The Threenager…

Ben is now 3 and a half.

That means he’s been in our lives for 42 months.

That’s 182 days.

Which equates to 4368 hours (it feels like 4000 of those hours have been waking ones too).

We love him dearly but, my word, he has turned into a actual demon these last few months.

Boys are gross

I know all kids go through it, and his ‘choice’ behaviour is probably amplified by the fact I will have inevitably lost my shit with one (or both) of his brothers earlier in the day already, but he really does seem to be pushing my buttons more than his other two brothers did at this age.

His favourite phrase at the moment as I am quizzing him over an incident (like for instance yesterday when I watched him, for no good reason, smack his middle brother around the head with a toy car) is, “But it wasn’t me mummy! It wasn’t me!”

Erm, I’m afraid little one that, unless you have a twin brother living with us (let’s fucking well hope not for mummy’s sake) it most certainly was you that smacked your brother on the noggin with that die cast camper van and ‘it wasn’t me mummy!’ isn’t going to get you out of this one mate.

Yes, I know he’s 3.

Yes, I know he’s still learning (perhaps a little too much on that front. The phrase mummy uses most frequently on a daily basis, “You’re doing my head in!”, is also now a regular part of Ben’s vocabulary. I’m proud to say it’s always used in context though. Brownie points for him there at least), but he is most certainly is at an age where he knows right from wrong and when he has done something wrong. He just doesn’t seem to care very much…

Even the dreaded, “Do you want me to get Daddy?” in the midst of a spell of select behaviour doesn’t wash with this little chap. He literally giggles in my face (which yes, then often makes me giggle – I’m not the best at being angry mummy. Stressed mummy – check. Worried about everything mummy – check. But angry mummy? Not so much).

My husband has an ‘air of authority’ about his ‘stern voice’ which can even make me quake in my fluffy slippers if he chooses to use it. Ben can react one of two ways to Daddy’s stern voice. He will either cry, run off and dive for cover under the dinner table where he knows Daddy can’t get him (his knees aren’t what they used to be) whilst saying, “me not like Daddy anymore!!!!” or he will stand there and begin engaging in a stare off with him. Brave chap. He’s got some kahunas I can tell you. Option one is the most sensible, but sadly he often opts for option two. At least Ben seems to ignore both of us and isn’t being selective about listening to only mummy or only daddy, I’m all for equality.

He blows raspberries in my general direction when I tell him no.

He moves up and down the stairs when I put him on the thinking step.

He tells me bluntly, “NO”, when I ask him to stop doing something…then followed by blowing raspberries.

He duffs his older brothers up, and even Daddy and Grandad sometimes.

No. Fucks. Given.

I understand as one of three he has to compete for attention, but I like to think I do a pretty good job of splitting myself between all of them in between general life chaos and if I think about it, he actually gets more attention than the other two because he is younger and needs a bit more assistance.

But for all his ‘choice’ behaviour at home, he’s a bloody angel (well, I’m told he is…) when he’s at someones house or at Pre-school.

I guess that’s all we can ask for as parents isn’t it, that they behave when they’re outside of the home so we don’t look like completely inept parents all the time…

I’m sure it’s just a phase (cor, if I had a pound for every time I have said that since becoming a mum) and that it’s all part and parcel of being a Threenager, but my goodness it’s Gin inducing.

This parenting lark is hard you know.

But then they look like this when they’re asleep (yeah, alright, not in his own bed but he’s still asleep) and all (well, almost all) is forgiven…

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He’s a cheeky chap, with bundles of energy and loves a cuddle. But I do wish he would stop impersonating a WWE wrestler in the living room most days.

It’ll be easier when he’s 4. Won’t it?




The day we shared socks…

Today, something momentous happened.

Let me explain.

I had to go shopping for some new clothes for my eldest today, because I noticed this weekend that he had grown like Hulk and was literally busting out of his stuff. He must have grown about 2 inches taller over Christmas alone and his jeans unintentionally looked like hipster ankle grazers. Not cool when you’re 8, almost 9, apparently and he isn’t able to grow the signature hipster beard just yet.

