Sunday, 30 November 2008

A sea of embellishment …

I picked the 4 year old and two of her friends up from school for a fishfinger tea and play.

In the car on the way home I listened to the radio whilst they chatted amongst themselves. I was invited into their banter by one of the 4 year olds friends ……

Friend 1 “Laura, I can swim without any armbands.”
Me “That’s very clever”
Friend 2 “I can swim without any armbands …. last week I swam really, really far in the sea”
Me “I’m not sure you did, I think you can swim with one armband on each arm because I take you to your lessons. Soon you will be able to swim with no armbands”
Friend 2 “BUT I can – I can swim with NO armbands at all”
Me “I see. What happened when you swam with no armbands?”
Friend 2 “I swam really, really far in the sea and then (thinks) … I drownded”

At this point I thought it best to go back to listening to the radio whilst the girls decided what havoc they were going to wreak when they got to our house.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Check Me Out

Don't be fooled by the birthday cake (what birthday cake? I hear you shout). My birthday isn't for another 9 months. Just for the record and for those of you who are unable to decipher the drawings of 4 year olds;

1. I am wearing a party hat ... obviously

2. I do not have breasts on my back, they are wings, I am a 'fairy mummy'

3. The black thing is 'nothing'

4. I am not a hermaphrodite, the protruding bit at the bottom right is the rest of my beautiful orange dress. The 4 year old clearly got waylaid and forgot to finish.

5. I don't normally apply my lipstick as if I was on a rollercoaster.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Things I have said to my children recently …

  • “Don’t drink that, you brother may have had a wee in it”
  • “Maybe the dog doesn’t want you to ride on her back”
  • “Are you eating hair again?”
  • “Go dance in the garage with Daddy”
  • “Santa can only carry so much on his teeny tiny sleigh”
  • “It’s not nice to say fat. Perhaps you should just say that man is very, very big”

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Yo Ho Ho & A Bottle Of Rum

The 4 year old had been invited to a party, a Peter Pan party, none the less. It was fancy dress. Unlike some families we do not stock a full range of outfits for every occasion. Our range consists of a donkey, a reindeer and an ill fitting Baloo. As the theme was not a Nativity guest starring Baloo from The Jungle Book we were screwed. I could see we had options; pirate, crocodile or fairy, but I was only offering one option, the fairy, which was immediately taken up by the 4 year old with great gusto.

I remembered seeing a fairy outfit last time I was in Next (see The eyes). So off we went. NB – most of my potentially embarrassing episodes happen in Next. Either this is indicative of their clientele or I don’t get out much.

We found it, a beautiful lengthy pink sparkly dress with separate wand and wings, altogether costing ….. £28!!! Now I’m not being funny but I thought that was a bit excessive – especially seeing as our entire fancy dress repertoire at home cost a grand total of £8 (Baloo was a hand me down from the big cousins). Flabbergasted I decided to try another, cheaper store. The 4 year old was devastated and I understood her pain. She had already imagined herself in the elegant flowing gown tapping all the boys on the head with her silver wand, turning them into frogs, then fluttering away leaving a trail of fairy dust behind her.

I started to sell the alternative option to her. This is where the day took a spectacular turn. As I suggested “You could be a girl pirate” a woman wearing a black eye patch walked into the store. I looked from the woman back to my inquisitive, loud mouthed, not yet learned subtlety 4 year old. She was digesting my last comment and about to make her retort. I immediately entered stealth mode and scanned for an alternative exit. Realising there were no other exits I mentally traced another route which would take in the shoes and handbags and avoid the one eyed lady. She was a lady, a very respectable silver haired lady, all that was missing was a diamante skull and cross bones on the patch.

I altered our course, guiding the 4 year old to safety, or so I thought. Just as we were on the home run she was there, the lady pirate was closing in, less than a metre away heading straight for us. I shrouded my daughter with my cardigan (in a move I like to call Batmum) and thrusting my finger out, said in a loud and slightly panicky voice – “look at that sparkly handbag, see how it twinkles”. My voice was just loud and my finger thrusting alarming enough to stop the 4 year old mid sentence “But Muuuum, I want to be a fairy, not a girl P……….”

