Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


I've got a bumshuffler!

Yup, The Littl'un is on the move. Only a little bit so far. But I keep putting her down and turning my attention elsewhere (the internet, removing Rice Krispies from The Toddler's hair, etc), and when I look back, she's about a foot further forward from where she was. It's quite exciting. It's always nice when your child learns something new, but, I've got to confess, it's so much less enthralling the second time around. For one thing, you're not eagerly, and slightly nervously awaiting each one, hoping that yours won't be the last to do something, thus showing you up at baby group. With your second, you already know that they'll do it in their own time, when they're good and ready, and not a moment before.

But the bumshuffling is fun for me to watch. The Toddler never did it. In fact, long-time readers might recall that The Toddler was not in any hurry to get anywhere under her own steam. She rolled late, and never used it as a getting-around technique (although neither does The Littl'un), she crawled late, and then proceeded to drag her body round in a way that suggested she was only doing it under sufferance, and walked late. She much preferred to sit around, eating and looking like a cross between baby and beach ball. Bless her little face. So it's quite interesting to see a baby who seems desperate to get places. I have to rescue her a lot when she faceplants the carpet though.

But although it's lovely and amusing right now, it means the day is coming when I need to pay a lot more attention to what she's doing. I'm going to need more sleep for this to work out. Please.

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Day in The Life...

..of Bad Mammy, The Toddler and The Littl'un.

What follows is a true and more or less accurate depiction of a typical day chez Bad Mammy.

7am: The Toddler wakes up shouting "My mammy!". It does not seem to have occurred to her that, as she is in a bed, she could just get up herself if she really wanted to. I go and get her, and bring her back to our bed, where I spend the next half an hour persuading her that she wants to go back to sleep, instead of climbing on me.

7.30am: Decide I can no longer ignore the demands for breakfast. Drag my unwilling arse out of bed, fetch The Littl'un and head downstairs. Explain to The Toddler that she can't have Cheerios because we don't have any. Ask her what she wants instead. She says Cheerios. Explain again, ask again, get "Cheerios" again. Lose my rag and tell her she's having Rice Krispies. Argue about whether she's having milk on them or not. She wins, eats them dry, and scatters them all over the kitchen floor in the process. I spoon porridge into the baby, and try and make myself a cup of tea that is not completely rubbish.

8am: Sit on the sofa drinking my crap tea, while The Toddler demands telly. Tell her she can't have any (the rule is not before 9 o'clock), and to play with her toys.

At some point after 9am: give in and put the telly on. Quite often this happens at 9:01. Laze around in pyjamas, occasionally making a half-hearted effort to get The Toddler to play with something, and now and then giving The Littl'un something new to chew.

10:30 am (ish): Realise The Littl'un is scratching her head so hard she's gouging chunks out of it, which means she's tired. Put her down for a nap, crossing my fingers that today is not one of the days she's going to scream in protest about that. If it's not, decide it might be a good time to get out of my pyjamas. Cajole/threaten/wrestle The Toddler up the stairs and try and find her a sensible outfit to wear. Eventually let her wear her best party dress, just to avert the tantrum. Keep The Toddler happy while I am in the shower by giving her a flannel and telling her to clean the shower door. Hope I can get clean before she gets bored of this and starts opening all my tampons, or wanders into my room and pulls all my handbags out of the wardrobe.

12 noon: Lunchtime. Ask The Toddler what she wants for lunch, and get the reply "ham sandwich", as I do every day. Make her one, and plonk a piece of toast in front of The Littl'un, trying to forget how much salt bread has in it. The children eat their lunch, I stand in the corner of the kitchen, munching on crisps and pretending not to notice that the dishwasher needs emptying.

12:30pm: The Toddler has wandered off, having resisted my efforts to make her see that a sandwich is not a sandwich if you don't eat the bread. The Littl'un starts to cry, which reminds me that I haven't fed in her in a long while, and that, yet again, I have managed to forget that it's meant to be milk before solids. Attempt to feed her. She guzzles greedily for 5 minutes, before spending the next 20 minutes bobbing on and off in between looking around the room at nothing in particular.

1:30pm: The Toddler starts complaining that she's tired. As usual, refuses to believe that the answer to this is to go to sleep. Sit her on the sofa, put Toy Story on.

3pm: Decide that's quite enough TV. Enforce fun activity. Preferably one which requires very little input from me. Before 30 minutes have passed, The Toddler will have got bored of said activity and/or The Littl'un will have tried to eat it. Tired shouts of "I want the telly. Want Beebies" ensue. I will not crumble.

4pm: I crumble. The Littl'un needs feeding anyway. Then I have to make tea.

5pm: Tea-time. The one part of my day I can be proud of. A lovely, nutritous, low-salt, home-cooked meal is served. The Toddler tells me she doesn't like it, and The Littl'un throws it on the floor.

6:25pm: Peppa Pig has finished. If The Toddler is in a good mood, she turns off the TV herself, and obligingly trots upstairs. If she's not, there are tears, shouts, threats, messing about on the stairs, and finally, frog-marching. Put children in the bath. The Littl'un gets overexcited by the discovery that if she kicks her legs she can make a BIG SPLASH, which pisses The Toddler off. Get them out and dried. Run around the landing chasing The Toddler, who has decided she doesn't want her pyjamas on.

6:45pm: Story time. Read "Father Christmas Needs a Wee". Deny requests to read "Father Christmas Needs a Wee again". Deny requests for extra stories. Tell The Toddler to hurry up into the bathroom and have her teeth brushed, as The Littl'un is trying to get milk out of my shoulder. Bed, final story and song. Explain that if she needs a wee, she will have to go now, as I need to feed The Littl'un. She declines.

7pm: The Toddler is in bed. Settle down to feed The Littl'un. Immediately hear "I want a wee wee". Ignore, hoping she will just go in her nappy, until the hysterics start. Go and try and put The Toddler on the toilet while simultaneously feeding The Littl'un. Wonder why I don't learn that this very rarely works.

7:45pm: The Littl'un is down, The Toddler is out. Go downstairs, sit on the sofa and stare blankly in front of me.

10pm: Start thinking about bed. After I've just checked Facebook/Twitter/ScaryParenting one more time....

11:30pm: Finally get into bed. Lie there silently without sleeping, in anticipation of one of them waking up to have a whinge.

Midnight: Decide it might be safe to actually go to sleep.

1am: Am woken by an ominous-sounding whinge. Go and replace The Littl'un's dummy and turn on her lullaby dog thing. She settles back down

1:10am: The Littl'un makes more noise.

1:20-2:00am: The Littl'un cries then starts to settle, or cries, then wakes fully, then starts to settle, roughly every three minutes.

2:00am: The Littl'un is now thoroughly, thoroughly sleepy, but still unable (or unwilling) to drop back off to sleep. She is now screaming, and I am trying rocking, jiggling, stroking, giving water, and anything else I can think of that is not feeding her, as I am as positive as I can be, given that she has not yet mastered the English language, that she is not hungry. Meanwhile, a voice in my head is going "If you just fed her, you could all be back asleep in 15minutes". I yell at it to shut up.

3:00am: I finally find whatever it is that will work to get her off to sleep, for tonight anyway. Go and see The Toddler, who has of course been woken by all these shenanigans, and is now demanding a drink of water. She takes one sip and puts it down.

3:10am: The Toddler shouts again. I try ignoring her, so she shouts louder. Go and give her another paltry sip of water.

3:30am: Finally fall asleep

5am: The Littl'un starts squawking for food. Go and settle down in my chair to feed her.

5:45am: Wake up with a start, realising I have fallen asleep in the chair with the baby balanced precariously on my lap. Put her back in her cot, and go back to bed, noting that it will soon, once again be...


Lather, rinse, repeat.

Obviously, not every day is like this. Sometimes I go to the Metro Centre. But there are too many of them for my liking. So as well as being utterly, utterly knackered, I'm feeling bad at how crap I am at being an interesting, fun and effective parent.

Oh well. New Year, new start. This is the good thing about my dual heritage, just when my Western New Year good intentions have inevitably fallen by the wayside, along comes Chinese New Year to give me another kick up the arse (I am not the kind of person who can kick myself up the arse just because it needs doing, I need some kind of Significant Date). I will try and fix the sleep problems, and if I can't, then I'm just going to have to stop feeling sorry for myself and learn to function without.

Gong hei fat choi.

PS I realise that Husband is conspicously absent from this day. There are sometimes days when he's gone or sleeping for pretty much most of the day, but these are mercifully rare. When he's here, the dishwasher does get emptied, he's the one arguing about Rice Krispies, and I get a decent cup of tea.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


.. I'm being a bit crap at posting anything. I have things I could tell you about nighttimes, but it's all too distressing and I can't talk about it without wanting to go and weep in a corner.

On the other hand, The Toddler has decided she likes mushrooms again. We must count our blessings, however small.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Bit of A W(h)ine

There is a lovely moment, on a relaxed, quiet evening, where you look at your empty wineglass, think of the bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge, wonder if you'll have another, and decide, d'you know what? You will.


Alas, this moment has been denied to me for 1 year, 3 months and 27 days. Ish. Not that I'm counting or anything.

This seems a very silly thing to complain about. I am a grown-up, responsible woman who has been lucky enough to have enjoyed a very good breastfeeding relationship. But it is somewhat getting in the way of another important relationship, that of mine with wine. I like wine. Wine is nice. I'm not really a one for getting drunk very often, as a bad head, raging thirst, unexplained bruises and vomit are even less appealing once there are small people in your life, but I do enjoy a glass of wine after a day of making silly faces at The Littl'un and telling The Toddler to put stuff down. And, thanks to The Littl'un and her hideously inconsistent feeding regime, a glass is all I can have. Sadface.

Yup, she still has not decided what times she would like to wake me up at. It might be 4am, or it might be half-past ten. And there is seemingly no rhyme or reason behind what time it will be, so I have no way of knowing whether that second glass of wine will be safely metabolised by the time Madam wants feeding, or whether it would result in me giving her the equivalent of a Pinot Grigo-shake (how rank would that be, by the way?). I am trying to phase out the night-feeds, but in my usual half-arsed, not-really-trying-all-that-hard kind of way. I was totally fed up and desperate to stop them, and had a pretty epic night where I tried not to do one, which ended up involving lots of rocking, some tears, an argument, a small cup of formula and me eventually just feeding her (I was going to share it with you on here, but there was no way I could have had a sense of humor about it), but I've calmed down about it now. I've been shortening the lengths of the feeds, and we're down to 5 minutes now, which is totally copeable-with, and I'm kind of vaguely hoping that eventually she'll realise that it's hardly waking up for. So yay, for being happy again. But boo for NO SECOND GLASS OF WINE.

This is so ridiculous. Really, I'm aware of that. It's even more ridiculous because, left to my own devices, I usually decide that I don't actually want a second glass of wine, and that a cup of tea (if Husband's making. His tea is awesome. Mine, not so much) is a much more sensible and appealing prospect. But now it is forbidden fermented fruit, it makes me sulky that I can't have it. I don't like being told what to do.

Bah. I'm going to go and sulk into my very small glass now. Cheers.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Year of the Olympocalypse

Or something.

Happy New Year everyone! I'm not really one for getting in a tizzy about the date changing (it does happen every 24 hours, after all), but I am a one for the New Years Resolution. I know you can make changes to your life whenever you like, but I always need some kind of Significant Event to prevent me from making excuses. I made some last year, and did well at them for a while, but then I kind of forgot I had them, so did not end up becoming the new, improved Less-Bad Mammy that I'd hoped. But my sister's introduced me to the concept of the quarterly resolution, which my ever-more-useless brain can probably cope with a bit better. So this is what I would like to achieve in the next few months.

First of all, I am going to spend less time on the internet. I did give up, honest. Mostly. And I was very good for a while, apart from I took to reading the comments on the Daily Mail website to find things to get good and annoyed about instead. And I found plenty. I don't recommend it. If ignorance is bliss, some of those people are in freaking nirvana (the state of being, not the band). Anyway, I had a bit of a ScaryParenting lapse over Christmas, but now I am going to be virtuous, and productive, and interesting and all sorts of other things that I'm not terribly good at being when I have my nose glued to the laptop.

Second of all, I am going to get some sleep. This may be a tricky one to accomplish, as it depends on the co-operation of two small people who are not quite au fait with the concept of resolutions. Or with sleep, for that matter. But that is going to change. The Toddler is going to learn to stay asleep, and not wake up demanding drinks, and songs, and medicine, and cuddles, and breakfast, or just going "Mammy. MY Mammy!" at all hours of the night, every other night. How I'm going to make this happen without just ignoring her (which makes me feel awful, and doesn't even bloody work), I have yet to work out.

The Littl'un is, likewise, going to learn to sleep for more than four hours at a time. We keep swinging back to two night feeds (technically, at least one of them is a very early morning feed, but still), and I am less than impressed. It's weird, and hard to explain. I don't mind doing one night feed, not really. If she sleeps til 3 or so before wanting a feed, I can live with that (obviously, I'd like it more if she slept til 7 or so, but let's call that phase two of the plan). But if I have to feed her before that, I really, really don't like it. It's not the lack of sleep particularly. It's just that it feels like a step backwards. It feels like we're not getting any closer to her sleeping through, and it feels like we're never going to get any closer. It makes me want to go aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhhhh (and sometimes I do), because it always has to be me. And I don't want to stop breastfeeding, because I'm far too lazy to faff about with formula (and too poor to buy those little cartons all the time), I just want to stop doing that feed. Especially as I don't think she is actually hungry, she's just not very good at getting herself back off to sleep, and my arm can only jiggle her about for so long before it feels like it's about to fall off, which I don't enjoy. So yes, concerted effort will be made to encourage her towards nicer sleeping habits. Again, not the faintest idea how. All I want is an approach which means I don't have to feed her, but is easy, does not require huge amounts of patience, does not involve leaving her to cry and has results straight away. That's not asking too much, surely......?

I am also going to stop letting my house, and the mess it contains, win. House, you will be clean, you will be tidy, and you will stay that way. I am going to stop eating so much crap, and do more yoga. Stomach, you will be toned, if always stretchmarked. And I am going to make more of an effort to do nice things with my children. Daughters, you will be stimulated and entertained, whether you like it or not.

I think these last few will be easier if the first couple go well. And it all starts today. Well maybe not today. It's already nearly over, and it's a public holiday. Tomorrow. But tomorrow's Husband's birthday, so we're still in celebratory mode. The day after. Definitely......