Una, who is generally a talented sleeper, woke up at 2am this morning and didn't go back to sleep. She was cheerful, singing, playing...AWAKE. Both Martin and I are now zombies. Una is at creche. She looked pretty dreamy when I left her. Like she might go to sleep in a bowlful of morning tea. Martin got up with Una around 3 and gave me a 'sleep in' (ah, it's such a relative term) till 7. I remember when sleep in meant the other side of lunch.
Martin and I have been having serious flashbacks to Fred's toddler sleepage. Or lack thereof. She spent chunky chunky periods of most nights wide awake - this was when I was writing Breathe. Perhaps it bled in, the scenes where Trout walks the streets at night...perhaps that was me, mentally roaming the dark streets below our second storey flat, that solitude of being awake at night when all the world seems to be sleeping - a kind of island, a reversal of days, it so perfectly reflects the sense of being fragmented and remote from the practical world as a new mother (which to me was both a pleasant sensation and sometimes a deeply lonely one). Martin used to recite time tables at her. We sang too, song after song. We carried her round the house, we'd bathe with her, feed her, pat her, read to her (her favourite book at the time was Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten by Bob Graham, as a baby she tore some of the pages but I can steal recite it word for word, even though tracts of text are missing). As a small baby Fred never cried. Really. She was two months old before she did, after she reacted badly to her shots and after that too it was only occasionally, she smiled wherever we went, at everyone. She slept pretty well too for the first 9 months or so, and would sleep anywhere. Evena s she got older, I could take her out all day and she would sleep well in the pram, in the car, in my arms. It wasn't until she was 14 months old that she began having inexplicable crying sessions, usually at night; long, inconsolable crying that made us feel helpless. Not related directly to anything, not teeth or sickness or hunger or food, just a kind of inexplicable build up that could only be released through tears. It didn't happen often but it panicked us when it did. She still cries like that sometimes, cradled in my arms. Occasionally when she's sick or overtired I still sing her to sleep in my arms. There's something magical and amazing about being there in that moment, watching your child drift off, the slow blinks, the shift in breathing. Although those wakeful years were long and sometimes hard, peaking in the first months after Una was born, I wouldn't exchange the night time memories for anything, the feel of her brow, the trembling of her lashes.