The chilling sound of laughter at 3am

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LESLEY KEATING: A white-knuckle pursuit ending with a lesson in trust

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Since becoming a dad, I’ve realised that a good night’s sleep is more important than ever.

I think looking after young children is a bit like driving a car – you have to be alert at all times.

Just as I can’t afford to be a drowsy driver, I also can’t afford to be a drowsy dad.

But just recently we’ve forgotten what unbroken sleep feels like.

Our youngest daughter Alyssa has now moved out of our bedroom and into her own room.

This room happens to be right next to ours so she’s only moved about five feet to the left.

But she must know something is different because she’s started to wake up several times during the night.

I’m sure that in the last few weeks I have seen every hour of darkness.

It’s almost like she is a newborn baby again.

Back then she’d wake up every few hours for a nappy change and a feed.

But she’s almost nine months old now and we thought those days of sleep deprivation and dozing in five parts were over.

There is one big difference though between now and when she was a few weeks old.

Back then she’d wake up with a loud, impossible-to-ignore cry that would not only wake us up but also the neighbours.

It’s a sound that grabs your attention instantly and your natural reaction is to do whatever is needed to make it stop as quickly as possible.

Now she is making a different sound altogether though.

The loud cry has gone and in its place is a sound that baffles my brain as I try and decide whether it is a nice sound or not.

It would normally be classed as a captivating sound.

But at 3 o’clock in the morning – when all I want to be is asleep – hearing it leaves me perplexed.

Alyssa is now waking up in the dark of the night at an hour when half the world is sleeping – and she is laughing.

My little girl is lying all alone in her cot howling with laughter.

Trust me when I say that waking up in the middle of the night and hearing a baby laugh is slightly chilling in a horror movie kind of way, especially when for a split second I not only wonder where I am, but also who I am and cannot see a thing because the room is pitch black.

She has no television in her bedroom so Iggle Piggle in the latest episode of In The Night Garden can’t be what’s making her chuckle.

And I’m not in the room either, so it can’t be the sight of my face that has her laughing.

She must be thinking back to the incident last week when she peed all over her daddy, five minutes before I had to leave for work.

I suppose I’ll never know.