It always makes me feel better that in the global village of the internet there’s someone out there experiencing the same thing I am. As Rachel of Make a Long Story Short says:
‘Me too’ is a gift, in this bewildering, relentless and often lonely journey into motherhood.
In this case it feels like millions of people are experiencing the same thing – those long, tedious sleepless nights. ME TOO.
We’ve been through the following stages: ‘four month sleep regression’ / it’s 4am and I’d like to be hugged back to sleep / please will you pat my back / who the fuck knows what’s going on in that tiny human’s mind, he’s just 17 weeks old. Good grief they’re tiring.
At the moment we’re in the ‘what is that smell and WHY is he awake again?!’ stage. Poor wee man has terrible wind, and Robin and I have terribly offended nostrils. Add that to the ‘things I didn’t know about babies’ list: everyone says they smell delightful, and they do most of the time, but holy moly they also smell TERRIBLE at times. (As an aside, I changed a particularly stinky nappy whilst out and about, which swiftly went in the bin. A small boy said: “What’s that smell?”. His mother said: “There’s probably something dead in the bushes.” I’m saving that story for A’s 21st birthday party.)
Back to sleep. (I wish.) My friends used to have a Mr Hyde-like character for me, ‘Morning Ruth’, that crawled out of bed grumpy and antisocial. Morning Ruth shouldn’t be spoken to before 9am rolled round and she’d mainlined at least two cups of tea, lest the speaker wanted to be greeted with a snarl and a grunt. Oh how they’d laugh if they could see me now, at 4am, attempting to rock and sing the wee one back to sleep. There’s no room for ‘Morning Ruth’ anymore. It turns out she was a luxury, banished along with dangly earrings and high heels into pre-newborn days.
But the one thing that’s guaranteed to revive my snarling side in the wee small hours is those goddamn Facebook memes about how precious 3am cuddles are. I’m a fan of cuddles at the best of times, but do you know what’s precious at 3am? SLEEP. SLEEP IS PRECIOUS AT 3AM. (Unless I’m at the best party of my life, with Robin and Prince and David Bowie and the booze is free and the tunes are great and the dancing doesn’t stop – in that case, 3am can stick around. But waking up for the fifth time in a night? That can get lost.) And to all those people saying: “Be grateful for these precious moments” – as Emily Writes says, “I am grateful, now fuck off“. (A post well worth reading for it’s evisceration of all those well-meaning but irritating people who just want you to “treasure the moment”. They’re welcome to come round and treasure the moment at 4am for me, if they like. And the smell.)
So, sleepless world of the internet, me too. ME TOO. Please send caffeine.