You’ll Never Want For Love


Before entering the realm of Motherhood, I truly never understood just how strongly I could feel about someone else. I’d always considered myself to be empathetic and emotionally astute but even then, I could also be so emotionally detached. As far as Motherhood went, I’ve kept no secrets that it wasn’t something I was looking forward to.

It always felt so hard to relate to those who swore I’d feel differently once you and your Sister arrived. Babies made me uncomfortable, nervous and a little scared. Even around your cousins and friends, I couldn’t relax in the company of infants. I didn’t know how to hold them – how to comfort them or reassure them. I assumed, in plain, that this wouldn’t change once I had my own treasures to care for. 
It’s true though – what they say – you are always different with your own. Yes, it took me a few weeks to settle into the role of Mother but once I had, I knew it was my calling. 

Both you and your Sister arrived into our lives like tornados! You came in screaming, threatening to disturb the peace, life-changing and altering all in an instant. You changed me eternally, made me so scared to envisage a life then without you…taught me true pain, true heart ache, true love. You showed me the flaws of my soul, showed me a way to want to be better! 

Your Sister arrived even more turbulently, traumatic and harrowing, she taught us all that tragedy is real – that our lives aren’t protected, shouldn’t be taken for granted. Even though her story ends positively, her entrance made us all aware of just how precious life can be. She confirmed what you’d already taught me – that no one else matters, no one else is just as important as you two. 


That’s why – you’ll never want for love!

Life has been challenging recently, more challenging than I’m ready to admit aloud. Your Sister’s poor immune system seems to have darkened our spirits, left us all feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s made me question my parenting, evaluate how I can ensure you’re both safe from harm’s way.

It has matured you massively. It saddens me so much that at the age of three, you’re already so aware of the signs to look out for. You’re anxious and cautious, protective and caring. So caring! At the age of three, your imaginative play consists of administering your Sister her inhaler and medicine. You tell me to check on her, that she’s coughing and poorly. You worry so much;  I worry that your heart is burdened by things you shouldn’t even be aware of. 

The past few hospital visits have hit you harder than we all could have imagined. I sense it still plays on your mind, still lingers in your thoughts. 

Suddenly, you’re nervous about me leaving. 

38 months we managed without you being needy. 38 months we survived without attachment issues…and yet here they are! 

You were only nine months when Siena entered so poorly. The five weeks we spent in hospital should be a distant memory by now but they aren’t. Moments of recent have taught us just how much they affected you. Last time Siena was in hospital, you cried for me for nearly three weeks after we returned. Even when I was there – even with my arms around you!


I remember distinctly a moment not long after we came home. I’d ran downstairs quickly to answer the door, leaving you and your Sister on the 1st floor. When I returned, moments later, your cries were so violent you’d nearly vomited. When I asked why you were crying, you told me “I’m crying for Mammy”. 

One sentence, one small simple sentence broke my heart in an instant. Baby, you never have to cry for me. 

Sibling rivalry was also something we manage to go unscathed by…although, undoubtedly, we’ve seen small glimpses of it…this wasn’t something that has ever truly affected us. Yet, it’s something that seems to be play a huge part in every day. You’ve become jealous of your Sister, resentful of the extra time and care she needs. I can understand it, it mustn’t seem fair that she gets to be carried for most of the day. I see it in your eyes (you’ve told me honestly, aloud), you want me just as much as she needs me. 

It’s hard for you – having a sister with Cerebral Palsy affects you in ways I don’t think I’m even sure of. At most, we don’t give you credit for just how amazing you are! We expect so much understanding from you, expect you to help us when all you want is to be three…and free as all children your age are. 


I wish I could magically change things for you. I wish I didn’t need to care for your Sister additionally. You know she needs extra support, for the main, you’re brilliant and understanding but I can see how it pains you – I can see why you feel the need to act out.

I can’t promise you the world. I can’t promise that I can protect you from heartache, from failure or hardships (although I swear to do my best to prevent them). I can’t promise your future will be easy, that you’ll get everything you ever need or want…but I can promise that you’ll never want for love. 

