Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Cinderella Spilt the Pheasant Stew

This will probably be my last blog of 2008, so I’ve decided to do an update on a few things before slipping quietly into 2009 …

I’ve neglected my blog this past week. I’d like to say I’ve had ‘Bloggers Block’. In part I have but we also got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas which has been slightly distracting. We’ve had a ball, quite literally. We bowl together on wii sports … usually betwixt the hours of 6 and 7am. The 4 year old is the family Kingpin. I on the other hand have all the grace of an elephant and have nearly taken out a glass overhead light fitting on more than one occasion with my over exuberant bowling style.

The 2 Year Old still has the original batman t-shirt and now a long sleeved version which he refuses to wear, a Batman figure, the notorious cape (which he has worn for approximately 40 seconds) and some wrist cuffs which were the cheapest but most successful of his Christmas gifts.

Another spate of undetected ear infections are over so his hearing is up again and his speech is coming along. He has had five ear infections this year alone – they last between 2-3 weeks. There are no outward signs until his ear pops and gunk comes out. We visit the Dr – they say ‘Oh yes, I see, but he’s fine now, goodbye’ – I say ‘Oh yes, he’s fine now, but this is the 5th time this year. That’s around 15 weeks of living in a bubble. His speech is affected! Do something about it’. Reluctantly they have referred him – we only have to wait another 4 months till we go to the hospital to speak to an ‘ear professional’ (who I’ll probably have to cry and blow snot bubbles at) and then another few months until something will be done. With my calculations that’s another 3-4 ear infections and many weeks of deafness. Oh well – at least he can say cracker coherently now.

He is doing really well with his OAP childminders – after all my stressing. He is always happy to go to them – and equally happy to return to the bosom of his mother. In his first week I had to explain the 2 year olds ear problems to them so they didn’t think he was rude and ignoring them. They in turn told me a long, drawn out story (5 minutes before I was due at work) about their son. He suffered from a similar problem during childhood and to summarise ‘had his ears off twice, but it is fine because, although he needs a hearing aid and is dyslexic he is also a Dr’. To add insult to injury ‘his feet are so big that he couldn’t buy a Citroen car’. Although reassuring to hear about his triumphs I had to rush off, I then spent my day at work haunted by the vision of my boy having his ears removed TWICE.

The 4 year old is still bossy and has decided she will call her first born ‘Jesus’. She got a Cinderella dress for Christmas and has worn it for approximately 36 hours out of 48. The only reason she hasn’t worn it for longer is because she spilt pheasant stew down it and I had a three day laundry strike during the festive season.

She’s had a terrible hacking cough over Christmas and I am sick of saying ‘cover your mouth when you cough’ every 45 seconds. After 3 sleepless nights I relented and gave her some ‘night time’ cough medicine. I say relented because as you know the 4 year old has a bad reaction to sugar and additives. Cough medicine is full of colourings and sugar. We were desperate and it promised us that she would sleep soundly. No such luck – the man visited and she thrashed about all night whilst shouting and screaming random sentences.

The Husband got Guitar Hero : World Tour for the Wii, so spends his evenings strumming to an imaginary stadium of thousands in his band ‘Jumbo Ballsack’. I have learnt not to speak whilst he is ‘performing’; it makes for an easier life. We are planning his birthday party for January and he is seemingly unworried by hitting the big 40. His only concern is that overnight his pubic hair will go grey.

Me – I got the BIGGEST hamper of Green & Black’s chocolate for Christmas. My body is currently 70% cocoa solids. I’ve had an eye infection, usually I wear contacts but I had to forgo them for antibacterial eye drops and my ‘Evil Edna’ glasses. My eye was so sensitive that on Christmas Eve I had to watch TV with one of the 2 year olds socks wrapped round the right lens. I would have been much better off with an eye patch.

On Boxing Day morning I was sat with my sister on the kitchen floor watching the kids racing mini santa’s on sleighs. The children were arguing about which Santa they wanted (there was a choice of 12). My sister watching them said “I remember thinking it would be great to have my children close together” (she has the same age gap between her kids as I do – my niece and nephew are now 12 and 14) she pointed at the 2 and 4 year old who were grappling with a shiny green sleigh and hitting each other “but often I wondered if I’d done the right thing – this is one of the worst ages”.

