I write about pretty much everything on this blog. The highs and the lows. My health problems, my depression. All the good stuff in my life I celebrate here. I have always been able to just blurt everything out, have a quick read to check for spelling mistakes and then hit publish (I am not really an editing sort of person).
But there is one thing that I don’t write about. Sleep.
I just did a search and the first and last time that I wrote about the issues we were having with sleep was back in June 2011 – when Kate was six weeks old and our challenges began.
I don’t know why I don’t write about it. We have had troubles with everything – from bedtimes to wake ups. And everything in between. I have tried everything I can possibly think of. I have taken advice, I have stuck to my gun, I have drafted in friends for moral support. I have crumbled under the stress and strain of it all. I cannot remember the last time I had a good nights sleep in my own home. I have been to sleep support groups. I am at my wits end.
This week has been the worst. Bedtime is shot to shit, with the kids just up and out of their beds screaming, crying and carrying on. At the end of a long day I can usually dig deep and find the ability to deal with one of them but if they are both doing it them I have no chance. And then when I finally get them to sleep I know it is just a matter of time before they wake again – Kate has dreadful screaming fits – she is not really asleep, not really awake. If she wakes she wants comfort. If she doesn’t she just keeps screaming. Piran always wakes and wants to come in my bed with me. He wants someone to be with him all night long. He wants to have someone stay in the room as he goes to sleep and he wants someone there all night. Kate sometimes gets up and climbs into our bed too. Last night, like many before, I had both of them in with me.
It gets to the point where I will do anything for sleep. Being strict at bedtime is one thing, being woken after just 10 minutes of sleep and having to be strong is another.
I cannot stay in Piran’s room while he goes to sleep. I have such an adversion to it that anger immediately bubbles up in my chest and I have to get out of there NOW. I guess it is because I know if I do it once he will want me to do it forever. I cannot do that. Not with Mr C away most weeks and no one else to tidy up, finish the dishes or make tomorrows sandwiches while I just stand there doing nothing. And if I stay with him then Kate will want me to as well. No no no.
I know that there is one day out there in the future that all of this will change. As everything, this too shall pass. But I have been thinking that for over 3 years and I just want it to stop.
Last night I stood there as my two children screamed and cried and shouted at me. I had put them to bed countless times but yet they kept coming back again and again. I had been ignoring them as they followed me round the house for ten minutes. All I wanted to do was run away. Turn round, open the door and run away as fast as I could. I didn’t, I lost my temper and screamed at them that they were making my life horrible and making me so unhappy and ran up the stairs, more a child than them and dove under the duvet in the dark. They of course followed me shouting apologies and crying even more.
I think perhaps I don’t write about this because I see this as my failing. Where I fall down as a parent. It must be me doing this wrong because everyone else’s children don’t do this. Their parents have managed to impose a routine, make them stay in their room until a reasonable hour in the morning (I even consider 6 to be a reasonable hour after months of 5am wake ups). Their children don’t come in their beds at night. They get to spend the night in bed with their husband.
With Mr C traveling so much we all miss him. I miss him the most each night when I go to bed. Nights spent in the same bed are rare enough, and even rarer with the musical beds that we end up playing when he is home.
I am waffling now. I am glad that I have written this all down. I had meant to write down what a typical night is like but this post is long enough and perhaps I will save that for another day. I know I feel worse right now because at the start of the summer I had worked so hard to get a bedtime routine that they would stick to, and I did it. And for a few blissful weeks it was all good. And now it is not again, and I haven’t changed what I am doing. I follow exactly the same routine evry night and they just won’t go to bloody sleep. Neither of them is allowed any sleep during the day. Kate spends all day telling me she is tired but she won’t go to sleep.
*bands head on desk*
This isn’t going to be one of those posts where I can tie it all up in a neat little ending. This is one that I will just have to consider to be unfinished. At least for now.
Not blogging over the summer has left me all rusty and unable to write. It is frustrating – there are so many posts that I want to get out of my head. I think part of the problem is that there are so many and so none of them are fully formed. Or something like that. Or I get hung up on things being chronological so I don’t feel that I can write about this weekend without first writing the letter to Piran for his fifth birthday (six weeks ago) or craft projects completed before the summer. There are my #yearinbooks posts for at least two months.
