Managing the Different Personalities

I’m going to level with you. Sometimes I read back my old posts. Purely as a means of reassuring myself that I can find humor amidst the utter bedlam. Whilst reading, I suddenly panicked that people would feel I am harsh to Middle. I’m not, I positively adore his personality and I will explain why. By breaking down the different personalities I deal with on a daily basis.

Eldest is obviously my first born. We share an amazing bond. When I say to him ‘my boy’ he replies ‘my girl’ and has done so since he could talk. Total mummy’s boy. Like me, he is overly sensitive and loving. He always wants ‘huggles’ and if Middle ever says anything awful to me, he is the first to reprimand him in my defense. On the other hand, unlike me, he is very logical and methodical. Quite often he is teaching me things. He absorbs any kind of information whether it be from a book, something he has been told or, tv. If you tell him he is wrong at any time, you can await an explosion of pent up frustration and tears. Clothing too can cause the same effect. He is so particular and there are fights each day. The best thing that ever happened to him was Middle. His little brother has taught him to loosen up a little and have fun, meaning that when they are together, he takes things less seriously.

Middle is totally the opposite of Eldest. Although I did everything the same with him (co-sleeping until he was eight months old) he can take or leave any kind of affection. Mainly leave it. He is not demanding in any way and very independent. Whilst Eldest will spend forever weighing up the pros and cons of certain things, Middle will just go ahead and do them and see what happens. Having fun and being cheeky is his forte. He doesn’t take anything seriously at all. I will admit to finding this endearing if not a tad embarrassing at times. When I am having a particularly bad day, I can always rely on Middle to cheer me up. Whether it’s his complete lack of being able to stay in his bed at night without falling out, him proclaiming to ‘hate girls’ yet spending most of his days shouting ‘girls girls’ to the little one’s next door and the fact that a year later, when I pick him up from nursery, he still says ‘I didn’t pee my pants today- yeah!.’

Baby (can I even still call him that? I’m going to as technically he will always be my baby) is a mixture of both of them. Obviously, it’s hard to tell fully but, I can see his personality traits beginning to emerge. He is very loving. Even more so than Eldest ever was. Random kisses and cuddles are doled out to everyone. He refuses to go to bed each night without having kissed everyone (much to Eldest’s dismay due to the slobbery ones he bestows). But, he also has an enormous temper on him for someone who looks so cute. You can’t give one of the others something without him throwing an absolute hissy fit. Even if he doesn’t like what it is in the first place. He is also prone to jealousy which the others weren’t. If I give one of them a cuddle, he will be straight over crying for me and saying ‘cuddle’. Though, weirdly, he too can take or leave me. Complete man’s man. Shown by his obsession with daddy and papa. He rarely says ‘ma ma’ unless he is in the throes of a fit and still hasn’t got what he wants. I’ve also noticed recently that he is beginning to be quite reckless just like Middle. Flinging himself off things and realising it was a bad idea only afterward. He also picks up on any naughty thing Middle says and try’s to repeat it. Most notably, this week, he too has started shouting at the girl’s next door. Those poor girlies are going to be tortured next summer with two of them doing it.

So see, all entirely different but the same in certain ways. All with their own individual needs and wants, meaning I have to adapt accordingly to each one. I could be dealing with a clothes meltdown from Eldest whilst Middle is flinging himself off the sofa and Baby is throwing a right tantrum because I haven’t given him a Babybel (he hates them anyways). It’s no wonder I’m going slightly mental some days! Not that I would be without any of them or their personalities. The good ones and the bad.

** After I typed this I went to pick Eldest up from his first day at school and Middle and Baby from nursery. Upon getting Baby, he pointed at a little girl. The nursery assistant advised that she had just come up from the baby room and it was her first day in toddler room. I began to fuss over her. Baby danders straight over and slaps her across the face. FML. Pure jealousy from him and embarrassment for mum.**

Summer Summed Up

Well it’s official. The summer holidays are very nearly over. Whilst it has been fun (on occasions), I am ready to get to grips with our new routine. A routine that will involve three drop offs and pick ups at different locations and, at differing times. I’m almost certain I will forget to collect one of them at some stage!

Eldest is back to school on Wednesday and is not one bit happy about the prospect. ‘Are you excited to head back to school this week?’ I enquired of him the other day. ‘Of course not, school is boring and I hate it’. P2 bodes well. I have enjoyed spending time alone with him though have found it difficult to keep him entertained at times. I resorted to arranging play date after play date just so he had company. What I’ve learnt is, play dates with five year old’s are stressful. One minute they are playing nicely and the next they have monumentally fallen out over something stupid like a tv programme. ‘But when I’m at his house he just watches whatever he likes so now he’s at mine, I’m going to watch what I want’. Yeah, that’s not how it works son. I realised, probably later than I should have, that it was best to take them out somewhere and away from the house.

