Listen up, mofos.
Y’all know I’m a mum. Moo came out of my vagina which I’m pretty sure qualifies me for motherhood, yeah?
However – and this is what I’m TRYING to get my brain around – I am not JUST a mum. Cut me in half like a bastard tree and you will not find M-O-T-H-E-R carved through my core. Fuck knows what’s written there. Maybe B-A-D-A-S-S-M-O-V-O?
Erm. Don’t cut me in half to find out if that’s true, though.
Doing the mum stuff is fundamental to my being BUT I am not defined by it. Most days, I don’t have a buggering fuck of a clue who I am. There are many things I do, but again, why should I be defined by that? I’m a HUMAN PERSON (last time I checked). Scientifically speaking: a complex amalgamation of neural impulses contained in a skin bag, powered by gin and biscuits and voodoo, innit. That’s BIOLOGY, right there. That’s QUINTESSENTIAL LIFE.
Yet, I like being contrary; you may have noticed. Get asked to define myself and I immediately bristle and look for the opportunity to break the rules.
I’m a mum and… what? Can I be everything and anything? Damn straight. I claim it all. ALL OF IT.
I’m a mum, and a noble knight on a shining steed, and a helpless maiden locked in a tower; and a deviant, a maelstrom, and a bottomless pit of anger. I’m a mum and a coward. And a fierce outlaw. And a nurturing beast, an exhausted academe. I’m a mum and I’m a lazy cow. I’m a total bitchface. I’m a bastard cunt. And I’m the loveliest, kindest woman you’ll ever know. I’m a absolute nightmare. I’m a mum, and a recalcitrant police officer, and a ghost, and a harpy. I’m a grubby sophisticate and a floundering gypsy. I’m a mum and a feminist, and I’m a backwards judgemental imbecile, and I’m clever enough to know when I’m wrong. I’m a pretender, and I am a purveyor of truthful stories. I’m a mum, and a qualified airline pilot. I’m a beautiful woman. I’m a cipher, a virago, and a total fucking conundrum. And I’m a mum. I am a mum. And not JUST a mum.
…and if you don’t like it, you can fuck off and do one.
This mardy outburst is brought to you in association with Story of Mum, who encourage creativity in mothers and who asked me to curate this exhibition for them. In doing so I’m including not just my words but words from other mums as well, using part of the epic Mums’ Poem that grows and spreads and and celebrates many facets of motherhood:
Stumbling tweeting loon, warrior worrier.
Little foot tickler. Singer of songs.
Cheek kisser. Overwrought, frazzled and shouty.
Super sorter, life giver, the rock that never crumbles.
24×7 customer service.
Strong. Peace Maker. Wet wiper.
Respirateur and goddess, snot rag, fun magician.
So who are you? Are you definable?
Me: Shall we take your nappy off? It’s full of wee.
Moo: OK then.
Me: And if you need a wee, you can go on the potty.
Moo: OK then.
Me: There. OK. Remember. If you need a wee, go on the potty.
Me: Yes, Moo. If you need a wee, you go on the potty.
Moo: No. No wee. No potty.
Me: Well, sure, if you don’t need a wee, don’t go on the potty.
Moo: No wee.
Me: OK. Don’t wee then.
Moo: [clutching herself] No wee. NO WEE.
Me: Moo do you need a wee?
Moo: NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE.
Me: Oh my god Moo do you need a wee? Just go on the potty!
Moo: [runs around clutching herself] NO WEE MUMMY NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE.
Me: Sit on the potty if you need a wee!
Moo: [legs crossed] NO WEE MUMMY.
Me: WHY ARE YOU HOLDING YOURSELF? IF YOU NEED A WEE GO ON THE POTTY!
Moo: [sits briefly on the potty] NO MUMMY NO WEE NO WEE.
Me: If you don’t need a wee, don’t have a wee! If you need a wee, go on the potty!
