Toddler Sweetheart to Toddler Terror

Once there was a girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead, when she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid.   

Well babe has curls, but not right in the middle of her forehead. And that’s because she is only just starting to grow out of the mullet look – yeah, no longer can my mum call her Ian Hislop. But she is fairly true to form according to the poem above.

Yesterday morning we caught the train into town. The plan was to go to Topsham, a delightful little riverside area with ducks and swans etc – but we missed that train by about 10 seconds. Grrr, I was not happy.

I was going to call it quits, but babe loves going on the train and I was all out of inspiration, so I decided we’d catch the next train that comes by the station 10 minutes later. Ah ha, the train to town. And town largely equals one thing, shopping.

We enjoyed a nice hour poddling around a few shops, with the obligatory multiple toilet stops that comes with a newly toilet trained child. I even picked up a valentines pressie for hubby. We don’t usually celebrate valentines, but it had 75% off and I liked the item. The tradegy was, I got it because the Jo Downs handmade glass shop is closing down. I love Joe Downs stuff…but hold on, phew there is an online store.

Anyway, I’m digressing again…

On the way back to the train, after eating our pack of 10 mini cocktail sausages (a bit of an indulgence I know but what the heck), we passed a mini ride on roundabout thing. Which babe magnetized towards. I seriously think they have some high pitched flute player banging out a tune that only young children can hear, like those cat deterring things you can put in your garden to stop them crapping on your patch.

She was not going to give this one up without a fight…a wrestle in fact. I tried the calm explaining thing, and give the ride credit, it was partly on my side. MINUMUM AGE 3. There was my justified reason, sorry babe you’re too young to go on that.

Poor lil one, she don’t understand this stuff yet. So my only choice was to pick her up kicking and screaming and carry her to a point where I could distract her with something else. This took longer than I thought, grrr no longer my one year old relative push over she used to be!


How easy it is to take something for granted

I’m right aren’t I? We take our health for granted (expect for all the bothersome colds I’m always groaning on about). But it’s easy to forget how easily everything can be thrown out of kilter at just the smallest thing.

My smallest thing is a special brace that I wear at night for my obstructive sleep apnea, and I’d forgotten how dependant I am on this until it broke as I fell into bed feeling exhausted after a hectic week. And try as I might, there was no fixing it.

Typical, this happened on a Friday night. Why not the night before so I didn’t have to wait the whole weekend to get an emergency appointment for a repair?!

I did contemplate a late night super glue effort, but I couldn’t risk ruining it all together – it takes a whole month for them to make me a customized brace from scratch!

Get your ear plugs everyone, the monster snorer had arrived!
Even babe, who has been co-sleeping with me quite a lot, chose to wriggle over to the far reaches of the bed rather than snuggle up to mummy.

I reached Monday morning exhausted
…only to hear that the next available appointment with one of the only two specialists in the South West was on Friday afternoon. OMG, I couldn’t possibly wait until Friday. I think the lady sensed my despair and explained that they could squeeze me in at noon.

I wasn’t sure I could make it in time. The trip to the hospital is nearly 100 miles away and hubby had the car at work. I rang him up and broke down in tears as I babbled out the story and need for the car. This pathetic woman routine didn’t go down well – basically it didn’t inspire him with the confidence that I was fit to drive all that way up the motorway. Bless him, he did offer to drive – but I insisted that I had just been experiencing a hormonal moment (yes I confess I played the hormone card) and could drive myself.

Panic over, credit to the guys at the dental hospital, I am back to enjoying a quieter more restful night’s sleep. ZZzzzzzzzzzzz

What’s Your Best Multitasking Parenting Moment?

Scottish shortbread fingers.

Image via Wikipedia

If you weren’t half good at multitasking before you had children, I’m betting that you are now. And you most likely have some great juggling stories to tell.

If you’ve got more than one child or pets in the equation, you are going to beat me hands-down.

My ability to reflect back more than a week ago is failing me at the moment, so the best I can offer is  a this example. I know I’ve done better, but cripes, I can’t for the life of me recall theses instances now.

The juggle

I’d just picked babe up from the child minders and received a text from my colleague/friend in America asking her to call to discuss some pressing work items. So I took the chance while giving babe her regular home coming num nums (nursing) to make that call. If I was in luck, we would be able to chat in relative peace and quiet .

 Then it suddenly dawned on me, we were supposed to be having homemade pizza for tea (we had pretty much nothing else in the cupboards and all other options involved defrosting). I knew time was getting on and I needed to get the ingredients for the dough in the bread maker asap.

So I nudged babe off my knee with the lure of baking, and she scuttled to the kitchen. I grabbed the kitchen chair to position her next to the surface so that she could ‘help’ and ‘observe’. Better described as ‘cause chaos’ by getting flour, yeast and sugar everywhere.

Instead she managed to locate the box of shortbread biscuits and proceeded to polish them off. The healthy eating mother in me scorned on letting her do this, the muli-tasker, working mother told herself ‘hey ho, it’s keeping her quiet’.

It meant that I could crack on with my measuring, while talking business, and hoping to and from my laptop to search my ‘sent’ items to resolve whom that current action item was with.

On this occasion this multitasking arrangement worked ok, the pizza dough rose as it should, I was able to resolve those urgent business items and babe did not go into a meltdown moment. The only bad bit was that we had no shortbread left and a sugared up child!

Pottyhood Part 12: Toilet Tastic

So babe is now out of the nappies and is on the home straight towards the goal of being fully toilet trained. But going out and doing anything anywhere seems to take twice as long, as it usually involves countless trips to the nearest toilet and some toddler protest flashing.

Off to town babe and I went on Saturday, and all the time we had to keep diverting off for a wee wee stop. I now have a good map of all the emergency loo locations within a short hop of any point in Exeter city centre.

There are times when I know she is crying wolf – when she has just had a wee within the last 15 minutes for example. So I gently tell her “no you don’t, wait a little bit”.

But she wasn’t going to take this for a satisfactory answer in Debenhams and proceeded to pull her trousers and pants down right in the middle of the thoroughfare to the till. It caused a good few laughs, as I dashed over to hoist up her clothing. But then still, after that we trundled off to the bog. This happened to be on the same floor, because we had just come from there. But no, no pee pee. Argh!!!!

I only wish she would be so diligent at home – it largely has to be me asking if she wants the toilet.

The Potette (click to find out more from a previous post) is not redundant though, it came in really handy when I was in an M&S changing room (I’m generally not an M&S clothing kind of girl except for some of the undies), when babe conveniently informed me of her toilet requirements.

So I whipped out the travel potty, put one of the rather expensive bags in it, and the good Little Miss produced. As she sweetly walked out of the changing room with the tied bag in hand, the shop assistant asked “what’s that you’ve got there, a bag of sweets”

I couldn’t resist by explaining that it wasn’t that exciting, she responded with “oh raisins then”

“No not even that good, its wee” was my reply.

That perplexed her!

*I realized that sounded a little odd, so I attempted a short explanation of how the Potette works. By this time all she could think about was…eeewww*

Safe Co-Sleeping by Michelle Matissini

A Sleeping moon in a cap.

Image via Wikipedia

Michelle from Devon’s Attachment Parenting Group, talks about a recent experience travelling with her two co-sleeping young children, and shares some tips on safe co-sleeping.

I love looking at hotel websites before I travel somewhere. I am always amused at how serenely calm and leisurely-looking the holiday-makers appear in room photos compared to the grubby, exhausted me I tend to take on my travels!

We recently took our two daughters (age 3 and 8 months) to Brazil via trains, planes and hotel stays. The two hotel overnights meant I got to look at more room photos…one photo involved a happy Brazilian man reclining in a transparent bath tub drinking champagne while a lady lounged on the adjacent bed with an enormous laptop!

Anyway, my nosiness was driven by another purpose entirely related to our sleep-sharing arrangements. Hotel rooms featuring bed mattresses sunk into immovable concrete bases are a definite no-no. Any hotel offering two double beds sounds great! Our first overnight featured the two double beds, yet, alas! the immovable bedside table – oh designers of the world, why?! After scratching my head and moving the various beds around the room in my head and nearly resorting to drawing a new furniture plan of the room that would fox any chambermaid, we found our solution.

The overnight in Brazil was less complicated – we had been given the choice of two Italian-size beds (I hadn’t ever heard of these either!) or a King-size bed. As it happened we checked into our room with a bed at least four metres wide and a cot for my daughter to jump in and out of for fun!

The rest of our trip was in a friend’s house (a friend with the decency to date a Brazilian who lives on the beach) and she had gone to some lengths to accommodate the four of us. Two mattresses (like at home), two mosquito nets (not like at home) and two children unwittingly keen on letting mosquitos into bed. I think this is what you could call foolproof contraception!

The girls were incredibly adaptable with the change in environment and maybe the continuity of falling asleep with mummy was all the security they needed at night-time in a new place with different sounds.

At the moment, back home, while my little one is teething and the other fights a virus I can watch and monitor and adjust the temperature or bed clothes as necessary. Wake-up snuggles and bedtime stories are genuinely exciting – I would hate to miss out on hearing my oldest daughter’s dreams or not be there when they wake with a start. I know when they both need to wee (bum in the air body language) and can take them to the bathroom before they are even awake. Often, my husband and I will chat in the mornings waiting for our daughter to wake – the first smile and the first thing she says are often the most beautiful of the whole day.

Obviously there are nights when I feel contorted and can only imagine the joy of having enough room to lay both shoulders flat because they are both so snuggled up to me. I can well understand how not everyone would find this comfortable, it is a very personal space to share after all (and makes side-car cots a very attractive option). But this precious time is brief, soon they will be travelling the world and checking into a bunk bed in a youth hostel and I will be home lazing  stylishly reading a lifestyle magazine with well groomed hair!

Co-sleeping can be practiced safely by following some important guidelines:

  • Never sleep with your baby while under the influence of drink or drugs or when smoking.
  • No pets or older children should be close by.
  • Don’t sleep with your baby if you are extremely obese or if your baby is low-birth weight/premature.
  • Only bedshare on a firm mattress – don’t fall asleep in the sofa, beanbag or other unsafe place.
  • Baby should sleep on one side of the mother (not between the parents).
  • When bedsharing use approved side rails and fill in crevices between the bed and the wall.

Michelle has written a few other posts on the NCM blog, click on the links below:

The Theme Tune to My Life Right Now: The Wombles

One of the Wombles; Bungo, in UK Television se...

Image via Wikipedia

Do you remember the 1990s TV program called the Wombles? Sorry if you’re not in the UK, this is likely to mean very little (if anything to you). If you go along to YouTube you can check out some of the episodes.

The theme tune is now so deeply etched in my brain I think I may just start to grow a long snout and begin collecting litter. I found a Wombles book in the stash my mum recently donated to babe, and started singing the song to her as we leafed through the book.

Then hey, brains of Britain here decided…

Wouldn’t it be a great idea to search for the theme tune on YouTube.

Why oh why, did I let myself forget the obessesive musical loving nature of a toddler?

I cannot recount how many times we have watched and listened to this over the weekend. In fact I nearly know all the words, and it’s got quite a few verses.

Here is the link – enjoy!

Pottyhood Part 10: Dry dry dry

Yeah hey, babe is back on the wagon and doing better than ever with the potty/toilet training. I haven’t had to catch a poo (read my mama catcher post here) or scrub accidents off the carpet in a good couple of days. In fact, babe has been in underwear and there have been no accidents since Monday evening – not even at night time.

I am writing this gloating post with caution
I know how quickly progress on potty training can back track, but please just let me enjoy the glory for a few more moments. Our regression over the Christmas holidays (and well into last week) was getting me down, we had come so far. In usual mama self reflection blame style, I was scorning upon myself for somehow not doing a better job – I know it’s not me with the nappy, but still.

At the weekend she began to pick up progress again in a big way
And she’s versatile too. Will go on the potty, the Potette (travel potty) with and without a bag or as a seat, and is also happy to perch on the edge of the adult loo seat. Mind you, she did nearly drop down it to join her number two the other night – I had been summoned to go get a book to read while she finished her ablutions.

As for night times
We have been dry for well over a week and that was only broken up by one small incident. But I remain cautious, at the moment babe has been co-sleeping with me pretty much every night, so I am totally adamant that she puts on her night time nappy before clamoring into my bed. I don’t want to wake up to any wet patches, which no doubt would infiltrate into the smallest edge of the bed that I perch on (she likes to sprawl in the middle and then keep encroaching on my personal space).

Babe hogging the bed with braclet, bunny and Duplo pig

So I ask you to send babe dry comments and thoughts, so that I don’t have to do anymore nappy washing.