About a month ago my husband and I were lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Venice, child free. He was heading out to present at a conference, I was tagging along for the amazing sights, food and slightly warmer weather – all made affordable because we weren’t paying for flights and hotels.
The key thing that made it all possible though, was two amazing grandparents, who offered to take our small bundle of joy. She says, words dripping in sarcasm.
Our delightful little boy had been particularly testing, especially at meal times. So the offer of a few days away to recharge and become half way sane again, was grabbed with both hands. (I say this, but when the time came, I actually didn’t want to leave him at all – this being my first time away from him for more than a night.)
Fate, of course, intervened and leaving him was a lot easier and more sudden than I thought. My car engine blew up on the way to my mother in law’s house, and we ended up unceremoniously dumping a small, very tired boy from one car to another at a motorway services – us driving at speed in one direction and his grandma taking him more sedately away in the other.
Shortly after we were in Venice, drinking red wine and eating seafood. And he was, from all accounts as happy as anything playing with the dogs, not missing us a single bit.
Four days later I picked him up, and he did have the good grace to look excited when he saw me. After just four days I swear he looked different. But the most amazing change was his behaviour. Before we were having World War Three battles over bibs. Now, he was asking for his bib before every meal. Before he’d pile huge amounts of food onto a spoon throwing most of it off and eating what stuck. Now he was taking lovely small spoonfuls each time. Oh and the most amazing thing, he was sleeping through the night to 7.30 am.
The following week, even nursery commented on his delightful behaviour, at which point I had to admit it wasn’t my parenting that did the trick.
But it has given me pause for thought.
The delightful behaviour lasted about two weeks. Then he started teething again and now his bedtime routine has gone out the window. He’s been able to settle himself for about a year now. That is, until about ten days ago, when all memory of it was apparently erased from his brain. Now he won’t sleep unless we’re standing over his bed shushing him until he gently snores. We’ve tried everything. Controlled crying, you name it. One nght, at the two hour mark I gave in and shushed him. Possibly sealing my fate forever more by letting him win. But I’d just run out of energy, it was a school night and I still had work to do.
This Easter weekend, he’s back at his grandparents. We drove up yesterday, had a lovely Easter egg hunt in the garden, then high-tailed it out of there leaving our little one with them. I’m not so secretly hoping they can work their all-powerful Grandparent magic again and break this cycle.
If not, well at least I’ll have had four full night’s sleep before I go into battle once more.