I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

How our morning went so VERY well

The past few weeks have been fraught with arguments and upsets so today, I decided to try and take things down a notch.  Make a REAL effort to engage and connect and not lose it.  

The girls decided to have a bath this morning, so I took them cereal in the bath, which gave me alone time downstairs to gather my thoughts, clean some of the space and make a snot smoothie since breakfast was sorely lacking.  We then ate pea pods on trampoline covered in a blanket -damn think we broke Pesach in the final hours typical!

Around 11am, Maia decided she wanted to take her balloon (which we had dressed before she would get dressed) for a walk. The walk was just under 1km(.57mile) took over 2hours, was basically round our block.  We didn't buy a thing but did come home with a bag full of goodies and it was totally (well almost) child led with absolutely no stress

First stop alteration shop, to see if my tutu was ready, I basically ripped the netting about 5minutes after putting it on and I am THE worst at sewing, also the lady said it would only be about £4, bargain.   Ellie walks in confidently goes up to the lady and asks her if they have any children's clothes, she's worked out that if she says excuse me first, she gets their attention! Thank G-d they didn't, clothes shopping is something I am gearing up for, I need to be more ready mentally!!

Next stop a toilet stop, The Bank, a pub that is behind our house that I continually forget exists and the very same one that chucked us out just after Maia was born because we'd finished our meal and were there too long after without ordering anything else????? Ellie again confidently asks where the upstairs toilets are, since she doesn't believe me when I tell her there aren't any toilets upstairs.  In reality I don't take the time to explain that the upstairs toilets she is thinking of are really a door from the upstairs seating area that leads directly down to the basement toilets.   If I wasn't taking things easy, I could have shown her all this and let her work it out for herself, so I was definitely pleased when the barman said there wasn't an upstairs toilet.  I'll show her another time.  We left with a handful of straws.  Who doesn't  love straws, black ones at that!!

The next shop to catch their eye was the Opticians, they have a children's glasses station, with teddy bears wearing glasses and multi coloured pencil shaped seats.  Anything that has those enticing array of displays MUST be ok with kids 'exploring' their surroundings...surely? Well, we left with an appointment for the girls on Saturday, so I guess they were! *phew*

Next door to the opticians is a pet shop, unfortunately for the girls they don't have any animals, just squeaky toys and bird food in giant sacks which feels great to run through your fingers. Ellie gave the staff a brush off for not dropping the stuff on the floor with a response of "I AM being careful, sometimes people drop stuff on the floor sometimes they don't" Its just as well they don't have pets, cos I am itching for guinea pigs again!

Last on this side of the road is a beautiful florist that usually has amazing floral displays in the window, corresponding to the season or festival, they also had my fav flowers outside, inside the lady was friendly and Ellie introduced herself and they talked about the straws and she gave her a bag to hold them in, but when she started ah-ah-ahing and no-no-noing to the girls who were looking at the flower bouquets, smelling the flowers and lifting the baskets gently, I knew it was time to leave.

We then crossed the road and walked back the other way to the toilet shop, not forgetting to walk along a pole fence like a tightrope walker.  I'm not sure if I have mentioned it before but Ellie absolutely ADORES the toilet shop, she loves lifting the toilet seats, examining the baths and in this store, they have blue ducks which she places in various toilets and sinks and plays hide and seek with them.  In the past, she could spend at least 30mins in the shop running about exploring showers and trying the taps.  When she was younger it seemed easier and less invasive, she was small and toddly and it endeared the staff.  I began to realise though as she got bigger and wilder that it wasn't the staffs idea of a good time, so we stopped going so much.  

This time, I armed them with the information that we were not staying long and as long as there was no screaming and shouting and noisy enjoyment, she could still do what she used to.  She tried to do it in a noisy way, but she must have known I was serious when I gently got down to her level and said, its not ok to run about shouting.  I took a slow wander around the whole shop but the enjoyment of toilets and taps were not such a pull for me today.  I was hungry, I was ready to get home.  This was the hardest shop to get out of but without things getting out of hand, me feeling out of control, the girls running riot and refusing to leave, we left with 4 ducks.  Well, when Ellie asked if she could have a duck from the BATHfull of them and the lady said 'yes, take two',  I am sure she didn't mean two each!!  

