If you’re a fan of my Facebook page, then you’ll know that Squeak has opted out of sleep at the moment.
I’m not entirely certain of the reason, but I do have a few ideas:
1. Teething – She is definitely teething. You can’t miss those pointy lumps in her gums, or the frantic finger mastication. Or the drooling. Or the incessant moaning.
And her digestive system is definitely operating at a level which I would classify as ‘sub par.’
There’s no ignoring it, fangs are on the way. So I’m unsurprised, really, that she can’t manage more than forty-five minutes sleep without howling. Freaking irritated, yeah. But that’s a familiar emotion for me.
I’m just that kinda gal.
2. A Developmental Leap – Squeak’s working on a couple of skills right now. She’s practising climbing a lot, which obviously I am ecstatic about. She spends her day either diving across the couch and filling me with terror, or trying too climb things which are too high for her and yelling her head off.
I struggle to decide which of these options is shittier.
Her second new skill is talking. She’s picking up about two or three words a day, and I’m proud to say that (so far) none of them have been swearwords.
In one day, she managed to learn the words ‘apple’ and ‘iPad.’ The level of amusement this gave me is perhaps testament to how much sleep I’m getting right now.
I laughed a lot.
A word she is using frequently at the moment is ‘down.’ Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that she was trying to say, “Can you help me down from the precarious position I’ve found myself in, please?”
That would actually be really useful.
But that’s not it.
What it means is, “Hey Mum! Did you know I’m really high up right now? Sure, come on over. But you should know that I’m just going to wait until you’re three steps away from me, and step off the edge. Here I go!”
That’s a bit wordy for a thirteen month old to manage though. So she just says, “down,” and faceplants on the carpet.
Now that she’s talking, it’s become even more obvious that she’s a youngest child. As if the unwiped nose and faded third-hand clothes weren’t evidence enough.
I’m talking about toilet humour. There’s an epidemic of this in our house, and Squeak refuses to be left out.
As soon as the big girls realised that she could parrot words back to them, they began their lesson. And so now, when she farts, Squeak says, “Poo poo!”
Anyway, the point is that babies don’t sleep when they’re busy picking up skills. I can only assume it’s because their brains are working at double speed, and it’s really hard to switch off at bedtime.
3. Separation Anxiety – Thirteen months is a prime time for separation anxiety. And Squeak’s not one to miss out on an opportunity to raise hell.
I can sometimes fool her, if I make sure she’s really busy when I slip away. But most of the time it results in an almighty meltdown. It makes cooking, toileting, hell even blog post writing tricky.
Have you tried typing with a child lying on your face?
I can only assume that separation anxiety doesn’t magically float away as she goes to sleep. If this is the case, then I suppose you can’t blame her for getting upset, when she wakes up to find me gone.
If I was feeling positive, I would think that Squeak was saying, “I love you so much and you make me feel safe. This is why I like to be so close to you.”
I am not feeling positive.
So I actually think Squeak is saying, “I own you, minion. Don’t even think of relaxing, or watching tv, or in fact doing anything that isn’t related to me. Didn’t you know that I’m the only important thing in the world? Get upstairs and let me lie on you!”
Call me cynical, if you will. But you know I’m speaking the truth.
Whatever the reason, this kid just can’t get any rest. And I’d like to be all ‘awesome parent’ and shit, and tell you about how awful I feel for her.
But that’s not what I do.
So mostly, I’m feeling awful for me. I do still feel quite sorry for her. She’s full of misery, with bags under her eyes and she’s clingy as hell. That sucks for her. And me.
I would probably have a lot more sympathy for Squeak if she didn’t spend so much time messing with me. You see, it’s bad enough going up and down the stairs like a jack-in-the-box all evening, and being woken with a start just as I’ve dropped off. But Squeak takes it a step further.
There are three ways in which Squeak disturbs me at night:
1. By waking up – This one’s pretty self-explanatory. I’m sitting watching tv, reading, or obsessively refreshing my WordPress stats (ahem), when a tinny wail echoes through the baby monitor. I go upstairs to find a wide awake baby who is, naturally, desperate for a feed. I settle her down, whether it takes five minutes or an hour, and sneak away. Rinse and repeat.
It’s a little irksome, but at least I know where I stand.
2. By pretending to wake up – This one bugs me a bit more. It’s where Squeak let’s out a screech, usually the kind of sound that makes me think she’s lost a limb, or got trapped somewhere. I gallop up the stairs, only to find her in a deep sleep. As if it never happened.
It becomes even more frustrating if she decides to do it every five minutes. And she does. But it’s nothing compared to the last one.
3. By pretending she’s pretending to wake up – This one is the champion in the annoyingness stakes. The gah of all gahs.
It starts just the same as the last one. I walk into the bedroom, only to find her snoozing away peacefully. I wait a while, sure that she’s about to stir.
So I turn to sneak away. I even begin to plan what I will do when I get downstairs. Put a movie on, grab a snack, whatever.
Because I’m stupid like that.
And just as I reach the doorway, and my foot lifts to cross the threshold, she cries.
This is worse than her waking up. Because I have to say goodbye to the relief I felt at not having to lie down, again, in the dark as she fusses and feeds.
Grrr. Damn babies, lulling you into a false sense of security and then crushing your dreams.
The sneaking away is pretty problematic in itself. Squeak has acquired a habit I have named ‘the proprietary leg.’ It doesn’t matter how I position her to feed, or if I put the covers between us, or if I lie at a 45 degree angle (yeah, I stretch that far). As she drifts off, she lifts her leg and lies it straight across my body.
If I move it away, she moves it back. And so, when she falls into a deep sleep, I am faced with a problem.
That is, how to extricate myself and make a getaway without waking her up. It’s really freaking hard. Man, that kid’s clever.
If you’re a fellow sleep-deprived parent and want to share your experiences, please type a comment in the box below. Coherency is not a priority, so if it comes to it just mash the keyboard with your eyes closed.