I need to get back into the flow and that means just forgetting about all that and starting.
And so. Last Wednesday afternoon I took my tiny bag and wheelie suitcase and went off for a four day adventure in Cornwall. The trip was to see my best friend get married but it was so much more too. Here are my Instagram pictures – all hashtagged #fourdaysnokids
Obviously I missed my children but I almost missed Mr C more as 3 hours after I got back he left again which means I will have seen him only 3 hours in 13 days by the time he gets back this weekend. There is nothing more amazing than walking through the arrivals door and hearing two little people scream “MUMMY” and hurtle towards you. It was a special weekend for many reasons but coming home was very lovely indeed.
We have had a lovely summer holiday. I am really looking forward to being back in a routine but will definitely miss spending time with Piran. Blogging has been at the bottom of the list the last few weeks but I am looking forward to getting the opportunity to write again. I have so much to share, but for now here are just a few photographs.
When we got the call asking if we would like to watch a new Cbeebies show called Kate and Mim-Mim I was more than happy to oblige. Anything with the same name as my girl is always going to get our interest.
We were sent a preview DVD of the first episode and a pair of giant purple bunny ears.
Feisty 5-year-old Kate stars with her toy bunny turned larger-than-life playmate Mim-Mim in this innovative new CGI preschool series.
Kate is today’s girl in today’s world setting off on fun and fantastical adventures in the imaginary world of Mimiloo; together with Mim-Mim and their gang of friends she travels to exciting places all in the hope of solving puzzling problems Kate has encountered in the real world. When the adventure ends, Kate returns to the real world to tell her parents all about her amazing adventures and how she and Mim-Mim have saved the day.
It is hard to have a real opinion on a show after seeing just one episode but I did enjoy Kate and Mim-Mim. Cute rabbit, cuter kid and a whole host of various characters. I loved the graphics and having been made to watch it more than once I can say that it doesn’t drive me mad. Piran seemed to enjoy it as well as Kate so it seems to appeal to a range of ages. I will definitely be setting the Sky Plus.
I really love the purple bunny. The girl is Kate like me. I love watching the story about the race. I have watched it lots. I want to see more of Kate and Mim-Mim.
Kate and Mim-Min starts at 5.30pm on Monday 4th August on Cbeebies.
As Kate turned 3 at the start of May I made a decision that I wanted to start trying to come of my antidepressants. It has been three years of taking them, although I would say that I have only got the right dose and combination of medicines over the past 18 months to a year that have made me feel level. However these days there are many many more good days than bad and I have been feeling more and more that it is time to take the stabilisers off. A scary thought. There were many reasons why this isn’t perhaps the best time – we still have difficulties with sleeping and lack of sleep is a massive factor in my depression. Mr C is back traveling for work after the majority of 2013 at home and that puts a lot of pressure on me. I am just finding my feet and working out where I fit in this life of ours.
However, just like there is no perfect time for having a baby there is no perfect time for making a change like this. I have been to all the classes, attended the CBT courses. I have talked it through with friends and family. It was time to try. If it doesn’t work then that that is okay. Nothing lasts forever, I can try again in the future.
These things are not a sudden change however. I started gradually reducing my dose and I am now taking half of what I had been. And so far so good. At times great even. I have found myself stopping and thinking how happy I am more and more recently.(Sing along: Because I’m Happy….) I am making sure that I take time to appreciate what is going on around me. I am trying to teach myself what my priorities should be. That if my children want me to slow down, cuddle, play with them then that is what I should do. That sometimes it is fine to just take the easy option. That Kate is just as happy with a party at the local garden centre (or centre garden as she calls it) as she would be with one at home and there is a lot less clearing up to do after. I am trying to be involved in things by doing what I can manage, not what I think others think I should be doing. Something is better than nothing.
I am being brave. I have heard two people speak recently that have been reinforcing this message in my mind. Jo Cho at Blogtacular talked about embracing change and being brave. And so I am trying to be braver. Talk to people. Make the first move to develop new friendships. Make myself get out there and do things that are going to make my life better no matter how much it scares me. Catlin Moran blew me away last weekend. Almost every word she spoke had me nodding or laughing or clapping. But best of all she spoke of faking it until you make it. If you don’t feel able to do something, picture someone you know who could do it and then just pretend to be them.