I am more than keen to get home now but its clear the girls are not ready and I know I won't be able to persuade them to cross the road and go in the back door to get home (we really are that close!) so we take a wall walk round the back of the buildings and take a small lane in the direction of home.  To most people this lane is a straight empty 180metres long lane, but with the multitude of wheely bins and open gates to unkempt back gardens(wow we are not the only ones!), it becomes a hide and seek cornucopia.  

We are so almost home, I can smell the matza but Maia suddenly refuses to walk any further.  I try the come on lets go and start walking approach, but she bursts out crying and won't budge.  I am guessing she is tired now, we are trying to wean to three times a day and she is desperate for a schluk.    I always thought I wasn't going to be one of those mothers who walks along the street with a crying child in tow....HA more fool me for being so arrogant!! We eventually opt for 10seconds but still she won't move, so piggy back it has to be.  

We finally make it home, with our goodies and opt for a trampoline lunch.  Spend the rest of the day, tidying the kitchen, sorting the laundry and playing with the girls. Ended with an Anime film and omelette.

What was so different about today that made things flow?

ME, me me (the girls made an effort too!!)

If only I knew how to keep the calm turned on like that all the time!

Meltdowns - none woohooo!!
Losing the Plot - none wooohoo!!
Breastfeeding - some woohoo!!

Monday, 25 April 2011

"To submit a suggestion, please enter a brief subject and provide additional details below. "

Let facebook know *here* how inane their "Do not send messages or post photos that contain nudity, graphic or sexually suggestive content" policy is.  

Breastfeeding is NOT obscene and to lump it in the same category as graphic or sexually suggestive is not only ludicrous but insulting too.  It contributes to perpetuating the breastfeeding myth by creating negative associations with breastfeeding.

Also, if you think putting me on the naughty step for 5 days is going to work, you clearly haven't been doing your research.

My breastfeeding pictures CLEARLY say *Do not look if don't want to see breastfeeding photos*  so stop bloody looking and leave me alone.

Breastfeeding is normal and the sooner we get back to that reality, the better LOTS of things would be.  Nothing can't be fixed with a soft boob.  

Meltdowns - sometimes wish I was still using boob to fix that one
Losing the Plot - wonder if using boob would help with that one?
Breastfeeding - boobs are there for many reasons.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Words Are Important

I spent the first year not saying no and the next year TRYING NOT to say no and now I am spending my time finding creative ways and thoughtful responses and ways to saying no...its all semantics, either way its about getting your point of view across before they become bored and walk away and do it anyway.

Does the phrase 'don't do such and such because mummy/daddy will get upset' seem an ok thing to say or is it using me as an excuse not to do something because we don't want to make mummy upset.....OHNO..cos we alllllll know what happens when mummy gets upset....or do we? because sometimes mummy gets upset, she shouts, sometimes she cries, sometimes she does nothing, sometimes she falls in a heap on the floor and sometimes she jumps up and down and shouts hullabaloo hullabaloo lets get this party started riiiiiiigggghhhhht.

I am just wondering, cos in the long run I want my kids to not do something because they choose to, not because of what I might or might not do or say...does that sound about right?

but then again, why can't I just say 'that would upset me' if you did x y z without worrying if it will cause long term damage?

If they really want to do it, who am I to stop them (and I am not talking the obvious safety stuff that is always brought up..knee jerk reaction type stuff oh yes but what if they wanted to climb the highest mountain and jump off into a pool of tiny water and cross the road at the same time- I'd give them a lift, a costume and a towel)

Maybe I should lower my level of how much something upsets me, matters, cares to me...is that my inner question?

Words are so damn important and I just feel inadequate for the mammoth task, does anyone else?

