Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Kitchen is the size of a Travelcot


Since Eastbourne the girls have not slept well. This means that The Doctor and I have not slept well. Luckily the floor space in our kitchen is exactly the size of a travel cot. On a typical night Baby Sister will wake, kneel up in her sleeping bag, grab hold of the cot rails that divide the double bed, with both of her tiny fists, and begin to cry. Big Sister wakes up and calls out,
“Mummy, can you get her?”
I use a miners head-lamp to ensure that I don’t step on a rogue slug in the corridor while walking to the bedroom cabin. The bedroom is dimly lit by a pink plastic flower-shaped light. I climb up onto the bunk and stand between the girls, next to the improvised cot-side barrier. I’m slightly bent over as the standing space is less than five feet.
“Mummy, take her out!” whines Big Sister.
“I’m getting her!” I snap groggily. “ You can see I’m in here!”
I lean over and pick up the grizzling baby under the armpits. I sit her up on the bed next to her disgruntled sister, while I climb down to the floor. Then I carry her through to the other end of the boat where we have pre-emptively erected the travel cot.
After a cuddle and a drink of water she is abandoned in the cot to wail with baby loneliness. Us parents gently offer words of comfort from our futon bed on the other side of the kitchen work-top. The first night we did this she cried for an hour and a half, but it’s getting better. The second night we did this, I was more tired so I accidentally bumped the baby’s head on the lamp hanging from the ceiling as I awkwardly lifted her out of bed, and then stepped on Big Sister. The third night, we tried a nappy change, drink of water, drink of milk, relaxing music and finally a piece of bread: Instant happiness. She chomps happily on the bread and makes the baby sign language for “more”!

In the morning we pack up the futon and travel cot, and clear piles of paperwork, toys and a beanbag off the table and onto the girls’ bed. Then the table is ready for breakfast. We can’t make breakfast until the travel cot is dismantled and packed away. And so on, and so on.

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