Comedy guide to potty training

IMG_0307.JPGPotty training is HARD WORK.  The potty training period may only be for a short period of time but places a lot of extra pressure on busy parents, especially when there’s an older sibling to look after (or more? And maybe a younger one, too? Argh! The mind boggles…).

I’m currently in the process of potty training my 2 ½ year old girl, with her 4 ½ year old sister in tow.  I’m not going to blog about the practicalities of potty training as there’s already a wealth of material, for example this handy guide from NHS Choices or this one from NetMums.

What I can do however is lighten the mood for any potty training Mum/Dad/Grandparent/anyone who happens to be in charge at the time by highlighting the sheer comedy of the whole thing.

The one principle of my guide is this: always keep your sense of humour to hand (otherwise you may cry/bang your head against the nearest wall/take solace in wine and cake).

The stage we’re at with the potty training is the ‘not quite out of nappies when outside the house, but doing reasonably well enough to wear knickers in the house’ stage i.e. the littlest one will do something on the toilet or potty if I take her there and sit her on it at relevant intervals, but she hasn’t quite twigged the bit about asking to go, when she needs it.

The other day, I had left her in knickers in the lounge with the potty in sight, saying “remember to sit on the potty when you feel wee wee coming”.  As I was making myself (yet another) coffee, I heard her shout “MUMMY I DONE A WEE WEE ON THE LEGO!!”  And yes indeed, that wasn’t the best place to have an accident as it then took me quite a decent length of time to disinfect every bit of urine-tainted Lego.

It struck me that there are infinite places to have wee accidents.  Here are just a few I’ve so far experienced (and I’m sure there’ll be many more):

  • On the leather sofa
  • Whilst standing up on a high chair, this sending an amazing cascade of wee whooshing down from a great height to the kitchen floor
  • Next to the actual toilet, on the floor
  • Next to the bath, discovered as I was about to step into my evening bath filled with essential oils (“ooh, it smells a bit different tonight, maybe the batch of lavender was a bit off?…oh…)
  • In our bed, amidst a Sunday morning breakfast in bed
  • In a plastic box containing pretend picnic-ware
  • In a play-tent
  • On the decking in the garden
  • At the foot of the stairs

Just yesterday, I counted 4 accidents in just one afternoon.  However on other days my littlest one is soooo good she gets loads of stickers on her reward chart (and a lot of chocolate treats!).

I’d like to hear your comedy experiences of potty training. It’s hard work, but I assure you that a slightly insane laugh here and there lightens the load!

Chalk and cheese: in it together

Chalk and cheese

At the beginning of 2015, it seems only right to jot down how my two girls have developed over the past 6 months or so since my last update.  Every so often, I realise that one or both of them have entered another stage of their little lives and this has definitely been the case over the Christmas period.  Take 2 year old, for example, who suddenly experiences ‘angry, frustrated meltdowns’ at least twice a day involving potty throwing and ear piercing shrieks.  I often do this myself This demonstrates some quite advanced emotional development, I think.

Anyway, here’s a run down of my daughters’ developing uniqueness – and also some of the stuff they’ve been doing together as siblings.

