Wednesday 25 July 2007

And will there be honey still for tea...?

...yes there certainly will, and oh are we all glad to be back home after our epic tour around Holland. It was very much enjoyed by all, but - whisper it softly - it's nice to be in one place for longer than 24 hours, even if that place is rain-sodden London.

However, there is at least one positive outcome from our trip. The stifling heat on our journeying has finally prompted my otherwise spendthrift husband that perhaps - yes, just perhaps - it's time for us to part with our much loved purple czech dream of a car and update it to something that is a little newer. With air conditioning. Imagine, if you can, a tin box sitting on the motorway, stuffed with two adults, two small boys, and all the vital accessories for said occupants over the mammoth period of 1 whole week, and then bake it gently at around 35 deg C for around 4 hours a day. As Son #1 said on the many occasions he exited the vehicle, "That is one smelly car, mummy." Out of the mouths of babes...

Anyway, I promised you potty training diaries, so here goes...

August 10th 2006
Son #1 is still in Somerset with the parents, and loving it apparently. Had my first ever telephone conversation with him yesterday when we discussed the colour of the new Bob toy Mum bought him at the charity shop – yellow – and the cows on the farm – pooing. This chat was an event as previous calls have consisted of my cooing away like a woman possessed and his muttering what sounds like incomprehensible curses at the other end. His favourite way at the moment to indicate frustration is to mutter ‘Jesus!’ under his breath. Don’t know where he gets it from, I’m sure. (All the books say to ignore it but hard to do that when you’ve just had to slam the brakes on in the car because of some other driver’s mistake – isn’t it always? – and you hear ‘Jesus!’ uttered from the back seat. It’s like driving with my father…)

Potty training; don’t know. Seems churlish to ask when mum is giving me all this free time…

Thursday 12 July 2007

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside...

...oh, I do like to be beside the sea,
when the grey clouds loom and the boys can wreck our room,
besides the seaside, besides the sea....

Have just got back from a few days in a hotel en-famille in Dorset. A lovely time was had by all, not excepting the two poo on the sheets incidents, and after I got Boy #1 to thank the receptionist for a lovely time as we left I think we may even be allowed to go back. That is, of course, assuming we want to, given that the weather was gloomy, grey and chilly. Apart from the day we left, which was beautiful. Obviously. It's summer in England.

Am now at home with the husband and kids for a couple of days manically trying to catch up with the washing before we leave again for a similarly action-packed week in Holland visiting family and friends. (Note to self: if anyone - i.e. a well-intentioned husband - suggests a northern Europe summer holiday for next year, counter with a suggestion of a skiing holiday in Wales. Neither work.)

Anyway, on to Potty training...

August 7th 2006

Boy #1 is now in Somerset with my parents and his cousin for the week. Was rather worried how he would take our departure but it was like water off a duck’s back. As usual, I will miss him far more than he will me. On the plus side, as a result the flat is – for once – quite tidy. Amazing how when you have one baby you think it’s hard work – but when you have the second you realise that actually you were living in cloud cuckoo land and that now you will never (never) be in control again… For example, arrived at the hairdressers last Thursday, relatively on time (what’s 10 minutes between friends and when you’re paying 50 quid?), quite proud of myself for getting there at all actually, only to have my hairdresser admire the baby sick on the neck of my t-shirt that I’d missed in my pre-departure check… Of course I apologised profusely, when what I wanted to say was: ‘Hell, if I’m fully dressed and without a black bra under a white shirt isn’t that enough for you?’ Have a feeling I may be setting the bar too low these days…

Potty training – not sure. Left the Thomas pants with mum & dad but don’t think they will actually make any attempt to introduce them, based purely on the fact that in their house it takes a while to reach the loo which could be disastrous for their carpets when (not if) accidents happen.

Friday 6 July 2007

Pushing water uphill...

Have just rushed home - exhausted - after the supermarket shop to end all supermarket shops. Despite all my good intentions, the car is yet again packed with never-ending 'stuff'. Clearly I don't need it as I go every week and then come home to throw out all the healthy 'stuff' - bought with good intentions - that didn’t get eaten from the previous week's trip. But I digress... potty training.

