Saturday, 23 March 2013

S - Secret Tools!

Yesterday, my 5yo told me about some new tools his teacher has the given the class.

"They're invisible" he said looking at me with wide eyes. "And..." <dramatic pause> "... they are always in your pocket, so you can pull them out when ever you need them!"

"Ok" I said, then asked curiously "So what are these tools?"

"One is called "stick-ability" and you use that one if you are finding something hard and you just want to give up.You pull it out and stick-ability helps you keep on going"

"That's a good one" I said."What else you got?" Hoping there was an anti-wrinkle cream that actually worked in there

"There's "distraction action" I use this one a lot. If something's distracting me, like a noise or a person, then I pull it out and it helps me ignore them."

"Cool! I need that sometimes" I said thinking about time spent on twitter opposed to time spent writing " Can I borrow it?"

"No!" He replied flatly "You need to get your own tools. These are mine."

I was tempted to reply... Well buster, I'm one step ahead of you. I've been carrying around my own pack of invisible tools since the day you were born.

But I didn't, instead I decided I would write a blog post about them. Hoping you would appreciate hearing about them...

Some of my invisible tools that get me through the week...

False Smile

Ok. We all have this one. Remember the false laugh we learnt as pre-schoolers to appease adults who don't know how to communicate with children? You don't know what i am talking about? Introduce you child to Uncle Knobhead and see what they do... A false laugh right?

Well, the false smile is how that little, wary false laugh has evolved. And when you become a parent the false smile is perfected. It is used for nearly every other parent (apart from the select few which you LOVE obvs) you see on the school run, in the supermarket and wherever else they may pop up, as they are everywhere right? It is used for every child that isn't your own that talks to you, asks you a questions or requires your attention in some way. It used for everyone over the age of 60 who comments on your child's size, attire or behaviour. And when you are a broken human being, after clawing an ounce of sleep from the depths of desperation, that false smile is was saves you from being arrested for punching a pensioner in the nose!

Tongue clipper

I put this effective little clip on my tongue every time I go to playgroup. It stops me saying stuff like...
"You are full of bullshit"
"Your child's behaviour is horrendous"
"Please don't speak to me like that"
"I really don't give a shit!"
"I know you love your child desperately, but we don't"
"Does your voice always do that singsong thing or do you save it for when you are talking to me?"

"The Big Hummm"

This is really useful to bring out every time anyone wants to give you some advice. It works with all ages; if they are 70, 7 or 37, it is still very effective. All you have to do is let them speak and listen. Then pause. Now, just when it's quiet, throw a big "hummmmm" into the air, Then pause again. They will think you are considering it deeply, when really you are thinking: "I will never ever do what you just said"

"It's OK (not really) face."

When you say it's Ok, but your face is telling a very different story. Letting someone know, it is OK, but if it EVER happens again it won't be.

Very handy to have with you at all times.

Instances I have found it worthy of being used:

  • When you pick your child up from nursery and they have been allowed to glue their hat to their head
  • When your child breaks something VERY important, Like your phone, laptop, brother's favourite toy.
  • When your child accidentally spills a drink down you
  • When your own child spews up down your back
  • When someone mistakes you for being pregnant and you are FUCKING not! Actually, that's never ok.
  • When a stranger gets your child's gender wrong.
  • When an acquaintance calls your child Johnny. It's Jonty!
  • When you arrive to collect your child from somewhere and send out the wrong one!

So Mums, mums to be, Dads and the rest of the human race, share your secrets -what invisible tools do you carry around you?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Y- You can't run before you can walk

Unless you are my nephew, in which case you can.

Oh yes, this little baby who is as dainty and graceful on his feet as a dressage horse turned this phrase on his head.

This little tot decided walking was way too slow and boring. He was going to run and at least that way he would get from A to B without hitting the deck.

Which just goes to show there is no right way of doing it.

Some crawl

Some toddle

Some bum shuffle

Some do the worm

Some squirm

But however they do it. Whatever their adorable, unique manner. They all get to walking at some point.

FRom CArrying... To walking... Then running...Then running off... Then falling... Then screaming... And then you are carrying them again!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

T - Techy kids

My hypothetical kids were never going to watch TV, own computer games or have Mobile phones. My hypothetical kids would need nothing more that a good book and a bit of playdough. We certainly wouldn't be considering buying those hypothetical kids an ipod touch for their 3rd and 5th Christmas.

However, my real, breathing, demanding and digital kids are very different!

The TV is the 6th member of our family (they don't understand why he doesn't come on family days out with us) , the ipad is one of their toys and they laugh in the face of mobile phone security pins!

So these techy kids amazed me twice this week...

