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what to do if you're toddler isn't sleeping through (warning: this is the unorthodox answer)

Let's take a pretty typical scenario.

Another parent: "You look terrible."

Me: [yawn] "Yeah, rough night with the kid."

The other parent: "Oh, your baby isn't sleeping through the night? That sucks. My kids so awesome and so unbelievably perfect that he has has been sleeping from 7 to 7 since he was 6 months old."

Me: "Oh, f**k off would you."

Thinking about it, I guess I've always had a problem with conforming because I don't like the way society wants you to conform; I don't like the way society depicts what perfection should look like. Why? Because that isn't my idea of perfection. In life, society says we should go to school, get a degree, do a job, pay tax, retire and then cop it. That isn't my idea of perfection. The same goes for parenting. Society says we should have a baby, which will need feeding every other hour, including in the night, which means we forget everything we once knew about sleep (or mummies do anyway, us men tend to have it slightly easier ). This bit is amazing. However, society then says that - when our baby gets to about 6 months - they should go into their own room, start sleeping better, stop waking up more than twice and then very quickly start sleeping through until about 8am, thus allowing us exhausted parents (by which I mean mummies) to look and feel as fresh as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Woohoo, thank you society for that epic input.

Well, our little girl, Phoebe, is almost 2 and a half years old and still doesn't sleep through, and guess what, I love it. She has slept right the way through a handful of times, which was nice for her and horrid for me because when she sleeps well I spend the whole night wide-eyed, trying to hear if she is breathing on the monitor and, basically, getting so worried that something bad has happened that I end up checking on her three of four times throughout the night. But that is besides the point. The reason why I love my Phoebe waking at 3am and coming into our room is because in roughly about 9 years time she will become a moody teenage that won't even want to talk to me, so I'll take all the snuggles and cuddles I can before that day comes.

The other thing is, Phoebe comes into mummy and daddy's bed and wakes up to unconditional love. She gets to wake up and kiss and cuddle us. Of course it's not all rainbows and unicorns; getting woken up ay 6am by a mischievous child wanting to stick their sopping wet dummy up your right nostril has it's downsides. As does being dragged out of bed by your third and fourth toes. But I love all that. It's all part of parenting. It's all going to be stuff that I'll crave and yearn for in the blink of an eye.

Look, I'm not saying what we do is right. But it isn't wrong either. It is what feels right to us. It was brings us joy. It is how we start everyday tired but happy. And I don't think society can tell us otherwise. So whatever your kid is doing at night, whether they are sleeping through, waking twice or kicking it in your bed the whole night, you're doing an unbelievable job. And what's more, you're doing the right thing. You're doing you. And when the time comes to change that, you will know and so will your kid. Until then, follow the gut and follow the heart. Both of them are stupid compared to your head, but your head is boring and your heart is fun.

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