Moo: Need a new nappy, mummy.
Me: You’re having a bath in a minute, I’m not going to…
Moo: NEW NAPPY MUMMY NO WEE NO POTTY NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE.
Me: I’m not putting a new nappy on you Moo, if you need a wee go on the…
Moo: [legs crossed, clutching herself] NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE.
Me: [desperately] If you do a wee on the potty I’ll give you a sweet.
Moo: Sweets? Yes please.
Me: You can have a sweet if you do a wee on the potty.
Moo: [sits briefly on the potty, stands up, crosses legs and holds herself] NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE…
Me: [despairs] You can’t have a sweet then.
Moo: … NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE NO WEE…
Me: [hides under sofa]
So. Potty training. She’ll just wake up one morning and use the toilet by herself, yeah? Minimum involvement from me? Awesome.
OK fine whatever.
Tell me it can be easy. Tell me there’s, like, a simple way to do it. Cos Moo hates having her nappy changed, and hates wearing a nappy, but sure as hell doesn’t seem ready to use a potty/toilet, if the above exchange I had yesterday is anything to go by. What’s the answer? CAN I JUST PUT NEWSPAPER DOWN AND HOPE FOR THE BEST?
Help. HELP. I don’t want to do this. I am actually dreading it. Help me please.
My brain is full of stuff that generally could be perceived as useless. ENTIRELY USELESS. Obvs there’s some good stuff – like how to make a cup of tea, remembering where my bed is, and how to rewire giant lasers to go from stun to kill – but in the grand scheme of things, my brain is a repository for crap. Actual, real crap.
This is what my brain is up to right now:
AKKA AKKA FUH-tong FUH-tong ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ pop WOOOOOOOOAAAAHHHHHH
See? What a load of shit. That is a DAILY OCCURANCE. Man alive. I can’t even spell occurrence. My brain got it wrong first time. Like it needs a run up. Damn brain.
BUT ANYWAY. What am I getting at? Oh yeah. My brain has recently acquired some new information, however, which means that it is FINALLY using its powers for something positive and useful and potentially awesomesauce.
I went on a First Aid course.
Woo! That’s right. I am now a First Aider. I was a bit disappointed that we don’t get costumes to wear in our new roles but I might fashion my own. I’m thinking spandex onesie with F A emblazoned across my chest. And a cape. And a mask. And a tutu. Maybe.
This course was great. Absolutely great. It felt good to be learning something new and relevant and ultimately life-changing. It was also astonishing and frightening and kind of humbling. The other people on the course shared their stories of real-life emergencies. We watched a video of some lifeguards on Bondi Beach doing CPR on someone dragged unconscious from the waves. We practised tying bandages on each other. We learned all sorts of terrifying statistics about survival rates and deaths, and how you really don’t want to have to perform a Heimlich manoeuvre on yourself – with a spindle-backed chair* – if you can possibly help it. We learned about choking, and burns, and bleeding, and shock. I now know CPR, and how hard and fast I have to do it if I want to make a difference between someone living and dying. I know how to put someone in the recovery position, even if they’re seated in a chair or slumped against a wall. I know how to treat a burn or a scald. I know what to do if someone has a seizure. I know that in an emergency, I can be of use until someone more qualified than me turns up with the defibrillator and the drugs and the superior knowledge.
It’s all good stuff. In a way, I hope I never have to use it. When my ex and I had to call an ambulance for Moo about eighteen months ago I vowed to myself that I would never want to have to do that ever again, ever ever. Of course, accidents happen and those wonderful paramedics are there for a reason. But during the First Aid course, I finally came to terms with what Moo went through that awful evening. I thought I was over it, yet when I was explaining to the course teacher what had happened, I started crying and wobbling a bit and that’s when it struck me that the absolute worst thing about it all was feeling so damn useless. My infant daughter had been unconscious on the rug and I didn’t have a clue what to do. Thankfully, it turned out just fine. I now understand that after vomiting a few times Moo went into shock and her body shut down to protect her vital organs. She was still breathing, her heart was still beating. But it was like a reboot. Turned off then on again. Fucking terrifying for me and her daddy. I hope she never does it again. At least I’d know what to do. If it happened to ANYONE.
