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Thursday, November 08, 2012

One step Ford, two steps back

It has been an age since I have Plogged, for which I can only apologise.  I have spent the last six weeks mostly scrubbing poo out of various surfaces and trying to remember the non-rude version of nursery rhymes.  And advising the baby that when Jack mends his head with vinegar and brown paper, that isn't actually the official NHS advice; really he should go to the local walk-in centre or A&E, as he could have a subcranial haematoma  or at the very least, a concussion and might need an MRI scan.

One of the most difficult things to deal with, as any new parent will attest, is the sudden, irrevocable lack of sleep.  Imagine having a hangover.  Then imagine that you go out drinking again the same night.  Repeat.  Infinitely.  Around week three, I caught myself thinking, "Never mind, I'll catch up on sleep at the weekend." No.  There is no catching up.  Not ever, ever again.

So in the fog of this desperation, a shining light presents itself.  Anyone who's been a new parent in the last five years is surely aware of Gina Ford.  She advocates a strict baby-schedule... the payoff of which is apparently that a five-week old baby will (Holy Grail) sleep through the night!  So we try it.

This is how it worked for us.


7 a.m.

GINA SAYS "Baby should be awake, nappy changed and feeding no later than 7 a.m."

LAURA DOES Crawl out of bed at 7, after two hours' sleep, determined that today will be the day we turn it all around.  Change baby.  Try to feed baby.  Baby is fast asleep.  Try to wake baby by gently stroking the back of her neck.  Try gentle bouncing.  Try more vigorous bouncing.  Try something which is borderline shaking.  Give up.  Go back to sleep.

7.30 a.m.

GINA SAYS "Try to have some cereal, toast and a drink whilst baby has a kick on his playmat."

LAURA DOES Grab a handful of Thorntons chocolates and two sips of water.  Realise baby doesn't have a playmat.  Order playmat on Amazon, feeling guilty for neglecting child.  Stupid baby still asleep.

8.30 a.m.

GINA SAYS "Baby should start to get a bit sleepy by this time.  Check the draw sheet and start winding down."

LAURA DOES Wonder what the hell a draw sheet is.  Mean to Google it, but baby wakes up and starts bawling.  Feed baby.

10 a.m.

GINA SAYS "Baby must be fully awake by now.  Drink a large glass of water."

LAURA DOES Baby has finally stopped screaming post-feed, and is beginning to drift to sleep.  Try to wake her (see earlier methods).  Give up.  Boil kettle for cup of tea.  Never actually get round to making it.

10.30 a.m.

GINA SAYS "Lay baby on his playmat to have a good kick around."

LAURA DOES Continue to try to wake up sleeping baby.  Pull her ears a bit.  She smiles in her sleep.

11.15 a.m.

GINA SAYS "Baby needs to be in bed no later than 11.30 a.m.  Baby should sleep for two and a half hours."

LAURA DOES Baby is now fully awake and needs feeding again.  This is punctuated with screaming, three nappy changes (including a sneaky one where she waits until I've taken the nappy off and then poos in a massive arc, hitting the lovely giraffe decal we have on her bedroom wall.  Gina doesn't mention the best way of getting poos off a wall without ruining a giraffe decal).

2 p.m.

GINA SAYS "Baby must be awake and feeding, regardless of how long they have slept."

LAURA DOES Wonder if it counts if the baby hasn't slept at all, and has been feeding on and off for the last two hours.  Notices Gina advocates another "good kick" on the playmat.  At no point has Gina mentioned holding or cuddling the child.  Begin to wonder if Gina has ever actually seen a baby.

5 p.m.

GINA SAYS "Baby should not sleep after 5 p.m. if you want them to sleep at 7 p.m."

LAURA DOES Baby falls fast asleep.  Cannot be woken.  Try making her dance to Bohemian Rhapsody. This doesn't work, but makes a super-cute Facebook video.

5.45 p.m.

GINA SAYS "Give baby a good kick around without their nappy"

LAURA DOES Not a chance I'm being fooled this time.  Last time ended in scrubbing poo out of the nursery carpet and my jeans.  Baby starts screaming.  Work out how many minutes it is until TheBloke (TM) gets home.  Get halfway through calculation and realise I haven't yet had lunch.  Or that cup of tea.  Also am still wearing pyjamas because Gina didn't tell me I could have a shower, or go to the toilet.  Luckily I don't need to go to the toilet because I haven't yet had a drink.

7 p.m.

GINA SAYS "When baby is drowsy, settle in bed, fully swaddled"

LAURA DOES TheBloke (TM) is home.  Put him in charge of baby.  She hates being swaddled.  Screaming ensues.  Most of it from the baby.  Baby fully awake and wants to play with Daddy.  Laura makes dinner whilst Daddy plays with baby.  Baby falls asleep.

8 p.m.

GINA SAYS "It's important you have a really good meal."

LAURA DOES Open mouth to take first bite.  Baby starts screaming.  This is the case every time we try to have food.  We now only eat meals that can be eaten one-handed, and pass the baby to each other every six mouthfuls.  Baby finally falls into deep sleep.

10 p.m.

GINA SAYS "Turn up the lights fully to wake the baby for a proper feed."

LAURA DOES Turn all the lights on.  Baby remains asleep.  Undress baby, as per Gina's suggestion, to wake her.  Baby remains asleep.  Try to feed baby.  Baby is too asleep to feed.  Try neck stroking, bouncing and borderline shaking.  Baby wakes up and feeds.  Re-dress baby.  Baby now wide awake, wants to play and screams every time we try and put her in her Moses basket.  This continues until midnight when I relent and allow her to fall asleep on my stomach.  At which point she does a massive leaky shit, and we have to change both our outfits again.  Luckily, I'm still in yesterday's pyjamas.

1 a.m., 3.30 a.m., 5 a.m., 6.30 a.m Repeat feeding / shitting / changing scenario.  I run out of clean pyjamas.


7 a.m

GINA SAYS "Baby should be awake, nappy changed and feeding no later than 7 a.m."

LAURA DOES Baby is miraculously asleep.  Ignore alarm.  Ignore shit on pyjamas.  Ignore two-day old vomit in hair.  Ignore Fucking Gina Fucking Ford and go back to sleep.


Aletea said...

Ha ha ha, brilliant. I bloody hate Gina Ford!

Anonymous said...

Really funny and as I have heard almost daily reports on the phone about 'Fascist Ford '(as I call her unfairly)I know that there is no exaggeration here

Judy said...

Hang in there. It does get better. Trouble with babies - they haven't read the book!

Anonymous said...

:) grateful for the laughs and the honesty.