Friday 20 March 2009

Remote parenting

When Betty was a few weeks old we decided that, although she was pretty good at making herself heard, we needed a baby monitor.

I remember reading the instructions. The description for the ‘Talk’ facility said something like: ‘Press and hold this button on the parent unit and speak into it to be heard by your baby’. And then it went on to say: ‘WARNING - THIS BUTTON SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PARENTING’.

In the early days I only ever dared use this button once. Betty was grumbling in her cot one night and so I pressed the ‘Talk’ button and began singing to her sweetly in the hope of making her drift off to sleep. However, it had the opposite effect. She went berserk and screamed blue murder until I appeared in person to pacify her. Since then the button has been strictly off-limits.

Last week Tom had a nasty cold and so I made him sleep downstairs for a few days. One night Betty woke up at about 3am and in a whiney little voice began saying ‘No Postman Pat. No Postman Pat’ over and over and over again. Normally I would have asked Tom to go and sort out her disagreement with Pat, but since he wasn’t there I needed to deal with the situation myself. I was feeling huge and uncomfortable and unable to move easily and hoist myself out of bed, so in desperation I turned to the ‘Talk’ facility for the first time in over two years and gently said: ‘Betty my darling it’s time to go back to sleep now, we can talk about Postman Pat in the morning if you like, but right now it’s time to go to sleep’. Lo and behold, I didn’t hear another peep out of her until morning.

I have used this method successfully in the middle of the night a couple of times since. If the monitor company thinks I’m not a proper parent, I’m willing to live with that.

Friday 13 March 2009

Stomach snub

I have been thinking/worrying a lot about the effects the new baby will have on Betty, but also how lovely it will be for her to have a younger sibling to play with, or torment in the case of me and my poor younger brother.

Some of the incidents that spring to mind…

• When I was nine years old my dad said he'd give me £50 if I ate a worm. I ate the worm and got my £50, but my mum (who was pretty annoyed with my dad for encouraging me to do such a stupid thing) made me split the money with my younger brother. I was livid and thought it only fair to force him into eating a worm to earn his half.
• During the school holidays (shortly after the worm incident) I locked my brother in a cupboard for three hours while my mum was at work. Just before she was due to come home I let him out again. He cried and wailed and told mum what I had done but I convinced her that he was making it up.
• I used to pick flowers out of peoples’ gardens, and then hand them to my brother and tell him to go and knock on the door and try to sell them to the owner.
• And I would often suck the chocolate off Maltesers and then hide them all over our house. When my brother came across them and asked me what they were I would scare the life out of him and tell him that it was alien poo.

I keep hearing from friends and from celebrity mums in Heat magazine that when pregnant with the second child, the older sibling affectionately strokes and kisses their mummy’s tummy, talks or sings to the unborn baby, or tries to look at it through mummy’s belly button.

Betty has shown absolutely no interest in my expanding stomach. When I dare mention to her that there is a baby in there, she gives me a filthy look, turns her back on me, and starts singing ‘The wheels on the bus…’ very loudly.

This could mean that either she thinks I am completely deluded for talking about such absurdities (especially as she regularly witnesses me downing entire Chocolate Oranges, and often refers to me as ‘Daddy Pig’), or she knows full well what is going on and doesn’t want to think ab0ut the fact that she soon has to share her home and parents with another little Button.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Domestic bore

A single friend came over for supper last night. When it was time for her to leave, she pointed out (in a nice way) that I had made the following statements/admissions throughout the evening:

• Economy 7 does have its plus points you know
• Tescos online shopping has changed my life
• Windolene doesn’t work on our windows
• I am so excited about finding the ‘timer delay’ button on our washing machine
• By planning our weekly menu I have seriously slashed our grocery bills
• There are lots of great offers on baby products at the moment
• Our milk consumption has reached astronomical proportions
• I have yet to work out how to use bleach correctly
• Every little helps