Trouble Sleeping?

1-DSCN0993I’ve had a bit of this lately: circumstances, sort of thing.

Fortunately I’ve come across a meditation music app that really helps!

It’s called ‘Soothing Sounds’ & is available for your Android phone or tablet.

Does it work? Yes: this app is great!

I often get myself off to sleep with a ‘Mellow’ playlist on my ‘phone. This is good, but the playlist wasn’t designed for that & more often than not songs come up that are a bit too lively & delay the process. I also use TV, although I know I shouldn’t; it’s generally been shown to be a bad idea. I’m often woken up in the middle of the night by noisy ads or a bright screen.

This however works ‘like a charm’, & I’ve been using it regularly ever since I downloaded it.
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It has a large variety of relaxing ambient sounds to choose from: for instance beach, binaural, birds, crickets, frogs, a ticking clock, a heartbeat, rain, a rainforest, flowing water, a Tibetan bowl, whalesong, white noise, wind & a some ‘new-age’ style music.

Each sound is configurable: you change both volume & intensity.

You can select each sound individually or in groups of up to 10;  you can then save any of the groups you create for later use.

I found it was as fun to play around with as it is useful as a sleep-aid!

I do have a couple of minor quibbles however. The app is quite big, & if you’re like me & have a budget ‘phone with limited memory you may struggle to find space for it.

I also had trouble getting the options to work. You can set silence, alarm & wake-up timers but I found the keys unresponsive.

To be honest I’ve had similar trouble with other apps so it may well be my ‘phone’s fault. If not it just needs a simple patch.

I usually charge my ‘phone overnight anyway so I’ve often just left it on all night. It’s actually pretty good to wake up to!

The bottom line however: it works, it’s fun & it costs spare change, so I can recommend it!

In my experience anything that helps you sleep when you’re having trouble dropping off is worth it, & ‘Soothing Sounds’ does exactly that.

Review written in collaboration with Lost Ego Studios 

 

 

 

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In Sickness and In Health

The Mummy was a little worried about Jake’s health recently: as well as a runny nose & bad cough he had a temperature & was very tired & sluggish – very unlike his usual energetic self.

She was concerned enough that she thought a trip to the out-of-hours children’s doctor was called for. It was night-time & they had school the next day so rather than us all going she took Jake in while I stayed with Ellie to help settle her to sleep.

Instead of the usual books Ellie wanted to do colouring-in in 1 of her magazines, in bed. And I was expected – no, required – to join in with her.

Continue reading “In Sickness and In Health”

Work

I used to work in finance. Although I have no major qualifications beyond high-school I’m reasonably good with numbers, spreadsheets & tech, and –  if I’m honest, as I always try to be here – less good with people. I’ve worked on that & my social skills have improved but at heart I am still basically anti-social! I gravitate towards screens & am often uncomfortable in social situations.

So I happened on a career in accountancy & finance, not really by choice but just as it seemed to be what I was suited for.

The truth is my heart was never in it.

Office stress 2A lot of the time it bored me senseless: sitting in front of screens for hours on end just to make all the numbers, little & large, get on with each other. At other times it was very stressful & pressured: with fixed daily, weekly, monthly & yearly deadlines for which the right numbers had to be produced. And if they weren’t then others down the line who needed the numbers got stressed as their deadlines began to loom. It could get shouty.

I hated the office politics, pettiness, dealing with annoying people, bullying bosses, tiresome meetings. There were sometimes 24-hour, even weekend-long shifts. And I didn’t even have the compensation of being highly compensated. I did OK but I often struggled to pay my bills, just like anybody else.

I guess I’ve just never been that career-minded. I have often wondered if I’m maybe just a bit lazy: I definitely value my leisure time & try to make as much of it as I can.

But when I became a Stay-at-Home Dad I, along with the Mummy of course, worked really, really hard. I’ve probably said it here before but it’s worth repeating:

It’s the hardest job I have ever had.

1-DSCF3305It was exhausting, particularly the first year. The first 6 months or so are now a bit of a blur; we basically lived in the bedroom for most of that time.

