Clara is 8 months old today. That alone is such a crazy thought!
She’s so grown up now – eating twice as much, pooing less (ONE dirty nappy yesterday – hello what’s that about?!), sitting up on her own, wanting to stand up all the time, and loves being entertained.
Sleep, however, is another recent change.
Clara has always been fantastic at sleeping through the night. She’d go to sleep at 7.30 and would wake at 6.30am, sometimes with a bottle dream fed in the night, sometimes without.
Now, Clara is wanting dinner earlier than usual and she’s getting tired sooner. By 6.30pm she’s knackered and in bed. She is exhausted but doesn’t want to drop off to sleep – so after a bath, three books, and a bottle we finally have a dozing Clara. The first few hours she stirs regularly but is still mostly asleep, crying out for reassurance, soothed by her dummy. Then, she’ll sleep until 2 or 3am, when she’ll be wide awake for a few hours, before sleeping again.
Those few hours she does not want to be on her own. And miraculously my husband has a hearing condition, specific to fatherhood, which allows him to not register baby sounds at night. It’s known to some as ‘It’s fine, mum will sort it’. So I seem to be up most nights and so far I’ve not found anything that works other than sticking it out.
Leaving Clara to cry doesn’t work, she shouts louder. She doesn’t like being on her own. I think she’s so used to a busy hospital ward, the silence and loneliness on her own is quite scary.
When she’s awake, she wants to be up. Physically up in your arms, or out of bed playing. This girl isn’t one for laying in and contemplating how she might spend her day ahead (the jumperoo, or the swing perhaps?) This means there’s no chance she’ll drop back off to sleep on her own as she will shout until she’s lifted out of bed. Only a few nights ago did I end up making a pretend bed on her bedroom floor: a large blanket to lay on, a cushion for my head, and Clara and I laying side by side on the floor. We don’t co-sleep, but I couldn’t think of any other way to get Clara to stay rested but be out of bed. It worked – before long she was asleep and I VERY carefully lifted her back into bed and tiptoed back into mine.
Speaking of which, it’s incredibly hard to believe this girl has any form of hearing loss when she can be distracted by a squeaky floorboard. I’ve still not worked out how to remember exactly where it is, but every time without fail, the floor creaks and she knows someone is there.
We know it’s no fault of Clara’s. Her brain is WIRED. She’s wanting to play, be cuddled, jump up and down in her bouncer, stand up looking around all day if she could. It tires her out for sure, but her brain does not shut down easily. (She might have got that from her mama…)
Clara’s body is definitely adapting and growing – her feet now sit on the foot rest in the highchair (where’s my baby gone?!). She’s sitting up for longer on her own, or standing for as long as someone will support her.
Yesterday morning, for example, she spent a couple hours playing downstairs after breakfast then we sat on the bed whilst her Daddy showered. She was tired, but would not lie down. She’d only relax sat up against a pillow. She does know she’s 8 months, not 8 years, right?! We then carried her to her bed where she managed all of about 20 minutes of a nap.
Is there a magic answer?
I’m sure there isn’t. We’ll cope, it’s not forever and it’s all for good reason. When she’s 18 we’ll be saying she sleeps in too long at weekends I’m sure.
Last night Clara did manage to sleep almost 12 hours without waking, but then she barely napped the day before. We also kept the fairy lights in her bedroom turned off so it was dark – we’ll try that again tonight!
Now if only someone could find a cure sooner rather than later for that husband night time hearing condition I mentioned earlier…