Packing up time

We’ve been going to a little local playgroup for a while now. It’s pretty unstructured, lots of bikes and play equipment, crafts and puzzles, different toys and different faces. Jman enjoys it, and it gives us that “getting out of house” momentum on a Thursday, that we need sometimes to give the days some rhythm.

Whether we make it in future, I’m not sure.

Today is the last day of maternity leave. I can’t believe it. I’m simultaneously dreading it like the end of the world and oh-my-god-how-broke-can -we-get-how-long-til-I-get-paid-if-I-sing-another-nursery-rhyme-my-head-will-explode looked forward to it since jman was about four months old.

So, playgroup runs from 9:30 until 11am. We usually do a bit of craft for 25 seconds, we open and shut the kitchen a lot, we push doll strollers around and drop the dollies on their heads, we go to the sandpit and attempt to get sand into every single crevice, we try to ignore mums healthy snack and eat 16,000 biscuits, mum has a tea, we play more, we leave. The only structure of the whole session is one of the church ladies who runs it blows bubbles out on the lawn, and that means it’s time to go.

Now I don’t wanna be all judgy judgy. I don’t wanna start a mum war, but I’ve noticed something.

Some mothers stand around quietly chatting the whole time. They nurse cups of tea, they feel awkward, they half hover like they want to be involved more, or pretend hover like they’d prefer to just wander off without their child but know they’re here to supervise. They make polite small talk. For all the world it feels like wallflower discussions from the teenage discos of my youth.

But then comes packing up time.

And their eyes light up.

Imposing order, I can do that.

They grab the tubs of cars and dolls with a ferocity I’ve only witnessed in a butchery. They lug the tubs away from the small people who just wanted five more minutes with that doll. They slap their hands together with zeal as they reappear from the storeroom for their second load.

All these messy toys. All this disorder. We can make this better.

They scare me.

So much so, for months I didn’t want to get in the way of the system of packing up, I just kept jman and myself clear and didn’t help. I thought they’d eat me alive if I contributed to the disorder.

I want to jump and shout and say your kid was just making scrambled eggs in the kitchen. But you didn’t pretend eat it.

And your kid looked amazing covered head to toe in glitter and did you see how much glue he can eat?

And your kid, he was really sweet with the doll just then, did you see him?

I noticed after starting family daycare I didn’t feel the need to hover as closely this week, and I’m glad of that shift. Mostly.

But I did eat jman’s pretend pasta.

And I did get showered in sand in the sandpit.

And I did help him when he got on the bike backwards for the fifteenth time.

And I did help him with the railway track and put a bridge in it with trees.

And I did let him eat three (maybe four) biscuits instead of my cheese, avocado and cucumber snack.

And I like watching him play, and being down on his level while he does it, and participating in it when invited to.

I hope I never become a packing up time mum, with dull eyes that only light up when order is imposed. I hope I’m always down on the floor covered in stickers and biscuit crumbs.

Advertisements

Rush hour

One thing** I’m concerned about in my return to work in a week is rushing. Rushing the jman too much. He senses “going out the door kerfuffle” like a bloodhound, and then it’s toddler lockdown. Arms wrapped around the knees, cries of “up. Up”. Endless delaying tactics like “book? More book?” And “milk?”. He also invariably craps his pants and or throws food onto himself or something white in his vicinity.

Rushing is something we are good at avoiding in our maternity leave bubble lifestyle. We have flexible bedtimes, flexible meal times, flexible nap times, flexible feed times. And he gets a lot of what he needs: my time. My dedicated, devoted, one on one time.

This is about to change.

Now luckily, my job is pretty flexible. I mean, there’s nothing quite like being late for work when there’s 200 people sitting in a lecture theatre waiting for you. I’ll admit, that’s special. But my hours at least this semester (and omg there’s a whole other post to come on those hours. Return to work sucks balls), my hours are civilised. Not early starts….my earliest is 10am.

But.

Rushing is something I’ve been thinking about.

One thing I am absolutely committed to is Jman time. I read about this in an interesting book Peaceful Parent happy kids : how to stop yelling and start connecting, and the basic idea is that most kiddie problems come down to connection. Re-establish that parental connection and the problem sorts itself out.

Jman time involves me, soon after we walk in the door, setting a timer for 15-20 min, putting down the phone / ipad / laptop / tv remote and just being down on the floor with jman. Following his lead in play. No putting away the washing up, no hanging washing, no I’ll just chop these things for dinner and make a cup of tea. It is hard to do. It is hard not to multitask in that 20 min. But it’s parental gold.