No matter how unpleasant the office was I could still come home, get away from it. It might prey on my mind, even keep me awake at night, but at least I could escape to my own space.

With our slightly premature twins & their minor but demanding health problems there was no such escape. Care was around-the-clock, 24 hours a day. Even when I wasn’t actively looking after them I was always on call, all the time. The stress of taking on new challenges way outside of my experience, with my wife, all the while with the mind-numbing, debilitating sleep-deprivation: that’s something I could never have prepared myself for.

But this time my heart was in it.

So why the difference?

Before, I worked for money. As a Dad: it was love. And that realisation makes me happy.

So: lazy? Probably not. Soppy & besotted? Definitely!

Some posts from around that time:

Flying Solo

On Thursday I looked after the twins for a full day on my own for the first time.

From 6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., without a break.

The Mummy is still on Maternity Leave, but she wanted to go in to work to take part in interviewing for a senior post, someone she’d be working closely with. Obviously she wanted to have a say in who it would be.

I’ve worked in the high-stress, competitive environment that is the City, & in pressurised, busy restaurant kitchens. But this child-care is by far the most demanding job I’ve ever had!

So: parents & carers, especially you Mothers, take note: the next time someone (usually a smug bloke, right?) implies that you’ve got it easy & that you should try working in a ‘proper job’ (whatever that is) – just send them to me, OK?

Jallie decided to make it extra hard for me by, unusually, napping at different – & odd – times. I wonder if the disruption of the Mummy not being around at all had unsettled them, although generally they were in a good mood. Usually you can count on having at least a break in the afternoon & often also the morning as they nap. Not a bit of it for me!

Feeding them both at once (before their morning nap) was difficult. I somehow managed to get them on a knee each, wrapping an arm around them & holding a bottle in each mouth. (I wonder if we’ll eventually evolve an extra arm or 2? I sure could do with that!). I then managed to lower Jake into a cot, then Ellie into the other. She wasn’t happy, so I picked her up again & lay with her on a futon mattress we’ve laid on the bedroom floor. She fell asleep almost straight away. This is a girl who really needs company!

After making sure the room was safe I went back to Jake, who was grizzling. I tried to settle him on the spare bed but he just wasn’t interested. So he stayed up & we played. Ellie ended up sleeping for nearly 2 1/2 hours – incredible!

Lunch was late because of this, & they ate well. Jake! He was actually falling asleep in his high-chair! His poor little head kept falling onto the tray, messy as it was. He’s never done that before, nor has Ellie! So I had to unstrap him, leaving Ellie alone (which she loathes), take him back upstairs & settle him in a cot. He went down straight away, fortunately.

Back to Ellie to finish her lunch, then I even managed to clear up & load the dishwasher! Then into the lounge for some play (while I had the cricket on :)).

Jake however only slept for half an hour. When he awoke I had to give him the rest of his lunch. Because the kitchen/diner floor is slate & too hard for just-walking babies to fall on, if I was to feed Jake in there I’d have to strap Ellie back in the high-chair. Without more food, I’d give that about 2 minutes before grumpiness ensued. So that was out. I ended up carrying a high-chair into the lounge & feeding Jake there while Ellie played happily on the floor, with a snack so she didn’t feel too left out. Everyone wins!

No-one wanted an afternoon nap! Except me. I actually ended up napping on the nursery floor, while energetic twin babies climbed & jumped all over me. I had to lie on my side in order to avoid being choked & castrated…

Up until then I’d been thinking that despite everything it was going remarkably well, much easier than I expected! I just conked out. In hindsight I think I was starting to get this lurgee that’s been going around, a congesty sinnussy thing; I had a temperature the next day.

Tea is normally at 5pm. Ellie fell asleep on my shoulder at 4.30. Great…

She lasted 45 minutes, but it again meant that their meal was late, although – again – it went surprisingly well.

After tea we played until the Mummy came back at 6.30. Boy we we glad to see her, especially Jake! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so excited! He kept leaping on her, screeching with excitement, turning around, & then doing it again. Ellie of course was also really pleased, but in her typically gentler way 🙂

I had a brief, much welcome, break then we settled them to bed for the night – thankfully they both went down quickly.

