365 Days Of Squeak

Although I say it reluctantly, today Squeak is 1. It is unbelievable to think that, a year ago today, I was in labour with a stranger, of whom I knew nothing. And now a whole, complex person stands before me. Wow.

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As an aside, she is totally not standing before me. She is using her newly acquired door-opening skills to get as far away from me as possible. Or at the least, up a couple of steps on the stairs before I catch her.

OK, I got her. Now where was I?

I planned the morning carefully. Every minute of our pre-school time is already filled with sock-finding, child-wrangling and book bag-locating, interspersed with a smattering of weeping (mine). Where were we going to fit in presents and an awesome breakfast?

It’s cool, I thought. I’ll just get up early.

WTF was I thinking? I deeply regretted this at 6.30 this morning after a typical Squeak-night. Yawn.

Breakfast was where I started being awesome. (N.B. If you make something with flour, you’re being awesome.) I took some inspiration from Crappy Mama, from Illustrated With Crappy Pictures. I read her post about buttcakes a few weeks ago, and I knew they’d be a hit with the girls. Toilet humour is a big part of our household.

A big part. Big Girl is a veteran of this craft, but Little Girl is a relative newbie. She has just discovered the joy of replacing all of the nouns in a song with the word ‘poo.’

Hilarious.

So anyway, I made buttcakes. Nothing special, just a standard American pancake recipe. Oh, but I did add chocolate chips to really emphasise the whole butt thing. I DSC_7626raced through, and managed to finish them just as the alarm went off for the girls to get up. I finished of course, with the obligatory ‘Oh shit I flipped too quick and now it’s folded in half! Hmm, maybe I can fix it. Nope, it’s stuck’ pancake. Or is that just me?

I know this isn’t just me. I was possibly slightly hasty in getting my ingredients together. I did not realise that descending my stairs leads you into some kind of time warp, but it does. Well it must do, anyway, because it took me 10 minutes to get downstairs! So I was running a bit behind. I grabbed the flour, baking powder, etc, etc. And I may have dislodged something, somewhat. That something was the icing sugar.

Have you ever dropped a packet of icing sugar? It causes an explosion on the scale of a nuclear bomb. I could taste it, I was breathing it. It went all over the floor, up the table leg, all over my clothes, on Big Girl’s bookbag…

And a particularly large cloud settled right on top of Mark’s jacket.

Crap.

Despite the catalogue of fails, it was a success. According to the girls, they were delicious! They all agreed. Well, except for Squeak.

She threw hers on the floor.

Breakfast and presents were followed by a truly riveting morning of school runs, shopping and naps. Happy Birthday, Squeak!

She seems pretty happy this afternoon, though. Currently, she is running around with a new crayon, drawing on everything that isn’t paper. For variety, she’s also carrying her new wooden drumstick, and is using it to check if we are alive.

Repeatedly.

I guess the yelps of pain don’t give it away. I’m rubbing my knee right now.

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Homemade pizza for tea tonight. I’m sure it’s going to be a relaxing experience, seeing as I haven’t made the dough or sauce yet. Or chopped the toppings. Dammit. (You’ll be reading this in the evening, but I wrote it this afternoon. Therefore, I don’t know how wrong this will go yet. I’m scared.)

UPDATE: Totally nailed the pizza.

My mother in law has made a lovely cake for us to celebrate with. Squeak’s response when I showed it to her was to shriek, “Oh, wow!” We’re all looking forward to having a try.

UPDATE: Cake was epic.

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I’m feeling a little reflective today. Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time to just sit and enjoy your kids? One year flies by and the person that they were is gone. It’s sad.

One good thing, I suppose, is that there is an even cooler person waiting in the wings for you to get to know.

All you have to do is close your eyes to the dirty dishes, the piles of washing and the crumby floor.

Just don’t literally close your eyes.

That could get messy.

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Total side step alert! As well as Squeak’s birthday, today is also my one month blogiversary. Wahoo!

If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask for a wee bit of feedback. So what do you like? What do you hate? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see me blogging about? Let me know in the comments!

There Are Some Things In Life Which Are Guaranteed

Any mother or father will tell you that parenting is unpredictable. Routines change from one day to the next, likes and dislikes are as fleeting as a British summer. And the cup is always the wrong colour.

But, comfortingly, I have found just a few things that always stay the same. They may not all be good, but at least I’m not surprised.

Here’s a few of my parenting guarantees. Remind yourself of these when you throw your hands up in despair because your kid just put a whole toilet roll down the toilet. And flushed.

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I’m not saying that it’ll help, but at the very least it’ll be a distraction.

1. Wipes packets

Oh god, here she goes with the bloody wipes again! OK, I may have mentioned them before. But you see, they are irritating in so many ways. It’s a multi-faceted annoyance.

In my opinion, the people who manufacture baby wipes and their receptacles are not parents. Either that, or they really dislike parents. Intensely. Am I the only person who think their design makes no freaking sense? It’s not even just that they are incredibly easy for a baby to open. I mean, if it bugged me that much, I could just try and remember to put them up out of reach.

