Let it go

One of the reasons why I was all miserable and thoroughly depressed was because my kid doesn’t sleep in the day.

Husband used to think it was funny until he experienced it one weekend, when Aidan gave it everything he had. There was all that wailing before he went down for his nap, the waking up 15 minutes later, followed by the WHO DARED TO PUT ME DOWN FOR A NAP crescendo crying. And then rocking/walking/patting/singing/cussing for the next hour (or two. Or three. We lost count.) until the little tyke decided he was finally tired enough to sleep again.

The parquet floor in Aidan’s room is pretty smooth by now.

For many weeks, I dared not leave the house because I kept thinking that I had to get him to sleep. I had to, because all the experts say that babies his age require 16 hours of sleep and he was clearly NOT getting anywhere near that number. I had to, because he would fuss otherwise and I didn’t want to have to put up with his crying in public by myself. I MUST stay at home, because he HAD to sleep in his cot and he HAD to go to sleep drowsy but awake.


Stupid me.

I have come to realise that no matter what I do or do not do, my little man will sleep when he can. I CANNOT force him to sleep, no matter how long I pace the room. And if putting him in the Boba wrap or holding him in my arms will put him to sleep, then that’s what I am going to do. He will learn to go to sleep eventually. His naps will consolidate one day. He sleeps awesome at night, without my help, and that’s a fantastic thing. We won’t have to rock/pat/walk him to sleep when he is 18 years old.

And just like that, I became a happier person.

In the past week, I have brought Aidan out for daily evening walks in the stroller. Inevitably, the rolling motion knocks him out and he takes a quick catnap. In fact, he slept long enough for me to power walk to the interchange and buy dinner one evening. I’ve also schlepped him along for errands, met the Squirt for breakfast at Ikea (yummy and cheap!) and attended my first mothers’ group meeting. He would doze off in the wrap and let me enjoy some adult conversation.

And when he was in a snitch because of lack of sleep, I plonked him onto my chest and we both took a nice 45-minute nap in the cool, air-conditioned comfort of the room. When we woke up, he was in a chatty mood and we had a funny conversation about his dream (he dreamt that he was a footballer and scored a hat trick against Manchester City).

No guilt. No expectation.

For the coming week, I am determined to go out at least once a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stroll in the park or a jaunt to the nearest cafe for a cup of coffee. I’d continue attending mothers’ group, even if I don’t know anyone there. I might hop into town and meet my love for lunch.

In short, I am going to let go of everything that has been preventing me from being happy and enjoying my time with my baby.

Anyone wants to date me?
(Baby not sold separately.)

(Obligatory photo of cute baby, who was all of one week old here.)

12 thoughts on “Let it go”

  1. Exactly, good on ya! A will eventually get better at napping in his cot. In the meantime just focus on “whatever it takes” to retain some of your sanity!

    I went through this almost a year ago until I had enough so every day, at least once a day I take bubba out in the pram or Manduca (all kinds of awesome btw) for a late morning walk, she naps, I buy lunch / grocery shop etc.


  2. I went throught the exact same epiphany at exactly the same time (just shy of 12 weeks). You know I’ll be your date anytime!


  3. I love your writing! You manage to capture exactly what it felt like for me when our Blondie was born – even though I went through different difficulties with her (they do come attached with their personalities, don’t they?)

    I remember I was the one who couldn’t sleep during the day. Blondie did sleep – for stretches of 45 minutes at the time. That didn’t work for me. So I became more and more frustrated and desperate for her to sleep, until my mother told me to give it up and go walking instead.

    I walked in the sun. I walked in the rain. I walked in the snow. I walked for hours, sometimes with a break for a cup of tea somewhere, or to feed her, and then more walking. (I also shopped a lot.)

    I think the first few months of motherhood are so very rough because we have to give up our autonomy. We are no longer the most important person in our lives. We are no longer in control. We have to learn to live on another person’s schedule.

    However. As the baby grows older, and more independent, month by month, year by year, autonomy returns. I have this feeling that we need the shock to the system of those first few months to be able to properly care for this new person. We need this forceful reminder that the baby is completely dependent on us, that we need to fit our needs around the babies.

    And, in the end, if we accept that this is the way it is, all of a sudden, it does fit.

    I’m sorry to send in such long comments! Your wel written blog posts just really strike a chord with me. Isn’t it interesting that the way you feel in hot and humid Singapore is EXACTLY the same as I felt in freezing Europe?


  4. Yes! Yes! So happy for you! I wanted to write my experience but refrained from doing so in fear of sounding like yet another person giving unwanted advice. In a power struggle with a baby everyone loses. My baby just cannot sleep without me by her side but if that’s what it takes so be it. She sometimes stays awake at bed time kicking and smiling so out comes my ergo baby and I bring her to the kitchen to make dinner. When she becomes all quiet I nurse get and she drifts off. She still wakes up quite a bit at night but oh well at least I’m not feeling that frustrated. And because I am more at peace, she seems much happier too. Yes my baby is a crappy sleeper but she’s happy and smiley even without the 14 – 16 hours. Babies are so in tuned to our feelings – i learned it the hard way when I had to leave her with the mil after my maternity leave was over. But I guess that’s another story 🙂 I make it a point to go out everyday too when I don’t work! Wish I lived in sg! Would have loved a new mummy friend!


  5. Yay!!! 🙂 Slowly and surely you will get the hang of it 🙂 And the mummies group sounds like a fun thing to be part of. I’m sure you will get to know the mummies in the group in no time.


  6. You know, “let it go” has been our office mantra for the past few weeks. I gasped when I read the title of your blog entry. Heh.

    Come visit us at work!!! We’re just down the road!! We can help you babysit A!! You can have tea and cake with us (while A is being entertained by one of the many experienced mummies)!!


  7. Congrats for a happier Yann! 😛
    Where do you join a Mummy’s group…i’m wondering? Might be interested next time haha


  8. A friend of mine used to do the same. Her baby would only sleep when she pushed the stroller up and down. And I read somewhere that another baby only slept while going up and down in the elevator. yet another friend told me that her baby only slept in the car. Guess it’s the rocking motion? Yeah but it does seem harder than expected.

    Reading your blog is so useful for me. Thanks Yann 🙂 It will help me be more understanding and be a better support for my family members with infants. I really love hearing it from your perspective.


  9. Yes! Whatever works, goes! I realised that a few weeks after #1, and carried no illusions about what I was going to do for #2. I also wanted to do the “put down whilst sleepy but still awake” thing, but HAH! completely doesn’t work for me. So I’ll Ergo the baby, or rock till asleep then very very gingerly put her down whilst praying hard!

    Going out once a day or at LEAST once every other day for lunch with a friend/mummy friends was my sanity-keeper. And baby is always so much EASIER outside the house… falling asleep at the drop of a hat etc, as I’m sure you’ve realised too!


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