Bubba kept me awake until 3.30 am when I finally caved and took her to bed with me. I don’t want to make co-sleeping a habit, but have to say, last night I took it on with not much more than a wry smile: Ellie 1, Jackie 0.
I manage nights like that now by viewing each attempt to get her to sleep as an experiment, rather than with the wistful hope, gradually deteriorating into desperation, that this will be the One – the time that she will calmly and quietly fall asleep. By 2.00 am, I took a deep breath and tried to reframe my view of the night as one that may contain sleep to one that was unlikely to.
I find that this is somewhat more helpful than other strategies I have tried before, such as begging her to fall asleep, praying to the Stork God that she will fall asleep, and finally crying and laughing at myself for crying, just a little, when I pick her up for the twenty somethingth time. It’s not that it hes to get her to sleep better if I am more relaxed, but it makes my night somehow less exhausting. At the least I have managed my expectations, accepted the reality, and acknowledged that she is, after all, a baby. My baby.
When I got up a few hours later for the next feed, I texted a couple of friends and took comfort in solidarity. I felt surprisingly OK. I know from past experience that by the third night of sleeplessness, I hit a wall and demand help. But on the first, it’s sort of like, I feel OK because I have faced the worst and got through it.
The idea of a hard baby is a strange one. Some might call her that, but she is just a baby, my baby (i am repeating myself – sleep deprivation does that). And when she blinked sleepily at me, and finally drifted off because she could see me, lying next to her, it was a special moment of our own. The night had the quality of quiet that only 3.30 am can have, when the world seems all in deep slumber, the vibrations of their dreams creating a velvety blanket for us. My baby saw me, and was at peace. And I curled around her, and knowing myself a light sleeper, prepared to wait for dawn, tucking a blanket around her little body to keep her warm.