I was told that life would change completely after having a baby. Things are similar except my face looks older and Sam’s hair is greyer. We are more tired versions of our former selves with less time for non-toddler related activities (by the way toddler-related activities like making sandcastles, going to toy stores, climbing on play grounds and doing Easter egg hunts are very fun). But we still live in Africa, we still look for animals, eat chocolate (after Noggs goes to bed), do science, and travel.
I think we have been lucky in general though. Noggs is a pretty good sleeper. At almost two, he sleeps in his own bed – well kind of a bed, it’s a single mattress on the floor. Sam jokes that his bed looks like it belongs in a crack den which I think is pretty funny. Noggs sleeps through the night most nights. He goes to bed when he is told to without kicking up a fuss. But he wakes up at ridiculous times. A late morning for him is 5:30 am. An early morning is 3:45 am. I don’t think we have set an alarm clock since he was born. It has not been required. Noggs is our alarm clock but I wish it wouldn’t go off before dawn or on weekends. We are tired and poor Sam is the least morning person I know. Being tired sucks when you have to work in the day and you are not supposed to nap on the job. Naps should be a human right for everyone. I think it would make the world a better and more productive place.
Some advice we received upon becoming parents is to sleep when your baby sleeps. This is a good idea in theory but it fails to acknowledge the fact that nothing would ever get done if parents did this. Noggs’ naptime is a window of productivity and opportunity to be embraced. It’s a rare moment to clean up, assemble cloth nappies, work on academic papers, go to the gym, or if you’re lucky, pursue hobbies quietly. We love naptime and plan our weekends accordingly so we do not disturb the sanctity of naptime.
Loosing time to pursue personal interests has been another adjustment. I think that trying to carve out time for this is essential as it enables us to retain elements of our identity that are not solely linked with our roles as Mum and Dad. Personal time has become more precious and more appreciated as a result. The other night after Noggs went to sleep, amazingly I wasn’t too tired and also amazingly I was caught up with writing my paper and my postdoc proposal so I worked on my cross-stitch while I watched Home Alone. It was divine. I felt like myself and I remembered how awesome Home Alone is. I have been feeling Christmassy ever since.
I am aware that this sleeplessness will not last forever and that there will be a time when we stop being zombies and slowly morph into humans again. We are, in fact, hoping to implement a solution to the early morning wake up calls soon, thanks to Nanny in England. We are hoping that a toddler training clock will work its magic and encourage Noggs to sleep later or at least play quietly in his bed by himself (6 am would be incredible). A review of the clock on Amazon says, “Every once in a while the human race manages to discover or invent something that changes the future forever….The Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer is one such landmark advancement. This seemingly simple device took just two weeks to train my 23 month old twins to stay in bed and not wake Daddy up at 5am every day…This is the best thing I have ever bought…When my kids have grown up and no longer need this clock, I’m going to build a shrine around it and give thanks to it every day.” We have high expectations to say the least! Come on Gro-Clock, we are desperate!
We are also aware that a time will come when we will regain our personal time and we will be able to paint, shoot arrows, learn to code, practice Afrikaans, play guitar, and watch Home Alone 2. The final piece of parenting advice that everyone keeps saying is how fast raising a child flies by. I am sure we will look back one day soon and agree, so for now the plan is to enjoy each day, appreciate all the funny things Noggs says and does, store up all the affection he gives us so we can get through the awkward teenage years, embrace naptimes, take lots of photos, love hard, and sleep later…unless the Gro-Clock works, come on Gro-Clock!