Anyhow, I went into H&M, threw a load of stuff into a basket and went off to pay. I then remembered that both me and Luke needed new socks. Just black ankle socks, nothing fancy. I rummaged through the sock bin and found a pack of 8 black ankle socks, size 1.5 to 3.5. “That’ll do nicely”, I thought. I then went to look for some for myself but in the process of walking to the checkout I got distracted by the sale rack (oops! I promise I didn’t buy anything*…ahem *bullshit) and forgot all about my own new socks.

Once I got home, I sorted out Luke’s clothes drawers. I took out all the trousers and tops that were too small, which revealed his ankles and belly, and replaced them with the new ones. Age 10-11 in most instances. Age 10-11?! He was only born a couple of years ago dammit!

(No, he wasn’t Gemma, he was born in 2008, that’s verging on 10 years ago love).

Luke Bubbles Edited

And that’s when it hit me, like a poo falling and hitting the water in a toilet. You have been a mum for almost a decade. 10 bloody years!

(And yet I still don’t know what the sodding hell I’m doing!)

I then looked at the socks I just bought for him and noticed the size of them. They were enormous! It then dawned on me that we could now do the unthinkable. We can share socks. He has got that big that we can now divide a pack of socks up between us and share them. It’s just utter madness.

I know it’s a cliche, but time really has flown, though it didn’t feel like it when he was a newborn. I remember those early days with Luke all too vividly – forever etched in my brain. Some days I couldn’t get dressed because I was so overwhelmed. The thought of leaving him in his cot just to shower stressed me out. I was adamant I should try and feed him myself, but this meant the entire burden of keeping this little dude alive was entirely on me for 6 months, and when it was pointed out to me that he was ‘quite small and skinny’ I took it really personally and blamed myself. He hardly slept and I was exhausted (Sidenote – this kid didn’t sleep through the night until he was 19 months old. 19 months of broken sleep!) and yet, through all that baby chaos and stress, you still look back on it and wish you were back there in an odd way. Well, I do anyway. As tough as the baby years were, I do miss my cuddles with little baby Luke, when everything was so new and we were finding our way together (and he didn’t answer me back). I also can’t believe where all those years in between then have gone. Those first smiles, rolling over for the first time, crawling, going off to pre-school, their first party invite, their first sports day, starting ‘big school’, their first fall without you there to pick them up and hug it better, their first school disco, the first time they say “you’re the worst mum ever!”

The list of firsts grows ever longer.

He’s 8 now, almost 9, and I am fast realising that this is a very difficult transitional age for a kid (and parents!). They act grown up one moment, full of compassion, understanding, very articulate and reasonable and then in the next moment, bam! Teenoddler mode is initiated. Yup, you read that right, Teenoddler. It’s half teen, half toddler. It’s one of the most terrifying things I have witnessed as a parent thus far (I know there are more terrifying things to come but so far, this is the worst). Screaming, crying, insults, hysteria, anger, punching things, name calling, you name it, it happens during a Teenoddler tantrum. Most of our meltdowns are due to homework at the moment, it’s a constant battleground. Don’t get me wrong, Luke is doing fine at school and is VERY eager to please his teacher, but at home? Pah! Not a chance. I even mention homework and I end up with Kevin the teenager on my hands…

“This is so unfair! I hate you!”

via GIPHY

It’s frightening how quick they change once they start school. I keep going into panic mode that he only has 2 years left at Primary school. That’s 2 more Christmases, 3 more sports days, 2 more ‘carefree’ summer holidays. When I say it like that, it fills me with dread. I don’t think I am ready for those teenage years if I can’t cope with the stroppy, almost 9 year old, phase. I foresee lots of gadget bans and pocket money deductions…

I am sure once we hit those teenage years I will look back on those chaos filled baby days even more fondly. I have deluded ideas of being a ‘cool mum’ who has a wonderful relationship with her teenage son, but the way things are going, the silent strops, the Teenoddler tantrums where he’s walking off into school without saying goodbye to me that we often have nowadays, I honestly worry that this won’t be the case. We try our best as parents don’t we. But sadly there is no guidebook, nobody to tell us we are doing it right (but there are plenty of people out there on the world wide web who are all too happy to tell you when you’re doing things wrong).

