There was a time, not too long ago, when I was all in favour of the clocks going back. It meant an extra hour in bed, of course, and involved much entertaining discussion about whether the pubs would serve for an extra hour. (No, by the way, they never have and they probably never will). The week after it was good too… waking up too early, and snuggling back down under the duvet for a power snooze. (I always intended to get up and go to the gym / for a swim / into the office early, but somehow a little doze always won the day). The extra sleep, or even the illusion of it, took the edge of the descent into dark Winter.
Believe me; I have gone right off it! And I bet most people who live their lives in the shadow of a small child feel the same. All hell has broken loose chez CaTyn this week because of a measly 60 minutes extra in the small hours of last Sunday morning. The toddler has always been an early riser – the husband and I know this is the price we have to pay for getting her into her cot in time for us to have dinner in peace. But there’s early, and then there is just plain inhumane. Toddlers don’t do hour changes, they don’t do explanations of hour changes, and they certainly don’t snuggle back under the covers for a power nap when they wake up a little early.
Until I got caught up in this motherhood lark, I didn’t really “do” tired. I mean, I got tired, but seemed to manage on limited amounts of sleep, and caught up whenever there was an opportunity. Oh how lucky I was, and how little I appreciated it. Even my first pregnancy didn’t faze me too much – the usual things affected my ability to get 8 hours; heartburn, limited bladder capacity and naked fear, but, in spite of the broken nights, I managed to function more or less as normal. I first realised that my number was up when the toddler was a few days old. It dawned on me that there was to be no chance to catch up, and that I was getting my first taste of this awful exhaustion I’d been warned about. Since then, there have been brief tastes of a proper night’s sleep (on the rare nights we went away without the toddler – instead of painting the town red, we opted for a very pale pink and were tucked up by 11) but on the whole, it’s been a case of general tiredness punctuated with periods of absolute exhaustion – usually coinciding with illness, or teeth, or on a couple of occasions, our neighbour’s teenage sons throwing a huge party.
But none of this prepared me for this week. There is something about starting the day at 4:30am (and not having a plane to catch) that brought my craving for sleep to a whole new level. The husband and I know that, until the toddler decides to resume normal service and sleep till about 6, the solution is to go to bed after Eastenders, but we just can’t seem to do it – there’s dinner to be eaten, phonecalls to be made, Facebook to be checked….
I know I am going deep into the realms of self-pity here, (I don’t care), but added to the early starts are; my ever-diminishing bladder capacity, which has me up every 2 hours, and the occasional burst of heartburn – (although in fairness that’s greatly improved, thanks to some magic tablets from the doctor).
I know that someday, somehow, I will start getting some proper sleep again. I just don’t think it’s going to be for a while. And, with my tendency to think ahead, I am already dreading next year’s hour change, when there will be two little bodies wanting to kick the morning off at the same time as the last Nitelink leaves. We will cope, I’m sure, but I can’t believe that there once was a time when I looked forward to the clocks going back…