It’s all about the beige, ’bout the beige. No vegetable.

My maternal meltdowns seem to ebb and flow like the tides of the sea. I’d like to think that my most recent was my last, but let’s be frank, it’s quite unlikely considering my house is inhabited by two tyrannical tiny persons, intent on bringing me down like a pack of hunting dogs.  They know my weaknesses well. But they’re not the only ones able to wage war and after my recent self excommunication from all things vaguely associated with social media, and generally other human beings, I decided to reignite the beacon of oversharing and shine a light on the atrocious reality that is my children’s diet. That and my quest to improve it with actual real life nutrients.

Perhaps not the best battle to attempt when my mind is as fragile as my pelvic floor.

Before investing in cookery books for idiots, I decided to Google how to hide vegetables and get recipe ideas so that I could start immediately on Operation Vegetable. Who knew that hiding vegetables in food is as taboo as smacking your kids? It’s categorised under lying, deceit and treachory and will teach children not to trust anyone ever. Like with all terrible parenting choices (that I appear to make), it inevitably leads down the rocky road of substance abuse and teenage pregnancy. All because I tried to hide a piece of fucking broccoli inside a meatball.

Guilt ridden, I tried a week of positioning unscathed veggies on the side of the plate in the hope that their sudden comeback would inspire my children to wolf them down like a carrot-starved rabbit but alas, to no avail.

Homemade chips, fishfingers and sweetcorn. Miraculously, sweetcorn excretes it's nutrients so the fishfingers can absorb them through the process of osmosis. Not actual eating is required.

Mmmmmm…appetising Homemade chips, fishfingers and sweetcorn. Miraculously, sweetcorn excretes it’s nutrients so the fishfingers can absorb them through the process of osmosis. No actual eating is required.

I know that I should persevere. That the poisonous accompaniments will one day be accepted, even if it is only ritualistically once a week when they’re drowning in gravy. The veg, not the kids. My brother reckons that even the kids he saw in poor areas of South America on his travels complained about the vegetables, preferring to gnaw on a mud-covered dog leg. However, for peace of mind, I just need to know that at least once a week, I have managed to get one over on them when they unwittingly consume a cube of courgette.

I employed two women to help me in my fight. A Girl Called Jack and Jo Pratt Madhouse Cookbook.

The write up on Jo’s book was promising. Recipes for a busy working family that are quick and will get kids eating. It was very apparent, however, within the first 14 seconds upon opening the book and reading the first recipe that this wasn’t the cookbook for me. Twee photos of children eating kumquats in pristine, freshly ironed clothing and happiness. A family that, as far as I’m concerned, is a complete fantasy. A fairytale. Or at least somewhere in Kensington.  Here are some examples:

Chicken, Potato and Spinach Curry in a Hurry. The only bit of this my kids would eat is the crumbs on the table.

Corned Beef and Sweetcorn Hash with a Dash of Flexibility. I presume the ‘dash of flexibility’ is being able to replace the entire meal with a square of cheese and a packet of crisps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb and Redcurrant Casserole with Rosemary Dumplings. I never before have been compelled to deface a recipe book with, “Completely fuck off, you deluded twat” before. A first for everything.

Jack’s book has faired much better and has so far escaped any explicit graffiti. The courgette, raisin and lemon bread was a success when coated in nutella and she also inspired me with her penny pizzas although I did cheat by just using a tortilla as a base rather than actually making the dough. I KNOW I KNOW, but my daughter ate sweetcorn just because they were heart-shaped. A revelation.

I attempted a bit of covert vegetable hiding by making muffins but included my daughter in the cooking process so she knew it existed. That seemed to appease the anti-lying Gods. She loves cooking so I knew this would be a winner especially as we were using a butternut squash, the main ingredient of her favourite Ella’s Kitchen Pouch. It became quickly apparent though, after finding her being more interested in licking the butter off the butter lid that these cakes were not inspiring, regardless of how many chocolate chips we added. Clearly, just being able to suck food effortlessly from a pouch is far simpler than actually having to use muscles of mastication. Plus, the orange slightly detracts from the beige.