We’ve visited lots of fun, local places this summer. Notably, Hillsborough Castle for a tour, a week in Ballycastle exploring/swimming/non swimming and yesterday we went to the Shoreline Festival. All was going so well until eldest pleaded to go on the bumper cars. One minute in and he was crying profusely. All I could do was yell in a panic (baby on hip) for him to get to the side as I had no way of getting to him through the throng of cars. He had badly hurt himself and was frightened when people kept bumping into him. Once the ordeal was over, he was reflective in a way that only eldest can be. ‘Those adults should not be allowed on the bumper cars mum. It’s like they’ve spent their whole lives going on bumper cars and still crash into kids. Which isn’t fair as for some kids it’s only their first time on one and it’s scary. I don’t think it’s fair or thoughtful of them’. In his defense I do this when on bumper cars too. The kids are much more fun to bump into and sure, it’s only a laugh. But, point taken on board son.

Middle’s last day of his private nursery is Wednesday before taking up his free pre school place next Monday. I feel all emotional about it as he has come on leaps and bounds at it and I am worried about how he will deal with the transition to a new nursery. As you all know he does not lack personality and is also in pocession of a rather rude vocabulary. I am just praying he avoids using it for the first few weeks at least. ‘hello poo face’, ‘I hate girls ‘ and ‘you stupid’ will not a good impression make! He has also spent most of the summer randomly falling out of his bed each night. I don’t know why this is happening as nothing about his bed has changed. We all just wait for the thud now, roll our eyes and run upstairs to reposition him.

Most of all, this summer will be remembered for baby finally walking. Something that I longed for and worried about only to realise what a fool I had been. My life is now more chaotic as he danders off slowly then makes an absolute break for it running at surprising speed. For the first time with any of them, I am going to have to purchase some reins as he just cannot be trusted. He has also started to say ‘hello poo poo’ this week too. Which will further add to my embarrassment when in contact with fellow humans.

After writing all of this, I’m thinking getting rid of them for half a day everyday will be a good thing. The summer holidays were good whilst they lasted but, the fun and games are over. See ya kiddos!

** I am still working on the podcast idea and learning what I have to do. I also have to somehow get my sister free to do it**

O School, School, Wherefore Art Thou School?

Are the school holidays over yet? Seriously, how long have they been going on for? I feel like they’ve been ongoing for decades now. I am starting to lose the will to live on all fronts. The only part of me not wishing them to be over is the dreaded cost of the school uniform shop. I have yet to pluck up the courage to undertake it. I really must do that as I have two sets to purchase this year. Maybe next week eh?

Eldest is driving me bonkers trying to keep him entertained over the whole summer. He hates soft play now as, ‘it’s for babies and boring’. Fantastic, considering most of the summer has been a complete wash out. To remedy this, I have been arranging play date after play date. Each play date has descended into utter chaos however due to bloody Pokémon cards. At one stage he tried to swap ALL his cards (200) for ONE card his friend had. Um, hello? I am the one who’s bought them all, I don’t think so! When we got invited to a beautiful day out at Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday (the Queen’s residence whilst staying in Northern Ireland) and, I was explaining to him all the activities we would partake in, he responded ‘this is just a way to expel my energy. Like, that’s what adults do. Just try and expel kid’s energy’. How does he even know the word ‘expel’ at five? Also, how does he get that that is in fact what we do? In the end he had the best day ever, as I expected he would. I highly recommend bringing your kid’s there during the rest of the summer holidays. The scenery was vast and breath takingly beautiful and the tour of the castle itself was so interesting. Goss: The Queen’s living room smelt of stale smoke. So maybe she likes the odd cigar whilst lounging on her sofa when she’s over here. I can see her now in her dressing gown, watching Gogglebox and puffing away! **Don’t sue me Liz**

In other news, Middle’s behaviour is becoming worse by the day! He seems to be so well behaved in nursery yet his behaviour is utterly appalling when home. No amount of naughty step is working. He seems to get a kick out of any punishment, laughing in response to me losing my sh#t. He is also up half the night nearly every night. I’m exhausted and have come to the conclusion that it’s an attention thing. Yet I am unsure what to do as all them get equal attention. I maybe need to spend a day with just myself and him, make him feel special? I also have to try and get him to stop calling people ‘poo poo face’, telling people ‘mummy pees everywhere’ (no, that’s all you son) and stripping in the garden and trying to expose his winky to all and sundry. He cannot be left unsupervised for even a second. But, he is too young to end up on any kind of register. For that, we can only be thankful. Hopefully he adjusts ok with the change in nursery come September. I pray that it won’t serve to make him even more cray cray.

