It’s 3am and I have been driven from my bed by my usual demons: a tormenting mixture of insomnia and recurrent waking nightmare-type things, in which I invariably end up cradling my dead son. It appears that my years of infertility, miscarriages, eventual knife-edge pregnancy, NICU and possession of an over-developed imagination have left me a tad prone to anxiety and disproportionate existential dread. Quelle surprise.

Between 1am and 2.30am I tried, although not concurrently, sex and sobbing; both were entirely satisfactory in their way but ultimately not helpful, so I’ve left Hubby in peace and sought solace downstairs in a large mug of sweet tea, twinkly fairy lights, and eBay retail therapy. If I look like I feel, then be really, really thankful I don’t have a webcam to scare you with.

Harry was curled peacefully in his cot when I came downstairs, undisputed King of the jumbled heap of soft toys he has carefully amassed before falling asleep over the top of them. I am so happy to say that his tantrums have markedly reduced this month – (fortuitously, as I elicited this week that the paediatric psychology service A) lost his referral and B) said he was too young to be referred there in any case. I have left his Paediatrician’s secretary chewing on that particular problem. I also have days when I think know that if I didn’t, de facto, administrate his medical paperwork myself, we’d never even have made it out of the blasted maternity unit.)

Harry has started to (potentous intake of breath) play with other children. I first noticed this about 4 weeks ago when I saw him chase, giggling, after some older girls at the soft-play barn. I smiled. Then he began playing alongside other toddlers at playgroups without always resorting to his usual unpredictable wild aggression if they so much as looked at his toy or stood too close – although I’ve been careful not to take him out tired or peckish. Yesterday afternoon we hosted 8 children aged 7 years to 7 weeks for a playdate and I was fully expecting the usual toddler rodeo. Mind you, I always quietly sympathise with his indignation: if someone who I only vaguely recognised walked into my house and promptly started rifling through my stuff, there would be kicked arses ere long.

Harry was… angelic. Simply and wonderfully angelic. He took the hands of the other children and led them toward his toys. He gave them enthusiastic bear hugs. When I saw him take toys from other children, he handed them back obediently when I asked him to. By 5pm I was sat in a bemused heap on the floor, staring in wonder at my son – who admittedly was just beginning to turn a little tired and tetchy over his toys, but entirely within normal parameters for 28 months – while behind me, two of his peers squabbled loudly over a tractor. It felt wonderful to be able to tell John when he got home that Harry had been so fabulously good; I simply couldn’t praise him enough. He had even shared his absolute favourite toy: perching as a contented, albeit wobbly, passenger, whilst F (a month older and 50th centile for height, to give you some scale…) piloted him jerkily around the dining room.

It’s now 4am: the cheeky fucking laptop has just shut itself down without consulting me in order to install updates. I went to the kitchen in a huff, made another cup of tea, took a couple of paracetamol, and bid on a jumper. This insight into my insomnia will probably cure yours.

John’s snores are audible from here  – and likely in the next village along, too. The man deserves his rest; he will doubtless end up picking up the slack in the morning when it’s nearly time get Harry in the car and I am once again too wiped out by my own insomnia to have actually successfully dressed or fed our child. John managed to rip a muscle playing hockey yesterday – he is also the possessor of several flesh-wound scars and the conspicuous non-possessor of a number of teeth due to playing this sport for Stratford with entirely too much gusto and a fair dollop of accident-prone-ness. Instead of tearing down into his groin it has, more unusually, torn up into his abdomen. He can hobble about ok, but only has limited use of one leg. Our wonderful and kind GP neighbour, a sports injury specialist, has told him to take it bloody easy for 10 days and then start Pilates. If that doesn’t mend it: it’s a surgical job. Which is a bit of a shit, really, because John will be utterly incapable of taking it easy at work; at home I can barely shift the bugger off the sofa, but his farming ethic is fairly demented.

I am first in the queue for abdominal surgery, at any rate. He’ll just have to wait his bloody turn.

The last two months have inexorably reduced me (alas! not in literal size) to a limp, slack-jawed slattern with a monumental headache. Today was the last day I’m working before Christmas; I now merely have a house in acute domestic disarray to sort out while maintaining Harry’s weekly schedule of nursery and play groups: now with an extra sprinkling of Christmas parties to add to the chaos.

Apropos: the adage about never working with children or animals? True.

Last year’s outfit… no longer appears to be a fitting option for this year.

Wiping his nose with a Christmas Pudding hat. Really.

Ran off to play peepo.

Having a crisis of confidence regarding his motivation for playing this reindeer.

I rest my case!

5.20am and the main road outside is starting to get busy.

Will try another go at this sleeping business.


