My thoughts on creating simple Christmas traditions and reflecting on my own childhood memories of Christmas.
As with most tales of children not sleeping, the simple set up you see above all started because sometime last year, we knew we had to do something to at least try and get better quality sleep. For all of us.
My older boys have always shared a room, albeit in separate beds in different corners of their room, up until a year ago. But let’s just say one sleeps better than the other. Suffian, who is now five, can sleep through anything that noisy north London nights throw at him. But he wasn’t always like this.
When he was born, we lived on a main road right outside a bus stop, our bedrooms facing the street. It never even occurred to us that this might be problematic; but the first night we moved in, when our windows rattled from sirens that shook my bones and ambulance headlights cast eery, jerky shadows on the wall, I panicked, immediately thinking we’d made a big, big mistake. I thought none of us would ever sleep again, let alone our newborn.
As it happens, he was born a terrible sleeper and a constant night feeder, and it had nothing to do with the noise (although, in the end, we installed secondary glazing on our old leaky sash windows which helped a little). Then, one fine day when he was seven months, we sleep-trained in a day (I know this brings up all sorts of different feelings for everyone; we did it for us because we, I, simply needed to sleep again) and lo and behold, after ten minutes of crying he slept through the night and has done so ever since.
And boy, can he sleep - an enviably, deep, steady sleep from which he has to be stirred every morning.
I thought my eyes would be misty from sadness, writing this post. I wanted to write something about September, about the fading of one beautiful summer, about the chill in the air, about two of my three little boys growing up too fast, starting their own journeys into school that I might not always be a part of.
But I am not sad. The air is not chilly, not yet, but just simply softer. There are snatches of sunlight slanting first thing in the morning, then again in the afternoon. I notice it filtering through the as yet ungilded leaves on to the flat pavements and it reminds me that we are lingering, still, between seasons but also ready for time to move along. Cardigans and jumpers have been carefully washed, buttons sewn back onto heavy coats, wellies cleaned of caked-on mud, probably leftover from last year. We don't need them yet though. We are waiting.