Friday, 30 May 2008

I've got a toddler from hell!

DD2 has developed an impressive new skill this week.
She’s taken to kneeling down, banging her head on the floor and screaming like a constipated pterodactyl if she doesn’t get her own way.
I think this is what they call the “terrible twos.”
Which is odd, because she isn’t even 14 months old yet.
Trust me to get an early starter.
I don’t really think you’ve lived properly until you’ve experienced your child doing a “publicly executed toddler tantrum.”
Preferably in a quiet restaurant or the busy bacon aisle at Tesco.
Nothing can compare with the utter cheek flushing humiliation of trying to control a small person who suddenly develops the strength of about ten Arnold Schwarzeneggers because she’s dropped her cuddly Iggle Piggle.
You’re always aware of the disapproving stares of onlookers, or the folk who do a “comedy wince” and mutter something about “toddlers from hell.”
And then there are the people who seem to think they can “help.”
DD2 went into full tantrum mode at toddler group the other day because another kid had decided he wanted to play with the plastic sausage she’d been monopolising all morning.
Rolling on the floor, screaming, kicking, punching, swearing (well, the babbling equivalent) - we had it all.
Another mum tutted helpfully: “Ooh, she has got a temper on her - you better get that sorted.”
Well, you don’t say!
I resisted the urge to smack her one in the face and instead smiled pathetically: “Yeah.”
What exactly am I supposed to do then?
Naughty steps are out at this stage because she has no idea what naughty means and can’t sit on a step without falling off it.
It’s also a bit too soon for reward charts, distraction techniques and all those other Jo Frost specials.
So you know what I do?
Give her a biscuit. Works every time.
You don’t think I’m doing this parenting thing wrong do you...?

Friday, 23 May 2008

DD1 could be Nancy - or anyone - honest!

Like most mothers, I am convinced my children are the most talented, attractive and interesting kids on the planet.
And I am utterly amazed when other people don’t agree with me. How very dare they?
Take DD1, who having finished her boring SATS exams, has now got down to the much more important business of being in Year Six. The end of term play.
This year they’re doing one of those incredibly PC modern musicals about bullying or scratchcards or something. I don’t really know much about it to be honest.
Anyway the crucial point is, DD1 would have been ideal for the lead role.
Yet, amazingly, they’ve chosen one of the other girls.
What on earth are the teachers thinking?
The funny thing is, they’ve done this nearly every year since DD1 was in reception.
Failed to notice her amazing talent and beauty and gone for someone else instead, that is.
And every year, despite my better judgement, I am absolutely seething about it.
Because they always, always go for the same loud and in yer face girl.
Snow White? Oh give the role to XXX.
Robin Hood? Well, none of the lads are any good - but XXX could do it.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Hey, wouldn’t XXX be a good idea in the lead?
I tell you, I’m beginning to think that family have got incriminating photos of the head teacher or something.
The only time my daughter has had any success was in Year One when she did somehow land the lead role.
In a show called The Christmas Cactus. She played the cactus.
No lines, no singing required. Just a lot of standing around like a plant.
Still, it was a minor victory.
Until I found out who was playing the cactus owner, which involved singing about 50 songs and wearing a really nice dress...

Friday, 16 May 2008

Feeding your baby - it's war!

Why does the way you feed your newborn baby have to be such a mammoth battleground?
Breast or bottle?
The former is good, the other not quite so good - that’s the way I look at it. But, hey, it’s a free country, do what you like.
And I know I’ve probably already offended shed loads of people just by saying that.
Because whenever you talk about this issue - like the Evening Post has in our family page feature this week - you’re on difficult ground.
On the one side you have the "Pro Breastfeeders."
They usually have to put up with descriptions like “smug” or “unsympathetic” or even worse “Nazis.” The “Breastapo,” as mentioned in our feature, is a new one on me, LOL.
On the other side you have "Formula Feeders."
They’re usually seen as “lazy” “selfish” and “uneducated.” Failures, in fact.
Both of these stereotypes are a hilarious load of piffle, frankly.
Pro Breastfeeders are usually just well meaning types who simply want women to be given more help and support by health care professionals to feed their babies. Sounds okay.
Formula Feeders are usually perfectly decent women who have found breastfeeding a real struggle (or maybe they just didn't fancy it, so what?) and hit the bottle to make life easier. Good for them.
I’m in the latter camp, as it happens.
But I can still see that the folk on the other side of the “war” have a valid point to make without feeling offended if they dare to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Just as long as they don’t think it’s the be all and end all of parenting.
It’s only flipping food for goodness sake. Not life or death, eh <>?

Friday, 9 May 2008

Would you get legless in front of your kids?

That story about the couple who got falling down drunk in front of their kids while on holiday - except it now turns out they probably didn’t - got me thinking.
Is it ever okay for parents to have a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio while in charge of their nippers?
Even an occasional shared bottle at home once the peskies are upstairs asleep in bed?
I’ve got a friend who never touches a drop at home just in case “anything happens” to her kids and she might have to drive them to hospital.
A bit over the top?
On the other hand, there are millions of parents - me included - who sit down at the end of a long day and could quite happily quaff for Britain with ne’ery a thought about it.
A bit irresponsible? Probably.
Anyway the key word there is “could.”
Because while I agree that drinking is simply a part of the adult world these days and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about enjoying it, most parents do exercise a degree of self control.
Maybe at the back of my mind I’m thinking: “Crikey I don’t want DD1 waking up and seeing me legless.”
But mostly, I’m thinking: “Better not have any more tonight because DD2 will be waking up at stupid o’clock in the morning and I don’t want to be playing endless rounds of peek-a-boo with a massive hangover.”
See, I may be a big lush, but I’m an experienced one.
That’s what’ll save my kids.

Friday, 2 May 2008

I think I'm jealous of my child-minder

What do you do if you suspect your kid is starting to prefer the child-minder to you?
That’s the tricky dilemma we’re facing at the moment with DD2, who’s just turned one.
She goes to the child-minder three days a week and absolutely loves it there. And I mean really loves it.
I’m sure she knows the days when she’ll be going there rather than being stuck at home with boring old me, because she always wakes up in the most delightful mood.
Whereas on the days I’ve got her, she wakes up screaming and more or less continues in that vein until she goes to bed.
Course, I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve found a devoted child-minder who adores DD2 and in turn meets with DD2’s approval.
Especially when you read about all those psycho nannies and failing nurseries turning out future axe murderers and manic depressives here, there and everywhere.
But, there is a part of me that wishes DD2 was just a teeny bit more reluctant to be handed over.
As it is, she more or less leaps out of my arms into the child-minder’s.
And it would be nice to see just a few brief tears in her eyes as she waves me off. Rather than the insanely cheery: “Mamma ba-bye!” I get now.
Oh well. I suppose it is a rather chilled out place, my child-minder's house.
DP is always going on about how nice it is there.
In fact, I'm starting to think he prefers it too.