There’s something about being up in the middle of the night that feels like you’re in a parallel dimension.
If you’ve watched Stranger Things on Netflix you’ll know the Upside Down is a nightmare dimension that looks similar to the real world but is actually filled with some scary s**t.
Everything’s broken, covered with weird slime and needs a serious dusting. Kind of like my house.
When you’re awake in the night it doesn’t quite feel real somehow.
There’s no noise, apart from the baby who cries every time you try to put her down.
It’s dark and all a bit eerie. Plus you’re alone with your thoughts, a dangerous game indeed. This is when you think of things that you would never entertain in the day. You blame yourself and ponder where you’ve gone so wrong.
My first baby slept through at eight weeks (yes I know, I hate me too). Now my second is about to turn eight months old in just a few days and we’re still getting up to three wake ups a night.
During this extra time I am gifted with in the middle of the night I often turn to Google for comfort. It clearly knows why I’m online at 3am, because it auto completes “baby waking every three hours” before I get the chance to type more than a “B”.
Google does throw out a few sensible suggestions. Cry it out, ditching night feeds, controlled crying. The trouble is when I’m bleary-eyed in the middle of the night I go for the easy option: stick baby on boob and enjoy the silence.
Maybe I’m expecting too much, but surely she should be sleeping a bit better now? The other problem is she often decides it’s time to get up at 4am. This enthusiasm then passes on to my toddler who wakes at 5am and suddenly I’m plodding through the day on less than three hours of sleep.
The eerie feeling carries over into the day too. Being tired leaves you feeling like you’re wearing glasses that make everything fuzzy. You’re present, but not quite.
Because you’re struggling through with one foot in the real world and one in the Upside Down your kids’ adorable antics are likely to affect you much more. I find myself brought out of my other worldly state with a jolt when someone falls and bangs their head or goes from 0 to 100 in the crying scale within a split second. It’s jarring and leaves me likely to react much stronger and harsher than I normally would.
Being tired is emotionally and physically draining, it piles on the parental guilt as you know you’re not operating at full mummy strength. I hope my baby’s sleep will improve eventually. Perhaps the next four months will be the game-changer. If she’s still waking at 18, she’s on her own!
All of this is likely to get worse, of course, when the new series of Stranger Things lands on Netflix. I can’t possibly have an early night when there’s some quality binge watching to be had!