1) My Mum rang me up to tell me that after my 3 year old had been playing on her ipad, she recieved an email saying he add ordered a £90 electric fire from 1-click-to-buy amazon which would be delivered in the morning.

2) I had to explain to my 5yo that not everyone can pause live TV. And that unfortunately we are part of that few!

This led me to think of many future conversations I will have with my kids where they say "Shut up!" in disbelief (Essex accent optional)

1) "What? You had to go a Library? Why?"

2) "You couldn't pause live TV? What did you do if you needed a wee?"

3) "You wrote letters!"

4) " You had to start every Facebook update with 'is' "

5) "You didn't photoshop your pictures! You must have looked terrible"

6) "You didn't have a mobile till you were 18! How did you tell the time?"

7) "What? When mobiles first came out nobody texted?"

8) "You wrote your exams by hand!"

9) "You used money - wasn't that in the olden days"

10) "What the hell is a pager?"

11) "Nokia? What's a Nokia?"

When Nokia Ruled the World!

But the truth is, this is the world they live! And the digital transformation means it is a world that revolves around them. Then can pause the television whilst they run up for a wee and not have to desperately hold on till an advert break! They can find any TV programme on the internet and watch till their heart's content. Any piece of homework is only a copy and paste click away!

I have to except this is part of their lives and that the digital world is only going to get faster! Cbeebies is only going to become a better babysitter, it may even provide digital snacks one day! And they will run with it, as I jog slowly behind. I guess my job isn't to prevent them having access, but to protect them whilst they do.

Anyway, back to the comedy...

Please make me laugh... tell me what your kids will be unable to believe about the world you grew up in!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

P - Potty training

There isn't a parenting blog on the planet that doesn't include a post on potty training right?

Well, I held off as long as I could, but somethings are just inevitable...

But I have done potty training twice now, so that pretty much means I'm an expert right?


Potty training has no levels, no beginning, no end! And there are no fucking experts.

Just parents, children and poo!

It's just something you've got to get through, and then at some point you will find you are in a better place and life is OK again.

The Myths
"Whatever you do don't stop"
Bollocks! if isn't working stop! For the love of God - stop! For your sanity and your child's well being - stop! Any time you want - just stop!

"You'll know when your child is ready"
 No you won't... You'll agonise over it. Deliberate about it. Beat your self up about it for ages. Then you'll do it and after a day probably say "I don't think they were ready"

"You need to stay indoors" As if it isn't hellish enough, people encourage you to be under house arrest as well? Potties are portable, pull ups are available and you have spare clothes. And what's the worse that will happen? They''ll poo their kecks and you'll have to change them... you've been doing that since they were born anyway.

The Facts
  • No child is the same.
  • There is no "right" way or "wrong way" just The Way you choose to do it.
  • Nothing can't be fixed with some baby wipes and a change of clothes. (I also have carried anti-bac spray and roll too!)

Just be prepared that it'll take longer than you think and there will be accidents. On the upside it'll probably provide you with some funny stories to tell, you could even write a blog! Like when a perfectly formed poo fell out the bottom of my child's jogging bottoms whilst we were having coffee in a posh cafe, or when my middle son used his brother's birthday present as a potty, or when my parent's dog wolfed the potty contents or how about when the baby pulled the potty from under the toddler mid poo!

What am I saying? Potty training's not hard it's hilarious! It's been a blast!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

B - Breastfeeding

You don't have to go far to catch sight of a woman feeding a baby with a bottle do you? I mean they're everywhere right? At the park, in cafes, in playgroups, sat outside shops, on park benches, travelling on public transport, waiting in waiting rooms... My God the list is exhausting!

But a breast-feeding mum,  that can be quite rare.

Oh she probably is there somewhere, like a kingfisher lost in the colours of a riverbank, you just didn't see her. Because contrary to popular belief, a breast feeding mum isn't "getting them out here, there and everywhere", she's usually quietly sat in the corner, her top slightly ruched, with a baby wrapped around her belly as if it were sleeping.

But when I do see her, catch a glimpse of a feeding position or realise later, she was ACTUALLY breast-feeding her baby something I hadn't noticed straight away, I always feel the need to go over and hug her, congratulate her, suffocate her in admiration. But I stop myself. She doesn't need that. Because the likelihood is, to have got to this point, she already knows how amazing she is.

Because unfortunately for most, breast-feeding isn't easy, it's bloody hard work; there's a lot of tears, angst, self doubt and  challenges to overcome.  Then if the skill (which it most definitely is) is mastered, having the confidence to do it in front of people isn't as simple as just "getting them out".

Breastfeeding in public requires a thick skin, a subtle amount of confidence, a grounded outlook and a positive attitude. Some people are fortunate to have these already. Others have to find them, muster them or grow them.

