Wednesday, 28 January 2009

“Just one more push Mrs D”

I was laid on a hospital bed with cold jelly (not the strawberry kind) on my belly. The man doing the scan told us it was a girl. My second girl, husbands third.

The clothes were in boxes from our first, we had all the equipment and were ready. All we had to do was agree on a name and wonder what our daughter (then 13 months) would make of having to share us with another.

We were delighted but I still took great pleasure in teasing my husband that he would be surrounded by women forever. He had always dreamt of having a son to share his obsessions with. Who would he play or watch golf/football/cricket with? I suggested his daughters, but this did not ease his frustration. His mother kept telling him she was one of five sisters. I reminded him that I wanted lots of children so surely somewhere along the way there would be a boy. I could see the newspaper headlines ‘Woman gives birth to son after 15 daughters’

… and his mother continued to tell him she was one of five sisters.

When my due date came and went I became tired and emotional. The midwife had told me four weeks earlier that she thought the birth was imminent … I believed her. I had an 18 month old rampaging through the house, a husband starting a new business from the confines of the attic and blocked drains; the house, not mine.

My husband and his friend had bought tickets for the White Stripes assuming that the baby would arrive on or before her due date. How I laughed ... probably because weeping and rocking back and forth was the only other option at this point.

Seven days past my due date we arrived at the hospital for a check up and I was given a stretch and sweep (which is as uncomfortable as it sounds). The nurse talked about inducing on the night of the White Stripes gig. I laughed more heartily than before. My husband tried to talk the nurse into changing the day. With much eye rolling and tutting she agreed.

Needless to say my husband missed the White Stripes gig.

I won’t bore you with a full birth story; I’ll just let you in on the ending …

“Just one more push Mrs D”

There were many expletives, some shouting, screaming (all mine) then silence.

The shock was too much, my husband wept and I will NEVER forget seeing my sons willy for the first time.

My special, mischievous, surprise boy … and on my husband’s birthday.

Happy Birthday Boys, 3 and 40 today.

More Concussion and Naked People ...

This post relates to this one and that one (concussion and the naked man!). If you don't understand, don't worry ... normal service will resume tomorrow.

This is an 'anonymous' email I received ... from my ummmm ... Dad.

Head butting kitchen cupboard doors is in your genes. When your Mum lived in the flat at blah blah blah she actually knocked herself out on an open cupboard door. We were in the kitchen at the time and I was washing the dishes distracted by the neighbour in the semi-detached property who habitually washed her dishes topless (which is why I always voluntarily washed the dishes). Thus distracted I failed to notice the break in our conversation and thought that the silence meant that that your Mum had left the room.

When I eventually finished the dishwashing and dragged myself away from the spectacle of our neighbour’s glorious bosom I found your mum on the floor slumped semi – conscious against the kitchen units. Luckily the open door was not my fault (I would have remembered the bollocking!), the kitchen cupboard was not damaged and your Mum made a full recovery.

What my anonymous father fails to mention is that the 'topless neighbour' also had a 'naked husband' similar to ugly naked guy in Friends.

I must apologise now .... it's been a slow 'blogging material' week. The children have been behaving and haven't embarrassed me.

I, Laura, promise that there will be no more mention of naked people or concussion herewith.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Princess of 'Dilly Dally'

I'm waiting for 4 year old to pick a bedtime story. She runs her finger along all 50 of the Mr Men & Mrs spines then starts on her other books. Slowly. She runs her finger back looking thoughtful. Slower still. Then she starts on the Mr Men & Mrs books again.

Tick tock tick tock.

All the while I am lying on her bed watching, thinking that if I were to lie here another five minutes I would fall asleep.

The 2 year old is shouting from the room next door "Socks, socks, Mummy, socks, Mummy". Not only is he unable to sleep without socks but now they have to be odd socks.

When I return from sock duty I say to her "Come on now, just pick one, it's getting late"

She looks at me like I'm mad and continues the selection process, this time getting five books out on the rug and 'umming' and 'aaahing'. She puts them back and picks another five.

Tick tock tick tock.

Enough is enough. "Right, I am counting to five, if you haven't picked a book I will pick one for you .......... 1 .......... 2 .......... 3 .......... 3 and a half .........." I say to her.

She gets up from kneeling in front of her shelves and says to me "Mum. You are giving my life away!"

I think "Actually, where have the last 4 and a half years gone?"

I am giving her life away to the time bandits minute by minute, hour by hour.


It is also my little big sisters birthday today.

She is eleven years older than me and shorter than me.

My sister K is smaller than me
I can lift her up quite easily
She can't lift me
she's tried and tried
I must have something heavy inside

Happy birthday little big sister! I love you.

Monday, 26 January 2009

A Fat Lip and a Full Frontal View

Just another day in the life …

I didn't have concussion but I do still have an egg on my head. However that is nothing compared to today’s affliction...

I woke up this morning with the BIGGEST cold sore you ever did see (so big that I nearly took a picture to show you, but, wouldn’t want you vomiting on your keyboard so decided not to). It has made my lip swell to four times its normal size. I smeared it in antiseptic cream, nappy cream and Blisteze and went to the chemist.

