A Night In The Life
12.01amDrag way back to reality after lovely dream about one of the Ryans. Can’t remember which one. Not 100% sure I could tell them apart. Either way, it doesn't matter. It was lovely. Remember why I’m not dreaming anymore - smallest child mewling. Boobs leaking. Check clock. I’ve had 32 minutes sleep.
12.06am Looks like shoving the dummy back in thirteen times isn’t going to work. Drag self up off bed under weight of burgeoning boob. Resign myself to not sleeping.
1.03am Good news! Boobs drained and unlikely to leak until Easter. In bad news, it's taken the best part of an hour and I’m now wide awake after a completing a complex series of dances, bounces, songs, whispers, shushes, strokes and prayers to the god of sleep. In the meantime, I’ve created a mental To Do list longer than the wall of China and now can’t sleep before writing 24 emails and updating all social media platforms with newly conceived campaign guaranteed to raise brand profile and generate income. Punch myself in the face for being such a social media twat.
3.30am OK work done. Better get some sleep.
3.54am Wake to sound of baby crying. Check clock and despite lack of brain function quickly realise I’ve still only had 56 minutes sleep in total and I’m only two hours away from my biggest Small waking up. Decide not to waste time stuffing dummy back in mouth with little to no hope of success. Instead, decide to grab baby bull by horns and throw boob at this problem. Vaguely remember something about ‘bad habits’ and ‘falling asleep on the boob’ and after three seconds carefully considering this, decide I have no fucks left to give. With potential sleep time quickly disintegrating before my eyes I shove boob unceremoniously into mouth and read Kindle.
5.00am Shit. Got lost in new nursery interior design book - Fifty Shades of Monochrome. Baby has been asleep for at least 40 minutes and now I’m wide awake considering nursery decor and trying to decide on which shade of Farrow & Ball white to paint new bedroom. Biggest Small now due up in an hour and I still have to do the transfer of Smallest Small from booby shaped, milk-drench nook to cold, slightly dribble damp cot. Fuckety shit balls. May as well read a bit more of my book.
5.17am Shouts of ‘mama’ heard from Biggest Small’s room. Fuckety fuckety fuck. Maybe she’ll just go back to sleep.
5.18am Screams of ‘mama’ indicate distinct unlikeliness of Biggest Small throwing me a fucking bone and going back to sleep. Shuffle to edge of bed trying only to move bottom half of body so that sleeping baby has no idea I’m on the move. Stop suddenly when sleeping baby shifts slightly. Continue the slow but steady manoeuvre to an upright position. Navigate dropped dummy, noisy door handles, shouty cat and screaming toddler and manage to make it to her bedroom with a sleeping baby still in tact.
On arrival whisper, “What’s wrong baby girl?” in my calmest, shut-the-fuck-up voice.
Haughty reply: “Mama, my blanket is slipping off my bed,’ emphasised by pointy finger, just in case I wasn’t sure which corner of the blanket was falling below expectations.
You know what else is falling below expectations baby girl? My bloody life.
5.20am Bed linen adjusted to the approval of Biggest Small. Standing next to cot with sleeping baby and girding loins for ‘transfer’. Realise with sudden sense of doom that if I don’t get this right, there is no more sleep for me at all. Realise with an even stronger sense of doom that, even if I do get this right, I still only have 40 minutes left to sleep before Biggest Small starts her day.
5.32am Smallest Small in her cot and asleep AS LONG as my hand is patting her bottom at a steady tempo that never, ever varies in rhythm or pressure. Try to maintain steady pat while sitting down, or lying down or anything other than standing, bent double, at the most uncomfortable angle with all the blood rushing slightly to my head. Reach for slightly damp hand towel on floor to place on back in lieu of hand. Weight should be about right. She’ll never know.
5.38am She totally knew. Fucking fuckety fuckety fuck fuck. The rage is here. At this moment I could walk away and leave her to cry until she’s sick as long as I can shut a door somewhere and sleep. The only reason I don’t is because I don't want to wake the neighbours or my other child. Grab her and shove her back on boob. At least she’s quiet. Fuck it. She can sleep in my bed, on the boob. I don’t care anymore. I just need sleep.
5.59am Wake up because I thought I heard the Biggest Small shout me. Must have imagined it. Phew! Maybe she’ll surprise us all and sleep in.
6.01am ‘MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!’Definitely not imagining that. The shouts are growing in confidence and volume and if she doesn’t shut up she's going to wake the Smallest Small again. Kick husband and tell him to go and sort Biggest Small out quickly before she wakes the whole house. Kick husband again. And again. Oh fuck it. Everyone’s awake now.
6.07am Smallest Small back on boob. Biggest Small running all over bed shouting 'booby bums and willies.' Husband snoring gently saying occasionally, “I’m not sleeping. I’m just having five minutes.” Cat starts meowing for food, doorbell rings. Remember I booked Ocado between 6am and 7am (why is it never late in the morning?!) and bank texts to tell me they arranged a temporary overdraft for our current account. Wonderful.
6.08am Mentally tot up that I’ve had less than an hour’s sleep all night. Suddenly feel like crying and packing a bag and leaving it all behind. Husband senses possible monster grown up tantrum and takes kids downstairs for breakfast. Remember to give him a blowy later to thank him. It’s the least I can do. Relish having the bed to yourself, mentally count minute of possible sleep in front of you before you have to get up. Pick up phone just to check instagram….