Friday, 4 November 2011

A man who says he sleeps like a baby obviously does not have one!

It is normally just around the time that you finally feel you are getting the hang of the whole parenting thing that things go spectacularly wrong.  Our boys were about six months old at the time, eating and sleeping well and the Sweetpea and I were starting to feel human again.  I had even managed to put on make-up once or twice, and had been out of sweatpants at least once, a giant leap forward.  I had been out of the house to the twin club and to the shops, no minor feat for someone totally unused to being accessorised by two small babies.  Life was good.

In order to celebrate the return of our lives to relatively sane levels of functioning, the Sweetpea decided to take some leave so that we could spend some time together as a family.  Obviously unused to having their dad around full time, the twins decided to make the most of the situation.  They collectively decided (I cannot imagine that anything so well thought-out could be purely random) that they would not sleep again until he returned to work.  From that moment on, they took it in turns to sleep for only forty minutes at a time, day and night.  Better still, they timed it so that after twenty minutes of one being asleep, the other would wake up, and after nineteen minutes and fifty seconds of frantic rocking, would fall into a sound sleep, just in time for the other to wake up.  This continued the whole night and throughout the day, for the whole of the month of August.  The Sweetpea and I did not know what had hit us.  We still refer to it as the suicide month.  Sleep became like a unicorn - although rumoured to exist, it was just something we were never going to see!  When we tried to work it out at a later stage (when our brains started functioning again), we figured that we each had been sleeping less than forty minutes in a 24 hour period.

It was time for drastic action.  We were firmly convinced that as parents, we wanted to raise our children according to the principles of Attachment theory, which maintains that little ones should be nurtured and never left to cry or feel rejected.  It was as though the boys wanted to see how committed we were to the principles.   We decided that they only way for us to survive was to split them up, and so for the first time in their short lives, they were assigned to different rooms, and were more than four meters away from each other.  The Sweetpea and I would assign ourselves a different child each night and spend that time rocking and comforting and doing whatever it took to get them back to sleep again.  We slept on the floors beside their cots for most of the time, and on the few occasions when we both ended up in our own bed at the same time, it felt as though there was a stranger climbing into bed with us.  We would look at each other in a bemused way, grunt, and then fall straight back to sleep again.

We were never sure what happened to change it, or perhaps the diabolical attachment test was over, but as quickly as it had started, it finished.  The Sweetpea headed back to work, vowing never to take leave again, and the twins started sleeping like angels.  

Just goes to show - you can do anything you like, but until your kids decide to change their behaviour, you are wasting your time.  So who is really running our families?  I think our children are kind enough to let us believe it is us parents in control, but the reality is far from that!

No comments:

Post a Comment