It’s been a little quiet on the blogging front lately. My apologies. I think I’ve run out of ways to say ‘I’m tired’, and my beloved thesaurus is in tiny print, so no help there.
Some days we do well: Teddy’s night-time sleeping intervals inch towards three hours instead of two, we make outdoor plans, we carry them out, I do the cooking but probably not the washing-up, I watch a cheeky documentary on iPlayer, and everything feels normal.
Other days, Teddy fidgets half the night and we flop around the house all day, Henry gets more annoyed and more inclined to use his brother as a surfboard, and all I can think about is getting them both to sleep at the same time so I can too. I’ve decided that as long as I’m breaking roughly even with our on/off days, we’re doing pretty well.
Incidentally, I don’t have any foolproof baby sleeping strategies (Henry was a good sleeper with no input from us, and Teddy’s still so small he gets hungry a lot), but this is what I’ve decided is the truest truth. PRIORITY ONE is more sleep. PRIORITY TWO is better sleep.
Initially I am insanely, eat-a-whole-jar-of-Nutella desperate for as much sleep as possible. Both our boys have slept for longer in our bed, so that’s how we start. But all babies are different, and we’ve had to experiment: they might sleep better in a swaddle, or after a bath, or after ten minutes with Daddy, or wearing a miniature Barbara Streisand wig, for all I know. Whatever works. Do it. DO IT.
That’s good for the first couple of weeks. But while they sleep for longer between us, I sleep lighter. I also feel a lot less like an, ahem, natural woman and more like a dairy cow when there’s a baby physically separating us at night. So now I settle Teds in the crib between as many feeds as possible. We’ve gone back to THE NEST, and elevating one end of the mattress, which I can recommend times one million (I thank Eunice the night nurse in my prayers for that little gem). And Teddy gets colic in the evenings, so he gets a dummy to help with the stomach ache. I am not sniffy about dummies. One day I’ll have one gold-plated.
It’s a little early for sleep strategies, though I’ve been trying out le pause when I remember, from Pamela Druckerman’s French Children Don’t Throw Food (more on that later, probably). There are plenty of nights where PRIORITY TWO goes down the sinkhole, so I go back to PRIORITY ONE. Two nights ago he slept for four consecutive hours, and I woke up dizzy with the joy of it. Last night he huffed and wriggled until 2am, then woke up again a couple of hours later. I got out the Nutella jar again this morning.
Here are some photos from a winning day. Bacon sandwiches, a clean house, an afternoon nap, an evening walk by the canal in a burnished sunset. Some days it does go right. No Barbara Streisand wig required.