Mmmmmmmmm….they look….special

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Needless to say, after a fortnight of under zealous cooking and baking, I’m taking another sabbatical from trickery and treachery and returning to my roots. The freezer. However, I thought I’d share with you a few of my own recipes just in case you too are heavily bounds by the chains of Captain BirdsEye and Aunt Bessie, and fancy a bit of inspiration that doesn’t require just pouring crumbed goods onto a baking tray.

Eggy Bread, or French Toast to pretentious morons.

Eggy Bread, or French Toast to pretentious morons.

Ingredients: Egg. Bread.
Prep and cooking time:  Fairly quick unless your child insists on ‘helping’ with cracking the egg, in which case, add 45 minutes onto prep time to ensure all shell has been removed.
Difficulty rating: Easy, unless your child prefers it in a circle shape and won’t eat any of the bits left over from trying to cut out said shape. Then it’s a massive pain in the arse.
Likeliness of being eaten: 95% especially when buried under a sea of ketchup.

Plain Omelette

Plain Omelette

Ingredients: Egg
Prep and cooking time: Very quick. Can be prone to delays. (See Eggy bread).
Difficulty rating: Easy peasy. Unless your child insists on it being a particular shade of cooked with no brown bits or jagged edges. Then it’s a massive pain in the arse.
Likeliness of being eaten: 45%. Can increase success rate by calling it a pancake without the milk and flour. And applying a generous helping of ketchup.

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

Ingredients: Look on the tin. But I presume it’s rice.
Prep and cooking time: About 15 seconds opening a tin.
Difficulty rating: The tin opener can be a bit of a bugger sometimes, but otherwise straight forward.
Likeliness of eating: 95%. Don’t even consider doing something wanky like adding fruit or making your own.

Cauliflower Cheese Sauce for Pasta

Cauliflower Cheese Sauce for Pasta (post defrosting). Add milk to loosen it up again and make it look less like vaginal discharge.

Ingredients: Butter, milk, flour, cheese and cauliflower.
Prep and cooking time: Bloody ages mainly because anything over five minutes guarantees constant interruptions as you have to separate bickering and fighting siblings that can’t possibly be left alone. The smell of a real life vegetable being cooked will also increase whinging and begging for crisps tenfold.
Difficulty rating: Due to the amount of steps required and therefore the amount of interruptions, rage inducingly difficult
Likeliness of eating: 0%. Despite your children liking cheese and occasionally licking a piece of cauliflower without projectile vomiting, it’s not crisps and therefore will not be entertained.

The vegetable battle isn’t won just yet but when it comes to beige, I’m a frickin’ champion (just don’t add vegetables).

 

 

 

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Dear New Parents…

Firstly, let me congratulate you on joining The Hood. It’s a somewhat surreal and scary place but it won’t take long for the pooh obsession to settle in. In fact, it’ll pretty much start from the first pile of sticky black mess you find trapped under your fingernails. Don’t worry. All perfectly normal. That’s what your fingernails are for.

You may have already started to discover the politics of parenting is quite unique and what party you belong to all entirely depends on your feeding method, what baby transporting equipment you use and what method of collecting turds you decide on.

You may have possibly unearthed internet facts such as, your child is going to be gay. This is especially if you are bottle feeding. Bottles are unsafe and contain chemicals that mimic female hormones. They tried to make non-gay bottles which became very popular but then they discovered recently that they’re just as gay as the rest. However, the gay-soaked chemical isn’t mutually exclusive to bottles, it’s anything that is plastic. Basically everything you have probably already bought for your child will in some way induce gayness. I’m not entirely sure why this isn’t written on the information sheets provided with every baby item you buy but I have written to the WHO to see if they can shed some light on the subject.

If you are breastfeeding, unfortunately, you won’t be spared from the chemical pandemic as your breast milk will also be contaminated with chemicals. These can also cause gayness and additionally autism, lepresy and an unnatural fixation with Play doh reviews on YouTube.

As a breastfeeding mother you will also be a social pariah should you wish to provocatively offend people with your milky nipples in public. If you continue this method of injecting nutrients down your child’s gullet into toddlerdom, I would suggest you just save any further embarrassment, take yourself to the local police station and request to be put on the sex offender’s register. Plus, if your boob feeding a boy child, it will make him gay.

