Regular readers will know that my son, who is 2.5, is a shit sleeper. Like all shit sleepers, he goes through phases of shit and shitter sleeping. There was a long phase when he was alright -he’d wake up once a night and wake me up but then he and I would go back to sleep and it was all fine.
But over the last few months it’s all gone horribly wrong. He’s waking up multiple times a night for different reasons, wanting different things. His latest wheeze is that he is terrified of the sound of the rain on his skylights at night. Which is terrific seeing as it’s been so dry recently.
I used to think that this was my fault because I let him have a bottle in his bed and then I used to think it was because he had such huge adenoids (which I had removed). But now I think it’s all because he’s just a shit sleeper.
My sister has a couple of shit sleepers and she says that even her shittest sleeper grew out of it by 3.5. But my friend M- also has a shit sleeper and she is five and still giving them all hell.
Anyway I have come to a new understanding with Sam’s shit sleeping and that is: I am not going to win. This is not going to get better any time soon. Leaving him to cry doesn’t work. Cutting out any lunchtime sleep doesn’t work. Exercising him hard in the afternoon doesn’t work. The Gro Clock doesn’t work. None of it works.
This is a siege and the only thing to do is survive it. I have stopped being martyrish about it or waving my husband away when he asks me at 7am if I want to go back to bed. I do not say “I’ll be alright once I’ve had a cup of tea,” I say “Yes, thanks,” then go back to bed for as long as I can. My au pair picks up a lot of the slack in the mornings.
Now I have just accepted defeat I am more relaxed. Sometimes hope keeps you a prisoner and once you have given up all hope, you can be free.
Another thing that helps in the mornings, if I have managed to sleep in so late that I have missed the chance of a shower, is the application of a very hot flannel to my face.
Everyone raves about Eve Lom but I am not a fan of her greasy hot-cloth polish face wax or whatever it is. I just don’t like the smell, it’s just too much fannying about for me.
But the principle of a very hot towel to the face is good. It’s nice, it livens you up just enough to be worth doing. I use one of two new novelty flannels the kids got for Christmas but I also have a stack of baby muslins in a cupboard just waiting to be cut up and used for the same purpose. The temptation with all problems is to throw money at them – but sometimes there are problems that all the money in the world can’t solve: I remember an interview with either Jools or Jamie Oliver saying that their youngest child, Buddy, still woke up in the night at around two years old.
Sometimes there’s nothing that money can do for you: a stack of old muslins will do just as good a job as brand new ones from Eve Lom herself. All that’s left for you the morning after a night being woken up every two hours since midnight, is to apply a hot, clean rag to your face – and spend the £14 you’ve saved on coffee.