I’ve realised recently, that my two year old believes the rules of Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom apply to this house. For anyone who has a pre-schooler or younger school child, you’ll appreciate that magic always leads to trouble so that part doesn’t come into play. The threat of it, however, does. My toddler has threatened to turn me into a frog, with his breakfast spoon, a calpol syringe and our sitting room table lamp, on more than several occasions over the last few days. Reason being, he wasn’t getting his own way. Today he poured his Rice Krispies on the floor – because he didn’t want them, he wanted chocolate eggs instead. When I, in my humble opinion, quite rightly told him off for his behaviour, he put on his best Nanny Plum voice and Nanny Plum did not agree with me. “Yellow card for being naughty”, I was told. As I reiterated that this was not to happen again, he continued “red card for talking back”. Its hard to keep a straight face when I look at his earnest face and hear him quote lines from a programme now much more familiar to me than Eastenders, but I did my best. Once again the breakfast spoon was waved at me. This time I was to be a slug. That was enough to cause the breakdown that followed. “Where’s my wise old elf slug” he said, remembering suddenly that the slug was missing. Tears followed, as did frantic searches under the couch and behind the television. But no slug was to be found. We did eventually however, find the “wise old elf” under one of the cushions. This is my son’s favourite toy. “Silly old elf, back to yourself” he said, pacified once more. As we all know, elves don’t do magic, so now that the wise old elf has been found I am safe from being turned into a frog, slug or snail for the time being. Elves however, do blow bloody loud horns every time they say “and I’m an elf” so the six month old won’t be napping for too long……..
and small children, but it comes to us all and can’t be avoided forever
(although in fairness, my husband has done his best to try to). It’s the time
you’ll need nerves of steel, the patience of a saint and shares in a kitchen
roll company. It’s potty training time! Potty training is a wee and poo fest
that the whole family can get involved in, so don’t let anyone off the hook! Here’s
my 10 steps to help you with the task in hand and hopefully take some of the
stress out of it.
at home a little bit more. If you have
to run in and out on numerous occasions be it for school or activity
collections, you’re going to make life more difficult for yourself. Plan in
advance and discourage visitors if at all possible. Distractions are not great at this time.
his/her potty and within reason go along with their choice. My two year old son is the proud owner of a
Princess Peppa Pig potty. It has served
us well! Also involve them in the purchase of big boy/big girl pants all the
while reminding them of how grown up they’re becoming now that they won’t be
wearing nappies anymore
on the first day you start. They’ll be
very aware of the absence of a nappy if they’re wearing nothing. The presence
of pants however, can confuse them and make them forget they’re not wearing a
nappy. Make sure the potty is always
visible and offer drinks frequently. If
possible let them watch a little programme that they really enjoy while sitting
on the potty. The idea here is to
“catch” a wee in the potty by chance. This can take longer than you might
originally anticipate because the security of the nappy is gone. Don’t be afraid to use a little bribery here
to encourage your toddler to stay seated on the potty. You won’t have to do it all the time but for
the first few times it might help. (Is that the mammy police I hear banging
down my door??!!) . When your toddler does produce something, and if you have
managed to keep him/her seated there for a while, it will most likely be just
by chance. This is when it’s time to
make an enormous fuss. Involve any other
family members that are around, in the praise giving. Your little one at least now has an idea as
to what he/she is expected to do in the potty other than wear it on his/her
everywhere. Small children get pretty
bored with the whole potty thing very quickly and are quite likely to run off
and pee somewhere else. Move the potty
from room to room. If there are older
siblings in the house ask them to help with the shadowing. If your child starts to wee while not on the
potty, just quickly lift them up and place them on the potty. Anything in there is better than nothing and
it reinforces that wees should be done in the potty.
