Sunday, November 20, 2011


I don't know why I picked a photo of Charlie standing next to two fake sheep for this post. They stand outside this very nice and $$$ butcher nearby. I think my dad would weep tears of joy if he walked in there, just meat, beautiful meat everywhere! Anyways, just felt like I need a photo of Charlie in here if I was going to be talking about him.

Just in case you thought it was all fun and games here in London, the past week-ish has been pretty rough from a Charlie perspective. I think he is having a bit of a hard time adjusting to being here. The first week was like vacation and his Mimi was here, but now we are effectively living here and it's wearing on him I think. His sleep schedule has been horrible and he's been acting out - being tired most of the time is probably contributing to that.

Our apartment here has 2 bedrooms, so Charlie has his own room, and the manager ordered us a brand new, nice sized crib for Charlie to sleep in. He still sleeps in his crib at home and loves it. He's been a very good sleeper up until now, usually 12 hours at night and a 2 to 2.5 hour nap most days. Lately we've been getting 9 to 10 hours at night and no nap. Let me tell you, it makes for a VERY long day to have no down time with such a tired toddler.

I don't know if the crib is not comfortable or if he can just tell it's not really *his* room, but he doesn't like sleeping in there. There are also 2 twin beds in the room and he will now occasionally sleep in one of those. He can easily get himself out of the crib, so it makes no difference if he's in the crib or bed - when he feels like leaving the room, he will. And does.

After getting over the jet lag, we had a few days where he would sleep until about 8 or so - about his norm. The last 8 or 9 days, though, he's been up at 6 or 6:30. We've tried putting him back down after he gets up, but he's not having it. When he's up, he's up. And therefore, so are we.

It's tough on Brad, who is working late right now. It's tough on me because I haven't felt rested enough to deal well enough with some of his tantrums and by 3pm I am just mentally done trying to keep up with him. I never realized how much I need that mental break in the afternoon even if I'm busy doing other things.

Nap time is a struggle because he just keeps getting up and throws an absolute fit at the suggestion of going back. This child back home would ASK to take a nap if he was tired. He would also happily go to bed at the end of the day.

I've had moderate luck going in his room and laying down on one of the twin beds and staying there until he falls asleep. In fact, I did that earlier tonight when we hit ten times of having to take him back to his room.

While at first his tactics to leave the room and sneak around the apartment were cute, they are getting tiresome. He'll kind of crawl on the floor into our room, I guess thinking we won't see him? I think he's copying Snoopy when he sneaks around along the ground on Charlie Brown. And now that he has the scooter, he quite enjoys just rolling into our room on that! Kind of victorious-like. Actually, now that I write that, it is kind of funny.

I've also noticed he's gotten very clingy with the lovie and little beanie baby we brought from home. Charlie has never been a stuffed animal kind of kid. He calls his lovie Bobo (like our dog) and used to barely notice he had it. He'd rather carry around a truck or Person. Now gets upset if he doesn't have it Bobo, who goes everywhere with us. All over London.

Charlie also has this beanie baby of a deer that's been in his crib since his little surgery at 1 year old. He calls that toy Odie, after my mom's dog. Odie doesn't leave the apartment (yet), but Charlie will kind of panic if he can't find him. Odie must be present at bed time.

Similarly, he's gotten very attached to his binky. He used to just insist he had it whenever he went to bed, but now he wants it all the time. I've had to insist it doesn't leave the apartment with us, but he will go find it when we are home and walk around with it in his mouth. It's not good, I can't tell what he's saying most of the time.

I guess because he's using the binky so much I'm realizing how silly it looks to have an almost 3 year old using it and that we should have taken away at 1 year like we were told. Given our other issues here, I'm not even going to TRY and bring that topic up until we are back in Virginia. Same with potty training - I bought him a trainer seat, but I'm not pushing it until we are back home.

The temper tantrums he's been throwing are very new to me - he's never been a big fit-throwing kind of kid. He can definitely be stubborn, but can usually be diverted or distracted. And those throw downs just don't happen that often. He's generally a very happy kid.

I guess as a way of asserting some control in his little life, he has become extremely stubborn and resorted to extremes to get his way. Like throwing himself down on the ground (yuck) in a busy tube station and kicking and screaming. I thought his head might start spinning during that little episode.

