7.31.2014

How to stop kids getting up sooo early.



I was totally scarred for life (twice) by the 'Sleepless Nights' phase that my boys and every newborn goes through. I literally had NO idea how bad it is and just how much I need sleep to function....maybe comparing it to late night clubbing sessions was my mistake especially as there is no sleeping all day to compensate with T4 and a bacon sandwich for company any more. So my boys are pretty good sleepers thanks to the routine I have had since they were little which you can see in my last blog here.

How to get your child to sleep.

Now we are on to a totally different sleep problem especially at this time of year, the kids getting up waaaay too early. I read something once that said anywhere between 5.30-7am is an acceptable time for a child to get up. I think 5.30am is a bit steep I don't even like to get up at that time for a holiday plus everyone is grouchy all day and then when my 4yr old who doesn't have a nap any more is falling asleep on the sofa or in the car at lunchtime I know its too early for us. I saw a good chart on Pinterest here on my board. Ashlie's Good to Know Pinterest
According to that Archie (age 4) needs 11.5hrs sleep a night and Oscar (age 2) needs about that as well. Bedtime is 7-7.30pm so they both shouldn't be getting up until at least 6.30am. Now Oscar is managing this no problem IF he's not woken up by Archie who isn't managing this at all and he is so ratty for it.


Feel the same way about my kids at 5am




I'm not sure at which point you go from leaping out of bed as soon as you wake up thinking "Yesss its the morning time" to waking up and everything in your body begging you to roll back over for just "5 more minutes"?...Anyway I'm on the latter side and Archie is not. Recently as soon as his eyes open it could be 4am that is it he is up. His newest trick is to stay quiet for 30 minutes and creep downstairs while we are all asleep, he is tall and strong enough to open any door, baby gate and lock which is a nightmare and then help him self to the goodie cupboard, all while we are unconscious. When he has finished gorging on biscuits and is bored he will come in and get us again still only 5.30am. This has been going on for a while and I have been racking my brains on what to do.

Kids who wake up early fall into two category's

1. Still in a cot i.e trapped.
If your child is still in a cot: Your best bet is by far is a black out blind, even if you have to tape it for pitch blackness. Also after they are asleep placing a few toys or books at the bottom of the cot might buy you an hour's more peace (they after all will be getting a nap later on unlike you) or even better they might play and doze back off Result!

2. Kids who can get out of bed and physically shake you....harder to ignore. A lot more tricky.

Here were some of the things that didn't work for us but might for you.


Wake up clock:
We have "Gro" clock which again in theory is great. It changes colour to yellow when it is time to get up but Archie was playing with it after lights out because its more like a toy or turning it off at the switch so it wasn't working and resetting its self, turning yellow at 2am....


Black out blind:
Archie has a lined Roman blind in his room already but it does let a bit of light through the sides. We have a blackout sheet which was great when he was little in a cot and in the cooler months but it needs to be taped around the side for total darkness so then its stuck in place and his room is the hottest in the house even with his new fan. We need the window open at the minute, letting in as much air as possible plus it doesn't really work anyway as he still jumps out of bed, pulls it aside...ripping off some of the paint to check if its light yet!?

Quite dark already and was ripping the paint off.



Lamp set a timer: 
This was by far my favourite, any old lamp set to a £2 timer, to come on at 7am, then knowing what time it is to get up. This would be more effective in the winter but I tried it first in our room and its quite light by 7am so didn't notice it that much when it came on. It was a total no go anyway though when I realised Archie has a lamp on all night in his room. Some kids have their bedroom door open but Archie prefers his shut with a lamp on especially if he needs the loo in the night. So he wouldn't notice another light coming on would he?!




Clock: 
He is 4yrs old so cant tell the time....he still asks me at 2pm "Is it still the day?"...in other words it not bed time yet?