“Where do we do wees and poos?….In the potty” Any success should be heavily
praised and misses met with a reminder that wees and poos are done in the
your child but don’t refer to them as a nappy, just a variation on big boy
pants. No one is expecting this to be dry in the morning, but it’s good to make
the distinction between this and a nappy and it prepares the way for pulling up
and down pants which will be introduced over the coming days.
keep the potty close at hand. Day two
can be met with more resistance but praise, gentle insistence and bribery
should help. Today your child might be
aware after they have produced a wee and may well jump up to show you (or not,
which is no problem either). Again today
shadowing is very important so as not to miss an opportunity.
child is not ready) introduce the big boy/big girl pants. You will be pretty much guaranteed an
accident early on but that’s ok because the wet sensation will remind your
little one of what happens if they don’t make it to the potty on time. Make
sure someone is on hand at all times to help pulling up and down pants throughout
the day and any success here should be met with a huge fuss. This time your child has most likely been
aware of what they were doing and has deliberately used the potty.
continues much the same as the previous day with hopefully a little more
success. No doubt however, you will have
encountered resistance to pooing in the potty.
It’s important to make sure your little one doesn’t become constipated or
holds on to their poo. If your child suggests that they need to poo, remove
their pants again so that they can easily get to the potty at the very last
minute. Again consider allowing your child to watch a favourite programme and
encourage them to sit on the potty while they do. Hopefully they’ll get so caught up in what
they’re watching that they will produce! Leave the child without pants for a
while to see if this helps. If your
little one becomes very distressed and still refuses to go, put a pull up style
nappy on them (still referring to them as big boy or girl pants). Continue to
encourage them to poo in the potty but don’t worry if they go in the pull up
nappy instead. Poo-ing in the potty
always takes a little longer to master.
how your child is getting on. If they’re
having less than a 50-60% success rate they’re probably not quite ready yet and
you might be better off just leaving it for a few more weeks (even just 3 weeks
can make an enormous difference). Don’t
worry that all your hard work will be wasted, it won’t. Starting again a few weeks later should be
easier, as your child will know what you and he/she are aiming for. Progress
can often be much faster then.
training, as are constant reminders throughout the day and reaffirmations that
big boys and girls do their wees and poos in the potty. If things are going well, keep an eye on the
night time pull ups. Some children, day
and night train at the same time. If you’re
one of the lucky parents whose child appears to be dry at night also, remove
the pull up after about a week into potty training. Remember to make sure your little one goes to
the toilet before bed and don’t offer drinks too late in the evening. If your
child however, is not dry in the morning when they wake, don’t worry, one step
at a time. Night time dryness can be tackled later!
Families have gotten smaller, this is undeniable. People are having less children for many different reasons, some by choice, some by circumstance. A third child tips the balance in the children’s favour. For the first time ever, you have more children than hands. It’s unchartered territory and you’re relying on someone to behave! Four children and you’re going against the norm. Logistics and practicalities come more into play and you may need to consider a mom-mobile type car. On the plus side you’re already used to the lack of hands so the transition can be sometimes smoother. Five children upwards – people start wondering, “what’s wrong with you??!”
– visit a pet farm
– meet up with friends and cousins for a picnic
– movie afternoon with curtains drawn and microwave popcorn
– take the older children to Kilmainham Gaol, especially with the year that’s in it.
– get everybody to do a self-portrait and make a collage
– make some lego
– have some of the kids friends over- go to the library
Sundays here, like most houses I imagine, are normally hectic. They usually involve huge amounts of housework, shopping and washing, getting ready for the week ahead. Sunday nights are spent locating missing pieces of uniform which were supposedly put in the wash but somehow turn up wedged down the side of someone’s bed and finding odd shoes whose partner has seemingly grown legs and run off. Bath-time resembles a factory assembly line and there’s always a nasty surprise to be found when one of us goes searching in the school bags for a beaker or lunchbox that didn’t quite make its way to the kitchen sink the previous Friday! Sundays have become both exhausting and boring to be honest.
This Sunday, however, we decided we were going to “do something” and headed into town with the troops. Definitely not a task for the fainthearted, but we loaded the mom-mobile and headed off. In spite of a few grumbles from the boys in the middle, fearful that an afternoon of shopping awaited them, we actually had a lovely time. Granted it took a good ten minutes to unload the car and assemble buggies (and restrain the toddler) but it was lovely to all get out as a family and do something different to the usual chores that take over our Sunday. The weather was lovely so it was nice to wander around and soak up the busy atmosphere. I even got a giggle out a few people that I saw counting as we passed by them with the kids! We returned home with a big box of doughnuts and the promise of a hot chocolate to go with them.
