Just in case anybody was labouring under the misapprehension that I’ve got my maternal act together, let me tell you about the dramas of the past couple of days.
A few weeks ago I was bemoaning the difficulties of coaxing decent day time naps out of Hattie and Joe. My lovely friend Emma gently suggested that I should think about sticking close to home for a week or two, so I could learn the babies’ preferred routine and then see how to juggle their need for stability and regular sleep with my need to leave the house occasionally.
I took Emma’s advice, and it soon became apparent that both Hattie and Joe prefer to have one or two longer sleeps in the morning and through lunch time, and if they managed to get these sleeps, they could handle the rest of the day with, perhaps, just a 30 minute or 45 minute nap later in the afternoon. On the flip side, it was clear that failing to cater for these morning sleeps would invariably result in two very grumpy and over-tired babies by the end of the day. And this would then make it more difficult to settle the two of them at night.
The other thing that I’ve realised is that the babies work on a firm three hour feeding routine most of the time, and generally speaking they can only be awake for 90 minutes at a time before they’re ready to hit the hay again. Sometimes they need a feed after two and a half hours, or can stretch out to three and a half hours, or even four hours, and sometimes they can last for two hours of awake time, but most of the time they both start showing serious tired signs (yawning, rubbing their eyes, being grizzly, looking vacant) as the 90 minute mark approaches.
So this was all pretty simple: stay at home until mid-afternoon, and all would be well. This puts the kibosh on going to any playgroups, ‘Mainly Music’ events, or other baby-related occasions, as they all seem to take place before lunch, but I’m sure that this inflexible need to be wedded to their cots will pass within another couple of months, and then we can get out on the playgroup circuit. And in the meantime, if I want to catch up with people I either invite them to our house in the morning, or head out to visit them in the afternoon.
Now, taking all this sensible baby knowledge into account, you’ve got to wonder who would be idiotic enough to STILL try to take their babies out in the morning, wouldn’t you? The answer would be me, unfortunately. On Saturday, Hattie and Joe both had a mighty two and a half hour morning sleeps, waking up at 11.40 am. So we thought “Sweet! Great sleeps – we can head out”. We drove up to Matakana for lunch, and the babies caught a 30 minute nap in the car each way. They then had total meltdowns as the afternoon progressed – they were angels while we were out, but they wouldn’t have another sleep when we got home, screamed a lot (Hattie in particular), and took AGES to settle that night.
But not content with making this mistake once, I headed out with them for a walk into the village this morning. It was a sunny day, my twin mother friend Jen was visiting with her lovely girls, and the thought of staying inside seemed crazy – I reasoned that we could get back home again before it was time for another sleep.
Of course, things went haywire: Hattie slept for ten minutes on the way home, had a dirty nappy, couldn’t just be put to bed, had a feed, stayed up for agggges afterwards, and finally slept for nearly two hours. However, the good sleep is obviously the morning sleep, because she woke up in a foul mood. I was dealing with a very cross little Hattie all afternoon, all frowning faces and ear-piercing shrieks. Motherhood is AWESOME.
Joe, meanwhile, has had even less sleep than Hattie today, and has remained cruisy. It’s like they’ve swapped personalities.
Anyway, we’ve nearly finished the final feed of today, so cross your fingers for us that Hattie and Joe are just the right amount of tired to actually go to sleep easily. I promise you: I have learned my lesson and there will be no further morning activities for quite some time!