Tuesday 26 May 2009

A job well done

Last night Tom put Betty to bed while I put Dolly to bed.

We both happened to finish at the same time and met each other on the landing. We were euphorically giving each other a high-five when suddenly screams and cries started up from both bedrooms simultaneously. Tom looked at me, paused, and said: ‘Well that’s the girls sorted then’.

Monday 18 May 2009

Extreme nappy change (by Tom)

Betty’s had her nappy changed in some diverse places – on the grassy verge of a seaside car park, in a cafĂ© with toilet roll (I will never moan about wet wipes again), on the main street of fashionable Deauville, France – but today was a real humdinger. Betty took it very well, considering.

I’m very slowly gathering materials for a home-made chicken coop. So far I have a roll of chicken wire, and a bag of Betty’s hair to terrify the local foxes (see earlier post Hair Abuse). Today I felt ready to go to the next level so I took Betty off to a reclamation centre in search of some cheap bits of timber. The rain was falling hard as we arrived. For a time all was well, I started to look for some wood, and Betty was ecstatic about all the random items: phone boxes, stained glass windows, barrels, giant stone balls…in fact I think the excitement might just have triggered the long-overdue bowel movement that she loudly announced to me from halfway down the bath aisle.

Resisting the urge to ignore it, I scooped the little lady up and asked the warehouse owner if there was a toilet. He led me outside and pointed to a blank door. There was some confusion as I thanked him and headed off in the opposite direction (to get Betty a spare nappy etc. – but it was too wet to explain). When I got back, the blank door had been opened. It had been a peculiar exchange, but I had no time to work it out: Betty’s nappy needed urgent attention.

Inside was a concrete-floored bunker. There was no lightbulb. Two doors led off to the usual places: a third door was locked and could have been guarding absolutely anything. I tried shutting the outer door, as a token nod towards Betty’s dignity, but the ensuing darkness was total. I opened the door again and searched the bunker for inspiration. There was a small anvil on the floor. Even a small anvil is almost unmoveable without machinery. With Betty’s help, I dragged it across the floor and propped open the door, effecting a compromise between having enough light to see by, and not letting Betty get drenched by the now-horizontal icy rain.

Working quickly now, in case the other customer was suddenly caught short, I threw my coat onto the muddy floor and lay my alarmed but stoical daughter on top. I set to work with my back to the door in an attempt to keep the worst of the storm off Betty. The nappy change itself was mercifully straightforward, though there was no bin, and I was too embarrassed to talk to the man again, so I threw the old nappy into my rucksack and ran with Betty back to the shelter of the crazy warehouse.

Friday 15 May 2009


Tom has gone back to work so I am now going it alone with the two little ladies. There are several goals I have to reach each day for things to go relatively smoothly, namely not letting anyone starve.

If I have managed to get milk into Dolly whilst keeping Betty happy and entertained, and lunch into Betty without Dolly losing the plot, that is a real accomplishment and I feel a real sense of achievement.

I was particularly pleased with myself yesterday when I managed to make yellow play dough for Betty, whilst breastfeeding, singing nursery rhymes, and trying to locate Betty’s felt tip pen lids that she was adamant she must have in order to stop nagging me.

One of the biggest things I have noticed since Dolly was born is that Betty is a very big girl and is doing near-on adult poos and therefore seems way too old to be wearing nappies and lying on a changing mat with her legs in the air being held in a vice like grip etc. Therefore, much to Tom’s astonishment, I have decided that this is the time to embark on the whole potty training thing. This has so far involved me taking Betty’s nappy off for a couple of afternoons here and there and telling her that if she manages to do her business in the potty I will give her a big piece of chocolate. However, on both afternoons, much to Betty’s annoyance (and my frustration) she hasn’t needed to do either a wee or a poo during the whole nappy-free time.

The funniest thing that Betty has started doing since her new sister arrived is that when I am feeding Dolly she has started mimicking me by ‘breastfeeding’ her duck comforter (whilst making slurping noises) and then winding him.

Going from one to two is a bit of a shock to the system when you are the only adult in the house and both girls are refusing to have their nap, or insisting on crying at the same time. But it is truly amazing watching Betty mothering Dolly and running to her aid when she cries, gently stroking her head, rocking her chair and asking her if she would like some raisins to make her feel better.