Sleep, Swings And Roundabouts!

It was my brothers going away party last weekend. He's moving to Germany for 18 months to work for the international office of the company he works for. He's doing so well for himself and he's only 23 so we are extremely proud of him. 

I attended the going away drinks on Saturday night with the intention of staying for an hour or two. We decided that I would go and the other half would stay with Billy because he's been really unsettled at night lately and it just wouldn't be fair on him or the person minding him. I casually hopped on a bus 8.30pm and was in town by about 9. I knew the last bus was at 11ish so I did the rounds, had a glass of wine, and then... got the goo

Ah, the goo. I haven't had that in a long long time. I'm usually more than happy with a nice meal and a glass of wine but there are those rare times where you just have an urge to stay out for the night even though you hadn't planned on it. 

Peter encouraged me to stay on and it was the tiny bit of arm twisting that I needed. More glasses of wine were consumed, many a DMC was had, and Mc Donalds was given an excited visit at 2am. I arrived home at 3.15am and as I opened the porch door I realised that the next day was "my day" to get up with Billy. Obviously myself and his Daddy get up every day during the week with him as we're both in work but at the weekend myself and Peter take turns to have a lie on. Usually I'll have one on a Saturday and Peter will have his on a Sunday. My lie on is usually until about 10am at which point I decide to get up and do something productive because I just have to. Peter's lie ons tend to go past 1pm in the day. But sure that's another days story. 

I got in to bed at about 3.30am and began enquiring to Peter about the night Billy had. He usually wakes up 5+ times and as I said above he's been extremely unsettled sleep-wise lately so I expected the worst. I couldn't believe it when I was informed that he only woke once since his bed time at 7.30pm. That literally NEVER happens. I lay in bed waiting for the inevitable wake-up. But it didn't come for two hours. TWO HOURS. He woke at 5.30am, had a quick feed (which I needed more than him having not fed him for nearly 12 hours) and slept till after 7am. I was in total shock. Waking once from bed time till morning is a different language to us. He has never slept through the night and then there was only one night ever that he only woke once. Funnily enough it was a night I was away. Maybe he can smell me? 

We've been working really hard at sticking to a routine lately in a bid to help him sleep better at night (and help us sleep better in turn). Having had some advice from Niamh O' Reilly from The Nursery we've just been putting him down for a 30-40 minute nap in the morning with a view to that nap being gone in a couple of week's time. He then goes for a 2ish hour nap anywhere from 12.30-1.30. We don't let him sleep past 3.30am and then bed time is at 7.30pm, or closer to 7 if he wakes earlier than 3pm. We've had to really become a team and support eachother in this new routine. We realised that with the organisation and activity involved with me being back to work, we were having no real wind-down time for Billy in the evenings. We'd be laughing, tickling, singing and then suddenly it was bed time. Naturally he would still be over-stimulated. So we've decided to have the tv off from about 6.45/7 and to have about 30 minutes of relaxing play time in the evenings before his bed time. He'll be in his PJs from just before 7 and we'll play with his toys using a quieter voice. We'll close the blinds and have dim lighting in the living room, and perhaps most importantly we will read stories from his little collection. I'll then feed him downstairs and Daddy will bring him up to his bedroom where his projector is turned on (it's so cute, plays lullabies and projects stars on to the wall and ceiling) and he is rocked to sleep. Of course we know that it would be better for him to be able to go to sleep himself but he just cries when put in the cot, no matter how relaxed or happy he is. Sleep training, CIO or Controlled Crying are absolutely not for us so this is what we have to work with right now. Like everything in parenthood, it could change in an instant. I know that in the future he will be a little boy who doesn't want to be rocked or cuddled to sleep, so we'll enjoy it for now! I'll miss these times one day. 

Our new routine has been going really well. His sleep definitely has improved and we are seeing little victories every day. The night I went out and he only woke once was just incredible. It felt like we were finally moving in to a more positive sleep place. 

And then there was last night. The night after the "good night"....

I lost count of the night-wakings after about 10. I don't even know if you can call them night wakings when there isn't even really much sleep in between. It makes me realise that a bad night's sleep must feel so much worse to parents who are used to their baby sleeping soundly. Having felt so positive and having had some sleep the night before, I just wasn't prepared for last night. I may have even shed a tear out of pure exhaustion and frustration.

And that's the way it goes folks. It's all swings and roundabouts. You think you've cracked the code and then these little humans surprise you once again and change it up. I think it's about doing the best you can with what you have to work with, being kind to yourself and getting in to "survival mode". For example, today I did all my housey bits in the morning time while Billy had his short nap. I then had a long shower (while he pottered around the bathroom laughing at me) and we went for a walk. I had given myself "permission" to then spend the long nap relaxing. That is exactly what I'm doing right now. 

So far today is going very well routine-wise. He had a 45 minute nap this morning, nice walk, lunch and he's now been napping for almost two hours. As much as I'd love to sit here a little bit longer I must go and wake him. I could kiss the face of him to thank him for this 2 hour break. It felt like a little holiday. 

Despite the disastrous night we had last night I do have a good feeling about tonight. There is no doubt that this new routine and a bit more consideration is going a long way and making a difference. 

And just because, here is a photo from yesterday. An only slightly hungover Mama with her very happy baby who experienced painting for the first time. And by painting I mean shouting MMM as he thought he had won the lotto with all the beautiful "food" around him. 

That's my boy.