Wednesday, 3 April 2013



When I first agreed to start looking after my niece for my sister, after not having her in my life for over two years (long story that's now water under the bridge as far as I'm concerned), I kind of knew that it wasn't going to be an easy task but there was no way I was prepared for how hard it is to keep a child of that size and age happy for 8 hours a day. I had the whole thing planned out - in half hourly stages too. How wrong was I? In my head I thought 'Oh, we'll do this for half an hour and then we'll go feed the ducks for an hour and then we'll come home and colour-in for half an hour...' Something like that anyway. The reality was a very steep learning curve which lead to some very surprising realizations. 

I discovered the following things:

1. Do not try to organize children around a time frame. They always find a way to make you late or simply distract you so you forget what the time is anyway.

2. There is absolutely no point in child proofing your house because no matter what you do if they're determined enough to get into that cupboard/up the stairs/in the bin - then they will.

3. If the oven is on then check the temperature on it regularly - little fingers are apt to turn knobs up and down to 'see what they do'. I would recommend checking any timers as well as after my niece had left to go home one evening Dave and I were assaulted with a chorus of timers going off that I wasn't even aware she has set in the first place. They frightened the life out of me.

4. Cats do not like being sprayed repeatedly with perfume by little girls that want everything to smell 'gaw-juss'. Minnie ended up smelling like the better part of a third of a bottle of Versace Yellow Diamond and my perfume collection wept in the process.

5. Once you make cookies then they are automatically meant to all be eaten as soon as they come out of the oven apparently. Kids do not have much self control. Then they will be sick and/or on the biggest sugar rush you've ever witnessed. Sugar rushes and children are not a good combination.

6. Children repeat absolutely EVERYTHING. I dropped something on the floor by accident that could have smashed and accidentally said 'Oh shit!' - cue 'Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!' from her for five minutes before I distracted her with the Magic Roundabout DVD and she promptly forgot what I had said. Phew.

7. Kids have expensive taste in make-up. My cosmetics collection is the biggest source of intrigue in the world at the moment for little missy, made brutally painful to watch because she will bee-line for the high-end stuff. My favourite Dior lipstick has now had be hidden in one of the top cupboard shelves in the kitchen. No more Barbie pink lipsticks for my collection from now on.

8. The word 'No' is apparently to be negotiated. I say 'No munchkin you can't live in my out-house.' She says 'Why? Its a house.' and so I say 'Because it's dirty.' and so she says 'Clean then!' My niece isn't even three but has a intellectual capacity that out does even the most advanced of some Chavs I have known in my life.

9. A small child has the capacity to hit notes of noise which only dogs can sense. The ringing in your ears? That is the swan song of that level of noise you'll never ever hear again. She will deafen me eventually. I'm putting money on it.

10. When a child you're just getting to know and has only seen you a handful of times says 'I lub you Auntie Helen - I want to stay here with you!' it is possibly one of the best feelings in the world. Ever.


  1. This is an awesome post. I was nodding and smiling the whole way through!

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

    1. Thanks Louise - haha these are lessons I will definitely keep in mind when I have kids of my own! xxx

  2. I have very similar experiences with my 2 and a half year old niece. Very very challenging but so rewarding when she says to me 'you're my best friend Auntie Laura' or 'I love you'! I bet you slept well after your exhausting day!! x

    1. They are very challenging but that 'I love you' is the best thing to hear in the world! I definitely slept well! I don't know how my sister does it every day - I'm in awe of her haha! xxx

  3. Ahh, I had no idea you did this - I love the rewarding parts, the love and respect you get from little children is totally worth the tantrums in my opinion.

    1. Definitely although the first time I saw a tantrum I was like ''Errrr what do I do?!" haha - she's very rewarding though so I don't pay much attention to when she's screaming any more :) xxx

  4. Brilliant and funny post Helen! I love it! I dont have kids and rarely look after them so these were useful (and amusing) and I hope to use them in the future!

    Your niece is adorable :-)


    1. Awww Grace thanks - shes the spit of my sister haha when she was that age and has the attitude to match! Glad you liked the post :) xxx


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