22 Responses

  1. OMG he is so divinely adorable – can’t you just counting that little adorable reindeer instead of sheep? Hope you find sleep soon! xoxo

  2. I love and adore that costume. With the disclaimer that the cutest part is young Master Harry, clearly.


    PS. My Naan is minus something centile for height (71 cm at 16 months), if it helps. If Harry ever needs a tiny date in about twenty years time, give me a call 🙂

  3. That is amazing news, and he also (touch wood) seems to be minus his customary black eye……

  4. I have never seen anything so cute in my life as Harry in a reindeer costume. SQUEEEEEEEEE!

    Very chuffed to read that he has been Playing Nicely. That’s quite a fiddly neurological step to work out. Go Harry! (I got rather a shock at the weekend when I saw Minx next to another six-year-old girl. Minx is like a Suzuki violin of a child. The dress I gave her for Christmas last year still fits her perfectly. So, you know, if Harry wants a few practice dates before meeting Geohde’s Naan and doesn’t mind slightly older very very bossy women…).

    And the NHS, I have decided, is actually a Kafka-esque training-ground/ Darwinist weeding-ground. If you’re not on top of the paperwork, you can bet yur sweet chuff no one else is. Also, baroque unfathomables to be untangled at every turn. Too young for the psychology service? They notice this now? WHAT?

    Best wishes to John’s torn muscles. May they mend sharpish. As you said, it’s your turn for medical stuff right now.

    Sorry about the insomnia. I had that last night too (were we mind-melding?) Only my bad dream was about miscarriage and hospital corridors. Bleargh. Tried sex and sobbing myself. Did not bid on eBay. Tried to teach myself tatting instead (at WTF o’clock on an insomnia jag. I think I made a miniature representation of a badly laid hedge. Oh, May, you twerp). Anyway, this comment was not supposed to be all about MEEEEE. I shall hush and nob sympathetically instead.

  5. oooohh, that ‘back turned’ reindeer picture is just too cute. wishing you sleepy reindeer iglo thoughts..

  6. very cute smiling sociable reindeer you have there!

    very glad to hear that Harry is on his way to making some small-person friends.
    Sad to hear you are suffering. It is so much harder to face the day when the night has been bad. good luck.

  7. Dude, I wondered why you emailed me at Oh-God-Hundred last night. Instead I should have been IM’ing you, as I was up most of the night courtesy of nightmares, too.

    The Christmas pudding outfit is to die for. DIE FOR.

    And Harry as a reindeer? That popping sound was my left ovary. I’m saving the right one in hopes you dress him up as the Easter Bunny.

  8. Bravo Harry! Applause, applause!

    Sorry about the insomnia, and the anxiety. That is the pits.
    Hope tonight is a better one.

    (Btw, possibly have missed the whole point of being married. Had never thought of waking up the JB at 3am to resolve insomnia. Duh!)

  9. What did insomniacs do before the internet was invented?

  10. He is the most adorable reindeer I’ve ever seen. Glad to hear he’s playing with the other children. That must be a major relief for you.

  11. He is a sweet reindeer! I’m so glad he’s working and playing well with others! I know that’s some relief on your part. Have you checked on getting some medicational help? That might help with both the sobbing and insomnia. Just a thought, sweet pea. Oh, and I have a surprise for you over at my site! Come admire!

  12. I, too, ADORE the Harry backward reindeer photo. It is truly fabulous!!!

  13. I love the backwards reindeer photo also!

    Glad Harry is playing with other children too – my girl still has difficulty with that concept due to being “slow to warm up” (the new euphemism for shy, because shy now means crippling social anxiety) and…um…slightly possessive, shall we say? And she’s 3 and goes to daycare (nursery?) 4 days a week/ 11 hours a day. I guess she has difficulty sharing because she knows that the toys at home are HERS alone.

    Anyway, good luck with the insomnia. Ebay does not need any help making more profit!

  14. You never said before that Harry’s propensity for damaging himself was a hereditary trait. Hope John manages to rest up alright.

    Hope you managed to catch up with those zeds.

  15. Totally impressed. Tallulah is six and still won’t share,resorting to massive temper tantrums. Sympathy re insomnia. I share your pain.

  16. I am usually pinned in bed during my own insomniac interludes by A.) old cat on pillow, keeping my head immobilized, and B.) younger cat on side… Nowadays I’m trying not to stress about it so much; I call it my “nighttime meditation”. My sympathies!

  17. Well, all right Harry! Playing Nicely is huge, and good grief the reindeer costume? The crisis of confidence oh HAHA…lordy. Love it! He does remind me so much of my middle child…

  18. And look at that, I bollocksed up my link. Don’t come by anyway, I haven’t picked up…

  19. YAY HARRY!!! Well done, sweet boy! You are the handsomest. cleverest reindeer in the flock. Give your mama lots of drooly kisses.

    So glad you both had such a good day!

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