Archive for December, 2010

Things to remember.

December 27, 2010

We went to the next town over yesterday afternoon; they’ve got a big outlet mall, a nice place to let your children run wild without worrying about frostbite.

We went into the bookstore first, to get them undressed and unstrollered.

Of course she, my little she, found ducks straightaway. ‘Duck! Duck!’ she cried, joy pouring from her and she plucked the two little boxes of mini rubber duckies off the shelf. How she saw them amidst the tiny tarot decks, make-your-own zen gardens, and voodoo dolls is beyond me.

She kept the box with yellow and pink ducks, and immediately marched over to him, thrusting out the yellow and blue ducks (no, I swear we do not blue-and-pink brainwash them) to her brother. He took it, but his attention was really on the rolls of wrapping paper so I managed to snag the ducks from him and put them back on the display.

When she saw them, she looked back at her brother and saw his duckless state. Her eyebrows pulled together in concern and consternation, and she grabbed the box again before authoritatively handing it to him. ‘Duck!’ she said, and smiled.

From my family to yours.

December 25, 2010

Pics blurry and dark as the first few were taken in our dark lounge, just as they found their new wooden play kitchen! JOY.

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Happy holidays, my friends.

Thanks, dad.

December 24, 2010

Hey, thanks for the great passive aggressive Christmas card that just dropped through the door. It’s really going to add some sparkle to my Christmas Eve.

Carnival of Horrors.

December 22, 2010

I just served up a dinner that is probably unforgiveable. Leftover fish fingers, leftover fully loaded veggie pizza, raw carrot sticks, lukewarm baked beans, banana, and yogurt – strawberry.

My kids are good eaters. They love food, and they are very skilled in manipulating all different sorts – soups, giant pears (!), sandwiches, curry, pasta, well…anything you would feed to a human. I fully credit baby led weaning with this.

I also credit the book (amazing bible of baby led weaning – Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley) on the topic with mentioning that BLW kids like interesting combinations of food. At lunch today, Coconut happily dipped banana into pumpkin soup and proclaimed, ‘YUM’ after every bite.

I notice that while my kids will eat anything, variety in a meal often means they will eat more. I forgot that this evening as I was busy quietly stifling the urge to gag as I served up fish and pizza in the same meal.

Well, those kids went to town. They were like dingoes on a baby. It was like the last time they ate was last Tuesday. We’re talking frantic, stuffing your face full eating.

My mouth was dropped open most of the meal (also, I was calculating if there would be any leftover pizza which had not been contaminated by the fish. The answer is no. Because NOTHING was leftover. Not a drop.) which made it hard to contain the further urges to void the pumpkin soup from earlier. But their sheer gusto made me forget how gross the meal was.

In fact, Snort just walked over here clutching a pizza crust from god knows where (the floor) and mowing down on it. And then came back twenty seconds later covered in yogurt – he’d climbed up on the table to get the empty pot and somehow smeared the dredges all over his face…and my arms.

I just….I am amazed. Disgusted. Thankful. Blown away.

(Also, people, this is freakishly my fourth entry of the day. Clicking to previous entries, you will see a picture of my young artists, a conversation about atheism with my mother, and the long awaited post on getting babies to sleep happily without crying. I am too lazy to link.

I am too lazy to cook, too.)

Oh god, he just blew raspberries through a mouth of yogurt covered pizza crust. And now Coconut has picked up his already chewed pizza crust and is eating it. Who needs dogs when you have baby led weaning babies?!?

Conversations, 2012 style.

December 22, 2010

Mom: Existere, are you going to teach your children about God?

Me: No.

Mom: Deep silence. Wow, no wonder the world is coming to an end.

(And people wonder why I think so highly of myself. Come on, guys, my mom leads me to believe I am solely responsible for the possible coming apocalypse.)

Sleep, part two: Daytime sleep.

December 22, 2010

None of the following is as straightforward and simple as it appears. That is my warning. Establishing good sleep seems to be a circular process at times, and is certainly affected by sickness, teething, growth/developmental spurts, and growing up.

The other thing that affects baby sleep is YOUR mood. No lie. It affects them in general, I think, especially when very little. Having twins, I learned some valuable skills that I still use now – such as consciously relaxing my entire body when they were both tiny and screaming. This would inevitably calm and relax them….whereas on the occasions I was tense, the screaming would notch up a level.

End of disclaimer.

