Light reading for the dark days

So while London was having its sunniest weekend of the year so far (better than Ibiza!) I was coughing out my pelvic floor and turning muslins in to snot rags, not getting to enjoy an ounce of sunshine 😦 .

So as we’ve not been out and about , although my better half has been busy with JJ (swimming, walks and the necessary Tesco run), I can’t really write much about it. I thought I’d do a couple of summaries of child related books that I’ve recently finished on my tube commutes.

  1. The Happiest Toddler by Dr Harvey Karp (a serious one)
  2. The Unmumsy Mum by Sarah Turner (the hilarious one)


The first, I picked up from the library as little man (at 21 months) had reached a testy phase where everything is a huge drama and dropping to the floor tantrums had become a regular feature of our days together. I am delighted to say that the tantrums have almost gone (not entirely sure if this was helped by the book or he just grew out of it) but by trying some of the tactics in the book I at least felt like I had some control over certain situations which was more than before!

The main point of getting through to your child is all about connecting to them with respect “like an ambassador” (if that helps), with tips on how to do this and plenty of word for word examples which help a lot if you want to put it into practice yourself.

There are chapters on dealing with varying behaviour, introducing time-outs and “kind ignoring”, etc…

The main three things I’ve found easy enough to adopt into our everyday are:

  1. When dealing with an outburst connect with respect by dropping to their level and communicate in baby-talk (“Toddler-ese”) to acknowledge you understand why they are upset. This tends to calm them and then you can begin to move on through explanation, distraction, and if it all goes wrong- bribery!
  2. Build up lots of “time-ins”: basically lots of positive encouragement of all the good behaviour like praise after an achievement, even if the achievement is tiny- like waiting 10 seconds for his breakfast without screaming.
  3. “Bedtime sweet talk”- we now do a little recap of the day and talk about what will happen the next day. A proper little conversation before bed to fill his mind with hopefully nice thoughts to dream about, again praising him for all the great things that he did that day.


The unmumsy mum

The second I think I found from Facebook posts from other mums which led me to Sarah Turner’s blog, The Unmumsy Mum, and I feel like I got my £6.99’s worth from the first chapter. I laughed so much I was crying between Earl’s Court and Hammersmith the first morning I read this. A great way to start the day.

Sarah Turner makes it ok to not feel super loved-up with your kids. She writes about the stand-offs you have with your other half when the baby wakes and you’re both pretending to be asleep,  (although he probably is actually asleep), the horrible things you think/say when you’re at your wits end but also the unbelievable highs of the forever forgiving smiles and laughs that your treasure of a human being will give you, and the subsequent guilt you’ll feel.

Already having a toddler, I can safely say I’ve lived through the majority of the experiences she writes about and I find that almost all of it either provokes tears of laughter or sentimentality, but I do wonder how impactful it is for those expecting children or with young babies? It may all be too fresh to laugh at it all-probably not though. Some of my favourite quotes are below:

  • ‘”Shoes on.” Such a simple instruction and yet one that ages me at least ten years, daily.’
  • On the horror of childbirth: “I can recall thinking that it would be a relief to die.”
  • On dealing with bad behaviour in public: “I started speaking in my very measured middle-class-mum voice……and ended up shrieking in my Jeremy-Kyle-mum voice.”

So both well worth a look if the topics take your fancy.

Hopefully I’ll not be surrounded by honey and lemon encrusted mugs and snotty tissues for much longer and we can get out there for some more fun!