I’m so lucky generally on this blog, the people who read it are lovely and kind and supportive, but you always get the odd few nasty comments. I’m too old now to care much about what other people think but this is a little piece about why I think its OK, or even important, to be able to occasionally bitch about parenthood…
An Ode To Honesty
Some people they may look at me,
All that’s sitting in my lap.
And I see why my grumbles taunt them,
If in their arms, there’s still a gap.
Others like to hear a tale,
With a rosy tinted hue.
But where’s the story going,
If the words we speak aren’t true?
Perhaps some find it simpler,
Embrace the change without a hitch,
But you can’t dip your toe in parenthood,
You can’t stay a selfish bitch.
My biggest boy has had the same bedroom since he was 18 months old and according to him it was ‘just not cool any more Mummy!’
He was right and I was worried that when friends come over they would diss him and trash his rep at school. Also I thought YAY project! And then got to work researching kids room decor on Pinterest (yep I know I wrote a post slagging it off a while ago but like Lily Allen I reserve the right to change my mind, and it’s worth noting that a lot of what I say is bollocks anyway).
You could easily loose days of your life on pinterest researching a bedroom your kid has absolutely no interest in. But as I was swooning over all the monochrome chic a nagging voice in my head said perhaps he should have a degree of involvement. So I asked him what he thought a cool bedroom would involve…
‘BATMAN of course!’
Before I became a parent, or more specifically before I became a parent to an actual child rather than just a baby you could do whatever the hell you liked with, I used to look at other kids with all their character branded garb and just be like URGH, yuk. Why would you dress your kids like that and not in breton stripes, cool cords and converse?!
In short I was probably the type of annoying person that I would now like to punch in the face. With a brick.
I was in the supermarket the other day, raising merry hell about not being allowed to use a Petits Filous as a dip for my KitKat (which was incidentally WELL WITHIN my basic human rights) when I saw another so called ‘toddler’ giving a brief whinge before being placated by a lousy bread-stick. Our predecessors would have been disgusted!
If you are tired, bored, sick of everyone around you or just feeling inherently evil for no reason whatsoever you NEED to make your feelings known. They don’t call it the ‘Terrible Twos’ for nothing – follow my simple guide to making this year horrific…
The How To Properly Sh*t Things Up Manifesto
Keep It Random – Pick two words and run with them. Think wellies in the bath or sleeping with the toilet brush, perhaps someone else looked out of YOUR car window or the cheerios you were served for breakfast seemed annoyingly round?
Be Inconsistent – This morning you understood the benefits of a coat and now if anyone so much as mentions your name and THAT word in the same sentence then you think they should DIE. Stuff changes and that’s totally fine!
Make It Public – If a toddler angrily pelts pieces of wooden train track at playgroup, and there is no one there for them to hit, does anyone require stitches?
Go Naked – Put forward a reasonable request but opt to do it without pants on. Always a winner.
So It’s Easter holidays and I’m so excited because… well… actually maybe i’m not very excited… because it was like, the shortest half a term ever and 3 weeks of it were chickenpox ridden so… to be honest I’d kind of like school to keep em for a bit but…
Anyway lets not complain!
Instead lets pretend that I am really looking forward to enjoying quality time with my kids who are like ALWAYS HERE. I’m thinking of it a bit like the pox round two, dreading it but then also looking forward to getting it out of the way.
But lets not think about that yet… *shudders*
So two weeks of kids – what to do? I did a little Google and landed on a Netmums page of suggestions which was jolly lovely! But as I read though the list I couldn’t help feeling that some people lead rather different lives to my own.
Here are a few that left my mouth slightly ajar…
- Mattress Manoeuvres – Drag a mattress downstairs (say what?!) into the most suitable room and put cushions around it and on any hard edges. Voila! Your own indoor soft-play centre. When they are tired (when is this?!), grab a heap of books and lie around (say what?!) reading.
