Days with two

Someone seems to have pressed the fast forward button on my life. I can’t believe how quickly the time goes now. How can Tom be three? How can Piper be 3 months? Surely it was only yesterday I was bringing them each home from the hospital.

Day to day, it feels like we achieve very, very little. We are often still in pyjamas past 10 am. Unless John is home or I have to drop Tom at nursery, we rarely make it further than the garden. And yet the days fly by. Though having said that, some individual hours can last for years. I seem to spend my whole time cooking, cleaning, changing nappies, and putting someone down for a nap! An average day now looks something like this:

6.00 – my alarm goes off and I immediately press cancel before it wakes Piper or John.

6.05 – alarm two goes off. I quietly wake Piper if she’s not already awake and take her to the living room for a feed.

6.20 – Piper is done nursing and Tom is up. I change her nappy, pop her on her fleece to play, and get him breakfast. Whilst he eats and she plays, I get my own breakfast and a cup of coffee.

6.45 – breakfast is over and Tom “plays” with Piper which requires very close supervision. I distract him by brushing his teeth and bribing him to go to the potty.

7.10 –  Piper is getting tired but I’m trying to extend this awake time, so I get down on the floor with her to try to keep her happy a little longer.

7.20 – time to settle Piper for her nap. Tom gives her a kiss and I take her to our room whilst he amuses himself in his bedroom.

7.30 – Piper is asleep. Tom and I play in his room or the living room. 

8.00 – leaving Tom to play, I go to load up the washing machine for the day’s first wash and start to clear the breakfast things. 

8.15 – washing up done, I look over my to do list and start knocking off any admin tasks. Piper wakes up and I go to give her the dummy so she will go back to sleep. This will need repeating roughly every 20 minutes until she gets up. One of these waking typically wakes John and he’ll get up to get breakfast and a cup of coffee. 

8.45 – Tom is bored of amusing himself. We play a game, do a puzzle, or sit him down for some colouring. 

9.00 – I jump in the shower whilst John looks after the kids. 

9.20 – time to get Piper up for her next feed. I wake her if she’s not already awake. John goes for a bath. 

9.35 – Piper is done. I take her nappy off and lay her on the floor on her change mat for some nappy free play. John and I take it in turns to distract Tom from “playing” with her. 

9.50 – first wash is done. I unload the machine into our washing bag ready to be hung out later. 

10.00 – The kids play. I keep an eye on them whilst tidying the living room, putting away dry nappies, or checking my emails. 

10.15 – Piper is beginning to get a little fussy so I get down to play with her. We sing songs, do baby massage, or work on her grasping skills. Tom usually joins in. 

10.30 – I put Piper’s nappy on and take her to settle for her nap. 

10.40 – Piper is asleep. I take the washing outside to hang. Tom comes with me so he can play in the garden. John keeps an ear on Piper, though I can hear her from the garden too. On the rare days there is no washing to hang, I might get Tom dressed and head to the park with him for an hour or so, leaving John to look after Piper. 

11.20 – Piper is awake. One of us goes to give her the dummy so she can sleep more. We get Tom dressed if this hasn’t happened earlier. 

11.40 – I start to prepare lunch whilst Tom and John play. 

12.10 – lunchtime. John, Tom and I sit down together to eat. 

12.30 – lunch is over. John does the washing up. 

12.40 – time for Piper’s next feed. John reads Tom stories and puts him down for his nap whilst I feed her. Sometimes John gives her a bottle instead and I put Tom down.  

13.00 – Piper is done and Tom is in bed. John and I have a quiet moment to drink our coffees whilst Piper plays on her fleece. If she had a bottle I pump to replace the feed. 

13.45 – John starts getting ready for work and I change Piper’s nappy. 

13.50 – I say goodbye to John and take Piper for her nap. 

14.00 – for a brief moment, both children are in bed at the same time. I read a book, write a blog post, or spend some time browsing baby forums. 

14.30 – Tom is up from his nap. We play games, tidy his room, or tell each other stories. Piper wakes around 14.40 and I resettle her with the dummy. 

15.30 – I get Piper up for her next feed. If she didn’t have a bottle earlier she has one now. 

15.45 – Piper is done and goes down on her fleece to play. If I’ve given her the bottle I do a quick pump session to replace the feed. 

