When life is literally shit

Anyone who is kind enough to read any of my posts or to be my friend knows I talk a lot about poop. I have become the stereotypical Mom who constantly shares details of their toddlers bladder and bowel movements. Very rarely a day goes by without a poonami story or a tale of being covered in pee!

A year ago this week we started potty training. I bought a book, I studied it, I planned, I booked time off work. I had it all figured out (so I thought, as we often do as first time Mom’s when we start something!) We started with naked time and I watched his every move, after a few days we tried joggers and attempted a few short trips out. Then we did the ceremonial introduction of big boy pants. We tried longer trips out.

3 weeks in, I wanted to burn the book.

Poop 2 .jpg

After about 2 months of him probably only going to the potty a handful of times, I gave up. I was exhausted and emotionally wraught by the whole thing. I had found Motherhood pretty easy up until this point. But I can honestly say that this was, and still is, the hardest part of parenting for me so far. After dragging him tantruming in to the loo at a pub during a birthday meal as he hadn’t been all afternoon, being headbutted then being peed on and soaked to the point we had to leave and go home, I had had enough. I suggested to my Husband that I thought he needed to go back to pull up’s.

We gave it a few months and tried again. Another ceremony of pants and potty’s ensued! We had a little success, but accidents were, and still are a frequent part of our day. We have tried every trick in the book. Reward charts, ignoring accidents, being nice about accidents, being cross about accidents, explaining why we go to the toilet, spending a small fortune on crap toys and having a ‘surprise bag’ when we go, a choccy treat (I hate this one but occasionally, needs must) and nothing seems to work.

I see posts on Facebook and hear Mommy’s chatting about starting potty training, or how they did in a week, or how after a few days their toddler is still having accidents and I can’t help but do an eye roll and chuckle. If you do it in a few days, I want to high five you and know your secret! If you are only on day 2, then you may have a few more days, weeks or months of learning ahead – it can take a while as I have learnt!

I have spoken here rather selfishly about how hard it has been for us as parents, and it’s easy sometimes to be all consumed with how hard it is for us and forget that it’s stressful for the little person that’s trying to learn too. I have to remind myself of this sometimes, and it does help me to be a little more patient especially when I am dealing with a full on mess.

What helps us now, still being a year in and still potty training? – Humour, lots of spare clothes and always, always take a carrier bag and lots and lots of wipes out with you!

 

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Thoughts from a Mommy of a boy on #vote100 day

To think that the things that us women take for granted nowadays are, in many an instance, things that our Great Grandmothers and Great Great Grandmothers could only dream of is quite a scary thought. We receive a polling card, no questions asked. We visit our GP and are able to access the contraceptive pill or any other form of contraception with few questions asked, no judgement and for free. We work freely amongst our male counterparts and are entitled to paid maternity leave and flexible working.

There is still much to do however. And I firmly believe that this fight is not just down to women, it is also the responsibility of men too. As the Mother of a boy, I often ask myself ‘What can I do to ensure that this future man contributes to an equal, fair, balanced society for all?’

During the recent ‘Grid Girls’ debate, I noticed the same type of comment being used to justify why it was a good idea to have women in these roles on the track. ‘This is just the way that men are, a pretty girl and they are putty in your hands.’ Now, you may think me naive, but don’t men deserve a little more credit than that? Maybe, guys and girls could just to watch an event without needing to see half dressed women that have no other function than to show boobs and bum?! ‘That’s just the way its always been!’ someone commented. Does that make it ok though? Do we just continue with things even if they are stupid/outdated/immoral just because ‘thats the way it’s always been?’

I heard similar comments when the #metoo came to prevalence. ‘Silly men! She should have just given him a slap!’ I read time and time and again. My response – what do I teach my son? Do I tell him it’s ok to do whatever you want to a girl until she slaps you? Maybe I could just teach him to respect other peoples personal space and wishes instead?

