Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Friday, 21 December 2012

A Rest Is As Good As A Change

You might have noticed, if you are particularly deprived of more interesting things to think about, that I haven't written much lately. Part of this is because of, you know, Christmas and stuff. But mostly it's because I have spent the last few weeks at what has felt like the very edges of my patience, energy and sanity, and Lord knows it has not been funny or interesting, and I wouldn't want to put you through reading my whinges about it. I have been really starting to question my abilities as a parent, and feeling like something must be DONE about it, to make it all better.

It turns out, that the thing that needed to be done was going out and drinking several over-priced cocktails. Who would have thought?

It was both more than that, and not really more than that. I had a work night out on Wednesday, which involved leaving the house at 4.30 pm (and then watching as the bus sailed past me and having to run for it while wearing high heels and miraculously not falling over and breaking my ankle. This has nothing to do with anything, but I am proud of it), going out for drinks and food and then more drinks, going home to bed, and then my lovely lovely lovely husband taking the girls away and leaving me in bed until 10.15.

And that was all I needed. A chance to properly relax, just for one day, not even that, and not worry about anyone or anything but myself, and whether I was ready to return to gin-drinking after a rather disastrous experience at V99 which resulted in me being sick all over my jeans. To stay in bed until I felt like getting up, instead of when small people start demanding Cheerios. To just have some time off.

I feel at peace with the world again now (albeit a little queasy remembering that teenage gin adventure). These last two days, I have been enjoying my children again, and when they play up, as they are wont to do, I feel able to deal with it calmly and rationally, instead of either yelling like a maniac or sobbing in despair.

In the words of Jason Bourne (book, not film), "Rest is a weapon". If you can equip yourself with it, do it. If you can give it to someone else, do it. And if you find yourself in Alvino's this Christmas, have a Raspberry Collins.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

My Daughter, Master Storyteller.

"Once upon a story about a poor penguin called Peppapig. He got found by a big red owl, and they saw the sun in the sky and they saw the stars in the sky and they saw the moon in the sky and they saw the sky in the sky and a flower came out of the ground and they were happy and that was the end of the poor penguin called Peppapig."

Monday, 10 December 2012


Here is a small list of things which gave me a strange feeling. They give my children such joy (or at least, temporary unwhingey-ness), but are very annoying:

Mr Tumble (Shut up)

Soft play (Full of Other People's Children)

Glitter (My house looks like the bedroom of a 90s teenager going to a school disco)

Books that make animal noises (We have a cat one, a duck one, and a sheep one. They all sound the same)

Play-doh (If anyone knows how to get it out of carpet, please do share)

The Little Mermaid II (Yes, they made it, and yes, it's awful)

Cheap nursery rhyme CDs (My child now sings in a weird American accent)

Kids magazines (always an effective bribe, but I've now got about 700 plastic phones)

Rice cakes (They smell weird)

I don't know whether I want to give the inventors of these things a big kiss or a punch in the face.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Dear Sleep.....

It's been so long since we were last together, uninterrupted. Far too long since I used to spend all night, every night, wrapped in your warm embrace. I miss you more than can be said. Life is so hard without you, and my every waking moment is filled with wondering if I will ever see you again.

I was not naive. I knew there would be changes, that our relationship would suffer when they came along. But I truly believed that once they got to know you, they would love you as I do, and we could all live together in peace and harmony. How was I to know that they would shun your company for so long, and drive such a wedge between us?

I took you for granted, I realise that now. All those years when you were right there, waiting for me whenever I needed you, so reliable. If I had known then how things would turn out, I would have held on tighter, I would have made sure I appreciated every single moment I spent with you, and I would have woken each morning knowing exactly how lucky I was to have had you.

Oh, but how could you be so cruel? You never let my hopes die, never let me resign myself to life without you. Just when I think all is lost, you come back to me for one, sweet, stolen night, and it is as if we have never been apart. But then, once more, you are gone from me, and the next night is so hard to bear, knowing what a fool I am for daring to dream that I could have you back in my life.

And yet, fool that I am, I still believe that, one day, you will return. That one day, all will be as it once was, and that you will never desert me again. I can only hope that day comes soon, and when it does, I promise that I will cherish every moment that we share.

Yours yearningly

Bad Mammy

Friday, 16 November 2012

And The Award Goes To....

Serious muso journalist/interviewer-type bod: So, I am here with Bad Mammy, fresh from celebrating her first Ivor Novello award. How does it feel to win such a prestigious accolade?

Bad Mammy: It feels wonderful, serious muso jouranlist/interviewer-type bod. When we create music, we want to be heard, so to know that this song has struck a chord with so many people is really humbling.

SMJB: Can you tell us about the creative process behind this most extraordinary work, "Mashed Potato Baby"?

BM: Well, it was really a very organic thing, born, as so many things are, out of a very everyday situation.

SMJB: The best art usually is

BM: I agree. Anyway, I was bathing my children one night, and feeling very at peace with the world, and feeling very, connected to these little people, you know? And I just looked at The Littl'un and thought "You are COVERED in mashed potato"

SMJB: Which, of course, became the first line of the song .

BM: Yes. And the second. And, indeed, the third. And the reaction that it received was just so visceral. It was really inspiring, and I knew that I just had to share this song with the world.

SMJB: And I think, even just that first part of it would have been an instant hit. But it's what happened next that made it such a revolutionary concept...

BM: And again, it was a very organic process, the collaboration. I really owe this award to my elder daughter, the song literally wouldn't have existed without her. The improvisational quality of the fourth line, where instead of "Mashed Potato Baby", we have "Mashed Potato Teddy", or "Mashed Potato Mammy", or "Mashed Potato Toothbrush", comes completely from her just interacting with her environment, and her completely instinctual response to the things she sees.

SMJB: And that's really what makes the song so special. Are we going to see great things from her in the future?

BM: Oh definitely. Her lyricism is really astonishing for one so young. She has a way of expressing herself in such a way that it really makes you think, and wonder what deeper message she's trying to convey. Right now, she's developing set of re-workings of "Row, row, row your boat", which includes the lyric "Rock, rock, rock your boat/ Gently down the stream/ If you see a mouse/ Tapping on the wall". She blows my mind.

SMJB: Like mother, like daughter, clearly. Well, I think we'll all be keeping an eye out for her in the future. Thank you, Bad Mammy, and congratulations on getting the recognition you deserve for your musical efforts.

BM: It's been my pleasure, Serious Muso Journalist/Interviewer-type bod.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

It Speaks! Kind of.

It appears, that at some point over the last....erm.... some period of time, The Littl'un has learned to talk. Ish. She is definitely saying some things that sound like proper words, and she seems to even mean those words. I have no idea when this happened. Poor little Littl'un. It seems that, as my second child, she has to be practically debating for Oxford before it occurs to me that something is different. With first children, at the first hint of a word, you excitedly spread the word of your offspring's genius -  "She said Mama! She's talking!!!" before realising that she will say "Mama" at you, her father, the checkout operator at Sainsbury's, a sheep, and a crisp packet, and that you have perhaps jumped the gun. But second time around, having got used to holding fully comprehensible, if often frustrating and/or surreal, conversations with a child, I don't seem to have paid much attention to the early burbles.

So now we have some actual semi-words. Admittedly, they are not the most useful of words. She cannot yet, for example, tell me what she is looking for when she tries to stick her head down the toilet, or why exactly she felt that 2am this morning was the perfect time to get her scream on. But she can say "bear" and "ball" and "moo" and "quack" and "baa" and "hiya!" and "bye" (ish, this is still mostly "aye". Maybe that is what she means. Being a proper Geordie and that) and "ta" and "ba-a" (banana) and "ap-ap" (apple) and "gap" (grape. She knows her food) and "keddle" (cuddle) and "pleh" (please) and it's all very cute. I'm very proud. As is she. She claps herself a lot, this girl. No problems with self-esteem there.

I like this talking thing. I especially like the early talking stage. It's great when they have learned enough language to begin to tell you what they want, but not quite enough to argue with everything you say, or announce to everyone that you did a big pump. I shall enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Why bother....?

A story from the Daily Mail did the rounds on Facebook the other day, and I will confess that I read it. It was about a "new" parenting test they'd come across (apparently it's not new, it's been around for years, but since when did the DM let silly things like "facts" get in the way of what they wanted to say?). This test consisted of 14 exercises that prospective parents should undertake to prepare themselves, including such things as "Dressing Small Children" (trying to stuff a live octopus into a string bag) and "Grocery Shopping (take an unruly goat to the supermarket with you). It was quite funny, and horribly familiar to many of us with small children, but Google it if you want to know more, as that's not what this post is about.

No, this post has come about because of something that I hardly ever do, which is read the comments below a Daily Mail article, and something that I really try and avoid doing under most circumstances, which is read them by "Worst Rated" (I usually don't partake in this kind of activity, because it hurts my head when I smack it off my keyboard in despair). Many of the worst-rated comments went along the lines of "Well this is complete rubbish. My children slept through from 2 days old and have never once run away from me or tried to put crayons in the DVD player. No wonder the world is in the state it's in if people have no standards and this is why we have feral children running round the streets and excusemeletmewipemymouthIappeartobefoamingatit". Good for them and their perfect children, I say. I only hope that sense-of-humour failure isn't hereditary.

The other type of comments seemed to come from people who are not parents, yet find themselves surrounded by them. I have some sympathy with them. Parents can be terribly boring, let's be honest. We have shrunken vocabularies, and an apalling disregard for normal social boundaries when it comes to discussing bodily functions. These commenters had clearly had enough of this kind of talk, and were using this opportunity to have a bit of a rant. "Self-indulgent nonsense! Why do people even bother to have children if they're going to do nothing but whinge about them?!! And why, if I have no interest in hearing people talk about parenting, have I even read this article, let alone commented on it?!"

