Thursday, 30 April 2009

Mum’s on a Walt Disney Jolly - By Dad

OK. So the subtlety of the wife's request for a UK view of ‘Mum’s on a Walt Disney Jolly’ wasn't wasted; but she could just have asked outright.

It is, I’ve come to learn over a decade or so, the way the wife likes to handle things; I guess she thought I might have a lot on my plate (obviously not as much as she had on her first trip to a US restaurant), so we’ll move on.

EDIT – to say the ‘official’ request has arrived as I type.

MWDJ – Day 1

Dad – Wide awake at 3am as wife departs the house. Sleep. Rudely awoken at 06:58am as 3yr launches himself alongside. 4 yr old floats in for cuddles 07:35. Breakfast, no drama. Kids to school; no fuss. Work. Collect kids from school. Feed one midget gem each child (to garner brownie points). Play in garden. Make evening meal. Illustrate chart slash timeline for Mums return from MWDJ. Kids bathed, read to and counting sheep by 19:57. Pop goes the cork. Relax, wondering what exactly the plastic thing is that turns the channel over on the TV. Am I allowed to use it? And there’s me thinking the TV was permatuned into ShipwreckedPeterandHugeBoobsApprenticeBritainsnexttoptwaddle.

Current state of mind – I’ve just coughed up a lung and pierced an ear drum, do I have Swine Flu; I hate negotiating; I am very t.i.r.e.d.; why does it take 6 days to get a doctors appt.

The kids are missing mum for sure, but their behaviour has been totally awesome, man.

The boy has trouble comprehending distances and still thinks mum will be nipping in with his present anytime soon. Hence the chart. He’s happy, sleeping well and enjoys jumping into bed with Dad for half an hour before nipping off to wake his sister.

He's like, totally enjoying driving daddies car, during the wait between dropping his sister at school and starting pre-school.

Boy’s current state of mind – where’s my present; can I have a midget gem; look dad ‘T’ for Thomas.

The Girl is oft taking the role of doting older sibling, looking after her brother and counselling him regularly. It seems to be working, so good on her. She’s looking forward to feeding the lambs at her Aunt and Uncle’s house this afternoon. The hoped for advance up the non hair pulling chart has not materialised, to the extent her teacher has finally spotted her doing it. She now skips everywhere. I mean everywhere. She's roped in numerous small children, one adult guy wearing a gastly shiny suit, our dog thrice and a waste bin in the school yard. Maybe she's practising for a Rodeo at the Timber Creek Ranch.

Girl’s current state of mind – do we live in Great England; look, I can skip like a woodpecker on speed; can I have a Guinea Pig and a Lamb for my birthday; why didn't mummy meet Mickey Mouse instead of Minne, he's much better.

Current family state of mind - we all miss mummy lots (even though the house is much tidier).

Have a nice day y'all.

The Husband

Day Two - Breakfast With Goofy and Typhoon Lagoon

The difference between waking early at home and waking early here is that when I wake at home I have to get up and service the children. Here I can blog, email people and take my time getting ready.

Yesterday in the excitement of waking early and seeing the view out of the window I forgot where I was momentarily and whipping open the curtains to survey the scene forgot that I was on the ground floor and only wearing my big pants. Luckily the gardener who was 2 metres from my window was facing the other way and I quickly whipped shut the curtains again.

Breakfast was a bit ‘wow’ and ‘ooh’. Not only was the food amazing (remember your American accent folks) but we shared it with Minnie, Goofy and Donald. Watching the children’s faces as they turned to find a character tapping them on the shoulder was a bit special. The breakfast itself was really tasty and the choice was immense … Mickey shaped waffles, yoghurt and toppings, cereal, pastries and the full bacon, sausage, eggs and … asparagus which was a novelty.

After breakfast I got my sunglasses out of my bag to find that them in two parts. Short of using a plaster to fix them and looking like a bit of a tit I bought some new ones in the hotel shop … I held off buying some Hannah Montana sunglasses and opted for some plain ones with Walt Disney World resort in teeny tiny letters on them. The shop stocks every conceivable product including a scratch and sniff nightie. I scratched, I sniffed and nothing. I have it on good authority it was supposed to smell of chocolate. I may try again this morning.