I on the other hand think there is probably far worse to come and I look forward to sharing it with you all!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Nigella Does Jamie At Christmas

We were invited to see Polar Express (in 3D) at the IMAX in Bradford this weekend. Unfortunately we had to decline. We were on a mission to IKEA for 8 x 250ml kilner jars … as you do, the last Saturday before Christmas. Let’s just say that the husband has watched too much ‘Nigella Does Jamie At Christmas’ this week and our kitchen is a veritable hubbub of festive produce. As I type he is polishing his jars for his cranberry and apple chutney.

Luckily we decided to pass on the Polar Express and return directly home. I say luckily because later on my friend (teacher friend mother of three) told me that she had had to leave the IMAX with her eldest child (age 4). She was scared and they had to stand in the foyer where there was an exploding poo situation in the toilets (hopefully the 4 year old and not her) and a host of Cliff Richard Christmas songs being piped out. On the way home she asked her 2 year old son if he’d had a good time, he replied “No, I had a scaredy time”. Once home her husband admitted that they indeed have the film in their DVD collection and could have, instead, been scared in the comfort of their own home. To add further insult to an already expensive and frightening injury it is also on TV on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, I had snuggled on the sofa after our IKEA scramble for some pre bed cartoon fun, when I noticed The Goonies was on Boomerang. Caught up in childhood nostalgia we watched, and laughed at Chunk’s ‘truffle shuffle’. I thought we’d struck gold; my little munchkins cuddled up in their pyjamas, the fire roared and the smell of cranberries wafted through the house. Once the nostalgic thoughts had cleared I actually fast forwarded the film in my mind and started to remember it in more detail; skeletons, scary Italian mafia types and the character Lotney ‘Sloth’ Fratelli … then on our TV … cue dead body falling out of an industrial freezer on top of a child.

4 year old –“Mummy that man is FAST asleep”


I don’t think we’ll be entertaining anything more perilous than Tom & Jerry from now on.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Sprucing it up

(Almost) a new year a new blog. Well not entirely. The content will be the same, I'll be the same, I will forever be tired wishing there were more hours in the day.

I’m going to ‘do it up’ give it a makeover - new colours, new logo (hopefully), better layout. Give it a new lick of paint, make it more user friendly, better on the eye. All those terms the husband, who is a graphic designer by trade, hates.

Who knows – he might even create a new logo for me …. I’d like to think out of husbandly love but more out of embarrassment that people who really know me won’t think he is responsible for the fuzzy makeshift one that is there now.

Please bear with me whilst it is fiddled with.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Free Willy

Incident 1

We were snuggled on the sofa watching Channel 4's ‘Willie’s Perfect Chocolate Christmas’ and drooling as he made these.

The 4 year old was engrossed, she loves cooking programmes, moreso if they involve chocolate.

She gets up and points at the man on the TV “Is his name Willie?”

“Yes it is” I confirm, knowing exactly where this is going.

4 year old – “Really? WILLIE?”

Me – “Yes, now ssssshhhhhhh”

4 year old – “BUT, boys have a willy!” she shouts in astonishment as she falls back onto the sofa in fits of giggles.

… closely followed by Incident 2

4 Year old – “Mummy, Mummy come and look at what he can do with his willy”

At the time I was washing up. As I dried my hands and rushed to my 2 year old, my thoughts were as follows;

  • Oh my god – he’s chopped it off with the scissors (after all we haven’t visited A&E in over a month).
  • He’s allowed the 4 year old to felt tip on it and add festive glitter (modern art?).
  • He’s trapped it in something (we haven't had a really embarrassing A&E trip yet).

Nothing would surprise me anymore in this house. These options may seem farfetched, but not as farfetched as the 3 year old (friend of a friend of a friend's friend) I am aware of who was able to proudly put a whole mini diecast dinosaur in his foreskin before his mother drummed the perils of sharp objects and nether regions into him.

