Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Saturday, 30 July 2011

I Am Just Not The Sort Of Woman Who Can...

.. have the kind of home where there are shelves that exist solely to hold decorative vases.

.. go into a room to accomplish three things and do any more than one of them.

.. be in a photograph without some, or indeed most of my bra showing.

.. remember to buy birthday cards in advance of someone's birthday.

.. breastfeed discreetly. If you're in the vicinity and my baby is hungry, you're going to have to see my nipple. (Not in a "I BREASTFEED AND YOU WILL ALL TAKE NOTICE!" kind of way, I'm just not coordinated enough)

.. go on to the internet to check my facebook and actually just check my facebook without making faecetious comments and arguing with strangers on parenting forums.

.. follow a recipe without adding something, leaving something out, replacing something with something else or just generally fannying about with it.

.. think of exciting and creative things for children to do, which is why The Toddler's favourite activities are taking potatoes out of the potato bag, running around the garden screeching, and watching CBeebies.

.. have a washing pile that is smaller than a horse.

.. get her toddler to answer any question other than "Would you like a cheese sandwich?" with the word "No".

Among other things.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Does Anyone Have A Spare Tether....?

I am fast approaching the end of mine.

The Terrible Twos are in full effect. The Toddler can be an absolute delight at the minute, until you have the audacity to suggest that she do something she doesn't want to do, and then... well.. it goes something like this...

"Do you want to go in the bath?"
"Come on, it's bath time"
(in enthusiastic voice, forced grin on face) "Yes, let's go in the bath, and you can have bubbles and do splashing!"

Cue much flailing about on the floor and endless repetition of the word "No".

Sometimes the tantrum is short-lived. A quick minute of standing in the corner on her own, and she comes back and does whatever it is I was trying to get her to do. In fact, sometimes she asks to go in the corner, and when she's done, tells me that she has "stop cry-in". Sometimes, she can be fooled with an "alternative" option, which is really a different version of what I asked of her in the first place, so we achieve the necessary, but she hasn't had to back down (yes, it really is psychological warfare round here).

But, increasingly often, nothing works. And I do mean NOTHING. Exaggerated enthusiasm, stern voices, bribes, threats, reasoning, cajoling, offering choices, cuddles, kisses, time-outs, eye contact, no eye-contact, ignoring - all tried and failed. The flailing and "No"-ing continues until we take a deep breath, steel ourselves, and just man-handle her into her clothes, or nappy, or bed, or whatever.

And I hate this. She fights and fights and fights, until I start worrying that she's going to end up covered in bruises and nursery will phone Social Services on me. An inner voice starts asking me "How crap are you? Can't you control your child?" (Clearly, I can't). And it makes me so frustrated that I am gritting my teeth to stop from yelling in her face. Which makes me feel like an even worse mother than I already do.

They're not limited to the daylight hours either, she throws them in the middle of the night, when she's woken up for no readily apparent reason and is screaming before I've even got into her room. And quite often, we will just get her settled, and then The New'un will wake for a feed. So I'm a bit tired. But the sleep deprivation is nothing compared to how draining it is actually dealing with the moods.

The worst part is having no idea what to do. Will just waiting for it to pass lead her to think that we are ineffective disciplinarians, and cause her to grow up to be the kind of child that other children give a wide berth at the soft play? Will trying to be too harsh leave her feeling unloved and give her deep-seated emotional issues. So add guilt, confusion and helplessness into the mix of frustration and tiredness, and you've got one stressed out mammy.

And just when I think I can't take anymore, she throws me a bone. Tonight's bedtime was wonderful - she splashed happily in the bath, got out not too long after I first asked, allowed me to get her dry, nappied and dressed, picked her stories and sat and listened to them, opened her mouth wide for teeth brushing, kissed me goodnight, and then went to sleep with a minimum of fuss after only taking her nappy off once (that's a whole other post waiting to happen, by the way). So now I feel happy again, and even tentatively optimistic for the night, and the week ahead.

Let's see how many hours that lasts for.....

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


We must be mindful of our behaviour. The Toddler misses nothing. Here are some things she has said or done recently:

(When playing with her toy tea set) "Sugar? TWO sugar!"

