Every day I am pretty sure I do at least one thing wrong. Most days I do more. I used to think I was alone, until I talked to other parents who were honest. Here is a place for more parents to feel less alone, and more "good enough".

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Bright Side

I have been re-reading all of my old posts over the last few days whilst organising some labels. And I feel like my older posts were more positive and fun. I would love to get that back, in to my life in general as well as on here. So on that note I am going to get back to the original premise and as from the 1st May will be re-starting The Lists from my diary - in fact I have a diary and a calendar this year so it may mean double lists :-) I can't possibly start until May because there is only just over a week left of April and it is mahoosively busy. Put it this way - I could've been triple booked next Saturday night if I wasn't concentrating!!
See you all soon on The Bright Side xx.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Born to be Wild............

So my current 'project' (or most important of many) is to have a more positive relationship with my intensely brilliant and fireball of a daughter. I love her to pieces and she loves me intensely, but we seem to be constantly interlocked in battle. She has a very strong personality, which will stand her in good stead as she gets older I'm sure, but right now it means that every day consists of challenges for me to overcome even down to the daily events of dressing, breakfast, walking down the stairs.........
She needs a lot of input, a lot to keep her busy. Sometimes I run out of ideas and get so stressed trying to think of stuff to occupy her and keep her from bugging Adam (who also needs to learn more patience) and look after Toby at the same time. Adam is happy spending time with James but I don't want him to feel left out. Jessica wants pure undiluted constant MUMMY. Toby is amazingly chilled but only I can feed him and I don't want to not spend any time with him whilst he's so little and establishing bonds and relationships. Luckily Jessica loves him to pieces as does Adam xx.
So, I bought a new piece of battle armour the other day. 'The Preschooler's Busy Book'. I have the Toddlers version and love it but she has outgrown it. It came last week and looks great :-)
So far we have tried 'Cleaning Coins' and 'Paper Doll Chain', both with great success. I am hoping this will help us spend some quality time together, keep her busy when I need to be with Toby, and in general help us have a happier relationship. Fingers crossed xx.

I am pinning a lot on us moving, giving both older children a bit of their own space, and instilling some new rules and routines including new night lights, alarm clocks, less toys in bedrooms and BATH TIME!! Today we went to the park with friends and had a fab time, but the walk/scooter home was a bit much for Jessica and by the time we got home she was so tired that life itself became a battle. Being able to come home from that kind of sticky, hot, dusty day and plonk her into a bath is something I am massively looking forward to. I am sure we will still have many tantrums but hopefully some can be avoided. I am off now to organise my "Crazy Can", "Messy Can" and "Mummy Time Can" activities from the Busy Book and Pinterest and trying to feel a bit less stumped when something, ANYTHING, is needed to be introduced to prevent chaos ruling.

Friday, 19 April 2013

So, on Wednesday I fell down the stairs...............

So, on Wednesday I fell down the stairs. My right arm has been aching since, due to me having incredibly rubbish wrist strength anyway, and I've been pretty tired and have a slight case of "writer's block". When I got to the bottom I sat and cried, and just thanked God I wasn't carrying Toby this time. Less than 5 weeks now until we move out of this house. Not only are the stairs very steep, they also have rounded edges and just seem to have been put in by somebody who didn't like people very much. It is an ex-council house, what more can I say? Poor Jessica came to see if I was ok and brought me my phone to "ring Beard, he come home?" I did ring him but I told him not to come home, because I felt ok by the time I got through to him and I just wanted things to be quiet. I took Toby up to bed, extremely gingerly, and then Jessica, then I tidied around and wrote a list of jobs for James to do. We had kind of rowed as he'd promised to do lots of tidying that afternoon whilst I was out and had sat watching Dave instead, but not having facebook was good I think. Instead of venting on there, asking friends for advice, getting stressed, I just had a quiet time (after yelling at him of course), and worked through my feelings myself. When he came in he was really sorry, and he did everything on the list before he went to bed, even sleeping on the sofa so he didn't wake me early in the morning when he set off for work. Sometimes, people just don't think, it doesn't mean they do it on purpose, and there's no point staying mad if they're genuinely sorry and make amends.