This stuff should be taught in schools. Currently, it’s not. Seriously. EVERYONE should know some basic first aid. Shouldn’t they? Am I right in thinking that? We should be confident enough to know what to do if we see someone collapsed in the street, right? Even if it’s put them into the recovery position and call an ambulance, that’s something.
I feel like I want to do more.
Are you a First Aider? Or have you ever been in an emergency and instinctively known what to do?
*dude tried it, impaled himself on spindle, and died. True story. Aargh.
Me and Moo have this thing now, yeah. She started it. It was her idea. When I’m getting her ready for bed – pyjama’d, sleeping bagged, and In The fucking Night Gardened – she looks me straight in the eye and says, ‘Now we have a lovely cuddle’.
And it’s true, we do. We sit on the chair in her room and have a lovely cuddle.
Like I said, she started it. OBVS I would cuddle her anyway, and we’d maybe have a tickly smooch, or a giggly hug, but this – THIS – is a lovely cuddle. It’s our lovely cuddle. I lean back on the chair and she lies on her front and tucks her head under my chin, throws her arms round mine and occasionally, very occasionally, licks my neck. Yeah. A lovely cuddle.
I’m ALL about the cuddles. I’m a very tactile lady person. If I deem you awesome enough for my clammy grasp, you’ll get major huggage from me. It may take a while to suss you out so don’t be miffed if I’ve not cuddled you yet. I will. I have cuddly designs on lots of you. Lots of uber-cuddle. Mondo hugfest. Totes cuddlations, innit. I’m making words up now. But I reckon you get it. Me cuddle you = all’s well.
But a lovely cuddle from my baby Moo, THAT’S special. And she started it. It was HER idea. She says, ‘Now we have a lovely cuddle’, before she goes to sleep. And we do.
Can’t get enough cuddling, in my humble opinion. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in relationships with menfolk who Do the Cuddles. A man who withholds armclasp-loving is not the fella for me. You gotta HUG me. I wanna be HUGGED. I want to know that with that gesture, you love me, want to comfort me, support me, have affection for me, will protect me, keep me warm, keep me safe, and will, like, wrestle fuckin’ LIONBEARS for me, y’know? THAT’S hugging. That’s cuddles. Friendship cuddles are the same. Family cuddles. Virtual HUGZ with online pals, too. Love hugs. Love cuddles. And make it a good grip, as well. None of this limp grip, no way. You put your arms round me, you’d better make me worry for my ribcage. Understood? I like to be HUGGED. Dare you to do it properly. I’m telling you. Hug me good, you bastards.
With Moo, though. Our lovely cuddle. That’s a soft one. Gentle, like. She’s tired, fractious. I’m most likely eager for her to be abed and sleeping, it’s been a long day, y’know. Yet she looks at me and says, ‘Now we have a lovely cuddle’. And we do. I hold her to me and smell the shampoo on her hair and feel her eyelids flick against my chest and wince a bit when she digs her elbows in my sides and listen to her breathing calm beneath my hands and stroke her back and tell her I love her more than anything and this is our lovely cuddle, and this is when I know for sure that out of everything in this whole damn world, our lovely cuddles make all the shit stuff totally worth it.
Cuddles. Do you get enough?
Parenting. Such a MAGICAL experience. Along with all the fear, desperation, exhaustion, irritation, frustration and total absolute dicking bollocks of parenting, comes guilt. GUILT. I feel it ALL THE COCKING TIME. I can’t escape it. I’m afraid to say, people, that when you spawn a tiny person you instantly and violently sign up for a LIFETIME of this emotional headfucking stuff. It’s overwhelming, and gives me heartburn. Yeesh.
