I have now been off work (both employed and unemployed) since January 2010 with the sole purpose of being stay at home Father to Samuel and Maisie. There are certainly hard times when trying to keep them controlled and teach them new things when they don’t want to learn, but overall it has been a great experience so far.
We do a lot of things during a week, some typical and some not so typical. Playgroup is the one day of the week we know the mornings are going to be busy, fun and tiring (for them and for me). The Team at the playgroup have certainly welcomed me as a Dad amongst the other Mum’s and it makes me stand out a bit and feel special, but then it’s all about the children and getting them to play, learn and interact with others. It has helped greatly that both Clare and myself have kept in touch with the Mum’s from anti-natal so I at least have people to talk to and meet up with that we both know.
Another activity that has been introduced is a days play over at Nanny’s. This just gives me a chance to get a days worth of studying or web work done. Samuel and Maisie also love going to see Nanny and playing.
Sleeping is getting better too. They are now in their big beds. Samuel has a double futon to sleep on(!) and Maisie has my old single bed with bed guards. So far they have slept well in them and not fallen out! Getting them to stay in bed has also not been too hard. Maisie goes straight down as long as there are Sheep Bears in with her. Samuel on the other hand needs a bit more persuading. He needs drinks, blue bear, pink bear, maybe a car, and if he keeps getting up they all get taken away until we deem it necessary to give one or two of the items back. The “process” is pretty quick and he’s usually down within 30 mins.
Eating is also not much of a problem. They have a variety of foods they like and don’t like. Samuel is more of a meat man and won’t eat veggies unless persuaded. Maisie loves vegetables and savoury but not much of a meat girl. Between them we get all the food eaten.
The next challenge we are going to be taking up is … potty training!
The family are doing well. Samuel and Maisie continue to grow and become so different from each other. Samuel is still in to his books and loves to investigate things, but he has now begun to show signs of tantrums and throwing things. These usually occur when he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s usually the keys to the front door, he spots me using them and then wants them and most times it’s not convenient for him to have them!
Maisie on the other hand doesn’t really have tantrums unless she is really tired, and these are just at the end of the day when Mummy is upstairs cooking dinner and Daddy is downstairs wanting some help in tidying up the toys. But Maisie has become this little girl that has the cutest faces she pulls when she wants something. I’ve been told that she will have me round her little finger in no time at all! I am sure that will be right.
They have both started to nod in a yes motion when you ask them and question and the response is a positive one. Sam has also learnt to say “No!” and uses it quite well. There are sometimes where he just repeats it over and over to all questions, even if the answer would be in his favour.
There was also another success recently where we went to stay for a week in North Hayne Farm Cottages, down in Devon. It is the greatest of places where children get to feed the animals morning and evening, there are facilities for both children and adults, and the people there are extremely friendly. The accommodation cottages are really lovely and do feel like a home away from home. And this holiday was the first we have seen from start to end and not had to come home early because of illnesses, or sleep issues, or anything else bad. We all had a fantastic time. I really loved watching Samuel and Maisie walk around in their wellies, collect the buckets of food and head off to feed the animals. They fed the rabbits, chickens, pig, alpacas, goats, and even got to go on a donkey ride after feeding. This is certainly a place we will be looking to go back to in the future.
The past few days has seen a complete change in Samuel’s behaviour in relation to sleeping and how he is generally. He has gone from a baby that moans and cries out in his sleep, constant wake ups, moaning and biting during the day, and has become a baby that has been able to sleep through two nights in a row (that’s a great achievement for him!), happy and smiley at everything, plays nicely with his sister Maisie, and goes down quicker for naps and bed. He has even gone from biting his sister to hugging and kissing her!
What has caused this change? We aren’t sure exactly but there have been a few changes all at the same time.
Samuel has stopped teething from what we can tell so all Nurofen and Calpol before bed has stopped, he now sleeps on a comfy blanket on top of his cot bed sheet, when having lunch and dinner we try to give him his water beaker after he’s finished eating so his food doesn’t sit on liquid as much, we have tried to give him dairy/milky products earlier in the day (breakfast and lunch) so that there is a longer period for his body to process them before he goes to bed, and his milk formula before bed has been changed from Cow&Gate toddler milk to SMA Lactose Free.
All these combination of changes seem to have resulted in a child that now sleeps peacefully at night. Now that I’ve blogged all this I’ve probably jinxed it all 🙂
Children can certainly be cute, like just now, Maisie was walking in and out of the room and as she came back in she would pull a lovely grin and crinkle up her nose and then walk out again. The same with Samuel, he will laugh and laugh and laugh at the silly things his Daddy does until his laughs become fits of histerior, making everyone around him laugh even harder.
And then there is the annoying side. Samuel will continue to wake up during the night and scream! And when you get to him and pick him up, sit him in front of an episode of Peppa Pig then there is nothing but silence. The moment you try to put him back down to sleep in his cot the screams come back and even louder! Maisie can also be annoying in that when she’s woken up from Samuel’s screams she takes a few hours to go back to sleep. And during these few hours she is acting sleepy so we persist in the rocking and shushing, but it’s all in vein.
At the moment there seems to be much of the cuteness from them both, and at night it is nothing but annoying! Not very helpful since it’s at night time that us parents are supposed to recover our energies to make it through the next day.
Today, Clare was so tired she set off for work and managed to clip the front tyre on the kerb and cause it to puncture. Luckily it was just down the road so turning the car around and getting it home wasn’t a problem. All these troubles caused by two 15 month children (no longer are they babies since they are all toddling around now and understanding a lot more than we credit them for!). All these troubles could be solved by just having them sleep properly.