Which brings me, finally, and clunkingly, to the point of this post. It occurred to me that the test was pretty similar to a lot of my posts on here. So perhaps some of you lot are wondering why I bothered having kids if all I was going to do was complain about them. And if you are, well, here's why:

1. Because kids are freaking awesome.

No, really, they are. Especially mine. You might not believe it from everything I write about them, but they are, absolutely, without a doubt, the most delicious, fantastic, cleverest, wittiest, cutest, funniest, adorablest things in the whole entire wide world. The Littl'un opens her whole face to give kisses. The Big'un, if you look sad, comes over and says "Do you need a cuddle? Give me a smiley face." These kind of things make my heart scrunch up. I am prouder that The Littl'un knows what noise a sheep makes, and that The Big'un can recognise and sometimes write the letter 'L', than I am of anything I have ever achieved on my own. But no-one wants to read that, really, do they? The things they can do are of no interest to anyone who is not related to them.  And it is really, really hard to write well about the nice stuff. This love is bigger than words. If you try to find the words, they come out corny and sickening and will put people off their lunch. And I'm a feeder, the thought of causing other people to not eat is very concerning for me. Far easier, and far funnier, to focus on the more trying stuff. There is a certain amount of surreal comedy to life with small people that I, for one, find quite easy to write about.

2. Because kids do this weird thing called "growing".

Yep, you heard it here first, folks. Babies do not stay babies. Toddlers do not stay toddlers. There may well be people who actually don't particularly agree with my first statement, and are not that fond of having "kids". But perhaps, the years of arguing about how to eat sandwiches and singing "The Wheels on the Bus" are not the whole reason that people enter into parenthood. You don't just have a baby, you have a whole person. I am still my mother's daughter at 31 years old. And she probably gets more out of our relationship now that I can hold a semi-intelligent conversation and go shopping with her, than she did when I would do nothing but scream in her face (that was when I was a baby/toddler, by the way, it wasn't last week or anything). Unfortunately, even if they're not your thing, these early years have to be done, but I am not aware of any law that says they have to be enjoyed.

There are other good reasons to have children, such as getting to play with Lego, and being off work for a while, and being able to park in parent and child spaces at the supermarket. But despite all of these undeniably attractive perks, life with small children is bloody hard work. It is messy, and frustrating, and veers wildly from being quite boring to unbelievably eventful. It contains many things that are downright not fun. So you will have to forgive us if, every now and again, a little bit of complaining slips out. Or maybe a big bit. Because, while there may be people out there who get bored of the whingeing, there are also people out there who NEED the whingeing. They need to know that there are children out there who aren't perfect. That they are not the only people who are struggling. That they are not the only people who constantly worry that they are doing it all wrong. The blog posts that have described your own hellish day to a T. The Facebook statuses that we could have written ourselves. The sympathetic wry smile from a stranger who's been there, dealt with that tantrum. All these things make us feel a little less alone.

Thursday, 11 October 2012



The Big'un appears to have noticed something. Namely, that during this evening's bedtime story, I skipped a page. Actually, I skipped two. The story in question is "Love You Forever", that beloved American story made especially famous by Joey out of Friends. In case you are unfamiliar with this story, it is about a mother who sings to her baby a little song: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living, My baby you'll be". She then continues to go into his room when he is two, and eight, and a teenager, to sing him the song. But then, but THEN, he grows up and gets a flat on the other side of town. And in my version of the story, she respects her son's privacy and space, and sees him twice a week for dinner, and that is that until the mother is very old and sick and the story heads towards its touching conclusion. I have been refusing to read the pages wherein she gets a bus across town, lets herself into her grown son's apartment and sits next to his bed and sings him the song, as I feel this mother may have some boundary issues.

But the beady-eyed Big'un is clearly not going to be fooled by this approach much longer, so it may be that I have to swallow my disapproval of such shennanigans and read the whole thing. Or bury the book at the back of the shelf, and stick to other stories, such as the story of Crumpet the Dragon, or The Gruffalo. Much more realistic.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Too Scary!

I might be 31, married with two children, two mortgages, and a Ford Focus in a sensible colour, but it has taken until now for me to find something that makes me feel like a grown-up. Actually, that's a lie. It doesn't make me feel like a grown-up, it makes me want to run away and hide my head under a duvet and pretend that this is something I don't have to think about.

It is time to apply for schools. I am in a state of disbelief over this. I thought I had years before I had to think about the whole business, but, as it turns out, those years have somehow happened without me really noticing, and now I have to apply for schools. I have already put off the preliminary thinking that most of my friends have already done on the subject when they were deciding on pre-schools, and I kept The Big'un in the nursery she was already at (for practical reasons, not just because I was procrastinating). But now there is no escape. I must do The Thinking.

And there is apparently much thinking to be done. Much thinking and reading and listening and researching and deciding. One must consider league tables and Ofsted reports and catchment areas and over-subscription criteria and appeals processes. Somehow, it is necessary to become a sudden expert in what makes a "good" school and how to spot one. Because, if you listen to just about anyone, it is the most important decision you will ever make in your whole life and if you get it wrong your child will be doomed to a terrible and depressing life. And you're only making the decision about which ones to apply for. Then someone else gets to decide which one you will actually get a place at.

It all makes me angry and tired. I could, were I in the mood, launch into a lengthy political rant about how terribly wrong it is that every child can not just walk into their nearest school and be assured of a decent education, about how much pressure is put on parents to make great sacrifices and go to great lengths in order to secure a place at a good school, but this is neither the time nor the place for such tirades, and I am trying to watch Cool Runnings. So, instead, I extend my sympathies to all parents out there who are applying this year. I look forward to the day my application goes in and I can stop worrying about it. And start worrying about how the hell I am going to get my child somewhere, dressed and with all the appropriate paraphernalia, for 9am, FIVE DAYS IN A ROW. I need a lie down at the very thought.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Many Things

September's been pretty busy so far. I keep waiting for life to get back to normal and stop being busy, but perhaps life is always busy when you have a job, two small children, a house that, sadly, does not clean itself, and friends and family who will insist on doing such things as getting married, having birthdays, or just having the audacity to want to do spend time together.

So we have been doing quite a lot of things. The first thing we did was attend a family wedding, where the children were flower-girls. I had been feeling somewhat anxious about this for a while, but refrained from saying anything on here for fear of upsetting the already-nervous bride. I don't know if you've ever tried to persuade a three-year-old and a 15-month-old to walk in a more-or-less straight line, and in a specific direction, at a specific time. Try it sometime, if you should ever have two such children at your disposal. Preferably ones you know, don't just grab them off the street, that gets you in trouble. Anyway, it is not easy, and as the big day edged closer my visions of them running away, refusing to move, screeching at the registrar or eating the flowers grew more vivid. But in the event, they were lovely. The Big'un walked beautifully and scattered her petals. And The Littl'un...well, she sat down in the middle of the aisle, then stood up and gawked around her at all the people, then tried to walk the wrong way for a bit, while I was crouching in the aisle frantically calling and gesturing and waving a packet of chocolate buttons at her, but people thought she was funny, and she did not have a tantrum, so I'd say that was pretty successful. And they very much enjoyed the soft-play bus that had been hired to entertain the children. It was amazing. I want it to come and live in my garden.

The next thing that happened was my birthday. And for my birthday, my wonderful mother got me the best present ever - a train ticket to London and two days of babysitting. I went and had a lovely time with my sister, wandering around the shops, going for brunch and sitting in the sunshine in Soho drinking wine. And not once did I have to threaten to put anyone in the corner, or stand in the street remonstrating with a child who will not remove herself from the window display of a shop. It was just a shame that motherhood has made me so feeble that after going for dinner, my honest answer to the question "What do you want to do next?" was "I want to put my pyjamas on and watch telly".

There have probably been a few more things that we've done, but I can't think of anything particularly interesting to say about them. If you want to know how the children are doing, they are fine. The Littl'un has some new teeth. Not entirely sure when they appeared. She spends most of her time either shouting and shrieking in her own, entirely incomprehensible, language and climbing on to or into stuff. Oh, and eating. And she thinks everything that looks remotely like a bird is a "cak-cak".

The Big'un is being a bit rubbish with the sleeping again. You know how that goes, I can't be arsed to whinge about it again. Her current thing to try and get out of trouble is to tell me that she's scared. She did a poo on the loo the other day, and we all got over-excited. She now goes to nursery two days a week, and I think she's happy. She tells me every day that she has been playing with Talesha. I found out yesterday that Talesha left in July. It seems that my daughter has simply replaced one little blonde girl with another and now plays with Grace, just does not trouble herself to call her the correct name. At least not to me, hopefully she calls her the right name to her face. And she also seems to have developed a weird accent when she says certain words, like "silly". It sounds very like Mickey Rourke's accent in Iron Man 2.

Thus concludeth the update. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Film Review

Return of the Jedi aka "The Green Star Wars!", as reviewed by The Big'un.

"I like the green Star Wars. Look, there's the story! I don't know the story. Daddy knows the story, but I know the baddie's name is DARF VEEADER. He is angry.

Jabba the Hood is green and I don't like Jabba the Hood.

It's Princess Leia in there! She's hiding. I love Princess Leia.

I think there's a nasty mouth and wiggly worms in there.

Where's the cheeky robot? He's called DeeDee Artoo.

I think Luke Skywalker likes Princess Leia. I like Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker and Hanson Swallow, but I don't like Darf Veeader.

The baby bear does a roly poly and goes "yip yip".

It's a trap!

Luke Skywalker has a light saver. Luke Skywalker uses the green one and Darf Veeader uses the red one and the big angry baddie does some NASTY THINGS.

They all happy now. I want a snack."

Monday, 20 August 2012

Where Did My Baby Go?

No, I haven't misplaced her. But The Littl'un appears to have had something of a developmental spurt of late. She is getting big (well, not physically big, she's still a titch, but you know what I mean), and good at stuff (Yes, sorry, it's a "Look, look! Look what my child can do!!!!!-type post). Said stuff includes.....

