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Stop, Co-operate and Listen!

tantrum-in-supermarket-pmAs I picked up Mishty from nursery yesterday, his key worker pulled me aside to talk about his development. Everything was fine, she assured me, but there was just one area that needed to be addressed… his listening skills. Apparently Mishty is not very good at always doing what he is told.

This was no surprise. Most of my requests are regularly ignored despite my best efforts at politely asking, cajoling, coaxing, repeating, bellowing, threatening, ignoring and bribing him. It’s frustrating and highly annoying but the worst is when we are out in public. For example…

I collected Mishty from nursery one evening and thought I’d pick up something for dinner from the local supermarket. He was very excited as a) he’d made a cake at nursery and b) he loves food shopping.

We wandered down the aisles in his buggy when he started getting peckish and began pestering me for cake. Seeing as he went to all the effort of actually making it, I thought I’d let him have some. He happily munched away but then after a while started getting a bit restless – he wanted to walk around. This was dangerous parenting territory but after making him promise to hold my hand and not run off, I took him out.

I was played like a fool. Within seconds he was running around picking things up and trying to throw them before I snatched them out of his tiny but fiercely strong grip. This included a particularly large melon that he successfully lobbed halfway across the fruit section. After some disapproving glances that clearly suggested my parenting skills were not up to scratch, I tried to get to the checkout as quickly as possible.

On the way there, Mishty decided it was more fun to drop to his knees and slide on the floor. I cursed myself for giving him the cake as the subsequent sugar high was making him run around the aisles and  think that me chasing him was a new fun game. Then as I tried to haul him off the floor from yet another slide, he decided to just lie there. Literally, lie flat on the floor in the middle of the path while I hissed at him to get up. You may think the obvious answer would be to put him back in the buggy but you are forgetting the fact that a) you have to catch him first b) he is surprisingly strong c) you can’t be as physical as you normally are in public in case someone calls social services.

Normally I have one of those handy scanner things that mean you just go to a self-service machine to pay and the whole process takes hardly any time at all but today they weren’t working. Clearly the world was conspiring to break me.

So there I was, trying to put the items on the conveyor belt while Mishty stubbornly refused to get in the buggy. I picked him up and forcefully tried to place him in but he, just as forcefully, planted his feet on the seat and resisted sitting. After a mini wrestle he wriggled out of my grasp and ran off to the next aisle and grabbed someone else’s bottle of milk and chucked it, laughing in my face. I was mortified. Wishing I had three extra hands, I returned the milk, continued loading the shopping (which was taking surprisingly longer than expected) and attempted to get him back in the buggy but he once again ran off. This time, the woman next to me whose milk he threw, took pity on me and tried to help. She naively told him to be a good boy and listen to his mummy. His face plainly said “whatevs”.

I desperately tried to load and pack up the shopping quicker than you could say “why can’t you control your child?” while the stranger tried to helpfully restrain my son. If ever there was a time for Mishty to understand the meaning of obedience and actually listen to me, this would be it. A queue was building up in the other aisle as the lady was not dealing with her own shopping which only added to my burning shame. Luckily we were in a Waitrose where the people are civilised and unlikely to cause a ruckus like the Asda clientelle.

After what felt like an eternity, the shopping was finally done so I was free to drag Mishty into an armlock and belt him into the buggy. I said my thanks to the lady and bid my farewell.

Moral of the story – restrain your child at all times and if they escape pretend they are not yours.

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True Love

His cherub face peers up at mine,
A question forming on his lips
and tumbling out in a jumble.
The answer is a kiss on the nose
and a raspberry on the belly.

His gurgling laugh makes my soul smile
and ache with love
hearing that happy melody.
I do anything for that sound,
I do anything for him.

His footsteps leave imprints on my heart
as his soft baby feet walk all over me.
I cuddle him in my arms, my head on his,
feeling loved and happy and content.
A wriggly mass of energy
jumping and climbing on me;
my little baby,
my true love.

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Look Who’s Talking

“Where’s your big cock gone, Mummy?” Mishty asks me innocently. Er… how exactly is one supposed to answer this? More disturbing than the fact that he thinks I have one, is the fact that he thinks it’s gone missing. And even more worrying, is that I am actually pleased that he thinks my hypothetical missing anatomy is big. I am about to launch into a painful discussion about the difference between boys and girls when I notice that he is pointing to my bare wrist. Sensing something not quite right, it finally dawns on me that he is referring to my oversized watch that I had lost earlier that week. Mishty’s inability to pronounce the letter L had given ‘clock’ a whole new meaning!

