Is it really good to be different?

For World Autism Awareness Week, I wanted to share some photos of The Boy, celebrating what it is to be different. I wanted to highlight his quirks and nuances and be proud of all the things that make him different.

It seems being different is celebrated in a way to help children that don’t quite fit in feel better about themselves. But should we really be celebrating difference?

I’m a persistent over-sharer, not because I get to hear people congratulate me on being brave for being different, but because I seek solace from those that say they feel exactly the same way. How many of you have felt relief after reading something that you could relate to on many levels? How many of us belong to groups and join forums just to be among like-minded people? Is that a bad thing? It’s human nature to want to belong, to fit in, to be accepted and to feel comfortable around those that are similar. It is what helped the human species survive in the first place after all.

My olive skin is a completely different shade to my daughter’s pale creamy tones. But we share the same DNA. My son learns and understands the world differently to me. But we share the same DNA. I have friends of all different faiths, backgrounds, colour and ability. But as humans, we are all variations of the same DNA.

Perhaps it’s not revering people’s differences that should be encouraged, but understanding and accepting that, actually, we’re not all that differentThere’s probably more that unites us all in our similarities than there ever will be to divide us in our differences.

As the research rumbles on into understanding autism, I hope that one day, autism will be viewed in much the same way as a personality trait or characteristic; something that is taken for granted rather than feared. I don’t want to cure my son’s autism anymore than cure his shaggy, light brown hair or round, green eyes. It’s part of him. Of his DNA. So, instead of celebrating my son for being special or different, I’m going to commend him just for being him; undeniably brilliant.

Photo credits to my dear friend, Maria.

Why can’t you be more like…

I thought having autism might free my son from my perpetual comparing but apparently not; as we all sat together in his group session for children with communication and socialising difficulties, I studied the only girl in the group. She’s a gentle soul, afflicted with over receptive senses that suppress her. She contorts her body to try and cope, making the space she is in and the world she struggles to understand as small as possible. She is completely silent apart from the delightful tinkle of laughter she emits when she’s being tickled and I’ve never seen a child so mesmerised by shaving foam. What I can see is a calm, passive, non-aggressive, quiet and amenable little girl – the very opposite of my boy – and for just a few guilt-ridden moments, I stare at her and wish that he could be more like her.

I see her for a snapshot of her life, once a week, and can only see enviable qualities that my son doesn’t have. What I don’t see is how long it takes to get her dressed. I don’t see her screaming in pain as she’s being washed. I don’t see her frozen in fear at the sound of a plane. I don’t see how very small her universe must be in order for her to cope. I’m guessing at these things of course. But we all have desperate moments.

Perhaps in a tiny snapshot of life, there’ll be someone looking at my boy and only seeing a passionate, curious, energetic, enthusiastic and happy child and perhaps wishing that their passive, introvert, quiet and shy kid was more like him. I wish that someone was me but it isn’t. In the fog of exhaustion, it is sometimes just too hard.

Now I’ve got it off my chest, I could make a solemn vow, from this moment on, to stop making comparisons when times get tricky…but I won’t. It’s a promise I know I will break and that will only add to the mountain of guilt that I was bequeathed the moment I became a parent. No…I will let the thoughts in. I will take a moment to look at them, accept their truth, and then let them float on by without further attention. I will remind myself that everything passes. I will remind myself that I am doing the best I can. I will remind myself that everything will be okay. I will remind myself that I am that someone (very nearly) all of the time.

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An Idiot’s Guide To Stains

It is usually possible to extract enough information from the location of stains on a person’s clothes to decipher whether they are indeed a parent and the age of child they are a parent to.

From the moment the baby is evicted from the mothership, it leaves clues of it’s existence around your person. This is most commonly in the form of a white smear perched happily on your shoulder and will remain there in various guises until the child leaves home.

A new game develops early in parenthood known as, “Is It Poo?” The rules are very simple; locate an unidentified stain, stare at it quizzically for a few seconds then sniff it. I would thoroughly recommend not licking as it is usually poo. In fact, the game should be renamed, “How Did Poo Get There?”

Clothes that you would have ordinarily thrown out for the wash get picked up, dusted down and put back on ready for another days onslaught. Non-parents will happily point these stains out to you at every opportunity as if doing you a favour in case you weren’t aware of their existence (you were), whereas fellow parents join in with the catharsis of picking silently at unidentified crust when stood chatting rocking together.

Smears of mud that adorn tops of thighs signal a parent of a toddler/preschooler/teenager that has momentarily lost it’s ability to walk, mere seconds after relishing the delights of stamping in muddy puddles.  These stains will remain there for the foreseeable future as the parent usually only has one pair of trousers that comfortably fit since childbirth.

