Monday 26 October 2009

The look

I feel that Dolly hasn’t been getting enough blog airtime so wanted to talk a little about how her character is developing, and how I find that the looks she gives me are a little unnerving.

People have always said about her: ‘She has that knowing look, she has been here before’. It was as if she had read all the books and thus knew exactly how to be a textbook baby. Unlike Betty, she has always conformed to what babies are supposed to do and like/dislike: gnawing on teethers, gazing up at musical mobiles, disapproving of dirty nappies, sticking to a routine etc.

Having said that, with this ‘knowledge’ that she seemingly has, I find myself subconsciously not treating her like a baby, and it somehow doesn’t seem appropriate to talk to her in baby gaga googoo language. I think this may be because when I have pulled funny faces and talked to her in silly voices in the past, she has made me feel like a complete idiot with her ‘what the hell are you doing that for, you look ridiculous’ look. She glares straight at me, with a deadpan expression, momentarily stops sucking on her thumb (but with thumb still in mouth), gives it a few seconds and then sighs, turns away and continues to suck on her thumb.

I also feel that although she is a model baby at the moment, she is just biding her time. She sits quietly observing Betty and puts up with being poked, and squeezed and yanked, but she has a definite look about her which tells me she is storing it all up and as soon as she is bigger and stronger she will give an unsuspecting Betty what for.

This morning, after she had had a good long breast feed, I then ate my toast in front of her. If looks could kill…

Saturday 24 October 2009


Every morning Betty goes downstairs and empties all her little pots, pans, plates and hundreds of pieces of play food (all of which come from different sets) into her toy pushchair and toy shopping trolley. Once she has done this, which takes her about two seconds, she doesn’t play with it all, she just leaves it and goes off and does something else, but if you dare try to put it away during the day she gets very cross.

Every evening before she goes to bed I get her to tidy it all away, but because of my slightly obsessive nature, she doesn’t quite do it to my standards, and so I end up spending ages putting everything back in their rightful little sets before I can sit down and relax.

Last night I decided that all the food items and pans etc were going to go into hiding for a while to save me some work. This morning Betty went downstairs and I heard her opening the cupboard that normally houses all the aforementioned items, and I waited for her to call out that they were missing. However, she was silent. Phew I thought, I have successfully solved the problem.

Later I went into the sitting room to find that in the absence of her food items she had loaded up the pushchair and trolley with ANYTHING she could lay her little mitts on; loo rolls, cellotape, books, the pepper grinder, my keys, hoover attachments, soap, puzzle pieces etc, thus creating even more work for me. I have to hand it to her, she will not be outsmarted, and is incredibly resourceful.

This evening I plan to hide the trolley and the pushchair.

Friday 23 October 2009

Mini break

Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything, even the simplest of things, seems really hard? From organising a plumber to come and to sort out your kitchen sink which is blocked for the umpteenth time, to trying to scrape play dough off the sitting room carpet, to cooking dinner, to trying to get Dolly to do a poo.

Tom was in London quite a lot last week and when he came back he brought a cold with him. This then laid him up in bed all weekend, plus he passed it onto Betty and Dolly. So all week no-one has really slept very well, everyone has been a bit miserable, and I feel like I have been going flat out, for what feels like weeks, without a break.

So this morning, I packed Betty off to pre-school (which she now seems to be enjoying again) booked her in for the whole day instead of just the morning, and whilst Dolly napped, I got back into bed with a cup of tea and a BLT, watched The Wright Stuff and read Heat magazine. And I was in HEAVEN!!! In our current circumstances (ie having two small children) this lie-in equated to the same thing as a two week beach holiday in the Caribbean.

When Dolly woke at around 10.30am she joined me in bed for lots of cuddles and kisses, and we even stayed in bed whilst she ate her butternut squash brunch, and I ate my Twirl. She did look a little surprised about the whole thing but certainly wasn’t complaining, and we had a lovely cosy time.

At midday, Dolly yawned and rubbed her little eyes, so I popped her back into her cot and she went off to sleep, and I got back into bed. And that is exactly where I am now, typing this post on my laptop (time now 1.05pm) and I intend to stay here (with Dolly joining me again at some point) til 3.30pm when I have to pick Betty up from pre-school.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Where's Dolly gone?

Dolly is such a contented and happy baby, I sometimes forget that she is even in the room. Often when Betty is at nursery, Dolly will be quietly kicking around on her mat and she’ll suddenly let out a squeal, making me almost jump out of my skin.

Betty was the opposite. I couldn’t put her down for a second in the first few months without her yelling. So when friends used to air their concerns about worrying that one day they might accidentally leave their sleeping baby in the car seat under the table in Pizza Express, I couldn’t understand it at all. I used to think, how the hell can you forget a baby? But I too now have that same fear, that one day I will forget Dolly amidst the chaos. I have even had nightmares about it.

So when I was driving here, there and everywhere the other day, with Betty and Dolly in the back of the car, and Betty suddenly piped up with ‘where’s Dolly gone?’ I swear my heart stopped beating for a good few seconds.

