Tag Archives: nappy

Don’t Drink the Bathwater

 

What's wrong Mummy?

What’s wrong Mummy?

You know when you feel like you’ve almost got the hang of this parenting thing?

Your children do as they’re told and listen to you?

They seem to have developed a respect for you and your wishes?

And you feel like it’s going to be smooth sailing now?

The smart part of you, which has usually gone into hiding for self-preservation reasons, might finally stick its head up over the parapet just a tiny, little bit to point out that it’s the lull before the storm, or, more accurately, that pride comes before a fall.

Mini is just at that age when she has started picking up bad habits and she seems to be getting them from her big brother, who is just starting to stop all the gross little habits he’s accumulated so far.

Like investigating the contents of his nostrils, presenting them to me with the proud flourish of a fait accompli. (It is of course mandatory for this to take place in public.)

Or eating food off the floor. Without application of the 10 second rule (a moot point in Mini’s case since she can’t count to 10 yet).

She takes her nappy off when she wants it changed and presents you with the offending article. We then have to play hunt the contents around the house. This is a Mini special and, fortunately for the carpets and furnishings, not one we had to face with Motormouth.

She also licks the railings. This is one habit she hasn’t gotten from her brother and I have no idea where she got the idea from but her assessment seems to be that the hilarity of the situation is proportional to our reaction to it. It is really hard to pretend not to see it, believe me.

Our general reaction to this sort of behaviour has toned down since Motormouth, but you know what they say “Your first child eats dirt, you rush them to the doctor; your second child eats dirt and you clean their mouth out; and your third child eats dirt and you wonder if they still need dinner.”

So we carry on, trying to break her of the bad habits without making her so stubborn she carries on the behaviour just because she can, and we try not to worry too much.

There are things that we still get aerated about; we have the “dog poo alert” chant to the Octoalert theme from Octonauts (don’t get me started on people allowing their dogs to foul pavement and verges); we still clean bottles when they’ve been dropped; and we’re very strict on hand-washing after going to the toilet.

I think we’ll just have to put up with what can until Mini get out of the habit of having bad habits.

I almost forgot. She drinks the bathwater as well.

Today Should Be Monday

Motormouth Meltdown

Motormouth Meltdown

As in Motormouth Meltdown Monday.

In other words, we’ve had one of those days today.

I can’t blame him really, we have the trifecta of causes for an over-emotional child.

He’s poorly with chickenpox.

He’s sleep deprived after our holiday.

He’s 4 years old.

What this meant in practice was that he cried today.

A lot.

At anything.

Mini trying to steal his food.

At not being allowed to go to playgroup today.

Asbo not wanting to be stroked.

His puzzle getting stuck in its box.

Him not being allowed more chocolate.

It being 2 o’clock.

Mini wanting to play with his toys.

Me wanting him to pick up his toys.

Him not being allowed to watch TV while he was eating his dinner.

Him hurting his toes when he fell over one of the toys he’d failed to pick up.

To say this was tiring for all of us is an understatement. In the end I persuaded him to snuggle in our bed with the tablet to watch Aladdin (for about the 90th time). The idea was him having a sleep would help his soldiers fight the virus that was giving him his rash.

Perhaps I need to explain about his soldiers. To help him get through his vaccinations we told him he had lots of tiny soldiers in his body that help him get better when he was hurt. He’s taken to this idea with a passion we didn’t expect. He tells complete strangers about how his soldiers are helping him. He told the nurse he was disappointed he was getting his vaccination with a nose spray rather than a needle. When they drew a life-size outline of him at playgroup he had to put a germ and a soldier in there as well as a heart.

Anyway, back to Aladdin. I asked Motormouth agreed to try and snuggle and have a sleep.

He agreed. He even managed to have a little nap.

And woke up grumpy.

Mini didn’t help either. She knows loads of words but only uses one.

No.

She practised using it a lot today.

And she has my tone of voice down pat. So much so that even Motormouth was laughing.

She hasn’t quite sussed that sometimes the no is aimed at her rather than her brother.

Like when I’m telling her not to try and pull the table cloth off the table.

Or not to throw things at me when I’m trying to change her nappy.

Or going up to her brother and slapping him.

Or steal her brother’s food.

Maybe I can understand him crying at that.

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…

Who’s Day Is It?

Motormouth and Mini... photobombed by the Other Half

Motormouth and Mini… photobombed by the Other Half

Well it had to happen.

What you ask?

A blog post about Mother’s Day of course. I’ll try and keep it short and sweet since you will have been inundated with soppy flowers and hearts about being the Best-Mum-in-the-World because, let’s face it, we’re all the Best-Mum-in-the-World to our children because we are exactly the parents they deserve.

Unfortunately, I think I’ve got exactly the children I deserve (karma you are a bitch), ones who are intent on keeping me awake and on my toes for at least 18 hours a day. Mind you, they have me which probably evens the scales, so I can’t complain really.

And I did have a pretty good day.

We met up with the Mad Professor, the Real Boss and Cousin Bird to treat Nanny Nutjob to a pub lunch at a place in Rochester we know well, the Crown. After a pleasant couple of hours (and much swapping of food amongst the younger attendees) we took a pleasant walk down Rochester High Street.

Somehow we ended up at the Guildhall Museum (for about the sixth time this year). I have a sneaking suspicion the decision had something to do with Motormouth.

And this time Mini (who has been doing pretty well at the learning-to-walk stuff) was big enough to go round.

Funnily enough she showed most interest in the things that Motormouth likes, namely the mammoth tusk, the wheelhouse and the mock up of the hulks (19th century prison ships that were the [anything but] luxurious accommodations for French prisoners of war).

I can understand the tusk, after all it’s basically a huge tooth and, since Mini has some new teeth coming through and the fact we all went to the dentist this week, teeth are probably on her mind a fair bit.

Turn to Starboard!

Turn to Starboard!

The wheelhouse has some obvious attractions – a full-size ship’s wheel to turn. She couldn’t see the video representation of the route the boat was taking as a result of her random spinning of the wheel, but so what.

Huge wheel. Spinning.

What’s not to like?

Full astern!

Full astern!

What more could she want? How about an engine order telegraph (yeah, I didn’t know what is was called until I looked it up either) which had a lovely brass lever she could pull. If she stood on her tiptoes and reached really high.

The mirrored walls in the hulk exhibit were particularly fascinating to our little narcissist who spent ages looking at her reflection, this time it was mainly pointing, she saved the snog for the mirror in the wheelhouse. I think because it was easier to get to.

I have been lucky and got loads of presents from the kids (some of them with the help of the Other Half).

I had

the smelliest nappy for several weeks from Mini (thank you sweetheart, that was a lovely surprise)
tea and toast and Marmite in bed and for once I didn’t have to fight the kids for it (yes, we are a Marmite family)
fewer bruises than usual thanks to Motormouth being remarkably restrained about his bouncing activities

 

Just like his father

Just like his father

chocolate ice cream all down the front of my T shirt from an enthusiastic Motormouth who wanted to give me a hug. I have to admit he did look quite fetching in his ice cream goatee. I think he was emulating his father, who has a real (and very scratchy) goatee of his own

 

No, you be the minotaur and I'll be the zombie.

No, you be the minotaur and I’ll be the zombie.

a headache from persuading Motormouth (and his cousin Bird) that he did need to stay at the table during the meal and that it wasn’t a good idea to go running round the pub with his mythical action figures making what he thought were realistic zombie and minotaur cries at the top of his voice

 

a hanging basket, which I’m not supposed to know about yet, since Motormouth has forgotten it’s hidden round the side of the house and he’s supposed to give it to me. It is very sweet though since it was entirely his own idea and be got The Other Half to take him shopping specially to buy it

 

Straight lines now!

Straight lines now!

and a ruler to keep in my pencil case for when I need to draw straight lines (which I need to do more often than you might think).

Nanny Nutjob told me she had a lovely time as well (though I think her enjoyment was influenced by the trip to the deli that does very, very nice cakes).

I know this week’s post is pretty picture-heavy but it was a picturesque kind of day.

I’ll try and cut down on the hyphens next time as well.

PS     I’ve updated the About Us page on the blog, just in case you want to know a little more about the Mad Professor and his family.

E is for Exhausted

 

E is for Exhausted

E is for Exhausted

What can I say about this?

However tired you might have been in the past, you don’t know what exhaustion is until you have a small child.

Everyone knows about the broken nights, or at least think they do since experiencing them is a whole other world. The 2 am feeds. The unexplained crying at 4 am where they won’t settle back to sleep.

You think, hope, even pray it will get better once they get a little older and can amuse themselves if they wake up early.

And they do quite successfully.

With their favourite plaything.

You.

And they can be quite insistent about it.

Anything from prying your eyelids open (I knew I should have cut his nails last night) to pulling the covers off and trying to drag you out of bed by your foot.

Sometimes they might be nice and just play trampoline instead.

On your bed.

With you still in it.

Then there are the times when they decide that the middle of the night is a perfectly acceptable time for breakfast. In fact it’s essential because they’re hungry.

And as any parent of a toddler knows, the concept of waiting for something is not something they can process.

If they are hungry, they are hungry NOW.

The same goes for needing a nappy change or the potty, wanting a drink or expecting you to fix their latest favourite toy that they’ve pulled apart. Again.

Of course this is a one way thing. Keeping you waiting is not only acceptable, it’s mandatory. How many times have we counted to 10, standing there holding their coats ready for them to put on, whilst they spend time carefully selecting the toys they need to hold? And of course, they only need to hold them whilst they are putting their coats on. Different toys are required for shoes, hats etc.

Since all this kicks off at around 5 am, at least in our household, a lie-in is a distantly dreamed-of hope.

And with the impeccable timing all children have, this will have followed a night of interruptions for nappy changes, drinks, throwing up and growing pains. You are even reluctantly impressed with the teamwork siblings display when they take it in shifts. (Can you tell we have an early bird and a night owl in the house?)

And what does this all mean?

That, no matter how early you contrive to go to bed, you still function in a haze of exhaustion. The world around you slightly foggy with the wisps of sleep you didn’t have.

And what do you do about it?

You get up and plough on, even though some days you might not feel qualified to be upright, let alone carrying out tasks involving machinery (you know, like the kettle and the tin opener).

You cease to wonder why the cheese is in the plate cupboard and your socks are in the fridge.

You start to bargain with yourself. How many minutes extra sleep is a shower worth? Can you get away with jogging pants and T shirt cutting down on the ironing for a the privilege of hitting the snooze button?

Sound familiar?

And when does it end?

Four years and counting. I wish I could tell you.

I’m just going to put my head down for a few seconds…..

“Mummy!”

 

Ten Step Guide to… Dressing a Toddler

No you can't wear that out...Welcome to the latest Ten Step Guide. Today we are focusing on the unique challenge of getting a toddler dressed, a thankless task that never seems quite finished. For more than a few minutes anyway. Take a deep breath and here goes..

Step 1   Have a bout of organisational inspiration and lay out your toddler’s clothes for the next day before you go to bed. Sleep well, knowing you have a head start on the chaos that inevitably will come the next day.

Step 2   After your toddler has dragged you out of bed before dawn and you have, with extreme luck, had the chance to at least get a trip to the loo, open negotiations with your toddler to persuade them they really do need to get dressed and that it would be much better if it was this side of lunchtime.

Step 3   Herd them into the preferred dressing area, bypassing all unnecessary distractions including toys, books, siblings, taps, water, anything green, or blue…

Step 4   Wait for toddler to express their views on the clothes you have chosen for them. Agree on different clothes to wear, having discussed the non-viability of wearing nothing but a T Shirt in the snow or last night’s pyjamas to Grandma’s posh birthday dinner.

Step 5   Coax them out of the corner or from under the bed, whichever is their preferred inaccessible rallying point, trying not to cause them pain as you end up dragging them out by their feet.

Step 6   Wait until the crying has quietened enough for them to hear you reassure them that they do know how to get dressed and they haven’t forgotten and that today, just this once, you will help them again. Send them downstairs to occupy themselves while you get yourself ready (this may or may not involve getting dressed or having a shower but will at least have cleaning your teeth in there somewhere).

Step 7   Notice that they have managed to get the remains of the breakfast you thought they had finished all down the front of their top. Try to leave their ears attached to their heads as their T shirt gets stuck over them as you try and prise it off to replace it with a clean shirt.

Step 8   Redress them after they have proven that, whilst they may not remember how to dress, they can certainly recall how to undress themselves.

Step 9   Attempt to fit shoes onto suddenly limp-ankled fee. Have yet another discussion about the minimum criteria for foot protection in the predicted hot weather. Lose the argument and attempt to fit Wellington boots onto suddenly limp-ankled feet. Restrain bad language when you finally manage this only to notice that you have them on the wrong feet. Repeat this step until completed.

Step 10   Roll eyes and restrain more bad language as they tell you they need to go to the loo or have their nappy changed. The amount of clothing you need to remove to complete this action is inversely proportional to the time you have left before you need to be out of the door.

Warning – don’t forget colour coordination isn’t everything. Sometimes fairly clean and weather-suitable is the best you’re going to get.

 

D is for Determined

 

D is for determined.

D is for determined.

Before I had children I used to think I was fairly determined, when it suited me at least.

Sometimes, I could stick with a work problem beyond all reason. I was the same at home (except when it came to the housework unfortunately).

Then I had Motormouth and I had to relearn what determination really meant, especially when it came to feeding time.

Those of you know me (or have read some of my past posts) know that though I breastfed Motormouth until just before his second birthday the first couple of months were hell. Why hell? It took us that long to suss out the technique together, and, to be honest, throughout the time I was feeding him there weren’t many times when it wasn’t uncomfortable at the very least. (Motormouth tended to channel his inner piranha when he was feeding.)

Still, we stuck with it.

I had problems with Mini as well (she had an habit of rolling her tongue up so it was in the way) and it took a breastfeeding consultant at the local hospital to help us through it.

She is much gentler than Motormouth, at least with the extraction part. I’m not sure I remember him practising his pincer grip whilst feeding, or trying to pull my eye lashes out. Even if I give her something to play with as a distraction she usually ends up trying to poke it in my ear or up my nose. (And no, falling asleep with Mini on the boob is not a safe option – not for me at least.)

So yes, determination helped with getting us through that.

Then I found out that is all just practise for what comes later.

Why do we need to be determined as mothers?

Because children are determined themselves. Or maybe that should read stubborn.

From the barely walking toddler’s quest to wedge themselves under the dining room table to the vocal child who really, really wants that chocolate bar just before bedtime.

This is of course via nappy changing (are all babies quadruple jointed?), teeth cleaning (further proof that that jaw muscles are amongst the strongest in the body) and getting them dressed.

Ah, dressing them.

This can be an ordeal all of its own and, in our household at least, is the most common occasion for reaching the final three in the Count of Doom. (Fortunately the chance of losing a bedtime story motivates Motormouth to come out from under the bed or uncurl from his foetal ball just before you say three. Most of the time.)

What is it about getting dressed? It’s not as if we don’t give them a choice about what to wear, but every day it’s like doing the hokey cokey with tiny limbo dancers.

You put her left leg in.

She takes her left leg out and shakes it all about (usually somewhere up by her ears).

You put her left leg in…

And so it goes on until you find the best position to pin her down. For that occasion.

You promise yourself next time it will be different. And it is.

You put her left leg in…

You have to be determined. You have to believe that you will prevail.

You are, after all, the adult.

You are however-many times her size.

You are so much stronger than she is.

You are so much smarter than she is.

She takes her left leg out…

You will win.

You are more determined (or should that read stubborn again?).

And then there’s food.

Or more precisely vegetables.

You know the stage when they don’t want to eat them. In fact they would be quite happy living on baked beans and cheesy toast (in which case we don’t feel too bad about it because baked beans count as vegetables don’t they?) or cheerios and chocolate chip brioche.

You can tell we’ve been there can’t you? Motormouth is becoming quite adept at picking the vegetables out of his mince and, once a lover of home-made soup, now stops eating it as soon as the bread has run out.

He’s become quite resistant to blackmail and will forego yoghurt if it means having to put something green into his mouth. We even tried to the dice game, you know the one where he rolls the dice to see how many spoonfuls of vegetables he’s going to eat at that meal? He fell for that precisely once when we wouldn’t let him roll the dice until he got a one rather than the five or six it kept landing on.

There is that temptation to give up and let them win. You rationalise it as “picking your battles” and giving them “some control over their lives to encourage responsibility and enhance their decision making skills” and to “prevent tantrums caused by frustration”.

That’s why we have pyjama days and cake for breakfast isn’t it?

It’s not just that, just for once, we want a little peace and quiet, to achieve a basic goal without the hassle of fighting the Battle of Before Breakfast yet again.

Or is that just me?