Toddlers just don’t give a shit

My littlest boys are three at the end of this month. Their development astounds me every day. There are things they are doing, things they are saying, that I don’t think would be happening yet if it weren’t for the fact that they are twins. One thing that has become blatantly obvious though, is that toddlers just don’t give a shit about the adults around them. Every afternoon when I pick the boys up from day care, I have to battle just to get to the car. Inevitably, one or both want to be carried, or one will come with me, and the other runs off to the top of the slide, or both will want to walk and if I try to hold their hand, they will lie down, or run in opposite directions. They just don’t care.

Last week I was shopping in Ikea when I noticed an older woman calling out for a child, her granddaughter it turns out. I knew that look of fear and the sound of panic in her voice. It brought back memories of the time when my eldest had just turned two, and had gone missing from his bed in the middle of the night.

We were living in Darwin at the time, my husband was still in the Navy, and away at sea. My mother was visiting from Sydney, asleep in the spare room. My daughter was 5 months old at the time, asleep in her bassinet in my bedroom. She was still waking to feed multiple times a night, so it wasn’t unusual for me not to go to bed until midnight after nursing her around 11pm. I had a habit of always going to check in on my boy before I went to bed.

Dylan xmas

 

His room was down the opposite end of the house to mine, and away from the lounge room where I usually sat watching late episodes of Law and Order. As I headed down to check on my sleeping boy, there was no indication that anything was amiss. I opened his door quietly and peered in through the darkened room, only to be greeted by the sight of an empty bed.

I panicked and immediately thought the worst. Someone had broken in and kidnapped my boy. All the doors were locked, and living in a DHA house, we had security grills on all the window. They too were shut and locked – it was the end of the wet season, and I kept the air conditioners running until I went to bed.

I woke my mother, in case he had woken and crawled into bed with her, but he wasn’t there. I checked every room in the house, but couldn’t find him. By this stage all manner of thoughts were running through my mind, and I wondered if I would ever see my son again. I was about to call the police when I decided to check his wardrobe. It was one of those mired sliding door ones and it was shut.

I slid the door open, and there was my precious boy, curled up with his plush Iggle Piggle, Upsy daisy and Makka Pakka dolls that were bigger than him, completely oblivious to the fear and panic he had caused. At some stage he had climbed out of bed, into the wardrobe, and shut the door behind him.

Dylan Iggle

Back in Ikea, I approached the woman frantically calling out for her granddaughter, and asked her what the girl looked like so I could help her search. With the help of some other parents, we quickly found the two-year old girl. She was hiding in a tent in the children’s furniture section, completely unaware of the commotion she had caused.

Her grandmother picked her, she thanked us all, and said in a very relieved, but shaky voice to her granddaughter ‘don’t ever do that to Nanny again’. And I thought to myself, if a kid can run away from his parent while he is meant to be asleep in his bed in a securely locked house, it’s no surprise that a two-year old can run off from their grandmother in the children’s section of Ikea, or from any adult in any situation if they turn their head for a split second.

Toddlers just don’t give a shit.

 

I’d love to hear your stories of toddlers not giving a shit. Hit me up in the comments!

Big kids need attention too.

When you have babies and toddlers, it is so easy to get caught up in their needs, what they’re doing, how much they’re not sleeping, or how often they’re waking at night. Sometimes you get so caught up in the bone wearying exhaustion that goes along with parenting that happens in the early years, that you miss other things that are going on around you.

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Image Source

Yesterday I realised how much I’ve missed while I’ve been busy parenting twins who still wake at night. Dylan and Mahalia are beyond helpful with Harry and Zach. They play with them in the morning while I have a shower, entertain them while I clean up dinner, let me know when someone has a nappy bomb, and are generally just awesome with them.

We’ve been lax with bedtimes over the holidays, and there’s been lots of hanging out and watching movies on tv. But one on one attention from me has fallen short, and in my sleep deprived exhaustion, I’ve been grumpier than usual.

