Mum Problems Part 3…

…continued…

Mum Problem #9

They grow up too fast…

Seriously; they never stop.

This week has been a week of milestones: Toby started nursery, Jonas has been teething, & Noah (for the first time ever) has had his hair cut short. (Excuse me while I go sob into a pillow…waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…OK, done.)

kids grow up

It’s not like I didn’t know children grew up, got older, developed & changed – I’m not a complete idiot – but I just didn’t realise it happened so damn fast! All those people – grandmas, parents, aunties, perfect strangers – who tell you to cherish each moment, that it passes by in the blink if an eye – I used to roll my eyes at them. But now I’m ONE OF THEM! Even Jonas, with his chubby red cheeks & expanding waistline, is defying old me, taunting old me, telling old me what a fool she was . Why didn’t I believe them? Why did I scoff at them? Where has the time GONE??

I never thought about schools when we were deciding to have children. I admit it – I never even thought about them getting older! You think “let’s have a baby” but you seem to block out the realisation (or at least put it off for a long while) that these babies don’t stay babies forever! They get teeth, they learn to walk, turn on the TV & wipe their own bums (can’t say I’m not looking forward to that one though…) Children are geniuses – absolute geniuses! They learn to recognise your boundaries & push, they figure out who the softest parent is & exploit that knowledge, they learn how to lie & laugh & make you giggle when they’ve done something wrong (GENIUS!) They are funny & passionate & unstoppable, testosterone fuelled creations who need every bit of our patience & grace & wisdom & tact. & love. I love my children. I love them so much I physically don’t know what to do with myself sometimes (I won’t say the cliché “it hurts” because I’m not so sure that’s an accurate description).

Noah is due to start school this year.

Home Education is a definite option for us & something we’re seriously considering. I’m self-employed, I work from home, the idea of sending them to school fills me with dread…

I want our boys to pursue things that truly make them passionate & excited. I want them to learn at their own speed. I want them to come out of their educational experience feeling empowered & believe they can do anything. I want them to WANT to learn. I want their own curiosity to fuel their learning. I want them to finish the things they start in their own time. I want them to learn something because they are genuinely interested in learning about it or out of necessity, not because they have to fit into a category. I want them to play out & read by the river & dance in the garden & learn about the sea by going to the seaside & travel to a farm to study animals & do nature drawings & collages & learn to follow their own intuition. I want them to act out of freedom – I want them to explore this world – their world – in a safe environment, to let them make choices & make mistakes & learn from them, learn how to make the right choices & not have them penalised for sometimes making the wrong ones. I want them to learn in an environment of love & acceptance & tolerance & discipline. I want them to learn how to control themselves.

The things Noah knows now are mostly down to what he’s learnt at home. This isn’t because we wanted to force information on him, but because he’s asked about things & let his curiosity guide him. I’m sure all children are the same! He wanted to know how the rain cycle worked, what makes things fall down, how motors run, how to count to 100 – & he’s learnt & remembered most of these things because of his natural curiosity. He can do addition & has started to wonder & learn about subtraction. He loves playing eye spy & using phonics. He wants to build things out of blocks & loves what happens when they fall down. He wants to help me cook & he wants to wrestle & know how the human body works. He loves to sing – & is nearly always pitch perfect – & learns words to the songs he likes by listening to them. This is all him – all that he wants to know!

Even so, thoughts keep running through my head that scare me into thinking I’m not capable of teaching them. What’s funny is that I always had in the back of my mind that I could perhaps be a teacher one day, so what  makes me incapable of teaching my own children?

I saw a quote the other day that read “Do what you won’t regret” & since then I’ve been asking myself, what won’t I regret? Will I regret trying Home Education or giving it a go? Or will I regret sending him to school & not trying? The funny thing is, you have to opt in to school, not out, meaning the default for a child is Home Education. I’ve been pondering on that a lot over the last few days…

I can’t believe I’m even writing this right now. It only seems like it was yesterday that we were deciding to have a baby & now we’re choosing schooling options…I look at Toby, school bag in hand, & my heart aches. I can already see them headed off to university. Even my sweetie Jonas. I keep reminding myself, every day, not to take anything for granted, not to get cross so quickly, not to push them to be big boys just yet – they’ve got a heck of a lot of time to be adults. For now, I just want to let them be kids & I want to be there to experience them – every step of the way…

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They grow up too fast…

Now a song to make you all weep into your evening supper…

…to be continued…

Mum Problems Part 2…

Continued…

Mum Problem #5

Eating.

baby food

Now this covers a whole range of topics, from putting on weight because their treats just look (& inevitably taste) so damn delicious, to never being able to eat a proper meal as all you have time to do is snack, to your snacks never being healthy ones because all you crave is a sugar high to get you through the rest of the day, to picking at their leftovers because you’ve spent the day not eating properly & now you’re STARVING, to learning how to eat like a monkey with your toes when you’re breastfeeding & I have no free hands (not really…), to getting to your dinner at goodness knows what time & realising you’re not hungry anymore. *sigh* I miss food…

Mum Problem #6

Television.

tv kids

You’re TV time is restricted until after their bedtime because, despite having paid for the TV, having set up the TV, & bought everything they watch on the TV, they consider it their property. Even the old “let’s take it in turns to watch something” still somehow forgets to include you.

Mum Problem #7

Everything is a mission.

You can never just go out. You have to have a plan. All parties must stick to the plan. If one person veers away from the plan, you must forfeit the plan & formulate a new plan. Formulating a new plan can take a long time.

You must prepare a bag – sometimes two – of all the things you will need, may need & think you need for the day. You will inevitably forget something important, e.g. your mind.

Mum Problem #8

Meals are a major pain in the badoingedie.

choice foods

If you have one child, they won’t like what you’re giving them. If you have two children, one will like what you’ve made, the other will think it’s Satan’s poop. They will throw it, refuse to eat it, tell you they hate it (even though they ate it last week & declared it was the “bestest ever”). You will beg. You will plead. You will hope & pray. You will threaten them with time out. You will put them in time out. You will give them a choice. They will choose the wrong choice. You will end up eating their dinner (see Mum Problem #5 for details…)

To be continued…

The future that believes… (p.s. I’m baaaaaack!)

A lot has happened since I last wrote a post.

Noah is now 4, entirely toilet trained & attending nursery.

Babu is now (almost always) referred to as Toby, has just started being potty trained, & is 3 in a few weeks time.

We have a new baby –  Jonas – who is nearly 3 months old. (I know – crazy, huh?)

I started my own business – upcycling, re-purposing & re-loving old furniture =O (Though I’m currently on Maternity Leave.)

So that’s sort of caught you up on all the major things that have been happening…

I don’t know why, today of all days, I’ve decided to come back on here. I seemed to take a long break from writing. I didn’t tell anyone – I didn’t tell myself. I didn’t even think about it; it’s wasn’t a conscious choice – I just did it. I finished my NaNoWriMo Novel (the first/second draft anyway) & just stopped writing. Maybe I needed a break. Maybe I needed new inspiration, a muse. Maybe I needed to get my head around 3 children (duh??)? Either way, I’ve just begun editing the novel again and, at the end of Chapter Two, I’ve found myself on here.

It’s odd, this need to write, this burn that comes in waves, never fully leaving but always simmering under the surface, ready at any moment to show itself & consume me, set me on fire.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like myself when I’m not writing. Maybe it’s not writing for you; maybe it’s painting, or dancing, or singing, or cycling, or building, or running, or designing, or math (though hopefully not math – please don’t say it’s math – I hate math (or should that be, math hates me??) I don’t think we can be friends if you say math…okay maybe we could, but no equations – please?) Anyway, I’m talking about the thing that you can’t forget or put aside – the thing that’s always there, even when it’s not.

I found myself coming back to it in the way I always do – in reading.

I went through one of my crazy reading periods recently, consuming every work of fiction I could get my hands on, reading one book after another, like a chain smoker only with books (Chain booker? Chain reader? Doesn’t have quite the same ring…) In the end, Ash accepted the inevitable & came home with a new book for me after every trip out to the shop – he knows me so well 😉

I think to be a writer, you have to first & foremost be a reader.

Reading: it is food; fuel; ammunition. It ignites passion in a writer. It inspires & challenges & scares us into thinking we’re running out of time – we have to write now or the moment will pass us by & we’ll never have our voice heard & we’ll end up living in regret of never pursuing our dream. I don’t want to be that person; I don’t want to be a person of regret. I don’t want my children to see their mother as someone who never chased after her dream – how will they ever run after theirs if I don’t show them the way?

As parents it’s our duty to pursue our dreams so that our children can do the same. We have to be persons of influence so that our children can do the same. We have to fight the fear & turn it around, use it to fan the flames of inspiration. We can’t give in to fear; we can’t let our children. I’m raising creative, talented, well-rounded, hilarious, passionate, hopeful, intelligent, wonderful, “we believe anything is possible”, faith-filled boys – I have to believe in myself so that they can believe in themselves. I’m doing it for me, yes. But ultimately, looking at the bigger picture & gazing at the (not so) far off horizon, I’m doing it for them.

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Food choices

So, Babu’s added eggs onto the long list of foods he won’t eat.

So that’s now …

  • Eggs
  • Fish (of any kind)
  • Mince
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Pastry
  • Butternut squash
  • Chicken
  • Steak
  • Kiwi
  • Lasagne
  • Pies
  • Pizza
  • Sausage
  • Bacon

It just goes on … and on …

He will forever be living off of pasta and cheese.

I don’t know. I don’t know how you convince a two year old to eat the things that are good for him.

babies eating

Threats? (“Eat that food or Buzz Lightyear gets it!” (Note: This has never happened.)) Bribery? (“I’ll buy you a new toy!” (Note: This has also never happened.)) Choices?

Choices are what we decided to go with – got to give the little fellas some kind of control haven’t we? Otherwise they’d run mad!

A family member recently told me that as long as they’re eating something, they’re fine. Her specific words were “If he only wants to eat crisps, let him eat crisps. If he wants to only eat ice cream, let him eat ice cream.”

I don’t think I agree …

I think if Toby wants to eat some ice cream, that’s fine, but he has to eat at least some kind of vegetable first. Or at least some of his meal. Surely sweets, and treats and sweet things are a privilege and, well, a treat(!) and should be treated as such? Noah’s fine with this. Noah’s three year old mind can deal with this and has learnt to compromise – he knows he has to eat his broccoli before he gets any kind of (dare I say it?) reward.

They both have a choice – either eat your dinner and get a treat, or don’t eat your dinner and get no treat. Noah always goes for the first (give the boy a clap!) but Babu … well, he does not. He will quite happily eat nothing and scream for an hour because of the one sweet he wants but he knows he can’t have until after he’s eaten.

Still, I think we’re making progress – he ate a full plate of food last night! YEY! Lets see if there’s a repeat tonight – COME ON BABU!!

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(On the whole choices thing, I’d recommend reading “Loving Your Kids on Purpose” by Danny Silk. AWESOME!)

Sprained

Last week I sprained my ankle. It hurt; a lot.

That was the first day in eighteen days that I hadn’t done any ‘real’ exercise. I’m currently doing two hours of exercise a day and have cut out all sweets, cake, crisps, ice cream, chocolate, bread (though for health reasons more than anything else as it makes me poorly) and sugary drinks. So pretty much all sugar. I’m now on day twenty-five. You may wonder what this has to do with a sprained ankle. Well, let me tell you, when you’re in pain and there’s no chocolate on offer, it’s a hard slog.

I spent all week trying to hobble around my home, vacuuming and tidying, almost crying with pain. Why, you ask? Why when you were in so much pain, didn’t you just leave all the house work and take a break? The answer? I have no clue.

Initially I’d say it”s an instinct to fight back; if my body says it can’t do something , I’ll test those limits.

But overall, I’d say it’s something about being a woman – a mother – I think. The inordinate desire to get things done even when we know we should be sat down with our feet up, resting. The problem is, if I stop, the rest of the world doesn’t. Or rather, my boys don’t.

Babu will still throw his blueberry porridge across the living room; Noah will still open every toy box and tip them out and Babu will push said emptied toys under the sofas; Babu will still pour juice on himself and pretend he’s a waterfall. They will still produce mounds of washing up, dirty clothes and pooey nappies. They will still want throwing in the air, they will still want chasing, they will still want to go to the park. They don’t stop just because I need to every once and a while. Parenthood doesn’t work that way.

There’s something about not being well – maybe the requirement of sitting still for a few moments a day – that makes you take notice of the things around you; all the dust and crumbs and areas you haven’t been able to reach with the vacuum cleaner. When was the last time I dusted? you ask yourself. I wonder if we’ve got any window cleaner solution? The T.V. set has sticky hand prints all over it – it won’t hurt to give it a wipe. And before you know it, you’ve scrubbed your toilet and have the rug hung up on the washing line out back whilst you beat it clean with a broom. And the ankle’s worse than ever.

When will we learn, parents, that rest is a good thing? Maybe when our children are grown up and have their own families. But then there’s the grandchildren. And the great grandchildren. I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

(On a (pretty awesome) side note, my ankle got prayed for at a church meeting and was completely healed; so much so that I even did Zumba the day after! Yey!)

“I am not an angel [..] and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.” Jane Eyre

It seems as though Noah has spent the last half hour building a tower in the middle of the living room floor using the cushions from the sofa. All of them.

I wonder whether, if I crawled under it, I could pass off as being ‘playful mummy’ and not simply ‘nearly unconscious mummy’?

I wonder whether, if I go to sleep on the sofa, he’ll play nicely and watch Little Einstein’s or in fact power bomb on top of me and scream about unwanted episodes in my ear? Or just plain wreck my house?

I wonder if Babu will wake up from his nap as soon as I close my eyes?

I wonder if thinking all of these things makes me a bad mother, or whether in fact every mother fights these thoughts, and gets to the dreaded 3pm slot and wonders whether she’s going to make it til bed time?

So far today, I’ve washed and dried up – twice. The first time being the stuff I couldn’t be bothered doing last night. The second lot from breakfast and lunch. As soon as I woke, I came downstairs, put Babu up for his first nap and did an hour of Zumba on the Wii followed by 15 minutes of my usual half hour of morning sit ups (I’ll do the rest later.) I’ve done two loads of washing and drying. I’ve tidied the living room numerous times. I’ve read a little, drawn a little, painted a little, wrestled a lot. Done some dancing, singing; played hide and seek. I’ve de-wedgied Noah and wiped Babu’s pooey butt. I’ve broken up fights, dealt with timeouts, cooked, scrubbed, tickled, vacuumed, eaten a banana and, later, a ham salad.

I am very satisfied.

I am very flawed.

I am very tired.

I wonder if Noah fancies a nap?

The Terrible Twos – should anyone label a child?

So today I was thinking on that phrase; “The Terrible Twos”.

Old people say it a lot. Parents say it a lot. I hope I don’t become a person who says it a lot.

“Oh, how old is he?” says the little old lady at the supermarket checkout.
“Two,” I say, trying to hold on to a rolling pushchair and said escapee two year old.
“Ah,” she chuckles, following it up with a knowing smile, “the ‘Terrible Twos'” she says with an ethereal tone that then envelops the whole conversation.
“Mmm,” I groan. Branded a ‘Terrible Two’ again.

It’s such a horrible saying.

The alliteration somehow makes it worse, like it’s masquerading as something nice, appealing and fun, when we all know that’s not the case. It’s so wrong.

Since when did it become OK to label our children something other than something positive?

We live in a society where children are labelled something because of the way they dress, speak, or where they come from. My child is two, nearly three, and already, before he’s even able to articulate and form his own opinions succinctly, before he’s capable of defending himself, before he has a full understanding of who he’s going to be and what he wants to do with his life, he’s already been labelled. A ‘Terrible Two’.

What’s so terrible about being two anyway? So what if my boy has a tantrum because he wants to watch Curious George but the Disney Junior Channel isn ‘t playing it just yet. So what if he gets to ask for sweets, unselfconsciously, with passion and intensity. So what if he pee’s on my living room floor and screams and cries as though it’s him who’s been done a great disservice.

He’s learning how to express himself, exploring the depths and lengths to his character. He’s showing his strengths and his weaknesses – as a parent, it’s my job to help him express them in the right way.

Noah is at an age where his body is trying to cope with a huge surge of testosterone. He’s two, and his little body’s having to cope with something a teenager deals with by sleeping all day and shouting at their parents (See; teenagers are labelled too.)

As you can probably tell, it’s a thing that really irritates me.

“Look at that little boy on the fresh produce aisle screaming at his mum – what a brat.”

Brat, naughty, stupid, terrible – it’s all the same.

And that’s another thing; why do boys seem to be judged more? Maybe it’s because I’m a mum of two boys, but I haven’t really witnessed a lot of labelling when it comes to girls – ‘spoiled’ perhaps? It could be a gross generalisation, but  it seems as though boys have this worse (I’m speaking of younger children now.) And I’m not just talking about people targeting my boys. I’ve done it. I’ve looked at a tantruming kid and thought ‘little brat.’ I have. I think if we’re all completely honest, everyone has.

But does that make it OK?

My goal? Not to label my children negatively. Ever.

Surprise, Surprise! (Cilla Black eat your heart out …)

Family play time’s always fun.

The boys are big on the wrestling. Babu’s favourite thing at the moment is to sit straddled across either Ash’s, mine, or anyone else’s tummy who’s stupid enough to lie on the floor, and bounce up and down like he’s riding a pony.

(Poor grandad.)

This is fine; unless you’ve just eaten a meal. Then it’s not so much fun as a disaster of vomitile proportions waiting to happen.

Thus far, we’ve managed to avoid any ‘accidents’.

So after our little play, it was bath and bed time. The boys were both over tired (the excitement of getting some fish had got them all tuckered out). – Yes, we now have fish. Despite my crippling fear of all things scaly.

Babu basically screamed all the way through his bath then screamed some more while he was being dried. We played peekaboo with his towel.

(This was no easy feat given that I was trying to dry him at the same time and he was hogging the majority of the towel.) I then just gave up when he started alternating between laughing and sobbing.

Note: when babies are tired, they become hysterical.

Once dressed, he clambered on top of me, straddling my tummy and alternated between cuddling, bouncing or kissing me.

Note: Babu kisses tend to consist of him opening his mouth wide, sticking his tongue out and pressing his face against yours. Cute. And kind of gross.

Anyway, as I sat up to prepare for story time I felt a wetness on my ear and a bit in my hair. I thought nothing of it and just wiped it away – drool probably or his toothpaste?

Later in the night, I kept getting this strange smell. Sickly and sweet. I hadn’t emptied the bathroom bin for a few days – maybe it was something in there? No. Bedroom bin? Nope. Something under the bed? Nada. A lurking nasty in the kitchen? Nein. Leftover food kicked under the sofa? Nothing.

I asked Ash if he could smell it. No. And then it suddenly dawned on me.

“Is it me??!” I asked, realisation dropping on me like a bomb (a stinky bomb.)

What if that wasn’t just dribble earlier? What if it wasn’t toothpaste? What if it was *gulp* sick?

Note: you may or may not know this already, but poo I can deal with. Pee’s a breeze. Blood? Cinch. But sick – SICK?! No!! Judge me all you like, but I can’t even stand my own sick. Vomit is a no go area. Yuck.

And so Ash leaned over, had a sniff of my neck, my hair, my ear, and then pulled back, a look of amusement and disgust mingling on his face.

My child threw up on me. IN MY EAR!!

Excuse me while I go shower my head. Again.