It was one of those impeccable timing things, almost spooky in its perfect synchronicity.
We left the relaxing idyll of the Beach Shack and (via Newcastle) returned to the big House in Sydney. C flew back to Country Town to continue work leaving us, his loving spouse and child, in the Big House with the Naughty Nephews and their parents (and mice).
And at 9.30pm Tricky metamorphosed into his evil alias: The Screaming Tomato.
It was horrifying. At first I fretted about the rest of the family, and the next door neighbours, trying, and no doubt miserably failing, to get to sleep, but after several hours of on-again off-again Hellspawn shriekfest it was every man and mouse for himself.
I tried everything I could to get him to sleep. I patted (hopeless), I rocked (useless), I even tried tucking him alongside me into bed (actually agitated further) which the books say very sternly not to do unless you’re prepared to deal with co-sleeping until at least puberty(or similar).
And finally, I succumbed. I broke my own rule and sometime, well before midnight, I picked him up and breastfed him even though I knew he would be awake again by 2am.
For months I had been holding out, night after night, waiting for the magic hour of 5am, often feeding earlier, even as early as 3.30, but knowing that having fallen into the deep sleep that always follows a nightly nurse he would stay that way for two hours. I don’t know why this is so, I only know that it is. This is what happens, this is the law. It’s a given, it’s concrete, it’s absolute, it’s like gravity or herpes. It’s permanent, it’s unchangeable, it’s unbreakable, it may as well be written in letters of fire on the palm of Buddha: AFTER BREASTFEEDING AT NIGHT YOU GET TWO HOURS OF SHOOSH.
It broke my heart last night to discover that the two hour shoosh rule was complete crap. It was bogus, it was fake, it was no rule at all.
Instead, as soon as I put him back into his cot, he let rip with a Level 11 bloodcurdling shriek. My mouth dropped open. He had been toying with me all this time. I went back to the above mentioned list of completely Useless Settling Techniques. They were equally useless the second time around, and the third as well, but at least they filled in time before I could attach him to my breasts again which seemed to be the only thing that worked and kept him quiet.
The only good thing was that finally, when i eventually did fall into a coma, I did so without torturing myself over that radio interview last Friday and thinking of all the clever, sensible things I should have said.