2 year old
Quietly determined. My 2 year old is a very determined little character, just like her sister and yet in a much quieter way. Last night for example, I saw she had spilled some milk on her covers. In my desperation to get back to watching Broadchurch and not being bothered to change the sheets, I stuck a folded towel on the wet part. She didn’t like this. She tried to remove it but I put it back and she calmly accepted (my 4 year old would have screamed the house down in a very audible battle of wills). Couple of hours later, I retire to bed and have a peek in. And there it is – the towel, neatly and quietly discarded at the bottom of the bed.
Caring and empathetic. For one so young she surprises me with how caring she is towards others and how quickly she picks up on the way someone is feeling, both adults and children alike. If her older sister is upset – even if she’s been naughty and is upset because she’s on the naughty step – she’ll bring her a teddy and give her a cuddle. This is even the case if elder sister is in trouble for pulling her own hair. She’s initially upset that her hair has been pulled but then feels sorry for her sister that she’s in trouble. If I lose my rag – for example I trod on a toy this morning and hurt my foot and hurled said toy across the room in a rage (not my finest parenting moment) she says “are you alright, mummy?”.
Maybe she’ll be a nurse and nurse me through my old age. Here’s hoping.
When she blows, she blows. My word – if she loses it, which is usually rare but over the past couple of weeks has been about twice a day, she really loses it and it takes a good 5 minutes for her to calm down. See potty throwing incident, above. Don’t know where she got that from as I would never hurl a toy I’d just trodden on across the room.
Likes to carry certain toys around and holds onto them for dear life. This links to the point about determination. When she decides she’s holding onto her favourite teddy, by God she holds onto that thing for dear life. She’ll even tuck it into her sleeve whilst she’s eating.
Going through a fussy eating period. At the moment, it’s tricky to get our 2 year old to eat anything of nutritional value, save cheese or sausage. However, I’ve been here before and I know ALL the tricks of the trade. Hidden vegetables in pasts sauce it is then for the next few weeks until she gets over it.
Sleeps a lot – but wakes up and plays with toys at 4am. We’ve never had a problem with little one’s sleeping, save when she was a very tiny baby. She’s very ordered and regimented. She likes to put her PJs on (currently a Frozen nightie), have a drink of milk, read one story and then she even takes herself off to bed. For the past couple of weeks there’s a been a slight change as she’s woken in the night a couple of times and started randomly playing with her toys on her bed. She doesn’t seem to need us or ask for us though. So my plan is simply to leave her to it and put ear plugs in.
Role plays. Our eldest role plays constantly about anything and everything and using any device she can place her hands on. It’s lovely to watch 2 year old at her own pretend play. It will usually involve animals – she likes to pretend her doggy is eating his food, having a sleep or reading a book.
Listens to what I say. This is new to me! I’m used to have a strong willed 4 year old who will argues the toss – and I’m often left with the strange feeling that I haven’t actually won the argument even though on the face of it I have. The littlest one (so far) will listen to what I say – she does challenge as all 2 year olds do, but if I speak firmly, which I don’t often need to, she will back down. Although I’m now realising that in my earlier point I just wrote about the towel at the bottom of the bed. Hmmm.
4 year old
Lots of role play and dressing up.  I could give my 4 year old an old dust rag and she’d find a role play use for it. Our daughters do have a lot of toys – they’re very lucky to have family who buy them many things. She has baskets of ‘oddments’ in her room which consist of parts of teasets, barbie clothes and random bits and bobs and she will carefully craft pretend picnics and sleepovers with these. I attended one of her picnics one afternoon last week and it was most exhilarating.
Crafts and drawing. Since starting school her drawing and craft skills have developed enormously. Within a space of 4 months her drawing of a person has transformed from a stick with eyes, arms and legs to a person with a face and hair, wearing variously patterned clothes and with hands and feet (even shoes!). She loves crafting and will spend time thinking about what she wants to create before creating it (not a lot of time admittedly, but it makes a change from spraying paint, glue and glitter everywhere a la the Tazmanian Devil).
Talks a lot. This has been a feature of our eldest daughter’s life since she was 6 months old, when I took a video of her babbling and interspersing this with her first word “ta”. She still talks an awful lot. I’m really pleased as she’s so confident and certainly not afraid to say what she thinks. Confidence – particularly in public speaking – is a skill we want to encourage in our daughters as it’s so important when you think of job interviews, presentation skills and just the ability to convey your own abilities or opinions to others. She is starting a drama class soon and I’m hoping this will also help.
I should also say that sometimes my brain hurts at the end of a day spent with my daughter – but I wouldn’t change it. You can read more about my love of baths which helps me to cope with exuberant daughters.
Talking back: “Well I can do it anyway”. This has been creeping up on us for a year or more – the dreaded talking back. Although it’s also quite funny. For example: “You need to go to bed right now – no getting up – or I’ll tell your teacher in the morning.” ” Well I might tell her myself anyway and she won’t mind”. Honestly. I’m starting to say things that my parents used to say to me, like “Well I’m the boss!” or “I know best because I’ma grown up!”. Maybe it’s payback.
Thinking about the world and where things come from. I’ve previously written about the questions our eldest has asked as she gets more curious about the world she lives in. Recently, these have taken on a new depth – recent questions include “Why is the moon in the sky?”, “Are these all the people there are in the world?” and “Where was my sister before she was born?”
Appreciating her friends. I get the impression that 4 year old has recently been appreciating her friends, rather than just expecting them to be there as they always have. She’s always had an active life – from the outset we visited playgroups, the library and participated in fun activities such as baby sensory classes. She’s always had children of her own age around her, almost every day. Over the past month or so she’s been taking the odd moment to think about whether she’ll see them the next day or not, what they’ll do, who she’d like to see. Like her sister, she also shows more empathy of late, remembering when one of her friends has been upset and telling me about it.
Writing and recognising words. Alongside her creativity, her writing and recognition of words has developed so much since starting school. She loves practicing her letters, recognising words in books and can write her own name and few other words (such as ‘love’) perfectly.