4th August 2006

Potty training today; non-existent. Went to Kew Gardens to meet a friend with her two kids (needless to say, potty trained much earlier than mine), and Boy #1 managed to wee on the kids play area. He glanced round at me with a pained expression as I was giving Boy #2 a bottle (and was, therefore, immobile) and started to drip on the floor. Oh, the shame as all those just-so Richmond mummies pointedly ignored what was going on as I whipped him into the loos to repair the damage. Oh yes, and did I mention he was actually wearing a nappy when this happened? Won’t mention the brand name though as I don’t think it was the nappys’ fault: it just couldn’t hold back the deluge caused by the enormous amounts of apple juice the boys are drinking in the heat.

Redeemed myself afterwards by finding a hill (no mean feat in flat Kew gardens) and showing Boy #1 how to roly-poly down it. Hilarious apparently – although not so hilarious that he was prepared to try it himself. Too much of a city boy to get grass in his hair? Perhaps not… something tells me that if we ever get round to adventure sports with him that there might not be a fearless ‘throw yourself down the hill’ attitude showing itself (like his father’s), but more of a ‘let’s take this very slowly – so slowly in fact that if we weren’t going down-hill we would actually be going backwards’ approach (like me).
Note to self: must be careful not to limit expectations of Boys based on own cowardly attitudes. Instead, must hope for the best and pray that they be as calculatedly reckless as their father – which still isn’t much but an improvement on my cowardy custard approach….

Thursday 5 July 2007

Hello, World...

Hello World.

I was going through my files this morning and came across these accounts of the fun I had potty training Boy #1. I have two sons (one not yet at that lovely stage, one now through it), and after listening to various mums bemoaning how difficult the whole exercise can be, I thought it might be helpful to share my experiences; not because I handled the whole thing particularly well - or indeed particularly successfully - but just to show that yes, although it can be hell, you will get through it.

So here is a retrospective look at the experience, along with a few other observations on parenting life. And if it works, and people like it, once I've shared the Potty Diaries on-line, maybe I'll continue with them. Or not...

3rd August, 2006

Well here I am again, half-heartedly trying to get Boy #1 potty trained. Why? For the best reasons, obviously; that is, nothing to do with independance on his part (he is nearly 3 after all), or cutting the apron strings etc etc. No, no – I am simply not sure I can take many more pointed questions from family, or one-upmanship from parents of his nursery friends, (‘oh, I thought it would be hell but you know, I showed her’ – note the ‘her’ – ‘the difference between nappies and pants, and she got it the same day’. Well, bully for you....).

So, the Thomas the Tank Engine pants have been reinstated to the active duty list and are now making their way through the washing machine in strict rotation of prefence (Thomas, James, Percy – how apt – and Gordon, if you’re interested). Not sure it will work this time any more than the previous two attempts, which makes me a bad mother, obviously, as all the books say to be positive. 'Positive' is tricky though, when you watch your son stand just outside the loo door and wee on the floor – again....

This evening the potty was used as a delaying tactic to put off bath-time (he knows I don’t want him to wee in the bath – all those student stories from college days must have had some impact on me after all).

After ten minutes of watching him sit down, stand up, settle himself again, then re-check that it’s all tucked in (there are some times it’s better to be a girl, I knew there had to be), then standing up to flush the loo again, I was so desperate for the loo myself that I ended up sitting next to him trying to encourage him to by example.

At one point I got excited that the grunts beside me might result in some action, until I realised that the little gasps of effort were related to his shredding of the loo paper, which in the time I’d taken my eyes off him had gravitated from the cardboard roll to a heap of tissue on the floor. And as I sat there surrounded by drifts of toilet paper and looking at the thread veins on my legs that mysteriously appeared along with Boy#2 (pregnancy is the end, really – even six months after it’s over you keep finding new and exciting calling cards it’s left on your body), I thought back to my pre-child days with some degree of nostalgia.

Self pity is hard to maintain though when your son suddenly makes a ‘shhhhhhhh’ sound to imitate the sound of a non-existent wee (thought he was going to follow up with ‘schweppes please’ at one point), and then announces he’s finished.

Needless to say, the potty was empty.