Tag Archives: sleep

My most favorite time of the day

All is quiet, not even the tv is on. Kids are asleep, hubby is pottering around downstairs and I am laying in my bed, made toasty by the electric blanket. This is my most favorite time of the day.

I use this hour or so to read, watch mindless tv, stalk people on Facebook, or chat to friends on BBM. Some days I just spend this time laying in bed, staring at the ceiling. This is my time, my hour to unwind, usually with a cup of Milo or tea and occasionally a biscuit or leftovers from a party pack. By the time my human blanket comes to bed, I’m usually ready for a cuddle and a goodnight kiss, and while he enjoys HIS hour of downtime, I drift off into a content and peaceful sleep. I don’t mind the tv buzzing quietly in the background, or his sidelight on if he chooses to read or surf, I’m just happy that all my chicks are accounted for.

Although I am not a grouchy so-and-so in the mornings, I’d have to admit that I’m at my best just before bedtime, so if you need to tell me something important and require my full and utter attention, this is probably the best time to do it. But don’t wait too long, my family will laugh and say that at a certain time each night, I become like a zombie who starts to nod off until my head is hanging back and I’m catching flies with my open mouth, and this is true! I can’t do late nights anymore and much prefer my usual bedtime routine as detailed above.

Ah Yes, this is my most favorite time of the day. Xxx

Sleep Walker

Remember this post about Hannah moving into a big girl’s bed? Right. Everything was going swimmingly well until about two weeks ago when it dawned on her that this new found freedom, meant she could come and go as she pleased. At any time of the night. Why should she sleep in her own bed, alone and miserable, when she can silently creep in between mom and dad and then force them each into a corner while she takes up the whole bed and all the covers? I’m not sure what to do to solve this problem, I don’t want to lock her in her room, I want her to have the freedom to get on and off her bed, but I sure don’t want to regress to having a kid in the bed, when I’ve worked so hard from day one to keep the marital bed sacred (I sound like Danielle Steel).

I’ll be in a deep sleep, dreaming about Lindt chocolate bunnies, and I’ll feel this warm breath right on my cheek. I’ll open my eyes and find two big eye balls staring back at me. Once I’ve recovered from the shock,  I mean how would you like to be death stared awake, I’ll let her into the bed and we’ll sleep. Let’s be honest, there is something wonderfully scrumptious about spooning with a small little body. Until the small little body star fishes on the bed and manages to wrap herself in the entire duvet, while her parents freeze on the outskirts. So then I started to walk her back to her room when I found her breathing down my neck. This worked for a little while, until she started to insist on me climbing in with her. She has a double bed, so it wasn’t an uncomfortable arrangement, but that’s not the point. I have my own bed, I sleep with Daddy and you are supposed to sleep by yourself in your bed. This seems to have become a regular night time game and I need to break the cycle. At first when it was an occasional thing it was all cute and stuff, NOW it’s happening every night and I need to take the bull by the horns and stop it.

I was hoping that the cold would put her off and she’d stay put in her warm bed, clearly the cold doesn’t bother her. I have tried taking her back to bed and leaving her there, but half an hour later, she’s back with her heavy breathing. The minute her head hits the pillow, either in our or her bed and I’m next to her, she is lights out, but I don’t want her to get into the habit of having me next to her in order to fall asleep.

Now I’ve always advocated doing what works at the time, because they’ll grow up soon enough and all these baby problems  will be a thing of the past, but after two years to NOW start with sleeping shenanigans is crazy and unfair on mommy who has gotten used to an eight hour night. Anyone else experiencing this? Does anyone have any bright ideas on how to stop this sleep walker in her tracks? I do love to feel her little chubby hand search for mine under the covers, and I do love to be woken up with wet sloppy kisses, and I do love that she feels safe and secure when she is snuggled up close to me, but I do love uninterrupted sleep too!

Placing a pillow over anyone’s face is wrong.