After breakfast we had a tour of Typhoon Lagoon one of two water parks. I started to feel a bit warm and fuzzy as I watched children snorkeling with sharks and tropical fish. An enthusiastic lady called Sindy showed us round. There was a HUGE pool with a tidal wave every 90 seconds. Sindy explained their procedures for lost children which is very thorough and well thought out. They prefer to call it ‘lost parents’ … the child is taken to an area with games and waits until their parent who is probably chilling on the lazy river remembers they have a child, panics and is claimed by that child.

There are lots of shady areas to get out of the sun and plenty of refreshments including free water fountains. The park caters for all ages and the slides range from the super fast 40mph ‘lose your swimsuit up your bottom’ slides to the more sedate lazy river. There are some areas specifically for small children and some of the slides have no height restrictions.

I could feel the Disney effect taking hold. In fact some of my platelets were beginning to grow Mickey ears.

More to come ... Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller, Toy Story Mania and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Plus 7 UK Bloggers testing cocktails ends in crying ... tears of laughter of course

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Day One - Fatigue, an Armadillo and Towel Origami

I was rudely awoken at 3am. I kissed my sleeping children and my coughing husband and got going.

The flight to Gatwick was fairly uneventful bar the breakfast primed to scald and an obscene looking sausage.

At Gatwick I met my fellow bloggers … six lovely ladies. We checked in and discovered to our excitement that we’d been upgraded to premium economy.

We waited in the V Lounge which is superbly kitted out for both adults and children. Video games for big kids, soft play and Duplo for the littlies. Every pastry you could imagine and a variety of drinks. It was a great start to our trip and very relaxing.

On entering the plane I wanted to start shrieking like an excited child. “There are stairs, there are stairs”. I have never been on a plane with stairs, but then I’ve never done a long haul flight.

As we had been upgraded we had extra leg room which is always a bonus when you are an Amazonian Tree Dweller. I had a screen for films, games and in-flight info. The in-flight info was a double edged sword and somewhat irritating for someone as impatient as me. I did want to know where we were on a little map, but when it told me that we still had 2636 miles and 5 hours to go was my cup half full or half empty?

I have suffered severe sleep deprivation before, after all I have two small children who think that sleep is for the weak. Today was something else. Having not slept much the night before for fear of not waking in time for my flight it meant that I started on the wrong foot. By the time we were on our flight I was very tired. I tried to sleep. I pride myself on being able to sleep anywhere, however I couldn’t find the right position and I was scared of missing something.

When I say our cabin crew were efficient … I mean it. Within ten minutes of sitting down we were offered a hot towel. Now I’ve never quite got this hot towel business but I embraced it … but I still don’t get it. Then there were drinks. For the first time ever I declined the champagne and opted for the orange juice. Then there was lunch … lunch was nice. King prawns in chilli, a rock hard roll and a Gu chocolate pot. Before we got our meal I was slightly sceptical about how juicy a prawn can be at 40,000 feet but I wasn’t disappointed. Then there was the flight pack, which had amongst other things some purple and lime socks in it, which I wore with pride. Then there was the Hagan Daaz …by the time this arrived my skin was so dry that I didn’t know whether to smear it on my face or eat it. Sense took over and I devoured it whilst watching a film. Then there was the fruit bowl, then there was more drinks, then there was a sandwich, a cheesy one which name escapes me ... cheesy dream, cheesy surprise … I can’t remember but it repeated on me for four hours.

Then we were there. Out 10ish hour flight was over. By the time we got to immigration I was delirious with fatigue and started giggling at everything. Immigration although intimidating to start with was fine. I had to use a Star Trek style fingerprint machine and the man behind the desk rewarded me with each swipe of fingers by saying “Atta Girl” which only made me even more hysterical. I was asked if I had any fruit or vegetables about my person or in my bag and whether I had been around livestock in the last week. I wanted to tell him I had a sheep in my hand luggage and I was packing courgettes, but this would have been foolish, right?

Having rid my head of thoughts of swine flu and deleting text messages from my sister about avoiding Mexican’s we were greeted by a fellow traveller putting on a surgical mask. I now wished I had visited Focus Do It All to purchase a mask … one of those ones used when sanding floors.

