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In Sickness and In Health

Baby-Flu-season-Cascades-Tissue-Group-Antibacterial-hand-towelIt’s inevitable that your baby will get sick at some point in their first year. Seeing your baby ill and suffering is truly heart wrenching. When he sneezes and gets the sniffles, you will instantly think he has the plague. Then you will feel responsible for giving him the plague. Your parents and in-laws will ask you how the baby got the plague and you will hang your head in shame as you whisper that it might have been because someone coughed on the baby and you were too slow to leap in between and suckerpunch them in their germy mouth.

Then you will be forced to go to the doctor just to allay the fears of all the hypochondriacs in the family who look at you with patronising eyes that say, “leave it to the professionals, you know nothing, you gave your baby the plague”. By now your head is saying your baby doesn’t have the plague and all he needs is a bit of baby Vicks but no one is listening because you are not a doctor. Then the doctor says the same thing and you say, ‘ha, I told you!’ but no one is listening because they are too busy rejoicing over having narrowly escaped the plague.

Well-meaning advice will be dispensed at every turn by the overly concerned grandparents. A gentle snore from having a blocked nose is translated as wheezing and a sign of a chest infection. The heating should be on full blast and the new-fangled sleeping bag that wasn’t around in their day and can’t possibly be as warm as an old fashioned quilt is treated with suspicion. Your concerns about overheating are instantly dismissed.

Armed with medicine, decongestants and questionable ancient Indian remedies, you look after your baby as best as you can. You do battle with an endless stream of snot which your baby won’t let you wipe – attempts at putting him in a headlock and restraining the rest of his body whilst sucking on the snot sucker are futile, he is just too quick and wriggly. A vapour for the room tastefully masks the ever lingering smell of poo in your house but is ineffective. Calpol will be adamantly refused and the Snuffles tub will get lost somewhere behind the bed, but somehow they start to get better. This will coincide with you starting to feel ill. But before that can happen, Hubby will steam ahead and discover he has man flu and therefore cannot do anything remotely helpful other than go to bed early.

Occasionally, you may be unfortunate enough to experience the additional side effect of diarrhoea. It’s most likely to be from a virus but you will believe that it’s because you have poisoned your baby with your cooking. Or that your inadequate cleaning led to him eating rubbish off the floor. Or your slowness at stopping him lick the aqueous cream was to blame. Ultimately, you will feel like you have failed and your baby is suffering because you couldn’t look after them properly.

Cue another visit to the doctor. This is not a happy visit. Your baby will squirm away from the thermometer. The stethoscope will be viewed with interest until it is actually used, whereupon ear-splitting screams will emerge. This will continue throughout the session. You will then have to leave quickly, whilst reassuring the doc that the screams are normal and not from pain.

The next few days are long and soul-destroying. You have no contact with anyone to prevent spreading germs. You lose count of how many pooey nappies you’ve changed. You can’t do anything because they are so clingy and fractious. The new bland diet seems worse than prison food. You get upset every time you see how sore his bottom is. Thinking it might be good to let some air in down there you leave the nappy off only for him to unload all over your jeans and carpet [epic fail]. IT’S DEPRESSING AND THERE IS NO RESPITE. This is because your baby has infected everyone in your family so they can’t help you because they are too busy coughing up their lungs and wiping their own snot. After several meltdowns you get over it. Eventually your baby gets over it too. You will become elated at the sight of solid poo, something that you wouldn’t ever have thought possible prior to having a baby.

And then the worst is over. Congratulate yourself, you have both survived.

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How to Baby Proof Your Home

Baby_Proofing-1

When babies become mobile, toys are of no interest to them anymore. Instead they will find yesterday’s crusty bit of bread on the floor to play with or better still, wander into the kitchen and try to grab something out of the bin. Then in an attempt at clearing up after themselves they will pick up the dustpan and brush and repeatedly smack the floor with it.

