The first night, I tried desperately to keep her calm. Soothing voice etc, lights low and tried to make her sleepy with shushes and lullabies. Mission impossible. She wrenched herself about, bashed me in the face and screamed till I let her go off for a wander. Second night I tried a different tack, sat with her on our bed, and watched in wonder as she stood up on the pillows facing the wall. Put her arms in the air, and made an ascending “wooooooooooooooooooo” sound to build up to the action of throwing her self backwards, laughing like a maniac and kicking her legs before rolling over and beginning the whole process over again.
In fact, repeatedly for 40 minutes.
When we finally do get her down it’s a matter of time before she wakes up and realises we’re not there with her. This is what happens:
• Grace screams. There is no build up. It is immediate, it is loud, and it is piercing.
• I shuffle into nursery, zombie like, check nappy, then lie her down with a little pat and a shhhhhhhhh.
• Stand and watch at the foot of the bed for a few minutes till she’s quiet. Occasionally she lifts her head to checks I’m still there.
• Side -step out of the room.
• Grace realises I’m gone, screams again.
• Side-step back into room.
• *DO NOT PICK HER UP!*
• Screaming stops when she sees I’m there.
• I wonder briefly if it’s worth investing in a life size cardboard cut out of myself to stand at the foot of the cot.
• Try again – back to bed.
It’s anyone’s guess how often this process has to be repeated.
It has also highlighted a fundamental difference between the attitude of Mummy and Daddy. In the morning, when it’s a work day, and madam has to be woken so I can get her to the child minders in time, I go into the nursery and look at the little bundle curled up in amongst her cuddly toys and blankets in the corner of the cot. I HATE having to wake her. Oh – the guilt as I reach down and extract that warm ball of sleepy loveliness from her little nest, and I cuddle and cuddle her as she furiously thumb sucks and tries to drift back off. I change her as gently as possible, only open the curtains a smidge, and let her come round slowly.
Daddy on the other hand declares it’s her own fault she tired because she was up so much in the night, and will spring, light-footed into the nursery rubbing hands together happily at the prospect of a bit of mild revenge. The curtains are flinged merrily aside and singing “Good Morning, Good Morning” he’ll whizz her out her bed and onto the changing table. I have even witnessed jazz hands.
She doesn’t seem to mind though, and within minutes of a nappy change and a cuddle, all is forgiven as she bibbles about her day doing very important baby things. Those hairclips won’t put themselves in Mummy’s shoes y’know.