Despite Little man doing really well with potty training, he obviously was still too little to be totally dependant and to my horror, this was proved in an incident involving our bed. He had gone up to bed and settled really well. Will and I were taking a turn round the garden, enjoying a couple of relaxed minutes to ourselves. I was suddenly aware of noise coming from upstairs, but I just thought Little man was having a little play and would eventually settle. How wrong could I be. When I went in, he was asking for help to clean up. In a mild panic, I said, ‘clean up what’, when he replied ‘poo on the bed’, my steps got a bit quicker as I rushed upstairs into his room, he then told me not his bed, but OUR BED!!! Bless him, he had taken his night time nappy off and done a poo on his potty all by himself, but hadn’t managed to wipe. He had then decided to go into our bedroom and look out the window, he then bounced onto his bottom and slid off the bed – well, need I say more, lets just say the duvet was excellent toilet paper. So much for my relaxing walk around the garden.
So my next attempt was when Little man was nearly 3, which was at Easter, again the weather was getting warmer and I had 2 weeks where playschool and activities stopped so we could be at home.
Leading up to Easter I kept talking about him going into pants and I tried the pull ups to get him a bit used to it.
This time round, I also had a special tin and filled it with chocolate coins and bigger chocolates. For every time he managed to wee on the potty, he would get a coin and for a poo he could have a bigger treat. Bribery – fantastic!!!
So day one – into pants we went. Again the morning was awful and I began to despair. Then rightly or wrongly I actually lost my temper, it was because I knew he needed a wee and so did he as he was holding his bits, yet he point blank refused to sit on his potty and of course then wet himself. So I shouted and asked him why he hadn’t sat on the potty. Anyway, this seemed to work and after that he was just fab and totally got it. Compared to last time, he totally seemed to know ‘when’ he needed a wee. He got better and better. Within a few days we decided to go out as a family, but it involved quite a long drive in the car. We weren’t sure what to do as if we put him back in a nappy he may expect that every time we went on long trips he could revert back, so we bit the bullet and kept him in pants, taking a fab portable potty with us. He amazed us and sure enough did need a wee stop, but managed to hold it until we did the traditional pull over on the hard shoulder. Whilst out we decided to have lunch in a café, part way through Little Man said he needed a wee, so up I hopped and it all went very smoothly, but then throughout the course of the meal, he said he needed a wee a further 5 times. We thought this couldn’t be right, but sure enough he did!!! Humm I think we need to learn bladder control!! Having thought that putting him into pants would make my life easier, was actually sooo the opposite. I felt like I was running to the loo with him every 1/2 hour. Plus having Princess made it tricky, as if out and about I’d have to be able to keep her close, whilst helping Little man.
To my relief, his control did get better and he was a total star. We kept him in nappies at night and to be honest I’m not even bothered about that until he is totally dry through the night.
When Little man was just over 2, I decided he should be potty trained. Mainly because it was the summer and I thought it would be a lot easier to try and potty train in the summer months and also I was conscious other Mums had managed to potty train – but they had girls…..
So I marked in my diary when I would start and for 2 weeks made no plans, so we could just be at home and get to grips with pants and deal with the ‘to be expected’ accidents.
I decided to get straight to it, rather than doing pull ups and gradual. I had been to Mothercare and bought the cutest, tiniest pants ever (Little man had no bum – very sweet).
Day 1 – up Little man got and into Iggle Piggle pants he went. I explained that he was in ‘big boy pants’ and when he needed a wee or poo, he must tell Mummy and we would get his ever so special Thomas the Tank Engine potty. Well what a disaster – the wees came forth and the floor got wetter and wetter, by about 11am we had gone through 5 sets of pants, trousers, socks, this was ridiculous, I had only bought 2 packs of pants. I had been told that generally he may have a little pattern, so after a wee, it may be an hour and then he’d go again. That initially seemed to be the case, so on the hour, every hour I would sit his skinny little bottom on the potty and wait, and wait, I have never willed a wee on so much in my life. By pure coincidence he did manage to get one in the potty, but that was about it and he then wasn’t seeming to wee at regular intervals, so poor thing, I would plop him on the potty and wait and nothing happened. As for pooing, it seemed to bother him doing that sitting down on a pot. It got to the point, where the only way I could get him to try on his potty was to sit him in front of Beebies. He just didn’t seem to grasp ‘when’ he was going to wee. It was becoming a real battle and I didn’t want to worry him or put him off, so after a bout 4 days I decided to totally leave it and try again when he was older.