Daytime sleep – the wonderful, all powerful nap. This was something I knew would be important from the get go. With two babies, you want tandem sleep. I thought.

I don’t honestly remember much of the first few weeks, but sleep was a near constant thing. I think Coconut may have dropped a sleep between feeds first? We just totally followed their lead. Around six weeks I bought a bunch of sleep books which have since been discarded.

I don’t remember if it was eat, play, sleep or play, eat, sleep – I suspect the second, though again, we just followed all hunger and sleep cues.

That continued as the babies aged, and certain (slow) patterns began to emerge. We are now at one good long nap a day, though we had two jolly nice naps for months before they outgrew it.

How did I do it? I didn’t. Not really. The babies did. (And no matter all the tips in the world below, none will work till your baby/toddler is developmentally ready!)

First rule: never put a wide awake baby down for a nap just because you need a break, you think they should be sleeping, or the clock says they should be sleeping. If we tried sleep and it didn’t work, back on the floor they went to play and we tried again five minutes later. This saved a lot of wailing on their parts, and stress on mine.

Second rule: You need to be pretty cued into your baby in terms of knowing how they show if they are sleepy, happy, hurting, etc.

Each baby got what they needed to sleep – be it babywearing (TMD and myself are both experts at wearing a baby to sleep and then getting them down safely onto the sofa – soft structured carriers, ringslings, wraps. They are all doable. Or, of course, you can let the baby sleep on/with you!), cuddles, bouncing, etc etc.

Gradually certain sleep cues were built in. This was a special toy for Coconut (Pooh, which evolved into her much beloved transitional object and best friend Bunny) and a muslin to suck and hold for Snort. It also involved contact with me, and singing. They do have milk before most sleeping, but milk does not really function as a sleep cue for them, a thing I am very very glad about!

I very consistently sang the same song for every nap (and nighttimes, but you’ll read about that later). I very consistently made sure they had their special thing-a-ma-jig to cuddle. I very consistently would pick them up to calm and cuddle if they got upset…which was rare, as I tried to respond to their needs, made changes very slowly, etc….consequently, they’ve generally been happy during going-to-sleep times. Generally.

I guess you could say the sleeping rules came into effect. They knew what to expect, and so did I….to a point, anyway.

Gradually holding them while rocking switched to rocking till they were dozy, then holding them still. This morphed into just holding them still, which in turn led to putting them down on the couch, me sitting between them with a hand on each tummy/back (and, of course, the endless fucking singing and cuddle toys).

Eventually I would lift my hand away before they were totally asleep…. I then stopped sitting on the couch and began to sit on the floor…which morphed, in time, to putting them straight onto the couch to sleep and them smiling up at me, grabbing their toy, and curling up like little cats.There was even a blissful period where me beginning to sing cued them to run around and grab their toys, and then come up to the couch all ready to sleep.

All of these changes happened slowly and naturally, with no conscious planning.

Third rule: If you try to make a change and it doesn’t work with your baby/toddler, it could be because it’s not suited to you. Or, it could be that you are changing too much, too fast – or, as was often the case in our house, your baby/toddler just isn’t ready.

My contact with them has changed over the course of their sleeptimes – at this point, I keep my face quite neutral, I don’t initiate picking up (but if they ask I will always do so), I don’t make a lot of eye contact. This used to sound heartless to me and I wouldn’t use this approach with baby babies, but I know I am their best love and plaything, so I provide physical warmth and closeness without trying to engage them too much intellectually. Of course there are always times I hold eye contact as one or the other drifts off to sleep, and that’s lovely, too.

This also is not something I made a conscious decision to do, but once we moved into the time when both babies would sleep on either side of me while I sat in the middle, it was impossible to look at/engage with them both at the same time, anyway. The hand on the back is still how I offer them some love and reassurance if they need it. I find that certain patterns of shhing that they are used to also work wonders.

At this point in time, I can sing the sleep song while walking around (though I try not to as I think I’m a distraction) or sitting on the other couch, and they’ll go to sleep by ‘themselves.’ I’m currently morphing the singing into humming the song as they get sleepy, which will eventually phase the song out – not that I’m in any hurry to do so. I like it.

Sounds easy, hey?

