Tuesday, 25 July 2017

My Parenting Room 101

After a difficult day of fighting to keep toddlers from injuring themselves and attending to the baby's every last whim, my other half and I like to sit and unwind with a bit of easy to watch TV - and quite often, we'll flick to channels like Dave to find some mildly humorous quiz show to watch - a bit of QI, Would I Lie To You and so on is exactly what we need after a day of fielding toddler-terrorist demands.

Lately we've been watching quite a lot of Room 101 - for anyone not familiar with the concept of the show (Where have you been for the last 15 years and why am I so much older than EVERYONE these days?!), the guests offer up some of their biggest pet peeves and discuss why they should be thrown into the oblivion that is Room 101 never to be seen or heard from again.

This got me thinking...what if there was a Room 101 where I could chuck all of my parenting pet peeves? 

Wouldn't that be lovely?!

And so, just incase that opportunity ever arises, here are the things that I would most like to chuck into Room 101:

Surprise Eggs

These are the bane of my existence. 

When I was a kid, it was all about kinder eggs. I remember being really confused as to why my parents seemed to dread me going in to a sweet shop and asking for one - I mean, overpriced paper thin chocolate with a really crappy  toy inside which takes 4 hours and a degree in neurophysics to put together - what's not to love right?! 

But now that I am a parent myself I completely understand their dismay at my relentless passion for Kinder eggs...but times have changed. And although my son won't turn his nose up at a Kinder egg if it's offered...they are no longer the treat of choice.

No...now its the dreaded Surprise Eggs. Which are similar to Kinder eggs but without the chocolate.

Surprise Eggs come in many forms - Shopkins, Avengers, Spiderman - anything that kids get excited, you can bet your bottom dollar there'll be a surprise egg for it.

Recently...I was duped during a particularly hellish shopping trip into agreeing to purchase yet another surprise egg for my son ... he had been going on and on all around the shop about the toy digger he'd seen when we walked in, it was £10 and I just didn't really want to part with yet more hard earned cash for a toy he'd forget about in a matter of hours, but after 20 solid minutes of whining when his tone finally changed and he piped up with "Can I just please have a Paw Patrol surprise egg instead of the digger then?, I decided it was better to  agree and allow myself a peaceful drive home rather than have to listen to any more of the whining.

"Fine" I said...happy that I'd just saved myself £9 and an even bigger headache than I already had...and off we headed in search of surprise eggs.

Sure enough, we found them - box after box of them sitting prettily on the shelf - and there were the requested Paw Patrol eggs.

My son squealed with delight as he grabbed one off the shelf...and I squealed with horror when I saw the price.


FOUR WHOLE ACTUAL POUNDS for a surprise egg?!?!!

Kinder Eggs used to be about 80p...how can they get away with charging £4 for a few jelly sweets and a crappy tiny bit of plastic?!

But it was too late now - I'd already agreed and he was already running off towards the checkout with his overpriced egg.

So I bought it...grudgingly. All the while thinking how I'd much rather have just spent the extra £6 on the bloody digger that would have at least kept him entertained for a few hours, rather than this piece of rubbish which would no doubt be glanced at once and then abandoned in the car forevermore.

As expected, he opened it in the car...inside was Rubble.

He wanted Chase.

So I drove him with the soundtrack of his whining about how unfair it was because he just wanted Chase, instead of the original whining about how unfair it was because he just wanted the digger.

So I achieved nothing.

And within about 30 seconds, I heard "Muuuum! Rubble is broken, I squished him too hard...."

Excellent...so in the end that £4 spend didn't even get us out of the sodding car park in peace.

Blind Bags

The above experience is usually repeated about 7 times a week with the more irritating and expensive cousin of the surprise egg - the blind bag.

Incase you haven't had the pleasure of encountering a toddler with a blind bag habit let me walk you through it - Blind bags are placed in prime position at the checkout in pretty much every supermarket and convenience store, there are many many variations on these little packets of misery but my son has a taste for the Playmobil ones.

The bags basically contain a Playmobil figure.

The packet will show you around 10 of the figures you can collect - your child will always want one particular figure (The Gladiator) but here's the joke - None of the bags contain the pissing Gladiator, it doesn't matter how many of them you buy because it's all a massive swizz.

The bags will all contain the sodding pirate. You will end up with a sobbing child and a house full of identical Playmobil pirates and you will NEVER GET THE GLADIATOR FIGURE!!

In fact rather than throw Blind Bags into Room 101, I'd much rather have 5 minutes alone with whichever evil bastard created them....

Childrens magazines

My son has become wise to the fact that requests for toys when we're out at the supermarket will usually be denied, but he has learned that I don't often turn down requests for new reading material.

If he asks for a book, I will usually allow the purchase because I'm keen to encourage a love of reading in him...

Evil genius that he is, he has found a way to run with this..

He now requests magazine in lieu of toys - because he knows that they're kind of a book....but that they also come baring bags full of horrendous plastic "toys" too...so he gets his way without me realising what's actually happened.

Except that I've become wise to it and I now realise that he has no interest in the actual magazines - they are simply flung aside and usually just torn or chewed up into pieces by the baby, never a word of them read.

His only interest is the plastic rubbish on the front - the worst excuse for toys ever made, which will fall to pieces in about 8 seconds and result in yet more tears.


"Child Friendly Restaurants" Who Don't Have A Clue

In our Before Children days, my partner & I used to love enjoying a nice dinner out and we were those people who insisted this wouldn't have to change just because we had children.

We insisted we would still go out for dinner once a week.

With one child we managed to do that - 2 adults to 1 child is perfectly manageable, there are two of you to entertain him, help him not to fling his peas everywhere, and stop him from trying to destroy the restaurant.

With two of them it became harder...with three of them it is IMPOSSIBLE.

But every now and then we'll be lulled into a false sense of security by a restaurant that promises us that it is very child friendly - it has an amazing childrens menu, it offers activity packs for the kids, it has really modern high chairs that don't look as though they're growing new kinds of bacteria on the tray...we think we're sorted!
But they are never not a disappointment.

Because what is the point of offering all of these things, only to present my 15 month old with his lovely fresh pesto pasta on a ceramic plate?! WHY do you not realise that he is ABSOLUTELY going to throw that plate to the ground and smash it into a million pieces?!

And WHY do you insist on putting wine glasses within his reach?! Do we LOOK like people who are going to have 30 seconds to enjoy a sip of wine any time soon?! No...because we're busy trying to stop our 3 toddlers from chucking their breakable plates onto the floor and making sure they don't choke to death on the "super fun pull apart felt tip pens" you gave to them!

What would be in your Parenting Room 101?! I'd love to hear your choices!!

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