Penguin Naughtiness

Right, I think I’ve gone wrong somewhere.  I’m not a fan of smacking so I’ve been trying to institute the naughty corner as a time-out place for my two year old. I probably would have been more inclined to set up a naughty step but as his nursery school uses a corner, I thought consistency was probably the way forward. So naughty corner it was. I picked a corner, waited patiently for the next full-blown floor-pounding tantrum (not a long wait!) and off he went to said corner. He wailed in the corner for a bit and once the storm had passed, we went on with our day. ‘Excellent. Easy as..’, I thought.

When little pumpkin and I encountered our next difference of opinion, I sternly informed him that he was headed for the naughty corner. ‘OK’ he said sulkily so off he went. We had a couple of similar run-ins resulting in more corner time. However, I realised something was amiss when one evening at bedtime he was offered the options of either sitting quietly on the couch drinking his milk or going straight to bed. He responded with ‘naughty corner?’. Um, not actually one of the options on offer my love.

My suspicions were confirmed on shower night. My eldest son definitely mistakes hair washing for some kind of torture. Whilst I was struggling with a sobbing, slippery, naked toddler, I was slightly alarmed to hear him howl between sobs ‘I want to go to the naughty corner, I want to go to the naughty corner!!’ Not exactly a raging success then.

I guess I could use the threat of a shower to deter misbehaviour but then I’d only have myself to blame if I ended up with the grubbiest teenager this world has ever known.

Ps while I’ve been typing this, little one’s pet stuffed penguin has been escorted to the naughty corner and told to stay there until he’s ‘finished’. Wonder what Pengu did to deserve that…

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Donations please …

Given my eldest child is only two, I’m pretty new to the whole school thing. I’ve managed drop-offs and pick-ups and so far the foul-mouthed toddler has not dropped me in it (as discussed at length in a previous post). I’ve managed to learn other toddlers’ names and have sometimes even asked a fellow parent about the wellbeing of the correct child (not always but sometimes – give me a break, I’m not getting much sleep). So it was all going brilliantly until my little one brought home a book of tickets with an attached note suggesting that parents should sell them. Actually I think the exact words were ‘parents are REQUIRED to sell ten tickets each’. Required? Really?

Of course my husband’s initial reaction was to tell the school to get knotted. My son has only been attending for a nanosecond and is enrolled on a temporary basis. I was tempted to return the book with an attached note simply saying ‘um, no!’ but then fretted about the little pumpkin being ostracised on account of his unco-operative mother. My problem with the concept is that I resent being forced to hit up friends and family for money. I’m not a fan of being pestered for money and can’t bring myself to do it to others. In this instance it’s for a worthy cause so I’m shelving the rebellious streak and buying the book of tickets myself. At least this way I can feel sanctimonious and smug about my charitable donation.

This was all a frightening insight into my future. I’m guessing this is not the last time one of my little lovelies will return home with something I am ‘required’ to sell. If I am to stick to my guns about not annoying my loved ones, in future I may be forced to randomly approach strangers in the street for donations – otherwise this could get expensive.

Once were lawyers

Two pregnancies and two babies ago, I don’t think I really believed in the existence of porridge brain.  I strongly suspected that it was the creation of over-tired mothers who were looking for an excuse to fail to remember anything. I now not only believe it exists but am living proof. Given I studied for seven years and practiced law for six before falling pregnant for the first time, you would think I would have gotten the hang of retaining information. Apparently not. My memory is now distinctly sieve-like. Amusing at times but somewhat daunting when faced with the prospect of returning to work.

Admittedly some of the problem is that I’m just not all that interested at the moment – I am far more enamoured with my babies than I am with the finer points of legal argument. And whilst I amuse myself immensely by imagining what my colleagues would say if they could see me in full swing at a baby Gymboree session, that’s about as much head time as work has had whilst I’ve been on maternity leave.

I am more than slightly concerned that I’m going to be asked a taxing technical question at some important client meeting only to discover that all I can remember are the words for ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round’. And I’ve been warned by other returnees that when colleagues ask after the little ones, they’re looking for the short answer, preferably the one that doesn’t include a trawl through all the photos on my phone or a blow-by-blow description of routines, feeds and nappy contents.

So between my porridge brain and my inability to make small talk without somehow steering the conversation back to my precious puddings, even money says I don’t last a week.

Sins of the parent…

I am loving watching my toddler learn to speak – it’s nothing short of miraculous. I’m not sure I’ll ever truly get my head around how these tiny cooing and crying beings develop the ability to communicate. I watch in awe as he uses new words every day and despite the fact that most of the human race has acquired this skill, I am immensely proud.

He is a talented mimic. Yay us that he says ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ regularly and often even at appropriate times. Not so yay us that a number of unmentionables have been repeated. I’ve recently enrolled him at the local nursery school (which happens to be run by a church) for a couple of mornings a week. All is going swimmingly – he loves it, they love him – but I live in fear of some of his more colourful vocabulary being used at drop off or pick up. I’m guessing his current favourite expression of frustration would not be appreciated.”Oh God!” my two-year old will announce. Stunned silence and aghast faces from Teacher and other (presumably non-blaspheming) mommies will follow while I cast around desperately trying to work out how to pin this on my hubby.

More terrifying is the fact that he has been known to repeat the F word – I am no potty mouth and I very seldom swear in front of him, but when I forget myself and that word slips out, you can be sure my son will hold onto it for days. My current tactic is to immediately start chanting “truck, truck, Mommy said truck” but a friend correctly pointed out that this will fool no-one when he says “oh for truck’s sake!” This exact phrase was used by a good friend’s toddler on the way into nursery school recently – embarrassing at a secular nursery school but surely grounds for expulsion at mine. Poor pudding will have his stationery ice cream container under one arm, random bits of art under another and a confused expression on his face while Teacher gently suggests that he might be more comfortable elsewhere.

Heavens knows what he says while I’m not there but hey, ignorance is bliss.

Mummy’s Little Helper

Bless my two-year old – his new favourite phrase is “I want to help”. Unfortunately, his help almost always complicates matters. He’s determined to help me feed his little brother. However feeding the wiggly one requires dogged determination, patience and dexterity, all of which are in short supply in his older brother. Steering of the spoon by Mum is not tolerated as my fiercely independent son must do it by himself. As you can imagine, the usual outcome of this ‘giving of help’ is three slightly frazzled participants lightly coated in puree. Not helpful. He has also offered his assistance with nail clipping, scrambled egg making and bottle-feeding of calves. It’s hard to gently decline these offers without worrying that it’ll quash the generous spirit within.

His offers to help with less injurious tasks are, of course, gratefully accepted even though a quick trip to the Spar can become a very protracted affair when a toddler is pushing the trolley (not to mention a tad dangerous for the unsuspecting inattentive shopper!) He’s very good at feeding chickens, putting the hazards on (one times flat battery) and pushing ATM buttons, some times even in the correct order.

Nevertheless I treasure these offers. They’re part of a two-year old him that won’t exist very long. And I’ll miss them.

L’amour de mere

So beautiful, my two golden princes. One six months old, the other two years. Difficult to believe the older was ever the younger, even more inconceivable that the younger will become the older. Two totally different, irrepressible, vivacious little beings – and both the absolute centre of my world.