Junior Beds for the Twins: A Three Ring Circus

It’s been a while because I’m swamped with doing three different sets of taxes, two of them terribly late.  But now I have two hours on my own at a car service center waiting for my safety inspection, which is giving me the perfect opportunity to write.

My latest adventure involves the twins’ sleep (upon which most of my well-being and happiness seem to depend).  We have finally had a week of very fine weather which the Brits would call ‘hot’ but I consider very comfortable at about 75/80 degrees during the day.  Our house is an old Victorian house with no air conditioning, like most English houses, and the heat seems to build primarily in the twins’ bedroom which is south-facing.  Because of the heat, I can’t put sleep sacks on them anymore and with this newfound freedom my daughter Ellie  attempts to sling her leg over the side of her crib anytime her feet are unfettered.  She wants to escape but hasn’t grasped that she will go flying head first to the ground if she succeeds, probably breaking her neck.  I did briefly consider restraints but thought the health and safety crew might come after me for breaking rule 12,453 of their code.  No, the best alternative would be eliminating the crib and putting her into a junior bed.

Fortunately, I had already purchased two junior beds for Ellie and Jack.  I was dreading the transition.  We put the beds in the center of the room, moved their cribs against the windows so we could open the windows without worrying about the twins trying to climb out, and lay them in the beds.  Ellie and Jack popped up immediately and started jumping up and down on the beds and then running around the room like Energizer bunnies.  I was sort of at a loss and decided to do the regular night-time routine and then just leave them to it.    We locked the door and then watched the video monitor for the next 3 hours.  Holy SHIT!  It’s like there were two Tasmanian devils wreaking havoc in the room.  They got into EVERYTHING!  First Ellie cried for a while, banging on the door, and then she antagonized her brother a bit, trying to take away his security blanket.  Jack was worse.  He grabbed the monitor and unplugged it before I realized what he had done.  I moved it further out of reach.  He then went after the lamp which I thought was totally out of reach — my mistake.  He pulled it down to the floor and was turning on and off, on and off, until I got there and removed it.  Ellie finally passed out half on and half off  Jack’s bed which Jack found amusing so he kept poking her trying to get her to react.  When he finally managed to wake her after 20 minutes, he passed out on his bed while she wailed.  It was 10pm before both had fallen asleep.

Needless to say, they haven’t taken any naps in the two days since we brought out the beds.  How the hell am I going to get them to sleep??  I welcome your suggestions.

Sleep training follow up and a rant about British mums!

Just to update everyone regarding my last post, it’s now been two weeks of the sleep training and it has been much less painful than I expected. Ellie wakes once or twice before midnight but afterwards sleeps through until about 5:30 a.m. My strategy was to let her cry for 5 minutes before checking on her and then leaving right away. Then I let her cry 10 minutes, etc. I never had to go past the 10 minute cry point, thank goodness! And amazingly, her twin brother didn’t wake up once during this process. Getting up at 5:30 a.m is another issue. With the days getting longer I have a feeling that 5 a.m. is going to be a regular wake up time for me, ugh! Additionally, my oldest child has been waking in the night a lot lately due to night terrors/nightmares so I am still not well rested. Can anyone tell me when a mum gets back to some regular sleep? How many years must I wait?

So, we all went to a birthday party last weekend for a 5-year-old friend of Will’s. It was held in a church hall and had about 15 kids. When my husband and I arrived the first thing we noticed was all the mums (weirdly, there were only mums there and this was on a Saturday) were sitting on the stage at the one end of the hall lined up like a bunch of birds on a wire, watching their kids playing different games with the host and hostess at the other end of the hall. Naturally, Jason and I walked our kids over to the other kids and then we participated in, helped with, and sat nearby the activities. I kept glancing over to the mums and they just kept sitting there even when a pinata was brought out and the kids lined up to take their turn with it. Let me emphasize that this hall was rather long so they were quite far away. I just don’t get it! Why wouldn’t you come over, take some pictures, talk to the hostess who invited you, and be involved with your kid? Apologies to my British readers but this is just another typical example of British coolness and disinterest. I couldn’t believe it! Then it was lunch time and all the kids were to sit down at these little tables and not one mum got up to either assist her child or to offer the hostess any help. Correction, there was one mother who came a little later and did help and socialize, but she was Nigerian! So the Nigerian and the Americans helped the Mexican hostess while the 8 British mums did not once remove their asses from the stage during a two-hour party. Typical.

Tonight’s the Night!

I have just had the two worst weeks in a long time. Now I am going to sound like a spoiled brat but here goes — my nanny was sick all last week (did I mention that I have a nanny who works from 9 – 3pm every weekday)?  That was the kicker to a monumentally bad week that made me feel like a worthless, inept, and totally alone mum.

Then add the following:

  • having to start a school run in the morning and trying to get the three kids fed, dressed, and out of the house by 8am on my own,
  • my husband working late every night and having to go away on business Friday through Sunday,
  • getting a major snowstorm in the middle of the week so that I was stuck at home entertaining the kids for a couple of days on my own (school was not cancelled amazingly)
  • still getting woken up at a minimum of 3 times a night but up to 10 times a night by mainly my 17 month old daughter and sometimes the other two.

I was completely miserable and despite having lived here almost five years, I had no one I could talk to.  Now some of this is definitely my fault.  Being shy by nature, it is hard for me to initiate and sustain conversations with the already reticent Brits.  Also, every year we have lived here, we have moved house due to various circumstances so that we have not had the time to really get to know people in an area.  I even broke down sobbing to William’s headmistress who I barely know although she was terribly sweet to me.  So life sucks right now because I have no close friends to talk to besides my husband (who is my best friend but works long hours in order to support his brood).

I started this blog a couple of weeks ago thinking that the worst was over.  It’s now February and I’m more exhausted than ever because my nights have been so bad with my daughter Ellie.  So I have decided that tonight is the night I am going to start sleep training a la Ferber method.  I know everyone has an opinion on this but when you are getting up 8 times a night or more, letting your child cry feels a little like payback.  Yes, I know that isn’t a nice thing to say but  I have no qualms about that.  However, I am feeling a little guilty about letting her twin brother suffer however long this takes.  I could move him out of the room but I don’t feel like it will be good for him OR her.  He won’t like the new environment and she won’t learn to sleep in her normal situation.  So tonight, I’m going to let her cry 5, 10, and then 15 minutes and see how it goes.  She is terribly stubborn (gets it from both sides unfortunately) but I’m motivated even though I am already feeling like the walking dead.  Can’t get much worse.  Will let you know how it goes once I am able to raise my head out of the chaos of crying and sleeplessness.