Following Daddy’s great announcement yesterday, Mummy has renewed her efforts to master sleep training. She has spent the day scouring know-it-all websites and baby books, which range from stating the blooming obvious – “Your baby won’t sleep well if they are hungry or uncomfortable” – to advice which Mummy is convinced the authors just wrote for a laugh, to really wind her up: “Sleep begets sleep; make sure they have enough sleep in the day and they will sleep easily at night.”
It seems that a lot of money is to be made from the business of getting babies off to sleep. No doubt due to her monotonous search history, the great wonder that is Google is now advertising to Mummy every product under the sun which promises to do the job for you. Mummy is especially impressed by Ewan the Musical Womb Sheep, who apparently makes womb-like noises to the baby, thus tricking it into remembering a time before it was born and happily drifting off. It is unlikely Ewan will work on Rebel Baby, who considered the womb her very own party house and didn’t sleep there either.
Wanting to be thorough in her research, Mummy has also consulted with equally sleep-deprived friends, one of whom has gone to the lengths of employing a professional sleep consultant. She has emailed Mummy the detailed professional advice about exactly what Mummy needs to do to guarantee the Little One pops off into a peaceful slumber right on cue this evening. Mummy has read through it twice and used thee different coloured highlighters, so that no crumb of wisdom is left untried.
Daddy is home from work.
“I have spent all day reading every book under the sun about exactly and precisely how to get the baby to sleep,” says Mummy, “and I have even got some advice from a professional sleep consultant.”
“That is not a real job,” says Daddy.
“It is too a real job,” says Mummy, “and they have much wisdom on getting babies to sleep.”
“OK,” says Daddy, “what’s the new strategy?”
“Same as yesterday,” says Mummy.
Mummy and Daddy have been taking it in turns to comfort The Baby, who seems unnaturally wide awake. All the walking up and down the stairs is doing wonders for Mummy’s thighs. All the crying is slowly shutting down Mummy’s brain. Mummy dreams of the supermodel legs she will have at the end of sleep training, and wonders if she still has her black dress with a slit up the side. Maybe she will be able to wear it.
Rebel Baby is teasing Mummy by pretending to sleep until Mummy gets up to leave the room. Mummy wonders if she could fashion a large cardboard cut-out of herself to prop up at the end of the bed while she goes downstairs to drink wine and watch the end of Sherlock. Mummy really wants to know what happens to Redbeard.
Daddy brings up a cup of tea for Mummy. He has managed to reduce his comforting duties by convincing The Baby that she only wants Mummy. It is clear now to Mummy this is a ploy Daddy has been covertly working on for several weeks, and the fruits of his labour are beginning to pay off. Mummy makes a mental note to ensure the baby’s first words are “Daddy, now!” and get her own back. Mummy still doesn’t know what has happened to Redbeard.
It strikes Mummy that sleep-training when The Baby is so poorly is a futile mission and perhaps it should be aborted until the baby is well. Then Mummy remembers the week Daddy decided it was time to potty train Big Bro, who then developed acute D & V. But this was irrelevant to Daddy, because Daddy had decided. The fact that all the clothes and bed sheets were being laundered daily and the child barely got off the potty all day did not matter, because there was a schedule and targets to be met. And also because Daddy was staying at his mother’s, so the cleaning was not his problem.
Mummy is so, so tired. It strikes her there is no point having supermodel legs if they are disfigured from being cramped into a kneeling position at the side of the cot, with a hunched back from bending over. Daddy has turned the TV up to drown out the crying… he had better not be watching the end of Sherlock without Mummy.
Mummy had ruled out the ‘Cry it out’ method due to living in a terraced house and quite liking her neighbours, but it strikes Mummy that The Baby no longer seems to care whether she is there or not and has taken to crying indiscriminately. Mummy may as well not be there, for all the good she is doing. She may as well just leave The Baby, the stubborn, ungrateful little thing… at least for a few minutes so Mummy can find out what happened to Redbeard.
Mummy didn’t mean that! Of course she won’t leave her darling precious baby in her time of great distress and sickness! Mummy is here, and it will all be OK! If only she would just stop screaming…
Mummy decides if she can just stop the screaming, The Strategy can be resumed. And also, Mummy has pins and needles in her soon-to-be-shapely legs, and cramp in her foot. She will just take the baby next door and sit on the bed with her for a few minutes while she calms down, and have a fresh start. She is also worried about the neighbours putting in a formal complaint for disturbance of the peace.
Mummy tiptoes next door with one snot-encrusted, menthol-infused Rebel Baby in her arms, still fighting sleep. They sit down on the bed for just a few moments, and peace is restored. It is very important Daddy does not find out that Mummy has broken The Strategy, after all the grief she gave him yesterday.
Mummy fell asleep and has been found out! Daddy was getting impatient wanting to watch the end of Sherlock and came up to investigate the silence, and Mummy was asleep with The Baby on the bed!
“What are you doing?!” demands Daddy, incredulous. “This is not The Strategy!”
“No, no, I’m sorry!” wails Mummy, “I was just… and I couldn’t… and… legs… and… what happened to Redbeard?”
Daddy takes The Baby and puts her back in the cot. But The Baby does not want to go back in the cot, she wants to sleep on the bed with Mummy. Mummy is absolutely definitely not ever going to tell Daddy about the time he went away for work and Mummy accidentally fell asleep with The Baby in bed, and RB slept quite happily on Daddy’s side all night and Mummy didn’t have to get up once, not even to feed her. That did not happen.
Daddy has given in too now, and has resorted to walking around the nursery with Rebel Baby, who only wants to be upright… probably because of all the phlegm. But phlegm will not stop Daddy, for he has a schedule.
Rebel Baby has fallen asleep. Upright. On Daddy’s chest. Daddy has declared himself to be a Sleep God for achieving this where Mummy had failed. It is all Daddy’s skill and not at all to do with the fact Rebel Baby has been awake for hours and hours and has cried out all her options on Mummy.
Now Daddy is stuck. Ha!
Mummy is going to bed… she will have to find out what happened to Redbeard tomorrow night.