Danger is everywhere. Seemingly harmless decorative objects suddenly turn into perilous poking missiles. Pot pouri is now a choking hazard, candles are something to chew on, table corners are for walking into, and don’t even get me started on crystal glassware.

Technology though is the main fascination. Nothing beats pulling out DVD cases and chucking them all over the floor or the lure of a brightly lit iPad/laptop/smartphone. It’s only a matter of time before all my apps are mysteriously deleted and my ringtone is changed to Old McDonald. Mishty has also learnt how to speed dial. On one successful occasion he even managed to phone my mother and have an entire conversation without me knowing. He also enjoys running up to the TV and smacking the screen repeatedly before trying to pull out a HDMI cable – this means he likes what’s on. Sometimes the TV will turn on randomly, the picture will be extra wide, and the volume might go up to level 96… (I didn’t even know there was a level 96).

But they can’t help it, touching and tasting everything they can get their tiny hands on is just their way of exploring and learning about the world. I bet if I was inside Mishty’s little head he’d be thinking the following:

“Ooh a radiator valve cap, this is sooo tasty!”

“Is this spaghetti? I love chewing on it; I just wish it wasn’t attached to this thing in the wall…”

 “I don’t know what this is but I MUST eat it.”

 “Ooh Mummy’s made me an obstacle course under the table just so I can get to her and eat her food”

“Ooh, I’ve found a little door that opens if I pull this small thing! I wonder what bleach means…?”

With these new developments my days are spent mainly snatching things out of his hands before he can put them into his mouth, or pulling him away from things that are likely to fall and crush him. Sometimes he’s too quick for me and I’m left chasing him as he crawls away at lightning speed with a deathlike grip on his object of choice. And what thanks do I get for potentially saving his life? An ear-splitting wail like I’m the worst mother for taking the remote away and not letting him pull the batteries out for example. But silence is far scarier. This will nearly always mean that they have found something they were not supposed to and are hugely enjoying it. [My friend's mother found her grandson playing with condoms because he was attracted to the shiny foil wrapping - AWKWARD!]

I am also having to clean more than ever to prevent him picking things up off the floor but he still manages to find something I’ve missed like carpet fluff or a bead/sequin, leaving me berating my vacuuming skills and cursing the poor quality of my clothes. I’ve rearranged furniture to move things out of reach and I even bought some baby proofing gadgets but this only attracted more attention to the thing I was trying to stop him going towards in the first place (thanks Well Known Swedish Furniture Store, great help you were).

So after all that, here’s my guide to babyproofing your home:

  1. Empty your house
  2. Wrap baby in bubble wrap
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Satisfaction Guaranteed

Yessss!When people talk about their favourite moments as a parent, it usually involves them gushing about the first time their kid says ‘I love you’ to them or some other cute milestone. But that’s not the same as the most satisfying moment – the times when you want to leap in the air and scream “YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!” with a real sense of achievement. Looking back over the week, here are my “Yes” moments…

1. Picking Mishty’s nose successfully – babies have an innate ability to produce a continual stream of snot which then dries up and combines with food that has been accidentally shmushed into their nostrils. The resulting bogey will taunt you with its huge size, dangling by a tiny fibre, popping out with every breath but whipping back in just as you think you’ve got it. Then your baby will swat you away and wriggle until you manage to pin him down and squeeze it out with a triumphant, “AHA!!!!” and then resist the urge to show if off to everyone. [NB. Removing runny snot can be just as satisfying if using a snot sucking contraption where you can noisily suck the snot out (there is a filter so you don’t swallow it), I thoroughly recommend getting one.]

2. Rescuing naptime – Sometimes Mishty will go for a nap and 15 minutes in I hear the depressing sound of a tiny cry starting, usually just as I’ve sat down with a coffee to watch a Kardashian reality show. I rush in and gently pat him back to sleep, praying he doesn’t wake up fully and then do a little excited jig when he goes back to sleep. Getting an extra half hour of naptime feels epic.

