My daughter’s sleep is still very variable but for a few weeks now she has been much easier to settle, meaning despite repeated wake ups I can often have some semblance of an evening. I can make plans – I can even make meals. This may or may not be connected to reflux, reflux medications with which we have had varying degrees of in no way certifiable success or our spangly new dairy free lifestyle. It may of course have nothing to do with anything other than being a baby.
In any case, as so often happens, I had been lulled into a false sense of security. I felt easy and comfortable in the fact that I would have a little time sans children in the evening. Last night I had plans to make the most of that time. I was going to watch at least one, possibly two episodes of The West Wing. I was going to make a delicious meal and eat it at my leisure. Maybe even (dairy free) pudding. I was going to finish clearing my desk which in a few short weeks will be in use at least once a week as my home office. I might even finish reading the Radio Times. So far, so rock and roll.
We had had a few fractious days of anger, discomfort and crying, which I had thought might be teething (isn’t everything) culminating in a mild rash. She went to sleep in her normal fashion, firmly attached to my breast, and settled in her cot. I went off and prepared a potato, chorizo, tomato, pepper and butter bean bake and put The West Wing on. About halfway through, she woke. So far, so normal. As I was feeding her back to sleep, a number of things happened. The phone rang, my doctor returning a call relating to the extremely not riveting dairy/reflux issue. The kitchen timer went off. Here is possibly where I made my first mistake. I put her down, sleepy but not asleep, and took the call from my husband, and despatched him to her when she started grumbling.
The call did not take long. I returned, assuming she would want to feed back to sleep. This proved not to be the case. When I put her in the cot, she started playing so I left her there hopefully. Moments later she was unhappy with the situation but my husband suggested I eat my dinner while he soothed her.
This process seemed to wake her up rather more and I didn’t much enjoy eating while she cried in the next room. I took over. I fed her to sleep. I rocked her to sleep. I quietly and gently held her. I patted her bottom and stroked her back. Somewhere along the line with each of these methods, the switch flicked back and she was awake.
Shortly after 9 I gave in and decided to bring her to bed with me. Except she didn’t want to feed to sleep. Or to cuddle. Or to sit up. She became angry and upset. There was a lot of quite serious crying. Several times she looked as if she would finally settle in some extremely odd and uncomfortable position. But again she would wake and cry. Eventually I got out of bed and vigorously rocked her – something I had done some hours previously. Her breath slowed. Her eyes closed. Finally, she was asleep.
I took my chances and returned her to her own bed rather than mine – where she stayed for four hours before rejoining me in a more peaceable manner. I probably had a normal amount of sleep but felt more than usually shattered.
It is hard and depressing and sad that more than nine months in even plans such as these small ones are still not worth making. Babies – mine in particular – are unpredictable and like to keep you on your toes. It is times like this I have to remind myself it will not be forever.