Remember those? The loungy weekend kind with a soft breeze and fresh sheets, where getting up before 10am was simply unheard of? Yeah, I only vaguely recall those too.
Kids seem to have to have the notion that waking up with the birds is entirely acceptable, after all, they've been asleep for the last 11 hours (hopefully!).
Fox was always a bad sleeper right from birth. Well, right from the moment we crossed the threshold of our house. He tricked us during our 5 day stay in hospital when he was born. Peacefully dozing away whilst I stayed up simply to look at him in all his newness. The first night we were home it was horrendous.
Endless crying. Sleeping in ten minute stints before crying again. The towel bumpers I fashioned for him like the ones the nurses made just weren't good enough. The next morning, Adam was sent straight to John Lewis under strict instructions not to come back without a Sleepyhead. That night wasn't AS bad. His cushioned cocoon seemed to settle him slightly.
Fast forward through the sleep deprivation and it got a tiny bit better. He would sleep for 2 hours at a time, but I had become a broken woman. Walking round in a daze, standing in Sainsbury's staring at bananas, crying on park benches, screaming in the bathroom. I know first hand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture.
It would take me 3 hours a night to get him to sleep. A relentless cycle of feeding, burping, singing, rocking. Then slowly easing him into his tiny cot, trying to flatten my hands as much as humanly possible so he wouldn't feel them pulling away from underneath him. Some nights it would work. More often than not though it wouldn't and we'd be right back to the feeding, singing, rocking routine. We tried everyone's favourite Dream sheep, Ewan, he didn't work. We tried youtube lullabye light shows whilst I lay on the floor with just my arm and the phone in his view. We tried swaddles and music, white noise and humming. Nothing sent this restless little bundle off to the Land of Nod!
We ended up co sleeping for months on end as it was the only way to get some rest. But going to bed at 7pm each night was rather miserable. And if I tried to sneak out whilst he was starfished in the middle of the bed, he'd sense it and wake back up. I needed to start having a few hours to myself or with my husband.
At 10 months I'd well and truly had enough. Through my tears I phoned Cry-sis. A lovely, warm Northern woman spoke to me and in her firm motherly wisdom she told me he needed to be in his own room and I HAD to start thinking of myself more.
Fox's cot had already been sitting neglected in his lovely bedroom for months now. Making a particularly good place to store clean washing.
But now it was time to put it to its proper use.
That night is a bit of a blur. I have a faded memory of endless going in and out and calming him down. I do remember sleeping on his floor though. After he was finally asleep I'd crept in and made a bed out of sofa cushions and blankets. He felt too far away from me after 10 months of sleeping next to me every night and I needed to hear him breathing. I still listen to him breathing, stood at his door every night.
A few weeks later as the in and out, settling down dance was wearing extremely thin we decided to let him cry it out. It was horrible. I felt like the worst Mother on earth. How could I do that to my baby?! But how could I go on trying to be a good Mother after spending hours settling him then getting back up to feed him every hour (thanks sleep regression!) I was a mess. Something needed to change. And you know what? After 2 solid hours of him crying, he slept right though. And he continued to do so! Me sleeping from 10pm til about 5am was a bigger luxury than a 7 night all inclusive spa break with Ryan Gosling fanning me with palm leaves and feeding me grapes (that's the dream though right?)
I felt like a new woman.
Let's fast forward again though as obviously teething strikes when you least expect it and early rising (hello 4am) is a daily occurance.
It seems that no matter how much sleep you do or don't get, as parents you live in a permanent bubble of exhaustion. My friend and Father of 2 boys once told me "the tiredness becomes you." And it does. You drag shopping trolley dark eyes everywhere you go.
Now we seem to have hit the Holy grail though, well almost. He goes down to sleep like a dream most nights, waving me out the door whispering "Night, night" as I close the door. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever feel that would be my reality. If you're struggling with troublesome bedtimes with babies right now, please know it gets easier.
In this heat he's waking at 5am for water but will go back to sleep for an hour or so. And although I still feel like a permanently exhausted pigeon, we're a million miles away from where we began.
Which brings me back to lie ins. 6am feels really quite decadent now doesn't it?
If you're struggling with a restless baby who's having trouble sleeping or crying, the Cry-Sis helpline is open 7 days a week 9am-10pm and is run by a group of amazing volunteers. Telephone 08451 228 669