Just as we take a step toward Master H reaching another right of passage, another one pops up. And I am once again caught in a back and forth mental struggle, worrying about where he should be for his age according to those ‘experts’ and where he actually is, to not really caring, knowing full well he will get there in his own time.
After a proud moment last winter where Master H skipped up the stairs declaring “poo” sat down on the toilet and did just that and then proceeded to wipe, flush, wash his hands and give me a triumphant hi 5 on the way out, there was a slow decline in his enthusiasm to use the toilet. I told myself that there was no rush (at the time he was only just creeping toward his second birthday)
“I will wait until summer and then start again” I promised myself.
Summer came and went with a few sporadic successes but it never seemed to stick.
It was not until I was having lunch with a friend (whose son was born on the same day as Master H and who had been sleeping with no nappy from the age of 2) that she asked me how Master H was going with his toilet training. At whichpoint I launched into a long justification; that there are still two sizes higher in nappies at the store and after that there were adult sizes. And if he reached adulthood still sporting the nappy he could find himself one of those nice girls with a fetish for men who dress up as babies.
Then I realised maybe I should take it all a little more seriously, without of course making Master H feel ashamed at his attachment to said nappy. After much persistence, encouragement and bribery Master H is now a pro at weeing on the toilet. However when it comes to the task of number 2s he flat out refuses. Going and fetching me a nappy when he needs to go. In all honesty I am at a loss at what to do. We have spent hour’s discussing all the other people he knows who poo on the toilet. Having him come into the bathroom while myself or my Partner go.Role playing, where he will take
each of his teddies up to the toilet and pretend that they are doing a poo and then follow the ritual, even giving each teddy
a high five and a sticker. Only to get to teddy number 20 (I have no idea why he has so many teddies) all who have successfully done an “air poo” on the toilet, for me to the say “ All your Teddies did poos on the toilet, Mummy, Daddy, Ya Yah
and Gramps do poos on thetoilet, will you do poos on the toilet?” At which Master H laughed in my face decla
ring “Silly Mummy I do poos in my nappy” Sigh!!!
So I guess I just persist, then one day it will just click and I will look back on this time with the same half smile on my face that I have with all his other transitions to boy hood, gently mocking myself for getting so caught up in entire process.
Yet another 4am start reminds me that it must be time to get cracking on my next instalment of the mummy diaries.
Whilst the 4am starts are a killer it is a gem compared to the 2 years I endured previously where I thought I would never sleep for three hours straight again. As I am sure many first time mums can relate, the battle between what your heart is telling you and what all your friends and the books are telling you is constant and exhausting. Instinctively I knew that master H was a delicate little cherub who would not respond well to controlled crying or any other form of self soothing, but against all the fibres of my being telling me to not follow this path, desperation, exhaustion and a rather embarrassing trip to the shops where after going to the chemist to pick up some supplies and then going for a leisurely stroll to Coles, it was not until I entered the air conditioning of the supermarket that I realised my entire boob was hanging out of my dress. I can only assume it had been that way since Master Hs last feed over 50 minutes ago. (Why did no one tell me? Seriously! If you see a women with a baby and bags under her eyes which would put Alice cooper to shame, tell her. She is not an exhibitionist she is a sleep deprived Mum.) Anyway this was the final straw for me I needed help before I was arrested flashing.
So I called a “sleep specialist” who informed me that my seven month old should be able to go to sleep on his own. Sleep time was currently a delicate affair where I would breast feed him to sleep and wait until the precise moment that I could very delicately remove him and place him in his bed. Often I would try to take him off too early and he would wake and scream until I once again placed him on my boob. This could go on for 30 minutes or more. Then I would have a blessed 40 minutes before he would wake and off we went again. Night times were horrible I felt as though I was floating above myself, on edge for the next scream, where once again I would get up and feed him back to sleep. The sleep specialist suggested I let him cry for 3 minutes and then enter the room, calm him and then leave. Each time I was to leave him for longer. After 50 minutes if he was still not asleep I could feed him. Along with the two hours I paid for the home visit I paid an extra amount to be able to contact the specialist with any issues for one week after her visit. Prior to having master H I was always a very calm, cruisy kind of person. Not one to let too much bother me, but having this little person who was relying solely on me to show him the way through this world, may have turned me into a little bit of a control nut. However the specialist said I could contact her once a day for a week so I did. I think I was waiting for her to tell me that Master H was different and maybe her method, although it worked for everyone else, was not going to work for Master H or maybe I just wanted to feel I was not on my own. On the last day of my week I received an email telling me that she thought I had separation issues and I should contact a Psychologist. Now I am a qualified Psychotherapist so I have absolutely no issue with receiving help when needed, however this statement had a far different affect on me. I realised that I was the only one who knew my child and what he needed.