Google will become your best friend as you incessantly research every aspect of motherhood searching for the answer as to why your baby started sleeping for four hour stretches, enabling you to emerge from your torturous head fog, but then returned to fidgeting and straining all night with intermittent 15 minutes silences whereby you desperately check for vital signs.  You may from time to time have to update yourself on what poo should look like for good measure and ‘what your baby should be doing now’ for added parental pressure especially if your friend’s baby is already walking at four months and a kid your mum knows through a friend she bumped into recently was doing sign language at birth.

Do watch out though for the billion know-it-alls desperate to tell you you are doing it all completely wrong and you’re actually a fuckwit. These Unsolicited Advisors of Anecdotes tend to lurk in chat rooms and internet forums desperate to impart their worldwide parenting knowledge from their one experience of motherhood.  You may find me in there. But I’ve had two kids so I totes know what I’m talking about.

Most helpful of all will be this phrase. You don’t need to memorise it because it’ll be said to you at least four hundred times a day and encompasses every unknown which is pretty much everything in parenting because only the children know the rules and they’ve made a pact to never, ever let on to grown ups.

Phases may be as follows:

Not sleeping
Sleeping
Not eating enough
Eating too much
Teething
Growth spurts
Shitting themselves at 4am after you have just managed to settle them
Starting the day at 5am
Finishing the day at 11pm
Having to be held continually between the hours of 5am and 11pm

Google is also incredibly useful for diagnosing symptoms that your baby may be experiencing, drawing an inevitable conclusion that it is probably AIDS. Both my children have had several bouts of AIDS now but seemed to bounce back quickly so nothing to be too concerned about.

Finally, as a new parent, it is imperative you become accustomed to your new identity as a compulsive liar.  Your baby’s hearing and understanding is incredibly acute, even from a few days old and any difficult experience you may be encountering, your baby will be listening as you recount your woes to friends, family and health professionals. Your baby will then promptly do the exact opposite leaving you looking like an attention-seeking drama queen who clearly hasn’t a clue what you are doing.

If you have found my unsolicited anecdotal advice useful, you may also like to take a look at my Guide to the Fourth Trimester for more of it, which doesn’t in anyway metaphorically represent what is currently residing under your fingernails.

 

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Does Motherhood Complete You?

Once you have children, it seems inevitable that you lose a part of who you were before. You make new friends that have absolutely no clue about your past identity, apart from when they do a bit of Facebook stalking through your younger, slimmer photos. You are known as <<insert child’s name>> Mum. Your parents no longer pay you any attention, instead diverting their eyes to the little tiny version of yourself bounding through the door until about half an hour into the visit when they realise that they haven’t actually greeted you yet. I now find myself generally not greeting people any more. This probably looks quite rude when I turn up without a child and just barge my way in.

I was extremely fearful of losing myself before I had children, the great identity that I had built up over 29 years. I have no idea why – I was a massive dick. Opinionated, drunk and mentally unstable. I’m still a massive dick but I actually like being a mum too. I like this new identity. I remember walking down the road for the first time without my new baby and thinking, “people won’t know I have a baby. I want them to know I have a baby.” Like this somehow gave me an automatic VIP ticket into Betterdom.

However, my children don’t complete me. Despite definitely knowing that they make me a better person, and slightly less dickish because I am generally less drunk, they’re not my main purpose in life. Neither is being up to my elbows in disease-infested gums, despite how much I love that too. I want more. Something else.

I made this discovery recently during one of my low moods. I get them frequently. My husband struggles to understand them. Looking from the outside, I can understand why – I have two gorgeous children, a husband who loves me, a nice house, a well paid job, my health – I have absolutely no reason to feel depressed about my life. But I do. It consumes me till I’m numb and joyless, sometimes slowly, gradually like a creeping mist. Other times like a sledgehammer.

I Googled ‘happiness’ and up came various motivational memes and blog articles; “10 Easy Ways to Find Happiness”. After a bit of searching, I found one that spoke to me, helpfully informing me that the true root to happiness is not about having physical things, but having a purpose in life. Give someone a purpose, a reason to be and they will find happiness. 

There have been a few times in recent years when I was doing something outside of work and the home; charity work, volunteering and the like and it felt great. I felt really happy. I was helping other people without any financial agenda. It was purely for the feel good factor and it left me with a bounce in my step. Having a purpose other than my children makes me happy because just my children alone aren’t enough.

