Christmas and New Year’s Eve are now distant memories yet I am now dealing with the aftermath of having shifted my girls out of their usual routine. Bedtime has become a battle ground and I can’t say that I’m winning.

There were a few days spent away from home; late nights, bedding down on blow-ups or creaky travel cots, the whole family in one bedroom, the overdosing on chocolate and the lackadaisical approach to bedtime.

It was all good fun at the time but now I am paying the price. It is quite funny (funny “strange” I mean, not funny “ha ha”; There is absolutely nothing funny “ha ha” about sleep deprivation!) how your sleep expectations and requirements actually change after having children.

My husband and I were having a light hearted chat the other day about how tired we both were these days. Instead of our usual “tired-off” competition (who is more tired than the other) which usually goes something like this:

Him “I deserve a lie-in on Saturday, I’ve had a really full-on week at work and been up at the crack of dawn every morning”

Me (Screeching; I can’t respond to this provocation in a rational calm voice!) “You’re tired!? Try looking after two pre-schoolers all day every day then you’ll know what tired really means... I wish I could go to work; for a REST…”

Anyway, for once we were in agreement about the level of tiredness we were now both subjected to. This is deep down, to the bones weary. It’s not the sort of tiredness that a good night’s sleep will cure, oh no, this is to the core fatigue. I have a feeling that we may eventually pep up once our daughters depart for uni.

If I’d honestly known prior to having babies that I would be able to exist like this then I would never have believed it. I used to be a good 8-10 hours a night kind of a girl, now anything over 6 is a good night and it is almost never unbroken.

The late months of pregnancy is when it all starts. A night without peeing is unheard of, and manovering a 3rd trimester belly is akin to a 3-point turn. Either way your nights of unbroken sleep are a distant memory. In some ways this ‘gentle’ foray into sleep deprivation is a little window into the future.

I don’t think I got a full night’s sleep until around 7 or eight months when my baby was fully weaned. Nothing can prepare you for it, nothing can make it easier. I guess the truth is, you just get used to it.

During the second year, most nights were interrupted by some sort of middle of the night crisis “mummy I’m thirsty, mummy I’m not tired, Mummy I’ve lost my dummy” and then I was pregnant again so I guess I’ve got no one to blame but myself!

Nights now follow an unwelcome regularity. Sometimes it’s the eldest; sometimes it’s the youngest, sometimes it’s both. At bedtime they are adamant that they are not tired, at some point they will wake up in the night for the loo/ milk/ a cuddle/ check the wardrobe for monsters.

To top it off, my18 month old has just learnt how to climb out of her cot in the night. Any hopes of sleep in 2013 are looking bleak!

What’s On

Friday, January 11

9.30am and 11am Harrogate School of Gymnastics Pre-school drop-in sessions no need to book! £4 per child 40 minute session.

Saturday, January 12

2pm Junior Cinema in the Dale, Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall. Junior Cinema in the Dale supported by the Nidderdale Plus Arts Fund presents Brave, a computer-animated adventure fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. Tickets: under 16’s £3; Adults £5; family (2+2) £12, on the door.

Tuesday, January 15

10-11.30am every Tuesday (term time) currently at the Scout hut on St Marys Walk. St Mary’s playgroup. Tea or coffee, craft and a toddler snack included. Term time only, £2 per family, come for lots of play, planned crafts, snacks and sing time. Newborns to school age welcome. Also hot drinks and biscuits for parents/ careers. Run by mums. This friendly group is temporarily locating to the Scout Hut on St Mary’s Walk (postcode HG2 0LW, just off Cold Bath Road) while St Mary’s Church Hall is being renovated

Wednesday, January 16

10-11.30am Chatterbox playgroup meets at Christ Church Parish Centre. Fun for children age 0-5 with crafts, stories and other activities. £2 per week with drinks and snacks included. Call Hayley on 07812 194908 for more information. Every Wednesday (term time).