Friday, 27 March 2009

A petrol station, a carwash and a non magical bottom ...

Yesterday after school we got in the car and I said in my jolliest voice "Who wants to come and get some petrol?" … funnily enough there was silence.

Our local petrol station was rammed and judging by the faces of my passengers they wouldn't take kindly to waiting for 15 minutes on the forecourt.

"It's OK" I said "Let's go to the other one".

"This is boring" said the 4 year old, "I'm hungry" said the 3 year old

Got to 'other one' to find it being demolished.

"Don't worry, let's go to the next one" I said, slightly less jolly.

"This is sooo boooooring" said the 4 year old, "I want crisps" said the 3 year old.

Five miles later and some crying from the 3 year old who was both mortified and mystified that I could not produce a snack out of my arse whilst driving we arrived at the petrol station … which was rammed.

I agreed that if they stop being grumpy I'd purchase a snack from the petrol station and then we'd go through the car wash. A bit of food based bribery never hurt anyone. The carwash was just a bonus in my eyes.

"This is really b …" the 4 year old stopped herself as the word 'snack' registered in her head. "I want big crisps ... please" the 3 year old said with a big smile.

Their only experience of car cleaning has been with the husband, he uses the handwash people who give the personal touch with a chamois leather. They may not have a working Visa but when they've finished you can see your face in the bonnet and that's all that matters.

Petrol pumped, snack purchased and off we went into the carwash tunnel. I tapped in the code, the children ate cookies.

Off it went, I was super excited "Oooooh look at that" I said as foam covered the car, then the big brushes started up, "Wow, look at the big brush rollers" I said .... "Check out the car blow dryer, isn't it good?".

They looked disinterested with a hint of fear. The 3 year old had his fingers in his ears.

When the carwash had finished, I got out to admire the gleam. It was a bit patchy, but still, better than before.

When I got back in the car I turned round and said "Wasn't that fun?!"

The 4 year old handed me her cookie wrapper. The 3 year old didn't respond either, he still had his fingers in his ears

"Can we just go home now and watch TV?" said the 4 year old, "Juice please" said the 3 year old.

The 4 year old turned to her brother and said "Mummy can't magic juice out of her bottom you know!"

Monday, 23 March 2009

An update on life as we know it

Me – I was shocked and slightly disturbed to find that all this blogging (which some may see as idle wittering) has earned me number 40 in the Top 100 British Parent Bloggers. It’s all very exciting and I don’t completely understand all the technical bits which got it there, but none the less I have told everyone (bar the monotone security guard on Friday) I have come into contact with over the past week.

I have had several broody moments this week. I keep seeing mothers with their bundles of joy out and about in the village. In my mind I would love another bundle of joy because the maternal lunatic which lives inside me has erased all the crappy/shitty/tear your hair out parts of having a baby. All I can remember are the good bits … swaying with my beautiful baby in the pitch black of night as I feed her/him for the third time in six hours. Bliss. What? Wasn’t I tired and vaguely psychotic through lack of sleep? According to the maternal lunatic in my head … nope, never. I blame the sudden bouts of sunshine this week which make everything seem très jolie.

Just for the record, the above paragraph is written in a special typeface that my husband can't read.

I am feeling fairly domesticated which is a vast improvement on my previous status of ‘definitely not domesticated, no sireee’. Not only have I ironed more than twice this week I have also bought a new Hoover and taken an interest in the garden. My new favourite hangout is the local garden centre.

Can I just mention that the highlight of the televisual year is upon us. The Apprentice is back on Wednesday. Personally, I can’t wait.

Husband – Doesn’t like the Apprentice and is more Alan Titchmarsh than Guitar Hero these days. Despite a bad back he has spent hours cultivating a vegetable patch. It started three weeks ago with a ceremonious bonfire (what is it with men and fire?) in the back garden to clear the way and now we have seedlings sprouting ubiquitously.

I keep having visions of him stepping onto a podium at the village summer fair to collect his prize for 'Yorkshire's Biggest Leeks'.

3 Year OldStealth Boy has struck again. Last week husband found a '3 year old sized soil angel' in his vegetable patch. This is hindering the above village prize giving vision.

I walked into the kitchen on Saturday morning to find it flooded. From what I can tell he had been trying to fill the dog’s water bowl. Unfortunately he had then spilled it and repeated the process around twenty times.

The grommet operation was a success, he can hear, his balance is better and he actually starts conversations with people where before he would stand and stare at them as if they were talking in Swahili.

