Dear smelly-cloud mum in the school playground,
Hi! You have probably noticed me, spluttering and sneezing as you walk past…
I’m not saying that you haven’t had a wash for a while, but my gosh, what on earth are you trying to cover up with the amount of perfume you have sprayed?? It seems like you just don’t know when to stop… Or which perfume to use, as I get that many scents when you walk past me, that I think you must have attacked a perfume shop. I hate to say it love, but have you ever heard the expression, “smells like a whores handbag..?” Yeah.
Here’s an idea… Have a shower to get rid of the amount of spray you’re wearing. Then, next time you come to school, if you really want to wear some perfume – please do! But you only need a quick spritz… That way, I won’t come home smelling like you.
Dear MAC expert mum in the school playground,
I wonder why you feel like you have to use a trowel to apply your make-up? I can see that your foundation would have to be removed with a shovel.
Why do you need your eyelashes to stick out further than your boobs? Which, by the way, I can tell that you have tried to contour the bust-line, as you haven’t blended it properly.
Wow, that’s a really pretty lipstick colour… I’ve seen a couple of girls in Amsterdam wear the same colour.
I have to admit that I’ve seen your look before. It was a specific episode of The Simpsons, when Homer invented a make-up gun. Have you seen it?
More importantly, I can see your daughter with make-up on too. She’s only 5. Why would you let her wear make-up to school? There’s plenty of time for her to wear it on a weekend, or even when she’s older – why rush her out of childhood?
My advice to you is just to step back. It’s not even 9am, and you look like you’re going out on the town. Try googling “day time make-up looks”.
Dear “clique” mums in the school playground,
Hi, err, excuse me, mind if I cut in..? Oops, I can see that you’re in deep conversation about what you got up to at the weekend, but I just want to say a couple of things.
It’s great that you have such good mum-friends. Those are really hard to find – especially if they are as close to you as they seem to be. No doubt that you all get together of a weekend, and during the school holidays for day-trips and the like. I bet you’re all even that close that you sometimes leave the kids at home, and go for nights out.
Wow, I have to admit – I am a little envious.
I just have one thing to to say… You see that woman, standing over there in the corner? She doesn’t have any friends. She feels like it’s just her and her child. She’s a lovely woman, with a heart of gold. If you talk to her, you’ll realise that she’ll fit in with your group perfectly… She just doesn’t have the confidence to say hello, and you make it seem like you don’t mind other people (like me) talking to you, but really, you just want us to go away so you can continue your gossip.
Just open your eyes. That’s all. I know it’s great having friends, but other people aren’t so lucky.
Dear mum who lets her 9 year old daughter take her 6 year old brother to school,
Hi. I’m a parent of one of your son’s classmates. I have never met you – I have never even seen you.
I don’t know what is going on in your life, and I don’t want to interfere, but I must say just one thing.
Our sons both started at the schools’ nursery at the same time. They’ve been friends – not close, but friends, through nursery, Reception class, and now in year 1. That’s 3 years that I have never seen you.
Do you even exist? Do these lovely children even have a mum? Has something happened..?
Both of your children are lovely. My son often talks about your son, and I am pleased they do sometimes play together. Your daughter always stays with her younger brother until his teacher comes out to take his class inside. She then has to run out of the playground, down the road a short distance, and cross a very busy road to get to her own class. I think she is always late – maybe only by a couple of minutes, but late, never-the-less. I have never heard her complain. Not once. She is such a lovely girl, and I have watched her “tidy-up” her little brother, so he doesn’t go in to school with his shirt hanging out.
Let me tell you, mum, you truly do have two amazing children, but I am concerned that you let them take themselves to school without adult supervision. Is everything ok? Do you need help..?
Dear worn-out looking mum in the school playground,
Psst! I can see you… Hiding in the corner, in the shade, hoping that no one can see you. Hey, I get it – you have probably been chasing your kids around the house, making sure they have eaten all of their breakfast, washed their faces, brushed their teeth, and were getting dressed properly. “What’s that, beloved child of mine, you have lost one of your shoes..? Again..?” Yeah. I know what that’s like.
