Friday night. Let’s twist again.

There have been a few dark days in the trenches here at TrailerLand. Small Z has been waking in excess of five times a night. Only for ten or fifteen minutes at time, but that’s enough to send my sanity rocketing down the scale from ten to about five or six. This is coupled with occasional daytime nap battles. I will not let her ‘cry it out’. She will not get to sleep without being rocked or walked. This scenario is so common in new parents that it’s just BORING. I feel that I am part of a big fat predictable cycle…that I’m having trouble shaking. I have been thinking longingly of our only-woke-three-times night in the caravan at Binginwarri…

Oh – but this is NOT a request for advice. It really isn’t. I am drowning in the stuff. I have both my parents suggesting I go to sleep school with Small Z, because whenever they see me I have eyebags to my knees. And my knees…well, put it this way; my mother insists on asking me once a week “Are you eating properly? You’re so thin!” Yeah. Not becomingly slender, or sylphlike. Just kind of trailer-trash-smoked-too-many-ciggies-overdid-the-bootscootin’-and-amphetamines kind of knobbly. Just call me Bobbie-Sue, pass me the Coolabah cask and tell those kids to quit messin’ with my shotgun in case they break it.

I have chatted to Koo Wee Rup sleep school – my health care nurse said they were flexible and accommodating – actually, they were neither. I have chatted to Queen Elizabeth Sleep School, who were far more affable, helpful and made me feel like a human instead of a neurotic loser. They slotted me in for a phone consultation in two weeks time (I’d had one scheduled for yesterday, but had cancelled it on a rogue wave of what some people might call optimism, but I now label general idiocy).

Meanwhile, it is very hard to be unaware of The Importance of Sleep at the Trailer. I have mentioned before that we are perfecting either cooking in the afternoon, or cooking in silence after about 6pm when Small Z slumbers. Anyone watching M and I would be hugely entertained, as our evenings are largely conducted in mime. M is handicapped in the whole affair by his Rather Large Feet.

He sidles around the baby-quiet trailer like a tiptoeing giant, but inevitably stumbles over a rattle, trips on bit of firewood or loads a website that honks. He then looks utterly anguished and clutches at himself like Basil Fawlty. Whenever we both are walking around at the same time, it’s like playing a game of Twister. He stands poised, about to step over the baby playgym, while I snake around to his left, trying not to bump the plates that are in front of the fire while avoiding his glass of consoling red wine helpfully positioned right near the kitchen doorway.

All those nine months of growing a PartyPie, I never realised about the SOUND issue in a non-insulated Trailer. I worried about the heat. I worried about the cold. What I really should have been doing was digging a cave down beneath the towbar that was deep enough so that we could watch something loud and obnoxious (if we felt like it), so that I could emote through some cranky distorted guitar playing (if I felt like it) and so that when we had made it through another week intact, we could laugh hysterically and clank our glasses together… at least every Friday night.


Limp wristed


Me and Bowie. Ch-ch-ch-changes….


  1. seepi

    I know you don’t want advice…

    And you don’t want to let her cry it out…

    But it isn’t about just leaving them to scream for hours – you only leave them for 5 minutes, before settling them again and leaving for another 5 minutes etc. You can even do 2 minutes gaps if that’s all you can face.

    I did it once and it worked like a dream. But ours was a good sleeper who had got into bad habits while teething – they say it works better with former good sleepers, so it may not be for you anyway.

    But even with our good sleeper we are creeping around at night. Who put her room right next to the toilet anyway????

  2. I have four kids, all of them different sleeping habits. I tried the “let them cry themselves to sleep” routine on one of the boys…it never worked. After lying in bed listening to him scream I came to the realization it was better just to get up, give him the pacifier and go back to bed. However, not to make you feel bad, I don’t think he ever woke up more than a couple times a night.

    Of the four, one slept through at six months, one at four months, one at a year and one at 14 months.

    To avoid having to get up at six a.m. I usually put them to bed around 10 – 11 at night. Some had afternoon naps and some didn’t, you just have to find what’s right for you. You could try going without an afternoon nap to see if it helps but you might having a raving monster on your hands instead.

    If you put a fan on in the baby’s room it might help to mask some of the other trailer sounds.

    And thinking back, the girls, after five minutes of crying would always go to sleep whereas the boys I had to rock to sleep otherwise they’d just lie there crying. So…just thought I’d mention…just because you’re going through this with the first doesn’t mean you’ll have the same troubles with the second child if you decide to have another.

  3. Oh you poor things.

    You have a comment system, so to bad – you get ‘advice’ 🙂

    We hit a will a month ago. R looked at me, crying baby in her arms at about 12 midnight and said ” I’m fucking sick of this shit”, I agreed entirely.

    The next day we had a maternity health nurse come over and she made it very clear to us, “what you are doing now will be what you are doing a YEAR from now”

    It’s the HARDEST thing in the world to listen to your baby cry but we persisted in the feed/play/sleep system and stuck to a rigid sleep schedule.