Wake them up!:
When we were living in Texas Oscar broke his arm and while there I mentioned to a Paediatrician the kids were getting up really early with jet lag. He recommended waking the child or making them stir when you go to bed as it breaks their sleep cycle and they wake later. I would not recommend this if your munchkin wouldn't go straight back off again but this works great on Oscar but not on Archie, he does go back to sleep no trouble but still gets up earrrly. 

*Please note at this point I have completely stopped using the "Light" as a guide for night time its now when I say so. Its less confusing and causes less agro about bedtime.

So what did work?

At last I came across an idea on somewhere in the bowels of the internet which involved a clock but with a little make over. I want Archie to not get out of bed until 7am he cant tell the time but he does know what a 7 is.

You will need:
A digital clock, we had one stuffed in the loft.
A piece of paper and a pen
A chunk of blue tack.
Reward chart, optional

Tah Dah! It is this simple. Archie now knows that 
he cant get up until 7 matches the 7. 



To sweeten the deal we got him a reward chart if he does it every night with a treat of his choice at then end of the week. His choice this week was 'Lego Movie on DVD' and a home cinema night....little did he know I would have given him pretty much anything for some decent sleep. 

I got this one at Wilkinsons for £1.50 and I love that its magnetic and has 5 weeks 
so he can see the whole achievement!


We have had a few glitch's which are ironed out now.

The first night I stupidly didn't realise that there wouldn't be a 0 before the 7 so Archie came in at 06.02am saying "Something was wrong with the clock".... I got a pair of scissors and sorted it out.


The second night I was woken up at 5.30am by Archie clattering his Lego's, when I went into his room he said "I'm just waiting for the 7" ....so I explained it's 'Do Not get out of bed until 7am'. NO TOYs until after 7am.

The third night I was woken up at 5.45am by Archie reading...I use this term loosely as he was just loudly saying the words he knows. I felt bad saying he couldn't even read but as he cant read and the idea is that he try's to go back to sleep. So we decided that it is no toys or books before 7am; obviously very boring and more likely to go back to sleep. 



It works we are 3 weeks in and it really works. He might still be waking up at 4am and staring at the ceiling until 7am for all we know but the rest of the house is not getting woken up to early and we are all much less grumpier. Cant recommend it enough!

Ash xox


I have just heard a brill one from another mum Kim Ironside which I had to add. She has given her son, who is a totally cutie, a 'Dragon Egg' (can get a rubber egg for 99p on ebay) and said "This is a dragons egg, it ONLY grows when you're asleep and will hatch in 100 yrs....little boys never sleep well enough so that's why we have no dragons. He's had 'Bob the dragon' by his bed for months!" 

Definitely worth a try but I think a 'Gruffalo Egg' might work better in our house! 





Any other ideas please shout and I will add them.

7.30.2014

How to get your baby or child to sleep.






I feel a bit weird about giving this advice as I'm not a Midwife however its the one thing parents keep asking me and I see the same question from strangers all over social media so this is just the advice I have given many friends and had such good feed back, it also leads to nicely to my next blog and new found trick on the next stage 'How to stop kids getting up so early
I wouldn't recommend the following before about 9mths as baby might need more milk, cuddles etc...but I am the woman who broke down in tears in the middle of Asda when Archie was only 4mths because he wouldn't 'Sleep through' so I know how hard nocturnal alarm clocks are.

How to get your child to sleep?....If you find out, tell me....I'm kind of joking but obviously things like child's age, a growth spurt and even the weather will effect how they sleep and what time they get up. Especially now at the peak of July it is pretty much all I am hearing from my fellow parents, grotty babies/toddlers/kids refusing to go to bed and then up at the crack of dawn which is literally 4.30am just now. If you caught my last blog Here you will see things have been a bit wild here too and if there is ever ANYTHING wrong with my boys from behaviour to illness the first place I always look is Sleep. Making sure kids have enough sleep is the most important thing for them but for us parents too. I quickly found out around week 3 with my first baby that "You can cope with anything on a good nights sleep" and you are a mumbling tearful wreck without it.... 

Still laugh at this picture but I'd had...some wine 
then been up loads in the night and wanted to cry...hubby 
caught it perfectly.