Thursdays dont work very well for us. Firstly, I have to get all the kids to school for 8.45am as James goes out to work at 5am so he can't take Adam. Which I think is good as it will get Jessica used to going early in a morning before September, even if only once a week it's better than nothing. I get everything ready on Wednesday nights and it's all good, right up until the moment we need to leave. When something catastrophic pretty much always happens. Usually involving Jessica, although it can entangle all of us and frequently does so. This week we were almost on time, but hit a snag at the other side of the river bridge when Jessica suddenly had a meltdown and decided she couldn't possibly go any further because Adam and I had walked through the big gate instead of the small one. I don't think it helped that she had just pushed her way through the wind over the bridge. So I suggested to Adam he could actually run up to school from there, if I watched him over the road - he is capable of crossing that road by himself but I knew he wouldn't quite fancy that. So off he set with 5 minutes to go, and I turned my attentions to convincing Jessica to move forwards. Only to turn back around and realise Adam had moved about a foot and was stood by the fence sobbing. So I turned my attention back to him (Jessica was going nowhere fast), to be told that he couldn't possibly walk to school on his own, it's not safe. Now, how many people get told that by their almost 10 year old sons 5 minutes from school I wonder, aren't most of them begging to walk by themselves by the age of 8?? I reassured him we could walk together however (with an exasperated look backwards at Jessica), he would most certainly be 5 or 10 minutes late. He was fine with that, the child who hates being late for school would rather that than walk alone it seems. At least now I know. With less pressure, and a distraction of being able to take Adam into the office, we were soon underway and arrived exactly 10 minutes late. So next Thursday I shall set off 10 minutes earlier, we MUST be out of the door by 8.15am on the dot, so getting our coats on by 8.05am at the latest. We'll see how it goes...............................
Thursday afternoons don't work either. Jessica has PE, it's near the end of the week, and it's just me, her and Toby on the way home. So by the time we got to the corner of the road Jessica was already well on the way to meltdown-ville. Bearing in mind this is the first week back to school without a buggy board. It has been replaced by a scooter which works as a distraction but only half the time. Although it does cover ground fast when it is working, so I think it has a good success rate. Not this time however. I dared to suggest getting to the shop (about 10 steps away) and then deciding what to do, which prompted more tears and demands of staying where we were - dead on the corner where everybody was trying to walk. So, we had a big swap around. The raincover came off, the mei tai (that luckily I had left in the basket) was put on, Toby's coat came off and his jumper was put on, he was put in the mei tai and my baby wearing fleece was put on. Then the footmuff came off (this apparently is only for babies, according to the nearly 4 year old who wanted to get in the 3 month old's pushchair), which involved unpopping and pushing through of straps, the seat unit was turned around and sat up, and finally the 4 year old got in the pushchair. To get out 10 steps later so she could choose her snack from the shop. Luckily she wanted to get back in afterwards otherwise I'm not quite sure I would have remained so (outwardly) calm. So, off we set home, the day after I fell down the stairs and hurt my arm, pushing a nearly 4 year old in a pram, carrying a 16lb 3 month old on my front, with a bag full of raincover, footmuff and sweater swinging off one wrist and pram handle whilst a scooter handle was precariously clutched in the other hand along with  the other pram handle. To add to this juggling act, the sweets Jessica had chosen had writing on which obviously needed to be read by me every 2 minutes along the way.

I don't really know how we can solve Thursday afternoons. In a way, that is the solution. At least we had no falling asleep on buggy boards or needing to be carried up hills (and then falling asleep on my shoulder) whilst pushing a heavy pram. I'm sure it was easier to push her in the pram and carry Toby than it was to push the big pram up the hill with her on the buggy board. And we didn't have any major meltdowns once I realised that I had the solution right there with me in the pram basket.

Sometimes, I guess, as parents, we have to realise there isn't an "easy" solution. That these little people are indeed little, and just can't always do what would be easiest for us. When they have had to walk to school and back 3 days already, and had to get up and out early that same morning, and then had PE, they quite simply can not manage that final walk home, even when a bright pink fast scooter is there for the taking. And that when they are asking us to dig into our reserves of energy and be a packhorse, it isn't because they are being mean or unreasonable, it's because their reserves are all used up. How can I, as an adult, refuse to tire myself out, when that is what I am asking my 4 year old to do?