16.15 – I put a nappy wash on, then play with the kids. 

16.40 – I take Piper for her nap whilst Tom plays in his room. 

16.50 – Piper is asleep. I make dinner for Tom and I  and we sit down to eat. 

17.30 – dinner is over. I run Tom a bath and he plays with his bath toys. 

17.45 – Tom gets out of the bath and puts on pyjamas. I put a cartoon on the computer for him to watch. 

18.00 – I get Piper up for her next feed. 

18.15 – Piper is done. I put her on her change mat for some nappy off play and do the washing up. 

18.30 – I run Piper a bath and turn off the cartoon. Tom helps me bathe her. I get her into her sleepsuit ready for the night. 

18.45 – all three of us snuggle in Tom’s bed to read stories. Piper is often a bit fussy so I bounce her on my knee or give her a dummy while I read to Tom. 

19.00 – I tuck Tom in and say goodnight, then take Piper to our room for a top up feed. She often drops off to sleep during it, but will usually wake up as I burp her. 

19.15 – feed over, Piper and I cuddle for at least 10 minutes before I put her down. Sometimes she fusses a little, others she falls asleep before I put her in her cot. I aim to put her down heavy lidded but still awake, so she can fall asleep on her own in her cot. 

19.30 – Piper is asleep. I sort out the bathroom, tidy the living room and hang the nappies to dry. 

20.00 – me time! I make a snack and sit down to watch some TV or read a book. 

21.00 – time for my evening pump session. I watch TV whilst I pump. 

21.30 – milk goes into the fridge. I wash and sterilise the pump and the day’s bottle, and do any last washing up, then wipe down the kitchen. 

21.45 – bedtime for me. I sneak in quietly to avoid waking Piper. 

00.45 – Piper wakes for a feed. 

1.15 – Piper back down. John usually is home by now and sneaks into bed. 

4.00 – Piper is up for another small feed. 

4.15 – Piper back down

5.15 – Piper is awake again and wanting to start the day. I give her the dummy and she falls back into a light doze, but wakes every 10 mins or so when the dummy falls out. 

6.00 – my alarm goes off and we start all over again!

Tom monthly summary – August

What we did: What a crazy busy month August has been! We completed on our new flat on 31 July so spent a lot of this month over there doing the work needed before we move in. Tom was a great help in stripping off the statement wallpaper but found the days we spent there quite boring as everyone was too busy to play with him and his attempts at helping with painting were not fully appreciated…

Tom, Piper and I spent the first August weekend at my parents’ house. Tom had a great time helping grandpa in the garden and loved playing with his new sandpit. We also attended a little rowing regatta near Henley. Tom has been every year since he was born. He behaved beautifully despite some issues with tantrums earlier in the day and had fun getting to know my friends. I’m the only one of the group with kids so there is no one else for him to play with yet, but he did really well with the long day.

The next weekend we went up to Suffolk for a friend’s wedding. More details on that here. Tom really enjoyed all the adult attention but especially seeing his cousin Rose, who is just 5 weeks younger than him. They really adore each other. We let them sleep in the same room on Saturday night, which they loved, although it did take quite a while before they stopped playing and dropped off to sleep. He also went swimming with John.

The Wednesday after we returned to my parents’ house before driving down to Somerset on Thursday to stay in a National Trust cottage before my cousin’s wedding on the Saturday. Tom did brilliantly with the long drive, though he did have a bit of trouble at the end on the way back – he was just really over being in the car at that point. He discovered board games for the first time, played in WW defenses on the beach, and bonded with my parents’ new puppy. He also behaved brilliantly at the wedding despite the late night and lack of a nap.

The final weekend we were back up to Suffolk for the funeral of Tom’s great grandmother. Again, the highlight for Tom was seeing Rose. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather and the two of them spent whole days outside in the courtyard playing, just returning to the house for food and sleep.

The last day of August was Tom’s 3rd birthday. Since Thursdays are a nursery day for him, he helped me to make a cake to take in to share with his friends. We celebrated as a family on Friday which will be part of the September summary.

