The Teaching Mum

A light-hearted look at parenting through the eyes of a very busy English Teacher.


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The Twitching Hour

There comes a time that all men fear,

A time that makes mums cower,

Brace yourselves and grab a beer,

My friends, welcome to The Twitching Hour.

And by ‘hour’,

I actually mean ‘night’,

I’m not going to mince my words here,

It’s often just plain sh*te,

Now, you know me and I’m not one for swearing,

But, at 3am after being smacked in the eye, I’m now way beyond even caring,

So let’s rewind, let me take you back and I’ll show you how my sleep stealing kids attack.

Beware of the Face Crawler!

Bathtime is when they grow in power,

Watching the tub, fill with glee,

Thus signalling the start of The Twitching Hour,

As The Dude stands proud and has a wee.

“I’m not washing my hair in that!” She cries,

“You’ll have to put me in the shower.”

“It will make you hair nice and soft,” The Other Half lies,

Yes, God bless The Twitching Hour.

“My toe is touching his willy!” My girl laughs,

“You can’t do that!” In horror, I shout.

I know that I am just being silly,

But I Google ‘suitable bath ages’ and pull them both out.

 

“Don’t know what she’s smiling about but I’ve just done a wee.”

 
Next comes the drying and the putting on of the pyjamas,

Followed by the crying enough to drive you bananas.

Seven attempts to get a sleep suit on,

Surely that can’t be normal?

By this time, my patience is gone,

And my language is no longer formal.

“These effin’ press studs, why don’t they work?”

“Just be patient,” is his advice,

Every night they drive me beserk,

I wouldn’t mind, but I think he has fastened one erm, like twice.

 

And where do you think you’re off to?

 
 
Downstairs I go to make the night drinks,

And, no, I don’t mean alcohol…yet,

From the landing, my heart suddenly sinks,

Because The Dude screams again and begins to fret.

Then we’re in bed and the iPad is on,

Thankfully playing Sky Go,

The Girl happily watching Cartoon Network,

And the Dude, on my phone, watching Elmo.

It starts out innocently with a bottle of milk,

Yanking at my hair as they drink.

The bedding is wet where they have spilt,

And attached to my fresh bedding there is a sour stink.

Sometimes it doesn’t end there,

Sometimes they drink way too fast,

Sometimes he throws up chunks in my hair,

And the clean bedding is now wet and then trashed.

Into the washing basket it goes,

Clean sheets from the cupboard are pulled out.

Dirty washing is every where as the basket over flows,

“Stop crying over spilt milk!” The Other Half shouts.

“But it’s wet and cold and I smell minging!”

All this chaos is beginning to take its toll,

And on my leg, The Dude is crying and clinging,

Oblivious to both the sick and us, The Girl continues to watch Gumball.

I can see you saying: “They’re still awake?

How long is this bloody poem?”

Bare with me, don’t leave, don’t make that mistake,

I’ll move quickly just let me keep going.

And now there’s the calm after the great storm,

But soon we will start with a twitch,

We’re finally downstairs; almost back to the norm,

When a cry from the monitor hits like a bitch.

So upstairs I go and feed my boy back to sleep,

My evening, I realise is at an end,

My discarded chocolate and wine – my evening treat,

“You may as well bin it.” I text from upstairs and reluctantly press send.

And now it is night time and I am officially alone,

Apart from my Little Dude’s snoring,

Of course there is always the light from my phone,

But drowsiness ensues and Facebook memes finally get boring,

 

“Mum! You awake?”

 
Suddenly, I’m rudely awoken,

By a cute, but strong little foot,

Hitting me direct in the sternum,

I’m aware my nose is way too near his butt,

Sighing heavily, I reach and rub at my chest,

Unfortunately, I don’t move quickly enough,

As he has now flipped over squished my left breast,

Tears sting at my face and it becomes difficult to stay still and stay tough.