My kids have been sleeping through the night for some time now, and I find every possible moment to gloat about it because it’s been a long hard journey… like my colleague will ask me if I’d like to pop down to the canteen with her for a cup of coffee and I spend the whole trip and cup of coffee talking about what good sleepers I have (she isn’t even a mother, she really doesn’t give a damn) or my boss asks me how my weekend was and I use this as the perfect opportunity to tell him how well we all slept. Or the tea lady asks me for bus fare and I tell HER how well I slept – she is 60 years old, I don’t think she cares, really. Anyway, the Law of Murphy dictates, gloating and showing off can only end badly for you.

Last night was rough. Everyone went to bed quite happily as usual, I even watched a movie – something I never do during the week because I’m usually too busy and besides, DSTV is usually regurgitating something that I have already watched for the 496th time. We went to bed at about 10pm, and I was blissfully dreaming about Lindt chocolate bunnies, when I heard the first squeal from Hannah’s room. 

I look at my phone, it’s only 11pm. Darn! I lay quietly, staring at the ceiling, willing her back to sleep, but the next squeal is louder and angrier. Off I traipse, while Daddy Dearest continues to snore peacefully. She is awake, standing in her cot and quite pissed off. I hand over the bottle, avoiding eye contact and any form of communication and edge towards the door, expecting her to lay down and drink herself into a sleepy milk induced coma. No such luck. She yells out “MUMMY” and I knew I was doomed. I sit on the bed opposite her cot and give her my most defeated sigh, she responds with a chirpy “hello mummy!” We lay on the bed together as she counts each family member by name: where’s Dudee? Where’s Leelee? Where’s Gogo? SLEEPING like normal people do in the middle of the night, I respond. Eventually I dose off; I can feel her tossing and turning as she mumbles softly to herself. I wake up and look at my phone, it’s 1.15am. She is asleep so I suck in my stomach and hold my breath as I slide off the bed which, by the way, creaks like something from a horror movie. I make it safely back to the marital bed, husband still snoring peacefully. I plump up my pillow and start to think chocolate bunny thoughts. What feels like five minutes later, I hear Hannah calling out to me – why is it that the never call out for their “Dudees” in the still of the night? My phone registers 2am, you cannot be serious. She is sitting “pen reg op” on the bed and greets me with a bounce and a smile “hello mummy.” I ask her in my most sternest voice why she isn’t sleeping and she says “bokky”… her milk is finished and she wants more. I seriously thought these days were behind me. I go downstairs and refill the bottle, I put her back in her cot and I leave the room, but she yells out to me. We lay on the bed again. She is stroking my face, and patting my head. She is like a flea: she jumps on top of me, then in the crook of my arm, then she spoons me, then she pulls me so that I can spoon her – serious. I fall asleep and the next time I open my eyes, her feet are almost in my mouth and her face is somewhere alongside my kneecaps. It’s 3am. I try to extricate myself from this sticky situation, but she stirs and I immediately play dead. It works. I am counting the hours until my alarm goes off, and if you are anything like me, you know how hard it is to go back to sleep when you know that you have to be up soon. That’s another one of Murphy’s Laws.. Thou shalt not be able to sleep if you are watching the alarm clock. When I sense that her breathing has regulated, I do a move that could have been used in The Matrix, with Keanu Reeves as my co star. When I stand up, I realise that I may have pulled a muscle in my back. But the baby is still asleep and I hobble back to the marital bed. I make a pit stop at the toilet, my wee hasn’t even run cold and I hear Hannah calling. It is at this point that I start to wonder who I should smother with a pillow first: Hannah because she is totally annoying me at this point or the Husband who hasn’t gotten up ONCE during this whole palaver. I trudge over to Hannah, it’s close to 4am, I have to be up at 5:30am. I resign myself to the fact that I will look like the walking dead in the morning and hope there is something left in my tube of Garnier Caffeine Eye roll-on. So we sleep side by side until my alarm goes off at 5:30am. She doesn’t even stir as a grapple to find my phone to turn the alarm off. She doesn’t move a muscle as I noisily complain about being exhausted and now it’s time to get up and how I just want to put a pillow over her father’s face because I am so mad that he is so well rested and I am so tired. She sleeps through our morning noise of showers going, Liam yelling, toast popping, kettle boiling, Jungle Junction blasting. I cough loudly as I pass her door, I clang heavily in my high heels as I walk past again, I purposely scream right outside her door for Liam to come and get his school bag. She sleeps. We leave for work and school and she is still asleep. 

