Sunday, 9 December 2018

Terrible twos ongoing...

Darling Daughter II has undergone something of a transformation.

The terrible twos have hit with a vengeance. She has developed some very strong opinions about things, but it’s the irrationality of it all, which is so confusing. Let me give you an example. The other day, she had a bloody great big splinter in her hand. This thing was huge. She calmly alerted us to it when we tried to put her mittens on, and then she waited patiently and without fuss, as I dug it out with a pair of tweezers. Contrast that to a few days before, where her father and I underwent 25 minutes of solid screaming because she refused to put a banana peel in the bin. She has no aversion to banana peels of which we are aware, nor the food bin. She just decided that she didn’t want to do it, and no amount of cajoling or threatening would persuade her. Eventually, she knocked it in by accident, after I plonked the bin right next to her, put the banana half over the lip, and she flailed about trying to avoid it.

This is one example of many, that just make no sense, but when she digs her heels in she won’t be persuaded otherwise. Annoying as it is, I kinda admire her grit. In 25 minutes she has shown more determination than I ever have!

I reckon that one of three things has happened.

First, and worse case scenario, is that following her febrile convulsion (blog post on that horror to follow), she was denied oxygen to her brain, is now fundamentally damaged and we have to find ways to adapt to future learning difficulties, challenging behaviours and personality not in keeping with the laid back child we have come to know thus far.

Second, and much more likely, is that she has simply come late to the terrible twos and is making up for lost time. Everyone knows about the terrible twos, everyone. They are so named for a reason. Toddlers ARE irrational. It is their prerogative. They have to test the boundaries to learn where they are. They have to push against what is socially acceptable to gain a proper understanding of how relationships work. I get that, I do, it was just such a sudden turnaround, it seemed to come from nowhere, and that’s what it makes so hard to get my head round.

Third, and probable, and linked in to point two, now that I think about it, is that I am making an unfair comparison against darling daughter I. She who is now a teenager was a very sensitive toddler. We used a variation of the naughty step, whereby when having a moment she would be sent out of the room, allowed to have her outburst, and then allowed back in as soon as it was over. Eventually the threat of ‘going out’ was normally enough to quell the brewing tantrum. This carried on, fairly successfully, until she was old enough to verbalise whatever was underlying and we could take it from there.

I was keen to try this technique with DDII because I genuinely believe it is a good idea. The child can have its emotional reaction, nothing is denied, but on the understanding that the quicker its over, the quicker life can carry on. I don’t like pandering but equally, I’m loathe to set up a scenario where I make threats I can’t see through. This seemed to be something of a happy medium.

Except that DDII is not at all on board with it. The threat of going out does nothing. Actually being made to go out does nothing. She is entirely non-plussed and she will get over her tantrum when she is good and ready. It may be a few minutes, it may be a good few more…

In an ideal world, you can discipline and teach your toddler in a calm manner, whilst maintaining your dignity and your cool. In the real world, events conspire against you and whilst I don’t believe for a second that a two-year-old can manipulative, I do think they know when to pick their moments. 

But given that my current method is entirely ineffectual, I’m going to have to try something else. I’m currently exploring killing her with kindness and trying to get her to verbalise her upset, rather than scream about. It has worked the last couple of days, but that may well be just because it’s a change of tack that has made the toddler deeply suspicious. I dunno. It might work, it might not. I might just have to accept that for a little while, she’s going to be an irrational, sweaty, screamy mess. I’m confident that she’ll come out of it, eventually! They all do. Mostly….

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Terrible twos and ALL the bleeding!

Oh good lord.

The baby has bled, excessively, on three occasions this week. Getting the terrible twos off to a sensational start!

She is now independently mobile and can even build up a little speed. I trust that she can get up and down the stairs (although I still helicopter) and that she is isn't at imminent risk of drowning if left for a moment in the bath. She can eat her tea by herself without choking, get on and off her bed, my bed, the couch and the kitchen chairs.

