Thursday, 26 February 2009

Me thinks thou protest too much ...

I had an appointment with the optician after work today. I normally wear contacts but I had an unfortunate incident involving my finger, some make-up remover and my eye resulting in an 'abrasion' to my eyeball and a red eye for a week.

I have been wearing my glasses for four weeks which make me feel like Timmy Mallet.

I had a lecture from the grumpy optician who didn't believe I wasn't drunk when I poked myself in the eye and after a bit of cajoling she reunited me with my contact lenses.

Next door to the opticians is an M&S Food. It felt rude not to go in and buy dinner. It's payday after all. We'll be eating beans on toast for the other 29 days of the month.

I decided to 'Dine in for £10' which really seems very reasonable until you wander the store and find a couple of other bits and pieces and the legendary Percy Pigs.

As the woman on the checkout put the wine through the scanner she looked at me and said "You are over 21 aren't you?"

There wasn't even a hint of irony in her voice.

I pretended to look behind me and did the whole mock "Who? Me?". Then I fell about in hysterics. I told her how hilarious that was. She eyed me suspiciously over her glasses. I've never been asked for proof of my age, not even when I was 13 and the best option in my group of friends for buying cigarettes, or 15 and buying cider.

I suggested in a jokey fashion that she visit the optician next door, she didn't flinch and watched as I wandered off chuckling to myself, muttering under my breath "21?".

I told husband when I got home about the crazy blind lady in M&S Food, he gave me a sideways glance ... I think he thought I was lying too.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Just when I thought it was safe to leave the house ….

We’re in the car; me and the 13 year old in the front, the 4 year old and the 3 year old in the back.

I am singing along to the radio, badly. The 13 year old is playing games on her phone and the 3 and 4 year old are discussing the merits of cheese strings Vs yoghurt raisins.

I slow down to let a man in a 4x4 pull out of a junction. He clearly hasn’t seen my random act of kindness so I flash my lights. He still doesn’t pull out.

Losing my patience I say “Oh come on …”

The 4 year old instantly pipes up with “… you bugger”, followed by a quieter “bugger” from the 3 year old before they continue their previous conversation.

The 13 year old looks at me in disbelief and I mouth to her “say nothing”.

Meanwhile the man has finally pulled out of the junction. I continue on our journey wondering if the last 60 seconds actually happened. I look at my children in the rear view mirror, they are completely oblivious.

The only evidence of the ‘toddler tourettes’ is their 13 year old sister beside me; her shoulders are shaking and her long hair is covering her face.

She looks up to reveal tears, tears of silent laughter.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Prosthetic appendages. a moustache and a trip to Asda

The husband went to a fancy dress party on Friday night. He went as a flasher. Luckily he didn’t have to use his own ‘props’ but a costume borrowed from a neighbour.

This is what it looked like but this is not, I repeat NOT, my husband.

Just for the record the pubic hair on the borrowed outfit looked more, well … afro than the ‘John Travolta’s hair implants’ style pubic hair on the picture.

We were not privy to his final look as we were on the way back from visiting Auntie K. I feel this was a HUGE blessing as I’m not sure I could have fielded the 4 year olds inevitable questions about her father’s new prosthetic appendage.

All was well until 3.30am when I was rudely awoken by my husband standing over me saying “It’s OK, it’s me, this is not a dream, please unzip me, I’m stuck”. Don’t be fooled into thinking I’m about to share a romantic interlude, the outfit zipped up the back.

Saturday morning arrived and husband was, not surprisingly, suffering the after effects of a night of flashing, too much alcohol and a vindaloo. The bedroom had the distinctive aroma of an alcohol soaked jalapeno.

I took the children to Chavsda, my endearing name for our nearest Asda. We needed provisions for a dinner party and I had left it too late for any online satisfaction. The clientele at our nearest Asda is eclectic to say the least. I avoid this particular store at all costs unless there is an emergency.

There is a window each day when the local alcoholics descend to purchase a Smart Price bottle of cider. Due to intoxication they stagger from aisle to aisle belching, arguing with themselves, scratching their arses and generally smelling. Unfortunately our arrival coincided with their arrival. This is reason #241 why shopping should always be done online.

We managed to get our shopping done without much incident and as we were about to leave the 4 year old decided she needed a wee.

We went to the toilets where there was a queue.

“What’s that?” the 4 year old exclaimed pointing wildly.

I didn’t need to look to know it wouldn’t be good, but look I did.

As I turned the other four women in the queue followed my gaze and the 4 year olds finger.

I was initially relieved that she wasn’t pointing at the lady behind me who had a moustache to rival Magnum PI.

