More precious than gold

She fooled us. We boasted at 7 weeks that she was ‘such an easy baby’, that she slept through and would re-settle with a single “shhhh” from a parent. I guess she got bored of that nonsense and has since realised ‘easy babies’ don’t get as many midnight cuddles as wakeful ones. Besides the occasional 11pm to 5.30am just to keep us on our toes, the Baby continues to wake up at night. Sometimes once, sometime many times. Always at 3am – a magical time when all babies are programmed to wake screaming, I think. Whatever she does at night, the day starts at first light for her, when she is cheery and chirpy and ready to play. More often than not I sneak her downstairs at that time, hoping she hasn’t woken the Toddler yet, and try to persuade her to have another hour’s kip in my arms on the sofa.

What is more precious than gold, you ask? Is it Love? Is it World Peace? Is it Babies? No, dear reader. It is sleep.

Dawn Chorus

You do know
this is classed as torture
sleep wake sleep wake
shrill crying in your ear
the grey dawn
day after day
lying cramped and curledsleep
neck and back
holding you
precious you
as you snatch a little more
of that sleep
that I wanted
your lashes resting lightly
on your soft cheek.

I hope your dreams are gentle
and you feel warm
and loved.
Although I ache and
my brain feels dead and
the day is dull-
I guess
I do feel
warm safe and loved

My daughter,
I would suffer any torture
to spend this time with you.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2013

Okay, so maybe it was love and babies after all. Leave me alone, I’m really tired.

Linking up to Prose for Thought.

Prose for Thought

20 thoughts on “More precious than gold

  1. Oh Judith, all so achingly true, and so beautiful as well. What we wouldn’t endure for these little babes xx PS Is she a finger-sucker too? My daughter sucks her middle two fingers, had never seen that before her!

    • judithkingston says:

      Yup, the fingers are great and usually mean she settles herself to sleep – just not when she wakes up in the night. Can’t decide whether feeding her in the night is what she needs or just a prop ARGH! She eats so well in the day that I’m thinking she doesn’t need extra milk at night. But feeding to sleep is so much quicker and easier than anything else…

      • I have no idea what the answer is – sounds like she’s using milk to comfort her back to sleep, but in the middle of the night, when milk is the easiest option I can really understand you using that… I seem to recall the same with Roh, and I think it got better once she was on the move and tiring herself out more. It’s still early days I guess.. Poor you x

  2. Lovely poem! So sorry you’re experiencing this. Ollie tricked us too, slept 12hrs a night from 10weeks old until 18weeks, then was up all night for about 3 months. As of this week he’s sleeping 12 hours again so I am crossing everything this is not a phase! You’re right though- love triumphs, but it’s bloody exhausting xxx

    • judithkingston says:

      Wow, that’s even worse, if you think you’ve got it cracked and he’s doing 12 whole hours! A. has never done more than 7 at a stretch but that was good. (Cue wistful sigh) Here’s hoping he keeps it up eh! Love is painful.

    • judithkingston says:

      Really those night wakings carry on more or less frequently for the first two years or so, I guess. I know with the Toddler they got less frequent but harder to solve as he got older. It will end though, it will end. Before she’s 35 for sure.

  3. I’m so feeling your pain today! I’m sharing my bed with a wriggler and getting v little sleep at the moment.
    This is a beautiful piece. These long, restless nights are a funny old time. Exhausting but we’ll look back on them fondly. They won’t always need us as desperately as they do now, I guess that’s some comfort for the exhaustion! Xx

    • judithkingston says:

      Strange how they become quite romantic in hindsight. After I’d written this post last night I became quite enamoured of the idea of her sleeping in my arms again, and brought her in bed with me at 2am when she woke up. Boy did I regret that! She slept quite well but I felt – well, like I described in the poem.

  4. Ah, I remember these days well. Grace was never a good sleeper and for the first two years I felt like the walking dead! This is a great poem that I have no doubt many mothers will relate to. I hope things improve and go back on an even keel for you soon. Thanks for linking to Prose for Thought xx

    • judithkingston says:

      Glad to hear it didn’t last forever, even if it did last for a long time! Reportedly, my brother didn’t sleep through until he was 3…

  5. This is EXACTLY my experience… I have a toddler (20 months) and a newborn (10 weeks) and do the similar creeping down the stairs at first light thing. Lovely to find you through Prose4Thought. Thank you for leaving a comment on the blog and for your support through this tough time. Claire xx

    • judithkingston says:

      I imagine at this moment you would gladly sneak down the stairs at first light with her, instead of having to sit by a hospital bed. Praying she’ll be bright and chirpy at 5am again soon. xx

  6. What a gorgeous poem. I really relate to the sense of being desperate for sleep, but also knowing that the sleepless nights WILL end, and wanting to enjoy every minute of the cuddles and closeness….I took Gwen into bed with us the other night, for the same reason you mentioned in the comment above. It was quite nice, but she was too excited and spent an hour whacking me over the head to try and wake me for a play!

    • judithkingston says:

      Lovely! What time was that? 🙂 I obviously still haven’t learned my lesson, as last night I once again “decided” (I use the word loosely, as it was 4am and I’d gone to bed at half past twelve and had already been up once at 2am. Don’t think I was considering my options too carefully) that it would be preferable to doze with the Baby next to me in bed as she resettled rather than crouching next to her cot for an hour waiting for the right moment to sneak across the creaky old floor back to bed. She slept and wriggled and sighed and coughed and shrieked and grabbed my nose and then it was 6am and the Toddler woke up. YAWN!

  7. Lovely poem, and even lovelier photo! Gorgeous shot, beautifully composed. I remember those days too, some, 6 years ago now, esp the aching back from holding them and not daring to put them down in case they wake. Aagh! PS Love the shots of your parents’ house – quite jealous of that beautiful house!

    • judithkingston says:

      Glad to hear that 6 years down the line they are a distant memory! My parents’ house is rather beautiful, I agree, and also always clean which is a nice change from my own house…

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