Tag Archives: parenting

“We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”, a book review

** Disclosure – I was sent an electronic copy of the fabulous compilation of parenting stories in return for my honest review. This does not detract from the fact that this book is fucking hilarious and I can’t lie about it!**

I was recently fortunate to be sent a digital copy of the wonderful, “We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”. This compilation of rib tickling parenting stories was sent to me by the fabulous Susie.

Susie is one of my favourite bloggers over at So Happy In Town . Mrs S.H.I.T as she is known under her blog persona, is a part of this fabulous book along with many other fantastic bloggers from across the U.K, USA and Australia.

parenting stories

With a glass of some yummy cloudy lemonade in hand (it was the middle of the day!), I set about reading some of the most truthfully hilarious 186 pages of my parenting life! When I became pregnant and as the pregnancy progressed, I became rather angry with the world.

Despite researching my heart out over what to expect, this pregnancy malarkey was total BS! Don’t get me wrong, it had its magical and wondrous moments, but my word was it tough! In ways I never thought were possible, my body punished me hourly for making it endure the supposed magic of growing a child.

Cut to once the Georgeous was born and that wondrous magicalness again returned until reality hit. As hubs returned to work after his 2 weeks paternity leave, the shit storm that was now my life hit me. And yes I loved it BUT it wasn’t as other mums had led me to believe.

It was tougher than my spinal surgery which I endured as a teen and spent a year recovering from. Tougher than climbing one of the more difficult paths of Mount Snowdon in Wales as I had done in previous years. Often relentless, overwhelming,intense and sometimes depressing.

I so wish I had a book like this brought to my attention prior to becoming a mama. Now mama to a 3 year old George, it’s easy to relate to. Whilst non parenting types reading it may think you can’t possibly live like this, trust me…you can’t make this stuff up!

This collection of hilarious parenting stories has been compiled by the amazing Michelle Tan.

“Michelle is the absurdist comic writer behind the Facebook persona, Ms. Awesome, Mother Extraordinaire, where she dispenses unsolicited funny advice about surviving parenthood.”

It’ll make you feel human, restore your confidence that you aren’t actually insane and this is in fact life for many parents across the globe even! Most of all it will leave a big, fat smile calorie free on your face. Better than any glass of wine or bar of chocolate.

Get your copy here We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment…and other funny parenting stories.

Press release :- 

The book will be launched at a public event on Saturday 21st April 2018 at XSCAPE, Yorkshire. There will be activities for children and many of the writers. Families will find solidarity and humour on offer throughout the day. People will be invited to share their experiences of the absurd, surreal and downright funny things about parenting.   We want to spread the message that eating their chocolate in hiding is perfectly normal because some things in life should not be shared.

The dictatorship – life with a two year old toddler.

**This post has sat in my drafts for a while, forgotten and lonely.  My toddler model is now over three years old and still thriving. But before I tell you all about how “the model” has evolved, let me take you back to a year ago when I was living with a two year old. Continuing on from one of my more popular posts Life with a toddler – the 2014 model .Enjoy!**

As the parent of a toddler, I’m finding myself under the dictatorship of a two year old. In a similar fashion to a communist regime, I’m regularly told where to sit, who to talk to, how to play certain “games”. To be honest it doesn’t feel like playing when I’m being ordered what car I can and can’t play with, and exactly where to drive it. 

Mainstream music is limited to anything on the CBeebies or nursery rhyme playlist. Disney films and CBeebies get the seal of approval but otherwise the only other programme to frequent our screens are Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Our day begins at a semi reasonable hour but orders to “go downstairs” ring out on on the toddler tannoy before I have time to even open my eyes. His lordship dictates specific rules such as;

  • The bath must be completely empty of water before exiting.
  • Face washing will only commence once there are at least three toys in the sink of water.
  • Drinks will only be drunk if provided in a container to Sir’s satisfaction.

You may be familiar with the term “terrible twos”. It’s a widely used phrase that many people now know and use. Closely followed by the supposéd “threenager” phase.  As my parenting journey began as a follower of the gentle parenting regime, I was led to believe these were not ideal terms to label a your toddler with.

However, being a good few years into this parenting shizzle I can confirm that these are inevitable stages that your mini dictator will go through. At two years old you will have days that you will swear this model truly can be terrible to be in the company of. My own experiences are teaching me that patience and calmness help.

When your mini dictator goes into terrible mode whilst in a public setting, a huge dose of trying to ignore what’s happening  goes a long way. People may stare because they either don’t have this model or they haven’t for a long time and they have forgotten what it’s like to take it out. Remain calm, composed and patient and this will help settle your mini dictator back to it’s usual lovely self whilst showing the world that “you’ve got this shit”.

So if you’ve recently installed a future mini dictator into your fine self and you are reading this, never fear, we’ve all pretty much dealt with this in year two. For anyone going through year two with their model I hope my tips help. I’m learning that the cuteness mode is ever increasing and the fun mode has now been upgraded. This upgrade allows you to enjoy their marvel at everything and days out feel a lot more worthwhile. Gone are the days where you take your early model out, waving it at fish tanks in an aquarium hoping for a reaction.

If you have read all of this and have no idea what I am going on about, please rest assured that this is a tongue in cheek account of living with a two year old. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Can you relate?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Do we push our own fears onto our children?

I’ve been pondering, as I do most things, whether as a nation of Brits, whether we are pushing our own fears onto our children?

George is now three and we’ve attended many a baby and toddler class, read many a children’s book and watched many a program aimed at children his age. He’s a child who is learning all about his surroundings, feelings and emotions and how the world works.

The most recent thing we watched that actually sparked this post was a program on a well known British children’s channel. In the show, the children were practicing their nativity play. Two of the girls got up on a stage and acted out the role of Mary and the Angel. After the girls had said their lines, the teacher asked the girls if acting on a stage had made them nervous. They both said no. “Did it make you excited?” she asked. A weak yes response came from both. Fair do’s for asking if it incited varying emotions but what the teacher said next irritated me.

The teacher then turned to the rest of the class and said;

“It’s very hard to get up on stage in front of everyone. “Girl A” usually has a lot of confidence in class but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get up here, she did really well”.

I get what she’s attempting to do. Praise and credit the girls achievements, but can you see the point I am trying to highlight here?

She has just told a class full of impressionable children that it is a difficult thing to stand up and talk in front of others. And so (to my mind) a potential class of nervous and shy children have been created. You tell a child something, they believe it (typically) For many you have just planted a seed of negativity right there.

And before you think I’m one of those 2017, gets offended by everything types, I so couldn;t be further from it. What I am is someone who says things as I see. We all know that if I tell you long enough the sky is green that eventually, if you are impressionable (as children are) you will start to believe it.

I’ve also on countless times heard the mention of “scary spiders”. Yes, agreed, arachnophobia is a big thing in the world but we are never going to stop it by teaching children that spiders are scary. It’s a never ending cycle of fear being programmed into one generation after the next. Children don’t come out being scared of spiders. We teach it to them. I know the end moral of stories like the one I’ve seen on Peppa pig is that you needn’t be scared of spiders like Mr Skinny Legs but by then it’s too late. You’ve planted the seed. Where are the programs about scary sheep, scary balls or scary paintbrushes? There aren’t many you can name are there!

Then there’s rain. Think about it. As a British nation, specifically in England, the majority of us believe that rain is a negative thing. Admittedly this mentality is changing but there are countless posts about what to do on a rainy day at home. But why does a rainy day have to mean you stay home? And so I draw your attention to a well known nursery rhyme.

“Rain, rain go away, come again another day”

Don’t even get me started on;

“It’s raining, it pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning”

I’m sure you are thinking that children don’t over analyse these things.  But you have to admit that we could be planting seeds in our children’s minds that suggest rain is negative. You can’t go out in the rain, it needs to go away, no one likes it. Why!?

It’s hard for me as a mother who grew up scared of almost everything. The dark, spiders, going fast, swimming, the wind, loud noise, heights, going upstairs by myself, ghosts, dead people, being shy. I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault I was that way. I can almost pinpoint a life event that caused each of those fears but I bet I’ve forgotten about the episode of a programme that first instilled that idea into me, or a lady saying something to me on the bus, or a book that was read to me at the library.

As an adult I now try my hardest to not be fearful of anything. Using willpower, hypnotherapy and just a basic “couldn’t give a shit” attitude I’ve managed to conquer most of those fears. Post natal depression will do that for you as well I found. Once you’ve seen the lowest parts of yourself you aren’t scared of much else your daily life has to offer. But for George I’ve always wanted different. If I can avoid him gaining a fear of things I will.

He has already developed several fears that affect him in fits and starts and to be honest I can only think they are things he has seen on television as he certainly hasn’t witnessed them from me or his dad. We greet spiders like they are long lost friends, we poo poo suggestions we hear on tele of people saying they are scared of the dark etc. We encourage him to discover, explore and push himself, safe in the knowledge that we will be there if he feels he needs us to support him.

Once he starts full time school I know this will become harder. Perhaps we all need a little fear to make us rounded individuals. I personally feel fear holds you back and you miss out on areas of life because of it. Shyness for example. Would I have taken part in so much more, been part of so many groups had I not been shy. I wouldn’t have taken so much bullshit and I may, possibly, have been happier for it instead of feeling bitter about a lot of my school years.

What do you think? Do you think this is a British thing? I can’t help wondering if children raised in other countries/cultures/environments have different fears because of different exposures. For example in countries where they don’t a lot of television, if any, do children have these fears? Or as Brits are we creating the next anxious and fearful generation?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Drowning emotionally

After feeling on top of the world Monday, this morning has just drained me. Having to justify George’s personality and behaviour to the swim teacher and all the other mums listening. 
I dunno. 
George has been doing marvellously at his swimming lessons and his teacher has taught us so many ways to get him familiar and content with the water. She did tell me weeks ago to expect him to have a relapse at some point but not to be concerned. 

Well that relapse happened. And why did it happen? Well it happened because she raised the pool floor to allow him to touch the bottom which he thought was wonderful and it was a development until the following week when he expected to be able to touch the floor. When he realised he couldn’t he went into fear mode and began clinging to me again, despite the fact he was wearing armbands and even with the aid of a rubber ring or pool noodle. 

Add to this the week following the floor raising his usual teacher was off. George is a stickler for familiarity and a new teacher was just not what he had in mind. 

All this taken into account, today’s resolve boiled down to the fact that I allow him to be to clingy to me. I’m not firm enough. And for someone I need to leave him with family and friends more. This all sounds idyllic but if he doesn’t want to stay with someone I’m not going to just leave him him there crying. But I should. Completely forgetting we had this relapse on the expected horizon and how did we even get onto the subject of who I leave him with? 

So feeling confused and embarrassed that my clingy child is in the class below his age group, he’s scared to let go whilst in the water. I now feel like the child I have given up my career to look after is supposedly playing me because I should be dumping him at everyone else’s house and be doing I don’t know what? Reading books on how to teach him to swim? 

Cut to the changing rooms and mine is the only child screaming about not liking the shower whilst everyone looks on like we are a pair of weirdos. He then needs a wee and when we get to the toilet the towel must’ve put him off because he couldn’t control the direction and the wee all went up the wall. I cleaned it all with tissue and left it pleasant. It was clear anyways. It was only the swimming pool water he drank. 

Teacher appears as we are are washing our hands and he’s screaming because the tap is so fast. She must’ve heard all the events so I tell her what just happened in the cubicle and she asks me which one and says she’ll get it washed down. An extremely helpful gesture. I recognise that but another way that I felt crap. As far as I was concerned I had cleaned it up. Now I felt inadequate for not thinking I should ask for it to be washed down. 

I’m really not laying the blame at this woman’s door. Her intention is to make my life easier and help us both. My perception is that I’m doing everything wrong and people can’t believe what a mess I’m making of this child. 

How can you feel like you are doing such a wonderful job of raising your child one day, and feel like a complete failure the next

The pathetic thing is I don’t even stand up for myself or my parenting choices. I just go along with agreeing that he should be the way this stranger says he should be 🙄😔 whilst everyone looks on thinking god knows what. 

Aside from being a bit clingy he’s doing amazingly well for his age. I know that. So what the fuck! Why am leaving the swimming pool holding back the tears and getting home as quick as I can to just cry so hard? 

It’s not even her fault. And I’ve always said I agree that the reason swimming teachers get such fab results is their tough love strategy. 

Pathetic. It’s not even like I take him to other swimming lessons because I can’t drive out of this stupid town due to ongoing vertigo. Ongoing for the last 4 years before you start chucking all your solutions at me. I’m under a neurology consultant but that’s another story. 

You know those days where you question everything. 

Tomorrow is another day. Although it’s quite scary not knowing what kind of day it will be. 

Tips to encourage your child to wash and brush their teeth

We are all looking for ways to maintain our sanity  make parenting easier. Three years into parenting, myself and Gorgeous George’s Daddy are still devising ways to encourage George to wash and brush his teeth.

George was two weeks old before hubs and I plucked up the courage to give him his first full bath. Scared of him being a slippery bugger and flying out of hands, thus causing himself  us to have hurt him, we waited until it was really necessary. We quickly realised this was going to be something George needed convincing was a fun and relaxing habit.

 

We have since devised many ways to encourage our child that the essential act of getting washed and brushing your teeth can be fun. I’d like to add that George has pretty much always loved bathtimes and teeth brushing. His main issue is either that he is too tired or the desire to want to play with his toys is too strong.

Here’s are my top tips to encourage your child to wash and brush their teeth twice a day;

  1. Explain what’s expected. I’ve always explained what is ahead of us. I think it helps to make tasks or trips seem less daunting.
  2. Get them involved. Yes it might take longer but let them have some control. George is almost three and can
  • Fill the sink
  • Wash his hands and face with soap and a flannel
  • Dry them on a towel
  • Load his toothbrush with the right amount of toothpaste
  • Clean his own teeth
  • Spit (Rinsing is not actually recommended by dentists)

I don’t know if this is typical for a child his age and although I still supervise him to help him remain focused, he is more than independently able to complete these tasks. I do assist him when I feel he’s missed a bit. I also try to clean his teeth myself a few times a week to ensure they are getting properly cleaned. I have taught him the proper brushing technique though.

3. Get a chart. Ask your dentist for a teeth brushing chart or download one like the one here Teeth brushing chart . A fun toothbrush with a character on also helps. Getting your child to choose their own toothbrush in the shop is good encouragement. Just make sure they are age appropriate.

4. Make up songs. Back in the day where I was forever wet wiping George’s face clean of food from weaning etc, we made up a song. To the tune of E I Adio;

We’re cleaning George’s face/arms/bum

We’re cleaning George’s face

We’re making George all gorgeous

We’re cleaning George’s face

This also worked for brushing teeth, brushing hair, putting on socks, coat and so on.

5. Challenge your child to a “teeth race”.

Teeth brushing is important and needs to be done properly for it to be sufficient.

The teeth race in short is you cleaning your teeth at the same time your child cleans theirs. If your child doesn’t clean their own teeth yet you can do this in conjunction with your partner. They clean their own teeth whilst you clean your child’s.

This should also help to get your child from anywhere in the house to the bathroom in a matter of minutes. You can also use this for handwashing etc.

6. Get the toys involved. George’s favourite toy changes almost weekly. Over the years we have tried to suggest that “rabbit” or his “Lightning McQueen” would love to watch him getting washed and cleaning his teeth.

Show them Mr Monkey how you wash your hands

If the toy is waterproof it goes in, or even simpler, use a favourite bath toy, or the toy can sit on a ledge from a safe distance to the water and “watch”.

This method can often mean that wash time takes up to 10 minutes or more but I often leave him to get on with having fun whilst I sneakily get a face wash in. This leaves me free to do my makeup or get dressed, empty the litter tray, or even have a quick clean up.

7. Following on from the “bring a toy” idea, suggest that mr car is all dirty and needs a wash. Before you know it your child will be elbow deep in bubbles and foam and getting clean without even realising it. Let’s face it, if they are that grubby then the bath is an easier option.

8. Songs, songs, songs. I had a tiny turtle, row row row the boat, I jumped aboard a pirate ship, any songs or nursery rhymes, preferably water related to distract your little one whilst you wash them.

9. Bribery! I insist that we cannot go downstairs in the morning until we have washed and cleaned our teeth. The bathroom in our house is upstairs, playing with toys happens downstairs. If like mine, your little one is eager to get up and play with the toys, then insist that they can’t until they have had their wash and cleaned their teeth. Works for me.

10. Buy fun soap. Here are a few of our favs. George enjoys mixing different colours and textures so we often have several different soaps on the sink edge at a time.

  • Johnsons easy rinse foaming shampoo
  • Lush Rainbow fun soap
  • Carex handwash in Bubblegum/Love Hearts or Strawberry Laces (Even my visiting nephew complimented me on the epicness of this soap)

So what do you think of our top tips? Do you have any to add? Obviously I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and means of encouragement.

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mummy’s first day at preschool. 

Ah it’s here. September. Back to school. It feels like when you are starting a new job. Excited but nervous. The kid? Well he’s oblivious. I have a two (nearly three) year old. He doesn’t NEED to go to preschool. So why am I putting us through this?
 

Well he’s always gone to nursery as I DID return to work for a few months. After I left I kept it on just to give myself some child free time if I’m honest. 
My health hasn’t been fab in recent months leaving me unable to drive to where George attended nursery. We had to make the difficult choice to remove him from the wonderful privately owned nursery that he attended from ten months old. 

We opted to get him a place in the government preschool adjoined to where will hopefully be his school in the future. 
This was always going to be somewhere he had to end up eventually. 

So why the anxiety Mummy? Well in his private nursery he was in the presence of two carers and roughly six children per room. I was reassured he would get the love and attention he would at home. He would be in view all the time so no one could hurt or bully him. 

His new preschool is linked to the primary school. When he starts tomorrow he will be in the regular presence of 27 children and 6 carers. I attended the settle in day. It’s a large space both indoors and outdoors. The carers physically could not be everywhere and see everything. 

There were what can only be described as several sadistic shitbags that I wouldn’t want to be left alone with George. I know the apron strings have got to be cut loose at some point and he’s got to learn to find his own way of dealing with things in the world. But he’s two. You can’t even explain to him. 

When George has been upset by other children I often respond by removing him from the situation and giving him a cuddle. I know some parents may argue that he should “man up and hit back”. I’ve asked George if he would hit another child back that hurt him and his response was “why?”.
This left me realising this little boy is being kind, thoughtful and considering just like his mummy and daddy. We are raising him to be as such so why would we suddenly tell him to hit people!
That said, hubs is teaching him to box. Although he currently only uses that on hubs. 

So I turned to my gentle parenting train of thought and suggested that if another child hurts him anytime I’m not around he should say 

“stop! That’s not nice, I’m going to tell a grown up”. 

Again I asked him if he would do this instead of his current method of simply standing and crying until someone rescues him and he said “no, I’ll just stand and cry”. 

So here I am. So excited for my little boys first day of preschool. All the wonderful new toys and children to play and interact with. New staff to meet and learn the schools ways. We have attended several seasonal open days there and he has never wanted to leave due to the sheer expanse of the place and how many activities there are to do. 

Yet my protective, worrying side is scared. I know children, as fickle as they are, can be put off by things after only one traumatic incident. That said he still absolutely loves any child that hits him so perhaps he is also going to be a forgiving soul too. 
As I wave goodbye tomorrow and give him a big kiss and a squeeze, I’ll run home and immerse myself in some wall knocking down (yes seriously, it’s on my to do list). And when I return I know my fears will be banished. I know he will have had a fab time. I know he will excel and flourish even more there. But I know this worry is here to stay. 
As he grows, so will my worry. I’m losing the grip. He will no longer have me to protect his every move. He’s two for crying out loud. It’s ok I tell myself. There is always home schooling. 
And then there are the other mums. What if none of them want to be friendly. What if they all know each other and aren’t very welcoming. Perhaps you can tell but I was bullied at school. If I was the person I am now I don’t think they would have been so successful but then perhaps if I wasn’t bullied I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. 
We all just want our children to be happy, safe and protected. Don’t we? 

So for all the anxious mummies in the playground tomorrow, I feel you. A few words of wisdom for each other and a bit of support and I’m sure we will all get through this. And for the mums of the sadistic little shits, (although you probably don’t call them that) I feel for you, really I do. It must be tough looking after a kid like that, you have my empathy. 

Good luck to everyone starting or returning to school tomorrow, Daddy’s too. I’m sure this probably applies to you. Although I can’t help feeling Daddy’s just get on with things without all the worrying us women do. Would love to hear from some Daddy’s with little ones starting or returning to school. 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

2017 – When every day is judgement day.

2017 has brought with it an increase in access to the internet, which, in my opinion, has increased our so called “knowledge”. We all think we are so damn knowledgeable about everything. Parents are literally the worst culprits of this.

Looking at my examples below, you’ll come to the conclusion that as parents we can’t do right for doing wrong. There will always be someone who doesn’t agree with what you are doing or have done. Is it any of their business? No! Are they with you 24/7? Doubtful! Should you give a toss what they think? Absolutely not! Will our children all turn out ok in the end? More than likely.

And those that supposedly turn out perfect may no doubt make some poor choices in adulthood. Perhaps they’ll make choices that mess up their lives and make us judge them moreover. There are many, many ways to live and grow. Very few are the “wrong way”. Please just stop judging.

Stop judging yourself, judging others. Stop making snide comments and passing hurtful looks. Instead try offering help to a parent that looks like they are struggling. Try offering praise to someone who looks like they are doing a “good job” by your standards. Appreciate that there are other ways to parent, and enquire with the person politely about their method. You may actually find a “better” method for your own parenting/grand parenting.

Any of these sound familiar?

Did you see that mum in the cafe, bottle feeding her baby? Poor kid is missing out on all those nutrients. Why doesn’t she breastfeed. Why doesn’t she want to give the best to her baby?

Did you see that mum in the cafe, breastfeeding her baby? Attention seeking she was. Getting her boobs out for everyone to see. Just so she can make the rest of us feel inadequate like we aren’t doing the best for our babies.

Did you speak to that that mum at the park? 5 kids she has and she wants more! She’s so selfish. Those kids will never get the attention and love they need with that many to look after!

Did you speak to that mum at the park? Her little boy is an only child and she doesn’t want anymore! She’s so selfish. That child is going to miss out on so much without a sibling to share it with.

Did you see that mum at the zoo? All her children drinking juice and eating chocolate and sweets. More fool her. All their teeth are probably rotten and it’s all her fault.

Did you see that mum at the zoo? All her children drinking were drinking water and eating homemade sugar free muffins. More fool her. First chance they get they will be stuffing their faces secretly with sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks. And they’ll miss out at birthday parties. It’s all her fault.

My gosh did you see that mum letting her kid run along on the pavement? He could’ve run in the road and had an accident any minute. I was on edge just watching. She’s so irresponsible. (I’ve actually heard this one).

My gosh did you see that mum making her kid hold her hand and wear reins whilst walking along? Give the kid some space or he’ll never learn. She’s making a rod for her own back.

Did you see that mum ignoring her child and looking at her phone? Look at your kid for crying out loud! Watch him play.

Did you see that mum following her child on all the play equipment? Step back and let him breathe! Let him play by himself.

Did you see that mum shouting at her child in the supermarket? You should never speak to a child like that! She should always remain calm and composed.

Did you see that mum in the supermarket letting her child get away with lying on the floor screaming whilst she quietly stood there? She didn’t do anything! She’s teaching him it’s ok to be a spoilt brat.

The list goes on and on. Moral of this post…we all do things different. Every child is different and has their own needs. By all means if you are genuinely concerned for the safeguarding of a child then please take action by reporting to the appropriate authorities.

If you believe you may be guilty of being judgemental of your fellow mama, try our three simple steps;

(1) Take a moment to think of some of the reasons this mum is doing what she is doing. Appreciate that she knows her own children and her own mind. She may be having an off day. She’s made her own choices after weighing up the facts for herself.

(2) Close your eyes and walk away. It’s not your child. It’s not your way. If there’s no safeguarding issue. You are just being a bitch. Mind your own business.

(3) Do you remember when you had your first child and when you no doubt did exactly the same thing she did? You’ve since changed your style but it doesn’t make your choice any better. It’s YOUR choice for YOUR child at THAT time.

Just to be clear. None of the above opinions are my own. Thankfully I don’t hang in circles where opinions like this are expressed. You only have to click on the comments of most Facebook stories to see this type of know-it-all negativity.

Do you think we are giving each other too much of a hard time? I know I give MYSELF a hard enough time. I don’t have anything left to berate others and wouldn’t dare. We won’t judge here.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

My potty training tips.

I present to you my potty training tips. I personally prefer the term potty practice. Training makes me feel like I have a puppy that needs teaching. From my own experience, George will do things when he is ready. It is my role to guide him and just show him a good way of doing things. Not to train him, not to show him the right way. To guide him towards a way that works for the both of us. All the while gauging what he feels comfortable with.

I am by no means claiming to be an expert. Blimey who really is! We are all so different, we have to adapt things to our own and our child’s specific needs and capabilities. But we have smashed this so called potty training in 5 days. After 5 days George was dry DAY and NIGHT. I will admit he had one night time accident, but I will explain how to try to avoid this later on in the post. I read so many mums saying how awful and horrific the process was. Aside from day 2 where I had to clean up 6 wees it really was easy.

  1. Look for signs your child is ready. However, this isn’t always a good indicator. At 18 months old George was telling us he had soiled his nappy and getting the bits for us to change it. I took this as him knowing when he needed to have a wee or poo. I introduced the potty, quite successfully for a day or two. Until he needed a poo. He was bare bottomed and started pooing in the kitchen whilst standing, he ran in the living room screaming, poo pebbles falling around his ankles.

Hubs and I used gentle voices and told him it was fine and tried to get him to sit on the potty. We told him not to worry and quickly cleaned up. From that point he refused to use the potty or the toilet. Preferring to stand and scream and cry that he wanted a nappy on. For fear of him hurting himself by holding on to his toilets, we reverted back to nappies.

We spoke to him lots and tried a few times in the months following that to get him to try the potty again. At his 2 year check-up at 23 months I told the health visitor what had happened, half expecting a “why isn’t he potty trained yet?” lecture. She was so supportive and told me to leave it a long while as he was clearly traumatised by the poo-cident.

Note our successful 5 days leading to the farewell nappy parade happened at 33 months.

  1. One of the most important things is to avoid making a big deal when accidents occur. We are all human. None of us are 100% perfect. I really believe this will only put your child off the whole process even more if they see you getting angry or upset over spilt wee. I know myself that if I am doing something and someone reprimands me for the way I am doing it, I am very reluctant to perform that task again in the presence of that person.
  2. On the flip side, complete over the top praise is definitely necessary during potty practice. Did you ever see “Look Who’s Talking Too” when John Travolta and Kirstie Alley sing the pee pee on the pottayyy song. This so needs to happen. Along with numerous hi-fives, cuddles, and stickers for the t-shirt and facetimes and phone calls to grandparents to tell them what you just did. Anything that makes them feel accomplished, special, amazing and worthy. They need this so much. I really believe this helps immensely.
  3. I’m not going to tell you to prepare as such but it does help to have a few items in place before you start. Personally the items that have got us through this transition are;
  • A potty. We don’t have the latest all singing all dancing character potty. We have a bog stand, white, cheaper than cheap floor potty.
  • A toddler toilet seat. This helps make the seat smaller so they can sit comfortably without fear of falling in the toilet bowl. A seat with handles is ideal. Ours again was cheap and cheerful, easy to sling in a bag and take out with us.
  • Pull-ups. Because if accidents are going to happen, it’s a damn site easier. Some people choose to remain housebound during potty practice, we still had to go about our lives. So for bedtimes, trips to other people’s houses, or longer than 10 minute car journeys, pull ups are a godsend.

I’d recommend the more expensive ones with a wetness indicator so your child can aim to ensure the indicator doesn’t disappear. Otherwise they will just try and use it like a nappy potentially. FYI, they don’t hold much wee compared to a nappy. If you can get them with a favourite character on, bonus points! The character helps to encourage them to wear the pull up. You’ve just won the “you aren’t going to wear nappies anymore” battle and yet here you are presenting them with something that looks very much like a nappy. Confused much. The character will help distract from the point. Emphasis this is just to catch accidents which won’t happen but it’s ok if they do.

  • Big boy/big girl pants or knickers. If you can get them with a favourite character bonus points!
  • Loo roll. You’ll suddenly go from the Queen/King of multiple uses for baby wipes to the Goddess/God of loo roll and lessons in how little you actually need to use.
  1. Rewards chart. I know many of you will shudder at the thought of such a system. I too was against them having followed gentle parenting methods for the first year of George’s life. As he evolved into a toddler however, I realised that no ONE method was going to suit us when it came to parenting. Instead we choose to take advice from parenting styles we agree with and then adapt them to our child and our way of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I was so fearful that as soon as he received ten stickers and got his hands on that new toy, the pants would come flying off and he would scream for his nappy back. One week later and he is still totally rocking the pants and has sampled so many types of loo and loo seat I don’t think he will ever contemplate using a nappy again.

How we used the reward chart was to give a sticker for every poo or wee on the potty/toilet. He chose the sticker and stuck it on himself. The chart was beautifully handmade by moi. With inspiration taken from Pinterest. There are a huge choice out there and many seem overly complicated. I chose a simple, ten stickers and you get a new toy. This meant he could literally complete the chart in a matter of two days, if you consider how many poos and wees you do in a day.

Tuesday morning saw the chart at 6 stickers but unfortunately so did Tuesday evening. We had so many accidents Tuesday, he only made it to the toilet the once, first thing. Wednesday being a new day, we discussed with George the idea of removing the stickers he had earned and starting again, in light of the accidents. He was more than happy for us to do this. And so we began again. By Friday lunchtime he had his 10 stickers. The last of which was earned at nursery.

I’m wondering if because the chart was so simple and short, this allowed us to accomplish the unthinkable so quickly and successfully. I could be wrong. It’s worth a try though.

potty6. Many other mamas recommended I provide a form of distraction for little one as he sat on the toilet/potty. Especially when trying to overcome the “fear of the poo”. Distraction suggestions ranged from singing songs to reading a favourite story or blowing bubbles. We opted for me to read him a story which we kept in the bathroom.

7. Take their potty with you. When we took George to nursery on day 3 of potty practice, we had discussed him using the potty their and he agreed. On collecting him they told us he had refused to use their potty and only wanted his own. We took his own in on the friday and this problem was solved.

When we came to going on our first trip out, we took our seat adapter from home. However, despite having familiarity with the seat, he was still upset the first time he needed a wee and stood in the toilet and cried. I placed him on his seat and explained it was the same as at home. Used my usual distraction techniques, song singing, look at that bug on the wall etc and he realxed and did his wee. After that there was really no stopping him.

8. If all else fails talk about how it looks. We discuss what shape his poo’s are. It gives him determination to try and do a different shape next time. We do a wee in the toilet first and tell him to do a wee on top of ours so they can be flushed away together. All things that make him feel safe and reassured. It can be tough for toddlers to let go of things, even bodily functions. Knowing they are with Mummy and Daddy’s or they are being big and copying you can help them relate.

9. Share the love. Get them to tell everyone you encounter what they have achieved and how wonderful they are doing. get them to recognise and brag about their own accomplishments with potty practice. Ultimately you are also encouraging discussion of bodily functions. Something that, as we grow older, can often develop a stigma. I’m a great supporter of nothing being out of bounds. Your bodily functions can tell a lot about your health and I don’t believe we should ever be embarrassed of them or teach our little ones to be.

10. Best of Luck to all you potty practisers out there. If it feels like too much hard work then stop and wait a few months and try again is the best advice I can give. There will obviously be people out there who have persevered and successfully said farewell to the nappies.I can only give advice based on our experience. I’m not here to play the smug mum or knock anyone else’s methods. I aim to help.

So take these tips on board if you will. Change them to suit you, completely ignore them altogether if they don’t suit you or your child. You know me though, I love to share so I couldn’t resist. Would be great to know my tips have helped at least one person.

Best of luck to you all. If you have any tips you think may help our readers please feel free to add them in the comments below.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

It’s only a phase – the parenting guide to phases your child will go through

Parenting, in a nutshell it’s only one phase after another. I’m going to give you a little satirical guide to the phases your little one will go through.

So you’ve got that magical positive result on the pregnancy test. You feel excited, overwhelmed, in denial, emotional, elated. Little do you know, you have just signed up to at least an 18 year sequence of phases.
I will now describe to you the phases I myself have been through with George. We are only at the two and half year mark. No doubt this is a post that will eventually become a long standing series.

Phase

For ease of writing I will refer to your little one as he. Let’s face it, as much as we thank the men in our lives for this magical event, with the amazing joy comes occasional annoyance. Pretty much sums up the male species from my perspective (winks coyly with her tongue in her cheek). So “he” it is.

Congratulations. You are pregnant with a baby boy or girl. Or both but let’s just assume everything I say and double it, triple it, depending on your brood. I’m sure I’m being naive and there’s more to it than that. I only have the one so can’t comment.

Phase
Third trimester. That incredible yet surreal feeling you get when your baby is moving inside of you. Something which you can often see as well as feel now. You love it, you’re thankful for it, then comes being woken up at night with the kicking and fidgeting. You’ve just settled back into bed, surrounded yourself with 6 pillows after your tenth wee, and now the little darling decides it’s time to start practicing his gangnam style. Welcome to the “get me out of your belly” phase. Towards the end (I’m talking around the 36 week mark), the head can engage and the “get me out of your belly” phase progresses to “fuck it I’ll make my own way out” as you can almost feel the head pushing down there trying to eeek his way out. Uncomfortable isn’t the word.

Phase

Let’s cut to the birth. It happens however it happens. Don’t beat yourself up about it. He has to come out somehow so as long as you are both safe and well at the end of it, you are a hero. You’ve grown this little boy. Give yourself credit where it’s due.

You’re first night together. Poor little darling is stressed. He cries on and off all night; “It’s cold out here, and I’m hungry. What happened to that hose with all my scrummy food. I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on. I want to go back in the tummy please”. Welcome to the “indecisive charades phase”. He won’t quite know what he wants but he will make small movements and random incoherent noises. You must learn to decipher this code, get the correct answer, then apply this answer to little darling and see if he is satisfied. Keep trying this for 6 months.

Congratulations! You made it six months! You thought the charades phase was tough. Wow you really have no idea what’s in store. The last six months has seen you become a master. A master of dangling things in front of your little darling. Master of bouncing him, rocking him, feeding him, changing him. The washing machine has become a multitasking part time babysitter. And it’s worked right? He’s been happy and content for the majority. You are both learning each other ways but overall you are managing to not annoy each other too much. But all good things must come to an end.

Phase

Welcome to the fidget arse phase. By now your little one will likely be rolling over, shuffling, maybe even attempting a backwards crawl. Suddenly dangling things in front of his face or bouncing him gently is unsatisfactory. No. He’s had his eye on that DVD cabinet for 6 months now and he wants to know what exactly is in all those little cases. What does that red glowing button do? That fluffy long thing at the end of the cat looks fun.

You suddenly need eyes in your arse. How do I see using eyes in my arse you wonder. Well let me tell you, you won’t be sitting on it. You’ll be up and down and up and down and up and down. Rescuing little darling before he delves into something else. Rearranging your house slowly day by day.

 

Phase

Never fear. You will soon tire of the fidget arse phase and will begin willing your little darling to take their first steps. We are homo sapiens after all. It’s instinctive. You eagerly encourage him until one day, hurrah, those teeny tiny steps are taken without your assistance. A triumph in your naive eyes. At last he can walk. The end of the days of you carrying them around is in sight.

But what’s this….he is climbing the stairs! Darling little can suddenly get from one end of the lounge to the kitchen in the time it takes you to sip your cold cup of tea. He’s had more bumps, trips and falls than an accident insurers handbook. What have you created you absolute plonker!

Phase

And then the day arrives. Little one’s first birthday. A milestone. A day to celebrate. But what are you doing? Sobbing, and updating your Facebook status mourning your little one is no longer a baby. They are “all grown up”, “where did the time go” “time to think about having another”.
And so the cycle begins again. (Faceplants).

Phase
Ps. Honestly I’m not as cynical as I sound. From the moment I got that positive result, I have thanked my lucky stars for being given this opportunity. Something many would give anything for. Doesn’t hurt to tell it how it is sometimes. We all have our own experiences. This is mine.
To be continued…….

Until next time………

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Reasons to smile – the happy side of parenting. 

I’ve decided to share with you a few reasons to smile if you are a parent of a toddler. Sharing’s caring and all that, and if I make you smile then let me know. I’m a people pleaser so if I make someone happy, that’s makes me happy.

In this crazy world of parenting, I feel like a good majority get far too hung up on the negatives. Lack of sleep, lack of time to yourself, lack of time full stop, non stop mess to tidy, our bodies getting wrecked by these tiny beings blah blah blah. The list goes on.

Parenting does have this little known Happy sidento it. Very, very rarely though do I hear parents talking about it. When asked how they are,  parents often respond with something negative about their child, myself included. It just seems to be the norm now that if someone asks a parent “hi, how are you?” , the response is more often than not related to the child and what terrible phase or stage they are at. Well I’m here to change this trend!

Yes my toddler can drive me up the wall and sometimes I can’t wait to hand him over to someone else for an hour. But this post is to acknowledge how much happiness he brings to my life regardless of any of the struggle parenthood brings.

Kids say the funniest things. Here are some of the classics George has made me giggle with recently.

“where the fuck have you been?”. Said to me after I popped downstairs to grab my drink and bring it upstairs where we were playing. I have to admit I am guilty of saying this word a lot. Naughty mummy, I’m trying to stop I promise.
“I not go ‘flying’ through the windscreen because I don’t have wings!”. This was in response to me explaining why he needed to wear his car seat straps as in a crash he may go flying.
“Don’t worry mummy, I make you better”. Approaching me with his doctors kit after I said I had a migraine.
“Sockies don’t be scared, let’s be friends yeah”. To our cat who isn’t scared of him but the other two run away from him.
“Oh, what’s that noise outside, it’s a girl, she’s sad, she wants me to play with her”. Randomly said during an evening bath.
“Stop singing Daddy’s song!” Whilst singing Queen, Don’t stop me now. This is mine and my sisters karaoke song! When I smiled at him he questioned it! Kids! Always a “what” and a “why” to throw my way.

George is an adorable singer. At not far past two years old, he knows a variety of songs, some old school nursery rhymes and some theme tunes from his favourite TV shows. He often gets me to sing it and then says, “sing it again”. This happens about three times as he watches me intently, learning the words, then sings along with me. It’s adorable. Plus I love having a mini singing buddy and feeling like a superstar when he watches me so intently.

He now gets very excited by the arrival of daylight, jumping up and down on the bed trying to wake us up saying “wake up mummy, daddy, it’s morning time!” He will also put his head under the duvet or crawl under my pillows and declare that he’s hiding. I love his enthusiasm and world of wonderment.


So my challenge to you is to try and share something positive about parenthood next time you are asked.

I fully support sharing all emotions, following the belief that sharing is caring no matter what feeling you share. I am a huge promoter of positivity and optimism though and this post aims to show this.

Until next time……

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday