The Best Advice I Can Give to Parents of Small Children

If I had a pound for every hour I’ve spent clearing up food & toys from the floor I’d be fat. Or something.

I’d also have jeans that don’t get holes in the knees within a couple of months of purchase.

Found this morning:

  • 1 little plastic man, with a swivelling head. Not sure why: he doesn’t look like he’s possessed
  • 1 child’s bracelet
  • 1 dirty sock, mine
  • 1 sheet of star stickers, useful for potty training
  • 1 plastic burger
  • 1 doll’s T-shirt (very dusty)
  • 1 Wizard’s Hat sticker. No idea where that came from. Must be Magic
  • Danny Dog & Suzy Sheep. Yes, together. There’s quite a scandal I believe; I’ve heard talk of “grounded for a month”. Poor Peppa is in a state of shock
  • Another little plastic man; appears to be a Bavarian tourist. Non-swivelly head
  • The obligatory dust & dirt

Not too bad for a whole floor, you say?

Actually, that’s just from under the sofa: the floor was much worse.  And today was a really good day: I’m amazed at how little was there. Not even any leftover food!

I spend an unreasonable amount of time on my hands & knees sweeping under sofas with a broom handle. Not only is there the Daily Sweep, but any time I hear a plaintive cry of “Where’s my <horsey /  airplane / Goldilocks / farmer / hat / pizza / slippers /  blueprint for an inter-stellar spaceship>?!” it’s “Hang on: I’ll get the broom”. And it’s almost invariably there.

So my advice?

For pity’s sake, by all that’s holy, if you can: get a sofa that goes all the way to the floor. ALL THE WAY. No gaps. None. Airtight. Hermetically sealed.

OK? You can thank me later. And buy me a new pair of jeans.

They Turn 2 on Monday…

A little slice of the chaos that is my life. I did manage to do (more) cleaning after this by the way: honest!

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop

3 Brilliant Things: soul cleaning, naughty toys, girls having fun

I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting much here lately: my enthusiasms are often short-lived; also this blog has been quite photo-based & I haven’t had a working camera for a while now.

I have been posting a bit in my “3 Brilliant Things” Posterous blog, which is 1 of many 3BT blogs where the idea is that you post “3 beautiful things” from your life every day, although my contribution is less regular.

I haven’t decided yet how to coordinate the 2 blogs: whether to dual-post, abandon 1 for the other, or to post regularly in Posterous & do a (weekly) summary here.

So here then is my latest, (yesterday’s), 3BT post:

The Mummy was looking after Jallie this morning so I took the opportunity, after the washing-up, to do some much-needed cleaning in the kitchen / diner. While doing that I was having a blast with some great music from a CD of songs from or about Memphis (the one in Tennessee, not Egypt), including:

Otis Redding: I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (to Stop Now)*

Mable John: Your Good Thing

Dusty Springfield: Son of a Preacher-Man

Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts: Angel of the Morning (my favourite)

Al Green: Take Me to the River

Isaac Hayes: Theme from “Shaft”**

Great stuff!

I was spooning a milky dessert to them at lunchtime while they were standing up when Jake took a step backwards & stumbled over a bit of toy (a crow’s nest from a pirate ship). I jokingly said “That naughty toy: it tripped you up!”. Playing along, he turned around, picked it up & slammed it onto their little plastic table, like it was a Naughty Step. He then turned around & gave the table underneath the toy a good boot for good measure. Really made me laugh. (Except then he kept doing it, until I had to tell him to stop).

Just before dinner we were watching Jools’ Hootenanny from the box (shows how up-to-date I am with TV) & the 1st New Year’s song, Cyndi Lauper doing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” with Jools & his Big Band: fantastic, a real show-stopper! Ellie was enjoying it too & was dancing around the room; while doing so she was shouting: “Jake! Come on!”. Adorable.

* The Mummy walked down the aisle to that song at our wedding.

** Does anyone else automatically think of Father Ted every time they hear that song now? I still haven’t decided whether or not that’s a good thing.

Flying Solo

On Thursday I looked after the twins for a full day on my own for the first time.

From 6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., without a break.

The Mummy is still on Maternity Leave, but she wanted to go in to work to take part in interviewing for a senior post, someone she’d be working closely with. Obviously she wanted to have a say in who it would be.

I’ve worked in the high-stress, competitive environment that is the City, & in pressurised, busy restaurant kitchens. But this child-care is by far the most demanding job I’ve ever had!

So: parents & carers, especially you Mothers, take note: the next time someone (usually a smug bloke, right?) implies that you’ve got it easy & that you should try working in a ‘proper job’ (whatever that is) – just send them to me, OK?

Jallie decided to make it extra hard for me by, unusually, napping at different – & odd - times. I wonder if the disruption of the Mummy not being around at all had unsettled them, although generally they were in a good mood. Usually you can count on having at least a break in the afternoon & often also the morning as they nap. Not a bit of it for me!

Feeding them both at once (before their morning nap) was difficult. I somehow managed to get them on a knee each, wrapping an arm around them & holding a bottle in each mouth. (I wonder if we’ll eventually evolve an extra arm or 2? I sure could do with that!). I then managed to lower Jake into a cot, then Ellie into the other. She wasn’t happy, so I picked her up again & lay with her on a futon mattress we’ve laid on the bedroom floor. She fell asleep almost straight away. This is a girl who really needs company!

After making sure the room was safe I went back to Jake, who was grizzling. I tried to settle him on the spare bed but he just wasn’t interested. So he stayed up & we played. Ellie ended up sleeping for nearly 2 1/2 hours – incredible!

Lunch was late because of this, & they ate well. Jake! He was actually falling asleep in his high-chair! His poor little head kept falling onto the tray, messy as it was. He’s never done that before, nor has Ellie! So I had to unstrap him, leaving Ellie alone (which she loathes), take him back upstairs & settle him in a cot. He went down straight away, fortunately.

Back to Ellie to finish her lunch, then I even managed to clear up & load the dishwasher! Then into the lounge for some play (while I had the cricket on :)).

Jake however only slept for half an hour. When he awoke I had to give him the rest of his lunch. Because the kitchen/diner floor is slate & too hard for just-walking babies to fall on, if I was to feed Jake in there I’d have to strap Ellie back in the high-chair. Without more food, I’d give that about 2 minutes before grumpiness ensued. So that was out. I ended up carrying a high-chair into the lounge & feeding Jake there while Ellie played happily on the floor, with a snack so she didn’t feel too left out. Everyone wins!

No-one wanted an afternoon nap! Except me. I actually ended up napping on the nursery floor, while energetic twin babies climbed & jumped all over me. I had to lie on my side in order to avoid being choked & castrated…

Up until then I’d been thinking that despite everything it was going remarkably well, much easier than I expected! I just conked out. In hindsight I think I was starting to get this lurgee that’s been going around, a congesty sinnussy thing; I had a temperature the next day.

Tea is normally at 5pm. Ellie fell asleep on my shoulder at 4.30. Great…

She lasted 45 minutes, but it again meant that their meal was late, although – again – it went surprisingly well.

After tea we played until the Mummy came back at 6.30. Boy we we glad to see her, especially Jake! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so excited! He kept leaping on her, screeching with excitement, turning around, & then doing it again. Ellie of course was also really pleased, but in her typically gentler way :)

I had a brief, much welcome, break then we settled them to bed for the night – thankfully they both went down quickly.

We live in a tall, thin 3-storey house. The nursery, cots & changing table are at the top; kitchen/diner & lounge at the bottom. I lost count of the number of times I carried them, 1 at a time of course, up & down the stairs. I was shattered! My arms &  shoulders still ache. Although this lurgee I’m sure has a lot to do with that.

We’re planning to work part-time on alternate days come April, so I’ll have to get used to this. I really need to figure out ways to make it easier though.

I’m thinking Bungalows. Yep, a Bungalow would be a great. Anyone got one they want to sell?

Silent Sunday: Disneyland? No: Daddyland!

Have a look at all the other Silent Sunday photos at Mocha Beanie Mummy:

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday: Babies Should Be Washed Separately

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click to enlarge

Have a look at all the other Silent Sunday photos at the amazing Mocha Beanie Mummy‘s blog:

Silent Sunday