Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Desperate times

I. Am. Knackered.



Weary beyond words (well - almost. Not completely, clearly).

Why? Well, it could be because Boy #1 started primary school today, which meant that instead of lounging lazily abed of a morning, as has been our habit for the last few weeks, I turfed myself out from under the warm duvet at a revolting 6.40am. School registration started at 8.00am sharp, you see, and in order to avoid what I knew would be the queue from hell (wailing children, impatient fathers, tearful mothers), I wanted to be there promptly.

However, due to a combination of factors including - but not limited to - slow-go on the breakfast eating front, Boy #2's refusal to leave the train set behind, his subsequent dropping of James the Red Engine down the drain by our front door, and a truck driver with the temerity to turn his pantechnicon around in the middle of the street on MY shortcut, we didn't get there until 8.10am. By which time the 'early' ship had sailed and there were at least 40 children (most with two parents in tow, some with the trump card of a grandparent as well) in front of us.

But actually, I'm fairly certain it wasn't the early morning or the pressure of making it to school on time that has brought on the tiredness.

I suppose I could also put it down to the emotional stress of dealing with an unwilling Boy #1 who, up until the moment he climbed out of the car opposite the school, had been showing cautious optimism about the 'adventure' ahead. (Well, that's how I had been billing it, anyway). Feet on the pavement though, and faced with the group of scary, slightly deranged looking parents on the other side of the street his nerve went, and I spent the next half an hour cajoling him into the building, wiping his tears and trying desperately to find answers to the question "Can we just get back in the car, Mummy?" that, whilst not including the word 'yes', also didn't force him to confront the awful truth that THIS IS IT - for the foreseeable future. Which of course it is, and which we both knew, but neither of us really wanted to face right then.

He stayed, in any case, and I left him in the capable hands of Miss K, his teacher, but not without his shedding a few tears. In other circumstances I might have joined him, but mercifully I was too busy wrangling Boy #2 at the time, who had decided -unlike his brother - that he did want to stay, and would somebody just pass him that box of cars from the top of the shelves please, and what do you mean we need to go home, this place looks like fun, and I can't believe it, I have to go and he gets to stay, you have got to be kidding, and NOOOOOOOOOO! all the way out of the building...

But I don't think it was that.

No, I know what it was. The winds of change have been blowing through the Potty household for a few weeks now. The alterations have been so subtle, you might not notice them at first glance; the old leviathon high chair has disappeared, and the spot where our Dutch version of a playpen used to be, is empty. (This is a bit of a nightmare actually, since as the boys and their clothes have got bigger it has done sterling service recently as an additional clothes drying rack). The pile of 0 - 24 months clothes that has been building up - for, well, 2 years, unsurprisingly - has disappeared, and plans (though no real preparations, of course) have been made to sell the double buggy on E-bay.

Yep, Boy #2 is growing up. And what really knackered me out today?

He refused to take a midday nap.

Normally Boy #2 goes to his bed with a smile and a laugh, clutching his cuddly blanket, and breathing a sigh of relief as I switch out the light, pull the blinds, and gently close the door. Today, though, was a different story. Perhaps it was some freak surge of testosterone, perhaps the chocolate coin he purloined off another mummy outside the school following this morning's drop-off, but for whatever reason, he was not going to sleep. "No way!" he said. "No way!" (It sounded cute last week when he first trotted that phrase out, but it's losing it's charm now, I have to admit.)

This determination on his part was helped by the fact he is now tall enough to reach the dimmer switch by his cot. When I went in to investigate the sounds of merriment, I found all lights blazing, and him bouncing around like a kangaroo, shouting 'Whoo Hoo!' at the top of his voice, and waving his blanket in the air for all the world like a morris dancer on acid.

40 minutes later, my 'ignore it and he'll crash' tactic clearly wasn't working, so I gave up the ghost and got him out of bed before dealing with the testerone-fuelled nappy he produced in next 5 minutes before leaving to fetch his brother from school.