Zoleka reports that she woke up after 7am, refreshed and happy. I look like death. This had better be a once off. I wish someone would put a pillow over my face.

Sleep Like Babies

I didn’t want to blog about this. I didn’t want to tempt fate, or give Murphy a reason to rain on my parade, but if truth be told, I actually cannot keep my mouth shut about it. I am so consumed with what’s happening in our household – or rather what’s not happening – that it’s all I talk about, I dream about it, I wake up smiling because of it. You see, this journey has not been an easy one, and I will not say we have “arrived” yet, because there are still teeth to be cut, nightmares to soothe, grouchy babies to placate – but it seems our journey has turned a corner, and this new road we find ourselves on is blissfully hushed. 

Our household has been mysteriously quiet during the twilight hours, so eerily quiet that I’m afraid to turn in my bed lest I shatter that beautiful silence. For the last few weeks (bar one night where Hannah hit a wobbly) our babies have been sleeping like.. well.. like babies. So great is my paranoia, that I feel that by talking about it, the sleep noo-noos are going to come and bite us in the bottom for prematurely smacking high fives and breaking out the bubbly. This is not the first time we have experienced an uneventful full night of sleep, but in the past, it was usually because we had drugged them. No seriously. THIS time is different because it has hit a record breaking two weeks, with no medication, no promises of a surprise in the morning, no coercing or force necessary. It seems that our babies have just come to understand that night time is for sleeping. We still prepare their night time drinks as we are still very cynical about this whole sleeping debacle, and after the last two years of sleepless in Gauteng, who wouldn’t be? We try to remain calm when we wake the next morning to find the night time drinks untouched, just where we had left them, but this week I did allow myself one pyjama jig and a double high five with the husband. This is BIG! 

Any parent with a baby can relate to at least one time (if you are lucky) in your baby’s life where you felt like your eyeballs would roll right out of their sockets due to being so utterly exhausted from sleepless nights. It really is a pernicious disease that inflicts almost every household with a small baby, and in our case TWO babies. I’ve waxed lyrical about what a bad sleeper Liam is (was?) and Hannah, although a good sleeper, enjoys torturing us occasionally with her all-nighters, so now that we are getting a good eight hours in at night, I sincerely feel like a new person. I’ve noticed the impact on the whole household, we smile more, we no longer grunt/bark/snarl at each other in the mornings, and we are drinking way less coffee to keep us going.

Initially, I would still get up to make sure all was well, that they were warmly covered, and I’d put my little finger under their nostrils to make sure they were breathing. However these days, I sleep through the night myself, I dream about how I am enjoying my sleep and when I wake up to the sound of my alarm, I no longer have the urge to smash it against the wall because I feel like I’ve had my full quota of sleep – I wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day!

It’s a beautiful thing.. I hope this is the start of a long and promising season for us! At the back of my mind, I know that Hannah still has a mouthful of teeth to cut and I know that it’s normal for a kid to wake many times during the night and they are not always able to successfully put themselves back to sleep, but at least I know that they CAN do it. My babies are not insomniacs, they can sleep like the best of them; they do not need psychiatric assessments as I had often thought during those sleepless nights because yes, they can sleep like babies!

Another day, another milestone..

