In the beginning we were sleeping in separate beds because, as Mrs E says, I’m a Stradivarius of sleep. I must have everything “just so” otherwise I can’t relax. Pillows and sheets have to be in a particular way, light minimised and sound below a whisper. Anything else and I drive myself mad and prevent the ability to drop off. So when Feliciraptor was waking in the middle of the night it meant I had to start all over again.
Having a two month old baby was like having a broken alarm that was ready to go off at any point, with a 90% chance it being around 5am. In those first few weeks it was hard but every day started to get much, much, better than it was. Yet I was still at the limit of rest.
At first we we did try sharing the same room, but it ended with two very tired parents as opposed to one sleepy and one functioning human being that the bi-room agreement gave us. To stop you worrying that I was shirking any of my duties (and I will fight anyone who suggests otherwise) I did do the weekend shifts while Mrs E took over again on the school nights.
Then one night, all of a sudden, The Feliciraptor discovered how to sleep at night.
She always had the ability to sleep anywhere and at any time, but not for a good block in the night.
Then she managed to go from midnight to 7am, aka a proper nights sleep for adults. This miracle gave Me and Mrs E a new lease of life as we would no longer need to say the usual new parent refrain: I’m tired.
Despite all the worry in the first few weeks about receiving a broken baby we are now realising how lucky we are. Our initial concern that we would be having to manage with interrupted sleep were unfounded. She sleeps.
We took her on a flight to Berlin, she slept.
We took her on a flight to New York (three times), she slept.
She even slept through the change in time zones, jet lag has not (yet) affected her.
I know how incredibly lucky we are to have such a good sleeper, and this foray out of the parenting trenches is likely to attract sniper fire, but it has helped us enormously that all in Family E are rested. We did go through a few hard nights trying to get her to sleep, we have been strict with when and how we put her down, but the short term tears have really paid off long term.
It is like you all of a sudden discover a good baby,she will smile at us and we can smile back. Not the sad, tired smile of “why won’t you sleep” but the happy “we are so glad you are in our life” smile.
That helps me to sleep at night, while baby #2 is screaming.