Anna Rachel ... August 2002, Sleep Contract

The mystery of why people stick those annoying 'baby on board' signs on their car rear window has now become clear. It is not that the driver is flaunting their reproductive prowess, but rather the signs have a similar function to the 'L' plates - this time carrying the warning 'I'm a new sleep deprived parent and so may drive erratically'.

I used to think that 9pm was a very reasonable time to begin dinner, now nine is a late bedtime. Morrie and I are doing shift work to take care of Anna in the evenings. Morrie does the 8pm until 11pm shift (depending upon Anna's appetite) while I try to catch a few hours of sleep. I take over when Morrie goes to sleep in the spare room or whenever Anna wakes up if we've been lucky enough to put her to sleep. Three days on and we've given up the shift work. The only thing worse that dealing with a grizzling infant, late at night, is the terrible sense of isolation when she is your problem alone. While Morrie and I are now getting less sleep, we are seeing more of each other, which is infinitely preferable.

Anna is the happiest little baby in the world, who sleeps well and very rarely cries, provided the following terms and conditions are met:
- Anna's favoured position is snuggled in the Wilkinet while I or Morrie walk vigorously and continuously.
- Her second favourite is snuggled - vertically - to my chest while I am talking on the telephone or talking to people in the room. Anna doesn't do horizontal or silence.
- Both of these positions are favoured over breastfeeding. Anna never falls asleep at the breast, preferring instead to concentrate on sucking and swallowing.
- If Anna is really, really tired and already asleep, she may be willing to lie horizontally on Morrie's or my chest, provided the lights are on.
- Once asleep, Anna will only remain asleep provided the conditions do not change.
- However, between 11pm and 6am only, Anna is willing to concede to sleep in our double bed, provided both Anna and I maintain body contact, we both sleep on our sides facing each other and looking at each other. Of course, Anna must be asleep prior to coming into our bed.
- Even when in a deep, dead arm, sleep Anna will wake intermittently to stare into my eyes and check that I'm still focusing 100% of my attention on her.

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