I can tell you are trying to hide your quickly tied up hair, and I can see the stain on your t-shirt… Don’t worry mum, you got your son to school on time, and he looks good, in his freshly washed uniform. You’ve only got to take your little one to nursery, then you can go home.
Now, do yourself a favour, and go and put the kettle on, and take an hour or two just for you. You’re doing a great job, mum, and you may not feel it, but you are allowed to take a time out.
It’s a late one, but we’ve just told Gning to pack up, and get to bed, as he needs to be up early for school. As usual, it doesn’t take him long to start playing up and getting upset, but this was different. He suddenly became inconsolable.
I made him come and sit beside me, on the settee in the front room. I eventually managed to get him to start talking…
“Today has been the worst day of my life…”
I thought he was just playing up again, and I replied, “you’re only 6 sweetheart. If you think today’s been the worst of your life, God help you when you’re older…”
He starts blubbing even more, and then starts to tell me that everyone doesn’t believe him, when he tells them that he went to Disney World, Florida, in the October half term holidays.
I sympathise with him. I’ve been in his shoes, and he’s walking in mine right now.
When I was growing up, I was one of the lucky kids, whose parents had money. My parents would jet off to all sorts of luxurious holidays around the globe (Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Mexico, Hong Kong, Bali…), and whenever I used to tell my (so-called) friends in school where I had been, they used to say I was lying.
It got to a point where even a teacher said I was lying – that there was no chance I had visited all of these countries…
I was labelled a liar, and that was that. It didn’t matter how much proof I took in to school (photo’s), they were obviously faked.
So back to yesterday.
Gning tells me that there’s one boy in his class who is constantly calling him out. He’s determined to prove to everyone that Gning is lying, and that he is better.
Then it happened. The moment no parent should experience. It only took two seconds, but right there – right then, I actually heard my heart smash.
“I’ll just kill myself…”
Yeah. He said it. My 6 year old “miracle baby” just told me that he would kill himself.
I tried my best to stay calm. I grabbed him, and I held him tight. The tears started… I didn’t let go. I held him against my chest for what must have been only minutes, but it seemed like hours.
I told him to go and get a tissue, to wipe his nose, and I went in to my bedroom.
Hubby was dozing off, as he has to be up at ridiculous o-clock for work. I closed the door slightly behind me, and I said “I need your help”. I tried to stay collected, and I told him what had just happened. I broke again when I reiterated the words… “He said that he’ll kill himself…”. Hubby was cool. He listened to what I had to say, then he got up.
Next thing you know, Hubby and Gning were both going in to my bedroom, and Hubby was cuddling him in the “big bed”.
I can’t have been that long when Gning came out. He had stopped crying, and seemed calmer – and somewhat happier. I told him that even though it was really late (it was about 11:30pm now), that he could put his TV on whilst he went to sleep.
Hubby closely followed, and brought me up to speed.
I had a job to do, and I needed to do it without hesitation. I needed to bypass Gnings’ teacher (which I had already tried speaking to in the past), and go straight to the headmaster.
This morning, I dropped Donut off at nursery, and walked Gning over to school. He went in with little hesitation. I then crossed the road, to the head office, and asked to speak to the headteacher. I was informed that she was in meetings all morning, but they would contact me as soon as they had spoken to her, to arrange an appointment for me to go in and speak to her, face to face.
My appointment is tomorrow. 3:15pm. 15 minutes before Gning finishes school.
Fingers crossed, everyone, this is going to be tough.
Gning has had a wobbly tooth for a while now. It’s not his first – he lost his first tooth a couple of months ago, and we wondered when this second one would come out, because it was wobbly then!
It was 8pm when he came running out of his bedroom, in tears. “My tooth is coming out, it’s coming out now…”
We tried to calm him down, as whenever he cries, he always gets himself in to such a state, that he starts hyperventilating. You can see the tears in the photo above.