Mishty has been talking loads lately and becoming quite the chatterbox. He can hold a conversation with you in his very cute baby voice and it means I can stop guessing why he is crying and just be told instead (usually it’s a demand for “choc-ate”). However, there are still times when I’m left scratching my head or rolling around in fits of giggles. Here are some memorable moments…

When changing his nappy, I pull a face as the stench makes my eyes water and stomach heave. Mishty picks up on my desire for a gasmask and looks around saying, “what’s that smell?” and then answers himself, “I think it’s garlic, Mummy.” Sure, blame it on the non-existent garlic and not the foul poop that’s just squirted out of your bottom…

Another time we were talking about going in the car with his Nana when he suddenly says, “Nana’s gonna die”. This momentarily floors us. Is it a prophecy? Is it that he knows that one day we will all end up dying? Is it a wish? Because he is now saying it repeatedly like he really wants this to happen which is weird as Nana is one of his most favourite people. Then he starts talking about the car and we remember he can’t pronounce his R’s very well. I get it now. The answer is yes Nana is going to drive.. and hopefully not die any time soon.

Mishty’s take on favourite food – “I like to eat my bogies”

On women drivers – “I like your driving Mummy, I want you to die!” Although sometimes he changes his mind and says “that’s daddy’s car, get out Mummy!” and then cries if I don’t. He can be a bit of a bully sometimes.

On how we spend our day – “Daddy goes to the office, and mummy puts on make up and goes shopping”. Remind me to stamp out any subconscious gender stereotyping he may be exposed to.

On seeing any vehicle with lights on the top – “NEEEEE NAWWW NEEEE NAWWWW NEEE NAWWWWW” at ear splitting volume.

On having zero patience – “Mummy are we there yet?” “No, Mishty, we haven’t even got to the car yet to drive there.”

On being a little perv – “Mummy you got begoons!” [This is the Bengali word for aubergine and I have no idea why he equates this with breasts]

On being an inappropriate little perv – “Nanu, are those your begoons?!” while trying to pull her top down and have a look. Cue an awkward chat with me about why my son is calling her bits begoons and how this is inappropriate.

On being a typical boy – “I got little ears. I got a little nose. I got a little head. I GOT A BIG WILLY!!!” Yes this is what all men think, I just didn’t realise it started at 2.

On being an inappropriate boy – “Nanu, remember, I got a big willy!” Nanu gravely replies, “Yes, I remember..”

On a new anatomical discovery in the bath – “Look Mummy, I made my willy go big!” My response was naturally to just go, “ARRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!”

He is also a little parrot. So Hubby taught him to say “No Mummy, stop watching rubbish on the tv!” and then run up to the telly and switch it off every time I watched one of my reality TV shows. I got my own back by telling him to do the same when the football was on.

As well as being funny, he can be very sweet too. My personal favourite was when he stroked my face and quietly said, “Mummy, you’re gorgeous” – this truly turned me to mush. Another time he pointed to a picture of me and Hubby and said “That’s Mummy and Daddy – Mummy pretty”. He will volunteer to help, “Mummy can I help you?” and will vigorously try to clean things by making more mess and then cry if you tell him to stop because you actually need to clean it. Sometimes he will offer me his plastic food as a present and say “Happy to you”. He remembers to say “Bless you” when I sneeze and says “excuse me/please/thank you/sorry” [nursery takes the credit for that]. A day will not go by without him asking me a hundred times “whatchoo dooooing Mummy?” even if he knows exactly what I’m doing. When I come home from work he will actually ask me how my day was. Once I felt sad so he tapped me on the shoulder and said “You ok Mummy?” and then “Daddy stop being horrible to Mummy!”

These are the moments that make my heart melt and put a smile on my face… it’s good to talk.

 

 

 

 

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Morning Mayhem

It’s 6.45am. Hubby is just leaving for a breakfast meeting. I am trying to stealthily manoeuvre my way to the bathroom without waking Mishty. It’s too late, he is already stirring and before I make it, he sits upright and utters his first word of the day- “milk”. His eyes are closing again so I scoop him into my arms and bring him back to my bed for a snooze. I snuggle into his chest, his little hand pawing at my face. This is the best part of the day – his warm body tucked into me, the gentle breathing, punctuated by the sound of him sucking his thumb.

The spell breaks and he is fully awake, clamouring for the white stuff. I acquiesce and leave him to drink while I wash up. He walks in and looks at me with curiosity. “Mummy, are you getting your bogies out?” he asks innocently. I figure the best answer is to just agree.

He follows me out as I go to get dressed and is soon interested in removing the contents of the bedside drawer. He notices the tissue box is missing. I have hidden it to avoid the daily routine of Mishty emptying the box, handfuls at a time and then gleefully shredding all the tissues into a fluffy mess.

