Category Archives: Bedtime

Night night

Most people with young children have a bedtime routine. If you have twins, you hang on to your routine as if your life depended on it! Changes to the schedule are as rare as a new pope and you need a conclave to agree on them. Or at least I thought so…

My mum (nonna) has been visiting for a few weeks now and the twins subconsciously decided to include her in their routine. They changed it slowly. One night at the time. They were subtle about it and before too late their bedtime was extended to 8PM and they added a “jumping on nonna’s bed” session between bath and storytime. 

They always tried to run around when asked to walk between the bathroom and their bedroom, but we were usually too tired to let them do it. Herding the flock in the right direction was always a difficult job, but an essential one, too. Moving straight to storytime seemed better (for us, at least). It kept them calm and ready to go to sleep. 

In almost a year (we started this routine in September) they obviously changed and grew, but we didn’t really notice. 7.30 is too early for them now. They are a little older and it is summertime. We needed a new plan and they organised everything for us!

It is great to have another member of the family here for them to interact with and it’s only right that she should also be involved in the bedtime routine. Now after bathing we all sit on nonna’s bed and play a little. There’s some jumping, some rolling, a little head bashing and a lot of laughter! It’s a twin boys bedtime routine! 

Advertisements

The 15 minutes wash cycle

When I bought my washing machine two years ago, I was puzzled to see that among the normal washing cycles there was also a 30 degrees 15 minutes super quick cycle. I often wonder who could be in such a hurry to wash something and only have 15 minutes to do it. Apparently having toddlers answers a lot of questions…

At 1.30AM on a Wednesday morning normal people are asleep in their comfy warm bed, but I have twin toddlers so I am not in the normal people category. I was awake and using the 15 minutes super quick cycle on my washing machine!

It all started when B woke up and screamed. Although this happens often, this was a very strange scream. Almost as if he was hurt. So I went to investigate and found him being sick all over his bed. I let my husband deal with him while I changed his bed and calmed down his brother. After a wash, a new pyjamas (for B) and 2 long lullabies (for everyone), both boys were in bed and ready to go back to sleep. Even daddy was back in bed. Mums though, can’t really go back to bed that easily, so I adventured downstairs.

Putting everything in the washing machine to be washed immediately was an obvious choice, but choosing the 15 minutes cycle was a brilliant idea! In 15 minutes I managed to empty the dishwasher, drink a cup of hot milk, get myself ready to go back to sleep, prepared a hot water bottle and even started to write this entry to my blog.  What a perfect length washing cycle!

Can you make mummy smile?

If you had a bad day at work or you’re simply very tired, a smile from your son or a hug from your daughter are all you need. Sometimes though you need a little bit more to make you smile.

Being able to sit down in front of the TV for about 10 minutes can make or break your day. I often watch TV after the kids are in bed, but watching a pre-dinner show, like I used to do in my previous life, seems very strange and so unusual.

There are things in life which will make you smile no matter how hard your day has been. Watching the boys coping each other at dinner, by bashing a spoon on the tray, is simply hilarious. That made me smile.

If you are a mum of more than one baby still in nappies, an offer on Pampers from your supermarket could really change your day!

The latest cutest thing I’ve seen is T bringing B his teddy when he cries. That made me smile (with pride).

I know it shouldn’t make me smile, but some of the accidents a toddler can get involved in are just too funny not to laugh! Slipping, tripping, crashing or simply falling, but the most spectacular is always the bumping of the head. Sometimes I wonder how humans survive their first few years without wearing an helmet!

My favourite part of the day by far is storytime before going to bed. B and T will fight, hit each other, try to bite and even scratch you. So why is my favourite part of the day? Watching B hugging T before going to sleep is heart melting. That would make anyone smile.

Bedside table

A lot of things have changed in the past 16 months, but nothing has changed as much as my bedside table.

I know it sounds strange but 17 months ago I had a lamp, a picture of me at 10 months with my dad, baby books, pregnancy vitamins and a box of tissue. Then the twins arrived and with them a lot of new things to dump on my bedside table just before collapsing on my bed.

