Flying solo with 3 under 3, a daily diary of five nights.

A delayed diary post from the past week… and sans good camera.


Justin is going away to work in Wanaka for the week tomorrow, so I am flying solo til Saturday with the home and office. He gets to stay at this boutique lodge in Wanaka and this private hotel in Arrowtown.  The whole office except me, is going (ie Justin and James).  They are taking their (and my) laptops and large screens, a design model, and all of the proposed material samples for the new house project.  They will set up a temporary project office in the lodge next door to the site, and conduct an intensive week of client meetings while progressing the developed design.

But back to me.  After performing the full-on supernanny biffing the bottles last week, combined with the first week of The Sleep Book’s “sleep training” (more about that later), I am curious to see how the kids will be this week.  Tonight they went to bed happily at their new bedtimes with no bottles, no grizzles.  Justin is taking the camera with him, so I plan to diary out this week with him away.

I do extra things to be ready earlier tomorrow.  I dress the kids in their skivvies already.
I make their lunches and pack their kohanga bag.  All of the weekend laundry is processed, and I even iron all of J’s shirts (but he isn’t taking them – it’s Wanaka!).  I really should be this organised every night. But I’m not.

Last night I start making some shelves out of some offcut timber from the office.  Tonight I begin sanding them.  I am tempted to rush them, but J reminds me how much better they would look if I prepare them properly.  SO I sand them with 80 grit paper to start with.  This will take me all week.


J’s alarm chimes London Bells at 6:15am.  We get up, I get coffee. Justin is shortly out of the door to get to the office to collect all of the building materials to take with him.  I bustle the kids through breakfast then whisk them into the car, by 8:15 we drop J&J to the airport and by 8.30am we are at kohanga (early! – for a change).  The kids are the first to arrive and they get stuck into to building a with the blocks.    I head to the rather empty studio to practice architecture, returning home for lunch to process more laundry.  Then, after a tricky afternoon meeting, I pick up the kids.  Kai, bath, books and bedtime was peaceful and straightforward, til 5 minutes after Sabina goes to bed.  She decides to test out how the new bedtime rules will work with just Mama home.  She performs for an extra hour before trundling back to bed.  I roast a chicken and vegetables for my (late) dinner and their kai tomorrow.  I locate a bolognaise sauce in the freezer and pull it out for tomorrow night.  I light the fire and continue sanding the shelves, til I run out of sandpaper.


Early morning. My phone barks at 6:15am, the kids chimed in shortly after.  Usual story, coffee on.  I pack the whole thing and put it on before realising I only needed half that amount. Or maybe I need double.  I pour the usual two coffees at once and drink them both, fast, one after the other.  I unload the dishwasher and set out the kids breakfast before going into their rooms to get them up and ready.  Sabina eats 3 weetbix.  That seems a lot to me for a skinny 2.75 year old.  Then again, it is an obvious sign the copious milk drinks that we quit last week were affecting her appetite.   The kids are ready and in the car by eight, and for the second time this week (this month, this year…) the kids are early to kohanga.  I  get to the office early (my early, not normal people early) and begin to reconcile special conditions into a standard contract, and calculate inflationary adjusted compounded premiums for contract insurances.  I send reply emails to all of the people who have sent me job hunting emails the past few months.  I also meet a Tupperware lady who asks me to be one too.  I buy 180 and 400 grit sandpaper from Bunnings.

Evening time, I read to each of the kids, and they don’t seem too surprised when bedtime shortly follows. Sabina takes mama’s blanket, and the Cinderella book.  I sand the shelves with the 180 grit, and briefly consider flagging the 400 grit before the quality mantra kicks in.  I apply the first coat of Danish Oil and rub it in with the 400 grit wet and dry.  It goes outside to dry overnight and I make bread to replace the smell of Danish Oil with the smell of baking bread.  I cook the spaghetti bolognaise and prepare it for the kids kohanga kai, before remembering it is cooking day tomorrow.  They are making rice balls, I am to take 6 avocado.  They can have the spaghetti for tea tomorrow instead.  My phone has died. I’m off to search for another alarm clock, gotta be early up to be on my game again.


Ngakau beats the 6:15am alarm clock this morning.  I make 2 coffees again and knock them back, while he hangs out having his own breakfast at the little table.  Sabina surprises me by cruising into the kitchen at 7.  Surprised, because that meant that even with the security gate off her bedroom door, she stayed in there all night (Yusss!).  She takes up the chair next to Ngakau and orders 3 weetbix like this: “I want 2 weetbix first, then, if I’m hungry, I want one more…please”.  [Ironic, I am currently learning that same structure in Maori, the If… then ….  ]

We get to kohanga early as I have arranged to meet the Plunket provider of the B4 school checks.  I buy the avocados for the kids “rice balls” lunch and see one of our kaiako, buying Salmon also for the rice balls.  I take a marmite sandwich to work and eat it for lunch. Lucky, since I was too busy to leave the office.  Earl and I rarely speak, and we don’t listen to music today.  Hemi and I email each other in Maōri.

