One of the best advise I was given before I became a mummy is, Routine! Routine! Routine! That, I applied with aplomb because we know how important consistency and rest are to adults and newborns alike.
With persistence and dogmatism like a Drill Sergeant, I had my twins sleeping through the night from 11 weeks. Yes, 11 weeks and yes, they also dropped their overnight feeds. That was just magical.
Fast forward 12.5 months and my twins no longer did that. In fact, they revererted back to their newborn behaviour. We tried rationalising the reasons for this - perhaps it's the cooler weather, perhaps it's teething, perhaps it's this and that, etc.
Anyhow, to cut a potentially very long story short, here's what we decided on after I consulted with my sleeping 'bibles':
- No afternoon naps after 2:00pm. That means, my afternoon walks which I enjoy immensely has been shelved for now because Daniel falls asleep at a drop of a hat in the pram! I have also advised their Kindy teachers so that there is consistency;
- When they are home with me (Weds, Sat and Sun), I feed them their lunch at 11am (same time as Kindy = consistency);
- NO going into their room and picking them up from their cots when they cry at night. They must be howling for at least 15 minutes before we walk in and comfort them by placing our hand on their back. No cuddling. No bringing to our bed either.
- No more television time before bedtime!
After three horrendous nights of howling, tantrums and sleepless nights...it's been MAGICAL. *touching everything made of wood*
Here's what a typical day looks like for 13 month young toddlers (when they are at home):
They wake up and are rewarded with cuddles. They rest in their rockers with 'Baby Einstein' DVD on the plasma for entertainment
They feed themselves their bottle of cow's milk. Yup! No more formula from a tin!
They crawl around the home and amuse themselves
They are in their high chairs being fed their breakfast of cereal, milk and pureed fruit. If they are still hungry, they will share a piece of toast and have a serve of fresh fruit
Breakfast is over. Their fingers and faces are cleaned. They are back on the floor, exploring and amusing themselves while cleaning of high chairs, washing up of breakfast dishes, bottles take place
Nappies get changed. We don't change their nappies when they first wake up because they usually do a #2 after breakfast!
We go out for a long walk. About 1.5 - 2 hours with a stop at a cafe for me to have a cuppa and quick breakfast. The kids usually have a small nap of 30 mins or less on this walk as they love looking around!
10:20am - 11:00am
We are home and they stretch their legs and arms by exploring around the home. It's play and music time. I only ever feed them lunch at 10:45am if they are showing signs of being tired.
11:15am - 11:45am
Back in their high chairs for lunch. Usually a hot meal of meat-vegetables-rice / pasta, which is followed by fruit and dessert of either jelly / corn thins with cheese. This is taken an a leisurely pace by singing, chit chats and learning of new skills such as holding a spoon, feeding self, etc.
12:00pm - 12:30pm
More cleaning up followed by quiet play of cuddles, story time, nappy changes, etc
12:30pm - 1:30pm / 2:00pm
Afternoon nap time
2:00pm - 4:00pm
A little afternoon tea snack to tide them over until dinner - this is usually fruit / corn thins / banana filled biscuit treat, etc. Time for them to work off their energy. Heaps of energetic play - chasing and walking games, in their ball & sand pit, might go and visit our neighbours who has a friendly dog that Daniel loves to cuddle, etc
4:15pm - 5:00pm
Dinner time. Once again, at a leisurely pace. I find that it keeps them calm which in turn, keeps me calm. Again, a different hot meal of meat-vegetables-rice / pasta, followed by fruit and dessert of jelly. If they are still hungry, I will give them corn thins. Again, singing, chit chats, skills learning, etc to break up each course
5:00pm - 5:20pm
Clean their hands and faces. Plonk them on the floor for play while I clean up yet again
5:30pm - 5:45pm
Bath time with daddy! They love this! I make us dinner / re-heat dinner that has been made in advance and set our dinning table for our dinner.
5:45pm - 6:00pm
We have our dinner at the table while the children hover around us. They have learnt that we do not cuddle them when we have our dinner and when they don't get the attention they want, they throw a mini-tantrum that lasts 10s thereafter they move on and play amongst themselves.
Bottle time. We each cuddle a child and give them their bottle. This is followed by stories. Usually the same books at bedtime because they love repetition.
They are placed in their cots with a single dimmed light turned on. We have their door slightly ajar and walk out.
If all is quiet (it has been so since we started this about 5 days ago), we turn off the light (the light switch is conveniently located next to the door) and shut their door completely.
6:30pm - 8:00pm
Jared and I have time to ourselves doing whatever we want. Usually, folding laundry / ironing! hahahahaha
There you go. This is what we do now and hope Charlotte and Daniel don't break the code on us, anytime soon!