THE MAMA FILES: Smugness comes before a fall.

THE MAMA FILES: Smugness comes before a fall.
Reality Chick | The Mama Files

As a parent, you have a lot of opportunities to be smug. Maybe because your kid is sitting up before every other kid in his age group. Or sleeping from 7pm to 7am at 9 weeks. Or going in the car seat without a peep, napping like a champ, letting anyone pick him up… and so on.

But being smug about ANYTHING to do with your baby pretty much guarantees a huge about-turn. The bubba knows you’re getting all smug and comfortable and happy that life is in a routine of sorts – and mark my words, he’s thinking, Crap. Can’t make it too easy on the parentals. Time to shake things up. 

Take Charlie’s sleep. No idea how, but at around 8 weeks he started liking going to bed. At 7pm, I would put his rain app on, wrap him like a burrito, jam a dummy in his mouth and rock him for all of 2 minutes before his little eyes would close and I could pop him in his crib. He would then proceed to sleep without a peep until 4am, upon which time I would give him a bottle, change him and pop him back in the cot. Whereupon he would sleep until 6.30 or if we were lucky, 7am. Not too shabby for a bubba of three months, I thought to myself. Smugly.

Then I thought, well, that’s going so fantastically – I’m going to stop rocking him in the bouncer for his day naps and start putting him in the cot. Freeing me up to, I dunno, have a freaking cup of tea or hang out some washing.

With barely a day of adjustment, my little cherub agreeably ditched his bouncer naps and started sleeping in his cot for day naps.

Again, my reaction was so smug. I boasted to friends, Mr Chick, my mum – and I think I even mentioned on social media how great it was that my baby was now napping in his cot. BIG MISTAKE.

The changes came swift and fast.

Firstly, Charlie jettisoned our lovely bedtime routine, screaming bloody murder any time I try to wrap him, rock him or do anything that was working like a charm before. He even spits the dummy out. It’s quite impressive how far across the room he can spit that dummy. With sound effects and everything, too.

I thought, maybe he needs a different form of swaddling. So I tried the Love To Dream swaddle (he cracked it on night 3). We went back to the sleep sacks (he lifts his legs in unison and smashes them up and down on the cot mattress like a baby elephant trunk until I take it off). And a simple footed sleep suit? He screams the place down. All he allows is a nappy, a singlet and a loose wrap around his legs, enabling him to be free (and yank his dummy in and out as much as he likes).

He has also decided that bedtime is no longer 7pm. It is now any time he damn well pleases. Last night he refused to go to bed until he’d finished watching Better Homes And Gardens and he’d taken an hour to down an extra 180ml bottle.

Day naps? Oh no, no, no, no. If he goes down without much tears and carry-on, he has to have a dummy in his mouth, an extra dummy in his hand and his special blankie in the other hand in order for the planets to align and sleep to descend. Even then, he’ll only kip for about 20 minutes and makes me finish off his sleep in his bouncer. Like I’m doing right now. He gets a little ‘SUCCESS’ face on when he cries, I take him out of his cot and put him in his bouncer. He then smiles and goes right to sleep with me bouncing him like he knew he’d get his way all along.

In desperation I rang the nurse at the baby health centre and she told me to just put him in his cot awake and he would put himself to sleep. I have no idea what planet she is living on but it’s probably the same planet with all those parents who tell you they could take their newborn out to dinner every night in his capsule and he’d just sleep under the table. Seriously. I’m calling bullshit on all the mythical babies who sleep in capsules under restaurant tables along with the babies who ‘put themselves to sleep’ when you leave them to do so. Because they do not exist.

I suppose the nurse was sort of edging towards suggesting I try controlled crying, or just some type of cry-it-out program. And I know some of you may be thinking the very same thing. Wondering why I don’t resort to sleep training or just put him in his cot, let him cry and let him learn that it’s sleep time and I won’t tolerate any monkey business.

The reason why is because I am a big sook and while I once thought controlled crying sounded like an awesome idea, with extensive research I now think it’s probably the most terrible idea in history. No judgement on anyone who does it, but I’d rather teach Charlie that his bed isn’t to be feared and that it’s okay to go to sleep and mummy and daddy are right there. Yeah, it may take longer, but whatever. I’ve got time. A lifetime. (Of course, that’s a whole other post.)

Best bits this week:

Charlie’s started laughing for real and it is SO cute. He laughs when I shower, while he watches me getting changed (I’m like, ‘What’s so FUNNY?’ – I’m glad he can’t tell me) and sometimes when I change his clothes. Or if I use silly voices. Also, he’s started blowing big raspberries at whatever we say which makes us feel like we have an unruly teenager in a baby’s body on our hands. It is hilarious.

Worst bits:

His wilful streak. No idea who he gets that from.

Were you a smug parent? And if so, what were you smug about?

Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).

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