I feel guilty…
that I don’t do enough ‘educational’ stuff with Moo
that I don’t spend enough time outdoors with Moo
that I let her watch too much TV
that I spend too much time on Twitter while she watches TV
that I don’t feed her enough food
that she eats too much junk food
that she doesn’t socialise with other children enough
that I don’t socialise with other parents enough
that sometimes I just want a break from the parenting stuff
that I should be looking for work even though it wouldn’t mean I was any better off right now
that I should be writing a novel/a screenplay/a play instead of blogging
that I should eat more healthily
that I should be a better sister/daughter/friend
that all this internal gibbering makes me a bad mother
that I’m not more proactive about a LOT of things
that I shout at Moo when I really don’t mean to
that sometimes I only really want some time on my own
that I’ve just spent fifteen quid in the supermarket on crap when I could budget properly and save cash
that I resent a lot of people who have what I don’t have even though I know that’s a horrid thing to do
that I know it could be a lot worse for me and I hate moaning
that I feel guilty about most of this stuff when I should just QUIT IT, FUCKSAKE – and man up…
You see? It’s a convoluted nightmare of epic proportions. And I’m only being a tiny bit dramatic there. Which I feel guilty about. Obvs.
What do you feel guilty about?
Moo sucks. Quite literally. Remember when I wrote this post? About her addiction to dummies? Yeah? Well, surprise sur-fucking-prise, time goes forward inexorably and all that, and it’s getting to the stage where Moo sucking on a dummy now is just a little bit, well, erm, how can I say this politely… a bit FUCKING WRONG. It sucks. She’s two and a half. She sucks. She’s got to stop.
Today I bought two new dummies. This does not aid the whole ‘stopping sucking’ thing, I agree. But her previous dummies were kind of grey. And droopy. One of them had a hair caught round it, and fluff caught in the hair, and tiny spiders caught in the fluff (I’m guessing). It’s gross. She loves it. She sucks on those bastards like a bastard. It’s scary how much she loves it. She goes all giggly and far-eyed when she sucks on those things. Like I do when I’m inhaling cheese. Addicted, fucksake. So I tried cleaning the old ones but they were still grey, and droopy. So I bought new ones. Because when I broached the subject of maybe taking the dummies away and Moo going to bed without them now, I got what I like to think of as A Top Level Death Stare.
‘Moo, you don’t need dummies any more.’
‘Moo, let’s put the dummies away and see how you get on.’
‘Moo – please don’t kill me, but – soon you’ll have to get rid of your dummies, because it’s gross now, OK?’
DEEEEEEEEATH STARE OF DEATH AND DOOM.
She’s two and a half, and still uses a dummy to settle herself at night. In my head, I’ve given her till she’s three to drop it. Realistically, it has to be sooner, because otherwise, I’ll wimp out and she’ll still be using them when she’s 26. I’m not generally a wimp in my parenting tactics. But, you see, I like that Moo sleeps at night. She’s GREAT at it. Aside from a few wobbles in the past, she’s in bed by 7 and FREQUENTLY does not wake till 8 the next morning. THAT IS UBER SLEEPING SKILLZ, bruv. I don’t want to jinx that. I don’t want to RUIN what is a perfectly awesome sleeping advantage for me. I have a direful notion that if I remove the dummies, it’s all going to go tits up. Or teats up. See what I did there. Har.
When she had The Pox recently, I indulged her. She was poorly and needed comfort. So the dummies came out during the day. This is not the usual routine. Dummies are for bye-byes. Apart from when struck down with Pox, obvs. Unfortunately, Moo now thinks she’s entitled to the dummies AT WHATEVER POINT OF THE DAY SHE SO DESIRES THEM. Man alive. And now she’s, like, a proper tiny person, she’ll just fetch them herself from upstairs and look totally aghast and calls her lawyer to report a breach of her basic human rights if I take them off her.
