Welcome back to our ‘He Said / She Said’ series and to #4 in the series. We’d unintentionally taken a break from this series but with good reason – we got married 🙂 , had our ‘Mini-Moon’ in Galway, Nip#1 started big school & I appeared on national radio – are we forgiven?! Hope so 🙂
But we’re back so strap on your ear goggles & get ready to go.
How unbelievably different our sleeping habits are – they couldn’t be further apart from each other if you tried!
So let’s just put it out there – I’m the fella who can sleep anywhere, anytime, anyplace in pretty much any position or situation – even if I’m not tired. It’s a gift, seriously, it is.
The very (very) odd time, it can take a while for the lights to go out but relative to others, it’s probably not that long at all.
Flip the coin and if I don’t get a certain amount of sleep, I’m all over the shop and will try to carve open a situation which will enable me to get some kip. Years back, I use to have a long commute to work, and I’d get to work early on purpose so I could get some kip in the car – to be precise, in Tesco’s carpark – with people buzzing about and there’s muggins having a bo-peep in the jammer!
The lads use to tell me I suffered from ‘TATT’ – ‘Tired All The Time’ haha but I was. However, I was never lazy, I worked two jobs (office & pub) for over 5 years in my twenties (while also studying for my QFA exams I might add!) & then again in my early thirties when we lived in Cork. But I was always tired so TATT was a great description of me.
However in my defence, knowing what I now know about my heart i.e. finding out I’ve heart disease and the whole stents thing, it absolutely makes sense that fatigue would have been a factor for me, sure my valves weren’t getting the correct level of blood supply in both sides of my heart FFS! And The Missus will vouch for this, since getting the stents in, my energy levels are very different to what they use to be. I don’t get unusually tired anymore – I do of course get naturally tired from a 17/18 hour day looking after the Nips but so would anybody. Having said that, proper exhaustion kicked my ass last week for the first time ever and it was like getting hit with a sledge hammer if I’m honest.
This is fact – when The Missus was preggers with Nip#1, at night she’d ask me to try and talk her to sleep with relaxing phrases and sentences while I rubbed her back. But she’ll tell you herself, all it did was make me fall fast asleep way before her! Ouch. No surprise here but I was relieved from those duties fairly lively!
And when Nip#1 was born, I had it tough. 8 hours sleep each night, bloody hell that was hard I’ll tell ya (messing of course!). But there was good reason. Nip#1 absolutely refused to drink any bottle – ever. She only wanted the boob and that was that. I wanted nothing more than to feed her a bottle, in fact because I couldn’t, I missed out on some serious daddy/daughter bonding as a result which genuinely got to me. To this day, I’ve always been second choice for Nip#1 and I really feel it stems from not being able to feed her a bottle when she was a baba.
I have to say The Missus was absolutely amazing, I don’t think any man could do what she did for the length of time she did it for. 16 months of breastfeeding – 16 months – every 3 hours with no break, day & night – stand up woman and take a bow – fuck me, amazing. I repeat, no man could do it, I certainly know I couldn’t.
It’s different with Nip#2. Bar a short time when she went off the bottle, she’s taken a bottle since day 1 to today and she absolutely loves her ‘bop-bop’. So I’ve been involved with feeding her from the start and I love it. I find it’s a great opportunity to constantly whisper into her ear ‘Daddies girl – you’re gonna be Daddies girl OK’ 🙂 !!!
After we got Nip#2 home form the hospital (she was 6 weeks early), I was waking up with The Missus every 3 hours to take turns feeding and prepping the bottles etc. After a few days of this, I was in a joker, honestly I was. Didn’t know my arsehole from my elbow. Turns out when I’m that knackered, I’m the exact same as I when I’m pissed out of me head!!! I can’t walk straight, I can’t talk properly, I can’t keep my eyes open correctly, I mumble, I repeat myself and I’ve zero memory of what I had just listened to – uncanny!!