Where else can things go wrong?

The activity of saying no
Well, I think I need to be better at saying no. At ensuring there is free from schedules time on weekends for us as a family. And as he grows, limiting formal activities. Yes, sport and learning to swim and whatever else are important. But too much ferrying around, too much “we need to leave by 4pm” and it’s not really for my child’s benefit anymore, and I’m kidding myself if I think it is. Yes, boys need to burn off that energy, but it isn’t only formal activities that achieve this.

Some of the time suckers in our life, well, they’re just clutter like that pile of mail on the dining room table. Cluttered time sucks.

the fear of stopping still

I think sometimes mums do too much as a compensating strategy. There’s a few things I want to remind myself about this:

My response to depression was to over schedule my time. If I just kept busy enough, I wouldn’t fall in a screaming heap.

I still fell in a screaming heap.

Sometimes stopping is just what we need. Even if we feel the pull to do more, we can acknowledge the pull and not act on it.

fun rarely has an entry price or a timetable.

Formal activities may make me feel like I am doing something for my child, but in reality drawing crap in chalk on the driveway or turning on the sprinkler is just as effective.

gnocchi pesto. Toast. Noodles. Frozen peas. Steamed veg.

Food items that can be on that high chair tray within two minutes. Perfect? Nope. Jman happy? Yep. Especially if it’s gnocchi.

transitions

Remember that transition stage in child birth? That “oh my god I’m leaving to go to the pub why is it so HOT IN HERE GIVE ME THE ICE get the ice away from me I hate you” stage of labour? It’s bloody difficult.

Transitions are tough for toddlers too. So my job, of a morning, is not to get things done, but to ease transitions. From asleep to awake, pj’s to dressed, hungry to breakfasted, playing to happy to leave. Smooth the transitions. Like in labour, a transition is tough when you don’t know what coming, will it be better or worse, and how long will it take? Ease the transition for toddler.

My last note to perfectionist self on rushing is the oldie but a goodie if in doubt, lower your standards. Housework, ironing, meals, toddler skills, perfectionist tendencies at work, lower the standards.

So there’s my thoughts on rushing for the weeks ahead. I think it’s important to stop and reflect on these things and have a plan for the harder times in the week, to have a parenting vision when you can get your chin above the tide of toddlerhood.

** one thing I’m concerned about. Ha! Try 50,0000 things. Le sigh.

It’s not you, it’s me

So on your dark days as a maternity leave mum, you think this will all be behind me when I’m back at work. I’ll feel better when I’m back at work. Like somehow you can slip on your old skin and you’ll be back to “normal” , but with a child after work hours.

I have to admit that even through my tears after leaving jman today for the first time, there was a slight lightening. A lift, a sense of things being simplified. A joy in jumping in the car, turning off the nursery rhymes and throwing on jjj in all it’s loud sweary glory at full bore.

And then I found myself driving along a road, announcing “bump!” As I hit speedhumps.

And I drove past a car accident, not going “bloody traffic” but going “ooooooh. Fire engine. Look at the lights ”

Wanting to point out a helicopter flying overhead.

Ooooh dog, woo woo woo woo. Bird! Ute. Truck. Bus.

Yep, it was awesome filling up the car with petrol without the in and out of car seat drama.

Yes picking up a quick take away coffee and standing to wait for it for two minutes without having to hold someone back from running out the door onto the road, that was relaxing.

I went to the toilet on my own.

But you will never be the same person again when you have a child. Nothing in the world looks the same.

Even when they’re not with you.

20140121-232402.jpg

Quit your jibba jabba

Returning to work and starting daycare have been like stones in my chest the last two months. Hugs are tighter and longer, laughs and silly times are bittersweet. I felt like I was marching, inevitably, to an execution. I hated looking in jman’s eyes, knowing what I was about to do to him, and wondering what I was about to do to our very special bond.

I had to put it off by six months, it damn near killed us financially. Then I had to put it off by a week. All last week we had “lasts”, last free Monday, last trip to the beach, last mum n bub boxing class.

Today it arrived. The whole of the getting ready simultaneously made me feel sick, and was something I just needed to put out of my mind. To not think about. We were busy all weekend with not thinking about. And then it was here. With me simultaneously obsessing about it and forgetting about it, if that’s possible.

I felt like he wouldn’t be mine anymore. That every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, he was someone else’s. because the booking stands, and is paid for, regardless of whether he attends or not. and how do you trust someone else? Really? How do you know what happens when you are not there? How will he look at me after I do that to him, three times a week?

