Discipline – WTAF?

Firstly, I’m not even sure whether I like the word β€˜discipline’ really- it just sounds a bit… harsh somehow? Maybe that’s where we’re going wrong πŸ™ˆπŸ€£ But I’m not too sure what else to call it… β€˜trying to teach them not to behave like feral, out-of-control little brats?’ πŸ™ˆ Because to be quite honest, this is what the twiglets behave like a large amount of the time, especially when we’re at home.
Bedtime is a particular favourite. I wrote a post before about the joys of bedtime, but just to recap, we follow a calm, soothing routine every night then as soon as we leave the room, the twigs jump out of bed and start creating merry hell. Preferred merry-hell-creating activities include jumping on their beds and shouting, emptying their toys all over the floor or over the safety gate into the hall, pulling books off the shelves, and a new one last night – pulling the stuffing out of the cushions in the corner so they are no longer usable 😬😩 If we stay in the room, it makes them worse πŸ™ˆ I read a post on a Facebook forum recently (those lovely, non-judgemental platforms of joy! πŸ™„) by a mum whose twins demonstrated quite similar behaviour to the twiglets at bedtime and a lot of the comments from other mums said things like β€˜show them who’s boss’, β€˜we don’t take any crap from ours’ and β€˜ours aren’t allowed out of bed’ etc. I was reading them thinking β€˜that’s great but hoooow do you enforce this?!’ Because now we come to the crux of it… The twiglets just don’t listen to us 😭
See, while the behaviour can be crap, it’s more the lack of listening which worries me. They seem to have absolutely no regard whatsoever for authority – they show no respect towards us as being in charge. It sounds ridiculous talking about two-year-olds having respect as I’m sure they’re probably too young to really learn that yet, but all the children I know seem to listen to their parents, maybe not all the time but at least some of it. Some kids even get upset at being told off as they know they’ve done something wrong or upset their parent or whatever – the twiglets roar with laughter in our faces if we tell them off. I don’t really believe in shouting at them as I don’t think it sets a good example; it’s not really modelling the behaviour you want them to show and I would never want them to actually be scared of us as such. Obviously I fail miserably and end up screaming like a fricking banshee multiple times a day when they drive me up the wall πŸ™ˆ but in theory, we try not to shout 🀣 But you know when they’ve done something really bad and you do raise your voice on those occasions to let them know you really mean business and they’ve been super naughty? And most kids would think β€˜ah crap, we’ve done it now’ and be at least a little bit contrite and sorry? Yeah the twiglets still don’t give a flying f**k – in fact if anything it’s just all the more amusing for them 😭
I do think the twin element has a part to play in the twigs’ behaviour. They certainly egg each other on and encourage each other by laughing hysterically and getting very over-excited together if one is doing something naughty. And on the occasions when we have split them and spent some 1:1 time with each, their behaviour has been drastically different – both much calmer and easier to deal with. However, I can’t blame that entirely because all the other twins I know behave wayyy better than H and C and do actually listen to their parents. When we went round to a friend’s house for a twinnie playdate one time, I noticed the mum didn’t let her twins climb up and stand on the sofa (and definitely not hurl themselves off it like my two do at home πŸ™ˆ) But they absolutely listened to and followed her instructions – I was in awe 😭 H and C just seem completely batsh*t crazy compared to other children – so much more hyperactive and naughty.
I just don’t know where we’ve gone wrong, or if we even have? Maybe they will just grow out of it all and go on to be model citizens and pillars of society (rather than the juvenile delinquents I keep envisaging 😭) We can but hope. But I just can’t help worrying that we’re just not doing the whole β€˜discipline’ thing right πŸ€” I know people would say there’s no right or wrong and what works for one family won’t work for others – similarly, children are all individuals so different things will work. But what if we are just being too soft with them and letting them get away with too much? Maybe we always have and that’s why they don’t listen to us? Maybe they have too much screen time and that’s why they’re little turdmonkeys? Maybe I’m being my usual overthinking self and should just chill the f out and not worry about it (well I’m sure that part is probably true anyway πŸ™ˆπŸ€£) We tried using β€˜time out’ a while ago but it didn’t seem effective at all for us. If one of them is really angry and lashing out, I will give them a sort of time out in their room, but it is more just so they can calm down safely without hurting the other one – it’s not a punishment as such. The only thing which sometimes works is if I can think of an immediate consequence for their behaviour. Sometimes it’s easy to think of one – take away the toy they’re messing about with etc, but depending on the behaviour, it’s sometimes really hard to think of something that’s relevant and will actually bother them enough to stop the naughtiness. They don’t seem to respond very well yet to a consequence that’s in the future – β€˜Santa/the Easter bunny won’t come,’ β€˜you won’t be able to do this/see X’ etc. I try to just distract them sometimes but that can also be difficult when you’re outnumbered and they’re basically ganging up on you πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ
Anyway, I’m completely rambling, but if anyone else has children who don’t/didn’t listen to you, do send any advice my way or let me know what worked for you or whether it just got easier as they got older. For now, I’m just clinging for dear life to the fact that the twigs behave like angels at preschool and actually seem to do what they’re told when it’s not us telling them. At least I know they do have it in them to behave like nice human beings – if that changes, then we really are f**ked πŸ™ˆ

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Bedtime Battles – a.k.a. GO THE F**KEDY F**K TO SLEEP!

