It taking really really long time Mummy

Time it takes for me to walk to nursery: 15 minutes. 

Contingency time added to account for length of children’s legs: 10 minutes. 

Total anticipated time to take children to nursery: 25 minutes.

 

In theory: children like and cuddle each other

In theory: children like, cuddle each other and walk at a normal pace


Time to get shoes and socks on feet that should already have shoes and socks on: 5 minutes. 

Time to get shoes and socks on feet again as they were ‘on wrong’ last time: 5 minutes. 

Time spent trying (and failing) to encourage small girl to put coat on: 2 minutes. 

Time to get children from one side of the front door to the other: 5 minutes. 

Time spent arguing with small boy about the fact that we’re walking rather than taking the car: 5 minutes. 

Time spent walking before small girl complains that she’s cold: 1 minute. 

Time spent putting cardigan and then coat on small girl: 3 minutes. 

Time spent walking before small boy refuses to walk any further because he wants a cuddle: 1 minute. 

Time spent walking while carrying small boy before small girl refuses to walk any further because she also wants a cuddle: 1 minute.

Time spent squatting on the pavement giving both children a cuddle: 2 minutes.

Time spent walking before small girl stops to announce her hands are too cold: 2 minutes.

Time spent empathising with small girl about her hands in a bid to get her moving again: 3 minutes.

Time spent walking before small boy stops to announce that he misses daddy: 1 minute.

Time spent empathising and cuddling with small boy in a bid to get him moving again: 3 minutes.

Time spent walking before both children grind to a halt announcing that ‘it taking really really long time Mummy’: 2 minutes.

Total time to walk to nursery with moaning, feet dragging, cuddle wanting children: 45 minutes. 

Time late for appointment: 20 minutes. 

An Open Letter to the BBC on Gender Bias

Dear BBC

There are plenty of things that annoy me about our society but there is one thing that really gets my goat and that’s inequality. As a female IT nerd person it is the gender inequality strain of this that affects me the most. And today my rage is pointing firmly towards you. Why is it that in 2015 we still can’t get females equally represented in BBC broadcasting? I am, of course, talking about the shameful display of gender inequality in the CBeebies program the Octonauts.

This sexist fleet of under water heroes is the current obsession of my three year old girl/boy twins and in turn it is a current obsessional annoyance of my own that the 3 main protagonists in it are all male. The program starts off thus:

Octonauts to your stations!
Barnacles! (male)
Kwazii! (male)
Peso! (male)
Ba ba-ba-ba-ba ba ba ba, ba-ba-ba ba ba-ba-ba-ba ba ba ba!
Ba ba-ba-ba-ba…  (you get the idea)

Bam! Right from the get go we’re shoving three male heroes in our kids’ faces. Why did you decide to make all of them male? Why is the most highly educated Octonaut, Professor Inkling, male? And indeed, why is that only 2 of the 7 gendered characters (the Vegimals appear to be gender neutral) female? The only female characters that appear in the program are Dashy, who apparently ‘oversees operations ..monitors the computer systems and manages all ship traffic’, but in reality is seen taking the odd photo and pressing a few computer buttons occasionally. And Tweak, the ‘ship engineer’ who has the most annoyingly bad fake american(?) accent you’ve ever heard, making you want to kill her whenever she appears fleetingly to say “you got it Cap!” dutifully to Captain Barnacles. It seems you’ve tried to give the females non-gender biased (perhaps even ‘stereotypically male’) roles (computers and engineering) but in excluding them from the opening sequence and giving them less air time you’ve effectively relegated them in the ship’s hierarchy. It feels like you think you’re ticking diversification boxes by having females with techy jobs (and I’m not belittling those jobs), but why isn’t Captain Barnacle female? All you’ve got to do is lose the tache, give her a female voice and maybe a bit of hair and you’re done. Professor Inkling? Lose the tache! Do you see how easy it is? And surely it’s a no brainer to always have equal numbers of male and female characters?! I mean come on.