 - Climbing on things, as already reported, but also, she can now get down from things too. Which is very good, because I can leave her on the bed watching TV while I have a shower, instead of her crawling around the bathroom floor sticking her head in the bin and unwrapping my tampons.

 - Using cutlery. She is very nice and civilised. In fact, somedays she eats more of her tea with her fork than The Big'un does, which is simultaneously a source of great pride and intense frustration.

 - Answering questions. She can nod and shake her head, and I think she might actually know what she means when she does it. Well, I say she can shake her head, but to be perfectly honest, she hasn't quite got the hang of it, so she's pretty much throwing her head around as if she's taking the piss out of a Timotei advert. Still, this is a vey exciting development. It means that I am nearing the end of that phase of parenting where you have to "follow your motherly instincts". Or, if like me, you are not entirely sure you have those, "guess". Now, we can do actual communication. I like.

 - Pointing at her hand while saying "Gar-DAH!", then scratching herself on the chest and making a clicking noise. I eventually figured out that she wasn't just being weird, she was trying to do 'Round and Round the Garden'. She can also sing an approximation of the "Roll over" bit of 'Five in the Bed', usually while whacking me with the book that said song lives in, which is pleasant.

 - Starting to grasp the concept of animal noises. It would be a major exaggeration to say that she could do any, thought, as they all, apparently, say "Oooooooh".

There's possibly some more, but the poor little Littl'un suffers from being the second child, where I am too busy trying to answer a three-year-olds' relentless questions about which of my friends I saw yesterday, and trying to unravel what of what she is telling me actually happened outside of her own head, and persuading the two of them that they don't both have to play with the same toy, and here have some raisins, to sit there eagerly awaiting and watching out for each milestone. These ones have all just crept up on me, and Lord knows how long she's been doing them for. But I'm proud anyway.

Right, there you go. I'll return to whingeing about them next time.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

An Inventory of Bedtime

2 over-tired and sweaty children

2 tired parents

1 bath

17 bath toys

400 warnings not to use the bath toys to drink the bathwater

2 children feigning deafness

1 premature removal from bath (for water-drinking)

1 massive tantrum

2 flailing child-arms

4 slaps to the chest

3 trips to "the corner"

4 serious discussions about hitting

30 screams of "I'm really tired!"

35 screams of "I'm not tired!"

1 flailing 3-year-old

1 split lip (mine)

2 children eventually in bed

2 huge sighs of relief

3 requests to go to the toilet

20 minutes of screaming

12 attempts to put dummy back in toddler's face

2 glasses of water

1 dose of teething powder

1 threat to take toys away

1 toddler brought downstairs to watch 'How I Met Your Mother'

1 suspiciously quiet 3-year-old

1 more attempt to put the toddler down

4 crossed fingers......

Friday, 10 August 2012

A Little Trip Out

Right, I think I have sufficiently recovered and gained enough distance to tell you about our day out on Wednesday.

On Wednesday I took the girls out for the day, to meet some people I chat to on the internet (don't worry, it was a public place, and people knew where I was just in case they happened to turn out to be crazed, axe-wielding psychopaths instead of perfectly pleasant mothers of small children). This involved taking the two of them on a train, on my own, to York, then letting them loose in the National Rail Museum all day, and then taking them back on the train, still on my own. As you can probably already tell, this turned out to be not the easiest thing I have ever done in my life.

The bit that was scaring me the most was actually getting them through the station and safely on to the train without losing one of them. Memories of my little sister toddling towards the edge of the Metro platform and getting her leg stuck between it and a train perhaps have something to do this anxiety (I was supposed to be holding her hand while my mother folded the buggy, which I was, I just kept holding it while she walked forwards, instead of making any effort to keep her still. Ah well.). As it turned out, I didn't really need to worry about that part. The Littl'un was strapped into the sling, so she was safe. Heavy, but safe. And The Big'un was BRILLIANT. She held my hand, stopped when I said stop, stood where I told her to, and just generally behaved in an exemplary manner. Perhaps my vague-but-dire warnings about falling near trains (it's quite tricky to try to instill caution but not sheer terror in small children) had some effect and she actually did some listening for once. Wonders will never cease.

Once safely on the train, I immediately went for my fall-back parenting plan, entitled Operation Give Many Snacks. This can usually be relied upon to buy me peace for as long as the food keeps coming. It worked well. However, eventually, The Big'un decided she needed a wee. Anticipating this, I had cleverly booked seats near to the toilet. Which was broken. So gathering up my stuff and my children, we schlepped down the carriage to the working toilet, whereupon, naturally, she decided "I don't need a wee-wee!". Schlepped back. You can guess what's coming, surely? Yup, five minutes later "I need a wee-wee!". Four wee-less trips we made to that bloody toilet. The people around me were wearing amused smiles. They'd been there, I sensed. (The situation, not the toilet. Although maybe the toilet, I don't know).

Train trip one, done. Now for the museum. For some reason, I had thought this would be the easy part. Pahahahahahhahahahahah! No. It seems that unleashing two small children, in what is essentially a very large shed filled with giant things to climb on and hide behind, in the company of older and bolder children who they are desperate to play with and impress, is not actually all that relaxing. Who'd have thought? After a couple of hours of "Get down off there!", "Share!", "Come back here right now!", and "Has anyone seen my other one?", I couldn't take any more and headed for the play area, where there were fewer hazards and places to hide. There was a flaw in this plan, however, and it was that eventually, I would have to get her to leave it. This did not go well. If you happened to be in the play area of the National Rail Museum on Wednesday and saw a very harrassed-looking woman literally dragging a screaming three-year-old in the direction of the toilets, that was me, and I hope you didn't call Social Services. The tantrum only got worse when I tried to get her to actually go to the toilet, and I had less than no idea what to do about it. You'll probably know that I am not the best at the discipline anyway; discipline while out and about is bloody impossible for me. When you're far from home, booked on a specific train so you can't leave early, you don't have favourite toys to take away or naughty steps to utilise (although I did plonk her in a random corner at one point), and you know she's far too tired for a promise of later sanctions to be effective in any way, you got nothing. And she knew it. Boy, did she know it. Defiant is not the word.

Anyway, I finally managed to bundle them back onto a train. The Littl'un had missed both her naps and veered from screaming to hysterical laughter every couple of minutes. The Big'un played with her tray table the whole. freaking. time. Thankfully, my mum came to pick me up at the station. If I'd had to do bedtime on my own I think I would have just sank into a heap on the floor and hoped they'd put themselves to bed. They had Burger King for their tea because it was nearest and quickest and finding anything else to eat might have finished me off.

Still, they had a lovely day. And so did I, between the bouts of stress. But I'm not doing that again in a hurry. I might not take them both on a train trip on my own for several years. Possibly about 50 years, and then it will be their turn to take me to the toilet and run around trying to find where I've wandered off to.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Thinking Of Titles Is Really Hard

So I'm just going to not, if that's alright with you?

I had a lovely moment when I picked the girls up from nursery tonight, of the type that makes you love being a mother. I came through the door, saw them both, looking happy, then they spied me and both came running towards me, arms outstreched, shouting "Mammy!". Actually, that's a lie. The Big'un was shouting "Mam!", which I am not impressed with - I want to be Mammy for a good while longer - and The Littl'un was shouting "Mumumumumumumum", but close enough. We had cuddles, I found out they'd both been lovely all day and had fun, then they laughed and chattered/babbled all the way home. 'Twas very nice.

But then came bedtime. I do not like bedtimes when Husband is not in. To be perfectly honest, I am not a fan of bedtimes when he is there, but at least then there's someone to share the load. Tonight it was me, and me alone who got to witness the full splendour of the tantrum The Littl'un threw when I stopped her from climbing in and out of the shower - a tantrum which not stop for stories, or milk or even "Wind The Bobbin up". I also had the sole pleasure of The Big'un deciding that she did not want to brush her teeth, although that tantrum was slightly shorter, as she can now be persuaded into or out of most things (not pooing in the toilet, or wearing trousers though) with the promise of a story about Boris the Dragon. Boris the Dragon is going to become either the saviour or the bane of my life, I can't tell which yet. Boris the Dragon is something that I invented out of sheer desperation during one of last week's flying-solo bedtimes. He is pink with purple spots, and accompanies me on mundane trips to places such as work, and the supermarket to buy yoghurts. Boris the Dragon is an outrageously stupid concept/character, and everytime I am telling one of these inane stories, I am simulataneously kicking myself in every part of my body that i can mentally reach (which is all of them, my mental self is more flexible than my phsyical one) for not coming up with something better. I once wanted to be a writer. Several of you people who read this blog have told me that I have a way with words. And yet Boris the Dragon comes to work and types my letters for me - THIS IS WHAT SMALL CHILDREN DO TO YOUR BRAIN!!! But she adores them, and they cheer her up instantly, so I end up weeping with self-loathing and profound gratitude all at once.

Ah well. They are in bed, and, if not asleep, then at least not screaming at me. I believe that makes it wine o'clock.

Friday, 27 July 2012

A Post About Things

Inspired title.

Apologies for the lack of blogness. I have, instead of spending my evenings wandering around the internet, been Doing Stuff. I decided, quite abruptly, that I hated the colour of my living room walls, and was going to paint them. After completely bemusing Husband with my new-found obsession with tester pots, we settled on a colour and started painting. Unfortunately, gone are the days when we could just decide to paint, put a few days aside, and get on with it, because we have a couple of those small children-things who need looking after, and who, I'm sure, would have LOVED to join in the painting fun, but who would probably not have achieved a very high-quality finish (not that Husband and I did, either). So we had to paint in the evenings, one wall at a time. And now it is finished. And now I have decided that I want new lightshades. And a rug. And a new throw. And maybe a mirror. I persuaded Husband that we could afford to redecorate because "we've got enough for a couple of tins of paint!". Hmm.