What Motherhood taught me was that selflessly, my life is no longer my own. For now…it belongs to you and your Sister! Whilst you’re both so young and so needy, I’m yours as you need me! To cuddle, to protect, to make you feel better…to be tough when I need to be! For every fall, for every scrape or scratch – my lips are for kissing you both better…my arms are for wrapping you up and making you feel the extent of my love.

And of course, I promise that I’m never leaving so please don’t ever cry for me – I’m doing my best to make you feel that you’ll never want for my love, attention or affection.

It’s already all for you and your Sister!

That Brilliant Bond


The day I discovered I was pregnant second time round, I felt immediate doubt. It’s not that we didn’t want you, the timing just didn’t seem to fit.

Your Brother was only 15 weeks old…and extremely needy. He wasn’t an easy baby, he was demanding and highly strung. He slept poorly, ate poorly and digested poorly. I think it’s fair to say that me and your Father had more than our hands full. 

But, there’s still no denying how truly blessed we felt (on both accounts).

Our dream was always to have two children – a boy then a girl – but we hadn’t anticipated our dream coming true quite so soon.

What worried me the most about having another baby was how your Brother would cope with it. He was meant to be close to one by the time you were due – still so young, still such a baby hisself. I worried that my attention would be taken up by our new arrival, that I’d miss all the important milestones in his life. I felt as though bringing another baby into the equation would detract from the quality of time I’d be able to give him. It almost felt as though I’d be replacing him for a younger model. 

I convinced myself that he’d hate me – after we’d worked so hard to build a bond. I told myself relentlessly that he’d feel rejected, abandoned, neglected. 

I overcompensated throughout your pregnancy, pushing myself to the limit so he’d never feel as though I was treating him any differently. I made a promise to him that he’d never feel the way I’d told myself he would. Yet, still I worried that the change would be too much for him to handle. 


It was harder for Tristan than most babies, your arrival into the world 9 weeks early meant undoubtedly, he’d feel abandoned. After all, I did for 11 nights whilst you were in intensive care. 

Coming home was always going to be alien, he was always going to sense that he was no longer the baby and feel forced to grow up that little bit sooner. I just hoped he wouldn’t be jealous of you. 

It was important to me that he felt a sense of importance, something to connect you two together. I wanted him to see that he was pivotal in your life, that his role was valuable and irreplaceable. Without doubt, he took to Brotherhood the best way he possibly could. 

From the moment you joined our family, he became your protector. That brilliant bond you both share is genuinely what makes me proud of you both. I can’t help but feel such a sense of pride when I see the way you both are with each other. 

Because of your disability, I’ve worried that I can’t protect you from the harsh and upsetting reality of being different. Even at Two, I can see how some children seem shy to approach you. This breaks my heart, I pray so much that you’ll be accepted – or have the strength to appreciate how beautiful, lovely and  amazing you are. Having your Brother eases this burden. I hope, when you’re older and the bond begins to change, you recall just how nurturing he was. I’ve seen him fight your ground, stand up for you when you’ve been completely oblivious to what’s gone on. He’s almost drawn blood to return toys that were snatched from your hands, called out loud ‘That’s Siena’s – give that back’. He recently trekked from one end of a play area to the other carrying the biggest, heaviest wooden toy because he remembered it was your favourite. He placed it gently by your feet, kissed your head then toddled off to rejoin his friend. Myself and your Nana are often subject to a telling off when he feels as though you’ve been treated unjustly (honestly, we live in fear of forgetting to make you a drink when we’re making his…or give you one sweet if he has two). He holds your hand, he cuddles you constantly and he makes sure you’re well looked after. 


What’s more than this is, he’s your biggest cheerleader. He’s so anxious for you to develop like he has, he celebrates in every milestone more than he did for his own doing. The day you sat unaided,  he applauded you until his hands were red. The day you pulled yourself up for the first time, it was him who brought it to my attention ‘Mama, Dena’s standing’. He loves it when you take one hand in mine and one hand in his and march along the sitting room. He laughs at you so heartedly and beams each morning when he sees your face.


