Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Perchance to dream

You have different obsessions at different times of your life; breasts, sweets, sex, a job, a lover, a baby, sleep and, finally, when and how you die. It is possible to strand yourself in one or other but I have swept through and out the other end of most. I have not yet begun to draft my final words or plan my soily grave; I swear to God, though,I would be a nicer person if I got more sleep.

Three out of the four last nights have been disturbed by one or more children; two out of three nights, I have had to sleep - I use the term loosely- in the spare bed in the study to be closer to a cough-filled baby. Last night, I had a choice of distractions: I could listen to the gusting wind outside the house as it harried red-brick chimneys and bare-branched trees, or, I could tune into my hacking, pilgrim baby who tumbled her way round first her cot and then my bed, trying to find some peace. By 2.45am, I decided either she had to be medicated or I did. I carried her back into the darkness of her own room and found the new bottle of cough syrup. I pressed down and twirled away the child-proof cap watched by a murky Peter Rabbit, and groped for a silver spoon in the gloom. She coughed against my chest. "Ok darling," I murmured, "Mummy will make it better". (I don't know how long that one lasts - I figure it should hold until she is two.) I sat down wearily, bundled her gusting warmth into the crook of my arm and tipped up the sticky bottle. It emptied itself all over my bare leg. "Oh dear," I said out loud in the dark. "Mummy's poured cough syrup all over herself." For a moment, the wind outside died and there was silence. Carefully, I scraped a spoonful of blackcurrant linctus off my skin and swallowed it.

15 comments:

jenny, sw london said...

Hoped you got some sleep in the end. Did make me laugh though.Cream sofabed in my daughter's room now routinely covered in calpol and nurofen amongst other things because I always think that dip in the cushion will keep the bottles upright...

The Grocer said...

Your links are great, I half expected something tongue in cheek when I opened the "interview with god", beautiful words & pictures, shame their using them to sell ecards & calenadars but hey we all need to earn a penny.
You need to ditch the Tixylix, cough medecine in my experience doesn't work you need to go for something more powerful such as Calpol or Baby Nurofen that helps them sleep, did I mention that as well as being the Village Grocer i double as a Doctor, Citizen's Advice etc etc.

Rare Breed said...

Oh wifey, poor you, I am sure you have been told it does all get better one day. My mother in law is fond of the saying 'it is a passing phrase', what phrase that is I have yet to discover.

But they will eventually sleep and so will you ... perchance to dream!!

mermaid said...

I know exactly how you feel! I remember pouring calpol all over the bed once. Mothers must be saints or fairies as my daughters once said.

Ali said...

Oh toss the Tixylix - you need Medised. Heavy duty sleep inducing component plus it's clear so at least when you spill it (because we all know it's when and not if) you are sticky, but mercifully unstained.

I think my current obsession is getting through 24 hours without having to shout at anyone at all. Only 15 years till they leave home...

Mrs J said...

My boy baby is now 17. When he is ill he is even more like his father than ever -at least there is no suprise in store. When he was little he liked to have a duvet nest on the settee & a film, now he.....likes to have a duvet nest on the settee & a film! The films change, thats all! (at least he can spill his own medicine!)

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I hope that in spite of your daily grind and isolation, you have some lovely London friends leaving texts, emails, etc?

I moved to Paris with four wee ones in the summer, and although the wine is cheap that pit of despair takes some filling.

Have yet to calculate how many possible permutations of 4 children could wake me up in any given night. Hope you slept better last night, it's so grim having ill babies when you're on your own...

mutleythedog said...

Ho Ho, a tasty treat though illicit, did it help u sleep ? I have many current obsessions, but one mans hobby is anothers mental illness. Men can get away with a hip flask, without being obvious alcoholics, I guess women can't?

Jeremy said...

I love to sleep. I can definitely feel for you. Everyone's suggesting alternative medicines, so here's my pick. Shirley Q Liquor's NightTime D.O.A. "for when you don't care if you don't never wake up." Love the bloggy.

The Grocer said...

You need to visit the alphamummy blog on Times Online, they have uploaded a very interesting article about a new drug that allegedly allows you to operate on zero sleep, we've ordered a consignment for September when the twins are due.

Hot Machero said...

hi

your blog is really good. I started reading it after the Times article.

It has inspired us to start one of our own..

thanks for the inspiration and London awaits your return....one day....may be....

Newmania said...

We have a lovely son but are having difficulty having another. I wonder if some of the many people who are unable to have children at all will read this .


You are in Grazia by the way

Anonymous said...

I've never had to cope with kids, so this may come across as well meaning nonsense - in which case feel free to ignore it. When I suffered from the old insomnia, I found Valerian tea to be helpful, especially if I found myself awake at 4 in the morning when the milkman went by.

Instead of dreading not falling back to sleep until I had to get up, a cup of Valerian tea often helped a treat. I know it's a bit sad, but having a cup of Ovaltine may help you grab a few fitful hours before you are disturbed.

Joking apart, I really think that disgusting 'sleep deprivation' used by the yanks in Guantanamo Bay should be outlawed under the Geneva Convention. Losing sleep really does fry your brain..

Anonymous said...

the grocer - please don't do silly stuff like take tablets to let you stop sleeping. This is 'snake oil' nonsense. If you don't sleep, you don't dream. If you don't dream, it is like living in a house where the rubbish doesn't get collected. Your brain will soon be full of sh!t that it can't process and you will go mad.

I have suffered from bad insomnia in the past, due to stress, and it took me to the edge of insanity. At least if children disturb your sleep that is an 'external thing' and you can catch up the following night. Messing around with your brain's chemistry means you trust the drug companies more than I do..

The Hirstutologist said...

Forget Calpol, tixlix or whatever it's called. You need Phenagon (not sure of correct spelling)

I'm sure you'll sleep better after taking a slug of that stuff! Pour down neck not you leg.