We are growing his hair, I say 'we' but I am actually against this idea as his head is already on the large side. He now has ear flaps and as his hair grows, so does his head. I keep looking at pictures of him after his last hair cut and contemplating sneaking off to the barbers for a quick snip.

4 Year Old – She is in fine fettle. Parents evening made us swell with pride.

Her writing has become much clearer and she likes to leave messages, albeit phonetically, on my computer. Her latest offering was … ‘Ben ten is a hirobicoshiyfitswivpipl’. As you can see she needs to work on her spacing too.

Her class keep getting nit letters, every time I read one I start to itch. No nits yet and I am crossing my fingers that we shall avoid them altogether. Who am I kidding?!

On a recent trip (one of many) to the garden centre she caught us unawares and she had to have an emergency poo. Husband was mortified as he and the 4 year old emerged from behind a polytunnel. She looked relieved. Apparently it was huge. We just can't EVER go there again.

Luckily there are other garden centres in the area that we can visit.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

He had clearly left his personality at home

I went to a meeting on Friday in the centre of Leeds. The meeting was in a huge glass fronted office block.

To enter the building I had to use a revolving door. I pushed and it moved, but it was very stiff. As I popped out the other side into the reception I thought ‘surely it shouldn’t have been that hard’ and released a “Phew!”

The sullen faced security guard manning the reception said in a monotone voice “You went through it the wrong way”.

Thinking it hilarious I laughed and said “I bet loads of people do that, ha ha, how funny!”

He looked at me and said “No, just you”.

Monday, 16 March 2009

No witnesses have come forward ...

This is chief suspect, Stealth Boy, also known around these parts as the 3 year old. He looks a bit like Sportacus but don’t be deceived.

Over recent times he has been getting up very early, sometimes undetected, and it is believed that his latest covert operation is in full swing.

He leaves calling cards all over the house, evidence of his early morning work.

For instance, over recent weeks, I have found the following oddities which have a distinct whiff of '3 year old';

1. I start to read my book. After a few minutes I realise that either a) I have read the chapter already or b) I have travelled forward in time. My bookmark has been moved.

2. I pick up an apple from the fruit bowl. It already has a single child sized bite mark.

3. There is a beautiful yellow crayon sunshine on the dining room wall.

4. Deleting messages from my mobile phone sent items I come across a message to a friend’s phone saying ‘fogypipy jambegy?’.

5. A tub of fish food has been opened and upturned on the 13 year old's bed.

6. Three tulips out of 6 in a vase looking the as if they have been attacked with a sword.

7. Five calculators open on the computer desktop.

A biscuit barrel with half its contents missing and a trail of crumbs …

9. A lipstick crushed into its lid.

and the grand finale, crime of the century ...

10. A beanbag minus its innards.


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What's that noise Mummy?

Sorry for keeping you all waiting on news of the 3 year old's ear operation!

Anyone who hasn't been reading long; the 3 year old had grommets fitted 2 weeks ago, a very simple surgical procedure. I just had to let you know because the way I describe things from here on in you'd think he’d had open heart surgery.

The big day arrived and for all my calm, laid back 'I’m cool with this', I became a complete bundle of nervous crazy brrrrrp ding.

The 4 year old went off to school and I had 2 hours to kill before we needed to set off. I washed, I ironed, I tidied, I folded things … most out of character. I kept looking at my oblivious boy and was hit by a huge wave of love and thinking he was just so handsome. At one point I had to pick up ‘Bikini Barbie’ and get her to slap me about the face whilst telling me to get a grip.

When we got to the hospital he went off to play in the playroom which was very well stocked with toys and children of all ages with various body parts bandaged.

In preparation we had talked about the operation, even read a book all about it (most nights at the 3 year olds request) but I really don’t think there was any comprehension. He simply obsessed about riding on a bed with wheels.

Time ticked by so slowly. We had visits from a nurse, a Dr and the anaesthesiologist who all asked the same questions and then tagged the 3 year old with an array of wrist and ankle bands. The 3 year old just looked at them each as if they were speaking Japanese, unaware of their significance.

At 2pm the nurse came and told us it was time to go to theatre. Only one parent was allowed with him whilst he was being put to sleep. I offered to toss a coin, but husband graciously let me go. As we walked out of the ward the 3 year old skipped ahead in his half mast jimjams with Lulu clenched between his teeth like a dog.

