As we wind down (or gear up, depending on your point of view) for the summer holidays and all that traveling with young children entails, my stress levels are rising. And they have not been helped by the obligatory pre-holiday visit from the in-laws.
We are taking BabyBoy and BabyGirl to visit my parents this summer (woo hoo!). They live overseas so it’s a big deal for us to go. My in-laws, on the other hand, live a few hours drive from us and we see them all too regularly. However, this has not stopped my mother-in-law from acting like we’re emigrating.
‘Grandma’s going to miss you sooo much!’
‘You’re going for such a looong time!’
‘BabyBoy, will you talk to Grandma on the telephone while you’re away?’
Yes, she’s piling on the guilt thick and fast. And those are sentences she has said to my 2 year olds.
But as a final, parting shot she decided to remind us that she still, still, has no respect for us as parents.
For the past few months we have been seriously thinking about having a third child. No decisions made yet, and there are some rational reasons not to have number three, but despite those reasons I have been thinking fondly about being pregnant again and having another baby, probably my last baby.
Then, the 2 year sleep regression hit.
I like to think I have a strong marriage. I love my husband.
But if he falls asleep at random times during the day – in the car while I’m driving, while he’s supposed to be playing with the kids – one more time I may have to punch something.
Many baby books stress the importance of a bedtime routine – and with that I have to agree. I have my own bedtime routine (considerably altered post-babies) and it seems only fair that the children should have one too – it signals to them that the day is over and nighttime has begun.
For us, the bedtime routine is bath, milk, story, bed.
When you bring a newborn home a bedtime routine doesn’t seem terribly important – you’re up at all hours anyway, there is no real difference between night and day. But (hopefully) there will soon be a difference as baby sleeps for longer stretches at night (and eventually really long 10 – 12 hour stretches) and at that point you need to consider – when does nighttime begin?
It might seem a daft question, but if you have a parent(s) who works late, you might be tempted to have a later ‘bedtime’ so that a parent who has not been around during the day can have some special time with baby at night – in our case, this would mean starting bath around 9pm, and nighttime effectively beginning at 10pm.
Well, we tried it. It was ok. Multidaddy was thrilled to see BabyBoy and BabyGirl. But the day was very long, and the babies were cranky and had very disturbed evening sleep. Starting the night at 10pm didn’t mean BabyBoy and BabyGirl slept later in the mornings – it just meant their night was shorter. Continue reading
It’s a sad sad fact that we just cannot trust my mother-in-law around BabyBoy and BabyGirl.
I thought we were making progress. She was knocking when she came to our front door instead of barging on with her key (which Multidaddy had foolishly given her, but that’s another story), she was asking me what food she could give to the children when we went out for meals together, she would double-check with me if she thought one of them needed changing.
But now that’s all been shattered by one weekend visit.
Regular readers of this blog will know that we have had problems with sleep, especially when it comes to BabyBoy. So I am very very strict when it comes to sleep – and one cardinal rule is to allow the babies time to resettle themselves rather than going in straight away if they make a noise. Knowing that the grandparents find this very difficult to comprehend, we have always and repeatedly said that Multidaddy or I will decide when naptime is over.
So BabyBoy and BabyGirl went down for their lunchtime nap. They are pretty good nappers – at least an hour and a half at lunchtime so I took the opportunity to take a shower. I had the monitor with me. Mother-in-law was watching tv in the living room. Multidaddy was on a call in the study.
Less than a hour after they’d gone down BabyBoy made a few noises. Brushing my hair in the bathroom I kept an eye on the monitor. It was unusual, but BabyBoy was clearly half-asleep. Then, as I watched, the door to the nursery opened and I see mother-in-law creep in. Continue reading
Regular readers will know that I’ve been writing a lot about sleep recently, as (unfortunately) we’ve had to sleep train BabyBoy.
So I just wanted to share a wonderful piece of news – this morning BabyBoy and BabyGirl didn’t wake us up until 7.03am! That’s the first time we’ve hit the 7am mark, which I’d all but given up on doing, making my peace with settling for 6am.
The world truly is a better place once you’ve had proper sleep…
There are no two ways about it, sleep training involving tears is hard. Hopefully you won’t have to do it (BabyGirl didn’t really need it) but if you do (as we had to with BabyBoy) hopefully the following will help you:
1. Be ready. This is key. It took me a long long time to be fully convinced that BabyBoy needed to be sleep-trained. We ran the gauntlet of trying everything else before we turned to the graduated extinction method. It is important that you have convinced yourself that baby is not getting hungry during the night, and is not ill, teething, getting used to a new room / routine, going through severe separation anxiety…or anything else you can think of that might mean sleep training is not appropriate. Listening to baby cry will make the question ‘what is wrong?’ reverberate around your mind, so think about it in advance. If necessary, write down a list of things you have considered so that you can reassure yourself during the night that, yes, rationally you think sleep training is now needed. Continue reading