Urban Fathers' Liberation Front

Confused dads working out the city

The Battle Against the Night

on May 31, 2012

Tonight is mummy’s first night out since the birth of Bub just over eight weeks ago.  The event is a ‘hen’s meal’, arranged by one of mum’s closest friends, who is getting married in a couple of weeks.  The wedding itself will be a challenge with Toots and Bub tagging along, not least because we’ll be spending three nights in Dorset in a static caravan – a Heath Robinson experience at the best of times; surely an implausible one with a ten week old child.  No doubt it will rain constantly.

However, this evening – more importantly – marks my first night putting to bed both Toots and Bub.  It wasn’t an experience I was particularly fearing – I’ve plenty of experience with putting Toots to bed on my own, and with Bub it’s just a case of stopping the crying for long enough to lull him to bed with plenty of shushing.  And so it proved; both were asleep by 8.30pm, and now I’m tapping on the keys here.

I did have this idea that Bub would be the principal problem.  After all, he does scream very loudly and in a prolonged manner.  He can be difficult to quieten down, and even when he is quiet, he doesn’t necessarily pitch off to sleep.  Additionally, if he was to continue to be hungry, I still have that troublesome absence of breasts, and no alternative way to make milk myself, so food could have been a problem.  Mum has spent some time expressing milk today (and on other days), so when he did need feeding, I was able to come to the rescue with a bottle.  And so, despite the fears of too much crying, the need for food, and the possible reluctance to sleep, Bub has gone off reasonably well this evening.

Toots, on the other hand, likes to push it.  She’s had one of her two days a week at nursery today, and despite (probably) being very active all day, she comes home a little wired, and ready for play.  Come bedtime, she was demanding to get the bricks out, to play with her little people, to splash about in the bath and to do all of the little jobs that we do on our way to bed and sleep.  She did go to bed well, had her stories and let me leave the room to see to Bub, but she was awake still when I came into her room to see how she was getting on, and she demanded I stay with her for a while.  All this time, I could hear my sausages downstairs, crying out to be cooked…

She has the capacity to stay awake into the evenings, and she’s always had a desire to be awake and watch, do, see or play – like closing her eyes and sleeping is giving up on something exciting that’s just around the corner.  But she’s also seeking the one-on-one attention she’s used to, particularly now Bub is demanding some of that attention too.

But despite having form in this regard – being demanding, making up things to say just to be expressive, doing jobs, being helpful, being seen, using her imagination, evading sleep and eating into my quiet time – she’s a great kid, and nothing is better that watching her grow and develop, and seeing what she comes up with next.

I just hope mummy is back before Bub needs more of the good stuff…

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