The woman behind the counter remarked "Wow, look at the size of that". Unimpressed by her enthusiasm I could only muster “Umm, thanks”. She then summoned her colleague, who I assumed was a pharmacist, to come and look. Finally the pharmacist came to look at the freak show and gave me some cream which should clear it in five days. Great. Just in time for husband’s birthday party.

Not only do I have to worry about the double party day, double cakes and music, but now I have to ride the ‘Will I or won’t I have to wear a paper bag on my head’ bus to Saturday.

As if a fat lip wasn't enough to contend with I dropped the 4 year old at school this morning and when I returned to my car it wouldn't start. I had to walk very quickly up a steep hill to work. Luckily I had decided to wear flat shoes for the first time in months which aided my speed walking.

AND as if all the above wasn’t hideous enough …

I must have been fairly traumatised by my lip and the car fiasco because it is now, only seven hours later, that I have remembered seeing a naked man on my 'speed walk' to work.

Don’t get excited, it wasn’t the sort of naked man you want to see.

As I walked past his house he was stood in his, I can only assume, bedroom which has a floor to ceiling window and he was totally naked, taking in the morning view.

As he was elderly I wish I hadn't taken in his, full frontal, view.

Somebody sent me this link two days ago, maybe they are a ‘soothsayer’ and thought it would prepare me for the shock that was to come.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

I had a bit of a 'Joker' and now I have concussion

Last night we went to my big sisters birthday party. It was great, a dinner party for 19 during which we did a smorgasbord of music and picture quizzes. I drank several glasses of red wine, so much so that when I got home I had a bit of a 'Joker' (hardcore winos will understand). I had a slightly dull head this morning.

We had a sort of lie in; if you call waking at 6am, but remaining ensconced in the duvet, whilst small children leap about and thrust various items up your nose and in your ears … a lie in.

We got up had breakfast and took the 13 year old to her weekly horse worship at the stables for 10.15. We continued on our way to watch our 11 year old nephew play football. The 2 year old gets very excited about watching him play, today was no exception, and he jabbered on and on and on until we reached the football club.

We got wellington booted up and wandered over to the pitch. It was freezing and with the help of an elixir (Diet Coke) the dull red wine headache started to abate. The match was in full flow but as we got closer it became apparent that we could not see brother or sister in law. On further investigation we realised that they were not there, nor was our nephew. Usually nephew can be spotted instantly; he has been blessed with the family trait of having incredibly skinny legs (that is husband’s side of the family and definitely not mine. I am a member of ‘thunder thighs anonymous’).

Two random teams were playing. The 2 year old was so excited about seeing his big cousin play football that we had to stay and watch other people’s cousins play instead. I spent 30 minutes thinking that I could still be at home in my dressing gown slobbing on the sofa whilst nursing my head.

It was then that husband checked his phone to find a text, sent at 9am, saying ‘football called off’. Humph.

It is now Sunday evening and the neighbours have come to ask if husband ‘wants to come out to play’; code for a swift pint or four in the pub.
I have just got something out of a high cupboard in the kitchen and dropped it, picked it up and whacked the top of my head on the underside of the cupboard. I can’t tell you how much I swore. For the record the children were an inch away from the TV two rooms away … plus the 2 year old is virtually deaf. I now have a painful egg shaped bump on my head.

If husband had been here he would have sniggered and given me a ‘told you so’ look. To his annoyance I am always leaving cupboards open or even just slightly ajar.

If I collapse with concussion, the children will put themselves to bed and husband will come home to find me slumped against the keyboard. Just in case that happens and he ignores me and decides to catch up on my blog …

Husband – I have concussion. Your tea is in the oven. I think the children have gone to bed, if they haven’t you will find them raiding the biscuit barrel, guaranteed. Don’t forget to Sky Plus the new series of Lost which starts tonight at 9pm.

Newsflash - The 2 year old has just refused a bag of chocolate buttons, I DEFINITELY have concussion.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

A Room Of Teeny Weeny Chairs

I had taken the day off for the 2 year olds hospital appointment. After our trip I deposited him with the OAP childminders.

I had 4 hours to myself. Did I go and treat myself? Pamper myself? Go shopping? Just sit and stare into space knowing that I had 4 hours to myself? Eat something without having to part with half of it to stop the whining?

Nope, I went to help at the 4 year old's school.

For weeks she nagged ... and nagged ... and nagged "Everybody elses parents [in the whole wide world and universe] go into school to help".

I had to explain that I work whilst she's at school and only if I were to take holiday would I be able to help. That was my first mistake. My second was taking pity on her. She's been very clingy of late when I drop her at school and I felt sorry for her. So I arranged with her teacher to go in for the afternoon.

We had a discussion on the way to school in the morning about us being 'sensible' at school. She couldn't cling to me like a leech, show me her bottom or lick my face like she does at home. Similarly I couldn't fart the theme tune to Peppa Pig*, lick her face or dance like Baloo. We made a deal.