Nikki calls and invites us for the kiddies dinner. Kiddinner.  I take along a homemade bread.  She serves up amazingly colourful and nutritious kai which the kids all rip into. Sabina shows bad form, stealing carrots from Orla.  I’m just pleased she is eating carrot.  Yoghurt and yoghurt-hair ensue, closely followed by bathtime with all 5 in the tub.  Into the PJ’s then home in the dark, books and then bed for them all.  I have promised myself an early night, so no sanding or oiling tonight.  The stack of Architecural Reviews needs to be returned to the library so some page turning beckons.


Same early morning, and a busy day in the office, head down working.  Nikki’s great dinner last night inspires me.  I go to Moore Wilson for the first time in months, and buy pork and apple sausages from the heritage meat company for the kids dinner.  I swirl mashed potato with my Tupperware Squeeze it.  I steam carrots.  And make alphabet soup for the next days kohanga kai.

Same night routine all going well, til 4am.  Hello Night Terrors.  I had been thinking the sleep training had eliminated these, but it hasn’t.  At 4am Sabina starts screaming about her sore finger.  I leave her for a while, but she is getting more and more worked up.  I go and see her and get fought off. She is out of her bed thrashing about on the floor and no way will get back into bed.  I put her there and try to settle her.  Even mummy’s favourite blanket doesn’t break the spell.  I can’t tell if she is really aware of my presence or not, is she awake or not. She screams about the curtains, wanting to see the night.  I open them to show her it is still nighttime, we should be asleep.  She doesnt even look at them, so again I can’t really tell if she is awake properly (the lights are off, by the way).  I try to change her nappy and am met with predictable resistance, but then I sense she is properly awake, she asks to go into the kitchen.  I put her back to bed and she starts up the screaming again.  I cringe at the thought of Nana in the flat downstairs, right under Sabina’s bed.  Clearly inconsolable, I leave her and the screaming continues.  After twenty minutes I pick her up (off the floor, again) and this time put her into the cot that is next to her bed.  I remind her it is still night time and I close the curtains.  Within five minutes she is asleep, it is now 5am and Thomasin starts screaming too.  She has been woken up by Sabina, but I know she will return to sleep.  It takes 30 minutes.  My alarm barks at 6:15 and I snooze it 3 times, eventually getting up at 7 to make coffee.


Despite the lack of sleep we still are first to Kohanga and arrive at opening time.  I go to my CPD meeting, picking up a large flat white and a cheese scone at Superfino on the way.  At lunchtime I meet Hemi and we visit the City Gallery to see the John Pule exhibit.  We spend some time at ‘The Shark that Ate the Sun’, pieces of text halt me: “I will not move. I am a mountain since I have known the tears of rivers.”  But Hemi has’nt seen the new gallery extension so we move upstairs to see the new spaces.  We are drawn into a video triptych entitled Tino Rangatira tanga by Leilani Kake.  Nikki has told me about this, and in an instant I grasp the emotion Nikki described.  Witness to the life, ta moko, waiata, whanau, death and tangihanga of Kake’s father, my stomach knots and my heart strings tugged as I participate in these precious  moments. I’m tired from the night and, I need to leave now and eat, kia whakanoa.  I will return for Pule, and probably for Tino Rangatira Tanga, again. It ends on June 13.

I have another late night.  Sabina was a bit hoha at bedtime tonight, crying on and off in her room for an hour and occasional calling out.  I  put Lido and Thomi back into the same room tonight, they go to sleep swiftly.  I will therefore be off the sofa (which was admittedly nice watching the open fire) and back into my room tonight, sans portacot inhabitant.  I’ll be a starfish.


They slept all night, Thomi rousing at 6:20am.  I get up (leaving her be) and make coffee, empty the dishwasher and set out the kids breakfast.  Thomi returns to sleep and is still asleep now, 7:30am.  It is a lesson in not rushing to them in the mornings, either.  Sabina is in her bed playing, I have told her to stay there until I come and get her, so she is in her room singing as I type this.  These kind of instructions are accepted and adhered to much more readily than I expect.  Justin returns home tonight for the long weekend, and I have to admit that while also long, the new household strategies have served us pretty well this week.  I’m looking forward to seeing Justin again, and getting the camera back, too.

This morning we will be off on our own triptych: the library, the gallery, and The Playground at Capital E.  So much more to do and see.


8 thoughts on “Flying solo with 3 under 3, a daily diary of five nights.

  1. p.s i love this too
    “I will not move. I am a mountain since I have known the tears of rivers.”

  2. It still sounds actually very calm and lovely. I would love to visit your house, it always sounds lovely even in the midst of three little uns. My husband is going to Cuba for 2 weeks end of the month and I will remember this when I am trying to keep our place calm and functioning xxx

  3. I am in awe!

    I too have just done CIO and cut out the night time milk feeds that I was giving M while we were on holiday to make sure she didn’t wake the rest of the house up! BUT that was one baby, not three! Similar success though, after two nights of waking and crying, we have had three nights of 7.30pm – 7am sleeping and one of them was even being put to bed in the pram so we could go out for a farewell dinner with my parents while she snoozed in the corner of the restaurant!

  4. well done u – i wish that i’d been more strict with the bottle/sleep times with my little darling sophie whom only gave up the bottle june last year (at nearly 4), i went cold turkey with it in the end and it only took two nights (i wished id done it earlier). i wish that id read that book too maybe i should do it now as we still ahve major problems some nights at bed time and Sophie will be 5 on 27 July.

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