- House work – Small children can help with sorting clothes and matching socks. A Smartie for every pair matched correctly is a great motivator. If my kids saw me clutching a pack of Smarties they would rip them out of my hands before I even had a chance to say ‘Can you help Mummy with…’. Young teenagers will love to be shown how to properly iron a shirt and be allowed to do such a grown up task. Now I don’t have teenagers and it’s been a long while since I was one but I don’t seem to recall learning to iron as a particular highlight.
- Teddy Bears Picnic – Write out party invites, make paper hats, cut out and colour paper plates, prepare a pass-the-parcel, make miniature sandwiches and snacks. I can hardly be arsed to throw parties for my own children’s birthdays.
- Duvet day – You are allowed at least one of these in your Easter break! A day when you all stay in your PJs all day. Borrow or swap some new DVDs, stock up on popcorn and chocolate, have a big bath together in the middle of the day… Sounded awesome until the big bath bit. WTF?!
- Afternoon disco – Get out your old tapes/CDs, decorate the lounge, turn the lights down and put up some fairy lights and tin foil Disco balls. Have a “bar” and mix fruit juice cocktails. Invite a friend or two. Dance! Does occasionally putting the radio on in the kitchen count?
- Get down the farm – Most of the farms aimed at children and families are open all year round and a Spring day is a great time to visit. Spot the new baby lambs and try to resist bringing one home. I think I get points here because we’ve done this! We preferred to play spot the premature dying baby lambs though and then talk about death a whole lot.
- Long Lie In – All snuggle in bed with a pile of books or a DVD – bring breakfast upstairs and don’t get up until you’re ready. If this is something that other people really do then I’m just going to go off and have a little cry.
- Soft Play – Feed the kids before you go and bring a bottle of water so you don’t have to buy expensive cafe food. Tell them that’s the deal before you go! ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!
I was just starting to feel like, hey it’s been a couple of weeks now so surely we’ve escaped the eldest getting it?
But then, hang on what’s that small red bump? Oh dammit.
F seems totally fine so I carry on with my plans of heading out to see friends.
I drink tequila, do ‘sexy dancing’ and turn up home in the early hours stinking of Burger King. I wonder at what age it will be achievable for me to have a civilised night out? It’s certainly not 35…
It’s Mother’s Day. I’m hungover and would have appreciated a lie in but instead small people come in to prise my eyes open with their fingers.
They have made sweet cards for me but let’s face it they don’t really get the whole point of this do they? Everyone could do with a refresher on the T’s & C’s to be honest. Perhaps re-branding it to ‘Keep The Kids Out Of My F*cking Face Day’ would help a bit?
Later we decamp to my Nana and Pop’s house, a magical place where all illnesses and behavioural issues magically (yet temporarily) disappear.
We get home and have time for a quick game of ‘death-copter’ before bed. I won’t go into the specifics as it’s rather harrowing but let’s just say it’s not one of my favourites.
Text from husband…
(We sometimes text using only emojis and no words because it is honestly quite funny but I realise it does sound a bit sad if you say it out loud and maybe even worse if you write it down on the internet).
Anyway turns out he means the littlest has chickenpox, tenuous at best. Never mind I am in London seeing friends. Not my problem.
Who cares i’m in LONDON still! :)
Day 3 – Subtitle: THE DAY OF NO SLEEP
Back home now and S seems mostly ok in himself. That is until bedtime when he decides to forego sleep in place of thrashing about like a wild animal.
The only thing that calms him down is Fireman Sam. How long do you think a 2 year old would be able to stay up watching Netflix?
Yes I was surprised too.
Rewards charts seem to be one of those opinion dividing things – some people swear by them, others don’t like the idea of having to bribe a child to behave. I’m of the opinion that I don’t really care why the child is co-operating as long as they are (with the exception of hitting) and I’m also of the opinion that most things in life are worth having a bosh at (with the exception of heroin).
Soon as reward charts don’t commonly involve either of those things and supposedly MAKE BEHAVING FUN we got stuck in.
When it came to drawing up a chart we did consider a simple two pronged approach:-
But although this seemed to cover all the bases, J thought we ought to be a bit more specific rather than honing in on the overall personality type. So the criteria we set were:-
- Getting yourself dressed
- Eating your lunch
- Being nice to your brother
- Eating your dinner
- Good phonics practice
- Dry pants
- Going to bed nicely
- NOT CRYING ALL THE TIME ABOUT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
One of the things we have been talking quite a bit about lately is dying.
No one has died luckily, but new interests in fighting and attacking and baddies also bring with them questions of what happens when you get inured and don’t get better.
Personally I choose to keep a somewhat open mind about what happens when you die, I would love nothing more than to imagine a heaven where we are all reunited but on your average day that often feels a little bit far-fetched. Fingers crossed though right?
Anyway whether you are a believer or a non believer one of the most popular ways to describe what happens when you die to a small fretful child is to say something along the lines of:
‘Blady bla has gone to be a star in the sky. If you ever miss them just look up and the shiniest, sparkliest one will be blady bla watching over us all’
Which sounds bloody lovely!
Except my guy ain’t buying that. Because essentially he is now thinking about a bunch of dead people floating around with a bunch of dead rocks in the great cold, expanse of nothingness that is space.
And that is not cool. So he wants the specifics.
Happy birthday sweet boy!
We got you your own scooter and tied it up with a big shiny balloon; together I saw them stamp out every ounce of babyhood that was lingering behind.
You’ve changed so much these last few months. You talk so much more, maybe slightly less than other kids your age but we don’t care about that. Your pronunciation is rubbish which I LOVE. You say ‘buuubrees’ (blueberries) ‘bapple’ (apple) ‘bthuses’ (buses) ‘beebuts’ (buttons) and ‘duddles’ (cuddles) and these versions will stay around a lot longer than they might if I didn’t keep reinforcing them, especially the duddles, always the duddles.
At two you are a fractious, defiant little ball of energy but a loving one who is a total mummy’s boy. You’re a bruiser, you wade in pushing and shoving and stand up to your brother and laugh as he throws footballer fake falls. I can tell I’m going to have to keep tabs on you.
Playing with you is a daunting experience, one minute you are laughing and the next you are shaking with anger that the train you are pushing won’t fit through a much smaller tunnel. It’s too small lovely, it’s just too small. The laws of physics are a tough lesson to learn I know.
…unless you are four and it means absolutely sod all.
Teaching kids manners, courtesy and societal norms is one of the biggest responsibilities of being a parent. But it doesn’t come without it’s challenges. Like any animal the natural urge is to snatch and grab and push and shove and thwack people over the back of the head with Buzz Lightyear.
Even as an adult, knowing right from wrong, it is hard sometimes not to wonder about kicking irritating people in the shins for, well being irritating. But we don’t because it’s not nice and it’s also a bit illegal, especially if you don’t make it look like a shopping trolley accident.
Instead we learn that the correct action is to smile sweetly and make small talk - ‘Oh no of course that’s fine, no I don’t mind AT ALL!’ - before going home for a good old fashioned bitch.
In our house we try and operate a no snatching, hitting, pushing or saying nasty things to each other policy which is REALLY successful every other Tuesday for 10 minutes if there is an adequate supply of biscuits and Spiderman is on the tellie.
The rest of the time it’s more like…So I’ll be like ‘Hey it’s not nice to hit your brother about the head’ and he’ll be like ‘BUT HE WAS RUINING MY GAME!!!!!!!!!!!’
And then I’ll be like ‘Well I don’t care, come and tell me, don’t just hit him! Say you’re sorry please!’ And he’ll be like…And I’ll be stood there thinking – hey is this kid really sorry? Just because, I don’t know, he doesn’t really look that sorry and he almost, kind of like, sang that apology. I mean he may as well have been doing the can-can whilst releasing party poppers, such was the atmosphere of general exuberance.