I’ve fallen asleep standing up on a moving Dublin bus – fact. I’ve fallen asleep on the jacks. I’ve fallen asleep on the floor numerous times. I’ve fallen asleep on a plane while reading the paper with my head resting on the paper – fast asleep. I’ve fallen asleep in an office on the table & floor. Get the drift?!!
Right, Nip#2 is asleep and I’m off to join her 🙂
Now I must start by saying that I’ve never been much of a sleeper – all my friends can vouch for that however when a baby comes along I think everyone is in for a big surprise on the sleep front. When Nip#1 arrived I was overridden with adrenaline and high as a kite on oxytocin – I didn’t need sleep, I could have just sat and watched her all night. That only lasts so long – eventually you need the sleep. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is a crook of sh1t – I don’t know many mums who were ever able to do that. Nip#1 was a pretty easy child – now she wasn’t one of those sleeping through the night from eight weeks but she definitely had a routine and stuck to it. I exclusively breastfeed from day 1 and eventually when we decided to introduce a bottle, our beautiful daughter was having none of it. The night pattern for the best part of year was a feed every 3 hours so that’s what my body got used to. I thinks it’s fair to point out at this stage that Ross is a great sleeper – he could literally fall asleep anywhere and at any time – see below!
So when Ross would wake from his 8-10 hour slumber and turn to me and utter the words no mum wants to hear “God I’m knackered” …..I swear to God, anytime he said it I was like “Really??? You’re tired?? From what exactly? Too much restful sleep?!“. (Warning to all new dads out there – unless you are sharing the nighttime feeding routine never complain about being tired ever again).
So what came with motherhood was ‘Worry’. It was a form of worry which I had never really experienced before – worry that she was too hot, too cold, not breathing, in a draft, worry that I wouldn’t hear her due to tiredness…..so usual mum stuff. This is exactly the type of thing which would keep me awake for hours despite being exhausted already. There was one particular night when I woke up Nip#1 was turned around in the bed (head was were her feet normally went) – out of fright I woke Ross to find out if he had possibly moved her. He sleepily told me he hadn’t – what happened next was he went straight back to sleep and I sat awake for the night trying to figure out ‘did I wake up and turn her around & don’t remember it‘, ‘did she somehow move herself around? Not likely as she can’t really move at all‘ ‘did Ross do it and forget?‘……it still remains a mystery to this day. I’m sure Ross may have even forgotten this story as it was such a non-event to him ;o)
And then came Nip#2:
When we were pregnant with Nip#2 we agreed we were going to introduce a bottle early with albeit with breastmilk but I knew I wanted some help with the night time feeding this time round. So that’s what we did – in fact it took a while for Elle to latch on as she was in ICU for a while so had been used to feeds via tube/bottle during that phase. So Ross helped out with the nighttime feeds for a while – till Nip#2 decided she was over this bottle thing and exactly like Nip#1 opted for breastfeeding only. I have to say it was very enjoyable watching Ross try to cope with the nighttime feeds – as I mentioned he is a great sleeper but more to the point is he is not great when he doesn’t get his sleep. Honestly by night 2 he looked drunk as a skunk trying to get Nip#2 to drink her bottle! It was very funny. So I managed the nights until it was time for me to go back to work and at that point she actually started sleeping better so even with some waking at night Ross has been able to cope with all of it and has been ever since.
We had a beautiful period when both the girls were sleeping but the only thing guaranteed with kids is that things will change….we’ve had weeks of Nip#1 crawling into bed with us followed by Nip#2 deciding that she is just going to be awake for a while at night. At this point I think we are both used to the missing sleep thing but are still wrecked from all the demands of the day followed by the demands of the night. That said I can’t help but think they are growing up so quickly that we should really enjoy those special bonding moments because before we know it they will be gone and the girls won’t want those cuddles & kisses.
What’s your experience of this? We’d love to hear your take on it so please leave your comments below. And if you liked it, share it 🙂
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