3. Getting Mishty to lie still – Changing Mishty’s nappy is like trying wrap water with clingfilm, only harder. He will let you take the nappy off but then decide it’s more fun to roll over and leap off the changing table instead. The more you lie him down, the more he’ll roll over. To distract him, I give him the closest thing to hand which is usually wildly inappropriate and adds an element of danger to a normally mundane activity. If I manage to change his nappy without having to turn him over once this is truly a ‘YES’ moment. It is also spectacularly rare.

4. Peeing in peace – Separation anxiety has well and truly kicked in now. In the morning I can’t brush my teeth or pee without hearing a wail of dismay that I’m not in sight. It’s worse if I am a little blocked up, because I then have to strap him into the bouncer and bring him in just so he doesn’t wonder where I am for twenty minutes. Having an audience while I gurn and strain does not help. It also makes me wonder whether I am giving him mental scars. Once I just left him in the hallway with the door open so he could still see me, only for him to crawl in with a cheerful hello and try to get a closer look at where he came out from. Aside from that, there have been a precious few times when I’m able to leave him without him noticing. Then I can pee in peace and feel smug about my stealthy moves. Moral of the story, you have to be sneaky if you want to pee.

5. Being a superhero – Mishty is crawling and pulling himself up to standing at every opportunity. This new development is exciting but also mega scary. DANGER IS EVERYWHERE! I was filming him stand while holding the sofa and called to him so he’d look at the camera, but as he turned he lost his balance and boom – fell smack onto a plastic toy and started crying. Oops. But while I have caused a few incidents, I have also carried out more impressive saves than the German goalkeeper at the World Cup. Stopping Mishty from rolling off the bed (admittedly I failed this twice), leaping off the changing table, flinging himself backwards towards a wooden bookcase, pulling big and heavy things towards him, chewing on live wire, wriggling under the table and getting stuck under chairs is all in a day’s work. Saving him from cracking his skull open or getting flattened is a satisfying moment. It makes you feel like a superhero to have such quick reflexes although having some Inspector Gadget style arms would probably be more beneficial…

6. Cutting nails – When Mishty is sleepy, he starts sucking his thumb while stroking my face and sticking the other thumb up my nose. This is sweet but can get painful when his nails are long and the stroking turns into attempts to pull my nose/lips off and scratch my eyes out. Therefore it’s imperative that I cut his nails often. Most people do this when their babies are asleep but as Mishty sleeps in a variety of awkward positions in the dark, I find this quite tricky. Instead I try when he is awake and then it is akin to picking his nose except this has the bonus of me not being in pain once it’s done. Sometimes I manage to do one finger, sometimes a whole hand. If I can do both hands – JACKPOT BABY!!!!

7. Sleeping through the night – Mishty can sleep through the night if he is in bed with us. If he is in the cot he will wake up between 2 and 4am and stand up and look at me like, WTF? This is not my bed. Your bed is my bed. I am awake. Look at me jumping to show you how awake I am. I will now shout loudly so you cannot ignore me, da da DAAAAAA! If he sleeps through the night this is the most amazingly satisfying moment ever multiplied by a million squillion. But this hasn’t happened yet so this is actually wishful thinking. Boo.

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Food, Glorious Food

messy-baby-176My culinary skills can be summed up by the phrase, “can’t cook, won’t cook”. But this was all about to change. Not only would I cook, but I would actually have food in the fridge that wasn’t a month out of date. This wasn’t because Hubby had left me to fend for myself, it was far worse than that… Mishty was now ready for solid food.

Preparation was key. And by that I mean it was another excuse to shop for cute but useless, overpriced baby things. Everything seemed essential, from highchairs to bibs to kitchen appliances like a baby mouli which I’d never heard of until everyone on Amazon said it was a must have. In reality, the only REALLY ESSENTIAL thing you need is a spoon.

