Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Friday, 23 September 2011


I'm still not used to having you in my life. You still surprise me with your perfection. Something so beautiful, I can hardly believe you're mine. I could look at you all day, spend hours smelling your newness and stroking your softness. People coo over you, and I could burst with pride that I can call you my own. What would I do if I lost you? Where would I be without you? This is a love that will last forever. I have vowed to love and care for you always. I will protect and cherish you till the end of time.

So I'm sorry, my darling Mulberry Alexa, that I let The Littl'un be sick on you.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Doing It A Different Way

I'm doing it a different wa-aaay. Anyone else remember "Independent Love Song", off of the 90s?

Anyway, much as I hate talk of "parenting styles" and such nonsense, it seems I'm about to write a post full of it. Oh well. I promise not to make a habit of it.

I seem to be approaching this whole baby malarkey in a different way to how I did the first time around. Not that I ever had much of an "approach" in the first place. But I worried about things that I thought were "bad habits" and tried to avoid doing them, or at least doing them too often. I listened to people who said things like "Babies need routine" and "You don't want to make a rod for your own back", but also to people who said "You can't spoil a baby with cuddles" and "Just follow your baby's needs". I think I ended up being what The Guardian once called a "Flexi-Mum" (ugh), neither totally "parent-led" (again with the ugh) nor totally "child-led" (ugh ugh ugh), but somewhere in between. For example, I managed to coax us towards some kind of routine, based on what worked for me and when the baby usually got hungry or tired. It all suited me fine, it seemed to suit the baby fine, and it fit in with any kind of vague ideas I might have had about the "best" way to raise a child.

With The Littl'un (she's no longer New, is she, really?) however, I find myself being, well, a bit more hippyish. I'd never really liked the idea of being too child-led, fearing somehow (probably completely wrongly) that it would lead to a clingy baby who thought it was the centre of the universe. But that's what I seem to be doing this time around. There are loads of people who will tell you that following your baby's lead no matter what they want is the best, most natural way to raise happy and well-adjusted children, and this study says this and that parenting guru says that and blah blah blah... I don't give a crap about any of that. I'm doing it because I do not have the time, energy or brain space to put any thought into it. I can't be bothered to think about what the best times for her to feed or sleep might be. Even if I could think about that, it takes effort to distract a baby out of wanting to feed or sleep at the very instant, and it's more work than I'm prepared to put in, quite frankly. It's just another example of my sheer laziness. If The Littl'un wants feeding, at least I get a chance to have a sit down. She gets carried in a sling not because of any romanticised notion of tribeswomen in the rainforest who keep their babies close at all times, but because I need my hands free to stop The Toddler haring off into the distance. And because it looks well cute. And if she feeds to sleep (which she doesn't always do), who cares? At least she's asleep.

It doesn't always work. Obviously, with The Toddler being somewhat high-maintenance, and greedy, The Littl'un quite often gets put to one side while I deal with a tantrum or go and get cheese. And sometimes, in order to get places without being an unacceptable amount of late, she has to get rudely awoken and fed whether she was quite ready for it or not. But on the whole, I'm just waiting for her to tell me what I should be doing, because I sure as hell can't figure it out for myself.

Friday, 16 September 2011

It Really Is The Hardest Word

Just had a battle of the wills with The Toddler. I fear I lost. I certainly didn't win.

She was all ready for bed, just about to have her last story, which she has lying down (in theory) in bed. She started jumping on the bed. I told her not to. She jumped again. I told her not to again. During the day, I would threaten with "the corner", but couldn't really be bothered with taking her out of (ok, off the) bed if she called my bluff. So she was informed that she would not get her story if she didn't stop jumping and lie down immediately. She chose not to comply. So we said "OK, no story, goodnight then" and walked towards the door. She was not happy. A wiser person would have kept walking. But, as has been long established, wise is something I am not. I went back over to The Toddler's bed and told her she could have her story if she said sorry for jumping on the bed and not listening to me.

Well, that was a stupid idea. The Toddler said, mournfully, "Okaaaay". I said, "Go on then, say you're sorry". She said, "Okaaaay". And on it went. I was determined to get a "sorry" out of her; she, it seems, was equally determined not to say it. I have no idea why, on either side. I didn't really care whether she was actually sorry, I just keep thinking that I should mean what I say and follow through with it. Consistent parenting and all that. Anyway, after a prolonged period of this, she decided that no story was worth giving in for, I decided that it made no odds to me whether she had a story or not. I went downstairs to watch Masterchef, she counted, gleefully and repeatedly, to 5.

