“In fact, I will go as far as to send you on this adventure. Very amusing for me, very good for you – and profitable too, very likely, if you ever get over it.”
‘The Hobbit’ J.R.R Tolkien
Sleep for new parents is like sex for pubescent teens. When your not doing it – and most of the time you’re not doing it – then you’re thinking about it!
In real terms it’s unlikely your little bundle of joy will let you sleep for the first few months and, since I am to establishing a routine what The Terminator was to floristry, staying awake has become the challenge.
It’s like SAS endurance training. Every fibre of your being is begging for sleep but my bouncing baby is endlessly hungry and reacts to his cot as if it’s made out of angry cobras and the smouldering embers of hell itself!
So, imagine my surprise when I found myself sitting in bed, a sleeping baby in the cot beside me, opting to stay awake. That’s right, actually eschewing sleep in favour of… a good book!
But sanity has many facets and, though getting enough sleep is most definitely one of them, so is having a thought, a moment or a topic of conversation that goes beyond nappy contents and nipple confusion! Staying sane postpartum, it turns out, is a bit like juggling chainsaws.
And what was this lofty tomb that kept me from shuffling off to dreamland? It was ‘Lock In’ by John Scalzi read by, Buffy’s very own, Amber Benson and beamed to my iPad by Audible.
This was not the first postnatal book I’d listened to but it was the first fiction.
I was hooked.
It was like the first coffee in the morning or seeing a loved one after a long time apart. As familiar as brunch with friends and as comforting as cashmere socks. This wasn’t just fiction – damn good fiction, may I say – this was science fiction! And it had been waaaaaay too long since I’d ventured in to the wonderful other worlds of sci-fi and fantasy.
At a time when my world had reduced down to nappies, night feeds and nipple cream the chance to escape to another world, without the need for a babysitter, was intoxicating. So sitting in the dark with the summer sun still skulking behind the horizon and my gorgeous baby happily nursing these books, like Gandalf did for Bilbo, gave me a chance to escape on an adventure!
And here are some of the adventures we had…
- ‘Lock In’ – John Scalzi
- ‘Android’s Dream’ – John Scalzi
- ‘We Are Legion (We Are Bob)’ – Dennis E Taylor (Bobiverse Book 1)
- ‘Practical Magic’ – Alice Hoffman
- ‘Red Shirts’ – John Scalzi
This isn’t the entire list of the fantasy and science fiction I read and listened to during that time, but I think it is the best of it. The pace has slowed now as baby only wakes for one night feed these days (most of the time) and, to stop me needing to remortgage my house to pay for Audible credits, I now supplement my nocturnal listening menu with a variety of fiction and non fiction podcasts, but more about them next time!
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a credit waiting for me on Audible and the second Bobiverse book to buy!