- When your well-meaning midwife tells you that within weeks you will be so confident that you will be able to feed your baby at the same time as answering the door to the postman without him noticing, don’t believe her.
- If your baby is a noisy or erratic feeder try to avoid getting your boobs out in a public place such as a café or bus stop.
- Likewise, if your boobs tend to resemble over-inflated footballs just before a feed, avoid feeding in public, as you may end up showering anyone within a one-metre radius.
- Always wear breast-pads in public, no matter what. The day you go commando and pop out to the shop to buy a loaf of bread, will be the day that you will happily be chatting away to the shop assistant about the marvels of parenthood when just the mere mention of your darling baby will cause two very large wet patches to appear on your chest.
- When wearing your breast-pads, make sure they are inserted securely, avoiding them falling from your person at any given moment. Also ensure that if you take them out of your bra to feed, that you don’t forget to put them back in, and then realise half way down the street that you have left them on the arm of the sofa in Starbucks.
- Don’t go to the bother of putting together the millions of intricate and unfathomable pieces that make up a breast pump, then expressing the milk, dismantling the breast pump to wash and sterilise it, only to do it all over again a few hours later, if you are never actually going to use the aforementioned milk.
- If your baby bites down on your nipple with a new tooth whilst feeding and then looks up at you and smiles, make it known that this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable, and do everything in your power to make sure that this never ever happens again.
- If a fellow mother at your baby yoga class offers to breastfeed your crying baby for you, allowing you five minutes to do your saluting the sun sequence, politely grab your baby and get the hell out of there. Don’t ever return.
- One day you will shove your boobs in your baby’s face and he/she may sigh, roll his/her eyes and push you away while depositing some pureed carrot on your nipple. This is when you should probably start to think about weaning.
Disciplining your child
- Try not to laugh or cry when they mimic your attempts at discipline.
- Resist the urge to pretend (for an easy life) you haven’t seen whatever it is they aren’t supposed to be doing.
- If your child appears to enjoy their punishment ie. sitting on the naughty step, think of a new punishment.
- Do not get into the habit of offering chocolate as a reward for not hitting/biting you.
- Use a firm authoritative tone but try not to let it escalate into a shout – the louder you shout, the harder they laugh.
- If your husband undertakes a failed disciplinary action on your child, keep a close eye on him and don’t let him sulk about it for hours on end. Pacify him by offering reassuring words such as: ‘Don’t worry, I’m sure your colleagues respect you’.
How to run a smooth household
(or, how to manage an un-house-trained husband)
Note: H/P = Husband/Partner
- Ban your H/P from entering the kitchen other than at designated times, such as at mealtimes.
- If your H/P does tend to enter the kitchen on a whim, regularly check that the fridge and freezer door has been shut properly, and that the oven has been turned off.
- Buy crumb-free bread (ie. sliced)
- If your H/P offers to cook, hide most of the cooking implements/pots/pans. There is a danger that he will use every single thing in the kitchen and then leave the washing up for you.
- If your H/P offers to cook your child’s dinner, try to make him aware that omelettes are not the only option.
- If your H/P kindly offers to help with the cleaning, however tempting it may sound, DO NOT LET HIM, it will only end in tears and more work for you.
- Instructions such as: ‘Make sure the milk tops are on properly, don’t leave crumbs all over the work-surfaces because it will attract the mice, and don’t leave the chocolate biscuits in full view of our child’ need to be repeated daily.
- If pregnant, play the pregnancy card and tell your H/P that he has to do all the washing up (and to your standards) because your bump prevents you from reaching the sink.
- If you find yourself dreading the weekly shop with a toddler in tow, do not send your well-meaning H/P to the shops instead. Do your shopping online.
Food to pacify a bored child on long car journeys
- Humous and grated carrot wholemeal sandwiches
- An item of fresh fruit
- A small box of dried fruit
- A couple of rice cakes
- A breadstick
- A plain digestive biscuit
- A small box of yoghurt-coated dried fruit
- A packet of Hula Hoops
- A chocolate digestive
- A small handful of Maltesers
- A bag of chocolate buttons
- A king size Mars Bar
Keeping your child healthy and looking good
- Check regularly that your child isn’t hiding most of his/her five-a-day fruit snacks inside various receptacles in their toy oven.
- Be careful not to let your child become addicted to tomato ketchup in your attempt to get them to eat their greens.
- Don’t try to inflict ‘health’ foods on your child that you wouldn’t be happy to eat yourself.
- Don’t let your child catch you eating a sneaky Pot Noodle or Frey Bentos pie - they will be curious.
- Save yourself added stress, and don’t bother to ask a health professional’s advice if you are at the end of your tether and cannot persuade your child to brush his/her teeth.
- If you have a stubborn child who will not let you cut his/her nails no matter how many promises of treats you offer, cancel their day-time nap for a couple of days. On the third day, take them for a long drive, make the car really hot, put Jeremy Vine on the radio and wait for them to fall fast asleep. Pull into a safe place ASAP, keep the car running, and cut the nails as quickly as possible.
- If you manage to give your child a semi-successful first haircut, this is no guarantee that the next cut will be a success. Quit while you are ahead and go to a professional next time.
- Don’t let your child choose his/her own outfits until they are accountable for themselves.
Dancing with your child
- The basic starting position is to face them, hold their hands and sway from side to side, tilting first one leg in the air and then the other. Once confidence is gained, throw your heads back dramatically at furthest point of each leg outswing.
- A more advanced position is to take very rapid tiny steps towards them so that they end up reversing around the room. Then repeat, backwards, until you return to where you started.
- Next, while still holding hands, and being quite careful, try some headbanging.
- Wait until your child is about four years old before swinging them around in mid-air by the arms. A ‘pulled elbow’ will require a trip to A&E.
- Put them in a wheeled office chair and spin them around the room while ‘working from home’.
- If mealtimes are not going anywhere, abandon the food. Instead, turn on the radio and use the table as a drum and an item of cutlery as a drumstick.
- If you find that nursery rhyme CDs are turning your brain to porridge, feel free to widen their music tastes. For some reason pretty much anything from the early seventies seems to work, for example in particular Iggy Pop (Passenger), the Velvet Underground (I’m sticking with you) or David Bowie (Five Years, or pretty much the whole of Hunky Dory).
- If you have no choice but to dance with your child in public, whether at a children’s party or some kind of parent and tots session at the local community centre, simply concentrate all your attention on the top of your child’s head while you dance.
- If a tantrum breaks out in public and your husband/partner is present, walk away as quickly as possible, find the nearest coffee shop, put your feet up and have a read of Heat magazine. Don’t re-emerge until the coast is clear.
- If the tantrum occurs at home, leave the room, eat some chocolate, and read Heat magazine.
- If the tantrum persists, abandon your magazine and hold the child close to your chest, stroke their hair soothingly and mimic the sound of waves in their ear.
- If the tantrum gets completely out of control, offer five episodes of Peppa Pig and a bag of chocolate buttons.
- If that doesn’t calm things down, call on your husband to deal with the situation.