Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Domestic Goddess. Ha.

If you were wandering past my house at about 1.30 this afternoon, first of all, why didn't you come and say hi? Second of all, you might have glanced into my kitchen and seen a delightful picture of domestic bliss. Mother and toddler in co-ordinating pinnies, mixing, stirring and measuring the ingredients for Nigella Lawson's banana bread, while a cake-mix spattered baby gleefully bashed a spoon on her highchair tray. You might think (although you probably wouldn't) "Family baking time. Now there is a mother who has got her shit together."

You would be quite, quite wrong.

The baking was fine - I forgot the vanilla essence (again. Every bloody time!), we made a massive mess and The Littl'un ate a LOT of flour - but apart from that today has actually incorporated a not-insubstantial amount of fail on my part.

I knocked half a glass of Diet Coke over my living room carpet. Ironically, while talking about carpet cleaning. The Littl'un has also thrown up on it in approximately 796 seperate locations.

I inadvertently taught The Toddler how to go to the toilet on her own (I actually did this yesterday, it's only today that I've noticed that it was a slightly silly thing to have done). Until this point, she has been out of nappies, but not ever asking to go, and just waiting until I notice her clutching her pants and dancing around and take her. Now, however, she wants to go every 24 seconds, and I am not allowed to go with her, and she wants to wipe her own bum. And when I say "wipe", I mean "wave a third of a roll of toilet paper in the vague direction of her nether regions". And she's still demanding jellybeans.

I didn't get the chicken I was going to cook for tea out of the freezer last night, deciding that I would do it first thing in the morning. First thing in the morning came and went in a haze of porridge and "No! I don't want that cup!", and by the time I realised the chicken was still in the freezer, it was nearly 10 o'clock. I got it out anyway. This is the thing about my newish habit of planning meals for the week - I save a fortune at the supermarket, but my brain can not cope with any ad-hoc changes to The Plan. Realised about half an hour before it needed to be in the oven that it was still resolutely frozen. Plonked a protesting Littl'un in bed, and The Toddler in front of Bubble Guppies, and set about trying to defrost it. Soon realise that you can't really defrost a whole chicken in the microwave, and that it most of it is still icy, but the wings are almost cooked. Ask Google. It tells me to put it in a bag and submerge it in cold water, which I do, before remembering what happened the last time I tried to defrost something in two different ways (24 hours of crippling stomach pains). Hum, hah, phone my mother, and decide to give the children pasta with Philadelphia and frozen spinach. Again. Hum and hah (or is it umm and arr?) for the next two hours about whether to cook it later when fully defrosted. Google again and come up with something about "heat-stable endotoxins", which sounds scary. Throw whole bloody thing in bin.

"But the baking"! I hear you cry (only in my head, granted, but I can hear it). "Surely the fact that you took the time to do such a wholesome activity with your children negates all of this chicken-silliness and means you are, in fact, a SuperMum?" Well, you'd think, wouldn't you? But actually, the baking hides a multitude of sins. We bake quite often in this house. It's often, as it was today, a pasttime I engage in as a substitute for leaving the house and doing anything proper. I had had notions of going to the park, or taking The Littl'un to get weighed (she's fallen off her stupid line again), but could be arsed to do neither, so baking was a way of feeling like I had done SOMETHING with my children. It also made me feel slightly better about the fact that The Toddler had spent a large portion of the day transfixed by the televsion, and The Littl'un had spent it sitting on the living room floor, trying to crawl (and failing) and chewing on a sock (she wasn't even wearing socks today, so where that came from, I have no idea).

It is also a measure of how selfish and lazy I am that baking is the only real chance my kids get to do messy play. If I'm feeling particularly energetic and/or The Toddler has been watching a scary amount of TV, I might break out the finger paints, but otherwise flour, sugar and bicarb are their playthings. I'm just no good at messy play. I have no imagination, and no patience, and spend the whole time thinking about cleaning it up again. I need some kind of tangible, and preferably edible, end result to persuade me into it. Messy play is one of those hidden things that parenthood throws your way that you're meant to somehow be able to do. Sod breastfeeding workshops and hospital visits where they show you what the epidural needle looks like (clue: big) - what expectant parents need is a crash course in making play-dough and spaghetti play.

So, a mixed day, all in all. Oh well, at least, at the end of it, there is cake.

Friday, 24 February 2012


It just doesn't stop. It's relentless. It doesn't matter how I'm feeling, or what else is going on, it never, ever ends. I just want a break. I want to be able to take one day off. Please, can no-one give me that?

Not motherhood. The washing.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

1 Week.....

That is how long it has been since...... The Toddler had a nappy on during the day.

