HELLO! Happy New Year! Or Happy New Yeast as my predictive text would have me bid people. I hope you had a suitably non eventful and enjoyable festive period.
So, as we are still in January (JUST) I will once again start off the new year with a list of highly unrealistic resolutions I shall very likely not achieve in the coming year:
To Control My Threats
For some reason my threats have become wildly out of hand. As my lack of control over the children grows, my desperate threats to get them to do what have I asked become ever more violent. Basic threats of killing and beating grew to chopping off heads, stabbing, removing fingers one at a time until I found myself on one dark December day threatening to stab G, who no surprise said I wouldn't, so I said I would do it whilst he was asleep so that he wouldn't be able to stop me. He looked slightly surprised and said mothers don't do that. For a SPLIT second it crossed my mind to show him the news reports of the hideous massacre in Australia that had recently happened where a woman, who was clearly extremely mentally ill, had stabbed her eight children. It flashed through my mind that showing him that mothers do do it would be a good idea as he might take my threats more seriously in the future and I would finally gain control. Luckily common sense beat me to it and I thought it might also cause irreversible fractures in our mother/son relationship and give him a sleep disorder.
The problem I have is that following through on real, achievable threats is exceedingly hard work. Removal of kindles/ipads is really all I have at my disposal. Going to their rooms is not a punishment - Bea voluntarily does that to be alone and watch some shite Aussie programme called Mermaids. At 8 and 10 the step isn't an option and Ted is totally unable to sit still - he is constantly moving for some odd reason - it is like a permanent 'wee dance' which I find boys do when keen for a wee but haven't quite decided it is desperate enough to formally relieve themselves - except that when I ask him if he needs a wee he says 'no, I'm just dancing'. (I hope to get him in to formal dance training at some point - he may well be my Billy Elliot). I can't actually whack them (although honestly the desire to do so often flits through my head. I think any parent is telling a big, fat, fib if they can't admit the instinct to smack a bottom crosses their mind when pushed to the very limits of patience and endurance). I can't send them to bed without supper because I wouldn't sleep for fear that they were hungry. They don't go on a huge number of after school playdates and I would never stop them going on one because it is a pain having to rearrange them as a parent and that would mean upsetting the expectant child as well. Ditto with parties. I also see no point in removing a favourite toy as they have so many they would barely notice.
SO, I am left with removing screens. This causes such hysteria I would only use it for the most heinous of crimes. I mean you would have to almost stab someone for this to occur. Bea is the very worst. She goes in to some sort of psychotic episode and also becomes entirely fearless whilst simultaneously crying, such is her determination to retrieve her most prized possession. She will argue and argue and argue with you, ignoring all reason or sense. K tried to take her on the other day for simply not tidying her room when asked. The fallout was intense. She would not stop asking for it back, coming back time and time again, fearless and teary and 'getting all up in K's grille' about her desperate and urgent need for the ipad back. He kept his cool for as long as possible but then resorted (understandably) to shouting. I kept out of it, mainly because I hate conflict but also as she hadn't actually stabbed anyone, I did feel he was over reacting and the subsequent drama was entirely of his own doing.
Therefore, my resolution I won't keep No. 1 of 2015 - Threaten the children with only normal and child friendly punishments. Also potentially Resolution I won't keep No. 2 - try following through on normal and child friendly threats so that they respond to your requests to come for supper, get in/out of the bath, do homework, pick up their coats, stop fighting, get dressed etc in the future so that there will be no need to break resolution No. 1.
Stop Shouting as Much
I fear I have made this resolution a number of times before. This evening I screamed/shouted so loudly at George to get out of the bath that my throat still hurts several hours later. Although in keeping with my No. 1 resolution I did at least not threaten him with any physical violence. I just kept saying GET OUT OF THE BATH at rising decibels. So in a way, this is a step forward. However, it does seem that bath time is a particular flash point for me. After 7pm all patience and reason evaporates and I become some wicked harridan. Sadly that means that almost all of the bath and bed routine is spent with my anger levels rising. It is only as I finally descend/ascend (depending on whether I am tired enough to go straight to bed or I think I might manage a few hours downstairs) at nearing 8 o'clock that I find I become calm and rational once again.
I can't help thinking that the newbie isn't helping. I am not at my best whilst pregnant. Even I can objectively admit that I have slight issues with tiredness, anger and hormones when in this state. And even though it is far too early to be doing so, I am finding the bump a bit weighty - there is still a whopping 16 weeks to go and there is no way I can continue a normal life at the end if I am already finding it a bit uncomfortable now. However I need to move house before then so I can't actually think about it.
