When kid’s get sick…. FML

Baby has been ill from the weekend. Infact, it has been a royal barf fest for days now. Not only that but, he hasn’t slept. As always, when they are sick, responsibility seems to fall to one person and one person only- mum. Whether you are a single mother or, have a partner, chances are it will be left up to you. Mainly because they want you and, only you but, also due to the fact that men can magically sleep through hours of high pitched screaming and projectile vomiting. Do you think that’s an evolutionary thing or a purely can’t be arsed thing? Answers on a postcard!

Being two nights minus sleep doth not bode well for anyone but, it especially doth not bode well for a day full of terrible two navigating/defusing and school runs. As hubby sauntered off to work wishing me good luck, I wanted to scream. After a night spent on the sofa, blissfully dreaming, he positively skipped out ala Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Arrgghh!!!

He had no sooner stepped out the front door when middle who, I had somehow managed to dress despite being half asleep, decided to remove every item of clothing, bend over in my face, smack his belly then, his bottom and yell “belly, belly, bum, bum!”. The view was most certainly unpleasant, I can assure you. What is wrong with him? I decided the only way forward was some lazy parenting. Paw Patrol and Netflix it would have to be until I managed to get baby resembling some kind of presentable human being. Middle settled, I bathed baby. Five minutes after removing him from the bath and, dressing him, he simultaneously managed to barf and explode at the same time. Why God, why? Refill bath and repeat process. Right, one clean baby (for now), maybe I am winning again. Attempt to dress middle again only for him to remove all the items as fast as I put them on him. “Be naked then, I can’t face it anymore!” I wail to him. His response? Maniac laughing followed swiftly be the new, standard saying, “you stupid mummy!”. Naughty step it is (repeat this ten times). Like where are you Super Nanny? How do I apply? Deep breaths….

School run completed, homework done and, dinner on, I eventually calmed. Baby was napping, the sheets were all washed and, I was finally in control again. Thirty minutes later baby was awake and crying. Upon retrieving him, I was confronted by the sight of my freshly washed sheets re-barfed over. Fan-f#cking-tastic! By the time hubby came home, I was getting to the rocking back and forth stage. “God, why are you so moany?” he implored. BIG MISTAKE. “Why? Why?. Maybe because I haven’t slept in days yet still had to do everything I normally do. Maybe because I’ve spent all day dressing a toddler only for him to get on like he is auditioning for the Full Monty every thirty minutes. Maybe, because of this, I’ve had to stare repeatedly at an arse all day whilst being declared ‘stupid’. Even after all this, I am now making dinner for you”. “Sorry I asked, I just won’t talk then” he responded terrified. Acceptable answer.

I decided I would go bath baby for the third time but, get in with him to try and force myself to relax and unwind. Ten minutes later the bathroom door flies open and middle dives bombs head first into the bath with us. Maybe not then………………

 

An open letter to the mum shamers

Dear mum shamer/would be shamer

Middle was up so many times on Saturday night. Not only did he awake repeatedly, he took the most monumental of tantrums and cried himself a river (a la Justin T) everytime he did so. This is not middle. He doesn’t make a point of doing this all the time infact, he values his sleep. I went in, cuddled him, told him it was all ok then left. I repeated the same process a few times. By 12pm I had royally lost the will to live and, was concerned he would wake up the other two boys. I brought him downstairs for some cuddles on the sofa. He asked that I put Paw Patrol on. I posted a video to my page of his attempts at speaking to our Google Home which, I found quite hilarious considering the stress I’d dealt with for an hour. After a few Paw Patrol episodes, we went to bed. I brought him into our bed because I was too tired to argue by this stage. Shoot me!

I awoke on Sunday morning to a comment under that video. A comment that basically asked why my toddler was allowed to watch Paw Patrol in the first place and not put back to bed instead. This is the second such comment I have received from this stranger. I burst into tears. I felt so awful. Infact, I felt like a bad mum.  I replied to that comment in a way that wasn’t a true reflection of how I felt. I didn’t want to upset that person the way in which they had upset me but, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. This person was not just attacking me (as the comments proved) she was attacking every other mother that reads my blog and appreciates the honesty contained within it. THAT, I have a problem with. Let’s get some things straight going forward:

  • We are all on the same journey here. The wonderful/stressful journey of motherhood. If I choose to go visit a country, I might choose to travel to it via a different route than another person. We will still end up at the same place though, right?
  • You do what works for your own, individual family and their needs. Maybe one of your kids needs a proper nights sleep otherwise they cause chaos the following day, resulting in everyone being miserable and a day ruined. Maybe it’s been a long day and you just do not have any energy left to give. Every night is different with children, as is every day.
  • No child is the same. Funny that but, somehow they all seem to have their own personalities. We adjust our parenting technique with all of them because we have to. They all have their own individual needs. For example, eldest needs utter routine, middle thrives on chaos and baby hasn’t decided what his mould will be. When he does, I will adjust to that too. That is my job as their mother- to understand their individual needs and react accordingly. No matter what age they may be.
  • I don’t judge others and, never will. How you choose to raise your children is nothing to do with me. At the end of the day, all that matters is that your children are happy. All I am doing is sharing my side of this journey. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.
  • We are all entitled to our opinions. Free speech is what makes us question things after all. What I don’t like is someone using that freedom in a negative manner. That comment was read by everyone on Sunday morning. Maybe even someone who had had a worse night than me with their kids. Single mothers up doing it all alone, mums with newborns and probably mum’s up with sick children.
  • This blog was started mainly as therapy. I used to write individual books for the boys each week about what they had done that week. This made my life easier and, my hand less cramped. I also felt it important to share the not so perfect side so fellow mums knew they weren’t alone. Society feeds us a certain image of what we should be like and, what we should do.
  • I want this blog to be about uplifting each other, celebrating surviving another week and discussing what disasters we have encountered that week. What I don’t want is someone who deems it acceptable to drag others down. We are all just doing what we can to navigate all these stages.
  • Speaking of stages, we are all at different ones. Maybe some of us have older kids, others younger ones. Each stage brings its own set of problems. How you deal with them is up to you as a parent. I can only share what I am going through now.

In conclusion, from here on in, I will defend my followers when things like this happen and not just stand back. Because I started this blog to counteract all this perfection and show parenthood warts and all. We may not agree with the choices other’s make but, if it works for them so be it. In future, if you have free time and want to troll, I suggest the Daily Mail comments section. Always some mum bashers/bashers of everything on there. Check out the featured image, at the top, to be reminded of exactly what is important. Please share this so we can eradicate this mum shaming. x

Regards,

Grace (You and Me Plus Three)

This week I have mainly been…. back to losing my shit (again)

I haven’t had a week like this week in a long time! Maybe some kind of zen-like calmness had descended upon me previously and, now I have just reverted back to normal? No matter what, it’s safe to say that I am back to royally losing the plot.

Letters from eldest’s school seem to be materialising in his school bag at the same rate owls first brought letters to Harry Potter at Privet Drive. Every time I open it, there is an avalanche of them! I am running out of room on my calendar for all the events and activities I am supposed to remember. Don’t they realise I am still suffering from baby brain and teethingitis? My lack of memory became quite apparent this week when, I completely forgot that there was a parents curriculum talk on Tuesday evening at his school. Had I not have overheard two other parents talking about it on Tuesday’s afternoon pick up, none of us would have been there. I frantically text hubby- ‘Bugger, curriculum talk at school at 6:30 pm tonight. Must have missed it in the billion’s of letters. One of us will have to go as surely a shit parent alert will trigger if we don’t’. He came back saying no worries, we will sort it out. I text him that at 1 pm. Come 6:30 pm, I was still waiting on him returning home from work. He had forgotten all about it! Cue a mad dash to the school to hear all about what amazing things eldest will be learning about. Phonics, mainly. Wtf are phonics? They sound like a highly confusing method and one that is certain to drive me around the bend (more than usual).

Crisis avoided on the talk front, I diverted my attention to the physio appointment I had to attend at the hospital on Wednesday (mother, eldest and baby in tow). I had been referred the day I was discharged after having baby. Apparently, my stomach muscles have come apart. I hadn’t even realised this if I’m honest. What I had realised however was that, since middle, I have had a rather attractive hernia right at my belly button. Where there used to be a pretty, sparkly, belly bar after eldest, I now sport a bulging lump of my abdominal wall. Rawrrr! As much as I am making light of the above, it does make me highly self-conscious. Especially, as middle loves nothing more than pointing at my tummy and proclaiming “eugh!”. Charming. Upon attending my appointment, at Antrim Hospital, I met with the most amazing Physiotherapist. She explained every little detail before even examining me. She described how us superwomen’s bodies take such a battering during childbirth. How, like breaking an arm, things take time to heal. It made me think about how us women tend to beat ourselves up about how our bodies aren’t perfect after carrying and, giving birth to babies. Because put simply like that (using a broken arm as an example), it would take us years and years to fully recover! Celebrities have a lot to answer for this and, mainly the Kardashians. Don’t you ever find it strange how they all disappear for ages after having kid’s then, reemerge even slimmer and better than ever? When do they ever disappear otherwise? Oh, to have their surgeon! Turn’s out my stomach muscles are actually quite strong (I don’t know how) and, my main issue is the hernia. Now I find myself questioning, do I put myself through surgery (which eldest seems quite fearful of when I explain it) or, do I embrace the reminder kids have left me with? I  went through my teens with stretch marks galore and, a doctor told me, ‘it would only get way worse when I had kids’. I, fortunately, didn’t get many. So, my hernia is almost like my tiger stripes. It takes a lot to harbour a baby and, even more to birth one. There is a reason why we, as women, are the chosen sex to do this. We may not get equal pay ladies, but we can have babies, bear the scars and, still be gorgeous! Maybe it’s time we embrace the bodies childbearing left us with? All we have to do is look at them to see that the sacrifice of our bodies, was a small price to pay (when they aren’t being little shits, of course!). I think it is vitally important that our generation sticks with the girl power theme. The Spice Girl’s didn’t work that hard nor, flaunt all that flesh for nothing (sarcasm).

In other news, upon picking eldest up from school on Friday, I observed he had his trousers on fully back to front. He had PE that day so, had to dress himself afterwards. “Why are your trouser’s back to front?” I asked. “Are they?” he replied, “I did everything you said and put the label to the back mummy”. I rolled my eyes, out of his vision of course. When we got home and, I removed the trousers, it became clear that Tesco’s had decided to place the label at the front of the trousers. My bad son! Why Tesco’s, why?

Middle also insists on more bonkers outerwear every day that we pick him up. The other day he had to wear eldest’s coat (three sizes too big) and a helmet. He also had to bring his ride on bike (again). I cannot deal with the tantrums anymore, so he can wear whatever he likes and look as insane as he likes.

Baby is now capable of feeding himself and it is utter carnage! Food all over him, up the walls and all over the dog. I forgot about this messy stage arrgghh! See featured picture for the evidence.

This week I have mainly been…. party planning and getting exasperated by middle

Eldest is going to be five years old on Tuesday. I cannot believe it! Where has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday that he was a baby and I was pacing up and down the hall thinking “oh my god, what have I done!”. Obviously, I wouldn’t change a thing. I just wasn’t expecting everyone to be correct about the whole lack of sleep thing. I actually thought they were all exaggerating- duh!

“What do you want to do for your birthday?” I asked him last week. I will admit to being thoroughly disorganised this year what with having three of them now and potty training one. “I would like a Super Mario party in the house” he replied. Oh bugger! There is nothing quite worse than a kid’s party let alone a kid’s party in your house. The tidying up of middle’s second birthday party is still ingrained on my memory as it was only in May. “Um, ok then” I said, “I guess we did that for Owen so, if that’s what you want to do, we will do it”. I set about ordering a few Mario related paraphernalia off Amazon in a panic. Party bags, a load of crap to put inside them, banners and paper plates etc. When the party bag pruck arrived, I decided to finally be organised and set about sorting them. Could I find said party bags that had arrived a few days prior? No, I could not. “You opened them on the top of the stairs” I said to eldest, “so where are they?”. “I don’t know!” he replied. “What do you mean you don’t know? I specifically said to you not to open them as they were for your friends!” I wailed. Having searched the whole house and, being unable to locate them, I gave up. What arrived the next day? The fu#king party bags! I mean, what in the name is going on in my head? I can vividly see myself opening them and eldest doing a runner with them. I am seriously losing the plot and, any wonder! This is almost as bad as that time I put my mobile in the fridge and spent two days trying to find it.

Next I began to think about food. Kid’s are easily pleased at parties. Cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, pizza- the usual. But, what about the adults? I quickly decided upon a chicken curry. Bung it in the slow cooker in the morning, cook some rice- job’s a good un! “That doesn’t really show a lot of effort” hubby moaned. “It’s a kid’s party, what will people be expecting? Some kind of A La Carte menu? They should just be happy they aren’t getting a bowl of super noodles” I responded. “I will make a curry from scratch then” he countered. “That’s grand, just don’t be complaining to me when it’s Sunday morning, we are trying to get three kid’s bathed and looking presentable, cleaning and, you are trying to cook with madness ensuing all around” I stated. It remain’s to be seen how Sunday will go, but, I imagine all the above will occur and, as always, I will be right. Men never listen and we will no doubt be like that Father Ted couple come guest’s arriving. “You fecking arsehole!” “Awk hello Mary how are you?”.

Middle is also becoming less of a baby by the minute and, this week, managed to go to nursery in pants and have zero accidents. This did not, however, continue when home. Instead he decided to wet himself at every opportunity. Didn’t I say he likes to surprise me? Two steps forward, five steps back. I will have to ask nursery what, if anything, they are doing different there that is ensuring no accidents. I cannot believe I have to do all this again with baby in a few years time. I really thought middle would be the last one I would have to potty train. FML. I am being quite harsh obviously as he has done so well considering he is so young.

In other news baby is back to normal and sleeping through. This deserves a party in itself! I also got my hair done again last night and, have decided, that this is going to be the norm from now on. I had three cup’s of tea whilst getting my colour on and, I think the girl was ready to throttle me. She probably thought ‘I’m only asking out of courtesy, you don’t have to keep accepting’. But, I had been let out for the evening so, why not! Upon getting my hair washed, I realised that this had been a very bad idea indeed. What with the bladder issues after having three kids. The hairdresser was spending forever doing a relaxing indian head massage with the conditioner and all I could think of was “I am about to wet myself right here and right now”. After she had finished, I ran like Forrest Gump to the bathroom and checked my phone whilst there. This is what confronted me:

I had been away one hour by that point! This is why I never leave them. Keep you all posted on the fu#kery that is the party on Sunday!

This week I have mainly been… potty training middle and being let down by eldest (again).

On Saturday, I rather impulsively decided to potty train middle. Why do I do these things? I stripped him bare, showed him the potty, got eldest to do a pee on it and, awaited the magic happening. He kept sitting on it every ten minutes, getting off and exclaiming “no pee mummy!”. The next time he called me, in between cleaning, I was quite blase. But, it turns out he had actually done one. “Well done Owen!” we all shouted. “High five!”. What a smart little boy I inwardly contemplated. He then did a poo on it and, several other pees. “This boy is a genius” I excitedly announced to hubby. Then he peed on the kitchen chair. “Maybe not” I amended. After this slight mishap, he resumed going to the potty. I informed nursery of his success and they advised that I just bring pants the following day as he was doing so well. I packed lots of pants and a multitude of change of clothes. I then went to pick him up on Wednesday full of hopes and dreams that he had done amazing. Well, he had staunchly refrained from going to the potty once there. Not only that, he had had so many accidents that, they had ran out of spare clothing so had to put a nappy on him! Way to make me appear delusional son. Once home, I stripped him and off he went to the potty peeing away, without even having to be asked. Why is he doing this at home and nowhere else? I then noticed him going out to the back garden. This is not unusual as it’s normally to grab a bike and bring it inside to torture me. I went out after him though as I just had a bad feeling. There he was, squatting on the stones and doing a poo. Just like our dog. I think this is almost worse than poo flinging gate. My poor neighbours! What will he do next?

In other news, on Wednesday I took eldest to see Incredibles 2 at the local cinema. My sister and nephew joined us. I drove us all and, eldest and nephew were having deep conversations in the back whilst I caught up with my sister. She is a midwife and was telling me about being back at work, following maternity leave and, performing her first stitching procedure after a birth. I started telling her about mine after baby and how a doctor had come in after to check it and, rather unexpectedly, put his finger ahem, up my bottom. I was asking her if that is the norm (it is). Well, didn’t eldest hear this? He then spent the rest of the drive shouting “doctor shoved finger up mummy’s bum” and laughing hysterically. Sister found this all very hilarious, myself too initially. That is until he proclaimed the same sentence to the ticket man at the front desk. He looked seventeen, if even, and is probably still utterly traumatised. I’m sure he is still pondering what type of relationship I have with my doctor. What do you do in situations like this? Do you even bother to explain the context? I decided not to and just stood there mortified, wanting the ground to swallow me up whole. Note to self that eldest is officially a parrot and to say nothing ever again in his presence. Can also never go back to that cinema again which is highly annoying. On the plus side, the film was very good.

Next week has got to be better!

This week I have mainly been… loving me some middle!

Middle has officially stopped ‘poo flinging’. I have never been happier to type that sentence! Who would have thought I would even have to type that in the first place? Kids…..

The other day I took all three boys to the local park as I had no petrol and, no energy to go far after musical beds with eldest the night prior. When we arrived lots of other children were there, mainly older boys and some younger girls. The boy’s presence served to make eldest retreat into his shell. Middle, however, took it as some sort of challenge. Off he strutted like some kind of peacock, yelling incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo and pointing at them. “Why is he doing that?” I asked eldest. “I don’t know,” he said shrugging and rolling his eyes. I left him playing at the kid’s slide and went to help eldest navigate his way to the fireman’s pole. As eldest was about to take a leap of faith, I look over and observe middle single-handedly pushing all the older boys on the roundabout. He has only just turned two, surely he shouldn’t even have the strength to do that? Once eldest was down the pole and, middle had ceased offering his pushing services, I instructed them to go make friends whilst I sat with baby.

Having only just plonked my arse on the bench, I see middle hurtling towards me at full speed with the whole of the park running behind him. He has only stolen and, done a runner with, one of the boys band sticks. I take it off him and apologise to the boy in question for my son being a rampant, shameless thief. Everything is calm. Not for long. Middle has now stolen their ball and is running around the park dribbling it like Ronaldo, whilst they all chase after him trying to retrieve it. FMAL! I leave baby again to join the ball chase. Either I am wholly unfit or, middle is a very fast runner. It takes forever but, I eventually get the ball back. Exhausted,  I instruct them to burn off more energy. They then spend some time being relatively well behaved. That is, until middle decides to keep opening the park gate and running away multiple times. “Right, that’s it!” I yell. “We are all going home as Owen is being a complete nightmare”. Off we go to leave. Middle suddenly doesn’t want to go. “Let’s just leave and see what he does, that will teach him not to follow orders” I inform eldest. “But I don’t want to leave him, what if he doesn’t come?” worries eldest. “Of course he will come, he will be petrified at the mere thought we have left him on his own!” I smugly respond. We leave the park and walk halfway down the path adjacent. I glance back, ready to witness middle realising the enormity of his bad decision making. But, there he was, entirely non plused, solo see-sawing and loving life! Eldest would have been scared witless at the sheer prospect of me leaving, I underestimated middle.  Off I went to grab him and escorted a kicking and screaming toddler back to the car.

Later on that day, I was sitting on the sofa struggling to stay awake after the disastrous trip that was the park and the stresses of dressing eldest that morning. Middle saunters in, climbs up beside me and, out of nowhere clearly says, “love you, mummy!”. He then asks if I would like “a cuddle”. I felt tears welling in my eyes as this is the very first time he has ever said those things and, it really did come from nowhere. The day’s fuc#ery had now been replaced with the best memory ever- his first I love you. It’s amazing to me how stressful days can be but how, a cuddle, kiss and even some thoughtful words, can make it all worthwhile. My boy’s drive me bonkers but there are no other people I would rather have doing so. Especially as they give the best cuddles going! I’m going to try and remember these moments when they are putting me through the FML moments. Try being the word.

 

 

How to survive a toddler A.K.A pint sized dictator:

Toddlers are such great fun, aren’t they? I mean, they are becoming more independent, can do some things for themselves and their personalities are beginning to emerge which makes them appear quite cute. Don’t be fooled however, the ‘terrible two’s’ are no laughing matter. If you have a two-year-old or, have surpassed this stage, you will already know all this and can thank god you survived it. If you don’t however, you can read on for some enlightenment/advanced warnings:

  1. “No!” is a pint-sized dictator’s favourite word. Infact, it might just be the only word they say (repeatedly). “No”, to us, means “no”. No to a toddler means a variety of things. Mainly everything other than no such as,  yes/maybe/ok/in a moment. You can be forgiven for getting confused by this, but beware- toddlers will not accept your confusion.
  2. This leads me, quite seamlessly, to the ‘toddler tantrum’. You may think you have witnessed a tantrum, you may think it can’t be that bad well, a toddler one is on a whole different spectrum of tantrums. It can also occur at any given moment over the most mundane of things. For example, the fact you opened something for them, the fact you dared dressed them, the fact Lego doesn’t click in, the fact you took them out of the bath, the fact you won’t purchase them a Kinder Egg and, my favourite one when eldest was two, the fact you wouldn’t ‘go into the kitchen’. Bit sexist no?
  3. The ‘toddler tantrum’ is mainly deployed in public places to further humiliate you, prepare for this. You will be quite peacefully shopping when, out of nowhere, your son or daughter will drop to the floor screaming and kicking like Eric Cantona let loose on a bunch of football spectators. Those around, who have kids, will give you an understanding look of “good luck, I’ve been there and done that, it’s mental”, those without kids however, will glare at you with disdain and make you feel like you are failing at life and cannot control your own child.
  4. Clothing, in any form, is deemed entirely unnecessary to a pint-sized dictator. With this being the case, they will attempt to discard items at every opportunity. The rampant little would be nudists will undress at any stage of the day and anywhere. Watch out for this.
  5. Throwing is a customary act and they cannot pass the toddler stage without having completed this. Be prepared to dodge numerous flying objects, toys, cups, remotes and the nappy they have just taken off and flung at you. Nice!
  6. Water is not just a source of hydration to a two old but, a fluid to fully drench themselves in (the garden and bathroom tap are normally the preferred method). Splashing endlessly is deemed satisfying, especially when having a bath. Your bathroom floors will be so soaked that the room will end up resembling a makeshift swimming pool. Please be aware that your flooring may fall into your living room due to this fact.
  7. A toddler will repeat everything you say, like the little parrots they are. They will never repeat all the colours you have lovingly spent time teaching them but, will happily repeat the words of which they shouldn’t. Refrain from using words such as “f#ck!” and “sh#t!”. These will be uttered by them at awkward moments, such as, at a family dinner, in the presence of your mother in law.
  8. Food becomes a necessity that they can take or leave. This even occurs with food sources they have previously loved. Be prepared to make five different dinners in an attempt to provide nutrition and appease them. If this does not work, you will lose the will to live and quite happily hand them a packet of Wotsits for tea. Enjoy!
  9. They become permanently attached to you, as their mother. Dad? Who’s he? Everything is “Mama!”. Fall- mama, sick- mama, tantrum- mama. Give up your limbs for the foreseeable future as they will be hanging off them until this stage has eventually passed.
  10. Finally, although the ‘terrible twos’ are pure, seemingly never-ending hell on earth, they will shape both your child and you. Your child will learn the extent of your boundaries as a parent and you will learn that you can now handle anything and anyone. The huge bear hugs and kisses at the end of the day will make it all worthwhile. DISCLAIMER: You may also learn that wine is your new best friend, after surviving each day. This is totally normal and acceptable.