Fortunately it was none of the above.

I walked into the living room to find him lying on the sofa watching Lazytown.

4 year old – “Show Mummy what has happened …”

My 2 year old casually revealed himself, not taking his eyes off the TV.

4 year old – “Look Mummy it’s pointing upwards”

Me – “Oh yes, so it is. It’s Scooby Doo next, does anyone want a biscuit?”

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Click Click Click

I have very few memories of my mother. The trauma of her death at a young age has wiped a lot of my early memory and kept a lot of memories I’d rather have lost. I was 7 when she was diagnosed with cancer and 9 when she died. I have memories of my childhood … hundreds … but not many with her in them.

I have boxes and albums stuffed with photos. I often look through them and it can trigger memories of an event but not of the interaction we shared, normal everyday moments shared between a mother and child. The kind of moments I share with my children that I know I shared with her but have no recollection of. A goodnight kiss, snuggling up for a bedtime story, holding hands as we walk down the street … all gone in the dust of death.

I have only two very different memories that have stayed.

Memory 1
We were at a neighbour’s house. I was playing with my friends; the adults were all chatting and laughing in the living room. It must have been a party of sorts because there were a lot of people there. We were running up and down the stairs, racing round the house. It was late, I was tired and hot and I went to my mum for a cuddle. She sat me on her knee; she lifted my long hair up and blew cold air on my neck to cool me down, breaking off to laugh with her friends. We sat like that for a long time, together. It is a tender moment that I treasure.

Memory 2
Driving somewhere, just the two of us, Mum and me. I was sat in the backseat. I had a plastic toy gun which made a click noise when the trigger was pulled. Cheap plastic against cheap plastic; Click, Click, Click. I realised that this noise, although not annoying to me, was grating to my mum. I evidently clicked one too many times because I was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t stop it would be going out of the car window. I must have weighed up the seriousness of her threat before … CLICK. Without saying a word, and still driving, she removed the gun from my hand, wound down the window and threw it, wound up her window and continued on our journey as if nothing had happened.

I have a lot of memories of my father’s parenting which was fairly laid back unless I crossed the line in which case I knew about it.

I often think about the way I parent my own children. On a bad day I am a ‘show no mercy’ gun slinger and on a good day I am a laid back tender neck blower.

I need to learn how to be a mixture of gun slinger and laid back tender neck blower all the time!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Raspberry beret

It was the 4 year olds nativity last night, shortly after this cheese related incident.

Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus were in attendance along with, of course, a token donkey, several angels and some camels.

Also present were my daughters class dressed as French people complete with berets and stripy tops. Disappointingly, no further ‘string of onions’ stereotyping.

Another class wore traditional African dress, albeit made from Grandma’s curtains.

… and the well known Christmas classic that was being belted out in the school hall ….

Brown Girl in the Ring, as sung here by Boney M of course

Friday, 12 December 2008

Swallowing the cheese whole

Unusually the children opted for a snack tea tonight. They normally have a hot meal, but with the 4 year olds school nativity looming in a couple of hours I was more than happy to oblige.

The 4 year old specifically asked for cheese and tomato sandwiches. We were down to the bare essentials (milk and bread) and our Tesco delivery was not due till the following day.

Luckily during my lunch break I had popped to the shops and taken advantage of a BOGOF (Buy One Get one Free) offer on some mature cheddar.

The 2 year old decided to ‘help’ make tea. This ‘help’ usually involves him standing on a step against the worktop and fiddling with anything hot, sharp and/or electrical.

I was at the fridge explaining to the 4 year old that we were out of tomatoes when there was a squeal of delight, usually only associated with mischief.

I turned to see our dog (a large brown Labrador) with a whole block of cheese in her mouth and the 2 year old smiling. He just shrugged at me and said ‘she's hungry’ whilst pointing at the dog who was trying to work out whether she could swallow the cheese whole.

I wanted to scream ‘She’s always bloody hungry – she’s a Labrador’, but I composed myself and launched myself across the kitchen to remove the cheese from the dog's jaws.

