Thursday, 10 November 2011


My toddler is in a big boy bed.  Or rather, he's not. He's mostly out of it. I've waved a bitter sweet goodbye to daytime naps. I don't really see the point of trying for an hour and a half to get him down for a two hour nap so we are ploughing through the day without naps.
Bedtime is another matter. Charlie has always slept well. We have always been firm that bedtime is bedtime. We sleep trained at 6 months and it seemed to work. He goes down at 7pm and gets up at 7am ninety-nine per cent of the time.
I thought I was a tough Mum. Not tough like "You there, kid, shut up!" but tough with pragmatism. I am not a soft touch and I do use the naughty step but I know that what I do is providing good lessons that will help them later in life. People that push, throw and scream tend not to be so popular!
The big boy bed came about because he could basically get out of his cot in seconds and he was up, out and on the floor before we were out the door of his room.
First of all we tried the Super Nanny approach. That lasted four days. Then we put up a gate at his door and let him get on with it. He would get to the door and just cry. Sometimes for me, mostly for Daddy. I felt like I was caging him in. I wanted to teach him to make the right decision to stay in bed, not have that 'choice' forced upon him. Part of me wondered what the big deal was. After all, what was a cot but a smaller version of a room with a door gate? And we'd have him cry out in his cot, so why not his room? But always there was the nagging feeling that else where other parents are tirelessly traipsing up the stairs carrying their protesting children and doing it the 'proper' way. But no! It seems that globally the door gate is 'a method'. Dads at play groups use it. Mums on Twitter use it. I am not alone. I am not a terrible Mum for letting my son cry himself to sleep on the floor and then scooping him into bed. This is just another life lesson that he has to learn. We all had to do it and don't seem too scarred by the experience.
The little boy in question has just gone quite after 30 minutes of extreme protestations. I sat it out (with a glass of wine!) feeling terrible and searching for support. With validation received I say, bring on tomorrow night!

Fully Dressed

I tried. I really did. On Thursday I had a 2 year old birthday party with a few other Mums. The only one I knew was the birthday boy's Mum. I turned up with no make-up and I got quite a few sympathetic looks and lots of "Not going well, huh?" type questions. I must have looked so tired and rundown. For the first time that week I felt exposed and vulnerable. It made me self conscious. Like a self fulfilling prophecy, because I looked stressed out and tired and felt stressed out and tired.
Thursday night was a tough one with Baby Max. I awoke on Friday morning feeling very very tired but with places to go and people to see. I couldn't face feeling like I did at that birthday party so I slapped on the slap. With a splash of red lippy to really perk me up. Is it wrong of me to get a buzz when people at the toddler 'dance' group told me that I looked well. I haven't been without make-up since.
Am I weak? I can't work it out. The scores (!) of you that read this bog, I would appreciate your opinion. I can normally reflect on why I couldn't see a personal challenge through but this one has stumped me. I thought I didn't care. I thought I was strong and unvain (invain? not vain?). Do you wear make-up? Would you go without?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


My make-up is my mask. Everyday I put it on, deciding who I want to be. Shall I have smoky eyes with red lipstick? Or shall I go for the 'natural' look with nude shades? Either way, I do not leave the house unless I have put on foundation, blusher and mascara - at least. Say I oversleep in the morning and my son is running late for the childminders, do I throw on a pair of jogging bottoms and rush out the house sans make-up to make sure he gets there on time? No. I will be 20 minutes late rather than have a naked face.
So, in my own inimitable style, if it's not easy, if it's a challenge, i will impose it on myself. This week I am mostly going without makeup.

Monday: I got my son to the childminders on time (!) and go for a coffee with my sister-in-law. She mentions how tired I look. And I do. I have very dark circles under my eyes, always have. A makeover lady one one of those posh department stores asked if I had Asian blood in my family as my circles were so dark. Also I am quite pale. Not 'pale and interesting' pale, but 'my god! are you okay?' pale. It came in handy at school. All I had to do was not wear make-up and I could quite easily get away with going home 'ill'.
On Monday I also went to see Britney Spears in concert at Wembley Arena with my sister. It's one thing pottering around the local high street without make-up but it is quite another to venture out to a teeny-bop concert showing your wares! Luckily it was so dark and people were more concerned about whether their schoolgirl skirt was short enough to really care about my face. And then it struck me - people DON'T care. It's just me. I'm the one who cares. People are too busy going about their own business. Of course, this is me walking around in the dark so it's easy to say!
On the plus side, my sister said my skin looked clear!
Tuesday: Totally loving the time it takes to get ready in the morning! And if the kids wake before I have finished getting ready, so what? I no longer have to fear Charlie smearing my lipstick over his eyes while I am otherwise distracted. This was an odd day. My husband fell down the stairs with baby Max in his arms and once he had passed the baby to be he collapsed and started to fit. I called an ambulance and he was taken to A&E (more of that later - he's fine now) so the fact that I picked my son up and then walked to the hospital without make-up didn't seem so important.
Wednesday: Husband can't be alone in the house so haven't walked out the front door.

Tomorrow I have a children's birthday in the morning and then a playdate in the afternoon. I am not afraid to say that I am not looking forward to doing either of them so.... so exposed. To be honest, I am not sure what I am trying to achieve with this latest plan of folly. To loosen up a little, maybe? To find an inner confidence? To be able to face the world without my mask? Either way... here goes...