Once upon a time a rookie daddy… went to the bathroom at 3am


So how are we all doing today? I’m not great, mainly because my wife are I have just had a nightmare night. The issues began at 3am when I needed to go to the bathroom. Normally, not a big deal, but when you are a 13-stone man who has to hop due to having a massive plaster cast on one leg, the journey becomes a little louder than usual. Long story short, I woke the bubster up.

A fortnight earlier

Two weeks ago, this would not have been a problem. Partly, because I would have been fit enough to take part in the whole change his nappy, give him teething gel, hum some tunes, get him snoozing again process. And partly, because at that point in time he knew how to get himself to sleep.

So what’s changed in a fortnight? A lot of stuff, but the main one is my leg. I’ve ruptured my Achilles’ tendon and when it comes to looking after a one-year-old this is a total and utter game changer. I can’t put any weight on my left foot, so I can’t safely pick up, rock, carry or pretty much do anything physical with my son. This has put a huge strain on my wife and, although she is coping brilliantly, we have attempted to relieve some of the pressure by asking her ultra-supportive parents to take our son on alternate nights.

The perfect nightmare night storm

Although definitely for the best, this arrangement has seen bubby’s capability of getting himself to sleep go from pretty good to non-existent. Some of this is due to the disruption of kipping in a different cot every night. Some of it is due to the fact his cot is in his own room at our house and his grandparents’ bedroom at their house. And some of it is due to the fact we have different methods of getting him to sleep.

Add this together, throw in a sprinkling of door banging and thunderous hopping and what do you get? Last night, the answer was a child who, after being woken up at 3am, would fall asleep on his mum’s shoulder, but wake-up every single time she put him down in his cot. This snooze, then scream battle went on for just under an hour. Then we decided enough was enough and began sleep training him again.

The clock’s ticking

One minute passed and he was still standing up and crying in his cot, so my wife went in, comforted him and then came out again. Two minutes passed and he was still standing up crying in his cot, so my wife went in, comforted him and then came out again. Three minutes passed and he was still standing up and crying in his cot, so we started discussing whether it was his pain cry, his tired cry or his angry cry. We weren’t sure, but since we couldn’t 100% rule out pain cry, we bottled the sleep training and my wife went back to trying to rock him into the land of Nod. Again, he fell asleep every time he was on her shoulder and woke up every time she put him down.

After another 15 minutes had passed, we decided to give in and let him sleep in our bed. This is something we’ve never done before, but my wife’s parents said it worked well, so given it was now 4.45am it seemed worth a try. In some ways it was successful (i.e. he stopped crying), but in other ways it wasn’t (i.e. he either hit me in the face or headbutted me every time he moved, which was quite a lot).

The nightmare night continues

After 20 minutes of being slapped and butted, I let out what I felt was a quiet plea for baby to sleep. It turns out I was wrong on two counts. One, despite all the violence, he was actually asleep. Two, my quiet plea was actually more of a bellow. So guess what? You are absolutely correct. It did indeed wake him up again. As you can imagine, my wife was delighted.

This latest wake-up prompted some crisis talks that ended with us both firmly saying, “sleep training”. So it began again. And this time, miracle upon miracles it worked. Yeah, right. If you believe that you have not met my son. He’s a stubborn little lad, and after more than 30 minutes of my wife going in and out of his room to comfort him, he was still standing in his cot protesting about the hand the world had dealt him.

Thus, as the clock struck 5.45am, we decided to raise the white muslin and bring him back to bed. The good news is it worked and we all managed to get an hour’s sleep before the alarm signalled that it was time to get up begin the process of getting ready for nursery. The bad news is; unless we re-run the sleep training fun, this kind of nightmare night is going to happen over and over and over again. Conclusion? Put in your ear plugs and turn up your fans, because from tonight onwards, the Hood take on the Ferber sleep training method is back. Wish us luck, folks. Judging by yesterday’s nightmare night, we’re going to need it.


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