Ode to lost sleep

Look at these cute feet — Baby Duck at two months old. Who would have thought that five years later they’d have turned into instruments of torture?

I’ve noticed a funny thing about small children. In daylight they seem so soft and cuddly, all plump little legs and sweet rounded faces. But in the middle of the night they sneak into your bed and they’re suddenly all hard angles and nasty pointy bits. There’s nothing quite like being woken from a sound sleep by a vicious elbow jab to the kidneys.

And then they do the starfish thing, arms and legs sprawled across the bed, so that mum and dad are crammed into 10% of the space while the small pointy thing luxuriates in the other 90%.

Baby Duck is a master of the art. I’m pretty sure he grows extra legs at night too. There seem to be a lot more than two knees jammed into me. I feel like the meat in the sandwich crammed between him and his father. Sometimes he doesn’t even leave me enough room to lay my head flat on the pillow.

I suppose I’ll miss it when he grows out of this stage, but then again – maybe not. When you’re expecting your first baby you know you’re in for some disturbed nights. What nobody tells you is that it can go on for years. You go through the baby thing, the weaning thing, the waking up in the night (every night!) crying for water/cuddles/toilet/whatever-they-damn-well-please thing, the coming-into-your-bed-every-night-thing, then just as you think you might finally be getting it under control, along comes Number 2 and it starts all over again. Repeat as many times as your sanity allows.

In our case, Drama Duck is nearly 10, and we’re still woken up every night by Baby Duck, so a night of unbroken sleep is only a fading memory. I figure once he grows out of it we might have as much as five years of good sleeping before we get to the dreaded “waiting up for teenagers to come home” stage. Can’t wait! For the sleeping bit, that is. I can definitely wait for the teenager bit. Everyone who’s been there assures me that part is much worse than the original sleep-loss stage.

That’s another thing they don’t mention at antenatal classes. It’s all “how exciting, your first baby!”, when they really should be saying “are you mad? you’re creating a teenager!” At least I get to practise on Drama Duck first. Heaven help us all when it’s Demon Duck’s turn.

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2 Responses to Ode to lost sleep

  1. Anonymous says:

    I loved your comments about night visits. It makes meage every time I think about it.

    There are ways to avoid this. Think security and layers of defense. You could have one layer of broken glass on the floor. Another could be cold fluids or even ice, in the current weather. Then possibly plastic spiders and other horrible squishy things. (The real things may be a bit difficult for control.)

    Just remember to visit the loo just before bed. You have probably trained the kids to go every night so it won’t be too hard to do the same yourself.

    Also try to avoid leaping out of bed for the phone or wake up alarms. I suggest you remove the batteries from any smoke detectors.

    Then again you may decide the cure is worse than the disease.

  2. Marina says:

    My bedroom floor is already an obstacle course, as I’m not the tidiest person. Unfortunately Baby Duck either has secret ninja skills or he can see in the dark, because you never get any warning that he’s coming till he’s climbing into bed.