Behaviour: Tom has had some challenging behaviour this month, not helped by how busy we have been and by us having a new baby and a new flat to concentrate on. He really struggles with listening to us and doing what he is told. He also had some major meltdowns early in the month, mainly to do with bathtime. However, I do feel like he was improving on this towards the end of the month, with frequent reminders to listen to mummy and daddy. John and I are trying to be more consistent with our response to trying behaviour which seems to be helping, though being sleep deprived means we are less patient than we should be.

We’ve also been working on him saying ‘please may I have’ rather than ‘I want’. Currently he still needs the reminder and will rarely get it right first time, but he’s getting better. He is great at saying thank you for things.

Working on: Tom really made a big shift in his independence this month. Perhaps having a little sister makes him feel more of a big kid? He has started getting in and out of his booster seat by himself, started putting on his own shoes, and is trying to master pants and trousers. He also has been much braver about getting in the pool and about my in-laws cat, who he has always been afraid of.

He also became interested in letters and has really improved his counting. He has great communication skills and has started telling us stories. John is teaching him left and right and he can identify which foot and hand is which and gets it right every time.

Playing with: He was loving the sandpits at both grandparents’ house this month. He still loves cars but plays with them less than he did. He also loves his plastic animals. He will often pretend to go to the shops. He still loves books and will ‘read’ to himself after we tuck him in at night. He also enjoys colouring and play dough and is trying to master using scissors.

He is getting better at playing with Piper now that she is more interactive, but has issues with being too rough (not unexpected for a 3 year old but difficult to manage). Sometimes he will play nicely for a while giving her toys and things, but often will push the boundaries by lying on top of her or trying to move her head around which means I have to be very vigilant when he is wanting to be involved with her. Rose is still his favourite playmate, though he does get a bit frustrated that she often won’t do what he tells her (boy, do I know how that feels…)

Sleep: bedtimes are much improved and he is no longer feeling the need to test our resolve. He’ll play quietly in his room for a while after we say good night and then go to sleep. I rarely hear him up past 8 anymore. He is still waking early but I think he was actually doing this for a long time and just lying in bed waiting for us to get up. Now that I’m up with Piper at 6, he will usually get up then too. so I have to make sure I open his door gate on the way past so he can come out if I am feeding her

He is still napping almost every day but we have moved the nap to after lunch which means he sleeps much longer and goes down much faster. If he’s tired earlier in the day he will sometimes go and quietly put himself to bed. Very rarely he will just play instead of sleeping at nap time, but I figure this is part of the transition to eventually having quiet time instead. 

Eating: Good as always! We are making him try a little of everything on his plate now before he can have anything else, so he is making real progress in eating his veggies. He still loves fruit, yoghurt and, of course, ice cream. When John has an evening shift I will now eat dinner with Tom which means he is being exposed to a wider range of foods.

Potty: still days where we have a lot of accidents but he is completely dry most days now and has even managed a few number twos in the potty. He still wears a nappy for naps and bedtime, though is dry for naps at nursery where he will only sleep an hour instead of two. He’ll have the odd day now when he will just take himself to the potty without me reminding him.

Piper – 13 weeks old 

Piper turned 13 weeks on Thursday 24th August, making 24th-30th August her 14th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

Where we were: by this point I think it’s pretty guaranteed I’m going to say it was a busy week… We started Thursday morning by driving up to my in-laws place in Suffolk as John’s grandmother’s funeral was taking place up there on Friday. We stayed in Suffolk until Sunday lunch and saw A LOT of extended family who were in town for the funeral. Although it was sad to see them under those circumstances, it was also great to catch up since many of them hadn’t met Tom yet, never mind Piper.

We spent Monday at home, then Tuesday working on the new flat. Wednesday was a quiet day at home, which by then felt very necessary.

Feeding: after several days of bottle drama, it was nursing that went really wrong this week. It all went bad when we arrived in Suffolk on Thursday. We had an awful night on Wednesday (more to come) so Piper was pretty tired. She obviously found the new environment a bit overwhelming so I had to move to a quiet place to feed her when we first arrived. She fussed a bit but did drink. Then she flat out refused to nap. I think she managed 20 minutes total in 2 hours and that was with me holding her legs because they kept jerking and waking her up. I gave up and tried to feed her and she was not having any of it. I tried on and off for an hour and a half and all she did was scream the moment I got her into the nursing position.

