Meltdown mindset

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I’ve got a new mindset to try and jump into when I’m having a tough five minutes (or so….) whilst in the company of my kids.  It could do with a catchier name but for now it is my “Let me show you” meltdown mindset.

This is how it went today when I found myself in a Post Office at 12pm (what idiot does that pre lunch?).  Anyway…..M starts having a complete meltdown; let me show you how to be compassionate, kind and patient.  He wants two toy magazines; let me show you how to be gently assertive, quietly persistent and patient.  He is really asserting himself back now; let me show you how to give him space.  People can’t get in the Post Office to post their letters; let me show you how to deal with embarrassment and bum shuffle with a two year old under your arm.  He is really losing his rag (insert your own); let me show you real patience.  He is getting quite animated (again please do insert your own); let me show you how long you have to be &£;!&£@ patient for sometimes.  He says he’ll be happy if we go to a playarea; let me show you what relief looks like and how to admit defeat (we will call it compromise).  And so we ate our lunch in a cold playarea because I said we would (let me show you how to keep your word).  Let me £&@£@@£ show you.  I don’t say the “Let me show you” bit btw.

Joking apart it did help and it does help me regularly.  I think I go a bit out of body, maybe even a bit professional.  I don’t feel professional but you know what I mean.  They get me back when they calm down.  And I guess they want me back because the let me show you woman is alright, but she doesn’t half grate after a while.

To help our children deal with the world I have come to accept a bit of adversity is needed.  They need to see you working hard at being patient; they need to know that it is hard and it feels hard, but that there are benefits.  That it is worth it. That things recover quicker and people may never say thank you but do appreciate and benefit from it.  That its the right thing.  That it can make you calmer and happier.  The firmness that goes with the patience can be quiet, kind and almost hiding.

The kindness is so important but make sure that it includes you; they’re modelling themselves on you afterall and you want their future self to be kind to themselves and happy.  And you want to be happy!  I think they benefit from hearing you say something kind to yourself outloud – sounds strange I know.  Let them hear you going easy on yourself when you make a questionable choice or forget something.  And just as importantly be kind to yourself when patience escapes you – like it does us all.  At least I assume it does.

Your children will probably find their own way of dealing with the sunshine and happy side of things quite easily.  Although having said that, it is perhaps not instinctive to share, be graceful and grateful.  I can do sharing but am only just growing out of my competitive streak, so I am not sure where they’ll get the grace from.  Dad I expect.  (Although he does run by them at ‘park run’ shouting “Yes I’m winning” when he is not even winning.  Never mind gracefully winning.  We may have to outsource grace.)

I’m touching wood as I write this, as we all do I guess when we are feeling lucky.  I feel very very lucky that tough today was literally spilt milk, not having enough layers on at the park (me that is – brrrrrr) and a meltdown in the post office (that was M the two year old, meanwhile T the three year old – and me – enjoyed being all reasonable).  I also feel lucky that my mind although tired, is today a happy and upbeat one.

I am grateful for having an easy “Let me show you” day but hopeful that it helped the boys learn some hard to master skills.  Skills I am still working on.  I mean really. Ffs.

Blogging is a state of mind.

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It has to be.  Sometimes there are sparks everywhere and you have ideas shooting across your mind; sprinkling stars, fairy dust and the imaginary yet audible giggles and snorts of strangers.

Then the day ends, you sit down, you make that cup of tea, put up your feet, turn on that laptop. You’re ready.  There is nothing.
My theory is this; a few things in your head have to be aligned.  The emotion has to be intense or at least clear.  Happy or sad, amused or annoyed.  The brain has to feel it.  Or feel a certain mischief.  Secondly whether your post is inspired by the positive or otherwise there has to be a certain skip/bounce that makes you able to and want to communicate.  Basically verbal parts of the brain have to be lively – is there a vitamin for this?? And all of these things, the emotions, the desire to communicate flow around your personality that then pops out on to the page in your words.  There is a fluidity and clarity in your brain.  You feel what you write, even if nobody else does!  Emotion, communication and personality all together and flowing around.
What can I do to bring my Sunday sparks back?  I had SO many ideas on Sunday, like I swear I could have had a month’s blogs written ready, if I only could have sat down.  But all I can remember from the pot of fizzing blog posts of futuredom is the phrase “bloggercise”.   I decided I would blog all my thoughts walking home Tuesday.  I can walk a nice off road route with the buggy by the canal back from toddler music.  I would blog while I exercised and they napped.  I’d done it before but this was planned; this was bloggercise.  And this was the tip of the iceberg.  Wtf.  Anyway Tuesday came; I had slept twice and been to work since Sunday and there was nothing.
What did I eat on Sunday?  Did I rest well Saturday night?  What did I do?  What is the secret recipe?  Next time I will have a pen and paper ready….until next time I leave you.  For those of you in the zone I’m well jell.