I have also been doing some bandwagon-jumping lately. People have been going on about an exercise DVD called the 30-Day Shred, which promises great results with only a 20-minute workout a day. So, now I am back at work where there is cake and no small hands trying to steal it from me, I decided to give it a go, because I cannot pretend any longer that 90 minutes of yoga a week is really burning any of these cake-calories.

I think this woman is trying to kill me. She will not be happy until I have fallen down in a big sweaty broken heap on the living room carpet, never to rise again. It's only 20 minutes, but they are 20 minutes during which I want to curl up in a ball and die. But, at the end of it, you realise that you have not died! It's terribly life-affirming. Besides, the pain is just fear leaving the body. Apparently.

So, those are my reasons for not having written anything for a while. Now I should probably actually write something about something. My kids maybe?

Not much to tell really. The Littl'un's love of climbing in things has developed into a love of climbing ON things. Particularly the stools and chairs in our kitchen, which are the perfect height for a 3-year-old to sit on to eat her tea, and also the perfect height for an adventurous one-year-old to give her mother a mini-heart-attack by standing on. She is a menace. But an unbearably cute one.

The Big'un is a challenge, as always. We are trying very hard to stop the very bad habit of making ridiculous threats in order to get her to do something, as she is starting to realise we don't mean a word of it. So she has been to bed with no bedtime story a couple of times in recent weeks, which is a delight. Honestly, why can't she behave like a reasonable human being? Oh, yes, because she's three. People who are three are annoying. But they also say things like, "Grandad, your hair is grey. Has it gone all wrong?". I like having that in my life.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Finding Her Feet

So, just under three weeks ago, I posted that The Littl'un was starting to take more than three steps in a row without falling on her arse, and it was very wonderful and I was very proud.

She can now take many more than three steps. I haven't counted, but she can probably take, oh about a MILLION. OK, that is possibly something of an exaggeration, but she has taken to this walking lark astoundingly quickly. I'm bloody exhausted. The child NEVER stops moving. No wonder she stays firmly in the part of the stupid weight chart that is officially marked "Skinny Minnie", despite eating all the livelong day. She's always going somewhere, and now that she can do it on two feet, and very fast, I frequently turn around and discover she is not at all where I thought she was. (She's usually in a box. This is her new favourite game, climbing into things. And then getting a bit perturbed when she can't get out again.)

It's all a bit unnerving. The Big'un didn't get the hang of walking until a bit later, so I've never had a just-turned-one-year-old who can run around. It's pretty fun though. Today we have been to the beach, and I didn't have to do much to entertain The Littl'un - she just toddled about a bit, fell down, dug her hands in the sand, got back up again and toddled some more. I just had to retrieve her every now and then when she looked as if she was heading for the sea, or tried to bury her head. So although I now have to cover more ground, I have to put in less actual effort into keeping her busy. Lazy me approves of this.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Birthdays and Holidays... Part Three!

Right, so the negatives are out of the way. Here are some things about my holiday that made me very happy:
  • Food - Food always makes me happy. French food even more so. I do not know how anyone is thin in France, when they are constantly surrounded by croissants.
  • Sunshine - I had been checking the weather forecast religiously in the week leading up to our departure, and on the basis of this, had mentally prepared myself for a week of clouds, rain and thunderstorms. The first day was pretty miserable, but after that we got some real and actual sun! And warmness! It was rather lovely, and I didn't even burn the children overly much. The Toddler's left arm got a bit singed, but other than that, I actually managed to be vigilant enough to keep them pretty much un-burned. Result.
  • Seeing my sister - I adore seeing my sister. As do my children. And as she is not a haggard, lazy, sleep-deprived mother-of-two who spends most of her life in the company of two small people, but an energetic aunt for whom said small people are still very much an exciting novelty, they run around playing together, while I sit and watch, eating croissants.
  • Sleeping - as a result of playing all day, and going to bed at ridiculous hours (well, they went to bed at fairly reasonable times, but then, fired up by the excitment of sharing a room, they sat and giggled at each other for hours before finally falling asleep), the kids actually did some pretty good sleeping. The Toddler fell out of the very narrow bed a couple of times, and The Littl'un still usually had a litttle bit of a yelp about something or other at some point, but overall, much better sleep was had by all. It has, sadly, not continued now we are home.
  • Not having housework - The best thing about holidays is not being in your own house, surrounded by all the things that you know you should be doing. We did have to keep on top of the cleaning - the house was so tiny that I would have swung a cat in it, but only because I don't really like cats so wouldn't care if it took a few knocks to the head, so it got messy really quickly - but being able to switch off from thinking about the constant cycle of dusting and hoovering and washing and ironing and tidying and sorting is all kinds of awesome.
And, you know, all that general stuff about being with the people I love, doing fun things, seeing nice places, seeing my children happy. That's all pretty good too.

And now we are back, and the washing is almost under control, and today is The Toddler's third birthday. (I have decided to re-christen her, as The Littl'un is starting to toddle, and The Toddler just walks. Henceforth, she shall be known as The Big'un, until I get fed up of it)

We had nice plans for today. Due to her current obssession with princesses, and her disappointment that Caen castle was just the battlements, and not "where the princess lived", we decided to take her to a castle which looked like a princess might live in it, so thought we'd drive up to Alnwick for the day, then go out for tea with my parents. It was all going to be very lovely, and I was looking forward to it immensely, until Husband decided to contract some kind of stomach lurgy, which has made him so ill that I'm even being sympathetic and kind to him. He managed to get up and see The Big'un get her drum kit ("It's my favourite! I can't belieeeeeve it!!"), but anything more was beyond him. My mother had it too, which meant even the tea with them was off the agenda. Obviously, it couldn't be helped, but it made me a little bit sulky anyway. I tried my best to make a nice day for her anyway. I allowed her to ride her trike to the shop, where she brought a smile to several people's faces because she was wearing her new fairy princess outfit, complete with wings and tiara. I even tried not to despair over the fact that the trip, which is 10 minutes maximum sans children, took nearly an hour. We made it to a castle, which, even though it was "broken" (ie, in ruins), she was quite impressed with, where we met up with a friend and her little boy (he taught her to say "It's boring!", even though they were clearly having a whale of a time, she taught him to roll around in the grass, so they even had a mutual exchange of useful life skills). I bought a chocolate cake and let her decorate it with chocolate buttons. But I fear that large portions of the day still ended up being how they always are when I am tired and have to deal with them both alone when they are in high and defiant spirits, which is with me being tetchy and impatient and a bit useless. Ah well. Her party is still to come so we have another chance to give her the perfect birthday day. If your definition of "perfect" involves several small children hyped up on icing, of course.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Birthdays and Holidays and Apologies - Part Two!

Sorry! Again. I said I would continue last night, but I watched the football instead. I really shouldn't have bothered. I could have done something much more exciting, like watch paint dry. Actually, that would be pretty exciting, I have just bought some tester pots because, inspired by pictures of other people's houses on the internet, I have been suddenly gripped with a mad desire to re-decorate my living room.

Anyway, I think talking about the brilliant things about my holiday (which I am honestly going to do, I wasn't just going to leave it with my usual whingeing) will have to wait at least another day, as I've got to wrap The Toddler's birthday presents. She is three tomorrow. Three! Can I even call her a toddler anymore? It seems too little a word for my sturdy and sassy little madam. A madam who, tomorrow, will become the proud owner of a drum kit. Yes, a drum kit. I know. Yes, I probably have lost my mind. Or if I haven't, I'm sure I soon will.

Oh! And also! Walking baby! The Littl'un can walk! Ish. She's been taking one or two steps for a couple of weeks, but not very well, and not very often, but tonight, she took at least four little staggery steps across the landing, and then repeated it a few more times. I am very proud. And amused, because she looks like a drunkard.

Oh God. Sudden grave misigiving. Why have I bought a drum kit, which in theory is for the exclusive use of my eldest child, when the youngest one is into EVERYTHING? And can now use her feet to get to EVERYTHING. This was a mistake. Oh dear.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Birthdays and Holidays and Apologies!

First - the apology, for not having written anything for ages, just in case you were sitting there thinking "D'you know? What I really need in my life is the incoherent rambling of a woman who is barely in control of herself and her two children, and it's not there!". I haven't had time to write much lately. Partly this is because I have surprised myself with a new-found dedication to housework (no, really), so my evenings are spent finding things to clean. This is most unnerving behaviour on my part, but I am enjoying living in something resembling a neat and tidy home, even if there is still just too miuch STUFF in it.

But mostly, the reason I haven't had much chance to blog is because June has been fecking BUSY. Not content with having two children's birthdays to sort out this month, we, for reasons which now escape me, decided to go on holiday in between the said birthdays. So it's all been a bit busy, and we're not even done yet, but I am going to tell you about some of it anyway. Aren't I kind?

So, yeah, The Littl'un is now 1. One whole year old. We celebrated by having a little party for her, attended by all of her friends. Well, strictly speaking, they were mostly The Toddler's friends, as one of the many ways in which second children are deprived (or at least my second one), is that you don't spend your whole maternity leave seeking out things to do and people who have children the same age to do them with. You spend it taking your first one to soft play and drinking coffee with the friends you already have. As a result, The Littl'un only hangs around with nearly-three-year-olds, and is fascinated any time she sees a baby of her own age. I think she enjoyed her party anyway. There was food, and she got a trike, which she liked. And by "liked", I mean "crawled on top of the box, sat on it and refused to move".

Then came the holiday: a week in France with my parents, and my sister and her boyfriend joined us for a few days too (although they almost didn't make it due to an almighty farce involving them locking their car key in the boot of the car in the South of France, and them having to have new one forged in the fires of Mordor, or some other such nonsense). We had a very lovely time, although, naturellement, I found things to despair over as well....