Our society needs more women in higher roles within organisations for it to work as well as it can and as a key source of education and influence it is the BBC’s responsibility to promote that through role models in your programmes. This is so obvious to me, and I’m astounded that in this day and age the BBC still fails to hit the mark. Through programmes like these you’re still setting poor stereotypes early on in a child’s life. If we can’t get it right there, what chance have we got of changing the order of things in society as a whole?

Please do better. Now cue the race and sexual orientation inequality police for their take on things.

Yours, Kate Woodroffe.
An infuriated Mother of boy/girl twins who is trying desperately (against the tide) to raise her children with equal expectations of what they can achieve.

Diary of a Mother trying to have a nice relaxing bath while Granny watches the children

Mummy: I think i’ll have a nice relaxing bath
Frank: Sounds great! I’ll join you
Mummy: No Frank, you help Granny build a tower and when it’s really big I’ll come down and we can knock it down together
Frank: No, I’m pretty sold on the bath idea
Mummy: OK what about helping Granny with the washing – can you help find all your clothes and put them in the machine
Frank (red faced): WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA WANT MY MUMMY
Mummy: OK you can come into the bathroom with me but you can’t come into the bath, ok?
Frank: Great.

[Mummy and Frank enter bathroom]

Frank: Ok, you settle into the tub, I’ll just quietly play with my aeroplanes over here
Mummy (gets into lovely warm bubbly tub): Mmmmm…
Frank: NEEEOOWWWWWWMMMMMM [splosh!]
Mummy: Hmm
Frank: It smells nice in here Mummy
Mummy: Yes that’s my Elm Pure Organics bath salts
Frank: Nice but it could do with something a little extra. Tell you what, I’ll do a big poo in my pyjamas
Mummy (to self): OK I’m just going to ignore it for now and concentrate on relaxing

[Mummy takes deeps breath]

Mummy: OK that’s not going to work

[Mummy gets out of bath]
[Frank gets into bath. Mummy spends 20 minutes showering off poo from most of his body and pyjamas and then the shower curtain, shower, bath, bath toys and herself which somehow the poo has managed to ricochet onto]
[Mummy leaves the bathroom smelling pretty badly of poo]

Frank: That bath bit boring Mummy

The Power of the GIANT Chocolate Button

It’s been 3 months and the weeing on the floor hasn’t stopped. Neither has the occasional poo-poo on the carpet (why is it always on the carpet that they poo?? There’s a perfectly nice, wipe-cleanable wooden floor just over there!) We started off all eager and organised. Wall charts and coloured stickers for wee-wees, butterfly stickers for a poo-poo. But then they didn’t seem that bothered by the stickers and it cost me more energy trying to get them interested in the stickers than they were worth: they weren’t stopping them weeing themselves anyway.

GIANT chocolate buttons

GIANT chocolate buttons

So we gave up on the stickers and just carried on with the positive encouragement. Well, most of the time. When your child jubilantly announces at the top of her voice “Wee wee!!” as she spreads her legs and sprays her wares everywhere and then gaily shouts out “Never mind!” when she’s done you start questioning whether you should at least show some sign of annoyance. The other day small girlie one came bounding into the garden excitedly announcing that she had done a poo-poo in the potty. What she had actually done was three massive poos near the potty and a tiny after thought in it. I failed to match her excitement. Small boy’s journey hasn’t been smooth either: He fell short of the target the other day then wiped his bum with his hand and started drawing caveman-style all over the walls. Then girlie helpfully prodded her finger in it – “look finger dirty mummy” – and got creative on the walls too. Meanwhile I had also managed to tread in some and walk it into the kitchen and lounge. Another day, in the space of about 15 minutes, boy pooed in the paddling pool, girl weed on the kitchen floor, boy then pooed all over a kitchen chair, wiped it up with girl’s comfort blanket then threw girl’s comfort blanket in the paddling pool, then went off and weed in the potty and was all “Check out how clever I am!” and I’m like, “Seriously??”

Needless to say it’s all been immensely entertaining.