Slightly sweaty and my heart thumping we left. I did at this point think that I was on one of those shows where someone would leap out from behind the Next employee wearing a sash offering catalogues on the door (you know who I mean – and you also avoid them) shouting “Congratulations – we have just observed you on our hidden camera show and you have excellent pirate avoidance techniques – you’ve won a fairy outfit!”

Anyway, I visited an alternative store, a store that was not frequented by pirates. We got five outfits for £7.99. A bargain, or so I thought, until I we got home and discovered that they would only fit a child half her size. She looked like a belly dancing dwarf with wings.

It just goes to show … quality NOT quantity.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Stocking Filler Anyone?

I use statcounter to monitor traffic through the site. I get excitable on a good day and my heart swells with pride, even if the visitors have only spent 0.3 seconds looking … ahem … before moving on to something more interesting.

So, today I pressed the wrong button and up popped ‘keyword analysis’. This tells me what keywords people have used in google before they 'happen up on me', in most cases accidentally.

So let’s start with;

‘toddler tourettes’ – yep, fair enough, clearly it’s a far reaching problem
‘the baby show’ – I get that too
‘sleep fairy dust’ – OK
‘terrible odour in car’ – Yawwwwn, this is getting boring now

… until I get to;

‘tights lycra full body with no head cover mummy’ – WHAT??????

Mr or Mrs X from Trumbull, Connecticut, I think THIS may be what you were looking for. Not only is it a bargain but it’s the string vest version with ‘lots of stretch’, ‘one size fits all’. What’s more it’s ‘Industrial’(?) Unfortunately no head cover available but maybe you could buy two and stitch them together.

I feel violated. I’m off to bathe in antibacterial handwash.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Bottom + Towel = Despair

One of the first things I heard this morning stopped me dead in my tracks. It was my husband. He had just opened the bathroom door and in a shocked voice said to the 4 year old ...

"Have you wiped your bottom on this towel?"

Do I really have to spend this afternoon heading up a masterclass in bottom wiping for the child who has been toilet trained for two years whilst the child who is currently mid toilet training watches on?

I despair, I really do.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

For One Night Only - A New Husband

The 4 year old and I had a sleepover last night. I was looking after the big cousins whilst Auntie K was out of town with work. I took the 4 year old because I had to deposit her at school this morning on my way to work.

The 2 year old stayed home with Daddy and had some man time. I found out later that ‘man time’ involved two walnut whip poos on the potty and stripping a chicken carcass for tea.

I had an odd night’s sleep. I drifted in and out. Bouts of wakefulness were prompted by the 4 year old wittering and flailing in her sleep. At one point she walloped me across the face … accidentally of course.

Even though I slept badly I dreamt I was taking part in Channel 4’s Wife Swap and had swapped my house and family for a gypsy caravan, a new husband and several children.

In ‘real life’ there is a gypsy settlement within a few miles of school. Most of the children from the settlement attend the school. I discovered this one morning as I exited the school gates after dropping the 4 year old off. A transit van sped round the corner with a screech and mounting the kerb came to a sudden halt. It was like a scene from the A-Team, that is, until the side door was thrown open to expose two ladies with pushchairs (already erected with toddlers strapped in) and more than a few school children. Wasting no time they leapt out and proceeded to run towards their different classrooms. It was an incredible sight. The ratio of people Vs van square footage should win a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Unfortunately I was woken mid dream by a foot in the ribs courtesy of the 4 year old. I was most disappointed because I was about to introduce my ‘rules’ to the new family.

My first rule was going to be that the A Team van must be fitted with appropriate seating and seatbelts. My other rules would include me NOT having to empty the chemical toilet or wear large golden hoop earrings.