I arrived just as they were finishing lunchtime play. The children came in and sat on the carpet. The 4 year old walked in, looked at me, walked past me and then blanked me. She was perhaps taking our deal too seriously. I can't remember a clause in the deal that said 'pretend you're an orphan'.

When the teacher arrived she sat on a little persons chair and introduced me to the class. Three of the children (who have been for a fishfinger tea at our house) chortled at having to call me by my 'Mrs' name. They were probably having a flashback to my Baloo dancing. The 4 year old shuffled closer to my legs which were almost under my chin. I too was sat on a very small persons chair.

I have always liked the 4 year olds teacher. She is 'firm but fair'. The sort of woman you think is lovely but you wouldn't want to cross. I was in awe of her ability to work with one child at a table and see five children at different points of the classroom misbehaving. Without missing a beat she shot them a look which made them stop dead in their tracks. Genius.

I have made a mental note; At next parents evening ask teacher for tips on how to perfect the 'stop them dead' glare. I wouldn't need to write to Supernanny if I could do that.

I helped some children with numeracy. At any one time I had a maximum of four children in my group. Each one had a different agenda. The child who wanted to be out in the playground, the child who wanted to draw cyclopses instead of cars, the child eager to please and the child who completed the task before I'd even told them what to do. It was hard work but we got there in the end.

After playtime the children sat on the carpet for some religious education whilst I helped to tidy the classroom. At story time I returned to my teeny weeny chair and watched the children sit silently listening to 'Mog's Christmas', a month late.

Then we said the going home prayer. Setting a good example I clasped my hands together, bowed my head and listened (as all good athiests do at times like this).

As the children mumbled their prayer I heard the teacher in a cross voice say to the child to my right;

"John you should be talking to God, not Elizabeth**"

* I really didn't do this, but wish I could. At the point of reading 'theme tune to Peppa Pig' I imagine you were working out how many farts and of what length it would take to accomplish.

** Names have been changed to protect the not so innocent

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

More Cheese Grommet?

Husband and I took the 2 year old to the hospital today for his ear appointment. For some time now I have been aware that he has trouble with his hearing (see the 2 year old's update here). When he is being spoken to he either doesn’t hear or has to concentrate very hard on the face of the person speaking. His speech is delayed and unclear. Funnily enough the 4 year old can understand every word.

He had a hearing test six months ago which said that his hearing was down and that he would need to return for a further hearing test. He was never recalled and it took a further three visits to the Dr to get referred to a specialist.

I took husband with me because I knew that if someone else told me there was no problem I would probably grab their white coat lapels and weep uncontrollably. By the time we got to the hospital he was about ready to chain himself to an NHS professional should we hear that there was nothing wrong.

Usually children’s waiting areas are colourful and bright but lacking any toys. There is always a tatty
‘Take A Break’ with some horrendous ‘Murdered by my mothers, husbands, sisters brother’ headline across it.

I nearly collapsed in shock. There were tables laid out with paper, colouring books and colouring implements. The rest of the areas were sectioned off with chairs but had books and toys in abundance. The best bit was a lady volunteer ‘Doris’ who was doing a good job of keeping the children entertained until their appointment. The 2 year old opted for playing with the pedal on the bin in the corridor.

I sat nervously whilst his hearing was tested and his eardrums were checked for fluid. What if they told us to go away and come back in six months? In six months the then 3 year old would be revving up for morning nursery at school and still unable to hold a conversation with his peers.

We were called to see the consultant. She sat him on a big metal swivel chair, which he promptly swivelled with gusto. She told us his hearing was below normal, he has reoccurring fluid behind his eardrums (otherwise known as ‘glue ear’), which means he’s been living in and out of a bubble of muffled noise for the last 6 months at least.

I felt elated, which seems wrong, but it meant that something would finally have to be done.

She gave us three options … 1. Do nothing (I don’t think so) 2. Take antibiotics and come back in three months (even she was shaking her head at this option) or 3. Have grommets fitted.

We are going for the latter option, which is something my husband and I had already investigated. The waiting list is two to three months.

We went from arriving at hospital thinking we were going to have to fight for our boy to having everything handed to us on a plate. What’s the catch?

I would love to hear from anyone with experience of grommets!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Do we have mice?

He looks at me all serious and says "I think one or both of the children have been climbing up on the worktop, going in the cupboard and stealing Jelly Babies!"

I look at him all sheepish and say, quiet as a mouse, "It was me".

Maybe it’s the way I tell ‘em

I love fairytales. Good old fashioned fairytales. Fairies, bad witches, evil stepmothers, dwarves, a princess or two and a handsome prince thrown in for good measure.

I’ve been collecting the Ladybird series and the 4 year old is showing willing. Last week we read Snow White & The Seven Dwarves. She enjoyed it, and asked for it three nights in a row. For days she kept harping on about Snow White laying dead in a glass coffin. This opened up a full death discussion over breakfast.

I started thinking about what questions would be raised after the next few titles on the shelf.