If it makes you happy…

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The pictures of the books are there to show that I really care about doing the right thing by my kids. I am not saying that you need to read books to care and/or do right by your kids. I guess my thinking is that most people who read parenting books are trying to do right by their kids, but obviously not all people that are trying to do right by their kids read parenting books. Phew.

This isn’t even what I’m trying to blog about today. Bear with me. Basically I think I might sound trivial so I want you to ‘get me’ a bit first. Essentially – despite what my two year old says – I am not a “doker”.

Aaaarggh. I digress, I digress, I digress. What I want to blog about is the importance of metaphorically throwing out the books and finding you and your connection to your kids.

I am lucky to have worked and to work with some awesome teachers. One quite recently said how he made sure that every lesson had something that he was looking forward to in it. Selfish? Maybe. Beneficial? Definitely. He is a Chemistry teacher so the something can be pretty cool and literally explosive. But more importantly it means the students get to see him happy, engaged, enthusiastic and relaxed; doing something that he loves. I don’t want to go down the teacher blog route and you can probably see where I am heading with this. Stopping parenting and doing something you love with them (ignoring the extra mess, noise and chaos essential) can let them know you that bit better, make everyone happier and help some of the day to day stresses melt away.

The thing ‘you love’ can be a big day out or a quick dance to a favourite song. Small things can have big effects. My two boys trash the place prove this every day in an amazingly small space of time.

I have read some amazing books* and taken something from each one but I can’t believe the authors are/were rigid parents. Surely they couldn’t have written such great books if they were?? You need to freestyle a bit to discover right? More importantly you need to freestyle for your sanity. I think we should be brave and not worry that everything will turn into a dreadful habit. I spent my early parenting months worrying that everything would become a habit. Now I just think sod it, I’ll adapt this solution when it stops working.

I would argue that it is okay to have ice cream for breakfast once in a while (we’ve only done this once…so far), abandon tea and let them have toast (it was minging experimental) or let them safely run amok. Indulging every now and then in an ‘end of term’ spirit is sometimes the best thing to do. Letting the bus go rather than chasing after it can give you an amazing feeling of calm control.

If something makes you happy (and stops you tearing your hair out) it has to be a good thing all round surely??

I just want to check the following with you as I think I’m being a bit naughty….

My two year old has this great thing at the moment where he asks me to “put his bogies back” when I wipe his nose. Its brilliant. Basically I get to have another go and another go and another while “putting them back”.   Meanwhile my three year old will only apologise if “someone else says sorry first” which means I get to air my frustrations with phrases like “I am sorry we have to go through this facade every time you need to apologise”. He looks as pleased as punch and my irritation regarding whatever he has just done to his brother evaporates so much quicker.

Basically I’m quite confident up to the bogies and apologies bit. This is okay isn’t it? I genuinely worry (a bit) that they may somehow be scarred if they work out (on some level) that I’m laughing at them. Is this bonkers or is there no place for infantile behaviour when you’re a parent?

What I tell myself is that a happy mum is so important and rightly or wrongly I thrive on this low level humour. Its born out of love and me wanting to keep my patience. But is low level humour ever an acceptable activity for the thing ‘I love’ for the day??

UPDATE** At tea tonight my two year old wanted me to pick out ALL the YUCKY BITS (basil) from his pasta sauce. Instead I covered it with cheese and told him it had gone. To quote my three year old again “I just can’t stop being naughty”.

 

 

Small Print

*I’ve not read them all yet!

**In my defence I was at work today so I am very zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dear grumpy mum,

 

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I wasn’t that miffed about you blocking me from the softplay exit today; not until you assumed that I was miffed. The moment you pointedly started telling your buggied up one year old how patient he was, was the moment I got miffed. Before then it was just my vacant face. I hadn’t even said anything rude in my head. Promise.

You see the thing is…

….I had an appointment to get to and I could see that if you put your older child’s shoes on just a bum shuffle away, I could get by your buggy. I didn’t say anything because I could see that whilst you were super jolly with your kids, you were perhaps feeling harassed on the inside….

….I had to go and pick my friend up from the station. I really don’t want to be late for her, she’s not got kids and I always seem to be saying “Sorry, I’m late T hit M with a toy hammer/pooed his pants” etc, etc….