That brilliant bond you have is definitely reciprocated, you’re amazed by your big Brother. You admire him so much! I can see in the way you look up to him that he means the world to you, and I’m sure he always will. I’m proud of the way you copy him, he’s pushed you to talk better, to learn quicker.

Two years on from the worry I once I had, I can honestly say that the best thing me and your Father ever did is bring you into our lives, making our family complete. We’re all so lucky to have you (and we’ve really learnt to appreciate that too)…especially your Brother but you know what? You’re lucky to have him too.

That brilliant bond…well, it’s just brilliant isn’t it?

I’m Raising a King


There was a time in History when men were chivalric and bold, romantic and loving. To win the heart of the fair lady they adored, they’d shower her with affection, smoulder her with emotion.
Somewhere along the timeline, things changed. It was no longer popular for men to bear their heart and soul. Men became afraid to demonstrate vulnerability and I suppose, Women stopped wanting them to.
When I was younger, I thought most men were typical ‘blokes’. Beer guzzling, football crazed, deep-voiced and unemotional species who cared more about Deadline Day than their Wedding Day. Of course, society told me that this was expected. Hell, society told boys too that this should be the way they acted. I’m not judging it (I’m really rather fond of the ‘bloke’ style) but now that I have you, I wonder if there’s some other way.
I’ve been the girl dating the ‘bloke’ (I am the woman married to the stereotype!) and although I still consider my Marriage to be perfectly healthy, I don’t want this for your wife. You’re better than this, you’ve far more to give.


At the moment, you’re two – two and incredibly tactile. From the moment you awake, to the moment you fall asleep – you crave love and affection. Between wild dinosaur adventures or high speed car chases, your arms are firmly stitched around my neck, your legs are perfectly curved around my waist. You’re not ‘needy’ for the attention, you don’t rely on it for comfort (actually, as far as I’m concerned, you’re magnificently independent). You do it because you’ve no shame in showing your emotions!


And I couldn’t be any more proud of that!
Your desire to display affection makes me beam and rejoice. I don’t yet need to show you how to be a perfect partner, a caring and empathetic man. You’re showing me that it’s built within your nature. My only worry is, how do I nurture this instinct and not let society strip it away? How do I encourage you to stay tactile and loving when society now tells me there’s an age limit on how long I can acceptably kiss you on the lips? The thought of which leaves me feeling mournful for the precious moments I’ll surely lose.


In your beautiful ways, you love to shower me with kisses. Recently, we seem to have a little system – you kiss my nose, my forehead, each eyelid then my lips. Each time, my heart bursts and I could cry with sheer love and joy for you. You tell me I’m beautiful, that I’m gorgeous and you love me. You won’t part unless you’ve kissed me good-bye, can’t sleep unless you’ve given your good-night kisses. These things, I hope never leave you in your lifetime. I want to know you’ll tell your wife you love her at every end of a phone call, won’t leave without making sure she feels the extent of your love. I want to know you won’t sleep on an argument, will kiss both your wife and your children to sleep each night.
Nothing would make me prouder!


Your tactile nature extends further than my direction. You’re loving with all the family, especially your sister. Although sibling rivalry will always be preset, there’s times when you’re so loving and caring that I can’t believe how lucky she is. You cuddle her in, snuggle up to her always. You comfort her when she cries, wipe the tears from her lids, stroke her hair when she’s upset and even sing to her. You’re always looking out for her, making sure she’s equal to you in every way, making sure she’s never treated unjustly. She already admires you and I completely know why! You’re not only her ally, you’re her biggest supporter and I know you’ll make sure she feels special – even when others judge her or make her feel weak. You don’t see a disability, you see someone that you love and I love you for that all the more!
You’re incredibly nurturing. Today, you’ve cared for me so gently. I’ve been feeling ill – you’ve stroked my head, rubbed my delicate tummy (you even rubbed sudocrem over my brow to ‘make me better’. I’m not entirely sure how warranted this was but it was incredibly touching). I saw how you put effort into fixing my ‘ouchies’. It made me proud just to know how you’ll always try your best to make the ones you love feel better.
Your affectionate ways already make you stand out amongst the crowd. On days out, you pick flowers for the girls, wrap your arms around the boys and show them you care for them. I can see already that your friends will feel appreciated, will never feel ashamed to tell you how badly they’re feeling. You’ll have a way of showing them that it’s okay to talk about emotions – even if they are men…or boys. In turn, I know you’ll never suffer in silence because you’ll always be brave enough to express what’s on your mind or in your heart. This reassures me that you’ll never feel lonely and your partner will never feel alone as well.