A whole weeek of big-girl pants. Big-girl pants that have not had wee in them. THIS IS NOT A BIG DEAL. DO NOT GET EXCITED. I am absolutely not ready to even suggest that she might be toilet-trained, for several reasons:
1. She still poos in her pants, swiftly and secretly, and then waddles around telling me she needs a wee
2. She still doesn't ask to go, and it's only because Husband and I have actually somehow remembered to take her for frequent loo visits that the wees have happened where they should.
3. There's still an awful lot of bribery going on, with new toys, star stickers, and many, many jelly beans
4. I'm scared that if I do suggest it, it will suddenly cease to be remotely true. In fact, I'm seriously questioning my decision to write this, in case I jinx it.

So yes, we are - perhaps, maybe, possibly - Getting There. She is no longer throwing herself off the toilet in a tantrum every time we sit her there, or weeing on my carpet every half an hour, or at least, she hasn't done it this week, so even if we've got a long way to go, I'm feeling cautiously pleased, and less of an utter failure about the whole thing.

You watch, I'll be posting tomorrow saying I've had the 1001 out again.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

I'm Crap At This

Blogging. Not motherhood. Or maybe motherhood as well.

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It has been 10 days since my last bout of blithering. Don't worry, you're not missing anything. It's all been pretty much like this, except everyone's had colds, The Littl'un's turned into a limpet, and I've swapped their bedtimes round so I'm no longer rushing The Toddler through her stories while The Littl'un tries to eat my face. I'm really not sure why it took me so long to figure out that might be a good idea.

Anyway, more soon. Hopefully I can report some progress with various things. That'd be nice. If unlikely.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Beginning of the End

I appear to have started stopping breastfeeding. This makes me a little bit sad, because it makes me realise that my little baby gets less and less baby-ish every day. And also because the stupid formula powder goes everywhere and I'm very good at filling the kettle up but not actually turning it on.

Tomorrow was going to be the first day I dropped a feed. I have a Keeping In Touch day at work, so The Littl'un will be spending the day with my mother, and because there is no breastmillk in my freezer and I am too lazy to express any, I thought that it was as good a time as any to drop that feed, in preparation for going back to work properly (I know there are plenty of women who succesfully continue breastfeeding while back at work, but like I said, lazy). So tomorrow, the day she turned 8 months, was going to be the beginning of the end. But I couldn't wait that long. I've been trying not to breastfeed at night, because it was starting to drive me ever-so-slightly batshit crazy. I was hoping I could do this by encouraging her to sleep through, but weeks of hideous nights (which I am still to sensitive about to write about properly) have shown me the folly of that plan. I had been convinced that The Littl'un wasn't actually hungry when she was screaming at night, but on testing this theory with a carton of Cow & Gate, it seems I was wrong. Cue lots of guilt. Oops.

So, her night feed is now formula, from tomorrow her afternoon feed will be formula, and in a couple of months time, I will have stopped completely. In many ways, this is a Very Good Thing. I will be able to be on my own for more than 4 hours at a time, should I so wish. I will be able to wear nice bras, and clothes that I have chosen solely for how they look as opposed to ease of access. I will, in short, be free again (relatively speaking, that is. I'm not sure how free mums of two small children ever actually get to be). And I know that I've done really well to breastfeed for this long, and that loads of people don't manage it or even want to, and that it can be hard work. I know that some people probably even think it's a bit weird that I've carried on for nearly 8 months, and that I should have stopped well before now (and there are people that would rather I didn't do it at all, especially near them. But I have little time for them).

So why do I feel so guilty?

I'm normally the first person to say women shouldn't beat themselves up about breastfeeding. I love it and think it's brilliant, but I totally understand it's not the be-all and end-all. But I can't shake the feeling that I shouldn't be stopping yet, and that people will look down on me for doing so.

My internet addiction is partly to blame for this, I realise. Parenting forums are disproportionately full of women who are really, really passionate about breastfeeding. It makes me lose sight of the fact that most people could not give a flying fart about what I'm feeding my child. As long as my reasons are good enough for me, then that's all that matters right?

That's the thing. To myself, my reasons for stopping sound lame. I don't like being the one who always has to get up in the night. I'm getting sick of having little fingernails sinking in to the top of my chest. I'm going back to work soon and can't be arsed to express. I want to wear dresses again. I'm going out in March and I'd like to drink cocktails and send the kids to Grandma's to sleep. I just plain don't really want to do it anymore. All these reasons seem selfish and trivial, and I get annoyed with myself that I'm not selfless enough to just put all these aside for a few more months so that my baby can have better milk and I don't have to give any money to Mr Cow and Mr Gate. If it was anyone else telling me they wanted to give up and felt bad about it, I'd tell them not be so daft. Perhaps we are biologically designed to breastfeed longer, but sometimes life just gets in the way. But as always, we're our own harshest critics.

The guilt is not enough to keep me going though. And I think that's OK. I don't want to do it out of guilt. I want to look back at breastfeeding as something I loved to do, not as something I felt pressured in to. Apparently, breastfeeding promotion has moved on from "Breast is best" to "Every breastfeed counts", so I'm going to try and keep that in mind, because I can count an awful lot of them, and I'm proud of that. Even if I could do better, I've done well.