I suggested that he goes to brush his teeth, to try to “brush it out”. He insisted that he spits in to my hand – over the sink, just in case he spat it out. Nothing.
I suggested he have a go at pulling it out… Nothing. I got some tissue, and he had another go. Then hubby dearest had a go… Then me. Nothing.
By this point, Gning was in hysterics, and was punching out and kicking at hubby. Hubby was getting impatient, so to try to calm the waters, I asked Gning what he wanted me to do. He’s crying, his crying is upsetting me, and daddy is getting annoyed.
The tears come again, and Gning decides to phone grandad (my dad) to try to calm him down. It worked somewhat, as he then went to brush his teeth again.
Almost an hour later, and we were still nowhere. That blasted tooth was still stuck in the gum, yet it was even more raised than before. This was coming out tonight – like it or not.
I managed to speak to Gning, explaining to him that we were going to give it one more go – him, me, then daddy. If it didn’t come out then, he would just have to go to bed. I explained that if he accidently swallowed the tooth (more tears), the tooth fairy would still come; and they use special magic, through the belly button, to remove the tooth!
In to the front room, and Gning has another couple of goes at pulling the tooth with a tissue. Nothing but more tears. He’s starting to hyperventilate, and complains of a sore chest…
Now, I bought my car insurance through compare the market (not off topic – promise!!), and with it, I got a free meerkat. I got one of the limited editions, “Sergei” as “Obi Wan Kenobi”. I didn’t want to unbox it – I wanted to keep it as a collectors toy – which it should be, but I promised Gning that he could have it – out of the box, if he let daddy have three attempts…
Attempt 1 – Gning screams. He kicks out, and shakes. Nothing.
Attempt 2 – Gning shakes, and digs his fingers in to my arm… And it’s out.
I unbox the toy, and hand it over. Gning goes to rinse out his mouth, and although still whimpering, he goes to bed happy, with his tooth in the special bag that he got from the tooth fairy. It’s under his pillow now.
Yikes. Only another 18 to go, and then 20 with Donut… *sighs*
As schools are back this week, I thought it would be a good time for me to take Donut to a play centre. It’d be quiet(er), and there wouldn’t be any “big kids” running around. I had decided on taking him to a lovely little play centre, called Playdays Cafe, which is in St Helens (Merseyside).
Now, I’m a member of several websites, that encourages mums to make friends with other mums – so I decided to extend my little party of two to be a mummy social.
One particular website I’m a member of, is (ironically) called Mummy Social, and does allow you to set up events, and invite other mums in your area (or further afield, if you wish). So I did. I set it up about 10 days ago, and hey presto! My invitations were automatically sent out to those in the St Helens and Liverpool area.
It was the eve before my “social”, and no one had clicked the “attend” button on the site. However, I wasn’t disheartened. As I said – I was already planning on taking Donut anyway.
I quickly made a post on a local mums facebook group, extending the invite there, and I did get a lot of interest – 4 other mums said they would be there with their little ones.
This morning started off as usual. Gning and Donut decided they wanted “milk and cookies” for breakfast, and as soon as they were ready, we were out the door. I dropped Gning off at school (just started year 1), and Donut got really upset, because he wasn’t going to school (he goes to nursery, three times a week). I explained to him that we were going to play instead, so he hurried me back to the car…
I arrived at the play centre early. A lot earlier than I had invited the mums for. I had said 10am, but I was there for 9:30am.
I’m one of those people who suffers anxiety, and I did have a mini panic-attack this morning, thinking that people would actually turn up! What would I say to them? Should I just say hello? How would I keep the conversation going..?
Donut quickly ran off and started playing. He knows this particular play centre inside out, and has a habit of climbing up to the tallest part, then starts crying. He gets “stuck”. He isn’t really stuck… He just realises that he’s at the top, and can’t remember the way down. This is exactly what happened at 9:55am. He stood at the top of the frame, looking down at me, sobbing. One of the girls who worked there shouted up to him, “are you ok?”, she asked. I replied that he always does this – he just can’t remember the way down. I stood up and went to help him, but the girl had beat me to it. “Don’t worry about it – I’m used to going up and down this thing. You just sit down and enjoy your coffee”, she said with a smile. Brilliant. Mother of the Year award goes to a complete stranger, who shot up the climbing frame quicker than I could pick up my cup.