Baby is walking completely now. You all know how worried I was about how long it was taking. But, he has gone from 0 -100 the minute he knew he could do it. He danders from room to room now causing utter carnage. This week, unbeknownst to me, he turned the washing machine off. He also turned the oven down two days in a row, thus resulting in our dinner not being ready on time. Arrggh! The stairs are his new playground now as he has realised he can get up and down them with ease. Much to the detriment of my nerves! I brought him to the park yesterday, without him having a nap, and he went absolutely mad climbing up everything and going up and down the slide like he had been doing it his whole life. I honestly thought he would be my easiest one when really I am beginning to realise that he may be the worst. Because, he is watching both of them and emulating their behaviour (the good but, mostly the bad). So, forget the naughty step (it clearly doesn’t work) and forget reward charts (they only work for a short period of time), this Mama needs to come up with a new plan. Do military boot camps exist for kids? Please summer holidays, will you just be over already?!!

Looking like he just knows he rules the roost
Eldest at Hillsborough Castle

Chasing Away the Mum Guilt

I have a confession to make. I have been doing CBT for awhile now. No, I haven’t started smoking some kind of new age cannabis oil to relieve my stress (not after a whole day spent in an Amsterdam coffee shop resulted in me mistakenly determining that I was being abducted by ISIS). Actually, I have been attending weekly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions. Because, lets face it, anti depressants are only masking things. They will never fix the negative thoughts that lead to me actually feeling depressed in the first place.

My session yesterday really got me thinking and I knew right away that it would help some of you also. I was explaining how, when I shout at the kids after a very long day, I feel awful. That I go to bed mulling it over and over and regretting why I hadn’t just taken a deep breath and got on with it. How, the next day I will apologise profusely to whichever boy got the yelling at. She stopped me there and then and asked ‘what do you do when you receive a compliment Grace?’. I was slightly taken aback. ‘Huh?’ I responded. ‘Well’ she said, ‘you’ve just told me you run a mum blog. A blog were you show that motherhood isn’t perfect. That it’s difficult, yet here you are beating yourself up. What do you do when a fellow mum let’s say, gives you a compliment?’. I thought of my besties and how they are always bolstering me. Of all the lovely messages I get from you all thanking me. ‘I feel like I don’t deserve compliments and usually list all the reasons why the compliment is wrong’ I honestly replied. ‘How do you think that makes the person who has given you it feel?’ she enquired earnestly. I dissolved into floods of tears. ‘It probably makes them feel shit’ I said, through sobs. ‘I don’t want to make anyone feel that way’ I added. She nodded.

The session continued with her giving me some homework. She asked me to write down every negative thought I have. It’s 10am as I type this and I have written half an A4 page. She also asked me to write down every compliment I receive. From 7pm yesterday, I have a full A4 page. One friend told me I have inspired her as a mother, one told me I’m great at twerking (which I’m not but, god loves a trier!) and one told me I am so good at giving others confidence. Normally I would have argued that these compliments weren’t warranted nor, deserved. Instead, I replied to everyone ‘thank you for the compliment’. Because their compliment made me feel good and I want them to feel good for having given me it.

It really is as simple as changing how you react in your own mind. Instead of thinking ‘I am a bad mum, I shouted so much today’, we should say ‘it was a long day and, we are human’. God knows we all got yelled at and we turned out ok. Well, my mum might disagree! Let’s all try and be more positive. Because, at the end of the day, if we survive each day with everyone still alive- that’s utterly fantastic! You are all doing great. You can reply ‘thank you for the compliment’:)

School Shenanigans , Sun and Not Much Fun….

This week began with eldest returning home from school on Monday with a note advising that his class would be putting on a talent show. The letter asked that any child with a discernible talent put themselves forward to perform. ‘ Do you have a talent you would like to showcase to all your class mates?’ I asked eldest eagerly, full of hopes of dreams. ‘No, I don’t have a talent mum, anyways it sounds sooooo stupid!’ he replied. ‘Everyone has a talent, think of something you are good at’ I implored. He pondered for awhile then confidently answered ‘I am really good at farting in people’s faces’. Give me strength! Safe to say he didn’t partake and observed instead.

Later that evening the P1 mum’s WhatsApp group was going into meltdown. ‘What do they have to wear tomorrow for the trip?’. ‘Um, what trip?’ I sheepishly sent. ‘The farm trip, I think they need wellies’. FML I had completely forgotten that he was going on that. I cannot keep up with the constant letters advising of colour runs (next Friday), sports day (the following Friday) and summer fair (the Saturday after). I’m beginning to think it’s better if the kids are tattooed with each date for the diary at the start of the year, thus ensuring no one can forget. It’s only a bit of ink. Between these dates and all the bloody birthday parties I have to remember. Aw the social life of a five year old! Maybe I’m just jealous?