But it's not the fact that he didn't sleep this afternoon that has so sapped me of energy. It's the fact that, aged 2 1/2, he might not EVER sleep again during the day. I remember, all too well, when this happened with his older brother. But Boy #1 was older - by at least 9 months - before he refused to take a rest. And whilst that was bad enough, at least Boy #2, at the time, was still a babe in arms, so one of them was still napping during the day. But now?

There will be no escape...

I'm praying that this is a temporary abberation. All together now: 'Hail, Holy Queen...'


  1. Poor you. How well I remember that prayer and that exact situation myself. My baby girl sprang into action the day my big boy started school. OHMYGOD! Was that when I returned to work for a rest? Indeed it was!!!

    I am thinking of you sweetie. Get yourself a nice Macon from Threshers, it is the only way to survive. Mwah.

    Bea x

  2. Crikey DM! Do we lead parallel lives? (Apart from the money and the fancy bags, obviously). Please please tell me it's not true, and that he WILL sleep again... please? Alternatively, I can't remember the rest of the words to 'Hail Holy Queen' - as a recovering Catholic can you help me out?

  3. BAD moment. Poor you. You really have my sympathies.

    I always put my kids in afternoon nursery or preschool, so that the older one being out of the house would coincide with the younger one's nap. It was only ever an hour's nap, but I thought of it as the golden hour. It kept me sane. Just as well I hadn't discovered blogging in those days or that would have been the golden hour used up straightaway.

    (Then I felt really guilty when I heard about a mother who, sensibly, used the time the older one was at preschool to focus entirely on the younger one, calling it "our special time together" and thus nipping any sibling rivalry in the bud. Guilt, guilt.)

    Here in the US, they manage to get their children to nap till they are much older: 3 or even 4. How DO they do that?

  4. Oh what a yeuchy day! The tyranny of the school run has got you and won't let go now for years! That's the true horror!
    Meanwhile I'm looking forward to your stories of the playground mafia, the P.T.A. press-gang and what your son tells his class about life at home!
    (Might little one be persuaded to snooze if you snuggle down with him? Nice excuse for a siesta after a stressful rush hour! Failing that an hour of cBeebies will not inhibit his intellectual development)

  5. And here I am - stumped for words once more.

    Think I'll go and have a lie down for a bit.

  6. I feel your pain! I know my 'free time' days are numbered as it's getting to be more of a battle each day to put my second born down for a nap, especially since the cot has been put away now. Sniff (I am still not over that. Once that nap goes, when the heck am i going to get the chance to get to blogland in daylight hours!! Esp as first born doesn't get to go to proper school yet due to some silly US thinking about not having them start full-time school until they're practically old enough to go to the offie for you!

    iota - yes I too am finding that my US mommy firends keep their little ones in napsville until much later. I think this is because of all their over-scheduling camp after the next gym class after the next kindermusik gig. Do you? thinking about all those activites crammed into one day makes me want to have a nap!

  7. My darling second son stopped napping at 18mths. By that age it was totally impractical to leave him unsupervised for longer than 30secs (he climbed, anything and everything, childproof catches - ha-ha-ha) so there was NO free time until bedtime. His only redeeming feature was that he went to bed for the whole night willingly and slept for at least 10hrs straight.

    I feel for you.

    And, oh, he wasn't a keen schoolboy either. After the first day he informed me that he had been to school, they were noisy and stupid and they didn't have anything to do that we didn't have at home, AND HE WASN'T GOING AGAIN!!! There followed a couple of weeks where I dragged him into his classroom where his teacher kept hold of him until I had made my escape. He would then spend much of the day growling at her. Fortunately once he learnt to read fluently and discovered they did have things we didn't, his attitude towards school improved but he was never enthusiastic. And before anyone thinks I was cruel to force this issue, it wasn't fear, distress or even that he really wanted to be home with me - he just did not want to go to school. Stubborn little ******

  8. school already..OHMYGOD!!
    That's awful!
    I have a few days left with my baby girl and then she'll be changed for changes them, it should be banned.
    I suppose I really ought to go to the school shop and buy uniform, the vampire won't want to be doing PE in her pants I'm sure...

