I just want to watch the fucking X Files!

I just want to watch the fucking X Files. The newest episode has been out for days and the suspense is killing me. Unfortunately Oakland has other plans for us. This week has not been a great time for us, though we definitely have had our ups too.

On the ups, we have sampled a few different sleep methods for his day sleeps and settled on some kind of sleep centre meets every midwife’s worst nightmare hybrid. I have a friend who got a referral from the GP and spent the day at the sleep centre with a specialist who gave her and her son a sure fire method to maximise his sleeping. It actually worked. Also, why doesn’t anyone tell mothers that this service is available to us bulk billed? Unfortunately this method involves a little bit of Controlled Crying (CC).

Now, I am not about to judge another mother’s choices in how she chooses to settle her child. Personally I cannot let Oakland Cry It Out (CIO) or do CC. This is my decision based on things I have learned in my time working in foster care, and also just in being a mum and the emotions that hearing my child cry evoke from me. That said, I completely understand a mother doing it rough for a few days so her and her child can get a good night or day’s sleep! I did a day of the method from the clinic and was a sobbing heap on the floor. I had allowed Oakland to cry in his cot (beside our bed) while I sat beside him, singing and talking to him, stroking his head and patting his bum. He cried, sometimes a grizzle, absolute hysterics at other moments.It hurt me. It hurt him. Alee actually begged me to stop and ended up leaving the room. That was the end of that. It was not for us at all. Up until only a few weeks ago, he only slept if I wore him, so the fact he can now sleep anywhere other than on my body is a huge accomplishment. I am not going to push it. So what I have done is use a few methods my friend told me about: having sleep associations (his sleeveless sleep bag, Baby Shusher, night light, Lamby with milk expressed on there), block out curtains and a stack of dummies in his cot. The list is endless.

After a few days of consistency we had a routine. Oakland slept for longer than 20 minutes at a time during the day. We were on a roll. My house was clean, my dogs slightly less neglected. Yesterday he slept for over one and a half hours at a time. I thought this was the moment we had been waiting for. Surely it would change his night sleep too??? Nope! Oakland wakes every hour and a half during the night for a feed and cuddle. I often try to start him off in his cot and without fail he migrates to our bed. Other times I just don’t even bother and he is in our bed from the beginning. It is easier to sleep in a cut out singlet and go braless. He can just find a boob in the dark and semi-self soothe. Well, last night he was awake every 45 minutes. I don’t know what the hell was wrong with him. After this awesome day and him instilling a sense of false hope, he stole that away and was the child from hell. What is worse is that I turned to one of the dreaded baby groups on Facebook. Why the fuck do I do that? Instant regret. Those Nazi mothers know how to raise my son better than I do apparently.

According to these judgemental assholes, the problem is I am bed sharing. No, the problem is I breastfeed. The problem is that when my supply was low I mix-fed. No it is that I don’t let him CIO and I have mollycoddled him. I don’t give him enough solids during the day or I give him too many solids and it has upset him stomach. Don’t I know that a baby of his age should be sleeping through? Oh my God, some idiot wrote that. I wanted to reach through my phone and kill her. Yes, midwives and Dr Google have told me he should be sleeping through, but then Dr Google also tells me that a breastfed baby should wake every 2-3 hours for a feed. Yes, Oakland wakes double that. You know what? I don’t actually care. I demand feed. Yep, I am a horrible pushover of a mother that is allowing my infant to dictate when he wants to eat. Well, who the hell am I to tell him he is not hungry, purely because a midwife told me he shouldn’t be eating that often? If you went off what a nutritionist says, I definitely shouldn’t be eating what I eat and as often as I eat it but hey, I like food. Oakland obviously does too.

Yes, waking constantly kills me. It is downright frustrating. But one day Oakland won’t want to sleep beside me. He won’t cry out and seek my affection in the night. I will no longer be able to breastfeed him. I know that when that time comes I will miss these moments. Staring bleary eyed at my dimmed phone screen at 3am, lurking and bonding with other mums who are awake and doing the same thing. These moments are special. Sometimes it feels like we are the only two people in the world. It is so quiet and still. Listening to Oakland gently (sometimes not so gently, I swear he uses my nipple as a teether) suckling away, then his little swallows. I love that sound!

But back to the X Files! This morning we had Baby Sensory. My plan originally was he would sleep his normal 1.5 hour sets during the night, his morning 1.5 hour nap which would mean he was happy and awake during Baby Sensory, then that would exhaust him and he would sleep at home afterward while I sat and watched the bloody X Files. Well that was fucked. After not sleeping all night, he decided to sleep less than 20 minutes before Baby Sensory. So basically this meant he woke at 6:30am and was awake until about 12:30pm. He was hell. He grizzled during class, then the little bugger fell asleep before he even got in the car. This may sound like a dream but no. It means that when I got home 10 minutes later I had to be a ninja and get him to his cot without waking him. Obviously that didn’t happen. By this point I was exhausted and starving, not to mention just dreamt non-stop of swooning over Mulder and his inept ability to maintain a child-like obsession with ‘wanting to believe’ while becoming more and more attractive with age. Did I mention Oakland still hadn’t done his morning poo yet either? Any mother knows that a delayed morning poo is just a disater waiting to happen (at the worst time imaginable).

So Oakland and I sat on the couch. We cuddled and took photos while I sang Incy, Wincy Spider on repeat about 20 times. Apparently it is just as funny and surprising the 20th time as it is the 1st. He gets this look on his face that says “I can’t believe it ends like that Mum!”. Every bloody time. Maybe one day Incy won’t get washed out by the rain or maybe he won’t bother trying to climb back up the spout again, who knows? Oakland will be ready for that moment. At some point between the 13th and 17th Incy, and the who knows how many-th selfie Oakland did his morning poop. Turns out maybe that was all he needed to get a little sleep?! I finally got to watch the fucking X Files. Mulder delivered the goods as always.

Update on this post: I started the draft for this well over a week ago. I now am yet another episode behind in the bloody X Files. Cut me a break Oakland!

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