Writing that is hard. Reading it must be hard. Now you’re agreeing that I am a massive dick. But let me explain.

I am not ungrateful. I look at my life, my children and know that I am the luckiest person alive. I also know that they are not responsible for my true core happiness – I am. I have to be my own sunshine. I’ve come to realise that I don’t want to live my life vicariously through my children, putting expectations on their shoulders for achievements that I was unable to fulfil. I don’t want to get to old age and feel bitter about the life I could have had, had I not sacrificed my all to my children. I want to show them the true meaning of pride by personally demonstrating it with what I can accomplish. I want them to know happiness isn’t about what you have but about doing something that makes your heart sing. 

I had a taste of the dolce vita and I want it back. I want to feel complete again by doing something more worthwhile. 

Is it selfish to want to feel good by doing good? Is it wrong that my children complete my life but they don’t complete me? Do yours? I’d really like to know.

Saw this quote. Liked it. Stole it.

Saw this quote. Liked it. Stole it.

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Consciously Uncoupling Facebook

It’s been one whole day. One whole day without flicking my phone screen, scrolling down and looking for a number to notify me of the amount of Facebook interactions that might be awaiting my attention.

It has been made easier by the fact I have just worked a twelve hour shift where my fingers have been needed elsewhere; expertly removing six months worth of detritus that had calcified in periodic layers like the sediment of an oceanic lake. Had I not been gum gardening, my fingers may have been twitching desperately over the Login icon.

It has come to represent the ticking clock to an insomniac. The sleeping husband to a mentally unhinged new mother. The chocolate profiterole mountain to a gastric band recipient. For me, presently, it is like a window looking out on all the fun the world is having whilst I’m stuck in my bedroom, grounded. 

When I couldn’t conceive, I wanted tell to every pregnant patient that walked into my surgery to fuck right off. When I miscarried, I wanted to whole world to eat shit and die. When I had PND and mothers were telling me how great motherhood was and how much they loved it, I wanted to scratch “you’re a complete wanker” into the side of their car. I’m just not that good at being happy for people when I’m feeling utterly miserable. 

It’s not really Facebook’s fault that everyone only posts the best parts about their lives and not the drudgery and despair (some people do but they get blocked almost immediately – who wants to read their boring whiny pissy pants statuses?). It’s no-one’s fault either that my spectrum child, my spesh little boy, has a universe the size of a pea and that I have to squeeze in their with him. 

So I’ve switched off from the torment of family holidays, road trips, laughter and happiness because most of these people are my friends and family, all of whom I love dearly and I really don’t want to start vandalising their property just because I’m a bit bitter and twisted. I’ll just hunker down, ride out the storm and wait for my boy to feel ready to join the world again and I’ll be there with him, holding his hand, not sporting a criminal record.

Room for one more in there, Boy?

Room for one more in there, Boy?

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There’s no triumph quite like a parenting triumph

Hairwashing. Quite a big triumph in my household.

Hairwashing. Quite a big triumph in my household.

Sometimes, when I’m in the depths of motherhood, I feel like I might be the only one that has ever felt a certain way. But then I realise that it doesn’t really matter what family you’re in; single parenting, step-parenting, special educational needs parenting, surrogate parenting, foster parenting, adoptive parenting, LBGT parenting or just plain old bog standard parenting, we all feel the same triumphs and tribulations. They may just be to different things.

Very recently, my son was diagnosed with ausomeness. Nothing his Dad and I didn’t already suspect. The last twelve months have been hard. I’ve had a chronic low level grief for not having the ability to be able to automatically understand and connect with my son.  I’ve had to work hard at it whilst the rest of the family stood and watched, just waiting for their turn to be able to connect. 

I wanted to write down a few of his triumphs for him to hopefully look back on one day. It wasn’t until I started writing down the relationships that have been unfolding between him, his Dad and his sister that I truly felt it. The paradox of heartbreaking joy. I hadn’t realised how I ached for a lost companionship, especially that his sister could have been having with her brother. But it was never actually lost. I just hadn’t been able to see it for what it was.  Here is the letter I have written:

Dear Ted

It’s your Mum here. I wanted to give you an update on how you’re doing. Your Dad has a few words to say too.

