I’ve decided to do a little series on the blog. I’m basically going to tell you all about the bizarre situations I find myself in. Some of them involve going the extra mile to make my child happy and others are absolutely 100% about me and my own sanity.
Being a mother is so all-consuming and because it completely changes every aspect of you life, you do find yourself doing things that you previously said you never would. You just can’t predict how you are going to feel or what will make sense to you until you are in the situation.
I often wonder what would happen if there was a camera crew following me around every day. I imagine how people would react when they saw some of the weird things I find myself doing. The strange things I say. It all makes sense to me but to the outside world it would be a different story.
We’ll kick things off with a little story from the weekend.
It was a lazy Saturday morning. Well, as lazy as can be for someone like me. I do love the idea of sitting around and having a lazy day but in truth I am terrible at actually doing it. I’m sitting on the couch. I’m wearing the PJs and I’m snuggling under the blanket but I’m also twitching at the sight of the dishes piling up and wondering when it would be OK to brush my teeth and stick on a wash.
I’d had my fill of laziness for the day. Two cups of tea down the hatch and five episodes of Vampirina (his new favourite show) were watched with the toddler. It was time to get our shit together and make something of the day.
This is where it all gets a bit mad. Does anyone else do sleep mathemathics? It’s where you create various intricate equations involving naps and food and carefully constructed pockets of fresh air and activities in the hope that they will equate to a good night’s sleep that night.
I am a serial sleep mathematician. You’ll find that this role generally goes hand in hand with being the mother of a non-sleeper. You all know the drill by now so I won’t bore you with the details but to new readers… my son has never been the biggest fan of the sleep business.
On this particular day we had planned a day out with my sister. It just so happened that my hubby and her boyfriend were both out of the country. Mine was in Demark at the Ireland game and her’s was visiting a friend in Prague. She had a few bits to do that morning and so we planned to hit the road at lunch-time and head out for the day. We’d have a “girly night” that night when little man went to bed. There would be take-away, wine and a “munch”. All the good stuff.
And so begins the sleep mathematics.
This is how my thought process went
- OK so we’re going out at lunch and we’ll be in the car. If we say 1pm then realistically it’ll be closer to 2pm by the time we get ourselves together and actually get on the road. 2pm+car+three year old = certain danger nap.
A danger nap is a nap that occurs at a time that is certain to negatively affect that evening’s bed-time. Like, by hours.
2. I’m really looking forward to our girly night but if 2pm danger nap occurs, which it will, it’ll be about 10pm before little man goes to bed. Sure that’s the night gone.
3. I could sit in the back of the car with him and entertain him so that he doesn’t fall asleep on the way to the park but that will mean when we arrive he’s sure to crash and be cranky. That’ll kind of put a negative on the day out which is supposed to be a nice experience for him and us.
4. This makes the journey home from the day out TERRIFYING. If he has not napped and then spent the afternoon running around in fresh air then a DANGER nap is on the cards.
A DANGER nap is a nap that happens after 4pm and therefore requires capital letters to emphasise it’s seriousness
5. It’s time for an induced nap plan. That’s right – the nap is going to be on my terms. OK, think fast. It’s 12pm now. If I get him in to the car, crank up the heat and slowly drive around for 10-15 minutes he should nod off by 12.30. A 30 minute cat-nap will be enough to take the edge off the tiredness so that a nap on the way to the playground is unlikely. It’ll also give us the best chance at avoiding a DANGER nap afterwards.
6. A short cat-nap that ends by 1pm + an afternoon of running around + fresh air should mean that it’s almost as though the cat-nap never even happened. It’ll bring us back to a level playing field. A normal day where he should be tired enough for bed by about 8pm.
I have to act fast. Every minute past 12 is eating in to the plan and leaving room for error in my carefully constructed equation. I lift him in my arms and take a leap a faith. Never have I ever driven in my pyjamas before. He’s confused. I’m hyperly grabbing my tools (a soother for him and my phone for me… for when I stop for five minutes with the engine running just to cement the sleep before I lift him from the car).
I sneak out of the house like a lady of the morning. I’m in my PJs. He’s in his PJs. Teeth have not been brushed but theres no time for that when that night’s sleep is a priority.
I manage to get him in to his car seat and myself in to the drivers seat without a single neighbour spotting me in my glittery unicorn Pyjamas. I did make a mental note that at least they were matching. It would have softened the blow.
I pass little man the soother and check that his seat has been reclined. He’s cosy, he’s happy. I can almost smell the sleep. It’s going to happen.
And so begins the little drive around my area. Normal driving but hitting the roads that have plenty of speed bumps. I’m in no rush. It’s just me, my little man and the promise of a good night’s sleep.
I look at the clock – 12.06. We are right on schedule. We stop at the lights and I can’t help but notice how quiet he’s gotten. And then I hear it. He’s sucking the soother in that way. The way that means that sleep is imminent. It’s a beautiful sound.
Before I know it I start to feel a sense of happiness wash over me. I had no idea that this drive was going to be so…. neighbourly. On two ocassions, on two different roads, people waved at me. Happy waves. Really eager to wish me well on this beautiful Saturday morning. I’m nodding and waving back to them and I’m kind of loving the world. They don’t know I’m wearing pyjamas. They don’t know I’m in the middle of a very serious task. They just want to wave and say hello. It’s so old school and I just love it.
When it happens for a third time I start to wonder if there is something in the air in Dublin. The third guy was a little erratic. He’s pointing to his ear doing a kind of “call me” gesture. I’ll be honest, I felt a bit mouldy leaving the house but this has given me a bit of a spring in my step (drive?). I’ve still got it. With last night’s mascara and weetabix on my PJ top I’ve still managed to attract a human being.
And just like that I notice that the job has been done. Mission complete. Little man is well and truly asleep. I celebrate internally and give myself a mental high five. It’s time to head back home. But not before the necessary stopping outside the house for five minutes with the engine running. I make a mental note to use the time to check my emails. Then I’ll switch off for the day and enjoy myself.
I then get one of those moments. You know when you can’t remember when you last saw something. Usually your phone or keys. Maybe even your purse. You kind of getting a little fright. I had absolutely zero recollection of bringing it in to the car yet I knew I left the house with it.
And then I saw it. So close and yet so far. As I drove down the Crumlin road my phone lay flat on the bonnet of the car.
I’d been driving around for fifteen minutes now. Oblivious. The friendly people who waved and the fella who asked me to call him were simply alerting me to the fact that there was an illuminous pink phone case laying across the car bonnet.
I’d been driving around at a normal speed for the 15 minutes but the minute I saw the phone I was terrified that it would roll off on to the road. A miracle that it hadn’t already.
As soon as I could pull in I did. I leaped out of the car showcasing my pyjamas to a busy road full of cars. But I didn’t care. My phone was un-harmed and my child was still asleep.
PS, he didn’t sleep that night.