Sleepless in Salford

Just a few, short nights ago we were sat in a hot tub on the last night of our holiday, under a canopy of trees and stars, debating what our next holiday should be.

Scotland? The Shetland Islands or Orkney perhaps?  Italy? Spain? Hell, why not an all inclusive on a Mexican beach? With a kids club of course, so we can sip cocktails at a swim up bar all day while the kids have a whale of a time with all their new friends…

Of course, that was after we’d been there long enough to forget the joys of the flight over, and before the even bigger joys of the flight back.  

I was actually going to write a post of tips for flying long haul with a fifteen month old. I even drafted it… It was pretty short and sweet. It simply said “don’t do it”.

But enough of that. We’ve now been back nearly 3 whole days, and whether it’s the attempt to return to a normal routine, or jet lag, or a bit of both, but among the holiday souvenirs we brought back with us, it appears our children no longer sleep.

Usually, if C’s really unsettled, an emergency episode of In The Night Garden is enough to remind her that it’s bedtime.  A sign of just how bad things have become: tonight, it took that plus half an episode of Mr Selfridge (she wasn’t a fan), a partial lap of the M60 and the entire Radio 4 shipping forecast… and still no sleep.

Seriously? The shipping forecast nearly sent me off!

I actually made it back home at one point with what appeared to be a sleeping baby, but she could clearly sense what was going on and promptly started wailing again.

To that point, it’s currently 1:40am and I’m sat in the car in one of the more salubrious neighbourhoods of Salford (I figure I’d rather come up against Worsley’s neighbourhood watch than some of Salford’s more colourful nightlife), writing this blog post.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention – the last time I saw Mr Jones, he was blearily trying to coax/bribe a tearful and very awake 5 year old back into her bed.

Last night both kids were asleep by 3:30am. Tonight’s looking like it won’t be that far behind. And of course we’ve both got work in the morning.

Who ever said having kids was a good idea?!

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All night long

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C has never been a great sleeper. That much is true.

In fairness the main challenge for us as parents has been a lack of consistency – some nights she will wake just once or twice and go back to sleep easily, others she’ll wake every hour and cry no matter what you do to comfort her.

After a string of not-great nights, however, last night C did something I don’t think she’s ever done before.

SHE SLEPT THROUGH!!!!

And I mean properly slept through – from a little after 7 in the evening for a full 12 hours.

I’m under no illusions that this is going to be a new habit, but the childminder has been told that whatever she did with her yesterday she should do every single day from now on.

And obviously whilst she might have slept through, I still ended up going to check on her, amazed and slightly aghast at her sleeping prowess, no fewer than three times in the night.

Of course people forget that babies aren’t necessarily meant to sleep through the night; that it’s normal for them to wake a few times, and in fact it’s pretty normal for adults to wake in the night too.

But that’s not stopping me doing a little happy dance this morning and heading to work with a new found spring in my step.

Long may it continue.

Happy New Year

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We might be past the days when we can go out celebrating New Year at street parties with bottles of Irn-Bru topped up with vodka, but that doesn’t mean that C wants to miss out on the celebrations.

This little minx slept soundly until approximately 11:51pm when she decided she had to come downstairs to join us ringing in the new year.

Listening to fireworks simultaneously on the TV and outside, there really wasn’t that much choice in the matter: we had to treat ourselves to another Jones family new year selfie. I think this might become a little tradition for us.

We might have been missing one child from the picture this year, but I was quite happy that G was tucked up in bed, snoring away happily. Certainly preferable to last year when she was grumpily telling us off for waking her up by having the tv on too loud, when in fact it was the fireworks outside that had woken her.

So, happy new year! I wonder what 2015 will hold in store?

Little Sniffles

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C has always been partial to a good old fashioned cold. She got her first one at just five weeks old and since then we’ve been happily passing them back and forwards between each other, each seemingly getting more and more extreme as we get closer to winter.