Donut made his own way down, with guidance from the girl, and was so happy when he reached the bottom. He did his little happy dance, and even “high fived” her, before she made her way back behind the counter. Next thing you know, he’s up at the top again… Only this time, he remembered his new learned skill, and was back down!
There were plenty of other mums, and carer’s of children, in the play centre. I looked around, looking for any glimpse of familiarity in their faces. Was that the girl who replied that she would attend? I’m sure I recognise that little boys face…
One mum was heavily pregnant, and looked really stressed out. She had a little girl with her – I’d say about 18 months old or so, and the tiny tot would not leave her side. The bump had to climb over the 1.5ft barrier occasion on occasion to
force her daughter to play.
Another mum was there, and had what looked like a 3 year old boy, and a baby boy – around a month old. She looked a natural. Laughing, chasing the child around, whilst “wearing” the baby on her chest…
Then I realised that Donut had disappeared again. I thought that he was up on the frame again, but then I heard him laugh. I turned around, and noticed that he was in one of those coin operated rides, with another little boy of a similar age, and the machine was on. Mum of little boy was at their side, smiling. I shot over to their side, and apologised that Donut was taking over her sons’ ride. She laughed, and told me not to worry about it. Her son doesn’t usually mingle well with other children, but he seemed to like Donut.
It was now 10:20am. I was getting bored, sitting at the table alone. If anyone had turned up from the Mummy Social site, or facebook group, no one had made an effort to try to find me.
I hastily posted a status on the latter mentioned group, asking if anyone was there, and if they were too shy to say hello – because I was in the same boat. I did get lots of replies, but all were “sorry, I forgot”, or “I didn’t know you meant today…”.
I called Donut over, and asked him if he wanted to go home and see daddy, which he said “yes” to. On with his shoes, and home we went.
I think the point that I’m getting to here is not about anyone else turning up, it’s about something much more. I was sat on my own, and apart from the other two mums’, who seemed to be there without any other adult company, there were other “groups” of mums / child-carers.
Did you know that 4 out of 5 people would rather use the statement “I’m depressed”, rather than “I’m lonely”?
If you’re with a group of friends, and you see a mum sitting on her own – smile at her. Say “hello”. It’s not much, and takes no effort at all, but you may just bring so much more to that persons’ day.
Seek out the mum who is focused on her smartphone. Most of the time they will say, ‘Oh, did you mean me? Hi.’ A little eye contact, a little smile, a little victory for humanity.
You never know – you may just have met your new best mum friend by one simple word.
Looks fancy, tastes absolutely delicious, and is incredibly easy to make.
French toast is one of those “posh” breakfast items that you think will take too long to make, but really – I just made 8 rounds in 5 minutes (minus the clean up – which I’m going to do after I’ve finished this post).
I first had French toast when I went to stay with my fathers’ friends, in Wisconsin, USA, and it was sublime! However, when I got home, I couldn’t remember exactly how my host made it, so I winged it… It worked out well, because now it’s a family favourite – even Donut (aged 2) has just wolfed down two slices!
3 large eggs
A good splash of milk (whole / full fat milk is best)
White bread (this recipe accounts for 8 slices)
Sweet mixed spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, mace, allspice, etc. – readily available in supermarkets, such as Asda, Tesco, etc.)
Coconut oil – for frying
Toppings – golden syrup, honey, seasonal fruit, icing / powdered sugar…
- Mix the eggs, milk, and a good shaking of the mixed spice in a bowl – ensure the bowl is big enough to fit a slice of bread, without bending it.
- Heat the coconut oil over a medium to high heat, in a frying pan.
- Place a single slice of bread in the egg mixture, and turn it over – make sure the round of bread is fully covered.
