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Posts Tagged ‘grassington’

It’s 3.57am and Milo is howling. An electric fan drones, feebly pushing warm air from one corner of the room to the other. Sweat prickles in the small of my back and my usual PJs (a woolly cardigan and trackie bottoms combo – who says you let yourself go when you become a mother) lie crumpled at the foot of the bed. Directly beneath the bedroom is an Aga that heats the whole house; it’s the reason why it’s so very hot in our bedroom at this ungodly hour.

‘Do you need a hand?’ stage whispers Simon.

‘I can’t hear you!’ I whisper back, somewhat savagely.

I am at the end of my tether. This is the third time Milo has woken up and I’ve been doing pick-up-put-down for almost an hour. Which works fine when using the cot at home but with the travel cot – which squats low on the floor – is the equivalent of touching my toes several hundred times an hour. Right now, I think, I really could do with Simon bloody well lending me a hand.

‘I said, do you want a hand?’ says Simon, moving closer to my ear.

What he doesn’t realise is that I have Milo wailing in one ear and a fan buzzing in the other. He could be shouting through a loud hailer into an ear trumpet and I’d still have no idea what he was saying.

‘What?’ I say, and then, unreasonably, ‘and shut up, you’ll disturb the baby!’

Simon shuffles across the bed, ducking his head to avoid an authentic low-hanging oak beam, and takes Milo from me. You’d think I’d be pleased to be released from my backbreaking, calf-killing duties. But no, it’s now 4.01am and I’m absolutely furious (with Milo, obviously, but not with Milo, as that’s not allowed, because that would make me a bad mother and the one thing I really, really don’t want to be is a bad mother).

‘Oh great, the book says you’re not supposed to swap the baby from one parent to the next while in the middle of pick-up-put-down. Now he’s never going to learn to self-settle.’

I storm downstairs, resisting the urge to slam the door, chuck pans across the kitchen and break a few plates. I am so, so tired. Each time Milo woke me was like being ripped from the womb. And each time he woke I couldn’t say what I wanted to say, which was, ‘oh for god’s sake, just go back to sleep.’ So instead I settle for sitting on the sofa, simmering gently. I look for something to read but can only find Mum and Dad’s copy of the Daily Mail. I read something vicious about single mothers, Polish immigrants and Gordon Brown and snort. Suddenly, the wailing stops as Simon persuades Milo to go to sleep.

At 4.23am I climb back into bed. My anger seeped away as soon as the crying stopped. By the time morning comes I’ll be profoundly grateful to Simon for getting Milo back to sleep. I’ll be incredibly understanding of the fact that Milo was freaked out by being in a new place in a new bed and just needed a little reassurance to get to sleep (albeit every two hours). The sun will come out and we’ll walk by a river at Bolton Abbey in countryside so beautiful that it makes me suspicious (it just doesn’t seem natural after being surrounded by the grub and grime of suburban Manchester).

And I will wonder why it is, when the lights go out, that the only monster that creeps out from the shadows is me.

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