From bed back to cot- regression and what to do?

Bedtime has been eventful in the last week or two in our household. We took the sides of our eldest daughters cot and transformed it into a bed.

She really loved it at first and settled and fell asleep really quickly. However, she unfortunately learnt how to open doors shortly after that. Since then she has getting out of bed and out of her room constantly. She would not even stay in her bed for more than thirty seconds. We have asked her if she wanted us to put the sides back up and surprisingly she said yes.

I put them up today and so far so good. There was not too much moaning at bedtime and she settled really quickly. I’m really hoping we can take them down again soon as my wife and I did like being able to read and sing to her whilst she was snuggled up in bed. Now we have to do her bedtime routine on her rug and then lift her into the cot at the last minute. It seems like a bit of a regression.

With a bit of luck she will realise what she is missing and ask for her big girls bed back and actually stay in it to fall asleep.

Have other people dealt with regression like this before? How did you deal with it?

Time without the children, time to chop down a tree.

So this week my wife has taken both children out for the day twice. This is a first for either of us and has given her a lot of self confidence which is good. I haven’t managed to take a trip out on my own with both my daughters yet as the youngest is exclusively breastfed and is still unpredictable with timings of her feeds. However, I was quite happy to get on with some task that have been out on the backburner.

Time to get out the chainsaw!

With this free time I have been able to do a lot of gardening which has been necessary for quite a while. This includes cutting down a pretty large sycamore. It felt rewarding to get the chainsaw out and cut down the sycamore which had been blocking light from an old oak tree.

It was hard work, but it felt really good being able to do something without having to worry about rushing in to attend to one of the children. I think my wife also really enjoyed her alone time with the children and will hopefully have gained some confidence to take them both out in future.

Especially as there is a big list of jobs that need doing, that will be difficult to do whilst looking after children.

  • Dig up a flower bed and plant it
  • Lay a patio
  • Protect and stain 2 garden sheds
  • Put a new felt roof on one of the sheds
  • Clear, chop and chip the wood from the sycamore tree
  • Check the guttering
  • Strip and re-varnish the exterior window frames

And this list is just for outside!!! my wife might have to take them away for a month or two to let me finish this list and get all the interior jobs done.

 

 

Toddlers have half term too!

Do you think half term is only for school aged children? If you do think again. Half term has a major impact on my two year old and five month old.

 

Impact

For our own sanity we try and get out of the house as much as possible so toddler groups and classes are a real godsend. However at half term the majority of them don’t seem to be running. This means that you have to entertain your children in other ways. That’s not easy though.

We went for our weekly swim last Monday and the swimming pool was really busy with older children. There was lots of splashing from the older children, who often didn’t look where they were swimming. This meant that we were often getting bumped or having to take avoiding action. In addition there is a real scramble for the changing rooms with a baby changing unit as older families use them as well. All in all this means the experience is not as relaxing as it normally is. I imagine the same goes for other activities which will also be busier than during term time.

Our solution

Our solution was to pack our bags drive 180 miles and visit some family and friends. We did this on the Tuesday and thankfully we had an excellent drive up both girls were either asleep or passive enough not to stop so the journey was very good. We had enough time to get unpacked, settle in and let our eldest get over the excitement before it was time for bed.

The next day we had arranged to meet friends at Gulliver’s world in Warrington. I did a detailed review here, but suffice to say our eldest daughter loved it and even today a full five days later still talks about the ladybird ride that she went on. The next few days involved seeing family and going with them to a garden centre with aquarium when it was raining, and visiting Tam O’Shanters farm when it wasn’t. At Tam O’Shanters my eldest daughter got to stroke an owl which she really loved. Other activities included house visits to friends and family and getting windswept on the beach.  The days were really jam packed and fun, with family taking a bit of the pressure off having to constantly entertain a two year old and five month old.

The children not being in school gives you a little more flexibility with regards to travelling. For example we decided to travel back today, on a Monday, when children were already back at school to avoid the traffic. If we had had to travel back on a Sunday the traffic would have been chaotic and we wouldn’t have had such an easy trip.

We left this morning and to tire out my eldest daughter, as well as to give mummy and daddy time to pack the car in peace, she went on a bus ride to the local beach with family. She really enjoyed it and it definitely did the job as she was asleep soon after we left. Again the journey was really good. Our youngest slept the whole way and although our eldest did wake up about an hour from home she wasn’t that restless that we needed to stop so we managed to get home at a decent time.

 

Upcoming holidays

Both my wife and myself think this past week has been a huge success. Our eldest daughter hasn’t been missing her classes as there has been so many other things going on. She has had plenty of distractions without taking up all of our time. We have already planned to visit family and friends again at Easter time. Hopefully that will be just as successful. I’m not sure we will be wanting to go away every holiday, but probably we would for a good portion of them. Alternatively it might also be worth timing relatives trips to see us around school holidays so that there is an extra distraction for the girls.

I also think late spring and summer holidays will be different anyway as there are a lot more outdoor activities that we can do and we don’t feel like we have to be cooped up in the house or having to drive to expensive soft plays and theme parks.

All in all I do think that doing something different like taking a trip to see family and friends during school holidays is a great idea. .

 

Battery recharge needed

This week has been exhausting. Our youngest daughter is having a growth spurt and/or teething. She has been up every 2 hours at night time and not been sleeping much during the day. She also believes that between 4am and 5am is a good time to wake up and not settle back down. Three times this week I’ve been down with her very early in the morning, trying to keep her occupied so my wife can catch up on some sleep.

