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 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.
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.
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.
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.
My daughters seem to have a sixth sense for waking up and/or causing mischief at exactly the wrong time.
I can pretty much guarantee that every night when I try to sleep one or the other will wake up and cry. Not often enough for me to get up, but enough to think that they must sense that I’m wanting to go to sleep.
The worst nights are the ones where they gang up on you. One will be up with wind till two in the morning and once they’re finally settled the other will wake up ten minutes later. It’s amazing how often this seems to happen.
During the day
There are so many times when they are no trouble all day long and just when you need them to be quiet for five minutes as you’re on the phone or cooking they’ll be crying or throwing a tantrum. It’s not necessarily that they’re not getting attention at that point as my eldest will happily play on her own for quite a while and my youngest is often asleep or happy playing on her piano gym. It’s just that they sense what is the worst time for you to draw attention to themselves and then they do it.
Please tell me this phenomenon isn’t restricted to just my household.
Now my daughter is chattering more she comes out with things that could get embarrassing if spoken in public. Some of these are our own fault.
From an early age we used to say farty pants when my daughter broke wind. She now practically shouts it out herself when someone breaks wind. Not only does she say farty pants she’ll also name and shame the person who broke wind. That could be mummy, daddy, her four month old sister or herself. It’s only happened a few times in public and fairly quietly. Nobody else reacted to it so I think we’ve got away with it so far.
However that is not the worst that she could say.
Two current fears
– Great tit(s): My daughter has been really interested in birds recently and we often show her a bird book at night. She can recognize different species and often says tits or even blue or great tits when we are out and about. Now this isn’t that embarrassing in itself. However, it could get very embarrassing if she says it just as my wife is breastfeeding her baby sister.
– Fork: That’s an innocent enough word you might think. However my daughter pronounces it in a very rude way. Just replace the “or” in fork with “uc” and you will get the gist. We had her uncle over for tea last weekend and she said it a few times as her fork was just out of reach. We all ended up in uncontrollable stitches which made it worse as she then thought it was funny and kept shouting out the word.
Then when she didn’t want her fork anymore she said “fork off”. You can just imagine the reaction this got. I’m just waiting for this to happen when we are out eating in public.
Please tell me we’re not alone
If you’ve got any embarrassing words that your children have come out with in public or that they are saying in private, but you fear they might say in public I would love to hear about it. It would be great to know that this happens to everybody.
That would be my daughter.
Yesterday I wrote about us taking the sides of my daughters cot and giving her a big girls bed. You can find that blog entry here. Last night we found out that we should have added a bit of protection/cushioning.
The 1am wake up call.
We were woken up to my daughter crying and when I went to see her I found her on the floor next to her bed. She had apparently rolled off the bed and landed on the floor. This was by no means a hard landing, as there is a rug and carpet next to her bed. However it was certainly a shock for her. We manged to calm her down and then began roll proofing her bed.
Adding soft sides.
We rolled up some towels and stuffed them into the side of her bed, providing a cushioned bumper so that she could not roll out of bed easily. When she eventually went back to sleep we had no more incidents and she woke up happy this morning. As i’m writing this she is having her afternoon nap and apart from the incident yesterday she seems to be taking to her bed like a duck to water. Fingers crossed it continues.