The woman in front of me nearly choked in amusement and everyone looked back at me, waiting for my response.

Because the 4 year old is learning to read phonetically at school she began to spell out ‘r ... i ... b ... b ... e ... d’.

I was desperately hoping a cubicle would come free so I could thrust my daughter into it and away from the condom machine looming behind us.

Before she started on the word condom I told her that the machine sells packs of tissues. This explanation was accepted much to the sniggering of my fellow toilet dwellers.

I can’t help thinking that this will come back and bite me on the arse at some point in the future.

For the last few years my biggest worry on leaving the house has been whether I have packed sufficient provisions into an already overflowing nappy bag.

Now that worry has been replaced with needing to know every possible distraction technique and lie to get out of every awkward public situation.

This requires me to be alert at all times, which is ... difficult.

When did leaving the house become even more of a challenge than it was before?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

It seems the 'sing and sign' signal for unicorn is universal

Teacher friend mother of three is great at finding things to do in the holidays, so when she asked if we wanted to see some clowns there was no hesitation. I had a day off due to a gaping hole in our childcare arrangements for half term.

What better to do than spend it being entertained by jolly clowns.

The children’s excitement levels rose when I mentioned our plan for the following day. Conversations were peppered with references to clowns;

4 year old - Clowns wear red noses?

Me - Yes

4 year old - Clowns have big shoes

Me - Yes

4 year old - Clowns are scary?

Me - No

and ...

Me - Would you like some juice?

3 year old - I like clowns. No.

Me – Stop feeding the dog Cheerios

3 year old - I like clowns. No.

Me - Time for your bath

3 year old - I like clowns. No.

The big day arrived.

An hour before we were due to set off Teacher friend mother of three called to say eldest child had pebble dashed her bedroom with sick. No clowning around for them.

I met our other friend and went in convoy to the venue, a civic hall in a Leeds suburb.

On arrival we coughed up three golden coins per person to someone who looked like a toilet attendant. We were directed towards a table proffering Fruit Shoots and bags of crisps. No thank you. We were then directed towards another table selling ‘tat’. Sticks with tinsel attached to one end. The 4 year old, a magpie in a former life, would have offered a kidney for one of those glittery sticks. No thank you.

We sat down, excited by the imminent clown show. We waited and waited … then waited a further 15 minutes during which time the children worked out how to fold themselves, and each other, into their seats.

Just as I was losing the will to live the show began.

We were introduced to Mr Clown, who funnily enough, looked like a clown … and his wife, who didn’t. It turns out that Mrs Clown had transformed herself from a coin collecting toilet attendant by taking off her tabard and applying bright blue eye shadow and a gold sequined cardigan.

I suspect they had been doing their show for 50 years and were using the same format and stage props as in 1969.

It was fairly cringeworthy. Mrs Clown mouthed all her husband’s lines silently to keep up with him and he told jokes which went over the children’s heads. The parents watched imaginary tumbleweed roll through the hall.

After 35 minutes the show ended. Relief swept over me, the children had lost interest 10 minutes earlier. Unfortunately relief was taken over by dread when Mrs Clown announced it was an interval.

An interval to flog more Fruit Shoots, crisps and glittery sticks.

The next half of the show, luckily, picked up momentarily when Mr Clown came on stage wearing enormous stilts which the 3 year old thought were amazing. Then there was some singing which sparked the 4 year old back to life for five minutes.

Comatose we left.

We had lunch at M&S to ward off evil clown spirits. It’s funny how a hot chocolate can make everything seem alright again. The queuing system at the M&S cafe is worthy of a whole other blog post but I don’t have the strength.

On exiting the car park I had a sign language argument with a woman in a Ford Fiesta about her lack of car park etiquette when she nearly drove into me the wrong way round the one way system. It seems the 'sing and sign' signal for unicorn is universal.

Teacher friend mother of three called to see how it had gone. We couldn't decide who was worse off; the mother at home with puking child or the mother at the clown show.

I like clowns. No.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Just another morning ...

It is half term. The kids are staying at home today with daddy. No rushing to school, stay in jamas as long as you like, steady away.

I have been awake since 5.30. I was rudely awoken by the 3 year old who crawled into bed and clamped his cold feet to my toasty warm body. I was momentarily bitter, well, for a few moments actually.

I read Snow White & the Seven Dwarves 14 times. The 3 year old is particularly taken by the evil queen who he refers to as the ‘nice fairy’.

I have drunk three cups of tea, it is only 7am.