Tonight I let them watch DVDs in bed, because I am tired and film nights always end up with arguments over films and a hyper Jessica who won't go upstairs at the end of the film and I have all 3 of them all weekend on my own for the majority of the time. So I know it's supposed to be bad for them to fall asleep watching DVDs, but it's bad for me to yell at them because I'm exhausted and I think this is the lesser of two evils. I can always blame their Aunty, she bought them the DVD players.

I wanted a chilled out relaxing "what will be will be" kind of song, but my brain isn't working well enough to find one right now. It is whirling around with pirate parties and house moves and information on HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) children which I have been reading with much interest in connection with Adam - I'm pretty sure you will see further blogs on this soon as I have a book on the way about it - always good to know your children well xx.

Sorry for the ramble, the wrongly placed apostrophes and the many paragraphs of text. At the moment I'm still working on figuring out my life, so sometimes you might see building work in progress instead of a sleek well presented finished article xx.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Plans? You have plans? We three children laugh in the face of your plans...

So, I deactivated facebook. This morning I woke up feeling very relaxed and motivated. Toby had to be at the doctors for 10.40am for his injections and we managed to get there almost on time without any Jessica meltdowns. She rode her scooter all the way to saltaire roundabout which is up quite a hill, we missed the original bus I had planned to catch but I saw that she was trying her best and reminded myself that it was me who should have given her more time to get up the hill. So I encouraged her rather than getting cross, told her it didn't matter about the bus and just got the next one. We were only a few minutes late for the doctor and she felt good about herself.
Fast forward to this afternoon. Everything went wrong, Jessica's behaviour sky rocketed, Adam was mid meltdown and poor Toby was crying his little eyes out which he never does so presumably his legs were aching from his jabs.
James and I had planned to do as much tidying of the house as possible. Instead I was stuck on the sofa with a cuddly and bossy Jessica and the kitchen got more messy (as did James) when I tried to open the strawberry milkshake powder and ended up pouring it over his head whilst he was knelt down putting dishes away. Shaky hands. I've been having headaches recently, and now with shaky hands and noticing my engagement ring is more 'fitted' it seems that high blood pressure may be trying to sneak back in.
So James swept that up, I attempted to herd the children to bed without an all out war, and then I laid on the sofa and unashamedly cried. I am tired, I feel like I'm doing everything wrong with Jessica whatever I try, and poor Adam is getting grief at every turn - from his sister at home and a boy at school (letter to teacher has been written tonight and will be sent tomorrow and hopefully sorted) and is struggling to cope.
As an aside, James is sat watching 'Going Postal' and one of the lines struck me as what I would say "Can't I even die in peace?" hahaha. As many mums will testify, it's rare you even get to wee in peace.
So. James made me a cuppa and we talked and made plans for tomorrow, choosing to ignore the fact that they didn't work today. Without hope what is there left?? And I am currently sat reading "How to talk so children will listen and listen so children will talk". If nothing it helps just to know I'm not alone. Underneath it is "Siblings without rivalry", hopefully that will have some gems of wisdom. With another cuppa, and a pack of custard creams, we'll figure out a way forward I'm sure xx.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A whole new beginning....

I'm debating leaving facebook. It's something I think about every now and again. Recently a few friends have left and said that after a week or so they really don't miss it. They feel like they are living 'real life' again. I feel sometimes it brings out the negative side of me. It's so easy to moan, or to get into arguments over stupid pointless memes.
I use it to keep in touch with friends I've met on facebook, or through BC. To keep in touch with far away friends, local friends with the same interests or parenting ideas. The home education community is busy on there. I could use it when starting up in self employment if that is what I choose to do. But something in me feels like I will be more free if I leave.
It's hard to decide. I'm going to put the idea to one side for now. I need to do that more often, instead of trying to work on lots of ideas at once I just need to focus on the most current. Right now I need to plan Jessica's birthday. Then Disneyland, then moving. After that I can focus on self employment and our wedding.
But maybe, after we move and before I start those next two 'projects', I could put some time into my 'real life', figure that out first, and move forwards from there. You never know, it could be a whole new beginning ;-)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

How to have a largely successful day out.....

So, we did this. We had a successful day out. All five of us. And it included a city centre, a coffee stop and a 2 course meal. Here's how we did it.

Firstly - the eldest two slept at their Dads last night so they were already dressed and first-breakfasted upon arrival at 730am. This is a very important note as it meant no negative morning issues. It is important to also note that James, their father and myself had a highly positive conversation about various things upon drop off, which even included laughter, so even more positivity sneaked into their heads whilst they weren't looking.
We had a slight meltdown upon setting off as Jess was in delay/avoidance mood and we missed the train and I left my phone at home, but we were back up and running (and thanks to James actual running also had my phone back) by the time the next train came.

A few minor mishaps involving platform races, swerving prams and Jessica having to see *shock horror* DRESSES on display whilst exchanging Toby's suit (for the next size up - milk monster alert!), and we were headed for the Lego Store. Having wisely set off early to avoid crowds (and thus meltdowns from pretty much all of us except Toby), we had the store almost to ourselves. The children were impeccably well-behaved, didn't ask for anything, and happily built and paid for a minifigure each from their own pocket money when the idea was suggested to them. On to the next store!!

We had wisely located the next store before going in the first store.......and upon stepping out of the lift were able to shout "Yay Toy Shop!!!" for the first time in ages in Leeds City Centre. The children loved the roof of the Trinity also at this point. In we went.........

I followed Jessica and James followed Adam. Jessica's conversation was a stream of "woah"s and "wow"s as she came across Doc McStuffins, Peppa Pig and various other tv toys. She brilliantly asked for nothing.
Until we came to the Cut the Rope display unit. "Pleeeeease Mummy. But pleeeeease Mummy, I keep this?" With many sad looks and cuddles. Looking at the 10 pound price tag I was extremely firm in my no. I offered to take a picture so she could ask for it for her birthday. She had a very cute pleading face in said picture.

But she put the toy back with no further questions, no tears or tantrums. I was so amazed I offered to buy her a foil pack with 2 cut the rope figurines in for 2 quid which she happily accepted. Soft touch, moi??
Both children paid at the till (Adam chose some more Kobots, again out of his pocket money) and we directed them next door to Costa which James and I had spotted on the way in ;-)

This, again, was amazingly stress free. We sat for 30-60 minutes, drank both our coffees, had one mini muffin each, fed Toby, changed a nappy, whilst 2 happy and cooperative children played with their new figures and then our phones as we noticed boredom triggers appearing. To the bookshop I suggested?? And both children happily agreed and didn't delay leaving?!

Upon arrival in the bookshop Jessica needed a wee. I headed back out with her to find a toilet (and bought a pot of fruit from a cafe to gain access to one). She happily walked, waited and wee'd. Both children spent time choosing books, a bit of 'Jessica wanting to buy books she already has, half the shop for Toby, and Adam wanting to spent 20 quid on sticker books' was dealt with surprisingly diplomatically and with no meltdowns and the man on the till was very impressed that Jessica was spending her pocket money on a book (Little Miss Star) instead of sweeties. Luckily she didn't hear him and gain ideas ;-)

On to the museum! No food and drink allowed in but thankfully Jessica had just finished her fruit pot (and shared it with Adam?!) so no issues arose. Adam enjoyed running all over the huge map "destroying Leeds" and James had fun spotting all the places he had driven to in the van recently. Jessica pushed and pulled lots of interesting "things" whilst Adam read about what they actually were. A few slight 'getting tired combined with warm museum' grumbles began to surface after about an hour so we took the executive decision to get excited about it being sunny enough to play in the Noble Comb park hint hint.....they decided yes it was ok to go back to the train station. We had a few wobbles from a tired 9 yr old (and a tired 26 yr old) on the way but nothing spectacular in our world ;-) and found the 2 spare mini muffins on the back of the pram just in time to offset a tired 3 year old's descent into 'I want to do whatever you don't want me to do' whilst James was buying juice in the shop and I was outside with all 3 children. Phew!

We psychologically tricked the children (mainly Adam) into making the walk to the pub feel shorter by walking right through the station "You can go through the tunnel AND on a lift this way!" and not surfacing until near Foxes Corner where "You can see the pub from here!" - awesome parenting at it's best ;-)

We arrived at the pub. And the rest is history.

Adam read his new book in the sun...........before joining his sister in the park.

Jessica ran about on the park, took off her tshirt because it was warm, straight away put on her jumper because it was cold, and ran about without her wellies on because "it's safe, OK!"

Adam ate all his meal AND an extra identical meal we bizarrely got free, and Jessica had a pretty good go at her "pizza, rice and peas, I don't like vegetables ok, so get me PEAS ok?" so we got puddings. 2 big sharing puddings between the 4 of us, because we were high on the no meltdowns so far day we were having.

Who likes their pudding? "I DO!!"

A park, an empty bench table next to it, weather *just* warm enough for us to sit outside, an extra pizza the kitchen cooked by accident and two sharing desserts later, two children actually happily walked out of the pub in the direction of home.

For about 2 seconds and then they realised it was 4pm, they'd left the house at 930am (and their Dad's at 715am) and now they were being asked to walk home. Slight parenting fail but one with no other solution due to the location of the pub, our house and that the walk for a bus/train would've been just as dramatic and almost as long. The 9 year old was the most vocal. Luckily, another 2 seconds later we were on the canal. And the complaints of "it takes ages, I'm tired, we've walked loads today" were forgotten as sticks and stones were flung into the ever accepting depths. It wasn't plain sailing and took a rather tortuous hour and ten minutes to get from the Noble Comb canal entrance to our house in Saltaire......bearing in mind we had the pram with us that Jessica had the option of jumping in and out of all day so we hadn't been forcing her to walk miles. Much was made of "ooh a red boat", "look that's where Aunty Karen works" and "I think the ducks are following us....quick run!". Jessica jumped in the pram just as we got to Roberts Park, we had a slight hiccup when she saw the icecream barge but these were the only tears of the day and were gone by the time we reached the train station and found a stick to bang on railings all the way home.

At home, surprisingly, Jessica didn't fall asleep (unlike Beard who nodded off on the sofa) and chilled out watching tv whilst Adam updated his kobots profile on the pc. A few Good Luck Charlie episodes later, a small upset over the water cup in the bathroom, and all three children were in beds/cot. Jessica fell asleep straight after her stories and a quick mummy snuggle so I actually feel rather sane.

The nappies are in the wash, the house is 'tidy enough', and it's quiet. And we had a successful day out. All five of us. So how did we avoid meltdowns? A mixture of planning, cunning, and a big dollop of luck. Maybe we have the skills to have a good time at DisneyLand next month after all?? I certainly hope so, for now I'm just happy that we managed it once x.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The perils of a countdown.

Recently I am struggling immensely. My to do list is never ending, my house is bulging at the seams (the man keeps selling things but then buying more with the money?!), and I have been waiting for a move date since November to a bigger house due to the owner being messed about by people he was buying from. So now, we finally have a definite secure date to move, at the end of May. I thought this would make me feel better, that everytime I got annoyed at stubbing my toe on an airer, or falling over 5 things in a row, or having to move the entire kitchen around to be able to sit for a family meal, or Jessica literally climbing the walls, that I could think "Only ... weeks". And I'm doing that, but it's not working. Because oh my goodness it's like the last pregnancy trimester, the clock seems to have stopped and wow is it dragging! Every little thing in this house turns into a big thing, the children are stressed, James and I are stressed, there are so many daily arguments and I am just hoping we make it to the new house intact.
I feel like packing would make me feel better, but we have no space to pack or place to put anything that we pack. We already have a ton of stuff boxed up at my parents that we could live without for a month or two. It's now been 4-5 months and the children want their stuff back. The plus side of that being that when we move they will have shedloads of 'new' stuff to play with whilst we unpack :-) Although Toby is growing out of his carrycot already so I may need to fish out the new pushchair that "We definitely won't need until way after we move so it can just go straight to my parents in the box" hahahahahaha.
Of course, have to look for the plus sides ;-) And we are amazingly lucky to have found somewhere local and spacious and within budget. But seriously, please give me strength, leeway, whatever for the next 8 weeks, I may seem grumpy and as up and down as a hyper 3 year old, but I promise things will improve soon. This year will be a good year, many unforeseen events have turned into positive future opportunities, and after all, it is Only 8 Weeks!!!
Jessica displaying crazy Mummy's feelings surprisingly accurately.....