Well this is a testing time and I’m not sure anything can prepare you. All I can say is it goes in waves and does get easier and as my dear Father always said to me and my husband, its all about being consistent and not giving in. Easier said than done though……
Little man is a great kid and we love him more than we could ever express, but like all little 2 year olds, he had his moments.
Firstly with Little man, he is a non stop, energetic bomb. He is on the go from the minute he leaps out of bed, to the minute his head hits his pillow.
He knew what he wanted and without sounding bias, I believe he is an intelligent little chap.
Luckily for us, without sounding like ‘Super Nanny’ the naughty step seemed to work quite well for Little man. I actually didn’t think he would stay on it, but generally he did and he eventually learnt to calm himself down.
At particularly bad times, I would get quite nervous going out with friends as I just wouldn’t know how he was going to behave. I think that reaction really was an immaturity on my behalf, as I worry too much about what people will think if my child is being naughty, but really I shouldn’t have let that bother me, as I was doing my best. I think what also bothered me, was that I hated people seeing my boy being difficult as I wanted people to see the amazing child that 99% of the time he was. The way I tried to deal with ‘his little meltdowns’, and I’m by no means saying I got it right. Every day was a learning curve. I tried to keep my voice firm, without shouting – but believe me there were times, when I had to end up shouting. I would try and kneel down to his level and would often hold his hands firmly to keep from going mad. I would warn him that if he didn’t calm down, or if he did what ever he was doing again, he would have to go and sit on the step. If he did continue, he would go on the step and I would leave him there just for a couple of minutes, or until he calmed down. I would then go and ask him why he had been put there, to ensure he understood. He would then have to say sorry and we would have a cuddle.
This last bit of having a cuddle, makes me laugh, as I feel like I totally turned into my father. When I was little and had been told off, my Father would always discipline us and then hug us afterwards and to be honest that was what I found more infuriating than anything – the last thing I wanted after being told off was a hug from someone who really had annoyed me!!! (Sorry Dad, you know I love you heaps :O)
One thing I stand by, is whatever I threatened I would have to carry out, otherwise Little man would learn that I wouldn’t stand by my word and would be able to play me. But, that was also easier said than done. For example, if I wouldn’t threaten to take something away if it would make my life difficult, e.g in saying ‘if you do that again, we won’t go to the park’ and then he does do it again, that means I would have to think of something else to do for the afternoon, which could make my life hard.
The funniest (but also very frustrating) thing, is that I had set things I would say when telling Little man off and he learnt these phrases and used to say them to me. I would therefore have my 2 year old turn to me and say, ‘How dare you, don’t ever speak to me like that’.!!!
It got to the point where I just had to accept that I would have good days and bad days and hopefully in the not too distant future this ‘phase’ would pass.
I would often struggle towards the end of the day, when we were all tired and my patience was not up to the levels it should be. I would sometimes feel bad, as I would maybe get cross and shout, quicker than I would have earlier in the day.
Now I am all for breast feeding and luckily I managed to feed both my babes, but I can’t say I felt at ease all the time. When I was on my own or had no plans I felt totally at peace with it and it was lovely bonding time with my baby. But, if I had to rush out and I was stressing I often found that the feeds didn’t go too well and then I’d worry the babe wouldn’t settle or would get hungry sooner. As for public feeding, I never really felt comfortable, it’s a shame as I would have loved to not have cared as it would have given me so much more freedom, but hey this is me, Miss stressy and for some reason I felt so ‘obvious’. What I mean by this is that some women seem to feed so subtly you’d never really know – how do they do that? I found it really hard to get baby on the nipple without flashing it to anyone who happened to be near me and then there’s the whole squirting issue, I mean my goodness can boobs squirt, if either of my two had latched really well and were thoroughly enjoying their meals chances were they were gulping it down so ferociously that they’d then start choking, fall off the boob, leaving a high pressured jet of milk to go absolutely everywhere. In a mad panic to get control of the situation without revealing more of my womanhood than necessarily, Little man would end up with milk all over his face and my top would be soaked, now why does this not seem to happen to other Mums!! My boobs also seem incapable of learning not to leak. Eventually after a good few weeks of feeding, they tended not to leak in the day, except that when I fed, as soon as Little man started sucking on one boob, the other one obviously thought I had twins and started to drip like a tap.
