Sink or Swim…

Sink or Swim?

Well, if you’re asking me that question in respect to how I am coping with the toddler at the moment, I’d have to say, Sink.

The terrible 2’s are in full flow and his meltdowns are currently reminiscent of Mariah Carey when she requested her dressing room was to be filled with white kittens and someone said that might be a little tricky…how dare they. He’s literally unreasonable. You’d have more chance of reasoning with a house brick.

Last week, ‘Tantrums ‘R’ Us’ was visited by my toddler in epic style, to the point I even contemplated running away to hide in the most disgusting toilets known to mankind, the school swimming pool toilet.

Let me tell you all about it (I suggest you get a cup of tea and least 15 custard creams to dunk in it for this little tale of woe).


 Every Wednesday evening, my eldest 2 boys have their swimming lessons. Their lessons aren’t until 6:30pm, which is a pretty naff time when you have a toddler who no longer naps in the daytime and who, by about 6pm, is about as happy as a grown man who is being kicked in the testicles by someone wearing spiked running shoes . Yep, that happy.

I am normally very lucky and my amazingly fabulous, don’t know what I’d do without, mum often helps me out and will take the boys swimming for me so I can lob the toddler in the bath to de-germify him and then put him to bed before he turns into a mini version of the Incredible Hulk. I’m honestly so lucky to have my mum about to help.

Anyhow, last week, Nanny was busy having a meeting with a nice man who she had organised to come over to her place in order to tell her how much money she was going to have to hemorrhage for a new conservatory, so I was tasked with taking all 3 boys by myself for the first time in a while. (The last time I took the toddler with me, he was under the weather so just laid down on me and went to sleep – it was obviously very sad he was a bit poorly, but on the same hand, it was very helpful that he wasn’t running off everywhere and being a pain in the arse…you have to find the silver lining in these things).

I prepared myself as well as I could by packing snacks, drinks, toys, iPad, a traveling circus (ok, maybe not the circus but everything else was packed) and I dressed him in his Paw Patrol onesie in the vain hope that he might fall asleep in the car and then he was at least ready for bed.

We set off for swimming and did he fall asleep in the car? Did he testicles. He was the opposite of asleep, he was so excited it would appear to an outsider that he survives solely on a diet of Blue Smarties…

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“Brace yourself Gemma”, I thought to myself as I undid the car seat and unleashed him onto the school car park path, “this is going to be bad”. How right I was.

The 2 older ones set off running the 2 minute walk to the pool like they are going to be rewarded with a lifetime supply of Haribo if they get to the swimming pool door first, which encourages the toddler to do the same. He’s pretty sturdy on his feet now but, as his momentum increases, he is often prone to weaving like a drunkard in a bumper car and often goes splat on the ground, and no sooner have I thought it than, “Splat!” – he’s down.

“Waaaaaa!!!!”, he yells.

Arse, I think. Here we go.

Incident number one.

I scoop him up and brush him off. He’s completely fine, just a pair of dirty hands, no damage and no sooner than I pick him up, he’s off again like poop off a trowel.

We reach the swimming pool and, despite it being overcast and drizzly, as soon as we step foot in the pool, I realise it’s actually still sweltering in there. Fiddlesticks – maybe dressing the toddler in a fleecy Paw Patrol onesie wasn’t the best idea after all…ho-hum, it’s too late now.

We go in the changing rooms and the toddler sits nicely on the bench while his brothers get unchanged. I think it’s all going well until the toddler pipes up, “me go!” he says with big puppy dog eyes.

“No, poppet, it’s not Ben’s turn today I’m afraid. We have to sit and watch Luke and Zak swim, but mummy has some yum yums and the iPad, is that ok?” I say, eagerly.

“No, mummy. Me go?” he replies again.

Hairy goolies. Now what do I do?!

I get a snack out for him and this pacifies him enough to distract him and I manage to get him out of the changing rooms still in his cosy, fleecy, onesie. Just what you want to be wearing when it’s 30’c in there 😉😂🙈

The older 2 shower and then walk off to their teachers ready for their lessons to begin. And this is when the faeces hit the fan my friends, this is when sh*t goes down.

“Waaaaaa!!!!” yells the toddler. “Waaaaa!!!!” as he points at the pool. “Me go!” he says, “Me go!”.