Middle is his usual, laid back self. His latest thing this week is telling me when I shout at him to stop or  ‘you will never see me ever again’. Not sure if that’s a threat, sounds like quite the offer to me. Another new one is taking off his trousers and pants, jumping repeatedly on the trampoline and screaming ‘girls, girls’ at the ones next door like some kind of walking hormone. I keep having to speed out and redress him before the little girls are permanently traumatised. The sun is fun until these sort of things occur then it’s just plain stressful. He did get a full time pre school place which I was totally shocked about. I’m not complaining however. I just hope they know what they’ve let themselves in for. Hopefully he manages to keep his clothes on until the settling in period is over at least.

Baby has finally taken a few unaided steps. Praise the lord!! He has also been throwing some almighty tantrums which seems a bit early to me. Maybe he is just giving me a glimpse into how severe the two year old ones will be. I dyed my hair dark at the weekend as was so sick of dealing with the roots. Being blonde, broke and having kids is not a good combination. He took one look at me and burst into tears petrified. He didn’t realise it was me. Not only this but he refused to come near me for a whole day. Maybe I’m onto something there….. **stocks up on varying shades of all hair dyes**.

This week I’ve Mainly Been….. Surviving Getting the House Painted and Middle’s Third Birthday Party

A few weeks ago I decided that all of downstairs needed to be painted. Matt paint and three boys doth not a good combination make. They have annihilated all my walls, a point highlighted even more with the sun making an appearance lately! It’s all well and good having a plan of any kind with kids, it’s the execution that’s the problem.

The painter would be working from 9am to 5pm for three days straight so, we would have to make ourselves scarce. Off we went to stay with nanna with what felt like ten bags of clothes and miscellenous crap, including teddies. The dog would also have to stay so her bed, insulin and food also had to come with us. It  never ceases to amaze me how much stuff I can fit into that Skoda Fabia of mine, including us!

Boy’s arrive at nanna’s and go absolutely mental at the sheer novelty of getting to stay there. Jumping off every bed, the sofa and demanding sweets from the sweet drawer. Meanwhile I run around like a mad woman trying to organise their clothing, by kid, in the chest of drawers. Dog is only permitted in nanna’s garage so every hour or so I have to put her lead on her and bring her to pee outside. She is also fully blind now and, not knowing her surroundings there, walks into everything going.

The boy’s newest thing is farting in my face which is positively disgusting. No amount of naughty step or toy’s being taken away is solving this. Mainly because they are in cahoots together with it. The only saving grace being at nanna’s provided was, the fact they  now directed said farts in papa’s face. Savages but at least my face is spared for once. Nighttime was so stressful. Eldest and middle would be sharing a room and myself and baby another one. The moment I went to bed, all three were in with me. Fighting continually over whose side I was on and who got cuddles. Meh, the days they want cuddles will soon be long gone. Even eldest is starting to waiver on the cuddle front. I decide to enjoy it whilst only getting a few hours sleep.

Having survived two nights at nanna’s it was onto middle’s third birthday. What to get him? ‘I think he’d like a swing for the garden’ hubby suggested. ‘That’s not reckless enough for middle, I think he’d prefer a trampoline. Plus, they will all get use out of it over the summer’ I countered. I left this part to hubby whilst I bought Lego and all the other surprises. The evening before his party, we decided to construct said trampoline. Now, my neighbours who are elderly have just double fenced their fence for some privacy. What do we do? Erect a 10ft trampoline in the garden so the kids can practically bounce over their fence. 10ft hubby??? Our tiny bit of garden no longer exists but, best money ever spent as boy’s have been on it continually. I’m sure the neighbours will disagree entirely. Party was a success. We invited some of middle’s friends and also some of eldest’s as I figure he won’t get a party as his birthday in August and school off (perfect excuse to save money).

That brings me to this week and middle’s antics again. He has been potty trained for how long now? Ages. Yet every time I go to get him from the pre school room, he has had an accident. Not an accident per se, just not pulling his trousers all the way down. I’m exasperated! Is it the change of room in nursery or laziness? Who knows. ‘You must make sure your trousers are down’ I implored upon picking him up today and realising he was in his spare clothes. He looks at me and laughs hysterically. ‘Just a wee accident, I pwromiseee not do it again’ he says. I heard that last week son. Arggghhhh!!! That one certainly keeps me on my toes.

Baby is standing up on his own, pulling himself along things yet still not fully walking. I’m beginning to get worried now. I know he can do it yet every time I stand him up, he stands there for ages then flings himself to me laughing. Seems he has inherited the reckless gene (fml). The health visitor is referring him if he hasn’t walked by 18 months. Any one else had this issue? Both the others walked quickly. My MIL always said ‘they focus on walking or talking’. It’s so true as eldest took longer walking but was great at talking, middle opposite (walking before he was even one) and baby is good with his talking right now. Kids, always a worry!