Mummy coming now!

night weaning and ice cream
Ice cream is not really relevant, but The Child does love sitting with The Husband and taxing sharing his desserts

We have made it past night three of night weaning. I never thought we’d be able to do it, The Child is really possessive of her unrestricted access to boob.

The first night was bad. I explained to her in the days running up to it that we were going to try something new, she wasn’t going to have ‘nainai’ in the night when she wakes up, that Daddy was going to give her cuddles instead. There was a lot of screaming and crying from about 2am when she woke, as well as the emphatic (but ultimately fruitless) “MUMMY COMING NOW!!!!” It took about two hours before she calmed down, The Husband dozed off next to her, and I heard her talk to herself a little before she went quiet.

These last two nights have been so much better. She’s woken up and had a whinge, which is The Husband’s cue to go to her. He reported that he picked her up, she cuddled into him, and fell back asleep. Last night was even better. When he went to her, she was already standing up, but she still went back to sleep in his arms with no grumbling.

Why did we decide to night wean?

The Child had been waking up at around three or four am and nursing constantly till seven or eight (she also usually wakes around one or two and has a feed back to sleep). Her version of nursing is suckling on one nipple for a couple of minutes, then demanding, “Nainai! Side?!”, and poking the other boob. I was knackered, irritable, and my skin looked awful (it still does, but it should recover in time).

This would never make it on Catchphrase

The Husband’s always been quiet about her sleep patterns, i.e. not really said too much. I reckon this is because he knows he’s had the good end of the deal. But after almost two years of night nursing, The Child had truly become an evil thing in the middle of the night with the shouting and poking (The Milk Meg calls it ‘the dark side of night boobing’). So I told him, We need to night wean her, which means you need to start going to her and getting her to sleep, I can’t take this any more. He said, I’ll do it.

He’s a man of few words (he’s also very economical with words when it comes to my cooking, so who knows what he really thinks). Deity love him, he did do it.

We expect blips along the way, but on the whole I think she’s settled so quickly because she was actually ready for it*. She understood what I was saying when I explained the need for her to stop nursing at night, and she’s fully embraced the idea of The Husband taking over the role of night-time parent.

Just to be clear: we do not expect her to sleep through the night.

The Child has never slept more than six hours at a stretch, and that’s only happened once. My goal is for her to stop nursing at night, so when she wakes she is able to go back to sleep quickly.

I’d half-heartedly tried night weaning about a year ago, but The Child wasn’t ready (she couldn’t understand it then). Their comprehension of what is going on is crucial (in my opinion). If you try to night wean or sleep train before they know what and why you are doing this completely unreasonable thing of not giving in to their perfectly normal night-time demands for food / milk / toys / television, it will take longer (and probably be much harder).

I’ll keep posting on our efforts to get The Child — and by extension, our whole family — to sleep better.

* She also chose to move into her own room when she was around 18 months old.

Make: colourful (or not) cornflour slime

colourful cornflour slime

We are having a particularly hard time with The Child and sleep — i.e., the sleep she doesn’t allow me to have. I was crabby as all hell today, and she wouldn’t even nap this afternoon (ten minutes doesn’t count). We were meant to be meeting some friends for an outdoor play date, but I was imagining The Child in the buggy. She’d fall asleep and stay that way until dinnertime, then stay up till past midnight. Oh, no fucking way was I allowing that to happen*.

The mission? Stuff The Child’s afternoon full of food and fun activities. Get a roasting tin, shallow plastic box, that sort of thing. Mix approximately two parts cornflour to one part water. If you like, add food colouring. Squish your fingers through it and invite your child to play.

yellow slime

This is known as Oobleck. We didn’t read Dr. Seuss as kids, but some of The Child’s favourite books are There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, Cat in the Hat, and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, so hey, Oobleck it is.

laughing yuck

Here’s a tip: don’t eat yellow Oobleck.

blue plus yellow

I then added some blue food colouring, and asked her to give it a good mix.

not a neat activity

This is not an activity for a parent who is pretty obsessive about cleanliness. I laid a towel on the floor, but as you can see, it did bugger all. At least it’s only cornflour, everything washed / wiped up with minimal effort.

Then I stuffed her full of snacks and turned on the television, and refused any requests for nursing.

* Asleep by 8.30pm.

Make: a robot

It helps if your kid likes robots

Be a little lazy about throwing away / recycling your empty loo / kitchen roll tubes, and you have the basis for a quick afternoon activity to entertain a toddler. I suggested making a robot to The Child, then had to improvise the materials. Yes, I thought this out well.

  1. Wrap said cardboard tube in aluminium foil, and tuck the ends in. No, it’s not very secure, but it’ll do.
  2. Use a Stanley knife to poke two holes in the side, where you think arms should be.
  3. Wiggle a pipe cleaner through the holes. It took me ages — I won’t be doing any Minute Makes any time soon.
  4. Use stickers (whatever you’ve got) to decorate your robot.

The Child was quite pleased, and spent ages pulling its arms out, then asking me to put them back. So it didn’t exactly give me time off, but she was delighted with it.

Keep on rollin’

I cannot believe it took me this long to make play dough. My sister posted a recipe months ago, but having to cook it turned me off (too lazy). The Child has shown mild interest in the stuff at groups and play dates, and we were stuck at home waiting for a delivery this morning — I’d just seen a no-cook recipe, so decided to give it a go.

Poking holes
Using straws, some sort of motor control thing?

Note to self: in future, be more prepared. Play dough does not need to be made with sea salt.

But it’s not hard, and takes hardly any time to make. That’s my kind of homemade toy.

She hasn’t quite got the hang of rolling dough yet

I halved the recipe, so it comes in at:

1 cup plain flour
¼ cup salt
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Freshly-boiled water
Food colouring, optional

Mix the first four ingredients together, then slowly add the hot water, and stir and stir. I used a spatula for a bit, then went in with my hands. I added a little too much water, so had to pour in a bit more flour. I split the dough up into three and added food colouring (just own-brand stuff from Sainsbury’s — the colours aren’t as vibrant, but The Child didn’t care).

cookie cutter
Finally, a use for the cookie cutters my mum bought

It took me five minutes to make, and it kept her happy for over half an hour — if I’d had more things for her to manipulate the dough with, I bet she could go even longer.

Tip: I sit her in her high chair to do any thing resembling messy play.

Cook: [insert protein name here] stew

lamb stew

You’ll need:

Protein of some description
At least 2 potatoes, diced
At least 1 large carrot, chopped
At least 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1-2 onions, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
½ cup rinsed lentils, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
Various dried herbs and spices, to taste
Vegetable stock
1 tbsp corn flour

There’s only one step as this is all about the lazy: (in a thermal cooker or casserole pot) brown your protein of choice off with your onions and garlic, then throw in your vegetables and lentils, if using, then add salt and pepper, herbs and spices. Pour in the stock to barely cover everything. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes before transferring the pot into the vacuum sleeve, or leave it to simmer for at least half an hour on the hob. (In a slow cooker) throw all the ingredients except the corn flour into the slow cooker. Turn it on for at least four hours. When you’re almost ready to eat, dissolve the corn flour with some liquid from the stew and then add it to the pot. If you can, stick it back on the hob and stir it up to thicken the liquid.