Things they enjoy doing together
I’ve previously written about how I know that my daughters love each other as siblings. At the moment, they play together an awful lot and I’ve noticed their own pattern of play emerging, which consists of:
Picnics. As noted above, my 4 year old can make a picnic out of anything. 2 year old now joins in and I will often enter my lounge to find it’s been turned into a picnic area.
Sleepovers. They like to find their blankets and bean bags and have a pretend sleepover. 2 year old is in charge of shouting “COCK-A-DOODLE-DO!” when it’s time to get up again.
Hiding from monsters. I think this idea has come about due to watching films (mainly Frozen – you know the snow monster who says “don’t come baaaaack!!!”. I’m always hearing them running for their lives from various monsters.

Writing this has helped me to understand how quickly our two daughters are developing and it’s good to have a record of where they’re at right now. I look forward to doing the same next year!

Forget-me-not-Friday #62

Forget-me-not-Friday

Today’s Forget-me-not-Friday is about my nearly-two-year-old’s developing grasp of language…which in turn means she can give her older sister what for.

Nearly-four-year-old: “You pushed me!”

Nearly-two-year-old, matter of factly but still in babyish voice: “I didn’t push you”

Nearly-four-year-old, startled and indignant at this sudden eloquence in her little sister “You DID push me!”

Nearly-two-year-old, quietly defiant: “I didn’t push you..”

…and so on. We were in the supermarket at the time. The checkout was *interesting*.

Finally, here’s a photo of my lovely nearly-two-year-old at the dentist. She surprised me by being very, very good.IMG_4492

 

Pottery Painting with Growing Up Milk

The look of concentration
The look of concentration

Last Sunday 3 1/2 year old and I took a trip to Minikin Emporium in Sale to paint some pots.

My eldest lively daughter was very excited at this prospect. We were guests of growingupmilkinfo.com which is a new online resource for parents, providing meal planners, nutritional advice and lots of articles on keeping your little ones healthy.

We were promised a picnic alongside the pot painting which of course made 3 1/2 year old bonkers with anticipation – she thought it was a birthday party and kept asking who’s birthday it was and why weren’t we singing? In the end we did sing Happy Birthday to the pot she had painted, just to keep her happy.

We hadn’t been to Minikin before. Its a lovely little place and the staff were really attentive (they brought me two coffees – now that’s all the attention I need). Although we were there for the event which involved painting a mug, I could see the variety of pottery available to paint, from ladybirds to cats to pots for the garden. I got into a discussion with one staff member who explained they even do evening events for adults where you can bring your own wine (wine and pots? Interesting combo! Must try it sometime!).

Pot painting 293 1/2 year old enjoyed painting her lovely mug and really paid attention to what she was doing. The staff brought more paint whenever we needed it and explained that the pot would then be sent away to be ‘put in the oven’ to set the lovely colours and we could pick it up at a later date.

She was enjoying it so much that I bought her a butterfly to paint, too. We had a really good time and would definitely return – I can see that it’s also a lovely cafe and sweet shop! This didn’t escape my daughter’s attention either. We left with a bag of sweets and are eagerly awaiting our finished pots…

Disclaimer: We were guests of Frank PR on behalf of Growing Up Milk Info for this event and have not been sponsored for this review. All opinions are those of Expression and Confession.

Plum Baby Little Yums

Plum Baby Little Yums: Review

Plum Baby Little Yums

I’m always on the lookout for healthy snacks for my two girls. They’re 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 and seem to eat constantly at the moment.