Meltdowns - on the increase for one
Losing the Plot - one the increase for one
Breastfeeding - on the decrease for the other

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Lesson '#613 Don't Leave Pesach till 3days before

So, about 11am I finally had two dressed and slightly fed (with snot smoothie icecream) children.  I sucked it up and braved another shop in Asda for some last minute Pesach needed items.  My plan was to get 6 things, we even had a list, pop into the fruit shop grab some horseradish and leave, get home with plenty of time for 'Pesaching 'out the kitchen. YEAH HA!!   

Even getting into the car took less than the usual time so I really did feel I was onto a winner here.  Maia was busy organising a tupperware of bran flakes and Ellie was chatting up the plasterer next door..in no time we were on our way. 

We arrived in the underground car park of Asda and Ellie had a minor argument with Maia (can't even remember what now) and ran off up the ramp towards the shopping centre when I tried to talk to her about it.  She waited just round the corner till she saw me and when I tried to talk to her again, she ran off again.  I wasn't worried about her running off and knew it was just because she didn't want to talk to me.  I found her inside all pleased with herself and telling me she had 'stopped and waited right her for you mummy'.  I went down to her level and 'blah blah blahed' whilst she avoided looking at me, you know the usual stuff!!

Right, next...walking past the early learning centre with the intent of shopping. HA. Maia had already spied it and was in like a shot with Ellie bringing up the rear and 'telling on' Maia for going in.  I said OK 5 mins whilst I run across to Holland and Barrett.  I love that I am able to do this now and know they will stay in the shop.  Not sure how much the shop assistants love it!  Had short chat with friend I'd bumped into in Holland and Barrett, didn't get what I was looking for....which in turn didn't show up my one fatal error.

Back to ELC where I spent a while trying to gently persuade the girls to leave after many 'I'm not ready yet's, I decided to go with the pick up and leave technique with confidence of our  next goal.  To my amazement, the upset was minimal and distracted by trolley obtaining.

OK so here is where my shopping trip starts to break down.  As mentioned before I often have trouble balancing their need to 'shop' with my need to SHOP.  They had both decided to be in the trolley...yay..I thought, until Maia spotted a basket and wanted out, to fill it.  If you ever see random things on  wrong shelves and wonder how they got there, its probably from me putting things back that Maia decided she needs to buy.  So now I have one child in the trolley who is helping me by throwing them into the trolley and one child pushing basket around choosing her own things.   Half way down the FIRST aisle, Ellie decided she needed the toilet, so I spend the next 10minutes trying to get to the toilet on the other side of shop, whilst Ellie grabbed things she could reach and NEEDED (sunglasses, jewellery, more pears) with Maia still pushing and filling her basket and disappearing behind us every so often...I reassess my time frame.  Ensconce Ellie on the disabled toilet, leave door open and search for Maia who has made it to the last stretch minus a few peoples ankles.

(in the days when staying in trolley was easier)

Decide to be firm with basket and said items and leave it in toilet (sorry asda), state my intentions once again for this to be a quick (rofl) shop, in out get what we need and go, explain that yes sometimes we get to take longer but today is not the day (Ha) and start shopping again with two children unhappily settled in trolley, passing everything saying cna we get this can we get this oh this, oh this.. manage to swap scary looking 3 strawberry cheesecake packet with Peppa Pig small chocolates and have at least 5minutes thinking time to get a few more items (now way more than my intended list of course!). Half way round, Maia wants out again and as she can climb in and out herself and I am not about to force her (as if I could anyway) to stay in trolley, she comes down.  Have ingenious idea to hang Maia from the handlebar and zoom through aisles we don't need to be in much to the dismay of several shoppers. What? We stopped before we hit you. What's the problem?  

Ellie finds herself some staff and asks for olives, the kind man was slightly bemused at having to direct a 4yr old but took it all in his stride, especially when once we arrived at olive area, Ellie then starts specifying her colour preference.  We have a conversation with a lady about what was wrong with her finger..chopping accident..and finally make it to the checkout.  OH BLOODY ASDA so many sweeties and chocolates at the checkout....I thought this had been banned??  

