Night training, part trois

We (finally!) have one night trained child. G has been in knickers at night for about six weeks now and although we’re still dream-weeing her, she’s adapted really well to not wearing a pull-up at night. R has really struggled with it and is currently back in pull-ups. After a grand total of six dry nights out of a possible twenty-one (when G had managed eighteen in the same period), Dh and I made the decision to stop trying to night train her for a bit. She’s clearly not ready and it isn’t fair to force her. I don’t want her to end up in therapy! Plus we were starting to get really sleep-deprived and crabby and there’s nothing worse than changing yet another set of pissy sheets at 3am for the fifth night on the trot. Every cloud though – we can both change a single bed in less than two minutes now, under sheet and all.

On one occasion, after changing a wet bed and putting a very confused and sleepy G back to bed I went downstairs and got slightly hysterical as I loaded up the washing machine with soiled sheets and bedding. ‘I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE. THE SMELL! THE SMELL!’ I shouted as dh looked on in horror (which, to be fair, is his usual response to most things). Reader, I TURNED on Dh and told him it was ALL HIS FAULT that G had wet the bed as he hadn’t made her go to the toilet the requisite 37 times before she went to bed. If she drinks anything after 6pm she becomes a Gremlin and we ALL know what happens to them when they get wet. The whole turning on Dh thing didn’t go down too well, unsurprisingly and he went to bed in A MOOD so I had to do some profuse apologising. Serves me right.

Apparently we don’t have to worry about R until she’s 7 so it’s not the end of the world that she isn’t night trained yet. It would just be nice for her – and for us – to leave her last bit of babyhood behind before she starts school.

So that was Christmas…

…and what have we done? Another year over. A new one just begun*

I haven’t managed to blog for almost a month because I’ve just been too darned busy living my ‘real life’. There was the girls’ 4th Birthday. All four parts of it – the party with friends, the lunch with my family, the actual day and the taking cake and fruit into nursery day. I decided to make hand-made Christmas cards…but only started doing them on 10th December so most of my evenings were spent sitting on a beanbag in front of the TV, watching Masterchef: The Professionals (Young Steve was ROBBED) while I glued bits of card to my hands and covered the coffee table in sticky fixers. I single-handedly wrapped 3 million Christmas presents (I was helping FC and the Elves out). I worked up until 23rd December. I got shitfaced quite merry at my work Christmas ‘do. The girls performed in their first nativity play at nursery and we had to deal with our first instance of proper sibling rivalry. The girls and I painted a ‘Teapot for the Insane’ as part of my sisters’ Christmas present.

I haven’t even got to Christmas yet…

My In-Laws arrived on the 23rd. They babysat that night so that Dh and I could go out for drinks and enormous Argentinian steaks. My SIL, her partner and daughter arrived on the 24th. Dh and I slept on a blow-up bed in the playroom. I did a Christmas Eve buffet for 9 people, Christmas Lunch for 12 people (my parents and sister came down for the day), Christmas Day buffet tea for 12 people and a Boxing Day cooked lunch for 9 people. I made eleventy million cups of tea and I don’t even drink the ruddy stuff.

Everyone went home on Boxing Day. R and G watched Fireman bloody Sam while I blitzed the house, did countless loads of washing, refilled the dishwasher 54 times, etc.The girls and I watched The Lion King for the first time and I had to answer A LOT of philosophical questions about life, death, relationships, etc.

I had a birthday, which was lovely. I am still in my ‘early thirties’. Round here I am still the young parent of the gang, which blows my tiny mind in quite a good way. In an attempt to reinforce my ‘down with da kidz’ credentials we bought a new stereo with an iPod dock and subwoofers. I have spent the last two weeks playing snatches of early 90s dance tracks and shouting LISTEN TO THE BASS ON THAT! I’m such an embarrassing mother.

We forced ourselves upon visited lots of people. Dh was ill (exhausted) over the New Year period so I was looking after two extremely hyperactive children and nursing him. I don’t like NYE anyway, so went to bed at 10.30pm with my new Kindle**.

