I cannot recall how many times I have been asked whether one of my children is sleeping through.
Once my son hit the 18mthsish mark, people stopped asking. It was assumed he had. However, he has achieved gold standard, erm, once?, in nearly three years.
Now we have a 5mth old daughter, and the question has started again.
The pattern has been the same for each child. I have explained that no, they are not sleeping through, that no, I don’t know how many times they are waking in the night and yes, they are often given milk when they do wake.
Why is this such a Badge of Parent Honour? More’s to the point, why does anyone actually care?
My children are happy, and if they want a drink in the night, I will give it to them – whether that is by rolling over and feeding the baby lying next to me in bed, or by getting up to respond to my toddler’s request for milk.
Why do others feel the need to make people feel like failures? ‘Well, they should be sleeping through by now’. Really? Says who? And what if they’re not? Will they implode?.
(Oh, how I love the word ‘implode’. Implooooode).
For me, there is probably only one even more annoying question, asked of me by all and sundry, from strangers in the supermarket to friends who really should know better…
‘Is he/she good?’. No. My child is pure evil with a penchant for bank robbery.
People have given me strange looks when I have come up with this or some similar retort. My partner now dreads the question, as she often feels obliged to explain and translate whilst I do my best wasp-chewing face.
Sometimes I will enter into a wannabe academic discussion about whether a two-week old baby has the cognitive skill and capacity to misbehave. Then I tend to lose the questioner altogether to the tinned veg aisle or somewhere.
I shout after them, as they peruse the sweetcorn..
‘Oh, sorry. You meant ‘Is my child so quiet we don’t notice him/her?’. No, thankfully not. Green Giant is on special offer by the way’.
I need to learn more grace.