We were greeted by the lovely Sarah from Disney and taken to Walt Disney World. I cried most of the way there in hysterical laughter and although tired was not hallucinating when I saw an armadillo about to cross the road and a man driving a large vehicle with no hands on the wheel … no he was too busy eating what looked like a bowl of cereal.

We went out for a meal to the Flying Fish CafĂ© … the food was superb. I was really struggling to stay awake and at one point wanted to lie on the floor of the restaurant. Although it was only 10pm my body was wondering why it was still eating at 3am. Crab cakes and red snapper mmmmmmm.

My room is amazing. Amazing is going to be the word of the week, although I will try to find some alternatives for variety. Although when I say amazing you have to say it in your head in an American accent.

The room overlooks a swimming pool, which has a white sandy beach and is awash with towel origami. There was one set in a Mickey Mouse head shape (photographic evidence to follow). I’ve never heard of towel origami before and I imagine a maid wearing Mickey ears making hundreds. There’s also a phone next to the toilet with a red flashy light. Because it’s there I feel compelled to ring my sister whilst sat on the toilet … just because I can.

Anyway I must go, lots to do … having breakfast with a surprise guest.

It’s hard not to miss the children when I am surrounded by hundreds of the little blighters but I am told they are being good as gold for the husband and the 3 year old who has no concept of time or distance thinks I’m down the road at the West Yorkshire Disney World and keeps asking where his present is.

I’m trying to get the husband to do a guest post whilst I’m away so you can find out what he and the kids are getting up to whilst I’m away … missing me blah blah pining for me blah blah whilst looking at photos of me longingly blah blah … he may need some more persuading!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Show Your Ears and Shut Your Mouth

After having to rush my passport through for Walt Disney World I took a look at the pictures old and new.

Something to note before continuing - I do have eyebrows ... nice, healthy, dark eyebrows. However, the passport office computer decided to give them a wax and reshape ... so much so that in the old photo it looks like there was a waxing accident.

In the old photo I was 20, carefree and smiley. I knew what a lie in was, an afternoon in the pub and staying out past midnight, I didn’t have to share my time amongst several people. I could do what I wanted when I wanted. No responsibility.

In the new photo I am 30. I look sombre. I haven’t had a lie in since 2004, I turn into a pumpkin at 11pm. I have a husband, two kids, a dog and a job. I share my food, though not by choice. I spend my time between peace keeping, endless washing and repeating the same phrases over and over again.

However, pictures can be deceptive.

A few things you may need to know about the new photo.

1) The passport office have a no smile policy. The current advice is to show your ears and shut your mouth.

2) I was sat in the photo booth in the foyer of my local Co-op on a very windy day. The curtain kept wafting up, revealing me trying to do ‘non smiley’ faces and I was hoping that no one I knew would be walking past at that moment.

3) Despite my solemn face, I am one million times happier than I was ten years ago

Thank god I can't find my passport from 20 years ago. I had a mullet and the look of a startled rabbit that the Spanish authorities used to laugh at.


When you read this, if it is indeed Tuesday I shall be impatiently travelling to Florida. Putting all thoughts of swine flu to one side I am getting up at 4am for my good old Dad to chauffer me to the airport. 19 hours later I should arrive in Florida.

I keep having flashbacks to a film I watched circa 1990 where a family travel to Walt Disney World and lose their suitcases ... they spend their holiday wearing a combination of Disney themed items. I am finding this thought horrifying, however, the more I think about it the more I am convinced it will happen.

Daft, Blonde, Excited and Impatient

I've been tagged by A Modern Mother so now you have to know the following, whether you want to or not!

1. What are your current obsessions?
Chocolate Orange Bourneville, pear cider, blogging (obviously) and The Apprentice

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Jeans, jeans or jeans

3. Last dream you had?
I was swimming in a pool full of kitchen utensils ... work that one out!

4. Last thing you bought?
Suncream for my impending Walt Disney World trip

5. What are you listening to?
Right now I'm listening to people talking in the office, phones ringing and the tippy tappy of my keyboard

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?
Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of food .. just because I like it, not because I'm good at it!

7. Favourite holiday spots?
Cancale in France, Barcelona and Scotland

8. Reading right now?
Just finished White Tiger which took me forever to read. I only read before bed and end up nodding off. Looking forward to the airport bookshops tomorrow!

9. Four words to describe yourself.
Daft, Blonde, Excited and Impatient

10. Guilty pleasure?
Crap TV ... I like nothing more than putting the kids to bed, the husband going out to five a side and lying on the sofa watching rubbish.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
My sister

12. Favourite spring thing to do?
Picnic in the park, plus Spring signals the start of camping season

13. Planning to travel to next?
Walt Disney World, Florida ... tomorrow!

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Husband's indian fishcakes with tomato rice. I salivate when I think about it.

15. When did you last get tipsy?
Friday night at Teacher Friend Mother of Three's secret squirrel birthday meal

16. Favourite ever film?
It really does depend what mood I'm in ... Today, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

17. Care to share some wisdom?
If only ...

18. Song you can't get out of your head?
Mamma Mia - it's on a loop in our house

19. Thing you are looking forward to?
Both going to Walt Disney World and coming back from Walt Disney World and seeing the family

Rules of the meme. Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 8 people.

You're it:

Caution ... Woman At Work


Not Waving But Drowning

Some Mothers Do Ave Em

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Ali Blah Blah

Under the Influence

Four Down Mum To Go

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Obviously doh ...

We arrived at school early on Friday and chose to sit in the car rather than wait in the chilly playground.

The 4 year old's school is nestled in a residential area.

A man pulled up outside his house and released not one, not two, not three ... but four dogs from the boot of his car after their early morning outing.

One of the dogs was missing a limb.

Me - "That dog only has three legs"

She looks up from her book, looks at the dog and says matter of factly;

4 year old - "Yes, the other one dropped off"

... and continues looking at her book.

Note to self - Teach children the art of people watching by stealth

On Tuesday we went to the park after school to try and dissolve any'post Easter/after school' arguments and whining. The idea being the kids would have a pinic tea in the sunshine and run wild on the adventure playground.

We are sat at the traffic lights, 4 year old in the front, 3 year old in the back.

4 year old - "Mummy, look at that TINY Grandma, look, look."

3 year old - "Where, where?"

I can see in my mirror that the 3 year old is actually considering taking off his seatbelt for a better look. I give him 'the glare' and he reconsiders and cranes his neck to see.

In order for me to look I have to lean really far forward to look at the woman in the passenger seat of the car next to us.

It's true, the woman in the passenger seat of the car next to us is in fact the TINIEST Grandma I have ever seen.

I look at the lady driver, our eyes meet. I look away quickly, embarrassed that I have been caught out staring at her TINY Grandma. I look in the opposite direction willing the lights to change.

Me - "Really, you mustn't stare"

3 year old - "I don't like that TINY Grandma"

Me - "Sit back and stop staring both of you!"

4 year old - "But she is soooo TINY, look, look"

Me - "Stop staring!"

I imagine the conversation in the other car ...

Woman in other car - "What is wrong with that child? She's bouncing about, shouting and staring at us. I bet the mother has been giving them too much sugar."

TINY Grandma - "Why is the one in the back with the big hair scowling at me?"

Woman in other car - "... and look, their mother is just ignoring them. Poor children"

TINY Grandma - "What chance have they got?"

Note to self - Teach children the art of people watching by stealth

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Popping the corn ...

Teacher Friend Mother of Three's threw a party a few weeks ago.

All the kids were sat round eating their party tea and a bowl of popcorn was passed round.

The 3 year old and his friend were sat at a lower table and missed out.

3 year olds friend - "Can I have some c*ckp*rn please?"

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I only wear big pants to bed ...

So, the trip of a lifetime is getting closer.

We have received our itinerary and it's going to be non stop.

Non stop eating, rides, shows (Did you know there is such a thing as Finding Nemo - The Musical?) … early starts. I will be found slumped at the end of the table most mornings with bloodshot eyes and a caffeine drip.

I have started having anxiety dreams which I tend to get before I go away anywhere, with or without the children. This is coupled with anxiety filled wittering when I am left to think alone for too long. The good news is that the anxiety ends on the day of travel, which is good news for my fellow travellers.

I realised the anxiety levels were rising last night when the husband was engrossed in his book. I lay next to him firing ridiculous questions about time zones, hair straighteners and adaptor plugs.