    A month later, he has been sleeping all through the night (8pm-7am) with 3 sleeps a day. I’m not gloating, it’s not all plain sailing. He still SCREAMS his head off on the 5pm sleep and we usually end up taking him for a walk around the park.

    But every day he gets better at putting himself to sleep and it’s so nice for both of us to go in at 7am when he’s just waking up and all smiles.

    He’s definitely happier overall from when we tried the ‘in arms’ approach and we are sooooo much happier.

    What’s more important? Your sanity and health or some crying from baby?

  4. Dylan’s right, your sanity and health is more important because if you go around the bend who is going to look after little Z?

  5. b:p

    I just wrote paragraphs in response to all of you, but just hit the delete key. I’m too tired. And I don’t make much sense. Sorry. Things would be far easier if I didn’t have two days of work to get through each week – sometimes it seems that I’ve just hit a bit of a groove with Small Z and then I have to type like a fiend for two days while she hangs with her dad and her nanna. Whatever. I need sanity. I need health. And if the sleep school offers a five day stay, I’ll do two weeks worth of work in a week and head straight in.

  6. good luck B, let us know if we can do anything. We can deliver cheese for the squeeze and roo for you! anytime.

  7. seepi

    I hope they give you a spot at sleep school soon! One woman in my mother’s group got in twice – she used to dissolve in tears on her dr – could have helped her case. She then ignored all advice and is still having trouble, but that’s another story…

    Anyway, to really take the cake for Assvice, here’s an opposing suggestion to my first one – you could try one of those litte baskets that you actually put in bed with you for co-sleeping?

    OR – give up the typing for a fortnight – are you contracted to it – or just need it to eat??

  8. seepi

    PPs – it will end eventually.

    I took on a writing contract when my first was a newborn – major mistake. My sanity returned when it was finally over. And my baby slept quite well at night…daytime was another story…

  9. b:p

    What I meant to type was that I thought it was hysterical (and telling) that Karen remembered when each of her babies started sleeping through! I doubt it’s something I’ll ever forget…when it ever happens.

    @ Dylan – thank you for food offers 🙂

    @ Seepi – have tried those little co-sleeping mattress top bed things – too hard on my wrist getting her in and out. We sorted out the cot today, and it’s the same level as the bed – much more ergonomic!

    PPS – need to eat…

    PPSS – I think my state of mind was far more freaked out and fragile when I was trying to fit my work into her 40 minute naps each day back in April!!

  10. M

    warning: over reactive protective Dad post follows 🙂

    Screams at 5pm and you are ‘sooo much happier’? Are you serious? Whoa!

    Dude, that is a different league.

    As a reply to your unsolicited (!) advice… Zoe has cried for maybe an hour -in total- in the past two months.
    No screams. She is 6 months old. There has been no need to walk around a park or for a car ride etc etc. She is one cool, happy, feisty button.

    How can you do the ‘cry it out’ on a kid that doesn’t cry except for thwacking her bean with a toy train?

    It is a monumental pain in the arse that she wakes up 4 to 6 times during the night but like B said it is for a few minutes, and she rarely ‘wakes’. That is the price and the magic of co-sleeping. It is still Camp Xray torture for poor B she hates it and has some very tired days, but things are getting better.



    BTW ‘in arms’… really?

  11. b:p

    Jeeez – is this what it takes to get M to post his third EVER comment since 2002?? Dylan being an evangelist for his new discovery?!
    Dylan – you always pimp your latest fave, be it iMovie or the controlled settling method.

    But it basically comes down to a combination of what you prefer and what works best. Are you a Mac or are you a PC?

    You have to expect M to give you a swipe – it does sound like your way is the only way. Just because something is great for you doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate to someone else. Health and sanity are as important as the knowledge that you are parenting in a way that your heart is happy with (oh help me, a hippy has taken over my typing fingers and is running, running with them….)

    The End.

  12. S*

    You are all painting a beautiful picture of parenthood for both J* and I !! (whom only have 84 days til D-day, and counting!)
    Although I am loving your honesty, so feel like we should just be trying to prepare ourselves for anything…and not have any sleep expectations at all. (For us or Baby B*)
    Sleep deprivation is torture though B. And I don’t know how your poor wrist will ever heal without some decent sleep.
    I’m sure there will just come a moment when Z decides to settle, and you will not know yourselves!
    But in the meantime…please let us know if you need any help. xx

  13. b:p

    Ah, S. You’re a star (and you’re married to another one!) Thank you! Look after your round small self. Now the topic of birth…that’s something *I* can evangelise on – but the truth is the same as for the above. Everyone is different and THANK GOD FOR THAT!
    And, btw, you’ll probably have a baby that is a gun sleeper and wonder what the hell I’ve been going on about…

  14. Jock

    How about those Magpies !!!!

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