Last weekend, for the first time since morning sickness appeared next to me in bed I was… Woken by the alarm clock. This domestic mundanity will seem like bragging to anyone stuck in the continuous waah, soothe, wake mode.
I woke in a state of shock, fuddled that 38 minutes of sleep/unconsciousness was not interrupted by the sound a mighty-headed boy searching for a soother or a pearl-headed girl shaking the bars of her cot like a mini-petite zoo monkey.
After a couple of seconds of mmmmmm came the fear.
1. They had stopped breathing. This is a terrible thought and one that people told me I would have. I realise I now lie awake listening for a snuffle, shnurgle or windchime from down the hall before I can relax and collapse to the soothing tones of Candy Crush.
2. They had escaped. Apparently other fathers also believe their children are the most beautiful, clever and impressive – uncanny. I imagined Dora the Explorer coming to them in a dream and showing them how to open the stair gate. I would then find them either playing Minecraft with Didsbury Son, making smoothies in the kitchen or scaring the cats by trying to “stroke” them.
Watching an 11month old baby stroke a cat brings a new level of respect for feline patience and has more in common with a five-year old playing “Operation”.
3. I was working away and dreaming I was at home being disturbed.
On finding out they were still asleep at almost 6.30am I strolled down to make bottles without a shoulder snapping, sciatica inducing start, feeling a sense of elation that showed me just how much my world had shrunk and focused.
Six hours sleep and up on a Sunday morning before 7 warming milk and I was giddier than the morning of my first cup final.
I walked downstairs and suddenly realised that nothing hurt. One night without bending, lifting, cooing and squeezing into unnatural positions round babies and I felt almost 39 3/4.
The rest of the day was a blur of pain-free happy blandness. I could feel creases in my forehead getting shallower as I focused freely.
Didsbury Son swooned as I politely greeted him AND listened to a few sentences ungrumpily. All this, for the kind of sleep that for most of my life would have counted as an interruption and an early start.
It was a friend who gave me the truth. You try everything, you think you have reached the point of no return but they know. Just when you feel you can take no more – they take pity and sleep through.
It’s the law.