After getting little response I lay there having conversations with myself, in my head of course;

Do I take the ipod? The ipod, thing of beauty, was a 30th birthday present. It is now a family pet. Can I justify taking it away from my children for my own pleasure? What will they sing to over their cereal? Could they just jam in a freestyle manner to Mamma Mia without music? Will I need to listen to music when no doubt Disney will be piped full of irritating theme tunes. Yes, I need to take the ipod or ear plugs.

Will I be sick on a rollercoaster? I have never been sick on a rollercoaster. Why would I be sick on a rollercoaster?

When I am sick on the rollercoaster will I be sick on one of my new blogging friends?

What do I take on a ten hour flight? I can only stuff so much in the laptop case. Do I need some of those attractive stockings to prevent DVT?

Will I sleepwalk? The last episode of sleepwalking was circa 1996 when I woke up running down the stairs … away from the huge mechanical spider which was trying to eat me.

Will I sleepwalk into the corridor and out of the hotel and be found on a rollercoaster the following morning?

I only wear big pants to bed. Should I buy some pyjamas?

I was busted last week. The 4 year old found out about my solo trip. She was fairly cool about it.

The house was empty and I decided to watch a promotional DVD someone has given me about Walt Disney World, Florida. Having never visited Disney I thought it would give me an overview of what to expect. Just as I was getting into it the house was awash with people. The 4 year old plonked herself down.

4 year old - Oooooh Cinderella

Me - Yes, it is

4 year old - Look at all those children. Is that where we're going?

Me - Well, here's the thing, next week I am going there for 'work'.

4 year old - Without me?

Me - Yes, for 'work'

4 year old - But there are children there.

Me - Yes, but I have to go with other adults, there are no children going

4 year old - OK, but you will get me a photo of Cinderella won't you

Me - Yes, WOW look at that rollercoaster, that's looks fast. I wonder if anyone is ever sick on that one?!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

The 4 year old is bonkers ...

The picture above is a tiny percentage of faces the 4 year can pull.

Most of her time is spent on the bottom two rows, although she can swing from top left to bottom right in 0-60 seconds when the mood takes her.

She's turning into a brainbox and would rather spend her time writing and drawing than anything else. She questions everything ... and always wants to be right.

In the 'creative brainbox questioning everything and being right' sense she is very much like her father.

She's developing a wicked sense of humour and she LOVES chocolate ... which is of course all down to ... ahem ... me.

The 3 year old likes to be with me ...

When I'm getting dressed I get this ...

Just bouncing ... the whole time.

He particularly likes to sit on the toilet whilst I shower. Sometimes he'll pull up the step he uses to brush his teeth at the sink and sit right next to the shower door.

Just ... sitting ... being as one ... as I wash my hair.

Sometimes I have to draw smiley faces in the steam on the shower door, more for my own amusement than his.

Next week (did I tell you I'm going to Walt Disney World, Florida?) I will relish my audience free showers ...

Then, towards the end of my week away I will miss wiping the steam away and seeing this

Friday, 17 April 2009

Sniffing and Squeezing The Fruit and Vegetables

I had a rare opportunity to visit the supermarket after work last week, on the way to pick up the children from Auntie K's.

I don't often go to the supermarket and use online shopping. Less stressful but fairly boring as I end up ordering the same stuff every week.

I revelled in wandering round sniffing and squeezing the fruit and vegetables, looking at all the new products and committing them to memory for my next online shop.

I am an avid people watcher. In fact, avid doesn't quite cover it ... I LOVE watching people ... their behaviour, interaction, foibles, habits.

I wandered with my trolley and watched the frazzled lady with her three children hanging off the trolley arguing over a Fruit Shoot; The man with his meal for one and beer perusing the condom and lubricants shelf; The old couple looking at stain removers.

Old Lady - Pointing "Is it the same as that one?"

Old Man - "I don't know I haven't brought my reading glasses, I can't see what it says"

Old Lady - In loud whisper "Does it remove large areas of blood?"

The Old Man looked at his wife in horror and then at me, at which point I scurried off to peruse the cake aisle and see what else the 'meal for one man' had put in his basket.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Love Me Tender

Me - "I love you"

3 year old - "I love me too!"