- Add the egg-mix covered bread to the frying pan, and give an extra little shake of the mixed spice. Leave for 30 seconds or so, then turn it over – repeat the process by adding another little shaking of the mixed spice. After another 30 seconds, turn the bread over for one final couple of seconds – just to allow the second shaking of mixed spice “cook” a little.
- Repeat the process with as many rounds of bread you can…
- Serve with a helping of syrup or honey, fruit, such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or icing / powdered sugar.
- Best enjoyed hot / warm, although, rather lush cold too, ha ha.
So, Donut is going through a bit of a phase at the moment, where whenever he doesn’t get his own way, he gets on to all fours, and *slams* his head in to the floor. Let me explain a little more…
Donut is 21 and a half months old. He’ll be 2 in June.
His speech is only just starting to come in, and although we can understand a few of the words, he’s still doing a lot of baby babble. He’s frustrated because he can’t tell us what he wants or needs yet, and although we do get our “guesses” right most of the time, the other times, he gets wound up.
In order for us to give you a bit of a breakdown as to what usually goes on, allow me to give you a few examples:
- He asks for a sweet, biscuit or chocolate (he can say sweetie, biccie and choccy), but it’s dinner time, and he needs to eat that first. We say “no – you need to have your dinner first…” Donut then gets on to his hands and knees, and headbutts the floor. Sometimes just the once, sometimes up to 4 or 5 times.
- He’s in his (wooden) highchair, having a bit of time out / relaxing a little after dinner, and we give him a book / toy. He either throws the toy, or starts ripping the book. After we’ve told him several times not to do it, he starts “reverse” headbutting the backrest of the highchair.
- We’re in the car, and he drops a toy on the floor. We’re unable to turn around to pick it up for him, so he starts screaming (oh, it sounds like he’s screaming murder!!), and then rocking – almost violently, backwards and forwards in his car seat, banging his head all over the place!
Welcome to a day in the life of Donut…
Let’s be honest, as a parent, you don’t want your little one injured. It upsets you (as well as them) when they get hurt, and it makes you feel absolutely awful – and sometimes completely helpless, when they start hurting themselves deliberately!
Donut has been doing this headbanging thing for about 3 or 4 months now, and last night I’d had enough. He was very nicely sitting on my knee, eating a sweetie (Parma Violet), and he asked for another – “more”. I said he can have another one, as soon as he has finished the one that he has in his mouth. He started getting frustrated, and lashed out at me. He screamed, and punched me. I said, “I’m not having that – that was naughty. Get off my knee.” I gently pushed him off my knee, and the next thing you know, he’s on all fours, and “BANG”. He’s headbutted the floor. He was then the proud owner of a massive red mark across his forehead.
Thankfully, we have a Witch Hazel stick, that we bought from a pharmacy. It’s great for kids, because it means that we don’t have to try to hold a piece of kitchen roll, soaked with the usual liquid Witch Hazel, over the “bump”. We got that on him straight away, and this morning, there’s no mark at all.
So, I did what every mum does, just before they get to the wits end of getting medical advice for their kids, and I took to social media. I made a post on Mummy Social, asking for advice, and primarily, to see if anyone else has had the same problems.
I received several replies, and I am pleased to say that I am not alone. A lot of the comments were from mummies who have similarly aged children, who are either going through, or have been through a “head banging” stage. One of the mummies there gave a link to a page on the Baby Centre website, simply entitled, “Head banging (12 to 24 mo.)“. Here’s what I’ve found on that website:
Why does my toddler purposely bang his head?
Head banging is surprisingly common. Up to 20 percent of babies and toddlers bang their head on purpose, although boys are three times more likely to do it than girls. Head banging often starts in the second half of the first year and peaks between 18 and 24 months of age. Your child’s head banging habit may last for several months, or even years, though most children outgrow it by age 3.
Possible reasons your toddler may bang his head:
- Self-comfort. As strange as it may sound, most toddlers who indulge in this behaviour do it to relax. They bang their head rhythmically as they’re falling asleep, when they wake up in the middle of the night, or even while they’re sleeping. Some rock on all fours as well. Developmental experts believe that the rhythmic motion, like rocking in a chair, may help your toddler soothe himself.