Things that pained me:
  • Driving (well, passengering. Husband makes fun of my driving, therefore I refuse to ever do it if I can make him do it) -  I do not live very close to France. Getting to France involves driving from the Tyneside coast, to Portsmouth. That's far. Although, to be honest, the drive down was not actually as bad as I thought it was going to be. Or at least, not after Wetherby Services, where I decided that rather than sitting in the front, it was best to wedge my arse in the gap between the car seats and keep the kids supplied with a constant stream of rice cakes. So that bit was OK. The painful bit of driving came once we disembarked. This is because we were in convoy with my dad. My father is a wonderful man, with many admirable skills and qualities, but it has to be said that getting directly from our point of arrival to our accommodation on any given holiday is resolutely not one of them. My childhood holidays to France always commenced with some kind of circuitous wandering around mysterious back roads, with the whole family on the lookout for road signs, or some kind of significant landmark like the sea, or Paris, to confirm for us that we were, in fact, heading in the wrong direction. Ah well, we got there in the end.
  • Eating out - There is apparently a book out called 'French Children't Don't Throw Food'. If that is true, then all of the restaurants must have been slightly shell-shocked by my children, who cannot eat anywhere without redecorating the walls and upholstery with bits of fruit and partially-chewed chip. The Littl'un has an excuse for this behaviour, in that she is only one, and still working out the best way of getting food into her face (and fails to realise that smearing it in her hair is not it). The Toddler has no such excuse, she's just a pain in the arse. She lolled on chairs, she crumpled up bits of food in her hand, she refused to eat anything that wasn't a chip, she showed everyone the contents of her mouth at every opportunity, and generally made me look like one of "those" mothers who is incapable of making her child behave nicely. By the last night, I had resorted to telling her that princesses (which is she is currently and suddenly obsessed with) sit and eat nicely, so if she wants to be a princess when she grows up, she had better do as she is told, while the feminist in me cringed.
  • The Littl'un - The Littl'un seemed to spend the week vying for the title of Clingiest Baby In The Whole Entire World. The first weekend, it was quite funny, as her affections were almost exclusively directed at my sister's boyfriend, who she adores. She would fling herself towards him the second he was in sight, and if he dared to leave her, she would cry as if her heart was breaking. It was pretty cute, and I don't think he minded too much. Or at least I hope not. But once he had gone, the clinginess was turned my way, or my mother's, and if she knew that one of us was there and not cuddling her, she would let us know, in no uncertain terms, that she would like us to rectify this situation. Husband was a bit put out by her behaving as if he was some kind of evil stranger every time he held her, and I was a bit put out by being constantly clambered on and pulled at by tiny hands. It's a good job she's cute.
  • The ferry home - It was choppy. It was unpleasant. I was ill. The Toddler was so ill that she put her Haribo down. Poor thing.
So that's my whingeing out of the way. There were many, many lovely things as well, but I will write about them tomorrow, as now I am tired, and I have to make sure I am well-rested for my fresh assault on the washing mountain that awaits me in the morning.

To be continued....

Monday, 4 June 2012


My baby is one in three days. Three days!!

When did that happen?

I feel I should do some kind of profound looking-back over her first year of existence, but quite frankly I'm in shock.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Not-So-Littl'un

I haven't written much about our day-to-day lives lately, and I am not going to do so now, because I still have some friends who are yet to reproduce, so, in the interest of the continuation of the species, I will refrain from telling you how many of the night-time hours I have spent awake, and how many of the daylight hours I have spent scrubbing wee out of my carpet, over the last couple of weeks.

I have decided, instead, to give you a bit of an update on The Littl'un. I feel a bit guilty actually. The first few months of this blog contain many posts about how proud I was that my baby could do a new thing, and how terribly exciting I found it all. With the poor neglected Littl'un, not only do I not have as much time to sit blogging about all her achievements, I don't even seem to pay as much attention. Part of it is that I stress about them less - I know that as they get older, you can't tell who did what and what age, so I'm not sitting waiting and wondering why my child is so rubbish compared to all the child prodigies out there. Another part of it is that I'm just a bit more dozy these days.

So here are some things that The Littl'un does/is/has:

  • She has 6 teeth. Two of which I just found in her mouth one day with no idea when they got there. I think she might be getting two more, but when I put my finger in to check, she tries to eat it.
  • She can stand up on her own. She's been doing this for a while, it's pretty cool to me, especially as The Toddler refused to lift her lazy bum off the floor until she was about 15 months old. The Littl'un likes to stand for a while, before lowering herself carefully back down when she's seen an interesting-looking piece of fluff on the carpet that she wants to eat.
  • She can climb up the stairs. Which she does, at every single opportunity, looking extremely pleased with herself. She also has a seemingly hilarious game in which she climbs on to the first step, then throws herself off it. Must get a new stairgate before she decides to take this, literally, to the next level.
  • She can say "Hiya". I think. Certainly something that sounds like it, and is usually accompanied by a madly waving arm. We also have "mumumumu" and ""DADA", sometimes even directed at the right person. Oh, and something which I think is meant to be "panda". (Not quite as random as it sounds, we read a lot of Maisy Mouse)
  • She can grab a spoon off me and feed herself. What she cannot do, is accept that when a yoghurt pot is empty, that it is empty, and that no amount of screaming will make it have more yoghurt in it.
  • She can walk using her push-along walker, getting extrememly enraged when she pushes it into a wall, and seems to think that if she pushes hard enough and shouts loud enough, the wall will suddenly cease to be there. It won't.
  • She can see right through all my attempts to distract her from playing with whatever The Toddler is not in the mood to share, and will wait until my attention wanders briefly (she never has to wait long) to go and try to play with the forbidden thing. She also, if The Toddler is to believed, discovered a way of communicating to her sister that she wants to go away and play with something else. Erm, I don't think she does, love. I think she wants to stand next to you and annoy you.
  • She likes to give kisses. They're beautiful. How could anyone resist the sight of a baby launching herself towards them with an open mouth, a face full of snot, and a slightly manic look in her eye?
  • She is obsessed with "Wind The Bobbin Up". Obsessed. I know that something is actually wrong with her, and she's not just in a mood, if she has not calmed down by the time we get to "pull, pull, clap clap clap". The Toddler has taken to launching into it the minute The Littl'un cries. It's like a reflex. 
  • She quite likes clapping too.
  • She likes to pull on various bits of faces. Eyes, noses, lips - she's not that fussy. She especially likes to do this at 3am. I especially do not like this.
  • She could do better at sleeping. That is all I can say on the matter without weeping.
  • She is mischievous, far too curious and very good at screaming. But she is also a big bundle of gorgeousness (well, a titchy one, she's only skinny), and I can't believe she is nearly one year old. I should buy her some of those present things.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

I Love My Kids..

I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids.

Sorry. Just jotting down a helpful little mantra, for the next time I have a day like this one.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Well That Was Fun

Both my children are finally in bed, and if not asleep, then at least happy and relatively quiet, after a spectacularly rubbish bedtime. It's nights like these that make me realise how utterly ineffectual I am sometimes.

It started OK. The Toddler has been horrifically tired all week, after a very busy weekend away in London visiting my sister, which she doesn't seem to have quite recovered from, so I've been hearing "Uuuurrrraaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmnnnnnnuuuuuuuuuiwantthetellyyyyyyyyyyyyyuurrrrrrrr" pretty much all week. But by bedtime she seemed to have perked up a bit, and I was just about to read her second story, when she decided to purposely rip one of the pages of the book she had chosen. To be fair, the book was already broken, and the pages in question came loose long ago, but that is not the point. I let her get away with an awful lot that I probably shouldn't, but I do not take damage to property kindly, and especially not books. And especially not when it's the second page-tearing incident of the day. So I decided to resort to actually doing something about it, which as you may know, is not my strong point, and was possibly not the wisest move when all I really wanted to do was put her in bed and go downstairs and drink tea. Out came my best impression at being a Proper Parent who teaches their child about Consequences and Respect. I told her that if she couldn't look after her stories, then she wouldn't get to listen to them, so we would go straight to the toilet, song and sleep part of her bedtime routine. She thought about it, accepted the wisdom of what I was saying, and calmly proceeded to the bathroom.


Of course she didn't. She proceeded to have a massive tantrum, and I then floundered about at a total loss having not a clue how to deal with it. Because I, for reasons which are unclear to me right now, honestly thought that it would play out how I imagined it and described it above. Even though I KNOW my daughter is a stubborn and stroppy little madam who likes to have her own way at all times, I somehow thought that all that would happen would be that she would accept the consequences of her actions and all would be well.

It took me far longer than it should have done to realise why that was ridiculous, and when I did, it was like a mini-epiphany. The whole point of trying to teach her that her actions have consequences is that these actions, and therefore the consequences are Not Good Things. She is not supposed to be happy with the outcome, if she was, it would be a completely pointless exercise. I took away something she liked, and being a wilful, bad-tempered, nearly-three-year-old, she threw a wobbler.

I know, right? I'm a total genius. Seriously though, this has been a bit of a breakthrough for me. It might seem stupidly obvious, but I'm obviously a bit stupid. I've never really looked at it this way before. Well, maybe not NEVER, I'm not a complete moron, I just don't tend to analyse her tantrums in any way at all. I just dread them, because they always seem to come out of almost nowhere and seem completely disproportionate, and I never know how I'm supposed to deal with them, so I tend to do whatever I can to avoid them. But sometimes they're just expressions of rage, and that's really not the end of the world. As she gets older and wiser, she'll learn better ways of behaving in these situations. With any luck, so will I.

Monday, 14 May 2012


.. I will post something soon, I promise.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Why Won't She LISTEN?!

I'm about to throw myself off some kind building. I had to do tea-time on my own tonight. Not a fan of that. This is because The Toddler chooses the evening meal to showcase the very best of her being-a-total-pain-in-the-arse skills.

