mummy is always tired

Two Sisters – a love/hate story (but mainly hate)

Our eldest has finally realised her little sister is here to stay.  Probably much to her disgust based upon the punishment she dished out to her smaller (but not by much) sibling.  Our big, bad eldest decided yesterday she wanted to leave baby sister in the car – all night.  When I explained we couldn’t do that and proceeded to unbuckle child number 2, child number 1 took matters into her own hands and started smacking our youngest with the full force of a mighty 3 year old.  Poor number 2 wasn’t quite sure what was going on judging by the slightly confused look on her face.

Our eldest has only ever really lashed out once at her sister and but that was some time ago, on that occasion our eldest kicked her sister in the stomach – there were 2 outcomes of that.  The first was that because our youngest is so chubby, our eldest’s foot simply bounced off leaving a rather shocked younger sister who was only ever so slightly aware that her belly had deflected what could have been a big blow.  The second was that I saw red and smacked child number 1.  This was only the second ever time she had been smacked in her (then) 2 and a half years.  The look on her face was one I shall never forget – it was a cross between: “how DARE you smack me” and “note to self – don’t hit annoying little sister.”  My anger was immediate and short lived, quickly followed by remorse and visions of appearing before a disapproving courtroom of people who would obviously never, ever, ever lose their temper when their child did anything to hurt others or themselves.

So yesterday’s outburst of meanness on her part was unexpected and completely unprovoked which is what left me baffled.  There we were driving back from nursery, in silence I might add because they had both been naughty and did the whole: ‘we are going to scream and wriggle and make our bodies go rigid and limp in quick succession so you can’t buckle us up’ act.  Obviously as I was trying to belt them up (figuratively and actually) I was trying to be compromising and reasonable – mainly for show as we were parked in the nursery drop off point, I was of course inwardly fuming.  As soon as the car doors were shut they were told in no uncertain terms that their behaviour was unacceptable, not that I’m sure they understand what is or isn’t acceptable (they are only 3 and 20 months afterall) but they clearly knew they’d been bad because child number 1 looked down into her lap and child number 2 did her usual ‘I’m going to turn my face away because if I can’t see you, I can ignore you’ performance.

After a quick snack the naughtiness was reignited at bath time, this time more stealthily done – clearly our eldest is a fast learner.  She waited until my back was turned before delivering a sharp slap to her sister’s arm, apart from the sound of a little hand hitting chubby flesh and her sister’s wailing, you would never have known from her face that she had done anything wrong – she’s obviously a natural poker player.  She is also – as yesterday proved, an aspiring drama queen.  After the dramatics of bath time were over and we retreated to what I thought would be the calmness of bed time, our eldest decided to take the opportunity to play the victimised elder sister.  She placed her face in the path of her sister’s book waving – on purpose – I could almost see the little cogs in her brain mulling the best course to take.  As the book (Meg & Mog, the thinnest paperback you can imagine) brushed her cheek she let out the most terrific yelp.  “She hit me” was her traumatised cry.  Oh dear – how does one handle this without laughing at the ham acting and blatant tittle tattling (something else she is becoming very good at).  I can see that this new act of hers is something she will pursue but it does need work if it is to become convincing, perhaps on the day she collects her Oscar we’ll think it was all worth it.  Perhaps.

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The Road Trip…..Up North

We all went on a road trip last weekend.  Our destination was ‘up north’ so there was a long way to go.  Whilst I was really looking forward to the weekend away to see our friends, I was ever so slightly dreading the actual 4 hour drive up there.  Afterall – 4 hours + 2 children + confined space = potential social services intervention.  On the whole the journey up there was good, we did the usual ‘dirty lunch’ stop – i.e. fast food.  I’ve always thought that a dirty lunch stop is part and parcel of any holiday, it’s the only occasion which I feel I can justify all that salt and grease.  So we all trooped up the stairs to the Burger King at the Keele services – at least we’d done some exercise to get there I thought.

The children were most excited about their burger and chips and even more excited at the potential toy ‘treat’ inside.  The ‘gift’ if such a term can be used for a hideously bright hunk of plastic – turned out to be a rattle the shape of a bird – clearly manufactured as part of a commercial exercise for the latest kids movie.  Sadly the marketing had no effect on either us or the children as we had no idea what film this was advertising and the new toy was henceforth referred to by our eldest as ‘the rattle bird thing.’

Now, they don’t often eat fast food so there is the novelty factor, but not even I could cease to be amazed at the speed at which they shovelled up chips or how greedily our youngest could cram processed meat into her mouth.  It got to the stage where she stuffed so much burger into her mouth she choked and threw up (we apologise to the lady at the next table who saw a kids meal eaten in reverse.)  Sometimes it makes me feel like a bad parent, especially when I think back to the first road trip we took our eldest on.  On that occasion we went to a KFC – in my eyes not nearly so bad as a dirty burger – it’s just chicken, right?  So, our eldest was about 8 months at the time – well into eating solid food – so we thought, let’s just give her what we’re eating because frankly I didn’t have the time to make her a packed lunch and to be even franker – I couldn’t be bothered.  We tucked into our lovely fried chicken meal – so far so good.  Until a woman and her baby came and sat on the table opposite us and in direct contrast took out her baby’s changing bag and whipped out a 3 course homemade meal for her little darling.  Oh dear.  Well if I’d had any doubts about my parenting skills here they were highlighted right in front of me, you may as well have stuck a giant foam finger above my head saying ‘lazy parent.’

But that was then and now I am too exhausted to have such worries about my skills as a parent.  Any doubts I did have, evaporated as the weekend evolved (so clearly all that shouting doesn’t fall on deaf ears.)  The children were remarkably good – they most definitely kept their ‘company manners’ up all weekend.  We were even saved the shame of our eldest pulling out her party trick and crapping in her pants – she managed to do not just one but two number twos in an actual toilet!  She was so excited about this that everywhere we went thereafter had to be marked by a visit to the toilet or bathroom – just so she could see the set up and make sure everything was in order.

The highlight of the weekend (bar the fact I didn’t have to scrape out poo from anyone’s pants) was the wind up walking granny toy that we discovered at the parents of our friend.  This was the ultimate shut-them-up-toy, they spent 2 hours playing with this (thank you to Ken for patiently winding it up each time).  They were mesmerised and as they lay on the carpet watching granny zimmer frame her way across the hearth there was silence – actual peace and quiet.  Amazing.

And so after many, many cocktails too yummy to remember (or was that the quantity involved) we packed up the troop and set off in the car.  Even before we’d got to the motorway there was snoring coming from the back of the car.  Clearly keeping up company manners was just too tiring and they miraculously slept the whole 4 hours back home.  So there we were, able to nurse our Eurovision hangover in the car – bliss.

 

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