I tell him once again that he can’t get in and he makes a break for the water. I manage to grab the hood of his Paw Patrol onesie and retrieve him. I’m now starting to sweat because I haven’t had a chance to take my jacket off and I’m now wrestling with a slippery, onesie wearing, tantrum throwing, toddler. Wow, I’m living the dream here people.

Living. The. Dream.

I go to sit down next to a good friend of mine in order to have a long awaited catchup chat whilst I let Ben watch the iPad. Well, that was the plan anyway, no such luck was to be had.

“Waaaaa!!!” he yells again, as he wriggles away from me whilst performing a jelly move (you know the one, where a kid makes themselves so floppy you can’t physically get a grip on them? That one).

“Sorry…” I tell my friend, “I might have to take him outside to watch from the window”, and I stand up so I can drag the toddler out. Because our kids are still young and may need toilet visits etc, you have to remain poolside for the lesson, which is normally fine but the toddler was causing such a scene, that exiting the pool seemed like the only sensible option left to me. That or drinking some gin, and sadly I had none of that to hand.

We get to the door at the back of the pool and I tell the toddler that if he can’t behave we are leaving. He doesn’t like this idea so yells at me a bit more so the majority of parents watching their kids swim throw me the sympathy glance. You know, the one that says, “sorry this is happening to you but I’m so glad it’s not happening to me right now”, look. 😉

I ask if he wants food or drink and he yells at me to say no he doesn’t, thanks very much. I start sweating some more and my face now feels like it is on fire. Why are toddlers such unreasonable little douche bags at times?!

My last ditch attempt, after the total rejection of the iPad (much to my shock!) is to get the cars out of the bag to see if they distract him. Thankfully, by some miracle, they do, and the Tasmanian Toddler sits down on the floor – but sadly this floor I speak of is the shower floor which is sopping wet and also a bit fousty smelling – to play. Delightful. I have to join him down there to play cars and now we are both sopping wet and smell as bad as a used husbands gym kit that’s been left in a greenhouse for a year. Totally grim, but at least he’s quiet I suppose.

I manage to drag out playing cars until the very end of the lesson – it’s been smelly and damp, but worth it so the toddler wasn’t on the rampage.

I get the boys dry in the changing room and I manage to ignore the toddler who is now, once again, screaming his head off because I have removed him from his damp and smelly play area. How very dare I.

I restrain him on the bench in the changing room by using my foot/leg to pen him in, as I use my hands to dry the other two boys off. How’s that for multi-tasking, eh?!

Then we have the same race back to the car that we had to the pool door when we arrived. Within 6 metres of the pool, the toddler is down in a screaming heap and I’m scooping him up and brushing him off again. When will he learn?! Wait, what am I saying? He’s male. Probably never.

Back in the safety of the car, I swig one of the kids Capri-Sun cartons and imagine it’s an apple infused gin – it’s totally not, but a girl can dream – and I de-sweat myself with a baby wipe. I’m so glam I am. Thank the lord for baby wipes!!!

Later on my mum texts to see how I got on. I toy with being kind (lying) and telling her it was fine and that I rock at being a mum and that’s we all had a wonderful time, but actually, I decide keeping it real is best and fill her in on all the horrors of my evening. She then says she is able to help me again next week and I cry a little inside. Seriously, I know I’ve said it already, but I totally would be lost without my lovely mum around to help me out. I hope I manage to do as good a job as she has. At the moment, I’ve still very much for my ‘L’ plates, and every day I face a new challenge thanks to my boys, but if it is all part of my ‘mum training’ to enable me to be like her one day, I guess I’ll carry on taking the children/toddler crap for now 😉👍🏻

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Will it be Sink or Swim?

Let’s see…

Gem.x

Dear Bear and Beany





Britmums Daily Photo challenge: Day 11 – Two

Britmums Daily photo challenge – Day 11: #two
This was taken this morning on the way home from the school run….

 

Life is so unfair….

 
My toddler had to say goodbye to a friend we had walked part of the way home with and he got very angry and did this on the floor, inches away from a dog poo…

He turned two on Monday…and I can safely say, the terrible two’s have begun. Oh Joy.

I best avoid John Lewis at all costs…. 😉

#helpme




“To Tantrum or not to tantrum? That is the question…”

This week has been the week of #JohnLewisTantrumGate

If you haven’t heard about it by some miracle, here is a link to the article…

The Independent – John Lewis Tantrum
It has cause quite the furor and everyone has been talking about it, including a page on Facebook I read called, Huffington Post Parents. 