We desperately need some positive male role models in our sons lives both personally age in the public eye. There seems to be a great female positive vibe happening at the moment that I hope little girls can latch on to as they get older. To make sure that today’s lithe girls grow up not needing to use a hashtag to speak about sexual violence against her and to ensure she can be confident of equal pay in the workplace, the men of the future need to be behind this, not just the women.

A Coco weekend!

This weekend I braved the Odeon – I say braved as my previous 2 attempts at taking Finley to the cinema haven’t gone well. Finding Dory – lasted about 5 minutes. Cars 3 – slight improvement at around 20 minutes. However, on viewing the Coco trailer, I was confident the main theme of the film would capture the boys attention and keep his bum firmly planted on the seat!

Cinema 1

Our local cinema is Odeon Dudley. I always pre book tickets if I can. I can’t imagine the fall out if I had promised an outing and it didn’t deliver! The cinema has ample parking a short walk away and has plenty of eateries on site also. There is also a Costa Coffee and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream parlour on site, along with all the other usual snacks you would expect to find at the cinema. I was a little surprised to find as I had booked online beforehand, my ticket price was 75p more than our friends who purchased on the day.

It was really nice to get given a Coco colouring book and activity pack. Finley really loves getting ‘stuff’ (so do I actually!) and it was nice when we got home to sit and look at these and chat about the film.

Coco Booklet

Once we had loaded up with snacks and a drink. we took our seats and I am happy to report – success! He really enjoyed and sat enthralled during the whole film. Finley adores music, particularly if it involves a guitar! So the fact that the main character Miguel spends a large part of the film playing one was big bonus.

The film includes lots of funny moments and like all Pixar films, is visually stunning. The colours and graphics are beautiful. It’s such a heartwarming ending. Tears were shed!

Afterwards, we headed to Pizza Hut. Since becoming a little obsessed with Kevin from Home Alone over Christmas, all Finley wants to do is eat cheese pizza! Followed by a huge bowl of ice cream and toppings from the ice cream factory.

Cinema 2

A great day out for a rainy, January Saturday!

 

 

Living with three-nager

We have a saying in our house. A rather overused one at the moment. It goes ‘ Things they don’t tell you before you become a parent!’

It covers things such as the sheer hell you face when you are ill and you still have a child to entertain for 10 hours, the awkward questions (most recently ‘Mommy why is my willy so big? whilst watching Iggle Piggle and Makka Pakka frolic around the Night Garden) and the fact you end up sleeping most nights with a foot planted on your face.

I definitely wasn’t prepared for the three-nager years. It was like a bolt out of the blue around Finley’s third birthday. My funny, calm, easily pleased baby suddenly became opinionated and fiercely independent.

Finley 3 B

On a highly anticipated, 5 hour car drive away, fairly expensive trip to Peppa Pig World for his birthday, he spent most of the first day telling us he wanted to go home and refusing to wait in any queues, running to the front resulting in me having to profusely apologise ducking through the crowds trying to catch him whilst bashing people with my backpack.

And what is it with this toilet training saga?! It has honestly been the hardest part of parenting for us so far. We have been at it for almost a year now. He teases us sometimes by being totally on point with it for a few weeks and we smugly think to ourselves ‘yes, high five, we nailed this!’ Then we find a poop down the side of the sofa.

Occasionally he will go on full on potty strike. That is tough and definitely calls for a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates after he’s gone to bed.

We had some naked time at the weekend (Finley, not me!) Frankly, my washing machine couldn’t cope with any more pants!  We were playing a bit of rough and tumble and he thought it appropriate to attempt to pee on my face! Is this a boy thing? No one told me this happens!!

Threenager 1.jpg

But, as us Mommy’s are well aware, despite all of the above, we love these mini people with all our hearts and more. Last week he said to me ‘Mommy, I love you more than all the cars in the garage!’

Another thing they don’t tell you… the earth shattering, heart melting moments make all the pee, poop, hair pulling all worth it!

Finley 3 A

Hello 2018!

