Tag Archives: parent humour

Detachment parenting

Attachment parenting. I wondered what this was all about when I first heard the phrase a few weeks ago – for me, it conjures up an image of a parent being pulled down the pavement by number of scampering toddlers on retractable dog leads. After a little Googling, it turns out this is not strictly accurate, but for fear of digressing, I do think there is money to be made from this. After all, there are those who make a decent living from taking dogs for a walk on behalf of their owners who have better things to do with their time than go trudging round the neighbourhood in the pissing rain picking up shit as it drops from their dog’s arse – I am sure there are plenty of parents who would pay to have their offspring exercised in the same manner. You can sign me up, for a start.

Anyway, those who advocate attachment parenting are fans of, amongst other things, co-sleeping. I have one word to say about this, but I feel so strongly about it that I feel compelled to repeat it three times: No. No. No. I have the misfortune to experience co-sleeping – usually at about 5am when B starts his morning scream and subsequently wakes up E, who then sees it is light outside and refuses to believe it is not ‘up time’. So in a vain attempt to allow M and I to stay in bed for a while longer, both boys come into bed with us. I have no idea why we have done this more than once, it is horrendous. (Actually, I do know why. It is because we are so fucking knackered that the thought of staying in bed even when the chance of getting any more sleep is as remote as a lottery win, is worth the gamble).

B is generally not too disruptive once we have stopped him crying, but proper sleep is bloody impossible once there is a four month old baby lying beside you. I may close my eyes and pretend that I can fall into an untroubled sleep, but in my head the ‘baby-in-bed’ brain cell springs into action as soon as sleep draws near: it sends out an urgent message on a loop to every nerve ending in my body: don’t roll over, don’t roll over, don’t roll over. No one wants to wake up and discover they have created a baby pancake, so despite my long-term fatigue which means I can fall asleep at the drop of a duvet, a baby lying next to me is the best method known to man to keep sleep away. E is a more tricky proposition in terms of co-sleeping. Sorry, did I say tricky? I meant utterly, teeth grindingly annoying. Despite it being somewhere around 5am, he has usually decided that everyone should be as wide awake as him. He lies next to me, breathing in the oxygen by my face that should rightfully be mine. I move my head away from him a little. He moves his closer. Given that I am already teetering on the edge of the bed due to the fact that there are four bodies sharing a space designed for two, I resign myself to second-hand air. I close my eyes and feel the pull of sleep on me. Then I feel something else. E is tapping my eyelids with his fingers.

“Get off,” I whisper through gritted teeth. The tapping stops. I drift off again. A hand over my mouth brings me hurtling back.

“Get off now,” I try to whisper, but am somewhat impeded by a clammy palm still pressed to my lips. And so it goes on: a finger in my ear, a toe nail scraping down my calf, a knee in my stomach. I am just a sodding human activity centre, although activity centres don’t usually shout ‘if you don’t stop right now, there will be no CBeebies today’ at the top of their voice after a prolonged bout of prodding, pinching and poking.

Even if I wanted to parent my children in an attached kind of way, it is obvious I just do not have what it takes. Attachment parenting is meant to produce empathetic, secure and non-violent children, but it doesn’t seem to work like that in our house. The little foray into attachment parenting which I have encountered in a vain attempt to stay in bed after 5am has only succeeded in ensuring one of us stomps out of the bedroom in a sulk. Okay, so B, at four months old, is a little young to stomp. And M, being much more rational and calm than most, has yet to throw a wobbly. And E is being far too entertained to leave. So in fact, it is I who does the stomping. And thus, have invented a parenting style much more suited to my temperament: detachment parenting.

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Stubborn Stains

 

If cleanliness is next to godliness, I am one streak of snot away from being cast down into the raging inferno of Beelzebub.

It’s not that I intend to get slowly covered in a smorgasbord of stains when I get up in the morning. In fact, as I pull on  freshly-washed top and trousers, I will often send up a little prayer to Persil, the god of clean clothes, to protect me from the onslaught of smears, dribbles and moist debris that seem to be attracted to my person. But my plea mostly falls on deaf ears.

There are the obvious, intentional stains. My delightful older son is at the root cause of most of these, particularly when he has a cold. There is nothing, repeat nothing, more utterly hilarious to a three year old than wiping his dangling pendulum of snot on my sleeve. And boy, is that stuff sticky. I should be collecting it all into small tubes and flogging it as a miracle glue to stick plane wings onto fuselages. If I don’t get to it with a damp cloth within ten minutes, the drying process takes effect and it transmogrifies into a substance harder than concrete and more abrasive than a Brillo pad. There have been the odd occasions where somehow, he has managed to decorate my sleeve with nose slime without me noticing, and it is only when I  bend my arm and there is a curious cracking noise that I realise that Bogey Boy has struck again. (Now there’s a superhero if ever there was: Bogey Boy, who fights evil and catches baddies, embalming them in sticky ropes of snot so they can never escape. Just stand well back when the buggar catches a cold though).

