Thursday, 9 December 2010

I've been Rumbled

I have been known to exclaim "Jesus!" in moments of stress with the kiddywinks. Particularly while driving. Little Miss, on the ball as ever says,
"Jesus? Why are you saying Jesus Mummy?"
"I didn't, I said er... cheeses!"
"Why did you say cheeses Mummy?"
"Because we've just been to the supermarket and I've forgotten to buy any cheese!"

and she swallowed it.

But now she's doing a Christmas nativity play, and singing Away in the Manger, so when I said
"Why did you say Jesus Mummy?
"I said cheeses!"
"You said Jesus, Mummy. Why did you say Jesus Mummy?"
"Are you going to sing Mummy?"
"Yes! That's it poppet, I was remembering the words to Away in the Manger"
"Can you sing it Mummy?"
"Um, ok.."

and I'm about to launch in to it when a little male voice from the back cries
"No. Singing"

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

It ain't always Plain Sailin'

For the most part, I much prefer writing about the fun stuff the kids get up to, rather than the trials and tribulations. But as every parent knows it's not always plain sailing. Hardly ever, in fact. And I'm thinking back to yesterday's events with astonishment and how a calm and logical parent (that's me, ahem, ok, sometimes calm and occasionally logical parent) can turn into an angry monster at the mercy of a tired 3 year old's tantrum.

A tantrum of volcanic proportions...

which can erupt over the tiniest of things.

Yesterday, because I wanted Little Miss to wear a cardigan

Me: Please can you put your cardigan on.
LM: Faff, ignore Mummy, faff
Me: Please put your cardigan on. It's cold.
LM: Faff, play with toys, faff, ignore Mummy
Me: Please don't make me ask you again, put on your cardigan PLEASE
LM: Don't want to
Me: Well, Mummy's asked you to
LM: I don't WANT to
Me: Mummy's asked you to so please put your cardigan on.
Me: Right, if you don't put that cardigan on you're going on the naughty step.
Me: You do as you're told!

Ok, so it's just a cardigan. Why am I making such a fuss? Well, the problem is this:

Deep down inside you think, if I let this one go, the next thing you know I'll be staring into the face of a 16 year old teenager screaming that yes, damn it, she IS going to see her boyfriend and there's not a damn thing YOU can do about it before you're left standing in the draft of a slammed front door.

But the thing with fear is that it often comes out as anger, and before I know it I'm yelling at her like a Chav knowing the whole time that This. Isn't. Helping. And she's screaming louder and louder. And I'm getting angrier and angrier.

Eventually, I run out of ideas and like a petulant teenager I say say "Fine, suit yourself" and give her the I'm-going-to-ignore-you-now treatment. She yells a little bit longer before calming down. Now that she's stopped yelling I calm down.

Later that afternoon she's had a sleep and she's telling me that she loves me and I tell her that I love her and we snuggle up on the sofa to do a jigsaw.

That night I hit the red wine and drown in guilt over my shouting. But I'm hoping that it's a good lesson learned. Next time I get angry I'll count to ten, I'll switch on the tap and pour a glass of water, I'll employ any number of distraction techniques and I Will Stay Calm.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Imagine that

One of the things I love about hanging out with a 3 year old is the fact that imagination plays such a big part in daily life. We might be playing doctors, building a house with blocks or cooking up a storm on the plastic kitchen... it's all good imaginative fun. It's easy to forget, when you're a fully fledged adult, just how much fun it is to live in an imaginary world.

Little Miss came home the other day with some very sparkly, very pink, tinsel, after a trip out with Daddy, and was very excited about it.

She instructed Daddy exactly where to put it, up in her room, above her cupboard.

"Mummy, Mummy! Look!" she says, brimming with excitement.

"Ooh!" I say, "Isn't it beautiful!"

"Yeah!" she exclaims

"Ooh!" I say, "Maybe your cupboard is now a fairy castle!"

"yeah..." she says

"And the tinsel is the magic entrance!" I say, getting really into it here, "so now, your cupboard is a magic fairy castle with a magic pink tinsel entrance!"

