Babies Who Nap Outside…

IZZY OUTSIDE 2
Claire, my lovely friend and Mumtrepreneur , forwarded me this article on babies having their naps outside, from BBC Magazine . I have always let Izzy sleep in the garden for her daytime nap, even when it was -3 degrees outside and we had to wipe away the snow from her buggy cover to get her out. This wasn’t something I did with my other 2 as babies, but it’s always worked for Izzy and she always sleeps very well and for a very long time outside.

You know what it’s like, you’re out with your little one and they fall asleep in the buggy, then you get them home, walk through the front door and “Waaaahhhh”, they wake up. I think one day, instead of trying to keep the nap going inside, I just pushed the buggy into the back (very secure) garden and let her continue to sleep in the same environment she fell asleep in. Low and behold, she didn’t wake up, she slept for another 2 hours, peacefully and cosily.

When it’s cold, I put the raincover on to protect her from the wind and when it’s super-cold, just make sure she’s wearing lots of layers and has an extra blanket on top of her cosytoes. When it snowed recently we had to wipe away the snow from the buggy cover to get her. She never feels cold to the touch when I take her out (except her cheeky hands if they stray from the warmth of the cosytoes!!), but she does always seem rested and happy. In fact, when I know she’s tired, she gets quite excited when I pop her in the buggy and give her teddy to cuddle. But what’s not to like? My garden backs onto my son’s school, so at playtime she can hear the kids playing which, for my noise-loving babe is like a lullaby. She can also hear the wind, the rain and the birds – it must be lovely!

The article talks about how parents in the Nordic countries believe that it keeps babies healthier letting them take their naps outside and I have to admit, Izzy is a very healthy baby, but that could also be because I’m still breastfeeding her a zillion times a day!

I dunno, it works for Izzy and it works for me. Considering she’s such an appalling sleeper at night, I just thank God I get 2 hours to myself during the day. Maybe I should put her out in the garden to sleep at night? She might even sleep through!…. JOKE!!! Of course she wouldn’t sleep through! Ha Ha Ha! *laughs maniacally and collapses in exhaustion*

Thoughts on yodelling, a healthy alternative to screaming.

My youngest daughter Isabelle, (the one who won’t sleep or be broken by controlled crying), has the mother and father of all screams. To look at her you’d expect perhaps a gentle gurgle or a cutesy little giggle, but NO, she’s a total yob. When we’re out in public and she starts screaming, I NEVER get a sympathetic shrug or tolerant smile from passers by, I get curled lips or grotesque snarls. On really bad days people have been known to simply run away from us, shrieking because their ears are bleeding.

At the moment she seems to be a bit poorly. I don’t know what’s wrong with her, it may be teething, a virus, permanent emotional scarring from the failed controlled crying, no idea, but she’s very cross, very clingy and very hard work. So, anyway, today she decided that the only place she wanted to be was my hip. At this point, I feel it’s important to say that I’m excellent at doing most things with one hand whilst holding or even breast-feeding the baby. Opening tins, buttering toast, going to the toilet, all easy, but I draw the line at chopping onions. Needless to say, at dinnertime, Isabelle was furious when I dared to put her down to chop said onions and screamed as though I’d just thrown her in the bin, which I have to admit was incredibly tempting.

By the time bed-time finally arrived, I was a match short of fireworks. I don’t know about you, but I find changing a screaming child’s, nappy absolutely hideous. They squirm, they flail and when possible fling poop at areas of the body that have managed to avoid tomato sauce or beige mush. Tonight though, the final straw came in the form of baby-grow poppers. Poppers are IMPOSSIBLE to pop when a baby is kicking and screaming and tonight when none were popping I felt the need to scream. So I did. I wish I could say that Isabelle’s surprise at my vocal outburst stopped her own screams but as you’ve probably guessed it made her scream even louder but with a new element of terror mixed in for good measure. Poor little thing, there’s nothing worse than frightening a baby, so, in desperation, I started to yodel. Yes, yodel. Now that did surprise her and also brought the screams down to a confused whimper.

Now I’m no scientist, (although a double B in combined science is nothing to sniff at) but I do feel as though I’ve stumbled onto some sort of important discovery here. Who knew that yodelling could calm the nerves so dramatically? I’m not talking about the baby of course, yodelling won’t work on her twice in a row, but I found it rather wonderful. I’d even go as far as saying that for a moment it made my spirit soar.

So, if you ever find yourself on the edge of a popper-induced meltdown, just try a quick yodel. You never know, it might work for you too.

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Ten things you should relish before having children

1. Having a lie-in. Once you have children you’re unlikely to have one together for about 15 years.

2. Going to the toilet alone. Children gravitate to the toilet if they sense an adult is enjoying a moment in there alone. They want to be as close to you and the toilet as possible which is not usually a great idea BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO THE TOILET!

3. Enjoying breakfast or lunch or dinner without someone saying “Mummy can I have some Ribena please”, just as you’ve sat down or “Mummy this is DISGUSTING, I want fish fingers.”

4. Having a shower without someone screaming in the background, or even managing to have a shower at all when you have a baby.

5. Being able to go out for an impromptu drink.

6. Sleep. Ahh my long-lost friend, how I miss you… Even when you no longer have a baby, it’s likely at least one of the kids will wake up after having a nightmare/accident/illness.

7. Wearing clothes that don’t have, sick, spit, bogies, Weetabix/unknown beige mush or tomato sauce on them.

8. Not having to watch or listen to children’s telly which seems to always be on somewhere.

9. Ironing without the fear of permanently disfiguring a small person going through a “pulling” phase, who decides that under the ironing board next to the iron cord is where they most want to sit.

10. Sunbathing/reading/relaxing on holiday for longer than 5 minutes at a time.

Day 13 Controlled Crying, an improvement? Pah.

Well, she woke up at 5.30am which is good. According to my husband, she did a bit of whining in the night but I didn’t hear it and she must have got herself back to sleep, which is good. However, I refuse to think it’s good because tonight may well be terrible and I want to be prepared.

On a more positive note, little, naughty, sleepless, gorgeous Izzy has started walking this week! Wey hey! She looked sooooo pleased with herself and although she’s not walking constantly yet she’s doing it more and more each day. The day she did her best walk(about 12 steps), my Mum was with me and I thought how lovely it was that we shared that brilliant little moment. So often our kids do cool stuff and no one else sees it (or is interested), but this was precious and I got to share it with someone who really loves Izzy too. Yum.

Also, she’s 1 tomorrow! I can’t believe it, my little baby will no longer be 0. We won’t ever be able to do one of our favourite jokes about putting the baby on the naughty step for zero minutes cos she’s zero, because we won’t ever have another baby. That almost makes me sad but then I get over it pretty quickly and cheer heartily. Hooray!

So Isabelle is asleep, the kids are at school/pre-school and I’m going to have a cup of Tetleys blended tread, a mixture of builders and green tea, which is actually very tasty and also makes me feel like I’m being healthy. I shall also read my book. Heaven.

Day 12 controlled crying. Ho Hum.

Last night during Isabelle’s one and a half hour crying session, Ferg and I had a great chat about our favourite American TV shows. I should probably point out that Ferg is my husband, not my bit of fluff. Ha ha ha ha ha, Sh. We are massive fans of shows like, The Sopranos, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, Breaking Bad and of course Homeland. We love telly. Some couples love adventure, theatre, chess(?), but we love a ruddy good sit down and some serious tellyvision. We obviously do other things too… but mainly we watch telly.

I haven’t said much about my hubby, but he’s super. Of course I love him but I also really like him. He also doesn’t expect me to do adventures or theatre or chess.

On the controlled crying front, we did the classic, 5 mins, 6 mins, 7 mins etc etc up to 14 mins with only a very brief shh in between. It was better than the night before by an hour, but who knows what tonight will bring?

So, that’s it really, see you tomorrow.

Day 9, 10 and 11 of totally, out of control crying.

Over the weekend, after my ridiculous declaration that we’d cracked it, my smallest daughter has decided she doesn’t do sleeping. Especially at night. Especially when I’m trying to get her to sleep at night. So I’m considering drastic measures. Here are the options; soundproofing, (expensive and inconvenient but probably worth it) hiring a wet nurse, (old school but creepy) or running away,(cheaper than soundproofing with no inconvenience to me and not creepy. Downside, no home, although that also means no housework. Mmmm sounds good.)

But REALLY what do I do? Last night she kept at it for 2 and a half hours after starting at 12pm, that’s a big chunk of deep sleep time. Even then she only stopped crying because I fed her. I’m making her sound like the enemy here, a very small, gorgeous enemy, but that’s not how I feel. I just feel… Over it.

I know this time will eventually pass but it’s hard, my Mum’s about to have a serious operation to treat bladder cancer and I want to be able to give her my all, to be peppy and positive, but at the moment I’m constantly half asleep and she must feel like she has a zombie for a daughter. Add to that 2 other children who need a loving, attentive mummy rather than a screeching harpy with wild eyes and you’ve got a recipe for tumultuous chaos.

What’s the solution, assuming she’s not going to start sleeping through consistently? I guess we just plug away at it and pray for strength, I think we’re going to need a miracle!

Day 8 controlled crying *whispers* “I think we’ve cracked it…”

It’s almost as if I’m a real human being again, 3 good nights sleep in the past week have made me feel like super-woman! My kids even ate real home cooked food for the past few days instead of something frozen. Yeh I know, pretty awesome. It just made me realise how hard it is to be a functioning and pleasant mum/person, when you’re completely knackered.

I remember when I got pregnant in February 2011, in the midst of morning sickness, constipation, indigestion and poor sleep, I thought to myself, “in a year and a half, the hardest bit will be over and I’ll see light at the end of the tunnel.” In the end, it’s taken longer than that, but at last I feel able to really enjoy my family instead of just about being able to cope with them. For me, having three kids has definately been harder than having two kids, and I don’t mind admitting that I found the newborn months extremely rough. I’ve never taken Izzy for granted or wished time away, but I did look forward to when things would be easier and at last they are. Hooray!

I’m sure Isabelle is far from sleeping through consistently but really going for the sleep training over the past 8 nights has clearly shown me that there are 2 things she really needs in order for her to get a good nights sleep. Firstly she needs to have at leat two hours of sleep during the day and secondly she needs to eat enough. For her the sleep training bit was about learning not to need a feed in the middle of the night. Sounds a bit obvious but that’s it!

If you’re in the middle of or embarking on your sleep training journey then hang on in there and listen to your instincts. No one else’s opinion really matters. It’ll mostly be you putting in the hard work, so you get to make up the rules. Good luck and God speed!