After nearly a year as a parent I have finally learned the one thing you can count on as a parent and that is…nothing! Henry started crawling and I distinctly remember thinking to myself “great this will keep him occupied and I still have time before he is walking”. Wrong! Henry quickly tired of his crawling and skipped straight to standing and pulling himself up on everything in the house. Likewise recently he started sleeping through the night finally! After months of sleepless nights I thought to myself ‘thank god that’s over’. Wrong again!
This last week has been the worst so far in the sleep department. I know that I am becoming a sleep-obsessed baby bore and that most of my friends have begun to mentally switch off when I start to tell them about my long nights of shhshing, patting, crying-it-out, lullabies, rocking, co-sleeping, anything just anything to get the child to sleep. Only similarly tortured people can empathise, which leaves me socially limited to either prisoners of war or other equally exhausted and hopeless parents.
My mother has the same response to every Henry-related dilemma; “It’s just a phase” — which I used to take comfort in until I was googling ‘sleep regresssion’ the other day and noticed that as I was typing, the search engine was offering several prompts. The prompts appeared in a list beneath the search bar and read thus; sleep regression 10 months, sleep regression 14 months, sleep regression 18 months, sleep regression 3 years and so on. I am now experiencing new levels of despair. Where will this all end?
The mother admonished me for ‘googling’ in the first place as she maintains that it is best not to know what calamities lie just around the corner. She is of the opinion that ignorance is bliss and in her day it was easier because the notion of ‘parenting techniques’ hadn’t been invented yet. The Internet wasn’t around to undermine your every parental instinct and “crying-it-out” wasn’t even a thing it was just crying — now it has it’s own acronym.
I am of the opinion that knowledge is power and it is also the only defense we have against these tiny, domineering little beings. I will be continuing to hunt the Internet for any parenting advice I can glean and also it is a comforting place where the experiences of others in the parenting trenches offer reassurance. And if all else fails remember; “it’s just a phase”.
Sleepless nights call for comfort food – and this is a dish we love in our house! It is a handy way to prepare dinner for Henry also, I just put aside a little roasted squash for him before adding the herbs, garlic and cheese.
2 red onions
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
200ml low salt stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, picked
1 butternut squash
4 sprigs of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic in their skins
40g grated Parmesan
200g lean steak
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Prick the squash all over with a knife. Place both halves cut-side down in a oven-proof dish. Tuck the sprigs of rosemary and the whole cloves of garlic in under each half. Bake the squash for about 40 minutes or until tender. Peel the onions, cut each in half and finely slice into half moons. Add a tablespoon of oil to a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and sweat for about 10 minutes until soft. Add in 1 tablespoon of balsamic and stir over the heat to caramelise the onions. Stir in the flour and increase the heat. When the onions are starting to stick stir in the remaining balsamic and the stock and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Fry the steak on a non-stick pan. When the squash is ready, scoop the flesh out of the skins with a spoon, squeeze the garlic out of the skins, finely chop a sprig of rosemary and combine this with the Parmesan in a pot over a medium heat. Spoon the mash onto plates; arrange the steak on top and spoon over the caramelised onion.