For a two-year-old, you have it totally right! I just hope I manage to make sure you always have the confidence to proudly be the sweet, strong, admirable person you already are. I hope you have the confidence to stand up to society’s pre-judged ideology of what a ‘man’ truly is.
At the moment, you’re every bit my prince but what makes me happiest is knowing, I’m raising a King!

I Could No Longer See You

  
You scared me today; scared me more than I’ve felt since the day your sister arrived nine weeks prem. You scared me intensely, deeply, painfully.
You made me recognise every Mother’s worst nightmare, presented me with how it would feel to go on living life without you.
You wandered off…in a crowd…where I could no longer see you.

  
It happened so quickly, my eyes left you for a brief moment to attend to your sister. There were four adults amongst the party, I stupidly assumed someone else would be watching you. As it happens, they weren’t. We weren’t. 
“Where’s Tristan?” I asked, trying not to jump to conclusions. In the end, the conclusion was drawn that you were no longer in sight.
I can honestly say, in that moment, my heart stopped. There was no longer time to hide my panic, there was no time to figure which direction you’d wandered into. 
Instinctively, I ran. I ran and I screamed and I screamed and my heart pounded and I fought back the tears. 
I bellowed from the very pit of my stomach. I chanted rhythmically “Tristan, Tristan” but you didn’t answer.

 
A few moments felt like a lifetime. I found myself in the centre of a freeze-frame, only I was moving. I looked around at the passers by whom appeared to be standing still in time. ‘Why aren’t they helping? Why hasn’t anyone seen you?’ I thought, angrily. 
My mind was cluttered with images I didn’t want to see, thoughts I’d do anything to avoid. Had you been taken? Had someone had the chance to snatch you? You’re insanely beautiful (and not even from a biased view), I can imagine that would make you a prime target. Had you fallen? We were standing on a walkway beside a penguin enclosure, had you tried to climb in?
Either way, I was imagining the worst possible thoughts. Was I going to find you injured or worse? Was I never going to find you? My heart hurt with such vivid and intense pain. A TV programme popped into my head – a man had been at a Football match with his son, he’d left go of his hand for a second to chant at a goal. The boy had wandered off, was never found. I pictured poor Madeline McCann and how her parents must have felt (if innocent) upon discovering her abduction. I thought of James Bulger and how easily he’d been led astray. This could have been our future, this very easily could have been our reality.
Thankfully, it wasn’t.
By the time I’d raced back to my starting point, you were snuggled tightly into the chest of your Grandad. His face was that of relief, delight. He’d found you chasing after two small boys. They were racing and you’d been eager to join in.
I was so mad at you. I was so mad at myself! But I couldn’t show it or express it. I wanted to grab you, wrap my arms tightly around you and never let you go. I wanted to kiss you repeatedly and feel your warm breath on my ear as I cuddled you. I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry with joy and gratification but also for all the Mothers who had found them self in such a harrowing situation. 

  
I felt shit. Utterly shit.
I’m your Mother, I should have never let you out of my sight, regardless of who else I was with. I need to have tighter control of you, I need you to learn that you can’t follow strangers.
One thing’s for sure, I can NEVER feel that way again. So I’m sorry Son, that sheer desire for freedom you have, it’s not working for me. From now on, you’re never leaving my side.

  

Heartbreaker, You’ve Got the Best of Me.

  
You broke my heart today; you made it ache. I wish I could say that this was an isolated occasion but you break it more the older you become. 
You’re only two – how can I blame you for such anguish and pain? How can I say you’re the cause of such hurt?

