After almost two weeks of sheer hell in the sleep department (hence my lack of bloggage) both my girls slept all night long and I have to say I feel brand new today. It’s incredible how much of an effect sleep has on the whole family, and how precious and converted it has become in our house. My 4yo only properly slept through the night (7-7) for just over a year and for almost two years now we’ve lived with being woken most nights and often surviving on just a few hours shut eye. Thankfully the little one has always been a great sleeper, sleeping through from just nine weeks and is only really up to nocturnal shenanigans if she’s unwell.
Around the biggest’s second birthday several changes occurred which included potty training, a new bed, bigger room and a very noisy neighbour. According to the books and online forums any one of these factors – or all of them – could have sparked a sleeping problem so it’s really no wonder that it happened with all that going on. Everyone I know with older kids assured me it was just a phase and she would outgrow it quickly, but this hasn’t been the case for us.
I could go on and on about how hard it’s been, but for one day only want to rejoice in the solid 9 hours sleep I had last night. I’ve been smiling all day and even the witching hour is not going to get the better of me this evening. Just thought I’d share that with you all 😉
Although I love my long suffering husband very much, every now and then (ok daily at the mo) I hate him and want to punch him in the face. I feel sorry for the poor guy, but am positive that he feels exactly the same about me. Having a young family is bloody hard work, and I’m beginning to understand why many couples end up going their separate ways before the youngest has started school. There’s just so much to contend with already, and being nice to one another often takes a back seat.
This morning is a fine example – first off we were up at 5am which is not a great start. After being awake for over an hour 4yo wanted to make her breakfast, she played around and took ages in doing so. I went upstairs to get ready for work and the whole time I’m up there I can hear that she’s still messing about and not really eating her food. He’s getting really angry and then starts going on about what a waste this is, blah blah. She gets down from the table at this point and is now playing with her toys saying she wants to eat at nursery. I come downstairs and he’s fuming. I say that he should just let her go hungry and next time she’ll want to eat. He now gets peed off with me.
In the midst of all this I realise I am two minutes late leaving for work and will miss my train if I don’t run out the door right then. Help me please I say, but he’s still annoyed with me and doesn’t. I end up running out of the house muttering FFS quite loudly and promptly collide with an elderly gentleman neighbour on his morning stroll to get the paper. Oooops! Sorry I apologise, you didn’t need to hear that. He has a wry knowing grin on his face, one that says don’t worry, been there many a time myself dear.
Fortunately my memory isn’t up to much these days, and all is usually forgiven rather quickly. Had I not written just this post I probably would have forgotten the incident by now. I was very comforted recently by seeing an interview with married folk in their 80’s and 90’s – apparently the longest surviving couples bicker on a daily basis.
When my four year old was a baby I used to get really annoyed with comments that friends with more than one child would make – such as ‘two kids is much more than just double the work’ and ‘you don’t realise how easy it is having one until you have another’. You get the picture? It used to really pee me off, but now I completely understand where they were coming from. I would never say things like this out loud to my one-child friends (as I still remember how it made me feel) but I do enjoy having a good moan to my husband and other mummies in the same boat.
My second daughter was a classic angel baby, and even during her most trying moments hasn’t been too difficult to contend with. She slept through the night at nine weeks (all by herself), fed well as an infant and always has a smile on her face. Unless she’s teething or unwell she’s one of the happiest little girls I’ve ever encountered. She doesn’t need constant entertaining and can amuse herself. At fifteen months my only gripe is that she is still a little too fond of the breast and isn’t displaying any sign of giving it up. Not a gripe really, I’ve loved being able to feed my babies.
In stark contrast her sister was (and still is) quite demanding. She had reflux from two weeks meaning feeds were difficult, and although she was fairly content she had awful tantrums from a very early age – and still does to this day. She didn’t start properly sleeping through until nine months, and is up for hours in the night at least a few times a week now. At just eleven months she pushed me away when I tried to feed her, telling me in no uncertain terms that she didn’t want my milk anymore. She flits between being a happy loving child and a sleep deprived monster – which I can certainly relate to on days where I’ve had just three or four hours sleep! Above all else she is extremely jealous of her sister, and the easier and lovelier the littlest is the more demanding and attention seeking she will be. She is really well behaved at nursery which pleases me, but also makes me sad because it’s clearly all for mine and my husbands benefit.
I have recently pondered back to the simple days when we only had one to consider, and wondered about the child my eldest would have been. In my fantasies she is perfectly behaved all the time and life is easy as pie. Of course the reality would probably be another story and I’m sure being an only child would have come with a different set of problems. I’ve been told that when it comes to small children it doesn’t get harder than having a baby and a toddler, and I take great comfort from this. As tough as these early days have been, I cling to the hope that they will both be better off in the long run for having each other.
I often wonder how I went from being the life and soul of a party to a person invited only to make up the numbers. In my teens and early twenties I would burst into a room bringing an energy people were desperate to be around, but these days I feel quite self conscious about socialising and rarely do so anyway. The disparity between then and now is monumental but entirely necessary.
I had a dysfunctional childhood and suppose you could say I was dragged up. I have many war wounds from my past which sometimes haunt me when I’m sleeping. I left home at 15 with no money or eduction, but a series of fortunate events meant I’ve never gone hungry or been homeless. I’ve travelled the world and have an amazing and adoring husband. Holding onto my sanity at times has been difficult, but against the odds I consider myself to be a well rounded dependable person – a good mum, wife and friend.
I cut ties with my mother almost a decade ago, and although I miss not having a mum, I don’t miss her and the drama she used to bring to my life. I’m also estranged from all my aunts, uncles, cousins and the half-siblings I grew up with. Although lots of people I know have issues with their family, I’m the only person I know of that has actually walked away. It probably says a lot about me as a person.
For the first year I felt utterly bereft, and went fully into self destruct mode – using alcohol and partying to numb my pain – something I’d been doing for quite a while at that point. When I hit my rock bottom towards the end of 2006, it came with the realisation that I was totally alone and needed to change my wicked ways. I worked hard to become a better person, one I actually liked and could stand looking at in the mirror.
Fast forward six, seven years and here I am surviving to tell a different tale. I’m not an alpha mum and neither do I strive for perfection. Our house often looks like it’s just been burgled, but I really have no intention of keeping it spotless just in case someone pops round. I don’t bother trying to keep up with the Joneses, and do things my own way. We have no extra pairs of hands, so it’s all about the four of us. Although motherhood and marriage are the best things that have happened to me, the weight of responsibility can be immense. Ultimately though, the happiness of my girls and hubby is all that matters. The rest just isn’t important.