  9. Yeah - a suppose a combination of such milestones in your life in one day would knacker you.

  10. Poor you! I'm sure the excitment of the visit to school had someting to do with it. Fingers crosed that he will be shattered this afternoon and blissfully keen on a nap.

    If not, apparantly a drop of brandy in my bottle worked wonders for me as a baby. Maybe these days it shoudl be milk and brandy for the mummy though....

  11. Don't worry, it'll all become a bit of a vague blur in a few years. I think I've just shut out the memories of when mine dropped their day sleep, mainly because they were so much younger when they did so than many of their peers. I was pretty bitter about it.

    And then when they are 15 they don't want to go to bed at night, and then don't want to get up in the morning.

    Kids! Have always said they drive you to drink!

  12. My oldest cried for days when he started school. The second was raring to go and I cried for days!

  13. I feel sorry for you on two counts: packing a baby off to school. Whilst the other one drops his midday siesta. their timing needs tweaking. eat cake i think. and chocolate. lots and lots of chocolate x

  14. Shame PM, that's sounds hectic! I definitely think it calls for vast amounts of chocolate and your favourite take-away for supper! Perhaps it was the change in routine of #1 going to school, the visible distress of #1 when you left him and not having his playmate all day that disrupted #2's sleep. He may go back to it once the routine settles again! Here's hoping!

  15. Iota, ah yes, blogging in nap time. The devil's work - which, of course, is what I'm doing now...

    KP, I think the problem with napping with him would be that I would sleep through the alarm and miss Boy #1's pick-up time - so best not...

    Aims, now you're just showing off.

    M/M, we are getting to the end of our cot's life too. Must admit, I'm not looking forward to it. Keeping Boy #2 in bed once that happens will be IMPOSSIBLE!

    Sharon, I read your comment with apprehension - especially since I left a wailing Boy #1 at school this morning for the second day running.

    Frog, PE in pants should be de riguer don't you think? It would certainly cut all those bolshy teenages down to size...

    Jeanie, I'm much better today. And Husband is home tomorrow, so he can take Boy #1 to school - who no doubt will be all smiles (typical!)

    Mud - could I skip the milk, do you think?

    Hi Tracey - thanks for reminding me - I must put some more white wine in the fridge...

    AM, hello, thanks for the visit! I think that when Boy #2 starts I will be in much the same boat as you. Funny how the second child is often so much more confident than the first, isn't it? (I blame the parents, myself. Ah.)

    RM, yes, diet and starting school are not too things that should be scheduled in to the same week. As I found to my cost.

    Hi MdP - well, as per today's post, he is sleeping now. But I think the writing is on the wall, and I need to prepare myself for the awful reality of a nap-less day in the near future. Is it still too early for a glass of white?

  16. You mean....they stop taking naps?

    Guess it is a good thing I'm at work...but still....not even on Saturdays or Sundays?


  17. Potty, try walking somewhere with him in the pushchair at lunchtime so that he conks out and then transfer him into cot? This works with mine sometimes.

    Or lie him on the sofa in front of Cbeebies. Or - deep breath - put him into a big boy's bed and lie next to him until he conks out.

    All have worked at some point for me however the inevitable may be upon you..

    Big lump in throat reading about your first day at school. Hope you are ok..

    BM x

  18. Prayers coming your way PM! It's our eldest's first day next wek and the whole thing has been awaited gleefully with the thought of two whole hours to myself a day while the little one sleeps. And he'd better. Or I'm sending him over to yours.

  19. Hi BM, you read the subsequent post so you know I have resorted to guerilla warfare tactics here to maintain the status quo. Not sure how long it will work, though...

    MH, hope your first week goes down with your eldest better than it has with ours (more of which later). And as long as you don't send your youngest over here with a torch, that should be fine...

  20. Morris Dancers on Acid?

    Hope everyone settles properly this week.


  21. My kids never had daytime naps. I tried, honest I did but the little devils just stayed awake. And that prayer brings back scary memories. :D


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