I feel like I’m a constant snack machine – and then they’ll easily polish off their meals, too. Big bowls of porridge in the morning, a round of cheesy toast for lunch with the current favourite – celery sticks – and they astonished me a couple of weeks back by eating bowls of salmon and noodles with a thai style sauce for tea.

I always have a snack box on the go when we’re out and tend to fill it with cereal bars, bananas and raisins, but they do get bored of them.

So I was pleased to try out Plum Baby’s Little Yums, especially after hearing that Prince George eats Plum Baby products. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for my two!

The snacks are suitable from 6 months upwards and follow the Plum Baby ethos of organic ingredients. I was impressed with the little wafers, which are made from buckwheat, plus fruit and veggies. They would have been perfect for weaning and they’re great now to carry around as snacks. My two just grabbed them and ate them so I assume they are a hit!

Plum Baby Little Yums
The girls in various snack stealth positions

They’re a nice size and very easy to hold. The flavours and ingredients are very different to those I’ve seen before – they’re available in spinach, apple and kale or pumpkin and banana. The combinations obviously work well, as my children can be picky about spinach in particular.

They’re not too pricey compared to some of the baby and toddler snacks I’ve bought. Tesco currently have these on offer for £1.99 and they would usually retail at around £2.49 for 6 packets (each containing 3 wafers).

I’d definitely buy Little Yums again – my children enjoy them, and I feel like I’m getting more fruit and veg into them!

Disclaimer: I was sent some Plum Baby Little Yums for the purposes of writing this review. All opinions are my own.

Family Fever

#50things – no. 35: discover what’s in a pond

National Trust’s initiative, 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 is a great way to get your children out in the fresh air, exploring, adventuring and exercising their bodies and minds. It’s also great for parents – as a list of 50 simple yet doable outdoors activities, it creates a neat little agenda for those of us who like to be organised.

50 things

I decided to help out my fellow bloggers Hollybobs and This Day I Love to promote this initiative.

I realised just today that we recently completed number 31 on the list – Bug Hunting, which was excellent fun.

Number 35 on the list is “Discover what’s in a pond”. This is what myself, nearly-three-year-old, ten-month-old and Gran set out to do today at Lyme Park, near Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Eloise Lyme

ducks

It would appear that we found some ducks and geese in a very large pond. No surprise there, I hear you say! I was intending on inspecting the pond for fish, frogspawn, insects and other critters – but remember we have a nearly-three-year-old, here. She wanted ducks and geese, and she wanted to feed them copious amounts of bread. She did bug hunting the other day. And she knows what she wants, believe me!

We approached the pond (safely – adult in very near vicinity at all times!) and she was so excited to see the ducks and geese make a beeline for us in anticipation of some lovely, soft bread. We always have to take fresh bread, as nearly-three-year-old does love to nibble a bit herself. She dislikes bread intensely at any other time, assiduously dissecting sandwiches to remove the cheese or meat within. Yet somehow duck bread is much different and of a higher flavour.

We had fun at the pond, and at Lyme Park in general. We went for a long walk, had a picnic, did some more bug hunting and checked out their new Crow Wood playscape, complete with swings, giant slide, various climbing apparatus, a den and a real bear cave.

swings

Eli bear

We’re looking forward to completing the whole checklist of 50 things!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or goods for writing this post, It was entirely my own choice to help out some friends who are supporting the National Trust’s 50 things initiative.

Forget-me-not-Friday #18

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Nearly-three-year-old, ten-month old and I are having lunch in a cafe which has chickens in a coop near where we’re sitting. Nearly-three-year-old is enjoying observing the chickens.

Nearly-three-year-old: “I like those chickens, Mummy.”

Me: “Yes, I like chickens, too. They’re nice, aren’t they?”

Nearly-three-year-old: “Where’s the door to the chickens?”

Me: “It’s over there, but only the cafe men and ladies are allowed in”.

Nearly-three-year-old: “Why, Mummy?”

Me: “Because they might come up to us and go PECK PECK PECK PECK PECK PECK PECK!!”

Nearly-three-year-old: “Silly Mummy. Chickens don’t talk!”

Blog every day in August: A perfect day

This month I am taking part in Yummy Mummy in Training’s ‘Blog every day in August’ challenge. Read all my posts to date here.

Day 25 is ‘a perfect day’.

