Tag Archives: coping

Starting school and more poo news

Well it has finally happened. My smallest small boy at barely 4 years old has started school.

My smallest small boy who is barely potty trained and is still tantrumming and hitting if things don’t go his way.

My smallest small boy who sometimes smells of strawberries and sometimes of damp dog despite us not having one.

My smallest small boy who wraps his arms around me and squeezes me just that little bit too tight so that I can’t breathe and snuggles into my neck all soft, whispering “I love you to infinity and beyond Mumma”.

I have waited and longed for this day, for the very difficult toddler years that I don’t cope well with to be over and for my freedom at last. How sad that sounds I know, it’s true though. I haven’t felt like a good parent this summer, shouting, controlling, trying to make order out of chaos, patience worn thin and feeling tattered and frayed around the edges.

I haven’t been very well this summer, my hypothyroidism spiralled out of control making me sure that the Multiple Sclerosis had taken a turn for the worst but it turns out that at best it was my thyroid and at worst it was a combination of the two. This isn’t an excuse for my shoddy parenting, just a contributory factor. One that I could do without though in the face of a new school year and a whole lot of new emotions to deal with!

We all tried extra hard over the holidays not to go on about “Big School” all the time as I know the pressure it can put on a small person who is already panicking about the unknown! I think I was just in denial though as I had just forgotten all the things that needed doing and all the uniform needed – jeeeeez!

Knowing what he is like I labelled everything and I mean everything including socks. Not pants though. Even I have a limit!! I just sat sewing labels into the smallest small shorts that even then looked far too big and just felt….I don’t know….scared. Excited too, don’t misunderstand me oh my god I knew I would be cheering with glee in the school car park the minute that I had dropped off my little darlings. But who would notice when he was hopping up and down needing the toilet but too engrossed in his current activity to realise? Who would cuddle him and rub his back to calm him down if he got upset and started lashing out? Hundreds of scenarios played themselves out in my mind as I calmly sewed the little name labels in, imagining him struggling to do up his buttons.

I sewed my love for him and my frustration at not being the parent that he so desperately needs at times into those labels, hoping that he would feel me with him in the moments he felt unsure and lost. Hoping that at least we had taught him kindness and compassion and that he would take with him all the things he had learnt from preschool where they loved and nurtured him in the safe environment he had grown to feel was a second home. I hope that he will grow to feel that about his new school in time.

I sewed my love for her into her labels, my strength to help her deal with the twists and turns of growing up as a girl, the challenges of friendships and emotional changes. She takes my breath away she is so beautiful and so smart and so courageous. She is everything that I would love to be, untarnished by grief and pain, new and shiny with all her life ahead of her. So excited and curious and questioning. I feel so full of love watching her on her journey.

The last few weeks leading up to the beginning of school term small boy’s poo problems returned. Probably a mixture of being in a less structured routine and his dawning realisation that things were changing. I tried to protect him from all of it but it is easy to forget that mentioning school can cause stress and hard to stop other well meaning people’s remarks of “Ooh you’re such a big boy now I bet you can’t wait to go to big school!” every single time we left the house.

He would have accidents and go off and hide his pants in the wash basket, get scared to use the toilet and start lashing out at us all again. We tried our very best to play it down, keep our cool and just pray every day that it would get easier for him. I had already pre-empted things with ‘Matron’ at school by explaining the ongoing situation and she was very supportive but I was still very scared.

The day arrived and he and his sister stood together in the kitchen in their new school uniforms. She, complaining because I had insisted on new dresses that had ‘growing room’. “Mumma I look like an idiot!!!” (okay she did look a bit like an orphan but I am a great believer in getting the most for your money) and he, with his feet so big in his school shoes that he looked like a puppy needing to grow into his feet and his unruly hair so short now.

I felt so proud of them whilst at the same time wishing so desperately that I could turn the clock back and do a much much better job than I have. Wishing that my Mum was alive to tell me that everything would be okay and that she had made all the mistakes that I had and see? it’s okay after all. God I missed her in that moment, I could barely speak as I felt my throat tighten with grief and pride and love all jumbled up together. I hope she’s watching all this somewhere I thought, I really could do with a hug right now. I know I look like I cope on the outside but it’s all a front a lot of the time, although less as time goes by. We’re doing okay all of us.

