I've never been very good at the whole controlled crying thing.
When a baby cries I have the following reactions:
- leaky breasts
- achy heart
- clenched fists.
It just depends on what time of day (or night) it is, and how much crying has gone on beforehand.
So, my babies don't tend to sleep through until they are closer to two. Years, that is. For my first child, I used to pounce the minute she made a peep - partly to comfort her, partly to comfort me, and partly so my husband could sleep, as he used to spend three hours a day in the car getting to work and back, and I hated the idea of him falling asleep on the road.
The second child, I used to pounce the minute she made a peep, for all of the above reasons, but also so she wouldn't wake the oldest child who had finally learned to sleep.
By the time Baldy Baby came along, I had a whole host of bad sleep habits which I liberally used.
I have thus spent the last seven months praying that she would finally drop her overnight feed, and her mid-morning (ie 4am) playtime and karaoke session. I would trudge downstairs for her 1.30am feed, and stumble down again at 4am to silence her warbling. And at 11pm and 3am and 5.30am and probably a few other times in between.
Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up.
So this morning, when I woke suddenly at 4am to complete silence, I completely lost it. Baldy Baby had not only missed her 1.30am feed but she wasn't up and yelling for play time.
She must be dead.
Don't be ridiculous. She's just sleeping. This is what you want.
She probably learned to roll over and has smothered on a teddy bear.
Calm down, woman. Everything is fine. Go back to sleep.
My baby is gone!
I lasted three minutes before I got out of bed, went downstairs and stood over her cot, waiting (desperately) to hear her little breaths, her tiny baby snores. Then I stood there and watched her sleep for ten minutes.
By the time I went back to bed I was wide awake. I fully expected that she would wake now for a feed, so saw little point in going back to sleep. So I lay in bed, hating myself for being awake, straining to hear any little noise until about 5.30am when I fell back asleep.
When I woke again at 6.15am I could hear noises, but it was only the Bombshell and Curly Mop fighting about god knows what. Baldy's door was still closed. She wasn't awake?
Now she must be dead. No child of mine has ever slept for 12 hours without waking.
And so I did it again. I went into her room, and stood over her, waiting anxiously until I heard her draw a little breath. Five minutes later I was reassured enough to finally leave her.
She finally woke, fresh as a daisy and happy as Larry at 7am.
Meanwhile, I have been skulking around all day, sleepy as normal, but extra grumpy for wasting my (probably one-off) golden opportunity for sleep.
Careful what you wish for, because one day you might get it. And screw it up.