It’s an experience every parent knows painfully well.
The alarm went off 15 minutes ago, but even that awful moment vanished into another blissful escape into the mists of sleep. You were up twice last night. The details are hazy because you purposely tried to stay half asleep as you fed, changed and soothed your wee bundle of pain. The trick is to be alert enough to recognise if anything serious is hurting bubs, but stay drowsy enough to accelerate the return to sweet, sweet sleep; the only drug that really seems to make a difference these days.
Even your 6:45 alarm seems like an age ago. You’ve had time to dream through the itinerary of your round-the-world trip; including romantic nights out without needing a babysitter, long flights worrying only about what movie to watch next, and spontaneous adventures with the distinct absence of a nappy-bag.
Now, right in the midst of a thrilling adventure down a pram-unfriendly canyon, you become aware of an unusual sound. It sounds robotic, mechanical. Inhuman. There is a fuzziness about it that is at once both peaceful and somehow foreboding.
As the shroud of sleep receeds, you begin to identify the sound of whimpering emanating from the cold white device by your bed. The baby monitor is designed with soft lines and colours to fit into the cuddly environs of the nursery. In reality, though, it stands staunchly like a sentry, tethering you to reality in the face of desperate sleep deprivation. Now it rattles you to attention, without care for your comfort, or your mental health.
Even as you struggle to reorientate yourself to these most familiar surroundings, the sound quickly escalates from a whimper into a whine, and from a whine into all out wailing. You know that it comes from the most dear person in your life, but right now it sounds worse than a bagpipe player riding a squeaky bike with metal wheels across a blackboard. Compared to this the ‘dawn melody’ nightmare of 15 minutes ago was like a dream.
You scramble out of bed, throwing on a shirt still crumpled beside your bed from just hours before. You know it is back-to-front by the fact that the hem rubs your neck more than usual, but you don’t care. The most immediate concern is to quiet the screaming now audible throughout the house, and probably the neighbourhood. Hopefully you’ll get a smile out of the little guy soon to make the pain go away, but in the meantime it is all hands on deck. There isn’t even enough time right now to wash away the rancid aftertaste of your last midnight snack. Welcome to the day!
I read an article today suggesting 11 morning rituals to start your day well. They sound like great things to do, but I think for parents my advice would boil down to only one thing. Beat your kids up in the morning. If you can beat your kids up in the morning I guarantee you’ll be well on your way to having a relaxed, enjoyable day.