And that is how I ended up volunteering to be the coordinator for the Nearly New Sales in our village. I can be that person. Organised, capable, sociable. I can be involved and make new friends and give something back. It scares me half to death, and I am sure there will be plenty of bumps along the way but I can imagine how it will feel when I have actually done it.
I am also keeping track of the clues that I have come to recognise as indicators that I am not doing so well. Bouts of irrational anger, stubbornness, withdrawal from people and places, craving to be alone. I have had my bumpy days but so far they have just been that, not signs of slipping back down that spiral.
There is plenty that I can do to help myself. Be aware of how I am feeling, being kind to myself. Writing. I have a new journal (a fancy red moleskin lined notebook). I don’t write often but I write when I need to. I find that writing down my thoughts and worries lifts me and makes me feel that I can relax again. I should write here more about me, but I always have so much I want to say about everything else and rarely get the opportunity to sit down and just dump it all out of my brain. I have decided on a new family moto – If in doubt go out – and this is helping me. I am remembering that as much as I love relaxing and loafing when the time is right I am happiest when we are off having an adventure. Or just outside in the garden drinking a cup of tea. Remembering my word of the year ‘Live’.
Summer starts for us tomorrow – with Piran’s last day of school and there is much that I am looking forward to. I have that summer holiday feeling and instead of dreading being home with two children for six weeks I am working on being excited about all the great things that we can do and everything I have planned. And at the end of the month I am going to drop my dose of antidepressants again. It is scary taking the stabilisers off but until you do you can never feel the freedom and pride in doing something all by yourself.
Disclosure: The red Moleskin journal was sent to me by Viking Direct - along with some other stationery items that I will be featuring in other posts.
There are six school days left until the end of the school year.
The shiny new baby boy that we dropped off in his new school uniform at the start of September last year is now a mud covered, cheeky, sometimes writing, sometimes reading schoolboy. With thoughts and opinions. Full of information and questions. Sharing things he has been learning about. Telling me facts like there is no chance I could possibly already know them myself.
The good news is that in the main he likes school. He has made some lovely friends, seems quite popular and is happy to go along most days. We have had tears and tantrum from extreme tiredness, we have had elated highs – the days he gets a certificate or goes on the rainbow that day. We have had everything in between – tea and playing round people’s houses, birthday parties, sports day, nativity, mega tantrums where I every other person in the school has walked past as I have dragged him into school.
School has actually been good for me too. I have lived in this village for seven years but it wasn’t until Piran started school that I actually have people that I would call friends. I am shy and an introvert by nature but I swore to myself that when he started school I would make the effort to speak to at least one person in the playground while we are picking up and dropping off. And I have. And I have made new friends. People that I can call on for the occasional favour. Mums to spend time with after school on a Friday drinking wine while our kids go all Lord of the Flies in the garden. Others that I meet regularly to sew and chat. It feels good. Really good.
The past couple of weeks in the run up to the end have been a whirlwind of things to remember, events to attend, things to provide for this and that. Raffle tickets, art exhibitions. This week it is Sports Day (take 2 – we got rained off on Friday), a class assembly, an open evening, meeting next year’s teachers and Breakout Day at the end of the week when they get to do a fun activity. My head is spinning with everything I need to remember.
And so here we are, with Piran excited about starting in Year 1, me quite scared about a whole summer with two children to amuse, and trying desperately to get prepared before the end of school. I am determined not to have to do all my shopping for school uniform with the kids in tow so I am planning to get it done this week. I will raid the school for jumpers and polo shirts with logos on and head to the supermarket and high street for the rest. With a bit of luck I can have it all squirreled away and then all I will have to worry about is playing in the sun, meeting friends and having fun.
This post contains a link that I have been compensated to include. Further information can be found on my Disclosure for Readers page.
Sorry this is a little delayed. I got knocked sideways by a cold last week and with Mr C being away everything just got left for a while.
Anyway. I used Rafflecopter to draw the winner of my Mini Quilt Giveaway and the winner was Snafflesmummy. Congratulations!
Now I am off to rest and dream up when I am going to make.