Saturday, August 26, 2017

Letter to Bobbin - four years old

Hey Bobbin,

Or is it Princess Unicorn Icecream Eyes? Because you've been requesting that I call you that quite a lot lately. You became utterly obsessed with unicorns when we saw a mini unicorn pinata in Kmart months and months ago. It all started there and of course it meant it was the theme for your birthday party today.

We have been counting down the sleeps to this day and you've been telling everyone "It's my birthday tomorrow. Not tomorrow, but tomoooorow." which is how you say anywhere between two and six days. The longer the sound, the longer the time.

You have spent the last year doing weekly kindergym sessions and you are pretty damn good at it. You climb and swing off everything in sight so it was a given, really. But now we've had to move on because you are so bendy that it isn't good for you. People think I'm bendy, then they look at you and their eyes widen. It's tough for you not to overextend, so gymnastics is out, I'm afraid.

But it's OK, because you've joined martial arts! You're a Ninja Ru now, and the fourth and final member of this family to join the dojo. The family that kicks together, sticks together. You're still unsure about it and quite nervous, which really surprised us because you are usually little miss confident. You know all the staff from spending countless hours watching your brother, and yet you were still nervous. It was nice to see, because we were starting to think you'd jump out of a plane without a parachute because you don't seem to be afraid of anything usually.

This confidence will help your chosen career, which for months and months now has been "a police officer who lives here with you". It's never just a police officer. You always add the last bit. So apparently you are never moving out of home. Um, yeah. Let's talk about that when you're older.

I love listening to your little games. You play with all sorts of toys but you centre them around the dollhouse and in my She-Ra's Castle that you have inherited. Sometimes the baby will get picked up by the giant Pokemon, and Wonder Woman will come home from school to pat the pet tiger, and go for a drive in her Monster Truck. The LEGO friends girls are a fave of yours, and you got your very first set today which you built yourself (when Dad and Tricky helped with the instructions).

You are desperate to start kindy next year and are getting so good at writing your name. You're quite flexible with the order the letters go in though! Remix version, perhaps? I wonder how you will go because not long after you turned three, you started screaming and crying whenever I left you at daycare or at pre-kindy. We're talking wrapping yourself around my leg and needing two adults to remove you as you screamed "ONE MORE KISS! ONE MORE HIGH FIVE! MUUUUUM!". You LOVE going and settle in only a few minutes after I leave, but that drop off breaks my heart, and it breaks yours, too. We'll keep practising, munchkin.

You are Queen Bee in most situations and always seem to end up with random children joining in your games and doing everything you say. I can only hope you use this power for good and not evil. I really love watching you negotiate with other Queen Bees, though. Some clashes, some compromise. You are very headstrong, and you are learning to give and take in these situations more and more every day. It's particularly nice when I can be chatting to the other mama and we can watch you both and see this intense relationship tango happening before our eyes.

As we head out of the Threenager and in to the Fantastic Fours (Frustrating Fours?) I wonder what will be in store for you? What will be the next thing that Bobbin conquers?

Have a fantastic year, kiddo,

Love Mama x

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Goodnight, sleep tight, stay in your fucking bed tonight

A few months ago I was wondering to myself how long it's been since I've slept through the night...

So I exaggerate slightly. Sue me.

Tricky was never much of a sleeper. He only ever took 40 minute day naps as a baby and toddler, even when he was being worn, in the car, or being pushed in the pram. Over night was better, he would wake to feed every hour or two.

But he was such a chilled out baby and toddler that I could handle the sleep deprivation. He would happily play at my feet if I sat on the couch. He'd drive his cars over me, and I could lay down and play blocks with not much effort if we'd had a particularly wakeful night. There was no school run I had to be up and somewhat dressed for. It was a cruisy existence, even with bags under my eyes.

I was very staunch in my attitude that parenting does not stop at night. If he needed me, he needed me. End of story.

And I still believe this, I do, but throw in another child to be cared for, particularly one who is feisty and has higher demands for attention, a school run to do at 8am, and the days of getting away with four hours of sleep were gone.

Seven years I lasted, and I use the term 'lasted' in it's loosest sense. Seven years of him taking hours to fall asleep and then waking multiple times and being awake for hours every night. He seemed to be fine with little sleep; it hasn't affected his school work or behaviour much at all, but I'm over here with my eyeballs hanging out, desperate for a nap.

We tried reward charts, bribery, punishment, co-sleeping, strict no getting out of bed rules, toys, comforters, relaxation, meditation, music, night lights, you name it. I even shouted at him to stay in his fucking bed. Parent of the year award, right there.

Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes aka MY PEOPLE
When I finally had enough of living on caffeine and built up resentment, and asked for help we were referred to a paediatric sleep specialist who checked that we were doing everything 'right' first (no screen time before bed, a good bed time routine etc) and got us booked in for a sleep study.

The study showed he has Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) which is the name given to restless legs if it continues after you've fallen asleep. Your legs can move up to five times an hour when you're asleep to be considered OK and the sensors showed that Tricky's legs moved on average TWENTYFIVE TIMES AN HOUR. These little jerking movements were preventing him from going to sleep and then waking him up when he finally drifted off.

She started Tricks on melatonin (much to the chargin of our GP) and it helped him get to sleep, but he didn't stay asleep. A trial of Magnesium showed no improvement, so that's where an iron supplement came in.

A measly 5ml of iron every night is our miracle drug.

I cannot believe it.

Since starting the melatonin and iron, Tricks no longer takes hours to go to sleep and he doesn't wake up all night long. Halle-fuckin'-lujah!

I can put him to bed and go back to check on him ten minutes later to find him fast asleep. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. He generally sleeps through the night and if I hear him wake, he takes a sip of water, turns over, farts, whatever it is that he woke for, and GOES BACK TO SLEEP!


He is finally getting the sleep he needs and I'm so happy for him, and you betcha I'm frickin' happy for me, too.

We'll continue the melatonin and iron for three months and then re-asses, and try to wean him off them. But until then, I will rejoice in the glorious hours of unbroken sleep we are now getting and try to catch up on those last seven years.


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