Whipping it out

AJ has potty trained since Christmas. I.e. for 2 months, he’s 2 and a half years old. To my knowledge he’s always practiced peeing sitting down. Last week we were out and about in a playground and he needed to go. So off went the trousers. But I then wasn’t quite sure what to do with him so I made him squat as I used to do w his sister. Oddly he went stiff as a board (probably because it was Baltic outside). Not very easy to hold as you can imagine. After 3 attempts of me trying to get him into the right position, him wriggling, him slipping down my arms, me loosing my grip whilst almost pissing myself w laughter…. he finally got into position and peed without getting his trainers.

Well today. For the first time I’d ever seen…, he peed standing up. The part that didn’t help was when he stopped in the middle of a wooded area in front of random people, whipped his pants down, put his hips forward and peed right there in the middle of the floor! I’m surprised and impressed at the same time, whilst being confused and a bit upset by his laddish behaviour.

All the while… giggling that it’s a bit cute!

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Holy golden rabbit pooh! naps & reading

It’s been an amazing few months.

Lolo started school in September. My friend had told me that once they start school they learn to read. I mean obviously, but she assured me that it happened almost as soon as they started school. I wasn’t convinced. How can you go from not reading at all, not even knowing the phonic sounds (we taught he normal A, b, c, d… who knew it was wrong! Argh!) to suddenly reading? Well she has. The lovely Lolo, now 4 and a half years old has started reading! Our initial phases included her learning the sounds and rhymes that go with them. Over Christmas we spent an eternity (about an 1 hour) going over her key word cards. Short words she would sound out and then blend together to get the word. It made sense to us that repetition would mean she’d get used to the sounds, grow more confident practicing them and ultimately start recognising different words. We started this all initially in September but she wasn’t ready yet. She hates it when she finds something difficult and then really resists trying. It was SUCH a struggle that it became counter productive. It would seem the 1st 3 months with her teachers have given her just enough knowledge to now make it a little easier for us to start practicing together. She’s read a book each of the last 2 evenings. Short books with sentences like, ‘Zac, sit Zac’. But she’s smashing it out of the park! Clever girl.

The other amazing thing involves Ell & I getting our evenings back. Its actually revolutionary. AJ has been falling asleep later and later. His average go to bed time recently has been 9.45pm and that’s not just because of Christmas. True story. It’s been a killer because of course you have no free time to yourself or with your partner, at all. Literally since the summer, when the sun was still up at 10.30pm, he’s just been going to bed late. We tried to encourage him to sleep in but that never really worked. However instead, since about September he’s been getting up once/twice a night, every night with – I hate to say it (mainly as I’m not sure I believe in them), night terrors. So he wakes up early, has a 2 hour nap during the day from about 1-3pm and then barges through the day until 9.45pm! Its been exhausting. So the decision was made that we’d start the slightly painful process of dropping his daytime nap. Since the beginning of the year AJ has been encouraged not to go for a nap and it’s working wonders. He’s still up to his night time shenanigans however at least we have an evening to ourselves from around 8/8.30pm. Not a huge shift, but enough to not feel like we work, come home, look after the kids and all go to bed. It’s a relief to be honest. Almost a physical weight off my shoulders, despite not realising there was one there before. It feels like a mile stone has been reached. I can highly recommend it. Its why I’m writing the blog this evening. In fact its 9.30. I think we’ll watch a film now.

And there you have it. Lolo starting to read at 4.5 and AJ dropping his lunchtime nap at 2.5. 2 fantastic developments happening at the same time. As rare as holy golden rabbit pooh.

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Mild success

AJ recognised the painting as daddy.

It’s not finished but at least it seems to be moving in the right direction. Apparently he looks a bit evil and ill… and like Freddy Mercury. Ahahahahaha

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What Mum did next

So imagine this. The day before I made bold moves to do some of the things I loved. I ate some great food, looked up some art, saw my daughter in her first ever play, downloaded some music, went out for a boogy and drank gin. The day after however was a little less… motivated. The big blessing was that the kids were w the grandparents as hubby had to work late AND had an early start. So I got to sleep-in til 10!!!!! TEN!!!!!! Wow. It felt like 2 in the afternoon when I woke up. Ha! Silence in the house. Cheeky snooze. A bit of a fuzzy head, but you’d expect that, but no pounding headache.