They both pottered into school with their bags, looking so smart. Big girl was thrilled to see her new classroom and looked so grown up it was untrue. Small boy skipped into his classroom and never looked back. I told him I was leaving and he said “Shush Mumma I’m building something!”. I spoke to his classroom assistant,who had also been big girl’s, about the toilet problems and she smiled and said “Oh don’t worry, lots of them have challenges and they all have accidents at some point! Some are still doing it when they leave us!!” she made light of it which was actually just what I needed. In that moment she made him just a normal little boy who sometimes has accidents just like everyone else and for that I will be forever grateful.

So, a week and a half in we are okay. I sent spare pants and we have had a few slightly wet pairs back but he has done all his poos on the toilet at home. He says that he doesn’t want to poo at school which inevitably means that he is holding a little but he is doing it at home, sometimes unprompted, which is amazing. I am not resting easy for one moment but for now I have 2 small people at school and they are tired but happy and that is all I want. For them to be happy. Although he made a sword out of cardboard yesterday and hit a poor girl in his class with it. I guess we need to work on impulse control a little.

Now what the fuck do I do with my life? Anyone want to offer me a job?

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Confessions…..

I made a mental note a while ago to write about confessions. I felt I needed to ‘fess up’ about some stuff in a light hearted jovial way which might prompt you all to join in if you felt the need. Nothing too heavy I thought, I’ve been getting a bit deep and meaningful of late. Of course my mind then spiralled into all sorts as it inevitably does, it would appear that I am just made that way however I will try…..

I am scared of the dark. Yup I am 40 years old and I am scared of the dark. Like, turning the light off and dive bombing into bed when my husband is away with work (because we all know the duvet has a special built in forcefield that will protect us from all kinds of nasty) kind of scared.

Too scared to drive in the dark unless I absolutely have no choice and can talk to someone on the phone car kit all the way. Mainly my fault because I watched THAT episode of CSI with the super bendy black latex gimp suit wearing serial killer who hid in the spare wheel well in his victims boot and then freakishly climbed out and murdered the poor woman whilst she was in the car wash. I really wish I hadn’t watched that. I check the boot before I get in, frequently.

I am scared of driving on Motorways. After years of procrastination I learnt to drive and finally passed my test on my daughter’s 1st birthday in October 2008. It was a seminal moment in my life – freedom at last – and I imagined all the adventures we would go on together. It seems however that I am a bit of a scaredy cat in the motorway department plus I am scared of the dark – did I mention that? I can do it in good light and minimal traffic if I am feeling 100%. Perish the day when I’m not and an emergency means I have to down a bottle of Rescue Remedy and hit the road. I will need therapy afterwards.

I am scared of getting lost. A lovely friend once told me that there was very little unchartered territory in the UK so provided I had a map or could ask someone I should be okay. I like her optimism. I have zero sense of direction and rely way too heavily on my sat nav which also appears to have a diminished sense of direction and very strange ideas of sensible routes. My husband says it’s rubbish and ancient which makes me love it all the more. It is a bit wonky like me. You know those tales parents tell of heart in mouth moments when they’ve lost their precious child for a split second or worse, longer? I asked my Dad once about that he replied “I never lost you ever, you were never out of my sight.” Interesting – is there a correlation there I wonder?  Or does he have a selective memory? Or did Mum just never tell him? I lost one of my kids in the house the other day – for a good 5 minutes (it felt like about 15). He was hiding in the wardrobe pooping in his pants. Special. This is also a blog for another day…..ah Encopresis you old fucker leave my poor boy alone.

So, talking of parenthood here comes the BIGGY of all confessions – I can’t help but feel that is the perfect word to use due to the title of my blog as I think of another equally lovely friend who told me her kids call doing a poo a biggy. I love it….

