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Potty training: It’s time to get the job done

With two little words we have reached a milestone: poo poo. That’s what BB started telling me a week or so ago after doing a you-know-what in her nappy. Now she has started warning me before doing a you-know-what, which means there’s no getting away from it any longer: it’s time for potty training to commence. This is a daunting prospect, especially given that her godmother started potty training her daughter, who is exactly the same age as BB, at seven months. That’s right, seven months. Now 21 months old, she is basically dry in the day and only wears nappies at night and on car journeys. “I wouldn’t want to wear pants 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so why would a baby?” BB’s godmother told me. Quite. Her approach was quite simple – she learnt to read her baby’s cues (i.e. how she reacted when she needed to go to the loo) and responded to them by putting her on the potty. When she actually went, there was praise galore. When she didn’t, or ‘went’ somewhere else, it was no big deal. […]

By |May 29th, 2013|Family life, Potty training|2 Comments

Parents of the land rejoice: Peter Rabbit is going to save your life

There is much excitement in the crummy mummy household ahead of the start of a whole series of Peter Rabbit on CBeebies. Not from BB, but from Misery Guts and I. With the exception of Postman Pat, I believe this will be the first genuinely new series to be aired on the channel since BB was born in August 2011. Almost two whole years ago. I realise these are times of austerity, the licence fee doesn’t stretch as far as it did and children love repetition, but two years watching the same programmes over and over again? Even BBC2 in the daytime isn’t quite that bad. Further research (by me) has revealed Peter Rabbit & Co aren’t the only newbies BBC bosses are drafting in to keep us sane. Would you believe it Topsy and Tim are soon to grace us with their presence too. I think there’s much to be said about looking to the past to shape the future. The one I’d really like to see is The Village With Three Corners. […]

By |May 27th, 2013|Books, Family life|4 Comments

Blogging: The story I never knew I’d written

Are ‘sharents’ – parents who blog, tweet and post pictures about all aspects of their children’s lives – doing their children harm by crossing the boundaries between public and private life? That was the loaded question posed in the family section of last Saturday’s Guardian, and it’s an interesting one. When I started blogging five months ago I didn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, and the concept of uploading photographs online on a weekly basis was a new concept to me. Now I can’t begin to count the number of pictures of BB that must be floating in around cyberspace. And therein lies an important point: I have never once used her real name – she has intentionally always been referred to as BB – and having googled her name on its own and alongside both mine and Misery Guts’, I am pleased to see that aged 21 months she has no digital footprint at all. […]

By |May 24th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life|0 Comments

M&S: Am I alone in thinking…?

So Marks and Spencer is in trouble. Again. The chain has reported a big fall in profits and the blame has been laid squarely at the changing room doors: sales of general merchandise, including clothes, are down 4.1% – that’s hundreds of millions of pounds to you and me. This surprises me. Since becoming a mum I have bought more clothes from M&S than I’ve ever bought in my entire life. Underwear used to be the only St Michael garments you’d find in my drawers – now I own coats, jeans, tops, jumpers, vests, bags, even shoes. I first ‘discovered’ M&S in 2011 while en route to the baby section for newborn essentials and was pleasantly surprised by their offering. Yet an industry ‘expert’ described their SS13 clothing ranges as ‘frumpy and shapeless’ on BBC Breakfast this morning. Oh dear. I fear this reflects worse on me than it does on them. […]

By |May 21st, 2013|Beauty, Family life, Fashion, News|0 Comments

The benefits of giving up breast feeding

On Monday it was 20 months, 27 days and approximately 6 hours since I started breast feeding BB. Today it’s 5 days and approximately 18 hours since I stopped. It already seems like a lifetime ago. For her, I think it really is. After joining the library and taking out a book only to be read at bedtime – previously her longest feed of the day – and buying a Special Cup from which milk is only to be drunk at story time, just a week in she has already stopped asking for my milk and started asking for her book and cup instead. I never dreamed it would be this easy. To be honest, I’m even a tiny bit disappointed it has been this easy. But there are also upsides I hadn’t considered. 1) We have gained a good two extra hours in the day time. […]

By |May 17th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Weaning|3 Comments

The last supper

So that’s it. After 20 months, 27 days and approximately 6 hours, last night BB had her last ever breast feed. As of bed time this evening, Misery Guts will offer her cow’s milk from a Special Cup instead. I won’t be there – I shall make myself scarce – because mummy = booby. It’s not days one or two that worry me, it’s on day three plus that I suspect things will get tricky. But we shall see. The last week, in which we cut out day time feeds completely, couldn’t have gone any better. By day four she was asking for milk pretty much on the hour, but was easily diverted, and while there were a few tears, these quickly dried up if orange juice was on offer instead. […]

By |May 13th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Weaning|0 Comments

It’s a good job men don’t have to give birth

Misery Guts has sprained his ankle. And don’t we all know it. He fell off a curb while running, and had to be brought home hobbling by his fitness instructor. To be fair it has swollen up to the size of a balloon, but I’m not sure all the grunting and groaning is really necessary. I likened the noise coming out of him last night to the sort of sound emitted when a baby’s head is crowning. He looked at me blankly. ‘What’s crowning?” he asked. If you have to ask… So that’s me on Everything Duty this weekend. He can’t even stand upright. He did manage to make himself a cucumber gin and tonic with capers by himself last night though. Funny that. […]

