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Sorry, there won’t be any action on this blog for a few weeks. It has been given up for lent.

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Babe: 3 years and 4 months
Babeling: 7 weeks

So far the babe has not been parented by babyfather and I so much as by a committee of self-help books. This is because I have no idea what I’m doing, the grandparents live elsewhere, there are no NVQs available in the subject and I don’t trust my instincts for a second.

For her routine since infancy the babe has to thank a combination of Gina Ford, The Contented Little Baby Book*, and a life-saving little number called On Becoming Babywise. How we settle her off to sleep comes out of Dr Green’s Toddler Taming. Discipline and taking responsiblity, Boundaries for Kids by Cloud and Townsend. Keeping her emotionally healthy, How to Really Love your Child by Ross Campbell. And now for the next stage! Siblings without Rivalry by Faber and Mazlish. I am READY.

This book has the same approach as their other book, How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk, which is excellent. When I say excellent I mean I haven’t actually had much chance to put it into practice but the theory is beautiful. And I’ve now had a go of a few techniques with spectacular results.

Part of their advice is to describe a problem to the child and let him/her find a solution by themselves, rather than telling them what to do, or indeed thumping them.

Exhibit A:

The babe is in her bath. I am trying to rinse her hair.

Babymother: Close your eyes and put your head back so I can rinse your hair please.

Babe: Don’t want to!

Babymother: Babe – we need to rinse your hair…

B: *sob wail* No! Don’t want to!

[This could be related to me losing my temper during previous bathtime when babeling was screaming and I did end up getting shampoo in her eyes. Ahem.]

Babymother: (about to lose temper again but remembers Book) Are you afraid that I’m going to get shampoo in your eyes again?

B: *sob wail* Yes!

BM: Oh dear. I wonder what we’re going to do then, cos you can’t go to bed with shampoo in your hair.

B: *wail sob*

*pause*

B: I’m going to cry and THEN I’ll put my head back. *sob wail*

BM: OK. How long do you need to cry for? What shall I count to?

B: *sob wail* 79! *wail sob*

BM: Nope. That’s too long.

B: *wail sob* 15!

BM: OK! *counts to 15*

B: *sob wail* I’m ready now *closes eyes and puts head back*.

Exhibit B:

Playing with two friends – one has her bike and the other has the ride-on car.

Babe: Mummy! William won’t let me ride on the car!

BM: Oh dear! Three children and only two toys with wheels on! What are we going to…

B: No, mummy! There’s three! There’s my scooter! *disappears to fetch scooter and at least 5 minutes’ peaceful play ensues*

Of course, it’s possible this works because the babe has more emotional intelligence than babyfather and I put together, and we can’t take credit for it because she was born that way. And anyway this approach only works if I ignore my instinct to shout until blue in the face. Now to work out how to calmly discourage her from biting the babeling’s nose.

* I think few people can stomach an undiluted Gina Ford: ‘6.45am: remove baby’s covers and open blinds. Baby must be up and feeding by no later than 7.00am. Switch to right breast at 7.13..’ etc. OK I exaggerate – slightly. But please don’t shut my blog down Gina!

Babe: 3 years and 4 months
Babeling: 7 weeks

Babymother: So, who did you play with today at nursery school?
Babe: Anna and Eva.
BM: Do you have any friends who are boys?
B: A little boy wanted to play with me today.
BM: Did you let him?
B: No, my hands were full.
BM: What were your hand full of?
B: Hands.
BM: ?
B: My hands were full of Anna and Eva’s hands. We were dancing a pocketful of posies.
BM: Couldn’t you let go of their hands and let him join in?
B: No.
BM: Why not?
B (firmly): My hands were full.

Poor lad. I hope his social life improves.

Babe: 3 years and 4 months
Babeling: 7 weeks

Attempt any TWO of the following THREE questions:

– Mummy, who made God?

– Mummy, when will it be yesterday?

– Mummy, why is that man [always within earshot] in a wheelchair / very old / black?

You have 30 SECONDS. You may answer ONE question with the words: Umm..Oh look! A dog / ice cream van / funeral procession!

Babe: 3 years and 4 months

Babeling: 5 weeks

Sorry. It’s just that straight after the birth I had an army of helpful relatives doing all the housework, shopping, cleaning and babe care, and all I had to do was breastfeed and blog. Now they’ve all gone away and babyfather has gone back to work and real life barely leaves time for the breastfeeding, never mind the blogging. In fact real life is logistically impossible unless the babeling is asleep, which fortunately is a lot.

Here is the logistically impossible bit: The babeling has mild reflux, which means the top sphincter of her stomach doesn’t hold the milk in too well. Then there is my milk supply, which is very spurty. Once activated (usually by the babeling sucking, but also by random events like having a hot shower or talking about breastfeeding – strange but true) it spurts. When I say spurts, I mean I could probably hit a target at about six feet, if my aim was any good. Feeding the babeling is therefore a bit like filling a very small balloon with a high pressure fire hose. A balloon that doesn’t tie up at the top very well.

I then have to carry said very small balloon around with me, completely upright, or it spills, for some time after a feed. (Usually it spills on visitors, mostly childless visitors with nice clothes on, or anyone who doesn’t believe me when I say UPRIGHT.) If this period of time coincides with the babe refusing to eat her supper, getting shampoo in her eyes, needing her bottom wiped or tearing the stuffing out of the inside of the armchair, life gets a bit fraught.

We tried to go to the library once a couple of weeks ago – suffice to say that getting ready took literally an hour longer than I was expecting and involved a complete change of clothes for me because the babeling was sick into my cleavage followed by a complete change of clothes for the babeling because (having fed her again) I put her down for a second to do up the babe’s coat and she was sick on herself, and nearly involved a complete change of clothes for babyfather because that was the point at which he walked in and I cried all over him.

It’s all worth it though, of course, because this morning after a nappy change she looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Awwr.’ Exactly.

Babe: 3 years and 3 months

Babeling: 4 weeks

3am. Put the babeling back to bed after a feed. Pop into babe’s bedroom to admire her in her sleep.

Odd. Her duvet is in a heap by the door. Look at bed to see how she is sleeping without it. Bed empty!

Babymother: *gasp!*

Duvet on floor: *rustle, cough*

Consider carrying her back to her bed.

Reconsider.

Go back to own bed and fall asleep.

The babe loves hearing this story. I just wish she wouldn’t keep mentioning in front of other mums that she sleeps on the floor.