I know, I know. I’VE CREATED A MONSTER. In the post I’ve linked to above, I’m all ‘Yeah look at me not giving a shit about my baby having a dummy, I’ll just take it off her when she’s older, piece of piss bruv, bring it on, woop woop’ and now I’ve reached that point, I’m fucking bricking it. Moo is obstinate, defiant and bloody stubborn (no idea where she gets that from, ahem) so the thought of BATTLING her on this TERRIFIES me.
HEEEELP. People who have wrestled dummies from their children’s puckered mouths, HOW? Or am I fretting too soon about this stuff, and should just wait till she’s older and can be reasoned with (bribed)?
DO I JUST BURN ALL THE DUMMIES?
So, Eastenders, what a load of lovable tripe you are, eh? A joyous romp through all the darkness a world can provide, and I’m not just talking about Ian and Denise getting it on. Eeeewwwwww, to the power of infinity. C’mon, Denise. Ian Beale. Seriously. IAN BEALE. Just, no. ANYWAY. Funnily enough, all the stabbings, wailings, explosions, incest, murders, adultery, abandonment, and erm, the extortionate price of a knickerbocker glory in the caff, gets me PROPER DOWN, and I stop watching for a bit, until something major happens, and then I get sucked back in, cos I want to know who shot/stabbed/buggered/defenestrated Phil Mitchell. As ANYONE would. Natch.
Regular viewers will be aware of the current storyline involving Lola, the ‘scrappy smart-mouthed teen with too much eye make-up’, and her baby, ‘the cute baby’. If you’re NOT aware, here is a quick precis: the baby was taken off Lola by social services cos she’s a teenager, and therefore a crap mother, and placed in the care of Phil Mitchell, WHO IS A THUG AND A CRIMINAL AND A FORMER DRUG ADDICT AND LOOKS LIKE A BIG RED ANGRY THUMB, and therefore OBVIOUSLY better suited to caring for a baby. Nonsense. Utter nonsense. Nevertheless, ANYTHING involving small babies in peril makes me hysterically weepy, so I’ve been soppily sniffing in front of the TV four nights a week for gawd knows how long as Lola battles to be reunited with her daughter. YES I KNOW. I am a dumbass. Bite me.
Then last night, a Massive Plot Device happened, and so flaringly obvious it was that it might as well have come with a klaxon and a formal announcement by the BBC that ‘Look here, one of them important Massive Plot Devices is about to happen, pay attention now, you plebs’ before glibly carrying on with the programme. Basically, the baby was HOT and ILL and NO ONE knew what to do, apart from Lola, who spent a bit of time explaining to her hapless male relatives that ‘I’m ‘er muvver, I just KNOW sommat’s WRONG wiv ‘er!’ before calling NHS Direct and getting a response within 30 seconds, which is so far removed from real life it makes the rest of Eastenders look like a hard-hitting documentary. The baby was rushed to hospital while the entire population of the Square looked on, and then there was a party at the B&B but that’s a different plot and not as GOOD.
The baby was fine, btw. Gastroenteritis. But fine. Phew. You can stop fretting now.
The moral of the Massive Plot Device is, that Lola is a MUVVER and just KNOWS when something is seriously wrong with her child, unlike Phil, who is not the baby’s muvver, and spent most of the episode saying ‘she’s only a bit hot innit’. Lola has a parenting instinct and she’s not afraid to use it, which is handy as I’m pretty sure social services will now grandly rethink their previous decisions and hand the baby back to Lola with a quick flick of the Vs to Phil. Plot device DONE.
My point is (if you’re still reading, WELL DONE and THANK YOU) that there’s a lot to be said for instinct. After all, our ancient cave-dwelling ancestors relied on it a lot, and it served them well, seeing as they evolved into medieval people, and then, erm, Victorian people (history not my strong point. Nor evolution). Sometimes everything else gets in the way, and we end up struggling between what our heads and hearts are clamouring to inform us, when really, we need to listen to our gut, which has been right all along, typically.