Yesterday, while eating a snack, Mahalia started crying, without seeming to know why. After lots of cuddles, she eventually calmed down, and told me she was crying because she thought she would get in trouble for getting something to eat without asking. Now, I prefer if the kids ask first before raiding the cupboard as they’re known for snacking just before lunch or dinner, but at other times it doesn’t bother me. It made me realise though that Mahalia’s hanging out for some quality time with me, without toddlers interrupting.

The afternoon was filled with tantrums that only an overtired six year old can produce. She may no longer nap during the day, and we may be taking it pretty easy these holidays, but Mahalia is still up at the crack of dawn, and I think I need to be a bit more strict with bedtime. Both Dylan and Mahalia like to read in bed after being tucked in, but from tonight I’ll be setting a time limit before lights off.

Harry and Zach go back to day care next week, so the last few weeks of the school holidays will be spent doing stuff that’s fun for the big kids so I can fill up their love tanks. Ngala is only two weeks away, so hopefully it won’t be long until everyone is sleeping through the night and I can get rid of might sleep deprived grump.

Looking after myself – sleep

So we’re a week into the new year already, and for a change, I’m still sticking to my plan for achieving my 2015 goals. My goals that involve uni are still in the planning stages – I can’t really do too much with them until uni goes back next month. But I think planning plays a huge part in whether or not I achieve my goals.

What I have been sticking to is looking after myself, making changes to my lifestyle so that I feel and look better. I tend to take my health for granted, and when I startling self-care slide, I pretend to ignore how bleurgh I’m feeling until I can’t ignore it any longer. And I’ve hit the point where I can’t ignore it. There a few different changes I’m making to become a healthier version of me, so I’m going to write it out in two parts.

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When I was pregnant with Dylan and Mahalia, I usually only woke once a night to pee. I was pretty lucky. With Harry and Zach’s pregnancy, the night waking started pretty early and I’d be up multiple times a night. As frustrating as it was, I didn’t mind too much because there were two! babies growing inside of me. When they were newborn, and I was living surviving on 1-2 hours sleep a night, as I tired and emotional as I was, I knew that there was a reason for them to be waking and feeding so frequently and for such long times. It’s just that having two of them made the whole process take longer. And when they were six months old, as much as I longer for sleep, I knew it wasn’t unusual for babies that age to still be waking at night. And when they were nine months old they were teething and learning to crawl and had just started day care, and I knew all these things could impact their sleep. And from 9 until 16 months, we were on the never-ending cycle of day care colds, ear infections, teething, a couple of bouts of gastro, and learning to walk. We had a few good nights where one would sleep through. Usually they’d take it in turns having a good night, waking only once, while the other would wake two or three times. And with two toddlers, having existed without a full night’s sleep in almost two years, it’s easier to spend 5 minutes feeding a baby/toddler during the night than trying other means of settling that could end up waking the other one and having two crying children to deal with.

I told myself that if Harry and Zach could finally get rid of their colds, their sleep would get better. If we could just make it to the Christmas holidays, they’d have a break from day care, their immune systems could recover, and they’d start sleeping through the night. Except it didn’t happen like that. If anything, their sleep got worse. Not wanting to go to sleep at night, more frequent waking, until we had a run of about four nights where I spent the best part of the night just trying to get them back to sleep.

I woke up on Monday morning and realised that I’m almost at the end of my reserves. I can’t keep functioning on broken sleep. Being up for hours at a time during the night brings out the worst in me. If I want to be a better, happier parent and wife, I need sleep. If I want to enjoy my family, I need sleep. If I want to do well in my final year of uni, I need sleep. So I rang Ngala and told them I need help. I should have rung months ago, but every time I thought about it, I always told myself that there are other people who need their help more than me, and after all, what did I expect having twins? Except, if we need help, we need help. Just because other parent’s might be getting even less sleep than me, doesn’t mean that I don’t need help too.