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I’m not too sure what the point of this post is going to be – in fact I’m pretty sure there isn’t one. Basically I just wanted to have a great big f**k-off rant about how utterly SHIT the twiglets are at going to bed at the moment.
Anyone who’s followed me for a while on Instagram will probably already have been bored sh*tless by me whining on about how awful the twiglets’ sleeping is. The thing is, they would generally always go to sleep pretty well – when they were babies they learned to β€˜self-soothe’ and all that crap from pretty early on, and they were really quite good at it. Probably because I couldn’t physically rock both of them off to sleep at once every time if I was on my own so they figured out they’d just have to do it themselves.Β So the problem wasn’t usually going to sleep – it was staying asleep; they would wake approximately 50 billion times a night πŸ™ˆ Ok that may be a slight exaggeration but when your sleep is as broken and disjointed and pretty much non-existent as mine used to be, it really does feel like it. At around 18 months, there was a significant improvement – it was still crap but a bit more bearable. Then at just after 2, we had to move them into beds as Henry was performing kamikaze moves out of his cot. At around the same time, Cora started to have days where she wouldn’t nap. It was at this point that bedtimes started to become a little more iffy – with the newfound freedom to move around the room, they started to play up more and mess around together before going to sleep. But it wasn’t every night and it didn’t usually last too long.
Now however, at just over two and a half, they have become absolute little buggers at bedtime (I wanted to say f**kers but felt others might view it as a little harsh πŸ€”πŸ€”). Once they’re asleep, they are definitely sleeping better with fewer wake-ups. I mean, I could still count on one hand the number of times they’ve both properly β€˜slept through’ (god that phrase makes me want to boil my own head 😬) In fact, probably just on two fingers to be fair (have a guess which two πŸ™Š) But it’s certainly better. The problem we have now is that they just won’t go to sleep in the first place. This is a bit of a shock to the system for us. Although the twiglets have had a fairly late-ish bedtime for a while (around 8pm, sometimes a bit later), the fact that they would usually get to sleep pretty quickly meant that Rob and I would still have a decent amount of time to ourselves in the evenings.
Now, getting them to bed is nothing short of a bloody fiasco. We’ve always done a nice calm bedtime routine with stories, milk, a bath every other night or so – nothing has changed, yet suddenly they are turning into complete devils the second we put them in bed, kiss them goodnight and leave the room. They’ll say to each other β€˜let’s wake up now’ then they both get out of bed, all of a sudden completely hyper even though a few minutes ago they were looking ready for sleep, and then see what merry hell they can create. This can include emptying the entire (neatly sorted and organised) contents of their wardrobes (as they’ve now figured out how to undo the bloody locks), taking every single book off their bookshelf and throwing them over the safety gate at the entrance of their bedroom into a huge pile in the hall, throwing all their toys into the hall, climbing up onto their bedside table to reach things on the shelves which they’re not meant to touch, or alternatively jumping dangerously off it, climbing into their bookcase, screaming, shouting and sometimes hurting each other. We have no idea how to deal with this behaviour. They seem to find it absolutely hilarious if we go in and tell them off. We’ve tried having one of us stay in the room to put them back in bed every time they get up a’la Supernanny – please note, this does not work with more than one child! It resembles a Benny Hill chase and they think it’s the best game ever. Unless you’re prepared to stick at it for hours at a time every night (erm, f**k no!), it’s not worth bothering. We’ve tried talking to them gently, reasoning with them, threatening that they’ll be too tired to do x,y,z tomorrow if they don’t go to sleep, ignoring them, shouting… NOTHING. WORKS. 😭😭😭😭 The current situation is that our hallway is filled with piles of books, boxes of toys and furniture from their room. It’s ridiculous. Nothing is safe – just when we think we’ve pretty much removed everything from the room they could possibly destroy, they find something else! They’ve even started peeling off wall stickers 😭 I just can’t believe that at not far off three years old, it can be normal to be this naughty, this disobedient, this completely lacking in any form of respect for parental authority, this horrendous at going to sleep… The twin thing definitely plays a big part; if they’re on their own, both of them are much better behaved as they don’t have their partner in crime to egg them on and encourage them (although saying that, none of the other twins I know behave like them so we’ve clearly just been blessed with not one but two feral little delinquents πŸ˜¬πŸ™ˆ) I guess the obvious solution would be separate rooms (although I think they would still find ways to shout across the corridor at each other and mess about anyway). We wouldn’t be in a position to do this immediately as we don’t really have a room spare for one of them right now – it would take lots of sorting and rearranging. But more importantly, I really don’t want to split them up yet! I love that they’re twins, I love the special bond they have (when they’re not trying to kill each other) and I’d love them to share a room until it feels right to separate them (more like age 5 or so?) Separate bedtimes could be another possible solution – however, as Rob works away sometimes and I then put them to bed on my own, this wouldn’t really be manageable all the time.

20180227_105920.jpgThe fruits of last night’s labours 😭😭

So what is the solution?? Basically I have no bloody idea. Obviously I’m hoping it’s β€˜just a phase’ (another boiling-of-head-inducing term 😬) but the fact is, if it lasts another few months, I’m going to have a flipping breakdown. We’re ending up not eating dinner until about 10pm most nights at the moment then going to bed at stupid o’clock just so we can have some adult time (not that kind of adult time – jeez who has the energy for that 🀣🀣) I also worry about the twiglets themselves as what with going to sleep at 9 or 10pm, often waking once or twice during the night then getting up between 6 or 7am and sometimes not having much, if anything, in the way of daytime naps, they’re not getting enough sleep at the moment. I wonder if maybe this is the whole key to it all and we’re in some kind of vicious cycle in which their behaviour gets worse and worse the less sleep they get, like chronic overtiredness or something. So for the moment, we’re going to try and be strict about getting them down to bed earlier – more like 7pm, in the hope that if nothing else, it will bring the whole process forward a bit and even if they still mess around for a couple of hours, they’ll crash a bit earlier at least. If anyone has any words of wisdom or experience of this, please drop me a comment and let me know – we’re kind of at our wits end right now!

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