I had planned for big things. Instead I fell into my more traditional ways. Cleaning up, taking dry washing down/ wet washing up. ‘I’ll just…’ tidy the house/sort some church bits out/email and text every living being in my contacts, oh – and update my blog. Anyway, 3pm arrived. I knew what I really wanted to do. I wanted to paint. Like, oil paint. Like, a portrait of hubby I’d started about 12 years ago! It was time to actually do something w it. I’d been putting it off for well, 12 years. Ha! After the awesome portrait exhibition the day before, it all felt a bit do or die! It’s difficult to paint a portrait of the man you love. If you do a bad job then they look rubbish and it’s all a horrible mess. If you do a good job then all is well. I’d managed to get the face to a goodish place but it still wasn’t quite there. My general style is quite big and bold, but portraits are a bit different, I was trying to be subtle (never a strength). I kept reminding myself to paint what was there, not what I thought should be there.

Anyhoo. A couple of hours in and I was being brutal. Colours I’d never normally use and really highlighting shapes and shadows.

It still has a way to go but it was a good start and most importantly I enjoyed it. The best moment was when my daughter looked at it and asked, ‘who’s that?’ Would have preferred some sought of recognition, I’ve gotta be honest, but at least she asked who and not what. Let us reconvene in another 12 years when the kids are a bit older and I can build up the guts to try again.

Btw I write this whilst sat in my broken down car in the middle of the A12. Come on @theaa, where are you? Wish me luck!

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What Mum did on her day off, part 2

So. The story of yesterday continues. Once momma bear finished up her amazing High Society Eggs Benedict breakfast @Balans (thank you always for your hospitality and good food) the decision was made to go the the Royal Academy of Arts. On the way did a little Christmas shopping, got a cold person a coffee (guilt from my extravagant breakfast I’m sure) and made my way to the From Life exhibition, which was short but sweet.

Phones off.

Ear phones out.

Total consumption.

@Iggypop life drawing was pretty epic.

Think I’ve found a new artist I really like, @JennySaville. Raw. Beautiful. Wonderfully talented:

This guy was called @JonathonYeo. The realism captured on the facial details is beyond amazing:

And finally @LianeLang. It’s been a long while since I’ve been surprised by art. When the penny dropped I was excited and very happy. I had to talk to someone!

then the res of my day was filled w a nativity play, clothes washing (I had to fit some domestic-like chores in) and going out in Bethnal Green for my Christmas do! My day finished at 2am. Not a bad effort I’d say.

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What Mum did on her day off

I’ll set the scene. I’m married. I’ve got kids. 4 and a 2 year old. I work 5 days a week. Most of my money goes on childcare, which is the equivalent of 2 mortgages. I help run a church committee and subsequent events. When I have a holiday, it’s w the whole family in tow. The last day I had off I ran around like a headless chicken trying to squeeze as much as I could into the day. That of course included, but was not limited to: going through all of the kid’s clothes,/toys/books- pile to donate, pile for friends and another pile to… ‘file’; cleaned the house top to bottom, wrapped more presents and sorted more cards, managed a 20min work out, cooked dinner, threaded my brows.

Sound familiar? None of this is done at a normal pace of course. I’m like a race hound racing to the deadline. A day off is not relaxing. As you might know, as a parent you have no time for yourself, and even if you get a day off, you end up doing things for the family.

But today: I’ve no event to plan, all presents are wrapped, Christmas cards sent, house reasonably clean, kids delivered to the childminder. WHAT TO DO WITH MY DAY OFF???!!!!! I’m not used to it and I don’t know what to fill it with!!! Ahahahahaha. I still have a nativity play to go to at 2pm (obvs, every day off comes w a catch) but at 8.40am, I got myself on the DLR and set off into town.

The playlist that started off my morning:

  1. All I want for Christmas (old Mariah… it is almost Christmas after all)
  2. If I’m lucky (Jason Derulo)
  3. How deep is your love (Calvin Harris)
  4. Harder than you think (Public Enema – get the reference?!) – thanks Will Woodhams
  5. Gloria (Patti Smith)
  6. Paradise (MNEK)
  7. Tight pants (Iggy and the stooges)

  1. BTSTU (Jai Paul- if you don’t know, now you know)
  2. Unforgettable (French Montana)
  3. Bad boys for life (Black Rob, Mark Curry & P Diddy/Diddy Puff/Diddy Pop-Pop)
  4. Baltimore (Nina Simone

10am. Breakfast: Balan’s: old Crompton Street involves a hot cup of mocha, fresh OJ, eggs Benedict (these people do it w LOBSTER!!! Avocado and bacon. Almost fell off my chair. Amazing) and breakfast potatoes.

