an hour with the only baby who seems to have more energy come sundown than Mr Motivator after a Coffee and Red Bull smoothie.
And it’s the best lesson I’ve learned through the 14 months we’ve been doing this parenting thing (that and realising that if I say ‘Makka Pakka’ repeatedly then she’ll actually let me clean her face rather than scream like I’m attempting reconstructive surgery on her).
So as I finish typing this with a blissful silence finally befalling the nursery where the two loves of my life are rocking gently together to the sound of Ewan the (no help at all) Dream Sheep, I want to raise a glass to my Other Half and say: Thank you for knowing when I just can’t anymore. You’re a legend.