The Mummy Diaries: Two babies – Week 19

The Mummy Diaries: Two babies – Week 19

by Emma Hargan
article from Tuesday 30, October, 2018

THE TERRIBLE TWOS are well and truly underway. Just when I thought I had it under control and had discovered what tactics worked, Jamie has dished out a whole new set of meltdowns. 

I thought I had a tendency to over-react. I get upset at things, like when I’m running late – or when my husband is happily sitting on his iPad watching YouTube when he’s surrounded by dirty washing and wet nappies. Lovely! But I have nothing on our two-year-old. Jamie gets upset when I put peas on his dinner plate, or when I take the Hoover he likes to play with upstairs – or it’s time to get a shower. Now I don’t just mean upset, as in, he sheds a wee tear, wipes his face and carries on. That would be cute. I mean totally loses his shit, screams, hits out – it’s Academy Award-winning.

Once I knew what the meltdown triggers were, I was able to arm myself with diversion tactics and avoidance techniques. No, I’m not about to join the army, but I am trying to avoid a war! So, what do I do? I don’t put peas on his dinner plate (I disguise them in stews or pasta sauce), I leave the Hoover sitting downstairs until Jamie goes for his nap and then I stash it back in the cupboard so he doesn’t see and hopefully forgets it was ever there. Shower time can’t really be avoided, but his Daddy takes him for his shower before bedtime so it’s kind of nice to hear Jamie have a meltdown with someone other than me! Sorted, right?

With a mad, busy last couple of weeks – with Lily’s christening and our trip to see the family in Edinburgh – I was looking forward to getting things back to normal with the kids back in their routine. I was glad Jamie had a couple of days at home before he was back to creche as he was pretty tired with all the late nights. Lily was fine, she was happy as long as she got her bottle every 3 hours on the dot, then would be snoozing on and off all day. Monday was a good day. Jamie was happy just being at home and playing with all his toys as he hadn’t had a chance for a while. Tuesday was a different story. It all started at breakfast and just went downhill from there.

Every morning in life, Jamie eats a half a banana with juice and then a bowl of Cheerio’s. James had taken Jamie down the stairs to get his breakfast while I was attending to Lily when I heard Jamie crying. Wow, it wasn’t even 7.30 am and he was starting! Jamie was sitting in his chair with his chopped-up banana in front of him and for some reason, he decided he didn’t like banana anymore and refused to eat it. Ok, so he was having an off day. He scoffed his cereal no problem so maybe he just didn’t fancy banana. 

A little later Jamie had worked out how to press the child lock off the washing machine. This meant that when the washing should have been finished and I had opened the door to the machine, the clothes were only 30 minutes into the cycle and ringing wet! The tumble dryer was also going full swing – with no clothes in it. Ah sure, the electricity bill isn’t high enough anyway. Jamie then lost the plot because I had shut the door to the utility room. Poor Lily wasn’t going to get any snoozing done today. 

I was glad to see lunchtime. If nothing else, I can fasten Jamie into his chair and I’ll get peace for all of ten minutes while he eats his lunch. Boiled egg and buttered toast. A usual favourite. I put the plate down in front of him and went into the utility room to sort out the washing. CRASH! I ran back into the kitchen and Jamie had launched the plate onto the floor and was screaming some baby babble at me which I’m pretty sure translates into ‘I’m not eating this shit!’ Ugh, fine. I calmly picked the food up off the floor and put the plate in the dishwasher. I was brought up to eat my food, and if I didn’t, then I would be hungry. James’ mum used to say ‘You’ll eat it before it eats you!’ Never a wiser word said. It’ll not do Jamie a bit of harm to learn some manners and go hungry for a couple of hours. 

In true Jamie fashion, he was just about to throw a scadge when I quickly changed him and got him upstairs to his cot for a nap. There’s a fine line between a nap and passing the point of no return where he gets so worked up and I have no chance. Luckily, I caught him just in time. I came back downstairs to find Lily lying in her crib smiling. I’m not sure if it was because she knew she would have peace to sleep now that Jamie was out of the way or was just happy to see me? I like to think it was the latter.

When Jamie woke up, he was on much better form. I decided to take advantage of this and I put the housework to one side and played hide and seek, did jigsaw puzzles and sang the Banana Song until I had to make the dinner. It was a nice end to a difficult day. Or so I thought. 

I decided to make a firm favourite of Jamie’s for dinner. Fish fingers, beans and waffle never goes wrong. He must be starving at this point as well. James walked through the door just as we sat down to eat and I filled him in on all the events and meltdowns of the day. James’ response? The same as what his mum would have said about the food. He also suggested I should speak to Jamie calmly instead of shouting at him as it might make him worse? Ok, fair enough, I was willing to try anything at this point, and it didn’t take long to try and test James’ idea – except, it wasn’t me who was being tested!

After dinner, I asked James to watch the kids while I went upstairs to sort out washing and clothes for the following day. Lily was sleeping in her crib and I had given Jamie my phone as he was happily sitting watching clips of nursery rhymes on YouTube. As I walked out of the room, I couldn’t help but smile, as James sitting with his iPad and Jamie sitting with my phone looked like two bookends at each side of the table. Each one turning up the volume to try and drown the other out! After getting clothes sorted out, I came back downstairs to find the boys still sitting where I had left them and Lily still snoring away. I think James forgot himself and was lured into the false sense of security with Jamie being quiet for all of 20 minutes, when he said, “Right wee man, time for a shower.”

Have you seen the movie Kill Bill? The part where Uma Thurman throws a samurai sword at the women who murdered her husband? That was what my kitchen looked like but instead of a samurai sword, it was my iPhone being ricocheted across the table towards my husband. 

“Jesus Christ!” James roars. “That wasn’t very calm”, I responded. If looks could kill, I would have been lying dead on the floor at this point. “Well that’s the end of that Christmas present” James shouts over the top of Jamie screaming his head off. 

I lifted my phone off the floor and I don’t know how it survived, but it did. To diffuse the situation, I suggested I cut Jamie’s hair before he got his shower as he usually enjoys getting his hair cut and will give him a chance to calm down. I ran upstairs and grabbed the clippers while James put Jamie in his seat with a bag of buttons. Jamie sat happily munching away on the chocolate so I switched the clippers on and began to work on his hair. God only knows what notion set him off this time, but I was half way through when Jamie decided he was done. We tried everything to calm him down but he was having none of it. Just brilliant! He had creche in the morning and looked like he’d had a fight with a lawnmower, and lost.

My only saving grace was that it was Jamie’s Halloween party at creche the following day. I had a skeleton costume that had a hood on it which would hide his hair until I could get a chance to cut the rest of it that evening.

That morning, James got Jamie up and took him down for breakfast (minus the banana) and got his costume sorted for his party. I got Lily up, fed and dressed and we headed off to start the day. We arrived at the creche and Jamie was so excited, he pulled my arm running in. I hung his bag and jacket up on his peg and opened the door to the toddler room where the other kids were dressed as witches and superheroes. Jamie looked on, was totally freaked-out and grabbed my leg. The wee girls started to chat to him and once he realised who they were he relaxed and gave me a kiss and a cuddle and ran on. 

A whole morning of peace and quiet. After getting all the jobs done, Lily and I spent a bit of tummy-time and cuddles before leaving to collect Jamie. I arrived to find Jamie still in his costume with the hood up. Thank God, I was saved the embarrassment of having to explain to what happened to his hair. The staff told me that he loved the dancing and the games but had to remove the cookies and crisps off the table as Jamie was eating everything! (Maybe they should have put bananas out?)

That evening when James got home, I told him all about our day and showed him the photos of Jamie in his skeleton costume. James looked at the photo on my phone and said, “You know, Jamie definitely has your personality but he looks as skinny as me in that skeleton outfit!”

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