Resolution I Shall Never Keep No. 3 - to stay calm and not resort to mad-woman-levels of shouting which should be reserved for life and death situations only.
Master Using a Sling
This is something I have longed for for ten years. A baby sling/carrier looks so lovely on other people. I see the small baby wrapped up inside a Baby Bjorn or one of those wrap around material jobbies, all warm and cosy, sleeping on their mother and I feel a deep sense of longing. I have tried them with each and every sodding baby I've had but the problem I have is that I am jolly large each and every time I give birth to each and every sodding baby. The Baby Bjorn structured thingy seems the best option, but I have to let the straps out a fair bit to fit around my stomach and back but you have to wear it quite tightly in order for it to hold the baby comfortably. Any fat person will know that pulling something tightly around your middle looks awful. That is strike one. The other strike is that my boobs are enormous post baby and my babies are usually heavy (all except the poor starving Bea in the early days), so combined with the excess weight in my boob and tummy I am already carting about every minute of the day, a heavy baby added on to that area means my back gives up fairly early on and results in acute pain.
For George I bought a stripy hammocky sling thing that goes across your body like a bag. Again, it worked for a few weeks if that. The minute he got huge (G went from 8lbs 8 to 10lbs 4 oz in the first ten days - he was always a massive eater) he was only portable in a buggy. For number three I invested in the wrap around material thingy - it looked very earth mothery and easy to use and I was very keen on the idea of having my hands free to cook and care for the other two. This was vaguely ok for a few weeks except that getting it on and off took a level of care and expertise which wasn't easy to do in a hurry and again, it required me to tie it tightly around my middle. Added to this I stupidly bought it in a cream colour. The last time I wore it, when Ted was a few weeks old, I opened the door to my elderly neighbour and she gasped in horror. I was a little thrown by her reaction but when she asked me what on earth I had done to myself, it transpired that she thought I was swathed in bandages and she was under the impression that I had done my torso a serious harm. I realised immediately that my illusions of looking like the lithe mothers I see walking effortlessly down the street, hands swinging, baby happily attached to their bandage free torsos was in fact all in my head. In real life I looked like a tightly wrapped, fat, Egyptian Mummy. This scarred me so deeply that I didn't even invest in a sling for Cybs. I dug out the stripy hammock which K wore on our holiday in Devon when she was two weeks old as it was easier than a buggy and three children for getting in and out of trains and on and off beaches etc but that was the only time we needed one. She was in the buggy, car or in my arms at all other times.
Even though I am still fat and my babies are still heavy I am determined to try again with the fifth. I am once again convinced that the perfect baby sling/carrier is out there and waiting for me, regardless of bad back and tummy fat. I am going to track it down. Potentially I shall begin my search in America where there are quite a number of fat people - maybe they produce a nice sturdy baby sling with extra large straps and a sturdy back support. Or I may give the bandage type thing a go once again, but this time in black or a very dark colour - not only is it slimming but it will also look more like a top to save any cause for alarm to the elderly.
Resolution I will never keep No. 4. Use a sling with the new baby. More than once and for longer than a few weeks.
This is a big one. I really do not like December.
December and I are not happy bedfellows. It is one long (or short as
it is only actually 24 days long and it races by far quicker than I ever want)
ball of stress as far as I'm concerned. Every waking (and a number of
sleeping) moment is taken up with concern over gift purchasing and keeping the 'magic alive'. There were also a few tense days awaiting the opportunity to book my Tesco
delivery slot. Add to that a number of social engagements (some welcome, some not) as well as three school concerts (some good, some not) and it is hard to find any of it enjoyable. The children's growing excitement and anticipation as the days roll on, just compounds my fear and loathing. Maybe if you have lots of sleep, lots of money and spare time, it is an awful lot of fun preparing for the big day but as I had none of the above this year I really couldn't find the fun in it.
I am VERY over people believing in the
big man. It was really fabulous when Bea and G were very little but the
novelty wore off after about five years and now it just adds to the stress.
Bea STILL believes and yet she is old enough to be incredibly inquisitive and read and understand that all the boxes arriving in the post can't possibly be for the neighbours because they have my name and our address on them. I am quite keen to rid her of her belief this year.
