Newsflash: it’s not about me

Remind me not to invite this Wednesday to my next party. This Wednesday was the sort of party pooper that sits in the corner breaking stuff, throwing olives at the other guests and laughing too loudly and too close to your face. This Wednesday needed to be sedated, so I sedated it good and proper with seventeen pieces of Bitsa Wispa.

I have had to learn some hard lessons this week. And oh, I feel foolish for having to learn them so often. Yesterday we made a crash-and-burn attempt at toilet training. We tried a few months ago, but I was too pregnant to clear up four pee puddles before breakfast, and decided to leave it until the baby had arrived. This week I made it through three hours and four pairs of pants before realising he still wasn’t ready.

I was, though. I wanted to be done with nappies. Since he started talking in sentences I tend to forget that he’s still barely out of babyhood, and wanted to get something else ticked off and out of the way. This week, toilet training, next week the alphabet, right? But he’s not a tick-list. I forgot that not everything has to be at breakneck speed, and it’s alright to just let him be.

Today I woke up after hardly any sleep with a painful ankle (I think Jillian Michaels may have thirty-day-shredded my Achilles heel). Henry left three separate puddles in the bathroom – I wasn’t even trying to potty train; I just couldn’t hobble fast enough with the nappy – and Teddy contributed two. After this Peemageddon, Teds screamed until I sat down to feed him, and while I fed him Henry somersaulted himself backwards off the bed and wondered why the landing hurt. By the time Timothy came home we were two tantrums down, two to go, and I was ranty-crying over sausage casserole like a lunatic.

I was disappointed. I’ve tried so hard lately to feel competent. I’ve got dressed and dried my hair and smiled extra-large at the people who asked how I was doing, to cover up the bags under my eyes. It made me feel better. Look at me, getting on top of things so quickly! But I forgot that not everything has to be at breakneck speed. Some days it’s ok to hobble and cry and fall off the bed head-first. Some days there will be pee on the floor and grease in my hair. I can be afraid, and the world won’t end with a bang.

I can eat seventeen pieces of Bitsa Wispa, and just try again tomorrow.

(Apart from the toilet training, which has been shelved until after Christmas. Much to Thomas’ relief).


12 thoughts on “Newsflash: it’s not about me

  1. Oh bless you x it’s bloody hard this parenting lark. My method of toliet training was as follows: leave it till last possible moment ie three plus. Both trained in a week with about two accidents each. Youngest just training himself dry at night ( with pull ups) accidents zero. Aged 6. I say wait.. Then wait some more.

  2. I’m not going to give you advice as to how and when, Rachel, because every child is different, But if it’s any consolation, the too-soon thing is a mistake that most of us make at one point or another. Have you seen Thor? Well, anyway, there’s a bit where Thor and the human scientists who are assisting him break into a tightly guarded facility to recover Thor’s hammer. There’s a bit of a scrap and some special effects but when Thor tries to pick up the hammer he can’t, because he simply isn’t ready yet. He has to wait until the end of the second act.

    So anyway. That. You did nothing wrong this week, OK? Nothing. Testing Henry’s capacity for learning new things doesn’t mean you’re adhering to a tick list. If you took him out to the park and made him ice skate across a pond and got cross when he couldn’t, then that would be a tick list. This was you trying to stretch him a bit, and there’s nothing wrong with that provided you realise in time that the stretching should wait for another day, which is exactly what you did.

    Henry will do it when he’s ready, and you know that, but there’s nothing wrong with an occasional prompt and water test. You’re doing fine. Here’s to falling out of the bed head-first.

    • First of all, your metaphors are my favourite. I kind of loved Thor, even though it was ridiculously cheesy.

      And you’re right – it was worth a go, if only to work out that some things have to be on his timetable rather than mine. Oh, to be free of those nappies, though πŸ™‚

  3. ’nuff said, I’m preparing myself for the onslaught of the pee-fest in a few days. And this was, well, lets say a getting to know the facts of rearing two children πŸ™‚

    • You’re due in a few days?! Ah, I will hope to hear some good news soon, then! Good luck, good luck!

      Not all days are like this. Just some – and there’s always chocolate to fix them πŸ™‚

  4. I don’t know you, but I know your lovely mother! I was in her ward in Mobile, AL. I have been reading your blog via her posts on facebook. I love your posts and can relate to your feelings. πŸ™‚ I have a toddler (Lucy) the same age as your Henry and a new baby around the same age as your baby. I also have two older ones in school. I know the feeling of smiling and trying to seem like you got it all together when inside you feel like it is all falling apart! πŸ™‚ Having a fourth child has turned my life into a whirlwind. But I keep trying to remind myself there will be bad days and good days but as long as I am raising them with love it will all be okay! Keep up the wonderful blog, I love reading your posts!

    • Ah, I think my mum has mentioned you! Thank you so much for reading! I can’t imagine what a fourth child must do to your schedule – you sound like you’re doing wonderfully. And you’re right – loving them is the most important thing. That and ice cream πŸ™‚

  5. Your post was lovely, not because you had to sedate Wednesday but because your searing honesty is refreshing. I know too many people who keep all this stuff to themselves. Which is unhelpful to people like you and I. I often have days where i cant juggle the two and i end it being a lunatic. People ask me how i cope with two babies 17 months apart, i dont cope…i survive! We’re all the same.

    • Oh, what a lovely thing to hear! You’re so right – it helps to know that other people struggle with the same stuff. And I think presenting perfect lives on blogs might be pretty to look at but can be detrimental to people reading it. Two babies seventeen months apart – you sound like superwoman to me πŸ™‚ Thank you for being here!

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