I will sleep in my own bed tonight. I will sleep clutching my lucky heather.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Six Pairs Of Pants, One Wet Fart

When my daughter had just turned two we started potty training her. She had a keen interest in bodily functions and the thought of wearing ‘big girl knickers’ made her swell with pride. She was prime potty training fodder and got the hang of the basics within a fortnight. At times it was very frustrating, but that frustration had to be hidden behind my ‘Oh dear, don’t worry, let’s try again’ face, for fear of sending her back to square one. At the end of week one I decided that I would bin the offending pants if a rogue poo had occurred rather than scrape the contents into the toilet. It turned out over the next six months that we would have several bouts of regression, sometimes for good reason, sometimes sheer laziness. So it came to pass that the only way back to dry pants was persuasion (bribery) of a chocolate variety.

I am now embarking on the same journey with the 2 year old (who will be 3 in January). My attitude was that I would wait until he was definitely, 100% ready. I’ve found lots of reasons to put it off – starting pre-school, new OAP childminders, not enough pairs of pants. He has repeatedly shown interest in the toilet, choosing to climb atop and squat above. I’m not sure where he learnt this approach, but it works for him. He would be a natural in a French ‘squat toilet’. However he has also shown rebellion in his toilet habits (see ‘The Morning Log’). Now, I’m getting impatient. The final straw came when I had to buy some emergency nappies from the local chemist for double the price I would pay in the supermarket. I want rid. NO MORE NAPPIES.

So, we’re off. Today my boy and I bought another pack of pants. Backup pants. He chose Lazytown ones which have the character Sportacus in an assortment of cheesy poses on the crotch. He lovingly clutched them all the way home. Once home, he immediately stripped and put them on … then did a massive wee in them. Pair number two came out and a discussion about what to do in the event of needing the toilet was had. He nodded, then got on with some serious playing. They lasted 10 minutes. I banned all drinks, even the one he had stashed behind the sofa and pair three made a grand entrance. He coolly announced he needed a poo and obligingly did it on the potty. I cheered, we flushed, he proudly waved goodbye to the poo and replaced his pants. Unfortunately the poo was followed by a wet fart with substance – neither he nor the pants could have seen that coming. The wet fart confused him, I could see it in his eyes, he felt cheated.

I left him alone for a while to bask in his 4th pair of pants. I say left alone, but I shouted ‘do you need a wee’ at regular intervals from the other room. I say regular intervals, try every five minutes.

In my absence he decided that three pairs of pants is better than one and had put them on in a hit and miss style so he couldn’t walk properly – having put his waist through the leg hole on one pair. It was of course this moment that he decided he needed another wee. Once removed, his three pairs of pants were somewhat damp but he still made it to the toilet for the remainder. Being tight I made him wear a damp pair and put the other two on the radiator.
All this activity in an hour.

Next week I have to rely on not only myself, but, the husband, the pre-school and the OAP childminder’s support. Too many cooks …

I’m optimistic though … I’ll have him sorted, even if I have to resort to the chocolate buttons. But please, no more unexpected wet farts.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Note to self – Buy More Bed Linen

The 2 year old started the ball rolling by regurgitating an entire plate of Spaghetti Bolognese down himself and his bed. Apart from the unmistakable smell of sick, it actually looked like it had when I’d presented it to him at tea time. I took the role of chambermaid whilst my husband wiped him down. No sooner had we put him back to bed and settled down to watch TV then he was off again. We automatically assumed our previous roles of chambermaid and chief child cleaner and put him back to bed reluctantly.

We managed another hour without incident before turning in for the night. As I started to drift off I heard it. The ‘burble’. I probably heard it before the 2 year old even considered making it (mothers’ instinct) because I sprang out of bed like a psychotic frog (wearing, of course, just a pair of big knickers) and dashed across the hall to his room. The poor boy was whipped out of bed and held over the toilet to make his final retching of the night.

I wouldn’t have normally been so quick off the mark but we are not a family of plentiful bed linen. In fact the only times I think about stocking up on extra duvet covers, fitted sheets and pillow cases are during episodes like this.

As I got back into bed I received a text from teacher friend, mother of three which said;

‘Two sick children. Is it wrong to bathe your children in antibacterial hand wash?’

