Parenting, Sleep, Toddler

Rational Behaviour; a parents guide to sleeping in

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, I’ve got some major news for you.

For the first night in months, I managed to wake up in the morning without a baby bottom in my face. I had none of the usual bruises on my ribs which are inflicted by the constant shuffling and kicking Rupert does in his sleep; seriously, is he going to be the world’s first sleep fighting ninja?  I avoided a whole night of pushing and shoving towards the edge of the mattress; fitting a body into a 3 inch space is not advisable for restful sleep. We’ve actually had to upgrade to a kingsize bed for this very reason. He can reimburse the £600 from his first pay cheque as a pro ninja warrior. And amazingly, I wasn’t woken up to the sensation of his baby hands stroking my nose; now this may sound cute but, in reality, he’s just trying to locate my nose ring so he can attempt to pull it out. Potentially his signature ninja fighting move?

It was wonderful to wake up with a feeling of peace and tranquility. Space to stretch out my arms and the ability to roll over without the angst of crushing my offspring. This moment of bliss was, unfortunately, very short lived. Within a minute, my attention turned to my extensive mental list of potential reasons he wasn’t awake or in my bed. I had officially entered irrational, panicking mother mode.

“Why is he still asleep at 07:55? He’s always up at 06:30 whether he’s successfully gained access to the bed of his destiny (mine) or not. Why is there no noise coming from his room? Surely I should be able to hear something?! Oh my god… Has something awful happened to him??”

Yep, it seriously took 60 seconds for my brain to reach the conclusion he’d knocked himself out and/or been kidnapped from my quiet, secure suburban home.

Before motherhood I would of perceived this behaviour as unhinged. And with hindsight, it simply just confirms my perception was spot on. However, in the moment, I truly couldn’t ignore my vivid imagination. I kept swaying from “stop being stupid Holly, he’s fine” to “but what if something has happened?” All the while I was lying as still as a statue and in complete silence because, if he was sleeping, I didn’t want to disturb him. And what made my situation even more absurd was the fact I was ironically thinking, “Don’t wake him, you should be making the most of it by enjoying this moment.”

After another 10 minutes of trying to distract my thoughts, the newly developed fear of Rupert being an alien abductee made me finally go and check on him. You’ll be relieved to hear that this tale doesn’t take any dark twists or turns. Thankfully my life doesn’t resemble an episode of The X-files.

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I’m pleased to report he was in his cot, my slumbersome angel, having a glorious lie in. A lie in that I had ruined for myself. I felt instantly ridiculous and decided to creep back into my bed so I could get a slice of this snooze pie. I excitedly got into my warm bed and closed my eyes only for Rupert to immediately smash that snooze pie right into my face… This little man was awake and ready for the day! Time to kiss goodbye those additional sweet dreams; serves me right for being a twat I suppose.

When sharing my story earlier, I was surprised that quite a few parents said they had done exactly the same thing when their little cherub had lovingly allowed them extra time in bed. Some had literally gone into the bedroom and prodded their baby. This made me realise that actually, it was pretty normal for me to feel the need to check on him. It also confirmed that it is typical for a parent to have a slight flash of worry when your baby is sleeping longer than anticipated. We’ve all heard the horror stories. Education and media have made it so we are aware of every terrifying thing that can happen to your little bundle, so it’s no wonder my mothering instinct went into overdrive. It was the first time Rupert had ever slept this long! I would like to think that going forward, I will embrace any extended sleep sessions that may arise. With any luck it will turn into a daily occurrence…. Ok, I’m being far too optimistic now.

The overriding lesson I learnt; to accept that lots of things will be changing in Rupert’s little life. He will become more adventurous, more unique and, as proved yesterday, more unpredictable. Anxious parenting is not my style, I pride myself in going with the flow and encouraging my boy to develop in any way he chooses. I will particularly encourage his ‘choice’ to develop into a champion sleeper!

Potentially the other lesson I should learn is that watching alien abduction movies isn’t such a great idea anymore.

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