I look at her expecting her to share my excitement at this new imaginary place but she looks at me with that why-are-you-such-a-cretin look, and says: "It's just a cupboard, Mummy".

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Christmas Fairy and the Advent Calendar

Little Miss is 3 now, so, for the first time (ever in my life, in fact) I'm trying to assemble an activity advent calendar thingy. The advent calendar, as far as Little Miss is aware, is filled with treats and fun things to do by the Christmas fairies, who come down the chimney on November 30th...

Only I'm Chief Christmas Fairy...and I haven't got a arty/craft bone in my body. Still, I'm ploughing on regardless...

...but I've got to day 15 and I've run out of ideas.

So, er, Help! Ideas, please?

Sunday, 28 November 2010


When I was little I wanted to be a rock star, à la Pat Benetar, clad in leather belting out rock ballads down a mike.

I soon gave up on this ambition, largely due to the fact that well, I can't sing.

But since I've had children I've been able to sing quite a bit. Lullabys, mostly, when they were babies and needed soothing to sleep. Nursery Rhymes and the like since then. And I was singing to the Duke this morning...Old Macdonald, I think it was.

And the Duke, who, bear in mind, can only just about string a two-word sentence together (and even then it doesn't really come out as a sentence but rather two words stuck together: "More. Bread." "Have. It.") looked me in the eye and said: "No. Sing."

Thursday, 25 November 2010


It's a refrain you often hear from parents of toddlers: "They just won't play by themselves."

Well, I've got the answer.

Plastic weighing scales
Plastic bowl that accompanies weighing scales
Bag of large pasta shapes (dried)
Several implements: measuring cup, bowl, spoons, etc.

Stand back and watch (or make a cup of tea/check emails/hang out in Facebook...)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Groundhog Day

This is why, come the end of the day, I am exhausted..!

Duke.. don't touch the washing machine. DO NOT touch the washing machine. DO NOT TOUCH.

Right! That's it! OUT of the kitchen.

No... don't touch the computer please. DO NOT touch the computer. DO NOT TOUCH.

Right! That's it! OUT of the lounge.

No... don't touch the toilet. DO NOT touch the toilet. DO NOT PUT YOUR HAND DOWN THE TOILET!

RIGHT! That's IT. OUT of the bathroom..

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Thanks to Little Miss's fondness for the vegetable (or is that fruit?) and the fact that she just LOVES doing the cherry tomato pick 'n' mix at the supermarket, I now have about a THOUSAND tomatoes in my fridge. Any ideas what to do with them please people?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Flavour of the Month

Daddy's been off for a week.

Which means he's Flavour of the Month.

"Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy"

All. Day. Long.

Mummy is relegated to The Person who Cooks Meals and Stuff.

Daddy went back to work this morning.

The Sunshine Duke burst into tears.

Little Miss asked: "When is Daddy coming back?"

10 minutes later: "Is Daddy coming back yet?"

Coming back in the car: "Is Daddy back yet?"

Sunshine Duke says: "Daddy? Daddy?"

All. Day. Long.

Day 2.
It's a school day. Maybe, things will get back to normal...

Daddy goes to work.

The Sunshine Duke bursts into tears.

Little Miss asks "When is Daddy coming back?"

Sunshine Duke says: "Daddy? Daddy?"

I pick Little Miss up from school where, normally, she is pleased to see me.

She isn't pleased to see me.

She says: "Where's Daddy?"

Sunshine Duke says: "Daddy? Daddy?"

Day 3.
Another school day.

Daddy goes to work.

The Sunshine Duke bursts into tears.

Little Miss asks: "When is Daddy coming back?"

I'm penning a resignation letter in my head.

But then, I pick her up from school and she flings her arms around me and I think, yay! I'm back!

Then she steps back and says: "Is Daddy home yet?"

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Thin (Parenting) Line

It's such a fine line we tread between adoring our kids and devoting ourselves to making them happy...

...and not turning them into Spoilt Brats.

This one, I fear, crosses that line.