We have …

… Goldilocks – A burglar, with a porridge habit
… Hansel & Gretel – Kidnapped by a cannibal witch
… Puss in Boots – Fraudulent and murderous talking cat
… Jack & the Beanstalk – Bone crushing cannibal giant
… The Emperor’s new Clothes – The emperor is a flasher

The one that I know will ignite some curiosity is Rapunzel.

Rapunzel’s father was a thief, of lettuces no less. The wicked witch kidnaps baby Rapunzel, locks her in a tower and makes her grow her hair into a golden ladder. There’s all that “Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair” business followed by the Prince falling and suffering a serious head trauma which makes him blind.

The witch chops Rapunzels hair off and once the Prince has wandered blindly through ‘many lands and lonely deserts’ they are reunited. Rapunzel’s tears heal his blindness and although Rapunzel looks like someone has hacked at her hair with a butter knife they marry with ‘great rejoicing’.

Maybe it’s the way I tell ‘em. Thank god for happily ever after eh?

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Leftovers - a bit of idle wittering

This post was going to be called 'The Sunday Roast' but I got distracted by by a hangover ... caused by too much red wine on Saturday night.

It's just a little catch up ...

We had friends for dinner on Saturday night. Their dog is a quarter the size of our dog and spent the evening trying to hump her ... a total of 263 times. Our poor dog was exhausted from trying to avoid his advances, which were more aimed towards her head than anywhere else.

Husband decided to cook tapas which normally takes him hours if not 2 days. 3 hours before our guests arrived he decided to go on a bike ride with the dog. She runs alongside him, she does not sit side saddle. When he returned he decided it was a good idea to bath the dog and then dry her with the hairdryer.

Whilst tidying the house in preparation for our guests I discovered the 2 year old's party list (see Let Them Eat Cake). It mysteriously reappeared from under a pile of things on my desk. I now know EXACTLY how many children are attending the 2 year olds party. All I need to get is the cake. I don't think M&S do Batman cakes and anyone who suggests I could make one should bask in their cake making skills whilst I wallow in mine.

House tidy I decided to bath the children. By now we were up against the clock and to my horror I found what looked like yeti shavings in the bath. Moments before our guests arrived I was gathering enough hair to make a wig for Terry Wogan. Despite the smell of wet dog the evening went well and I was last seen at 1am playing on the Wii, of course.

Husband's Party ... is on the same day as the 2 year olds in 2 weeks time. Am I a glutton for punishment or just plain foolish? Yes and yes. The DJ is now unable to attend and the venue smelt 'musty' when we inspected it last week. I have persuaded the husband that taking the Wii to the party would not be 'good fun' for anyone other than him.

What does he want for his birthday? Well ... either a very expensive set of knives or one of these. I told you before, cooking is his third love. First and second? Guitar Hero and football.

Speaking of Guitar Hero, he recently renamed his band. It was Jumbo Ballsack, it is now Stinking Buttcrack. I for one can't wait for 4 year old to tell her teacher that snippet of information.

I have tennis elbow, repeptitive strain of my right arm due to excessive Wii tennis. Husband and I have been playing nightly tournaments. It's getting serious. He spends most of the time working out how to make the ball spin really fast and failing.

Last night he flung himself into the curtains and hurt his back convinced that if he moved his entire body right then he would get the perfect shot. On Friday I almost destroyed an overhead glass light fitting with my serving force. It is now held together with hair clips.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Those who do not wear an apron need not apply

I was asked by a work colleague yesterday if I wanted to join the village WI (Womens Institute). She stressed it was the young and funky arm of the WI and not the alternative old and frumpy arm with discussions about incontinence pads in church halls.

After I'd finished chuckling to myself I looked at the national WI website. From what I saw there is nothing young or funky about becomming a member, although, I do share some of the attributes of the ladies in the photos; badly fitting bras, unkempt hair and choco belly paunches.

My initial thoughts are that the WI spend their time baking, arranging flowers, rustling up soft furnishings, drinking tea in church halls and generally being 'homely'.

If I'd looked in more detail I would have found a disclaimer : Those who do not wear an apron need not apply.

I started thinking about what I could offer by way of skills.

So, I can't sew ...

Last night after a painstaking hour I finished sewing name labels into the 4 year olds new school shirts (whatever she eats for lunch has stained the old ones beyond funny). Three shirts, one hour ... with swearing. I know, I know - "BUY THE IRON IN LABELS", I hear you. Let me explain. I bought the sew in ones because it seemed more ... well, wholesome. Ironing name tags into my child's clothes seemed like cheating. I now realise that this would have been the sensible option. The ones I did last night look like they've been sewn by a blind person on a roundabout wearing mittens.

Flower arranging ...

I rarely get bought flowers (ahem) but every so often I buy them, again, in a bid to feel wholesome. Flower arranging to me goes like this; remove from packaging, plonk in a vase (probably the wrong size) and then watch them die over a period of a few days. If they have enough water they're lucky.

Cooking, baking, feeding my family ...

