We didn’t ask all these questions last night, but we may as well have done. Before I lost count/the will to live he’d woken up at 22.30, 23.45, 00.00, 01.15, 03.25 and 04.15. People of a positive disposition will point out that the fact he woke up means he at least went to sleep for a bit. This is true, and I appreciate that many, many parents have it far worse than us, but the night before he’d slept at his grandparents and snoozed “like a log”. That is a direct quote. A log. A LOG. In his 200+ nights in our company he’s never slept anything like this, so what’s the deal? Why does he kip so much better at their house than ours?
“I’m bored of your negativity,” slammed by wife when I raised this subject somewhere between 4am and 5am. She went on to claim they’d simply got lucky and I was simply forgetting all the nights he’d made it eight to ten hours without launching an assault of our ear drums. I felt like saying ‘name them’, like you have to in that game where you claim you can reel off 234 crisp flavours, 99 footballers who’ve played for Man United or 17 Kate Winslet films, but decided it was best to keep quiet, retreat into my trench and silently consider all the reasons why he slept poorly at ours on Friday, well at his grandparents on Saturday and badly at ours on Sunday. Here’s what I came up with.
- He sleeps in their room
There are two reasons this could be beneficial for sleep. First, his proximity to them could make him feel slightly safer and thus more relaxed. Second, the fact he’s less than five metres away could enable them to get to him before he fully wakes up and attempts to scale the cot wall.
- They’ve got a travel cot
And we’ve got a big wooden one. Advantage us, right? Wrong. It seems our baby has no interest in spending all night in the conventional up and down the bed position. Subsequently, at some point in the dark of night he’ll wheel round and attempt to kip across the cot. This is fine if the side is made of soft mesh (like his grandparents’ travel cot), but less fine if it’s made of flatpack wood (like our cot).
- The fan in his room is too powerful
There is white noise capable of blocking out the sounds of passing cars and trains and then there is white noise capable of blocking out a nuclear attack. And at times the silver thing that blows air around his room sounds like a 747 preparing for take off. So why don’t we get a new one? We’re going to… once we get through the 349 other things on our to-do list.
- They’re lying
Not in a horrible way. In a kind of we love our grandson so much and want to have him stay over all the time, so are going to be relentlessly positive to the point of fantasy.
- They’re better at getting him to sleep than us
This is almost definitely the reason. But it’s not because they are smarter or more caring. It’s because they’ve less to lose. If they don’t sleep one night every now and again, who cares? They’re retired, so can sleep during the day or make it up another time. Contrast this with a mum who has three jobs (my wife) and a dad who is trying to launch his own business (me) and is it any wonder that they’re more relaxed about putting him to sleep, rocking him back to sleep, getting up to change his nappy in the early hours, etc. etc.? No, it isn’t.
So what can we all learn from this Monday morning moan? I’ve no idea what the rest of you can take from it, but I’m going to do two things. First, I’m going to get rid of that ridiculously loud fan. Second, I’m going to attempt to be more relaxed when baby wakes at 11pm, 12am, 3am or whenever. It’s not going to be easy, but perhaps taking a few deep breaths before I walk into his room and a few extra minutes before putting him back down in his cot will lead to a lot more sleep in the long run. And right now that sounds absolutely fantastic.