I haven’t started work yet. That’s for feb 3rd, with lectures back feb 24th.

I spent the first three months of his life riling against being tied down and caught up and locked in, and getting over the trauma of our pregnancy. I spent the next three months settling in and knuckling down and really starting to bond. I spent six months to a year completely fascinated and happy we were a unit, a knitted complex whole.

I spent a 12 months to 17 months enjoying him. In the face of some really tough times with my mum being Ill and us having a few hurdles, I still really enjoyed him in this period.

And I feel like, today, this has ended. It’s not a sudden ending, in fact today I didn’t even leave. We stayed and played three hours. It’s a slowly dawning horror of an ending. That all the not thinking about I’ve been doing is suddenly here. And it’s going to get worse. Because I am going to add into the mix an intelligent toddler who realised, pretty damn quick, that every time we arrive here it’s bad news. And he’s going to put up one hell of a fight.

Then I’m going to add work. After two years absence and some quite negative workplace changes. And stress of balancing too much. And football season. Which means hub -in-boots has two nights a week training, conferences, conference calls, one game day a weekend. And our cosy little life is going to be very very different in a short space of time.

Today, I intended to leave, just for a coffee up the road, but his carer suggested I didn’t. Not today. Tomorrow I will. And judging by the reaction I got when I ducked around a corner to the loo, it’s going to be ugly. Really ugly.

I will be leaving to go to a boxing class. So I’ll punch harder and run faster. Instead of sitting here bawling my eyes out, like I’m doing right now. Even though he’s here, in the next room ,napping, escaped the evil clutches of childcare after three hours.

When we were getting out the door today, jman found an old key ring of hub-in-boots, a Mr T. Key ring. He was repeatedly playing it “I pity the foooool”, “shutup, fooool”, and “quit your jibba jabba”. As my head ran into panic mode about what was about to go wrong, all I could do was silently “quit your jibba jabba” to myself. In Mr T.’s voice. To emphasise the ridiculous nature of what we do these days. Have these precious bundles, do everything for them, bond for them, then leave them with total strangers to go and do something we don’t really want to do. Sounds kind of screwed up, doesn’t it?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are aspects of my job that I love, and I’d go demented being at home for much longer. I am too active, my mind needs more. I will be a better mother for being engaged and stimulated. But I’ll be a worse mother for being stressed, juggling too many things, and needing to stick to a schedule. On balance, I don’t know what jman’s going to get.

It’s enough to make me want to live in a yurt and homeschool.

I have, I hope, made good choices. In the absence of nanny money, we’ve gone with Big Gay Al’s family daycare **. Maximum four kids, not far away, in a home with a garden, giant (netted over) fishpond and fountains. Some days there are only two kids there as despite huge waiting lists for family daycare the double challenge of a male carer and also a gay carer has been too much for some segments of society. I like that it’s a male carer, I like that it’s a home not a centre, I like that one single person will be there for our son each and every day. I am also glad we took the extra six months. He’s in a different place with communication, mobility, independence and separation anxiety. A better place.

As a weird aside which has fed into how I am feeling, we had an amazing run in with a childcare centre last week that I has previously inspected. I filled in the forms in september, but was told we would not have a place without a bond / Deposit. After the tour, I tried to convince myself it was ok. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t ok. They rang me twice, I said I could not pay the bond, they said I’d lose my place. Fine, I said. We got hand foot and mouth really badly after visiting there. The staff didn’t look the kids in the eyes, ever. They all looked about 15 years old and gave off bored slacker vibe.

After no paperwork at all since, no letters, emails nothing, they rang me to ask where Jensen was. And four months after I spoke to them, told me they were charging cancellation fees. I sent an email explaining their error, I rang them. Another conversation with a 15 year old. And Friday, they took $720 from our bank account. Out of nowhere. Two weeks cancellation fees. The only reason we had $720 is it was payday.

Of course I was incensed. I was so unbelievably mad. I was also glad I was not letting them care for our son. Ever. And they are nothing like Big Gay Al’s**.But it just, weirdly, felt like an omen. Like all this childcare stuff is bad. And I shouldn’t be doing it. But I don’t know how not to do it. This is the impossible stuckness of motherhood, where which ever way you turn there seems to be a bad deal, you’re either ripping your kid off, ripping yourself off, ripping your husband off, or all three.

Today was bad.
Tomorrow will be worse.
Doing this and going to work in two weeks will be harder.