….I had just given my two boys snacks and told them that they could ride back to the car without their buggy straps on.  I had the time it takes for them to eat said snacks to get them out of softplay, into the carpark and back into their carseats. And they eat fast. I was living on the edge…..

Insert from the above whatever works, I’m sure you get the drift. Basically I had stuff going on as well.  I know what it’s like to be so tired that you feel like you have used up all your nice, positive energy on your kids.  When all your brain power is spent just getting them from A to B.  But play fair, throw me a smile or a knowing eye roll at least, parenting toddlers is best played as a team game after all and I was batting for your side.

You can probably tell that I can do grumpy mum too.  So while I’m on a roll – one year olds don’t do patience, my money was on a dirty nappy.

Pixabay. Who knew?

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Own up.  As I cried into my plasticine models who knew about free photos?  I had no idea about the world of copyright free images and Creative Commons images which are okay to use as long as nobody’s faces are in them???  I thought I had to take photos myself or buy photos or hope that the Guardian didn’t notice or care.  I like to think I’m smart but I can be slow to catch on – I didn’t realise that raisins are shrivelled up grapes until well into my twenties.  Apparently everyone knows this??  Anyway….

I’m now officially good to go, every post now has a legit image – take a look!  And if you like the plasticine images here’s another one!  Thanks for keeping my blog quiet but I’m now ready to go viral. Share, share, share.

The more sensitive of you will have by now worked out that my poor mini me is a little sad because her services are no longer needed.  Don’t worry I will make sure that she is better off out of it.  Modelling with a potato and falling over onto your nose every 10 seconds while I mutter swear words and reshape it can’t have been much fun anyway.

So my new, fun and slightly introverted (the way I do it anyway) hobby continues.  How I blog reminds me of those grumpy shopkeepers who don’t like it when customers unintentionally mess up their tidy shelves by buying stuff.  Me the blogger, being the grumpy shopkeeper and the customer being anybody in my life (normally my husband in an evening when peace finally descends).  The irony hasn’t escaped me; the life you’re blogging about getting in the way of the blog you’re writing.  I know I must work on that.  Like seriously.  Less sleep?  Or maybe you get quicker at forming sentences??

The first time I pressed publish, I cringed as what I thought was now out there.  Then there was nothing….no visits (virtual or otherwise), no controversy (I think I’m more mundane than controversial anyway).  It was just quiet.  Really quiet.  Rather than disappointment I happily realised I could chat away and people wouldn’t really notice.  And then a couple of weeks later a follower…thanks Noor.

After those first couple of weeks I guess it dawns on most people that you aren’t going to be on morning television the very next week talking about your blog and how hard it was to take the decision to stop the day job.  But who cares?  You’re enjoying it.  You’ve got your own little space.  And there are fab blogs out there that show you things can grow and you also realise that being small is fun too.  If only because nobody really notices you and the people who do are very kind.  Plus its different to facebook; it doesn’t feel like showing off, it just feels like sharing, chatting and organising your thoughts.  And talking to yourself.

So I forgive you about the whole pixabay / free images thing and I’m sticking around. But please tell me about anything else you guys are doing that I need to know about!

 

Picture Perfect.

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So I am new to blogging and prone to wasting what little free time I get with a two and three year old boy.  I wanted (and still want) to start taking my own photos for my blog posts, perhaps with a theme.

In my head are amazing Wallace and Grommit characters, that tell my stories with ease and humour (laugh along with humour, not…you know).   But in my hands I found these.  These and what I think might be mild RSI.

The above was going to be my picture for my post on how a potato helped me “get lucky” and the below (believe it or not) was shaped with my sort of serious positive parenting post in mind.  Hmmmmm not so sure now.  Not quite what was in my head.  So jealous of people that can make, draw, paint, etc what’s in their head.

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I think they worsen as you zoom in (funny that) – the picture below was intended for my bit on “Irish Twins” and in particular how my two love to wind each other up.  In ways more sophisticated than I ever expected, especially of a two year old.  Re the models  I repeat Hmmmm.

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My favourite and final shot (taken after I fell flat on my face)  is probably me relaxing in a bath for “me, Me, ME“.

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So two months in and I’m still looking for photo ideas, still working out how to delete categories (my blog is one crazy, often fruitless maze at the moment – sorry).   I have however learnt to link – but I promise not to keep doing it!

I have loved reading about random funny things along with the specific random funny parenting things and of course it’s reassuring to read about people making similar choices to you.  Even the odd tear has been shed.  I’ve already come away with books I really want to read, things I can’t wait to make (if only I had the talent!), bake, do and think of – so thank you!