Now I’m going surgically remove my phone(s) from my hands and move onto the next thing. After all. Only 1 hour 30mins til I have to travel back for the play! Ahahahahaha

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4 years old: 1st dry night of her life – Potty training at night, a different way

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. Mainly because as Lolo gets older, the mile stones are less pronounced. We’ve mastered the walking, the running, the eating on her own, drinking from an open-topped cup, stringing sentences together… and of course potty training.

I’d originally thought that I would potty train during the day and as soon as she’d got that, I’d move on to potty training at night. Thing is, she was potty trained during the day at about 1 and a half. This was out of personal preference mainly as her little brother was fast on the approach and I really didn’t want 2 in nappies. So she got with the potty training nice and early so she’d have that as the norm for a while before the arrival of her brother caused disruption and any knock on regression. It took her a while to get a hold on it, about a month and then as anyone potty training will tell you, they go through good patches and less good patches, then they discover attention absorption (i.e. Mummy – sorry I was too busy playing with my friend and forgot I needed a wee, FOMO for us adults :). Anyway, the short and curlies of it are that I tried to get her into night-time training, but it wasn’t working. 9 months pregnant and knowing we were about to have more than enough challenges on our hands, we decided leave it alone for a bit. I couldn’t face being in the depths of training and then having her regress due to her new brother’s arrival, washing bed sheets every night and then having her come tearing down the hall screaming because she was upset she’d wet herself, waking the whole house up. Nope. I left it alone.¬†She’d also had a few nights where she’d woken up and her nappy had been dry. I was hopeful she would just grow out of it. She didn’t. But it’s so much easier to do nothing!!! Surely she’d grow out of it eventually – wouldn’t she?

Anyway, we find ourselves on the cusp of a big mile stone in her life again. A big disruption is on the horizon. She’s about to start school in 6 weeks. It is time to try again.

My motivation? She’s pretty strong of character, but kids are unkind and I really don’t want her to be on the back foot at school. I don’t want her to get bullied for wetting the bed at night, or still being a ‘baby’ in nappies. If I can imagine it – I’m sure kids can exploit it.

So what have we done?

  • I have set our expectations at a month, a month of wet beds and sleep disruption. Of her coming down the hall and crying she’d wet the bed. If I aim for a month, it means I’m committed and I accept it may take a while.
  • I have stopped her drinking fluids before bed. They’re going to bed around 9pm at the moment due to the late nights of the summer so she’s allowed to drink what she wants up until about 7/7.30pm. Then literally 2 or 3 small sips if she gets thirsty to help her not need a big wee during the night.
  • Big wee before bed, last thing before bed
  • Prepping the bed. We’ve put a bed mat down, so I don’t have to disassemble the mattress and wash it each time there’s an accident. I’ve also added a towel under her, doubled over, again so I don’t need t change the sheets every day (yup – I’m lazy)
  • No more pull ups for bed. Gone.
  • Making it OK for her. She’s in training. We expect her to wet herself at night as she’s done it for the last 4 years, she needs to know it’s ok to have accidents whilst we’re ‘training’.

The results? We started on Monday. Tuesday morning, 6am we have Lolo going to the toilet, but then coming in to our bedroom, very sad, holding her wet pants. It was OK we told her. She climbed into bed with us and calmed down. A month of this, I could probably manage. Tuesday morning she came in at 7am – she was dry. WHAT!?!!! Yes people, first dry night of her life. She ran to the toilet straight away. When asked she said she’d gone in the middle of the night too. Maybe she had, maybe she hadn’t – who cares, she had a dry night! Lot’s of celebration as you can imagine. And then this morning – Wednesday. Totally dry and no getting up at night to use the toilet.

This is exciting. 2 dry nights in a row. But I’m giving us a full month for the training to be over. And the truth is, we’ll probably have to keep an eye on it when she starts school again. But this is lovely. We’ve been waiting 4 years! Should we have started earlier? Who knows. Will report back later on progress.

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