And then there are the baby stains. I don’t know what the collective noun for these is – a spatter of baby stains, perhaps – but all I do know is that I have a tendency to collect them, frequently. Shoulders are the most at risk, absorbing milky dribbles and flecks of sick as I carry B around. I am often seen sporting that most common part of a mummy’s uniform  -the asymmetrical sicky epaulettes.  But the baby stains can pretty much appear anywhere, without warning. I can get up from a chair, my arm brushing my trousers, and I can suddenly feel a wet patch that wasn’t there ten minutes ago. Or I can scratch my face and find it peculiarly damp. Careful investigation then ensues, with a tentative smell and a close-up inspection. I’m like Poirot with a muslin cloth, me.

Added to which are the general splats and splashes as a result of opening yoghurts, poking straws into juice cartons whilst foolishly allowing them to be held by a three year old, oh, and the fine spray of mucus from a baby sneeze, creating an impressive circumference of glistening globules given the tiny nostrils it exits from.

Barely an item of my clothing makes it to the washing machine without being doused in a liberal spraying of Vanish. Or Shit Out, as I prefer to call it. I am not sponsored by Vanish, more’s the pity, but credit where credit is due: I have yet to meet a stain, regardless of whether it originated from nose, bottom or mouth, that cannot be eradicated with the stuff. I’m thinking of carrying it around with me in a holster for rapid deployment. It certainly removes all stubborn stains I know of. It could only be improved one way, really. Stubborn stains are one thing, but if it could remove stubborn toddlers? Now that would be bloody marvellous.


Travelling light?

The travel cot. A misnomer of the most epic proportions if ever there was one. ‘The so-fucking-heavy-your-arm-might snap-off-at-the-elbow cot’ would be more accurate. I can barely travel across the bedroom with it let alone on holiday, it is so bloody heavy and cumbersome. We are away for a few days and it has taken three months to pluck up the courage to sleep anywhere other than at home, due to the ridiculous load of baby shit you are forced to take with you. Three nights away equates to a car boot full of paraphernalia, including the aforementioned travel cot that takes up a disproportionate amount of space in relation to the baby it is meant to house, and so footwells and back shelves are called into action as overflow storage. A trip away takes a week to plan and half a day to pack for. I am the first to admit that when it comes to organisation and logistics, I can err a tad on the side of over-zealousness. Okay, I admit, it, I am obsessive about making lists and forward planning. But even I was getting a little narked at having to create revise three of the ‘stuff to pack’ list just because there was just so much sodding crap to remember.

But I digress. Back to the travel cot. Which fucking morons designed this thing? Granted, it does fulfil half its function. It does an okay job as a cot. But then again, so would a large cardboard box. But the travel bit? I am surprised Trading Standards haven’t slapped a law suit on them for a hideous breach of trading standards. Or at least just slapped them.

Yet its resemblance to a barrow load of breeze blocks in the weight department is not the only thing that is fundamentally flawed about this sleeping apparatus. It makes me wonder what the bloody hell the designers were thinking. 

“Okay Brian, new brief in. For a travel cot.”

“A what?”

“Travel cot. For babies. You know, those horrible small things that shit a lot.”

“Oh, right.”

“Look, I know we’d both rather be designing Ferraris, but…”

“I’d rather be picking my arse than designing a travel cot.”

“Listen, you can do both, it’s not fucking rocket science. We’ll be done by lunch.”

“That’s ten minutes from now.”

“Precisely. So. A cot. That travels. Ideas?”

“I don’t think babies should be allowed out the house until they are two.”

“Jesus, it’s gonna be a late lunch at this rate. C’mon. Ideas.”

“Okay, let’s start with a big metal frame.”

“Good, it must be stable. I like your thinking.”

“Metal will make it so fucking heavy it might persuade parents to stay at home.”

“Fine, whatever. Metal it is. Height. About like this?”

“Seventy five centimetres, I reckon. Just high enough…”

“To stop toddlers climbing out?”

“…to make the average height mum have to drop the baby the last two inches as she can’t reach the mattress.”

“Fine, I’m too hungry to argue. What about the collapsing mechanism.”

“Can we make it collapse in the middle of the night?”

“No.”

“Christ, you’re so fucking picky. Pass the pen… something like this… ”

“Blimey, that looks almost impossible to work out unless you read the instructions.”

“Exactly. It passes the ‘does it make grown men weep’ test with flying colours. We can print the instructions on the bottom of the mattress, no fucker is ever going to read them. Well, not until they have spent an hour trying to erect the bloody thing by pushing the base flat first.”

“But your mechanism works on the opposite principle.”

“Exactly.”

“Right. Fabric sides?”

“Plastic netting, I reckon. Get that stuff that sounds really bloody irritating when the kid scrapes his nails down it. They’ll love that at three in the morning.”

“Anything else?”

“Make the mattress really hard. It’s only what they deserve.”

“Hmmm. It seems you have designed something more akin to a mobile torture chamber than a travel cot.”

“Excellent. My work here is done. Let’s go get some chips.”