Is that even a word? Whatever it is, it sums me up beautifully.
Apparently, I was great as a baby. My mum said my sleep went tits up when I was 8. I watched a 'funny film about a man with a pizza face' at my friend's. I spent the next 8 years obsessively checking under the bed for Freddie Kruger and having some seriously freaky dreams - which are really scary when you think about it, as Freddie KILLS you in your dreams, don't you know?!
Once I went to uni, I started to obsess about noise. I don't like noise. An ant sneezing three streets away would have me up in an instant. You'd think x2 trips to A and E, one involving General anaesthetic to scrape errant earplugs/Blu-Tack from my eardrums would have sorted me out.
I just got more robust ones.
Then I met my future husband. I was on my best behaviour for the first few months. But ultimately, this made me worse. Now I had to contest with snoring, breathing, bed twanging, leg twanging, body twitching, a husband who MOVES in his sleep (who does he think he is?!) and a raucous alarm that likes to get up a good 1.5 hours earlier than me. It's a wonder I'm still standing.
And once I had children, the Sleep Paranoiac got worse. And worse.
I had x3 sleep cycles to obsess about. Log. Discuss. Google. I could watch the baby for hours, pen poised as they twitched fitfully in the Moses Basket. Staring at the monitor, which would flash accusingly and tell me EDIE WASN'T SLEEPING. Ear pressed against the bedroom door at 2am as I (thought) I'd heard a squawk on my way back from the toilet.
Then there's Sleep Regressions, teething, travel, clock changes, jabs, illness, Wonder Weeks...and those times when the baby is just up for NO reason whatsoever having a 4am rave - and Google can't even tell me WHY!!
But they are good. And even the Sleep Paranoiac is sleeping better now the monitor is gone, baby is in her own room, door shut and the earplugs firmly back in their rightful position.
Yet as I write this, I am filled with fear. What if I'm wrong? Maybe they aren't that good. What if they are destined to be like me?! Unable to settle without industrial strength earplugs, eye masks, a non-twangy mattress, a husband too terrified to move a muscle? They've inherited most my shit bits: the snaggle teeth, the travel sickness, a penchant for horrid plastic horses. What if they've inherited this particular strain of madness too?
Let's consider the evidence:
Isla. Slept through 7-6 since 9 weeks. Amazing. But weird to the extreme: refuses Big Girl Bed (must be the only 3 year old who ONLY wants a cot), sleeps with half of London Zoo in her bed (sorry cot), has a recurring dream about a 'Big Tyyyger' every night...
Is this just normal toddler madness? Or is the stirrings of a potential Sleep Paranoiac, unable to settle without 3 trillion thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, lavender-scented night lights and a hundred scatter cushions?
And then there's Edie. Rocky start, now sleeps a dreamy 7-7. Amazing. But with a pitch-dark bat cave, white noise and two parents terrified of activating the electric toothbrush lest she detonates. Who have to tell guests they can't flush the toilet overnight in case it disturbs Her Majesty. We used to laugh at parents like this.
Apparently I was relatively normal as a small child until Freddiegate hit. Hopefully full Paranoiac won't manifest itself until adulthood. When they'll be someone else's responsibility.
In the meantime: bring on the earplugs!
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