Oh yeah, and the so called ‘cold season’ has barely even begun, hasn’t it? Somebody save us!

Much as I enjoy rating my youngest daughter’s snot bubbles on size, colour and durability (although I’m disappointed that I’m yet to catch one on camera for her much vaunted 18th birthday album), I definitely don’t enjoy the impact on her already fragile sleep pattern, especially as I’m heading back to work soon. And believe me, I don’t function very well without my sleep!

I remember only too clearly the night that I dumped a poor sleepless snotty C in her Daddy’s arms and announced I was going to the 24 hour Tesco to try and buy something to help her sleep.  I came back not with a bottle of brandy as Daddy feared (though it would probably have helped me if not her) but with a saline nasal spray and a plug in inhaler, having discovered that there’s very little you can actually give to a poorly baby.  I then discovered that the plug in was not a great match for a summer mini heatwave, given it relies on having doors and windows firmly shut.

It’s fair to say it wasn’t exactly my most successful shopping trip.

So I was chuffed to bits when Dentinox asked me to try out some of their products to help deal with the sniffles. We’ve used their sticky eye wipes in the past to help with C’s blocked tear duct, and our parcel from them included an inhaler dummy, vapour oil, medicine dispenser and nasal aspirator.  After I got over the ‘ew’ factor of sucking baby snot directly out of her nose USING MY MOUTH (!!!), I realised that it was either that or continue spending inordinate amounts of time wrestling a tissue around her face, spreading more snot over her than on the tissue thanks to her protests.

First up, the inhaler dummy.  Compared with the plug ins, this seems a geniously simple idea. You place a few drops of the vapour oil on a pad on the front of the dummy, close it up and pop the dummy in baby’s mouth. The vapour is exactly where it’s most needed, and safely enclosed so you don’t need to worry about baby ingesting the oils.  And you don’t have to seal the room shut to keep the vapours in.

C took to this like a pro. Despite the fact that she’ll only accept a dummy for the first five minutes of going to bed, it was long enough for her to settle off to sleep, and even when she was asleep it was still near enough to have the desired effect.  I was also pleased to find that the oil didn’t have that eye watering kick to it that some others do.

We had less success with the medicine dispenser unfortunately, thanks to C’s new found dummy aversion.  But having managed to spray Calpol all over Daddy’s T-shirt (missing C’s mouth by a mere, but vital, inch), I can see how this would be a godsend for babies who haven’t developed C’s fussy tastes.

And so on to the aspirator.  I have to admit I was never convinced by the efficacy of these, but I was impressed, particularly when I realised there was little to no risk of ingesting snot through it.  It seems to work best after using a saline spray (as opposed to the drops which seem next to useless on a wriggly baby), as this loosens the mucous enough to suck it right out of there without having to contemplate the logistics of sticking things up there (not a good idea on any account).  And with her nose a little clearer it made C’s feeding both easier and a hell of a lot quieter, reducing the risk of her waking her sleeping sister with her rather impressive snorts and snores.

All in all the Dentinox products do the job and really do help.  And despite C’s cold we have succeeded this week in achieving the mythical Sleeping Through The Night (TM).  On more than one night.  In a row.

If that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.

 

I’ve worked with BritMums on this project with Dentinox and Snufflebabe to test their products during cold season. All opinions are my own. To find out more about the products visit http://www.dentinox.co.uk and http://www.snufflebabe.co.uk.

 

In Her Own Room (And On A Mission For Some Sleep)

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We were more than a little spoilt when G was a baby, as she slept through happily by just a few months old, and continues to be a great sleeper today.

C on the other hand taunted us for a week when she was tiny, sleeping from 11-6 a few nights on the trot, and leading us to cheer “we’ve got another sleeper!”. Since then, you guessed it, our mild smugness has been repaid by frequent, sometimes even hourly wake ups, which is starting to take its toll.