No, my greatest beef with wipes packets is that they don’t even work how they are supposed to. And I resent that. The average baby needs at least 6 nappy changes a day. I do not need to be filled with rage 6 times a day. That does not enrich my life.

Why are they so annoying? Oh yeah, totally forgot to mention that.

So, you need to change your baby’s nappy. You get out the wipes, nappy, spare clothes, whatever. If you have a non-moving child, then yay! You win because she’s right there. If you have a mobile child, you call her over in an intriguingly excited voice. Then you call her again, perhaps through slightly gritted teeth. After that, you give up and chase her across the room.

Here is where the guarantee comes in. First scenario: your baby has done the most stench-filled, explosive, revolting poo you have ever experienced, the kind that has you wincing and mouth-breathing (by the way, don’t try the mouth-breathing thing, unless you prefer tasting shit to smelling it). You reach for the wipes. I can guarantee that you will not be able to get a single one out. Not one. They will be sealed shut as well as a roll of sticky tape. You can scrabble with your nails, pinch furiously or swear under your breath. It ain’t coming out. And you can’t let go of the baby, or you’ll be cleaning more than just her bottom.

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Grrrr.

Conversely, I can also guarantee that if you only need a single wipe, one tug will bring a veritable conga line of wipes. Which won’t detach from each other even if you shake the packet round above your head. Not even if you say, “Arrrggggghhhh!”

Seriously, new design required, wipes manufacturers!

Learning Through Repetition

It’s pretty well known that children learn best through repetition. That’s why they enjoy nursery rhymes so much, and why they spend ages pressing the same, tuneless button on a toy piano.

It’s also the reason I read the Gruffalo book to a 2 year old Big Girl every night for 6. goddamn. months. Go on, ask me the words. I know ’em all.

The side effect of learning positive things by doing them again and again, is that they have to learn not to do things the same way.

You would think that pain would be quite a compelling motivator for kids to stop doing stupid shit. It isn’t. Apparently, kids don’t have much of a life-preserving instinct.DSC_0031_02

In fact, they seem to do stuff even more if there’s a painful end. It makes no sense.

Squeak is my evidence for this one. She has developed an intense fascination with our budgie, Roland (of Gilead). However many times I take her away from his cage I still find her, eyes a-goggling, staring in as she says, “Biiiir-day.”

She’s stepped it up recently though. She wants to touch him. Now, little podgy baby fingers are sneakily thrust through the bars the moment she senses I’m not watching. He’s given her fair warning. He screeches and snaps at her, but she appears unperturbed.

Today, he stepped it up too. She pushed her fingers into the cage. He gave her one warning, and then…

He bit her.

It wasn’t hard, just a gentle nip really. She was shocked but it didn’t hurt. I would like to think that she will learn from this.

Still, I am sure that within the next hour, she will be back there attempting to pet the birdie. I guarantee it.

(Note to self: Move the bird.)

Inconsiderate Wake-Ups

I have only touched upon sleep issues a little bit before. Like, a smidgeon. So it may come as a surprise to you to discover that Squeak wakes up a lot. I don’t know what happens after I go to bed because I’m too scared to look at a clock, but I do know that she’s usually up about 3 times in the evening.

I can’t say this, on its own, particularly irks me. I am a big supporter of the belief that children sleep when they are ready. So I’m fully prepared and accepting of the fact that Squeak needs me to help her back to sleep.

What pisses me off is her timing.

Occasionally, when we’re not glued to separate computers typing and photo-processing, Mark suggests we watch a film. And after I have established that he does not mean a pants-wettingly scary horror film (his favourite), I usually agree. I mean, it’s nice to spend a bit of time together, isn’t it? I think so.

So does Squeak.

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As we sit down, I hear the first snuffles, shuffles and squeaks. Oh yes, she is awake. At the very moment we hit play. It’s still salvageable, though. I run upstairs to settle her down again.

After 15-20 minutes, I realise that it may not be salvageable.

After half an hour, I realise that it definitely isn’t.

Squeak goes back to sleep, and I go back downstairs. I check the clock, and see that it is now far too late to start watching anything. Typical.

Every time!

Choices

Everyone knows that it’s pretty risky, giving children choices. If you ask them to choose between raisins and grapes for a snack, they will ask for a banana. Or something obscure that you last bought 3 months ago.

This only gets worse with multiple children. If I make the mistake of asking Big Girl and Little Girl to choose between two films to watch, Big Girl does a most irritating thing. She waits until Little Girl has chosen, and then says the opposite.

Hmmm.

Obviously, chaos ensues as I try to get them to compromise. It’s predictable, and super annoying.

I would like to say that this is one of the reasons I decided to spawn another small human. With three, there’ll always be a decisive majority. Win.

Although I admit, I didn’t exactly take this into account.

It also wouldn’t work when my step-daughter is here.

But otherwise, a stroke of genius!

The Happy Ending

I would hate you to think that it’s all bad in my house. It’s actually mostly really good, if a bit crazy. So I decided to finish on a positive.

I can guarantee that, when I’m at my most frazzled, when the world feels like it is against me, one simple thing will happen.

As I am standing, head in hands, sighing in desperation, Big Girl will come up behind me and say:

“I love you.”

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Beautiful.