You are now exactly two and a half. These last few months I have seen the sparkle in your eyes ignite a fire in your belly. It seems you have started to open the door to communication and this has opened your world up to new and wonderful possibilities. 

You have discovered that if you point at something, you will generally get it. Unfortunately for me, this is usually at the crisp cupboard but I also take this as a general hunger cue. That and you raiding the fridge dragging out anything you can, carrying it triumphantly into the front room. I can (sometimes) distract you with a banana but on the whole, it’s all about the crumb covered fish products, monster munch and raisins. You did eat some butternut squash risotto the other day so hopefully those vitamins will last you out till the end of the month.

You have given me a name. A high pitched “DOR!” I like my name a lot. You have chosen this name out of your few sounds you like to make. I’ve always fancied myself as a Dor. You have named your Dad too. You have consistently called him “Dada” a number of times now and this has literally made him cry with happiness. 

You instigate games. Your favourites are the Freeze Game and the Blowing On Your Tummy Game.  The Freeze Game consists of me being dragged, usually by the neck of my jumper, into the garden whereby you shout “eeeeeeeee!” at me. This is your word for freeze and I know I have to copy and stand still. Then you make a roaring “dadadadadada” noise and I have to run and grab you, fling you upside down, tickle you and land you on your feet again. We run around in circles until you shout, “eeeeeeee!” and it starts all over again. The Blowing On Your Tummy Game is pretty self explanatory. However, you let us know you want this by pulling up your tshirt and sharply inhaling with a massive cheesy grin on your face, knowing that at any moment your body is going to be alive with tickles. Your giggles and squeals lift the roof. You have an insatiable appetite for tickles shouting “goooooo!” with all your might before collapsing into laughter again.

You have words. “Ah da” means all done. You use it to tell me when you have finished eating, when you want to get out of the bath and when you want me to pick you up. “Schrain” is your word for train, your favourite vehicle by far. “Lane” is plane, your second favouritest vehicle. “Car” your joint second favouritest vehicle. Basically, if it has wheels, it’s your favouritest.

You have signs. You sign thirsty when you want a drink. You occasionally point at your mouth when you want food. You are learning to use the sign to ask for help when you are stuck with something (normally something you shouldn’t be doing in your sister’s room. Shhh, don’t tell her that I let you play in there when she’s not around).

I never thought I'd be happy about you two getting up to mischief

I never thought I’d be happy about you two getting up to mischief

You have a bond with your sister. This has been the most magical of all things to watch materialise. Your sister loves you dearly. It was always heartbreaking to see her face when you didn’t reply to her morning greeting or reciprocate a cuddle she so desperately wanted. But she understands now. She understands you are different. She understands that you cannot use words yet but you are learning and she is happy to help teach you. She can be scared of you at times. You still take a lot of your frustrations out on her but her patience and understanding through her tears makes my heart ache. Her beauty is beyond bounds and I think you know it. You follow her lead, clearly not getting the same joy from an activity without her. You embrace her with a love that I know you feel deep down. I don’t think she really knows how much she means to you yet, but she will. In the meantime, I will continue to watch you two grow together and feel pride that I never knew I could feel.

You’re spreading your love outwards to your Dad too. He feels the bond between you is flourishing and it fills his heart when you sidle up to him for a cuddle on the sofa. You have special things that only he does with you. Like riding on the back of his bike with your new bike seat. You don’t like it when it’s stationary but it doesn’t take long for Dad to get up to great speed, blasting your face with gusts of air. He hopes to take you on many great adventures on that bike. Your Dad loves having you as his co-driver, watching you thrust your hand out the window the moment it is wound down to feel the cold wind on your fingertips. Or watching you sleep, mouth gaping wide open as you succumb to the warmth and motion of the car.

You’re amazing, Ted, and you’re about to embark on a new adventure. You’ll be starting at a special place where wonderful people will continue to help you thrive and blossom. Your sister too is starting her own adventure into school, on a different path to enlightenment. You’ll miss her, your sidekick.

I’ll end this update now by saying keep up the good work, Mister! It’s an absolute pleasure getting to know you and all your funny little ways. You fascinate and inspire me all at the same time. I also want to say thank you. Thank you to both you and your sister because ultimately, we really don’t care what either of you turn out to be, we are just so proud of who you both are.

