What can I say about this?
However tired you might have been in the past, you don’t know what exhaustion is until you have a small child.
Everyone knows about the broken nights, or at least think they do since experiencing them is a whole other world. The 2 am feeds. The unexplained crying at 4 am where they won’t settle back to sleep.
You think, hope, even pray it will get better once they get a little older and can amuse themselves if they wake up early.
And they do quite successfully.
With their favourite plaything.
And they can be quite insistent about it.
Anything from prying your eyelids open (I knew I should have cut his nails last night) to pulling the covers off and trying to drag you out of bed by your foot.
Sometimes they might be nice and just play trampoline instead.
On your bed.
With you still in it.
Then there are the times when they decide that the middle of the night is a perfectly acceptable time for breakfast. In fact it’s essential because they’re hungry.
And as any parent of a toddler knows, the concept of waiting for something is not something they can process.
If they are hungry, they are hungry NOW.
The same goes for needing a nappy change or the potty, wanting a drink or expecting you to fix their latest favourite toy that they’ve pulled apart. Again.
Of course this is a one way thing. Keeping you waiting is not only acceptable, it’s mandatory. How many times have we counted to 10, standing there holding their coats ready for them to put on, whilst they spend time carefully selecting the toys they need to hold? And of course, they only need to hold them whilst they are putting their coats on. Different toys are required for shoes, hats etc.
Since all this kicks off at around 5 am, at least in our household, a lie-in is a distantly dreamed-of hope.
And with the impeccable timing all children have, this will have followed a night of interruptions for nappy changes, drinks, throwing up and growing pains. You are even reluctantly impressed with the teamwork siblings display when they take it in shifts. (Can you tell we have an early bird and a night owl in the house?)
And what does this all mean?
That, no matter how early you contrive to go to bed, you still function in a haze of exhaustion. The world around you slightly foggy with the wisps of sleep you didn’t have.
And what do you do about it?
You get up and plough on, even though some days you might not feel qualified to be upright, let alone carrying out tasks involving machinery (you know, like the kettle and the tin opener).
You cease to wonder why the cheese is in the plate cupboard and your socks are in the fridge.
You start to bargain with yourself. How many minutes extra sleep is a shower worth? Can you get away with jogging pants and T shirt cutting down on the ironing for a the privilege of hitting the snooze button?
And when does it end?
Four years and counting. I wish I could tell you.
I’m just going to put my head down for a few seconds…..