Friday, June 20, 2008

Where's Lou Reed when you need him?

When the frog got home this evening, the spud and I were already locked in combat over whether or not I was going to be allowed to install a night-time nappy on his ever-increasing bottom. Not, however, that it has increased as much as that of his best friend next door who's mother confessed to me recently that, during a recent 'all hang out' trip to the paddling pool, other mothers were laughing and pointing, because apparently he has a whole other bum under his top one.

Anyway, the Frog arriving home during the final moments of the spud's bedtime hour is a fairly normal thing round our way, with the frog playing the role of Daddy Hero rescuing a benighted little bean from the perils of going to sleep - however, the Frog normally arrives home an hour later. Yes, folks, that's right, my son, my son with his hundred tiny hands and his pudgy little duracell legs, my son went to bed on time tonight.

Furthermore, he has slept through the night, with the exception of a few midnight nappy changes, for five days in a row. Not that I'm counting... except obviously I am counting because the first time his son wakes in the night, the Frog will be complaining that he 'never gets a good night's sleep' and so I am announcing the new number every morning at volume into his good ear.

I didn't realise, before I gave birth, that having a baby would be such a mathematical experience. And I'm not referring to the endless subtractions one has to make from one's bank account here but rather to the equation in which 'n' equals a good night's sleep. The main factors appear to be food, sleep, exercise and health and the equation looks something like this:

(food)y + (sleep)y + (exercise)y
____________________________ = n
teething - poo

I say 'something like' because I am certain I failed maths in high school, however I am perpetually trying to solve for 'y' when I have no idea what on earth I am doing. This means that I carefully question our childminder on all known factors and then try to work out what might be missing (did he only eat (food-1)?) so that I can try to fill the gap before bedtime. Thus, we can sometimes be found out in the playground long after most children have already been gently tucked in with their ironed pjs and Thomas the Tank engines; just me and all the other Bad Mothers trying to exhaust our toddlers before social services come around in their unmarked vans. Other times the Frog comes home expecting dinner and a smile and the spud and I are sat in the kitchen debating the merits of various food groups (how about some carrots 'No!' well then, some cereal? 'No!' What about a banana 'No! Tha! Tha! Tha!' 'Ah, a biscuit - go ahead, take three'). All this in the hopes that I will one day solve for that mythical event, the Perfect Day, leading to that most ellusive of creatures, the Silent Night.

Fridays are Spud days. I don't work and so the two of us spend the entire day together tooling around and having play dates. Sometimes the spud even gets to play. Today we firstly went to see a friend from our antenatal class who is two weeks past due having her second child (I am trying to solve for that equation too but I can't get past 'Frog=Non'). Her first child is a month younger than the spud however, as has been previously reported, he is bigger and taller and nicer and has been sleeping through the night since he was 8 weeks old. I know. AND she gets to have another baby. I would feel terribly, terribly envious about all the sleep she's had except I happen to know she had a dial-up Maternity nurse pushing her around during the first few weeks of motherhood when one is particularly open to suggestion.

Anyway, because Tall Friend is still, effectively, on his fancy dancy maternity nurse schedule, we were effectively on it too and it was like entering a completely different world. Lunch was eaten on time and then we left just before nap time. We said goodbye, me crossing fingers (and, secretly, my legs) for my lovely, soon-to-be-mother-of-two friend and the spud then had the perfect nap, waking ten minutes before He Of The Two Bottoms came over with his older brother to play exhaustively for a couple of hours. Then, because once one has entered the routine, it seems one stays on it like a bedtime travelator, he downed his entire dinner before 6 and we had running around and playing until the perfect bathtime. It was like watching my own life through a soft filter. We danced, we sang, we put things away, we splashed, we giggled, we fed animals in the zoo... when the frog came home, the spud was hiding from his nappy so sweetly under the duvet that I could feel my pancreas starting to give out. He slipped into bed so happily and went to sleep so soundly that... that... well, that I think today, maybe just for today, we managed to solve the equation.