When we got into the theatre he lay on a bed looking at the strange men who had visited his bed earlier. They tried to cajole some conversation out of him at which point seeing all the medical paraphernalia I got tense and went into ‘cracking jokes’ overdrive.

I was told to chat to the 3 year old whilst they went about knocking him out. The nurse behind me must have sensed my mild terror and resorted to blowing up a rubber glove to distract him … and me.

In a matter of seconds they had the needle in without a flinch from the 3 year old, I on the other hand was rigid … but still holding my ‘everything is fine, I look like I've had botox’ smile. His eyes rolled back in his head and he was asleep, instantly snoring, clutching Lulu. I kissed him and left with tears pricking my eyes.

The nurse told me to go back to the ward, have something to eat then come back down in 30 minutes and wait in the corridor outside theatre for him.

25 minutes after swallowing a sandwich whole I was pacing the corridor outside theatre. After a further 20 minutes I was starting to worry. The door suddenly opened and a bed rolled out with a child on it, not my child. The nurse with the child asked if I was Mrs D and said my boy was already back on the ward. My eyes pricked again; I wasn’t there for him.

The next 10 minutes was a comedy of errors as I tried to get back to the ward. The staircases were blocked off due to maintenance work so I had to use a lift which went to every floor but mine ending in me being trapped at the back when it did get to my floor by wheelchair bound grannies on a day out who wanted to discuss with me the finer points of the canteen. I had to use everything I had not to shout 'I don't give a f*ck about the f*cking canteen, GET OUT OF MY WAY'.

When I got to the ward I could hear the wailing. My disorientated, groggy boy was beside himself. My husband was trying to comfort him. I sat and rocked him for what felt like an hour until he stopped crying. Apparently they had brought him up in another lift, totally bypassing me waiting for him in the corridor. He had cried all the way up. I was angry, but contained myself.

When he’d calmed down he ate 4 slices of toast, drank a huge beaker of juice and thankfully wasn’t sick on me. Result! After 30 minutes he was up and leaping around the ward in a slightly hyper fashion.

We were allowed to go home 2 hours after his operation and he slept all the way home.

The following morning I was woken by him getting into bed with me.

3 year old - What’s that noise Mummy?

Me – The birds tweeting in the trees.

3 year old – What’s that noise Mummy?

Me – The radiators filling with water.

Things I take for granted that he hadn’t been able to hear before.

In the 2 weeks since we have noticed a vast improvement in his hearing, speech and his balance.

He still falls over but not as often!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Wedging 'Boy' in the play oven

For the first six months of his life she referred to him as 'boy', refusing to say his name. I think she hoped that after a couple of weeks he'd go back.

When he was in the moses basket she would often give him cuddles which involved laying atop him and covering all his air passages with her love.

Once, he was in his bouncy chair fast asleep, only a few months old, I went upstairs for less than five minutes. When I returned I found her playing with her kitchen and the bouncy chair ... empty.

He was lying in a little ball on the carpet sleeping soundly. I hoped that she had just wanted to include him in her tea party and had not attempted to wedge him into her play oven.

Recently they have started to play together more, communicating in pretend adult voices (with an American twang), as they pretend to be parents taking their child (our poor dog) camping to the beach (our hallway).

Sometimes they sit on the sofa snuggled up together watching TV, other times they sit there and argue about who is touching who, who has the most space and who has control of the remote (so they can accidently purchase a diamond encrusted shoehorn on QVC).

When a child gives out birthday sweets at the end of her school day she always gets two, one for him and one for her. When I tell her she's not supposed to get two she looks aghast ... "But he's my brother!"

Half an hour later they will be arguing again. Yet, if she is not there he always wants to know where she is and vice versa.

As I write this they are playing with Mr Potato Head and sharing ... that's right SHARING. If I had written this last week the 4 year old would have been hiding some of Mr Potato Head’s vital limbs so that the 3 year old can’t complete his ‘Tatie Head’.

I hope their relationship will continue to blossom and that as they get older they will still want to spend time with each other ... albeit still bickering.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Muuuuuuumy ...... Muuuuuuuuuuumy ..... Muuuuuuuuuuuuumy

When the 3 year old was under general anaesthetic last week I have a sneaking suspicion the surgeon chanted subliminal messages into his ears to check they were working properly.

Something along the lines of ... "Wake up at exactly 4.21am every morning starting tomorrow and wander into your parents room and tell them it's time to get up"

They were supposed to give him grommets, not an internal alarm clock, set for what I consider THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

We have one of those fandangled clocks which projects the time onto the ceiling in bright red. For four mornings it has throbbed 4.21 in the darkness as I return my reluctant boy back to bed where he lies and either shouts, cries, sings or goes back to sleep. The latter happening only once or twice.