We’ve been offered a date at the end of the month to go in for a day stay to sort out the our sleep issues. And in the mean time, the lovely nurse I spoke with gave me some tips to try to help get me through until we go in. I tried them Monday night, and it was shit. Absolute shit. It was probably the worst night we’d had in a week, and it had been a shitty week. But I gave it another try on Tuesday night. And hallelujah! BOTH Harry and Zach self-settled, and they BOTH slept through the night. I know they’re not miraculously cured of the cases of waking in the night. But having had my first night of uninterrupted sleep in 22 months, and knowing that they can actually sleep through the night? It’s topped up my reserves enough that it doesn’t seem like such a long wait for our Ngala day stay. The light at the end of the tunnel is shinning with strength of a thousand suns.

This year I will sleep.

2014. It’s almost over.

I can’t believe how quickly 2014 is coming to an end. The past six months have been a blur. Trying to find a balance between full-time study and parenting four children has meant that pretty much everything else has fallen by the wayside.

October and November were filled with writing assignments, studying for exams, the exams themselves, and a two week break before I started my nursing clinical placement in December. I had grand plans for blogging during my break, but my brain kind of crashed, and between catching up on stuff around the house that had been neglected for a semester, and having some  time just to be, blogging never happened.

My placement while an amazing experience of surgical nursing, was exhausting to say the least. I finished a week before Christmas, and this year I was unorganised on the present front. It was a mad rush to get the Christmas shopping done on the sly with four kids at home from school and day care. Thank goodness for extended family and late night shopping.

And now we’re two days out from the end of the year, and I feel like I can finally relax, can finally breathe. It’s probably the first time since Harry and Zach were born (16 months ago today!), that I feel like I’m really relaxing. Twins are fantastic, but man are they hard. All parenting is hard at times, but adding twins to a family with two other children already? Takes it to a whole new level. Harry and Zach are reaching an age where they are exploring their independence, they still need me, but not so much as before. All ages of childhood bring challenges as a parent, but I think 2015 will be easier than this year has been. I think I’ll have more time to do things I enjoy, that have been let go in the past year and a half.

I’m not making any new year’s resolutions, mainly because I’ve never keep them. But there are some changes I want to make to my life, some goals I want to achieve, to make life more organised, more enjoyable, more memorable. I finish my degree at the end of 2015, so I’ve got to make a decision early on in the year about whether I’ll head straight into a midwifery post-graduate degree, or if I’ll work as a registered nurse for a bit first. My mind changes everyday, and every nurse I’ve sought advice from has a different opinion. But I’ll leave that for the new year.

2014 has been good to me, but I can’t wait for 2015 to begin.

Reasons my twins are having tantrums

We are heading into the age where my boys have lots they want to communicate, but don’t yet have the vocabulary to express themselves. The result? Tantrums! This a current list of causes.

Harry
Harry
  • Mummy took their toothbrush away.
  • Daddy is in the house, but he isn’t holding me.
  • Daddy IS holding me, but he’s sitting down.
  • Mummy sang the wrong song when she was putting my pyjamas on me.
  • It’s been 0.00065 seconds since mummy sat down to feed me and my mouth is still empty.
  • Mummy attached my brother before me.
Zach
Zach
  • Mummy took me out of the bath first. Mummy took me out of the bath second.
  • Daddy has gone to work and he’s never coming back.
  • My brother has a sippy cup that I want. I only have one in my hand.
  • Daddy wouldn’t let me chew on his shoes.
  • Daddy wouldn’t let me suck on the tea towel.
  • My brother and I had a head-on collision with our push-along walkers.
HandZ
Zach and Harry

 

I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m adding to the list.

A letter to harry and Zach: 12 months.

Dear Harry and Zach,

12 months.

A year.

A whole year you’ve been here. It feels like it’s passed in a blink of any eye, yet I feel as if I’ve lived a lifetime in the past twelve months. I knew from having Dylan, that when you have a child, your heart grows immeasurably. I knew from having Mahalia that when you have another child, your heart grows again. I was not prepared for how much my heart would grow, the depth of my love that came with your arrival.