You might expect that with this new level of steadiness comes a new level of parental relief. You would be utterly, utterly wrong. Now she can fall face first off trampolines (causing a horrific graze to her leg), fall face first into a gravel path (causing a horrific graze to her face and arm) and then fall face first off a concrete step onto a concrete path (causing a second horrific graze on her leg, on top of the first one).

So much blood. So many tears. So much stress.

Even with toys! I'm so happy to say that she can now move her toys around with tripping over them, can be trusted not to try and ram a jigsaw piece in her ear and does not shred herself to bits from papercuts on her books. And then the little blighter runs through the living room with the sharpest pencils in the world pointing at her eyes.


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

22 months and counting

So, the baby is approaching two. (Already!!)
She is also 22 months old.
She can also be described as 94 weeks old.
Or if you are really interested, 662 days.

I raise these utterly useless details following a conversation I had recently with a friend. He is not a baby person He is not even a person person. He's more of a PC person. But he did his friend duty and enquired as to the baby's health, asking how old she was now.

I replied saying she was two in a few months old and he chided me for unnecessary detail. But had I just said she was one, it would have been entirely wrong and given entirely the wrong picture!

A little person can be one year old (just over 12 months), be barely walking, and be making as many meaningful noises out of their teeny buttholes as their teeny mouths. Or, they can be one year old (22 months) and be running around, counting to sixteen and having their vocabulary expand on a daily basis. When you are 22 months old, a 12-month difference is huge in terms of development and achievement.

However, discussing the intricacies of describing your little one's age with those not in the baby know leaves you sounding more than a little wanky. It raises the interesting point of social norms and expectations in specifying age.

From what I have gathered, days seems to be a viable option up until the baby is on number 14. Describing yours as 11 days old is fine, but 32 is too far. Similarly, weeks can go up to about 12-14. Babies are allowed to be 6, 9, 12 weeks old, but 17 weeks is really pushing it and approaching the aforementioned wankiness. I thought months were good up to 24 of them, but 23 months? Wanky. In the last two to three months, the only way to get around that is by stating two in (number of months here). Or so I thought. Until my chiding. Now I'm not so sure.

Perhaps the whole issue highlights how interested we are in our children and how we assume that other people are too. Often wrongly. Perhaps it just highlights the divide between those who have spawned and those who have not. Perhaps I'm just distracting myself from the fact that I forgot my own age the last time I was asked... I've only been this age for 6 months, I was my last age for a whole year!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

A sad week

A sad week

O let not time deceive you, said Auden, you cannot conquer time.

Its been a sad week in the household. The oldest of our three dogs, Moses, is very unwell and unfortunately, it looks like the next couple of days will be his last.

This brings into sharp focus the passage of time, as so eloquently described by Mr W.H.Auden.

When I first got Moses, Darling Daughter I was the same age as DDII is now, less than two years old. DDI can't remember a time before him, in the same way that DDII is unlikely to remember him.

He has been our loving companion over the last decade and a welcome constant in times which were tumultuous and sometimes overwhelming. I hope that DDI is able to balance her good memories with the pain she is feeling now, not helped by the strong association she has between Moses and her grandfather, who is sadly deceased. I hope that DDII, at some point in her life, gets to share her heart (and her sofa) with a dog as good as this one.

I don't believe in heaven, but I do believe that all dogs go there.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

An enlightening trip to the dentist.

Darling Daughter II accompanied me to the dentist yesterday, for my 6 monthly check up. It was not my normal dentist, who has a quick check and then if necessary arranges for a scale and polish with the hygienist later in the week. 

This chap was a lot more gung-ho and decided to just dive right in. The polishing bit is fine. The scaling leaves me writhing in pain. DDII took this extended wait in her stride. She sat in a chair in the corner of the room and did not make a peep for half an hour. Point one of this blog post is that she remains a legendary little person and is ridiculously accommodating. 

Point two, however, is a little more concerning. Everyone but me had to leave the room when I was having X-rays taken. Which makes sense. But when the dental nurse went to take DDII by offering her a hand, she went without question. She did not even glance askance at me. 