But in the meantime I’ve just got to give off the happy happy vibes to jman, possibly buy some waterproof mascara vodka and more tissues, and keep telling my head (and possibly my living in a yurt homeschool heart) to “Quit your jibba jabba”.

**not the daycare’s real name 🙂

Stuff challenge #1: fess up

This post is part of a year long blog challenge hosted by SRB on her veggie sausages blog, to get people to declutter their lives. Not directly related to my blog, but when you sidle up and glance sideways, lots of it actually is related.

Step one : admitting you have a problem!

So, clutter, huh. We are GOOD at it. It all started with reading and books. It got worse when I became a writer and needed more books to look back on and to get assistance with stylistic problems. It is stupid that books are part of my clutter when I am firmly not in the re- reading camp. I never re read. Hardly ever. So why the clutter issue? Because I am passer onner of books. I love passing a book on. And books hold memories. I remember where I was in my life when I was reading a book. There is nothing more lovely to me than a wall filled with books. Hub-in-boots is also a major book lover, who has a lot of art, architecture and car books. Those suckers are big, people.

I have clutter because I am a disordered orderly person. Everything has it’s approximate place. And we are both like that. We are a bit too laid back, we don’t need to have everything perfectly ordered. It’s a sliding scale, and only last week I totally lost my s$;* over the last straw in the lost items collection of 2014. i have clutter because we live in a small two bedroom apartment. I have clutter because I’ve worn approximately four different dress sizes over the past ten years. And I have clutter because I hate wasting things.

I have clutter because when we married almost four years ago, we moved a total of five bedrooms and two houses of long long term living into two bedrooms and a garage. A garage which will never fit an actual car in it…..

I have clutter because I can be lazy about making decisions, and I find de cluttering decisions really tough.

Step 2: feelings, nothing more than feelings

A few of the other blogs on this series have talked about the emotions tied up in the stuff.. I think as a woman, that’s worse. As a relatively new mum, even worse again. I’ve been through several pretty rapid identity changes, single to married, from busy professional to pregnant woman on bedrest, from fertile to infertile to fertile, from D.I.N.K to mum, from fat to thinner to pregnant to in between….and each identity change comes with stuff. some identities, you’re only too happy to get rid of. But some, even though they’re in the past, you’d like to think they are still a part of you. So I hang onto stuff. To remind me. To honour that time. Possibly as a get out of jail free card.

Hub-in-boots too has several identities, office worker, race car navigator, sprint car wrencher, afl umpire, afl coach, dad, son, single dude, husband…and each one comes with stuff.

And kids. Wow. Kids generate stuff. Kids are a little stuff factory. we were always conscious it was not about the stuff with a child. At 17 months, jman doesn’t need much. We know this. A lot of his stuff is second hand, some by necessity, some by choice. I’m working more on the choice angle. I think it’s nicer for the planet if we use a lot of other peoples things that were clogging up their garages, instead of getting some worker in an unsafe sweatshop to make more. The thought makes me sick. Which means, in turn, I need to ensure we pass them on.

Now. This is a tough thing. I love that most of our jman gear came to us at a time of desperate need when we could not go shopping ourselves for love nor money, as I was housebound, and also unable to commit to buying baby gear for a child we could lose at any minute. I couldn’t do it. So the stuff, mostly given by friends, says we got him, he made it. The stuff also

< warning hub in boots do not read next paragraph our you’ll pass out stop now, skip to the smiley face!!!!!>

says
<stop reading I said! Husband, scroll down!!!>

that the two frozen embryos sitting in the IVF lab and my dumb old 42 year old body could get together and make a little bro or sister for jman. Getting rid of the stuff (baby gear, maternity wear, baby toys and clothes) says I’ve accepted that wont happen. Intellectually, I understand there is next to no possibility of this, emotionally I am not sure I even want to go back and start at newborn all over again (it was kinda hard at 40, especially after such a terrifying pregnancy)….so I know, but I don’t know. And the stuff is part of that.

My mother has a lot of stuff. She has stuff everywhere. I grew up living in semi chaos, once in a while subjected to the oh my god get up and do something we have PEOPLE COMING OVER. It was ok for us to live in it day to day, but it was not acceptable for the PEOPLE COMING OVER to see the stuff. So there’s an element of geez I’m becoming my mother when I see the stuff.

And the stuff makes me feel overwhelmed and tired. I can get up feeling quite chipper, but by the time a shelf has collapsed, I can’t find clean underwear, the top I find has a permanent stain and there are never any pants that fit , I’m starting to get tight in the throat. I go to put away the washing up and can’t fit things in the drawers or cupboards, and I’m stressed by 9am. I am constantly rifling through the pantry looking for things I am sure I have bought. Every little task becomes huge when you have too much stuff.

