Friday, 17 January 2014

The annals of sleepless parenthood

Reading: Hmm lots of forums about baby development. Neurotically consulting Dr. Google at all times.
Listening to: Shauna and Glen fight on Judge Judy
Outside: Damp but maybe warm...ish? Not sure.

So you have a baby. You try to get into a routine.

You think, yes, I'm starting to get the hang of changing diapers, and fielding squirts of posited milk (why doesn't she just swallow it?). You assume you know exactly how she is going to react to, say, a light switched on in the middle of the night, and you do everything you can to avoid that cursed word: overstimulation.

Your hair hasn't been cut for six months? Seven? You have lost count. You have had to push back so many appointments you can't even keep track. At this point, you are growing dredlocks and you're starting to look like Bob Marley.

You learn to multi-task.

You coo back when she coos to you, and you smile when she smiles. Your heart lifts.

Your brain doesn't compute much else really. Junk mail collects in a corner, unopened bum-fluff collecting dust. Your refrigerator: full of crumbs. Your foot moves robotically on an empty bouncy chair, so used to moving her constantly, it's like your foot moves independently of the rest of you.

And so I think maybe it's time to...get productive again. I edge hesitantly into this room I haven't gone into for a long time.

Hand still on the door-knob, this room is draped in cobwebs and lays under the moonlight of constant night. The furniture is still covered in sheets, a laptop still closed, silent and sleeping. Like a holiday home you haven't visited for years and years, a cottage lost in the woods. I have had twinges, pangs of inspiration, images in my head that burst with as yet unknown meaning, but are no less vital: a dark room, a woman with her hand on a crib, looking down, not speaking. A staircase that creaks.

After almost a year since I set pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard), I am standing in this room again, and lighting a dim candle. Inside I can see the flickering edges of things, and I pull the sheets off of the furniture that make up my writing life: a desk, a chair, a cabinet. In the corner, my muse appears, encased in the clouds of cigarettes she always smokes: a long woman at ease, one leg crossed over the other at the knee, foot bopping a gentle swirl, and she languidly inhaling the smoke and giving me a one-sided Gwyneth Paltrow smile.

And here we are.

Sleep be damned. It's time to write again.

Coffee! Coffee! Coffeeeeeeeeee!!!

Happy Friday, everybody!


  1. You know how to put everything in to words so eloquently. I love this piece and could picture you entering that room so clearly it made me laugh. Keep at it Sweetie and I am sure sleepless nights and motherhood are going to give you a great new perspective and lots of storylines for your writing. xx

    1. Thanks so much Mumsie! Glad you like it. Parenthood is indeed a humbling experience. I think this is going to weave together lots and lots of new story threads. xxx