I cleared out the garage recently and stumbled upon a pile of baby books that all offered up helpful advice on how to cope, feed and care for the new bundle of joy in your life. I could see how avidly I had read these before the twins arrived. The pages were marked and highlighted, the spines cracked and the covers slightly battered. Beneath those books were a separate pile of clean, virtually new looking manuscripts. These had titles such as “How to prepare for your second child” and “How to parent toddlers”. The spines were intact, the pages clean, the books were lonely pieces of paper that had never enjoyed the luxury of being read.
Who the hell has time to read a parenting book when they are expecting number three with pre-school twins at homes.
I actually whispered a self congratulatory well done for getting out of the house to buy the how to guides, then I remembered that Amazon had been invented and recalled that between 2007-2010 my entire shopping life was done from an armchair in my sitting room because the doctor refused to prescribe Valium just for doing the weekly shop.
I was hiding in the garage, and my youngest was being cared for by the iPad so I took a moment to scan the books to see if they could offer advice on parenting. Some that would cure me of the feeling of knackeredness that consumes me about five pm and is currently only resolved by a quick nip of gin or a large glass of Pinot.
The hints for staying sane whilst parenting three included….
Spend at least two hours a week having one to one time with each child to really show them that they are special and to encourage the unique bond.
I tried this. I tied the other two up in their bedrooms and closed all the doors to try and muffle the sounds, but still the one on one time was rudely disrupted by cries of ‘my wrists hurt’ and the inevitable ‘I need a wee – wee.’ The child who I was dedicating my precious hours to suffered extreme jealously of not being tied to a chair and refused to play with me until I agree to physically restrain them as well.
Enjoy family meals and talk about the positive things that have happened to the family that week.
I have to confess, I did have a nip of gin before embarking upon this one. I conjured up a feast of spaghetti bolognese whilst the children got creative in the playroom unsupervised. When the meal was served I caught a glimpse of the new pattern that had been created on the wall and almost faltered in my positive resolve.
But I staggered on.
My sweet smelling meal was created with sighs of dismay from non appreciative kids which led to a bit of a bollocking from the other half who has yet to feel the positive flow that I was embarcing. Five minutes later I had three red eyed, solemn children thanking me for their dinner in tones that suggested they would rather eat live frogs.
I staggered on.
It went something like this….
In my Mary Poppins voice: “Tell me one great thing that happened at school, oh and sit round please.”
“I don’t like spaghetti”
In my pleading positive voice “Lets just eat some, it was your favourite last week, so tell me what was good at school, sit up please, turn round, bottoms on chair.”
“Mum do I have to eat this?”
“Mum, I am trying to tell you about school but he won’t shut up.”
“I am never ever eating this, yucky”
The sound of plastic bowl hitting the floor, an elbow poking a rib, and a yowling screech all erupted simultaneously.
In my psychomama voice “For the love of God, just bloody sit up, sit straight, don’t poke your brother, eat your dinner, don’t talk, keep it on the table and sit flipping still.”
Hushed whispers followed.
“She said bloody,”
“Mum, you said bloody, that is so naughty.”
“And God, she said God.”
Then BB finished off the positive family meal with a lovely sing a long to the tune of Happy Birthday.
“Bloody God to you, Bloody God to you,”
The books are now sitting in the lounge on the coffee table, that way when I finally get the fire going this year, I won’t need to walk to the garage to retrieve them.
Gin = Positive Parenting, there must be no other way.