I sometimes thinkof what I thought having children would be like before I actually had any. I saw myself sipping tea with a friend while our children played peacefully together. This, despite the fact that I remember distinctly the irritation I felt as a child when I saw my poor mother trying to read a book. But often, even now, I ask myself, why it is so hard. What exactly is the problem with having three small people in the house? Well, take the other night.
The boys were getting cranky. Mr. Waffle had run the bath and was wrestling Daniel (who is very strong) to the ground to remove his clothes. Daniel was keen to get into the bath. He loves it, in fact, the other night he appeared to say “the bath!” when taken into the bathroom. I was very excited but Mr. Waffle discounts this and the time where he looked at a bottle and said “bottle”. I am convinced my son is a genius although he hasn’t been able to reproduce these sounds under laboratory conditions. I digress. Having disrobed him, Mr. Waffle, alas, failed to perceive that Daniel had a dirty nappy (easier to do than you might imagine, I assure you) and plonked him into the bath diluting the water with poo and making all the toys that bit more appetising to suck; cue cursing, bath emptying and disinfectant spraying. Meanwhile, I was distracted by Michael who was howling because he had finally succeeded in catching his hand in the door – something he has been trying to do for some time. The Princess was indignant because nobody was paying any attention to her. She was standing behind the bathroom door with her head under a towel shouting “I’m hiding, look for me, I’m hiding” in increasingly hysterical and irate tones. Our efforts to talk her down were unavailing since she seems to be a bit deaf after having a sore ear earlier in the week (cue general nebulous concern).
We finally packed the boys off to bed. They are beginning to go to bed more easily either because we’ve worn them down or, because their standing up and (in Michael’s case) moving round the room using handy chairs like zimmer frames, has worn them out. This moving around is new and to celebrate we spent 120 euros on shoes for them. They will beggar us.
After dinner, the Princess went to bed and 20 minutes later she got up and announced “I’ve wet the bed”. This is becoming something of a pattern. She will often wet the bed 20 minutes after going to bed and then again during the night. This from a child who stopped wearing nappies at night before the Summer, was generally dry and is, after all, 3 and a half. My mother suggests that it might be a problem at school and it is true that her teachers said that she has been a bit difficult recently. She says she doesn’t want to go to school but when we ask her what’s wrong she just says “there are too many people at school”. On the days I collect her from school, she does seem to be playing alone, but quite happily and she always rushes up to me to press into my hand offerings which she has gathered in the yard (my pockets are full of conkers, fallen leaves and pigeon feathers). If the internet has any suggestions about the whole bed wetting thing, I would welcome them. The books seem to feel that it’s all within the range of normal, but I don’t know.
I hope it’s not a school problem. I remember that I loved nursery school and primary school. Secondary school was vile but those under 12 days were halcyon. I think I must have been unbearable, though. I remember telling my teacher, when I was ten, that our cat was called Hodge. “Why?” she asked “Is he very fat?”. “Not Podge, Hodge” I said indignantly “after Samuel Johnson’s cat” (I would like to clarify that my parents are to blame for this). When another child in the class asked who he was, my teacher said “a writer from a long time ago” and I cut her off saying, quite crossly “he’s the famous lexicographer!”. Quite. And I remember on a sunshiny Friday afternoon walking out of school and saying to a friend “I hope that there isn’t a nuclear holocaust at the weekend because I think that I got 100% in that maths test”. It’s the smugness combined with the warped priorities that appeals. We did live a bit in the shadow of a potential nuclear holocaust; we were all fascinated by it. We frequently had conversations along the lines of “If you knew that there was going to be a nuclear war tomorrow, what would you do?”.
I remember when I was about 14, going to the Gaeltacht and being chatted up by some Dublin boy who insisted on giving me a full description of the SALT talks. He kept filling me in on more details every time we ran into each other. In English, I hasten to add as, notoriously, Dublin people could never speak any Irish and kept getting expelled from Gaeltacht summer schools for speaking in English. So I could only lend half an ear to his descriptions of the arms limitation treaties as I was on constant look out for a supervisor who might find us speaking English and send us back to our respective homes in disgrace. Though I was impressed by his knowledge of nuclear weapons reduction treaties, in the end it was never going to go anywhere as he was 12 and was only as high as my shoulder. This is a long way from where I started. Let me reiterate: any tips on the bedwetting, people?