The husband does most of that, he enjoys cooking. I see it more as a time consuming operation which results in something burnt or inedible ... and a lot of washing up. Occasionally I have a wave of enthusiasm and decide to make something. 9 times out of 10 - even when following a recipe I fail. My husband eats my offering out of politeness, but his face is usually screwed up in disgust.

I made rice crispie buns last month with the children. Easiest thing in the world, apparently. Three ingredients, melted chocolate, golden syrup and crispies mixed together - no oven required. The rice crispies didn't mix properly with the chocolate which resulted in something which could have been used to fill the holes in our road which are killing the suspension on my car.

Homemaking ...

Let's not even go there.

Today my colleague told me about her first WI meeting, in a bar, after darkness fell, with alcohol. More positive than the 'meeting avec drinks' is the trip they are planing ... to Paris to visit the continental markets.

Bring it on.

I might just turn up to the next meeting wearing a beret, clutching a copy of Delia's: How To Cook (I have to show willing at least) and dazzle them with my wit. They'll be laughing so hard they'll forget to ask for recent example of my crocheting or basket weaving work.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

I work in the village, equidistant between school and home. Nothing more than a 10 minute commute in the mornings which is fab. I work school hours, so can collect my little 4 year old darling at the end of her day and also collect the 2 year old from his OAP childminder in the playground.

When the 4 year old skipped out of school yesterday I asked her how her day had been. She replied thus ...

"Good, I can't remember what I had for lunch and I told my class and teacher that you 'Kung Fu'd' me last night"

I now feel that I have to have words with the teacher to explain what she meant by that and that we really don't need any social services intervention.

We often have a nightly mad half hour. We race round the house, hiding, leaping out at each other followed by jumping on the bed, tickling and blurting (please ask if unsure of this practice). Probably not the most sleep conducive thing to be doing pre bath and bed but it works for us.

This evening the 4 year old decided to add an element of Kung Fu to our evening repertoire. She saw Kung Fu Panda at her first ever cinema trip last summer and although thoroughly enjoyed it hasn't really mentioned it again. I can only assume that the boys at school have been teaching her the art of Jackie Chan with a hint of Power Ranger and Ben 10 thrown in for good measure.

I was about to grab her for some tickling when she leapt at me and 'hi-yaaaaaaaaaad' (karate chopped) the air in front of my face and raced off chuckling. I chose this moment to hide under our duvet (maybe not so much hide as form a large mound).

Realising I wasn't following her she came looking for me. I waited until she was right next to the bed and then sprang from under the cover and 'hi-yaaaaaaaaaad' her back with great gusto. Unfortunately my gusto was such that instead of chopping the air I caught her eye with my newly sharpened claws. She now has a little scratch under her eye, which she proudly showed her father who rolled his eyes in my direction.

In the same day ...

I went to give the 2 year old a rather large smacker of a kiss and to finish off grabbed him for a cuddle as I was leaving for work. He started screaming like he was in pain. Turns out he was in pain. The under wiring of my bra was hanging out and had stabbed him. I now have to go through clearance checks, courtesy of the 2 year old before he will allow me to go anywhere near him.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

This Was Yesterday ...

... and the reason behind my letter to Supernanny (below).

I pick the children up from school and the childminder. The 4 year old has a face like thunder and on seeing me bursts into tears. Thanks, I've missed you too. Someone has accidently taken her book bag home with her very FIRST reading book in it. I feel her pain, but it is even more painful when her brother, sensing her distress, decides to try and outcry her before we reach the car for no reason whatsoever.

I spend the journey home chanting in my head “Stay calm, be consistent, do not shout”.

Admittedly, my face is probably saying "Take me away from this godforsaken place, PLEASE".

I ask the 4 year old to put her shoes away 5 times before she does it. She asks me if she can watch TV approximately 10 times, I tell her “no” 10 times.

We make a Duplo zoo.

We = the 4 year old and I, whilst the 2 year old flails and shouts because he’s tired and therefore emotional (welcome to my world). He then demolishes the monkey enclosure, which sets the 4 year old off on a rant. I try to reprimand them but cannot get a word in edgeways.

Once they have calmed down in the asylum of their own bedrooms we race the Shake n Go cars across the living room carpet.

We = the 2 year old and I, whilst the 4 year old is flailing on the floor because she can’t have the 'fastest car' even though the three cars we have are the same. She then snatches the 'fastest car' which sets the 2 year old off on a rant. Once more I cannot get a word in edgeways.

When it is time for me to make dinner I offer up 15 minutes of Charlie & Lola. But, before I can even find the channel an argument has broken out about whose toes are touching whose bottom on the sofa. I switch the TV off as punishment.

In the kitchen I wonder who is being punished more, me or them, as I try to make dinner. The bickering continues, this time, as we only have one step for them to stand on to watch me. Watch me what? Seethe?

“Stay calm, be consistent, do not shout”.

Next, the relay begins of ‘When you have finished crying / arguing / pushing / snatching / irritating one another you can come out of your bedroom'.

I’m sure the calories burnt carrying alternate kicking children up and down the stairs must mean I can break from the diet and eat a small square of chocolate.