On there last night, I saw an article written by them about children having tantrums and it asked you to finish this sentence,

“I stop my child having a tantrum by…”

…and obviously me being me, I had to answer it in typical ‘Life is Knutts’ fashion by saying,

“Throwing juice and snacks at them and, if that doesn’t work, we go home and I pour a Gin”.

(Cue laughter…or not).

7 people found my comment funny. They have a sense of humour and are probably parents like you or I, fully aware of the daily struggles you face when you have kids.

However, we aren’t all the same and someone took offense to my response and replied to my post with this…

  
Little does the woman in question know (who’s name I’m not removing because she is brave enough to want to start a debate on Facebook) my reply of “certainly is….” Was also satire. 

(Smug face)

I’ll be honest with you all. I do offer snacks and juice to my toddler in the midst of a public outburst, jeez, I’m sure I’ve even offered to take him to Peppa Pig world in a helicopter before now if he will just calm the chuff down!  

There is truly not much worse than having to deal with the stares and glances you inevitably get when out and about and your toddler has decided to have the mother of all meltdowns (possibly because he’s decided he doesn’t like wearing clothes in public anymore and wants to be naked in the middle of Morrisons (yes, this has happened…)).

You want nothing more than for the tantrum to finish. To calm them down. To look like you’re a good mum who is in control. But the fact of the matter is, there is no reasoning or rationalising with a toddler in the midst of a tantrum. It’s happening and there’s nothing you can do about it (like that scene in the movie Bridesmaids where she has an upset tummy and poops in her wedding dress fitting in the middle of the street… “It’s happening” – yes Hun, it is. And there’s chuff all you can do about it). 

I don’t mind that this lady has an opinion different to mine, we are all allowed a say, but i do mind the fact she felt like she could kick off at me about it because I know full well if I’d replied with “of course it’s not satire, i genuinely do throw snacks and juice at him and later in the day, I will probably have a little Gin and Tonic” she would’ve let rip at me.

Her answer to the initial question asked was, 

  
Avoids tantrums 90% of the time. This woman is better than super nanny and made me feel like I’m utterly useless.

So, before I got upset about being a crap mum who is clueless, I decided to try this approach earlier this morning when my toddler had an epic meltdown because he had to say goodbye to one of his little friends on the walk home from school. He was very upset and did this on the dog poo verge down the alleyway, narrowly avoiding laying down in a turd…

 

Outdoor planking. A Friday favourite…

 
After taking this photo (important for blogging purposes) I scooped him up and gave him a cuddle. I told him calmly I knew he was sad his friend had to go but that we could go and watch the trains on the bridge instead. This little chat and cuddle attempt ended with him slapping me hard around the face and pulling my hair. 

I can safely conclude that from giving this lady’s approach to a tantrum a go, it made no chuffing difference whatsoever and actually what did work in the end, 2 minutes later, was a custard cream out of my bag. And there we have it ladies and gents, biscuits are the answer. Like I needed an excuse for a biscuit…

So, in conclusion, there is nothing that helps with a tantrum. You’ve just got to ride it out. If they’re being noisy and you can escape the situation and try to calm them in a private place then fab but if you can’t, don’t stress. It’s all normal behaviour (as annoying as it is) and their little brains are still developing and learning to cope with the world (much like Donald Trumps…how is this man doing so well?!?! Scary shizzle people, he’s going to be leader of the free world before we know it… 😭🙈).

So, thanks for your comment Nicole but I’ll stick to my style of parenting thanks. And you to yours. And that’s fine. Just don’t try and belittle others because they don’t conform to your ideas.

Peace out sisters and brothers ✌🏻️




A Hair-raising day…

Ben, my toddler, is the proud owner of a massive amount of hair. A mullet that a 1980’s scouser would be proud of. In fact, Gregg Wallace from Masterchef would be very jealous of it… (That guy cracks me up)

He was born with a fairly impressive amount, didn’t loose any and it’s just kept growing. He has only had it cut once, just after his first birthday, after this photo I took at a friends house prompted me into action…the mullet had gone a step too far.