"Bu-gah. BUUUU-GAH!" (After I forgot to watch my language when I spilled a bowl of water over the carpet)

"Balls!" (After Husband did similar)

Puting a doll's head up her top to feed it (I have heard of lots of older siblings of breastfed babies doing this)

Taking my reusuable breastpads out of the washing basket and shoving them down her top (I have never, however, heard of one doing this)

Putting a Tesco bag over her shoulder and saying "Shopping! Buy fings"

Patting The New'un on the tummy, saying "Shush. Shush, SWEE-tart" (Although I'm prety sure neither Husband nor I say it in quite such an agressive tone of voice. Or pat quite so hard)

Waving in the direction of the TV (this is how you turn the Xbox Kinect on)

Drinking the milk out of the bottom of her cereal bowl (Even though this is a very bad habit of mine, at least I can usually manage not to spill it all down my front. Usually.)

At teeth-brushing time, spitting on the edge of the sink (Ah well, she'll be tall enough to do it properly eventually)

(At Bear, sternly) "Stop cry-in"

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sleep Is For The Weak

The New'un, bless her little face, has not been too horrific on the sleeping front. She has been going at least 3 hours between feeds, often 4 and sometimes even 5, which I can cope with. But on Tuesday night, she decided she wanted feeding every 2 hours, which was tiresome, to say the least. It was not helped by the fact The Toddler decided to wake every 2 hours too. Unfortunately, they were not the same hours that The New'un woke at. Husband ended up in The Toddler's bed in the small hours of the morning, only to be screamed out of it by her demanding breakfast at 6am. But never mind, the next night would be better.

The Toddler was indeed so tired on Wednesday night that she fell into a deep, deep sleep, and stayed there until a reasonable hour the next morning. But The New'un woke at 1.30am, screaming. Not whingeing or moaning or crying, but screaming her little heart out. She was clearly in some kind of pain, and the only thing that would even vaguely settle her was me walking around jiggling her. All. Freaking. Night. She continued to be poorly and screamy for most of the next day, but by bedtime she was pretty much back to normal. So maybe we could catch up with our sleep now.

And The New'un surprised me by sleeping through for the very first time, from 11.30 to 6am. Woo. Or at least it would be woo, if it weren't for the other one deciding to wake up.. well, I don't actually know at what intervals, as I made Husband deal with her, but I believe it was very frequent indeed.

It is enough to make you suspect some kind of collusion. OK, that's unlikely given that one of them can't even speak yet, but very tired brains can suspect very silly things.

I'm a bit apprehensive as to what tonight might bring. Or, more to the point, I'm REALLY apprehensive as to what tomorrow night might bring, as tomorrow is Husband's first shift back at work after a ridiculous amount of time off. And he's working 10pm til 7am, so the pleasure of whatever shenanigans our beautiful daughters decided to throw at me is mine, all mine. And when the night is through, I get to get up early, and get us all ready and out of Husband's way so he can sleep. I'm going to be a gibbering wreck by next week. More so than usual.

And on another note, I have just referred to The Toddler as "The Toddler". In real life and everything. Accusations that I spend too much time online may have a grain of truth in them....

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Second Time Around

It's days like today that make me wish I had started this blog earlier, when The Toddler was first born.

Today, I am sitting here, showered and dressed, faffing around on the computer, having just finished a (hot) cup of tea. I have done a load of washing, re-arranged all the throws on the sofas, swapped all The New'un's clothes in her drawers for the next size, and planned all of this week's meals. Husband has tidied the cupboard under the stairs. The reason for this bout of domestic efficiency is because it is Tuesday, and therefore The Toddler is in nursery. The New'un is asleep on her playmat in the middle of the floor. Life feels pretty easy.

And this is why I wish I had record of those first-time early days. I have vague recollections of spending a lot of time feeling anxious, watching the baby sleep, never eating a proper meal, and being pyjama-clad for much of the time. And I can't for the life of me think why it was all so hard. It would be really interesting to read how I felt then. The Toddler was not an easy baby, she had colic and/or silent reflux so was very, very grumpy, but even so, life definitely feels like more work now that she's running around being cheeky and demanding. I guess when it's your first it's just so overwhelming, you feel like there's so much to learn and you worry constantly that you're somehow getting it wrong. Life has all of a sudden become almost unrecognisable, and I think it must be that that makes it so hard, rather than the actual mechanics of looking after a newborn, which are pretty much "change bum, give milk". And even men can manage that. Sometimes.

