It’s a tough old gig. Tougher than headlining Glastonbury I would imagine. Daddies out there will know the gig – the stop-start, sleepless, irritable, lose-track-of-life type of nights.
The ones which start out relatively calm by enjoying some priceless calm time bathing baby in the, well, bath. Splashes, smiles, giggling and bonding all taking place before your eyes. Your eyes meet, she knows you are her daddy, you know she is your baby daughter, truly priceless moments.
Bath time finishes.
You begin to enter a new world, a world only parents and babysitters can confirm exist. A world which changes as soon as you pull the plug of the bath to then lift baby out of said bath. Baby begins to cry, probably because baby becomes cold, but also probably pissed off you have ended their fun in an abrupt way. They will now take charge of the slowly declining situation by making it hard for you to do simple tasks such as putting nappy on baby. Baby tries her utmost to wriggle her way away from this, you struggle but somehow manage to get baby to lie sensibly, you place nappy under baby and to your horror, it is upside down. Baby wriggles away to play with nappy bag. And a wrestling match commences. It turns in to the Royal Rumble as mummy turns up three minutes later to help.
After an unknown amount of time trying to get baby ready for bed, you wait patiently for the milk to cool down a little – this appears to take hours as baby is messing about, running you ragged.
Milk is served.
At first the milk acts as a mild sedative by calming baby down significantly; baby’s eyes begin to drift and close; you lull yourself in to a false sense of security though because baby is building up for something to piss you off. Baby basically pretends to be sleeping, just a few millilitres from finishing the milk, baby suddenly out of nowhere opens her eyes wide. This is the beginning of her day.
“Come on, go to sleep”. Daddy requests. Baby responds by laughing in his face. Baby decides to sit bolt up-right to scan the area, seeking opportunities for play.
And she’s off.
Various techniques are offered by daddy to get baby to sleep, baby refuses.
Operation Get Baby To Sleep automatically kicks in.
Mummy attempts to cradle, to sing, dance, cuddle, jump, sleep next to baby, leave her in cot but nothing works. Baby is placed on bed.
This rotation system is enforced for around 90 minutes. Mummy and daddy decide to go upstairs with baby. Daddy requires some me-time to relax downstairs but instead finds himself in bed with family at 8.57PM…on a Saturday night. Baby finally falls asleep in your arms, as does mummy, a mile away on the other side of the bed. Daddy also falls asleep. Daddy wakes up at 10.33. Is this too late for some well-deserved me-time?
Nah, place baby in the cot and head downstairs, mate.
You now find yourself in a very surreal situation: you are on your own, downstairs. Fantastic, finally you have some time to chill. You make yourself comfortable on the sofa.
You fall asleep 3 minutes later. Unbelievable.
You wake up at 1.30am and trudge upstairs in a zombie-like state. You settle to bed and fall asleep.
Approximately 57 minutes later you hear some tapping coming from downstairs. Your house has no doors, so you can hear everything, even the fridge. The tapping continues. It’s the cat trying to get through the cat-flap, but can’t quite manage it. Daddy storms downstairs to let the cat in but swears the cat should already be inside the house. It wasn’t. Mummy had let the cat out the door in an unknown hour previous.
Daddy is now falling asleep for the fourth time since 8.57.
He falls asleep, mummy is asleep.
Baby decides to step up proceedings by suddenly waking up, climbs up the cot to stand, and basically hurls abuse at mummy and daddy to get her out of her cot and into their bed. Within seconds of baby hurling abuse at parents, baby is placed in to the middle of the bed, smiling and getting comfortable in the process.
In the process of getting comfortable, baby kicks (probably on purpose) mummy and daddy, she touches their hair and begins talking away. Baby basically wants a catch up to find out whether she has missed out on anything whilst she has been asleep. She hasn’t.
Everyone finally falls asleep, mummy and daddy covered in bruises from the kicks.
Daddy feels as though he is in Alcatraz as he only has enough bed space for a dwarf. Mummy the same. Baby is living a life of luxury in a bed 168 times the size of her.
Everyone falls asleep.
74 minutes later mummy wakes up almost falling out of bed, she places baby in the cot to make room for parents. A further 36 minutes later, daddy wakes up suddenly. “Where’s baby”?! He asks frantically. “What??” Mummy panics but quickly remembers she placed baby in the cot 36 minutes previous. “She’s in the cot”.
Baby is fast asleep, probably dreaming of breakfast. Mummy and Daddy fall back to sleep for the fifth time since 8.57pm.
One hour later and daddy feels footsteps on the bed, they get closer to his face. It’s their cat wanting a chat.
Daddy falls back to sleep for the sixth time since 8.57.
Approximately 93 minutes later, day decides to break through the night sky.
Everyone wakes up to cheer in the next day. Baby begins hurling abuse at mummy and daddy demanding her milk. Daddy is in a complete daze. He does not know where he is; he doesn’t know where baby is, whether the cat is alive, whether mummy is actually his wife; whether he has work; or whether the previous night was all in fact a dream.