On heat waves and sleep

sleeping baby

Pre-baby, the idea of heat waves sounded, well, pretty ideal if I’m honest. Your boss would decide it was too hot in the office, and would move your meeting to the park, or even better, the pub. Evenings and weekends would be spent in an endless cycle of pub/bbq/ice creams/more beer/more meat/sunshine naps. And those clothes that only really got an outing when I went abroad became my staple wardrobe.

Post-baby, heat waves SUUUCK. Suck. For a start, I AM the boss, and the park is too hot. So is the buggy. And the car. And clothes. And the house. And pretty much everywhere. I spend my days fretting over the weather forecast and checking the temperature in Billy’s room. Despite open windows, black out blinds permanently in place and a massive fan, it his 30’C in there the other day. You know the whoosh of hot air that hits you in the face when you open the oven? It was a lot like that.

If I had a Gina Ford baby that sauntered up to bed by himself at 6pm or whatever she suggests, he might be better equipped to deal with the heat. But, although putting him down for naps awake is a work-in-progress, the evening routine usually involves a bath, then milk/story/cuddle in our arms. If I thought the transition of a sleeping babe from my arms to the cot was difficult before, achieving this with an infant stuck to your skin with sweat is a whole new level.

napping baby

Up until a week ago, Billy slept in a Sleepyhead sleep pod thing that he could nuzzle in to when he woke up at 3am. We had it pretty good. We put him down at 7pm, dream fed him at 11pm, and he sometimes got us up from about 4am for a dummy or a cuddle. He was usually awake by 6:30am, and the first feed was at 7am.

On realising the Sleepyhead was the equivalent of sleeping on a duvet that was ON FIRE (and the fact that we are categorically NOT packing it in our suitcase when we go to Spain in a few weeks), we decided to go cold turkey. Between this, the weather, a summer cold (or hayfever, who knows?) and probably a bit of 4 month sleep regression and teething chucked in for good measure, we’ve had disastrous consequences on all of our sleep quotas. Every night, he gets a bit better, but if we’re up once an hour from 1am-5am, and if he’s not in our bed before 7am, it’s been a bloody good night.

So far, we’ve been spoilt by having a pretty easy to decipher baby who is easy to pacify. If he cries, he’s hungry, thirsty, tired or bored, which is why these recent rocky nights have been so difficult to cope with. He doesn’t want milk, or a cuddle, or a dummy, he’s just awake, and he’s damn well grumpy about it. How can we fix that?

baby sleeping thumbs up

Tonight, it’s much cooler. I can tell because the monitor in his room tells me so, but also because I’ve not spent the evening swearing and lying on the floor trying to fan myself with the cat. So far, we’ve had a 20 minute paddy pre-bedtime and three trips upstairs to shush Billy back to the land of nod. In the back of my mind, I’m a teensy bit terrified. I’ve spent the last few days saying phrases like ‘oh, Billy’s not coping well with the heat at all’, ‘it’s really affecting his sleep’…what happens if we have a bad night tonight and I can’t blame the weather for a change? What happens if this is our life for the next decade? BRB, having a quick panic attack.

I think half the problem for me is, I like logic. I like to see progress, and I like having a plan. However, as I’m learning, parenting and logic don’t always go hand in hand. But logic dictates that things WILL change. In a few weeks (months?) time, I’ll look back on this post and laugh merrily about how far we’ve come when I’m nailing a bottle of wine in front of re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy, safe in the knowledge that Billy won’t wake up until 7am.

Until then, I’ll try to store up the way he tries to get my attention at 3am when he’s wide awake and wants to play, and the smell of his hair when he nuzzles in to my neck to get back to sleep. I’m sure they’ll come in handy when he’s a grumpy teenager and I’m complaining that sleeps through the best part of the day and never gets out of bed.

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CTFD Parenting Method: Calm the f*** down

OK, so this has done the internet-rounds four million times already, but just in case you haven’t seen it, Huff Post Parents recently ran an article on the latest parenting trend, the CTFD Method:

Yes, using the CTFD method, you’ll find the pressure lifted and realize your child loves you no matter what, even if they’ve yet to master the alphabet. You’ll also learn that whether or not you’re the best parent in the world, as long as you love your child, they’ll think you are and that’s what matters. Plus, CTFD makes you immune to those that prey upon the fears of new parents, like pseudoscientists and parenting authors.

To use CTFD, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Calm the f*ck down.
  2. There is no second step.

So, ignore all those other parenting trends and stick to CTFD. You’ll be glad you did and so will your kid.” (from David Vienna’s “Latest Parenting Trend: the CTFD Method”)

Whilst clearly being a massive piss-take, it also struck a chord with me as I get a bit more comfortable in my new mum-skin (and for once I’m not harping on about stretch marks and thread veins). The fact that Billy has got to the ripe old age of 19 weeks pretty much unscathed (although it was touch and go that time I clipped his thumb nail a teensy bit too short and I never forgave myself) means that me and Neil must be doing at least SOMETHING right.

Even if we still have no idea what we’re doing 99% of the time.