Being a parent

Sophie is over 2 and a half years old now. It’s amazing the speed at which she’s grown up. We have full conversations where I quiz her about her day and she describes how she’s feeling, what toys she’s been playing with, and makes some self-projected stuff up about pink teddy.

When she was younger we disovered she was a bit of a “sucky” baby. Not in a “YOU SUCK!” kind of way, but well, she seemed better with a dummy (pacifier). Yeah yeah I know what some people say about dummies and to a certain degree they’re right. Dummies are a pain in the arse, mostly at the time when you want the child to give them up. Don’t get me wrong, Sophie only has her dummy when she’s sleeping, and even then she can cope sleeping at Day Nursery without it, but at home she’s had it since she was really very young. She has Dummy, raggy (a bit of a piece of Clares clothing she cut up to give to Sophie to comfort her), and the aforementioned “Pink Teddy”.

Sophie’s been a really great sleeper really. She has between 30 and 120 minutes after lunch (12:30 ish to 14:30 ish) and then goes to bed by 7pm at the latest every night and sleeps through till around 7-8am each morning. She’s like her mother in that she needs a hell of a lot of sleep.

This weekend we decided to get rid of dummy. The decision had been made in plan-form some time ago but we’d not decided the precise timing. Clare however sparked it off on Friday just before Sophies lunch time nap. She put it to Sophie that “Big girls” don’t have nappies, sleep in “big girls” beds (not a cot) and don’t drink from bottles (but use cups). Sophie agreed with this - showing she was a “big girl”.

Clare followed on with “babies have dummies”, pointing out some of our friends who have small babies with dummies, and other friends with older kids who do not. Sophie again concurred with this observation. Clare went for it with “so, should Sophie sleep without a dummy then?” and was met with a positive reply! We told Sophie that we’d put her dummies in a bag and give them to baby Joshua next door (which we wouldn’t of course). Sophie helped us put all her dummies in a plastic bag and we got rid of it.

We figured a reward system was best, so we promised to buy Sophie a “big girls” bike if she could sleep without her dummy. Of course we were planning on buying her a new bike anyway because she’s grown out of her Pooh-Bear trike with integral parent-handle.

That was 2+ days and 5 and and a bit “sleeps” ago.

Sophie cries at bed time now. The lack of dummy has made it more difficult for her to go to sleep. She even said so to me tonight “It’s difficult going to sleep without dummy daddy!”, which broke my heart. Luckily we have thrown the dummies away so whilst we might make an emotional change of decision, it won’t matter because there’s no dummies.

Anyone know a 24-hour dummies-R-us?

We’ve tried a few things to help her get to sleep because without it she’s awfully grumpy. Initially we tried verbally calming her down, lots of cuddles, reassurance, that kind of thing. Sophie was crying every time we put her to bed. A lot of the crying was forced, no tears, lots of breaks in the crying. Even so, it was noise and not sleep. After a few visits from mummy and daddy with plenty of “what’s wrong?” and “what do you want?” with a few “do you want a cuddle” we seem to have settled on the following:-

Bed time for Sophie has always been a very structured affair. To be honest Sophies whole live is very well structured. It’s what comes from me being married to an NVQ level 4 and NNEB qualified Nursery Manager (Clare). Sophie has her tea around 5pm usually which is followed by a few minutes calm play (no running around the place) then “tidy up time”. We go upstairs for splish-splash (a.k.a. bath) by 6-6:30pm.

Whilst playing with toys, splashing water around the place and generally making a mess (as daddys do) I’m reminded by mummy that bath time is supposed to be a calming time before bed. After bath we (Sophie) brush teeth, take puffer (she’s asthmatic) and get dry and dressed for bed. We usually have two stories, but less if Sophie is naughty. Then it’s time for a cuddle with Daddy, one with Mummy then into bed.

We’ve discovered that Sophie now (since dummy withdrawal) “needs” her bedroom door open (we’ve always shut it in the past). She also likes someone to stay with her a while until she goes to sleep. I tried this once, and having tonight watched Tiny Tearaways I will never do that again. There was a woman who sleeps on the floor between her twins beds until they go to sleep then she crawls out of the room on all fours! I’m not a perfect parent by a long shot but that’s nuts! I can’t wait to see how that turns out.