Tag Archives: clothes

And What Would Madam Like to Wear Today?

Butter Wouldn't Melt...

Butter Wouldn’t Melt…

It’s no good – I’m going to have to admit defeat.

I am no longer the most stubborn person in our household.

Who have I lost the crown to?

Mini of course. That sweet little girl, who has just turned two and a half, has a stubborn streak that is wider than she is.

It all sneaked up on me.

It started innocuously enough with a preference for wearing a certain hat or coat. I put it down to her having a thing about hats and thought it was cute.

Then it progressed and things got a little more serious, spreading to her entire outfit. Now, trying to get her to wear something she doesn’t want to is akin to trying to dress an octopus whilst blindfolded, and a belligerent, drunken octopus at that.

Consequently we have been known to venture outside with her wearing her brother’s underpants.

Over her jeans.

Or her Halloween costume for three days in a row. In December.

I have found a tactic that seems to be working. I catch her just as she’s waking up and present her with a choice of two pairs of leggings. She’ll wave a sleepy hand at one of them and I’ll move swiftly on to a top. For some reason she always takes longer choosing her socks. We could have several drawn out moments where she’ll stroke her chin and point at first one pair then the other, umming and aahing as she does so, before she finally chooses. I’m not sure if this is because she’s more awake by this time or she has a thing about socks.

(I think she might have inherited my thing about socks.)

I’m making the most of being able to direct her choice of attire, at least a little, since I don’t expect to be able to do so when she catches on, probably, oh, about the middle of next week.

She also has very clear idea about the way she wants some other things as well. She’s a bit of a neat freak (I think that must be one of those weird characteristics that skip a generation or two because she certainly didn’t get it from me or the Other Half), so she has to be the one who wipes the table down before dinner. She also has a thing about emptying her plate in the bin, normally the one in the living room. This isn’t usually a problem, since she eats an awful lot of toast, although I’m glad I managed to catch her just in time last night after she decided she didn’t want the rest of her mandarins and custard.

I’m also glad we have laminate floors.

Part of her neat-freakishness is having a clear idea of where things should be and woe betide anything, or anyone, in the wrong place. One of her first sentences was “You sit there,” delivered in a stern tone with suitably imperious gestures. She’s just as bad when I’m feeding her. I have to be in the right seat and sitting (or lying depending on her mood) in exactly the right position. She’s just as bad with her dad and brother (about where they’re sitting, not the feeding bit) and they are both remarkably patient about it all considering. Bedtime can be entertaining as she has to arrange all her toys to her satisfaction before I can tuck her in. I’ve tried to discern a pattern in how she does this but it eludes me and she’ll give me a telling off if I try to help her, mostly I think because I always get it wrong.

I know she’s growing and that developing a sense of independence is important, as is her having an opportunity to be involved in some of the decisions that affect her, even if those decisions are about clothes or food.

I am pleased she’s found her independent nature and that she’s not letting herself be overshadowed by Motormouth who is much more exuberant and dramatic, showing instead that she is determined and not to be swayed once she’s decided on her course. I will admit that sometimes I wish she was a little more compliant, especially when I’m trying to get us all out of the house in the morning, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that sometimes the only way I’m going to win is by getting her to think that my suggestions are really her ideas in the first place. Either that, or I’m going to have to grit my teeth, grin and bear it and put up with a her wearing purple trousers with a green T shirt and her brother’s yellow socks.

That and be grateful that the one thing she isn’t really fussy about is what she has to eat.

Yet.

Boxers Not Briefs Please, Mummy

I Love My Uniform!

I Love My Uniform!

OK.

I know it’s been a few days weeks since the last post and all I can say is sorry – real life sort of took over and hijacked me.

Motormouth started school, which was of course a really big thing, and we were trying to cram as much as we could into the time we had left with him, mainly because the Other Half works a lot of weekend days. I think we did pretty well getting to the Historic Dockyard (twice), Sitingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway (twice), the Royal Engineers museum, picnics, trips to the park… Eventful if knackering.

Then, of course, there were the mutual support communiques with other parents whose children were about to take the plunge into education – the difficulties of getting exactly the right colour of fleece in something approximating the size you think you’re child will grow into around Christmas had the potential to generate quite a thread.