I finally gave up and tried to put her down for a nap again. Nope, not happening. So we gave up on that too and went to have our own lunch, just passing her around the table so everyone had a chance to eat. After lunch I took her for a walk in the sling and got her to sleep for half an hour, then managed to get her to feed on one side by walking her around with my boob in her mouth. She was fussy for the next few feeds – only drank one side and then only after I walked with her (which was EXHAUSTING). Things did improve after a better night sleep and are now back to normal.

Not going to lie, I found her refusal to nurse incredibly stressful. I know it isn’t personal but it felt like she was rejecting me, not just my milk. Bad sleep I can cope with but struggles with nursing plus bad sleep was just too much. I’m glad it’s now back to normal and the bottles are now going well too. Fingers crossed we can have a week where everything works!

Sleeping: this has been a terrible week for sleep and I’m not really sure why. After a good few days Piper simply would not settle on Wednesday night. She was dropping off then waking 10 minutes later. John was home and we spent most of the evening taking it in turns trying to settle her, but nothing worked for longer than 10 minutes. I fed her at 9pm… and she woke up 10 minutes after I put her down. Eventually John went to sleep on the sofa bed so that one of us would be rested for the drive the next day, and I lay down with my hand on her stomach and just tried to snatch as much sleep as I could. I fed her again at 11pm and she eventually settled at around 12.30, then woke at 3 for another feed, then went back down until 6am.

The next day she did not nap at all. I was a complete mess. I even said to John that I wanted to go home, but that wasn’t really an option with the funeral the next day. That evening everyone else went to have a drink at the church in honour of John’s grandmother and I stayed behind to do bedtime for the kids. I was dreading it, sure that she was going to be a mess to settle. But she went down really easily and didn’t wake until she wanted feeding at 1am.

Since then she has had only one day with good naps and has been waking regularly at night, not really going back down after 4am, and wanting to start the day at 5.30am. Essentially she has regressed to her newborn waking pattern. I’m not sure whether this is the 4 month sleep regression starting early (it is due next week) or whether her schedule needs adjusting, but it has been pretty rough. I want my good sleeper back and for more than 4 nights please!

Working on: still those hands. She’s gotten very good at getting them to stay at her mouth and occasionally manages to get the angle right to suck on her thumb. She has also started to push her hips up and twist when doing nappy off time, so looks to be starting to work on rolling. She can use her feet to push herself slowly along the floor. but usually only gets a few inches.

Other things: I tried leaving one hand out of the swaddle for one nap and it was a disaster. She took so long to settle that Tom gave up waiting for me to put him down for his nap and just took himself to bed. She did eventually go down and used her thumb to do it… but then woke 15 minutes later, presumably because she had bashed herself in the face. She couldn’t go back down so I fully swaddled her and gave her the dummy so she would sleep for the rest of the nap. I’ll try again once we’ve moved and I have more time to work on it with her.

She was really happy and smiley when we got home from Suffolk on Sunday and I really think she recognises this as her home. Which is a shame since we are about to move.

Since she is now awake when Tom goes to bed she is joining in with story time when John is on an evening shift (which is most nights). I have to work a bit to keep her from crying towards then end but otherwise it seems to be going ok.

She is finally sometimes going into the cot without crying, so I think she is getting used to it. This has taken longer than it should as we’ve been travelling so much.

She still has nappy rash. I’ve been giving her daily nappy off play and she is very happy during it, even though it is at a time of day where babies are typically fussy.

Schedule: Same as the end of last week, but I have written it out as I didn’t last week. I think she may need longer awake times now so will work on extending these next week.

6.00 – wake and feed (woken if not awake already)

7.00 – nap 1 (using dummy for all naps when waking after 45 mins)

9.00 – wake and feed

10.00 – nap 2

12.00 – wake and feed

13.00 – nap 3

15.00 -wake and feed

16.00 – nap 4

18.00 – wake and feed, then nappy off play

18.30 – bath and pjs

18.45 – stories with Tom

19.00 – top up feed

19.15 – cuddles

19.30 – bedtime

Waking this week usually at 1 and 4, with occasional fussiness between 21.00 and 23.00 (not requiring intervention). Needs dummy in order to sleep after 4 and wanting to start day at 5.30.