I live with a sleep thief. He’s two and a half years-old and in the daytime he goes by the name of Arthur but at night, he goes by names I can only say under my breath. For the past two weeks he’s had a new bedtime routine that’s gone a bit like this:
6pm – Tea followed by puzzles.
6.30pm – Bath and into pyjamas.
6.45pm – Stories.
7pm –Stories plus a desperate need for a drink (him - but also me).
7.30pm - More stories plus the realisation that the pillow is the wrong way around and needs to be turned over multiple times.
8pm – He is finally asleep, albeit he’s fallen asleep holding my hand and I now need to extract it from his like a ninja.
8.30pm – I do a (silent) celebratory dance and then creep across his floor like a silent assassin, making sure not to step on any of the creaky floorboards so that I can get downstairs in time to watch Love Island (you can’t judge me for this anywhere near as harshly as I judge myself. I can see myself needing medication when it ends to deal with the grief).
Love Island finishes at 10pm and I literally race into bed, turn the lights off immediately and try to fall instantly asleep. It usually takes about 15 seconds.
So far you’re thinking - “what’s her problem, that doesn’t sound too bad”. The problem lies in what a health visitor once referred to as “the witching hour”. Between 12.30am and 1am for the last two weeks our snooze bandit has woken up without fail, completely ready for the day.
We’ve tried cuddles, stories, having him in our bed, bringing him drinks, attempting to psychoanalyse and understand what the problem is and ignoring his frequent shouts of “mummy, daddy, I’m awake”. Every effort ends the same way – with us being awake too. My weekday alarm goes off at 3.30am and it’s usually at about 3.20am that Arthur decides he too would like to try the whole sleeping thing again and as he and my husband go back to slumberland, I jump in the shower, in the hope that the warm water will con my body into thinking two and a half hours are all I will need to function throughout my entire working day.
If you’ve ever been the victim of sleep torture yourself, it will come as no surprise to you that in the last two weeks I have exhibited some quite bizarre behaviour - I’ve found my car keys in the freezer, boiled sausages, attempted to grill some frozen peas and this morning I got into the shower whilst still wearing my underwear.
I’m lucky that my husband takes more than his fair share of night time get-ups and even though I work full-time I start at the crack of dawn so I finish at lunchtime and I can sneak a quick nap in the afternoon. I think taking time out to look after yourself as a person is so important, especially when you’re a parent.
We’re lucky that our in-laws pick our toddler up from nursery on a Tuesday and so next week as a treat we’ve booked ourselves into a Travelodge. We’ll only stay for four hours and we’ll be back for Arthur’s bedtime but those four hours will be spent in blissful slumber – no hanky panky for us, just sleep, beautiful, peaceful sleep.
It’s really hard not to feel guilty for having child free moments - for a lunch out, or just to zone out whilst reading a magazine but I’ve found that the benefits of ignoring the illogical guilt and cracking on with some me-time are huge.
I have more patience and energy when it comes to playing with Arthur, I’m less snappy at my husband, more organised when it comes to cooking and cleaning and remembering things like the fact that today is the start of the World Cup and that Arthur is supposed to wear something red and white to nursery. Who am I kidding, I completely forgot!
Black sheep are real?
When I was pregnant we went over to the Lake District for a long weekend as a bit of a ‘babymoon’.
For the most part it was pretty ill-thought-out, as at eight months pregnant I had no desire to walk anywhere at all, so whatever we saw, we saw by car and the fancy hotel cuisine was wasted on me as all I wanted was pickled cabbage on toast.
I did however, learn something really important. Something that apparently I should have learnt as a toddler and yet it completely passed me by.
Now I swear this is a North-South divide thing, my husband still claims it’s a stupidity thing - he might be right.
So, as were driving along and I was eating my pickled cabbage from a jar, I saw something that never in my life had I seen before.
I shouted so loudly that out of panic my husband emergency stopped: “That sheep has black wool!”
I still maintain that growing up in the south, this is simply not a thing, there are no black sheep. He was gobsmacked. Apparently they have always been ‘a thing’.
He questioned my understanding of the popular nursery rhyme ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’.
For the record, I presumed the black sheep was as fictional as ‘the cow that jumped over the moon’ and ‘the cat that played the fiddle’.
Turns out everyone over the age of three.
Time to check your loft!
A family in France was having a tidy up and found a vase in their loft. They sold it this week for over £14million.
I know! Imagine that, just sitting up there, covered in dust.
In the nine years my husband and I have been together we’ve lived all over the UK, before finally settling down and calling West Yorkshire home.
In total we’ve lived in six houses together and every single time we moved, I made sure we had a proper search through the loft.
I say we - it’s the ‘royal’ we, as I don’t want to go up there, as it’s dark and full of spiders.
Sadly, we’ve never found a multi-million pound artefact.
The best we managed was an old wooden leg from a mannequin.
Caroline Verdon is one half of the breakfast show at Radio Aire. You can hear Caroline and Ant between 6-10am every weekday morning.