We live in a tall, thin 3-storey house. The nursery, cots & changing table are at the top; kitchen/diner & lounge at the bottom. I lost count of the number of times I carried them, 1 at a time of course, up & down the stairs. I was shattered! My arms &  shoulders still ache. Although this lurgee I’m sure has a lot to do with that.

We’re planning to work part-time on alternate days come April, so I’ll have to get used to this. I really need to figure out ways to make it easier though.

I’m thinking Bungalows. Yep, a Bungalow would be a great. Anyone got one they want to sell?

The Gallery: 24, A Day in the Life

Images from a day in the life of JallieDaddy & Jallie:

Images from a day in the life of JallieDaddy & Jallie:

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After this we settled them into their cots. I had Jake & the poor guy took 40 minutes to calm down: he’s a bit bunged up with a cold. Then dinner & a bit of TV (“Episodes”, since you ask), then clearing up in the kitchen / diner. Then at 9.30, just as I was settling down to blogging,  poor little Ellie woke up crying. She also has a snuffly nose. So I went to bed early & took her in with me, & the last of the Karvol. She didn’t settle for another 2 hours, poor thing. Although after that she slept ‘like a baby’ – till 5.40 am.

Which is why I didn’t get this post done last night!

Welcome to my world.

I’m looking forward now to seeing a bit of yours.

Why not have at look at the other entries in this week’s Gallery: it never fails to disappoint.

To Sleep, Perchance…

I’ve slept ‘like a baby’ just about every night since the twins (now 10 months) were born – sorry! And, by the way, that doesn’t mean that I’ve snorted, tossed & turned, & woken up every 2 hours crying for milk!

This post is for The Question of the Week at Multiples And More: “What keeps you up at night? What helps you get to sleep?”

I’ve slept ‘like a baby’ just about every night since the twins (now 10 months) were born – sorry! And, by the way, that doesn’t mean that I’ve snorted, tossed & turned, & woken up every 2 hours crying for milk!

No, I’ve slept soundly.

With twin babies, especially in the early months, we were constantly sleep-deprived, so “Will I be able to sleep?” wasn’t the issue; it was more “When can I sleep? Now? Please?! I’m really ti…ZZzzzz””

It’s better now, but I’m still regularly awoken by a restless baby during the night & more often than not end up taking them in with me. And then I get woken up with them at around 5am.

Not that there hasn’t been plenty to worry about, of course.

In the early days: SIDS , health worries, the “What-Ifs” developmental worries about whether they might not be quite ‘right’ mentally or physically.

Now they’re experts at crawling, negotiating obstacles, pulling themselves up, cruising & standing unaided. Jake especially has a fantastic turn of speed.  It won;t be long before they’re walking. So now we worry about them hurting themselves, falling over, falling off  a bed, down steps, etc. Just this evening Jake amazed me with how fast he was able to zip across a mattress. I only let go for a second & he nearly made it to the edge! I plan to do a lot baby-proofing around the house this weekend!

We also worry about the kind of people they’ll become. We want them, primarily, to be happy. We’d also like them to be, at the risk of sounding soppy: nice. The sort of people who give to life & not just take from it. We’re hoping they’ll be both.

None of these keep me awake at night, though!

It may be to do with my gender. I prefer to think however that it’s because we are doing everything we can to give them the best lives we can. We’re lucky in that we’ve both been able to be at home with them all their lives so far, so they get all the attention & TLC that they need. We are always there for them, we play with them a lot, teach them what we can amidst the fun, comfort them, feed them & clothe them.  And I think it shows in their development so far: they are just delightful. Physically they’re developing really well, their heath seems to have stabilised, they laugh & play a lot, they’re feeding well.

They are greatly loved & I think they know it. They seem happy.

So, yes I worry; there’s always something.  But not enough to keep me awake at night.

Sorry… 😉

 

twins, twin babies, baby clapping, baby reading
"Yay, that was great!!" "Yes, I was rather good wasn't I?"