With all our love, now and always,

Dor & Dada

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Why I Called Time On Time Outs

I am head strong, stubborn and determined. I am flaky, fickle and easily influenced. I am a perfectionist and control makes me feel safe. I am untidy, lazy and easy going. I am a stickler for rules. I don’t like reading guide books.

These are just a few of the many contradictions that afflict my personality.

Sometimes, these cacophony of traits have worked in my favour. In motherhood? Not so much.

When my daughter was born, I knew that I wanted her to be happy and healthy. Then as she grew, she started to develop freewill.

That’s when I panicked. It quickly developed into wanting her to be happy, healthy and not the kid that everyone dreads being around, or the kid that everyone stares at whilst silently judging the parents.

Freewill started to really kick in around the age of eighteen months. “Ahhh,” I thought, “she’s starting to push the boundaries. Test my tenacity. Act out. It is now my job to show her the boundaries of acceptableness and I know exactly how. Time outs.”

Here are the reasons why I used time outs:

To show her who was boss.
To show her I was in control.
To show her acceptable behaviour in society.
To show her the consequences of not doing as she was told without resorting to capital punishment.

I was excellent at it. I never gave in no matter where we were. I had perfected the technique. My perfectionism, stubborn determination and stickler for rules were working solely in my favour.

There was a slight niggling feeling in the back of my head though, that something wasn’t sitting quite right with me. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Just before Christmas, I was getting my daughter ready for a Christmas event being held in town. I was struggling to motivate her but I’d arranged to meet friends and I really wanted to go. I managed to get her all trussed up in a Christmas outfit so we could take part in the Santa Dash. All she needed now was a scarf. I found one of mine – a silver one – perfect for her Christmas outfit. She didn’t want to wear it. It wasn’t her scarf. Her scarf was the pink one. “But the pink one clashes with her red Christmas outfit. It’ll look shit,” I thought. So I asked her sternly to just put the scarf on whilst wrapping it around her against her will. Needless to say, WW3 broke out. She was screaming. I was screaming. I was furious that SHE was making us late by not wearing the scarf that I wanted her to wear. She wasn’t listening. The only thing for it was a time out for not being compliant and not listening. So I gave her a warning. She stuck a big middle finger up to my warning so I put her on time out.

Whilst she was there – red-faced, angry, distressed, crying – I went and cried outside in the garden. I counted to ten, composed myself and went back to her. I wasn’t sorry. I was angry SHE had let it get this far.

Needless to say, my controlling, head strong determination and stubbornness meant we made it to the Santa Dash, but nobody was happy. She refused to take part and I had lost the Christmas spirit so I waved goodbye to my friends and weeped all the way home wondering why it had all gone so wrong.

I don’t think it really takes a psychologist to see how everything about that scenario was about me and nothing about my daughter. My perfectionism, stubbornness, determination and stickler for the rules had started to work against me. It had started to control me and my daughter. I had forgotten it’s purpose which was supposedly to help her become a better person.

Actually, let’s look at that again. “Not be the kid that everyone dreads being around, or the kid that everyone stares at whilst silently judging the parents” was in fact what I think I had said.

Nope, that wasn’t thinking about her. That was thinking about everybody else. This wasn’t working.

There were a few events that started to make me doubt myself. I got into an online spat with two very dear friends about my justification for the use of time outs. They were both against it and I hated being made to feel like I was doing something wrong. But the seed had been sown. My flaky, fickle and easy persuaded side was starting to sprout and shortly after, I read a couple of chapters from an Alfie Kohn book which confirmed for me that all of my own justifications for using time outs were utter bollocks.

If I truly wanted her to be happy, then stifling her when she was just expressing herself was not the way to go about it.

The major turning point though was this; her little brother. He, turns out, to have autism. No amount of perfectionism and control is ever going to change that. He is just free to become the person he wants to be because he has no idea about societal etiquette. He can’t be moulded, shaped or controlled. He just is. And I’m so jealous of him.

His outbursts are extreme but he has no way of understanding them and I have no way of explaining to him.
His meltdowns make it almost obligatory for parents to stare and judge.
He is THAT kid that parents steer their kids away from fear of him being too boisterous or a bit trigger happy with the pushing.