When I was still breastfeeding, I had a breastfeeding pump on it, lots of water and a collection of muslin squares. The baby books were quickly substituted by “how to breastfeed multiples” and “what to do when you are having two”. Another important change was the numerous ear plugs. 2 should be enough usually, but in the dark you definitely need more!

After Christmas 2014, the boys switched to formula, so I had lots of empty milk bottles at the end of every night. I also had an alarm clock set at 3AM to go and switch places with my husband and let him sleep from 3 to 7. 4 hours each seemed a lot at the time then. My dad’s picture was there to remind me of an easier time.

At 6 months, T finally decided to sleep more than 1 hour at the time, so my husband and I could finally go back to sleep in our own bed without shifts! The bedside table started a revolution. No more bottles, but a book to read at bedtime. For a brief period I thought everything was going back to normal…

Then the teething started. The bottles came back accompanied by various syringes for Calpol. The nights were long again, the bedtime reading book ended up in the drawer not to be seen again.

After a long long summer, we reached the time for mum to go back to work and the boys to start nursery. My bedside table still had a bit of room for the occasional bottle of antibiotics to fight ear infections or a red pen to mark some last minute homework. My dad’s picture was still there to guard over me.

When Christmas got closer, a tablet appeared on the dusty bedside table. Last minute presents have to be bought online as the only time available to a twins mum is after bedtime! Some more medicines started to be deposited as well, with winter come sore throats, colds and pleuratis. Closely followed by codeine, throat sprays and Sudafed. My dad’s picture was sadly lost behind a pile of used tissues.

A new year a new bedside table, a bigger one to hold more things. One ready for the life ahead, but also an empty one as the boys can now walk and grab everything. Drugs cannot be left out, a tablet would go toward certain death, even a book cannot be seen on the table without being dragged somewhere else in the house. The only thing that is still there is that picture of a 10 months old baby trying to steal her father’s hat. Somehow the boys look at it, but don’t pick it up. It’s almost as if it was untouchable. It will stay there to guide us through the next phase, through more sleepless nights and hopefully towards some lazy Sunday mornings in the future.

Plans B

If you are pregnant with your first child, you may think you’ll do X and Y, and everything will be perfect. After the first 10 days with a newborn you may still think you’ll do X and Y, and everything will be fine. By the end of the first month you KNOW that you’ll do X and Y, but nothing will be alright.  Welcome to parenthood… The magic place where you will need a plan B (and C and D) for everything!

Lots of people being through the traditional mistakes:
“I’ll breastfeed my baby till he is 2!” and then having to give up after a month.
“I’ll meet you at 3” and then leaving the house no later than 4.
“My twins are going to be best friends” and then having to tell one off for sitting on his brother’s head (that happened to me last week!)

When the boys were born I planned to breastfeed them till at least Christmas, so on our trip back home I could feed them at the airport without bringing bottles. Life had different plans for the boys and me. As a consequence, Plan B was put in to place and each family member flying out with us was asked to take a box of formula milk with them to have enough for the entire vacation. A whopping 4kg of formula milk made its way to Italy for Christmas.

Then there are the little things which will surprise you. The bedtime bubble bath proved to help your baby sleeping, which will excite your little one, because of the extra bubbles in his bath! Only a sleep deprived new parent could fall for it as I did. Of course they going to go mad for the bubbles!

The boys’ bedroom was planned so the twins could sleep next to each other. We had this magical idea that if they could see each other while falling asleep, they would feel less alone and cry less. A few days after they learned to sit up, we had to move them apart as B bit T through the bars! Siblings love runs deep in my household.

image

In my previous life, I could organise my weekends months in advance. What could stop me from carry on my plans? Now most weekends are planned on Saturday morning at 6.30AM based on B’s temperature. He has a fever so often that last week the lady from nursery noticed he hadn’t had a high temperature for 3 days in a row and felt like she had to point that out to me, as if it was a major milestone. On this week news: T had started to walk, but more importantly B hasn’t had a fever for 3 days!