How do you know when your child is old enough to sleep out? Old enough in the sense that they make the decision for themselves, understanding that it means they won’t see mom and dad for the WHOLE night, until the sun shines the next day? My kids have only spent the night away from me, at my parents home. I know that they feel as safe and secure with my mom, as they do with me. In fact, Liam spent 10 days with my parents in Durban when he was about 18 months old, this gave me time to bond with Hannah, who was only three months old at the time and it also gave him a chance to be the one and only favourite again and he basked in the attention. Moreover, it gave me the much needed reprieve from my toddler who was not yet used to having a little sister who also demanded my attention ALL the time, and his transition to big brother was taking its toll on the whole family. But other than with my parents, Liam hadn’t slept out before. So when he announced that he wanted to sleep by Nana’s house (his other granny), I was taken aback, and a little amused because I didn’t think he’d go through with it.

The husband and I agreed that there was no harm in letting him spend the night out, he loves his Nana to bits, and we were close enough to make the midnight drive, if we received a distressed phone call from Nana. And because they don’t get to see their grandparents that often, I know that both the kids and the grandparents really treasure their time together. So I dutifully packed his overnight bag, I kept explaining that I’d only see him the next day, when the sun came up and that he’d sleep in Nana’s bed and that the rest of us wouldn’t be there; he seemed un-phased and blissfully happy at the thought of leaving us behind. We dropped him off, and I had to physically restrain myself from giving Nana a lecture on how to care for my baby. Nana had raised three children quite capably and I married one of them, so she kinda knows what she’s doing.

Once home, I sat with my phone in my lap, almost willing it to ring. Eventually I messaged Nana to ask how Liam was doing, she replied that he was “gone to the world.” Wow, she was good, he had said good night and went to sleep without a fuss, Nana reported. Whereas we had to sing, dance and put on an entire theatrical performance before Liam would go to bed. I put my phone on vibrate and placed it under my pillow, but we received no late night distressed calls.

He called me the next morning, and I felt hot tears welling up behind my eyes when I heard his voice (silly I know, but I missed him!!). He was fine, he told me he had picked flowers for me in Nana’s garden and that he was eating his porridge and that he would see me later and then he put the phone down in my ear. Nice. No I LOVE YOU, no I MISS YOU. Nothing!

Eventually I begged the husband to go and fetch him because I missed him so much. I didn’t want to go; I didn’t want my mother in law to see me cry like a sissy when I huggled (cross between a hug and a cuddle) my boy. When he arrived home, it was evident that he wasn’t too thrilled to be back. He gave me his cheek, side glanced at his sister who had CLEARLY missed him, as she tried to claw at him for a huggle and he asked where his bike was. Undoubtedly, he didn’t miss us, like we had missed him.

So the answer is simple, your child is ready to sleep out, when he says he is! I underestimate my kids; they do something new every day, they far outrun my expectations, so much so, that I actually feel guilty for not giving them more credit. So another bittersweet moment as we tick off another milestone reached for my big boy!

Good job Liam!

BC / AD (Before Children / After Darlings)

Before our kids were born, my husband and I would spend hours talking about what we wanted for our children, how we would raise them, how we would discipline them, what wnderful parents we would be, who would be bad cop, and so on.. Of course once they were born, none of those conversations mattered, our conversations were more along the lines of: who made the last bottle, who changed the last diaper, who had the least amount of sleep last night and who could have the next night off. While laying in bed last night, thankful that the house was dark and quiet, I started thinking about the way life used to be, BC (before children).