No fabric is exempt from the stain-spreading abilities of a child and no surface is immune. Washable pens become impervious in the hands of a small human as they can somehow detect exactly which surface falls outside of the ‘washable’ characteristic and scribbles violently, forever leaving self expression all over the place.

New games will naturally evolve as the children get older. These include:

Get Your Shoes Off The Sofa

Don’t Wipe Your Fingers On There
Please Use A Tissue
Stop Masturbating In Your Socks

All of which have exactly the same rules:

Player One shouts the title of the game loudly at Player Two. Player Two ignores Player One and continues with loathsome behaviour. Repeat daily.

Investing in a really good washing machine or spending out on decent stain removing products are a waste of time and money; just buy an incinerator. It will serve you much better. Or move house.

An Idiot’s Guide to Instructions

I followed some instructions today. When I say followed, I mean used them as a guideline based on the fact that I had a child eagerly awaiting their new toy. When I say eagerly awaiting, I mean having an apoplectic fit that their new toy wasn’t ready instantly. When I say apoplectic fit, I mean suicidal, homicidal and all the other cidals.

The instructions were as follows:
Very straightforward had I not had an all out cidal toddler. So I have rewritten the instructions for future reference.

1.The large Jungle Magic pen requires 2 x 1.5V AAA batteries. Locate the battery compartment on the side of the pen. Don’t bother with a crossheaded screwdriver. Find a blunt knife from the drawer to open the battery cover.

2. Quickly realise you have got the wrong size batteries. Scramble to find a remote with AAA batteries. Remove from remote and place into Jungle Magic pen.

3. Fill aqua pen with water all the way to the top. Do not take volume of water into consideration when inserting sponge-filled aqua pen. Spill water all over your inconsiderately placed smart phone. Shout expletives as your child starts to claw at the back of your legs.

4. Put smart phone in a bag of rice knowing it will do fuck all but at least gives you some kind of hope you’ll be back on Facebook by nightfall.

5. Turn on Jungle Magic pen. Grit teeth.
NB. This toy contains offensive noise which may affect most adult humans. If you suffer from <<insert conditions>>, seek advice from your general practitioner before turning on this product.

6. Locate toy from under sofa after being abandoned following 30 seconds of use. Switch off. Use knife to remove batteries. Never replace. Pretend product is broken.

Important care information! 
Only use pen for specified use. Do not attempt to insert up your nose or into plug sockets. Only use clean water and not water collected from the toilet, puddles or your own saliva. Do not machine wash. Do not tumble dry. Do not iron. For best performance give to an adult and never let a child near it.

The Anatomy of a Mother

There are many documented physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. Breasts and legs look like they’ve been scribbled on by a toddler with a blue marker pen. Feet, ankles and calves all merge into one painful, fluid-filled cankle. Blotchy, dry patches and stretching skin cause incessant itching, mainly around the bumpal region. And lest we not forget the discharge. Just everywhere. From all over the place.

These changes tend to dissipate fairly rapidly post Vaginal Destruction Day, apart from the discharge.  Whereas the lesser documented changes which occur after VDD are mostly permanent.

Ears become enlarged initially to aid with detecting infant breathing, every forty seconds for the first six months. However, this also develops into an ability to correctly identify the scream of her toddler amongst forty other screaming toddlers in a hell hole known as ‘soft play’.

Nostrils are widened due to the excessive amount of crotch and bum sniffing that takes place and also when trying to determine the dirty clothes from the clean clothes that have replaced the carpet. Shoulders becomes broadened due to her child’s inability to walk anywhere and insistence on shoulder rides only (ears also useful for handles).

A women walking through town fondling herself isn’t necessarily a pervert, she may be just trying to recall which boob she last fed from. From an outsider’s perspective, this is usually easily identifiable from one enlarged breast throbbing like an alien egg about to hatch with supporting damp patch whilst the other bosom looks like a spaniel’s ear. One arm is significantly larger than the other (known as the baby bicep) due to holding her baby/toddler/child/teenager on the same hip.

One hip will be displaced significantly to the side in support of the developing baby bicep to such an extent that it soon becomes impossible for the mother to hold her baby on the opposite hip for more than three seconds before having to switch back. Groove marks just above the wrists aid with carrying plastic shopping bags as the handles of the pushchair inevitably get overloaded causing the pushchair to tip backwards at every opportunity.  Hard skin on knees develop from crawling on all fours trying to retrieve crap from under the sofa, being ridden like a donkey and scrabbling through all known varieties of disease-infested soft play, reaching peak thickness at around three years after which only a pneumatic drill can chisel it away.