My husband finds me sat on the stairs weeping like an idiot. I feel like I have hopped the London marathon six times in a chicken suit filled with bowling balls and piranhas.

I pull myself together, release them from their bedrooms and sit with them whilst they eat their dinner, like angels, wondering if it was all a dream.

Fortunately today was better. I feel like I only hopped the london marathon five times and without the bowling balls and piranhas. I don't need Supernanny, I need a glass of wine!

Dear Supernanny

Dear Supernanny

I write this letter because on days like this I feel that I am bashing my head against a brick wall of bad parenting.

I have been rudely awoken every morning for the past 4 and a half years. I feel like shouting a lot of the time. I’d rather stick a hot poker up my arse than endure another day of mindless bickering.

I watch your program with great interest. It makes me feel better to know that there are people worse off than myself whose children are absolute terrors. But today I feel like most of those women rolled into one and my children could do with a bloody good talking to in your coarse cockney tones.

They need big colourful reward charts, naughty chairs, they need you to bob down and talk to them an inch from their face and tell them how it is with your voice of authority, they need extra attention, they need to be listened to more.

I understand that the reason you can stay calm, not shout and bob down on their level without strangling them is that you can go home at the end of the day TO NO CHILDREN.

Still, it would be nice for you to visit. You can stay as long as you want. In fact you could turn my life around if you could stay … forever.

Yours pleadingly


Monday, 12 January 2009

Sugar Rush

At Casa Laura this is the look we associate with too much sugar ...

... wide eyed and crazy with a hint of 4 year old charm

People Overload

Before the 4 year old was born I bought her a soft, cuddly lamb from Marks & Spencer. We (I) named the lamb Lulu. She never took any interest in it and preferred her dummy (pacifier) instead.

The 2 year old claimed Lulu as his own. He and Lulu are firm friends. She has comforted him on many occasions and he snuggles her at night. He has since collected several other soft toys and sleeps with them, but, Lulu will always be his number one.

We have the imaginatively named from left to right Cat, Lulu, Baby, Baloo, Lynx, Rabbit, Ratty and Postman Pat.

We also have Fawn and Teddy who were otherwise engaged during the photoshoot.

One morning last week I was summoned, pre 7am. From the tone of the cries I thought he had injured himself (as only my child can with a pillow and duvet), but no.

'My people here' he told me and then pointed rather briskly towards his pillow. His people were spread from the top to the foot of his bed. During the night they had made a break for it, they needed their own space, and this was unacceptable to my indignant boy. He wanted his people on his pillow as close to his head as possible.

The only requirement of this arrangement, thankfully, is that his people still allow him to breathe.

Usually a child has just the one thing that they need to be weaned off. The 4 year old had a visit from the 'dummy fairy' courtesy of Supernanny and that worked a treat.

The 2 year old will need a whole army of 'people' fairies by the time he's finished his collection ... or a bigger bed.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Someone's got to do it ...

... and round here, you get service with a smile

A Pony Is For Life, Not Just Christmas

The 4 year old got a pony for Christmas, a pretend one I might add, that requires batteries. The pony, named 'Lady' flutters her eyelashes, neighs when stroked, moves her neck and munches on a plastic carrot ... or your fingers, she's not fussy.

It was love at first sight on Christmas morning. She carried Lady everywhere with her.

However, 4 year olds are fickle and the novelty is wearing thin. I know this because when I went to bed last night I found Lady in our bed ... like a scene from The Godfather.

Tonight for the first time since Christmas, Lady dined elsewhere. Over dinner, and may I add, 2 weeks after Christmas, the 4 year old turned to me and said "I cannot believe that Santa didn't bring me a Nintendo DS. What was he thinking?" Followed by a big sigh and her head in her hands.

Me? I'm passing the blame, I agreed with her. There's only so much eye fluttering one pony can do.

The big guy with the white beard has a lot to answer for.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Let Them Eat Cake

The 2 year old will be a big fat 3 in just over three weeks. To mark the occasion we are having a party. Last years 'effort' was a pirate party at home. I had flu and no voice. When it was apparent that the party was getting out of hand Teacher friend mother of three had to take over and comandeer the ship as it were whilst I felt sorry for myself and picked cheesy Wotsits and grapes out of the carpet.

We have decided to have the party at a soft play centre. The idea being I turn up with a birthday cake and my child, nothing more nothing less.

Because I work and have no involvement with pre-school I asked for a list of names of children that the 2 year old plays with regularly. They gave me a list of ten and I added a mixture of family and family friends on for good measure. Invites went out to 20 children with Christmas cards, killing two birds with one stone.

Easy peasy, stress free, partytastic!

Then I lost the guest list.

The husband remarked that perhaps I should have placed aforementioned list in a 'safe place' at which point I had to refrain from launching myself across the room armed with only a pen to kill him.

The party list was formulated and reformulated to get the number to 20 and I had to leave out some children. I cannot for the life of me remember who was in or out or how my ruthless list making process originated and am now stuck.

The woman from the soft play centre will be ringing for exact numbers. Do I wing it and under cater with my random rule of 'usually 4 children have better things to do on a Saturday afternoon than eat birthday cake'? ... or over cater and end up paying extra for children who are not there?