I think if I had written about having a newborn the first time, I would now be trying to shout back through time, "Relax! Go and get stuff done! Newborns are easy! Just enjoy it! In a year's time you'll really know the meaning of having no time to yourself!". But I know that even if my cries did magically filter back to the me of Summer 2009, I wouldn't have been able to believe it. Nothing would have penetrated the new-mother fog of sleeplessness, sore boobs, fear and confusion. Which is why, when I see posts on from women who haven't been for a wee in 12 hours in case their baby spontaneously combusts when they leave the room, I sit on my hands and don't type what I just said above. Because they'd want to punch me in the face, and I wouldn't blame them.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A Follow- Up

Further to last week's "your child may have a genetic disorder" post, just thought I would share this with you. This is the letter of discharge from the consultant:

"For reasons that escape me people have been querying whether [The New'un's name, spelt wrong] has any features of Down's Syndrome. I just want to put the record right, this baby has not got Down's syndrome.

I do note with interest that mum is half Chinese and that may I suppose give some pseudo-features in the baby, but the baby is absolutely smashing."

So there you go.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sweet Dreams and Bedtime Nightmares


In case you missed that, that was "Bleurgyagh". Evenings and nights are not fun times in the Bad Mammy household right now. I was hoping to write a nice, victorious post about our success in ditching The Toddler's dummy. The dummy fairy came one night last week and left her a new t-shirt with flamingos on. There was a bit of whingeing the first few nights, and my parents resorted to it when she stayed at theirs, after an hour and a half of screaming, but otherwise we were about to tentatively about to call it a win. And then it went a bit to pot.

The Toddler is being horrific. To be honest, I'm not sure if it is to do with dummy (although I do know that it would make it better, and have just had to throw the remaining ones in the bin to ensure I didn't cave), or that she's a bit poorly (she sprouted another random rash the other day), or if she's teething (she's always teething). But tonight, she did NOT want to go to bed. She didn't want The Hungry Caterpillar. She didn't want Goodnight Maisy. She didn't want to go to bed without a story. She didn't want a song. She didn't want a cuddle. She just wanted to scream. And scream. And scream. Finally, we gave up trying to cajole her into lying down, and left her to it. Which is really, really hard. In my head, I KNOW that she is just shouting for the sake of it, that she's knackered and really needs to go to sleep, and that every time I go and give her something that she's shouting for (a drink which she's already had, her bear that is right beside her, a song that she won't listen to), I just get her riled up again and prolong the screaming. But it's really hard to ignore your own child screaming for you. Especially when you've got a whole host of internet mums in your head screeching about cortisol and cruelty and abandonment issues. So I quite often end up doing some half-arsed mixture of both, where I sometimes leave her screeching, and sometimes go and give her whatever she wants. Which I'm sure must be extremely confusing for her. I think I worked it out in the end tonight though - going in at regular intervals, lying her back down and giving her a kiss. She is finally asleep. How long she stays that way is anybody's guess. We'll probably be repeating the process at 1am again.

And of course, it's all made much more fun by the presence of The New'un, who has decided to experiment with this cluster feeding thing. It goes something like this: feed for ages, fall half-asleep on boob, get removed from boob, cry, go back on boob, come off boob, be sick, cry for more milk to replace the milk that is now gracing someone's T-shirt, and repeat ALL DAMN EVENING. It's not too bad at the moment, as we can take one each. (I usually get The New'un to placate, which is probably easier, if harder on the nipples. Although Husband would say that The Toddler seriously gets on his tits at times.) But it's making me somewhat terrified about Husband's return to work in a week and a half. I got a taste of how it might be while he was making tea tonight and they both kicked off. I managed to get up off the sofa, go up to The Toddler's room, encourage her to lie back down and give her a kiss, all while feeding The New'un. OK, she popped off at one point, but still, I'm pretty pleased with my skills there. So I guess I'll cope. I guess I have to. But that doesn't mean I have to look forward to it. You can't make me.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. And we will take The Toddler out and do fun things, and we will approach bedtime with optimism and calm, and hopefully I won't have to do another big boring ranty whingey blog post. But for now, wine.