By |May 10th, 2013|Exercise, Family life, Health|4 Comments

It’s no use crying over spilt milk

Who thought giving up breast feeding would be so hard? Not me. I thought, if you let things roll, that babies just ‘gave up’ or grew out of it of their own accord. Silly me. I don’t think BB will ever grow out of it if left to her own devices. So after two days in which no breast milk was consumed owing to the fact Misery Guts and I were away, giving up breast feeding has (once again) started in earnest. Having read absolutely nothing on the matter or furnished myself with any kind advice, in a bid to avoid the dreaded mastitis or engorgement we’re going for a week of bed time feeds only, followed by a week of dropping those too. Is this the right way to go about it? Is this approach too hasty? Will it work? I haven’t the faintest. […]

By |May 8th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Weaning|2 Comments

I’ve got the whole world in my hands

So you may (or may not) be surprised to hear we made it back from Scotland unscathed. I say unscathed – we were both nursing the kind of hangovers we haven’t had since BBB (before BB) – but apart from that we managed to make it home in one piece. And you may (or may not) be surprised to hear that two whole days and nights away from BB weren’t that bad after all. Walks one would never entertain with a pushchair, tops one would never wear while breast feeding, afternoon naps, leisurely baths before going out to dinner, sipping numerous wines and spirits into the wee hours without being under the glare of the baby monitor: I could get quite used to it. […]

By |May 6th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Travel|0 Comments

Don’t think: the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given

My Granny once told me that if she ever wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the loo, she repeats the words ‘don’t think, don’t think, don’t think, don’t think’ over and over again in her head until she’s been to the toilet and back because, she told me sagely, ‘if you start thinking, you’ll never get back to sleep.’ This is probably one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given. Ever since she imbibed this little pearl of wisdom years ago I’ve used it, and it works a treat. I have no doubt following this ritual has saved me from much tossing and turning and many sleepless nights. That is, it worked a treat until this week. In a few hours I will get on a plane and stay away for two nights without BB. The horrors that could unfold have been plaguing me all week (what if the plane crashes, what if BB thinks we’ve abandoned her and is scarred for life, etc, etc) and the possibilities have been even worse in the small hours. […]

By |May 3rd, 2013|Family life, Travel|0 Comments

My baby now comes complete with an instruction manual

Who said kids don’t come with an instruction manual? Mine does. I’ve just written it. It’s called ‘Things you always wanted to know about BB but were afraid to ask’. The need for such a manual comes ahead of our first weekend away sans BB: two whole nights in Inverness, Scotland. I realise this doesn’t sound like the ideal location for a weekend getaway à deux, but the trip happens to coincide with Speyside Whisky Festival. And Misery Guts loves whisky. Need I say more? So we are leaving BB in the capable hands of Granny and Grandpa, backed up by said instruction manual, just in case. Advice includes ‘cleaning her teeth can be a challenge – it might be a case of pinning her down to get to the back’ and ‘it can take her a good 30 minutes to come round after her afternoon nap, when she can sometimes be a real grump’. Helpful? Probably not. Does putting them down on paper make me feel better? Yes. […]

By |May 1st, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life|2 Comments

Priority seats for mums with toddlers: now there’s an idea

We all know being a mum with a buggy on public transport can be tricky: there’s usually a (large) step up to board the vehicle, sliding doors to manoeuvre and narrow aisles to navigate, but when you’ve successfully accomplished those, you’re generally pretty well catered for. Unless you’re unfortunate enough to travel on South West Trains. It seemed the perfect mode of transport for BB and I ahead of a weekend in Dorset. The excitement of the station, a picnic lunch as houses whizzed by, a table on which to do colouring and plenty of space to clamber around. I don’t know what I was thinking. Clapham Junction + toddler in a pushchair + weekend bag on a Friday afternoon = bad idea. […]

By |April 29th, 2013|Family life|0 Comments

While you were sleeping

It never fails to amaze me what it’s possible to achieve during afternoon nap time. This week, between the hours of 1pm and 3pm, I have: 1) Given four wooden chairs two coats of paint 2) Washed, folded and put away five loads of washing 3) Sorted out the household budget for the month 4) Written three blog posts 5) Had a nap myself 6) Saved the world (ok, I made that one up) And that’s not all. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve said to myself ‘You’re knackered. Today you’re going to sit down with a cup of tea while BB’s having her nap’. This never happens, because there are always so many things it’s so much easier, and quicker, to do when she’s not there. Which got me thinking. There must be an army of mums across the country, the world even, who after clearing away the lunch things and settling their pre-schoolers in their cots spin into action and accomplish all manner of weird and wonderful tasks in just two little hours. So I googled ‘things to do when babies are napping’. The very first page to come up suggests ‘what to do while you’re waiting for your baby to wake up’. Waiting? Are they insane? Who on earth ‘waits’ for their baby to wake up? It then goes on to suggest five fun activities to do during this ‘boring’ nap time. […]

By |April 26th, 2013|Family life|6 Comments

Tuesday: the best day of the working week

The nuclear winter is over. Yesterday we emerged, blinking and pale as though we’d been indoors for a thousand months, and were greeted with a cloudless blue sky and glorious sunshine. For the first time since we moved to the south coast five months ago our daily constitutional walk was less constitutional and more playful: we shed our coats which had begun to feel like a second skin, we felt the warmth of the sun on our arms, we threw stones into the sea and ate ice lollies. The sun went straight to our heads. And we weren’t the only ones. Beach hut doors were thrown open, barbecues were lit, old ladies, also blinking and pale, were wheeled onto the promenade to sniff at the sea air and students played guitars on the beach. A queue snaked out from the ice cream kiosk while women who really shouldn’t wear hot pants and men who really oughtn’t go shirtless did just that. Children, like BB (pictured), and dogs leapt around on the pebbles, giddy with the sense of excitement they’d caught from the adults. […]

By |April 24th, 2013|Exercise, Family life|1 Comment