I'm now thinking I should send a text message to every parent in my phone saying 'If I invited blahblah to the 2 year olds party can you let me know if he/she will be there. If I didn't invite blahblah then sorry, better luck next year'.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

7 Things You Don't Know About Me

... and probably don't wish to know.

I have had my first meme from Mia over at General Hysteria. I have a lot of admiration for her. She often makes me want to laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

7 Things You Don't Know About Me

1. I met my husband on the internet, in a chat room, nearly 9 years ago. I fell in love with him when I saw his photograph for the first time, he was wearing an INXS t-shirt. We moved in after three months, he says I 'infiltrated' his life ... fondly of course.

2. I have had hand foot and mouth disease. Yes, sheep also get it, but so do humans. I was in my late teens and the 14 days of isolation did nothing for my love life. Baaaaa.

3. I can spread my toes like I can spread my fingers. I call it 'doing the monkey'. This also does my love life no favours and the husband calls it 'disgusting'.

4. I talk in my sleep, regularly. I have also been known to walk in my sleep. I once woke up running down the stairs, trying to escape from a giant robotic spider. Now you can see where the 4 year old gets it from.

5. I once visited a psychic who told me I shouldn't eat sandwiches, but gave no further explanation. I still eat sandwiches and am awaiting the outcome.

6. As a family we go egg rolling every Easter. We take it very seriously, there are rules and we have an egg rolling trophy. Nearer Easter I may even get out a picture of me as a child egg rolling and share it with you.

7. I have met Trinny & Susannah and appeared on 'What Not To Wear'. You only get to see 2.3 seconds of my red, paint splattered dog walking coat and right hand. This may have something to do with the fact that during the interview Trinny asked me if anyone had ever told me I looked like Prince William. Instead of saying "Funnily enough, NO, now eff off" I giggled like a five year old and went bright red. Because they didn't pick me, I still don't know what to wear.

There you are, 7 things you didn't know about me.

Next, the rules of the meme:1- You link back to the person who tagged you (me). For me, it was Mia. 2- You get to “tag” 7 people (or less if you’d like) and link them on your blog, as I do (below).3- Be sure to comment on the blogs of others who were tagged. That’s part of the fun!!!!

So I'd like to tag (apologies if you have already done this or don't want to do this!) ....

Mary over at Caution...Woman At Work

Merrily Down The Stream at Life Is But A Dream

Mariah at Manic Mariah

Robert over at My Wife Has Agoraphobia

The Grocer at Famous For All Kinds Of Wickedness

Melipop at BabyBlog


finally A Confused Take That Fan, 30

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

From Amazonian Tree Dweller to Jabba the Hut

I was given a large box of Green & Blacks (the contents: 4 boxes of chocolates, 7 large bars, and about 50 miniatures) for Christmas.

The jumbo box which I thought would take months to devour (who was I kidding?) is getting lighter by the day, so light in fact that I have used the outer box to store our Christmas decorations. This weekend in a desperate bid to save my flabby choco-paunch I offloaded one of the boxes of chocolates onto friends who invited us for dinner. After a lovely meal and several glasses of wine we scoffed the contents of another box of chocolates as a post meal snackette. I was being sociable.

My husband likened me to an ‘Amazonian Tree Dweller’ when he first met me which is, umm … nice. I am tall with big boobs so nothing really ever fits right. I have never been skinny and never fat, somewhere in between. I have never dieted or obsessed about my weight and I was lucky enough to lose my baby weight plus more when I breastfed. For those of you who are now vowing never to read my blog again after that snippet of information, just wait … once I had finished breastfeeding the weight returned.

Times are a changing and I am officially concerned about my weight. During Christmas I have overindulged and eaten anything and everything. I am surprised one of the children is not missing a limb and shortly I will be wearing our ‘four pod’ family tent as it will be the only thing which will cover my engorged frame. The 2 year old has suddenly started requesting that I lift my top to show him my belly and then laughs whilst prodding the flabby choco-paunch. This violation is a daily occurrence. I have decided to cut back; smaller portions, no puddings or alcohol during the week so far so good. I decided this morning to keep a list of what I eat during the day. Here is what I have eaten so far;

- 3 slices of toast smothered in butter and jam
- 2 apples
- 1 mince pie courtesy of a work colleague – out of date, so doesn’t count
- 1 chicken, basil and pasta salad from M&S – low calorie version so only half of it counts
- 2 pieces of broccoli left by the 2 year old after tea – vegetable and second hand, so definitely doesn’t count
- Nachos covered in lardy cheese

This is a fifth of what I normally eat and I’m feeling faint. I actually have a headache from thinking about food.

My brain is panicking and telling me to eat the remaining Green & Black’s chocolate as quickly as possible, because, if I can no longer see it my body won’t realise what is going on and will therefore be fooled into cancelling the fat content.

