The more astute amongst you (Hi Chris) may have noticed a glaring omission from my list of new born baby achievements. Yes, they can sleep, eat, wee and poo but they can also cry; boy can they also cry! This is what worried me the most; the idea of sleepless nights.
I cope with sleep deprivation in much the same way as Colonel Gaddafi copes with civil unrest. I mightn’t resort to guns and aerial bombing quite so quickly but, if I’m perfectly honest, that’s more down to a lack of ordnance on my part.
Fortunately it hasn’t turned out half as bad as I was expecting; yes Marty wakes me up crying occasionally and yes, I’m not getting a full and regular 8 hours sleep but it certainly hasn’t been a nightmare.
Part of the reason for this is because Leanne is exclusively breastfeeding. This can occasionally make me feel a little left out of the loop but - and here’s the real bonus - I’m still being left out of the loop at 3am in the morning! No bottle feeding at some deathly hour for me, nope I just wrap a pillow around my head and go back to sleep.
Apparently this relative luxury is going to be short lived as Marty can start drinking expressed milk after a month or so, but in the interim I’m being terrified by the parents of older children with statements along the lines of:
“Our Jack didn’t start to cry until he was 3 weeks old.... Then he didn’t stop until he was two.”
“Yes, they’re lovely when they’re new born aren’t they..... just wait!”
These are usually said with a malicious gleam in the eye and I’m beginning to understand that terrifying fellow parents, especially those with younger children, is just what parents do to each other. I think the underlining message is “Yes a child is a wonderful gift but don’t get too happy or you’ll piss us all off.”
Sadly, we are happy, deliriously so. I even enjoy it when Marty cries... sometimes. It’s not because I like having my ears assailed, it’s just the faces he pulls when he's really going for it. He goes from this perfect cherubic little darling, all peaches and cream and soft goo-goo-goo’s, to a bright red, wrinkled mass of noise pollution within a fraction of a second. It’s astonishing really, you put a sleepy little angel into his cot, take one step and “Pow”, the cot is now occupied by something that looks the spitting image of Yoda: “Hungry for milk I am”
The only bad night I have had (Leanne’s had a few more) was last week when he just wouldn’t settle and I was daft enough to volunteer to change his nappy and rock him to sleep. He cried like he was fit too burst until about 7:30am. Then he dropped off to sleep in the blink of an eye, just as my alarm went off. I got dressed and peered red eyed into his cot. There he was; eyes shut, his little face wholly relaxed and utterly beautiful....
“You little bastard!” I thought, as I trudged downstairs to make myself a strong coffee.