Strangely enough, we all seemed to be doing OK with underpants. At one point, oh, maybe a week before school started, I had managed to get two pairs of PE shorts and a dozen pairs of boxers (Motormouth has decided he’s too grown up to wear underpants, so boxers it has to be. Why are boxer shorts for a 4 year old more expensive than they are for the other half anyway?). I felt really bad until I found out I wasn’t the only one. Thank you Facebook.

Motormouth loves his school uniform, at least so far, which is a bonus. I really didn’t fancy the arguments to get him dressed, the daily Battle of the Toothbrush is quite enough, thank you very much. We have had the odd meltdown, especially when I wouldn’t let him wear his baseball cap to bed, or his trousers in the garden. I can deal with those. At the moment anyway.

As to how it’s standing up, Motormouth is proving to be a true boy. On the first day he came back with a lump of play doh the size of my head ground into the knee of his trousers. (OK I might be exaggerating there, it may only have been the size of his head).

The second day he managed to get tiny little splatters of blue and yellow paint all over the back of his sweatshirt. It’s just a shame his school colours are red, white and grey.

Then we had a day’s grace before I had to pick up MudBoy, which was odd since I was sure I’d dropped Motormouth off there in the morning.

It’s just as well they make trousers with Teflon these days (it must have been a parent who had that idea.) It was quite sweet when he put his trousers in he washing machine on the Friday night and came to ask me how to turn it on. It was a little while before I could persuade him that we really did need to wash more than one item at a time.

Then of course we have the mystery of the disappearing socks. He started school (was it only 10 days ago) with 10 pairs of socks. They all went into his newly-cleared school uniform drawer. Three days in and I was scrabbling in the washing bin to find a pair of socks, hoping he wouldn’t notice since he has a strong belief that everything in the washing pile must be stinky (including the T shirt he wore for a whole 3 minutes).

I think I’m just going to have to get used to having one of those boys. He’ll be climbing trees before I know it.

So, do you think Motormouth will grow into his father’s shorts by Christmas? Maybe? Perhaps I should just order some more socks instead.

Newsflash – Shoe Still Missing!

Lefty is missing his partner.

Lefty is missing his partner.

The search continues for a shoe that went missing 10 days ago. The shoe, similar to the one pictured, disappeared early one Wednesday morning. Extensive searches carried out at the time and since have failed to locate the missing footwear.

“This is a loss that has affected our whole family,” stated Mature Mother “finding a pair of shoes that fit and stay on the child is not as easy as you might think. We just hope that it will come home safely.”

It’s mate is suffering some psychological ill effects and has been seen at different locations around the house posing as its counterpart, needlessly raising the hopes of a small girl forced to hop everywhere.

If anyone sees the missing shoe, please contact Mature Mother via her facebook page. It’s brown, approximately 5” long and answers to the name of Righty.

Q is for Quick

Q is for Quick

Q is for Quick

I had thought to write about Quiet for this post but then I thought I’ve harped on enough recently about quiet, or rather the lack of it, so I’m going to talk about the concept of being quick.

There’s two sides to this, as there often is with small children – there’s and ours.

In ours, well, we ask them to be quick, or at least quicker, when getting ready in the morning. This, by the way, is how you can start out with a good hour in hand only to be scrambling out of the door 10 minutes late, if you’re lucky. I’m positive that when we say quick, quickly, faster, speed up, or any other word related to velocity or time they hear something entirely different.

Like, perhaps now would be a good time to play hide and seek in our underpants. That is he’s in his underpants hiding from me not hiding things in… oh, never mind.

Or, let’s see how far we can throw this morning’s outfit down the stairs.

Or, I’ve suddenly forgotten how to brush my teeth/put my socks on/take my pyjama top off/stand up. Please delete as appropriate. On second thoughts perhaps it should be “add as appropriate”.

Then there’s the fact they suddenly want to wear the coat that just happens to still be in the wash.

Or get their building blocks out to play.

Or that 100 piece puzzle you’ve been saving for a long rainy afternoon when you need to keep them occupied for a couple of hours.

In the meantime, a small girl is wandering around undressing herself at random intervals and scavenging for any of her brother’s breakfast that he might have left lying about.

After much rushing around you finally get to leave. This is after a debate with yourself about whether or not it’s better to be a few minutes later or come back to a living room that looks like it’s been set up for a drunken war gaming session between the Smurfs and some slightly unbalanced pirates, and a false start as you get out the door and realise you’re still wearing your slippers.

That’s quick in our world.

Then there’s quick in their world.

Quick means instant, or before that if you can manage.

I’m hungry now.

I want this toy fixed please.

When will we be there?

I want to go home.

I want some chocolate.

I want a cuddle.

I want…

When…

Considering they are small children, they have a huge number of time-sensitive requests to make.

And they all seem to come at the worst possible time.

Just before bedtime is a classic.

Or just before you go into the loo (the insistence of the request is proportional to your need to get in there, like, now).

And what do we do?

We try and accommodate them, even f we’re hopping up and down with our legs crossed, we try and answer the question or fix the toy or tell them how to find something.

And why?

Because to them it’s the most important thing in the world. To small children who live so much in the now, they can’t move on to the next moment until whatever is bothering them at that instant in time is dealt with. They have a hazy concept of time and before, after or later, and to them prioritisation is a totally alien concept. We might as well be asking them to understand quantum physics.

So we adapt. We change our schedule and reorder our lives to accommodate them.

Look at the time, I’d best go – I’ve only got 2 hours before I need to be out of the door.

L is for Looking

 

L is for Looking

L is for Looking

Constantly.

Everywhere.

It feels like you develop eyes in the back of your head, either that, or your peripheral vision gets really, really good.

And you can’t help it. You, or rather I, have this need to be able to see both children. All the time. The only time I’m not worried is when they are asleep or with a babysitter (because the babysitter is doing the looking instead).

I know this is something the Other Half struggles with, the idea that you have to be constantly on the alert.

I’m not an overprotective mother, at least I don’t think I am – if one of them falls over and they’re OK enough to cry and blood’s not spraying out alarmingly, then I’m not going to go running to them unless there is imminent danger. (OK, I admit part of that could be the exhaustion talking. Check out E for Exhaustion in this series for more.)

Getting back to the Other Half, I know he wants the children to be safe. I think he, like most of us until we go through motherhood, think once they’ve been hurt or had the dangers explained to them, then they’ll be fine.

But that’s not totally true.

I have a 4-year-old and a 21-month-old and they are, for their ages, pretty safety consciousness.

Motormouth has good road skills. The green man is his friend and I think he might be every so slightly scared by the angry red man at road crossings.

Mini knows when she doesn’t feel confident about steps and will always sit at the top of the stairs, waiting for someone to hold her hand while she climbs down.

That is until something else gets their attention.

Then all bets are off.

Normally the “something else” is the little tabby-tortie kitten that comes to see them when we leave in the morning and is usually there to greet us when we come home again.

When she’s around, they only have eyes for her. That’s when they need a gentle reminder not to run out across the road, and by gentle I mean a firm grab of their hood or T shirt, or, to be truthful, whichever article of clothing is nearest.

I’m not trying to be sexist here, when I talk about the Other Half not being as attentive, since I am only talking from my own experience. I know studies have shown that the father’s role is more about encouraging children to push the boundaries to achieve more. To take risks. And they need that, otherwise they’ll never achieve anything near their full potential.

And Motormouth and Mini, are quite good at assessing the risks of things like climbing up or down something.

So now I’m looking to see what mischief they are getting into.

This is definitely where the Other Half and I diverge on our notions of urgency and immediacy. He thinks peace and quiet is bliss.

I just think it’s suspicious.

We have had the odd few incidents that most parents will recognise.

Remember the time when went into the room to find a small boy who has coloured himself in with this mother’s gel pens. At least all the bits he could reach. (On the plus side, we got an indication he’s probably right handed.)

Or the time when he ate the yoghurt in the fridge.

All 12 pots. (That was an interesting at nappy change time.)

Or the small girl who emptied out her father’s bedside drawers. (I didn’t realise he’s got concert tickets in there from 1989).

I remember when I first got pregnant and everyone was giving me the advice to sleep when the baby sleeps, and this is fine in principle when they pretty much stay where you put them (apart from that’s likely to be the only time you get to do the odd tasks you might like to catch up on, like eat. Or wee.)

Once they’re mobile, you feel more like, if you sleep when they sleep, they’ll wake up without you knowing and do things you have told them NOT TO DO (sorry, force of habit. I always end up shouting that at Motormouth or Mini.)

Motormouth in particular seems to have a talent for this. It was only last week I told him specifically NOT to go into the narrow gap between our house and our garden (which is raised) because there was cat poo under the leaves.

Less that 2 minutes later?

Yep.

You guessed it.

The wonderful task of cleaning cat poo off foot apparel. Luck was with me for a change. He was wearing wellies.

And he hadn’t picked up the cat poo asking “what’s this Mummy?”.

We’re not always so lucky. Once we had the case of “some idiot has left their dog’s diarrhoea in an untied nappy bag on the path”. Poor Motormouth had the indignity of being marched back home at arm’s length to be stripped down to his nappy and bare feet before he was allowed in the house. Must have been a bit chilly in February.)

Why do they always, ALWAYS have to pick it up or touch it?

Speaking of mischief, Motormouth is in the garden and I’ve just heard the hose go on.

And I have almost-dry washing on the line.

Correction. I did have almost-dry washing on the line.

I think I’ll go and have a quick look…

Put a Sock On It

I don't care if they're not mine!

I don’t care if they’re not mine!

I’ve noticed that most of the recent posts have been about Motormouth with the occasional cameo appearance from young Mini.

This week, I thought I’d put that right.

The question is what to talk about?

Her plate envy? (She has the worst plate envy of anyone I have EVER met and is quite blatant about demanding her portion of the food in front of you.)

Her obsession with cleaning her teeth? (We have to do this at least 6 times a day at the moment, more if she walks past the bathroom more often than that.)

Her lack of compunction about shoving her big brother out of the way if he’s where she wants to be? (This can be a little disconcerting, especially as a parent cuddling a small boy who suddenly finds the small boy is on the floor and she is being scaled by a tiny toddler mountaineer.)

No.

I thought I’d talk about feeding.

And socks.

Are they related you ask?

Yep. Apparently they are.

Closely related.

I’m pleased to be able to say that I’m still feeding Mini, having taken the choice to feed her until she weans herself. She’s approaching 21 months now and shows no sign of giving up.

We have settled into a little ritual for the first feed of the day though.

Her little ritual that is.

First of all she climbs onto the bed, with her aah. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this is her big, fluffy blanket. By big, I mean it’s about 3′ by 5′. And by fluffy it’s sort of a fleecy, polyester blend courtesy of Ikea.)

By the way, those Ikea blankets are brilliant – they can go through anything including washing machines, tumble dryers, muddy puddles, pushchair wheels, upset stomachs (both ends), big brothers, being used to make forts, drag toys around and whatever else Mini and Motormouth’s minds can devise, and still come out looking almost brand new. And they are cheap. (No, I’m not paid by Ikea, just in case you were wondering.)

Sorry. Back to the point and apologies for the diversion.

She climbs onto the bed with her aah and snuggles under my right arm for a bit of a lounge and a thumb suck.

Then I get the look.

The “time to get your boobs out now Mum” look.

Of course, I do. I’m nothing if not baby-led when it comes to this feeding thing.

So my boobs come out.

Both of them, since, apparently, it’s the law that they both have to be out for the entire feed.

Then she’ll settle back for a bit longer, maybe taking in a show (Motormouth is usually practicing his star jumps on the end of the bed by this point, either that or trying to persuade Mini to sit on his tummy, a request she generally ignores).

When she’s judged the time is right (a bit like a wine connoisseur who opens the bottle to let it breathe a while) she’ll make her move.

Or rather moves.

First of all, she will shove me back until I am leaning at exactly the right angle.

Then she’ll position my arms so they are in just the right place.

She’ll spend a few moments tweaking the position of my hands and fingers.

Then she’ll sit back on her haunches and regard me for a few seconds before making sure I’m looking in the right direction (by virtue of placing her hands firmly on my jaw and shoving my head round. She’d make a good chiropractor one day. I’m sure I heard my spine crack this morning.)

Finally, she’ll take a few slurps from the right side.

If I dare move my head, she’ll give me “the look” and push it back round again.

She then stretches, stands up and belly flops on top of me to take a few slurps from the left side (just to make sure it doesn’t feel left out, you understand.)

It’s at this point that I think, hopefully, that we’ve settled down and can get on with it. (Usually with one eye on the clock calculating the time left before we absolutely have to get out of the door and sadly watching my shower time dripping away.)

Then she stops.

She’ll give me a “don’t you dare move!” look and wriggle backwards off the bed, walking out of the bedroom in that drunken toddler lurch that she has.

Only to return a few minutes later with….

can you guess?

…. no, not a fluffy toy, or even another aah….

she always comes back with …..

a pair of socks.

Yep. Socks.

Mini has an obsession with socks.

So there we are, mid feed, me trying not to move out of today’s approved position too much and her waving a pair of socks and a foot in my face.

So, we have to put our socks on.

Then, finally, we can get back to the business of feeding.

And feeding.

And feeding.

As the minutes tick by I console myself with the thought of how much good this will be doing her.

And how many calories I’m using doing this.

And I wave a sad mental goodbye to a nice hot shower.

And Motormouth (it’s his turn for a cameo), well, he’s still bouncing on the bed.

And me.

Just in case you thought mornings might be peaceful in our house.

 

One Foot In Front of the Other

 

I wish everyone would stop staring!

I wish everyone would stop staring!

Well, it’s official.

Mini is walking.

She’s a little later than Motormouth but didn’t seem too bothered by that, so we were trying not to be. She was managing to get where she wanted to go without any problems. She would either crawl at what was, for me, a fast walking pace which had to be seen to be believed, or Motormouth would transport her from A to B.

It didn’t seem to matter to either of them that the locations of A and B were completely random.

Or that it wasn’t uncommon for her to be dragged along the floor by her foot. (Judging by the giggles she found this quite entertaining.)

She has actually been walking for a few weeks. We know because the child minder told us, but she wasn’t doing in front of us. In fact, the few times we caught her walking (mainly because she had things in both hands she did not want to put down) and she saw us, she would literally drop everything and start crawling as if nothing had happened.

I’m not quite sure why she didn’t want us to see, and I’m trying not to be disappointed that it wasn’t us she chose to show her first steps to, so we are consoling ourselves with the fact that she’s not officially walking until we’ve seen her do it.

And now we have.

She’s remarkably steady on her feet, considering she still has that stiff-kneed, loose-hipped technique that all learner walkers have.

She also has a very supportive, and attentive, coach in Motormouth.

At least he’s attentive most of the time, holding her hand, leading her down the path (literally), and giving her plenty of verbal encouragement and hugs and kisses when she gets to her goal.

I say most of the time because the few times I really need him to hold her hand (for instance to stop her falling over when I’m juggling two rucksacks, her cuddly blanket, two water bottles, my bag and my work books whilst trying to unlock the car in the rain) he gets distracted by a passing cat.

Or an interesting pattern on the path that may or may not be dog poo.

Or anything else really (well he does have the attention span of a crane fly with ADHD).

As for Mini? She is rightly proud of herself for reaching this huge milestone and looks up at regular intervals for the positive feedback we are all giving her, a huge grin on her face (I’m going to ignore the fact that she always looks at Motormouth first).

She’s even graduated to carrying items across the room, still with that stilted gait that makes me worried she’s going to tip over at any second. And she does.

Often with the unintentional help of a passing brother.

Still, he tries to help when he remembers, whether she wants it or not, and he’s told us he’s going to teach her how to cross the road safely. I’m also trying to get him used to the idea that we need to leave earlier, since it takes a little bit longer to get to the car (5 minutes plus now instead of 2) so he really can’t run around with his socks on his hands shouting “look at me, I’ve got puppets!” Not for very long anyway.

And now it is marginally easier, since I’m not juggling two rucksacks, her cuddly blanket, two water bottles, my bag, my work books and a 23lb baby who insists on leaning backwards, whilst trying to unlock the car in the rain

Now we have a little procession down the road, Motormouth on one side, me on the other.

She manages pretty well, except when she starts to look around at things (yes, I’m talking about you cute but fluffy tortoiseshell kitten with an unnatural lack of fear of strange children) and forgets which foot should go where. Then poor Mini either ends up dangling from our hands or on her knees.

Watching her slowly getting better at this walking thing, I have to restrain myself, knowing that she needs to learn to judge her limitations, to gain confidence in her ability to master this new activity.

And that she’ll get bumps and bruises along the way.

I’m pleased that we normally put her in joggers, jeans or tights. (They hide the bruises and there’s no sudden change in her fashion sense is not likely to alert social services.) I know every child goes through the bruises stage but it’s a bit embarrassing when your daughter’s legs look like she’s auditioning for 103 Dalmatians (have they made that one yet?).

We can’t do much about the bruise on her head from the fireplace except brush her fringe over it and wait for it to go down.

Then it occurs to me, isn’t it a terrible indictment on society that, as perfectly normal and loving parents with a perfectly normal, loving and safe child, we are worried that we might get reported for abusing her? Still, maybe that’s a more serious post for another day.

In the meantime?

I’ll be buying some more joggers for her.