The long and winding nights…

The Miracle is almost seven months old. Where did that time go, friends? As I type, my living room is full of twinkling Christmas lights and I’m aware that it’s not that much further on than the point last year in which I shared our somewhat surprising, but happy, news with you all.

By seven months, you’d think that The Miracle would be starting to sleep a bit, right? Wrong. Despite embracing the revelation of food – and believe me, he really does embrace food – The Miracle is resolutely a boob man. Food is wonderful; it’s a joy, it makes him laugh and smile and he can’t get enough of it. But it categorically does not take the place of his milk. Especially his nighttime milk. He’ll feed around three to four times a night and he soon worked out that at night, I’m not rushing around after his sisters and he can take his time. A feed can take anything from five minutes to an hour. My mum says it’s a habit, but with the amount of milk he takes, I don’t think so. That, and the variation of times suggests that he is hungry or, at the very least, thirsty. Besides which, what am I going to do about it? Not only is he my final baby, so I’m going to indulge him – sorry, but not sorry about that – but if he kicked off, the whole house would be woken up and Big, Medium and Little would join in the cacophony of screams. I’d like to say Lovely Husband would wake too, but he probably wouldn’t. (As an aside, why do people say they want to sleep like a baby? They should say they want to sleep like a husband).

And it’s not just The Miracle that’s stealing my sleep. Medium, in her angst over school, has been glued to me at night too. We have a king-sized bed and between her and The Miracle, I may as well be sleeping on a shelf. Add to that Big’s predilection for calling me to tell me that her duvet is ‘wrong’, her ‘pillow is too cold’, she’s got an itch, it’s dark outside (I kid you not!) and ‘is it tomorrow yet?’ along with Little’s sudden insistence for dummies of a particular colour, and I do wonder how I’m still standing. Sleep deprivation is a killer and, since The Miracle arrived, I’ve been known to:

  • Put my car keys through the dishwasher;
  • Find my phone in the fridge;
  • Make a cup of tea and put the used tea bag in a new cup, then throw the cup of tea in the bin;
  • Get in the car and drive to school, despite needing to go to the doctor’s in the other direction;
  • Actually, get in the car and drive to school regardless of where I’m meant to be going;
  • Break eggs for a cake and put the shells in the mixture and the eggs in the bin;
  • Completely misread a message from Lovely Husband, explode in rage at him at what I thought he’d said and then have to back down when I realise I’d flown off the handle at…. er, nothing;
  • Leave my bank card in a payment device and wander off;
  • Leave cash hanging out of a cash machine (thank you, honest person that chased me).

And that’s the tip of the iceberg. I sometimes think I’m going a bit mad.

My rambling aside, I’ve been sent a bottle of Infacare’s Night Time Baby Bath to try, and they’ve said that I can have a couple of spares to give away to you. Comment with your best sleep deprivation faux pas, and the best two will receive a complimentary bottle of bubbles.

Their blurb says that Infacare’s Night Time Baby Bath produces masses of long-lasting bubbles, perfect for  little ones to have fun with and the gentle, powdery fragrance helps to relax, easing tots first into bed and then off to sleep. If you think I’m wasting that on the kids, you’re mistaken. Anything for a good night’s sleep. This bad boy is mine.

RRP – Infacare Night Time Baby Bath £3.49 for 750 ml. Stockist details: available from all major supermarkets, as well as Lloyd’s Pharmacy and Boots. For more information: www.infacare.co.uk

 

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The long and winding nights…

Desperate bedtimes

Any parent that says bedtime is completely stress-free is a great, big fibber. By the time the dulcet tones of Charlie and Lola start, I’m ready to grab that smiley CBeebies logo and throw it in the log burner. The witching hour (this is not a myth: The witching hour is a real phenomenon. Designed to drive mums to wine. Or whine. Or probably both) is underway and the Big One and Medium One turn from lovely, fun little girls into WWF Pro Wrestlers jumping on each other and seeing who can make the other cry first. Once they’ve ascertained who wins that round, they try to see who can make the other cry the loudest. The winner of that round is hard to judge: I’m usually wailing above them.

I can remember when the Big One was a baby, and friends would tell me that their little angel was sleeping through already. They’d swiftly follow this statement with something along the lines of, “I only had to jump up and give him/her their dummy a few times.” I would adopt my polite face, and say, “Oh, that’s good.” Inside, my inner banshee was screaming: “THAT IS NOT SLEEPING THROUGH! Sleeping through is eight hours undisturbed bliss.” I haven’t had the latter since 2010.

We’ve been through all the bedtime traumas: The Medium One went through a stage of refusing to fall asleep unless Husband or I sat on the floor by her bed praying to the god of sleep that she’d fall asleep soon. We could be there for hours. The Big One used to want to suck my finger to sleep. Supernanny’s gradual retreat technique was pretty good, but fundamentally it took a strict routine to teach Big and Medium that when Mummy said it was time to go to sleep, it was time to go to sleep.

Part of this routine is a bath. Prior to my Sleep Dictator Mummy guise, bath time was fairly noisy. There was a lot of splashing and brightly coloured toys. It’s a quiet affair now. I leave the main light off and the girls bath with Husband’s cleverly designed mood lighting. There are bubbles, but no toys. It’s 15-minutes of winding down, gentle songs, trying to keep the girls at opposite ends of the bath to stop them resuming their wrestling. After their bath, they have a quick story, a kiss goodnight and, all being well, they’re left to fall asleep.

Tonight I had a secret ingredient and they were both out cold by 6.45. Little was sleeping off her bath (oh yes, I have all three in the bath at once. I’m brave, me) and feed in her rocker and I actually had a hot supper for the first time in forever.

I’m tempted not to share the identity of my secret ingredient, but I’m more selfless than that and I think there’s plenty to go round. InfaCare have brought out an ultra-mild night-time baby bath. Now, I’ve tried night time bath things before and been sadly disappointed but this one nearly sent me to sleep on the bathroom floor. Good job it didn’t. The bottle says it’s a ‘specially selected, safe and gentle fragrance’ but doesn’t specify exactly what it is. There’s definitely lavender in there. It certainly calmed my little wrestlers down and me, too. Instead of coming downstairs in a knot of argh, I was pretty calm.

I have to be careful with bath products; Medium has eczema and Little is too small to use anything but the kindest stuff. InfaCare say their bubble bath is gentle and suitable for littles with dry and sensitive skin. Medium’s skin certainly didn’t seem to mind it, but the proof will be in longer term use.

But why should the smalls get the best stuff? I’m going to let Husband juggle Little later and go for a soak myself. InfaCare, I’m coming to get you.

(I can’t help thinking I’ve jinxed the whole bedtime thing by writing this blog. I might yet be praying to the sleep gods again.)

Desperate bedtimes