I used to wet my bed from the age of 3 until 7. My poor mother was going nuts. Nothinng worked, until she made me wash the sheets every day after it and I just stopped weding the bed. I was taken to a therapist who told my mom it was because I was an only child. ANyway, I stopped when I was told to wash the sheets every morning.
Have you tried bribery? – er, I mean, offering incentives, such as if she stays dry for a week/two weeks, she can have a new remote-controlled car for Travel Doggy to whizz around in (or something like that, depending how many Euros are left after the purchase of shoes for the boys). Or there is the child labour option.
ha ha! We used to play the “if the 3minute warning went off, what would you do?” Most people waxed lyrical about snogging freely in corridors and raiding the tuck shop. I obsessed about how I could get to my Mum’s workplace before the bomb hit.
I digress. No idea about the bedwetting. My sister did it until she was 7. Its often associated with stress (?) I would hedge that, as princess is a very bright girl- she has discovered a way of getting lots and lots of attention. (bed changing, clothes changing and whatnot.) I say this because I was canny when it came to attention seeking as a child and used to construct- some amazing attention grabbing scenario’s when i felt I wasn’t getting enough recognition of my fabulousness.
Is it outrageous to suggest big nappies? Perhaps the discomfort and regression might knock this phase on the head?
It’s funny you should mention bed wetting. After months of being dry, the little boy has wet his bed twice this weekend (Fri and Sun night). I think it is the combination of moving to a new group at school, my H being made redundant and temping and therefore not at home for dinner and the fact that despite the baby girl having been around for over a year, she still demands a lot of our attention. I suspect that the little boy thinks he’s been jolly patient to date and now it’s time for LB time. We had a spate of it about 6 months ago and we’d run out of clean sheets and pyjamas and we were imploring him to wake up and come and see us if he needed a pee in the night, but he said he was too tired to wake up. We read somewhere that anxiety increases incidents of bed wetting so we changed tack and were understanding when it happened (which is hard when your sleep is being interupted) and reassuring before he went to bed (‘It doesn’t matter if you’re wet, but it would be more comfortable for you etc. if you can keep it in or come and wake M or D’ kind of thing), and lots of praise when a night has passed totally dry. It did work – there was one more night of a wet bed and it disappeared until this weekend. Hope this helps x
I had a friend who’s little boy was dry for ages and then started wetting the bed. She put him back in pull ups just till whatever seemed to be bothering him and causing it stopped and eventually it did! she won;t be in pull ups till she’s an adult and i think i’d do the same for my little girl..all that bed changing must be driving you bonkers! She seemed to think it was something to do with school too, so you’re not the only one!x
Thank you for all the advice. I will put at least some of it into practice. Probably the most wishy-washy stuff. Thanks Lilo.
If she was dry for months and now isn’t it’s worth checking she doesn’t have a urinary tract infection. it’s not likely if she isn’t going to the loo lots more during the day and complaining of its stinging but it is possible – sometimes bedwetting is the only symptom. Of course stress and anxiety can also cause it but it’s not so common when they have been dry at night for a long period. A few weeks maybe…. but it’s more likely to be (and I don’t mean to sound harsh) a combination of “laziness” ie I don’t need to bother getting out of my cosy bed because they come and sort me out and possible attention seeking – just because most chiuldren once they’ve been dry don’t revert even under significant stress. But I said most because some definitely do…… Check the UTI thing though. And pull-ups isn’t a bad idea if the test’s normal. That way she isn’t getting any “reward” (either positive or negative) for bedwetting – it’s just treated as a normal thing…….
There is a problem with some children that their bladder’s don’t grow fast enough to suit their body. Which often explains why at 2-3 a child is dry all through the night but then start wetting their beds around age 4. It’s not a big problem and soon enough the bladder does grow enough to “fit” the child. It’s why they started to make pull ups in “big” sizes. One way to tell if this might be the problem is if she goes pee during the day fairly regularly. (Side note, going pee a lot and/or having accidents during the day can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection, have that checked out first for sure)
Try being understanding and give a pull up telling her it’s so she’s comfortable through the night if she happens to pee. Either she’ll be relieved because it’s something she really can’t help or she’ll be a little embarassed to be in “diapers” again and she’ll stop doing it. Either way it’ll save you washing sheets all the time!
Thanks Michelle, I will try all these and, I suspect, much more besides.