Oh and the girls decided they wanted to wear their new knickers (Christmas presents) at night so they have been night training for the past week.G is doing pretty well (4 completely dry nights so far) and R is struggling with it a bit (1 dry night) so we’re doing lots of bed changes at 3am, lots of extra washing, etc.

I went back to work yesterday. My Head of Dept said I looked ‘genuinely relieved’ to be back in the office***

*Ta John and Yoko. Just be grateful you can’t hear me doing my highly questionable Yoko Ono impression.

**I adore my Kindle. It may change my life as much as my iPhone did…

***I’m not going to lie to you, I was nice to sit down in a good chair with a Starbucks hot chocolate, not talk to anyone for an hour or two and answer e-mails.

In short, I’m FECKING EXHAUSTED. The main thing is that everyone else (with the exception of Dh at New Year) had a brilliant time and as I’ve learned over the last four years, it’s not about me any more.

Happy New Year!

Half-full

I can finally cast off my mourning garb and uncover the table legs*. I’m officially ‘over’ my sadness at not ever having any more children. Having (nearly) four year olds is (almost) brilliant**.

My father-in-law had a 65th birthday party at the weekend. A year or two ago I would have been planning a. Babysitters*** or b. A strategic exit from the party when one or both girls reached inevitable meltdown at 8pm. This time I was confident that the girls could see most of the evening through. Dh was convinced that we would be in bed by 10pm. I told him to have a little faith. I had a plan. We travelled to the Fens after lunch, the point in the day at which the girls are most likely to be content and a tad sleepy. It kind-of worked when we turned off my driving tunes and Classic FM did its usual trick of putting the girls into a coma.

The girls were on the dance floor until 11pm when Dh and I staged an intervention and took them back to the hotel. This was their first ever late night and they coped admirably. G is a proper little dancing queen, although the beat in her head is clearly different to the one the rest of us can hear as she dances a bit like Phoebe from Friends. R spent most of the time following her cousin P (6) around. P is the Chloe Pig to R’s Peppa. She worships her. Dh was told on several occasions that the girls were ‘The best behaved children we’ve ever seen’. These people were only a teensy bit drunk (i.e. still able to stand) so I’m totally taking the compliment.

We have finally redecorated the girls’ bedroom. When we moved here two years ago their room was yellow with a teddy bear border and they were young enough at 20 months to warrant keeping the décor the same. Over the last year it became increasingly apparent that the room looked too babyish for their swiftly evolving tastes. It took me a while to persuade Dh but I finally wore him down and earlier in the week we painted their room pale pink (it looked worryingly like seafood sauce initially but has calmed down now) and decorated it with Peppa Pig wall stickers. I have also – finally – hung my cross-stitch alphabet up. It looks LOVELY.

I wanted to buy the girls proper beds but Dh has vetoed that for the time being because (brace yourselves) the girls aren’t dry at night yet….

<I’m now going to give you a moment to digest that. I’m getting a hot chocolate while you revel in our crapness by leaping around the room, air-punching, whooping with joy, whatever>

All done now? Good.

….so there’s no point moving them out of their current beds (their cotbeds with the sides off) until they’re in knickers. We’re dangling that (along with promises of bunk beds, Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse bedding) as a carrot to ‘encourage’ them out of night-time pull-ups but they’re having none of it.

So, we’re not quite where I’d like to be, but we’re getting there. Plus, we don’t have to go through this again with other children so my glass is (for a change) half-full. All hail the 4 year olds!****

*I don’t actually think the Victorians did this.

**Apart from when they do something so naughty and/or stupid that I want to fall to my knees and weep at my parenting failures. This happens approximately once a day.

***Ha ha ha. I’m joking of course.

****Except when they make you cry.

The end of 46 Days

At the beginning of March I had a crazy idea. Instead of giving something up for Lent, I would try to do something every day. The idea for 46 Days came from there. Today is the 46th and last day.

