What is it about sleep and kids?!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, School, Sleep | Posted on 30-11-2014

If you are in the midst of newborn chaos with multiples, and are still trying to acclimatise to sleep deprivation, I am sorry to report that the sleep issues continue well into childhood!  Alex and Simon are nearly 8, and we adults still crave more sleep!!!

Even when they were babies, the boys consistently woke up around 5 or 5:30 a.m.  It was maddening!  Happy was the day they were old enough to recognize numbers, and we go them their very own alarm clock with great pomp and circumstance, and trained them to STAY IN THEIR BEDS until the first number was a 6!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Begin as You Mean to Go On

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Parenting, Sleep | Posted on 01-09-2013

twin boysI had the delightful opportunity to spend an evening with a colleague’s family, which included their 2-year-old son and his new 10-week-old twin sisters the other night, and I was reminded of the incredible amount of power held by parents, when it comes to paving the way for their children’s future behaviour.

It’s no accident, in my opinion, when children are polite and well behaved, like that night, I witnessed how this magical seed is planted: While we were finishing up the dinner that my partner and I had prepared and brought to the family we were hanging out with, their two-year-old left the table (he was “done”, and wanted to go play).

In their family, these parents have decided they it’s important to eat together, and to ask to be excused when one is finished at table.  So, in gentle yet firm tones, they instructed their toddler to return to the table, and to ask to be excused.

He did so, wiping his hands and face on a cloth they had laid out for him, and then went off to play.

Later that evening, when it was time for bed, parental patience and consistency were once again on display as Mom gave advance notice of the impending bedtime expectation, and Dad went to follow up when Toddler tried out a few tricks to delay the bedtime.  A few removed “Thomas” toys later, Toddler could be heard crankily settling down to sleep.

I marvelled at Mom and Dad’s consistency; each parent had a sleeping newborn in a sling next to their bodies for most of the evening, and even though my partner and I had brought dinner, and tried to do most of the set up and clean up of dishes, it was still busy – between feedings, diaper-changings and, chasing after the family dog and the toddler, there was little or no “down time”.  Not to mention, the sleep deprivation that comes with new twins was evident in their tired eyes.

Yet both parents found the energy to continue to guide their first-born through the mundane but important daily routines that would lead to his becoming a polite, well-adjusted child and young man later on.

Parenting can sometimes feel like a grueling, relentless task, especially when one is facing additional challenges like looking after new born twins or triplets while continuing to parent one or more older singletons.  But it is a task that – if done responsibly and with pleasure – can bring enormous rewards.

With Quadruplets, It’s All About the Schedule!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Sleep | Posted on 08-01-2010

QuadrupletsTwo weeks before they were due, our friend Ricardo, soon-to-be-father of quadruplets, consulted me on “when babies can sleep through the night”.  I explained that – provided they were getting enough calories during the day, and were otherwise healthy – there was no biological reason they couldn’t be sleeping 6-8 hours a night by 3 months.  BUT, I warned him, there were many other contributing factors:  illness of babies or either parent, amount and quality of daytime sleep, teething, etc. etc.

He paid no heed to my warnings, and merrily marked off the 3-month mark on the large calendar they had installed in the main living area, which was to become the hub of the household, once the four babies arrived. Read the rest of this entry »

New Year’s Eve with Captain Underwear and his Companion!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Sleep | Posted on 02-01-2010

Happy New Year!

As Twin B informed me tearfully last night, while I was attempting in vain to send him to bed, “New Year’s is a time for the whole family to be together, even children!”  The boys insisted they be allowed to stay downstairs for the new year’s party we were hosting (who can afford a babysitter new year’s eve?!).  We finally caved, and agreed that they could stay until all the guests had arrived.  Alex and Simon shouted with glee, and immediately made preparations to greet our company in style.

Twin boys new yearsAlready in their jammies, the boys outfitted themselves with socks on their hands (“paws”), and underwear “helmets” on their heads.  Thus transformed, Doctor Rhino and Agent Tortoise awaited — with anticipation — the arrival of our guests.

I must say, at nearly six years old, the whole thing went off better than I had imagined.  As babies, the twins often had major meltdowns when they got tired, but as time marches on, their tolerance level seems to have risen slightly… or maybe it was the late afternoon nap they had caught at the daycare that day, lol!  In any case, the underwear duo were in fine form, and still happily sampling the various snacks at the table when at 10:30., we finally laid down the law and sent the troops upstairs to be tucked in by one of their “aunties”.

Having gone to bed so late, we anticipated a later wake-up time the next morning, which we sorely needed (especially my husband, that special twins dad, who had had a wee bit too much to drink)!

Our victory was a compromise at best:  We fell into bed around 2:30 a.m., and the boys – usually bright eyed and bushy tailed by 6:30 a.m., slept in until… wait for it… 7:45 a.m.!

Don’t be so sure the sleep deprivation ends once your babies begin sleeping through the night!  If you like to party, you may never get 6-8 hours again, hehe.

Alex the Night Owl

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Posted by vera | Posted in Sleep | Posted on 25-12-2009

twinsSleepingFrom Day One, our monozygotic twin boys, Alex and Simon, suffered from sleep “issues”, for lack of a better word.  Half crazed from sleep deprivation, my husband and I read all manner of sleep books and consulted the experts on various schedules and routines.  We lived by the clock, to some extent, to preserve our sanity.  Two minute up longer than needed with our 6- month-olds spelled disaster, and we could predict the impending dual meltdown almost to the second!

Read the rest of this entry »

Separation Anxiety

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Sleep | Posted on 01-11-2009

Last night my five year old twin boys slept in their own rooms for the first night.  For five years they have slept together in the same room, at first even in the same crib.  But lately, Twin B has been requesting his own space, and so, over the past few weeks, we’ve slowly been relocating the office downstairs, so that each boy can have his own bedroom.

It was cute to hear their little feet pitter patter back and forth last night, as they visited each other a few times, before finally settling down in their respective rooms.  I think that although individual space seemed like a good idea in the daylight, come night time, our little twins may have been having second thoughts about their great separation plans, lol!  In any case, they survived the night and in fact, slept quite well.

I was reminded of the many nights prenatally with twins that we lacked sleep (well, me, anyway, and then both me and my husband, once the dear babes were born, hehe!)  The first few months with newborn twins is pretty intense… Prenatal classes didn’t help… unlike the one I now teach, the multiples-specific prenatal course we took at the hospital didn’t really address the nitty gritty of how to manage the intense sleep deprivation that inevitably comes with two, three or more newborns in the home!

How I marvel at my BIG little boys.  This evening, they played nicely together after dinner, and then went to their own beds without a hitch. Just wait until they are teenagers wanting their own cars!!!