When the time came, I donned my apron and transformed into Delia Smith. I was determined to feed my baby home cooked meals and therefore be a good mother. But after a week of dabbling with pureeing and blending and generally making a huge mess in the kitchen for three tablespoons worth of food, I quickly ditched my now heavily stained and banana splattered apron for ready-made jar food (stop judging me, IT’S ORGANIC).

If preparing food was messy, that was nothing compared to actually feeding it. Here’s what one meal time can be like…

1st spoonful: Mishty sees something bright coming towards him. His curiosity makes him want to lick it so he opens his mouth and in goes the orange puree known simply as ‘Vegetable Medley’. He looks confused and grimaces. This is not milk. He does not know whether he likes it. He looks at me and decides he wants more.

2nd: Mishty swallows slowly and approvingly. I am rewarded with a smile and an excited jig.

3rd: The excited jigging has resulted in the spoon missing the mouth and hitting the eyebrow.

4th: This time spoon hits the target and swallowing is occurring. Mishty’s mouth is starting to look very orange.

5th: Mishty chooses to look down just as spoon tries to enter the mouth and so food is now smushed into the nostrils.

6th: After a successful entry into the mouth, there is a slight pause before Mishty sneezes it out all over me. He is ridiculously happy with himself.

7th: Mishty’s attention span is starting to wane and he is more interested in the spoon. He grabs it with a surprisingly strong grip and as I try to wrench it away, food gets flicked off and narrowly misses my face.

8th: Mishty tries to grab food from the spoon again. It gets on his hands which means it is now on everything within reach including his hair.

9th: Mishty is banging on the tray. His banging manages to catch the bowl and knock it out of my hands – my beige carpet is now being accentuated with orange polka dots.

10th: Mishty starts sucking his thumb and now there is no room for the spoon to enter.

11th: Despite managing to get the thumb out, I am faced with Mishty being more interested in scrunching up his bib and trying to eat it.

12th: I get another successful mouthful in after doing some amazing spoon control manoeuvres to avoid the little hand that is desperately trying to grab the spoon

13th: The mouth is not opening now despite me making exaggerated ‘yum yum’ noises and opening my own mouth really wide in the hope he will copy me. He finds it funny and smiles at me, I take the opportunity to shove it in, he laughs and it all falls out.

14th: He is turning his head away and doesn’t want to do this anymore. His head is bent down to lick the food tray. I try to push his head up which makes him unhappy. He is about to cry so every time he opens his mouth I shovel more food in.

15th: More unhappy noises and I decide to call it a day. I give him the spoon to placate him and go to get a cloth to wipe his face but as I leave the room the crying escalates to hysterical levels. I wipe quickly and there is more crying. There is only one way to save the situation – the sippy cup. As soon as he sees it, he stops and gets excited at the prospect of drinking water. A few sips in and he stops drinking and starts blowing raspberries. Water is dribbling everywhere, it is now a game. He laughs, more water falls out, I give up.

At the end of the feed, he has vegetable puree crusted into his eyebrow that stubbornly does not want to come off, his top is soaked and there is a suspicious amount of food hiding in his neck.  I am surrounded by mess and my clothes are stained. But hey, at least I don’t have to cook…!

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The Helpful Husband

imageRecently, I was talking to a guy who adamantly stated that when he had kids, he would never change their nappy. This instantly made me want to shove a nappy full of digested banana puree in his face and simultaneously feel grateful that Hubby did not share the same views. [Even if he did, he knows I would beat him with a Pampers box while suffocating him with a nappy bag if he tried to pull that kind of sexist crap on me.]

See, I’m all about equal parenting where we do the same amount of nappy changes, feeds and night shifts. But can there ever be equality when we start off with the man’s contribution amounting to ten minutes of exertion compared to the woman’s contribution of 40 weeks of growing a human followed by countless agonising hours of labour to push it out?