I can't even go into it all, because I have no wine to help me through the ordeal of re-living it. But it can basically be summarised thus: I ask The Toddler to sit and eat her tea nicely instead of messing about, she ignores me. I promise rewards if she eats her tea nicely and stops messing about, she ignores me. I try and praise her in the brief moments she eats her tea nicely and stops messing about, she ignores me. I tell her very sternly to eat her tea and stop messing about, she ignores me. I make some half-arsed threats about taking her tea away if she doesn't eat nicely and stop messing about, she eats nicely for about 5 seconds, then messes about. I chew on my lips to stop myself from bursting out with a yell of "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHILD EAT YOUR TEA AND STOP MESSING ABOUT BEFORE I THROW SOMETHING!!", she obliviously waves a piece of carrot in the air.


I'm feeling very ineffectual right now. I'm no good at this kind of thing. I have no idea how you're meant to go about trying to encourage a wilful toddler to do what you tell them to. This might surprise some people that know me (and particularly the people that have worked with me and have been told off for not completing their paperwork properly), but it turns out that I am not one of life's disciplinarians. I'm too lazy, and the most of the battles just don't seem worth fighting. And I'm never sure how much of toddler behaviour is mischief, and how much is normal high spirits and curiosity, and I don't want to stamp on the latter.

I can't go the other way either: the very fluffy style of parenting where it's all about being positive reinforcement and all that jazz. I can't keep my fake smile on for that long. I lack the patience, the energy, and the general perkiness this requires. I don't think it would work on The Toddler anyway. As my mother is fond of saying "She's not a pleaser!". She's right. The Toddler does what she feels like doing, whether I think it's a good thing or not. I am lucky that she seems to generally want to be fairly well-behaved, because when she doesn't, I am at a total loss.

So my strategy right now is to put it all down to her age, and hope that one day she will magically grow out of it and start listening to me, making a few lame and ineffective efforts to try and tell her to stop doing my head in. I know some of it's going in. I frequently hear her telling The Littl'un to "listen-a me. I talking to you. Listen. That's not nice". A few more sleepless nights and fraught mealtimes, and my addled brain is going to start believing that she's taking the piss.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Great Escape


I don't really know what took her so long, but The Toddler has just made a discovery. It seems she has finally realise that her bedguard is actually just a piece of fabric running approximtely one-third of the length of her bed, and not, in fact some kind of extendable force-field keeping her incarcerated until one of her parents comes to release her. This morning, I heard a bit of crashing around, and went into her room to find her in her bed, but sharing it with a Fisher Price telephone which I'm pretty sure wasn't there when she went to sleep. And this evening, she came down the stairs to tell me that she couldn't find her monkey. I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with this new development. Granted, it's all been quite cute so far, but I can imagine it will get old quite quickly when I want her to go to sleep and she would rather run around rearranging her furniture or something. Still, this morning she put the clean pants that were on the chair away in her drawer (and very proud of herself she was too), so at least she's making herself useful.

That aside, today has been pretty much one long exercise in fail. I'm not sure I can even be arsed to go into it properly, but it involved a protracted bout of screaming from The Littl'un, followed by a bit of clapping and hair-pulling once I gave in and brought her into our bed, an argument with The Toddler over table manners (I would like her to show some, she is not keen), Husband being quite poorly with some kind of infected mouth thing, an enormous wee on the kitchen floor (The Toddler, not me), a crap attempt at chickpea soup (I don't even like chickpeas, God knows what I was thinking), and an awful lot of TV.

Ah well, they'll get looked after properly tomorrow. They're at Grandmas.

Friday, 20 April 2012

And How To Be The Littl'un...

...when teething.

Wake up.


Look for Mammy.

Throw self at Mammy.


Shove foot/fist in Mammy's ribs/throat/eye.


Sleep for 30 seconds.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

How To Be The Littl'un.

Sit on floor.

Shriek excitedly.

Flap arms.

Crawl around.

Find paper.

Eat paper.

Crawl around.

Be sick.

Shriek excitedly.

Pull self up on something.

Look pleased with self.

Fall on arse.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Getting It Off My Chest

OK, OK, I know. You've heard me bleat on about breastfeeding plenty of times already. And people who bang on about breastfeeding can sometimes be a bit boring. But I want to talk about it, one last time, because it became surprisingly important to me. I want to talk about the whole of my experience of breastfeeding, and I want do it before the spectacles get too rose-tinted - already my brain is favouring memories of snuggly newborn cuddles over the ones of a wriggly 8-month-old digging her nails into my skin and exposing my nipple to all and sundry. So indulge me, please.

A warning: this will be long, and tedious, and probably too-much-information. So if you're interested in this kind of thing, grab a cuppa, and pull up a pew. If you're not, bog off and play Draw Something, or whatever else the cool kids are doing these days.

And a disclaimer: As most of you probably know, I am pretty pro-breastfeeding. I would even consider calling myself a lactivist if the term didn't make me feel a bit queasy. So I make no apologies about that, I think breastfeeding's great, and I wish more people did too. But I am aware that not everyone feels that way, I'm aware that it's a sensitive subject for some, and I'm aware that people sometimes get fed up of too much "Breast is Best" nonsense. So I'm not going to talk about "breastfeeding" as a concept. I'm going to talk about me, and my babies, and my experience. I am not qualified to talk about anyone else's. But I know a lot of this might come across a bit "smug breastfeeder", and for that, I apologise.

So that's preliminaries out of the way. Anyone still with me?

I don't recall ever making a decision to breastfeed. To me, it was just how babies are fed. I'm not actually too sure how I arrived at this viewpoint, as although I was breastfed, as was my sister, I obviously don't remember any of that, and of the few babies I'd been around a lot before having my own, at least half of them were bottlefed. But I don't remember ever even considering not breastfeeding, although I knew that circumstances might conspire to make it impossible. So I bought nursing bras and all the other boob-related gubbins (breastfeeding might be free, but there is still a hell of a lot of stuff you can fork out for, should you so wish), and dutifully attended the NHS breastfeeding workshop. I remember thinking at the time "This is really weird". They do some useful things, like show you a DVD and give you plenty of leaflets, but they also show you how to hold your baby to feed. But, as the workshops take place when you're about 34 weeks pregnant, you don't actually have a baby to practise with, so they give you a doll. Which is not quite the same as holding your actual baby. Your actual baby is in your tummy, handily getting completely in the way of all this holding. So I walked out of the workshop thinking "I still don't have the faintest fecking clue what I'm doing", and just hoping that I would figure it out when the baby got here.

And I did. The minute The Baby Who Would Become The Toddler was out and breathing, she was in my arms and at my breast, where she then stayed guzzling for hours so that poor Husband didn't even get to hold his firstborn for ages. Maybe this would be easier than I thought.

And maybe it wouldn't. After that first feed, where I was still high off endorphins or adrenaline or gas and air or whatever, I started thinking more about it, and trying to remember what the DVDs and the books and the midwives had told me. Unfortunately, my baby had not read the same books, and had her own ideas about breastfeeding technique, which seemed to involve flailing about until she got her fist in her mouth and trying to suckle on that instead. I swear they must breed some kind of armless baby somewhere, and then tranquilise them, for the sole purpose of getting them to pose for breastfeeding literature, because real babies are nowhere near that cooperative.

And oh, the pain. I will forever be deeply grateful to the woman who told me that, contrary to official advice, you can be doing it completely right and it can still bloody knack. Without her voice in my head telling me that it would get better, I can't say for certain that there wouldn't have been some throwing in of the towel. So I kept going, and quickly learn to distinguish between the quick toe-curl moment when my nipples went "Oh for crying out loud, is this thing feeding again?", and the actual deep pain which meant that the baby was trying out some kind of interesting new and ineffective latch.

The first few weeks of The Baby Who Would Become The Toddler's life passed in a haze of feeding and crying and feeding and crying. Most of the crying was hers. She was a colicky baby, who wanted feeding a LOT in the evenings. No-one warned me about this. Cluster feeding, the phenomenon whereby you realise that the phrase "You can't possibly be hungry AGAIN" is total fallacy, is an utter bitch and can make you want to throw your precious newborn out of the window. It was too much for me, so I introduced a bottle of expressed milk for one of her evening feeds. I think it saved breastfeeding for me. All of a sudden, I had more than an hour to myself. I could hand her over to someone else and let someone else deal with her. And she started sleeping better at night too. The expressed milk soon turned to formula (I mean I switched it, breastmilk doesn't magically change into formula if you leave it out of the fridge or something), out of sheer laziness on my part. Expressing is tedious, especially because I am a skinflint and wouldn't shell out for a decent electric pump.

I was still having some trouble with getting the latch right, and starting a feed was sometimes a four-handed operation - mine to manouevre the baby into position, Husband's to pin her arms to her sides - and often involved waiting until she let out a cry as it was the only time her mouth would open wide enough. But then, all of a sudden, at about 8 or 9 weeks, as if by magic, it just stopped being hard. It became a case of get-baby-pop-boob-in-mouth-and-feed. Simple as that, it was the easiest thing in the world.

I breastfed TBWWBTT for 6 months, almost to the day. I had always thought I would do 6 months. I think I thought that's how long you were meant to do. I didn't know many people who had done it for longer, so it never occurred to me to consider it. But I was ready to stop. It had stopped being the easist thing in the world, and had become a bit of a battle to get the baby to stop being interested in everything else in the whole world and just feed. And I wanted my body back. It felt like I'd been pregnant or breastfeeding FOREVER, and I was a bit bored of it. So I stopped, and I didn't mind, and the baby didn't seem to mind. She was so greedy that she didn't really care how her milk came, as long as it went in her giant face. And so, breastfeeding stitnt number one - done.

