There’s a saying: “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”. I’m fairly confident that whoever said it had never been on a car trip with small children. I tend to try and blur the memories of long drives because it puts me off going anywhere, ever, but generally there’s a lot of bribery, silly games, pulling over, body contortions that a gymnast would be proud of to reach dropped toys, endless snacks, a decent amount of whinging, and the occasional puke into a hastily proffered container. But even after the most fraught car trips, there’s a lovely moment when I realise we got there safely, and can relish the thought of happy times just waiting to happen. Sometimes that lovely moment doesn’t hit until well after the house has been frantically cleared of mouse poo and the unpacked car has been pulled apart to find missing Snuggly Bunny, but it does hit eventually. Going away even with just our little family isn’t the casual after-thought it used to be before we had children…it’s …
Growing weary of an over-tired Tilly’s refusal to go to sleep, I outsourced the parenting to Siri. It seems singing lullabies to two year olds is not Siri’s strong point. So I offered Tilly chips and cartoons in the morning if she’d just go to bed. Success. I regret nothing. NOTHING.
I don’t really mind Amy wanting to sleep with me if she’s out of sorts at 4am, because it hardly ever happens, and I’m sure the “don’t talk to me! don’t even LOOK at me!” years will sneak up on us faster than we know. It’s the elaborate door list of plus-ones that she not only wants to include, but expects me to chauffeur from her room to ours that sours the whole thing. By the time Snuggly, Bianca, Giovanni, Blankie, Bag 1, Bag 2, Crown, Unicorn, Tiny Kiwi, Knitted Basket and Peter have been retrieved and finally arranged in a very specific layout, I’m wide awake. Which is probably for the best as I need to keep my wits about me to stop from falling off the very tiny remaining corner of mattress.
Judging by the volume and urgency Amy employed at 3.47am to deliver the statement “I CAN’T FIND MY UNICORN! GET UP!”, I’m confident we’re all set with a wake up system for actual emergencies.
Hearing the neighbours drag their bins down the driveway at 10pm before we had kids: “Oh! I forgot that it was bin night. Never mind, we’ll put the bins out tomorrow morning after enjoying a full night’s sleep, the breakfast news, and a hot coffee. Actually – our bin probably isn’t even full”. Hearing the neighbours drag their bins down the driveway at 10pm now: “Those inconsiderate fuckcakes! They’re dragging their bins right under the kids’ windows! Why didn’t they take their bins out when they saw me on the road trying to force the lid closed on our overflowing bin well before 7pm? If they wake the children with their bin dragging, I will cut them! I WILL CUT THEM SO DEEP THEY’LL NEVER STOP BLEEDING”
Early morning celebratory sippy-cup cheers. Bottoms up to a night of “urgent chats”, and a combo of real and Hollywood coughs. Special mention to the furry McPikelet who tried to scale a pile of neatly stacked boxes at 3am and failed spectacularly.
(Originally published in the July/August issue of NZ Little Treasures Magazine) When you’re heavily pregnant, the topic of sleep is a hot one, possibly second only to nightmarish birth tales. Friends and strangers alike revel in sharing sleep advice, horror stories, and confirming that You Will Never Sleep Again. “Sleep now, while you can!” people would crow at me when I was pregnant the first time – which was incredibly unhelpful as I had pregnancy-induced insomnia. “Congratulations! Hope you get some sleep soon!” seemed to be the most frequent comment when we announced the birth of our children. My Mum vows I slept through the night from four weeks, but I’m pretty sure she made that up to ensure I’d give her multiple grandchildren. Amy was actually pretty good, as far as newborn sleepers go. She gifted me fairly long stretches of sleep during the night, and would resettle quickly. Daytime sleeps were a different story, but I didn’t mind holding her or taking her for walks to get her to drift off. I thought …
Hold tight to the precious memory of your three year old snaking her soft little arms around your neck and whispering “will you lie down in my bed with me mummy? I love you so much and we’re best friends”. Hold particularly tight to that precious memory 40 minutes later at 4.30am as you cling to the edge of a single bed, taking erratic kicks to your kidneys, with a stuffed monkey wedged under your chin, finding yourself saying things like “stop wriggling and go to sleep! Did you seriously just wipe a booger on me?! Don’t DO that!”
You can tell that sleep training has become a feature when the three year old glances at the lit-up baby monitor, shakes her head and says, “looks like Tilly is awake. Are you going to resettle her or just see what she does?”
I can confirm that a three year old dancing down the hallway, belting out “love is an open dorrrr-orrrrr-orrrrr!” is not conducive to getting a six month old to sleep.