I’m not sure what I planned to do with the cheese but for the briefest of moments I actually believe the thought that I may still be able to use the cheese in some way for tea crossed my mind.

The cupboards were bare, it was toilet paper sandwiches with milk or dog cheese sandwiches. Then I remembered the BOGOF offer I had taken advantage of earlier, I threw the soiled cheese in the bin and my children were saved from dogitis.

In the past our dog has eaten (stolen from the kitchen) frozen mince, a tub of margarine, a pomegranate, 3 large alter style candles, 2 loaves of bread, a bunch of bananas (complete with skins) and a full nappy to name but a few. Compared to that lot a block of cheese must have been a taste sensation … nearly.

So near but yet so far.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

She only licks the icing ...

I have always been very conscious of the amount of sugar that the 4 year old eats. Anything more toxic than chocolate buttons and her head is guaranteed to spin as she bounces off the walls. I kid you not; she even has nightmares (usually about the man) when she’s overdosed on sugar. Don’t even get me started on fizzy drinks or Fruit Shoots. Snack wise I always try and lean towards the raisins/fruit option before the sweets and biscuits. This has thus far worked and makes life much easier. Both children have their fair share of sweets and biscuits, just in moderation. Control freak? Me? Never.

I am already twitching at the start of the ‘silly season’. Christmas is a time of many parties … out spring the guilty pleasures of my 4 year old; Cheesy Wotsits, buns (of which she only licks the icing) and unsolicited party bags brimming with a variety of sweets.

I recently discovered that the forces are against me; the force of Daddy. On the way to school we saw a sign outside a local shop advertising ice cream. As I had just scraped ice off my car I thought it amusing and made a comment to the 4 year old about it not being the sort of weather to be partaking in a 99 with sprinkles and sauce. This jolted one of her memories from her ever random memory bank …

Her - “Mummy, once when you were out Daddy said we could have an ice cream and some sweets. Then YOU rang to say you were on your way home and he said we couldn’t have anything because you’d tell him off”.

Me - “Do you think I’m mean?”

Her - “Yes”

Me - “Do you think Daddy’s mean?”

Her - “No”

I may be mean but he’s busted and he doesn’t even know it (until, that is, he reads this).

My husband would live on Midget Gems if he could. He has learnt to conceal his quarter bags of the little buggers from the children. Unfortunately, even the 2 year old who we suspect suffers from periodic deafness can identify the rustle of a paper bag filled with sweets. On the occasions they have discovered his stash they beg him, with their big eyes for a hit of the good stuff. He of course crumbles under the weight of his heart being tugged and the gentle whine of his beautiful babies. This, I have found, often happens within half an hour of bedtime and also coincides with the nights I am on bath and bed duty.

This, I refer to as ‘Daddy writing cheques that Mummy has to cash’.

Monday, 8 December 2008


We joined our friends and went on Santa Express yesterday. We BOOED at Scrooge and cheered for Santa. We sang for Rudolph and looked at the clown, that well known Christmas icon, with bemusement. The 2 year old who is frightened of adult sized rabbits, dogs and reindeers didn’t cry as in previous trips. He was brave. Most importantly, the thimble full of sherry was of much better quality than last year.

Everyone piled back to our house for lunch; in total eight children and eight adults. We had a great time and the children managed to spread our collection of toys throughout the house. Will Mr Potato Head ever be reunited with his left arm? Will Barbie ever wear her swimsuit again? Only time will tell.

The 2 year old and his friend nearly flooded the kitchen whilst helping themselves to a drink. The 4 year old girls argued with the 4 year old boys and were then reunited over a spot of trampolining on the bed, monster fighting and bun eating.

The highlight of my daughter’s day and my own, apart from meeting Santa of course, was the new game … ‘Skidders’.

The rules of skidders; You stand at one end of the kitchen and when told to, by the bossy 4 year old who is recording the event on her plastic camera, run and then skid on your knees or feet to the end of the kitchen (which is fairly long). Finishing in a flourish earns bonus points.

My husband’s inner 4 year old couldn’t resist and he too joined ‘skidders’ for a short while.

