When I was of the age that required enormous amounts of sleep – so, say, adolescence through, I don’t know, until I gave birth for the first time – I remember being in awe of my mother’s ability to wake up early. And not only wake up early, but get all sorts of things done and not appear to be bothered by getting less than an optimal amount of sleep. It was genuinely impressive and something I, as a teen on the receiving end of Mum’s wake up calls for school, could not ever fathom being able to do.
I now know Mum took her crash course in sleep deprivation when she had two under two and added a third four years later (Again. Unfathomable.) and I am currently enrolled in the same crash course. Quite apart from teaching you how to sleep in 45 minute blocks, in between feeding the baby and tending to the toddler who has had a bad dream/wants a book read/has done a ‘poooooo’/just thought you might want to see their face at 3am, it also involves expanding your skillset to include things like picking things up off the floor with your feet, peeing with a near 5kg newborn strapped to your torso, developing extraordinary patience, and learning to semi-squat on a chair in a position that doesn’t disturb the newborn still strapped to your torso, so you can do something completely self indulgent like write about the peachy little things that somehow manage to resemble everyone they are related to, and absorb time like the best book you have ever read.
(The squat on the chair didn’t work, by the way; he woke up and demanded I move. Mum always said baby boys are clinger than girls, and der Lüdde is only proving her right. Or my family does a good gene in male clinginess, I don’t know.)
Summer has been kind so far. Sure, some rain, some cloud, some wind – we don’t live in the Carribean. But also some baking hot days, and loads of ice cream. On the really hot days, die Lüdde goes nuts at any nearby playground with a water pump. The other afternoon I stood, swaying so as to keep the peach strapped to my torso asleep, indulgently snapping photos as she splashed and dug and had a merry old time. It was a rosy moment, hot and relaxed, set to the soundtrack of chidren’s laughter. Then an older kid peed in the sand, and when his dad yelled ‘STOP’, he stopped, jumped into the puddle die Lüdde had moments earlier been dabbling in, and continued peeing in there, a weirdly smug smile on his face. His Dad sighed, and said resignedly, ‘cover it with sand.’ Die Lüdde took a long, hot bath that night.
Kieler Woche was lovely this year. For the first time since my patronage began, the week wasn’t cold or completely washed out. Even when it did rain, it was warm enough for thongs, and to not worry about lugging functional jackets around. It was an almost completely unrecognisable event.
And summer is about to get really interesting. My sister is getting married next month in Vietnam, and because we love keeping things fresh and exciting, we are going, 4-week-old and all! Woo! Actually, the four-week-old doesn’t really deserve a mention – tiny babies are excellent travellers. Pack boobs/bottles and a carrier and you’re set. Toddlers, now they deserve a mention. Toddlers on a plane. God help me. God help me.