I know that two is typically an age of change and unrest. You’re developing quicker than your mind can handle. You’re advancing so fast but this leaves you conflicted and confused. 
You WANT to be able to do things. You somehow seem to think you know best – it’s suddenly became about ‘your way’ or no-one else’s. You can’t handle us telling you otherwise. You despise the concept of control. I can no longer expect you to sit in a highchair, the gate on your door represents entrapment and boundaries. Boundaries you’re eager to explore. 
I had naively thought that the whole ‘body launching’ off the floor was just a Media depiction created for comedy value. As it happens, that stage is very much real…and not funny in the slightest. Today, you’ve thrown yourself towards every surface you’ve encountered – including the floor of a particularly busy restaurant. You’ve left me twitching with anger, raw with embarrassment. 
You’ve climbed out of your car seat and launched yourself towards the base of the car, legs pointing towards the ceiling.
You’ve even attempted body-diving straight from the bath!
It was this last occasion which caused my heart to break. I can’t even tell you why you were crying. Most frustratingly, neither can you yet. It started as we made the ascent towards the bathroom. We bypassed the lounge and subsequently, your beloved Dinosaur Adventure. This, I assume, can be the only catalyst which kickstarted such violent tantrum-ing. You howled immediately. So much so, it was unbearable trying to remove your clothing.
Thinking the gentle lull of the bath water would soothe you, I manically tried to get you into the tub. I was convinced that as soon as the menthol bubbles caressed you, you’d fall silent. Instead, you fell face first!

  
Luckily, I was at hand to catch you but the impact caused you to bite down on your tongue. As blood smothered your face, you smothered into mine in a bid to find comfort. You no longer craved the floor but the tender embrace of my arms. I was there for you.
There to wipe away the blood, sweat and tears. There to clean up your face and kiss better your ouchies. There to reassure you that you were safe and unscathed. 
As you settled, I nursed you in my arms. Cradled you like I once had at three in the morning. I blew on your skin and whispered lullabies in your ear. As soon as I recognised you were calm and controlled, I carried you to bed.
But you didn’t want to be alone.You needed me to stay. 

  
I guiltily scampered from the room, denyingly believing you’d settle quite soon. As I bolted downstairs, I held my breath – desperate to escape the blackmail of your cry. “Leave him” your Dad barked, “he needs to cry it out” he insisted…but this is something I’m incapable of! 
Listening to the panic in your cry, I understood how much you needed me. How could I leave you pleading my name? How could I teach you that I wouldn’t be there in your most vulnerable moments?
As I entered your room, your eyes told me your pain. You were no longer a two year old but that newborn boy who was so scared of the world. I climbed in beside you and you wrapped your arms so tightly around me, petrified I’d leave again. 
I’m not going anywhere baby. I’m never going anywhere! 
Your usual desire to be free makes me worry about our future. I know there’ll come a day when you embark on your own adventure, when you’ll cast me aside for a wife or a partner. It won’t be me that you need to settle you forever. Someone else will be responsible for kissing your ouchies goodbye. That breaks my heart!
So, as I lie beside you right now, heart-broken from your tantrum, I admit that my heart aches for my little boy. I know that I’ll always be your Mother but I have to admit that mine will be the first heart you’ll ever truly break.
All I can do, is promise I’ll never break yours in return. 
When you’re older and someone dares attempt to break your heart, just remember that my arms will always be there to carry you. My neck will always be poised for you to hang from, my heart will always be filled with enough love to last you a lifetime.  

  

Ready, Steady…Eat

  
I’ve never shied away from admitting that my approach to Motherhood pre-baby was to believe everything I saw on TV. I entered Motherhood fully accepting that the Disney version was EXACTLY how it would be. 
Obviously, now I know that I’d set myself up for a harder fall.
My understanding of babies was that all they loved to do was eat, sleep and poo…and even though that wasn’t really far off the truth, I had no idea of real-life issues such as: day and night confusion, reflux, colic and constipation. Ignorantly, I expected my son to arrive in this world as a natural faeces-passing, milk guzzling sleep addict. He was none of the above!
I’ve spoken about his sleep habits before but what I haven’t mentioned is that the only way I knew to get him to sleep was with milk; detrimental as this sometimes was. 

