Spies Like Us

 

We’ve had a bit of a breakthrough over the last couple of weeks or so in getting a routine going and, although I’m probably tempting fate in saying this, but I am happy to report that we have bedtime in particular and night-time in general, pretty much sussed. Before we had the twins everyone who has ever had children in the world it seemed was recommending a book by someone called Gina Ford. I have no idea who she is – I thought she ran clinics for drug and alcohol addicts. Anyway, it just so happened that someone had given us a copy of her book, so that, along with frequent visits to mumsnet and similar forums (more of which in just a moment) guided us into setting up a routine of bath-time, top up feed, bed, feed three hours later, bed again. The daytimes are a different matter, but we are working on that.

Other than Arthur still relying on a dummy for comfort to help ease him into sleep, which is a big no-no in Gina Fordworld apparently, the bedtime routine seems to be working pretty well. The boys will go to sleep after the ten o’clock feed and go through to bang on 3am, have a snack, then go through to 6am. They are more accurate than the atomic clock in adhering to these times. We did have one night where Henry didn’t wake up for his 3am food so we thought it might be a good idea to leave him, thinking this was it, the golden moment when he sleeps right through to our wake up time. It would surely only be a matter of time before his brother would follow his lead and also sleep right through and within days we would be back to having nearly eight hours a night of uninterrupted sleep? The reality was that Henry woke at 4am, then Arthur, having been disturbed, woke at 5am wanting food, then at 6am Henry woke up because he always wakes up  at 6am. Arthur decided he may as well stay up at that point and because they both had disturbed sleep, and not enough of it, were grumpy and grouchy for the whole day. And we weren’t much different either.

We did wonder if Gina Ford had done a twins book and why yes, yes she has. And just as we were about to hit “add to cart” on Amazon (other online retailers are available) we found a copy of it sitting on the shelf devoted to all the baby books that we were given but that we will probably never read.

Before venturing into the books though, we resorted to online searches for help. I attempted to join a local parenting group, only to find, despite it actually being called a parenting group in its name, it was only open to mothers to join. Mumsnet is obviously the same and a lot of the other similar ones are too. I found a dad network on Facebook, but I didn’t really get on with it. Pretty much the biggest issue facing all dads, on any given day, was how small and fiddly buttons on baby clothes are. I agree they are tedious and difficult but this was easily and quickly addressed by the vow we made to ourselves to only dress the children in garments that sported pop studs, right into adulthood and very possibly beyond and didn’t need to be written about. Apart from here, obviously. There was also a rule about blogs not being allowed to be posted, so I didn’t last too long on that site, so there may have been hidden depths to it that I am unaware of due to my short tenure on it. Most other dad-devoted sites I have found, although I must admit to not looking too hard, were focused on single dads and after reading some of the posts it wasn’t hard to see why they were single. Whenever you search for any advice on babies though, all roads lead back to mumsnet…

I’m not a luddite, but I will confess that I never thought the internet would catch on when all my more geeky mates started using it back in the 1990s. I was never going to use it. I got email at around this time, because my friends had started using it to send funny cat pictures around to each other, but I drew the line at the internet. But then the emails started to contain links to things on it, so I got drawn in. Before I knew it I was downloading the odd song. On dial-up! I once downloaded an entire album like this and it took me weeks. I was never joining a forum though. Not ever. And then I found one for the particular car I drove and realised that I could get a wealth of advice and a load of cheap parts via the owners club forum and that was it, I got sucked in. And despite my text messages being crafted in English, without any abbreviation or txt spk (if anyone sends me a text message in txt spk it will not be replied to – I point blank refuse), I was soon LOLing, roffling and LMAOffing with the best of them on internet forums, much to my chagrin. It took me a while to get the hang of them all though – when my mate Foz first sent me something on an instant messenging system with LOL written at the end of it, I was convinced he was coming out because I thought it meant “Lots Of Love”. That was an awkward few minutes right there.

The abbreviations on mumsnet are something else though. The first time I used it with any intent was when I decided that the Medela Calma teats were of such a design that although they required a baby to suck on them in order to draw milk, the teat itself was so long and pointed and nothing like a teat as you would recognise it, it looked like a device one would use to force feed foie gras geese, if that was your thing. I know Henry is a bit of a knacker but I have no intention of eating his liver. With or without fava beans and a nice bottle of Chianti. We tried the Breastflow system, but despite the teats being excellent, they only fit specific bottles, which from around the seal of the ring that held the teat in place. We needed something better. We needed help. Who better to ask than mums on the net? Let me know if you ever find out who I can ask, because the mums on mumsnet seem to want to keep it to themselves because even if I drafted in the whole of the team that worked at Bletchley during the war, they would struggle to decipher it. I will attempt to recreate the thread I found below. I may paraphrase slightly, but I swear the below is an accurate portrayal – a mum asked the following:

Q: My LO is nearly three months old and has mastered the art of going from bottle to breast, so I no longer feel the need to use the Medela Calma teats and am looking for an alternative.

This was a good start. This is exactly the question that I was after an answer to, other than not knowing what an LO was, so it saved the bother of having to assume a female persona and sign up to mumsnet myself.

A1: My DD hated the MC bottles. We have tried her on the TT CTN bottles, which are much better. Make sure you have the VF teats.

A2: My LB thought the BF system was great at first, but then we found after a while they leaked like a FF.

A3: Another vote for the TT CTN. We tried our 2MOBB on a MF teat but he struggled with it, so we resorted back to the SF one.

A4: No, no, no, no. You must use the AC system if you get the TT CTN bottles.

A5: DB AC FS here. My BG won’t use anything else.

A6: Well for our 16 week B/G twins, we swear by the PA NBB.

*A7: My FBOAS is a FA. He guzzled down a pint of EBM in minutes using the HF teat on the TT CTN bottle despite being 14 W/O. He didn’t even bother with the teat – he just necked it via a sippy cup top that we adapted to fit the bottle with a CK and GT.

I think a career in the intelligence service awaits, because I managed to crack these after only a matter of a couple of weeks:

LO = Little One
DD = Darling Daughter
MC = Medela Calma
TT CTN = Tomy Tippee Closer To Nature
VF = Vari-Flow
LB = Little Boy
BF = Breast Flow
FF = F*cked Fridge
2MOBB = 2 Month Old Baby Boy
MF = Medium Flow
SF = Slow Flow
AC = Anti Colic
DB = Dr Brown
FS = Feeding System
BG = Baby Girl
B/G = Boy/Girl (twins)
PA NBB = Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle
FBOAS = Fat Bastard Of A Son
FA = F*cking Animal
EBM = Expressed Breast Milk
HF = High Flow
W/O = Weeks Old
CK = Craft Knife
GT = Gaffa Tape
*Okay, so I may have made this one up.

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