I start breakfast proceedings. The 4 year old appears all sleepy, but instantly bossy. I ask them what they want; Cheerios for the 4 year old, Boulders and Crispies for the 3 year old. He’s a cereal mixer just like Gramps and Mummy.

After breakfast I bung some washing in the dryer and put a new load in the washer. The never ending cycle. I constantly have two baskets of ironing on standby. Standing by for a time when I have three days spare to do the lot in one go. Never. Gonna. Happen.

The chilren are playing one of their chase, growl and laugh, chase, growl and cry games together.

I tell them I’m going to get ready for work; No playing with knives, ringing Australia on my mobile or ordering porn on Sky. I’m joking right?

All is well. I am able to shower, get dressed, apply make-up and, shock horror, brush my hair. I worry that my work colleagues may not recognise me if I am not sporting my ‘dragged through a hedge’ look.

I come back downstairs and busy myself with packing my handbag with enough sugary snacks to last till lunchtime. I can hear the children playing. This is a good sign. Silence is bad, screaming is bad, good old chuntering and playing is excellent. The only problem being I can’t locate them!

I follow their hushed tones to the downstairs toilet. I panic a little, my heart isn’t ready for another episode of poo clearing, wee on the wall or a towel induced sink flood or … well they could be up to anything to be fair.

I open the door anxiously to find, in a room the size of an average toilet cubicle, the 3 year old, a pillow, a drum, some plastic food, a small suitcase and the 4 year olds duvet which is … moving.

I remove the duvet to find the dog, a rather large Labrador, who looks at me with pleading eyes. If she could speak she would be screaming ‘PLEASE TAKE ME AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE’.

After a discussion about toilets and bedding not mixing, the dog liking her own space and the perils of playing games in the vicinity of the toilet bowl I go to work …

… for a rest.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Best Of British Mummy Bloggers

It's Tuesday and it's carnival time!

I’m glad Monday is over, it unfortunately involved dog poo on the carpet, trodden in on a pair of wellingtons.

This led to some fervent scrubbing of the carpet, an argument with the Dyson and a haze of antibacterial spray and hand wash.

To add insult to injury the 3 year old forgot that he was toilet trained and had three accidents, all whilst 'dogpoogate' was ongoing.

So at 6am. all bleary eyed from being woken by a child getting into my bed with cold feet, I bring you some fantastic entries from the Best British Mummy Bloggers and a Dad too ...

1. The Mothership at Motherhood the Final Frontier discovers her children’s creative flair extends to interior design

2. Mary over at Caution … Woman At Work gets a
frustrating letter from Leeds City Council

3. Tawny’s 9 year old is on
another planet at I Promise That I Will Do My Best

4. Potty Mummy has had a
cake fuelled birthday at The Potty Diaries

5. Susanna has a
1911 obsession with a doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo moment at A Modern Mother

6. Almost Mrs Average at Don’t Tear Your Hair Out has a husband who not only vacuums but vacuums
BEHIND the sofa, yes you read that right.

7. Tara’s daughter is showing her
maternal side at Sticky Fingers

8. Read an online interview with a
twist at One Strangely Lush Mother

9. Nixdminx grabs her ipod and heads to the
treadmill for inspiration

10. Coding Mamma has a short fuse and needs a
Peppa Pig fix

11. DJ Kirkby's very exciting book launch, some crying, a proposal and some more crying!

12. Liz at Violet Posy shows us what Downtown Dog gets up to in New York ... that lucky dawg!

13. A Confused Take That Fan reminds us that sprouts ARE unsociable!

14. Single Parent Dad wonders if he can stop Max being clumsy?

15. Noble Savage shows us that laughter really is the best medicine ... and bath time can be fun!

16. Then there’s me with a singing in public inspired entry. Shake those maracas …

The next carnival is on the 3rd of March and will be hosted at Most/Least. Please email entries to ella (at) mostleast (dot) com.

If you are interested in hosting a carnival pop over here for more information

Saturday, 14 February 2009

A chip off the old block ...

It's my Dad's birthday today.

Happy Birthday Pops!

After he gave us his two penneth about concussion I asked my Dad to think of some more memories of days gone by.

I crossed my fingers, hoping he wouldn't remember another naked neighbour story.

It is with great relief that I give you 'The Perils Of Shopping With Children - Parts 1 and 2' by my Dad. Reading these has reaffirmed my belief that what comes around goes around!

Perils of shopping with children - Part 1

We are in the newsagents. You are about four years old, a picture of innocence in your pretty dress, blonde pigtails, white socks and shiny black shoes. I am the very proud father. Mr Fish, the newsagent, probably awash with fond memories of fatherhood smiles down at you, just visible above the counter, and we exchange pleasantries; the weather, children and the economy.

