Last Wednesday night I was thankful for every cent of taxpayer’s money that goes into the ABC, as it was instrumental in helping to settle my little child.
But, I have to admit, it was not as I had planned.
The night was the first that mum was away from her little bubba due to a surgery. That left me on duty with my mother-in-law.
It’s fair to assume that the child knew that mum wasn’t around. Add to the mix three teeth cutting through at once, and her having just got over a virus, and conditions were set for a challenging night.
The first wave hit at 9:30, when she woke up crying. Cuddles weren’t helping, and putting her back in the cot only seemed to escalate things.
So I reached in for the modern parent’s friend and broke one of the ‘rules’. We have for a long time been stringent about not allowing our little girl screen time and pushing it back as far as possible. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
Yes, I went for the cartoons. Armed with ABC iView, I looked up the first children’s show I could find. And that was Duggee.
It’s a short cartoon, probably aimed a little bit higher than our little girl’s age, but that didn’t matter. Kiddie voices, bright colours and short episodes had her hooked in. And I’ll admit, I did enjoy the little gags put in for the parents.
It worked a treat, providing the reset that she needed to let the tiredness overcome her. After watching an episode where the ‘Squirrels’ earned their snowman badge, she had stopped crying, the tiredness had overcome her, and she went back to the cot pretty contentedly.
Round 1 to dad – with assistance from Duggee.
But, lo and behold, at 3am the child awoke again, this time wailing uncontrollably. I went and picked her up, and three times had her fall asleep in my arms, only to wake as soon as I set her down in the cot.
At this point, I realise that other parents here are probably saying either, “Welcome to my world”, or “You’re preaching to the choir.” But we have been used to her waking maybe once or going through the night not waking, so a couple of times in a night is quite rare.
Around 3:30am I tapped out. I left her room, hoping and praying that she would settle.
And of course she didn’t.
But then, before I could get out of bed, her Oma, my mother in law subbed in and had much better results than me.
Round 2 to Oma.
Round 3 kicked off two hours later. Thankfully (or not) I hadn’t fallen back asleep, so went in.
This round was much like the second one, with nothing working to settle her. So, once again, I reached for my woofy friend, thankful that for all the “lefty bias” articles and cuts to its funding, that the ABC still provided free on-demand children’s programming.
This time, it took two episodes of Hey Duggee to calm her down enough so that I could get some Panadol into her, after which she went down OK.
So for Round 3 the judges split the points between the two parents’ friends: Duggee and Panadol. And, thoroughly exhausted, I headed back to bed and did not surface again for three hours.
Moral of the story: in the middle of the night, pragmatism rules.
And in tribute to his instrumental role in my parenting journey thus far, I would like to share this ode to Duggee (with apologies to The Beatles)
You’re like a snuggly
You make a sad girl, and make her better
Remember to Duggee cuddle her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better