It wasn’t an overly eventful day or an especially exciting one but it did feel like a day off. It felt like a break from the mundane and it did serve as a reminder of the importance of taking time out to spend quality time together instead of always being caught up in what has to be done. They say very few people on their death bed look back and think “I wish I had done more housework”. While there’s a need to be practical too, I am going to try to remember this more. The kids won’t remember whether or not the house was immaculate when they get older, but hopefully they will remember some of the things we did together. It’s easy to forget this in the craziness that is life. In the meantime you’ll have to excuse me. All my slacking off today means I have an important date with my ironing board this evening!
We returned home with a big box of doughnuts and the promise of a hot chocolate to go with them. It wasn’t an overly eventful day or an especially exciting one but it did feel like a day off.It felt like a break from the mundane and it did serve as a reminder of the importance of taking time out to spend quality time together instead of always being caught up in what has to be done. They say very few people on their death bed look back and think “I wish I had done more housework”. While there’s a need to be practical too, I am going to try to remember this more. The kids won’t remember whether or not the house was immaculate when they get older, but hopefully they will remember some of the things we did together. It’s easy to forget this in the craziness that is life. In the meantime you’ll have to excuse me. All my slacking off today means I have an important date with my ironing board this evening!
Just when you think you have it sorted. Just when you think that you are finally getting the hang of this parenting lark, you find that you are the parent of a teenager! Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry could not have been more accurate (if you can’t remember this you should really google when Kevin turns thirteen, it’s hilarious). Suddenly everything you ever thought you knew, every reaction you thought you’d have and every “not until you’re such an age” goes flying out the window as you realise to survive this challenge you’re going to have to pick your battles!
The teenage years can be a very stressful time for parent and child. It’s a difficult time for teenagers, who, while full of hormones, are dealing with growing up, finding their place in society, trying to assert some independence, and dealing with peer pressure which is at its most fierce at this stage of life. It’s also a difficult time for parents who are trying to balance allowing their child have more freedom to grow while trying to keep them safe from harm and maintain a decent relationship – all at the same time. One of the particular challenges encountered by parents is the virtual world in which our teenagers spend so much time. As adults we choose to log on to the internet. Teenager are always online. The virtual world means today’s teenagers are never away from the influence of their peers. There is a constant bombardment of snapchats, Facebook messages, updated viber groups messages with pictures and messages about who’s doing what, who got what, who went where. There is no escape from the peer group and the influence of family is pushed more to the side than it could have been in years gone by. In the virtual world there is also a pressure to engage in activities they might not otherwise consider. It’s not an easy situation to manage as most teenagers place huge importance on their virtual friends.
Compromise is essential, but so are boundaries. While no one wants to fall out with their child, it’s our job, difficult as it is, to be their parent rather than their friend. They have enough friends who’ll support them through the trauma of having a cruel mother or father who insists all electronics are left downstairs at bedtime!
Coming up with an agreement for an acceptable amount of internet usage and involving your teenager in the discussion is a good place to start. Explain your concerns. Teenagers being teenagers will always challenge what’s agreed, but try, as much as possible not to get dragged into an argument, no matter how hard your teenager pushes (not an easy ask by any stretch of the imagination). Consistency really is the key here. If you give in over an unjustified strop, you have just given them reason to have another one in the future. Less strops, generally equals less arguments. The teenage years are certainly a minefield to navigate, but I’ve met quite a few parents who’ve lived to tell the tale. So there’s hope for us all!
But baby wants to play,
He beams at me, touches my face,
So I begin to sway.
I softly sing him lullabies,
Encourage him to doze,
But he keeps smiling up at me
And wriggles baby toes.
I try another tactic,
I stroke his little cheek,
His baby blues begin to close
And ‘neath his lashes peek
My baby boy is fast asleep,
All snuggled in my arms,
And though I’m tired, I gaze at him,
Won over by his charms.
For nothing ever could foretell,
The love that I would know,
When baby came into my life,
And how that love would grow.