The nightshift

Seamlessly, with the midway passing of the year, so one set of parents touched down back in Manchester yesterday afternoon, whilst another, mine, were being driven to Heathrow to board their Air France flights out here.

It has been great times having Janice and Gordon with us, and Florence has been full of beans since they arrived, showing them all her favourite places to eat, drink and play. To have a double helping of grandparents is already the cause for further giggles and hoots from Flo. She is on school holidays now, so all the more reason to be excited!

Dad will, I predict, be bristling with excitement as well (he will not mind me saying) not only about the trip ahead, but also with anticipation at the chance to test his new blackberry, and its operating prowess in Vietnam.

An initial email sent from Charles De Gaulle airport last night verified that the device was responding ok so far to being out of the UK. The irony, to be tested soon, may well be that the phone signal is very possibly stronger and more reliable out in Saigon than it is at my parent’s house in the New Forest, where, making a call on your mobile involves standing on tip toe in one of the upstairs rooms, with your ear pressed up against the window and pointed, hopefully, skywards.

The fact that I was awake at 3am this morning to receive the text from Paris is maybe not such a wheeze…

Martha.  Almost 6 weeks old, Martha has been a model baby so far.  She has started to get into the habit of pulling off more smiles these days, and whilst the attribution of this is usually related to the passing of air through some part of her body, we’d like to think of course that most of the smiles were in our direction. 

That said, I’m not sure the sight of me picking her up at 2am, bleary eyed and creased face, would be one to induce any sort of ‘delighted to see you Dad’ smile.

To be more accurate (and in case Lou reads this) for the most part I have had some enviable sleeps during these first few weeks, as Martha often snoozes for 5, 6 or even 7 hours during the night and, when she does wake, it is Lou who is jolted into action.

With Flo often up far too close to 5am than is healthy for anyone, I have defaulted to being on her shift in the morning, to allow the other two to doze. A reasonable balance, however this doesn’t always go smoothly.

Just recently Martha has decided to be super awake and interested in everything, straight after her middle of the night feed. To be fair, she is very close to being too big for her Moses basket and this causes her to fidget and kick about, which is hardly a surprise as pretty much her head, arms and legs are all now touching the sides!

So, whilst Lou had to initially cope with this (in amongst all her other various ailments at the moment) for a few nights whilst I was away with work, firstly in Hanoi and then in Bangkok, Martha must have clearly realised I’d missed out on the action, as she has kept her new habit going these past couple of nights.

I stepped up on Wednesday to try and remedy things – determined that a few laps of the apartment, with some rhythmic cradling and swaying, would solve matters – and so with her 2am milking complete I took over the reigns, leaving Lou to roll over and go back to sleep (literally, both at the same time, it’s an incredible skill).

At this point Flo came into our room, scared of the “noisy rain” outside, and got into our bed, where she went straight off, leaving me to my task, however for the next 2 hours I tried everything to get Martha to sleep, to no avail.

After exhausting the number of positions I thought possible in terms of the different ways of carrying her around, and desperately switching my pace of walking, length of step, bobbing up and down, side shuffling, humming, singing, and all other kinds of (useless) tactics, I took her into Flo’s room and eventually she dropped off on Flo’s bed at 4:30am.

Not sure what Lou made of Martha and I a few hours later when she came to look for us, but I think it’s fair to say that Martha (no doubt with a somewhat replete smile on her face as she languished in her older sister’s ample bed) looked very content. Meanwhile, I was lying on Flo’s colourful foam hop-scotch mats on the floor beside her, mouth wide open, with one of the crappier of our many pillows propping up my arms, and my head stuck to the pink letter ‘4’. 

Not a pretty sight.

Time, perhaps, to buy Martha a new bed.


One thought on “The nightshift

  1. Jenny Falcon July 1, 2011 / 8:06 am

    Hi Tim! By the time you read this I imagine the second set of visiting grandparents will have arrived -having hopefully had a smooth trip and with blackberry functioning perfectly!
    Your accounts of disturbed nights etc. are presented with remarkable good humour – no doubt in reality you and Lou are both shattered! However, having some assistance from above mentioned visitors will hopefully help – and I am sure that your folk are bursting to see you all! Have a wonderful time with them and I wish you some hours of unbroken sleep. Super photos of your sleeping angels!


    P.S. A bit of ‘home’ news: We have just been lucky enough to have a week in Portugal, a few days in Praia da Luz and the remainder in Porto, where we witnessed a lively and colourful annual festival – fantastic fireworks at midnight from barges on the river just opposite our hotel (a deliberate ploy on our part!) It was great to have a few days away – particularly as we have the builders in at the moment so are in a certain amount of chaos! Also, went to Wimbledon yesterday as we were offered Court No. 1 tickets. Always a great atmosphere there – and even though we didn’t recognise many of the players’ names (!) we saw some good matches!

    Take care and have fun…………………..

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