I need an ally to help decide what to get, what people want and someone to know that I have to work with budget restrictions. K's answer to almost everything I show him for a second
opinion on whether to buy the gift or not is 'they don't need it'. Oddly enough I agree. I would estimate that less than
1% of people in the western world receive items for which they have a
genuine need as opposed to something they want. Potentially homeless
people being provided with warmth, shelter and food but other than that,
the entire point of a modern Christmas is commercialism. Trying to fight it with
reason is pointless.
As it happens I surpassed myself
with gift buying this year, even with an exceedingly low budget. All the children
were thrilled and the day itself was actually pretty delightful. I felt a massive weight leave me as the last present was opened. Although I felt a little stupid for getting myself in to such a state about the whole thing. G is normally happy for days on end if I return from a shopping trip with a multi pack of socks - why I worried that a pile of gifts containing anything even vaguely relevant to his life would fall short of expectation was entirely idiotic. Ted is pickier and can be quite vocal about his thoughts on gifts but even he was beside himself with happiness at his haul. The girls were naturally happy with each and everything they opened, Bea always is and Cybs is only two so you can pretty much wrap up anything and she would be happy. My meal was pretty
darn good as well thanks to my efficient Tesco slot booking ability. It was probably my most favourite Christmas ever even though the December was my worst.
So, Resolution I Shall Never Keep No. 5 - Enjoy December more as it always turns out perfectly whether you spend the weeks and months preceding it in a state of misery or not.
Be More Patient
Somehow, from somewhere I need to find more patience. I am not sure it is at all possible but I really have to find a way to deal with Cybbie on a daily basis without going crazy (and potentially this will help with resolution number one and two as well). I am seriously thinking of asking the powers that be at Sandhurst if they have ever considered employing tired two year olds to test the metal of their new recruits. I honestly have no idea how you are meant to stay calm in the face of total illogic and pedantry. And the need to do everything herself. The words I dread most are 'I help you with that!'. She has to help with EVERYTHING I DO, from cooking, hoovering, washing, pouring milk and making tea to me going to the sodding loo. Sometimes I just want to do things quickly and on MY OWN.
It is also the relentlessness of it all. Aside from the 5/6 hours I am afforded, between putting her to bed and then her joining me in my bed (of which I am awake for only half), I am with Cybs all the time. At her best, she is an utter delight, but as I have discussed before, at her worst she really could try the patience of a Saint (or an entire army barrack). In a good mood you can get her dressed, leave the house and go about your business as needed. On a bad day leaving the house can take such a long time it can stop you wanting to do it at all. Sadly, I have to leave five mornings a week for the school run and she just about lets me most days but for the rest of the day we are pretty much housebound unless we are going out to get sweets or do something she deems acceptable. I am allowed to go to one playgroup a week, IF she consents. The rest of the time she is quite happy to stay in the house until the afternoon school run. It doesn't help that it's the winter. And that before Christmas she gave up nappies and agreed to wear knickers and use the potty. It has been largely successful. She was far quicker on the uptake than the lovely Ted BUT she was instantly aware of the power this gave her. I realised my patience needed a makeover when I was imploring her to do the wee she so desperately needed and after watching her become ever more desperate to wee and yet ever more resistant to the idea of weeing I yelled 'Oh For GOD's SAKE JUST GO FOR A BLOODY WEE'.
So, my final unachievable resolution for the beginning of the year is To Be More Patient with my truculent two year old. Who is adorable in small doses. But can drive you to distraction in larger doses.
There. I have a way to go before I reach enlightenment and parenting glory. I don't think 2015 is going to be the year I achieve it. I can't see it in 2016 either if I'm desperately honest. This year I have to get another baby out and to move house and get three children in to an already full school etc etc. Oh yes, we're under offer by the way - turns out being on the internet was pretty vital to the whole house selling thing - the first Saturday after it went on Right Move we got our offer. We have also found a house to move to so if all goes well and no one starts being stupid we should be moved by Easter. The buyers seem keen
but I don't believe that they won't pull out at any moment so I shan't
celebrate until we exchange. K has had a number of idiots pulling out
just before exchange and one who tried to do it post exchange. I will
not pack one thing until we are legally required to vacate the property just in case.
That's your lot for now. It doesn't really catch you up much and it makes me sounds like I'm having a horrid time which I'm really not, I am quite happy now that it is January and there are no gifts to be bought and I don't have to keep the house spotless for viewings on short notice. I am very excited about the move and now we have our head around the idea of another one, we are also quite excited about the new baby too, so all in all things are pretty good. But this doesn't stop me losing my temper, my patience and, momentarily, my mind as well when it comes to the children.
I shall be back with more thrilling updates and details of the Great Move shortly. Ish.