Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Teething. Ouch. Discipline. More Ouch.

Oh, the pain. The misery. The grumpiness. The whingeing. Teething is horrible. Especially when it's happening to you. That's right, I'm not actually talking about The Toddler (although all these things do apply to her too), I'm talking about my poor, wretched self. The very corner of my upper left wisdom tooth is poking through and IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS. WAAAAHHHHH. I can feel it stabbing its way through my poor, sensitive gum and it won't stop hurting, even for a tiny little second, and is limiting the enjoyment I'm getting from this Chocolate Crunch Cream biscuit.

So, needless to say, I am slightly more sympathetic to The Toddler's plight at the moment. But not at all times. I, for example, do not feel the need to throw myself around on the floor in a strop when it is time to wash my face, nor scream in indignation when someone suggests I might like to put my shoes on. So I suspect that these instances of grumpiness are not down to teeth, but are more likely symptoms of the disorder known as "being 20 months old". Other symptoms include the urge to climb onto everything that is more than 2 inches off the floor, a renewed enthusiasm for chewing on things, a refusal to sit down in one place and eat a meal, a desire to survive on nothing but bananas and cheese, a fascination with cupboards and drawers (particularly if they hold fragile, dangerous or expensive things) and a complete lack of inclination to listen to anything I say. Well, not anything. She's perfectly capable of hearing offers of food, television or visits to Grandma's house, but totally deaf to the words "don't", "no", "off", "down", or "out". It is like talking to a very cute and particularly drooly brick wall.

I don't know why I bother. No, wait, yes I do. It's another one of those things I feel I SHOULD do. I don't feel like it's making the slightest bit of difference, but I feel like I need to show the world "Look, I am a GOOD MOTHER. Watch me be firm. See my DISCIPLINE. I can and will control my child. She will not end up one of these tearaways who do disgraceful things like WEAR HOODIES, because I am a GOOD MOTHER". Never mind that she doesn't actually listen. Never mind that, if by some miracle she did listen, she won't remember not to do it next time. Never mind that what she's doing isn't actually that bad, or disruptive, or destructive. Never mind if the only person who will get at all hurt is herself. Never mind that she's just being a toddler. Never mind that I've never met a single 20-month-old that does as they're told all the time, or even most of the time. Never mind that I am actually wasting my breath. I do it anyway, because I worry that everyone will think I'm crap if I don't. And then I worry that I'm worrying too much about what other people think. And then I realise my tooth still hurts. And then I get really grumpy. And then I have to go and get another biscuit. Shame.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Now There's A Sentence I Never Thought I'd Say

"But Bedtime Bear doesn't want to go in the bath"

"Can you take the spoons out of the washing machine please, darling?"

"You put her in the bath, and I'll scrub the carpet and wipe the poo off the plastic cash register"

"Well your cucumber is the same as my cucumber"

"Do you want to get out of the washing basket now?"

"Put Mammy's tampons down and play with your caterpillar"

"If you do that to the toilet seat one more time, I will be very cross"

"I don't enjoy man-handling you like this, you know"

Sunday, 13 February 2011


The thing about second babies, is you don't get to go through all the buying sprees, cos you've already got everything. For example, when it comes to baby transport, I have got my lovely, if somewhat unwieldy, lime-green Mamas and Papas Luna, complete with newborn carry-cot, car seat adaptors (used about twice), and raincover the size of France. I have my trusty Maclaren Quest. A friend has kindly offered me her old double, and I also have a sling. So one might think I would be pretty satisfied with my infant-carriage options. However, I must admit that I am always being struck with pram envy.

Mums, you know what I mean. When you spy a shiny new chassis, and you can't help but turn your head and watch it in admiration. When you watch an effortless fold in awe. When every pushchair, pram and buggy you see seems far better than yours. Dads, if you think all the ladies are admiring you pushing your little one down the street, wishing their husband was hot like you, they're not. They're checking out your wheels.

Some of you may never have had to go through the process that is buying a pram. Perhaps you've made another major purchase in your life, such as a car, or a house. Believe me, they are easier. When buying a car or a house, you go up to a nice helpful person, and say "I need it to fulfill these criteria, and I have this much money". The helpful person then provides a few options, and you pick one. Job done. Buying a pram is not nearly so straightforward. For one thing, the helpful person is usually far less helpful, and insists on being vague and non-committal. And another thing is the dizzying array of choice. There are about 7 billion makes of pram - are you an iCandy/Bugaboo yummy mummy, or you a thrifty, practical Graco mum? The makers make about 7 billion different styles of pram - do you want a Silver Cross Balmoral in the style of days of yore, or a Stokke Xplory, which looks vaguely like something you would attach a movie camera to in order to achieve the kind of sweeping panoramic shot that makes Middle Earth out of a small village on the outskirts of Rochdale. And then there are the features - different types of seat, different folding mechanisms, different numbers of wheels, different sizes of wheels, different types of wheels, extras such as temperature gauges and cupholders. And I have no idea why it is so difficult. Why is there no one pram that is sturdy yet lightweight, folds easily into a compact size, goes round corners well and won't get stuck in the snow, is nice to look at, and costs less than the national debt of a small African nation? It is one of the eternal mysteries of life.