Then there’s parental leave. For the majority having only two weeks paternity leave compared to 6-12months maternity leave means they are physically not around to do the same amount as you. So just enjoy those two weeks where they morph into the most unrecognisably helpful, hands on person you’ve ever seen, fuelled by the excitement of being a first time father because sadly, it doesn’t last.

When Hubby goes to work, I naturally do the night shift and then wait patiently until he comes home in the evening. It’s actually really easy and fun looking after a baby. Said no one sane ever. Unless of course, you have a fleet of staff to cook/clean/do any other stuff to prevent your place turning into something that might appear on a reality TV show about people who live in filth and were found buried under toys. Some days it’s impossible to do anything other than lie trapped on the sofa with a sleeping baby on top of you because the minute you put them down or leave their sight they wail like you’re giving them abandonment issues for the rest of their life. Not a problem unless you have to pee or do something else equally productive.

When Hubby comes home, I let him have some downtime because I am understanding about his busy day at work, his long commute and his tiredness to do anything other than play with the baby, eat and then sleep. Yeh right… do I look like I’m from the Waltons to you?

No, by evening I am a crazy, psycho, naggy wife. As soon as he walks through the door, I am mentally ‘clocking off’. So when I see Hubby chilling on the sofa reading sports comments online from dumb football fans or taking twenty minutes to do a dump, I get a tad resentful / jealous. I WANT TO TAKE A DUMP FOR TWENTY MINUTES TOO! I WANT TO SIT ON THE SOFA AND NOT DO ANYTHING but I can’t because Mishty needs to be fed, bathed and changed before going to bed and that’s even before we cook, eat, wash up, sterilise and make milk. You also have to factor in time required for arguing over who is more tired. Once all that’s done, then you can relax… if you haven’t already fallen asleep standing up.

So that leaves the weekends. You hope that for just two days they could look after the baby from night till 6-7pm just like you do for five days. Friday night comes around and I advise Hubby to go to sleep early but my warnings fall on deaf ears. By 2am I have to poke Hubby awake as he seems able to sleep right through the wails only for him to ask whether I can do it because he’s so tired. “No” is the only printable version of my reply. By morning, I’m being woken up by Mishty again and being told that it’s my turn now because the night is over. Time management is another issue – Hubby still hasn’t got to grips with the fact that you have to do as much as possible when Mishty naps, and then wonders why it takes so long to go anywhere. Still, with Hubby around I can palm off the pooey nappies, go to the bathroom in peace and even have time to write this blog. Hell, I can even enjoy a little family time.

Hubby will probably never be able to do as much as I do, and what little he does, is frustratingly never enough but instead of dwelling on the things he doesn’t do, I’m trying hard to find a bit of the Waltons in me to be grateful for the things he does do. I am thankful that he is there for us, and he does something at least. He drives me mad, makes me clear up after him like another baby but I have to admit, life’s better with him in it…

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10 Things I Love About You

10thingsiloveSo people keep telling me that I’m putting them off having babies which made me realise that perhaps I need to stop making my baby’s bowel movements the main topic of conversation and start talking about some of the nicer things about motherhood instead. When you take away the gory horrors of babies crying hysterically, pooing undigested vegetables and spewing all over your hair, there are actually some things about them that do make it worthwhile. Here’s my top 10 list…

1. You crack me up!

Even if you duller than a blank wall in dim lighting, you can always count on babies to find you funny. You don’t have to be witty or clever, all you have to do is move your face back and forth to their face and they will crack up like it’s the funniest thing ever. If this fails to work (maybe you have a weird face), then try jiggling your face in their tummy, throwing them up in the air or playing peekaboo – always a winner. Baby laughter is possibly the nicest sound in the world and when they smile at you, it makes your heart go a bit mushy like a GU pudding.

2. Who’s a little softy?

Babies are inexplicably soft. Particularly the soles of their tiny little feet which are softer than all of my 34 teddy bears put together. Inevitably you can’t help but grab and play with their legs until they kick you in the face to get you to stop trying to eat them. They’d be tastier than any winning dish on Masterchef because soft baby skin + chubby baby legs = yumminess.