About 500 years ago I did a degree in psychology, which included a lot of child development. In this situation, Bowlby (interesting guy, look him up) would say that my daughter is securely attached because as I was present, she was willing to do something novel and unusual. Because she has been well socialised and has had no adverse experiences with care-givers, she is trusting and amiable. 

Conversely, however, it is absolutely terrifying that my tiny person was so easily and quickly tempted away. 

A sobering thought. 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The secret stash

It has become apparent that darling daughter II has a secret stash.

Not so secret that I don’t know it exists (obviously). But secret enough that I have no idea where it is (or possibly where ‘they’ are).

Several items have gone missing in recent months; Daddy’s wallet, the baby’s phone and a TV remote are some of the items more troublesome to lose because they are difficult to replace.

But, you ask, why do you suspect the baby? Baffies, I reply. (Slippers, to those not living within a three mile radius of Forfar). I bought lovely, creamy, fleecy slippers for the baby. In what is generally a cold and drafty house, these were the epitome of cosy footwear for those with teeny toes.

When buying them I had conveniently forgotten about DDII’s total aversion to any kind of footwear within the house and was slightly devastated when she refused to look at them, let alone wear them. On the one occasion I did manage to wrestle her into them, she stood and screamed at her feet for several moments before figuring out a way to shuck them off and depart post haste.

Shortly after, the slippers disappeared. I turned the house upside down looking for them. No joy. It was as if they had never existed. Only the slight hole in my PayPal account acted as evidence to the contrary.

However, I DO know that they exist. And I DO know that the baby has a secret stash. And this is because very occasionally, I see them in the passing. Almost exclusively when I am in one room and the baby is out with but passing the doorway, scuttling along, baffie (singular) in hand. I have no idea where she picked it up from. I have no idea where she is taking it. When I follow her and find her, POOF! It’s gone! When I retrace her steps there is no obvious room or corner or hidey-hole from whence it came.

I am at a loss.

Monday, 30 October 2017


Am I the worst parent in the history of parenting?

"No!" you yell. "Don't be such a dafty!" you exclaim. Well, hear me out. You will quickly come to understand my concern.

Today I gave Darling Daughter II an iPhone. Of her very own. In a household obsessed with smartphones and all the immediacy and instant gratification that they entail, the baby is the fifth household member of five to be indoctrinated into the Apple creed.

It has been pre-loaded with a few apps - games for toddlers, youtube for kids and a camera. Connected to wifi but without sim card so essentially just a device for entertainment and dodgy selfies.

I hate myself. I hate that its come to this. I hate that I'm not an invested enough parent that I have a full schedule laid out every day for arts/crafts/games/reading/singing/dancing and all the other wholesome activities that a 15-month-old baby should be engulfed by. To be fair - she does all of these things! Just not all the time.... Not all day, every day.

I hate that I have failed overall in managing to get the family to be less attached to their devices. I have tried to implement 'no screens night' once weekly. This has met with varying levels of success but requires everyone to be in a similar state of mind and invested, which occurs less and less frequently. I have tried to incorporate a 'phone box' - a tub which sits on the kitchen table into which all phones should go when we arrive home, the idea being that we only have them in our hand when absolutely necessary. That worked well for about a day. I have tried guilt, threats, cajoling, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement.... and I am not for a second absolving myself of any responsibility in this. Despite my best efforts, I am as glued to my phone as everyone else.

There are times, when those of us who are not babies, just want 10 minutes to check emails, check the news, make derisive comments about the daily guff on facebook and very occasionally, put some kind of sweetie into a row with similar other sweeties. Those of us who are babies are very sensitive to these moments and would like to get involved (but usually end up phoning the emergency services, accidentally deleting apps or mashing expensive screens on hard surfaces). Surely if said baby has access to her own device at times like these - and believe me, she is not to be fooled by Peppa Pigs mobiles or Vtech tablets - then she can share in our enjoyment of our smartphones without causing havoc or damage to anyone else's.



It's a hideous idea. I can't believe I'm trying to justify it. I deserve all of the wrath that the internet has to throw at me. Bleeurgh.