When they had finished, the 4 year old came through with her friend O and announced very proudly that he was the winner. “O is the winner, he has done the best skidders!”

Oh the naivety of it all. My inner 12 year old though it was hilarious as did O’s parents who are now proudly nurturing ‘Yorkshire’s Supreme Skidder 2008’.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Mrs No Arms & The Slippy Slidy Day

This one is for Sue over at The Book Chook and Potty Mummy over at The Potty Diaries.

During the night it snowed, big fat snowflakes fell as we slept.
I don't know who was more excited when we opened the curtains; me, the 4 year old, the 2 year old or the dog. School closed for the day. As we ate breakfast we watched several cars try and fail in varying slippy slidy ways to get down our street.

After breakfast several layers were put on topped off with waterproofs and we braved the snow.

We built 'Mrs No Arms';

Then the 2 year old took off his gloves and ran round the car knocking the snow off;

Then Mummy put down the camera and the dog joined us. The daft dog loves to catch snow in her mouth much to the 2 year olds delight and cackles. Unfortunately, during the final 'snow throw', the dog caught the snow in her mouth and collided with the 2 year olds head which resulted in a deep cut between his eyes, blood all over my new Berghaus, a visit to the emergency Dr and some steri strips, like so;

As he is also Batman in his spare time, he wasn't out of action for long and returned home for some leapfrog with his sister;

Last night I hoped it would snow, tonight I hope that school is open so I can go to work for a rest. The 4 year old is hoping Mrs No Arms will live to see another slippy slidy day full of fat snowflakes.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A Damp & Slightly Smelly Masked Crusader

Batman has loomed large in our lives for six months, maybe longer. Batman is a t-shirt, a greying, once black t-shirt, with the word Batman and picture of Batman himself.

The 2 year old is infatuated with the t-shirt. He is so obsessed, that at any given time he can tell you at what stage in the laundry process it is at; washing basket, washing machine, tumble drier or ironing pile. He is only truly at peace when the t-shirt is touching his skin; no other item of clothing comes close. My son has his foibles; Batman is one of them along with wearing socks in bed and using a giant spoon to eat yoghurt.

We had a Batman related accident this evening. Everything was rosy in the house of Laura. The snow was falling, the house was roasty toasty and the children were playing nicely (No, really!) whilst I made tea … until the 2 year old visited the toilet that is. My newly toilet trained boy must have forgotten to aim because tonight he peed on Batman. He came out of the downstairs bathroom upset and half naked (he always strips from the waist down when he goes to the toilet). I tried to wrestle the wet t-shirt off him which turned into a violent struggle with me tugging the t-shirt and him fighting to keep it on. I won; he collapsed in a fully naked heap on the carpet near our front door, as fat snowflakes fell on the other side of the glass. I foolishly offered an alternative garment which was instantly dismissed (with shouting and probably the odd snot bubble or two). I left him to it. He continued to blubber until hunger got the better of him and he joined us at the table – now naked from the waist up. The chill had evidently reached his nether regions and he had sensibly put his underpants and trousers back on. Whilst he ate he looked at me sideways with disparagement as if it were me who had urinated on Batman.

On a shopping trip a few months ago I saw a Batman jumper – which would be much more appropriate for this time of year. I was torn between buying one for every day of the week and not buying one at all. I decided that I must stop feeding his habit and chose the latter option.

However … I had a weak moment at a recent church led toddler group. A woman was selling Batman capes. Not just any old common or garden Batman capes …. Feel good; give yourself a pat on the back ‘Fairtrade’ Batman capes made in Africa. All thoughts of not encouraging the ‘Batman habit’ were gone as I buckled under the pressure and purchased one. It is a thing of splendour, all the more so because it was handmade by someone in the developing world (pat pat). It is now laying in wait in my Christmas present hidey hole, ready to KERBOOM and POW its way through the festivities.

When he starts school I will be the mother trying to coax her child out of the fancy dress outfit and into his school uniform in the cloakroom … telling him that “Batman never wore his cape to school” and then whispering slyly “If you shut up and stop yelling you can have a Batmobile for Christmas”.