The shouting becomes unbearable, like water torture (I imagine) ... 'Mummy, Mummy, Mummy' then 'Muuuuuuumy ...... Muuuuuuuuuuumy ..... Muuuuuuuuuuuuumy'. It's amazing how many variations can be shouted and the different pitches which wear away your patience a little more with each shout.

I turn into a human yo-yo. Stumbling back into bed then being summoned for a kiss, to fill a beaker with water, a cuddle, to cover up his god damn sock clad feet or to assist him in having a wee. I turn into psycho-mummy telling him how furious I will be if he wakes his sister up.

Last night was the worst - first the 3 year old woke at 2.53 with a cough, then he woke his sister who started coughing too. I am able to testify that a cough can be passed through a wall. I, the human yo-yo staggered back and forth between the children. Cough tennis continued until at 4.17 there was silence for 35 minutes, followed by the equivilent of the Wimbledon Final of coughing.

The only good thing is that I have discovered that between the hours of 4.21 and 7.36 I do my best blog writing, unfortunately it is all in my head. By the time I am sat in front of my PC at a more reasonable hour it has all slipped out and I can remember nothing.

I am now at work, mainlining Diet Coke through a drip, holding my eyelids open with one hand and typing with the other. It's going to be a long day.

You can only imagine how hilarious this post was at 4.21 in the confines of my head.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Charity begins at home ...

We had two charity bags put through the letterbox over the weekend. The sort you fill and leave on the driveway for the man in the van to collect. The bags sparked some feng shui action from me and I cleared wardrobes, cupboards and drawers.

Over lunch I told the 4 year old proudly that I had filled the two charity bags.

4 year old - Who is Charity?

Me - Charity isn't a person. The things in the bags will go to charity shops where they will be sold. The money will go towards helping people.

4 year old - People? Why?

Me - Yes, maybe people who don't have anywhere to live, or people who are poorly. There are lots of people that need help.

4 year old - ... and animals?

Me - Yes, and animals.

4 year old - But Mummy, who is Charity?

The 3 year old who has been listening from the end of the table whilst attacking a peanut butter sandwich, looks thoughtfully at me and says "I don't like the sun".

I get up and bang my head against the wall repeatedly. Well not really, but I may as well have.

Later I found the 4 year old hugging the television. An advert for the Dogs Trust was on. A neglected, scrawny, shivering dog was on the screen accompanied by sad music and a voiceover along the lines of 'Poor Smudge doesn't have anyone to love him, his owner used to beat him with a rusty pitchfork and he only fed him once a year. For just £2 a month you could save Smudge ...'

A letter came home from school the following day ... 'your child can come to school wearing red clothing on Friday and pay a pound for Red Nose Day'. As we have no red clothing I decided to order one of the funky Red Nose Day t-shirts designed by Stella McCartney instead. She chose the Beatles one over the fluffy rabbit one (I was shocked, her father was proud). I then explained that the money we were spending on the t-shirt would go to charity.

4 year old - Do you know what I'd do if I had lots of money?

I got excited; my television hugging, t-shirt wearing 4 year old had finally got the hang of charity and was going to pledge all her imaginary money to those less fortunate than herself.

4 year old - If I had lots of money I'd get a big fat purse to put it all in. It would be very long and very wide.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Chocolate really is fattening ...

As usual, we are in the car, we stop at a junction near a school.

A sea of children are exiting the school gates.

4 Year Old - Mummy, that boy looks like the one out of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.

I have no idea which child she is referring to as there are approximately 50 children floating about; plus I am listening to her the radio at the same time.

Me - Who, Charlie Bucket?

4 Year Old - No, Mummy.

Me - Mike TV?

4 Year Old - No, Mummy. The one who swims in the chocolate and is soooo fat he gets stuck in a tube.

Me - Ah, that would be Augustus Gloop.

I'm so glad we were cocooned in the car for that one, with glass seperating us and the fat boy.

Friday, 6 March 2009

I wonder what the wife thinks ...

I work in recruitment. I received a CV today which had this in the 'interests' section;

To relax, I join a group of friends in a team we have formed for on-line combat gaming. We are able to link-up and communicate through headsets, employing tactical skills and simulated assault and combat craft. This enables me to socialize, exercise my reflexes and strengthen team skills, whilst still being present to support my wife in caring for our baby daughter.

Did anyone else burst out laughing at the 'whilst still being present to support my wife in caring for our baby daughter' part?

Thursday, 5 March 2009

You know you eat too much Chinese food when ...

I will blog about the 3 year olds hospital experience and my emotional rollercoaster of a day when I've shifted this pounding headache.

In the meantime ...

Last night when we got back from the hospital we decided to order a chinese takeaway.

I rang up, gave her the order, and told her my husband would collect it. At no point did I give her my name. As the call came to an end she said "OK, Mrs Driver, goodbye"

Now I don't know what is worse, that, or ...

Earlier in the day I rang the Doctors surgery to make an appointment and when the receptionist came on the phone I said "Please can I place an order ..."

Sunday, 1 March 2009

A hint of mild schitzophrenic panic ...

This week my big bold adventurer is going into hospital to have grommets fitted. Hopefully by the end of the day of the operation he will be able to hear properly!

I am very excited but there is a hint of mild schitzophrenic panic. I made the grave mistake of watching an episode of ER last week where a child died in hospital. I sat with a lump in my throat until the end and then watched the final of Masterchef which just pushed me over the edge.

Not only will he be able to hear, but, his speech will improve. Whilst his speech is delayed one word answers have now moved on to full sentences. Some things are clearer than others and need no translation, but when his ears are bad the translation can become time consuming and frustrating.

My latest translation triumphs were ...

meeyonbiowsiiii? = Can I play on my bike outside?

nitno'ot = It's snowing, a lot.

itdogysi'onneeee = The little dog is sitting on my knee.

cartsonplee = I would like some carrots please.

thanyoomearv = Thank you for having me.

He's fairly non plussed about the whole 'going to hospital' part, although I'm not sure he understands. We bought a book called 'tubes in my ears' from Amazon. Published some time in the 1980's it seems to focus in on the fact that although the boy can hear when he comes out of surgery he is also violently sick over his mother. The boys father, dressed in a suit, is always in the background looking non interested and talking on a mobile phone the size of a rugby ball. On the plus side the 3 year old has discovered he will ride on a bed with wheels and he will have teeeny weeny tubes in his ears that will help him hear.

Last month he had a week of really good hearing which was hopefully a taste of things to come. His ears must have drained and the only reason we knew was because EVERYTHING WAS TOO LOUD.

The husband had a moment in a public toilet when the 3 year old screamed blue murder on hearing a hand drier, which has now grown into a phobia of hand driers. The mere sight of one and he covers his ears. Also his sisters singing gave him the eeby jeebies, but then she does, at times, sound like Snow White holding a pneumatic drill.

I seem to have the idea that all that waiting around will mean that I can read my book in peace. Who am I kidding. I will be the mother rocking back and forth, looking nervous, weeping and clutching Lulu.

I'm actually looking forward to the bit where he is violently sick all over me. At least it will be over!

We love Lulu and we just want her home

Yesterday we lost Lulu.

Lulu is the 3 year olds best friend. A soft lamb which he has slept with and loved for all of his 3 years.

Her stuffing has worn away making her slouch, she is a bit smelly and she could do with a good clean.

I had been out with teacher friend mother of three and we had visited a museum and a clothing store. It didn't dawn on me until we got home that Lulu was missing.

I rang the museum which was closed and then the clothing store.

I spoke to someone who said nothing had been handed and got a bit emotional. I told her that we love Lulu and that we just want her home. I left my number with someone who probably thought I was ringing from the home for the terminally bewildered and asked them to call if she turned up.

The 3 year old is having his ear operation this week and Lulu was going to go with him to hold his hand. I paced up and down the kitchen. I rang teacher friend mother of three several times to ask her to search her car.

In my mind I was berating myself for not buying two Lulu's all those years back when my pregnant heart fell in love. I thought about tracking another down on ebay, but decided it just wouldn't be the same. There is only one Lulu.

I actually felt like crying, bereft; all for a smelly, floppy lamb.

Then the phone rang, it was the clothing store, they had found Lulu. I danced around the kitchen, I rang teacher friend mother of three again, I then broke the news to the 3 year old that Lulu was having a sleepover and they would be reunited the following day.

He seemed a little disappointed, but happy that Lulu would get to try on all those clothes. I must admit, I expected more devastation, after all they have never spent a night apart

... Which begs the question, who is more attached to Lulu?

I think Lulu will be holding my hand in hospital when my boy goes into the operating theatre.


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