There is now a strong odour permeating the room. I try to cajole him into coming with me for a nappy change but he is busy being a blender and making cupcakes from random items he’s found in the drawer. I suggest putting it in the oven [drawer] and while it cooks, we change the nappy. He agrees and things are going well until he randomly demands to be changed on the floor midway through.

Nappy change done, getting dressed is the next challenge. Mishty wants to wear his favourite blue trousers, oblivious to the rather large stain that indicates the trousers ate more yogurt than he did yesterday. I offer a clean pair. Mishty bawls in my face. The socks are starting to come off as well. To quell a complete wardrobe meltdown, I let him choose his own tracker bottoms. Half dressed, I move to take his top off but the routine wail of “I wanna wear my pajamaaaaas WAAAAAHH…” puts me off.

The wail changes to a demand for breakfast at home which is odd, as normally he eats at nursery, but today he is almost in tears. I know it will take him ages but the guilt of depriving food to a baby is too great. As we sit together at the table, Mishty starts mushing up his cereal and decides to eat only tiny spoonfuls of milk. My hopes of a quick breakfast are disintegrating faster than the Weetabix. Then the delaying tactics begin:

“I don’t want the pink spoon, I want the purple one”

“There’s dirty bits in my bowl” [mushed up Weetabix]

“It’s too cold, I want hot milk now”

“I want Peppa Pig!”

“I don’t want anymore…”

I give up and haul him to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He is adamant that we must open a new toothpaste, and then sucks it off his brush instead of moving it up and down. He giggles and wants more toothpaste. Exasperated, I wipe his face and go to the kitchen.

I open the cupboard to take out a chocolate bar for work. He sees it instantly and knows exactly what it is [blame Hubby]. “Mummaaay, can I have some choc-ate pease?” Saying no doesn’t go down well so I make false promises to let him eat it later and distract him with his daily dose of multi-vitamins. This is not as appealing as the sweet syrupy flavour of Calpol and he cries like an addict for the strong stuff.

We are now almost ready to leave. All I need to do is put on his coat and shoes, and get him in the buggy. Simple. Except now he doesn’t want to go to nursery. And he doesn’t want to put his shoes on. Or get in the buggy. No, he wants to see a train driver.

More false promises of trains and some manhandling of footwear later and we are out the door. His howls are reverberating in the communal hallway as he declares in between sobs that he wants to walk. If I didn’t have a train to catch / wasn’t already late / had an extra half an hour to spare, letting him walk wouldn’t be such a bad idea. He wins as he is wriggling out of the buggy quicker than I can strap him in. As we walk painstakingly slowly, I resort to scare tactics with a van that is reversing and he finally agrees to get in the buggy.

We eventually make it to nursery, and with not so much as a backwards glance, he morphs into an angelic child and walks off obediently with his keyworker. I leg it to the station and turn up to work some time before midday, wondering when it’ll be my turn to have a breakfast meeting…

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The Second Coming

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The Second Coming

It’s 11.30pm on Easter Sunday and Mishty is wide awake yelling for gnocchi with pesto like a two foot middle-class tyrant. An ill-timed nap without dinner is the cause for tonight’s midnight snack. In fact, everything today has been ill-timed and there’s no one to blame but the Scots.

I have nothing against the Scots but having to change the clocks twice a year because a bunch of them chose to live in a land that hardly sees the light of day in winter is a pain in the proverbial*. Not only do I lose an hour of sleep, but there is absolutely no way of explaining this bizarre custom to a toddler. He will still wake up at exactly the same time and go to bed at the same time, only now there’s less time to fit everything in.  The consequences of which, can be disastrous…

Take today. As the clocks went forward, confusion arose over whether it was time for lunch or a snack. We opted for snack. This was the first of a long list of bad decisions that snowballed the day into a complete write-off.

Mishty fell asleep as if he were having his post-lunch nap except it wasn’t the real deal – the time change meant the nap was too early and he woke up ravenous after only half an hour.

Sleep deprived and hungry, he was at his worst. After lunch, we tried to keep him awake in the hope that he would have an early dinner and bedtime. Alarm bells were ringing but the time change clouded all judgement. Mishty was becoming more overtired by the minute and spontaneously crying like the winner of a Mariah Carey diva competition. So we bundled him into the car and drove around until he fell asleep. This would have been a great idea except that it was now 7pm. Bedtime for most kids, but without any dinner, it was just another nap for Mishty.