I was one of these women.

For me the act of breastfeeding was relatively easy. OK I'll take those rose tinted glasses off... Yes with my first there were some challenges. But compared to other peoples' hardships, mine were quite easily overcome.

But I think i know why

Firstly, I did have an emergency c-section with my first, this meant I was in hospital for three nights after his birth. During my stay the breastfeeding support, advice and warmth I received from the midwives was first class. And if, like other new mums, I had discharged myself at the first opportunity, it may have been a different story.

Secondly breastfeeding wasn't really a choice for me, in my head it's just how you feed your baby. I'm pretty sure I breast fed my dolls. You know, after I'd given birth to them out of my jumper. But that's because I watched my Mum feeding my brother till he was two years old. Because she breast feed me whilst she breast fed my 18 month older sister, because she's probably still remembered by some, thirty years on, as "THAT women who breast fed in the cricket club" But for me, us, our family, it was the norm. So of course I was going to breast feed my own.

And, although now,as I type one handed whilst breast feeding my third son, it's difficult to remember the struggles, but there were some. In fact sometimes it was a two person job, (three if my mum was visiting) as me and The FH tried to get O to latch on to an over inflated, veiny, water-melon-shaped-boob that would project milk spray if the wind blew the wrong way. And yes, there were tears and tantrums as we desperately tried to remember the exact position of infamous "rugby-ball"  that had "SAVED THE DAY" on ward 17.

But when I got it, I really did get it and it seemed to be plain sailing...


Outdoors was a whole other kettle of fish.

I was really self-conscious. Worried (I have No idea why) about what others thought. Scared  Petrified about receiving negative comments (which unfortunately some women do). Convinced the world wanted to watch me feed my baby - which I have now realised it doesn't, but it should - I'm bloody good at it. But the reality is most people couldn't care less, they have their own lives to get on with, and really just aren't that interested in seeing my boobs; be it going topless on a beach in the Caribbean or feeding my child in the middle of a shopping centre, 99% of the population just aren't that interested.

But it took having three children to really understand this, to stop caring and to be really comfortable breast feeding in public,  I'm not sure what happened to make me this self-concious, but somewhere between being the girl who breast fed her dolls and becoming the young women who sunbathed topless on holiday, I let some people's idiotic views influence me. Which is a shame. A real shame. I wish I felt like I did now when I had my first, but it was a learning curve and I'm just glad I got there in the end.

I do believe that if breast-feeding did in fact make your boobs firmer that a lot more families would do it. Regrettably, in our shallow, vain and image-obsessed culture, health incentives for you and your baby aren't enough. But it seems if it gave you a cracking pair of tits we'd all be doing it!

I don't like to preach, or tell people they should do this, that or the other, purely because I have been on the receiving end of that... and it's exceptionally annoying

But I don't mind being smug, so here goes... One thing I am sure of, the decision to breastfeed my children is one of the best decisions I have ever made. So I couldn't let the week pass without commemorating it somehow.

So if you do happen to come across a women breast-feeding her child in public, you just need to do one thing: smile! Whatever you think, however you were fed, however you feed, just smile at her... Because I can assure you of one thing, she's not doing it to get attention, that baby is just bloody hungry!

This one obviously needs fattening up,

More tales of my boobs and public breast feeding are found here.

Monday, 6 August 2012

N - Need Help

I didn't set this blog up to give advice, just to share my experiences.

I am really fortunate; I have an excellent support network, I have my  fiance, my mum and sister round the corner, my parents in law at the end of the phone, ex-colleagues who have kids, new mum-friends from playgroups... I am really lucky, I have a lot of people around me,

So I set up this blog, to share my parenting stories, help others who may not have the same support. Because it's not advice that you want to hear, just experiences, as sometimes someone else is going through the same as you.

But for the first time, my support network can't help me. Together we are stumped.

So I am asking you, followers, Internet friends, twitterers and fellow parents to read, share and offer any advice you have.

In February my middle child (who is about to turn 3) had his tonsils and adenoids removed and grommets put it. This is a really heavy op for a 2 and a half year old to have. I only recently understood how heavy when different specialists  told me this op is something surgeons will hold off undertaking for as long as possible.

In our case, the specialist examined Jonty and then booked him in for the earliest operating appointment he could get; things must have been bad.

Only looking back I realise that they were.

He had suffered from chronic nose infections since he was born, he snored as loud as a grown man, suffered from sleep apnoea and was constantly tired and irritable, plagued by nose and ear infections.

The illness was bearable, but it was the way it was affecting his development and personality that broke our hearts.