Parenting.

Gin inducing.

Sanity breaking…

…but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

Would we?

There will come a day pretty soon that we won’t be able to share socks again, because he will have grown too big and his socks will swamp my little feet. I just hope I have done a good job by then and I’ve got my cuddly boy back.

Image result for black socks




Super (angry) Eight…

Blimey.

What a weekend…and what a Monday morning. I awoke with good intentions and vowed I wasn’t going to raise my voice today, but that went out the window at 7:30am (yep, that early) when all 3 boys decided to bicker and recreate wrestle mania in the living room. I ignored it to a point, but there are only so many squeals and shouts you can let go before your boiler blows.

Seriously, Dry September was a bad idea.

Do you know what, it wasn’t that long ago in a time BC (before children) that I used to look forward to the weekend – lazy mornings and leisurely breakfasts followed by a spot of shopping  (without a child going off their head as soon as you cross the threshold in H&M) or a leisurely walk somewhere (ok, by somewhere I mean to a pub) – but these days, as terrible as it sounds, the weekends can be more of a battle ground than a time of relaxing and tranquility. Now, I’m not solely blaming my 8 year old for this change in my feelings for the weekend but I have to tell you all, he really isn’t helping much at the moment.

When you’re expecting your first baby, you often think about what the baby will look like once it’s here, you imagine how things will be with a new little person in your life and you look forward to the baby/toddler milestones, starting their schooling and then them becoming an adult. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but (maybe rather ignorantly) the ‘no man’s land’ of 7-12 year old’s I never really gave much thought. I’ve come to the conclusion that at the age of 7, children (well mine anyway) change. They’re at a an age where they think they are grown up but they aren’t really at all and that, I think, is what I’m finding really tricky.

Luke is a lovely lad. He will be 9 in February.

A boy looking at the fish in a fish shop.

He’s always been a thinker, perhaps an over-thinker if truth be told (I’ve no idea where he gets that from…ahem) and he’s also very caring. This personality combination however, as lovely as it is, now he is 8, seems to manifest itself as worry most of the time and worry, these days, can often turn to anger. I know, “What on earth does an 8 year old have to worry about?” I hear you ask. Well, lots it would appear.

Now Luke is 8 (so old) and in Year 4 at school, the expectation and what is required of them has ramped up to a point that even us parents are in shock. At the age of 8, they are expected to relay important information from the teachers to us (yes, we laughed too, I don’t think Luke could remember what he had for lunch let alone some very important information from his teacher), remember their belongings and personal diary (after school/lunchtime clubs etc) do at 30 minutes of reading/homework per night and also cope with the daily demands of being in the midst of  a ‘I think I am grown up but really I still need my parents’ phase. It’s pretty tough.

The weekends are now often spent trying to snatch family time in between the mundane necessities of modern life as well as juggling homework and other social commitments. The calmness of the weekends that once were have been replaced by a chaotic cycle of waking up, me ranting, having a bit of fun (we do have some believe it or not) and then going to bed for it all to start over again.

The lack of ‘down time’ for the kids can be so tough (always rushing somewhere, always being asked to do something) that it can often get too much (especially for a ‘Super angry 8’ year old) and that’s when the shit hits the fan (you know, whilst said fan is on full speed and on  rotate setting. Mass shit, everywhere). An 8 year old often thinks they know EVERYTHING, that Mum is an idiot and that we have just been put on the planet to feed and clothe them whilst shouting orders at them like a demonic Sargent Major. I think we have almost reached a point that, some days, I’m (quote) “The worst mum ever”. Quite an accolade to achieve isn’t it – I might get a badge made up…

You never think about that happening, well, at least I didn’t, until they’re teenagers but sadly, it does seem to start earlier than that. The hormones start whizzing about much earlier than I had anticipated and I have most definitely been caught sleeping on parade with regards to this parenting milestone.

A boy sat on a stone covered beach. He looks angry and lost in thought.

A moody ‘pre-teen’. And from what I’ve heard thus far, the teenage years don’t seem like they’re going to be particularly golden years either.

Yay for Gin!

