Operation: Rescue Sleep
Despite Dani's plans for sleep she's still left yawning.
(Getty Images)
Back in the day, I was infamous for my love of sleep.  I would unashamedly relinquish myself to ecstasy making absolutely no excuses for time spent so vacuously. I relished the thought of having a day to just read and sleep and read and sleep and to just snuggle under my cosy comforter.  Just me and my bed and sleep.
But payback is a bitch – as all my friends gleefully tell me!

Genetically, I have dark rings around my eyes – but these days I look suspiciously like my genes were crossed with a panda bear's somewhere along the line.

This is as a result of snatching 20minute catnaps between feeds and nappy changes and escorting our child back to her bed at least 3 times a night.  My husband and I celebrated when we finally got our son to sleep through the night, only to find that our second born would prove to be a professional sleep thief.

I even wrote a poem about it, such is my longing for a good night’s sleep

Okay, I know this sounds bonkers, but if you didn’t know, the Nazis used sleep deprivation as a form of torture.  (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!).

As this is our second time around, I had planned much more carefully and was sure that I would have full control of the situation.  This child would be sleep trained as soon as she turned 6 weeks.  I was determined that this time would be different.

However, the problem with having a daughter – is that daddies don’t like to hear their little girls cry.  My husband would nudge me frantically with a tormented plea for me to make her stop crying.  It was as though the sound of her cries pierced his heart like a knife.

So the 6 weeks came…and went without a dream of decent sleep in between.  Eventually we decided to execute Operation: Rescue Sleep (ORS).  We followed all the instructions: 
1.    Check that baby is fed and dry and comfortable. 
2.    Settle baby into her cot
3.    Pat the baby for a few moments to soothe her and settle her
4.    Leave the room
5.    After baby has screeched hysterically for 10 minutes, go back into the room and pat her again until she calms down, then leave the room for 20 minutes.
6.    This is meant to go on with increasingly extended intervals until the baby would realise that its too much of a bother and then turn over and go to sleep

Well, dear daddy made it through the first 10 minutes of the exercise, but 10 minutes into the second session, he caved in.  He rushed into the room, scooped up the howling child and apologised profusely for subjecting her to such torture.  ORS was a complete failure.

What is remarkable about all of this is that we have actually functioned during these past three years.  Work got done, house got maintained (not by me of course), kids got bathed and fed and dressed and played with and taught one or two things.  According to their road-to-health charts, they are thriving and well adjusted, happy kids.

As for mom and dad – I have no doubt that we have aged substantially over the past three years and that our road-to-health chart is less glowing.

I know that one day all this will pass and we will have two independent little people, who will have the capacity to sleep through any form of natural disaster.  I will then look back with fondness and long for my bloodshot, panda eyes and the privilege of snuggling with this tiny soft baby in my arms with her sweetest soft breathe on my cheek.

Now if only I could just stop obsessing about sleep…


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