One for his 18th Birthday and Wedding…

The first haircut went pretty badly it’s safe to say. We chose a local barbers who have a racing car chair for the little kids to sit in and also a tv…oh, and lollipops. Everyone loves a lollipop, don’t they?! Well not Ben. He wasn’t falling for that trick, or the car chair distraction, or Peppa Pig on the TV. He wanted out and that was the end of it. Sadly he had half of his mullet on the floor and the other half still firmly on his head so there was nothing for it but to pin him down (head on the steering wheel) and clipper away quicker than me eating a slice of chocolate cake on the sly…

He had screamed so much he was hyperventilating, he had hair stuck to all the snot on his face so he looked like a Werewolf (and he was howling like one) and I was a sweaty, jibbering wreck in dire need of a liqueur coffee. It really put me off ever taking him for one again.

Sadly, over the last year, his mullet has continued to grow at its same, swift rate and he was in need of a trip to the hairdressers once again…I however, still scarred for life from the last time, wasn’t.

 

All hail the mighty mullet! (Yes, he’s eating sand…)

 

Myself and my mum popped into town yesterday (she doesn’t work Wednesday’s so that’s our one day together – normally spent running errands and wresting the toddler around the shops before the school run) so we took the opportunity to take the little devil for a trim up.

We chose the same barbers as last year, thinking that because he is now a year older, he might appreciate the racing car chair and lollipops a bit more (ah, that mistake again…assumption. Only leads to disaster).

Ben sits in the racing car chair quite happily, initially. Then the chap starts squirting water on his locks to tame them. Disaster. As soon as the first droplets hit his bouffant that it.

“Whaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!” he’s off on one. He’s already trying to disembark and is flailing around like a child who’s just eaten a blue freeze pop.

The chap valiantly tries to push on, over the limb flailing and wailing, and attempts to scissor cut his hair. My mum tries to distract him with Peppa pig but he’s having none of it. For once in his life, he couldn’t care less if Daddy Pig is crap at DIY and has broken the wall of the house, Peppa Pig can piss off. It’s safe to say Ben is not in his happy place.


The guy asks me to get Ben a lollipop, so I go and get one and give it to Ben. Within 2 seconds of it hitting his palm, it’s launched. “Nooooo!” comes the scream. He’s really quite cross now. Snot is coming out of his nose, hair is stuck to it, his eyes are bloodshot due to the screaming and he’s hyperventilating like some sort of Vampire Werewolf (Vampire Werewolf the movie, coming to a barbers near you soon).

The barber then tells me to sit down in a chair and puts a gown on me. Erm, I don’t want mine cut into a short back and sides thanks… Luckily it’s just a rouse to trick Ben into sitting on my lap. The barber tells me to hold Ben tight so he can do around his ears…this doesn’t go down too well and I’m now covered in his snot, hair and I want to curl up in a ball and drink Gin from the bottle in the corner of the room.

After 7 minutes of constant squealing, crying, hitting, thrashing and hatred (and that was just me) the barber admitted defeat and said he could do no more. Ben was left a jibbering wreck and my mum was asked to take him out of the shop to calm down whilst I de-haired myself and paid.

The chap apologised for not being able to cut it better, but then still charged me the full £9 for the half a haircut. To be honest though, the guy deserved to be knighted by the queen for persevering as long as he did.

So, it’s safe to say that despite a year without a haircut, Ben is still not a fan of a trip to the barbers. I’m just going to let it grow wild now until he’s old enough to behave himself…maybe he will get it cut for his 18th birthday working off that theory. It’s a trauma we could all do without. Gin o’clock….

 

Only photo I could get of his half a haircut last night…

 

 

And this was this morning…if you squint and tilt your head right, it doesn’t look wonky…

 




Let’s Dance (or not…)

Let’s Dance – my favourite Bowie record. What a sad week it’s been with his passing, and Alan Rickman today too.

Bowie has proved he was a showman until the very end. An utter legend.

I can’t help but think they’re having a better time up there entertainment wise than we are down here now…

Anyhow, I digress, today’s blog post is all about my experience of going to a toddler dance class this morning…you can probably guess how it went, but do read on for the full version of events!

A lovely friend of mine suggested we take our little ones to a toddler dance class today. They can attend if they’re aged between 1.5 and 4 so, being 20 months and 22 months old, they are on the younger side but we thought we would try it out so we book them in for a ‘taster session’ – otherwise known as a, ‘will this be a waste of my life, the teachers life and my sanity if we come again,’ session.