On top of that our eldest has decided that she doesn’t need daytime naps anymore. She has been resisting most days. Luckily she had a nap yesterday as we tired her out by going swimming. She’s also having a nap as I’m writing this so maybe she is starting to realise that she feels better in the afternoon if she’s had a nap.

When she doesn’t have a nap she gets unsteady on her feet, cries at the merest slip and gets very clingy. this is very tiring especially when the youngest has been keeping us awake at night.

Back into swimming routine

One positive from this week is that we are starting to get back into the routine of taking them swimming every week. Last week I wrote an article about the importance of routine and how a lack of swimming meant that my eldest daughter had lost a lot of the confidence she had.

Although it was only the second week in a row we’d been we could already see a lot of improvement over last week. She was starting to jump into the water herself a bit more and was generally a bit less clingy. Hopefully, once we keep going weekly she will soon have her old confidence back. At that point we can start thinking about giving her some lessons.

Having stressed the importance of routine it’s a shame that it’s half term next week. Most toddler groups won’t be running and the swimming pool is likely to be really busy. As such we’re thinking about going away for a few days to give us a bit of a break away and see some family and friends. This should hopefully keep our daughter distracted enough to forget that she is missing her usual activities. We will however, try and go swimming either before we go away or on our trip.

Battery recharge needed

Hopefully my youngest will stop her growth spurt and/or the teething long enough to have a few good nights sleep as I think my wife and I could really do with having a few good nights under our belt to recharge the batteries. On top of that if our eldest does keep napping regularly it will also help a great deal as it allows us to either recharge our batteries or get some housework done without tripping over her.

 

How to raise bilingual children?

How to raise bilingual children is a question I really struggle with. I myself am bilingual having moved to England from Holland when I was a child. I attended primary school in England and secondary school in Holland, before coming to England to attend university. I have lived in England ever since.

 

I really would like to give my children the best start in life and being raised bilingually could really help in that.

My issues with raising my children bilingually:

  • My wife doesn’t speak Dutch: Although she has expressed an interest in learning it’s not an easy language and finding the time to teach her is very difficult. This also raises another issue. If I do teach my children Dutch they could speak it in front of my wife and she wouldn’t know what they were saying. I imagine two young children could get very mischievous with that.
  • Dutch isn’t the best second language to have: It’s not a world language like Spanish, Mandarin or even German and French. Although a second language can be a big advantage I’m just not sure how much of an advantage Dutch would be. We don’t have that many friends and family there and those that we do have speak good english.
  • My Dutch isn’t the best anymore: Although I was born in Holland and have been to school there I have lived in England so long now that my dutch isn’t that great anymore. I sometimes struggle to remember words and I definitely feel english is my mother tongue now. Therefore it doesn’t feel natural to me to be speaking Dutch and it is why I often forgot to speak it in front of my children.
  • Finding the time: We attend toddler groups or classes most days usually with friend and the conversations we have there are naturally in English.

 

I would still like to raise bilingual children

Despite all the issues mentioned above I would ideally want to raise bilingual children and teach my daughters Dutch. Below are some potential ideas

  • Read more Dutch books to my daughters, especially at bedtime.
  • Try and have dedicated Dutch times/days where I can teach both my daughters and my wife Dutch.
  • Let them watch some Dutch childrens programmes on youtube.

I would really appreciate any other ideas that anyone has. Being bilingual is a life skill and it would be a shame not to pass that on to my daughters.

The importance of routine

I’ve recently noticed how important a certain amount of routine is to our daughter. I’m not talking about a regimented day to day routine that we have, but about activities that she’s been missing.

There have been two recent incidents, which has made part of me feel that we have neglected her needs. However I know this is very irrational as what she’s been missing has been replaced by other interests and activities.

The local music group Our daughter had been going to a local music group pretty much every Monday for well over a year. However in the recent run up to christmas we started attending a different toddler group  as her friends go there a lot. She also really enjoys this group. However last week we took her back to the music group and she wasn’t her normal bouncy self. Don’t get me wrong she still really enjoyed it, but she wouldn’t go to the front and join in as she used to do. She was just a bit wary and shy.

We went back this week and she was a little bit better and did go to the front, but only when holding mummy’s hand. In a way it seems that we have to slowly rebuild the confidence that she had built up by attending regularly. I’m sure if we keep going she’ll be back to her normal bubbly self in no time. The dilemma we now have is can we keep her confidence up in both the music group and the toddler group by rotating them regularly as it would be a shame to completely drop one for the other as both are good for different reasons.

Swimming

The second incident is when we took her swimming recently. Before her sister was born we used to go swimming nearly every week and she loved it. She used to enjoy sitting on the side and jumping/diving into the water. The birth of her sister, subsequent tiredness, illnesses and the christmas break have meant that we hadn’t been swimming for nearly six months. We were keen to get her and her sister back in the pool. For her sister it was a first and she seemed to really enjoy it. Whilst our eldest did seem to enjoy herself and in the end didn’t want to get out it seemed all she wanted to do was walk around in the toddler pool. She wasn’t interested in going in the big pool or along the lazy river. Things that she really enjoyed when she last went.

We are now very keen to get her in as regular routine of going swimming as we want to give her lessons soon. First we have to rebuild her confidence for going in the water. As it would be a shame if when we paid for lessons she didn’t want to get in.

Lesson learnt

What these two experiences have made me realise is that children’s memories don’t seem to be as long. Although she did remember both the music group  and the swimming she didn’t remember what she used to like about them. She didn’t have the confidence to do things she was confident in before.

What I’ve learnt from these two incidents is that we need to do the activities my daughters enjoy regularly so they can continue to have enjoyment out of it. After all these activities aren’t cheap so it’s important that when we spend that money our daughters enjoy it to their utmost.