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What makes a perfect day?

I’m sure its different for everyone, but if I was to pick a recent perfect day, it would be the day where my family celebrated my partner’s birthday.

It was one of those days which was just really enjoyable – and there were no tantrums, teething or other child-related ‘stuff’ to deal with.

We had breakfast in bed together, went out for brunch, parents came and we had fun in the garden in lovely bright sunshine, then we went for a family meal.

Family meals with two children aged nearly-three and then months can be quite a challenge. On this day, however, it’s as though they both decided to behave perfectly!

Why do I think this day was perfect? Three elements: family, good weather and good behaviour from everyone!

Read day 26, here.

Room 101

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I’ve been tagged by A to Z Mummy in her Room 101 post, as someone who’s also likely to have the odd grumble or two (or twenty).

So what/who would I consign to Room 101?

Here goes:

  • People who park their cars over two spaces. Can I kill them? Please? I often think I’d like to. You know that moment when you’ve been searching for a space for an age with screaming children in the back, and you heave a sigh of relief when you spot one, only to find THAT YOU CAN’T GET IN IT AS SOME TWERP HAS PARKED OVER TWO SPACES?! Well, that.
  • Binmen who put the emptied bins in front of your driveway. Let’s put ourselves in a little scenario. You get your children in the car. This is a feat in itself. You get all your bags, prams, and other paraphernalia in, too. You think “Phew! We can set off!”. You switch on the engine, begin to reverse, and then just spot in the rear view mirror that THE BINMEN HAVE LEFT THE BINS IN FRONT OF THE DRIVE! So I have to brake, get out, and move them. These are the moments I feel I could easily become a crazy woman (or even more of a crazy woman).
  • Toddler/baby tops with a loophole button at the nape of the neck. Have you seen these? They’re fine at first, but then you wash them and the loophole shrinks ever so slightly, making it an exceptionally fiddly task to do the button up, usually at those moments when you’re the most pressed for time. Must have been designed by a man.
  • Soya cheese. I mean, really??!! As a person who eats a lot of cheese, and as a Mother of an allergy sufferer told to try a dairy-free diet for a while, I’ve had the odd flirtation with cheese made from soya. I’ll rename that a bad date, rather than a flirtation, actually. I’ve tried quite a few different types in an effort to be more healthy. THEY ALL TASTE OF POO!
  • Unnecessarily loud people. Take the young lad walking marginally behind his friend in the street who decides to shout what he thinks are some funny japeries at him, AT THE TOP OF HIS VOICE. Or the bolshy business woman a table along from you in the cafe, who wants everyone in the vicinity to know she’s pulling some big deal. It’s not necessary, people!
  • Those are mine, and I’m sure these fellow bloggers will have a rant or two of their own to share…I’m tagging:

    Mummy vs Daddy
    Single Mother Ahoy!
    Holding the Baby
    My Homemade Happiness
    Manchester Flick Chick

    I look forward to reading more Room 101s!

    Blog every day in August: Tradition

    This month I am taking part in Yummy Mummy in Training’s ‘Blog every day in August’ challenge. Read all my posts to date here.

    Day 16 is ‘tradition’.

    The British love tradition, don’t they? We’re entrenched by it; it brings us comfort, whether we’re standing in a good old British queue for something or avidly watching the progress of the Royal baby George.

    Family traditions are something quite different. To be frank, they can be completely pointless and comical to the outsider, but they do serve a similar purpose to our cultural traditions by bringing us the comfort of familiarity and a sense of belonging.

    Our little family is still quite new I guess, as we first described ourselves as such when my eldest daughter was born three years ago. Yet we have manages to get a few going! Such as:

  • sitting in bed (all of us) every Saturday morning, eating our breakfast and getting it all over the nice, clean sheets.

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  • bedtime tradition: I get both girls ready, Daddy comes home and does stories – cue mirth and giggles when Daddy’s key is heard in the door and we have to hide.
  • making our own cakes at birthdays/christenings, and at no other point during the year, thus making for some amusing panics and flapping.
  • having the whole family round our house at Christmas time – parents on both sides and my partner’s brother and his partner. This also makes for some hilarious last minute trips to the butchers/supermarket/off licence, and eeek it’s not long off!…
  • Read day 17 here.