Although fingernails have to be kept short to avoid lacerating her baby when getting it dressed/changing it’s nappy, a mother utilises a long little fingernail to perfect hoicking out bogies of the nose and eye variety.

The most subtlest change happens over a period of years.
The stoop. Unfortunately entirely unavoidable. It begins with the nappy changes, gets developed further trying to avoid head injuries whilst being dragged into playhouses and through tunnels and reaches a critical point after years of having to push and/or drag bikes, trikes and scooters, most commonly without it’s rider because they only wanted to use it for fifteen seconds on the way to the park.
The stoop gets cemented permanently into an almost right angled position when her child starts school and they fully expect their bike/trike/scooter to be available for their use on the way home*.

*Most likely to be having a massive meltdown and not at all interested in bike/trike/scooter.

If you happen across one of these unfortunate looking characters, don’t assume, by trying to stop that voice from coming out of her child’s face, she’s making a rod for her own back  – if she were, she’d be stood a lot straighter. Instead, give her a reassuring look and throw a chocolate bar at her.  That might help.

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About Me

I am a dental hygienist, a mother and a blogger. I fell into all of these things by accident, well apart from motherhood – that was a military operation that would put the Special Ops Force to shame involving a bicarbonate of soda douche… but perhaps the less said about that the better.

I used to have many fantasies about motherhood but then I had children and they ruined everything so now I write about my observations of motherhood with the occasional bit of oral health advice thrown in for good measure.

You can follow me on many social media platforms however, I would suggest Facebook and Twitter just for starters.

Feel free to email me about anything, especially if you’re a magazine and want me to write a column for you. I’m an attention whore so will probably do it for free.

Thank you for reading and remember to always brush before breakfast and don’t rinse out with water afterwards. Not many people know that. You’re welcome.

Remembering the details

There have been so many times since my children have been born, that I’ve reached over to pick up my phone and photograph a moment only to find my phone out of reach.  Frustrated at the missed opportunity, I’ve attempted to freeze frame the moment in my mind’s eye and fix it permanently into my memory box. I have long forgotten these memories or have no idea whether the ones I do remember were the ones I really wanted to.

It happened just the other day. Me and my nearly three year old boy were on the sofa, watching a film. He was laying, following the curve of my legs and lower body, resting one hand on top of mine and pushing one of his feet down the side of my slipper boot I had on. Once he had firmly wedged his foot in and was satisfied with it’s position, he remained still. My phone in the other room, I was unable to capture the image; a moment when his little foot, small enough to fit in the gap, wriggled so warmly next to mine.

Going through thousands of photos files recently, looking for one picture in particular, I came across a video. I don’t know what made me click on it – there are hundred of videos. In it was my son about six months old and my two and a half year old daughter. My son is belly laughing and there is this beautiful interaction between the two of them. I’m filming it and as I watch it back I have absolutely no recollection of the moment or any details surrounding it. So it seems that even if I do capture the moments, I still may not remember them.

Technology has been in the limelight a lot recently especially regarding what kind of future we can expect for our children when everyone spends so much time staring at a screen. I have read articles demanding parents put down to their phones, stop filming, stop sharing on social media and live in the moment.

This forgotten video was a wonderful reminder that memories can become skewed. Through the day to day drudgery of trying to make each day perfect, feeling overwhelmed with guilt at not achieving it and focussing on a belief my children don’t have the relationship I yearned them to have, I had forgotten the details. A beautiful moment lasting a few minutes showed me the truth. And with each subsequent photo file, leaving a trail like breadcrumbs to lost moments, good and bad, they helped me challenge my self image as a mother which always seems to be heavily weighted with regret.

So I say, keep taking photos. Keep filming. Capture the details. Share them if you want to. Every so often, look back and remind yourself of what a good job you are doing. Remind yourself that your children are nourished, stimulated and loved. Remind yourself that you are perfect in their eyes. And then, one day, you’ll be able to remember the details together.

I don't know exactly when this was taken, or what we did that day but what I do know is, it must have been taken when Dad was at work and her little brother was still asleep so we're having undisturbed, tired mummy cuddles

An Idiot’s Guide to Toddlers

otally Unreasonable

Toddlers are bipolar with multiple personalities. They switch between personas frequently and swiftly without warning. Don’t assume that just because they’re coming towards you with their lips pouting that they won’t punch you in the face.


Like collectormaniacs, they squirrel away objects in every corner of the house with a preference for large quantities that are impossible to carry all at once. You will be expected to carry this precious bounty every time you leave the house otherwise Psycho personality will make an appearance.