Half an hour later, he woke up. I would have fed him at this point had he not fallen asleep again on my shoulder during an episode of Gossip Girl, rendering me immobile. Eventually he woke again clamouring for milk, which perked him up enough to then want dinner. At 9pm he was half-heartedly attempting some food before getting bored and wondering off to play/destroy something. Inevitably, the “I’m hungeeeeeee” wails started sounding around 11pm, roughly the same time I’d lost the will to live. Epic fail.

At least this time it coincided with Easter – the holiday that represents the resurrection of Christ with chocolate eggs.  There’s no escaping the sweet treats. At nursery Mishty keeps coming home with things he’s made like Shreddies covered in chocolate, or Cornflakes covered in chocolate, or Rice Krispies covered in chocolate (sensing a theme here..?) with the occasional mini egg and marshmallow thrown in. Add this to the stash that relatives have bought him and he has amassed his own body weight in chocolate.

Smeagol My Precious Funny ShoesChocolate turns him into Gollum and he clutches them tightly, rightly suspicious of our motives when we say he can have them later, only for them to mysteriously disappear.  It’s a desperate attempt to avoid a sugar-induced hyperactive kid bouncing off the walls and refusing to go to bed because the new bedtime doesn’t work with his body cycle.

The best use for the eggs is to confiscate them as punishment. More effective than the ‘naughty corner’, Mishty’s whole face crumples- overwhelmed and uncomprehending as to how repeatedly kicking daddy in the head could justify this cruel torture.

Speaking of torture, it’s past midnight and there is silence coming from the bedroom. Hubby and Mishty are either asleep or lying there pretending to be which means I can write for the first time in over a year. In case you were wondering about my hiatus, it was due to a new job that actually required me to do some work and left me brain dead in my spare time.

You haven’t missed much. Since I last posted, Mishty has had another birthday, got more teeth, sort of sleeps in his own bed through the night, can hold a conversation with you, and can go from babbling baby to screaming monster in under 2 seconds. Now you’re all caught up there’s only one thing left to say…

Happy Easter!

*This is not based on any factual evidence and is highly likely to be incorrect but lets blame the Scots anyway.  

 

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Temper Tantrums

Mishty has now learnt how to say no. Over and over. I try to time these outbursts for some musical entertainment:

Me: “They try to make me go to rehab and I say…..”

Mishty: No, no, noooo!

Except my timing sucks and this has never happened. My dreams of recording a cute baby edited Amy Winehouse video that goes viral and creates infamy remain shattered – Mishty does not perform on demand.

I was told that tantrums happen when they are two. Mishty is only 15 months but already showing the full force of his rage. Either he is advanced or people have been lying to me.

I check with my other mum friends and theirs are doing the same. One child had a tantrum over an apple – it was being placed in the fruit bowl which caused tremendous distress for no obvious reason. Mishty had a similar episode over an apple – but of the Mac kind. Hubby had left his new shiny laptop on the sofa, just out of reach for Mishty. He stood on his tiptoes and stretched until he could just about tug it. I swooped in, pushed it away and handed him his own musical toy laptop. He impatiently shoved it away and tried again to reach the real laptop. I tried to firmly direct him back to his one only for him to throw it across the room in a rage, presumably thinking ‘THIS IS SHIT! There’s only six buttons here and it’s shaped like a cat. I can’t even Facetime on this piece of junk!’

Sometimes he cries when I don’t let him play with bleach or when I take the knife away from him. I shamefully have acquiesced to his demands for the toilet brush though. Sometimes I feel like I am being bullied by a two foot midget in my own home.

The most recent tantrum occurred last week when I picked Mishty up from nursery. He was so happy to see me but this quickly changed once he saw the buggy. He looked at me like, ‘Er… I don’t think so. I am tired from playing all day and I NEED to be carried ALL THE WAY HOME!’ I tried valiantly to get him in but he was resisting with all his might. Ten frustrating minutes of him screaming, wriggling, running off, standing up and slithering down and I had managed to forcibly strap him in. Still screaming, the only way I could get him to stop trying to burst through the harness like the Incredible Hulk, was to let him hold my finger. This instantly calmed him down but left me leaning awkwardly over the buggy or semi-crouching to the side as I didn’t have a parent facing seat and Mishty’s arms were too little. Not being able to maintain this position for long, I had to let go and just hoped that he would fall asleep on the way. No such luck. He screamed hysterically the whole way home. By the time we got in, he was so angry he stomped off to the kitchen to bang on the cupboards, lay down on the floor and even did a dramatic piece of headbanging against the wall which only made him cry harder as it hurt his head. Kill. Me. Now.

