Tag Archives: siblings

Mini Me

Follow My Leader

Follow My Leader

We have a problem.

It’s not a serious problem, but it is proving to be a problem none-the-less.

I suppose we should have seen it coming. Maybe we were lulled into a false sense of security? Started to take it all for granted?

The problem?

Mini has started copying Motormouth.

And when I say copying, I mean the exact actions and within seconds of him doing it.

Motormouth does a mad dance around the room, then Mini does a mad dance around the room.

Motormouth jumps on the bed cackling like a lunatic, then suddenly there are two of them. I’m more than a little surprised that our bed has survived it so far. (And I really, really wish this would all start some time after 6am.)

Motormouth climbs onto the back of the settee and the next thing we know, Mini is trying to drag herself up there to be with him.

So, as you can see, we have a bit of a problem.

We’ve been trying to curb Motormouth’s natural tendencies (that’s a bit like trying to train a cat to roll over and beg for food).

We’ve tried explaining to him that, as the big brother, he has a responsibility to think about the consequences of his actions, he needs to think about Mini’s safety. He’s still struggling with the concept of thinking before he does things.

He’s a creature of instinct and impulse is our Motormouth.

In the meantime we’ll just to have eyes in the back of our heads. And the sides.

And think of a way to see around corners and through walls.

And when we’re asleep.


Follow My Leader

Follow My Leader

This week has been a bit mixed, with Mini still suffering the effects of the chicken pox her brother so kindly gave her (and me) but it’s good to see she is starting to get back to her normal self.

Even if that does mean mischief.

It’s only as Mini gets older and more inventive that we realise how lucky we’ve had it with Motormouth when it comes to getting into trouble. Not that Motormouth hasn’t got into his fair share of mischief, but Mini is putting him to shame.

How you ask?

Well, we’ve had the usual drawing on walls from Motormouth, faithfully copied by Mini.

Then we’ve had the gravity game. (Why do children never stop being amused by the view of us poor parents scrabbling around on the floor to pick up the bottle or spoon they’ve dropped for the 10th time in quick succession?)

But it’s only Mini who’s managed to flood the bathroom in less than the time it took me to have a wee.

She’s the only one who very nearly got away with flushing her father’s net book down the toilet.

It’s not Motormouth who emptied the contents of several packets of baby wipes and scattered them over the living room.

And Motormouth isn’t the one who squirms under the table just to get to the contents of my bag, especially the purse and pencil cases in there.

And that’s only in the last couple of weeks or so.

One thing she does have in common with her brother is that cheeky I-know-I’m-being-naughty-but-I’m-so-cute-you-have-to-forgive-me grin. You know the sort? The one that reaches right to the eyes?

And yes, we do forgive her. We still tell her off, but we forgive her. Just like we forgive Motormouth, after all, you have to forgive the master if you forgive the student.

It’s quite funny when you see how she copies Motormouth (it was also quite nice when she helped him give me a back rub earlier) but every so often that little spark of initiative lights a tiny little fire of destruction. It’s at times like that when Motormouth turns police officer, so we tend to get a full and detailed report of her activities (he’s obviously practising for his future career), which is probably just as well considering.

Part of me is pleased that she’s using her imagination, solving problems and testing her ideas.

Another part of me is wishing that perhaps, just once, she’ll settle down for a cuddle.

It’s interesting watching her play with Motormouth. He may not enjoy the experience sometimes (he’s starting to understand that his requests to put her in her cot so he can play in peace and quiet are not going to be granted) and he’s a little young to appreciate the fact that she wants to copy him is a compliment, but other times they will play together happily for ages. I’ve noticed that this tends to happen when Motormouth is in charge. I suspect things will be a little different when Mini starts talking more and asserts her authority (not that she’s needed any words so far).

I admit I’m dreading the time when they start working together properly.

Then we’ll be in for real trouble.

O is for On the Go


O is for On the Go

O is for On the Go

All of the bloody time!

As I sit here, it’s getting on for 7.30 in the evening and I’m actually sitting down to start work about an hour or so earlier than usual. Both the kids are in bed, though I’m not holding my breath about it staying that way, not given Motormouth’s new habit of getting into our bed and changing his mind every couple of hours about which side of the bed he wants to sleep on.

Anyway, back to being on the go. Even when you’re sitting still, your mind is still on the go.

When is the latest I can go to the supermarket to buy the nappies without running out completely?

Have I got enough clean clothes for them tomorrow, bearing in mind it’s been raining so no line drying and I haven’t got the crayon out of the tumble drier yet? (I think I’ll put that particular story in a newsflash.)

Why does the washing up have to scream quite so loudly at me?

Will Mini develop the dreaded chickenpox rash now her brother is getting over it?

And the other 976 thoughts that rattle around in my head (and let’s face it, there’s plenty of room in there thanks to the famous “baby brain”).

What does this mean to us as mothers?

We. Never. Switch. Off.

Even when we’re asleep we’ve got half an ear open in case the children start crying (and a plea to all fathers – please try to develop this talent).

We develop the ability that allows our eyeballs to swivel independently (though this doesn’t kick until Number 2 arrives).

We can undertake most daily tasks whilst simultaneously corralling children. We even develop a dexterity that would make our craft teachers punch the air with glee.

And yes, it is possible to open a stair gate with your foot whilst you’re carrying two oddly-shaped plates of food with a “favourite-favourite-beaker-but-only-for-today” for each child wedged into either armpit.

What does this mean to us as mothers? Well, I can only speak personally, but the adjustment has taken a little time. It’s taken me a while to get used to it and to stop thinking of myself as an adult with small dependent beings tied to me with invisible wires and to start thinking of myself as a mother.

And now I’m here?

I think I need to learn to start thinking of myself as a mother who has occasional outbreaks of being a single-unit-entity, and that it’s OK to like those rare forays into a state of no-dependents.

I know I haven’t mentioned the physical activity but, to be absolutely honest, that’s what my body goes through. Since my brain and body are barely on speaking terms at the moment, anything physical is passed on in only the most basic of terms like “tired”, “achy” or “sort of hungry but don’t know what to eat” (that’s why I have a default setting for eating the kid’s leftovers). I think my body got a bit fed up with having its basic needs ignored and has sent my brain to Coventry. Or Leeds. Or Aberystwyth. I’m not sure where really but wherever it is, they don’t have any loos there, or at least none that I can find. (No offense is meant to Coventry, Leeds or Aberystwyth, everyone knows my sense of direction is dire.) Anyway, my brain’s retaliated by closing down all avenues of communication. I think my bladder may be taking this ACAS soon if they don’ reopen negotiations.

Now excuse me, I think I heard the thud of toddler feet heading from the bedroom…

Newsflash – A Parent’s Worst Bath Time Nightmare

Archive photo courtesy Mature Mother

Archive photo courtesy Mature Mother

Mature Mother and the Other Half faced one of the bath time occurrences that all parents dread.

The incident, which occurred several weeks ago but has only just been reported happened when Mini and Motormouth were having their evening bath.

Bath time was nearing its end when the Other Half noticed an intent expression on Mini’s face. Emergency measures were quickly put into action but unfortunately it was too late to prevent the emission of a noxious substance into the shared washing environment.

Motormouth was immediately removed from the situation and stood shivering, wrapped in a towel, watching as his younger sister was evacuated. She was less fortunate and had to endure being decontaminated using the shower method. She was less than happy about this and made her feelings known to Mature Mother.

The Other Half bravely continued with the decontamination of the washing area whilst Mature Mother carried out the standard safety measures to ensure both the victim and the perpetrator were sufficiently warm, dry and clothed to deal with the aftermath.

Interviewed later, the Other Half said “it wasn’t my favourite thing to do but you have to get used to this sort of thing as a parent. I’m confident we did okay today and we can cope with the situation if //it happens again.”

Mature Mother was dealing with Motormouth and Mini and was unavailable for comment.

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.


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.

Battle of Equals?

...and the winner is...

…and the winner is…

Siblings will be siblings and often want the same thing at the same time, whether it be a toy or space on someone’s lap or food. And neither one wants to back down, which can be a problem, especially when you have two who have inherited their mother’s stubbornness in full measure.

And Motormouth and Mini have.

Mini is, by definition, smaller than Motormouth, after all, he has a good two years on her.

You’d think that would be that wouldn’t you? That she would lose all the time?


It isn’t.

In fact it can be quite the opposite.

I’ve noticed that Mini has her own unique way of getting exactly what she wants.

And she does it with such style that I’m going to start taking lessons.

First of all she uses her size to her advantage. She can worm herself into the tiniest of gaps and once there she expands outwards, mainly through judicious use of elbows, to give herself enough space. This can and does include edging her big brother off someone’s lap.

Today we had a classic.

Mini decided she wanted to snuggle with Uncle Greenfingers.

The only problem was Motormouth, who had already appropriated the best spot.

So what does she do?

She starts stroking Motormouth’s hair, then giving it subtle little tugs.

Not ones that hurt, ones that he could complain about legitimately, just annoying little tweaks.

It doesn’t take too long before he’s had enough and moves away and within seconds she’s claimed his spot.

It’s so subtle, you wouldn’t know she was doing it unless you were looking for it.

Or you didn’t see the triumphant little smile on her face.

Of course there are times when she doesn’t win, like when Motormouth is dragging her across the floor by the foot, mind you, that could be down to her getting the giggles as much as anything else.

Most of the time they play nicely together and Motormouth is usually good at sharing.

In fact he almost has me in tears the other day. Mini dropped her snack on the floor. Being a good mother I picked it up before she could eat it (having first done the calculation, you know the one, where you work out the last time you cleaned the floor and factor in what the foot traffic has been like.) Anyway, I head into the kitchen to get her another snack but in the meantime she’s sitting on the floor, sobbing like it’s the worst thing in the world, which to her it probably is.

Then I hear Motormouth…

“There, there, Mini, you can have some of my cheese.”

To put this in context, there is nothing that Motormouth likes more than cheese, except perhaps yoghurt, and for him to voluntarily give his sister any of his cheese, well…

I did give Motormouth an extra sticker for that.

He’s decided he’s working towards a trip to the dinosaur museum.

Maybe he’ll offer them some of his cheese as well.

M is for Moaning


M is for Moaning

M is for Moaning

This is something I have noticed myself doing more of as time goes by.

Don’t get me wrong, I probably moaned before the kids arrived (you’d have to ask the Other Half about that, I’m not quite brave enough).

Now though?

Now I can hear a definite tone in my voice as I complain.

I’m pretty sure it’s on a sliding scale as well, the more tired I am, the louder my voice is. And the more frequently I do it.

And what do I moan about?

Motormouth’s refusal to tidy up.

Motormouth’s habit of begging and complaining until he gets toast and Marmite/ cheese sandwich/ apple and grapes then refusing to eat it.

Motormouth leaving half-eaten yoghurt pots lying around where Mini can find them.

Motormouth going to defcon 4 if Mini even looks at his toys/ drawing / food.

Mini doesn’t escape either. I’ll moan at her as well. But what can that sweet little girl be doing to make me moan at her?

Picking up the aforementioned yoghurt pot and liberally smearing the contents all over herself and anything else within reach.

Deciding that nappy change is the ideal opportunity to practice her gymnastics. Poopy nappies are mandatory.

Stealing her brother’s food. Oh, and anyone else’s within reach.

Deciding that she is going to lie down on the ground and suddenly develop I-have-no-armpits syndrome which makes picking her up something akin to wrestling a live and very uncooperative eel.

But it had to happen, the balance of power had to shift.

Motormouth is starting to have his revenge. Only yesterday he harrumphed at me while I was vacuuming. Yes, harrumphed. I never thought I would hear a 4-year-old harrumph. (There’s something very satisfying about the word harrumph isn’t there?) Then he looked at me and held his forefinger in the air.

“That’s one, Mummy.” He wagged it at me and frowned (all this time I’m speechless, trying to get my head around being the one on the receiving end).

“You’re making too much noise and I can’t hear the TV.” He frowned even harder.

“You’ll have to deal with it child, since I’m tidying up your mess, yet again.” Vacuum cleaner goes back on.

It might be worth noting at this point that Motormouth’s favourite hobby, well, one of them, is peeling all the labels off crayons and depositing the teeny tiny pieces all over the place.

And what did he say next?

“Mummy, that’s two. If I get to three…!”

There it is.

Motormouth is at the stage where he can throw our words back into our faces. Word perfect.

So what did I do?

I turned the TV off.

I know who the adult in this relationship is.