Lola’s Massive Plot Device (which would be an AWESOME band name) got me thinking about how I’ve ignored my instinct lately. How I’ve let Other Things get in the way. How, when I’m typically an instinctive person, I’ve been dismissing it and letting Bastard Circumstance rule my decisions. At the risk of sounding WAY MORE CRYPTIC than I want to, I’m therefore going to give Instinct another go. And trust it.
My instinct right now is telling me I shouldn’t write about Eastenders ever again. Huh.
How much do you rely on instinct? Is it merely a tool in our parenting arsenal? Or is it essential in all walks of life?
And Ian and Denise, that’s just wrong, yeah? He is totes punching above his weight. Totes.
Five nights. FIVE NIGHTS. Next week I will have FIVE MOO-LESS NIGHTS. That’s five whole nights and six whole days without my toddler. SHRIEK! And also, YAY! I mean, OBVS I will miss her like mentalissimo, and will probably spend the first few hours wandering round my house and making Marmite sandwiches for teddy bears and mournfully watching Cbeebies and sniffing her clothes, but THEN I reckon all the headiness of freedom will kick in and I’ll go out and, like, DO stuff.
The question is: WHAT the crap DO I DO with all that free time?
What do I ACTUALLY do?
And I am SERIOUSLY asking you here. See, this is my serious face: *does serious face*
I need suggestions. Obvs I want to make the most of such rare, precious, parental-duty-free time, and not just meld into my sofa watching the DVD box sets of Game of Thrones and The Killing (both on my to do list, natch) but I don’t really know WHAT I could do.
So far I’ve come up with:
- have a manicure (never had one before)
- go out and get drunk a lot
- triple bill at the cinema
- maybe overnight stay at the cinema
- go out and get drunk a lot
- a trip somewhere to see some people
- a trip somewhere to see some stuff
- a trip somewhere to see, erm, other stuff
Doing well, yeah? I know, right. I have NO IMAGINATION and I’m PANICKING.
C’mon, helpmehelpmehelpmehelpme. I need THINGS to do which will distract me from having no Moo, but which won’t cost a small fortune, and don’t require removing any body hair or injections.
Who knows, I may even blog about my escapades, if y’all give me some good stuff to do
By the way, Moo is going to stay with her daddy for the week, I haven’t packed her off to the Foreign Legion or anyfink. Ahem.
Now I am very impressionable so keep your ideas clean, please. Oh fuck it who am I kidding, I want to feel like myself again. TELL ME WHAT TO DO. You know you want to…
*waits with bated breath*
Help. Oh, help. I seem to have bred a tiny, tornado-fuelled, proper little madam.
Y’know how I told you Moo had dropped her nap? Yeah? And it’s been a challenging time for us recently? Mmhmm? Well, I was downplaying it a bit. IT’S MUCH WORSE THAN THAT. Lately, Moo has changed. Once a sweet dainty baby, now a pocket toddler with attitude. She’s sometimes – frequently – horrible. I am literally actually admitting that on occasion, I don’t even LIKE her very much, cos she’s mean to me and has nasty tantrums and I’m just tired of it all. Innit.
I can’t be the only one to notice this. Toddlers DO this, right? This is them changing from baby-lovely to toddler-mare, unless I’m mistaken – what the initiated refer to as ‘the Terrible Twos’? For the love of Jeezus. MOO IS NOT EVEN TWO YET. Not for another 2 months. This is so unfair. She had to be all ADVANCED and get the demonic behaviour in there early, didn’t she. Obvs she has inherited my hatred of being late for anything. Much to my detriment, it seems. Bah.