I silently scream into my pillow,

Because he has just clawed me mid-snooze,

I begrudge The Other Half downstairs below,

Secretly finishing off all my chocolate and booze.

In the dead of night sometimes I shout:

“Come on just sleep for God’s sake!”

I become aware that in two hours I’ll be up, dressed and out,

So I prey that The Other Half is awake,

He isn’t because I can hear his deep snore,

I feed and sleep like a record just repeating,

I don’t think I can’t take this much more,

Of this cycle of feeding and reluctant co-sleeping.

But, then when I think all is lost,

The sun begins its new rise,

So I have lost a little sleep, but at what cost?

Because lovely cuddles from my boy have been my nightly prize,

Glancing at my smiling son, my mood is no longer sour,

You’ll be pleased this poem is finally at its end.

As a new day draws to a close The Twitching Hour. 

“Fresh air doesn’t tire me out, Mum. Nothing does.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Relax! It’s From Yorkshire.

The Parent Bedroom: a child free zone, a place to escape the chaos of the rest of the house, a place of serenity and relaxation?  You what!  Not for us!

A child free zone?  You must be kidding.  Since having our son in January 2015, there has not been a night where he hasn’t slept in my bed.  I wish I was exaggerating – I’m not. Not. A. Night.

My partner, bless him, has been relegated to the spare room for the best part of a year. He tells me that he doesn’t mind though and when I think about it, I actually think he is getting the best part of deal.  Yes, I am the receiver of cuddles from my little man but he isn’t kicked awake every two hours by little feet pounding him in the stomach.  Also, while enjoying these sleep filled nights, my partner is tucked up nice and snug in fresh and clean bedding.  Me, on the other hand, I am having a fitful sleep in and among a milk stained duvet.

Firstly, let me me clear, I wash and iron my bedding every two weeks.  More often actually because sometimes my son decides that it is okay to throw up milk on my clean sheets.  He even thinks it’s comical to have a little wee on it too.  Remember when I said ‘bless him’ about my partner being relegated to the spare room?  I used to think I was lucky one sleeping in the big family bed, but upon reflection, it’s me who has drawn the short straw.  There’s just something special about climbing into a freshly laundered bed isn’t there?

A year of us feeding our boy to sleep in our room has meant that our once tranquil space has been somewhat neglected and our space – the parent space – needs some love, care and affection.

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Quilted Rose Plum Duvet

 

Recently, I have been researching and browsing the internet for inspirational bedroom decoration ideas.  I have browsed both popular high street and internet department stores such as Next and Very looking for duvets and cushions.  My searches however, led me to another company and being a proud Yorkshire girl, I like to support local businesses. That’s what drew me to The Yorkshire Linen company.  My favourite colour has always been purple and our bedroom currently is painted a very pale lilac.  Having looked at the website for ideas, I love both the king size Lexi Plum Duvet and the Quilted Rose Plum Duvet – both of which are on sale at the moment.  The great thing about the Quilted Rose Plum Duvet is that it comes with a matching cushion which I think would make my bed look even more inviting…the only problem is, my little man thinks so too!

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Quilted Rose Plum Cushion Cover

 

 


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What Makes You Sleep Easy at Night?

I used to be an expert in sleep.

I would go to bed at 10pm and wake up refreshed the following morning at 6.50am.  I would sleep soundly and my dreams would often be pleasant, sometimes bizarre and always vivid.

I haven’t slept a full night since the 30th October 2011.

Now my sleep is fitful, broken and filled with night terrors that jolt me awake in the night.  Plus, upon waking with a sudden start, I disturb the snoozing little dude next to me.

Oh, I failed to mention that didn’t I?  We’re co-sleepers.

Reluctant ones.

I am no longer an expert in sleep.

Let me take you back; let’s regress.  Are you feeling sleepy yet?

My daughter turns four next week, and she is yet to put herself to bed.  She knows when it is bed time and she sleeps well now, but only if we read to her and lie with her until she falls asleep.