When I was pregnant with The Littl'un, I was weirdly excited about the prospect of breastfeeding again. I had spent far too much of the intervening period in the world of internet parenting forums, where there is a far higher proportion of very vocal breastfeeding advocates than one normally encounters in day-to-day life (especially if one has a habit of avoiding baby groups and such things, which I totally do). The reading I did made me realise that I didn't really appreciate just how lucky I was to have had such a good experience. And it had been good, no matter how much I might have whinged about it at the time. I heard stories about people running into huge problems, or running into smaller problems but getting no support with them, and I was determined that if I was to be so lucky again as to get on well with feeding, I was going to relax and enjoy it. I knew it would be the last time I would be doing it, I knew how fast the time would fly, I knew what was normal and what wasn't and I knew I had loads of helpful friends and family who were right there if I needed them. I also knew how much I hated faffing around with bottles, and how incapable I was of making one up without spilling formula powder all over my kitchen worktops.

So along came The Littl'un. Out she popped, and I put her on my tummy. I'd seen this fantastic video of what they call "The Breast Crawl", where a newborn baby blindly scooches its way up its mother's body and latches itself on. It was fascinating, and with my new-found earth-mother aspirations, I wanted to have a go. Me being me, though, I got impatient after about 3 minutes, and picked her up. Ah well.

I found feeding The Littl'un much much easier than the first time, at least in the early days. My tiny and frazzled brain could not cope with the idea of keeping track of when she fed for and how long, so I didn't look at the clock and just fed her when she seemed to want feeding. She fed a lot, I think, but it didn't seem to get to me as much as it had before. Possibly because in the chaos that is life with a toddler, it was very nice to have an excuse to have frequent sit-downs. The Toddler ended up watching a lot more CBeebies than I might have liked during this period, but she seemed entirely happy with this arrangement. Feeding still hurt sometimes, especially as I sometimes got bored of the repeated attempts to get a decent latch and just let her do it wrong, but I knew it wouldn't hurt forever. And, weirdly, one of the things that made feeding a bit nicer this time, was my investment in some milk collection shells. Yes, in amongst all the breastfeeding paraphernalia available, are wondrous little things that you put over the boob you're not feeding from to catch the leaks. In theory, that is what breastpads are for, but I found them woefully inadequate. How we can put a man on the moon and create the iPhone, but not come up with a breastpad that will actually stay where it's put is totally beyond me. Anyway, my breast shells were my new favourite thing. Having to change your top and bra three times a day because you've leaked milk all over yourself makes you feel really manky, and I enjoyed not doing that. Although once, I forgot I had a shell on, was all ready to leave the house, but then dropped something (which I do a LOT), bent down to get it, and spilled the entire thing all over myself. Felt a bit silly.

So a lot of it was easier. But some things were pretty hard. Toddler jealousy, for one. Trying to feed a baby whilst your firstborn is tugging at your arm saying "No! No! Baby down!" isn't particularly fun. And Toddler mischief wasn't fun either. She would wait until I just had The Littl'un latched, and then do something stunningly dangerous, or destructive, or messy, and I would often have to plonk a protesting baby down, or watch in despair while she just got on with it. Night feeds were hard too. I never had to do one past about 8 weeks with The Toddler, so having to do one, or two, or three, was a bit of a shock to the system.

But I think the main thing I struggled with this time was how dependent The Littl'un was on me. Although she had taken to a bottle well when she was tiny, once we had worked out a routine of sorts which allowed me to go to yoga every Monday without her needing a feed, I got lazy (again, do you sense a recurring theme with many of my posts?) and couldn't be bothered to express (Husband making cow references at me possibly didn't help my motivation), so she stopped having bottles. Which meant she pretty much had to be with me all the time. I didn't mind that particularly, I quite like her, she's nice. But it did mean that ALL the feeding was my responsibility. I had to plan my whole day, down to my caffeine and wine intake, around when she might fancy some milk. It started to feel oppressive, and when coupled with the very distracted phase where The Littl'un would feed for about two seconds then look around at random strangers, pretty lights etc, I started to enjoy it less and less, and that's when I started to think about stopping, and to whinge about it at length on here.

But despite all of that, I did really love breastfeeding, both times. There was so much to like about it. Not having to cart half a branch of Boots around with me when I went out (just the 7 million packets of raisins and crayons that are required to keep The Toddler happy). Justifying spending money on cake by reasoning that I hadn't spent it on formula. Sleepy, milk-drunk faces. Seeing my babies grow and thinking "My milk did that". Hot Milk bras. Eating many Pringles and telling myself that I needed 500 extra calories a day. Snuggly cuddles with a baby who's thrown her arm over my boob as if to say "MINE".

And now I'm done. I don't breastfeed anymore, and I never will again. It makes me a bit sad to think that, even though I didn't actually feel sad to stop. I don't really know why, after all, it's only feeding a child, and I still do that, and apparently you have to keep doing that in one way or another until they leave home. But it meant a lot to me anyway, and now it's finished.

Ah well, onwards and upwards. I have some nice memories (and some less nice ones) and have gained plenty of what I shall loosely call wisdom which I can blither on about whenever I find an interested and captive audience. And so, until I next find myself in front of such an audience, I shall shut up. Thanks for reading, if you got this far (I think you might deserve some kind of medal for endurance if you did). And if you are at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey, then good luck, and enjoy. And remember to empty your milk collection shells.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Touch Wood.....

.... can't believe I'm about to type this, given my track record of saying things that all of a sudden completely cease to be true, but I think The Littl'un might finally be getting there with going to sleep and staying that way for a few hours. For this week, anyway. She has been having a bit of a cry at about midnight, and then another bit of a cry at about 5am, and that's been pretty much it for the last few nights. That's a five-hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep! Well, it would be, were it not for The Toddler having a spate of random night wakings, to demand wee-wees, drinks, and for me to "make it flat, make it flat!" (I think she was talking about the duvet). It's tiresome.

But, in a spirit of uncharacteristic optimism, I am choosing to believe that The Toddler's bad sleeping spell will soon be over, and The Littl'un's good sleeping spell will continue, and that I shall soon be well rested and refreshed. Which will be handy, as I go back to work on Monday, and I have lost my nice cozy corner desk, and will henceforth by sitting smack bang in the middle of the office, which means people might notice if I fall asleep at my computer.

Yup, Bad Mammy will shortly be Working Mammy once more. I think that this is a good thing. I love my girls very much, but I think they will benefit from less "quality" time with me. Today has involved a lot of Disney, and a lot of "Stop that right now". Oh, and paint. Mostly in The Littl'un's mouth. Which reminds me, must go and Google "signs of paint poisoning in 10-month-olds". And watch Anchorman. Laters.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

As Requested....

A picture of my clothes horse.

Still in love.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Thing of Beauty...

I bought something on Friday. It's made me very, very happy indeed. I wasn't looking out for it, I just came across it, fell irrevocably in love, and decided I had to have it in my life. I got it home, and in my satisfaction, Tweeted a picture of it, which garnered much admiration and awe from my followers.

What was this irresistible slice of consumer goodness, I hear you cry? What item could have provoked such excitement? A Prada handbag? Some Jimmy Choos? Some kind of shiny piece of bewilderingly complex technology?



A clothes horse. Yes, that's right, a clothes horse. But not just any clothes horse, it is the mother of all clothes horses. It is what all other clothes horses want to be when they grow up. It is, as one of my friends has christened it, a clothes giraffe. It has a staggering total drying area, a big sticky-up rail bit that you can hang hangers on, and even special little whojammies for drying shoes on. It makes the previously-loathed-and-detested task of hanging up all the teeny tiny scraps of children's clothing a veritable pleasure (at least until the novelty wears off).

Oh, who am I kidding? It's a bloody clothes horse. It is for drying clothes on. It is unreasonable and sad to be so obsessed with such a thing, and a sign that I am hurtling inexorably towards middle age. My only comfort is that, judging from all the reactions, all my friends are heading there with me.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Some Stuff

This post isn't about anything in particular. I can't do unifying themes today, or sentences that flow into each other. Just a random collection of blibbering about things that may or may not be noteworthy. Please excuse my incoherence. There are reasons for it.

One such reason is The Littl'un's sleeping patterns. On one hand, she has finally stopped wanting a night feed! Yay! She has finally learnt to "sleep through". If by "sleeping through", you mean.. well.. not. We no longer have to get up at 3am and trudge downstairs to fetch milk. We do, however, have to get up about 7 times every night and put her dummy back in her face. It's a joy. Never mind, we got there with the feeds, I'm sure we'll eventually get there with the dummy too. Whether we get there before one of us throws ourself off a building remains to be seen.

Despite the night wakings, she's still being mostly lovely during the day. But fast. And bold. And fast. She's now pulling herself up on pretty much anything that will take her weight, and a large number of things that won't. She's very proud of herself, and I am proud of her too, if a little dismayed to find that I now have to pay attention to what she's doing at all times, lest I find her sticking her fingers in the Xbox, or becoming entangled in The Toddler's trike.

The Toddler is also a reason for my incoherence. She's being something of a trial at the minute, just for a change. Actually, I'm not sure she's being any more horrendous than usual, just that I am losing patience far quicker. I did a LOT of shouting tonight. Normally I don't really shout that much, because it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference, unless I shout really, really loud, and make her cry, which makes me feel guilty, and I then have to abandon any attempt at discipline to give apologetic cuddles. So if I'm shouting, I'm venting, which is not terribly useful.

Oh well, back to work very soon, which hopefully should mean less shouting. I am a lot better at this parenting business when I don't have to do it all day, every day. It's very easy to get caught up in the monotonous drudgery of being at home when you know that there's always tomorrow to do it better. When I know that I only have four days with my kids, I'm a little bit better at making them count, and not just shoving them in front of Curious George and getting annoyed when they whinge at me.

Curious George, by the way, is The Toddler's latest thing. She quite likes the TV programme, so when I saw the DVD of the film on offer in Asda, I thought I'd pick it up. Best £2 I've ever spent. The child is deeply in love.

I know I whinge about The Toddler a lot, but she is actually pretty cool. I am taking advantage of the fact that she is like a little sponge at the minute (which makes it pretty difficult when you've dropped something on your foot and want to howl obscenities) to teach her some manners. So when she is moaning "Want the telllllly" at me, I remind her to ask nicely and I get "Please can I watch some telly please?" which is rather lovely. And yesterday, we had the following conversation, which made me feel all gooey and so proud that I have to be irritatingly sappy and share:
Toddler: (picking up necklace which was lying inexplicably in to footwell of the car) "Mammy, is this your necklace?"
Me: "Yes, it is"
Toddler: "You put it on"
I put it on
Toddler: "You look beautiful"
Me: (heart bursting) "Aw, thank you, darling"
Toddler: "You're welcome!".

I think I'll keep her.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Tooth Is Out There

(With thanks to Husband for the truly terrible title)

Today we discovered that yet another thing has coincided with The Littl'un's tummy bug - the beginnings of the emergence of her first tooth! Husband discovered it today, and I can feel it, but have not seen it yet, as whenever I try to look, The Littl'un thinks we're playing a game of "Chew on Mammy's finger". But it's definitely there. So that's quite exciting.

She's also crawling! Actual proper crawling. This is taking quite some getting used to. I keep getting distracted by a Toddler tantrum, or something silly on the internet, or a cup of tea, and looking up to find The Littl'un nowhere near where I originally put her, often lying flat on her face and looking bewildered, having momentarily forgotten how to do this crawling thing. I'm having to do active, attentive parenting, at which, as you all know, I am utterly fabulous. It's hard work, and makes me tired and grumpy. But I do love seeing The Littl'un's little face, all proud of herself and her new-found mobility.

I suspect that here is where the fun starts. Two children is not really all that much harder than one, when your second one is generally good-natured, and can't go anywhere. The no-sleep thing's been a bit crap, but it's still not been anywhere near as tough going as I thought it would be. Now I have two mobile children, both of whom are apparently unable to heed the word "Stop!". They can go in OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS and both do equally dangerous and foolish things, if they so choose. Then what will I do? Perhaps now I should actually dig the baby-proofing kit out, instead of it lying redundantly in a cupboard.

I shall put it on the list of "Things to Get Around To. Someday."

Monday, 12 March 2012

Wine. Must Have Wine

I am trapped in some kind of parenting hell.

The Littl'un has contracted a stomach bug, which is just lovely. She has been spectacularly sicky and pooey for the last few days, and was so horribly sick all over her face and her last clean sheet last night, that she ended up sleeping in my arms, which always makes me uncomfortable and cross. And Husband's at work, so I can't even go to yoga to work all my kinks out. Bah.

At least the bug has coincided with a few days of nice weather, so I could hang the endless loads of washing out (although I end up having to hang it up inside to finish drying anyway, thanks to my neighbours' unhelpfully tall fence which blocks all the sun from my garden). There's been so much of it, because the bug has also coincided with the probably slightly premature decision to put The Littl/un in the next size of nappies, which aren't an entirely perfect fit, and really cannot cope with the paces The Littl'un's arse is putting them through. It's delightful.

And if you read my last post, you'll know this has all come hot on the heels of me stopping breastfeeding. Well, in retrospect, there were signs of the bug emerging just before I stopped, but I'm not about to let a little detail like that get in between me and a nice big whack of parenting guilt. The guilt is both stupid and two-fold. The first lot of guilt is the totally irrational feeling not that I have caused it exactly, but that it is some kind of karmic retribution for having given up for my own, pretty selfish reasons. You don't have to tell me how stupid that is (and indeed some of you have already tried), I do know on most levels, but breastfeeding guilt is a strange creature. The second lot of more rational guilt comes from the knowledge that the easiest way to deal with a poorly baby is just to shove a boob in its mouth. I know that plenty of people deal perfectly well with ill babies without their boobs (well, not without their boobs, they still obviously have their boobs. Oh, you know what I mean) and I know that I have before and no doubt will have to again, but I do feel a little bit bad that if I had just kept going for a few more days, I could be giving her milk that's easier to digest, with a really comforting manner of delivery. It's probably not too late to start again if I really wanted to, but I don't think I want to that much, which makes me feel a bit more guilty. Like I said, strange creature.

The final thing that the bug has coincided with is the apparent decision by The Toddler to practise her audition piece for Britain's Got Whingey Toddlers. Judging from what I've seen, she's a shoo-in. Her principal party piece is the repeated insistence that she is either tired, or hungry. If I tell her she is not one, she claims to be the other. She has told me she is hungry whilst holding a biscuit, and told me she is tired while lying down. EAT THE F'ING BISCUIT OR GO TO SLEEP THEN!!!!!!!! She is driving me utterly demented. If she is not whingeing at me, she is either doing something she shouldn't be, or pulling on some part of my clothing or anatomy. Husband had to remove her from my presence this afternoon as I was growling with barely suppressed rage at her attempts to drag me across the kitchen by my beltloops.

What with the irritating Toddler, the spewing and crapping Littl'un, the washing machine that has just beeped to tell me it has finished yet another load of washing that I have no place to put, and the fact that due to Husband's stupid shifts I have to do both breakfast and bedtime on my own again tomorrow, this glass of wine in my hand is the only thing standing between me and a nervous breakdown. It's not even very good wine (it was free when we renewed our Costco membership), but tonight, it is my life ring. Cheers.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The End?

I think I might have done my last breastfeed. For a couple of reasons, The Littl'un had formula before bed tonight. It was much less cozy and calming than a breastfeed (there was more shrieking and glasses-grabbing), but I did enjoy the fact that the thing she was gnawing on and shaking about as if she was an over-excitable puppy was not my nipple. I may go back to breastfeeding tomorrow if it makes her sleeping worse, but as I'm not sure how that could possibly happen (FOUR HOURS she was awake for on Tuesday night), then it could very well be that me and breastfeeding are over and done.

How do I feel about that? Pretty ambivalent, to be honest. Which is a bit of a surprise. I had thought, especially given how pro-breastfeeding I have somehow become since I had The Toddler, and how much more I've enjoyed it this time around, that I might be sad about stopping. A month or so ago, when it was doing my nut in, I thought I would be ecstatic. I am neither of those things. I suppose a little part of me might be a bit sad - I'm not having any more babies, so I won't ever breastfeed ever again. And there is still a tiny bit of me (the bit that spends far too long on, where these kind of things seem to be disproportionately important) that feels, somehow, like I shouldn't be stopping, because I don't really have a reason to. But maybe the ambivalence itself is a reason. The magic has gone. That makes me sadder than the actual stopping. I used to LOVE breastfeeding, now I don't really feel anything about it. I suppose there's no actual reason why that matters, after all, it's only giving your baby food, why should you love it? But it's nice to enjoy something. Especially if that something has meant that you've had to wear ugly bras, watch your wine intake, and spend hours of every day stuck to the sofa.

I rambling now, and have no idea where this is going. So, in summary, woman has no interesting feelings about something which is nobody else's business anyway. This is groundbreaking stuff right here.

Oh, but on a totally unrelated and annoyingly gushy note, The Toddler has grasped the fact that she used to be a baby, and keeps pointing to photos of herself and saying "Is that me? When am I tiny?". It's very cute, and even the grammar pedant in me hope she says it like that forever.

Monday, 5 March 2012

And Again....

As you all have already been told, numerous times, The Littl'un is rubbish at sleeping. I thought I could see some small amount of progress, once I stopped insisting she wasn't hungry at night. So although we were having to get up in the middle of the night and blunder around with formula, we were at least not being subjected to hours of demented screaming. So that was good. The Littl'un even started sleeping until 5am before waking for her feed, an hour which, pre-children, I used to consider horribly uncivilised, but now seems like a miraculous time if I've been able to sleep until then.

And then one night it was 4am. And then 3am. And then 2am. And then half-past bloody one. What is this child trying to do to me???!!!

So, I decided to try a change of tack. If sometimes The Littl'un was capable of sleeping for a long stretch, and then a short one, why didn't I try and change it round? I'd never had much luck with a dreamfeed before, but surely it was worth a try, before I threw her out of a window? It seemed like such a simple idea. I spent the day in a state of desperate excitement that I might actually have found The Thing That Could Work.

So, Night One, I hauled The Littl'un out of bed at 11pm, put her weird cup/bottle hybrid-type thing (only thing she can drink milk out of without spitting it all back out all over herself) to her lips, and watched her sleepily guzzle her milk. It was quite cute. Settled her back in her cot without a murmur of complaint. Perhaps this would be OK after all.

Or maybe not. Maybe she would wake at 4am, full of the joys of spring, wanting to play. Maybe we would eventually give up trying to get her to go back in her cot, and bring her into our bed, where she would gleefully spend the next hour gurgling and sticking her bewilderingly pointy fingernails up my nose.

After a few nights of this, I did have some success in at least getting her to go back into her cot to do the gurgling. And then, two nights ago, I was stunned to find that after her feed, she slept in her cot all night, only crying once for her dummy. I would have been ecstatic with that, had The Toddler not chosen that night to have an epic screaming fit at 3.20am, for reasons unknown. But still, did this mean I could approach last night in a spirit of cautious optimism....?

Come on, you know the drill by now. Of course not. Last night I had the dubious pleasure of seeing every hour of the clock, scrabbling around in the darkness to try and find where the hell her bloody dummy had gone. Perhaps I should have held off to see if she could settle herself, but I don't think I actually wake up enough to be able to make that decision until I'm out of bed. I find myself standing by the side of her cot without really knowing how I've got there. Husband went one better though. He did not only not know how I got there, he completely failed to notice I'd got up at all. Grr.

So anyway, that's where we are. Still no sleep. Are you bored of these stories yet? I am. I feel I must apologise for the tedium - Bad Mammy wants sleep, tries something, it almost works, and then it doesn't, so she whinges. Repeat, and repeat, and repeat. Hopefully, if The Littl'un ever does decide that I can be allowed to complete a sleep-cycle, my writing will improve. Or at the very least, I'll have to find something different to complain about. Let's all look forward to that day.