So we are 8 days in to the New Year and it’s my first free day! So hoping it’s not too late to focus on New Year goals. We are sill blurring the lines a little here in the Maynes abode between the festive season and January, with the leftover booze, cheese and chocolates still hanging around and being consumed!

Christmas Booze

I don’t make ‘resolutions’ as such, but like to have a little check list of things I would like to achieve in the coming year. By putting them out there I am pretty much committing myself to them! So here goes….!

1. Getting ‘a little bit’ fitter!

I joined Pure Gym last October when Finley started nursery and although I do have to give myself a kick up the bottom to get myself to go when its dark and cold, I quite enjoy myself once I get there! I feel so much better for it too. I can only squeeze in two visits a week at the moment, but I’m already seeing the benefits. Its great being a 24 hour gym, so I can go when Stuart gets home from work or early at the weekends while the boys are still in bed. I am aiming to do a Park Run in the Spring – more on that in the future when I do it!

2. Chess

Stuart is a huge chess fan and being the nice person that I am, I reluctantly agreed to play it with him so he could practice his moves! But I have surprised myself by actually enjoying it and getting quite good! So whilst I don’t think I will be going pro anytime soon, it would be good to play a bit more and get to a fairly good standard.

Chess

3. Books

Not a massive change. My kindle is one of my most valued possessions and I read quite a lot, but I do struggle a little for time now being a Mom. I have to be a little more disciplined with myself on this hobby. My reading time is limited to being on the train going to work, but  I am guilty of just getting my phone out and browsing social media and not really achieving anything! I am currently reading Chris Difford’s autobiography which I am really enjoying. But I do love novels. Recently I have loved reading ‘The Light Between Oceans’ by M L Stedman and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. If I could get a book a month read I think that is pretty achievable.

4. House

We have been in our house 3 and a half years now and it’s about 50% ‘done’. It is so difficult when you are working (and throw a newborn / crawling baby / toddler in to the mix also!) I have been accused of being impatient by my husband, which may or may not be true (!) but I would really like to get the place looking like ‘our home.’ I always had a dream of what my family home would look like and I don’t have it yet – hence the impatient element I guess! We are getting there slowly!

5. Blog

My little blog is still little, but it’s been really lovely to have a hobby aside from housework and wiping bums over the last few months! I would really like to go self hosted soon and ‘perfect my craft’ so to speak!

So there it is! 2018 in a nutshell. It will be a big year for Finley with him starting Primary School this September, so after he has had his place confirmed in April we can start preparing him – and me – for that. I became a Parent Governor at his nursery just before Christmas, so I am hoping this gives me a bigger insight as to how the education system works and helps him a little in his journey.

Finley nursery

What’s your New Year goals? Are they going well or are they already broken?!

 

 

 

The ‘What’s in your Christmas stocking?’ tag!

The very lovely Mrs Lighty at All Things Spliced has tagged me in the very festive ‘What’s in your Christmas stocking’ game! Always happy to chat about anything Christmas related! Here goes…!

What_s-In-Your-ChristmasStocking-Tag

1. Who’s behind the gathering of Christmas stocking treats – Mama Christmas or Father Christmas?

Always Mama – Mr M doesn’t have a scooby do what is under the tree!

2. Traditional stocking or giant sack?

Stockings for decoration, a sack for presents. I bought a lovely personalised one for Finley’s first Christmas, so it’s part of every Christmas now and will be for years to come!

3. Christmas stockings for everyone or only those who believe?

We all have a stocking hanging on the fireplace.

4. Cheap as chips or a big festive splurge?

Whatever we can afford! Be it a splurge or a budget!

5. Themed goodies or a pick-a-mix stocking of treasure?

Bit of everything!

6. Real orange or chocolate orange?

Chocolate. Always!

7. Christmas ‘stick to your teeth’ candy or Santa’s ‘special’ healthy snacks?

As above. Not a fan of candy!

8. Chocolate coins or sugared mice?

Easy – coins!

9. Latest trends or traditional wooden puzzles?

Variety is the spice of life!