I felt a sense of comfort that we were experiencing synchronised puking at opposite ends of the village and glad that under the circumstances I only had one child to find sheets for and not two.
The next day the 4 year old arrived home from a birthday party. As she excitedly told us about the party and was about to tell us what she had eaten she was sick over the length and breadth of the two bottom stairs, her socks and my husband’s jeans. It was quite plain to see that she had in fact been eating Cheesy Wotsits and not much else. As he carried her to the downstairs loo she erupted again all over the carpet (more Cheesy Wotsits and a trace of Party Ring). My poor big little girl spent the rest of the night in the vicious circle of sipping water and then bringing it back up again. In order to save the bed linen which was still in various stages of washing machine/tumble dryer I made her lie on the sofa clutching a bowl until she fell asleep with her face in the bowl (she obviously understood the linen situation too).

I have discovered two things. Cleaning my children’s sick up is an automatic reflex. If it were anyone else’s I’d have had to wear a radiation suit and smear my nasal passages with Vicks VapoRub … and if you don’t remove all the lumps first they just come out of the washing machine clean and intact.

Oh, and I’m not sure … Is it wrong to bathe your children in antibacterial hand wash?

Nothing On Top Thank You

"W*nker" was the first thing I thought I heard from the 2 year old this morning as I woke up. I endured toddler tourettes with the 4 year old when she was a similar age so decided to ignore him and went about the morning rituals.

During the day I tried to think of an occasion when I may have said that word in front of him. I could clearly remember the word ‘sh!t’ accidently falling out of my mouth last week during an incident involving a very hot pan of water and my hand, but not ‘w*nker'. I decided the blame must lay at my husband’s feet.

After school the 4 year old was her normal famished self. I offered her an apple, an orange, a pear or some raisins. As usual she wanted something that was not on the menu. She wanted a cracker. An arid, dry as they come, nothing on top thank you, Jacobs cracker.

Ten minutes later I heard the dulcet tones of the 2 year old quite clearly shouting "w*nker, w*nker, w*nker".

It turns out he shares his sister’s penchant for dried foods. After questioning both him and his sister I have deciphered his new word. It is in fact ‘cracker’. What a relief! If only he shared his sisters language skills too.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Fishfingers, Fireworks and Fate

We are driving home from teacher friend, mother of three’s fishfinger and firework extravaganza. The 4 year old is grumbling about having to leave the fun to go home to bed. The grumbling quickly escalates into a rant with tears and she is given a warning that if she continues she’ll lose a bedtime story. Low and behold … she continues.

“One bedtime story gone” I say.

She stops crying and with an air of injustice says “Mummy, if you are not nice to me I won’t be your child anymore” adding a huff on the end for effect.

I have never heard of social services intervention due to bedtime story withdrawal so I confidently deliver the news that we are stuck with each other forever.

Accepting her doom, she points at the 2 year old who, sensing the unrest has taken to his favourite pastime of raspberry blowing “Will he always be my brother?”

“Yes” I reply “We are stuck with him too”.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Little Miss Attitude

She’s 4 years old going on 13. I just don’t know where she gets it from ….
  • She speaks first, thinks later.
  • If she has too much sugar (a droplet of Ribena and a Jelly Baby is enough) she shouts like a bellowing bison in her sleep.
  • She tells you “I know that” with an air of authority before you’ve finished your sentence.
  • She doesn’t like boys, she only likes girls … but she likes her brother … but not always.
  • She wants pasta for tea … no, she wants chicken … no, she wants sausages … no, she definitely wants pasta
  • She wants to marry her brother even though she likes her brother … but not always.
  • If something doesn’t happen fast enough (like NOW) she weeps with frustration.
  • She doesn’t want school dinners she wants a packed lunch … but she still wants to have rice pudding on a plate and the chocolate with onions in it.
  • She loves PE because she plays the ‘toilet’ game (it is genuine) but hates PE because she can’t get her tights back on without assistance.
  • When playing games she has exasperating determination – she takes her father’s ethos of “you play to win at ALL costs”.
  • She wants to wear shorts and a vest because it’s frosty outside and the sun is bound to come out later because she’s been crossing her fingers.

I find the whole thing baffling.

The 2 year old sticks his tongue out and blows a raspberry if life isn’t going his way. Now that I understand.