Family · Kids · Parenting

Taking the Horrid Out of Horrid Henry

There’s no denying that Sausage and BB are very different in their personalities; Sausage has always been one of those kids who’s almost¬†too¬†well behaved and Husband and I have wished in the past that she’d been a little more outspoken so that she doesn’t just go with the flow and have her opinion disregarded. BB, on the other hand, is NOT the sort of kid to ever let her opinion go unheard and largely her strong personality is something we cherished (albeit through slightly gritted teeth at times!). Just recently though, we’ve seen a bit of a change in her personality and we couldn’t work out where it was coming from. Her normal strident approach to life was turning into a downright stroppy one, and it’s something which was impacting all of us.

One of the phrases which had mysteriously entered her vocabulary was “IT’S NOT FAIR”, which was usually accompanied by some sort of pout and throwing herself bodily onto the nearest soft surface, and I just couldn’t work out where it was coming from…until Sausage mentioned one of BB’s recent televisual favourites…Horrid Henry.

It wasn’t until Sausage mentioned how often Henry utters this phrase that we realised the direct correlation between BB watching the show and this phrase becoming her go-to protest. With age-gap kids, there was no doubt we’d face a bit of attitude from BB purely because Sausage is given a little more leeway and responsibility than her little sis – it’s normal; Sausage is nine, BB is three. However, the push-back has been so much worse of late and I’m definitely laying some of the blame on Henry!

I must confess, I’ve always been hugely sceptical when people blame things like TV or video games for kid’s behaviour. I’m a child of the Eighties, Husband of the late Seventies, so video games feel like they belong to OUR generation and I’ve seen far more evidence-based studies which prove positive effects of TV and computer games than the negative ones. We’ve always been pretty chilled out with what we let them watch and how much screen time we let them have, and with Sausage it never seemed to be an issue, but sometimes we forget that with BB, we’re not parenting Sausage Mark II, we’re dealing with a totally different kid…that and the fact that Sausage never watched a TV show, the entire premise of which was of a bratty little shit who no one actually likes!

So, in a somewhat unprecedented move for Husband and I, we’ve put a temporary ban on all things Horrid Henry for now, and if it makes a difference it will probably become a permanent ban. Instead of allowing BB to watch it when she’s using Netflix, we’re guiding her to shows where the characters aren’t mean and nasty all the time, where there’s no cries of “IT’S NOT FAIR” in every episode and where the main plot lines don’t revolve around mean-spiritedness. I never thought I’d be THAT mum, but it seems I am. And, after just a cursory search, it seems that we’re not the only ones either – I’ve found DOZENS of tweets from other parents about how they’ve banned Horrid Henry from their houses, making me feel a little bit less like Mary Whitehouse.

Horrid Henry Banned Tweets Horrid Henry Banned Tweets 2

Have you ever banned your kids from watching a TV show because of the effect it had on their behaviour? Did it make a difference? (we’re only 24 hours in and it already seems to be making a difference to BB but that could be a fluke) Do you think that it’s all nonsense and that TV doesn’t really affect the way they behave? I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions on this so please do leave me a comment below.

Baby · Family

Toddler Tantrums

toddler tantrumsIt’s safe to say that Burrito Baby, although only 16 and a half months old, is going through that pre-Terrible Twos phase. You know, the one where parents (half-bald from having pulled handfuls of their hair out…) can be heard muttering “I thought we had months before these tantrums started” whilst trying to restrain a caterwauling toddler smeared with what you can only HOPE is Nutella. She’s a gorgeous little girl with a huge personality and kindness in absolute buckets, but when she wants to kick-off, BOY, does she kick off.

Here’s a list of things she’s done just THIS WEEK:

  • Tried to climb inside my knickers while I was doing a wee and then slapped the bath when I gently removed her
  • Used her own foot as a club to hit herself in the face with when I told her all the strawberries had gone
  • Headbutted a wall, sofa, mattress, plate of scrambled egg and the dog in response to the word “no”
  • Poked herself in the eyes and yanked her own eyelids when I stopped her from climbing the kitchen steps by herself
  • Hit me, Husband and Sausage, all at different times, for not bending to her will

The thing is, I’m not a hitter. I’m not judging other parents who’ve used that as a method of reprimand, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I never had cause to smack Sausage, even once, and I tapped BB on the back of the hand after she hit her sister once, and then spent hours feeling sick about it.

Shouting doesn’t work – my voice is generally like white noise, unless I’m saying the word “biscuit” or “Skips” to my daughters, so raising my voice above her own tends to just leave us all with a headache. Also, poor Sausage inevitably gets drowned out in the crossfire, and I see her sitting there amongst all the shouting and feel horrendous for her.

Having said all of this, Burrito Baby is an amazing kid. As I said above, she’s kind and sweet and she’s also got a killer sense of humour. She’s already got a sense of what makes us all laugh and loves nothing more than tweaking our funny bones. Just recently, we had the following conversation:

Me: “BB, can you can ‘purple’?”

BB: “TURTLE!”

Me: “Okay, BB, can you say ‘turtle’?”

BB: *said with a super cheeky grin and an eye roll* “NO!”

She also does random acts of affection; BB is never happier then when all five of us are in the same room, and she’ll do this thing where she goes around the room giving us all kisses, over and over again, first Mummy, then Daddy, then Sausage, then Chuck, then back to Mummy. She feeds off of how happy it makes us and how we all laugh along together and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

So, while I may moan and sometimes wonder what the hell I’m going to do with my little hooligan, especially as we’ve not even reached the Terrible Twos Proper yet, I think about the way that her personality is developing and the lovely little things she does and I know we can all weather the stormy parts together.

We love you, BB.