10. Each item carefully wrapped in authentic looking wrapping paper or Santa just threw it all in?

Wrapped but wouldn’t say carefully!

11. Stockings hung with care by the fireplace or end of the bed?

On the sofa -?! Is that weird?!

12. Who fills the stocking – Mama Christmas or Father Christmas?

Mrs M of course

13. Filled to the brim and overflowing or perfectly neat?

Filled – if you can’t go crazy at Christmas when can you?!

14. What do you leave Santa – a glass of milk or something stronger for the road?

Santa needs fueling – a nice glass of fizz and a mince pie.

Share your favourite Christmas tip of all time…

Don’t buy your child too many toys – other people buy so much for them and they just get swamped. Buy a few nice treats and use the cash for nice family festive days out instead. Works while Finley is this age anyway!

Thanks for the tag Nicola!

I nominate the lovely Danni at Mumof3boys!

Finleys first xmas

Finley’s first Christmas – practising his superhero pose!

Christmas Traditions

What makes Christmas so special?! I think it’s the little things. The things you do without noticing but then over the years those little things become the big things and those are the moments and experiences you seem to laugh about and remember the most. I know my memories of Christmas when I was a kid was the drive up to Birmingham from the Forest Of Dean (where we lived at the time), seeing all of my Auntie’s and Cousin’s and my Nan, going to Mass on Christmas Eve, the jingle of bells as I was trying desperately to get to sleep closing your eyes tightly shut and the cramming round a table for Christmas dinner in a tiny terraced house. I always loved getting selection boxes (not so odd if you know me well!) I remember one had a mixed tape of Christmas songs which I thought was amazing. I remember vividly playing it in my Dad’s car. For some reason, I thought owning a tape was very cool. I must have been quite young at the time!

When Finley arrived, I was very keen to start our own little family traditions for him to remember when he gets older. Who knows, he might keep some to continue with his children one day!

1. The Santa Visit

I am a planner and usually end up booking this pretty early when companies start releasing slots late in the summer. To be honest, we don’t spend a huge amount on physical toys on Finley. He gets so much from other people and at the moment he just spends most of his time running round the house and playing his musical instruments, so the Santa visit is something that we splash out on a little, sometimes even doing a couple (I get carried away!) We’ve done Black Country Museum, Severn Valley Railway and CBeebies Land. We are having breakfast with Santa next weekend at a local pub. We make a quite a day of itvand luckily Finley loves Santa so, so far so good! It’s always a really nice day out.

2. Bacon rolls for breakfast on Christmas Eve

Don’t ask me why, but every year on Christmas Eve we have bacon baps for breakfast. I think it feels like such a treat being a grabbing a quick bowl of cereal rushing to get to work and nursery kind of family! Plus it sets us up for a hectic day!

3. The Christmas Eve Box

We are very lucky that my Mom does a Christmas Eve box for Finley (and includes stuff for us too!) We usually have some chocolates, Christmas pyjamas, Christmas slippers, a Christmas activity book, something alcoholic for us and hot chocolate for Finley. There are some gorgeous ones on the market now, but you can always just do a simple one.

4. The Christmas Eve Buffet

I can’t lie. I actually love buffets. Cheese, chutney, meats. What’s not to love?! We have one Christmas Eve afternoon for close family. I love planning it, shopping for it and yes, I love eating it too.

5. Doing Christmas Day your own way

It’s difficult on Christmas Day to see everyone you want to in the space of 12 hours. We had a few Christmases before Finley where we would visit family and drive round which was lovely to be able to get to everyone but it felt like a bit of a whirlwind. We decided last year to be a little bit selfish and just stay at home the three of us. We wanted Finley to remember opening his presents at his own house, playing with them, having Christmas lunch, watching films and generally not doing very much. So that’s what we do. Just eat, play games, watch TV and of course no one is the designated driver for the day (it was always me!) so we can both have a little Christmas drink!

What do your family Christmases look like? I’m always after ideas to ‘borrow!’ Would love to hear about them!