These are the times when you close your eyes, sigh and wish someone else would just take over. Instead, you have to muster enough energy to chase after him when he runs off and tries to hide in an impossibly small space and then gets even angrier when he can’t fit in there and starts throwing around expensive breakables like your phone or iPad.

When they are not having a tantrum, they are being exceedingly wilful. Here are some examples:

1. Mishty refuses to lie still when I try to change his nappy. He runs off mid change and lets loose a huge stream of wee all over the carpet. He does this three times in ONE WEEK.

2. Mishty never wants the fun to stop. At the end of bath time he splashes excessively if he sees me coming close with the towel and then refuses to budge even once I have drained the bath. Once scooped up, he pushes me away with all his strength until in danger of falling and smashing his skull on the tiles. Whoever said bath time was relaxing was clearly an idiot.

3. Mishty loves going outside. He brings you his coat and shoes to tell you he wants go out. If you don’t get the message, he bangs on the front door repeatedly. If this doesn’t work he cries and lies at the entrance and tries to put on my trainers. If we make it outside, a great time is had until it is time to go back inside. He then sits on the gravel refusing to budge until you hoist him up in an arm lock and drag him kicking and screaming back in.

4. Mishty has a strong grip. Unfortunately, this is usually for things he is not allowed. Even though you are stronger and can take it off him there is a strong chance that you will break their arm in the process so a gentle tug of war takes place instead and somehow when you finally win, there’s tears all round. This is particularly bad when it comes to the dustpan and brush. And cake.

Life can be unfair. You can’t always get what you want… but at least you can always have a tantrum about it!

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It Must Be Love

962574117fa1c83efc8c3377fff0af9fHaving a baby can often bring couples together but it can also place immense strain on the relationship. It’s not surprising really when you’re constantly tired, stressed, and overwhelmed with responsibilities to end up focussing solely on the baby rather than on each other. Back in the romantic, carefree pre-baby days we were nice to each other. Now we don’t seem to have the time, energy or inclination to. Here’s an example of how things have changed…

The combination of winter germs, being run down from a lack of sleep and Mishty coughing in your mouth makes it inevitable that we are never too far away from getting ill. Still nothing is more awful than when your partner declares he has Man Flu.

Previously you used to be sympathetic

“Oh honey, your poor thing! How are you feeling? Why don’t you lie down and have a rest?”

Now you go into a desperate denial…

“Maybe you’re not actually dizzy and we are just experiencing a minor earthquake?”

“Are you sure you feel achy and it’s not just the strain of picking up Lego scattered all over the flat? [Note: although this implies Hubby puts away toys, I regret to inform you that this is factually incorrect]

Then it dawns on you that he is actually ill and all traces of sympathy are overtaken by the sinking feeling you get from realising you will be looking after two babies by yourself. One is an actual baby and the other is a grown man who has become so feeble that he is as useful as a jellyfish in a library, and is making whimpering noises while huddled under the duvet. Annoyingly, this will coincide with the scheduled time that he was supposed to take over so you could get on with doing That Really Important Thing that now has to be done some other time, as in never.

Previously you used to be nice and make sweet gestures to make him feel better

“Honey, can I get you any hot drinks or make you soup? Would you like some medicine? Here, let me give you a head massage and rub Vicks on your back.”

Now you whisper sweet nothings like “Do it yourself, you puny weakling. Do I look like Florence Flipping Nightingale to you?!”

Previously you would leave it to him to get better

Now you’ve turned into the overzealous and impatient Nurse Nazi where you throw oranges at his face and overdose him on medicines in the hope of a miraculous overnight recovery because you can’t face the prospect of him being bedridden (aka useless) for a week.

“Here’s my credit card. Lets make some lines and see if you can snort the lemsip powder so it can go into your bloodstream quicker…”

Previously you would check in on how they were doing during the day with actual concern.

Now you check in because you are concerned about whether he’s managed to do anything productive while being at home.

“Hello, are you feeling better enough to do the laundry? If you’re able to stand up now, could you do the dishes? If you’re a bit bored of lying down maybe you could just do this… and this… and that… and ooh that also needs doing too… Wait, what do you mean you haven’t gotten out of bed yet?!”

Previously you would give soothing and uplifting pep talks

“There, there, it’ll be ok, poor you, aww honey” etc.

Now your version of a pep talk is to tell him to man up, stop being a wimp and mutter angrily about the time when you were off sick with real flu and still managed to do the nursery run, laundry, bins, vacuuming, tidying, cooking and washing up.

Previously you would still be affectionate without worrying about germs, saying loveydovey gumph like “sharing is caring”

Now you wear a facemask and make sure you’re not in the same room as each other. Even when he’s recovered.

Moral of the story, if you want to be loved, don’t get sick.