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Letter to Luella: Eight and nine months

Fat Mum Slim /

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Dear Luella,

I once did some management training {I was pretty bad manager – not tough enough, not good at delegating, not good at, you know, managing} and they shared that when you’re telling someone some bad news you should always start with some good news and try and finish with it too. I guess it’s kinda like a bad news sandwich, placed gently between two pieces of good news.

So I’m going to start with some good news…

You are pretty much the cleverist baby I’ve ever met. I’m not exaggerating, you truly are. I’m like the grandma who brags about her baby to all the other grandmas at Bingo. Except you’re MY baby {and I don’t play Bingo}. I know with second babies they do everything quicker, but the rate at which you’ve gone from sweet newborn to clever standing-by-yourself and I-can-walk-two-steps-by-myself baby is mind-blowing. Yep, last week you took TWO steps by yourself.

You can also speak. Well, in a language that perhaps only I understand {kindly pointed out to me by Dadda} but you can say bath, bye, Mama {that one is clear}, Dadda, and hello. You are so very clever.

You love to do swimming lessons. You go underwater without a care in the world. I hope you keep up the water baby business. You love to be with me, preferably in my arms as I try and do everything that needs to be done one-handed. You’re like a little koala attached to my hip. You are so very cute.

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So you are so very, very clever at most things… except sleeping. I don’t blame you. I blame me. I’ve made myself the human dummy. I’ve never taught you to sleep. I’m a big softy and hate to hear you cry. I should know better, you are just doing what I’ve taught you.

Sleeping has never been great but more recently it’s taken a turn for the worse. Some nights I get just 2 hours of broken sleep. Some I get more. And yes counting sleep is an obsession when I’m sleep-deprived.

I hope that when {if} you have your own children that you teach them how to sleep, because the nights are lonely and long when you’re in the midst of sleep deprivation. The other night I held you out in the lounge room, overlooking the other houses in the neighbourhood. Each of them was black, not a light on. I knew they were all sleeping. I felt jealous, and sad, and lonely… but most of all desperate. I didn’t know when the next bit of sleep would come, or how I could muster up what very little energy I had to fight the sleep battle… to do what it takes to get you to sleep.

And what a waste it feels to get you to sleep, only to have you wake two minutes later and do it all again.

Sleep deprivation is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. And this is my second time around. I now remember why I waited so long between babies.

When morning comes I rejoice. The nights are over. I try and forget how tired to the bone my body feels. I just celebrate the battle being over for another day, until the anxiety creeps in mid-afternoon as I realise I need to gear up to do it all again.

I love you my sweet Luella. But I owe it to the both of us to get you better sleep. I went and saw our lovely doctor, as well as our favourite midwife, and asked begged for help. We talked about options and the best seemed flying down to Sydney for sleep school. But I’d have to wait, of course.

On Saturday night, after I couldn’t get you to sleep until midnight and then you were awake not long after, I decided that I couldn’t wait. I found a local lady who’ll come to our home and help us out. She’ll stay through those long, lonely nights and help you sleep. So this week we learn how to sleep. This week is the week.

I’m sorry. I know it’s not going to be fun for a while. She promises no crying out. I told her I can’t do crying. But I know there will be whinging. But it will be worth it. I think we just don’t remember or know what good sleep feels like. We will soon.

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My sweet Luella. I love being your Mama. I love your sweet kisses, even though they’ve become more hazardous now that you have two sharp teeth. I love the way you giggle, and sometimes get into a laughing fit over the most ordinary things. I love you from your sweet strawberry hair, to your teeny tiny toes.

I just love you. So so much.
Mama. xx

  • Dear Chantelle,
    Being bad at “managing a crew” is not a bad thing. When you are able to manage a household & work from home at the same time, I think you totally do better than any “manager” can – & that’s speaking from experience as a manager in business & an at-homer. You are doing incredibly well at “keeping it together”, & while the household is alive, don’t beat yourself up over the lack of sleep self-blame thing. I ended up co-sleeping (on the floor, the bed, the couch, anywhere really) just to get some shut eye myself whenever I could.
    Sending you strength & coffee to get through.
    Love,
    Amber.

  • sharingmummysmagic

    I hear ya! My gorgeous 10 month old has never been a fan of sleeping 🙁 We are just at the end of the worst two weeks ever! Lots of sleepless nights and tired, slow days. Good Luck with the sleep lady 🙂 Luella sure is a clever bub…. saying all those words already. Baby genius 😉

  • I resonate so much with this post!

    We ended up in sleep school at 6 months old. Much like your Luella, Olivia was very active and hitting physical milestones very early and was that non-stop active baby, never liked to sit or snuggle… Tresillian told me more often than not these are the types of babies with “sleep issues” and we ended up staying for an extended 6 night stay and at the end the nurses said “i’m sorry, some babies just don’t respond.” Meaning, they were giving up. At 20 months old I am still her dummy. And she wakes 5 times a night and I breast feed her back to sleep (we cosleep so I don’t have to wake as such, I just roll over and let her suckle). I regret going to sleep school as I hate the CIO method.

    I really feel for you. That afternoon anxiety, that desperate, lonely feeding in the middle of the night, the resentment… I really do know where you’re at right now. I hope this lady gives you some answers and strategies. I’m sure Luella will cry but the difference is you’ll be right there with her. They won’t be tears of fear and abandonment, but tears of protest. In sleep school you’re literally abandoning them when they cry. You’re a fab mum for reaching out <3

    Lunch with you next week is a big day for Olivia as she will have to have her midday nap with my mum, which means no booby to sleep – for the first time ever.

  • What a beautiful, talented and special little girl. You are doing such a wonderful job as her Mama. The hardest part is often asking for help. I hope it all goes well and you both have long nights full of peaceful sleep for the both of you ahead x

  • Lisa

    WE ended up doing the Gradual Withdrawal Method (sounds sexy but totally not). I did a blog post on it if you are interested?? xxxxx

  • As I said on Facebook, you’re doing the right thing – for he r and for you. I’m certain you won’t regret it. I’ve been there three times and I know how long and lonely those nights can be. It will get better and soon. Take care, I’ll be thinking of you all. xxx

  • Sarah Chegwidden

    My eyes are a bit teary after reading this. I too have a 9 month old and even though everyone warns you about sleep deprivation nothing can really prepare you for it. Thankfully things have improved for but I remember there was a time I dreaded bed time as it would take up to an hour to get her to sleep and then she’d be awake 2 hours later and 2 hours after that. Best of luck with sleep school.

  • JoD

    Wow, sorry I missed this when you posted it. xoxoxo hugs and kissed to you mama

  • Wendynz

    Oh my gosh, I feel for you and can relate. My youngest is now 7 and would wake every three hour’s. When she was 9 months old we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to “Mother Craft” like a sleep school at Waikato Hospital in NZ, it was the best thing we did. She was never the best sleeper as she grew and broken sleep became a way of life for me! When she was 4 we had her tonsils out because they were enormous and they believed she was suffering from sleep apnea.
    Enjoy the help and from what I have learnt there are more people out there doing the same. I originally turned down the spot at mother craft but it was the best thing I ever did xx

  • TwoRedOneBlonde

    I have only just found your blog so this may be a comment too late but, respect x sleep is a vital and important part of bubs development and you have actually made a selfless choice to teach bub how to self settle. Bubs don’t know how to do the things we ask, how to eat by themselves, drink from a cup, use the potty and they also need guidance on how to settle themselves to sleep. You have made the right choice and may all other mummies out there feel it’s ok to ask for help, we can’t all know everything right!

@Fatmumslim