I've said many times before I am not an expert, I have experience in some things but that doesn't make me an expert. I've been parenting for nearly 18 years and I'm certainly no expert at that, each time I think I have it sorted I am thrown some kind of curve ball or brick wall. It's a hard thing this parenting lark. One day you're lovely mummy and the next day you're embarassing mum. I was talking to some friends with children a similar age to mine (17, 15 and 11) the other day and having a moanetta about how hard it is to keep smiling when things don't go according to plan. Our minds drifted back to what we now refer to as the easy days .....
Babies sleep a lot of the time, it's what they do. Sometimes they don't sleep and the whole house suffers. It's only when you have a broken night's sleep do you realise that they must have been sleeping through. I am rubbish if I don't sleep, babies are rubbish if they don't sleep, teenagers are rubbish if they don't sleep.
Older ones sleep a lot of the time. Their hours of sleeping are odd but unlike babies they don't tend to keep you awake. They have no routine and sometimes they get up really early and at other times it's like a small bird trying to rouse a sleeping rhino.
My babies all had a regular feeding time as babies, they were clockwork 7, 11 and 3 - regardless of whether they slept or not they would be ready for a feed at 7, 11 and 3. Feeding a baby was relatively easy milk followed by puree of mashed and mushed, if they liked it they ate it, if not we'd try something else. In pregnancy I craved and ate lamb chops, boiled new potatoes, peas, sweetcorn and a generous dollop of mint and redcurrant jellies with Loops, peanut satay chicken and prawns with Mook, pate and olives with Laree.
Older ones come in all different shapes and sizes with different appetites. They graze and have snacks that are at times a massive plateful. The fridge is within easy reach and they grab what they can. Loops must have gone off lamb chops whilst the other 2 could exist on a diet of peanut satay, prawns, pate and olives. Sometimes they don't like them though and when those times happen it's best to say nothing. I have cooked things they have enjoyed a few days previously and they have turned their noses up at it. Apart from a Chinese take away.
Dressing a baby is lovely, once you have got the babygro poppers lined up. They would wear what you put them in and that was that. Sometimes they would write on their clothes or cut a pair of PJs. Note to parents: Supervision is key. Their clothes are small and easy to wash, iron and put away.
Older ones don't want to wear the clothes that you like, saying things like that looks nice or I do like that outfit means you will be met with a whatevs kind of look. Lots of teenagers wear black so washing and putting things away is hard. Sometimes they go through the laundry baskets which are either ironed or to be ironed and they mix it all up. Note to parents: forego the ironing.
Before the baby arrives there's a period called nesting. When the baby arrives new mothers try and do tidying up when the baby sleeps (see above) but then they don't rest and get tired, and there is nothing worse than a tired mother. A house with a baby is relatively easy to tidy up, the changing bag is always ready and they don't leave everything lying around. I wish I had rigorously involved my lot from a young age to get involved in tidy up time. They liked it in The Tweenies but that's as far as it went!
Older ones and tidiness. What? If you are everlooking for anything then send a dedicated team to do a fingertip search of a teenager's room. Not all the time though. Sometimes teenagers do tidy their rooms but this is often when the dishwasher needs emptying or you could do with a hand. I'm smaller than my teenagers so I sometimes ask them to get something off a shelf, that's another time when they are busy tidying. For so much tidying there's very little to show for it and just last week I put a bin bag on their door handles for them to put their rubbish into. Maybe they thought it was a rug as it's now on the floor.
Babies and dishwashers are an interesting combination, they see it as a just off the floor seat, take things out, hide things in there and push all the buttons.
This is where lots of buttons get pressed by older ones and none of them are on the dishwasher. One of mine will empty, the other one will fill, but no-one will actualy put anything in the dishwasher of their own free will, or empty it without asking. I wish I had taught my lot how to fill a dishwasher effectively when they were smaller so that it would be full and not a half(hearted) load.
Oh the gurgle of a baby, such a lovely sound. When they learn to speak and use new words it's like music to your ears.
Ha. This is interesting. Older ones talk to you about people who have you tube channels and video links on how to do this that and the other as if you should know who they are talking about and when your eyes glaze over they show you the clips. Then they get a snapchat alert and they're like, whatevs, oh my god, like, yeah, bae, sick.
Babies, giggly little bundles have a splish and splosh in the bath, tears or no tears with hairwashing (we found using goggles was brilliant for soap in eyes) and then they're out.
Older ones either don't wash or spend hours in the bathroom, using every towel and somtimes all the hot water. They say they are going for a bath but a lot of the time they are tidying their rooms, snapchatting or watching YouTube videos. When they emerge the smell would send a non asthmatic into a full on asthma attack. But never mention smells. Never.
I remember asking Big Welsh to pass me a wipe when I changed a baby's nappy, on my lap (yeah get me), he asked what would you do when I'm not here? I used that line when he once asked me. I do think that babies in nappies are great, self contained and they don't take up a whole room for hours on end.
When they are potty training there's huge praise for doing it in the loo, then they go on their own and can't reach the loo roll, when they have the loo roll they use it all - never mind the Andrex puppy the Pom Pom sisters have all been known to behave like a silky eared, big pawed loon. Oh and they scream, in the middle of the night, can you wipe my bottom - often in a sing song voice.
Older ones take forever in the loo, I think it's because there's a mirror or wifi. Or both.
Babies don't speak but they do burp and fart. I have yet to work out at what age it is acceptable to say well done on your windypops, I think it might be when they take great glee in talking and burping at the same time. Thanks to my brother for that.
Older ones do speak. Lots. Loudly. And they also go through a phase of repeating things. At the wrong time.
Parenting isn't a lark, it's constantly changing and every day (did I say day I mean hour) is different, I've enjoyed all the phases but I have been stuck in the teenage chapters for nearly 5 years and I have another 8 years to go before I can say "oh mine used to be teenagers". As I said I'm no expert but I do think the tiny bundle stage was easy - in comparison. What are your thoughts?