Monday, 30 January 2012

Going Potty.

I am about to start potty training my daughter.

My first attempt at potty training my son drove me to an entire bottle of Merlot and an emergency rollie on night one.

I later heard that a ‘Down-to-business, control-freak mum’ (check) and a ‘Laid-back-chilled-out boy’ (check) are the worst possible combination when it comes to successful potty training.

No shit. (Well, quite).

I was following Gina Ford’s book (regular readers will know I can’t stand the woman, but someone I trust had promised me it was the quickest route). In hindsight it was ridiculous, because my son did absolutely nothing the book said, despite scoring full marks in the little ‘Are they ready’ quiz. He is a child who does very little ‘on-time’, in a text-book fashion, the way he’s ‘meant’ to. When I explained to The Husband how I was approaching it – waving Gina Ford at him manically - he just shot me a puzzled look and said’ Have you met your son?’

It was a horrible few days. He didn’t and wouldn’t and couldn’t ‘go’. It was a mixture of fear, confusion and downright stubbornness because he knew I wanted him to jump through Gina’s little hoops. So I spent hours having to watch him squirm with pain until his bladder would eventually burst and I would react with either comfort / anger / sympathy / frustration depending on what time of day it was and how many biscuits I’d eaten.

I would comb forums desperately looking for a chink of hope that would tell me it’ll pass and he’ll eventually get it. And then I wouldn’t believe it anyway. I kept telling myself that even Wayne Rooney had managed to get out of pull-ups so surely there was hope for my boy.

He did, of course, eventually get it. But I did not emerge mentally unscathed.

So this time round my approach is going to be different.

1.     Flush Gina Ford’s book down the loo.
2.     Pour a glass of Merlot.
3.     Follow my instincts.

Wish me luck.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Kid Wife Crisis.

I am writing this wearing a pair of maternity jeggings. I am not pregnant.

In the last 24 hours, I have been told ‘You’s got hairy bottom’ by my two year old and ‘Your teeth are yellow (when actually mummy, they should be white’) by my four year old.

Nothing like children to take a sledgehammer to your blissful ignorance.

I’m feeling frumpy. I’m feeling fat. I can’t fit into any of my pre-Christmas jeans. I’m not even sure how to dress myself anymore (is it too shiny / too glittery / too hipster / too short for my late-30s?). I’ve tried canvassing The Husband, who just says encouraging things like ‘I think you’re gooooorgeous’ (sub-text: ‘Fancy a shag?’) whilst squeezing my sagging bottom like a stress ball, which ironically just makes me feel fatter. So in order to assess how much of my body blues are down to time-of-the-month hormonal nonsense (please God let it be water retention) and how much is reality, I asked one of my closest friends for an honest opinion, to which I got ‘You’re chubbier than I’ve ever seen you’ and ‘Stop shopping in New Look, you’re too old’. Right. Good job I love her so much.

I know at 37 I should have grown out of this (at University, The Husband used to point out that I would grow old spectacularly ungracefully). He’s right – to a point – but it’s not so much the wrinkles I have an issue with.  Nobody managed my expectations that childbirth would turn my stomach into playdough and replace each of my tits with a marble in a sock.

I know I should wear these body ‘scars’ with pride, like Badges of Motherhood, but I still can’t help feeling envious of those pert 20-somethings with their bumpy midriffs and tiny thighs.

And then the conundrum: I could do something about it. I could log every calorie and spend any glorious free time chasing pavements in lycra. And I would eventually get back to 9 stone. But is it a hollow victory? What am I expecting from this body equivalent to a Porsche? Am I just in a text-book middle-aged place, yearning for years gone by? Will being thinner change anything or make me happier? Really? I’m more fulfilled than I’ve ever been. I have a brilliant family who make me laugh daily and love me unconditionally (hairy bottom, yellow teeth, sagging arse an’ all). Why do I still want to be a size 8?

The Jury in my head is still out. Which is why, for now, I am finishing writing this - still in my maternity jeggings - with a large glass of Shiraz (that’s 170 calories for the record).

Thursday, 5 January 2012

From 10 to 1 and back up again...

So, I’ve decided to start the New Year by introducing some more rigid boundaries for my children. I announced this proudly to a good friend the other day, who politely pointed out that as my eldest is four, perhaps four years ago would have been the time to start thinking of boundary introduction. A fair point.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have some. Like they’re not allowed to eat upstairs and they can only watch three episodes of Peppa Pig in a row in order to keep me out of a mental institution. But certain things have slipped of late, meaning that my son is frequently found snoring in between The Husband and I at 3.30am and my two year old daughter often addresses me like I’m a sista from her ghetto.

So this week I have dusted the naughty step, ready and waiting for tiny bottoms to perch on it.  Mwah ha ha….

Trouble is, my son is exceptionally laid back, reasonably bright and – it turns out - rather manipulative. And what happens is this:

ME: ‘If you don’t go and clean your teeth now I will take away your fire engine’.

HIM: (Nothing).

ME: ‘I’m going to count to 10’
(I know most kids get three, but he needs 10 – purely because it takes until I’ve got to three for him to even notice I’ve started to count).

HIM: A fixed look, right into my eyes of – I’m not even sure what – just chilling in da crib, boredom, exasperation, puzzlement and, above all, stubbornness.

At four, he knows exactly what’s going on here and he knows exactly what the consequences are.  He just doesn’t care. You can almost see his little brain through the backs of his eyes, working it all out and saying to itself ‘You know what? Fuck the fire engine’.

And when they genuinely don’t give a shit, it’s kind of hard to know where to go with the discipline isn’t it?

To add insult to injury, there was a fight in the bath last night as he wouldn't share the toys when asked nicely by his little sister. As I go to fetch a towel I hear a clumsy little toddler voice say ‘You do your told, I count to ten…one….two…three’. Brilliant, now my two year old daughter is taking the piss out of me.

And you know what? He bloody well did as he was told.