Sometimes (by which I mean much more than once a day) I think I shouldn’t have had children. Not because they aren’t completely awesome little people who light up my life as well as covering it in dollops but because I am not naturally maternal. I mean, I literally cheer when I drop the little darlings back at school after the holidays and sometimes do backflips just because it’s Monday. I am massively intolerant of kid mess/gunk. I don’t automatically love all children just because I have my own, don’t hate me. Soft play is actually my kryptonite and I am noise intolerant, suffer from sensory overload at the drop of a hat and can’t seem to be able to put on my special Mummy hat/face/demeanour at a moment’s notice when I am tired, frazzled and sleep deprived. I sigh at the prospect of craft activities, detest my baking being interfered with at times and I DO NOT DO SICK.

I love my children but I am not the sort of mother that I imagined I would be. Not that I spent a huge part of my life thinking about it I just knew I wanted children and therefore assumed that because I did I would be instantly marvellous at motherhood. Wrong. When I did think about it I imagined that of course I would be very cool. I would drive around in a camper van being all free-spirity with my little rugrats going to festivals and introducing them to all things alternative. We would make dens and mess and be barefoot and carefree and it would be awesome. Every day would be an incredible adventure. I would homeschool and not be beholden to “the Man”. I would make them cool clothes on my Mum’s old sewing machine and bake everything from scratch from food that I had grown myself. Simple.

No.

It turns out that my carefree gene only extends to myself and that presented with 2 small children I just want some co-operation plus peace and quiet. I want to be chilled out and cool about life but the reality is that I just worry about everything and have a parenting style which leaves a lot to be desired if I don’t want my children to rebel horribly and leave home as quickly as possible. I do love being a Mum but I honestly believe that I am shit at it. Don’t misunderstand me, I will pull your arm out of it’s socket with my teeth if you hurt my family in any way at all. I am that sort of maternal not the gentle, fluffy kind that I would like to be.

Sometimes I just want to be on my own, to read, write, drink tea and eat stuff I shouldn’t. I get to do that a lot more than a lot of Mums I know so I am aware how ungrateful that sounds. Maybe I should just go live in a cave or up a mountain. Like a hermit but with really great broadband and chocolate and things would stay clean for more than 1 minute.

Confessions are an odd thing aren’t they?  This could get really dark if we let it couldn’t it? Let’s not do that because that isn’t how we started and we all know we have secrets which are a whole different ball game. Instead I’d prefer to bob back up to the surface with a few more less serious ones and hope that you can add more to the list……

I hate roller-coasters and have no intention of sucking it up and going on one for my children.

I haven’t been sick since I was 7 years old as I have a phobia about it.

I shave my hairy toes.

I don’t really like peas but I eat them to set a good example. The small boy shaped one hates them so I must have a shit poker face.

I often wear socks several times as I just take them off and stuff them in my boots. Mr Moore says I am like a teenage boy.

Occasionally I wee in the shower. It’s liberating, I recommend it. Only in my own shower though not anyone else’s. I’m not that skanky.

Sometimes I forget to wash the kids for a few days…they don’t smell so it’s okay right?

I need to go on that hoarding programme. My house is a nightmare but I am going to deal with it. Now I have said that publicly it means I have to doesn’t it?

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Behind the smiles….and Mother’s Day

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and was further spurred on by a conversation online with a good friend as we fell into a commentary discussion (underneath a Facebook post/photograph if I recall) about how what what we see in our daily lives, especially on social media is rarely if ever the whole story. It is very very easy to compare ourselves and our lives to those around us, even more so when their lives seem picture perfect. Days out, holidays, nights out with friends, family get togethers and all the rest are portrayed in pictures with smiling faces and joyous proclamations. I know, I do it myself and a lot of the time it’s true that we are all having a jolly old time. But not always and rarely 100% of the best times. There is always more than is on show for all the world to see. 

We look at other people’s lives and think oh how perfect, aren’t they in love, aren’t their children well behaved, isn’t everything idyllic – I wish I had that many holidays, was that creative with my home decor/children’s craft sessions, was that chilled out with my kids, was that good at baking etc. etc…… Oh how we torture ourselves trying to attain the ideal standard that we have set that is actually unattainable. What am I doing wrong we ask ourselves, why is my life not like that, why can I not cope with taking all my children out on wild excursions into the unknown without worrying about absolutely everything that they will get themselves into let alone the thought of just going shopping or to soft play (don’t get me started on soft play it makes me feel violent!), why is my car full of crap and why does everything in my car/house/everywhere smell of feet and/or poop. Sigh….

