Dot writes: I’ve just been to meet a very nice little three-month-old baby girl, whom I last saw as a bump. She was charming, making cute little noises and trying to roll over, and it was good to see her parents again, but I’ve come away feeling rather grubby because I was talking Hugh down. As readers who can be bothered with all this parental navel-gazing will know, we are trying to make changes in our sleep situation, and I was talking about this. The three-month-old sleeps through the night. So I found myself listing all the things that good babies are supposed to do sleep-wise and that Hugh doesn’t do – sleep in his cot; sleep in his own room; go to sleep easily (except in a moving car or buggy, which is not an option at night); sleep for more than a few hours (maximum) at a time. Which makes the situation sound pretty awful, and doubtless makes us sound like useless parents. But I need to emphasise what Hugh does do: love us and want to be with us; only wake very briefly when in our bed, and without needing to cry; let us get enough sleep, if not on our own and with some small interrruptions; feed well and gain weight; pass milestones, play happily and explore the world. He is not an unhappy baby. He is big, beautiful, and healthy. And we are not unhappy parents. We adore our baby and have plenty of energy to play with and care for him. So what’s the problem?
Well, the last few nights haven’t been so great, which is partly to do with the heat. It would be nice to have our bed to ourselves and to be able to put Hugh to bed and do something else for a bit. In the end he is going to have to sleep alone and we need to teach him to do that; plus I do worry that he gets overtired sometimes. But one factor that’s more important than it should be, for me though not for Ken, is my anticipation of other people’s perception that things are going badly for us and that we’re bad parents. I imagine friends – dear friends – who would never be rude enough to criticize aloud, silently thinking ‘they didn’t take the advice I gave them, and look at the result’. I really need to get rid of this, because it’s no help at all. What counts is that we have a routine that works so that no-one ends up frazzled.
Still, I think we’ll carry on with the Dad Power experiment for the moment.