The conversation is difficult as Mr Fish has a cleft palette and requires a degree of patient interpretation.

In my peripheral vision I notice you are unusually quiet and very still like a predatory insect.

I look down and see a face of rapt concentration, your eyebrows are knitted and your lips are silently moving. With mounting anxiety and then dread it comes to me that you are mentally testing Mr Fish’s unfortunate nasal accent and that you may be about to give it a full trial run.

With as much good manners as possible I bring our chat to a quick close, grab you by the collar and make for the door, rudely pushing a few elderly customers and a birthday card display stand aside.

I fail to make the door.

“Whoy dus he spuk lak dat, duddy”? you ask in perfect mimicry of the unfortunate newsagent.

This is not asked in a small discrete whisper. As your mouth is four feet below my ears and you suspect I am a bit deaf the question is asked at full volume.

I turn as we leave and smile an apology at Mr Fish across the silent shop who smiles back with the sad look of someone resigned to this sort of innocent abuse by children.

Perils of shopping with children - Part 2

Earlier in your life we visited the bakers shop with strict written instructions from your mother about what we were to buy; a small shopping list reflecting the economic hardships of the time.

I know you were very young as you were attached to me by some sort of harness with a lead, presumably to prevent you running amok on the busy main road.

Reaching the head of the queue I handed the meagre list to the lady behind the glass display counter in the baker’s shop and as I waited was mesmerised by the machine that saws the loaves of bread into slices. That is if you want sliced bread, which happened to be the specification for the bread on the list.
The completed order is bagged and placed on the glass top of the tall display counter. I am waiting to be told how much to pay but notice the lady is staring down at one of the large cakes behind the glass.

“Is she trying to entice me to buy a cake as well as the bread and rolls”? I muse.

If she is she has another think coming, cakes are definitely not on the list.

No, I realise that she is actually trying to draw my attention to the deep grooves that have been ploughed across the pristine iced top of one of the cake on display. I look at the cake, then at you, who has all the fingers of a guilty hand in your mouth which is suspiciously rimmed with what looks like icing debris.

“Ah, I suppose I had better add the cake to the order”, I say to the lady behind the counter and wonder if I will have enough money.

Then, as we discuss in a joshing manner the problems of controlling young mischievous children I look down and watch with mounting horror as your hand again slips behind the glass front of the display counter and vandalises another, even more elaborate iced cake of even larger circumference.

We leave the shop and, watched through the window by the queue of entertained customers, I stagger up the street festooned with bags and towed by a small child in a harness trying desperately to keep her distance from her irate father.

Friday, 13 February 2009

she looks at me, at herself, at my nether regions

When I wrote Cheap at half the price yesterday it brought back memories of another conversation ...

In the car just me and the 4 year old. We stop at the traffic lights.

A heavily pregnant woman crosses the road with her child.

4 year old – She has a baby in there doesn't she?

Me – Yes, she does

4 year old – I was in your tummy once wasn’t I?

Me – Yes, you were

4 year old - How did I get out of your tummy?

At this point I wonder whether to be truthful or fob her off with tales of storks, fairy dust and a drum roll.

It’s a case of fob her off and have to face it another time or tell the truth and face the consequences.

4 year old – Did I come out of your belly button?

I am feeling brave, I can deal with this.

Me – No … you came out of my girly bits.

Stunned silence, she looks at me, at herself, at my nether regions then back at herself.

4 year old – Don’t be silly mummy.

Me – It’s true, you came out of my girly bits.

She looks at me and shakes her head, then clutches her belly and gives the biggest laugh.

4 year old - How did I really get out?

I can't win. A trip to the bookshop may be in order.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Cheap at half the price ...

Travelling home in the car, just me and the 4 year old.

The 6 o'clock news is on the radio. A woman is appealing to catch her husband's killer, naturally, she is distraught.

Luckily the heater in my car sounds like a vacuum cleaner, the 4 year old doesn't hear the full details, but she does understand that the woman is crying.

4 year old - Why is that lady crying?

Me - Her husband has died

4 year old - She must be very sad

Me - Yes, she is

4 year old - She won't ever see him again

Me - No

She ponders awhile. I hope this is the end of the conversation, not wanting a full death discussion before bedtime, but no ...

4 year old - She can buy a new husband though can't she?

Me - Umm, I don't think so

4 year old - Yes Mummy, she can buy a new husband and marry him like you and Daddy *

Me - How much do you think a husband costs?