One night out I remember well as it was during the time I was breast feeding my little princess, so my boobs were a splendid size. We decided to have a night off once Princess only needing feeding at 7pm. So I fed her, then we set off to the cinema. On arrival we thought we’d really push the boat out and get some nibbles so the obligatory sweets and popcorn were purchased. We found our seats and immediately started gorging ourselves. I seem to turn into an animal when popcorn and sweets are offered to me and because the lights were down I didn’t have to appear too polite. That is until an M and M sweet escaped my grasp and fell into my cleavage and nestled beautifully between my boobs. In embarrassment I had to fish it out as it was chocolate and would have made an obvious statement if left to melt!!
One thing I’ve always been scared of and have struggled with is loneliness. When you’re young and without responsibilities you take (or I took) freedom all for granted. Distance between friends isn’t a prob when it’s just you and you have no time limits, but suddenly when you have a toddler and a baby who needs feeding every so many hours, its not as easy to hop in the car and drive for an hour to have a cuppa with a mate. Also, there was a time when not all my close friends had babes so were at work in the day. I was reminded of this when out walking in a beautiful area near my home, I set of just me and my babes and had a lovely morning, but was surrounded by other mothers mostly all out with friends. Also, sometimes I would make the choice to be alone over seeing a friend just purely to save my stress levels. This was when Little man was a toddler and into everything, it would be hard to take him to someone’s house when they weren’t set up for inquisitive toddlers as I’d spend my whole time telling him ‘no don’t touch’ and that’s hard work on me as he wouldn’t sit still and to be honest it wasn’t fair on Little man as he wasn’t being naughty, and I couldn’t expect him to sit still for all that time. Luckily I now have many ‘Mum’ friends, but it took time. It got easier when Little man started nursery, as I was immediately surrounded by people in the same boat as me, so please don’t feel alone, there are many others desperate for a cuppa and a chat and it will happen. Friendships change and what I want from a friendship changes too, but there are one or two ‘true’ friends who are always there, however long its been and however much I’ve changed.
It got near to my due date and for some reason I just thought this baby would come early like Little man did, so having left work to start maternity earlier, I should have guessed that it would not be an early show.
I was so ready for the baby and was getting quite fed up in cleaning the house so thoroughly every week and then having to do it all over again the next week, by the time babe did arrive, the cupboards, oven, garden, car everything was so spotless!!
I had walked miles to urge the baby out, but only got tired instead. Anyway, it was a Saturday and the day my baby was due and I was feeling pretty fed up. So, we decided to go and spend the day at my parents. I’d been having what I thought were possible labour signs for a week now, this frustrated me in itself as I thought I’d know for sure having gone through it once, but this time round it was so different. I’d have slight pains, then they’d go, I’d get a headache, I felt sicky and very tired, then suddenly I was fine again. Argghghhh
We had a lovely day at my parents and still nothing had happened so we went home. I can remember it so well as that evening I cooked a disgusting dinner. We then headed up for an early night and whilst I was in the hallway I suddenly felt water!!! Hubby turned round to find me with my shorts round my ankles and me proclaiming, ‘urm, I think this could be it’, knowing what lay ahead we both swore in excitement and nervousness. Before I could do anything my dear husband had to go and sit on the loo as he couldn’t possibly take me to hospital without having pooed!! – so me with waters a gushing had to sit on a waterproof mat and wait – I ask you. I called the hospital and called my Mum and then waited. I felt really calm but also nervous. As with Little man the contractions started pretty much as soon as my waters had gone. It was so nice to be doing it all properly this time round as opposed to already being in hospital. I went to the bathroom and sorted myself out, but every time I went to move more water would poor out, in the end I just had to go for it. Hubs drove really fast which made me laugh as it wasn’t that urgent, he exclaimed this was the only time he could justify driving like a maniac so I had no choice. We pulled up at some lights and laughed thinking that the people around us had no idea I was about to give birth. We got to the hospital and the made a pigs ear of parking, finally we got out and I slowly waddled to the entrance.
As we went through the entrance a night cleaner asked if we knew where we were going and kindly showed us. This time round I took it all in and felt really in control, we got to the delivery suite and were showed into our room, sure enough things were progressing quickly so I wasn’t sent home. They pretty much left us to get on with it, which was nice as its not a pretty sight when strong contractions hit and you contaught your body in desperation to find a more comfortable position. I arrived at 22.30 and at 00:40 our perfectly beautiful little girl had arrived weighing 7lb2. It all happened so quickly. I panicked at one stage as the Midwife checked my progress and thought I was half way through – but the pain I felt was so strong and the thought of only being half way was horrendous, luckily I was nearly ready to push – much to their surprise. I was sure it was a boy and to my utter joy they said it was a girl (I had no preference, but one of each was perfect). As soon as she arrived I felt better, tired, but with it, I held her immediately and just stared at her – such a different experience than Little man, where I felt half dead and hardly alive after he arrived. They brought us tea and toast and left us to take in our second gorgeous child.