Leave Ellie in the  trolley unloading, to find some dishwasher tablets with Maia and return to find several dotted chocolate items all over conveyor belt, then spent what could have been hilarious 10minutes, (hilarious if it had been filmed and watched by other people) loading food onto conveyor belt whilst the girls picked up EVERY item of sweetie and chocolate at their easy hand reach, put it on the belt and me putting it back or shouting to checkout lady, we are not getting that, or that, or that.  Its at this point things get slightly more manic and in the confusion,  chocolate eggs make it through, Ellie persuades me to let her buy a bag of sweets with her £1 and I realise I have forgotten my bloody bank card. Normally when this happens , I am in shop right next to house not one 30mins away by car. I then persuade Ellie to relinquish her £1 so I can get the horseradish and beetroot (instead of shankbone, (throwback to vegetarian days) needed for the seder plate, she sort of understood the situation but when we tried to leave without her sweets we almost had a meltdown.  Had to make it very clear to her that I would definitely come back and get them.  Swiftly exited one shop, got to the fruit shop got essential items whilst simultaneously explaining to the girls that I had no money so couldn't buy any of the other food they had managed to gather whilst I was sorting  beetroot.  Maia decided to try her stash of raspberries out clearly not understanding the no money part.  Leave shop and various fruits....quickly.

Realise its now after 1pm ,the girls have had ice cream for breakfast and nothing else, nerves are slightly frazzled but resolve to drive home, get card, go back to asda get shopping, thinking of ways to leave girls in underground car park for maybe 5-10mins alone, when Ellie and Maia get into a fight in the car and Ellie whacks Maia in face with a half plastic trolley we found the day before.  I then do the ridiculously stupid and mean reaction of 'how would you like it if that happened to you?' but actually follow through and flip basket up into her head, she tries bravely to pretend it was no big deal, but soon enough I have two screaming crying upset girls in back of car and one guilty mother trying to see through my own tears as we drive away.  See beacon of light at friends shop on way home, run in and dissolve in tears behind a cupboard shielding my view from the girls.  Offer of taking girls to park quickly taken up whilst I run home get bank card, talk to hubby who helpfully suggested he phoned asda and paid over phone WHY WHY WHY didn't I think of that BEFORE I drove all the way home (was trying to be superwoman and sort it all myself..doh me) and go back to shopping centre.  Decide to stop. Have a sandwich in costa coffee feeling slightly guilty for eating there (I'm sure its an evil conglomerate selling coffee to slaves and using kids as bait or something) but enjoy the moment anyway! receive phone call from Ellie to make sure I haven't forgotten the sweets.

Finally pick up girls who have had a ball in park, thank you thank you and drive home to start sorting kitchen out.  Its now 3pm, girls haven't eaten and they start ransacking the kitchen, cracking eggs, pouring cereal on stools (too hungry for bowls) and finding biscuits down the back of the sofa.  Make omelette which isn't eaten and goats cheese tarts which aren't eaten either, but that's ok cos I have both the tarts.  Ok start with this kitchen again.  Manage one cupboard then am persuaded to watch a strange cartoons about two aliens going to exciting lands, realise I am quite comfy sitting with girls and every time I try to move am persuaded to stay put.  Finally finish one side of the kitchen in between playing on trampoline and making game out of throwing and catching food to go in cupboard with Ellie, who is delighted with her catching skills.

The kitchen still looks like a bomb site, we've hoovered twice now and expect to have it do it a few more times in run up to Monday but if the girls remember one thing about preparing for Pesach, its hopefully its that it was fun, they were included, shaking toaster outside, flinging chametz (bag of raw crackers that noone was eating) in air in back garden till it exploded without fear of upset at mess, basically it was an enjoyable event, mummy wasn't too stressed out and didn't become over focused on cleaning and ignore them all day or shout at them for getting in the way.  There was joy in the day amidst the underlying stress.

My one hope is that IF my girls decide to do their own Pesach when they grow up, they will want me around to help them in their homes...because believe me its a massive job for one wee mammy

Meltdowns - skilfully avoided , I thank you
Losing the Plot - almost but diverted with a hug, thank you Marian
Breastfeeding - of course! but not on supermarket  floor for a change

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Mummy by any other name

"She's got pony tails and big pants and slippers and long legs and that means she's mummy" Ellie 30th April 2010