It is 10pm and I am tucked up in bed, eager for sleep before another early morning alarm call from my toddler.
This classes as a late night these days, for I can seldom keep my eyes open past nine.
Our house is the epitome of rock and roll, complete with lavender pillow spray and expensive sleep-inducing teabags.
Were it not frowned upon, I would ply my son with said teabags and any other magical ointment which will finally make him give way to his sworn enemy – also known as bedtime.
While my other half and I have turned in for the night, our toddler is running between the two bedrooms.
He looks slightly crazed with one pyjama leg rolled higher than the other, his sleeping bag tossed to one side in defeat.
Reuben is coming up to two and has defied the prediction to which I clung in the newborn days.
Toddlerhood has not rewarded us with an improved sleeping pattern. The baby books clearly lied on this front.
He appears to be having a race with an invisible competitor, shrieking with laughter as we look on with slightly glazed eyes.
There is a loud thud as he runs into the door, partly with tiredness but more so because he has an amazing ability to trip over air.
I check for swelling as he shrugs me off, eager to continue with his late-night antics.
“This has to stop,” I say to his dad, before noticing that he has fallen asleep sitting up.
It is getting on for 11pm by the time Reuben gives in and dozes off.
I am pulled from a deep sleep a few hours later and stumble through to lift my crying son from the cot.
Snuggled in bed next to me, he pats my face and chats for the next two hours.
By the time the alarm goes off at six, I can only hiss at his dad who slept through the entire thing.
Exhaustion comes hand in hand with parenthood, only we tend to gloss over it.
We joke about injecting coffee into our eyeballs and say that our little bundles are worth the fatigue.
While there is no denying my love for my child, or the fact that I feel incredibly lucky to have him, we need to start talking more openly about tiredness.
I returned to work when Reuben was eight months old and he slept like a dream for a grand total of seven days.
He then decided sleep wasn’t necessary and woke up every two hours.
I felt like I was sleep-walking through the day and made endless mistakes accompanied by tears and headaches.
Every night I vowed it would be different, but Reuben had other ideas.
It’s not just the physical side effects of sleep deprivation which can be crippling.
So, too, can the judgment.
From the moment Reuben was born I was asked about routine and his ability to sleep.
Righteous parents informed me that Reuben needed to learn how to “self settle” and the opposing school of thought warned of emotional trauma if I left my baby to cry.
I even considered sleep programmes, some of which cost hundreds of pounds.
Then, as if by magic, our nocturnal baby started to sleep that bit better.
I blame myself for the current backward step, having informed my mum that Reuben was consistently sleeping through.
The number-one rule of sleep club – never, ever mention good sleeping habits.
He clearly overheard the conversation and decided that going to bed was off the cards.
His objections start as soon as the bedtime story is finished, with anguished cries of “Mummy, no,” complete with a stranglehold round my neck.
In the midst of tiredness there have been moments of complete and utter love.
Reuben’s insistence of holding my hand in the middle of the night and his warm cuddles in the dark.
Sleep is in short supply, but so too are these snapshots of stillness.
With every milestone, Reuben becomes more independent and eager to escape from my arms.
A bit more sleep wouldn’t go amiss, mind, and tiredness has led to some questionable incidents.
I woke up in a panic a few weeks ago, having dozed off with Reuben lying next to me.
I carefully lifted him up and lowered him into his cot.
It was only by the glow of the night-light that I realised my mistake.
Our confused Jack Russell looked back at me, having been grabbed from the bottom of our bed where he stretches out at night.
Reuben was, in fact, already sound asleep in his own bedroom after my other half had taken him back through several hours earlier.
The dog still isn’t talking to me.
Here’s to better bedtimes yet to come.