Breakfast at Ariel's ...

So, I told you I was going away (Travel and relaxation? In the same sentence?) and up until today I couldn't tell you where.

Now I can spill ... I'm going to Walt Disney World, Florida to do a parent review ... without children or husband ... A.L.O.N.E

... which is strictly not true, because I'm going away with some other fantastic Mummy bloggers.

My initial reaction to spending 5 nights sans enfant was one of absolute wild hysteria. That is 'Hooooray, uninterrupted sleep hysteria' and not 'rocking back and forth how will they cope without me? hysteria'.

Now it has actually sunk in I am swinging from Hooray hysteria to 'how will I cope without them?' hysteria.

I haven't told the children yet, mainly because they wouldn't really have any comprehension of where it is and what it is that I'm doing ... unless of course I mentioned to the 4 year old that I'm having breakfast at Ariel's ... which of course I won't, for fear of finding her in my luggage on arrival at Orlando airport.

I spent Saturday driving to Liverpool to renew my passport (Oh, how I have aged in ten years). I have no sense of direction but was pretty confident that with optimistic thoughts and a bit of sunshine I'd find it.

My Dad heard that I was going alone and told me in no uncertain terms he would be my navigator. This was fortunate. Apart from the fact that my sister pointed out over the weekend I drive like Cruella de Vil ... ten minutes into our journey I hadn't a clue which way to go!

The reason I'm doing this review is thanks to these people;

Go along and register.

Hopefully the next review trip won't be a ten hour coach trip with children!

Smug? Me? Nah!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wee Parts One, Two and Loving the Tadpoles

Wee Part One

We live five minutes drive from lots of country lanes. Some of these country lanes have bumps, the sort that make your stomach lurch as you dip down. We call these 'wheeeeeeeees', which is the noise we scream as we fly over the them.

We have a particular favourite on the back road to Ilkley. The faster you go the better the 'wheeeeeeeee'.

The 4 year old informed me today that she knows how to tell a bad 'wheeeeeeeee' from a good 'wheeeeeeeee'.

4 year old - "A good wheeeeeeeee makes me do a little wee".

Wee Part Two

We spent most of Easter weekend with my sister, her family and some of her friends who had come down for the week from Scotland.

The friends from Scotland have a daughter who is four and got on famously with my 4 year old. After their first day together they declared themselves BFF.

The Scottish four year old is … well … Scottish and instead of using the word 'small' uses the word 'wee'. As my Dad, my aunt, uncle, cousins and my grandparents are Scottish it is something I give no thought to.

The 4 year old however has given it as much thought as possible.

4 year old - "Why does [the Scottish four year old] say 'a wee dog/a wee burp/a wee play/a wee boy"?

Me - "Scottish people use the word 'wee' for 'small'.

4 year old - "But if a Scottish person does a small wee, is it a wee wee"

Me - "I suppose so, yes"

4 year old - "… and if a Scottish person does a small poo is it a wee poo?" looks at me and sniggers

Me - sighing "I suppose so, yes"

This conversation I'm sure would have gone on ... and on ... and on had she not been in the car clutching an ice cream tub full of tadpoles which had been collected from Auntie K's pond ... to which she kept whispering "I love you".

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Conversations with the 3 year old ...

... are so much simpler than conversations with the 4 year old.

Yesterday I was getting dressed. The 3 year old was sat on my bed.

3 year old - "What are they for?"

Me - "What?"

3 year old - "Your boobies"

Me - "When you were a baby they gave you milk"

3 year old - "Do I have eyeballs in my head?"

Me - "Yes, you have two"

... and with that he went about his business.

The same conversation with the 4 year old would have gone on for half an hour and she would have waited until we were in public before saying the word 'BOOBIES' really loud. By the end of my interrogation I would have needed a lie down and/or a large glass of wine.


In other news

- More Than A Mother is hosting this weeks Mummy Bloggers carnival, go take a look.
- I will be reporting about whether I won the egg roll on Sunday tomorrow
- Stealth Boy has not been active since Friday

Monday, 13 April 2009

We have a family tradition ... update

We met at my sisters house on Easter Sunday. The children hunted for chocolate eggs in the garden. The dog joined in too and I am looking forward to picking up metallic poos from our garden.

