Parenting problems

Jumeirah Jane and her pals answer your parenting questions

Jumeirah Jane
Jumeirah Jane
Bur Dubai Brenda
Bur Dubai Brenda
Ranches Rebecca
Ranches Rebecca
Mirdif Mary
Mirdif Mary
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Meet the panel...

Jumeirah Jane: The queen bee in the mothering hive, designer-clad JJ is unfailingly immaculate. Her hectic social life makes her too busy to work, but her son, Jasper, is always puzzled when people refer to Jane as his mummy – the live-in maid is far more of a mother figure to him than JJ will ever be.

Bur Dubai Brenda: Brenda is a left-wing pessimist (although she’d prefer to think of herself as a realist). She’s got one son, Ben, and she’s not in any hurry to add to her brood – holding down a full-time job without a maid to help out in the apartment provides her with more than enough to worry about, thank you very much.

Ranches Rebecca: Rebecca lives the dream: the daily run she takes while pushing the buggy keeps her in fabulous shape, and her tot, Ralphie, has that ruddy, happy glow that only comes from home-made smoothies and carrot sticks. Her family’s weekends are spent hiking and camping in the desert or on the beach.

Mirdif Mary: A hippy at heart, Mary does all she can to give her kids, Marcus, Mackenzie and Marie, a bohemian, eco-conscious upbringing. She’s installed a solar panel on her villa’s roof, grows her own veggies, and she’s never happier than when she and the family are relaxing with an organic picnic in Al Mamzar Park.


The others

I recently hosted my little girl’s first birthday party and a horrible realisation dawned on me: while I love my own daughter, I hate other people’s children. Am I a bad person?
Cruella DV, The Green Community.

Jumeirah Jane says…
Oh sweetie, of course it’s OK to hate kids – in fact if you actually liked other women’s snotty little ragamuffins you’d need to be sectioned. Let’s face it: they scream, they barf and they’re all too fond of other unmentionable acts of physical grotesqueness. Last time I went to see Jasper in a school play, back in 2004, I was absolutely horrified at what I witnessed. Bottom scratching, parping and belching were the least of it. If you want to avoid such horrific scenes in your own home in the future, I would advise you to tell everyone that you suffer from a terrible allergy to light and not resurface until your daughters’ foxy male friends are old enough to party with.


Swing on, sister

I’ve got a bit of a playground conundrum: our local park only has two swings, and they seem to be the most popular things to play on. If another child approaches while my two are on them, I’m always very quick to transfer mine to the see-saw, but there’s one mum in particular who just won’t budge. Is this incredibly inconsiderate or am I being overly sensitive?
From polite parent, Rashidiya.

Bur Dubai Brenda says…
The appalling lack of manners in Dubai is one of the things I hate most about this city (along with the maid culture, racial inequalities and consistent failure to screen the British version of The Apprentice). When I was a girl, parents instilled in their kids a strict sense of fairness: we’d squeal with delight for our allocated five minutes’ swinging time and then dutifully move on to other, less fun, bits of equipment – the slide perhaps, or that rocking animal that no one ever wants to go on. Now I am well aware of the fact that kids who’ve been brought up here have an utter disregard for other people’s feelings – but for their parents to also demonstrate such flagrant ignorance of the rules of the park is inexcusable. Next time, plant a chewed glob of gum on the seat in advance and then see how much the beastly woman loves putting her children on the swings.


Doo-dah dilemma

My twins are beginning to build their vocabularies and the time has come to teach them the names of their body parts. I’m no prude, but I’m struggling with what to call their rudey bits. Should I be strictly scientific or give them cute nicknames?
Puzzled on The Palm.

Ranches Rebecca says…
This is one of the weightiest questions on new parents’ minds, and it can be a particularly nightmarish linguistic dilemma when dealing with other people’s children, who will inevitably use different terms. Confusion is rife, and it can get messy. I am not a fan of using the proper anatomical names – it’s just too clinical. I personally favour ‘winkle’ and ‘foo-foo’, though I have asked around the Ranches and variations include ‘mini-mo’, ‘doo-dah’, ‘tuppence’, ‘lettuce’, ‘willy’, ‘banana’ (or ‘nana’ for short) and ‘dooberry’. One friend confessed to calling her son’s bits his ‘worm’. I, however, would advise against using this, or anything else alluding to smallness – it could lead to extreme embarrassment further down the line.


Off on the wrong foot

My nursery-age daughter is going through a phase of wearing her shoes on the wrong feet – be they Crocs, flip-flops or trainers. I don’t really mind this, but other mums have started to comment. What should I tell them?
Manuela Blahnik, JLT.

Mirdif Mary says…
Every child should be free to express themselves in any way that they feel to be appropriate. Marcus, my own little chap, is currently going through a phase of wearing lipstick (whale-friendly, of course) – but, like I keep telling my husband, it’s fine and doesn’t say anything about his personal preferences. (It also means I can tell when he’s been snacking on my home-made meringues – now that’s one form of self-expression I can’t abide by.) At the end of the day, it’s none of the other mums’ business. your precious girl is happy, that’s all that matters.

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