Step 3: schadenfreude

some people participated in this part of the challenge by posting pictures of their cluttered surfaces then describing all the crap there.

Which, as a reader, is schadenfreude. Rejoicing and taking pleasure in other people’s misery / messiness. I wonder if there’s a specific German word for enjoying the disordered life of others.

Mine will not be disappointing. We can do disorder.

But yesterday, after my little shouty ranty week about all the lost things, hub in boots was already on about day four of a pretty impressive clean out. The ranty rant was like a rocket up his butt. He was a man on a mission. Despite me not actually saying I was angry about the disorder, the clever fella actually heard what I was trying to say.I got up and despite thinking we would just leave the house (if it’s that messy it’s easier just to leave), I actually hung around and got busy. I was in the ruthless mood. The this rubbish has to GO mood. So I started chucking and chucking and chucking, and only thought to get photos part of the way through.

Jman thought it was a carnival, and spent his say rifling through boxes, and moving bunches of random keys from one place to another. Emptying out drawers is toddler party time.

Lucky for you, dear reader, we have plenty of clutter to go around, and even our de cluttered clutter is worse than some peoples’ original clutter. So you can still take pleasure in the depths of our disorder. You’re welcome.

To reward ourselves for a day of toil, we decluttered / liberated some French champers we were given at Christmas. Hub -in-boots was right, it was an occasion worth celebrating. And here’s a bit of pornography for stay at home mums : hub -in-boots decided what we were having for dinner, defrosted it, and cooked it. By a reasonable hour. That’s right ladies, mmm hmm.

Some of yesterday’s work:

20140113-154838.jpg
If you want a before, picture about ten drawers unable to be opened or closed, and a long dressing table where you could not see any part of the surface for stuff. Use your imagination. The dressing table, for example. It had:
*a huge change tray
*1700 homeless bobby pins
*150 lost pieces of mail
*25 things jman had tried to eat that I shoved there to get out of his reach
*a coffee cup
*a giant basket of jewellery, mostly broken
*about eight mismatched cuff links
*our wedding photo in a frame under six inches of dust
*what seemed like 190 items of half used cosmetics and body lotions
*13 aftershaves (the actual number, no exaggeration)
*four glasses cases, mostly broken
*four pairs of nail clippers! all of which had been lost for several months
*two pairs of tweezers, again lost for several months,
*customer loyalty cards and business cards. Innumerable.
*pegs. Just because.
*several toy cars
*a clock
*make up wipes. Used.
*a ring tree
*three jewellery boxes
*other stuff. I’m bored now. See, I told you it was crowded.

The bookshelves, a repository of unhoused goods

20140113-154851.jpg

20140113-154859.jpg

20140113-154906.jpg

20140113-154914.jpg
The pantry, already subjected to significant work in December owing to the great cockroach &pantry moth plague of 2013. Yes, this is an after photo, after the mouldy mothy past useby oh my god when did I buy that selection had been disposed of. Yes, it still looks like, well, crap. But it works better.

20140113-154923.jpg
The extra shelves we stuck in to make up for a lack of kitchen storage. Jman loves these. It just says to me rental property.

20140113-154931.jpg

The post Xmas toy island: already gone through a significant reorganise. Believe it or not this is after photo, even though it still looks terrible.

Yesterday, jman climbed up on the table, attempted to unlock the glassware cabinet, and promptly hid the key. That was fun.

20140113-154939.jpg

Another toy “Island”: agh, I don’t know. He doesn’t play in his bedroom, he plays out here. So the lounge room is the toy room.

20140113-154945.jpg

The mail collection of 2014, believe it or not a lot better than normal.

20140113-154952.jpg
The out of jman’s reach dumping ground and self portrait. Gah.

20140113-160318.jpg

We have more pockets o chaos, but I’ll leave it at that for now. (Oh, the garage and the Tupperware cupboard, they get their own blog, I swear). And it’s worse when you look at it every day.

Now go and get yourself a big cup of geez I’m glad I don’t live like that. Me? I’m off to turf stuff.

Two nil

I will regret writing this post when it all goes pear shaped tomorrow night. But.

For a while now our settling routine has been getting old. Jman eats at 5ish. Then we walk and walk and walk til dada drives up. On the much anticipated arrival of dada, jman jumps into dada’s car, bips the horn, pops up the headlights, puts on the hazard lights, turns on the wipers, turns up the stereo to ear bleeding volume, turns on the indicators, then demands another walk.

