It started with milk.
His favourite time to request it was about 20 minutes after I’d fallen asleep, so I was woken from the kind of deep sleep that leaves your heart pounding and mind confused when it is suddenly snatched from you by a screaming newborn.
Then it was the dummy.
However many I left in the cot, he’d wake up demanding one. My hand would stumble blindly into the cot in the darkness, feeling around with increasing panic, cursing under my breath that the longer it took, the less likely he’d settle back to sleep. At that moment, I hated those dummies. But as soon as it was back in his mouth and the screaming stopped, I bloody loved them again.
Then it was his new room.
Essentially, I wasn’t in it. And whenever his eyes snapped open and was reminded of this fact, his screams demanded that it was rectified immediately. I spent a lot of time during those long, exhausting nights stood over a cot, with one hand contorted over the top and place on his tummy, weighing up exactly how I could extract myself from the situation without his eyes shooting open again.
Then it was a love of early mornings.
And I mean 4.30am. Every day. My hazy memories of that exhausting time are permeated with the theme tune of Peppa Pig. And I remember drinking coffee. A lot.
And then, praise be, he finally realised that he liked sleep. Sleep was good. Sleep was precious. I raved about what a wonderful sleeper I had (before you shoot evils at me through your phone or laptop, let me just add that I had another sleep thief by now – and it was far worse than the first time).
I became pretty reliant on my eldest sleeping. In fact, I counted on it. And for a few years, I really could. He slept like a dream.
Then a few weeks ago, something happened.
They crept into his bedroom in the middle of the night, shook him in his bed, hid in his tent, and shouted in the darkness.
And understandably, he was terrified.
So he started dragging his duvet into Mummy and Daddy’s bed to escape them (much safer place, granted). At 4am. At 2am. Sometimes even before we’d gone to bed and were still in the lounge (much to his squinty-eyed confusion).
And weeks later, the monsters are still causing trouble. Sometimes they even wake up his baby brother too (or maybe that’s the yelling from the toddler bed). Oh yes, it’s fun and games in our house when darkness falls.
And if this sorry episode has taught me anything, it’s that I should never, ever be smug as a mother.
Absolutely nothing is guaranteed.
And if you make the mistake of being a little bit smug, the monsters will come.
The monsters will come and shake some sense into you.
You have been warned.