Things I did not expect when I was expecting

Sleep. It’s what all new parents are obsessed with and what people love to ask you about as soon as you’ve had your baby. How much, when and how often, the topic could keep you chatting for hours when your baby is only hours old.

I expected that. I expected the 2am wakeup calls for food and snuggles. When baba was little. When I was still on mat leave.

What has hit me like a tonne of bricks is the fact that sleep can still be elusive now that my daughter is 1 and a half. This I did not expect. This no one told me about. I’m back to work months now. People expect me to show up in a suit and be efficient. My baby is a little person now and is well settled into her crèche and she goes off to sleep every night with mostly very little fuss. And in fairness, she does sleep some nights straight through, all the way to…6am.

But once or twice a week, she’ll have a night where she’s just awake for a few hours. Her favourite times seems to be anywhere from 2-5 am. She’s generally not hungry, or thirsty or in pain, I’ve discovered after much half-asleep experimentation. She usually just wants to chat.

I think it’s things she forgot to tell me earlier, or just that she’s so excited about something that happened that day. It can be hard to tell what with it being 4am and me being more than half asleep.

I bring her into the double bed in the spare room and lie there half comatose while she babbles away at me, occasionally thumping me in the eyeball to make sure I haven’t drifted off to sleep.

At some stage she’ll tire herself out and snuggle into me. On those mornings I wake up with one little arm around my neck and a mass of golden curls in front of my face, and I thank the universe and any gods listening with all my heart. Because although I never knew that my sleep would still be dictated by a crazy little person a year and a half after they arrived into my life, I also never knew that my heart could expand so much and that even at 4am I could smile at how adorable someone was.

That I did not expect.

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