I thought I’d have a look back through the last 45 days and see what’s happened:

0 people offended (that I’m aware of…)

1 holiday booked

1 disastrous week of night training

1 graduation attended

1 Margot Leadbetter moments

2 bouts of nostalgia

2 guinea pigs (Charlie and Lola) arrived

2 fish (Eddie and Bob) bought

3 fish (Maisy, Eddie and Bob) died

3 Easter bonnets made

4 3rd birthday parties attended

4 One Born Every Minute liveblogs

5 separate illnesses (2 for me, 2 for G, 1 for R)

6 twinny observations (I could have written hundreds of posts on this)

7 Friday photos

8 rants (I’m amazed there aren’t many more)

That’s a fairly average seven or so weeks in the HoT. Ok, so you don’t buy guinea pigs and kill off goldfish every day, but everything else was pretty normal…for us at least. It’s a nice little snapshot of our lives.

I only missed one night – when I was away for work – and I made up for it the next night with two long posts.  I have to say, as the weather improved dramatically in April I found it much harder to generate enough enthusiasm to sit down every night and write a blog post. Last night I ‘cheated’ and uploaded the Friday photos from my iphone whilst slumped on the sofa after another busy day. Thank Steve Jobs for the WordPress app!

I speculated at the beginning of all this that a period of sustained creativity might make me want to do some creative writing. It hasn’t, but only because I haven’t had time after writing 46 Days posts. There are a couple of ideas percolating in my brain but I can’t commit them to screen just yet.

Instead I’ve been exploiting my creative mind in different ways. I’m really into card-making at the moment. If there’s an event coming up I’ve probably made a card for it! My cards aren’t going to make me rich and they definitely look ‘home made’ but I hope people appreciate the effort. I attempted my first scrapbook – a graduation present for my Mum. I love getting creative with photos, bit of paper, a stack of embellishments and a ton of pritt stick. I have also made great progress with my latest cross-stitch and am already thinking about the next stitching project. I might do something really challenging this time…

As I get older I can no longer sit in front of the telly of an evening once the girls are in bed. I have to be doing other things, so that I feel my evenings aren’t wasted. That reminds me…I have very strict rules on my ‘me time’ activities. They are all done in the evening in the precious few hours I have when the girls are asleep and before I go to bed. During the day I’m either spending time with the girls or working.

I’m looking forward to having a few nights off (maybe even a week or two) from blogging – or the tyranny of the blank page (which only affected me twice in 46 days) and the feeling that I ‘have’ to write something. I might try something similar later in the year. November is my bogey-month so I might try 30 Days or something like that to ward off the SAD.

That’s all in the future. Now, I’m off to make a Mojito and await our take-away delivery.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Night training

After a week of ‘night training’ i.e. trying to get the girls out of nappies and into knickers overnight, we’ve conceded defeat and are now trying pull-ups.

G was actually pretty good. She had a couple of accidents at the start of the week but was then dry the rest of the time. She was aided in no small part in this by R’s complete inability to wake up in time to recognise that she was going to wet the bed and snuck in a couple of sneaky middle of the night toilet visits while Dh or I were dealing with R.

R wasn’t getting it at all. She’s an incredibly deep sleeper – her head hits the pillow and she doesn’t move until the next morning – and I suspect that this was her downfall. G has always been a light, shuffly sleeper so is consequently much better at recognising the signs and waking up in time.

It was after our seventh night of broken sleep that I finally consulted ‘Potty training for girls’. I bought it before the girls started potty training last year, read it once and decided it wasn’t for us. However, the chapter on night training was really useful. The received wisdom is that if a child wets the bed three or more times in the first week they aren’t ready for night training. R definitely fits into that category. If they do, you’re supposed to leave it for a few weeks, put them back in nappies and try again.

This makes sense. It’s exactly what we did with G’s potty training last year. We put her back in nappies and left R in knickers. G waited a couple of months, decided for herself that she wanted to use the potty and was pretty much trained in a week or so.

Unfortunately, G has decided that the pull-ups look so good that she wants to wear them as well. We tried lots of ‘You’re such a clever grown-up girl’ stuff but she was having none of it. It feels like we’re holding G back and if she was an only child we’d be persevering but it’s much harder when there are two of them. Last night they both wore pull-ups to bed and – miracle of miracles – we got a full night’s sleep for the first time in a week.

