Archives for January 2013

Discipline dilemmas

I have been giving some thought to discipline recently as we approach the ‘terrible twos’ and recently asked this question on babyhuddle.

This week, I also read Mama-andmore’s blog post over at BritMums, on whether how much you work influence’s how much you discipline your kids. Perhaps I’m noticing blogs about discipline more because that’s where my focus lies, or perhaps it’s a sign. I don’t know. Either way, I decided to write a blog about it, partly to answer Mama-and more’s question and partly to figure it out for myself.

I work part-time and on the days I work Mushroom is usually well behaved – apart of a bit of a whinge on the way home from nursery (sometimes I think he prefers it there!) – but when I’m at home it’s a different story. He’s much more likely to play me up if we’re together all day. I would therefore say I’m dishing out more discipline on the days we’re at home, so I guess I would be a little more strict if I was a SAHM*. There are, however, certain rules, which apply regardless of whether I’ve been at work or not. The main ones are: Bedtime is between 6 and 8, with few exceptions (Christmas day at my sister-in-law’s house being the most recent exception), and we don’t do anything that hurts other people – regardless of who started it. Other rules we stick to include: We don’t draw on the walls or the floor, we don’t throw food and we don’t take things from other people without asking. However, the response to these are softer, e.g. If  he draws on the floor or walls he cleans it up. The same applies to throwing food. If he takes something from someone then he has to give it back and we ask permission together (he points and says ‘eh?’ and I translate if it’s an adult. Children usually get the gist) then he says ‘ta’ or signs ‘thank you’ if he is given it back. Being a typical toddler, Mushroom of course challenges these rules on a regular basis.

Sometimes Mummy needs time out too

As he got to about 14/15 months, I tried a few techniques, – a short time out in his cot or highchair (with me staying in the room) at first and more recently, ‘circle time’ (inspired by Woman Wife and Mum‘s answer to my babyhuddle question). This is just 90 seconds in his old playnest in the hallway – so it’s not in its usual context – after which he says ‘sorry’ (he strokes my arm of the arm of the adult/child he’s hurt) and we have a cuddle. This becomes ‘corridor time’ when we were at a someone else’s house (or if he’s actually been playing in the playnest at the time). I try not to overdo it and do let some things slide from time to time but there are certain things that are never ok in any context (such as hurting other people).

My dilemma is this: He is generally well behaved and although he has the odd tantrum, they are generally short-lived and he can be easily distracted. Repeated challenging behaviour, therefore, can often be a sign he’s getting sick. It took me a while to figure this out. He’s not quite talking yet so maybe it’s his way of trying to communicate. I try to give him the language by asking him if he’s poorly, or if any body part is hurting (signing and pointing at the same time). Sometimes he points to his teeth but other times, nothing. Then two days after I’m almost in tears with frustration at his behaviour he’ll wake up in the middle of the night and vomit all over the cot (for example). That’s when the guilt grabs me. Another dilemma is when Mr B disciplines him (or doesn’t) and I disagree. I never undermine him, especially as I think it’s important for Mushroom to know that Daddy isn’t just for fun and must be respected too, but I do worry that he’s getting mixed messages from us. I guess that’s something that will work itself out – we do discuss it afterwards so we avoid making the same mistake twice but what do you do in this case?

This weekend has been an especially challenging one, with Mushroom refusing to sit at the table for meals, repeatedly taking things that aren’t his (he knows this as he tries to hide them) and hitting me and Mr B. It doesn’t help when Mr B ‘pretends’ to hit back but it also might be my fault for letting him play with the Talking Tom app (for a few extra minutes in bed! Selfish Mummy)  on my phone without disabling the violence – which I have now done!

I am trying to be consistent when it comes to discipline but if it turns out he’s sick, well….

What are your discipline dilemmas and how do you resolve (or learn to live with!) them?

*Stay-at-home-mum, just in case any non parents are reading!


Silent Sunday




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Look who’s talking

Look who's talking (credit: Flick creative commons)

Ok, he’s not really talking, not quite… But he really is trying. His non verbal communication is very good and he uses a handful of Makaton baby signs with some reliability but he only says a few words that I recognise. So, just for a laugh, I thought I’d post a sample conversation with a very vocal toddler who has yet to acquire enough language to get his point across.

Mushroom (M): Maamee?
Me (R): Yes baby?
M: Yayaya dodee? *Wags finger in direction of TV*
R: Want to watch CBeebies?
M: Yeaah *Grins and nods*
R: Ok then. I think Mr Tumble is on now.
M: Tumbee Tumbee! *Touches nose.*

*We watch ‘Something Special’ in relative peace for 10 minutes with Mushroom trying out the new signs.*

M: Maamee. *Whiny voice. Pulls book from shelf.*
R: You want a story? (M nods) Ok then…. *Pulls Mushroom onto lap* ‘In the light of the moon, a little egg..’
M: No! No! Naaaah! Throws book on floor.

R: That’s the book you gave me. Which one do you want?

M: Peas. Peas. *Makes sign for ‘please’ to be clear he’s not requesting a plate of vegetables but his current favourite book, ‘Please Baby, Please.’

R: Ok then. *Reads book once.*
M: More, more.
R: *Reads book two more times.* Ok that’s enough now, shall we have a snack?

M: No! More!
R: Shall we go for a walk? Outside?
M: Yeah. *runs to get shoes.*

*We get ready to go to the local park – a short walk but enough of a distraction – I’m hoping – from the book.*

M: Maamee? *Holds up book.*
R: You can’t bring the book to the park sweetheart. Put it back on the shelf and we’ll read again it later.
M: *Evil stare (something like this).* Naaaaah!
R: We are not taking the book. Come on. *Tries to take book from surprisingly strong grip without ripping it. Just about succeeds.* Ok, let’s go.
M: Peas, peas! *Stamping feet.*
R: *Using firmest ‘Supernanny’ style voice.* No Mushroom, no books at the park. Later. Let’s choose another toy.
M: Naah! Peas!

*cue tantrum.*

This kind of conversation now happens at least once a day.

Do you/did you have similar conversations with your toddlers below? If so, please share your stories below!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. If you managed to get out New Year’s eve, I’d love to hear what you got up to.

Anyone making any New Year’s resolutions? I haven’t. I don’t believe in them myself but that’s probably because I’m rubbish at sticking to them! Instead, I tend to spring clean the house, think about what I’ve achieved (or not!) over the past year, and as well as thinking about what I want to do over the coming year, I try to also give some thought to how I want to be. I lose my way sometimes (don’t we all?) but I do try to behave in a way that fits with my values and if that helps me to achieve my ambitions too, that’s a bonus!

This year I’ve not done too badly. I’m back at work, I started this blog (yay me) and still managed (for the most part) to keep my original blog up to date. I’ve also started doing a bit of pro bono comms work for charity and I’m now also an elite blogger for babyhuddle! I have of course mothered Mushroom as well as I can too, but I assume you take that as read. Of course there are other more personal things (both good and bad) that have happened over the year but those are not for sharing here.

As for Mushroom, well, we all know how much babies change in a year! He’s a real little boy now – walking, talking (sort of. More on that later), tantruming (is that even a word?)… He’s also becoming more and more curious, cautious  – and yet still adventurous in his way – funny (he’s a real comedian, must get it from his Dad) and sensitive at the moment. He has his frustrations but generally he’s a pretty easy-going child. He’s developing more and more of a personality and it’s lovely watching him grow.


Speaking of growth, this blog is now nine months old! Still a baby, not quite up on its feet yet but giving it a good go… As Mushroom is no longer a baby, I’ve decided to update the look of this blog a little (not too much, I don’t want to scare anyone away!) to reflect his growth. You’ll probably have noticed the change already if you’ve been here before! I hope you like it.

What have you been up to over the past year? Any achievements you’d like to share? Anything in particular you’ve noticed about how your kids have changed during this time (they change so much, don’t they?). Do comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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