An endless day of surprises

Again, I woke today to the sound of my children gambolled around our bedroom, and then studiously ignored them and slept some more. All the gin I necked last night formed some sort of insulation against the racket of girls squeaking at me.

This could never go on forever, so by 9:30 I was accompanying them downstairs, to my current favourite cafe, where I drank coffee and they ate biscuits. I’ve been contemplating what it means to be a good father, and my conclusion is that it’s just slightly more than taking your children somewhere where you with glassy-eyed, pontificating on civilisation while your progreny run riot. That’s right, other parents, you need to remember to take a colouring-in book with you.
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Problems with ears and mouths

La Serpiente woke up cheerful and back to her normal temperature today, but as in all things there was fluctuation, and her ear was inflamed, and after another day at home watching TV, her fever came back, and went, and came back again. Perhaps annoyed at being left out of this fun, Destroyer decided this would be a good day to refuse to swallow her food, and just stood around for twenty minutes staring at us with a mouthful of beetroot felafel, not even masticating it, and then threw a fit of rage when we chucked her uneaten dinner in the bin. Continue reading “Problems with ears and mouths”

Premature victory

About eleven last night, I heard stirrings; it was La Serpiente getting out of bed. She takes a stainless steel bottle to bed with her so we always hear that clanking around. I got up and went to head her off before she came into our room, but as I came into the corridor I was presented with the sight of our eldest looking a bit sulky, clasping bottle in one hand, big white rabbit in the other, and heading for her sister’s bedroom rather than ours. Achievement unlocked! No more being woken up in the night by our kids!

Except of course there was a ridiculous thunderstorm this morning at one a.m., a single, world-ending thunderclap and then no rain for half an hour, which woke both kids and meant my wife had to spend the rest of the night in with them. But it’s a start…
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When I was young, maybe six or seven, I would go to my parents’ bedroom and try to sleep there, and when they eventually retired to bed, my father would have to carry me up to the dizzying heights of the loft extension where my bed was, and I’d get to cling to him on the way up the stairs.

Which was nice for me but I imagine inconvenient for my father.
Continue reading “Floored”

In the morning

Predictably enough, after we put Destroyer to bed last night she came into our room at 2 in the morning, followed by La Serpiente at 4 in the morning, and nobody woke up until 8 in the morning, and there was rain in the morning. Alive, alive-o.

This evening, our resolve hardened, we tried to not have a repeat of last night. Destroyer was unconvinced and so when I left her room at 9:30, she followed me out. I went back in and shushed her down, and left. She followed me out and howled some more. My wife went in. My wife came out. Destroyer came out and howled some more. I went in. I came out. Destroyer came out. My wife went in. At last, Destroyer gave up and went to sleep.

All the while this was going on, La Serpiente slept on. The miracle of going to school is that she is at least tired enough to go straight to sleep in the evening, after a manic blast of enthusiasm.

I missed her bathtime tonight though, because I was behind on my running, and so I took Destroyer out in the running stroller for half an hour. I think that was a fairly good way to exercise; Destroyer got to point at shadows and say “noisy!” whenever she saw a bus, and (I hoped) the evening stimulus would make her ready for bed.

It didn’t, but we know that now, and we also know I don’t have the mental strength to do a run after being bellowed at for an hour, so I suppose this was at least an efficient set up.

And so to bed. I wonder how many people will be in our bed in the morning.

A breakthrough

Last night, when Destroyer wouldn’t stop screaming at me at bedtime, I sang the first line of “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” and she stopped screaming immediately. She did then spend an hour explaining the plot of Frozen in a combination of hand gestures and burbling (“blob blib breakfast walls hurray blib blob blib”) and after that she screamed at my wife for ten minutes, so this wasn’t the most efficient way of getting her to sleep, but whatever.

Tonight, though, I got home from the track about 8:15, to find them both awake. Destroyer again greeted me with a long account of the day, and then I went in to put La Serpiente down. For the first time in forever (you see, even I can’t resist quoting Frozen) she told me all sorts of details about her day at school, at the thunderstorm she’d been in, the whole nine yards. And then she was asleep ten minutes later.

Meanwhile Destroyer was in no mind to comply with bedtime. She just sat and demanded books and toys and after it got to 9:30, I relieved my wife and then had 45 minutes burbling, occasionally being hit in the face by the hardback book she wanted me to read her. This was beginning to get ridiculous.

Our friends in Seattle, Stacy and Rob, give their boy three bedtime stories and then leave the room, and he burbles to himself until he passes out. Envious of this, tonight I tried an experiment; with Destroyer clearly exhausted but in no mind to submit to the embrace of sleep, we just left the room.

This was not a risk-free approach. Stacy and Rob’s boy is in a cot that he can’t get out of, so he’s stuck in the bedroom. Destroyer, on the other hand, is quite capable of opening doors now. What would we do if she followed us out?

She didn’t.

She cried for a few minutes but was probably too tired to conceptualise escape routes from her room, and quickly she went silent. My wife, foolhardy as she is, went to check on her a little later. Why? A watched pot never boils, an observed child never shuts up, etc… Honestly, I was most worried Destroyer had decided to sleep on floor and looking in the room would require opening the door on her head, but there she was, comatose on her bed. So if we can keep this up, we might just get our evenings back, and be able to watch motorcycle races in peace and comfort.

Yeah, a likely story, eh?

Against sleep

We had a fairly placid Saturday; La Serpiente lay next to me for an hour and watched cat videos, then we went out to brunch and then came back so the girls could roll toy cars down ramps near our apartment. I thought after that excitement both girls would nap, but Destroyer failed to sleep, doing nothing but burble and clamber until I gave up and took her shopping for yogurt and AAA batteries.

In the afternoon we went over to the Suntec Convention Centre, because there was some sort of trade show for kids’ classes with huge discounts. The trouble is we had a stroller, and Suntec seems to have one lift (and a thousand escalators) but nobody is capable of taking the escalators so that meant a twenty minute wait to even attempt to get up to the right level.

Eventually we gave up and I took the girls to the library while my wife went into the show on her own (a plan that should have been obvious from the start, in retrospect). La Serpiente complained vociferously about having to walk (in between skipping and running everywhere) and I was honked off because I was meant to be having a rest day rather than walk lots.

My office building is between Suntec and the National Library, so we stopped there to avail ourselves of air conditioning, I bribed both girls with blueberries, and a friendly security guard gave Destroyer a balloon. Which was nice, apart from the envy it provoked in La Serpiente. Hurray for sibling rivalry. She whined all the way to the library, apart from when I told her whining would automatically disqualify her from future balloon antics, but secretly I was pleased, because this would wear her out and make sure she slept well tonight.

… Which failed to come to pass. After we dined at a German restaurant we went home and skipped bathtime, and La Serpiente then refused to sleep for over an hour, complaining that she couldn’t sleep, and once driving herself to tears by headbutting the bedframe. I was impatient to go fill in a 7 page immigration form (which only took me an hour, rather than the 20 minutes it claimed would be necessary) so I was a bit annoyed, but meanwhile my wife passed out on Destroyer’s bed (and even without a nap, she still took ages to get down). I assume the kids are doing this on purpose.