Being a kid in 2016 (Christ, is that really the year?! Toy Story is 21 years old guys, 21!!!!! How the feck did that happen?!) is tough. Technology gives us opportunity and connects us in a way never before possible, but it also creates impatience. An ‘I want it now’ mentality which is part of the reason I think we have some of these mega ‘pre-teen’ strops.If something doesn’t go Super angry 8’s way, he goes to cloud cuckoo land at warp speed 10. I’m not saying it’s the iPads fault, I am the master of the iPad and I have the power to give and take away, like an almighty technology god, but I really don’t think it’s helped any with his here and now attitude he seems to have at the moment. It seems to be one of the only things I have control over these days…oh, that and my bladder, thankfully. And that’s saying something after 3 kids. The ipad is the oracle of the Super angry 8’s world and it’s my trump card to play if metaphorical shit has been splattered by that fan. That’s how I hit him the hardest after a mega strop (and earn the accolade of worst mum ever) but needs must and right now, that’s one of the only ways of drilling home how cross I am when my super angry 8 has gone kaboom.

 I understand a lot of it is development. They’re finding their voice, gaining independence and beginning to understand more about the world (and what buttons to push to piss mummy right off) but there is a very fine line between finding their voice at this age and being damn right rude. Luckily for me (I suppose) super angry 8 is normally impeccably behaved at school and at other peoples houses etc, his worst strops are reserved only for me. Aren’t I lucky.

My husband often says it’s because I allow myself to get worked up that he does it more, because he can see it annoys me, but I think it’s more to do with the fact that I am the one that is doing the disciplining on a daily basis.

I’m ‘Bad Cop’.

Another badge to add to my sleeve.

I know it’s ‘just a phase’ and I know it too shall pass, but then there will be a new phase. A gross Teenage boy phase (when I hand the baton over to Daddy, who has been there and got that stinky, grubby t-shirt) and I’m totally not ready for it but if the super angry 8 stage is anything to go by, I’d better get my shit together.

 I make it sound like he’s awful all the time, my eldest. He truly isn’t. He has moments where he still wants a cuddle, where he will run and dive in our bed and chat away in the mornings and now he is ‘finding his voice’ we have some of the funniest games of ‘would you rather?’ that I have ever had, yep, maybe even more entertaining than the ones I had after a few too many drinks with my friends, but I do notice the change and him growing up now more than ever. It’s an age of transition, for all of us.

luke smiling with a sun hat on out in the garden. He was 3 at the time.

Luke. Age 3. Cheeky and carefree…

Gem.x




Optimistic Parenting…

“That’s it. We need to start a reward chart…”

 

Those fateful words have probably been uttered billions of times over the years, by billions of parents. Parents who are at the end of their tether, have lost their sanity, and are now (possibly, based on my experience) reliant on Gin.

Kids can manage to push us parents to the very limit, to the point of no return. They know by a very early age which buttons to push to get their desired reaction from us and we are often left feeling helpless and confused as to what our next move should be.

One of the ways us parents aim to rectify unwanted behaviour in our children is to gaffer tape them to the wall…only joking (but I have seen someone do it in a photo). We also use reward charts to praise the good behaviour and to reprimand the unwanted behaviour. That’s the theory anyway…

Most reward charts work on the basis that if your child get’s a certain amount of ticks or stickers on their chart by the end of the week, they get a treat or a surprise. Only something small but enough to incentivise them (aka: Bribe them) into trying their best and changing their ways.

I’ve tried many a reward chart system in my time…and I’m yet to find one that my kids actually give a stuff about (and that I can remember to complete 😂🙈) I’ve tried small prizes, like £1 pocket money at the end of the week, to larger, more elaborate treats (which take a lot longer to achieve) such as a day out somewhere. Nothing has worked.

I actually think my eldest kid is past the point of a reward chart at home and a simple “every action has a consequence” attitude works best with him. A bit like with me, for example, “if I drink this 3rd Gin and tonic and the toddler gets up at 5am, I’m going to be cursing myself all day tomorrow”. My middle one, well, he’s a law unto himself most days, but the taking away of a loved and cherished item (yes, probably the iPad…shame on me) often has the desired effect with him. As for the toddler…who knows with him. He’s an enigma. He couldn’t give a damn about a sticker or a pound coin. I could be tempted by a reward chart for myself though. If I reach the illusive bottom of the washing basket I get a weekend at a spa hotel on my own, now that could work….