Well, I went through a very bad period when Coconut dropped down to one nap and Snort was not ready. I am entering a new bad period where Coco takes much shorter naps than Snort. Responding to each babies’ needs has consistently meant that Coconut’s sleep needs changed before Snort’s did. And even now, there are days where a baby (or two) needs some kissing, cuddling, rocking. Usually, though, it’s some milk, some singing, and then sleep.

If they are obviously tired and just messing around, I am very consistent in lovingly saying, ‘It’s time for sleeping now,’ then firmly putting them back on their spot. (Though on occasion I’ve practically thrown Snort back onto the couch as he acrobatically rolled off the couch!) They now know ‘It’s time for sleeping now’ means no more playing, they need to lie down, etc.

We have found that naps set the tone for bedtimes and night sleep in our house, but that post will be coming next. No doubt TMD will be much funnier than I am, and I believe I have some awesome pictures (*ahem* videos, too!) of her tandem babywearing while marching up and down the lounge singing….and her head all wrapped up in a pashmina so no one can pull her hair. It’s hot.

I can’t stress enough that if you choose to be baby led in terms of letting them gradually develop a schedule that perfectly suits their little bodies and minds (and only possible, I guess, if you are a stay at home mum?) it requires a lot of patience, trust, and long sightedness. We decided early on to never do controlled crying or crying it out with the babies – and TMD has been the one to religiously stick to this, even when I am tempted to let them howl from here to kingdom come.

This post obviously is aimed at people who want a sort of sleep time like we have, though many, many people are content to have their babies sleep all naps in slings, or they crawl into the family bed with their baby and nap too! All a-okay and super deluxe fine in my book.

As things stand, both Snort and Coconut nap on our big couch, while I hang out on the other couch. It’s important I get a chance to physically rest while they do – my days of babywearing all naptime or staying frozen in one position while babies nap all over my lap and boobs are over, as these all aggravate my SPD/PGP. Nighttime sleeping is also on the couch, with TMD co-sleeping beside them on a mattress on the floor.

We have been working hard at clearing out their room (read: dismantling cots, putting mattresses on the floor, and twin proofing), and our next steps will be moving them into their room for all daytime and nighttime sleeps. I think they are developmentally ready, though this (as all things are in our house) will be a slow transition and TMD will probably sleep in their room for awhile till they are used to it.

Reading over this, I can see from a wider perspective that we have tried to keep Snort and Coconut feeling safe and loved. We have done this however we needed to, and would never dream of stripping away all their reassurance in one go – like crying it out does. This means we genuinely have never had either baby cry to sleep.

I think the thing that has served us the best has been trying not to get too caught up in the stress of sleeping. If a nap gets screwed up, it gets screwed up. It’s not the end of the world, though it can feel like it at times. I have a pretty relaxed parenting style and tend to laugh rather than cry (mostly!) when things go pear shaped, and I think this is reflected in the kids….both are relaxed, happy babies. Thank god.

Any questions, please do ask. I probably forgot a lot of stuff, but I hope there is at least one nugget of goodness that the ladies who asked for help can use!

Much love and good sleep vibes to you all.

*The process focused on in this blog only happened once Snort and Coco were ‘older babies.’ I think the move to more independent sleeping only happened as they approached a year old, if memory serves me.

Artists at work.

December 22, 2010

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And babies make six.

December 21, 2010

In my heart of hearts, I would love to have another set of twins. There. I just had to say it.

We love the kitchen.

December 18, 2010

Our mums said because we are snowed in we needed something new to do. Mummy wanted to give us something called The Big Gift, but Mama said no.  So then we got to open our gift from our Auntie Aussie.

We love it. Pots and pans are awesome.

Mama made a video of us in the big kitchen today but said YouTube is being a little bitch. So I guess that video is coming. We like videos.

And pots and pans.

Love,
Snort and Coconut

Little Fishy, the ‘Musical’!!!!

December 17, 2010

I’m sure you all remember my first attempt at immortalizing the fact that my life is, in fact, a musical. Tonight’s effort shows what happens after I serve a meal I am unwilling to eat (fish makes me puke) and sing in an unabashed and totally awesome way for an extended period of time….before getting the camera.

So I sing about them eating fish while they are actually mowing down on pears. And I use the term ‘sing’ loosely.

If you manage to make it through my one minute musical, you’ll notice what makes it totally rad, etc etc – the rockstar ending when both kids upend their plates in an effort to show solidarity with my musical efforts.

No more waiting…let the lights drop and the curtain rise…I present to you, ‘Little Fishy, the Musical!’


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