Jordan, Princess, and the false eyelashes…

I was on Radio 2 yesterday, taking part in a discussion with Fern Britton (who’s standing in for Jeremy Vine this week) about whether Katie Price should have made up her two year old daughter Princess in full glamour-girl slap and false eyelashes. I’m on the show’s roster of listeners who usually have an opinion about something, and they put me up against The Apprentice’s Katie Hopkins, who was arguing that it was all a bit of fun at home and little girls had dressed up with mummy for generations.

While this is true, I argued that in my opinion, there is a line between experimenting at being like mummy, dressing up, playing with makeup and wanting to be a princess (as my three and a half year old DD does, a lot) and being made up by your mum to look like a Page Three girl while you’re still in nappies. My first thought when I saw the pic was that little Princess looked like one of those American Pageant mini beauty queens. It made me feel a bit queasy, and although I wouldn’t use the word ‘disgusting’ as Princess’s dad Peter Andre did, I do think it’s a really peculiar thing to do. Little girls are so gorgeous anyway, with their soft peachy skin and general deliciousness, why on earth would you want to swamp them with full make-up? Plus, since her aunty posted the pic on Facebook, it stopped being ‘just a bit of fun at home’.

Jordan's little princess...

I worry less about the media’s paedophile/sexualisation of children angle on this than about the self-esteem of little girls, to be honest. It’s going to be tough enough as my DD grows to boost her self-esteem and self-confidence, her appreciation of her body as strong and healthy, her worth as a human being and the value of achievement, and showing her positive role models, when she is already faced with millions of images of tiny, tanned, surgically altered and enhanced WAGs, actresses, singers and wannabes. I want my DD to know she is valuable and precious and loved just the way she is, inside and out. She doesn’t need make-up, pushed-up boobs, size zero clothing and St Tropez to be beautiful or lovable and successful.

I’m not particularly interested in Katie Price and the codependent relationship she has with the tabloids (and I’m as far from a Daily Mail reader as you can get, despite Katie Hopkins’ accusation). I also find it hard to criticise anyone’s parenting – we’re all just trying to be good enough mothers with the tools we have at our disposal. But children have such a ridiculously short babyhood and childhood, I just think that we should let them – and encourage them to be – children for as long as possible. Yes, dressing up, playing at being mummy and wanting to be a princess are completely normal for little girls, but there’s fun, and there’s creating a slightly odd mini-me.

You can listen again to the show until Tuesday 2 March – let me know what you think!


The start of The Holiday Project

I’ve just started on Amanda Alexander’s annual Fulfilment and Balance (FaB) group coaching course for working mums. It is indeed FaB, with a great bunch of women, all facing the same ‘ishoos’ about balancing work and being a great mummy and hanging onto your own sense of identity too.

One of the questions Amanda asked in the introductory questionnaire was ‘what do you love doing so much that it gives you energy’. One of the (shockingly few) things that came to mind was the planning and organising of Family Events, such as birthday parties and holidays. And this week, as I started investigation into possible holiday options, I did indeed feel a little tingle of excitement.

We haven’t yet taken the plunge of holidaying with friends, for many reasons, and although we have been away with the grandparents on a couple of occasions with great success, we’re thinking a proper summer holiday with just the four of us. And by proper, I mean abandoning my eco credentials at the entrance to Gatwick and getting on a plane. Last year we did the driving to France thing via Baby Friendly Boltholes (lovely, though DS was a 10 month old shouting little bugger throughout), and we’ve got years of France and Cornwall coming up after DD starts school this September. So we thought: take advantage of being able to go abroad in June rather than school holidays, and only having one child air fare as DS isn’t two until the end of August.

We’ve narrowed it down to Spain or Portugal, and I’m thinking a self-catering apartment in or with access to a bigger hotel resort with all the facilities. I don’t know why anyone would go on summer hols with their children and use the kid’s club for five full days, but a couple of hours lying in peace with a book would be heaven.

A friend recommended Pine Cliffs, next to the Sheraton on the Algarve, and it looks heaven, though rather pricey and we might have to sit through a timeshare presentation. (We’ve done this before, by accident in Skiathos, when I fell for one of those scratchcard scams and ended up being driven up into the mountains to a hotel with no escape for hours. I don’t think DH would be very happy if we had to do that again)

Any other ideas warmly welcomed please! What’s worked best for you as a family holiday with two smalls? And what were the nightmares?

Dry nights, here we come!

We went for it last night. After six months of lifting DD (3.5) onto her potty at 10ish or before we went to bed, in her sleep, we went cold turkey and she was dry all night! Hurray!

She’s been out of bedtime nappies since just before her 3rd birthday  – again, cold tukey, because I ran out of the princess pull ups without realising – necessity being the mother of invention an’ all that. I was going to wait until her 4th birthday in August before attempting it, thinking that would be a good milestone and she’d be sorted well before starting school in September. But for the past week or so she’s been so deeply asleep when I’ve gone in to lift her that it’s taken ages to get a teeny wee out of her, and it felt a bit mean waking her up. And she’s not been that bothered about bedtime milk for ages, apart from liking that she’s allowed to have a teaspoon of Nesquick strawberry or chocolate in it (yes, I know).

DD responds really well when I explain things properly and give her plenty of notice, so at teatime I told her she’d need to have a big drink because there would be no more bedtime milk because she’s a big girl like G&L, her two older good friends, and I wasn’t going to disturb her sleep by putting her on the potty anymore.

I felt a bit nervous, and put a spare sheet and Dry Nites bed pad within reach just in case she woke up wet in the night and needed changing. Her potty is by her bed, with her princess night light, as usual, and I told her that if she woke up and needed a wee she could just hop on the potty by herself. We have those 1930s doors upstairs with high handles, and she’s never left her room at night by herself (I do know how lucky I am, yes), although she stands on a chair to turn the big light on and open the door in the mornings.

Anyway, she slept brilliantly, unlike me as I was half listening for the loud wail she does whenever she’s had a bad dream, and when she woke up this morning she got up and did a wee in the potty.

I know it’s only night one but I’m so pleased. It feels like a real milestone and we gave her a big cheer this morning, although I don’t think she thought it was such a big deal, bless her.

The next big Potty Adventure in this house will be getting DS out of daytime nappies next winter. I found him chillaxing fully-clothed on the big pink potty in the downstairs toilet yesterday, and he likes to watch his big sister sit on the loo (which she finds very annoying) so hopefully that will be pretty straightforward. Until then, at least I only have one small person’s ‘movements’ to deal with directly.

No-one tells you before you become a parent that you’re going to spend so much time talking and thinking about poo and wee, do they? We were having a big pub lunch with friends at the weekend, with several babies and smalls around the table, and nappy contents seemed to be a completely acceptable topic of conversation while we were eating, which probably freaked the non-parents out. I remember the first time some friends with an older baby came round to see a newborn DD and at one point just laid their DD on the sitting room floor and whipped one nappy off and another on, and I was really shocked. Now, nothing to do with nappies, potty training or accidents surprises me. Vomit, on the other hand…