You know what sprung to mind when Jamie asked me if I would write about new motherhood? This notebook I had.
Talia spent the first couple of weeks of her life mostly asleep. Then I suppose she must have recovered from being born, realised this outside world was the new normal, and started paying attention.
She was a pretty good sleeper, in the sense that she generally slept at night. She'd wake a lot to feed sometimes, but she wouldn't be up for hours on end screaming. Hardly ever, anyway.
But at some point when she was only weeks old, I started to look for a pattern in her naps. It was a square ruled notebook; I turned it sideways and I wrote all twenty-four hours of the day all the way down the left-hand side. Then I noted when she fed and coloured the little squares to represent the times she was asleep.
And I stressed about it. Because, although she was a good sleeper, she was a little colicky and would sometimes take quite a while to settle in the evenings. Sometimes she'd keep us up, and this was in the middle of winter (and we only get eight hours daylight up here right in the depths of winter), when my husband was getting up at five am, spending three hours a day commuting, and working all day on a building site.
So, yeah, it's coming back to me now. There were nights when he would give in and go downstairs to try and get some sleep on the sofa. We'd kiss each other and say "sleep well" and "I love you" and "I hate this" and "I understand". And the next day I'd scribble in my little notebook like it might make some difference. Like by obsessively recording her every move through the day I might change what happened at night.
But I didn't believe in waking a sleeping baby, still don't. I believe as they get older it makes sense to feed them and put them to bed at times that make sense to you (while paying attention to what seems to make sense to them). But I never saw the sense in waking them, and I never had any luck keeping a tiny baby awake against its will either. So what effect I thought my stressing would have, I don't know.