Monday, 15 April 2013

Recipe for play dough

  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Food colouring

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan.
  2. Stir the mixture over a medium heat until a pliable dough forms.
  3. Allow the play dough to cool.
  4. Give a lump to your child, and store the rest in an airtight container or zip lock bag.
  5. Watch as your child pulls the dough into a million pieces and squishes them into every place imaginable, including between the slats of the deck, in her brother’s hair and all over her toys.
  6. Vow to make sure it all gets cleaned up before she moves onto the next activity.
  7. Realise somewhere in the back of your mind that this is never going to happen.
  8. Wait 8-10 hours until it all goes dry and crusty (or slippery and slimy if it has rained – lucky you).
  9. Spend an eternity scraping the stuff off everything and trying to mush it back into a ball.
  10. Sit in a blob that you missed.
  11. Go to the shops without realising that you have pink goo on your bum.
  12. Experience some sort of partial lobotomy effect while you sleep, resulting in play dough-specific memory loss (I can only assume this is what happens).
  13. Return to step 4.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Parenting without fear

Ok well I’ve confidently tapped out that title as though I’m about to spew forth a brilliant how-to guide, or at least share with you my triumphant example. But sorry, no. I’ve decided to write about this because I’ve been wondering lately whether it’s possible. It seems that so many of my decisions are based on fear. And you might think that sounds weird, but I’m not talking about extreme fears. It’s important to me that I don’t succumb to the fear that my kids will be raped and murdered on their way to school (extremely unlikely) or topple off some piece of playground equipment (pretty much a given, but part of life!)

But lately I’ve realised that there are lots of other little fears that can hold you hostage in lots of little ways, and that they all add up. How about the fear that if you give your baby a dummy to sooth him, then in two years time he’ll have the thing constantly in his mouth and you’ll have to engage in an epic battle to get him to give it up. Or that if you drive him around to get him to go to sleep, he will never, ever learn how to sleep in a bed, and you'll be driving aimlessly around the suburbs for the rest of your life. Or that if you put your toddler in front of the TV so you can get some peace then she will grow up to be a sad, sallow pre teen with a weight problem – and it will be YOUR FAULT!!! 

Sometimes I think the guilt involved with day-to-day parenting will just swallow me whole.  

For me at the moment, there’s the fear (and guilt) about toilet training. Or, more accurately, not toilet training. I said we’d try again, and we did. In fact, it wasn’t long after the first disastrous attempt that MM said she wanted to wear underpants again, and we started to give the whole thing another go. If anything, it was worse. The 3-day approach that I tried last time went out the window in favour of a more traditional approach where you plop them on the potty when you think they need to go and ask them to try. And you know what? It went ok. I got into a routine of carting her off to the loo first thing in the morning, mid-morning, before lunch, before her nap etc etc. But if I forgot, or got distracted, or she’d had a lot to drink, she’d wee on the floor. And she didn’t care at all - she was proud of it! I wasn’t always there to witness it, but I’ve seen her spread her legs (which at least keeps her skirt dry!) and wee with gusto right onto the ground before announcing “Me did a wee!”

I don’t need to be responsible for another person’s bladder and bowel movements. I have enough trouble attending to my own needs. Mid way through attempt two, a friend confided that she went on like this for about a year. A year!!! Nope – I opt out. I need to gather my energy for round three. And I figure, if there's an age at which kids are ready and finally just “get it”, then starting a little closer to that age will make the whole process quicker and less painful, right? RIGHT???

So toilet training, I’m shelving you for just a little while. We’ll stay in this weird, in-between, sometimes-underpants, sometimes-potty, sometimes-nappy world for now and I’ll just have to deal with the guilt! And the fear that I'll be that woman who takes an un-toilet-trained 4 year old to kindy amid gasps of horror from the other mums. It's all in a day's work at this motherhood gig.