here is perhaps no greater moment for the parents of a new baby than the first night of unbroken sleep. You wake in a muddle, wondering how it can possibly be light, then panicking that your child must be sick, or worse. Then, when you see them still sleeping, you realise with joy that life might be possible again.
We were pretty lucky with our firstborn, after some tough early months. Our second was well into his second year before he slept all the way through. But once he got it, all was well. Middle of the night wails – or sudden appearances in our bed – were consigned to history. Not every parent gets away so lightly.
It was a surprise then, when my son – now five – arrived in our room at 4.20am last Monday, apparently determined to settle down between us for some more kip. For about three minutes his unexpected presence seemed terribly sweet. Then I realised that he was fast asleep and that I was wide awake; and without wriggle room.