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excellent piece in the Times on 'our' Carrie and Justine

14 replies

nasa · 21/11/2004 18:39

mumsnet ladieees

OP posts:
Tommy · 21/11/2004 18:46

Hey - that's a really good article! Well done

oooggs · 21/11/2004 19:00

Well done I am impressed, but not suprised

Hausfrau · 21/11/2004 19:02

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Bunglie · 21/11/2004 19:11


Fame for 'Soupy' as well! I thought it was a really good write-up

LIZS · 21/11/2004 19:13

Nor me is it today's cos we do have a copy of most of it ?

codswallop · 21/11/2004 19:16

Careful, he bites . . .
Carrie and Justine are the Trinny and Susannah of parenting. So Emma Mahony set them a double challenge ? Millie and Michael

We?re sitting on the sofa, and my three-year-old twins won?t leave our visitors alone. It may be that they?ve sensed the women?s Baby Whisperer powers, or it may just be the novelty of two adults in our front room on a Tuesday morning, but there is no way the twins are leaving. I?ve tried. I?ve given the au pair two sweets to bribe them out, and I?ve offered ten minutes of Scooby Doo before lunch. It isn?t working. Michael is settling in with his thumb in his mouth, and instructing the blonde Carrie Longton to go and get his blanket; Millie is giggling and having her bunches pulled by Justine Roberts.
The two women are the Trinny and Susannah of parenting, having just finished a TV series as domestic troubleshooters, but we?ve abandoned their rule that you should speak about children only when they are in the next room and I?ve resorted to spelling. ?Let?s talk about the B-E-H-A-V-I-O-U-R of M-I-C-H-A-E-L later,? I suggest.

?Before we start,? Roberts says, ?can I just say that we are not parenting gurus.? Well that?s a relief; the world hates a parenting guru. ?In fact,? she continues, ?I sent my daughter to school in a pyjama top this morning to avoid a row.? Roberts, 37, and Longton, 39, are founders of the website, a four-year-old grassroots phenomenon that receives 400 new conversational postings every day, and 100,000 ? unique visitors? every month. The pair met at an antenatal class, have five children between them, and 25,000 fully paid-up ?members? of their site, who chat and swap tips on subjects from divorce to bottle feeding to help other ?lurkers? out there or mothers joining in the ?threads?.

The TV series, Mum?s the Word, operates on the same ?it worked for me? approach to child rearing. In programme eight, when 16-month-old Hermione refuses to eat her food at the table and drinks only milk, Roberts and Longton agree a plan with the mother to feed her ten snacks a day in the bath or in front of the television. A shot of Granny at the table looking decidedly unhappy about the new regime is replaced by mother gushing that after a week of sitting on the floor ?it has absolutely changed our lives . . . I felt neurotic, but I?m so relaxed about it now and Hermione?s happy again?. All 30 of the case studies in the programme have similar successful outcomes.

My daughter Millie is the dominant twin, often found polishing her halo while Michael is stamping his own into the mud, so before their visit, Roberts had posted some of the problems I was experiencing with my DS (darling son) for the SAHMs (stay-at-home-mums) to tackle.

I?m hoping they have some tricks to help me to stop him running off when getting dressed in the morning and stripping off at any available chance (sometimes, when driving, I find him butt naked under his seatbelt in the car). ?Mumsnetters suggest that when you next dress him, leave his pants down around the ankles until the last moment, so that he topples over if he tries to run off.? Aha, good one. And what about the nudity factor? ?Buy clothes that he can?t undo,? they suggest. ?And accept that it?s perfectly normal behaviour in boys at this age.?

Second, any solutions for puddles around the loo? ?Coloured ping-pong balls in the toilet bowl,? says Justine, ?to make hitting the mark into a game.? Perhaps that might work for other males in the house, too. And, finally, how to avoid continually telling him off for pulling the heads off his brother?s Lego men/drinking juice out of the bottle from the fridge/throwing cutlery on the floor at meal times?

?Buy a hand stamp with a smiley face on, ignore the bad behaviour, and be ridiculously positive about giving him a stamp when he has done something good, such as shutting the door. You?ll feel like a nicer Mummy,? says Longton encouragingly. Hmmm. ?Or,? Roberts suggests, ?use the pasta-jar technique. Each time he does something good, put a piece of pasta in a glass jar so that he can see it. At the end of the week convert each piece into 10p so that he can buy a comic or something.? Mmmm, I like that one. ?The important thing is to agree a plan and to stick to it,? she says. And we all know how easy that is.

Emma Mahony is author of Double Trouble: Twins and How to Survive Them, published by HarperCollins (offer £8.79, call 0870 1608080)

All in the family

Brace yourself for a rash of child-rearing programmes: reality parenting is the new gardening makeover. The success of Supernanny means more will follow, and Mum?s the Word, the series-of-the-book-of-the-website, is among the first.

Justine Roberts and Carrie Longton come across as supportive, positive presenters, with not a hint of Trinny and Tranny?s bossiness. But what shines through many of the programmes is the isolation facing mothers. Where are the professionals ? the midwives, health visitors or nurses popping in to see these women with their crying and non-sleeping babies ? or the real, not virtual, support of other mothers at one o?clock clubs or playgroups?

Ironically, internet addiction might contribute to some of the mothers? problems. Last week ?Soupdragon?, a hardened mumsnetter ? some visitors spend up to eight hours on the site and have begged to be banned from it ? posted the following: ?Mumsnet results in neglected children addicted to cable TV who always look for you at the PC first if they want you.? You have been warned.

Mum?s the Word begins on the Discovery Health Channel on Monday

Bunglie · 21/11/2004 19:18

Is this any better HERE

Hausfrau · 21/11/2004 19:44

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LIZS · 21/11/2004 19:46

Thanks Coddy. Which section is it in ?

Bunglie, think it is a probelm because both Hausfrau and I are abroad and you are supposed to subscribe for Times Online. It doesn't recognise my cookies !

JanH · 21/11/2004 19:49

It's not subscribers, hausfrau, it's people abroad - it can tell where you are. If someone knows your email address they can send it on to you using the link at the bottom (I sent Senora P one that way) but you're not allowed in to a UK newspaper page if you're outside the UK (no idea why!)

JanH · 21/11/2004 19:50

Liz, it was a Saturday, and the Life section is in the Weekend Review.

Hausfrau · 21/11/2004 19:58

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codswallop · 21/11/2004 19:59

jan h help me on yuh gi oh

JanH · 21/11/2004 20:03

how, coddy dear? (Am total stranger to it you know.)

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