Terrible Twos.

Terrible twos; one of those umbrella terms we use for tiredness, teething, overexcitement, generally misbehaving, to ward off prying onlookers and those who love to judge. Whilst you are squalling in your cot for no apparent reason, dear DS, I seem somewhat bipolar in my newly adopted children’s TV presenter persona, whilst secretly wanting to scream.

My grandmother asks, “why do you not shout at him or smack him so he knows he’s misbehaving?” Clearly there is a generational gap in our views and practices. Shouting and displaying violence would merely teach DS those actions are acceptable, which they are obviously not. My strategy to kill with kindness is nearly always a very long and drawn out pursuit to distract DS from whatever it is he is so distraught about. The other day he threw a tantrum because he would not allow me to put on his other shoe and insisted on hobbling around the room. There really is no reasoning with a child.

Anyway, it’s not like there is a specific age where children just suddenly morph from an angelic baby to this monstrous being. Understandably around the age of two a child starts to develop a real personality and becomes defiant in their wants and, less so, needs. But it is not only two year olds that are terrible, my sister is six, she is pretty terrible too.

It seems the age of two is the beginning of something that nearly never ends.

For Crying Out Loud..

DS’ sleep patterns over the past couple of months have been erratic to say the least. He will lull you into a false sense of security, you become excited that he is about to drift to sleep and start to plan the rest of your evening, then he screams. Loud. Over and over again.

All those books you read about parenting, sleepless nights and tactics? They do not lie. When you think you have a routine settled, along come a new set of teeth to ruin your life again. I remember posting here and here about DS’ beloved bouncy chair and oh how I miss it. These days bed time requires more discipline and heavier tactics, no more gadgets to ease the pain.

Prior to DS’ protruding canines, we had trained him to the point where all you needed to do was say, ‘DS it’s time to go to sleep now. Good night DS, I love you’, walk out the door and he would be sound asleep within minutes. However, teething has set him back once again and it has been a constant battle for months. He no longer wants to sleep at 7PM; we try for hours to no avail and he ends up staying awake until we go to bed. Sometimes we are so tired we allow him to sleep in our bed, to later risk everything and move him into the cot. I decided yesterday that it can no longer continue, my sanity will not allow it. I use to enjoy my evenings baby free, but now I have a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough that has been living in my freezer for way too long.

From the outset I did not plan to enforce the new routine last night, but my original strategy failed. I initially laid on the far end of the bed, facing the opposite direction to DS’ cot so he could not make eye contact with me, and waited patiently for him to fall asleep. This usually works in the day time, as he finds comfort in my presence even though he cannot necessarily see me. Though the evening is a very different story and needless to say, I failed tragically. DS cried, screamed, wailed, stamped his feet, shook the bars. I figured as he was already hysterical, I had nothing to lose, so I tried the new routine.

We had enforced this routine when DS was very young but it is very painful and involves a lot of stress. We would put him down, say goodnight and leave the room for a few minutes, then return and repeat this all over again. Each time I returned, I would give him a hug and put him down (he would always be standing at the foot of the cot) and increased the time in which I would return. He would cry out my name continuously, then sing Twinkle Little Star in between sobs; it was heart breaking to hear this. It was very hard not to cave in, especially considering he had been hysterical for a very long time and the walls in my house are particularly thin.

I left him for two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes and fifteen minutes, blocking out the screams and my ongoing headache, until he finally went to sleep. This was a total of an hour, including the time it took to fail the original plan. The silence was such a relief, I almost could not believe it. After a further fifteen minutes I crept up the stairs and peeked through the door, to find him fast asleep on a mountain of blankets and clothes which he had thrown from the foot of his bed. After that cuteness, I forgive him. I guess.

Something to chew on.

At eight months, DS has four teeth. He has mastered the art of chewing and favours pasta, fish, chicken and meat for dinners. At first we found the transition from puréed foods to lumpy difficult, but within a couple of weeks he began sharing our meals. It is a sure sign that he is growing into a ‘real boy’, eating real meals and sharing fruit snacks with me.

A month or so has now passed since the first few teeth sprouted. Putting them into action, they no longer feel foreign to him. He is now able to explore objects and new toys with a whole new meaning. Every now and then he misuses his teeth; grabbing my face and pulling me in for a kiss, which inevitably turns into a bite.

There are lots of new things for him to learn as he reaches each stage of development at a rapid speed. He doesn’t quite understand why his mouth tastes minty twice a day or why only on these occasions I encourage him to blow raspberries, but he will learn soon enough.

Busy Bee.

I apologise for my lack of posts in the past week; since becoming a worker, my free time has dramatically reduced. Student Recruitment Assistant by day, super mum by night.

Having spent seventeen years of my life in education, my first week in full-time work was a shock to the system. My choices of ammunition to kick off the day are fizzy shoelaces and bitter coffee; black, two shots, no sugars, straight to the point. A flask in the morning and a not-so-secret stash of sweets in my drawer, what more do I need?

After a long monotonous day of filing on Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised to find DH holding a bunch of roses outside my building. Then he whisked me away for a quick drink and a game of pool like old times, leaving DS to happily play at home with his auntie and cousins. This spontaneous gesture has got to be the most romantic, unprompted thing he has ever done. Whoever said romance dies when you are married obviously married the wrong man.

The weekend was very welcomed, despite DS crying in the early hours of Saturday morning. He is teething, so it was to be expected. Away from work, I was able to embrace my mummy role once more and reacquainted myself with the ironing. I am ashamed to say, I have hung creased clothes and have not engaged in any form of ironing, unless it is the odd shirt or dress for a formal occasion, since we moved into our previous flat in July 2009. I remember it very well, because I had wanted all items of clothing to be ironed before they were placed neatly in our new wardrobes. I spent six hours solidly ironing with only toilet breaks. Crazy pregnant women, eh.

Reverting back to my mummy role was not my only endeavor for the weekend; on Saturday we made a trip to Bluewater, indulged ourselves in a light lunch at Nandos and lots of shopping to celebrate successfully completing my first working week. We have had numerous causes for celebration and I think we are milking it now, but who cares when there is good chicken.

I am now refueled from the weekend and am raring to go! Hopefully the updates will be more frequent this week, but no promises. If you subscribe on the top left, you instantly receive email updates when I publish a new post.