My mother-in-law believes that my lack of sleeping prowess is due to Pinkie having CF, and me not having dealt with it, although as I have said to her, how do you deal with that? It sounds like a lot of wasted energy even trying. I can categorically tell you now, that I will never be ok with it, that it will always be the dark menace that lurks waiting for a moment to pounce and that I will always have a cricket bat ready to smash it in the face. I will never ho-hum and say, ‘that’s the way it goes or swings and roundabouts,’ or anything else that amounts to acceptance.
I think I am a fearful mummy naturally. Even before we had Pinkie, and even though Blue had some operations which were enough to shake the bejesus out of an Irish nun, I think I already had the tendency for crash helmets and cotton wool suits. Blue was a very small baby, about the size of a kitten and sweeter by far, and my instinct to protect him was perhaps over egged, I think it's just the way some of us are made. I won’t let Blue on a skateboard, nor will I let him and Pinkie on a trampoline together, they are not to play on the stairs, nor run with a lolly in their mouth, the list is endless and where most parents know these things make sense they don’t enforce them, but I do.
Some nights I think about what we have eaten, which can do one of two things, make me starving or make me come up with menu options that incorporate all the dietary requirements for a growing child. I lay there and hope that Blue is receptive enough to eat quinoa porridge made with goats milk with grated coconut, cinnamon, Manuka honey and a spinach and basil jus, and perhaps a sprig of wild garlic just for his cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. Then the morning comes and I blurry-eyed hand over the Weetabix, which even if it comes from Aldi is deemed fake and inedible. The wild garlic can perhaps be hidden in the dinner.
My weekend insomnia is far easier to explain, its wine. My good friends Mr Pinot or Ms Merlot, I‘m not fussy, they are both very welcome to call my house home, even if it is all too briefly. Over the years I have noticed that if I drink even a weeny thimble of vino in the evening that I go to sleep wonderfully well, for about two hours. Last weekend I woke up ready for the day, at ten past midnight, it was an unmitigated disaster. I got up and tried to restart the going to bed process. I went downstairs and sat in my sleeping bag that I keep behind the sofa for just such occasions, watched a little bit of telly, read one chapter, had a wee and went back to bed. About 3am I restarted the going to bed process again. At 5am I got up for the day and laid on the sofa with the dog and caught up on my series linked box set of Peaky Blinders. I can’t remember what happened at the very end, because I had fallen asleep, just long enough to miss the crucial moment. Pinkie woke me with a cup of tea, it wasn’t until she winched that I realised the tv was still on and that Tommy had just glassed someone. Welcome to series two. Jumping up in my sleeping bag to cover her eyes as the controller was AWOL, the dog flew off the shiny sleeping bag, into Pinkie who spilt the tea. Her face fell as she looked at the dark splodges on my light real wool, less than two years old carpet.
“And that’s for you, you beep beep beep,” yelled Tommy from behind me.
I was flapping about making as much noise as I could to drown out Tommy and his profanities, and managed to turn the screen off, but not the noise. It was not the best start to Saturday, but my half cup of tea was nice and the thought was even nicer.
I have called my wine based insomnia ‘Nocturnal Diabetes’, as I am convinced it's the sugar in the wine that once inside me, turns into molten lava, the kind you make boiled sweets out of. My body is the temperature of a kiln when I wake up and I just know there’s a mad scientist in there mixing up concoctions of liquid sugar in test tubes and glass beakers. He’s probably got the radio on too.
The solution is clear, no wine for poor old Cecil. I have to save the joy of that first sip for passages of time when I can afford to be awake all night and also have nothing to do the following day. These days don’t exist, so sometimes when I’m feeling particularly reckless I just do it anyway. After all you’ve got to live.