You can’t knock a Toddler’s determination. They can do everything. They don’t need your help. It’s just a shame their tiny little fingers or inability to judge space and time coherently means that they end up flipping out, blaming you for their failure at everything. Help them but DON’T HELP THEM. They need your help but THEY DON’T NEED YOUR HELP. Help them but make sure they don’t know YOU’RE HELPING THEM. STOP HELPING.


They live in a very specific world and have things in a very specific way. Unless you possess the powers of telepathy, just accept you’re fucked. You’ll never be able to second guess the personalities or pre-empt their next move. They change the goal posts daily just so you’re constantly walking on a carpet of lego.


You can’t really blame a toddler for being opposed against having a hand reach around the front of their face like a child snatcher with a chloroformed soaked hanky. Despite just innocently trying to remove the thick green oxygen-depriving gunk that exudes from their nostrils, they’d rather have that hanging from their faces and eat off the floor than actually consume healthy greens and breathe freely.


With fingernails that are impossible to clip and tiny fingers that infiltrate orifices as fast as lightening, they can disarm an adult human swiftly. They can also bring you to your knees by setting you impossible tasks such as ‘make the batteries work again’ or ‘make me a dippy egg that’s not too dippy but still dippy but isn’t dippy’.


Satan himself isn’t even immune to the rage of a toddler. The most effective deterrent when a toddler reaches volcanic eruption point, is to stand very still. Like a statue. Offer no eye contact and eventually when the toddler forgets you exist, you can slowly side step to safety and phone the police.

When does this phase end, you may ask. It doesn’t.

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Could you be suffering from decision fatigue?

If you’re a parent, then the answer is quite simply yes. However, because that would make this blog post far too short, I will elaborate a little more.

Decision fatigue is actually a thing. Yes it is. And it represents something far more than just mere tiredness. Decision fatigue farts in the face of tiredness. A judge, for instance, used this phenomenon as a way to explain why he had let a dangerous, previously convicted, criminal walk free. He’d had one too many decisions to make that day and was completely fuzzed.

As a Mum (and Dad but more Mum unless there is no Mum and it’s just Dad), you have to make an estimated 46,782 decisions regarding your child per day. This quadruples exponentially with each further offspring you spawn. Fact.

Let’s consider the question of dressing a child:
What is the weather forecast?
Do I believe that weather forecast looking out the window?
Am I going out and then in and then back out again?
Am I going on any car journeys?
Am I taking the pushchair just in case?
Is this knitted cardy too chunky for the carseat straps?
Is this knitted cardy warm enough for the pushchair?
Who are we seeing today?
Are they likely to judge me for not bothering with clothes today?
Am I likely to want to stab myself when the child falls over in a muddy puddle right outside the front door?

I’m totally decision fatigued and we haven’t even made it downstairs to decide what packet of crisps they want for breakfast.

In an actual, real life experiment, some boffins carried out research on decision fatigue. Three groups had varying levels of different choices regarding purchasing a computer.  One group just had to ponder the advantages and disadvantages without making a final decision, another group had to short list the ideal features for a computer and the third group had to figure out everything on their own, including making the final decision on what computer to get. The third group were obviously the most fatigued and as a result had depleted self control and will power.

What happens when we have no self control and will power?  We reach for the sugar-laden delights. This is why supermarkets put all the good stuff near the tills. They’re literally taking advantage of our diminishing mental health. The dirty bastards.

In the same study, they measured what happened to the decision fatigued group after they had a hit of glucose. Why their abilities to make decisions improved of course! (They really did.)

So, if you’re having a particularly difficult day despite having a great nights sleep, and you find yourself staring into space when someone asks how your day is, or you want to punch your partner’s eyes off for asking where the baby wipes are – don’t despair. You’re not going mad and you haven’t got ME or leukaemia. Decision fatigue has set in and it’s essential to freebase a bit of sugar. And that is desperate advice coming from a dental professional. 

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“The Power of The First Hour” – inspiring or terrifying?

As my little girl in the photo is coming up to five years old, I thought I’d share again one of the first moments of meeting her and how it still makes me feel now…..


This is a photo of my first ever feed.  What do you see (apart from the carefully placed ‘x’ to preserve my daughter’s modesty)?  A loving first moment between a new mother and her baby?  Yet another lactivist exposing herself and wanting to show off how great she is?

This photo doesn’t make me feel good.  It makes me cringe.  Not because of my greasy hair, man arms or post baby belly.  Because, knowing what I know now, it is no wonder I had the difficulties I did with breastfeeding.

Save The Children have brought out a document which promotes breastmilk as a superfood, specifically colostrum.  Colostrum is bloody marvellous stuff.  “The most potent immune system booster known to science”.  Of course it is – it comes out of a woman (feminist hippy, get back in your cage!)   They have estimated that 830,000 infant deaths could be avoided if they…

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