And, I suppose one of the biggest difficulties when buying a pram, if you're buying it before your first baby arrives, is that you have never had to contemplate this stuff before, and you don't know what you need. When you buy a car or a house, you can imagine how it will fit into your life, or how your life will fit into it. Stick a baby into the equation, and all of a sudden there is a great, unknowable gap in your thinking. How on earth can you imagine that you might want to get something that will ride smoothly over the potholed paths of your local park, as you will be walking round it in circles for hours on end, as it's the only way your baby will sleep? If you can't picture your life, how can you picture what pram you need in it?

Which is why, I am now ideally placed to make a better pram decision. Unfortunately, with second baby-ness, comes extreme skintness. So I am reduced to drooling and dreaming. Ho hum.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


At last! The Toddler has finally learnt to say "Mama". I think she even means me when she says it! Hurrah! I no longer feel unloved and unappreciated (although I did try to tell myself that she didn't need a name for me, as I was always the default person she wanted. She only needed names for the other, less important people. Not sure I convinced myself).

"Mama" is just one of The Toddler's new words. The last couple of weeks have seen a massive jump in her vocabulary. We now have, among others "biscuit", "par-par" (for the offensively rubbish "Grandpa in My Pocket" from CBeebies), "Beebies" (of course), "get out" and "get down", "eyes", "ears", "nose" and "mouth" (almost always accompanied by pointing to the correct facial feature, although there is a certain amount of eye/ear confusion going on), "book", "pig" (although this only means Peppa) "Jeez" (Jesus, when she wants her extremely, bizarrely abridged nativity story book), "mash" (new one tonight) and "clock" (which we keep trying to tell her has an "l" in it, but she won't listen. Which gets embarrassing). She also knows "cheeky", probably down to the fact that I have tolder her she is being it about a thousand times lately. I'm still not sure at what age it is that they know they are winding you up and doing things they shouldn't, but I'm guessing it's round about now.

Not to be outdone, The New'un has been doing some learning too. It's learnt how to wriggle, squirm, punch and kick. And it's learnt how to do this at 11.30pm every night, when I'm trying to get to sleep. This one's playing up before it's even out! What have I let myself in for?

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Resolution Update

It's February already. How did that happen? I'm still having trouble with it being the 21st century, if I'm honest. But so if we are really one down, eleven to go in 2011, it seems like a good time to see how I'm doing with those resolutions I recklessly made when the year was shiny and new.

New Year's Resolution No. 1 - Update blog more often.
Erm.. I dunno, what do you guys reckon, do I need to do it more? I think I've been a bit better. I'm still a bit lame though, and need to be better. Some people do their blogs, like, every day. They must have much more exciting lives and many more profound thoughts than me.
VERDICT: Fail. Must try harder.

New Year's Resolution No. 2 - cook wholesome and nutritious meals for all the family, and resort less to cheese sandwiches and that culinary classic, pasta and Philedelphia.
I'm trying! Now that I'm finally feeling better, I have remembered how to cook things. I even made barbecue chicken and fried rice in honour of Chinese New Year yesterday lunchtime, which The Toddler wolfed down. Although she did have pasta and philedelphia for tea. And a piece of cheese for tea tonight. (I'm not starving her, I hasten to add, she's been at a birthday party eating Wotsits, grapes and Maltesers all day. Healthy.)
VERDICT: Pass. There was spinach in yesterday's pasta, and I ate half her Maltesers, so that makes it alright

New Year's Resolution No. 3 - become the generous and thoughtful friend and relative that my nearest and dearest deserve. And send thank-you cards.
Well, I didn't send the thank-you cards. And I left buying my nephew's birthday present so late that I had to give it to him in a John Lewis bag. But I did give a packet of chocolate brazils to the girl who sits opposite me at work.
VERDICT: Fail. I still don't deserve my wonderful friends and family. But there's time yet.

New Year's Resolution No. 4 - try and do at least a fraction of the exercise I did whilst pregnant the first time.
Yes! I am now doing yoga twice a week and it feels great!! Can't believe that out of all my resoultions, this has been the easiest one to keep. It is most unlike me.
VERDICT: A very smug pass.

New Year's Resolution No. 5 - spend less money on stuff that The Toddler just does not need.
Doing pretty well here. I have, in fact, spent a huge amount of money on The Toddler so far this year, but she is about to go up a clothes size, has just gone up a shoe size, and is going into her new room soon, but that's all actually necessary stuff. Go me!
VERDICT: Pass! So far.

3 out of 5! That's not bad, right? Check me out in all my awesomeness. I realise that it would have been even more awesome to have kept all five, but surely you know better than to expect that level of perfection from me by now.