- Pain relief. Your toddler may also bang his head if he’s in pain — from teething or an ear infection, for example. Head banging seems to help kids feel better, perhaps by distracting them from the discomfort in their mouth or ear. This is rather convenient, considering Donut was diagnosed with an ear infection just a couple of weeks ago, but his head banging started a couple of months ago…
- Frustration. If your toddler bangs his head during temper tantrums, he’s probably trying to vent some strong emotions. He hasn’t yet learned to express his feelings adequately through words, so he’s using physical actions. And again, he may be comforting himself during this very stressful event. This is my initial thought for why Donut bangs his head.
- A need for attention. Ongoing head banging may also be a way for your toddler to get attention. Understandably, you may tend to become solicitous when you see your child doing something that appears self-destructive. And since he likes it when you fuss over his behaviour, he may continue the head banging in order to get the attention he wants.
- A developmental problem. Head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders — but in most of these cases, it’s just one of many behavioural red flags. Rarely does head banging alone signal a serious problem.
What can I do about it?
Give your toddler your attention — but not when he’s banging.
Make sure your child gets plenty of positive attention from you when he’s not banging his head. If he still bangs his head to get your attention, though, try not to make a big deal about it, or you may reinforce the behaviour. Even if you can’t completely disregard the behaviour, don’t scold or punish him for it. He’s too young to understand the situation, and your disapproval may only make matters worse. Easier said than done, if you ask me.
Protect your child from injury.
Check all the screws and bolts on your toddler’s crib once a month or more to make sure the rocking isn’t loosening anything. You can also put rubber casters on the crib legs and hang a soft fabric or quilt between the crib and the wall to reduce noise and to minimise wear and tear on the walls and floor.
Don’t put pillows or blankets in his crib to soften his surroundings, because these are a suffocation hazard. If you want to use bumpers on your toddler’s crib to soften his blows, make sure that they’re thin, firm (not puffy), and securely tied to the crib railings, so your toddler can’t get his head between the bumper and the railing. This isn’t appropriate to us, as Donut has been in his own (toddler) bed for almost 10 months…
Try not to worry.
Your toddler may get a bruise or two, but don’t worry — head banging is usually a “self-regulating” behaviour. This means your child is unlikely to hit his head hard enough to seriously injure himself. He knows his threshold for pain and will pull back on the throttle a bit if the banging hurts. Again, easier said than done.
Help foster your child’s love of rhythm in other ways.
Your child clearly likes a good steady beat, so help him find other outlets for his love of rhythm. Experts often recommend dancing, marching, and drumming or clapping to music together. You might also try putting a metronome in your child’s room to give him the comfort of a steady rhythm. Make sure he gets lots of physical exercise during the day, too, to help him burn off some of the nervous energy that may feed his head banging. We’ve noticed that if we put some loud music on, Donut tends to stop what he is doing, and dances to it instead…
Start a soothing bedtime routine.
If your child is banging his head as a way of “coming down” from his busy day, try setting up a relaxing routine. A warm bath, a calm rock on your lap, and a quiet story or song may help. You may want to spend a few minutes before bed rubbing his back or stroking his forehead. Soft music in his bedroom can be soothing, too.
Consult a doctor if your child’s behaviour becomes worrisome.
If your child bangs his head a lot during the day or continues to bang his head even though he’s hurting himself, you may have cause for concern. Though it’s uncommon, head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders, which sometimes become apparent during the toddler and preschool years.
Autistic children generally don’t relate well to people. They often aren’t interested in physical contact with their parents and seem to look through people rather than at them. If you notice that your child is losing physical abilities, language, or other skills he’s acquired; if he’s becoming increasingly withdrawn; or if he’s consistently delayed in achieving common developmental milestones, that is the time to seek medical advise.
So, I think all in all, this is a common phase that Donut is going through, so it’s just a matter of riding it out.