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Tiny Tyger, Baby Bear and Me: January 2015

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sleep (or a Lack Thereof)

We’re stuck without internet because my parents are upgrading to fibre optic and...well BT/useless calls centres/stupid bureaucracy.  Do I need to say more?  Three days without internet so far and an engineer out today who doesn’t seem optimistic.  My teenage sisters are thrilled.  So, I’m writing this in MS Word and will put it on the blog once I have access to the world again at some point.  I thought I’d write about sleep because people obsess over things they can’t have so – other than internet access – sleep is something I fantasise about a lot right now.

Whenever you complain about being pregnant, everyone tells you, ‘this is the easy part; just wait ‘til you have the baby and don’t get any sleep for months and months.’  The funny thing is, once you have the baby everyone starts asking if they’re sleeping through yet.  So, after being warned babies and sleep are like...two things that don’t go well together (look, I’m not good with similes and metaphors) you suddenly feel like a failure if your tiny baby who has only been in the big bad world for a few weeks and needs to feed all the time because they have a really teeny tummy isn’t sleeping 8pm-8am every night.

Babies and sleep are chalk and cheese...no too much of a cliché (and also, what’s that about?  Why chalk and cheese?  Just because they’re alliterative?  I don’t know).

Tyger was not a good sleeper.  Well, to start with he was because he was jaundiced and not getting much milk due to a tongue tie and...that’s probably a future blog post.  But in the longer term he was – and I think this is the technical term – a little bugger when it came to sleep.  For a few months the Wolf got me to express milk through the day so he could feed Tyger in the evening whilst I got a couple of hours of precious sleep (oh yeah, if you don’t have kids yet: sleep becomes a commodity that can be traded and gifted when you have a baby).  But then the Wolf’s night shifts started (his old job sucked) and I had to largely go it alone.  The night was along the lines of putting Tyger to bed and him sleeping for an hour or so and then around the time I’d go to bed he’d wake up screaming and I’d be stuck in a loop of feeding and trying to get him down in his cot with the occasional break where he’d sleep for anything from a few minutes to maybe an hour if I was lucky until around 4am when I’d break and take him into bed with me so I could get a little sleep and to stop me from doing anything Social Services would disapprove of (although, let’s face it, they probably disapprove of co-sleeping as well because everyone seems to).

Hmm...babies and sleep are like oil and water?  I thought I was being slightly original there but a quick google has assured me this is a cliché as well.

At a little over nine months it was like someone flipped a switch on Tyger (why oh why could I not find that switch myself??) and his sleep dramatically improved to the point where within a few weeks he was sleeping through every night.  Basically, he was suffering from trapped wind every night until his stomach matured enough for him to deal with it without the, I'm assuming, agonising pain.

Baby Bear is – I’m hoping – just starting to improve with his sleep.  Maybe he has less of a switch and more one of those dials like a dimmer switch.  He’s still far worse than most babies his age but bad is an improvement on terrible so I’m still happy.  I have also been much more relaxed about the whole sleep thing this time round.  I deliberately co-slept for the first few months, knowing it would make my life easier and actually wouldn't mean Baby Bear was still sleeping in the marital bed when he was 35 with a family of his own.  I stopped when it got to the point where I was waking up feeling like an 80 year old every morning because of the amount of hip pain I had from contorting myself into bizarre shapes every night (Baby Bear is a BIG baby) and when Baby Bear got so rolly polly he rolled right off the bed one day (not when we were sleeping but I was still rather paranoid after that) but I was willing to give it a go for a while this time.

Anyway, for the time being I'm still getting a very broken sleep every night but I am keeping faith this will stop soon.  But if these blog posts are ever a little incoherent you can go ahead and blame that on sleep deprivation.

Babies and sleep go together as well as Tiny Tyger and vegetables.  Yeah, that's probably a little specific.  I'll try to work on the whole imagery thing for future posts, okay?

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Sunday, 11 January 2015

What's Your Favourite Animal?

I'm not sure if I've mentioned the Hoover obsession on here before.

Tiny Tyger is obsessed with Hoovers.  He used to be terrified of them, once upon a time, and would cry if I tried to do the vacuuming (so I selflessly delegated the task to the Wolf - I know, I know: the sacrifices we make for our children).  There was a vacuum cleaner in a room where we had a baby group and he spent a large part of the time pointing at it and making 'vvvvvvv' noises.  Even after the hoover moved to a different room, he still pointed at the corner it used to be and made the noise.

That was the beginning of the fascination with hoovers.  Tyger had a strange relationship with them where he was simultaneously petrified of them and mesmerised by them.  I guess it's not unlike the sort of relationship some religious people have with whatever god they worship: a combination of fear and respect.

But, gradually, he was able to get a little closer to the hoover.  He'd touch it when it was off and watch - captivated - when it was on.  And then he started to touch it when it was on, which led to...Tyger 'helping' with the hoovering.  These days, there is no excuse for me not hoovering (on Tyger's part, anyway.  I still have to time it around Baby Bear's naps but 'fortunately' Baby Bear thinks sleep is for the weak so that's not a huge issue - but that's a blog post for another day!).

He called hoovers 'voogers' and everything was a vooger.  If it vaguely looked like it had a hose or if it was electric/mechanical and didn't fit into other categories like 'car' then it was a vooger.  You wouldn't believe how man voogers can be seen in everyday life.  A tall lamp, pipes, construction machinery, a bouncy castle: all voogers!

For Christmas 2013 - when Tyger was a year and a half - we got him a toy Henry Hoover.  It was immediately promoted to favourite toy and within a couple of minutes he wouldn't even let me touch the thing in order to straighten the hose because he seemed convinced I was trying to take it away from him (slightly offensive he thinks so little of me that he believes I'd give him a present only to cruelly snatch it away a minute later).  He has played with it almost every day since then.  It no longer has the ed attachment (that has gone the same way as some wooden shapes, the wheel of a car, and various other toys that have seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth) and we cannot under any circumstances put batteries in it (made that mistake once and had several days of alternating humming hoover sound or Tyger screaming when we had enough and turned it off until the batteries finally ran out) and the end of the hose has had bits of stuffing from my mum's dog's bed shoved up it but it has seen much use.

For Christmas just past Tyger got a small Henry Hoover (also missing batteries - we have learnt) supposedly for cleaning computer keyboards in his stocking and a cuddly Henry Hoover 'from' Baby Bear.  I'm not sure how normal that is for a two and a half year old.

The other day we took Tyger to get his feet measured at the shoe shop (or 'foot maker' as Tyger later called it) and popped in to the pet shop afterwards.  We got treats and replacement name tag things and worming tablets etc. but they were all 'whilst we're here...' purchases.  Our real reason for going in was to show Tyger the birds/fish/small mammals that normally in habit the various tanks and cages.  Except this time, for whatever reason, said tanks and cages were empty.  Aw, shame.  Especially since we told Tyger he could go in and see the animals.  But he didn't seem that fussed so we thought 'no harm done'...and then...

As I was taking past the back corner just to see what was there he caught a glimpse of something through a curtained off area.  A glimpse of something black and red with a smiling face and a long hose.  Yup, there was a Henry Hoover behind the curtains and I'll admit I did fear a meltdown.  Tyger was quite good, though.  He did try to get to the hoover and succeeded in dashing through the curtains more than once before I managed to grab him.  He also wanted to turn it on and every time I tried to take him away he'd walk a bit with me before stopping dead in the isle to say, 'Vvvvvv...what's that funny noise?  The voogert!' and run back to the curtains.  (I don't know why the 't' has appeared at the end of the word now - Tyger has done it with several words.)

But we made it out.  And, yes, he was crying and kicking as we left but it was actually over the toy dog behind the counter he wanted to stroke and not because of the hoover.

We went to Costa for cake the same trip but when asked what we did that day Tyger, of course, replied, 'See voogert.'  I have also been trying to teach him the meaning of the word 'favourite' and so told him when he was sat at the table with my sister that her favourite animal is a rabbit.  I asked him what his favourite animal was.  He paused to give it thought and replied, 'Voogert.'  So, maybe he understands 'favourite' now but I'm not so sure he gets 'animal'.

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