So now we’re turning to the power of the chocolate button. And we’re not just talking any old chocolate button. We going big guns. We’re going GIANT. This is actually only because Husband didn’t realise that there was such a thing as a GIANT sized chocolate button. The conversation went a bit like this:

Small girl eating a GIANT chocolate button

[Small girl sits nibbling painfully slowly on a GIANT chocolate button dribbling chocolate all around her chin and all over her hands. She looks like Peppa Pig eating chocolate cake, but for the pink skin and snout. And indeed the chocolate cake.]

Husband: I think we might have to go for something smaller – these chocolate buttons are way bigger than they used to be
Me: That’s because they’re GIANT chocolate buttons
Husband: Are they? How do you know?
Me: From the label on the packet saying GIANT chocolate buttons.
Husband: …

Initially the results were mixed. While Husband was out and about lording over the pair and wielding the new and exciting GIANT chocolate buttons there were no accidents. And uncharacteristically, small boy managed to wee on the (thus far extremely underused) travel potty. But when they returned to my care, they of course forgot the GIANT chocolate buttons. So within two minutes of arriving home we again had two small naked bottoms running around and Mummy crawling around on her hands and knees wiping clean the wooden floor (this time – small mercies) once more.

But three days later and the results are beginning to take shape. Well, sort of. Small boy can now be coaxed onto the potty at times where he would previously have refused. At times I surreptitiously add extra GIANT button bribery outside of the standard one button for a wee, two buttons for a poo reward model to get results and most of the time it works. As for small girl, well she doesn’t even need coaxing anymore and is instead sitting resolute on the potty at all times of the day adamant that she is about to do a “wee-wee-poo-poo-two-buttons”. Rather than this keeping her entertained and allowing me to crack on with some chores, however, or even – gasp! – something more fun like reading a book or having a shower, my presence and interaction is still very much required: It seems that “wee-wee-poo-poo-two-buttons” won’t make an appearance without some audience participation from me. So in another one of those blessed ‘things they don’t tell you about parenthood’ moments, I find myself sitting with her for hours at a time while she instructs me how I can best help get things moving: “Mummy sit-a-me”, “Mummy, hold-a-me”, “No Mummmy, no touch”, “Mummy talk-a-me”, ‘Mummy, no talk!”, “Mummy sit here”, “No leg there, Mummy, leg cross” …ad infinitum.

But eventually “wee-wee-poo-poo-two-buttons” does make its appearance and the GIANT chocolate buttons are dutifully doled out. Two for small girl, the rest of the packet for me as a reward for not strangling her in the process.

So a week on and how are we feeling? Did the power of the GIANT chocolate buttons transform this house of poop? Well, I’d say that in general yes. The threads on the knees of my trousers are only a little more bare, the piles of soaking laundry are smaller, the potties are looking more used and, but for a particularly harrowing diarrhoea incident that we’re all trying to forget, the number of carpet-ruining and mental health challenging accidents have indeed gone down. The downside is of course, that I am now hopelessly addicted to GIANT chocolate buttons, which has meant that my cabbage soup diet hasn’t been quite as effective as I’d hoped. On the plus side, however, I haven’t had an accident all morning.

Diary of a Mother whose daughter has just weed on her lap

Oh my god is she having a wee?
(Me: Joni are you having a wee?
Joni: shhh mummy. don’t talk.)
Should I quickly get her to the potty?
No I can’t be bothered.
Oh my god is she still weeing?
I should have got her to the potty. It’s seeping down into my pants now and through onto the sofa.
Oh my GOD is she still weeing?? It’s reaching my ankles!
Well there’s no point moving now, might as well just let her get on with it.
Ok she’s stopped.

Ok so how long can I sit here before it is generally considered a bit rank?

Reasons to fire your children #1

Act 1, Scene 1: Family Woodbon are driving home from the zoo.

Daughter: Sing Mummy! Sing!

Me (singing) (like an angel/Dolly Parton): Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen, pour myself a cup of ambition and yawn and stretch and try to come alive…

Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumping, out on the street the traffic starts jumping with folks like me, on the job from nine to five.

Working nine to fii..

Daughter: No like it Mummy.

Me (face like thunder): WHAT?!

Note: For those of you that are somehow not aware, Dolly Parton is the greatest living person on this planet.