So I packed up all the books and if a mother asked me how Master H was going with his sleeping, I delicately changed the subject. I am sure if I had perused the path of controlled crying Master H would be sleeping through in his own bed in his own room, but at what cost to his emotional wellbeing? So yes it may be a little odd that for two years my partner slept in Master Hs room, while Master H took ownership of our bed and waking with a foot in my mouth or a finger in my ear, while I balanced precariously on the edge of the bed became the norm.
Yes it probably is not ideal that Master H still sleeps in our room, but thank god in his own bed. It is probably not necessary for him to wake at 4:30am for a bottle and climb into bed with us. When I look back at how far we have come since the nights of lying still as can be while Master H slept using my boob as a dummy, I feel happy that I stuck to what I felt was right. That’s why they are called baby steps right?
So its 4:45 on Saturday afternoon and Thanks Master Hs spontaneous case of narcolepsy, which he experienced during Ben and Holly’s magical kingdom, I finally have the opportunity to sit down and write the blog I promised myself would be a fortnightly occurrence and is now heading to the one month mark.
Why is my son in bed so early you ask? Well to explain that we must go right back to the beginning of the day, right back to 4am this morning. (It is not uncommon for Master H to start his day at 4am. One to be affected by the moon cycle, like a teeny tiny werewolf, about two or three mornings a month Master H bounds from bed at this time and expects the rest of the house to rise to the day with the same enthusiasm. This is difficult to do as the sun is only just starting to make an appearance. Also because on these days, generally speaking, the everyday challenges of Mother hood are pushed to a whole new level, as Master H is more challenging and more determined to push every boundary placed in front of him. Is it due to lack of sleep or some other lunar influence? I do not know.)
This morning the drama started with breakfast
Determined to let Master H have a sense of control over his life I have always offered two choices for whatever decisions need to be made. This usually works very well to curb the tantrums.
“Would you like porridge or toast for breakfast”
“Biscuit?’ Head tilted to the side, all cute.
“Sorry Hon you can’t have a biscuit for breakfast. Toast or porridge?”
“Biscuit” Bottom lip out, still trying for cute
“Biscuits are a treat, not breakfast food. Maybe some fruit?”
Foot Stomp, hands on hips “BISCUIT”
“Hon, listen to Mummy. You are not having a biscuit for breakfast”
“BIS…..CUIT!!!!!!” All traces of cute gone.
There, before me, stands a very strong willed individual who is going to fight for his right to eat biscuit.
Trying for distraction from the biscuit drama, I start to unload the dishwasher. My usually compliant kitchen hand, today decides that the dishwasher has not cleaned the dishes to his satisfaction and insists on placing everything I take out back into the dishwasher.
I then proceed to the washing machine where Master H very helpfully loads in like colours (at least one male in the family knows the importance of not mixing colours) Happy for the cooperation we continue on. We then take the previously washed whites out to the deck to dry. There, then proceeds a similar dance as with the dishwasher, where all clothes put on dryer are removed and taken back to the laundry. Eventually Master H can be persuaded to ride his bike while I finish hanging the washing. While he is still distracted I sneak back inside to unload the dishwasher. I am all of a sudden aware of the quietness. I go out onto the deck to discover Master H has thrown all the whites off the deck and our garden now resembles a piece of environmental art. (What is it with this kid and the deck?)Some stern words follow but I am dealing with a sleep deprived two year old. What hope do I really have?
As the naked tornado follows me from room to room (all attempts to get him dressed also failed miserably) more chaos ensues, before I finally throw my hands up in the air and proclaim that the house can stay messy.
Now the next part is slightly personal but paramount to the story.
I was sitting on the toilet enjoying the peace (it’s amazing the places I find serenity these days) when I hear little stompy feet coming up the stairs and in comes my naked little monkey, with a bag of popcorn he has pilfered from the cupboard. Up he jumps onto my lap and passes me back a piece of popcorn then wraps his arm around my neck before jumping off and passing me some toilet paper.
And there, on the toilet, I have a glimpse of clarity.
“What does it matter if the house is a mess today, clearly Master H is bored out of his teeny tiny ware wolf brain. So we pack up and leave the mess of the morning behind us.
We go to the beach, play on the swings and have such a lovely day. With every giggle and smile the dramas of the morning fade away.
I sit now with a glass of red and a smile on my face. While tomorrow will probably be similar with Master Hs early retirement resulting in another early morning, I vow that tomorrow I will stress less and pick my battles. Maybe I will even let him have a biscuit for breakfast.