So that is why I called time on time outs. Because it turns out being exactly what I feared the most, isn’t actually that scary after all.

Stopping has been hard. When you have a seemingly gold standard, fool-proof way of dealing with situations that you feel out of control of, it’s very tricky not to fall on old comfortable habits. I’ve had a few slip ups. I hated myself for them because they were as pathetic as Christmas-gate. But when the time outs don’t give you the result you want, where do you go next? Smacking? I’ve been tempted and that was also part of the problem.

But whilst I can’t help my son (yet) to understand his emotions, I can help my daughter to understand hers. By giving them names so they become easier to express. I’m desperately trying not to care what other people think when they’re clearly judging my parenting whilst my son flails on the floor screaming in a pitch only a spectrum child can reach – it’s heart breaking. I’ve managed to let go of a lot of control. I’ve had to. It was useless. I have managed to bring out my more easy going side and choose my battles wisely. Ergo, deciding that there are very few battles that are ever truly ‘won’ when the opponent is a child.

The house feels calmer. It feels happier. Of course freewill is as annoying as ever but I can live with it. Probably until she hits puberty. Then I’ll perhaps just hide under my bed.

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Happy Child = Happy Mummy

I can out do any teenager on the amount of consecutive days I have worn a pair of jeans, or how many times I have just brushed the cheesy fluff from between my toes before contaminating a fresh pair of socks, or how long I go with greasy hair before my scalp literally drags itself into the shower.

Drying towels, clothes for charity, clothes for the loft & dirty washing. All perfectly organised and easily recognisable.

The biofilm, currently pulsating on my children’s bath toys, may or may not be responsible for my Son’s epic bout of croup. The carpets look like they previously belonged to a crack den. The piles of clothes on the landing have started to become inhabited by woodland creatures getting ready for the winter hibernation.

I often get to the end of the day and scuff wearily around the house, wondering which room to tackle first, only to reach for the cupboard to tackle a Green & Blacks chocolate sensation first (if I’m going to go down, at least go down in style).

I am a telly offender and often leave my children being babysat and brainwashed by the colourful images and cheerful songs that emanate from the screen on the wall, just so I can stand in the kitchen and stare at the wall for some mental health time.

So when I saw a “Happy Mummy = Happy Child ” or “Happy Child = Happy Mummy” conundrum, brought to my attention by another parenting blog post, I realised, it’s most definitely the latter.

This photo depicts a happy moment between a happy mother and happy toddler on a trip to watch airplanes from the carpark of the local airport.

What it doesn’t show is the inner suffering being suppressed by ‘happy’ mother due to the other unhappy child sobbing in the car because they weren’t allowed to throw stones.  I didn’t put her there. She put herself there. She doesn’t want to see stupid planes without stone rain.

I wouldn’t have normally been so cruel, but I was worried about the stones breaking the spotters’ cameras. There seemed to be an unnatural gathering of them on that particular day.

Another happy child/happy mother moment, baking together with ‘happy’ mother desperately suppressing all her deep desires for perfectism by allowing creative mess to keep child happy.

Unfortunately, what the photo doesn’t show is how happy mother ruined everything by deciding the second from top left looked like it needed more mixture to make it equal with the others, but didn’t ask permission to ‘help’. Rookie mistake. This resulted in a very unhappy child, lots of snot, crying and a complete dislike for anything remotely associated with cake for the rest of her life. Or at least until the oven timer sounded.

Getting ready for Christmas. Making homemade decorations and working really hard to be an interactive, creative parent. Not too over controlling but controlling enough that the decorations are good enough for display. Everyone is happy.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a photo showing the decorations laying abandoned on the floor just moments later, whilst unhappy child storms off, huffing and stamping loudly, because was-happy mother touched the stick to try and move it so she could see was-happy child’s face in the photo. YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TOUCHED THE STICK. WHY DID YOU TOUCH THE STICK?

 

 

 

 

Happy!

 

 

 

 

0.24 seconds later. UNHAPPY.

 

 

Who knew providing happy childhoods could be so exhausting. Perhaps the slogan should read:

Happy child = filthy, unwashed, tired and emotionally dejected with a shit tip of a house, happy mummy.

Posted in Motherhood, Parenting Humour | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments