Thursday, 14 September 2017
Despite what some of my rose-tinted posts may seemingly convey, things are rarely all Boden-clad infants singing kumbaya and frolicking around my ankles telling me how much they loooooove me. There is a reason phrases such as 'winging it' have become mainstream in the parenting fraternity, I can't think of a day when we don't all feel that to a certain extent. This is our household as of 5 minutes ago. I would love to say it's a very unusual apocolyptic scene and my Kath Kidston feather duster just missed one of its thrice daily workouts but truth is: this is home and has been for months. Even when we do get the Pooky lighting and tumbled limestone floor, hmm.. things really won't change much. It's carnage, but beneath the unfengsui/shabby shit - are 3 very happy little humans. They get up, they are kind, they are inquisitive, they eat, they are healthy, they are respectful but they are also spirited and don't care too much about space planning and wanky farrow and ball paint colours. And that is what is important. I think the play room will be staying for a while and my OCD within will have to wait another decade to make its presence known.
And the mini bottle of Malbec? I know it's not cool to blag about booze when on the job but this is me trying to be good. Only I can't find any recepticles so it's a touch of class without a glass.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Thursday, 18 May 2017
Most of us worldwide are now too busy, too accessible 24/7, too conscious of the rat race to stop and take stock for fear of being left behind - and that is quite sad.
I remember 17 years ago, I found myself on a small boat off the North Island of New Zealand searching for whales. I was borrowing a snazzy, super-technical camera from my father ... it was digital and it took videos!! We spent several quiet minutes on that quaint boat in arguably one of the most naturally stunning and peaceful places in the world, looking out for movement from these gorgeous gentle giants, the atmosphere was palpable; the serenity juxtaposed by sheer anticipation of a sighting. It would have been that was if I wasn't too hung up on getting the perfect video of the long-awaited breach. Needless to say, I missed the moment in the present because I was too busy trying to capture it for the future. And what more - failed. The resulting shot was a mere splash as the giant disappeared into the deep never to return that afternoon. I so wished at the time I had just savoured the excitement and seen the beast in all its glory.
Fast forward a decade and a half and there is soooooo much more than missing a mammal on your gap-yahhh. Gone are the days of savouring a great people-watching session whilst waiting for friends at the station (bar), a moment alone is now a moment to steal quiet and frantic scrolls through social media to see what the latest news is and what everyone else is doing... To quickly get the shopping done, check the emails and message your friend to hurry up. Expectations on us are so much higher now because we are seemingly more accountable by virtue of our constant accessibility. We do. not. stop.
I think Hygge has become in vogue because it reminds us that we are all real at a time when we are really needing to. It provides an antithesis to the unremitting crazy whirring of the social media, digital, technical society that we are immersed in.
My prescription to everyone is to take 10 minutes a day away from demands. 10 minutes may seem tiny but it is a start. Go for a walk. Read a book. Sit. Actually taste the food. Be it what you like, a break from work, the phone, demands - is tonic for the soul, a way of recalibrating and will make you a better person as a result. The best parts of the world are passing us by. Switch off and switch on.
That ends the preach of the day.
Monday, 15 May 2017
There is advice aplenty on when how and why to wean your baby in certain ways, take all the information in and just roll with whatever you feel comfortable with. Be willing to be versatile and flexible as you work out what suits the little one best. I am no authority on the subject but have found that a mixture of 'baby led' and pureed weaning has gone down an absolute treat with my 3 musketeers.
Buy several washable bibs, be prepared for a big mess and waste of food, have a sense of fun and humour. Aside from all manner of scientific reasons a variety of weaning methods are great.... on a base level - Baby led weaning helps eliminate the frustration of painstakingly prepared dishes being catapulted and smeared all over the place whilst pureed foods enable you to ensure that they are actually eating something!
A whole half a year has passed since this little human arrived in your world. Look at the amazing little person and give yourself a MASSIVE pat on the back. No matter how unbelievably hard it is at times, you've done a bl00dy brilliant job and as the following months unveil so do some incredibly rewarding milestones. Strap yourself in, its just as bumpy only the terrain keeps changing.
Hello you fun, cute little person. Hello outside world that expects me to be totally functional. Hello sleep ..... NOPE ONLY KIDDING! Give it another couple of months and almost all of us will be getting a vaguely acceptable level of shut-eye. Some of you will already, just don't shout about it.
Having been on the 'outside' for an entire 20 weeks now the little human is mastering things at a rapid rate. Sitting is becoming an art as it wobbles about like a weeble only with a significantly lower success rate at making it back to the vertical. Putting their little pins out in a v shape gives them better stability. Around now is when I like to introduce the affectionately coined 'circle of neglect' or the 'baby bouncer'. Ours, the Jumperoo to be exact, makes everyone happy. The increasingly curious and mobile bambino gets freedom to explore, move and bounce within the confines of a vivid plastic rainforest whilst mama and papa get the freedom to actually pee alone or hang the washing out without their koala. Multiple WINNER.
Weaning lies just around the corner but if there is grouchiness, sleeplessness, a massive interest in your food, your baby was overdue, is big etcetc.... then it might be worth introducing first tastes early but always check with the Health Visitor or another figure of baby health authority. I certainly wouldn't be in any rush to start weaning for the sake of it and by leaving it until the recommended 6 months, you will find the little one whizzes through the rice, root veg and mush to actual food much quicker.
If you haven't already it might be worth considering a night out with papa and/or friends. Don't force yourself if you don't feel up for it but just an hour or two away from it all does wonders for the soul.
Friday, 12 May 2017
pəˈsiːv/ - interpret or regard (someone or something) in a particular way.
bɪˈliːv/ - hold (something) as an opinion; think.
For me, one ultimate parenting cock-up stems from doing what you perceive to be right rather than what you believe to be right. There's a difference. Worrying about how your urchin/you/your family/your parenting(blah blah)is perceived by others or how it compares with how others are perceived is futile yet we almost all do it all the time. It is how we check that we are 'getting it right' by subconsciously cross-referencing with all manner of people we come by day to day. Lets face it - this parenting lark is a massive responsibility and little humans can be volatile and unpredictable so we automatically (consciously or subconsciously) compare to make sure we aren't royally messing up. But here's the thing, by comparing, we more often than not find ourselves wading through a quagmire of unnecessary self-doubt and with a confused and petulant ankle biter to fit.
I got it wrong last weekend. In the grand scheme of world peace it wasn't a nuclear disaster but in my tiny 1st world family utopia, I screwed right up.
Dear old Henry eats all manner of fruit but I have pretty much always accepted (since a particularly explosive blueberry bowel c. 2014/5) he doesn't 'do' berries. So quite why I took pudding of choice: Eton Mess to a friends house is beyond me. The simple thought process; is it easy? tick. Is it delicious? tick. Does it nod to being slightly healthy? tick. It was not until our hosts (who are totally non-judgemental I hasten to add) came to dish out this creamy berry-ridden heap that I suddenly realised I had dealt the poor wee chap a shocker. Realistically of course it needn't have been. Any NORMAL person unconcerned with how they might be perceived would have politely declined or accepted Henrys decline and palmed it off as just a 'kid thing'. No no, not ME.
Everyone else was taking the pudding in all its berry sumptuousness and shovelling it down their polite little faces so now, yes NOW in someone else's house at a perfectly serene table, would be the time to inform Henry that (despite the preceding 2 years of taking an apple in lieu of anything remotely red/pink/blue) he should fall in line and munch away at the Eton Mess. Cue 5 minutes of stubborn negotiation and the resentful mastication of a raspberry with much pained wincing. That my friends, that is when I should have stopped, proud with this achievement. But NO, no he must finish his plate. Everyone must see how good my children are at eating EVERYTHING and how calm and in control I am. Everyone must watch, sat together for a further 5 minutes as my control slowly slunk off the table and ran out the house with the crescendo of wails, as the boy (who honestly rarely properly melts down) raged into his berry blancmange
'i doooooonnntttttttt liiiiiikkkkkkeeeeeee iiiiiiiiittttttt'
'pleeaseeeaseee I dooonnnntttt liiikkkkeeeee iiiitttttt' repeat x 8
'oh its just a berry, don't be silly'
head banging the table, eyes rolling to the back of the skull, heavy guttural sobbing creating rivers in the wilted meringue peeping out between those shiny red berries. It was horrific and finally after daddy quietly suggested for the second time that I let the poor wee chap down because he had after all eaten all his roast (and frankly I had ruined a jovial atmosphere), I had a moment of clarity and walked the boy to the garden where he clung to me like a limpet no doubt completely and utterly confused and scarred for life.
People, don't be a twit like me that day - it just confuses the poor mites. Yes a little cross-reference-parenting can be constructive, it can also be shambolic. Stick to your guns, don't change things to fit into what you perceive to be right, do what you know and BELIEVE to be right.
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
I am learning to accept and embrace the fact that I am in a phase of my life that is entirely dominated by play doh, potties, CAD plans and carpenters. Lucky that I am, I genuinely struggle to gather a cohesive thought beyond this privileged middle class family idyll. Oh pooooooooor me. But the thing is, whilst I periodically tell myself it's enough for now, sometimes it is not - and here's the reason today.
Between the pampers, paw patrol, sinks and sisal - I have been desperately trying to sift through, cogitate, digest or even simply understand what is going on at the helm of Grand Bretagne... For several months now. Like many I imagine, the keen interest swelled during the buffoonish bus brigade before Brexit. The frenzied politicians, the play ground taunts, the gesticulations, the ambiguity. Quite honestly I didn't vote with much conviction (not that it matters now) because I found it so damned hard to work out what actually was right for the future of our country (children) and whose policies and campaigns had more gravity and less false-truths or blatant lies.
So here I am again, with (in all likelihood) another opportunity to vote for what I think is right and fretting at the prospect of yet another 'Grange Hill meets Britains Got Talent' competition between MPs. It's like a bizarre reality show watching Politicians contradict themselves, hurl abuse at each other, fabricate important stats to back their campaign and desperately canvas for popularity in a multitude of strange ways.... Ok perhaps some of that I gleaned from watching across the pond with morbid fascination at the Hillary/Trump-off. But to me politics has become much the same everywhere, perhaps it always has been. Cloak and daggers, (often less cloaks) hot air and lies.
My plea is MPs - have some decorum. Don't lie. Prove me wrong and make it simple. Then us common folk will actually vote for what we think we are voting for.
In the meantime if anyone has 'Politics for Dummies' 2017 - that would be much appreciated.
Oh - and do your homework.
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
H Bomb and I had an (other) hour to kill and a meal to consume.
My tossing skills aren't what they once were.
The eve of lent has however handed me a meal costing less than a bag of quavers, 40 minutes of 'wholesome' kitchen-trashing happiness and a discussion on thermonuclear weapons and toadstools.
Just call me Mary-effing-Berry, Katie-flaming-Allsop, Edward-bombing-Teller, Bill-Fungal-Oddie or all of the above. Edu-kitchen is back and better than ever.
Thursday, 9 February 2017
See 3 months. Add a few more smiles, more immunisations, more sleep (to an extent). Throw in some dribble, fists in the mouth, rolling and possibly teeth. Repeat. Now may be your pinnacle of tiredness.
Things are set to get, dare I say it; easier. Its NEVER easy but you really are getting to know the little human now and give or take growth spurts and teething issues, the initial quagmire of guestimation is slipping away. Make the most of not having to puree the shit out of every bland fruit and root vegetable under the sun for hours on end to watch it be thrown all over your furniture week after week because weaning will be on your doorstep before you know it.
Thursday, 2 February 2017
Nothing quite like it for screwing your mood. So follow me follow down to my hollow and there I shall wallow because of food, (not-so) glorious food.
We are going through a 'phase' in our household. I am telling myself it is a phase. It has thus far lasted 3 weeks, 4 days and 15 hours and shows no sign of letting up.
I am not sure how or when it started but the middle 2 males in our menage have taken to thoroughly enjoying how much they can piss me off and push my patience with their irksome mealtime shenanigans. Its clearly a control thing. I am the joke and the baboons just flit about this zoo waving their bright bottoms in my face with sheer petulance.
3 times a day, (5 if you include the inevitable twice daily snack-gate) they taunt me. 3 times a day I cogitate, create and present a variety of wholesome (ok, sometimes wholesome) meals. I give myself a little pep-talk, prepare for battle and I then sit back and wait for the circus to unfold. I mean I can't complain because the end result is almost always the same - clean plates and smiling faces but it is the predictable drama and melee that grate to my absolute core.
I offer them the same option they have most days, I know my kids and they know I know them so just start the day with a little test, a 'lets see how far we can push her before the sun has risen from the horizon' test. We haven't even got to 'the getting dressed obstacle course' that seems to amuse them for at least 20 minutes, it is a wonder how I get them out the door every day. I digress. It is predictable and no matter how I twist the offering, the same boring events unfold..
Boy 1.'I don't want any breakfast'
Boy 2. 'I have a tummy ache' 'I need biscuits for my poorly tummy'. Me. 'You need to eat breakfast to give you energy to play today. Biscuits are not breakfast. Who wants Shreddies and who wants Cornflakes'
Boy 1. 'I want cornflakes'
Boy 2. 'I want Shreddies'
Me. Having distributed the chosen dishes 'Here you go, see who can eat theirs the fastest' (please just
Boy 1. I want the Digger bowl!!!
Boy 2. I want the ORANGE SPOON!
Me. 'Those are in the dishwasher, they are dirty, you can have them at lunch if you are good boys'
Cue some pained looks, some table banging, some huffing
Boy 1. 'My cornflakes aren't wet enough, I need to make them ALL swim'
Me. I decide to let him have a small win. With a joyous tone 'Here, have a tiny drop more and then you can eat them ALLL up'
Boy 2. 'I WANT CORNFLAKES!!!!!'
Me. 'sweetheart (!), if you eat all your shreddies you can have a vitamin' (soft, chewy, sweet vitamins are my breakfast saviour - thank you Haliborange.. a mildly guilt-free bribe that always gets results)
Feeding has begun
Boy 3. Giggle, giggle, gurgle, grab
Me. Here have a boob.
Even the the one with no words is joining the incessant meal time rebellion. My boobs are no longer the secret weapon. Its not enough any more to shut down his wails with a mammary; this boy just got curious and dare i say it - mischievous. He's earning his baboon-stripes and is soon to be welcomed into the pack ('the group' to be collectively correct). So help me.
Boy 3. Grab, chuckle, squirm, bite, yank
Boy 2. 'He needs a kiss mummy, I am coming to give him a kiss' jumps off his chair, knocks over the shreddies into Boy 1's lap.
Me. 'Sit back down until you have finished. Oh dear, never mind, mummy will clear it up.. good girl mummy'
Boy 1. Sobbing so hard he inhales a cornflake. Choking and sobbing and choking and sobbing. 'My legs are WET, they are cold and WET, they don't work any more' as he slides off his chair onto the floor.
Me. putting boy 3 on the floor, run to get some form of cloth and towel to rectify the situation 'its ok darling, you will get changed really soon, its just milk' (and we all know theres no point in crying over it). Return 10 seconds later to find all 3 junior males on the floor, rolling around in a puddle of cornflakes and laughing.
'get back up now and eat your breakfast or I will put you up in the loft with the lights off'
Boy 1 and 2. Jump onto their chairs, wolf down the remainder of their breakfast (once I have mopped up and refilled depleted stocks) smirk and say 'what can we have now' 'our tummies hurt, we are hungryyyyyyyyy'
This happens EVERY meal time, breakfast being by far the less frustrating meal by virtue of the lack of effort in preparation.
And I don't lock my children in the loft with the lights off but when the last resort is reached that threat generally gets results. Either that or they are usually bored with this 'piss-off mummy game' and are just considering the next.
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Ahhh the sacrosanct '12 weeks' that everyone is wading towards with out-reaching arms, bead on brow. The first parental rite of passage. Everything settles at this stage doesn't it?
Well it does and it doesn't. It mostly does start to get less fraut as the mystery of the wee one unravels, you become tuned to its nuances and it starts to really enjoy the world it has been propelled into. Sometimes we target this hallowed 3 month marker only to find the baby is still fussy or tricky or a non-sleeper or all 3 which (when everyone has been banging on about how much easier it is when they hit 12 weeks) can be demoralising.
No matter how many times I hear it (and there is a reason cliches are cliches) I still chose to muffle-out the wording of the well coined phrase 'it goes soooooo quickly', but here's the thing - it does!!!! Scant consolation when you're propping your eyelids open with teething rings or corks (Hic) but it's like some crazy warp. Then we all look back with rose tinted binoculars (it feels that far away) forgetting the relentless jigging, swaying, singing, sweating, groaning, chuntering and merely mutter with smug fervour the same 4 words. The nostalgia is palpable. Truly, truly, truly - despite how it feels at times, it goes sooooo quickly!
3 months, wow. Take stock on what you and the wee mite have acheived in such a small amount of time. Enjoy the smiles and giggles and innocence. There are more hurdles to come - a lifetime of them. As one challenge is conquered, another one is beset.