I love to dance.
I’ve been dancing since I could walk.
I’ve danced on stages and I’ve even choreographed a few shows.
My current speciality is the Sleep Dance. And I’m brilliant at it.
Sleep is a currency…who knew?
Currently, I’m broke while Hubby is rich, rich, rich…well he’s richer than I am. He’s dancing the Sleep Dance too, but he doesn’t even know most of the time.
In the world of new parents, the parent who tallies up the most Zzzz hours owes the other: Big time.
They say that we forget the difficult things about having a newborn after a while…like the pain, the exhaustion, the stress. There must be some truth in that as we keep having children, don’t we?
We had Princess almost four years after Mini-Me whirlwinded into our lives. That gap was just enough to have allowed us to have completely forgotten EVERYTHING about having a new baby in the house. How do we bath her? How many ounces do we give her? How does this damned sterilizer work again?
My first hour at home after Princess’s birth was terrifying. We moved house last year, so I didn’t have the luxury of memory to assist me. Our previous home was smaller, so even if Mini-Me was in the bedroom, I could hear her in the kithen. The new house is lovely and spacious, but so new and unfamiliar to us.
Where would I keep the nappies? Which cupboard should I put the baby’s stuff in? Where should I put her while she’s sleeping? The arrangements and habits that we had created for our first baby, were redundant. We had to start again. Ok, so this is not a huge issue and may sound ridiculous, but to a new Mammy, 3 days post-section and drugged to the eyeballs, it was MASSIVE.
For the first week, we caught ourselves looking at the other for help or reminders on more than one occasion. Do we mix the formula when it’s hot or luke warm? Do we go to bed now or just wait until after her next feed? How do we ensure that Mini-Me is still getting her usual attention? The list goes on and the struggles were real, but after a few days, we were the proverbial quacking ducks and the water was no longer quite so choppy. Everything became normal again…except for the sleep.
Before a Baby arrives, how much we sleep goes unnoticed. Pre-parents should really listen when told to enjoy their sleep now. Ok, so you can’t stock up on it, and how much you get before the arrival of your little bundle is not going to help when you’re knackered at 4am, but you can ENJOY it.
Enjoy the luxurious feeling of turning over in the bed without worrying about disturbing Baby. Enjoy being able to go to bed when YOU feel like it. Enjoy not giving a continental hoot how much sleep your partner gets, because once Baby arrives, you’ll moniter their sleep as carefully as you moniter the money in your bank account, or lack thereof.
Every second of snoring that is greater than the seconds you spend snoring, is noted.
Every time he or she turns in the bed, oblivious to the demanding grunts from the cot, (and oblivious to your glares!), is stored in your memory.
Every time you have to haul your ass out of the bed to replace the dummy in your little Munchkin’s mouth, you jot it down in your mind.
Every innocent snore is transformed into the sound of coins being dropped in the piggy-bank of your mind.
Your mind becomes a ledger… how much do I have? How much did he/she get?
Every second your partner sleeps while you are awake between the hours of 11pm and 6am, becomes currency.
In other words… YOU OWE MEEEEEE!
And if he/she gets one hour more than you, you will want to make them pay.
As well as taking mental notes of how much more sleep your partner got, you’ll be taking notes of how little you got.
Yes, while Baby Brain might cause you to forget your own name, (or in my case, the Baby’s name…twice.), it strangely adds to your mathematical brilliance and your late night memory.
6 x out of bed to replace dummy
2 x thinking she was choking
3 x unnecessarily
2 x across the hall to Mini-me to scare off bad dreams
1 x across the hall to Mini-me to beg her to go back to sleep
1 x to the kitchen to heat Princess’s bottle
1 x to the kitchen to dump said bottle as said Princess was snoring again by the time I returned
1 x to get another bottle an hour later
1 x sitting on the edge of the bed for 20 minutes after feeding as she screams everytime I move, knowing that the snuggly Mammy is going to try to deposit her in the cold cot.
1 x your snoring
…and don’t even start me on the ten minutes between your alarm going off and the snooze button!
Do the math.
Or don’t. Just know that YOU OWE ME!
And of course the rational mind reminds me that Himself is working full-time.
And that of course he needs sleep with 5am-8pm working hours.
And that I am off work at the minute.
And that this only lasts for such a short time.
I know all of that, but sometimes, I’m not very rational. Because I’m shattered!
And of course, there are the nights when Daddy’s on Baby-duty and I can sleep, but I don’t usually. Not because I need to be awake, but because I’m programmed to be on my feet and functioning before my mind knows I’m awake.
I am learning however. I’m now forcing myself to accept the lie in, even if it is only until 8am. I am getting better at going back to sleep when I know that Daddy’s got her. (even if sometimes I’ve had to kick him three times to tell him to get up!)
So yes, be prepared for the Sleep dance.
Be prepared to know exactly how much sleep your partner got and be prepared to know just how much you didn’t.
Be prepared that no matter how honest you usually are, you WILL lie about how many times you were out of bed, just to make sure that partner understands how much he/she OWES YOU!
Be prepared to feel utter resentment for the person you love in real life…because 4am isn’t real life really, is it?
And be prepared to get on with it and to get over it, because it’s worth every single second.
No matter how exhausted your body is, when you look into the cot at stupid o’ clock and see two big, beautiful eyes looking at you; when your finger is gripped by tiny hands, holding on to you for dear life; when you listen to the coos and noises as she drinks; tiredness disappears and is replaced by love.
But yes. He (or she) still owes you. How you make them pay, is completely up to you!
I am Sleep Dance Mum 🙂
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