Why is it that when you have a baby who does not sleep everyone else you meet seems to have a baby who does sleep?
Don't get me wrong. I think it is great. I am honestly happy for these people.
I don't even mind when they tell me about it.
Which they do.
Every time I see them.
And that is fine.
Sometimes they are even kind enough to give me hints and tips on how to get my baby to sleep.
But as grateful as I am for their advice (usually delivered with a sympathetic head-tilt), it occasionally makes me want to punch them in their smug, fresh faces.
This is not good. I don't want to be the kind of person who mentally assaults perfectly pleasant people.
So from now, when a fellow parent informs me that little Jack has been self-soothing his little arse off since he was three weeks old or suggests a sleep-solution 'I must try', I shall smile and share with them the joy of living with a 'sleep-hater'.
Here are a few examples (based on actual things people have said to me):
PARENT: She is such a good baby. She goes to sleep as soon as I put her down in her cot.
ME: My little one is such a good baby. She likes to sleep on me so I get a lot of cuddles. There is nothing nicer than feeling your baby's heart beat in time with your own.
PARENT: We are so lucky with our baby boy! We can take him anywhere and he just sleeps in his pram the whole time.
ME: We are lucky too! We can take our baby anywhere and she will stay awake the whole time gaining valuable stimulation and interaction. She is so alert and entertaining!
PARENT: We are blessed with our baby. She not only sleeps all night but takes regular naps during the day!
ME: Our little one rarely sleeps during the day and wakes regularly during the night so we get all that extra time with her. We are so damn blessed.
PARENT: We can't complain; our baby sleeps all day.
ME: My baby doesn't sleep during the day at all. But I didn't go through 10 months of pregnancy and childbirth just to look at a bundle in a Moses basket. So, I can't complain.
PARENT: Oh baby still not sleeping? You look so tired. You poor thing!
ME: She is still not sleeping but that isn't why I am tired. It is all the activities you have to do with them!
We have baby sensory games in the morning, followed by crafts and stories; then I cook an Annabel Karmel meal from scratch for lunch.
In the afternoon we have singing, stimulating outdoor play and swimming lessons. Finally, I whip up an organic casserole for dinner, then it is on to a full body baby massage, more stories, bath and bedtime. This parenting game is rather exhausting isn't it!
You look amazing by the way. Not tired at all!
PARENT: Oh dear is she still not sleeping? Maybe she is teething or hungry?
ME: She is teething and hungry. In fact, that is the problem. She is so hungry she keeps eating her teeth. She is so clever.
PARENT: My baby is fantastic, she self-soothes herself to sleep.
ME: My baby is fantastic. She likes me to sing and cuddle her to sleep. Which is great as one of the reasons I had a baby was to have something cute to cuddle!
PARENT: My baby is so considerate! She goes to bed really early giving me plenty of time to go to the gym and burn off that baby weight.
ME: My baby is so considerate! She is helping me burn off the baby weight by letting me carry her around the house about 24 hours a day! In fact, I think I am fitter now than I was pre-pregnancy!
PARENT: Oh you let her sleep in your bed? You are making a rod for your own back there. She'll never sleep on her own.
ME: Never, really? NEVER? In that case I had better get a bigger bed. It is going to be a bit of a squeeze when she gets to eighteen.
PARENT: Have you tried putting her in her cot, turning out the light, shutting the door and leaving her to cry?
ME: Err...no, because I quite like my baby.
PARENT: Do you put her down drowsy but awake?
ME: (I am afraid a mental punch to the face is the only response to this question).
Babies who do not sleep get a bad press. We tend to refer to infants who sleep a lot as 'good babies', while those of a more wakeful disposition we often label as 'hard work'.
I say we change that.
Bad sleepers are the new 'good' babies. Spread the word.
Eye bags are the new black.
Pyjamas are the new skinny jeans.
Sleep-deprived is the new stylish.
Today, I start the revolution!
Actually, make that tomorrow. I am too knackered.
Read more from Emily-Jane Clark on Stolen Sleep.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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