Sleep training, take 3

6:30 pm

Daddy has come back from work and announced he is off to the pub.

“Someone at work did something that was a bit good so we must all go out for beers to celebrate,” he says.

For once, the baby is asleep so Mummy doesn’t even have cause to be grumpy about this.

“I am going to have a noisy shower in the bathroom right by where the baby is sleeping as I must look and smell beautiful for our celebratory beers,” says Daddy.

7:00 pm 

Daddy’s beers have been cancelled and the baby is awake, so Daddy has two reasons to be sad.

Mummy only has one… she found out what happened to Redbeard.

“What is The Strategy tonight?” asks Daddy.

“Ah!” says Mummy, “I have improved The Strategy today! I sneak off only as far as our bedroom and I wait there until she is definitely completely and utterly asleep, and I can comfort her when needed but she can’t see me.”

“Ah!” says Daddy, “Is this because your increased proximity to the baby allows you to be more in tune to her every need, and allows her to sense your presence is reassuringly close despite not being immediately there, thus enabling her to feel more at ease in her sleep environment?”

“No,” says Mummy, “it is because my legs hurt.”

8:00 pm

Mummy takes a box of earplugs round to the Lovely Neighbour as an apology gift.

“Oh no, I can’t hear her at all!” lies the Lovely Neighbour. Mummy knows this is a lie because Mummy can hear the Lovely Neighbour’s light switch through the walls, and is quite sure the light switch is considerably quieter than the screaming baby. The Lovely Neighbour insists she is telling the truth but willingly accepts the ear plugs which indicates she is not. Mummy apologises profusely again, and the Lovely Neighbour starts apologising for her own children, who are grown up and do not try to scream the street down at 3:00 am. How marvellously British we are, thinks Mummy.

8:45 pm

THE BABY HAS BEEN ASLEEP FOR NEARLY TWO HOURS! Mummy and Daddy keep checking the baby monitor to make sure it is not broken. Which is not necessary, because the baby monitor is not necessary, because The Baby can easily be heard without a monitor. From three streets away. But when Mummy was buying things for the new baby, it was the only thing which vaguely resembled technology and therefore Daddy considered it essential.

Mummy is fully aware that The Baby is probably only asleep because of the accumulated levels of sleep deprivation, and is tanking herself up now so she can resurrect her nightly performance tomorrow, renewed and refreshed. But Mummy doesn’t care.

Sleep when the baby sleeps, say the know-it-all baby websites. Foolishly though, Mummy and Daddy stay up late relishing the peace and quiet. It is rare and welcome opportunity to engage in adult conversation, to cook and enjoy dinner for two and listen to music, to rekindle their relationship and remember a sense of themselves, not the baby-serving zombies they have become.

Naturally, they order a takeaway and spend the next three hours on separate sofas behind laptops, watching Grey’s Anatomy.


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