(For the record: I hadn’t left Dolly anywhere, she was safely in her car seat and chewing on a big toy mouse that was hiding her face)

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Moving out

Last night I put Dolly to sleep in Betty's room for the first time. She is now six months old and I always said that at this age, as hard as it might be, I would take the plunge and do it. When I went to bed I felt pangs of sadness, looking at her empty little crib next to our bed. I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. It seems only yesterday that I was ordering the crib and washing all the little sheets to go in it, in preparation for her arrival. But it seems such a long time ago that I had her sleeping on me all night, and although I was knackered, they were such magical times. And now she is on her first leg of independence, sharing a bedroom with her big sister.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

A curious creature

We have turned a corner YIPPPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Ever since Betty's pooing marathon on Monday, she has rejected nappies and each and every time she needs to go, she discreetly takes herself off, does the business on the potty, and then tells me. She acts like she has been doing it for years. Unbelievable.

I just hope this post doesn't jinx it.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Potty saga, day 132

Ever since last week’s potty training episode, where I temporarily went insane, I saw the light and adopted a completely different attitude. I decided that I genuinely didn’t care that Betty was still in nappies, and that, for an easy life, I would leave it until after Christmas (lazy I know).

So yesterday morning my darling daughter and I arrived at pre-school, and feeling a little bit embarrassed, I announced that Betty was back in nappies (having announced last time we were there that she was never going to wear a nappy ever again) and they were not to make a thing of her going on the potty, they were to just say nothing and change her nappy if needs be.

However, when I went to pick Betty up, I was told that as soon as I had left, Betty had requested that her nappy be taken off, and they had dutifully done what the little lady had asked. She then told them each and every time when she needed to do a wee or a poo, and did so on the potty. Obviously Betty was unhappy with the service I had been providing, and realised that it was time to take matters into her own hands.

When we got home Betty asked for her white potty and trotted off into her playhouse with it. I could hear a bit of a kerfuffle going on in there so went to investigate. As I opened the door she said ‘I done a poo mummy!’ She knows that if she does a poo on the potty she gets a sweet. So off we went to the kitchen for her to collect her sweet. She ate her sweet and then asked for her pink potty. She pooed in the pink potty whilst I was cleaning out the white one. I gave her another sweet. She then asked for the white potty again. She pooed in the white potty whilst I cleaned out the pink one. I gave her another sweet. This happened two more times, no word of a lie. Admittedly the poos were getting smaller and smaller each time, but she managed to get five sweets out of me in the space of five minutes. When the whole poo episode finally ended, normally activities resumed.

Later in the afternoon I had lovingly prepared a pear puree for Dolly – her first taste of something other than breast milk, so rather a momentous occasion. Just as the first spoonful was going in, and I was feeling really quite emotional, Betty announced that she needed to do a wee. Needless to say, Dolly had to wait just a little bit longer, mouth gaping, whilst I dutifully sorted Betty out with her potty.

Saturday 3 October 2009


The advice about potty training is always along the lines of: ‘Be patient. Do not show concern. Never tell your child off.’

Betty is fully capable of using a potty. A couple of days ago she effortlessly breezed through with a 100 per cent success rate. Yesterday she had four ‘accidents’, all of which happened seconds after I had asked her to sit on the potty, which she refused to do saying ‘there’s no wee coming’.

After the fourth time, bearing in mind I have stayed calm about all this for the last six months, I completely lost my patience. I felt I had been pushed to the absolute limit and I told her off, big time. I then put her back in a nappy, and went into another room and took some deep breaths.

Betty followed me into the other room and cheerfully said: ‘I want to put my shoes on and go outside’. ‘They have wee in them’ I snapped. ‘I want my pink Crocs then’ she said. I began hastily searching the house from top to bottom looking for her Crocs, which I had not seen for days. I barged into Tom’s office and almost in tears I said: ‘Have you seen Betty’s Crocs? Tom took one look at me and told me that he would take the afternoon off work so that I could have a break and go off on my own for a couple of hours. ‘Go and treat yourself, you deserve it - spend some money’ he said. I thanked him profusely, fed Dolly, and then he didn’t see me for dust.

As I drove into town I was feeling exasperated. Betty is an intelligent girl and she is nearly three years old (and apart from her big baggy bottom, is often mistaken for a four year old). She has proven that she can use a potty, so why oh why doesn’t she? People tell me: ‘She’s just not ready, leave it a few weeks and then go back to it’. I have done this time and time again, and am now seriously beginning to think that it we will never reach a point when she will be ready. I then began questioning my ability as a mother, and thought that I must have done something profoundly wrong to make Betty reject the whole thing so much.

As I wandered round the streets, speedily eating a Chocolate Orange, and feeling like a truly awful mum for being so horrible to Betty, I began to get things in perspective. OK, so Betty is not up for using a potty, and nothing will persuade her otherwise at the moment, but she is healthy and beautiful and funny and happy and bright and amazing with her little sister… so does the fact that Dolly will probably be out of nappies well before Betty really matter that much?