I’ll think of a title later

This morning I arrived at work late frazzled, out of sorts and decidedly cross. Yesterday I had also arrived late, as I was on toddler time: he decided that he wanted more breakfast, after he’d got shoes and rucksack on, when I said we had to leave – he laid down in front of the front door so I couldn’t even open it to get out the house. After negotiating that hurdle, he then splayed his arms and legs like a spider so I couldn’t get him into car, let alone the car seat. He only calmed down after I gave him my banana. By the time we’d got to nursery, they were welcome to him.

Today as I was bending down to help him get his shoes on I sniffed and asked if he’d pooped. ‘No mama’ I checked, not just poop, but poopsplosion. If it had been any other time of day, it would have been a shower. It was a nightmare, including needed new pants and trousers. Instead of leaving early, or even on time, we left the house at time I am normally arriving at work by the time I’d finished cleaning him up.

I hate being late. It is disrespectful. I also hate people being late. If you ask us to arrive at 10am, we are there at 10am. It pi$$es me off no end some people’s laissez-faire attitude to meeting up with others. Standing in my hallway today, gathering my stuff together I screeched banshee style ‘I hate being f-ing late!’ – Peanut looked startled, I said ‘I’m sorry for shouting. I wasn’t shouting at you, I was cross with me’. We hugged and he told me ‘All ok Mama. All ok.’

I am grateful that today after work I am going to the gym. I’ve got the 10km run this weekend, I’m going to get on the treadmill, put a podcast on and just plod away until I get to 8km.

I am grateful that this morning, Peanut woke up at 6am, bright, happy and cheerful. That he gives such good cuddles, particularly when he knows that his mother is fragile at that point in time.

I am grateful for so many things, but this morning hunched over the steering wheel driving to work, my shoulders were up around my ears in frustration. I deliberately changed my route to work after dropping Peanut off today, so I didn’t have to drive past a school crossing supervisor. He waves at cars driving past, but on such a dangerous bend he’s more of a hazard than the road conditions. Yes, this sounds daft. I am fully aware of that, but I chose to re-route myself so I didn’t explode further.

Recognising my touch points is a work in progress, but I know when I am getting forgetful, ratty or swearing, I need to take step back from what I’m doing. This morning there was nothing I could do, I had to change his nappy. But being late two days on the trot is maddening. Did I need to screech? No, but it was a release of emotion that had I tried to swallow, would have eaten away at me all morning.

Leaving things behind me is another thing I need to work on. It wasn’t until I’d shared my morning with the girls at work and verbalised it that I felt better.

I am grateful for the support network my colleagues provide me with. The majority of my oldest friends I either met at work or through work, spending so much time together entwines people’s lives in a web of friendship.

I am grateful the fog has finally lifted, I wouldn’t say that it’s sunny, but being able to see the trees out my window is helping with my mood too.

A lesson in parenting

I fell into a trap that I didn’t think I would this week, one that Hubs reminded me over.

After dinner one night this week, it’s all a blur now, I asked Peanut if he wanted a bath? ‘No.’ A shower? ‘No.’ So I just got him changed into his PJs and tried to settle him down for the night. 

His night time bath/shower is one of his biggest cues that bed time is imminent. After an hour of wailing, he finally got off to sleep and was unsettled overnight.

Hubs gently told me that while Peanut may say ‘No’ to things, it’s because he can and that we need to make decisions for him. It opened my eyes, and made me wonder if that is what causes so many parenting issues around the world. Because instead of us being the adult, making a decision and sticking to it, we ask a child an opinion on something that is non-negotiable? 

The 3-Day Nanny sleep solution

I went past a discount bookstall in the mall near home and brought The 3-Day Nanny. Hubs and I both read it, thought it was worth a try, heck, anything would be better than getting up the 3-4 times a night we were doing with Peanut. It says to clear your diary for a few days, so we planned on the sleep solution being done over Easter, where I had six days out the office, what with an ADO, an extra grant day, and working from home on Wednesdays.

Before I start, Peanut has improved, but I cannot say that he’s sleeping through the night, because he isn’t. He will still get up and out of his room, but will also settle back down much more quickly, and without demanding a bottle to do it too.

However, shutting your toddler into his bedroom and standing outside for ten minutes at a time while he screams and sobs, is not conducive to a good relationship, in my opinion. She may well be a Norland Nanny, and heaven knows, there was a time when I contemplated training with them and becoming a Nanny myself, but she does not have children. Like Gina frickin Ford, because the best parenting ‘gurus’ are those who don’t have children.

Hubs and I have issues with controlled crying, we always have done, all it teaches is that no-one will come to help you when you cry. Remember all those horrific images of the Romanian orphanages? Watching those news reports with the voice-over telling me that the children don’t cry, because no-one takes any notice, showed me definitively, that leaving a child to cry is simply barbaric. There were times when I needed to get in the shower to get some peace from Peanut when he was a baby, but systematic neglect is something different. When does ignoring your child’s cries start and stop? When he cries for help because he’s tangled in something, he stops crying when he chokes? It can and has happened, it’s why blind chords should be secured to the wall.

I went to a seminar run by Pinky McKay, an Australian parenting expert who has five children, who said something very profound at the beginning of the session, ‘If it’s not respectful, don’t do it’. Shutting Peanut into his room scared him, he was running round it trying to get out, sobbing and screaming, almost vomiting with fear. I read the book, I said what I was told to say, stood outside so he couldn’t hear me, so he didn’t have an audience, and felt my heart break.

At 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am and finally 5:17am you try saying “What has happened here? You have left your lovely bed. Now it is the middle of the night. Let’s get you back.” to a screaming toddler and see how far you get. In theory, I shouldn’t have even known he woke up then, because his bedroom door should have been shut. After standing in the kitchen, listening to our son for nearly half an hour, we stopped after the second night.

We carried on with the reward chart, he’s so proud of his stickers he kept taking them off the paper to show us. We also brought this little clock to help with reminding him when it’s time to get up and when it’s time to stay in bed. The only problem is, obsessed as he is with monkeys, he wants to cuddle the clock, he was standing in his room trying to reach it, crying with frustration, he eventually brought it into me to show me that MoMo was still asleep, at 4am. How he reached it, how he didn’t drop it, I don’t know, but it’s now way out of his reach.

So sleeping through the night is a work in progress, but you know what? He’s happy, he’s healthy and after spending six clear days with him, he’s a joy to be around. Him waking up a couple of times a night is a small price to pay compared to some of the issues other parents have. I don’t give a shit anymore that he’s not sleeping through, it’s not a competition, give me the boy who says please and thank you when we take him on a train at the weekend any day.