Although we had flagged this up with Doctors since he was born and been told "babies are mucus-y", it was only when I had shared my concerns about his speech and hearing that they referred us to a specialist. The hearing test showed he wasn't localising any of the lower volumes, we couldn't get a percentage of his hearing loss as he completely flipped when they tried to put headphones on him, but the department's reactions showed us this was not good.

Afterwards, the surgeon who operated on him said his tonsils and adenoids were enormous, quite possibly the biggest he had seen.

Pre-operation his speech had lacked progression, he was still only using the handful of words he had formed a year earlier and the rest of his noises were undecipherable baby language. He had found ways to communicate, but he had never said "Mama", didn't attempt to craete a word for his brother and was frustrated that the world couldn't undertsand him. So he bagan to shut us out.

We had slowly watched him turn from a smiling bubbly baby to a shy, introverted toddler. He would remove himself from social situations, isolate himself at play groups, and was reluctant to interact with his grandparents or aunites and uncles.If visitors came to the house, including our family, he would take himself off upstairs. Shutting the door.

Post - operation we have slowly seen him return. A new day brings new words. He is confident, sometimes to the point of cockiness, and at my brother's wedding a few weeks back  he was the life and soul of the party. He couldn't get enough of socialising.

I can't tell you how good this has been. The interaction, the moments, hearing him say my name, reading a book together, laughing and giggling over words, sounds; enjoying together the world around him.

Things are good; everything is falling into place.

Apart from one thing...

In December (2 months before Jonty's op) I gave birth to my third son Leo. He is a wonderful baby. He rarely cries, pretty much slept for the first 3 months and is always smiling.

However,now he is 7 and half months and become quite vocal, The usual stuff: teething noises, babbling, exploring sounds and he does have quite a loud cry if something startles him.

Last month Jonty started whimpering when Leo cried. And if we were somewhere where I couldn't comfort Leo or Jonty, like pushing them in a buggy on the school run, or driving in a car, this whimpering would turn to a full-scale tantrum where Jonty became hysterical, inconsolable and distressed.

This has now escalated so when Leo makes any noise at all, a babble, laugh or a yawn, Jonty screams, wails or shouts.

I was hoping when the holidays came, with my partner being off and two of us on hand, this would be ok, but things are getting worse.

And it's wearing us all down. If you have any advice, please share it with me. He has come so far and is doing so well it's heart breaking to see him so traumatised by his own brother's voice.

So here's some more info:
  • Jonty doesn't like it when any child cries, his older brother, or some one at play group hurting themselves will reduce himto sobs.
  • No other noises seem to effect him , but when we were watching a live swing band the other day he covered his ears
  • Jonty has never interacted with the baby, generally he isquite wary of him.
  • When I had Leo and Jonty came to hospital to see me, he caught sight of his brother and buried his head in his dad's shoulder and wept.
  • Jonty's speech is improving, but he you can't reason or explain yet... he is still learning to follow simple instructions and interpret sounds

This is what we have tried:
  • Reassurance, lots of cuddles and comfort when he cries
  • Possitive association, encouraging Jonty to play with Leo.
  • (not ideal, only in desperation) Separating them different rooms, different floors
  • Sending Jonty upstairs to his room to play when he does it
  • Reasoning
  • Talking
  • Calming
  • Shouting (when pushed to it)

Please help, offer advice, or share this blog to see if anyone you know has been in a similar situation.

This is the only part of my parenting where I have thought "I can't do this" and that really isn't a nice feeling, if it wasn't for this one thing, life would be perfect. I know I am very fortunate to be able to say that, but I do need some help with this bit...

Thank you x x

Monday, 25 June 2012

Y - Yummy Mummy

I hate the term Yummy Mummy.
In fact, I find it offensive.
I find it offensive if someone uses it about me. Just because I've kids doesn't mean you can judge me on how I look. Yes it's a compliment, but it's also like saying "I actually think all Mums look like shit, but you are alright I suppose"
I've always looked like this. The baby hasn't made be better or worse looking, it has just meant some days I don't have time to apply make-up or do my hair.
I know the days when I do look better though. Not just because I've put make up - they are the days when more dads smile at me on the school run than mums. And as much as I think that is wrong, it is true. Sorry.
But what I really hate is when people call themselves a Yummy Mummy.
Really - you're putting that out there?
But they do... On Twitter, on FB updates, on blogs, on a sodding car sticker "Yummy Mummy on board" - Yes they have made one. And, yes the Yummies are using it.

Don't ever buy me one. Not even as a joke.
But imagine this, you are scrolling through people to follow on Twitter and you come across someone called "DishyDad" what do you think?
 "What a cock?"
Works both ways.