During this walk we must visit each dog in the street, call out to the fluffy black (and reportedly vicious antisocial) cat three doors down , occasionally head to the water and wave to a ferry, look at the owls, comment on every car/boat/bike/ute/truck, and rearrange the contents of several letter boxes in the block.

Usually I sneak inside to finish getting dinner. It’s on like donkey kong and we eat at Disney o’clock, all over by 6:30. Jman has second dinner. Then it’s the traditional Mexican standoff to see who can sit and avoid bathing the longest.

Eventually, too late, jman gets bathed and dressed, and occasionally someone washes up. Then jman gets mental and screams around the house like a banshee on acid, stopping only to demand a book which must be read 78 times. The banshee resumes his busy work and Mexican standoff v2.0 commences, the “who will be the bad guy, take their eyes of the tv show and say it’s time for bed” competition. It’s very competitive.

Usually, I lose and utter the immortal phrase handed down from generation to generation: “it’s time for bed”. Usually, to equalise the bad guy points, hub-in-boots then does the catch and release. Jman wails like his throat has been cut, pokes his fingers up hub-in-boots’ nose, tries to fluff his hair, examines the contents of his ears, bites, then finally falls alseep. At which point he’s put in his cot. This used to be in a sleeping bag but now he’s free range.

If I have to do the catch and release, my shoulders start screaming after ten minutes of twelve plus kilos, and jman, sensing the chink in the armour, fights harder not to go to sleep, and sometimes wins a short reprieve from settling. And I can’t continue to do this. The screaming just before bed from an otherwise very settled child also really gives me the irrits.

So. After tossing around a few ideas with my mums group, I broke out the big guns on Thursday night. Me, the ipad, and the floor beside the cot. You go girl.

When I sat back and reflected on the evening “routine”, (and I use the term loosely, much like the routine), the problem is threefold. One, bathing is generally daddy time, so I am not present. Two settling is usually daddy’s job, as he is stronger and it’s a hangover from the days of “don’t get settled by someone that smells like dinner.” This means there’s very little mummy connection post dinner. And three: jman’s little body just will not stop. He can be exhausted, but his limbs won’t stop moving. He just can’t switch off (says the girl typing a blog post at 11:20 at night…).

So. A change in routine would require more mummy connection. And some way to physically slow him down.

As an aside, I am firmly anti sleep training, and completely anti cry it out at any age. I have read the research, and I do not understand working so hard to build a bond if you then follow a system to break it. It is counterintuitive. I do not condemn anyone for doing it, it is a parent’s choice, but it is not for me.

Anyway, we all know that’s an un-winnable debate.

So, there’s me, there’s a lullaby app, other music, and the ipad. Jman in the cot. Night one we kicked off with a hearty rendition of “this old man” followed by the perennial favourite “twinkle twinkle”. It was surprising how easy it was to get him to lay down, and I only needed to break out the scary mamma voice twice to get him off his feet. The gestures helped with the wind down process, and as he gradually slowed down we switched to some classical music, in fact the tracks jman was born to.

I did a bit of back massaging / leg tickling through the bars of the cot. It was hard yards night one, over an hour. But not one tear was shed, there was no whinging, and no picking up.

Night two, I remembered a few things. Like turn off the food trucks app notifications so the stupid ipad didn’t beep at crucial moments. And put a couple of longer pieces on repeat. And don’t keep singing and gesturing if jman is on the wind down, move on to the classical stuff.

Night two no tears, no whinging, two uses of scary mamma voice, 45 minutes.

Night three we were at grandmas for tea, so the settling was the car trip home.

Night four I’m going for sub 40 and I’m taking a cup of tea In with me.

Two nights in a row, I have got the jman to sleep. Laying down in his cot. No cuddles / holding limbs immobile til my shoulder joints seizes. No cries of protest as dada does his “terminator” settling routine of holding, patting and shushing. Just me, a sing song, and a bit of a back rub. And instead of staring at the tele or Facebook and quietly tensing up at the settling protests, I’m kicking back on the floor having a sing and listening to music.

It is a lovely thing as a parent when you sit back, reflect on a parenting problem, analyse your child’s needs, and find a way around it which not only works for your child, but also for you, and it meets no resistance at all.

No resistance to a new routine, mum’s shoulders saved, followed by 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I believe that’s called a win win win.

20140111-235333.jpg

20140111-235407.jpg

20140111-235415.jpg