Tuesday 4 September 2012

Introducing Twinkle Mummy

It's day three of my sleep week and I am pleased to introduce Claire who blogs over at Twinkle Mummy http://twinklemummy.blogspot.co.uk/. I thought I had it hard, but I take my hat off to Claire who manages twins and still keeps sane! Over to you Twinkle Mummy...

The original Keep Calm and Carry On poster was first produced in the Second World War to boost the morale of the British public, at the time it only had limited distribution.

Now it’s seems more than ever we need our morale boosted. In recent years the Keep Calm and Carry On slogan has become a huge hit and it’s impossible to go anywhere without out seeing it in some form or another.
I have a bag that says Keep Calm and Carry On Breastfeeding, The Beard has three phone cases the first says the standard Keep Calm and Carry On slogan the second says Panic and Freak out and the third says Keep Calm and Kill Zombies.

Last year the Beard received a Keep Calm and Carry On birthday card which I imagine was sent as a bit of a joke as we had two four month old babies. I at the time obviously felt the need for such a morale boost as I framed the card and put it in the Twinkles bedroom.

Spud and Sprout have never been the type of babies that just fall asleep. They are probably too nosy and active for their own good.

I attended parent and baby groups where I’d see babies crashed out on a mat in the centre of a busy room or babies being brought in asleep in their car seats or in buggies. No Spud and Sprout never did that. They never just fell asleep.

For the first four months of their lives, I just winged it from one moment to the next. We had no set routine. The Twinkles would fall asleep in my arms sometimes for minutes and at other times for hours. I wasn’t getting a break in the day. Some days I didn’t even get chance to eat let alone get any housework done. Eventually I’d had enough of being stuck on the sofa for hours on end so I decided it was time for a routine.

Dare I say it…..Yes, I read Gina Fords Contented House withTwins. I soon realised that it was completely impractical and as far as I was concerned impossible to establish such a routine with not only one but  two babies. I did however take from it what I thought might work and tweaked it to suit us then threw the book out the window.

Once the routine was in place, I stuck to it and I must admit I became or rather I still am a little obsessed about time keeping. Everything is done to the minute and if something disrupts that then I get upset. So just so you’re clear on this, if you haven’t made an appointment to visit us then you’re not welcome because one thing I have learnt is if theTwinkles have slept well then they are happy. If they are happy, then so am I.

Saying all this, it did take months to establish the routine. I did exactly the same every day but of course the Twinkles just did as they pleased. Eventually I had to compromise with them on such things - I wanted them to wake at 7am, they preferred 6am. I said lunch at 12.00 but the ywant it at 11.30am. We settled on 11.45am. As Spud and Sprout have developed, the routine has had to develop with them.

Now in the early days of the routine, nap time was hell. I would put Spud in the bouncer and cuddle Sprout. He would fight sleep and nothing would settle him. He would just scream and scream. His cries would upset Spud so I would have to take Sprout upstairs. I’d stand in the darkness next to Sprouts cot rocking him as he cried. I’d look up at the Keep Calm andCarry On card and chant it to myself as I rocked Sprout side to side. Eventually Sprout would exhaust himself and fall asleep. The worse part of all of this, is the whole time I’d been trying to settle Sprout to sleep, I had to listen to Spud crying for me from downstairs. It was torture to listen to but I knew of no other way to get them to sleep.  Once Sprout was settled in his cot, I’d go down and cuddle with Spud until he fell asleep then take him upstairs and place him in his cot. One thing I’ve learnt is that if I’m able to stay calm then it helps the Twinkles to calm down andlikewise if I’m upset or stressed then they seem to feed off this and they become upset too.

I ditched the afternoon nap early on as it was becoming too difficult to get them both to sleep.  By the time I got round to getting Spud to sleep, Sprout would have already woken up and I’d have the opposite of the above where I’d have Spud asleep on me downstairs and Sprout awake in his cot upstairs. I’d spend an hour trying to get them to sleep and they’d sleep all for 15 minutes. It didn’t seem worth the hassle.

The downside of cutting out the afternoon nap meant that 5pm became the witching hour. The Twinkles would cry non-stop for the whole hour nothing would settle them. I just tried my best to keep calm and I carried on the best I could.

When Spud and Sprout were six months old, I began weaning them onto solids. This meant some readjustments to the routine and I discovered the solutions to all my naptime problems - The Power of the Boob! Now I’ll admit the reason I hadn’t done it sooner was because I didn’t want them to become dependent upon it to get to sleep. Thankfully my attitude on such things has changed somewhat. I love nothing more than watching Spud and Sprout fall asleep whilst feeding. Seeing their eyes roll back in their heads as they suckle then unlatching them to be rewarded with drunken expressions on their little faces.

Nap times became easier but still Spud and Sprout share abedroom. So unfortunately when one wakes, they have the tendency to wake the other. There is no way I can get both Twinkles back to sleep if they have both woken up crying half way through a nap. It’s just best to abandon the idea and try to survive the rest of the day as best as possible.
I’ve perfected the art of stealthily entering the bedroom and like a ninja glide my way to the cot, pluck out the baby and exit again before you can blink. Sometimes if I sit and cuddle Spud, he will drift back off to sleep but if it’s Sprout who has awoken then I have no chance.

Spud and Sprout are now 19 months old and thankfully these days nap times are bearable.  They have one nap a day and I look forward to sitting on the sofa, drinking coffee and browsing the internet or reading a book. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to stick to the routine and I’m becoming more flexible with it but when it comes to sleep we stay with it. Part of me longs for the day when we can have a whole day out. We could go to the zoo, take a picnic and make a day of it. At the moment, we are restricted by what we can do because of the routine but I’m sure when the day comes when they decide they no longer require their afternoon nap, I will miss and look back longingly on the time I’ve spent relaxing in peace and quiet.

So I ask myself is it time to take down the Keep Calm andCarry On card…no not just yet, let’s not tempt fate. 

Please pop over and visit me at http://twinklemummy.blogspot.co.uk/ where you can read my latest post The Big Switch Off

The fan has been on every night and naptime for the past 19 months.  Last night we decided it was time to attempt the big switch off. The Beard and I had no idea what to expect. Would we be up all night with Spud and Sprout. Should we wean them off ‘the whitenoise’ gradually, moving the fan out of their room inch by inch or will they both sleep through the night (which would be a first) in which case we would be kicking ourselves that we hadn’t done the big switch off earlier……….
A big thank you to The Milkshake Mummy for publishing my first guest post xxxx



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