We get to the local church hall where the class is being held and we are greeted by a lovely, cheerful (and very youthful) lady who introduces herself. She asks the little ones what their names are, and asks them if they’ve had a good Christmas.

She doesn’t get a response from them. Just a blank stare (a bit like when I ask my husband a question and his eyes glaze over and then 10 minutes later he says “did you say something?”) I’m not sure she’s cottoned on to just how young they are. The two tots just look bemused and scan the room for potential playmates and note any snacks that might be lying around for use later on.

We take a seat and wait for the start of the class. The session is 45 minutes long and there is a “high turnout” today apparently so we sit and wait patiently and prepare our little ones for their class by removing their coats, and I give mine a finger-wag pep talk…for what it’s worth.

The class begins by some music being played and we are all asked to stand in a circle with our little ones. Here begins our downfall….

“Door!!!” screams my little one whilst clambering up my leg. “Door!!!!” (He can speak then…the little wotsit). He frantically points at the door and looks like a rabbit in headlights. I giggle nervously and reassure him whilst quietly dying inside, I knew this is how it would go. My friends little girl is sweetly smiling and having a jolly good go at it all (mostly freestyle I would say, but very cute) I’m not having quite so much success my end.

“Door!!!!” he yells again. “Door!!!” (I know, I know, I’d like to make a run for the door too mate but we are in for the long haul with this one now…)

We are then asked to kneel on the floor and asked to, quote, ‘pretend to be holding a great big snake. Mummies, can you show the children how to hold a snake? Ssssssss!’ (Cue me creasing up with inappropriate laughter inside at the sight of all these mums on their knees grasping a pretend, writhing snake 😂)

That finishes and after a few more ‘warm up’ moves/songs, we are asked to stand at the back wall. It feels like we are being lined up for execution by firing squad but she then reassures us that it’s time to gallop. “Yay!” Squeal the little girls, “holy crap” I say in my head. This isn’t going to go well. Limpit toddler is clawing at the wall from my arms, he’s trying to escape through a window in a bid for freedom the poor lamb but his struggle is futile…

“Ben and mummy, would you like to go first?!” IS SHE FOR REAL?! DOES IT LOOK LIKE HE (and me) WANT TO BLOODY GALLOP FIRST?! (The only place we want to gallop is out those doors thanks…)

“Haha!” I giggle nervously, “of course we will gallop first”. Kill me now. Seriously.

I put the Klingon down on the floor and the instructor begins chanting and clapping….

“Gaaallllop, gaaallllop, gaaallllop…” and so on. The entire room is clapping and chanting rhythmically, like bullies at school stood around shouting, “doooo it, doooo it, doooo it…” before your head is shoved down the toilet.

I take my toddler by the hands and drag him down the hall. I attempt a gallop, which I haven’t done for a long while, and he cleans the hall floor as I drag him along. I get to the end and everyone claps our pitiful attempt as we make the walk of shame back to the wall.

We join in the chanting and clapping as the others take their turn and Ben resumes his bid for freedom out of the window.

The rest of the class doesn’t go much better. The hand bells for the music section were given away to his friend, the hula hoop was stamped on with rage and the ribbon on a stick was used more as a jousting weapon than a twirling prop of grace and beauty.

The end of the class draws near and my friends little one has already been to find her coat once. A girl after my own heart. She’s had enough. My friend has had enough. I’ve had enough. My toddler has had enough and in my head I’m shouting, “door!!!”, too.

After bowing (okay, by that I mean my toddler lying on the floor shouting “no!!”) and sticker handing out, which my toddler didn’t want to partake in either (he isn’t fooled by stickers. He knows they’re a crap form of bribery at the tender age of 1, he already only deals in cold, hard cash thank you very much) we gather our things and say our thank yous and goodbyes. Thank Christ that’s over…

I think it’s safe to say this might be our only visit for a while. I’m not sure my one is quite ready for the stage yet…the world isn’t ready for that. The poor dance teacher isn’t ready for that either.

The only plus was that my toddler did have a rather epic afternoon nap so it wasn’t all bad/a waste of time. And when he woke up, he decided to eat his dinner dressed like this. Cuteness restored…for 5 seconds anyway 😉