We went to the park for our egg rolling and found a fantastic hill, complete with kamikazee rocks and tree roots for a bit of added excitement.

I didn't win ... my niece did, she was overcome with emotion as she has never won before.

My egg is the golden one in the green box, next to the black sheep.

The 3 year old came third. Perhaps with a weekly training session the 3 year old will win next year.

... then I can live the winning of the egg rolling cup through his eyes (and pretend the trophy is mine giving oscar style acceptance speeches in the mirror when I'm alone).

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Stealth Boy strikes again ...

What you see in the 'after' photo is 7.5kgs of dry dog food.

What you fail to see in the 'after' photo is the dog puke on the hallway carpet, dog food on the hob and under the microwave and a 3 year old boy crying in his bedroom.

Friday, 10 April 2009

We have a family tradition ...

… egg rolling.

Every Easter.

Up until five years ago I hadn’t met another family that did it. We take it seriously, very seriously indeed.

… we have a trophy.

For those of you who are not with it (ahem) … we paint hard boiled eggs, find a hill and roll our eggs down it. The egg that gets the most points over three rolls is the winner. The owner of said winning egg receives the trophy, which is proudly displayed until the next ‘egg roll’.

In t'olden days, when I was a child it was simple. Paint egg, find hill, roll egg, slap winner on back, well done.

Now the rules are a little lax.

I follow the old style method of ‘place and release’. Placing my egg on the line and releasing it.

I have never won the trophy.

Other family members, I shall name no names, favour the ‘egg toss’. The wrongdoer appear to be applying the ‘place and release’ method but at the last minute tosses their egg to gain speed and distance. This causes much bickering amongst the family and the word ‘cheat’ is bandied about. We have over ten family participants and it can get a little heated.

When the winner has been presented with the trophy we have lots of leftover eggs. One year, pre small children, we decided to have an egg pelting session which ended abruptly when a Grandparent received a black eye.

Since then we have taken a cricket bat and taken it in turns to bash the eggs (away from other people).

This week I received an email from my sister. I realised the excitement was brewing when she asked for verification of the rules.

She wanted to know if she could use more than one egg?
No, you may not. If you want to show off your artisitic abilities then we shall admire your extra eggs and say 'oooh', but they will not be submitted. One egg is sufficient.

Could we make the rules on trophy winning clear?
Yes. The winner wins the trophy.

Anything else?
Yes, we are going old school. We are using the ‘place and release’ method. Anyone found to be using the ‘egg toss’ will have points deducted from the total and people will point and mock.

After 30 years I might stand a chance of winning the trophy.

I keep finding the husband staring off into space and I think he must be thinking about work. Then I realise, he is a graphic designer, he is already designing his egg in his head.

Like I said, we take it seriously.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Welcome to my world ...

My Dad and stepmum had the kids on Tuesday whilst I was at work.

I sent my Dad a text asking how they were getting along.

I received the following text back ...

Fed ducks at canal, 2 dams built in stream, clothes drying. Drawing next. The OAP childminders must drink a LOT of Red Bull

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Travel and relaxation? In the same sentence?

Holiday (noun) : a time, often one or two weeks, when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax

The word 'holiday' (or vacation to some of you) doesn't mean the same as it did pre children.

I can remember a time when a holiday involved a sunbed and a book ... not sharing a sunbed with a soggy child whilst trying to get sand out of a swim nappy and shouting across a crowded beach to the husband that child number two needs a poo.

Pre children we packed a bag, got in the car and drove to France. We didn't book anything, we took a chance. Husband and I spent a leisurely week taking in the sights. We slept in a different hotel in a different town every night ... apart from one night when we slept in the car (not through choice). We ate great food, drank excellent wine and it was an adventure.

We went to Barcelona, ate tapas, drank too much, laughed even more and mooched. Perfect.

We went to the Edinburgh Fringe. Took in some street theatre, some comedy shows, more drinking, mooching and some afternoon naps back at the B&B. Aaaah, bliss.

Since having the children we have had a variety of holidays ... all lovely but not much relaxing involved. Just because you are sleeping in a different bed at night and smothering yourself in suncream by day does not mean that your children will suddenly need less attention.

If I'm not dreaming that the children are drowning in the swimming pool (is it just me?) then I'm listening to them whine because they are too hot or watching them flick sand in each others eyes.

And, how many times can a headstrong toddler take off their sun hat in the blazing sunshine?

Then there's the travel. Fly, drive, sail ... take your pick. It's almost guaranteed to give you palpitations at regular intervals.

Don't get me wrong, there have been some marvellous moments during our holidays, but the stress levels needed to get to that point are, well, high.

I'm sure as they get older it will become easier. For one, when they can both swim I can stop having the drowning in the pool dream, right?

Anyway, I have been given an opportunity. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for a few reasons;

1. I'm going away without the kids

2. I'm going away without the husband

3. I'm going somewhere that husband would, in his own words, rather gargle with razor blades than visit

All in the name of research

I can't wait, in a matter of weeks I shall be ...

... I can't say anymore for fear of jinxing my freedom.

In time my pretties, in time.

Monday, 6 April 2009

I've had a makeover ...

Back in November this is what the 4 year old thought I looked like;


Now, four months later I have had a makeover. The months have been good to me don't you think?


I have twelve fingers, before I had none.

I have mascara, a pink handbag and a pretty flower.

Most importantly the 'back boobs' have gone.

I'm liking the new me.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

It's not snot ... or is it?

Tonight I was reading to the children in the 3 year old's bed.

With great gusto I was reading Gilbert The Shark. Much to the 4 year olds disdain I gave Gilbert a very broad Yorkshire accent ... "Aye, let's go tut wreck arrr Mum" I read.

It was then that I saw it. I say 'it' because I am unsure of what 'it' was.

Something was stuck to the wall above the 3 year olds bed.

To be fair it could have been one of many substances ... not poo though, the 3 year old prefers the carpet for that delight.

I'd love to think that the 3 year old hadn't stuck his finger up his nose then wiped it up his wall, that it was a piece of stray banana. But, I know my children well and nothing would surprise me.

It reminded me of an email which was sent round my ex workplace last year (shortly before I was made redundant).

Dear All

It has been brought to my attention that someone has been wiping their nasal extractions on the toilet cubicle walls.

Please could you refrain from doing so, not only is it disgusting but it is distressing other members of staff.

Kindest regards

Mrs HR Manager

The nasal extractions were not mine, however I must admit that when I was made redundant the thought did fleetingly cross my mind to start collecting my own nasal extractions and present them as a parting gift

I pointed at the offending substance on the wall ... "Whose is that and what is it?"

They looked at me, at each other and shrugged.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

We not only lost an hour, we lost our sanity

An hour, one measly hour has caused havoc with bedtime.

Before the clocks went forward all was well …

Bath, bedtime story, snuggle, goodnight kiss.
All asleep by 7.45.
Glass of vino, feet up, watch TV.


Bath, bedtime story, snuggle, goodnight kiss.

Then at intervals to suit they get out of bed and hover at the top of the stairs shouting the following;

4 year old – “Mummy, I need to tell you a joke”

10 mins …
3 year old – “Mummy, I need a wee”

5 mins …
4 year old – “Mummy, I have an itch”

5 mins …
3 year old – “Mummy, Ratty is on the floor”

10 mins …
4 year old – “Mummy, he keeps tapping on my wall”

5 mins …
3 year old – “Mummy, pre-school tomorrow?”

10 mins …
4 year old – “Mummy, I accidentally fell out of bed”

10 mins …
3 year old – “Mummy, I need a poo”

5 mins …
4 year old – “Mummy, I've spilt water on my bed”

Then … silence.

That’s an hour of up and down, up and down, up and down. The same amount of time that was unpleasantly stolen last Sunday.

The morning after the night before I am greeted by yawning, grumpy children.

They argue about which cereal to have, which chair to sit on, who will look at the milk carton, who should get the fairy dust out of the bottom of the cereal packet, who is the more accomplished whistler ... and so on and so forth.

It takes three times as long to do anything. I feel like one of those women in the cartoons who is jumping up and down, bright red in the face with steam coming out of her ears.

I set off for school with the 4 year old who tells me she doesn't want to go to school because it's 'absolooooooootely boring'.

I want to beat her with my handbag, but I refrain.