Harry and Zach-26

I was terrified while I was pregnant with the two of you. Caring for one baby is hard, how the hell was I going to manage two? But here we are, we’ve survived our first year together, with more laughs than with tears. The past year has not only been about discovering you, watching you learn and grow, but I’ve discovered myself too, I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin.

Who you are and what you do:

Favourite food: For both of you, it’s weetbix, spaghetti bolognaise and yoghurt (but not together).
Least favourite food: Harry – porridge, Zach – I don’t think I’ve seen you turn your nose up at anything yet.
Song: ‘Three little fishies’.
Doing: Waving, clapping, crawling and pulling up on furniture. You’re both so close to cruising.
Saying: Mama, Dada and buba.
Sleeping: Sometimes.
Teeth: Harry – two all the way through, and cutting another two, Zach – one all the way through, two have just come through your gums, and one more cutting.
Favourite toys: Zach – blocks and musical instruments, Harry – anything Zach has in his hands.
Favourite activity: bath time.
Who makes you laugh: each other.
Favourite person: each other.

We’ve had so much fun this past year. You bring joy to so many lives, and all who meet you adore you . It’s amazing see ing the bond between the two of you. You have such different personalities, Harry you are still so relaxed about everything, whereas Zach you are constantly on the go and trying new things, yet there seems to be an invisible thread that always draws you back together. You crawl around the house together, you crawl over each other in the bath, explore each other’s faces, try and cheer each other up, and make the other one laugh. You are so incredibly lucky to have each other, and we are so incredibly lucky to have you in our lives.

HandZ1yo

Happy birthday my babies, and thank you for picking me to be your mama. xx

A Letter to Harry and Zach: Nine Months

My boys, you have now been outside my belly longer than you were in it. Yesterday you were nine months old; you were inside me for 38 weeks and one day, and a week ago, you ad been out for just as long. My pregnancy with you seemed so long, yet your time earth side seems like it’s been much shorter. It is bittersweet, the thought that I will never feel babies growing inside me again, flipping and kicking (I am so done by the way, this baby-making shop is definitely closed for business). But I love having you on the outside, seeing your personalities grow and develop, watching you taking in the world around you.

The move into separate cots has been a success, and we’ve been able to gently teach you to self-settle. Most of the time you now pop off to sleep without any help from me. You really seem to have got the hang of sleeping in the last few weeks, and I’m now having to wake you in the afternoon to pick Dylan and Mahalia up from school. As tiring as it is, I don’t mind the times I do have to help you to sleep because I know it won’t be long until it’s the last time I rock one of my babies to sleep, and I won’t know when it is the last time.

This past month has brought some big changes in your development. Zach, you still seem to be doing everything first, and Harry, you seem more than happy to sit back while Zach masters a new skill, and shows you how. You are both now saying mum and bub, with he occasional dad thrown in. You talk to each other, you make each other laugh, and you try make the rest of us laugh too. The way you interact with each other is so beautiful to see, it’s like there is an invisible thread tying you together. You are definitely individuals, but the bond you share is impossible to miss.

After weeks of unsettled nights, Zach,your first tooth seems to finally have cut through the gum. I think your first is still a few weeks away yet Harry, although your gum does seem to be swelling a bit. Crawling is still a way off, but we have backwards shuffling going on. I’m in no hurry for you to grow up and be properly on the move. This weekend will see you Papa and I lowering your cot bases. Zach, you are trying so hard to pull up to standing, and I know it won’t be long until you have it mastered. Harry, you still seem so chilled, but there a few things that get you so excited – the bath, other people’s ears, and socks. I have never seen any other baby get so much joy out of sticking fingers in ears, or waving socks way above their heads. You make me laugh every day.

This first year of your lives seems to be passing so quickly. Next week you start day care so I can go back to uni. I’m torn. I can’t wait to go back to studying, but I don’t feel ready to leave you yet. If only we could pause these moments in time, suspend them, spend as long as we want in them, before moving on. I know you’ll will do fine at day care, you’ll always have a buddy with you, but I will miss you so much. I will miss you, and our days together, learning about each other, teaching each other. I will miss you.

Love always, Mama.