The biggest thing I look back on and wonder how I ever believed it was going to work is “no screen till 2”. When I was pregnant with the boys, I read this campaign organised by Michelle Obama which is centred on keeping your children away from tv or tablets till they are 2 years old. I have seen convincing evidence of how damaging it can be and I have observed in first person how some children can be almost tv-dependant by the age of 2. So, armed with scientific proof and being unbelievably naive, I explained my new found belief to my husband and we agreed our children would not watch tv till they turned 2 years old. Then my idealism meet real life… and real life won! The twins now watch Strictly Come Dancing every Saturday night.

The 13 hours night

If you asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said that half term for a teacher meant waking up late and do some planning. Unfortunately this year it meant waking up at the same time and chase B all day long!

On the last day of school I found out that the nursery was not going to keep the twins at half term. Despite them NOT doing term time only fees, they decided to do me a favour and leave them home so I wouldn’t have to pay for an extra week. Itself that is a great news and a lot of extra money saved, but they forgot to tell me, so it was an interesting surprise. I could not believe how a place that gives me a call to ask if T is allowed to drink orange juice instead of water, forgot to tell me about not keeping b the twins for an entire week!

I went from being happy about half term to be afraid of half term. I hadn’t spent a full day alone with the twins since they were 11 months old and DID NOT WALK. All of a sudden I was going to spend an entire week with two fully mobile toddlers. On top of that, I had no food as they normally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at nursery. The week ahead needed a lot of planning…

Step one was deciding when to keep the boys with me and when to look for alternative childcare. Fortunately I have a small army of people who always offer to help, so I asked a couple of them and got some time for myself everyday I needed to work. Then we planned to go to see the grandparents for the rest of the week. To my surprise the plan worked. I don’t know if they behaved particularly well with other people or if because they were taken in small doses, but nobody complained about their babysitting experience with the twins. The neighbours actually brought them to the park two days in a row! I was amazed!

Step two was organising the trip to the grandparents  (3 hours journey). Despite the car got packed like we moved house, actually all I needed for the trip was a pair of ear plugs. When B started to scream at 50 miles from our destination, I was so glad I had a pair in my pocket.

Despite B screaming for hours in the car, despite T sitting on B and looking innocent and both of them having a high temperature, the week went pretty well. I almost feel relaxed now that I am at the end of it!

The best part of the week was Friday morning, as for the first time since they were born they slept 13 hours, from 7.30 PM to 8.30 AM. Both my husband and I could not believe it when we woke up after 8AM and realised the boys were still asleep. That extra 90 minutes in bed made my week! It is surprising how easy you can make twins parents happy… just let them sleep!

Not going out

image

Both my husband and I never been very interested in going out to pubs and disco and getting drunk on a Saturday night. So the fact that we have to spend every night in now that we have kids, it’s not a big problem. It might become annoying in December when Star Wars will be out and we won’t be able to go to the cinema, but till then we have a packed schedule of exciting nights in.

The regular schedule for the evening is as follow: dinner at 6, bath at 7, bedtime at 7.30. Leaving mum and dad time to rebuild the living room after the twinado has past (see War Zone post) and watch some tv.

Occasionally we have a spare 10 minutes between bath and bedtime. Those are the 10 minutes I wait for all day.

Yesterday for example, the boys decided to spend their 10 minutes high fiving people. I’m not kidding, the two little monsters were giving high five to each other, daddy and me and then laughing their heads off. The most energising 10 minutes I had in months. Maybe I should try that in my classroom “Now let’s all stand up and give a high five to the person next to you!”. It might work.

A few days ago, we let them loose upstairs so they started chasing each other (crawling) between rooms. One would chase the other into a room, then got scared by his brother jumping out from behind the corner and started to craw away. So the role was reversed. And so on till we had to stop them to put them to bed. Hilarious!

For their birthday they received two Trunki (a sturdy plastic luggage for toddlers), which they now use as walkers to move faster between rooms. We happened to have a living room with two doors, one that goes to the kitchen and one to the corridor. The kitchen is also connected to the corridor by another door, so if all 3 doors are open you can go around and around the downstairs floor. Fortunately only T has worked out that you can do a loop yet. Although I don’t think it will take B much longer to follow in his brother’s steps. At the point we will have the perfect Trunki F1 circuit. Please subscribe to this blog if you are interested in future tickets sale!