Selfish? Possibly. I referred to the book again. Most children start night training between the age of 3 and 4 (doing it before is apparently brave but foolish, although I’m willing to bet that someone reading this will tell me that their child was night trained well before the age of three) and many children are still having accidents at night up to the age of six.

This is one of the difficulties of having twins. G is ready and R isn’t, but G feels she’s missing out if she doesn’t get to wear the pull-ups. Maybe it’s my fault because I didn’t want them to go back to proper nappies. R has been really embarrassed about her night-time accidents and I don’t want to make her feel worse by babying her. However, this means that G is being held back, which is bad.

This is hard. Night-time nappies are the final legacy of their babyhood and I’d dearly love to see the back of them.

We’ll regroup and try again after we’ve been on holiday.

Marbles

The wheels are NOT falling off

The wheels are not falling off.

This is my current mantra. I have had a stomach bug since Saturday night that I can’t shake off. R threw up once on Saturday afternoon, then seemed fine and had severe vomiting and diarrohea yesterday. I don’t know how many complete changes of bedding and clothing we’ve done in the last couple of days.

G went to nursery today and I stayed at home with R. At 12.45pm I got an SOS call from nursery. G had a temperature and needed to be picked up. I phoned dh and as he was ‘spare’ (i.e. at work but not driving a train) he was able to leave and pick G up. G has a cold and is extremely snotty. However, I do not believe for a single second that her temperature was the 39 degrees that nursery claimed. We took it shortly after she came home and it was a perfectly reasonable 35.5.

R now seems completely fine and is back to her normal mischievous self. Nursery has a policy of excluding any child with a temperature for 48 hours, so she can’t go back in until Thursday. We broke the news to R earlier that she would be going into nursery on her own tomorrow. It didn’t go down well.

Dh is (touch wood) fine and is escaping it all so far. I can’t believe that R and G have two completely different ailments have haven’t caught each other’s bugs. Yet. I keep losing any food I attempt to eat and falling asleep at random intervals, which is obviously really, really helpful.

Oh yes, and we started night training the girls on Friday. The first night went really well….

In the immortal words of Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ I’m going to just keep swimming.

The wheels are NOT falling off.

The P-word

Any regular readers wil know that I have been a bit obsessed with potty training R and G this year. A bit? Just a bit? On HoT 1.0 I mentioned PT in no less than 17 different posts and alluded to it in several others

(If you want the chronology, you can see here, here, here, here, here and here – but why would you want to?)

Anyway, R and G are done. DONE. Do you hear me? I used to write HOME RUN on the calendar on the extremely infrequent days that they would both decide not to have any accidents but they’ve had such a good run recently that I’ve got out of the habit of doing it.

Things have moved on so much now that they are now using the toilet…when the mood strikes them. They are better at using an actual toilet when we’re out and about (although we are still their potty sherpas) but are both phobic about powerful hand dryers “NOT THE HAND DRYER MUMMY!” and I have to promise to wipe my hands with a tissue after washing them. Of course, they use the toilets at nursery as a matter of course.

They are still in nappies at night, although G has had a run of a few nights where she’s woken up after a good night’s sleep with a dry nappy (R’s is usually full) but I’m not going to push the night training until their third birthday. It’s very odd to get through a paltry 14 nappies a week as opposed to 14 a day. A pack of Pampers now lasts ages. I used to have dry patches on my knees (insert inappropriate jokes here) where I was constantly kneeling on the floor to change nappies but I noticed last week that they have disappeared.

We’ve always bought cheap knickers from Primark or Asda but on Saturday I treated R and G to some (relatively expensive) Peppa Pig knickers from Next and R is absolutely determined that she won’t get them dirty because she (I quote) ‘Loves them’. What a change from the rebellious little R that used to do dirty protests when she was in a mood.

I’m not daft. I know that they could rebel, that they could start having accidents again, that R could have another wobbler, but I’m very, very pleased that despite a lot of huffing, puffing, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, we have managed to potty train the girls before their third birthday.

What was I whingeing about? It was a flipping doddle! 😉