  
Like many first time Mothers, I’d believed that breastfeeding was the only way forward. In truth, I struggled much more than I’d ever thought possible. Having suffered badly with jaundice, Tristan had been given formula much to my dismay. I hadn’t had time to research, I only knew the name of one brand! Desperately, I clung to breastfeeding with much stealth but my milk supply just was no longer enough to satisfy his newly-stretched full stomach. He’d take to my nipple but he’d instantly fall asleep. After two weeks, Tristan had lost so much body weight that the decision was made for me by the midwife – I had to swap fully to formula.
This wasn’t easy; not just because of my desire to breastfeed but because Tristan didn’t seem to like formula any more than my milk. Well, I mean, he both loved it and hated it all at the same time.
Tristan struggled to digest formula. I knew babies should posset after a feed but I didn’t know how much was normal or acceptable…so I plodded on thinking his sickness was just what happened. After most bottles, he’d vomit even up to three hour after. Sometimes this would be projectile, sometimes it would be trickle after trickle. Each time, he’d scream in pain. It was a vicious circle, he’d demand a bottle, he’d crave the soothing silky liquid then he’d cry in agony.
I recall one time, he’d cried all morning. He wanted feeding but I just didn’t know if I was doing right by giving him a bottle and inflicting more pain. Obviously, I fed him and the crying stopped…for minutes. Needing a break from the constant screech, I put him in his Moses basket and left the room. How long was I gone? Maybe minutes, maybe even only seconds but I needed it. I needed to walk away, count to ten, let the tears roll and collect my sanity. When I re-entered the room, his delicate little face was covered in a thick white substance. It was in his eyes, his eyebrows, his nose, his ears. He’d been sick and I hadn’t seen it. He could have choked and I wouldn’t have been there, I was mortified at myself! It was the last straw, I knew I needed professional help.
The Dr. Prescribed Tristan infant Gaviscon – apparently, he had reflux. He also told me to swap to ‘comfort’ milk. I did both and was so relieved that the sickness stopped almost immediately. Problem solved? If only!
The change to Tristan’s diet caused constipation. We swapped crying through reflux for crying through this instead. Equally, both were as soul-destroying as the other. Throw colic into the mix and you can imagine, life wasn’t the dream we’d been expecting. 
We put all our hopes into believing that weaning early would be the answer. So, at 4 months, we ventured into the world of ‘baby food’. It wasn’t what we’d been expecting – Tristan’s constipation became worse and he flatly refused to drink water. We were, once again, at a stage of desperation. Quitting almost as quickly as we’d started, we decided that we’d have to wait for another two months. Nerves grew worse as we approached 6 months, knowing we’d have to wean again. Would it work? I couldn’t handle seeing my baby in so much pain again.
Thankfully, He was ready! 

  
I’d love to tell you that this was the answer to our prayers but Tristan’s relationship with food has never been one I’m proud of. It’s always made me feel like a failure. I’ve spent too many nights begging him to eat, I’ve even had a few moments I’m not proud of myself. I’ve shouted, I’ve cried, I’ve forcefully held the spoon to his lips. All of which have made me feel so horrid that I’ve even lost my own appetite. I’ve tried everything, all the techniques that would usually work. The ‘you feed me and I’ll feed you’ was definitely the worst! 
There was a time that I blamed Tristan’s attitude to food on the anguish he felt when his sister arrived prematurely and poorly. It’s taken me a long time to admit that his issues were there long before his sister was born. 
As he grows older, his desire for food comes in phases. He’ll have weeks were he’s hungry, where I can feed him everything from Avacado to Zuccini (see what I did there, A-Z?). Then, there’s times when he’ll only eat sausage. As he grows older, I’m learning to feel less guilt. He’ll eat when he’s ready…

  
At the moment, he’ll only eat if I chant ‘ready, steady…Eat’. Who am I to argue with that?