Today, I asked my middle one to not do something 8, yes 8, times whilst we were out. As did his Nanny. He didn’t listen to either of us. No amount of “oh dear, this means no sticker on your chart today” is going to stop him from behaving like this. Sh*t has got real with this one at the moment and short of sending him to boarding school, or checking myself into The Priory (just for a bit of peace and quiet and to have someone cook for me really, I don’t think I need the counselling…yet) I’m all out of ideas.

How about you? Have you used reward charts?

Did they work for you?

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Silence of the Pigs…

Peppa sodding pig.

A spoilt little brat.

A know it all.

A walking, talking pork pie.

If you hadn’t guessed, she drives me up the wall, and sadly my boys think she’s brilliant.

My 2 year olds bedroom is like a shrine to her, my 6 year old sings the songs loud and proud like they’re the national anthem of our country and the 8 year old pretends to hate it but secretly, he loves it.

My bugbears with Peppa ‘pork chop’ Pig are…

  1. Muddy puddles. Yes, I know these are fun, and at the weekend or after school, whatever. Knock yourselves out kids. Splash, jump, lie down, bathe in them, I don’t care, but on the way to school? In uniforms? No. Not a bloody chance. Even in Wellies. The muddy water goes right up the inside of the trousers, all over their coats and then they look and smell like Stig of the dump for the rest of the day. No Peppa pig, muddy puddles are not always fun. Do me a favour and go jump in a deep one…
  2. Mr Potato. Seriously? WTAF?? A singing, dancing Potato?? (Yes I know, because all the other characters are so believable too….) It’s not so much him I have the problem with but, quite often, my kids will watch this crap at dinner time. Sometimes they’ll have potatoes for dinner, in the form of mash, chips, waffles, smiley faces, croquettes (I could list more potato products but I won’t as I’m already ashamed i can name so many…) and on more than one occasion, the appearance of Mr Potato has caused a dinner table kerfuffle because my children couldn’t be seen to be eating poor Mr Potato or any of his relatives…yes really. They thought they had become cannibals. Add to that the fact they’re often eating PORK sausages along withtheir potato products and you have yourselves a full on Defcon:5 situation. Peppa pig cannibalism of the highest order…
  3. Peppa pig causes the Daily Fail, sorry, I clearly meant Daily Mail,  column crap spouters, to write shite like this (Daily Mail: I’ve banned my children from watching Peppa Pig) – basically saying that Peppa Pig is the sole reason for their child’s questionable behaviour. You’ve got to be kidding me… Peppa Pig is not the sole reason your child is stomping their feet, or bossing their younger sibling about, or answering you back. It’s got everything to do with the fact that this is what kids do (and the parent writes for the Daily Mail…that’s enough to make anyone rebel and act like an utter wazock) Kids all behave like this from time to time and that’s what makes Peppa Pork Chop so wonderful to them. They can relate to her. I’m not saying I like her anymore because of this, but I’m saying I understand the appeal of her from a kids point of view. Unfortunately.
  4. Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig never loose their sh*t. Ever. They’re so bloody calm. Even when Peppa has spoken to them like poo on the bottom of her shoe, they still laugh and giggle at her. I’d be like, “No. Nope, I don’t think so young lady. You don’t stamp your feet, shout and squeal because you want some chocolate cake, or have a tantrum because you want to take your pet goldfish for a ride on the bus, go and sit on the naughty step and think about your behaviour!”. And they never drink. Not once have I seen Daddy pig crack open a beer after a crap day of drawing important shapes at the office, nor mummy pig pour a gin after a very strenuous game of Happy Mrs Chicken…

So there we have it. My bug bears with Peppa Pig revealed.

Now to shut the pig up once and for all…if I can’t stick an apple in her mouth to do it, I’ll use a Hannibal mask. The madness cannot continue!!!!

The pig must be silenced….

#silenceofthepigs

#endthemadness

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