Little Miss' morning programme is coming to an end, so I say to her:
"Would you like to come shopping with me?"
(Daddy is at home, so I'm excited at the chance for some Mummy-Daughter time.)
"Which shop?" she says
"The green one," I reply. "You know, the one nearest to us, in town."
"What are you buying?" she says
"Some bits for lunch."
"Are you buying anything for me?"
"Um, no, not this time poppet."
"So are you coming with me?"
"No." she says, and turns back to her programme.

Monday, 27 September 2010


We're eating tea together, Little Miss, The Duke and I. We're having peas and rice.

"Here you go Mummy," says Little Miss, carefully placing a pea on my plate.
"Oh, thank you!" I say.
Then she puts another one on my plate. And another.
"Hang on a minute," I say. "I thought you liked peas?"
"I do." she says.
"So why are you giving them to me?" I ask
"Because I love you," she states.
I'm shocked into silence (declarations of love are few and far between with Little Miss)
"I love you Mummy, so you can have aaaaallllll my peas..."

And that's just about the best thing I've EVER heard.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Educating Duke

I'm getting quite interested in all this talk on the news about educating boys, and how they learn differently to girls.

I'm interested because I'm trying to teach The Duke a few things.

I've stuck a poster up on a wall with some farm animals on. And every morning, we go through it:

"This is a Sheep" I say
"'eeep" he says, enthusiastically
"And this is a duck," I say
"'uck" he repeats
"And this is a dog"
"'og," he says, and I think Wow, he's really getting it!
"And this is a Cow"
"Ka-ow" he says.

So then I go,

What's this Duke?
"Ka-ow," he says
"No, it's a Sheep"
"'eep," he says, as if that's what he meant to say all along..
"And what's this?"
"Ka-ow!" he says
Um, no, it's a duck"
"'uck!" he says
And what's this?
No, Duke, it's a dog"

And he just loves our little game.

Which is just as well, since I've been doing the same thing for several days now.

And then, Eureka! He gets it right. Well, he got the sheep right... and the duck.

So the next morning, we look at the poster and try and show off our new-found knowledge to Daddy!

"What's this Duke?" I say, pointing to the sheep
"Ka-ow!" he says, all excited..
"Um, no, it's a sheep.
"Never mind, let's try again. What's this?"
"Nooooo, it's a duck"
"Ok, let's try One Last Time, and show Daddy how clever you are!
What's this?" I say, pointing to the sheep again."
He looks at the picture
He looks at me
He looks at the picture
He smiles

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

It was an Accident, Mummy

At mealtimes it's always a job to get the kids to stop trying to play with things and just eat their darn breakfast/lunch/tea...
With the Duke it's fairly easy, put the offending toy out of sight and it will be out of mind.
Little Miss is a smart kid though, so when I put the toy radio on the floor so that Duke wouldn't see it, it miraculously reappears on the dining table.
I spot it, Little Miss spots that I spotted it and says:
"Mummy, I put it there by accident."
"By accident?" I say
"Yes," she says, quite firmly
"You picked it up off the floor," I suggest
"Yes Mummy," she replies
"And put it on the table," I continue
"Yes" she says
"Right next to you,"
"Yes," she replies, beginning to get bored of Mummy stating the obvious
"And all by accident?"
"Yes, Mummy," she repeats, and looks at me like I'm the one with the problem

Monday, 6 September 2010

Cheese, Anyone?

I've never been able to get The Duke interested in cheese, and, having tried all the usual suspects: Cheddar, Red Leicester, Edam, gave up. So imagine my surprise when he tucked into a slice of gruyère with relish.

Clearly, it wasn't that he didn't like cheese, he's just a cheese SNOB.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

That's the End of That Then

We have a routine, Little Miss and I, that I love. When it comes to the lunchtime nap, we put The Duke to bed and then snuggle up together in her bed until she falls asleep too. We've been doing it for months now and I relish every minute of it (and it's not unheard of for me to nod off too...) because I know that at some point, her naps will drop off and, well, that'll be the end of that.

But I didn't expect to be dumped.

