“Sleep is for wimps”, this is what Hedgehog would say if she could talk more.
As you can tell, its been a particularly bad week for sleep in our household.
I’m now at the stage of making wrong turns and running red lights in the car because I’m so dazed from lack of sleep that I’m hallucinating about big empty beds with no children in them.
I used to think it would be lovely to be needed and wanted all the time by my children. Now I fantasise about not being needed or wanted for more than five minutes.
There is a direct correlation between my exhaustion levels and my patience levels, so that with each sleepless night I increasingly lose my sh*t with them. This doesn’t seem to work. It just makes them cry and me feel guilty.
Last night after 3 hours of trying to get them both to settle, I gave up and lay in bed with them, while they snoozed on either side of me. They seemed content at last, but I was silently boiling with rage.
Raging about my 12 hour day at work, followed by spending my precious evening putting 2 little people to bed 100 times, watching the free time that I’d been looking forward to all day being mercilessly taken from me, until it was time to collapse in tears and look forward to it all again the next day.
But that was a low point.
Hedgehog has teething, a snotty nose and a separation anxiety spike. She wants to be held all day and snuggle all night. At some point a few nights ago I woke to find Hedgehog sleeping between us. Mr M&H was snoring loudly, while Hedgehog was doing her little snore alongside. It was almost cute, like big bear and little bear, while mummy bear stares at the ceiling.
Yesterday, we realised that Hedgehog is currently going through exactly what Mole went through at the same age, that is, the approach of the terrible twos. The twoness is coming upon her. At around this age, after 20 blissful months of sleeping soundly, Mole stopped going to bed. Our evenings disappeared. We had to put a stair gate across her bedroom door to keep her contained.
She would hang off this stair gate and howl a mournful howl for all the neighbours to hear. We tried putting her to bed 100 times, we tried laying down with her, we tried leaving her, we tried bringing her into bed with us. In the end, we did timed check-ins, which is a toned down version of the ‘lock them in and stick ear-plugs in your ears’ method. I had literally forgotten about this time until Mr M&H reminded me, I must have blocked it.
We were 5 days away in Wales, and on our return they both turned into a pair of ware wolves, as if this displacement was the final thing that knocked them off course. Hedgehog is not tall enough to open the bedroom door, but Mole obligingly does it for her. Then we see 2 little feet come down the stairs and 2 hopeful smiles peep round the corner at us. This is sweet until the 10th time.
Tonight was our first return to the timed check-ins, and it was brutal. Hedgehog acted as if she was being abandoned, she tried running between our legs to get out of the room, she would appear to settle, only to leap up in alarm the minute we stepped towards the door. The ear plugs and the egg timer have both come back out. We’re hoping they’ll be a good investment in 2-3 nights time.
The general theme of tiredness will continue though, we know this. 3 years of general sleep deprivation has already taken its toll. Mr M&H has his first grey hairs. I have permanent dark circles. The only ones permanently fresh and full of boundless energy are Mole and Hedgehog.
How does that add up? Youth, that’s how.
Youthful little squirts.