No, not like a baby, because they don’t - they wake and move and shout for things, and it’s not a few weeks or months - dream on new parents - it’s decades of broken nights right up until you’re listening for the key in the lock. Even when you think you’re asleep, you’re not.
My dad told me about the phenomenon of sleeping when you’re awake, but he was marching miles with the Black Watch through France, North Africa, Sicily and Italy during WW2 at the time, and I didn’t wake up and find myself at Monte Cassino.
Anyway, last night, after waving Youngest Child off on a work night out clubbing, I slept through the night. Was I worried about her? Well yes, because the worrying never stops.
“Even when they’ve got grey hair,” my aunty says, as she recounts how my cousin put his false front teeth in the air fryer on return from the pub because he’s colour blind and mistook them for one of the chicken bits he was frying. Unfortunately he had to appear as an expert witness in court the next day, and wore them, frilly and askew, which combined with his newly-purchased suit “made me look like George Formby”, which impressed the authorities apparently, as the case against the illegal killing of birds was won. Result. Cue ukulele fanfare.
So I was mildly worried, as the theme of Youngest’s evening was Baywatch.
“Aw no. You’re not going out in a cheesewire swimsuit are you?” I ask as she prepares to reveal her outfit.
“Pamela Anderson, tiny red up the bum swimsuit.”
“What? No, I’m a lifeguard. Shorts and T-shirt. Obviously.”
“And I’m gonna take Eldest’s big baseball jacket ‘cos it’s August so it’ll rain. And I’m sleeping at a friend’s so don’t wait up.”
So I didn’t. Especially after Middle Child, phoned late on to report her phone was dead. Checking up, wasn’t that my job? “But she’s almost not a teenager any more,” he says, voice tinged with regret. “She’ll be fine.”
Which is more than I was on opening her bedroom door in the morning, looking for the cat.
“Aggggh! It’s yourself!” I shout.
“Aggggh! She screams back, no longer sleeping ‘like a baby’. Go away. I’m TRYING to sleep.”