Of course, this means he's going to be up at 5. But that's ok. It's my turn to sleep in. Oh yeah.


Jonny's Mommy said...

OK. So I’m not the only one who has trouble with a toddler not always wanting to go to sleep and a daddy who “comes to his rescue.” I feel a lot better. And you get a day to sleep in? Do tell how this is possible. I jest. Hubby would let me sleep in if he didn’t work until 1 a.m. Really he would...I think. :-)

Anonymous said...

My (extremely limited) experience of toddlers (mainly cousins) is that for most parents it's a case of coaxing their child into bed at the nearest possible time to their bedtime, but usually more than an hour later. You do it with humour, though, and for that I must only congratulate you.

I wish I was still in a land where I napped properly... I think I need maternity nurse.

Sparx said...

Jonny's Mommy - oh no, you are not alone. In fact, it's a common complaint in my experience... Daddy's have worked out that they get Extra Love if they save baby from bedtime and who can resist that?

Raz... I know, me too. Do you think there's a market for grown-up maternity nurses... someone who rings you up and says 'Time for your nap. Did you do a poo today? Have you eaten enough roughage? It's bedtime in half an hour, have you had a bath?' Or maybe we should just listen to our Mothers!

Helen said...

My youngest daughter is two and hates naps and going to bed. But she is the second child, which means I have learned how to be an evil witch and enjoy it. She still sleeps in the crib (it's big enough to hold her for another year yet), so once we get through the whole bedtime routine, I just kiss her good night and turn out the light on the way out the door. Then I ignore the howls of protest. She will fall asleep eventually, and if the noise bothers anyone, it's my husband, not me. He is always welcome to put Sam down himself, because once I'm done with bedtime, I'm done.

Being evil has its advantages ;)

Frog in the Field said...

Hi Sparx, a brilliant post, I love the equation..very, very funny.
My first child slept fairly well.
Second child would take herself to bed and sing herself to sleep .
Third child, well by now we have it sussed....pffftt! Little bugger is killing me, will not go to bed, will get out when she's gone to bed, will climb in with us when we go to bed.....I'm very tired!

Michelle said...

It is such a beautiful thing when all the stars are lined up correctly and the equation is perfectly balanced to create that elusive good night's sleep! You always make me LOL, Sparx!

Rob Clack said...

Silent Night? You're optimistic aren't you? Only after offsprogs have left home will you get a Silent Night, and then only when they're not back getting you to do their cars-full of washing and sobbing over broken hearts! Silent Night? Not a chance!

elena jane said...

ahh, the sleep comes and it goes ime!
your boy is darling, love the photos...

**have arrived here via websearch for something else but stayed to read your lovely blog :)

Elsie Button said...

Sparx, i know you don't need me to tell you this, but you are one funny, brilliant and talented writer. Are you going to write a book and get in published? and then become rich and famous and never have to work again... only to write the sequel...

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh yeah! You win! (Just this once mind...) I didn't understand the bit about two bottoms? Great post!

Sparx said...

Helen - I like your style. We do ignore him... mostly... sigh...

Frog... a downhill struggle, poor you! I still quite like the baby-in-the-bed bit but am aware we've sunk ourselves and he is likely going to be coming in unannounced the moment we put him in a real bed and he's no longer restrained in a cot...

Michelle - thanks! Yes, I'm convinced it's down to the stars as well truthfully... can't seem to make reason of it otherwise!

Rob - thanks there, you! Lucky for some who get to have a quiet life!

elena jane - welcome! What were you seaching for I wonder? I get a lot of 'baby sleep' searches...

Elsie - Oh wouldn't that be nice? I'm afraid I've rather missed the mummy blogger bandwagon though... never mind. Thanks though!

DJ - well... he's got so much fat on his bum that it's creasing at the top of his legs so it looks like he has 4 bum cheeks. The bottom two are very small however but clearly there!!!

elena jane said...

ahh, i have no clue what i was searching for. perhaps it was one of those blog to blog days....i like boymom blogs, they're fun (and i am a boymom)...

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