Yesterday brought a visit from the Health Visitor, which I initiated during the seemingly endless last round of teething, hitting, sleeplessness and refusal of any sustenance by Monkey-face. If you read these ramblings with any frequency, you will know that after an especially challenging few days mrbookandbed and I accidentally overdosed Monkey-face with a double dose of Calpol, communication not being either of our strong points in the morning. After we went through all the stages of hysteria, near divorce, hospital and self-flagellation, Monkey was fine, eventually the Calpol wore off, the molar appeared and we resumed whatever passes for normal around here.
If you take your child to A&E, health visitors do tend to make themselves known to you and when mine called, as I knew she would being something of an A&E head injury frequent-flyer, I found myself trapped in a three-way game of despair with husband and childminder. So I invited (begged) her to come see us for a chat about Monkey’s incessant hitting, yelling, refusing to drink and declining to go on the potty even though we had thought that war won. I’d tried to tell those insisting that MF was out of control that it was the teething and the constipation and exhaustion, but in the end, too quickly I became certain, as I always am, that her behaviour was a result of me being a terrible terrible person, parent, wife, daughter and probably responsible for all of the rain we’re having too.
By the time Health Visitor came, she’d largely settled down and was kicking off (or hitting off) mainly in the evening before bedtime when she is super tired. For the last week, she’s ended up being sent to her room for hitting and ended up falling asleep almost immediately. So we’ve had little time to read books as we would like. It has taught me that a) I was right and b) the issue arises when MF is tired. Parenting fail on our part on one hand, but it could be worse and she isn’t on a one-way ticket to juvie.
Talking to the HV who was full of praise for the Monkey’s (ironic) displays of affection, her speech and creative play, we started thinking about what could be done to prevent her getting to this degree of exhaustion and I realise it is time to try and get her into bed earlier. (And just why haven’t I thought of this before?!)
Working full-time, with a husband who rides a 90 mile round trip to and from work, getting dinner, time together, bath, book and bed has always been a challenge. We have never managed all of these even with a toddler who goes to bed later than most.
She has in the last few days been going to bed slightly earlier that her usual routine (see aforementioned passing out in her room) and waking better. We have therefore had more time to reading together in the morning. Last night she went to bed on Duck In the Truck and demanded to read it as soon as she woke too.
It does mean that we will have even less time together in the evening as a family, and will perhaps be bedding and booking in the morning instead, but it’s about her needs and not ours. Let’s see how we go. Better late than never