So the moral of the story is..... erm.... Supernanny has a lot to answer for?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Need a Holiday...

... to get over the holiday. It was very fun, but pretty tiring too. Holidaying with 8 children under the age of 9 is not terribly relaxing, it turns out. Still, The Toddler had a great time with all her cousins (they're not actually all her cousins, but trying to figure out what relation they actually are to her makes my head hurt. I think there may be a second-step-cousin-once-removed in there somewhere), she got thoroughly wet, muddy and tired, ate a mountain of junk, and slept for about 12 hours over the whole weekend. The New'un got to have lots of cuddles from adoring relatives, and went swimming. I think she liked it. She stared around her a lot, and didn't cry, anyway.

And now, back to reality. A reality that involves a LOT of washing. I'm quite grateful for all this wind. You know you're old when you look out of the window and think, with genuine pleasure, "Perfect clothes-drying weather". Oh dear.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Getting Older, Not Wiser...

I write to you now, as I sit in the dying hours of my twenties (and also on the sofa, feeding, so please excuse any cack-handed typing). Yup, in two hours and 18 minutes, it will be my 30th birthday. Feels like a good, grown-up, responsible adult type age. So why, despite the fact that I am the owner of two small people, two mortgages, and a Brabantia breadbin, do I feel like nothing of the sort?

So, I suppose I should thank a very special friend of mine for helping to keep me feeling young. There's something about rubbing your mate's back as she's sick down a lamppost that makes you relive your underage drinking years! (Love you S!) Yes, my birthday night out may not have gone entirely according to plan (once again, no mojito!), but it was extremely fun. Until the time came to do the expressing. I had not factored in how boring, annoying, and downright difficult it would be to operate a breast pump under the influence of a bottle of prosecco. It made me feel all wrong, and like I shouldn't have left my baby. Not helped by an episode from earlier in the evening where a woman in the toilets told me that she wasn't going ANYWHERE without her son for AT LEAST 8 months. And there's me, shipping my baby off to her grandma. Terrible behaviour.

The New'un definitely missed me though. She did NOT want her milk out of a poxy bottle thank you very much Grandma (even though she has one every week when I'm at yoga, and is fine), so once she had the boobs back, she was going to feed, and feed, and feed some more, glaring accusingly at me the whole time. The Toddler didn't even notice I'd been gone.

Anyway, birthday night out was last week, because tomorrow we are off on a little family holiday. And when I say "family", I mean "every single person that I am related to apart from my dad's cousin Betty who lives in Swansea". We're taking over Center Parcs. I have a spa session booked. The Toddler is sharing a room with my 8-year-old cousin. Given that she stayed awake for two whole hours this evening just chatting on to herself, I don't envisage a whole lot of sleep happening. Ah well, best thing about family time is having plenty of reinforcements to help deal with overtired children.

See you when I'm old.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lipstick?- Check. Camera? - Check. Breast Pump? - Check

I'm off out tonight!! Woo! Freedom! And Rum!! (and we'll ignore the fact that we are going out to celebrate that I am very very nearly 30.)

I'm a bit excited.

And a bit nervous. The children are going to my parents' for the night, and it will be the first time I've left The New'un for more than a couple of hours. I'm sure they will all be fine, but I will miss The New'un's scrunchy little face. She's dead cute, you know.

But how times change. For my last milestone birthday, my 21st, the biggest problem I had beforehand was finding the right shoes, and wondering what to drink before I went out. (I had bigger problems the day after though. The whole of the left side of my face seized up and I asked my dad if he thought I was having a stroke. I wasn't, clearly. Just still drunk) Today's night out requires a bit more forward planning. I have just written a list of things I need to pack for the kids. The timing of my parents coming to pick them up has been worked out so I can breastfeed The New'un at the last possible moment. The outfit has been planned to take into account style, comfort and any leaky boobs. I had to buy a new handbag that could hold my new, very small breast pump. Yep, because The New'un usually has two feeds between the hours of 7pm and 11pm, I am going to have to express some milk while I'm out if I don't want to explode. I bet the toilets of Tiger Tiger have never seen anything so glamourous.

Now all that remains to be seen is if I make it past 11.30 without wishing I was at home with a nice cup of tea....