4 year old - I don't know .... fiftyten pounds maybe.

* I would like to point out that although my husband and I are married, there was no dowry involved much to my fathers disappointment.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Dogs howled across the valley ...

After the 4 year olds terrible TV induced mood swings last night I vetoed tele-visual stimulus this evening.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Who was I punishing?

Instead the 3 and 4 year old fought like cat and dog whilst I prepared tomorrows packed lunch, washed up and made dinner.

I called time on the fighting and after a game of ‘I’m going to chase you and bite yer bum’ we ended up lying on my bed in a heap. Debris from the 3 year olds early morning alarm call was strewn across the bedroom floor; a drum, bells and a maraca.

Like a scene from a hippy dippy commune we each picked up an instrument and started jamming. We sang ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ten rounds of ‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes’.

It must have sounded like a one man band being hit by an articulated lorry.

Dogs howled across the valley and cats keeled over.

When we’d finished I sat looking at the 3 year old who was working out how much brute force would make the drumstick go through the drum and wondered …

When did it suddenly become normal to sing like a fool in front of people?

OK, these are my children and therefore on a scale of 1 to 10 not embarrassing at all, but I can think of more than a handful of times that I have burst into song and shaken a child sized instrument in public, in front of other adults, in the last year alone.

Then I had a flashback …..

I recall distinctly sitting in my friend’s living room with my five antenatal buddies as we clutched our newborn babies to our bosom, ate cake and glugged Diet Coke (multi-tasking).

One of the group recounted a story which filled me with horror. The week before she visited a friend who had young children, more friends arrived and before she knew it they were all sat round in a circle singing ‘Wind The Bobbin Up’ … with actions.

Mortified she fled the scene before she was asked to join in.

There was a sharp intake of breath from all, except teacher friend mother of three who is also a brownie leader and thinks nothing of singing Kumbya My Lord to order.

I remember laughing as we said we’d never do that. Oh no, not us … NEVER. This was a time when I would rather blow dry my hair whilst sat in the bath than speak up in a group of people I didn’t know, let alone burst into a spontaneous verse of ‘Dingle Dangle Scarecrow’ in the supermarket queue.

My baptism of fire was when I joined ‘Sing & Sign’ with my 6 month old baby. The hint was in the group title and I should have avoided it at all cost. Desperate to get out of the house and hoping my child would become a prodigy and start quoting Shakespeare to her peers through sign language I went along.

Within five minutes I was sat cross legged on the carpet with a group of eight mothers and one father chanting a song about visiting a farm and seeing a cow.

The sign for cow is this;

… Which I like to call the ‘double knob head’.

It took three weeks of childish sniggering before I lost all inhibitions.

Now 4 years on I think nothing of bursting into song anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

I’ve just ordered a copy of The Sound of Music.

Soon I will progress from singing with actions and instruments to spinning like Julie Andrews in the local park singing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music'.

My children will look on from afar before taking themselves off to the local adoption agency.

Picture courtesy of

Monday, 9 February 2009

Dream a little dream for me ...

I dream a lot but I don't always remember my dreams.

This week I have had three dreams and I have remembered each one vividly.

I was jolted awake by the first. Early last week I dreamt that a ginger man in a green nylon tracksuit was trying to burn our house down as we slept. When I awoke I wasn't sure if I had dreamt it or not. I lay for while trying to pull myself together in a cold sweat. Before settling back down to sleep I had to patrol the house like a member of the SAS, only they wear all black combat suits, I was wearing just a pair of big knickers to protect myself.

Last night I dreamt that the three year old had stopped breathing and I had forgotten any first aid I had ever learnt.

This dream was predetermined by the events of the previous day.

We had visited friends for Sunday dinner. The kids were introduced to Pacman on the super fandangled projector screen and they played with two puppies in front of a roaring log fire.

Before we ate the 3 year old fell on his knees knocking into the hearth of the fire. In pain, he got up crying and walked towards my husband. As my husband picked him up he arched his back, his eyes rolled back in his head and he went floppy. I lurched across the room towards my husband and boy just as he came round. Looking bewildered he started crying again. In total this event took less than 5 seconds from his inital fall. My husband and I were fairly shook up but put as he was OK put it down to fainting.

His day continued as before ... rolling around on the floor with the dogs, more Pacman, roast dinner, some shouting and chasing of dogs.

On the journey home I wondered what others would have done. I have friends who have taken their children to A&E for a simple fall or sniffle. If I followed that example I would live there.

I am fairly laid back but I started to wonder if I was too laid back. My intuition kept shouting at me that he was fine.