Two days ago she said: "I don't want you to lie in the bed with me, Mummy."
"Oh! I said..."
"You can stand here," she says, pointing to the side of the bed near her head.
"Stand here?"
"I don't want to stand here!"
So I slunk off.
And she slept.

The next day she said: "I don't want a snuggle, Mummy."
"Oh," I said. And I trudged downstairs.

Today she announced: "Mummy, I'm putting myself to bed."
And she did. And I went downstairs. Again.

Only this time I felt a chunk of her childhood fall away...and a chunk of grief settled itself in my heart.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

I liked it Mummy

This is Little Miss's inimitable way of telling me she has enjoyed her meal:

Halfway through lunch she'll say
"When we go to sleep"
"And then we get up"
"And then we have breakfast"
"And then it's time for lunch"
"Then, Mummy"
"Then, you can make this again."
"So you like your lunch, then?"
"Yes Mummy, I like it."

The Perfect Coffee Shop

Just came across coffee shop with a small enclosed play area whilst out shopping with the kids. The experience went something like this:

Mummy: Sitting down
Coffee: Hot.
Drank: ALL of it.
Coffee: Whilst still HOT.
Kids: Playing.
Owner of the coffee shop: Genius.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Lollipop

We're celebrating! The sun is out! It's [gasp] WARM! So out come the lollipops that we make with orange juice that she has waited daaaaaaaaaaaays to enjoy. Mummy's just prising it out of its plastic container when... Uh Oh, the lollipop breaks in two.
She stares at me.
I look back at her.
I know what's coming.
Her bottom lip starts to tremble.
Her eyes are filling with tears...
the lollipop.
Silence. Then...
"Mummmmeeeeee" [WAIL] I didn't want a BROKEN one...[WAIL] it's all BROKEN now... [WAIL]
So I spend a few minutes consoling, trying to explain that it still tastes the same... but the WAAAAIIIIIIILLLLLIIIIINNNNNNG continues until I say that never mind then, I'm just going to leave it here for a minute and then I'll eat the lolly instead. And I disappear inside.
Outside, silence.
The lollipop is eaten.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Getting Lost

I could get lost in my own back yard, so when Little Miss decided that she wanted me to go up "THAT hill Mummy", next to the hill we live on, I thought, yeah, why not, let's explore. But I got lost, ended up going down a footpath that I thought would be a shortcut and came out MILES from where we live. Thankfully though, I knew where I was. Little Miss Adventurous, however, turned into Little Miss Not So Adventurous and demanded we go back the way we came so we could go UP the hill to our house.
"But our house is this way."
"No it's not."
"I can assure you, Mummy knows where she's going."
"It's that way Mummy."
"No, it's this way."
"No it's not Mummy."
and so it went. The cause of the problem? We weren't going UP a hill. And Little Miss knows she lives UP a hill. So the fact that we were going straight and then, heaven forbid, DOWN a hill to get home, caused her enough consternation to erupt into tears.
So I changed tack.
"OK, well, we'll just walk this way for a while and see."
"And then we'll go back Mummy."
"Yes OK, then we'll go back."
"Up the hill, Mummy."
I'm deliberating how to answer when Luke Duke, who had been pretty much amusing himself up until now, starts demanding lunch... and I'm still a good 20 minute walk away. "Cracker, cracker, cracker" he says, craning round to look at me beseechingly... So the next 20 minutes go something like this
"Not this way Mummy."
"Cracker? cracker? cracker? Please?"
"This is the wrong way Mummy."
"Cracker? Please? Cracker?"
"I want to go back that way Mummeeeee."

Most Ingenious Bedtime Excuses, Part 1:

"Mummeeeee" she whispers from the top of the stairs.
"Yes Niamh, why aren't you in bed?"
"The clouds are too noisy Mummy."
"The clouds are too noisy?"
"You mean those white, fluffy clouds in the blue sky out there?"
"Yes. They're keeping me awake Mummy."
"I see."
"They're too noisy."
"Would you like me to close the window, then?"
"Yes please Mummy."
"Good night now Niamh."
"Night Night Mummy."