My boys both woke up every 2-4hrs until they were around 7mths old, I breastfeed them but even when I started combination feeding with formula it didn't help as PROMISED. I truly thought both times around they would NEVER "Sleep through". I wanted to stab anyone who even mentioned sleep, never mind asked "Is he a good sleeper?" These periods of time honestly scarred me, it was by far the worst bit of having a baby personally, I need my sleep but it also made me feel like a crap parent, I must be doing something wrong. If I have learnt anything about babies though its that NOT sleeping through is more normal until around 6mths to a year. It is the last thing you want to hear at the time but its true "They will do it when they are ready" That is exactly what happened on both occasions and at around 7am refreshed I thought something bad must have happened...but didn't dare check ha ha zzzzzz. 
       
Thankfully from that point on they have both been really good sleepers, we have had a few hiccips like illness but that is fine when they are poorly I don't mind getting up, its when they get used to 3am party time long after the chicken pox have gone and its back to square one. As I said the "Sleepless Nights" phase honestly scarred me for life and I wont go back you hear me I wont....so I have a few things that I've picked up, I always go  to if my little munchkins are not going to sleep or sleeping through. 

Sleep breeds Sleep. 
If your baby is napping all day or very late on it stands to reason that they will up in the night or not ready for the land of nod at bedtime. That said keeping a child up all day that needs a nap or two will usually back fire. You're left with a ratty, red faced child, who doesn't know what to do with them selves but then its bed time and it makes NO sense but they are just crying about being tired not just going to sleep?! So make sure they are having a good nap, I would say not past 4pm but if they haven't slept until about then (It happens sometimes) and nod off in the car or you put them down, then in my experience a little 30 min refresher will work wonders and make the witching hour go a bit smoother. The same works for keeping them up, the best bit of advice I ever had was if your child is hyper at night its not because they are not tired its because they are exhausted. 


So get them to bed, we do about 7pm.



Sleep has to be (almost) trained.
It is by far the most frustrating thing I have come across, whiny knackered child, put in a cosy cot and dark room but wont sleep....what is that?! Some days I would give my back teeth to have a little Nanna nap. However sometimes small people need the tools (and the moon and stars to align) to learn how to sleep. I know people who rock their baby, sit on their 5yr olds bed, I've even heard of a parent getting into the cot all for upto 2 hours until they sleep. Seriously NO JUDGEMENT HERE. You do what you have to but the only thing I would say is that I could bare to do any of those things long term, I clock off around 7.30pm Mummy time is calling and my patience is going for a rest but thats just me. So from being babies my boys have had their milk, cuddles, then in their bed - awake, door shut, night night. So they can learn how to drop off on their own, this then works for naps and times when you cant put them in their cot, so a buggy or car seat or travel cot will work. It hasn't always been this smooth don't let me fool you I have often had to do a patch of "Controlled crying" and sometimes they have been great for months but then an illness or the clocks going forward comes along and its all knocked out so I have to do some more control crying - See below for process.


Feel proud and relieved when the boys just nod off on their own....anywhere!



Be firm. 
Its not for the faint hearted to get a baby who doesn't want to sleep off to the sand man. Maybe your baby is a little cherub and they just want cuddles, I can see this will break your heart to leave them to cry its your call but mine were both just defiant monsters who only wanted to be UP and having a snack or playing. So if you want everyone to have a good nights sleep you have to be tough sometimes and teach them its night time and no one is getting up. When your exhausted Ive done it all, its easy to give them a drink of milk or let them come in your bed - this rarely worked for us, they would pretend snuggle in then start fidgeting and want to get toys after 5mins it was all a con on our cuddly emotions- or get them anything they bloody want frankly at 2am. However I've learnt this will just continue and everyone will get more and more tired. So gird your loins and be prepared for a hard night or 3 but it will pay off. 




Lets begin.

1. I'm assuming nothing is wrong, no illness, not hungry, clean nappy etc and make sure the following is right, so there are no excuses...doubt or horrendous guilt lingering.

2. Room: No doubt their room is lovely and cosy but try and stop excessive noise, stimulation (like toys especially older ones as they just want to play with them) and light. Good curtains so as little light as possible is coming through, we bought a 'Gro' black out blind, I even had to tape the sides to ensure total darkness but its worth it.

3. Temperature: not too hot or cold. It is recommended that Normal room Temperature is 16-20C so make sure the room is cool enough and baby is dressed appropriately. I still use the room thermometers just for peace of mind, one of mine was free and the other was only about £2 its a good guide though instead of guessing. At the minute it is so hot we have had to buy fans for the boys rooms, £12 from Argos, Archie's reached 28C the other night its in the sunniest side of the house so good investment. I also swear by the sleeping bags for under 3s, because getting cold and waking up due to kicked off blankets is just not funny so I love these. We are in the last size now with Oscar although he hasn't been able to wear it for a few weeks with it being so hot.



£12 Argos.



3. Bed comfy: I was sent a lavender sleep spray to trial about 4 yrs ago and I love it, no clue if it actually works but I have bought a few more and use it on all of our beds. It smells lovely, obviously is a natural relaxant and its good to take away because it is a smell from home on strange beds. I still have a cot bumper too because kids sleep roll about 20 times a night so it wakes them up if they knock their head doing the midnight hocky cokey. Also Oscar started waking up a few months ago and I realised it was because he had so much stuff in his cot. I had about 6 blankets and 12 teddys arranged at the bottom which have accumulated but he was getting tangled up in them, more importantly though he was playing with them when he woke up. So they have all been cleared out, he has his beloved "Ducky" his sleeping bag or light blanket at the minute and that's it...All very boring, nothing fun here, go back to sleep son.



4. Bedtime routine: We have always had a very basic not too strict one but I think its important to prepare and calm for bed. My boys don't have a bath every night because they get dry skin so something the Dr advised against. 
About 6pm after dinner, they have a bath or face and hands wash, PJs, unless they are in the last size of nappy I would recommend the next size up for bed as less likely to leak, Milk, unless it's late for whatever reason, they can have milk downstairs with a bit of chill TV, teeth, toilet break if no nappy, story, kiss and cuddle, "Night Night" Oscar now asks for sweets as I shut his door and Archie wants to know the meaning of life as I shut his but its still then lights out. 




5. Tough bit - Controlled Crying. 
  • Ok so if the child is crying immediately or starts 10mins in let them cry for about 5mins they might just be testing you and go off, if you run in straight away the first time they will start doing this...I know the hard way. * I have been known to pick them up at this point, give a little cuddle and a verse of "Twinkle Twinkle" then back down and a firm "Night Night" again, but play it by ear, this usually works with Oscar but if they don't go to sleep after that then they are just playing the game to get up.*
  • If they are still crying after 5mins, go back in make sure they are still laying down, got their teddy, dummy etc give them a pat or tummy rub and say "Shhh shhh its Bedtime now or Night Night time" preferable they will have stopped crying but unless they are hysterical (give a few more pats) then just leave. 
  • If they are still crying leave it 10 minutes now and then repeat the above.
  • If they are still crying leave it 15 minutes this time and then repeat the above. 
*This sounds bad but past this point don't make too much eye contact and fuss or this is what they start to crave just that little bit of attention. "Its bedtime" that's it. 
  • Repeat every 15 minutes until they are asleep. If you notice they are crying but not as loudly give it another 5 minutes as they might be drifting off and it could god forbid wake them! 
  • It shouldn't take more than an hour, repeat this during any night time wake ups and nap times. Try not to sit by their door or monitor because it will make it feel much worse and the minutes like hours.
  • What if they are REALLY hysterical to the point they throw up? (This applies if they have just filled their nappy too) I have only had to do this once and got some advice from the Super Nanny who said: Go back in like nothing has happened, no big fuss "Oh you poor baby etc" Strip them off, clean them up and their bed if needed, maybe give them a small drink of water. Then start the process again. Its not nice but it works and when they wake up so happy and full of energy I know its right. 
  • What if your child isn't a baby or in a cot? This is still a good process, you might have to add, putting them back in bed from the landing or stairs but it still works in that they know, its not time to be up and it wont be fun if they are. My near 5 year old started being a pain to go to sleep last month especially with the light nights. He wasn't crying just kept coming down stairs for a few nights. I did the process with a "Its just boring grown up things now" and it worked really well. A threat always works wonders as well on older ones like "You wont do xyz tomorrow if you don't go to sleep now" 




  •  Like I said the first few days/night will be tough but so worth it. You are not being cruel, everyone needs good sleep to function, soon they will be "Sleeping like a baby" worst.phrase.ever.  

  • Now go and have a glass of wine or a treat...or both and relax you deserve it.



    If you try any of this I would love to hear from you and like wise with any questions. As I said I'm not a pro though just another Mam trying to get some kip passing on what's worked for me. 
      
    Ash xox
      

    7.25.2014

    Souter Lighthouse Pirate Day. #SouthShields #Colemans


    On this particular day we had planned to go to our local beach for the day but when we woke up it was verrrry cloudy and a bit cold so we started to look around for other things to do and I noticed a tweet by Living North Magazine that Souter Lighthouse was having a Pirate Day, we have been meaning to visit for some time also as my boys are crazy for anything 'pirate' and Archie immediately asked would 'Carribean Jack' be there...that's 'Captain Jack Sparrow' to you and I, we were SOLD.


    For those of you that don't know, North Shields and South Shields lie on opposite sides at the mouth of the river Tyne. We live in North Shields but we have a few friends from South Shields and often wind them up that 'NORTH' Shields is the best Shields or "The best thing about South Shields is the view of North Shields!" This of course is not true and both of them have their merits for example I especially love how the South side is not as built up along the coast as the North side, with lovely expanses of grass called the leases...Just don't tell our 'Sanddancer' pals. - Slang for people from South Shields.

    We have been frequent visitors to the "dark" side normally for food. On a rare night out we sometimes get the ferry across, having a drink in the lovely 'Allum House' and then usually go for a curry, there is a fantastic selection of restaurants but we love the 'Zeera' . In the day with the kids we love to go Marine Park for a wander, feed the ducks usually take the little steam train around and then ALWAYS go to 'Colemans' for the best Fish and Chips going...seriously we sometimes make a special trip for them.

    Perfect Pirate setting.




    However we have never ventured any further, I had no idea that Souter Lighthouse was anywhere near the centre though never mind just 10 minutes out. We easily parked in the FREE car park even though it was very busy and couldn't believe the event was free too, normally it would have been £14 for a family ticket to visit the whole property. We went straight to the garden part and I already loved the red and white stripy lighthouse, I would have liked to actually go inside but the boys went straight into some kind of mental frenzy where they didn't know where go first between all the great activity's going on. First they hit the wooden Pirate Ship but suddenly noticed "Caribbean Jack" playing games and legged it in his direction.




    I have to admit I was kind of creeped out by 'Captain Jack' because he is THAT good! He was playing all sorts of games, ribbing parents and kids alike, everyone was loving it though. It was exactly like the actual 'Captain Jack' and he didn't even break character when I asked for a card to possibly book him for Archie's birthday party...despite him having a totally different theme already picked out its now allll pirate stuff! After tiring themselves out dancing "with a peg leg' or like 'a monkey with fleas' we all went over to the bouncy castles. There was a standard one and a one that was a bit like more like... 'Total Wipe Out'. Where they set two kids off at once in a race together. Needless to say Archie treat this like his own personal 'Hunger Games' actually pushing his brother over on the way in! Still it was more of the 'waring out' which us parents adore. 

    Archie acting like the 'Hunger games'




    We then moved onto the craft section which was all very reasonably priced and no wonder they were all so popular. Oscar wanted his face painted for sure as a Pirate...then a Tiger...then Batman...No definitely a Pirate. The lady Izzy was really talented...if for nothing but to keep Oz still for a few minutes and he loved his makeover. Archie decided he would rather do the clay craft for £3, I thought it would be a waste of time as he is only 4 but I couldn't have been more wrong. The workshop was excellent, Mr Flowers helped him make the head and then let him use his own creativity....we were blown away by what he made and he absolutely loved it too. It is now pride of place drying on the mantle piece "For at least 3 days Mammy!" 







    We had packed and brought a picnic which most people obviously had the same idea  and were sprawled out on blankets enjoying too. However when we realised how close we were to Coleman's... we decided to have the picnic for tea and go have the Best Fish and Chips in the world, seriously they have won all kinds of awards but see for your self. The takeaway next door is just as good but we prefer to sit in, doing it properly ordering the works including a pot of tea, peas, curry, bread and butter. The staff are always so nice bringing the boys colouring stuff and cooeing over them...yes even my boys! We all left far too full but very happy and cant wait for our next visit.  



    Good Pirate food.


    #FoodPorn

          
    I was tweeted by Souter Lighthouse to say there will be another 'Pirate Day' on 27th August so definitely get along.

    Ash xox

    Got a little souvenir for our Sandancer friend.



    Souter Lighthouse Here
    Captain Jack Here
    Izzy Facepainting Here
    Mr J B Flowers Here
    Colemans Here



    7.17.2014

    Being a Parent. I'm getting control back....maybe.



    I have a confession....Im not enjoying my children at the minute. Its hard to admit but seriously everything I do with them feels like so much hard work lately, whether it something they want to do or something I need to do... even just getting in and out of the car!



    When you have a baby I really think they should give you a basic manual on how to bring up your baby/child. I mean seriously how are you meant to know this stuff otherwise? We were the first in both of our family's to have a baby in 15 years so everyone else was rusty too, not to mention things are constantly changing and new guru books are published every month stating that they know just how not to screw up your child. Don't even start me on Gina Ford....how can anyone who hasn't even had a child give any sort of advice let alone have several books?! Its like taking driving lessons off someone who has never been in a car....I know I sound patronising and I am sorry but I don't care because it is the absolute truth. You really have no clue unless you have had kids of your own and all the emotions involved, I would go as far as to say you don't even know what life is without them. I mean were you truly grateful, as in won £100 on a scratch card happy that you had a 5 minute shower today without interruption and nothing horrible happening to your house?! I was. You know those posters that say some crap about "You cant have a rainbow without the rain" ...this was solely made for parents to realise that one day just sitting and not worrying about a single damn thing is just marvellous. I am not even talking about breast vs bottle and all that other migraine evoking bull to guilt parents and make them fight, just normal advice like good bedtimes and acceptable punishments that work for a 2yr old who cant even talk....tearing an actual chunk out of your hair in front of him I've discovered only makes him laugh.

    Like butter.wouldn't.melt.



    I often ponder if being a parent is so hard because its me, in case you cant tell sarcasm is in my DNA and I'm rapidly discovering I'm not an earth mother; honestly the best part of my day is when they go to bed...how bad is that? There are people out there doing home school and shit but I am bone achingly exhausted by 3pm 24/7.  I also think is it my kids?! Two boys is not for the faint hearted, I watch my friends lil girls doing loom bands, colouring in, playing Dolly's and generally sitting still for 3 minutes, so that's blatant straight away but there is also the fact that I think my kids have been made totally out of blue smarties. The things they think of and do is just stroke inducing... as you will have seen here My Crazy Kids... Everyone seems to have found it hilarious and sometime I do but when your living it...its more a laugh cry combo. I can guarantee when someone says "there is a boy right at the top of the soft play but on the OUTSIDE of it" its one of MY boys! Then I think is it maybe my friends. I try not to be a the type to compare but when I see some of them all waxing lyrical about how "5 am wake up was worth it by these treasures" or they will be "devastated when the school holidays are over" ...I want to throw up REALLY?! Total guilt trip and maybe its them that are not normal...or they have a lot of help/breaks.

    Only way to keep them still.



    Its also hard to know what to do for the best in terms of bringing up a child. I keep telling my husband to stop play fighting with the boys because they then fight with their friends...who even know if this is remotely true and I don't want to constantly stop them having fun....oh.my.god who am I? When the kids fall over I rarely pick them up (I've even noticed friends now quoting my "Just brush the crumbs off!"  catch phrase) because I want them to be independent and not to cry over every little thing but this has resulted in two kids harder than coffin nails, absolutely cover in bruises and far too adventurous for their own good. Oscar at 1 even walked off a broken wrist! As for punishments, how do you punish someone whose only goal in life is food anyway?! When I tell older people about their antics like sneaking into the cupboard and covering them selves in hair removal crème, they say things like "He wouldn't have been able to sit down for a week".... I don't even think we are allowed to smack any more, because if your kid turns into a murderer it will be all your fault for disciplining them...

    0% percent listening on 'Picking Only' 
    until we have paid....



    Anyhow I digress the point is things are totally out of control and I don't know how this all happened but somehow- The tail is wagging the dog. I have said this loads of times but going from one child to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo. There is no way it should work out like that but it just does, maybe I've noticed because when one child has a tantrum or says "Yuuukk I'm not eating that" its not so bad but when 2 do it at the same time your brain goes #kaboom. I woke up the other day and the husband is working away at the minute, I literally felt panicked with another week on my own stretched ahead they are 4 and 2yr old boys not OGRES, how did I get here?! I never wanted to be a hard parent or really have to BE a parent I just wanted to say "You can have an ice cream after dinner OK baby?" and hear "OK Mammy great" not "Uhhhhh arggghhh why??!! I hate this world blah blah" then follows the tantrum. Its kind of like letting a dog off the lead though and expecting it not to run away...I have realised it ain't going to happen; also dogs make great metaphors for children! I've also realised that I am treating them like little adults expecting that if I am cool with them they will be with me but they are not and not capable of these choices. I am not their friend I'm their Mother. It may be different for you or your children but for me/us (husband is in total agreement we have both just dropped the ball lately) NO more. We are tired of tantrums over most things, never listening, running away, hitting and nipping (All Oscar), not eating their meals, not doing as they are told and being crazy; they haven't even started school yet. 

    Standard tantrum/grumpy over...nothing!


    My GG thought of an idea to keep
     his hands to himself for once!




    So We (mostly me) are taking back control these next few weeks are going to have an organised theme and get back the lead....see what I did there with dogs and that ha ha! 

    List of tasks to try and get back control:

    Pinterest -  Seriously this is the best thing that has ever happened to parents so many great ideas and tips in picture form so easy to process. I've started my own board with stuff like the pics below, here so please have a neb and even better follow me. 


    Routine - We have a basic routine wake up and go to bed, they both have always been great sleepers but we don't have a solid, lunch at 1pm, read a story before bed etc because I'm happy just to let them watch a bit TV while I load the dishwasher...and start pouring and drinking wine at the same time.


    I have had this re-pinned loads already so must be good!



    Food - My boys are not picky eaters but all of sudden it's "I don't like this" or I've slaved making a lovely meal and they pick a tiny bit of it. I'm pretty sure they might get scurvy soon too, So I'm going to address this somehow and cut back on the junk.

    Sleep - As I said they have always been great sleepers but all of a sudden with this mad patch that's crept in they are both fighting bed time and waking up through the night. Not to mention Archie wakes up when he does and instead of drifting back off whether it is 3am or 6am he gets up goes downstairs (he can open the baby gate and cupboard locks now) helps himself to biscuits etc and then hunts around for the i pad!....we are all exhausted. So a solid bedtime and sleep routine for their ages.

    I think this is a great little guide...how else do you know?