If anyone has seen the film Madagascar they will understand what I mean when I say that I have been eyeing up the dog, and she just looks like a huge double chocolate chip muffin.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Mamma Mia here I Go Again

Well, one day in and we are all back to normal. The children are fighting, I feel stressed and the husband and I are bickering over how many balls of tagliatelle to have for tea.

I made a concerted effort not to rush the 4 year old before school which was difficult as we didn’t wake up until 30 minutes before we are supposed to leave. Yet another day at the office with my hair looking like an unkempt hedge as I tried to cram two weeks work into my six hour day.

I arrived at school to pick the children up. It turns out that one of our OAP childminding duo is unwell and has spent time in hospital. She is still there, and has been since Boxing Day. This I know because the OAP childminder man shuffled the 2 year old to school to meet me at 3.30pm. He brought the wrong bag and my son was wearing someone else’s trousers. I thought this quite apt as he has watched Wallace & Grommit’s Wrong trousers approximately 347 times during the holidays. He didn’t see the joke. When we arrived home he demanded to go to the toilet and revealed that he was wearing a pull up nappy too. The childminder had got the children and their bags totally mixed up.

This was all by the by, because 10 minutes after we were home the bickering started which fuelled some red in the faced shouting from me. The day was partially saved by the 4 year olds dancing show to the music from Mamma Mia which was accompanied by her brothers wailing. I did snigger at him when he did a swan like dive on the floor. But, the reason for the dive was because I wouldn’t feed him chocolate 10 minutes before bed and it WAS funny.

My husband pointed out, quite rightly that our children had returned from school even more irritating than usual …which was punctuated by the 4 year olds desire to have the last words ‘No we’re not’.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

A Cavernous Cavity

Husband is a fantastic cook and my services are very rarely required. He is the king of Sunday roasts and this morning bought the ingredients for a chicken dinner … and then promptly vanished to bed to have man flu. He cocooned himself in the duvet and shivered for five hours.

I was left holding the chicken as it were. This is fairly appalling to admit but, I am 30 years old have no idea what to do with a whole chicken. I have no problem with rustling up a bog standard meal, but a whole roast chicken is definitely husbands department.

I tried to shove a lemon and several garlic cloves into its neck stump instead of its rear cavity, I then covered it with olive oil and nearly dropped the slippery sucker when transferring it to the roasting dish. It is only because the husband mentioned basting during one of my ‘check on the man with man flu’ trips that I didn’t present the children with meat the consistency of one of Ghandi’s flip flops.

It was delicious; I sat with the children and told them what a wonderful chicken it was and how lucky they were to have a Mummy that could cook such a splendid roast. They agreed with everything I said because they didn’t want to eat their broccoli.

Husband ate his later when he had stopped shivering. He hasn’t yet passed comment on the quality which can only mean that he is frightened of losing his ‘Best British Roaster’ title … ahem.

Friday, 2 January 2009

It's Been An Epiphany

Over the Christmas break we have transformed into a relaxed and smiling family.

Without our usual routine; get up, shout at each other, eat breakfast like it is our last meal, rush kids to school (hopefully dressed), rush to work realising I am dressed but haven’t brushed my hair, work, rush to school to pick kids up, referee arguments, make tea, an element of cleaning, put kids to bed whilst refereeing a fight, collapse on sofa, turn brain off and stare at the TV, perhaps grunt at the husband, go to bed … repeat as necessary.

We have rebelled. Some days we haven’t dressed till lunchtime. We have used the Christmas DVD’s as a babysitting service some mornings to gain an extra 30 minutes in bed, Wii’d till all hours, eaten rubbish, played hide and seek and laughed, lots. We have only been out on two family outings and one of those was to the supermarket because we had run out of rubbish to eat. Usually family outings are a stress filled event making my husband wish he’d had a vasectomy 5 years ago.

I’ve reacquainted myself with the 2 year old and realised he has many more endearing foibles than first thought. He likes to sniff everything, not just food and his sister but the kitchen floor and his toys too. He likes to line things up in order of size and colour. He likes to have a conversation about the colour of the sky every morning over breakfast. Most of all he’s happiest when he has more time to explain himself.

The 4 year old and I didn’t really need reacquainting. I am fully aware of her personality traits; she’s just like me with an extra sprinkling of stubbornness from her father. She has become funnier; she’s been telling more jokes (as they can loosely be termed). She’s discovered she loves prawns, beef and cheese (?) sandwiches and telling tales on her brother (granted, he was on the kitchen worktop hanging out of the biscuit/sweet cupboard at 7.30am).

The biggest change of the holiday is that the husband and I have been exchanging more than just one syllable grunts. We have been speaking. That’s right, having a conversation (talk between two or more people in which thoughts, feelings and ideas are expressed, questions are asked and answered, or news and information are exchanged). It’s been an epiphany.

In the past I’ve been excited about the end of the school holidays. Frazzled and short tempered I bid farewell to my children and rush to work for a break. Now it is three sleeps till school/work and I want it to be three months. I want the 2 year old to sniff my apron strings and the 4 year old to tell a joke about an orange crossing the road to buy a jumper (it’s a grower!). I want to keep my new and improved family close.