So the tantrums. She strops when she doesn’t want to sit in the buggy, when she doesn’t want to walk, when I can’t carry her AND push the buggy, when we get to the park and the swings are already in use, when there are no available spades and/or buckets in the sandpit, when I don’t buy her a biscuit from the park café, when we don’t go to Co-op, when we do go to Co-op, when I change her nappy, when I say it’s bath time, when it’s bed time, when she wakes up, when I go to have a shower and have to leave her alone for TWO FARKING MINUTES, etc etc I could go on.
Bless her. I know why she’s doing it. It’s not cos she’s testing boundaries, or going through a clingy phase, or asserting her independence, or any of that shite. It’s cos she’s a farking drama queen and wants to cause a scene. She’s actually doing it ON PURPOSE cos she knows it pisses me off. That’s how VINDICTIVE she is. Saves it all up for somewhere nice and public, then lets rip with unearthly screeches and wails, and contorts her body into supernatural positions so that it looks like I’m tying her in knots whereas I am in fact attempting to ferry her home safely so that she can explode in the confines of our own home. I have begun to watch her when we’re out, like one would watch a ticking bomb, just counting down the seconds until the tantrumic blast rips through the soft play centre and I have to lever Moo’s writhing form out of a circle of shocked, open-mouthed mothers, while their own perfectly behaved offspring play peacefully in the background.
My current method of tantrum management involves sitting it out if we’re at home, and removing her from the present location if we’re out. Is this correct? Is that what I should be doing? I’m BLIND on this one, folks, especially as when Moo kicks off, my instinct is to scream wordlessly back at her, tear off my blouse to reveal the words ‘WHY? WHY, MOO, WHY?’ inked onto my chest in red marker pen, and sob relentlessly into a ditch, until she goes away. I have a feeling that’s frowned upon, though.
Yeah, I know it’s a phase, and it will pass, and she’ll be a really pleasant person when she’s like, 38, or whatever, but I am hoping for some good times between then and now. Please share some wisdom, or at least let me know I’m not alone, by telling me about your devilish toddlers?
Or, I’ll set Moo on you. *readies the catapult*
That’s TERRORS. Not terriers. Terriers aren’t particularly terrifying, except for the ones with knives. But terrors – and specifically, night terrors – are actually bloody crapping terrifying. Innit.
The worse thing? It’s not me that’s having them. It’s my little Moo. Yep. That’s right. TWICE now, which, in my opinion is two times too many for a tiny person. Two nights this week she has woken up screaming. Proper screaming. Like I’ve not heard her scream before. Sheer desperate panic. Hideous. Nothing a parent ever wants to hear emanating from their child’s bedroom.
Of course I’m awake in a nanosecond. I’m in her room, next door to mine, in another nanosecond. I pick her up and she sobs, in my arms, for a bit. I do all my best cuddling moves. I whisper lovely stuff in her ear. I rock gently. She’s all right. She’s good. She wants to go back into her cot. That’s also good. All credit to Moo, she drops back to sleep after about twenty minutes, no problemo. Me? Nah, that’s me AWAKE TILL THE END OF TIME, then.
I’ve not Googled night terrors. Me and Google don’t get on when it comes to ailments, physical or otherwise. I’ve just assumed this is what’s happening. I know Moo has had nightmares before but nothing like this. And today – after last night’s funtime scream-a-thon – she refused to nap in her cot. So by the afternoon we are both tired, grumpy, tense and needing a lot of biscuits.
She’s gone to bed this evening well enough. But I am DREADING the wee hours now. I’m exhausted enough that it’s an early night for me, but I know I won’t sleep easy, one ear constantly vigilant for the slightest shift in rhythmic breathing. And of course, of course of course, there’s FARK ALL I can do about it. If she wakes screaming, from some unknown terror she can’t formulate into words for me, then there’s bugger all I can do to prevent it. I guess I can just be there for her, if she wakes, in that nanosecond or two.
Helpless. And tired.
Has anyone else experienced this before? Themselves or their children? Should I Google? And what’s faster than a nanosecond?