    Differentiate - Between Archie and Oscar. Different ages, personality's and needs. Truly because they are 2 boys I treat them the same worse than I would identical twins duhhhh!

    Discipline - Naughty step will be worn down, I've avoided this for Oscar but if he can tell me he wants sweets he is capable of knowing he has done something naughty. I have never been shy of telling my kids off but I suppose if I can get away without it I will because it feels horrible right? However I read a lovely quote the other day and it said "I love you too much to let you behave like that" so it might feel crap to punish them but it will be the greater good. 

    Maybe youre experiencing some of the same or have some advice please stay tuned to see what happens and get in touch. Wish me luck. 

    Ash xox 



    7.08.2014

    My crazy kids and their 'Adventures' #2boys #messy

    One of my friends sent me one of those Buzz feed links with pictures of kids who have been bad, you know felt tip on the couch etc....utterly hilarious unless its your couch! The reason my friend sent this to me is because both my boys have a reputation for being...well crackers. The things that go through their heads as good ideas are truly terrifying and I am honestly going mad keeping up with them. No cupboard lock in the world can stop the little one and the big one is tall enough to open anything he wants now.

    7.07.2014

    Double Story Extension Phase 1. Weeks 1 and 2.


    So we got our planning permission in December 2013 but we were living in Texas with the husbands job so didn't start any planning until we returned, plus the FIL (Father in Law) didn't have an opening until about May 2014 anyway and suited us as projects going over the summer tend to go to plan with better weather....mark my words it will now snow.

    As things do the FIL other job ran over and we were away on holiday so we agreed to start in June and things kicked off last week. I dont know why I was shocked when builders started turning up, with skips and diggers but I was, it all felt a bit too real! The first thing we had to do as well, was get some forms from the planning inspector as they need to come out after each major section of the build and sign it off, this cost £700 before a spade had even touched the ground.  

    Weird buildery type wood down means there is no going back apparently!



    Things just got real!




    The first thing to happen was the herring bone block paving was all taken up, cleaned off and stacked neatly as we will be using this to make a path down the side of the extension as sadly we cant go all the way to the wall as we are a corner so can be a road viewing hazard but it will be good for bike access etc. Then they started to dig out the foundations out , ripped out 10 Leylandii trees and the wall came down with help from our other builder fondly called "Dennis the Menace"


    Block paving up...my shadow ate 9 people.


    One of 8 this week alone.


    Leylandii gone, digging out the foundations


    Archie already got their lives "Helping"


    Husband getting stuck in taking down the wall.



    Its only 3 days in and we hit the first snag. I'm really going to stand up for builders here, when they give you an estimate its just that. After digging out the required amount for the foundation the building inspector doesn't pass it he said there is not enough clay showing and they have discovered some remnants of the old old house. Apparently  they used to just knock down houses and build on top where now it has to be properly excavated. 


    A bit like 'Time Team' old house and found a ceramic button.





    So now we have to hire a breaker £55, that one of those huge drills popular on a the Benni Bannssi video "Satisfaction"?...just Google it I actually learnt some stuff about tools. Also a few more skips at £170 a pop for all the soil. It could have ended up costing  £1-2k more in extra labour and skips but luckily they took a bit more of the concrete away and the clay showed up and passed inspection 2 days later. There are some cowboys out there but no one can plan for unforeseen problems like this so make sure you have a contingency fund. 

    Front wall gone!


    Husband doing some breaker action!



    Day 8 hit our second problem when the skip truck went over the water Toby in our drive...sounds like I know what a Toby is but never heard of one in my life...but it broke so water started gushing out everywhere and flooding the street! We couldn't drink our water either for about 6hrs until Northumbria water came out and fixed it #drama



    Then the drains all were diverted as we live on a corner have 3!! man hole covers and the new ones went in. There was a hairy moment when Archie did a big poop and flushed while the drain was open outside but luckily they were standing back!


    Got to keep the builders happy/spoilt makes them work faster. #fact



    Next step, concrete the foundations and pray for good weather for the brick layers starting.

    Ash xox


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