The Dark Lord & A Tiny Tyrant Part 2

by Jemma Harvey-Jones
29.01.21 – In which I document my failed attempts at parenting, The Dark Lord (Little M – 2yrs8m) and The Tiny Tyrant (Baby F – nearly 5m)


Thoughts I probably shouldn’t say out loud, things I find funny, musings and ramblings; read with your tongue firmly in your cheek.


Hello, it’s me again. Still in lockdown, still prowling around the house looking for little projects to keep me entertained and still wearing pyjamas (at least on the bottom half – curse those zoom calls that one has to look acceptable for), just like everyone else.  Check, check, checkmate. She lets out a long sigh of despair…

Did you know that according to positive psychology, showing gratitude actually makes you a much happier person? Think back to this time last year and I doubt many of us believed we would be in the situation that we find ourselves in now.  Even if we only rewind a couple of months, remember how hopeful we were that with the end of 2020, so too might come the end of some of this craziness?  Well, they definitely proved us wrong, didn’t they? Anyway, I’m all for more happiness right now, so with this in mind, I thought I’d make a list of some of the things/people I’m grateful for right now…

  1. Cake, because it makes life worth living.
  2. Anna, because she makes incredible cakes – check out our super easy apple cake recipe, here. I think I could potentially live on it.Auntie Anna’s Apple Cake
  3. Hang on, I’m sure I can think of more… Only joking. I honestly feel incredibly lucky about so many things – I’ve had it so good over the past twelve months compared to far too many people. Still, humour aside, this exercise did help me to focus on ‘the bright side’ and has lifted me out of the stale tedium that seems ever easier to drift into. I’d highly recommend it if, like me, you find yourself having ‘one of those days’.

Anyway, let’s talk about our week…

We’ve been trying to potty train The Dark Lord for a while now. To be honest, it’s been an on/off thing since she turned two. On/off in the sense that more often than not, I chicken out by 8am each day; totally spent from using all of my energy to coerce The DL to eat the nourishing breakfast that I have prepared for her (opposed to the contents of the biscuit tin – see last week). It’s just that I have no fight left in me to be singlehandedly engaging in warfare with The DL, whilst Mr WMD calls down from upstairs

“What’s going on down there? Why is Little M crying? Is everything OK? What have you done?”

What have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Oh, you know, just trying to drag an uncompromising Dark Lord through one of those natural steps in her development as I balance The Tiny Tyrant on my hip, unarmed and at my weakest, so that she doesn’t rock up to university in 16 years, still clutching a jumbo pack of Pampers.  Meanwhile YOU ‘work’ (check your pointless Fantasy Football scores) and go to the toilet for half an hour (sit and play on your meaningless golf game because if you don’t do it daily, you’ll lose all of your points). I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience that this may cause to your ears DEAR!

So, as I am sure you are beginning to suspect, The DL continues to make her feelings on the subject of using a potty very clear indeed, despite my best efforts and, aside from one small trickle finding its way into the potty late last August, all attempts to date have been futile. You can’t fault her for the effort that she’s displaying towards making her standpoint crystal clear. The DL’s general plan of attack is to cry/scream until there’s snot not only pouring down her face but somehow this slimy, sticky, rubbery veil is venturing up to her hairline too.  Eventually she’ll begin to gag – although I’m pretty sure at this point we are into actress territory – whilst I start to panic that the neighbours may think I am doing something genuinely terrible to her.  1-nil, or more like 100-nil, to The Dark Lord, Mummy has been guilt tripped/deafened into putting a nappy back on her. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Roughly once a week, I determine that ‘today will be the day’. This week it was Tuesday. I was going to win this time. I was RESOLVED. I was PREPARED.

But before we get into that let’s go back to the summer: Attempt 1 – and it was a strong start. We’d taken off The DL’s nappy and put the potty on the patio with us. I was wedged in the deckchair – heavily pregnant and resembling a beached whale – The DL, with not the slightest of objections was sat by my side, the both of us squeeeeeeeezing and puuuuuushing on demand. Risky, given that The Tiny Tyrant was prepping to make her entry into the world, but one I was willing to take nonetheless, if it meant only one set of nappies to change on a daily basis. There it was, music to my ears, a tinkle into the plastic bowl.

What went wrong? Another parenting fail… perhaps my biggest to date, given the ramifications: I cheered. Yes, I showed great support for my daughter whilst she sat on her throne. As she managed to force one out, elated and eager to encourage her further, I clapped and cried out with glee.  There I was, about to allow myself to celebrate in my naivety of thinking how easy it had been, before The DL promptly burst into tears – only to be mollified with a sugar mouse. I can only imagine that she had managed to relax enough to ‘let it go’, before a second later her body tensed up again. Maybe her muscles have remembered this? Or, she’s just proving that she is still in control of EVERYTHING? After all, the two-year-old definitely wears the trousers in our house.

Anyway, since this fateful day, she has wholly rejected the concept of and has refused to sit on the potty – although she enthusiastically drags it around to climb on, reaching all the things on the higher shelves that she isn’t allowed.

So back to Tuesday.  I’ll talk you through it…

Let’s begin with us buying her some new, super exciting might I add, Peppa pants (or knickies as they are called in our house). It was looking good: These were welcomed with open arms and unreservedly given The DL seal of approval.


Difficulty is, that there is such a thing as liking something too much.

Immediately The DL developed quite a penchant for wearing her Peppa knickies, but one pair wasn’t enough. The DL would not be appeased with anything less than all eight pairs. At once. OVER the top of her nappy. This was not the plan.

After that we tried losing the knickies, we’ve got nowhere to go and no one’s going to be coming into our house, so why not run around the house commando?  So began the frequent reminders/prompts: I must have asked “Do you need a wee-wee?” at least 500 times by 10am. Every single time came a resounding “No!” As far as I was aware there were no puddles on the floor. Surely she couldn’t hold on for much longer? Perhaps if she just spent a little time sitting on the potty, her body would respond naturally? With this in mind I persuaded her to sit on the potty to watch an episode of Peppa Pig. It came to an end and up off her potty she jumped. Straight over to the rug in front of the fire where she did an enormous wee.

We go back downstairs and I resolve to keep quiet about it all. The potty is in plain sight after all, perhaps the pressure is too much and she’ll go if we just back off? I start to feed The Tiny Tyrant so that she’ll hopefully nap over lunch. Five minutes later and I notice little footsteps on the floorboards above me; The DL has quietly drifted out of the room.

“Little M?” I call up the stairs.

“Yes Mummy?”

“Can you come back downstairs please?”

Radio silence. Off I go to collect her… she’s left me a present next to the toilet.

Now that The Tiny Tyrant is here, The DL certainly seems more determined than ever to keep her nappy.  She wasn’t going to win this time though. So, I put her Peppa knickies back on. Twenty minutes later and Mr WMD came back from walking the dogs. Off he went back upstairs to continue with his work.

“Err, Jemma, why is the office chair wet?”

Enough. I put her nappy back on.

On the subject of not wanting to miss out on anything that The Tiny Tyrant has, we’re back to bathing a nearly-three-year-old in the new born bath…

Until next time,

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