My partner was a stickler for the rules when my daughter was tiny.  He insisted that she remain in our bedroom until she was six months old.  She grew out of her Moses Basket very quickly and when I suggested moving her into her cot, he agreed.  I arrived home that evening to find that the cot had been dismantled and rebuilt in our tiny bedroom.  There it would remain for five more months.  When the magical six months arrived, true to his word, the cot was rebuilt in her room.  Only then she wouldn’t go in the damn thing.  When I suggested controlled crying, I was shot down instantly and was not allowed to do it.  I don’t know how I feel about controlled crying as I know it works for some and not others.  All I know was that I was willing to give it a go, was but never given the opportunity to do so.  There were times that I did leave her crying for ten minutes or so, but to add to the stress, arguments followed and tears (usually mine) were shed.  Before long we found a routine that worked for us; I gave my daughter a bottle on my bed, she fell asleep drinking it, I would move her to her cot where she would settle and sleep.  Anytime between the hours of 12 midnight and 3am she would wake, I would collect her from her cot (and bed from being aged two), she would play with her Daddy’s hair and fall back to sleep until the morning.  That worked for us.

Then the Dude was born.

Like his sister before him, his cot resided in our, now bigger, bedroom, but I was to suddenly sleep alone.  The Other Half decided to take the spare room as he was working and I was breast feeding.  My little man would wake every two or three hours, feed and go back to sleep in his cot (most of the time.)  ‘This one is a doddle!’ I thought.  Breast feeding was easy (I struggled, but persevered the first time round), bed time was okay and I was getting about six or seven hours sleep a night.  Sure it was broken sleep, but who cared? It was SEVEN hours!

Six months passed and once again, the cot was reassembled in my son’s newly painted bedroom.  Also, I was ready to stop breast feeding at six months and wanted to move onto a night bottle.  I thought it was going to be perfect.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.

Firstly, he refused the bottle and I ended up feeding him to sleep.  When he finally did take a bottle, he often threw it up all in an Exorcist style way all over my bed (I haven’t referred to it as ‘our’ bed for a while now), his clothes and my spotty purple M&S Pyjamas.  Being told to ‘keep it down’ while changing the sheets, myself and my son only added to my stress.  No help was offered from my partner as he had to lie with the girl until she fell asleep… You’re rolling your eyes at me, aren’t you?

Eventually, the formula started to stay down and after rolling, flipping and crawling the length and breadth of my bed every night, my little dude falls asleep on my covers and I move him into his cot.  Sometimes (most times – damn you Twitter) I get the timing wrong and just as I place him into his cot, he cries and thrashes around.  Reluctantly, I return to my bed, feed him back to sleep (oh yes, breast feeding didn’t end as planned), and there he remains surrounded by pillows that act as barriers and the baby monitor.  My partner and I take it in turns to dash up the stairs at lightning speed every time we hear a rustle, burp or fart!  More often that not, it reaches 9.30pm and the boy wakes.  That is usually the signal that my night has come to a close; I run upstairs and feed him back to sleep and fitfully snooze myself.

His super power is that he can survive on two hours sleep a night.

If only that was it for the night.
I can almost set my clock by him.

Every two hours he wakes and uses me as his human dummy.  Now, I can see you rolling your eyes at me again.  Yes, I will admit that I am lazy by not getting up and for doing the good old tried and tested lay down night feed, but I am exhausted as I work full time in a demanding job. I also don’t want to wake the girl or find myself in another midnight argument with my Other Half.  Heaven forbid I disturb his snoozing in the spare room.  I’ll admit I love the bond between me and my little man, but I miss my evenings, I miss waking up feeling refreshed, I miss my bizarre but pleasant dreams, I miss not sharing my bed with my partner, but most of all, I miss sleep.  According to Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, Sleep heels.  And I don’t feel heeled at the moment and I don’t feel quite whole.

