Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Morning rock:

It took 15 years, but Caroline McMahon is finally waking up on her terms.
By Caroline McMahon
Date: December 27 2012
Editor Rating:

Fifteen years ago I brought home my beautiful baby boy. It was like a scene from a movie: blissfully happy parents, a sweet, perfectly formed baby. The sun was shining on the day he came home, the birds were singing, I swear I could hear a background score to make the scene perfect. Life was good and we were content.  

Fast-forward two months. Screaming baby, night and day; I was shattered; my husband tired and cranky, permanently. That blissful day bringing ‘Bundle of Boy’ home, music and all, suddenly seemed so long ago.

I read, I sought help, my mum helped, everyone offering solutions to my dilemma of a screaming baby and NO sleep. This child was superhuman. How could he stay awake for so long, wake every 45 minutes around the clock and not pass out with exhaustion, even once a week?

Bundle of Boy started to scare me; this ability to stay awake and test our limits on increasing levels with each passing week made me wonder when I would ever sleep for longer than one hour, ever, again.

I bathed Boy Bundle, massaged him with lavender scented oils to the rolling tunes of Tony O'Connor (rolling waves, very soothing). I sang to him and told him how much I loved him. I confess in desperation I also told him that I could possibly love him just a bit more if he would just sleep.

He learnt to self-settle, he had no props and still he woke. I would creep back into bed with fingers and toes crossed, barely breathing in case he heard me exhale with relief.

Bundle of Boy was asleep. I started to notice that every time my head touched the pillow that he would wake. I tested this experiment often.

In my sleepless frenzy, I even slept upright one night, reasoning that while I remained upright, Bundle of Boy would not wake. Delirium had set it.  Bundle of Boy had broken me. I am a strong, ‘glass half-full’ kinda gal, and today the glass was empty. My husband was injuring himself at work with regular frequency, and I went back to work for a break!!!

The months continued, punctuated with various day and overnight stays at my local parent help centre. Despite the best efforts of everyone I came into contact with, Bundle of Boy still did not sleep that well.

By the age of two, Bundle of Boy finally got through the night on a regular basis asleep. Well, most of the night. You see, he felt that 5.14am was morning, every morning. He would wake bright and bubbly, ready to start the day. Something I definitely was not.

We cajoled, bribed, yelled, soothed - anything to encourage a bit more sleep in the mornings.  Nothing worked, an early riser we had.

Just when I was scraping through with just enough sleep to be human, baby boy number two was on his way. Hang on, this is going to be a wild ride.

The excessive nausea experienced with Bundle of Boy soon returned, and I couldn't find the off button. A long sea-sick pregnancy continued, starting the day at 5.14am. It extended to 6.14am just before Bliss Bomb was born.

Spurious labour saw me contract from sundown to sun up for two weeks solid. I crawled into bed at 5.30 am each morning, contractions abating, sleep not far away, finally. Yep you guessed it, Bundle of Boy would find me at 6.14am, with his cheerful "good morning mummy, it's morning”. Indeed, it was.

Thirteen years later, I am now the mother of teenage sons.  I have a long memory.

Teenage hormones make these boys sleep like the dead. Getting up for school becomes an Olympic event.

I warm up, I stretch, preparing for marathon ahead. Shaking bodies, me climbing over beds, throwing balls at the corpse-like bodies. Water sports with water pistols and just plain cups of water being tipped on their heads. Each attempt at waking them with a Cruella DeVille cackle in my throat, and revengeful smile. It has been a long time coming and worth the wait.

This past year has been the revengeful mother's highlight.  

Bundle of Boy is now a sportsman and needs to swim three mornings a week to enhance his water polo development. In winter it is dark at 5.14 am. My moment has arrived. I am not letting Bundle of Boy wake me yet again this lifetime at 5.14 am.  Oh no.  I want that pleasure. I am the one that staggers down to his room, I negotiate my way around randomly dropped clothes, books, iPads, ps3 controllers, through the stale teenage stench to his bedside.  He tries to put me off with these obstacles, but I negotiate a path to his bed. I smile and enjoy watching his lifeless body stirring to life, recognizing that it is dark, cold and time to get up.

"Good morning son, it's morning," rolls off my morning furry teeth and tongue.

I walk out of his room still smiling and repeat the ritual in the next door with Bliss Boy.

My day starts, on my terms. Finally.

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Emily says: 2013 03 20

Hooray, hurrah Caroline!
I can hardly wait until that satisfying moment comes in their teenage years. However, thanks to you my sleepless nights were short lived and resulted in a happy household through the guidance ‘Caroline’s Angels’ gave to our family.
Thank you and enjoy a great night’s sleep and a revengeful morning!

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