Thoughts on yodelling, a healthy alternative to screaming.

My youngest daughter Isabelle, (the one who won’t sleep or be broken by controlled crying), has the mother and father of all screams. To look at her you’d expect perhaps a gentle gurgle or a cutesy little giggle, but NO, she’s a total yob. When we’re out in public and she starts screaming, I NEVER get a sympathetic shrug or tolerant smile from passers by, I get curled lips or grotesque snarls. On really bad days people have been known to simply run away from us, shrieking because their ears are bleeding.

At the moment she seems to be a bit poorly. I don’t know what’s wrong with her, it may be teething, a virus, permanent emotional scarring from the failed controlled crying, no idea, but she’s very cross, very clingy and very hard work. So, anyway, today she decided that the only place she wanted to be was my hip. At this point, I feel it’s important to say that I’m excellent at doing most things with one hand whilst holding or even breast-feeding the baby. Opening tins, buttering toast, going to the toilet, all easy, but I draw the line at chopping onions. Needless to say, at dinnertime, Isabelle was furious when I dared to put her down to chop said onions and screamed as though I’d just thrown her in the bin, which I have to admit was incredibly tempting.

By the time bed-time finally arrived, I was a match short of fireworks. I don’t know about you, but I find changing a screaming child’s, nappy absolutely hideous. They squirm, they flail and when possible fling poop at areas of the body that have managed to avoid tomato sauce or beige mush. Tonight though, the final straw came in the form of baby-grow poppers. Poppers are IMPOSSIBLE to pop when a baby is kicking and screaming and tonight when none were popping I felt the need to scream. So I did. I wish I could say that Isabelle’s surprise at my vocal outburst stopped her own screams but as you’ve probably guessed it made her scream even louder but with a new element of terror mixed in for good measure. Poor little thing, there’s nothing worse than frightening a baby, so, in desperation, I started to yodel. Yes, yodel. Now that did surprise her and also brought the screams down to a confused whimper.

Now I’m no scientist, (although a double B in combined science is nothing to sniff at) but I do feel as though I’ve stumbled onto some sort of important discovery here. Who knew that yodelling could calm the nerves so dramatically? I’m not talking about the baby of course, yodelling won’t work on her twice in a row, but I found it rather wonderful. I’d even go as far as saying that for a moment it made my spirit soar.

So, if you ever find yourself on the edge of a popper-induced meltdown, just try a quick yodel. You never know, it might work for you too.

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Ten things you should relish before having children

1. Having a lie-in. Once you have children you’re unlikely to have one together for about 15 years.

2. Going to the toilet alone. Children gravitate to the toilet if they sense an adult is enjoying a moment in there alone. They want to be as close to you and the toilet as possible which is not usually a great idea BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO THE TOILET!

3. Enjoying breakfast or lunch or dinner without someone saying “Mummy can I have some Ribena please”, just as you’ve sat down or “Mummy this is DISGUSTING, I want fish fingers.”

4. Having a shower without someone screaming in the background, or even managing to have a shower at all when you have a baby.

5. Being able to go out for an impromptu drink.

6. Sleep. Ahh my long-lost friend, how I miss you… Even when you no longer have a baby, it’s likely at least one of the kids will wake up after having a nightmare/accident/illness.

7. Wearing clothes that don’t have, sick, spit, bogies, Weetabix/unknown beige mush or tomato sauce on them.

8. Not having to watch or listen to children’s telly which seems to always be on somewhere.

9. Ironing without the fear of permanently disfiguring a small person going through a “pulling” phase, who decides that under the ironing board next to the iron cord is where they most want to sit.

10. Sunbathing/reading/relaxing on holiday for longer than 5 minutes at a time.

Half-term. Heaven or hell?

I love the holidays. No school run, no packed-lunches and no rushing. Just pure, unadulterated, re-lax-ation. That is until 8.30am when the children start to go MENTAL. Day 1. 8.30am – painting, including sticking and glueing. I’ve never seen so much art and so much mess. 8.35am – get dressed to go somewhere, anywhere that isn’t the house, arghhhhhh nowhere opens until 9am. Ok, rethink Emma. Right, we shall do some very slow, imaginative dressing that somehow includes baddies. Ok 9am, out in the garden. Let’s pick some leaves for an autumnal collage. 9.01am. Leaves picked, more sticking and gluing. 9.18am – erm a jigsaw? 9.27am telly. You get the idea.

The funny thing is though that after the initial panic of Monday morning, half term is lovely. We seem to just exist and potter gently with the occasional shriek/fight/disaster mixed in for fun. We saw relatives, we went shopping, we went to the library and we just got on with hanging out. What I realised is that the kids just like being at home, they don’t require constant interaction, they just need a rest and a mooch with a bit of planned stuff thrown in. They mainly want to play and sometimes just need a little push in the right direction.

It always seems so complicated, but it’s not really.