So that’s why the ‘sleep experts’ are visiting us next week during half term.  Having already spoken to one of the ladies, she told me that before they visited I had to set the ball rolling as it were. I had to allow my son to fall asleep his own room (fail – check the picture) and then no matter what, I was not to remove him from his cot and feed him back to sleep. As I am typing this, I am IN his cot having fed him back to sleep (half-fail? He was distraught!)

The sleep experts are not going to be happy with me next week.

When they call next week and tell both my partner and I to expect a few sleepless nights as we sleep train our son, we will nod and we will agree, but deep down we will know what we, in truth, will probably end up doing. (Arguing and caving in, if you didn’t already guess.)

As I write this now, I am laying in a cot next to my sleeping boy. I started writing this post at 7.30pm and he was awake at 7.50pm. I let him cry himself back to sleep and he subsequently woke up three more times. Finally, at 9pm I broke and went upstairs. My partner and I had begun to watch the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’, but have had to abandon it. I feel myself that I am beginning to resemble a zombie extra from the series – you know, one of the ones that have been going since Rick’s coma days. The ones that have their jaws exposed, their eyes protruding and no longer have noses. Only my fringe has grown out and I have unnecessary milk in my boobs.

As soon as I hit ‘publish’ on this post and climb from the cot, the boy is going to wake. You and I both know that I’ll lift him crying and place him in my bed where stops sobbing and where he falls asleep for two hour periods.

I may be a failure when it comes to getting my children to sleep.

I may no longer be an expert in sleep.

But, I strive to do the best for my family and, for now, it is this.

This is what makes me sleep easy at night, even if it is only for two hours.

Just look at those PJs!

I wrote this on the 24th October and it first appeared on Meet Other Mums 

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Mami 2 Five


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An Ode to Sleep – Or Lack of it. AKA ‘Sleep in my own bed? You’re having a laugh.’

‘If my children slept,’ she wept, ‘I’d get all my housework done.’
‘During the light summer nights, I could enjoy a beer on the decking and watch the setting sun.’

‘If my children slept,’ she wept, ‘my evenings would be free.’

‘I could complete my day’s marking and then watch American box sets on my TV.’

‘If my children slept,’ she wept, ‘the other half and I could share an evening date.’

‘Who am I kidding there?’ she mused. ‘No way would I ever venture out and stay up late.’

‘My children don’t like sleeping,’ she cried. ‘Why is this so true?’

‘After watching Barbie: Life in my Dreamhouse a dozen times, the girl will always suddenly need a poo.’

‘My children don’t like sleeping,’ she cried. ‘They’re afraid to sleep alone.’

‘There are no monsters under our beds though, just the Other Half laying in the girl’s room playing Tetris on his phone.’

‘My children don’t like sleeping,’ she moaned. ‘Even thick formula doesn’t do the trick.’

‘And when I pull out a boob for comfort, the boy decides to projectile vomit.’

‘My children just don’t like sleeping,’ she confirmed. ‘I know I am always complaining.’

‘It’s been six months since the boy came along and I am desperate to go netball training.’

‘Shhhh, my children are sleeping,’ she whispered. ‘The house is finally quiet.

‘I’m off to raid the fridge for chocolate and destroy my post pregnancy diet.’

‘Shhhh, my children are sleeping,’ she mused. ‘Finally some alone time.’

‘In fear of them waking up, I never get to savour my red wine.

‘Shhhh, my children are sleeping,’ she whispered. ‘Adult talk for mum and dad.’

‘But he tells me I look tired, hooks up Netflix and starts to watch Breaking Bad.’

‘Shhhh, my children are finally sleeping,’ she says. ‘I think the boy must be teething.’

‘I’ll just nip back upstairs, you know, to check they’re both ok and still breathing…’

 
‘We’re not off to sleep, Mum. Get your pyjamas on and don’t even bother going back downstairs.’

I don’t even know why I have used the pronoun ‘she’. You all know the person in the poem is me.

#mumfail

#rubbishsleepers

#yesiaminmypjsinbed

#iwanttowatchtruedetective

A Cornish Mum