Best if You Stand Downwind

I’m not usually much of a drinker given that A) I’m rather a fatty and don’t need the calories and B) I get pissed on fresh air, but I have just sat down with a half-pint of cocktail. There are several reasons for this.

1. Killing the pain in my back. It has been roaring at me for three days and I’m about brassed off with it. Bad vertebrae. The anti-inflammatories that usually sort me straight out will be, of course, verboten for breastfeeding. I know without even looking. Bah.

2. Suppressing the memory that, notwithstanding reason number one, I have today stupidly, stupidly, shifted heavy furniture about and mucked my geese hut out.

3. Trying not to mind the fact that, whilst mucking out aforementioned goose shed, I have been horrifyingly infested with a poultry mite of some description. They are tiny, pale, and bloody well itch. Tomorrow, we attack the hut with kick-ass chemicals. Fuck organic.

4. Dealing with the fact that I cannot currently de-fester myself of my unwanted personal livestock because the bedroom road to our en-suite is currently blocked off by a DO NOT PASS, BABY IN MELTDOWN sign. We have other bathrooms, but I cannot use either of our other (ridiculously narrow) baths, because of reason (A) given above.

5. Trying to blot out the incessant crying coming from our bedroom, where we have this evening embarked on a sleep offensive with Harry. He is finally much better, and has been judged to no longer need indulgent night feeds and coddling. John has sternly dislodged me from my post, peering in the crack of the door because I forgot to position the monitor, and also sacked me from being the go-to-cot-in-incremental-time-gaps-to-lay-baby-down-then-pat-baby-then-leave parent, on the basis that Harry knows that I am well soft and I also smell of boob milk. What I actually smell of tonight is goose shit, but I do get the point.

6. Coz it tastes nice. Innocent Mango smoothie mixed with Malibu, actually. Tastes like the sort of drink you’d knock back on a beach, and I am quite enjoying imagining I’m elsewhere just now. (Hums: At the Coco, Cococabana…)

(Happy Sigh). The crying is fading out after 35 minutes, and the cocktail is warming my cockles nicely. The poor little lad has very few sleep skills to boast about, given that he was boobed religiously to sleep for the first 5 months of his life; putting him down awake inevitably resulted in a refluxed feed, a change of cot sheets and baby clothes, an awake and empty baby, and all to do again. The following 5 months we have been careful to prod him a bit awake when he goes into the cot, but he still seems to need a car trip, a boob, or a pram-push to get his eyelids droopy. He’s a right bugger to persuade to nap, and evil if he doesn’t get them. Plus he invariably wakes between midnight and 2am wanting a re-run of bedtime.

In short, it’s crap, for him and for us. At nearly 10 months old, we should all be sleeping through the night. So: he needs to learn to fall, and stay, asleep by himself and also, (deep intake of breath) he’s going to have to go into his own room. We are, despite much tippy-toeing, waking him up when we go to bed. This own-room issue pains me no end. I am still a very, very anxious mother. I am hugely reluctant to move him away from me. I would have co-slept with him, had he not been premature, low birthweight and male (prime potential SIDS victim). I still hover nervously around him at night, apnoea monitor with reassuring flashy light notwithstanding, and it has been a Big Thing for me to move his (borrowed, drop-side) cotbed away from my bedside 18 inches (Bedside table again, yay!).

I could have buried my head in the sand humming La La La indefinitely, had this last week not upped the ante. Harry learnt to sit himself up and pull himself up to stand on the same day. Initial joy from mother about her tiny over-achiever rapidly evaporated when we looked on the monitor to see child doing a passable imitation of a baby fledgling plucking up courage to hurl self into the void. Bad. Parents rushed upstairs, to great delight of (more demonic than usual) child

to lower mattress on the other  cotbed (solid oak behemoth) at the foot of our bed. His icy blue eyes have been staring stonily (so like his daddy) through the bars at me in the small hours, mightily displeased with his relegation.

So, Mum’s a bit down-in-mouth. But he’s got to go in his own room eventually, and if we’re going to stick to this bloody sleep thing, it’ll have to be soon. No point upsetting him twice. On the upside, it means that I get my bedroom back. I can once again retire to bed early, eat junk and loll about reading happily. I can have a (nice rooooomy) bath in the en suite of an evening. Added to the already weighty downside, I will also need to light a firework under my dear old Dad, whom I requested (at 7 months pregnant) to design and make a Brambly Hedge type mural for the monstrous chimney breast in the nursery. Dad, who works on much the same timescales as me, has, 10 months later, just got around to buying the paint.

Ah, me. Tempus fugit, and all that.

I wonder if the dog flea spray will work on me?

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