3. Look who’s talking

Baby noises (when not crying) are fantastic. They go from soft babbling and little gurgles all the way up to loud shrieks and grunts. As they discover new pitches in their vocal range, you try to tell yourself that they just said their first word and it was a lot like “mummy” while everyone else disagrees and thinks it sounded like a cat meowing. Then despite all your efforts, (“SAY MAMA… MA… MA….MMMUH!!!) you’re rewarded with… “da da”.

4. Nom, nom, nom 

Babies are curious creatures. They’ll explore by touch and taste which means that anything new will get picked up and immediately shoved in their mouth. This sometimes includes you. I’ve had Mishty grab my hands and try to eat my palm or nibble my finger. Sometimes he’ll stare at me intently, lunge towards my face and then gob all over my chin or give my nose a little lick. If he misses I get a head butt. Usually some hair grabbing is also involved to steady himself. Either way, it’s surprisingly lovable.

5. Bendier than a bendy bus

When babies discover their own hands it’s very cute. But when they discover their toes it’s even cuter because they instantly try to put their whole foot in their mouth. They just lie on their back and up the legs come, which is no mean feat as I’ve nearly given myself a hernia attempting this in yoga. Typically, this happens when you’re trying to change their nappy and so you end up pinning their legs down with one hand and wrestling with them for 20 minutes before putting it on, only to realise it’s lopsided and you have to start again but now they have rolled over and are attempting to climb off the changing table. But apart from that, it’s still really cute.

6. Just call me Tigger….

…cos I like to BOUNCE! Nothing says happiness like a good old fashioned jumpathon in a door bouncer or a Jumperoo. Their little faces are lit up with sheer joy and excitement at being able to freely jump around like in a House of Pain video. If only they would stay content with bouncing forever so I wouldn’t need to buy an X-Box later.

7. Baby cuddles

Mishty is a proper wriggler so it’s hard to hold him for long. But when he does let me, and his little head flops on my shoulder and his grip tightens around my neck, I get to have a proper cuddle and it feels awesome. Even nicer is when he strokes my face with a big gummy grin and lets me nuzzle him. Babies are made for cuddling.

8. How did you end up there?

Babies can’t stay still and it’s always when you’ve left them alone for five seconds to pee (only people without kids can enjoy the luxury of having longer) that they discover a new move like learning how to roll over which is very exciting until you realise how close they were to hitting their head on something very hard and scary. Or when you leave them in the cot lying down and come back to find them now horizontal, on their tummy and with an arm or leg stuck between the bars. They look at you like ‘Rescue me, mummy’ and instead I just laugh and get my camera out.

9. Sleeping like a baby

I love it when Mishty is asleep. Not just because it means I get some peace but because he looks so adorable. There’s the Jesus position with arms wide open, the gentlemen’s pose with his hands folded on his chest, and ‘put your hands up’ deep sleep pose. The best is when we sneak him into our bed with us so we can enjoy his warmth and closeness. Then he’ll wake up and look at you lovingly with a big smile and that three inch gap you’re lying in with most of your body hanging off the bed all seems worth it.

10. Simply the best

Ok so there’s not really ten things that are great about babies, but more like a million things with new discoveries every day. In a nutshell, babies are ok, but your own baby is The Best Thing In The World. The expressions, noises, overall cuteness in everything they do is awesome. I love my baby, he is wicked and if your ovaries aren’t exploding by now there’s nothing more I can say. So go forth and multiply!

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Dummy Despair

dummy despairThump… Thump… Thump…

I awoke to the rhythmical sound of Mishty gleefully raising and dropping his legs in the cot. I looked at my watch – half five. Pretty impressive for him I thought. And then I noticed the digital display on my alarm clock saying that it was actually 1.30am. My eyes had clearly been seeing what it wanted.

I groaned and slung my arm over the cot rail from my bed to grope around for the dummy to shove in Mishty’s mouth. Once in place, I stroked his forehead and five minutes later he was fast asleep again.

2.30am. More thumping and groping around the cot. [Take your mind out of the gutter or I’m calling social services]

4am. Take three.

5am. Are you kidding me?

6.15am. Finally he’s hungry.

This had been Mishty’s routine every day for the last two weeks. He wouldn’t cry or need feeding, just me to put the dummy in and stroke his forehead until he fell asleep again. And then the whole thing would repeat another four times.

I tried giving him a bath, topping him up with milk, dream feeding, putting the heating on, putting the heating off, even bringing him into our bed but nothing would make him sleep through the night. Hell, forget sleeping through the night, I’d take anything where I wasn’t waking up four times.

After some research, I realised the problem was that Mishty had gotten used to being rocked with the dummy to fall asleep and therefore didn’t know how to put himself back to sleep and was relying on me to. I did as the textbooks said and stopped rocking him and he was soon going to sleep by himself at 9pm. But that’s where reality and the textbook parted company. Instead of sleeping soundly, he was now waking up every hour from 12.30am. I had gone from being a standard sleep deprived mother to a monged out psycho bitch.  Something drastic had to be done– the dummy had to go.

I opted for going cold turkey at my parents’ house for moral support. I left him with the oldies under strict instructions not to cave in while I went out for a prior engagement. I warned them that it might involve 40 minutes of crying and they nodded and told me it would be fine. And yet when I came back, there was Mishty sleeping peacefully away with the dummy still in his mouth. They had caved after 10minutes.

This was not going well. When it was time for Mishty’s next nap I grit my teeth and took over. I rocked and soothed with all my might but Mishty was not having any of it. He was like an addict screaming for one more hit. After half an hour my mother came rushing in and promptly burst into tears. Great, I had managed to make both my son and my mother cry. My father came in after, stony faced with disapproval and took over.  Then the guilt trip began…

“He is too young.”

“This is not the way to do this.”

“We never did this to you, why can’t you just let him have his dummy?”

“How can you be so cruel to him, he is just a baby.”

Moral support was definitely not to be found here. My parents were practically accusing me of child abuse. Friends who didn’t use a dummy were doing the “I told you so” self-righteousness routine that made me want to pound their smug faces with one. Others who used a dummy couldn’t understand why I was depriving him of it and barely concealed their disapproval. Either way I was clearly a terrible mother who deserved what was coming to me.

Already sleep-deprived for the last few days, Mishty’s screams were putting my nerves on edge. Despair, Hopelessness and Guilt were my new besties. It was heart-breaking to see Mishty so tired but unable to sleep. He fought valiantly for several hours before exhaustion eventually took over. With a heavy heart, I followed suit, wondering fretfully what the night would bring.

Mishty slept for 7 hours straight.

It was a miracle! I wanted to leap around screaming “YESSSS!! In your face, mother%^&*s!” but didn’t think my folks would take too kindly to that at 4am.

The next few days were more of the same – crying, despair, not sleeping. And that was just me. We tried everything to get him to sleep – bouncing, rocking, singing, white noise, lullabies, fresh air, extra milk, cuddling, lying him down, standing him up, putting him in our bed etc. My nerves were fraught from exhaustion and the constant crying was getting to me. It felt like Mishty had cried more in these three days than the past four months put together. It was a desperately dark time and I was left a broken woman, emotionally and mentally drained. Sometimes I’d be slumped on the floor, sobbing into my hands because I had no idea how to get him to sleep or make him stop crying. I was overcome with guilt for doing this to him but there was no turning back as then all this would be for nothing.

By the fourth day, victory was mine. It was like beating Lord Voldemort, Sauron and Darth Vader all in one. Mishty was falling asleep without sounding like a Guantanamo detainee and going seven hours without a peep. It had been a hard fight, but we had emerged triumphant. The battle was finally over.