It was followed by another screaming fit in front of Madame Tussauds. The tourists got their own little show while waiting in line! We were meeting Brad for lunch and he had to leave the restaurant and come get us.

For the most part, when he's not making a scene, I try and just let him get it out and have his way as often as it isn't dangerous - can't do much when throws a fit because I won't let him play with the stove. If he'll let me, I'll pick him up and sit down with him or walk around with him and just talk to him in a soothing voice. Sometimes he's too mad for that, though and I just have to wait it out.

It can really make for an exhausting day when everything is a battle. He even protests putting on a diaper and clothes in the morning. I keep waiting for bruises to appear on my stomach from being kicked so much.

We were able to bring over a few little toys and books with us, but for the most part this apartment is pretty boring to him. We leave and go places for him to play every day, but the sun sets at 4:30 and we are generally back by then with time to kill until bed time.

He's bored and has started trying to play with things around the apartment - like the dishwasher, the washing machine, the DVD player, the fridge and freezer, etc. I feel like I am saying no every 30 seconds when we are home, just so he doesn't break one of the appliances!

That was a big reason we got him the scooter this weekend, even though he has a scooter back home. It helps wear him out and also keeps him very entertained, in a way no other single toy probably would. It was also a treat for a kid who is having a hard time but all in all being a trooper.

He's been talking about his friends back home more and more - bringing them up out of nowhere. He plays with the phone and calls Ben, Will and Owen and tells them all sorts of things. Tonight he was talking about preschool and his friends Grayson and Austin. He told me he wanted to go to preschool. Sometimes he tells me he wants to go home. It really kills me when he's crying when he says that.

I did not give enough thought to what Charlie's adjustment period was going to be like over here. I figured there would be one, but this is tougher than what I imagined. I thought the fun, new experiences and getting to see his Daddy every day would make up for it. I now realize that most of all he just wants his old routine.

I'm now trying to stick to a more structured schedule over here so he knows what to expect. I ordered a white noise machine for his room, which should arrive tomorrow, so it sounds more like his old room. I'm going to order some more books and look around for some more toys, maybe borrowed if I can swing it.

If anyone out there has any ideas, I'm all ears! I feel horrible he's not happy. I'm also very, very tired!! Also, I'm going to order him some new books, so if there are any that your 2 or 3ish year olds are loving lately (or loved at that age), could you send me the titles?

I need to catch up on email so bad - I know I owe several of you a message. Not to mention the blog - I have about 5 other posts imagined up, but not written and bunches of pictures I want to get loaded so I don't forget all that we did here.

Anyways, send me an email or FB message or comment here or whatever if you have any thoughts. I better get to bed, my wake up call is going to scooter into my room here in a few hours!

Oh, and some more photos, mostly for my mom and dad, who I know are missing Charlie a ton right now. These are from the park at Paddington Street Gardens where we played after having lunch with Brad. Charlie and a little French girl really hit it off. :) Wish I'd gotten her picture because she was darling, but felt weird taking a photo of someone else's kid and my French isn't strong enough to explain it to her mother.

 even the trash can (yuck!) was neat at this park. 


suzie said...

I feel for you! i am sorry the transition is tough. we are adjusting to being inside as it gets dark here when Will gets up from his nap and so we cant go outside...makes for a long night! we love Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site - if C likes construction trucks. Other favorites right now are "Room on the broom" and "The Hiccupotamus". Good luck!

Amy Gunther said...

In Switzerland everything was so expensive but we had good luck finding toys at the children's resale shops. That way we didn't have to spend a bundle, Finn had new toys to play with, and when we left I didn't feel bad giving them away, reselling or donating. Maybe just having a few more toys would help keep him occupied in the evenings after it gets dark. Even if toys aren't in the best condition or are missing a piece it isn't a huge deal because they are only temporary toys!

Soña said...

Kara, I'm so sorry Charlie is having a rough time. It's funny in a way but I don't think I would have given a second thought to Andrea adjusting poorly and yet the way you write it all out it makes sense. Don't "they" all say that toddlers thrive on predictability. As with all things this is just a phase, I hope that it passes quickly and you get some rest soon. All of you.