I honestly don’t know what the answer to all this is. Maybe we are trying to create the life that we wish we had online or out in public where the fears and doubts don’t have to be displayed for all to see. Maybe we are all striving for perfection in a terrifically unhealthy way. Or conversely maybe it does help us to show the moments where everything appears to be perfect so that we don’t feel totally crap at everything! Who knows. Sometimes I do want to appear that way and other times, like today, I kind of want to out myself and say you know that day that looked perfect? It was fucking shit. 

I am thinking in particular back to Mother’s Day, I posted a picture of the lovely breakfast my gorgeous family made me. I posted a picture of the beautiful Pandora bracelet my wonderful husband bought for me. I posted pictures of all of us at the farm park having family fun.

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It looked perfect didn’t it? The truth was altogether different as inside I was as heartbroken as I am every year on Mother’s Day albeit better than the previous years which I do draw strength from. I was heartbroken because although I love being a Mum and I love my children and my husband more than life itself I miss my darling Mum and being a Mum without a Mum really sucks sometimes.

Mum died 7 years ago suddenly from a heart attack at 62. She was mine and my sister’s best friend. She was our everything and we adored her more than I know we both have words for. So although I know her memory lives on and deserves much more than her two daughters mourning her loss every year on various auspicious occasions, I’m afraid we can’t quite manage that level of holding-it-togetherness quite yet. I also know this is verging into a different blog for another day so I will halt there regarding dearest Mum suffice to say I was sad, I was angry, I was wracked with guilt over all that and I was taking it out on my family.

I hid in bed in the morning and then decided to try and get my shit together and at least rescue what was left of the day. So we went to the local farm park that we all love and I think I lasted about 10 minutes before I lost all ability to tolerate anything at all. The kids wanted to walk to the troll bridge which was fine, a few minor meltdowns on arrival from big girl who got the troll fear there when she was 3 (she’s 6 now) but peer pressure in the shape of small boy was a wonderful thing. All good so far but then we had to walk back and oh my lordy the whinging “My feet hurt, my little legs are tired, I need a carry, why do we have to walk, it’s not fair….etc” plus fighting with each other over absolutely every little thing you can possibly imagine. Yup there are things that you can find to fight about whilst walking in the countryside in a field, who knew? So…..I lost it. I screamed at them that this was Mother’s DAY the only bloody day of the year that is mine and they were fighting and bickering and RUINING it. Yes I said that. I also said (it gets worse but you knew that right) “Imagine it was your special day and I made you go somewhere that I liked even though you hated it and then I moaned and whined and ruined your special day and made you CRY on top of you already HATING IT!! NEXT YEAR I AM GOING TO THE SPA ON MY OWN AND YOU CAN ALL SOD OFF!! NOW WE ARE GOING HOME!!!”.

Yeah I really said that. I am ashamed (although I didn’t say fuck which I felt redeemed me slightly). It wasn’t just my day after all was it? It was only Mother’s Day because I am their Mum. It wasn’t their fault that my Mum had died and it definitely wasn’t their fault that I wasn’t coping with anything at all. I had forgotten that whilst I may not have my Mum I have a wonderful family and an especially fab Mother in law who knows all too well how I was feeling having lost her Mum too. We all had dinner later and it helped. A lot. Even though I am sure there was further shouting on my part.

So….behind the smiles things were not as they appeared and that certainly wasn’t the first time and I doubt it will be the last. I could put countless idyllic pictures on here and regale you with the stories of what was really happening at the time but I figure you’ve got the gist by now. My life is not perfect. I am not always doing my best to be honest because it’s hard, but I am doing the best I can at the time. I will do better. I will also continue to post pictures of my life – beautiful and not so beautiful, however it unfolds – whilst trying very hard to be aware that not everything I see and compare myself to is real….even my online life 😉