Now I am the first to admit I’m a Monica in regards to my house and cleaning. My husband will say I just can’t help myself and I guess its true. I can’t relax generally, but I certainly can’t relax when there’s anything remotely out of place or dusty or heaven forbid there’s mud on the floor or finger marks on the TV!!! Maybe my way of relaxing is to clean. If I am going on holiday, got friends popping over or hosting a bit of a Do, well then you may as well not bother trying to contact me for a few hours – EVERYTHING has to be immaculate, from clean house, to clean bed linen, laundry washed, ironed and put away, cars washed inside and out – honestly I need help.
So you can imagine in preparing for the arrival of a new life, I went into cleaning overdrive. Every week I would clean like there was no tomorrow and then get really frustrated when no baby came and I had to go through the whole manic cleaning procedure again the next week. I would do the standard house clean routine, but then I would find obscure things to do, like cleaning the oven hood, emptying all the kitchen cupboards and cleaning – plus throwing out food that I really shouldn’t still have!!, I would empty wardrobes and sort clothes out for charity, the second pregnancy round it even got to a point where I wanted the fascias of the house re-painted as I felt they looked very shabby and I didn’t want to bring the baby home to a shabby abode. I really hope that if you’re reading this you’re laughing because you can relate to me and aren’t thinking, ‘poor women, she needs to seek help!!’ I keep thinking I will chill out and I guess the best way to do this is to have kids, I can comfortably sit with the house being messy in the day now and once the babes are in bed I’ll whip round and tidy up the toys – in fact I make it a ‘fun’ game and they then help me.
Little man had always eaten really well and eaten anything I put in front of him, but suddenly approaching 2 he started to become a bit fussy. It got to the point where it was driving me mad and I was running out of ideas for meals. He was still good at eating a good breakfast and would always eat a good lunch like beans and toast, ravioli, sandwiches etc, but it was the main meat and vegetable meals that started to become problematic. I think it was texture he didn’t like. Sometimes I tried forcing the spoon in his mouth but to no avail. Then I took the hard line and threatened that if he didn’t eat the main meal, he would get no pudding, this often happened and he would go to bed with no tea. This made me feel awful, but then things would improve for a while. I would only do that with food I knew he had liked and was just being fussy. If I was trying out a new meal and he generally seemed to not like it then I couldn’t be cross. I just didn’t ever want to fall into the trap of him refusing one meal and me scurrying off to make another. As far as I’m concerned whatever I cook for dinner, everyone eats, I won’t cook individual meals for each family member!! In the end it got worse again but I discovered he would often eat jars of baby food. Now I know for a toddler this isn’t ideal, but they did contain more nutrients than just constantly giving him bread. We did this for a while and in time he started to try things again. I would always try and sit with him for his meals, or eat the same as him to show him how nice it was. When he took a mouthful I would really praise him, but equally if he was refusing then I wouldn’t give him attention, I would simply remove his meal. Sometimes I would bring his pudding in so he could see it and it would encourage him to eat his main. Or I would say he had to eat at least 3 mouthfuls and then he could have pudding, when he knew he only had to have so many more, he would often manage it. I also tried not to let him have many snacks as he would get full up and then not eat his main meals. Then, if we were out I would often take a healthy snack like raisins, or give him lunch first, then he could have some of my snack once that was gone. So, it was a lot of trial and error and patience really, but like all these things we seemed to get there in the end and I was told that a child will never starve themselves!!
At the same time as the ‘going to bed saga’ we had the ‘getting up early saga’. I’m thinking it was partly the new bed, but also as it was so light, but Little man started waking really early, now, had he have woken and played quietly in his room, that would have been fine, but not our boy, he would stand at his gate yelling, Daddy Daddy and getting himself all worked up, arrgghhhh, we couldn’t believe it. Once again we tried various things, we’d shout ‘go back to bed’, we’d go in and put him back to bed and say too early, we put toys in his room to play with when he woke. Eventually he did get the message, but it was a hard slog.
We had purposely got him into his big boys bed a couple of months before our second child was due to iron out any problems, as it turned out we had the baby and she turned out to be so easy and it was Little man that was causing us trouble bless him.