So last night was a night of firsts. A somewhat apt Easter new beginning, if you will. It was rather a lot to change for C in one go, but after a week of holidaying (which I’ll write more about later this week) a routine of sorts was very welcome.

– First time making sure she got two proper naps during the day (even if she didn’t really want to).

– First time in her own room for bed (albeit with me camped out on the sofa bed next to her).

– First time giving her a 11pm ‘dream feed’ to help get an extra stretch of sleep (although she didn’t so much dream her way through it as wake up and decide it was morning already).

– First time in a sleeping bag to stop her kicking her covers off (although a rather impressive bit of nappy leakage means it’s going straight in the wash this morning).

– And first time… Well not really first time really, as we didn’t achieve the magical ‘sleeping through’.

But you know what, I don’t mind that. C woke up at 330 and 6, and went back to sleep easily after a feed. She then gave me a dozy lie in until 9 this morning, whilst G played downstairs with Daddy.

And I got to wake up to this little face cooing next to me.

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Something tells me tomorrow will be a bit of a shock to the system, when we have to be up and ready for work / school / appointments. But as long as we get more cooing than crying I think we can manage that.

Bunged up

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As parents we tend to blame ourselves for a lot of things. It’s one of those things that comes with the job, but which nobody really warns you about. Or they do, but you tell yourself ‘I won’t be like that’.

But I really can’t blame anyone else on this one.

C has her first ever cold.

And I gave it to her.

I don’t know where I got it from, but I guess once I did it was inevitable that she’d get it too. And in fairness she’s been a little star with it. A bunged up, fussing, snoring, grunting and occasionally wailing little star, but a star nonetheless.

The most frustrating thing is not being able to give her anything other than the odd saline nose drop to ease it. A frustration she apparently shares, given the amount of my hair she’s managed to pull out (grabbing is a new skill she’s developed this week!).

But, importantly, she’s still sleeping! At 5 weeks old I can’t really complain about the one, occasionally two wake ups in the night (quickly finds something wood to touch so as not to break the pattern!). And she’s still pretty bright and perky despite struggling to feed and breathe at the same time.

That said, she’s had it for nearly two weeks now so I’d really quite like it to disappear now, please.

And if someone could take mine away at the same time that would be fine and dandy too, thank you very much!

Happy New Year!

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2013 in the Jones household ended in a spectacularly non-wild fashion – the four of us at home, with very few hours sleep but limited alcohol intake and BBC Scotland on the TV showing back to back fiddle / accordion music and ceilidh action to cries of delight from the other half (“Look! They’re doing Dashing White Sergeant! Again!”).

C, predictably, slept pretty much through the whole thing, other than waking to feed every couple of hours. We thought G was pretty easy going as a baby, but C seems to have taken it to a new level.

Her big sister, usually a deep sleeper, was woken up by the fireworks outside at midnight and then refused to go back to bed until the early hours of the morning, I guess on that basis the whole affair was still one step up from going to bed early and sleeping through the bells. Thinking it was the fireworks on the TV that woke her up, G’s put in a request that we watch something quieter tonight, like Peppa Pig perhaps.

The reality is that they’re both too young to really understand the concept of New Year – without the promise/threat of Santa and presents, or party guests in the house, there’s really not a huge amount to entice a 4 year old to get excited about the whole event. But with them being half Scottish courtesy of Daddy – virtually a professional Hogmanay celebrator – I’m pretty sure they’ll both make up for this in years to come.

If nothing else, I can rest assured that unlike me they will know the words to more than one verse of Auld Lang Syne (yes, there’s more than one), and will spend disproportionate amounts of energy telling people off for linking hands too early.

This year, we had to be content with an inevitable full family ‘selfie’ at just after midnight, which we later realised was the first ever picture of all four of us together.

I’ve learnt not to do New Years resolutions (they get forgotten within a week anyway), but suffice to say that even without a decent night’s sleep behind us, 2014 is looking as though it’ll be a pretty good year.

Happy New Year everyone!