The husband and I were movie buffs. We would  go sometimes twice a week; we were the Barry Ronge’s of our day. We could hold intelligent conversations for hours, dissecting the movie we had just watched, while sipping on post movie cappuccinos in a QUIET spot where non parents could gaze into each other’s eyes, without getting a blob of ketchup thrown in your face.  If we stayed up late, burning holes in the carpet, it was because we were having an adult party and dancing the carpet away, not pacing up and down with a baby who couldn’t settle. We used to watch the news after dinner, and Sunday mornings were for church, followed by fresh hot bread rolls and reading the newspapers.. Now the only news I get to follow is via my social networking contacts, and the only papers I read are clinic cards, report cards and bills. If we didn’t feel like cooking, we’d order in; if we felt like going to bed as soon as we walked in from work, we’d do it. If we felt like a night of pigging out while watching hired movies, and leaving the dirty dishes to soak, we’d do it! AD (after darlings), we have to ensure that there is at least one wholesome meal a day, we have to wait for the kids to go to bed before we break out the junk food – and even then, we have to open wrappers verrrry quietly, chew slowly and hide all the evidence. We don’t leave dishes in the sink, because there’s nothing worse than getting up at dawn to wash baby bottles, and the sink is covered with leftover dishes – that’s got to be one of my pet peeves! I remember sleeping in until the heat emanating from our room would eventually wake us up – midday sun is HOT! Now if the sun is up before me, it’s probably because I’ve been up all night and only got to bed at 5am – no not partying, nursing a sick child!

But the one thing that has really evolved AD, is the relationship I share with my husband. Our conversations are limited to baby talk – quite literally. He’ll say “I’m going pee-pee” when he leaves the room to take a toilet break. Or I’ll quite seriously say “give mama some love” when I need a hug? The only time we have alone time is when both kids are asleep, and by that time, all we want to do is sleep too. We get excited about Pampers being on special or half price kiddies meals at a restaurant, when did this happen?!! We argue over missing baby socks, and Hannah’s bad hair day and Liam’s increasing vocabulary of rude words; COME ON! We used to argue over who’s soccer team was better and how my t-shirt showed too much cleavage!

Sometimes I ask myself if this is the life I signed up for? Is this the man I married? Are these the sweet angels I used to dream about when I was pregnant? The truth is – NO! My rose coloured glasses were knocked clean off my nose, that very first night in the hospital when that darling nurse nudged my shoulder at 3am to feed my screaming baby. Of course this is a blog my kids will read someday, so I do need to end it on a positive note! But the blatant truth is, that even amidst the hardship of raising babies, and mommies and daddies having to sneak into the bathroom to have a cuddle, and crying louder than my two kids because I just don’t know what they want sometimes, and wearing the same pair of butternut stained jeans two days in a row because they are the only pair that fit, and wanting to bust a cap in Liam’s teacher’s XXX because he likes her more than he likes me sometimes, and wanting to SCREAM at my husband when he promises the kids something that I have said no to already… even with ALL these things, the blatant truth is that if a genie had to appear and ask me if I wanted to rewind.. I wouldn’t even consider it. When you know the feeling of tiny soft fingers wrapped tightly around your hand, when you’ve giggled with your toddler until the tears flow, over something utterly silly like watching a dog pee, when you come home to little arms outstretched for a “love”, when you’ve kissed a bleeding booboo, when you’ve fallen asleep with a stiff neck because a little face is nuzzled deep into your neck, when you feel that joy of a baby who has learned to clap handies or blow kiss or say ta-ta, when you see little eyes light up at unwrapping a gift – there’s just no going back and there’s just no giving them back, not for all the chocolate in the world! And even though my husband and I are no longer the people we were when we got married, quintessentially we are better. You see, babies force parents to connect and reach out to each other and rely on each other in a way that you never thought was possible. Babies strip you bare, they force emotions out of you that you didn’t know you could muster up, they make the highs really high, and the lows dreadfully low; and for my husband to still be here, to still love me like he does, to still be the almost-perfect father to our kids, after witnessing firsthand the highs and lows of parenting two bambinos, 15 months apart; I love him now, more than I have ever loved him in my life.

I know this season will pass, and there will come a time when Liam and Hannah leave the nest empty and the husband and I can go back to our movies and junk food and sleeping in. I know too, that as I sometimes miss our BC past, I will one day miss THIS time when my kids were babies who still looked up to me like a demi-goddess. Because the old adage is true: live in the present because it is a gift from God.