At work today I kept thinking about my dream. I wondered fleetingly if he might be passed out behind the OAP childminders sofa whilst I was sat typing away at my desk.

By 3pm I had rung the Dr's. At 5.15 pm I was sitting in the Dr's consultation room. My boy jumped up and down on the spot whilst I explained what had happened the previous day.

The Dr told me what I already knew. My boy had probably fainted due to the shock of hurting himself in front of a roaring fire and getting up too quickly. I was sent packing with a "GoodbyeseeyoulaterMrsD". The appointment lasted all of 60 seconds and I left the room feeling foolish, whilst my boy shouted 'Iapowaing' (translated means 'I am a Power Ranger').

The third dream ... oh god ... was AWFUL ...

On Friday night I dreamt I was being romanced by ... Freddie Starr. Yes, the short, portly, 66 year old comedian. Luckily the dream ended just before anything rude happened, but I still feel unclean.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Interview with a vampire

Not really a vampire, just me.

I have been meaning to do Jo Beaufoix's interview for ... oh ... maybe four weeks. I wouldn't blame her if she never commented on my blog again, nor if she wrote a nasty post about crap mummy bloggers called Laura.

I could blame the snow, the coldsore, the naked man, concussion, party week, my children, an ever increasing load of ironing or I could come clean.

It's been sat in my notebook for three weeks and I've been too busy polishing off the remaining Green & Blacks Christmas chocolate to type it up.

There is the possibility that she hasn't yet noticed. She's been busy eating in Richard Branson's restaurant, building snowmen attending not just one but TWO hen parties and hosting Miss M's 4th birthday party bash.

The guilt has set in so here we go. The lovely Jo B asked me ...

1. If you were given the choice between a weekly beauty treatment of any kind and having a cleaner which would you choose?

Cleaner every time.

On the beauty side of things; my eyebrows are making me look like I could be the third Gallagher brother. My nails look like I've been rock climbing without gloves. My legs are like a yeti's and my lady garden ... well, let's just not go there.

I reckon things can't get any worse.

The house could do with a thorough 'doing over' by someone in the know. I'm hoping Kim and Aggi will be bobbing over soon.

2. Are you secretly afraid of Supernanny?


However, if she were to pay a visit I would put my fear aside, welcome her with open arms and never let her go. I'd probably even lock her in the cellar if we had one.

If she'd read my letter and knocked at the door I would gag the children and hide behind the sofa until the sun went down.

3. A psychic once told you not to eat sandwiches. Was this probably because;

a) They saw you eyeing up their marmalade sarnies and thought you were planning to steal them?

b) You were actually dressed as a sandwich at the time so were you to consume one it would really clash with your outfit?

c) You had informed them you have a recurring nightmare about losing a Wii tennis match due to over consumption of Marmite sandwiches?

It was probably all three. I regularly eye up other peoples sandwiches, whilst dressed as a sandwich and I have a recurring dream about losing a Wii tennis game ... BUT, and this is a big but I HATE MARMITE, so it would definitely be a nightmare.

4. What song will always, without fail, get you up shaking your thang on the dance floor, or at least have you tapping your feet wildly?

If I've consumed too much vodka I will dance to anything, probably in an embarrassing manner.

On a day to day basis I dance to The Jungle Book's 'Bare Necessities' in my kitchen. I'm really good at the bottom scratching bit at the end.

... which of course isn't embarrassing at all.

Talking of dancing ... last week I read this 'dancing' post over at Steenky Bee. I thought it was one of the funniest things I have read in a long time and I still have flashbacks of 'the face'.

When I have a flashback I erupt into laughter, in public, on my own, making me look like a lunatic fresh from the asylum.

5. What is the thing you love/hate most about yourself, or are you practically perfect in every way, like Mary Poppins? (Though frankly I think she needs to sort out her posture.)

Like Mary Poppins I have a bottomless handbag. I do, really I do. It holds all manner of after school snacks and beverages. Just like her, I also have complete control over my children at all times, this I love.

I hate the fact that I find lying about my childcare skills so easy to do.

Interview terminated!

Here’s the directions:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Swanning about sans enfant ...

I have spent the afternoon 'swanning' around Harrogate sans enfant.

There I said it!

I should be pelted in the village square.

We don't have a village square but if we did it would have stocks and an abundance of overripe tomatoes.

Twas great. I went with my sister to get her belated birthday present. We spent a blissful 45 minutes in Habitat. I stroked towels and considered buying a soft red flannel just because it felt nice and then remembered that we have 50 flannels at home.

We sniffed candles which were labelled with the following descriptions; croissants, moss, freshly cut grass, sparkling water and my favourite ... fresh air. Much giggling ensued.

I watched calmly as a small child, not dissimilar in age to my own boy, ran round the glassware section with a Pizza Express balloon screaming 'You can't catch me' to his mother who looked like she was about to pass out or have heart failure.

We had lunch in Caffè Nero on our own. No sharing, no shouting and no shrieking.

The teenagers next to us chatted over their coffee and muffins with their thick black lashes, long floaty hair and Juicy Couture handbags. I can't remember having enough pocket money to buy coffee and muffins, let alone a Juicy Couture handbag when I was a teenager!

We looked in Cath Kidston at things that we would like to buy but thought were too expensive.

We looked in Lakeland and Peter Matturi at silicon cake moulds.

We mooched in Waterstones and I took advantage of a BOGOF in the children's section and purchased several books for the present cupboard.

I bought cheaper than cheap tops for the children in H&M.

Swanning about in Harrogate was a breath of fresh air, but it didn't smell like the candle in Habitat.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

A shrug of the shoulders and a waft of garlic

I have stopped asking questions about school at pick up time. I get the same tired answer over and over again ...

"I don't know" with a shrug of the shoulders.

The words blood and stone spring to mind.

I have learnt to leave well alone and during the evening I get a trickle of glimpses of the 4 year old's day.

Gone are the days when I knew my children's every move.

I remember fondly a time when I could chart the bowel movements of my children and regale them to my husband when he returned from work.

Oh, those were the days.

One of the things I always want to know is what she's eaten for lunch. Mainly because when I'm serving dinner I always seem to be in line with the school kitchens. I serve spag bol, she had it for lunch. I serve lasagne, she had it for lunch and so on and so forth. Whether this is the truth or just my daughter being 4 I am not sure.

As I picked the 4 year old up from school today I got a waft of garlic ...

Me - "Have you been eating garlic?"

My pedantic daughter replied all matter of fact, as only she can ...

Her - "No Mum, it's not garlic, it's garlic bread."

So, tonight over dinner I asked the 3 year old what he did at pre-school. He is always happy to give explicit details in his own special way ...

Him - "I climbed on David* ... eat buns ... had poo ... bikes and sing songs with lady".

Poor David.

The buns bit is his daily lie, he tell me this part with a mischievous grin so I will say in mock horror "Buns?" to which he says "Noooooo" with a giggle. It's one of those little things that he never seems to tire of.

The 4 year old feeling left out and pondering whether to share her day starts up with ...

Her - Do you want to know what I did with my lunch?

At this point I get excited thinking I'm going to get hard information ...

Me - Yes, what did you do?

Her - I ate it.

... and that is all I get.

My son climbed on David, didn't eat buns, had a poo, rode a bike and sang songs.

My daughter ate her lunch which involved garlic bread.

Maybe I should be grateful for any information at all?

Imagine the conversation David and his Mum were having.

* Names have as usual being changed to protect the, in this case poor, innocent David

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

He is known as Gramps or Grumps

Before I start - I would like to bring it to your attention that Jo Beaufoix is hosting the Best of British Mummy Bloggers Carnival this week. Go and have a read - there are some great entires.

I will be hosting the carnival on the 17th of February. If you would like to take part please email your entry to me ... lauradriver(at)

Now down to business ...

I've been tagged by Not Enough Mud to do the photo blogstep challenge.

The rules are: Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures; Pick the 4th picture in that folder; Explain the picture; Tag 4 people to do the same.

Here’s mine:

This is my Dad. He is known as Gramps or Grumps by the children and occasionally as Victor Meldrew by members of the public. To be fair he does look rather like Mr Meldrew and has got the 'I don't belieeeeeeeeeve it' down to a fine art.

It was late Summer 2006. Gramps was visiting from Spain on business and stayed with us for a couple of nights. The 4 year old was just 2 and clearly loving the bubbles.

These visits are special for both the children and my Dad. Time with Gramps is precious and they always manage to squeeze some adventuring in. He goes home to the tranquility of his life in Spain shattered but happy.

The good news is that in less than a month he will be moving back for the majority of the year and living close by.

We can't wait!

So, now I have to tag four of you lovely bloggers to do the same.

Here goes;

Mary - Caution ... Woman At Work who could be offering up a picture of some Mediterranean doilies

Corey Schwartz (author of picture book Hop! Plop!) - Thing 1 and Thing 2

Serena Rain over at Zip 'n' Tizzy whose photo is bound to involve a cardboard box


Merrily Down The Stream at Life is But A Dream who was last seen kicking back on a chaise longue

Monday, 2 February 2009

Mr Skinny Legs

Last night the 4 year old stuck her tongue up the cold tap in the bath. She was trying to catch drips and went one step further.

To put her off a) catching tongueitis or b) getting it stuck I told her that a ferocious spider lives up there.

I know, I know, the word ferocious was unecessary, but it just fell out of my cavernous mouth.

That there may be a spider lurking is fact. Many an eight legged wee beasty has been saved from the slippy slidy confines of our bath and thrust out of the window to pastures new.

The 4 year old spent the remainder of her bath sitting as far away as possible, almost on the 3 year olds knee, keeping one eye on the tap at all times.

The 3 year old, who has had another ear infection and is virtually deaf again, only heard the word 'spider' causing him to look suspiciously around the bath for, I can only assume, the water skiing variety of spider.

... and we all talked drunken bollocks

The 3 year olds party was perfect. Lots of children racing around getting sweaty, flailing in ball pools, climbing the wrong way up slides, snubbing anything uncrisplike and eating the sweets off the top of buns.

Regarding the 40 year olds party, there are just a few things I would like to raise with the venue manager regarding our party ...

Dear Manager of Venue

There are just a few points I'd like to raise that luckily did not detract from our enjoyment of the evening, but none the less I would like to bring them to your attention

On our inspection visit a few weeks ago we thought the function room smelt damp and foisty. I brought the subject up with you who said something would be done. The odd squirt of Febreze would have been better than nothing. But ‘nothing’ you did and on arrival the smell of wet dog still permeated our nostrils. This wasn’t a problem to one of our forty or so guests who has no sense of smell.

The fact we could use our own ipod and playlist appealed to my husband (a music snob) who dashed off to create his tour de force. It took him the best part of a day and was, I quote, “Eclectic. Loud and laid back, old and new, mainstream and indie; something for everyone and tailored to suit each friend that attended the party”.

I didn’t much mind standing on a rickety old table, risking neck breakage, to access the aged stereo and plug the ipod into its lead. I did however get slightly irritated at the ipod having to be in one position and one position only to play; tilted on its left hand side pointing upwards and wedged behind the stereo. If it were moved 0.1 millimetres to the right it went silent, sounded like it was being pumped through an elephants rectal passage or jumped like a CD in a go kart on a cobbled lane. At times myself, my husband and occasionally, our guests had to stand on the rickety old table to reposition the ipod.

I’m fairly easy going so most of the above didn't really phase me, besides we were too busy laughing with our friends ...

HOWEVER – What did razz me off was this ... When I initially called to book the venue I was told there would be waiter/waitress service to the room below the bar we had booked. With the press of the shiny red button someone would appear and take our drinks order. No mixing with the riff raff upstairs. Excitedly I pressed the button ….. and waited 15 minutes. Nothing. Giving the button the benefit of my doubt I pressed again with more gusto. Nope, nothing, nada. We were informed that as the bar was so busy, with it being a Saturday night, you were unable to accommodate our demands downstairs. I spent the following 30 minutes queuing at the bar upstairs. When I was finally served I panicked and bought several drinks, which in turn made me take several hangover cures on Sunday morning.

The excited menfolk gathered on the wooden floor to play pool, a floor that felt like it had been been mopped with golden syrup. It was very much a case of ‘look at what you could have won’ when it became apparent that you had lost the cue ball. Still, the pool table was nice to look at all evening.

Towards the end of the night, tracksuit clad chavs unable to read the words ‘PRIVATE PARTY’ tried to join us. They were given short shrift as our guests hugged their handbags closer. Nylon tracksuits I ask you … on a Saturday night. What is the village coming to?

Yours faithfully

Mrs D

So it came to pass that on Saturday night we celebrated husband’s 40th in style; It's the company you keep that's important, and the company we kept on Saturday night was outstanding!

After the party we went for a curry with leftover revellers which was delicious and we all talked drunken bollocks.

I woke yesterday to a dull throb in my head but managed to shake off the hangover when I discovered the 3 year old in the bathroom having an early morning hair styling session. He had used the best part of a tube of hair gel which was now running down his forehead towards his eyes. Only a bath and hairwash would do.

Next time we’d be better off having a party at home. We have Flash All Purpose floor cleaner, uninterrupted music, a ‘no nylon’ policy and a fast drinks service.

Sure, our home smells of dog and burnt chocolate crispie buns, but, we have Febreze.

What do you mean you're not supposed to bake chocolate crispie buns?