  

Just F**king Sleep

Just Fucking Sleep…

  

If there’s one thing I learnt very quickly as a new Mam, it was that babies repel sleep. 
It’s just something I physically can’t bring my self to understand. Sleep is awesome. Sleep is incredible! It’s the difference between feeling grand and feeling like utter shit. It’s warm and cosy, comforting and seductive. Sleep wraps you up, cradles you and reassures you that life will be fine…so long as you bag 7 undisturbed blissful hours.

7 undisturbed blissful hours? Holy crap, I can’t remember it. Sleep and me, well we broke up two years ago. 

It’s been the hardest break-up I’ve ever endured. With most splits, time heals wounds and repairs scars but not this time, the longer we’re apart, the shittier I feel. 

It all started the day my son was born (well there’s my first lie, it probably started about 7 weeks before he was born). He entered this world allergic to sleep and let’s face it, after 15 hours of straight unintoxicated labour, I needed sleep. Our 1st night together was unbearable, he cried so much that the midwives made the decision to give us a side room ‘I think we’ll give the other new Mothers a rest’ they said. A rest? A fucking rest? What about me? 

  
It didn’t take me long to figure out that my needs really didn’t matter. I didn’t have a doll to look after, I had an actual human being…and this one hadn’t yet learnt the value of sleep.

In fact, Tristan despised sleep to begin. Our first six weeks consisted of blasting Beyonce’s ‘Drunk In Love’ on repeat until he’d settle (at least I can thank him for my extraordinary karaoke rendition). As soon as the track would end, he’d stir and wake. Our Health Visitor told us that it was likely he had his day and night confused but this just wasn’t the case. Tristan would be awake for at least 17 hours straight each day. It was hell! I bet you’ve heard that age-old tip of ‘sleep when the baby is sleeping’? It was everyone’s top tip of the day every time I moaned about being tired but how can one manage that when one’s sprog never fucking sleeps?! I had no chance.

  
I’d love to say that this phase didn’t last forever and well, I suppose it didn’t. At 8 weeks, he eventually decided that he’d attempt to sleep at night. So, having actually managed at least 4 solid hours in a row, my Husband and I celebrated in a very ‘Husband and Wife’ kind of way…and accidentally conceived our Daughter. 

Sleep was my only immediate concern. I didn’t know if I’d ever be ready to part with its soft, inviting embrace again. ‘Please let us get a sleeper’ I prayed. 

  
When Siena was unexpectedly born at 31 weeks, sleep became less of a priority. Once I was released from Hospital, Siena was still in NICU. I effectively had 5 weeks to try and catch up on sleep before she came home but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t settle knowing a nurse was doing my duty for me. So, I set my alarm (for those times I did manage to stop fretting) and expressed every four hours. She came home sleep trained. She’d only wake every four hours for a feed then she’d slump straight back into blissful slumber, she was a dream. 

Just as I thought my love affair with sleep was about to be rekindled, teething came along and boshed all over my bloody good mood! Here I was again, pacing the floor for three hours in the middle of the night cursing my daughter to ‘just fucking sleep’. To make matters worse, her stirring would wake her Brother – just as I’d manage to settle one, the other would rear their head in a tantrum-y fashion. 

My only saving grace was ‘nap time’. If I was lucky, they’d each have at least an hour throughout the course of the day. If I was luckier, this would happen simultaneously. Yes, an opportunity to crawl into bed and hide underneath the duvet! Sometimes, it was my only chance of survival.

  
There were times, amongst the chaos, I’d wonder if I’d ever sleep peacefully again.

Now, at two-year-old, my son is actually amazing. He takes himself to bed at 7pm and very rarely stirs until 6am. His naps are lessening though – he’s a mix between wanting to nap anywhere/everywhere or refusing to sleep even though he’s ridiculously tired. My Daughter, is still a different story. 

She’s become a snuggler! This means, she’ll settle so long as she’s in my arms. Yes, I managed to untrained my sleep trained baby. How do you actually manage to do that? It has to be a colossal failure on my behalf. 

Oh well, I guess I’ll be chanting ‘just fucking sleep’ for a little while longer. 

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz