About Me

My photo
A first time mum at 39, trying not to let my son kill me off too soon. Busy juggling a new family, a new house and a tricky recording schedule I figured blogging would be less expensive than therapy and less embarrassing than shouting at rude and stupid people in the street/on trains/at the supermarket.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Proud mummy!?

Boychild is a bit bright.  Well actually, he's very bright. 

There I've said it. The world didn't implode, nobody died and nobody is any worse off now it's out there.

All children make their parents proud and there is no better feeling (when you're a parent, that is) than when your little one reaches a milestone, be it walking, talking, becoming potty-trained etc.   And, as parents, we do like to share these little titbits especially with our peers.  It's not meant as one-up-manship or belittling their own offspring's efforts if they have not yet achieved them, it's just our way of being proud.  

I've always been cautious and tried not to be a baby bore but yes, I did announce 'we have a walker!' on Facebook at the appropriate time.  But generally if a reference is made to Boychild's abilities it's usually because it's part of an amusing anecdote rather than being the focus.  For example, I recently posted something on Facebook about him not quite 'getting' the Christmas thing as even into January he is insisting on eating from a Christmas bowl, keeps singing Christmas songs and looking up our chimney to try to find Santa.  A friend of mine posted that her child won't even say 'mummy' yet, let alone sing a song! Her son was born on the same day as mine.   So what did i do?  I dumbed down my comment and suggested that he wasn't exactly Robbie Williams just yet (he's really not!) but as a mum you can understand the jumbled words that come out of your own child's mouth more than anyone else. And I'd deciphered 'santa', 'chimney', toys' so knew what he was trying to sing.  

The one who makes me laugh every day. 
What I failed to mention was that if I sang along with him, he interjected those words in the correct places and la-la-la'd along in all the places he didn't know the words. 

I know that my friend will not be concerned that my son can do this when hers can't (she's a pretty clued up kinda gal) especially as she already has an older son, so she knows the score.  She also knows that her little boy had a beautiful shock of hair and mouthful of teeth before I had even worked out what teething powder and baby shampoo was even for.  He was pretty advanced on that score and, even now, Boychild isn't blessed in the teeth department!  But other readers would be looking and judging and making assumptions about both of our children - good and bad.  And probably making assumptions on our parenting styles too.  But they would never say, oh no. (snigger) 

But I have to have some kind of output for my happiness that my son is a mini-genius (okay, perhaps that is a little exaggerated...). He's just 20 months old and knows all his colours, can count from 1 - 12 depending on who he's with and whether he can be bothered, he feeds himself (unless he's being lazy), chats away to his toys (coherently), makes himself understood about what he wants when he asks a question, understands that people he can't see do still exist and where they are at that time (quite a massive concept for a small child), can form pretty good sentences and is well on the way to understanding consequences.  He also recognises emotions and tells us when someone is happy or sad, and then tries to comfort the person or toy in question.  He understands jokes and misdirection. He understands the concept of sharing and tries to share his food with us and his toys.   Things that often children don't understand or can't do until the age of 2, 3 or 4. 

I knew most of this , but the rest (especially the 1 - 12 counting) was told to me by his key worker at nursery last night at parents evening.   Boychild adores CF, his key worker, and it's clear that she adores him too.  He talks about her when he's at home and she will often attempt to have her day off on a day Boychild isn't at the nursery.   But, even if she's not there, he is still perfectly happy to go to any other carer and then comes home talking about them too. 

I am immensely proud of my little munchkin and I love him enormously but the fact he can do these things has made our life a little different to many of my friends with children of a similar age.  We've struggled to travel much or eat out (or shop!) as he is difficult to keep entertained when confined to a chair. He was a terrible sleeper for over a year and responded to none of the tried and tested tricks - even the Health Visitor was at a loss. 

He will seldom just sit on your lap  - not even when he was 4 months old.  He wanted to be on the floor to roll about and explore his toys.  

At first, this upset me.  I felt like the odd one out and whenever I went for coffee with other new mums, I was always the one standing and jigging about entertaining a newborn whilst the others slept for HOURS in their prams or on their mother's laps.   I was the one on my knees with exhaustion when, even at 12 months old, he needed attention several times a night for no reason other than to say 'hello'.  I was the one feeling jealous of mothers going shopping as their tiny babies slept peacefully, waking only for a feed and cuddle as I watched on with a screaming child who settled only if you kept walking and never stopped to browse or make a purchase. To the point of me failing to even try after 3 solid months of hell. Bring on grocery deliveries and online shopping!

As time has gone on, I do know of one or two other parents with children who became more like mine when they hit walking and talking age and that makes me feel better.  To be honest, my biggest fear is being able to keep him entertained and stimulated enough as he gets older.  But I'm sure it won't come to that. 

I also know that the children who haven't reached the same milestones yet, will do so very soon.  There is no right or wrong.  All toddlers are different - thank goodness! - and at what point they speak or count or walk will not matter a jot in the future.  They all level out eventually and I'm sure that by the time they hit school age, none of us will be able to tell who did what first. Likewise, if we have a second child, I'm sure that he or she will be more in line with regular expectations and that will probably confuse me all the more as I'll have to learn to deal with a whole new set of challenges.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that unfortunately I see myself dumbing down and belittling Boychild's achievements and efforts to avoid upsetting or worrying my friends because he can do something that their child cannot. I know there will be camps of people who think that we've been drilling our little darling at maths and english and lord knows what else, but we really haven't.  All we do is what most people do.  We play with him and we talk to him. He watches TV, he builds with blocks, he pushes his cars and trains around, pretends to make us a cup of tea, talks to his soft toys and calls them his friends and he looks at his books and we read to him.  All the stuff that most children will do most of the time.  I guess having a father who is a bit of a boff probably helps too though!  Clearly he's not getting this from his mother.

Anyway, I just want to say somewhere (here) that I am unbelievably proud of him  and I love him more than life itself.  He makes me laugh every single day. 

I am also thrilled and excited when you share your news that your little darling learnt to crawl today and that your munchkin said 'Daddy' and fed herself or successfully used the potty.  I want to share your excitement too as all kids are amazing in their own way. 

But for now I will keep my 'boasting' on here and not on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram as I know I will be labelled a pushy parent or someone who just wants to gloat.  I know that's not the case and most of my friends know that's not true, but we all know that once you get on social media there are plenty of people who like to stick their oar in.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Katie Hopkins - does it really matter?

After reading yet another scathing attack on mothers, of various varieties but predominantly ones that do not work (and get paid for it, as opposed to the work they do at home with the kids), I was about to launch into another round of Katie Hopkins bashing but then stopped myself.


Because, let's face it, in the real world - a world far, far away from the one Ms Hopkins inhabits - she doesn't matter and it doesn't matter.

She has some kind of ritual dislike of anyone weighing more than 8 stone and makes the assumption that if you are overweight you obviously smoke too and probably feed your children turkey twizzlers and lard for breakfast.  Likewise if you dare to recycle in any way, you clearly are a hippy who doesn't use deodorant, and washes your hair in rain water.  You probably aren't either of these types, but maybe you have traits of one or both of them.  But my point is ...SO WHAT!  

I don't agree with her views and I have quite a few of my own that other people may not agree with, however it's unlikely I'll ever be invited on Phil & Holly to row with Peaches Geldof about them (if the truth be told, I'd probably be on Peaches' side anyway).

Being a mum is a tough job.  Always has been and always will be. Our mothers and grandmothers may not have had so many mod cons to help them but then they also didn't have domestic energy bills that Solomon would have struggled to pay.  Chances are, our children will have a different set of issues to contend with, along with the standard 'terrible twos', sibling rivalry, food battles and sleep thieving.   And however they choose to take those battles on, there will always be a Katie Hopkins waiting in the wings to tell them they are doing it wrong.

We just need to learn to let it wash over us and stop telling ourselves that we should listen or take notice or be angry or frustrated.  Life is too short and on the whole, mums of every kind are doing an okay job.  Their charges are fed, clothed, educated, kept safe and, most importantly, loved.  Yes, they may not have had a proper face wash last night, and Saturday's tea might have consisted of a frozen pizza but the last time I looked, that never did anyone any harm. 

She doesn't matter and it doesn't matter. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Let the judgement begin...

Something occurred to me recently, whilst attempting to calm Boychild down enough to eat dinner - we dared to schedule it 90 seconds into an episode of 'Timmy Time'.

We, as parents, are constantly bombarded with disapproving looks, comments and rolled eyes on trains, in coffee shops, in restaurants and in shops, for the crime of having a child who has decided to choose that moment to throw a tantrum within eye/earshot of a childless person.  If that wasn't enough, we then have to put up with endless online comments on how bad we are as parents to put up with that kind of behaviour and 'allowing' our offspring to ruin the atmosphere and quiet for everyone. 

So what do we do?  We find a way to hush them as quickly as possible.  We couldn't possibly upset the chap working from his 'office' in Costa Coffee or the lemon-sucking-faced couple with the perfect [read 'boring'] toddlers sitting reading Price and Prejudice on the 12.34 to London Bridge.  Anyway, I digress, we are hushing them up...And how do we do that exactly?  Usually in the way that we try to avoid most of the time - bribery.  Generally in the form of food, or more specifically, the food you don't really want them to have too much of.   Or else giving back the toy you had just taken away as they had thrown it on the floor in a temper far too many times.

In doing so, we are doing the things we don't agree with and would never do at any other time.   It goes against how we usually discipline and try to bring up our children.

So what am I saying exactly? Do you think the judgemental childless people in these establishments realise what they are doing?  Rather than helping to mould these kids they are, in effect, telling them they are likely to be rewarded for being a pain in the arse. They are helping to turn them into the little brats that we have been trying to prevent.  I'm not saying anyone should have to listen to a screaming child in a public place unnecessarily but, when dealt with correctly, tantrums rarely last that long. And believe me, if it looks as though one is about to go on too long, most parents WANT to vacate the area so won't subject others to it for longer than they have to.  But if we don't let them tantrum it out from time to time, they will learn to use their tantrums as a bargaining chip.

I'm also not saying that parents can offload the blame onto others either but just think about it... When that child screeches or even has the audacity to cry because it is simply a newborn and that it's what they do, do you think the parent wants to listen to it too? Do you think they have become immune?
NO!! They are embarrassed, often very tired, and acutely aware of how irritating their child or baby is being. At the point when said child is reaching their peak, if you look closely you will see other parents casting sympathetic looks across the coffee shop. And in the case of a new mother alone with her small crying bundle you may also see the beginning of tears.

There are plenty of annoying people in public most of the time but nobody would dream of picking on the fat bloke obstructing the pavement or aisle, nor would you confront the girl playing crap music from her phone or the commuter who refuses to switch off the annoying key tones whilst texting, so why is it fair game to tut loudly and comment loudly to parents who, most of the time, are doing the best they can?

 Perhaps all those Katy-Hopkins-a-likes out there should start looking inside their own glasshouses before trying to throw stones into other people's. 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy new year!

So it's that time again. Last turkey butty finished and decs back in the loft.  It's been an odd Christmas.  Five days of my father in law (enough to tip Mother Theresa over the edge) and a one year old who thinks sleep is for wimps and that's before cooking for 8 on Christmas day. 

But all the knackeredness aside, one thing that has consistently made me smile is my one year old's new found appreciation of music.

He's always liked singing (us not him)  but in the last couple of weeks everything changed. From starting to sing the odd word along to the Christmas song in the car to asking for a particular CD to be played so he can sing and dance along.   It seems that he also can't play with building blocks without singing either, every round of duplo is accompanied by some random lalala-ing. Brilliant to watch.

I won't lie, I'm a bit  of a soft sap. But there is something wonderful about dancing your little one around while he adds the 'shooby-dos' to Robbie singing 'I'm the king of the swingers' and I did well up a little when he wanted me to  dance with him as we watched some 'greatest dance moments' on TV on new year's eve as he tried to copy Thriller (hysterical!).  I'm pretty sure he's dancing or asking for the radio on every half hour. And the singing is getting more coherant and the dancing even wilder every time. He is amazing and it makes him so happy.

I know the old phrase 'dance like nobody's watching' gets thrown around a lot but that's the lovely thing about toddlers... They don't care who is watching and it only adds to the excitement and fun if someone is.  So that's my resolution sorted for this year. Dance more, smile more and worry less. Sometimes toddlers are smarter than we give them credit for.