It really is amazing what lack of sleep can do to a person, what it can do to a relationship. I think all new mums have been there before - the sleepless nights, the precious few moments of sleep stolen during the day, never quite enough to be fully refreshing but just enough to sustain you ( and see that you dont slip into complete insanity ). But its not even that level of sleep deprivation i'm talking about..... even a few nights of broken sleep is enough to make the best of us crabby.
At first i was ok with it - i knew the poor little fella wasnt feeling well, that he was, in his words, " yucky ", so i let him have plenty of cuddles and daily naps on my ever-swelling lap. It was warm, and snuggly, and comforting for him to be so close to me, where he could lie his head on my chest and stroke my ponytail, so i let him stay there for hours even though it was quite uncomfortable to me. Thats being a good mum right - sacrificing a bit of what is good for you so that your kids get whats good for them?
But after a few days of it, of Flynns behaviour becoming progressivley sookier and brattier the less sleep he got, of me being used as a human bean bag so he could steal some precious sleep of an afternoon... i'm ashamed to say i started to become a bit stressed. Anxious. Resentful even. Yes i knew he wasnt well, but that didnt stop me from starting to feel a bit used.... the more i gave him physically ( the hours spent on my lap were becoming so painful i cried a few times ) the worse his behaviour seemed to become. I have spent almost the majority of last week being screamed at, squealed at, hit, kicked and headbutted, everytime my previously adorable monster didnt get his way. I tried counting to 3, tried taking away his toys or shutting him in his room, but nothing helped. The aggressive behaviour kept up and i got more and more upset and stressed as each day passed. My counsellor has had me writing in a journal every night and ranking my day ut of 10 - i dont think there was one day last week that ranked above a 5/10, and certainly no day last week where i didnt spend a good portion of it in tears.
Until yesterday.... Sunday Flynn missed his afternoon nap ( and put on quite the performance when we visited a friend ) so we put him to bed half an hour early. After a few minutes of crying and screaming he eventually gave into temptation.... and slept 11.5hrs overnight for the first time in a few months. No 2am wake up asking for Daddy to get into his bed, no coughing - just blissful silence from his room until 7am Monday, when he came bounding into our room smiling and wishing us good morning. Yesterday, the bratty, sooking, coughing terror i had been putting up with for a fortnight disappeared and i had my gorgeous boy back. We were mates - we played trucks; he sat me in a bean bag and gave me a haircut; he watched " Mr Maker " for the 10 millionth time while i read a bit of the " Hunger Games ". Neither of us lost our cool with the other one.... it was heaven.
I marvelled at how even broken sleep was enough to turn my normally charming, funny son into a horror, but how one night of peaceful slumber was enough to bring him back. He slept the same 11.5 hrs last night, and though I am at work and he is at daycare, i'm pretty sure we're both feeling much better and closer to normal than we have for a while. Even though i am destined for many restless nights to come ( hello 3rd trimester! Oh yea, followed by new baby.... ) i'm hoping Flynn can get back into his normal sleep routine and we can go back to being " best friends ". Importantly, his words, not mine....