I’ve hopped over to my very own website, (which looks pretty much the same as this one) But that’s where you will find all the latest updates and ramblings from me !
I’ve hopped over to my very own website, (which looks pretty much the same as this one) But that’s where you will find all the latest updates and ramblings from me !
Yesterday, I overheard somebody telling her friend how happy she was with what she had achieved this year. The nosy neighbour part of me (about 99.98 per cent) loitered with intent, eager to hear what she had done. Unfortunately, two shrieking boys scuppered this plan.
At home I racked my tired brain for my 2014 achievements, my overly optimistic list of goals had long been turned into a chocolatey finger stained paper aeroplane.In fact, that crumpled list has tormented me daily with a niggling sense of failure at not being able to do the simplest thing.
However, my 2015 resolution is to stop beating myself up about what I haven’t achieved and focus on what I have. No matter how minuscule. And in the spirit of onwards and upwardsness , I gave myself a pat on the back for once having a shower for longer than 37 seconds and for the day that the boys wore nearly almost matching socks. Go me! But in light of this impromptu awards ceremony, my achievement of 2014 was going away for a whole 71 hours, 26 minutes and 49 seconds completely on my own, not a wetwipe in sight (apart from the one moulded to my shoe).
This is nothing compared to living with wolves or climbing a mountain in rollerblades, but for me it’s up there. We were supposed to be going to a wedding, all four of us, but the day we were due to fly, the menfolk all decided to be snotty, coughy and pukey. Cue, a tear fuelled Jeremy Kyle style email to the bride telling her of my plight and apologising profusely for missing the wedding. As I pressed send, I felt properly awful and this is when I heard a few stern teachery voices ( mostly my Mum’s) telling me to go solo! Knees knocking, the furthest and longest I had been away from the boys before was not very long or far at all. (You could measure the distance with a trundle wheel and not get tired) But I knew that I would regret not going more than staying, so I armed S with ibuprofen and chocolate and the boys with a sick bowl and an early Christmas present which appeased wails of ” Mummies can’t go on aeroplanes, it’s not allowed, the police will shout” and shut the door with a nervous thud and went on my way. Only to walk back through the door a minute later to get my boarding pass which was on the floor heading for the paints.
The journey was long, I cleared all my phone messages, ate the family bag of crisps which still left approximately 70 hours and 41 minutes to get through. On the jampacked plane, I felt smug to have a whole row to myself until the air hostess asked me if there were three members of my party missing and I burst into tears. Pathetic, I know. This was the first time in nearly five years that I had been properly away from the boys due to, if I am honest mostly lack of confidence and fear. The idea of being away from them filled me with utter dread , I didn’t really know how to be me anymore , I was a Mum now and seemed to have lost belief in myself as an individual. To a degree, I needed them more than they needed me.
You will be pleased to hear that you can now put down your screechy violin , as after boring a few people with videos of the boys doing not a lot and offering to look after somebody’s son, I got a grip. A proper grown up one and from that moment on and I had the most fun ever. The wedding was incredible, I met lots of new people, didn’t end up covered in snot (just champagne) and I caught up with old friends and had conversations with a beginning, a middle and an end. Novel.
I got home bursting at the seams with excitement to see the boys who were bursting with excitement to get their little painted hands on the Lego surprise I had promised them. Everybody was happy and brimming in their new found role reversal confidence.Every now and again, O asks me when I’m going away again because he really needs some Lego. It took me a long time to achieve that goal, but as my Mum just reminded me it also took me a long time to take the stabilisers off my bike, but I did it. Eventually.
The other day, a friend told me that her toddler-inhabited house is a TV free zone. I listened to this news with admiration and fear.
Before I had children, I remember thinking in my oh so knowledgeable state, that no child of mine would watch TV. Ever. Oh, go on then, maybe the Snowman on Christmas day. Fast forward four years and ten months and I don’t know what we, (I) would do without it. It pacifies, calms amuses and distracts and is priceless when all other resources, especially me are sapped dry.
I am not condoning plonking the children in front of the TV and doing a runner, although there are days when this may be tempting, hopefully the consequences ever so slightly outweigh it.
Of a day, we probably do about 87 gazillion activities ranging from drawing a picture, until there are tears, because F`s glitter pen “accidentally” strayed onto O’s Star Wars masterpiece and who can write their name the best when weeing (yes, this takes a good 2 minutes). Occasionally, we dabble in the world of cardboard castles , until the sword wielding knight throws a screaming strop , because the plant watering pirate has flooded the fort and all that is left is a big soggy cardboard mess. That leaves approximately 8 hours, twenty six minutes and four seconds left of the day to get through, and that’s when we turn it on , calm down and forget all about feuds for at least a bit, until somebody gets clobbered with the remote or lo and behold, one of them sits too close to the other.
O’s teacher once told me that she was impressed that he knew about Photosynthesis; Big thanks to the Lorax and Cbeebies for teaching him that, I failed GCSE Biology and still get a bit muddled between organisms and orgasms.
A few weeks ago after swimming, there was a MONUMENTAL meltdown, the stuff that makes Supernanny rub her hands in glee, it was hideous. We got home frazzled from crying, reasoning and shouting. On came the Gruffalo, there was blissful silence, we all calmed down, until O declared that the mouse was really silly and somebody needed to tell him he is not scary at all, it’s because there is a great hulking monster behind him.
SIGNS OF TV INDUCED BEHAVIOUR
In his poem Television, Roald Dahl basically tells us all off for letting our children watch TV as we are rotting their brains. My pre-parent self would have nodded vigorously and probably framed it, but my slightly disheveled parent-self thinks that it is in fact a thing of genius and nothing to feel guilty about. As long as it doesn’t replace you as the key carer and allows you all to breathe and a luxurious moment to take that slightly congealed cup of two day old coffee out of the microwave, then bring it on in all its goggling glory.
1.What is the point of trousers with imitation drawstrings? Is it to enable the game “Let’s pretend we’re wearing drawstring trousers”?
2. Why on the one night of the year you go out and reacquaint yourself with a few bottles and a half of wine, is it a cue for the littlest to projectile vomit everywhere and the oldest to declare 3am the new get up time?
3. Who are THEY? Where do THEY live? What do THEY do when they’re not saying what we should and shouldn’t do?
4. Why, once out of the house and in the eye of the general public do children turn into the stuff of nightmares?
5.Why haven’t they invented a lego reject button on the hoover?
6.Why once you or anybody in the vicinity has uttered the words “He´ll fall asleep on the way home” or “We’re in for an early night ” does that translate as car journey from hell with a screaming non asleep toddler or that it is actually time for astronaut practice, which entails launching off a bookcase until said child cracks his head and can only be consoled by eating Cheetos and watching Frozen six times.
7. Why the minute you sit down, catch a breath, go to the loo or have thoughts about putting the kettle on, do they know to have a monster nosebleed or get their toes stuck under the door?
8.Why would anybody dream of making white clothes for any child under the age of 26?
9. Why two seconds after giving birth aren’t we provided with Mary Poppins` clicky fingers?
10. What did I do before?
The other day at the back to school meeting, they advised that parents take time out every day to do a puzzle or play a board game with their child. They went on to say that it’s because it’s a good calming exercise to do with them. This sounds obvious, but it made me laugh at the realisation that their children are obviously not my children.
Playing board games with them is not fun.
This is what happens after the first two and a half minutes.
Shopping List : There are tears because F has more products than O. O swaps trolleys, F doesn’t realise. F then realizes. There is a fight, shopping trolley gets bent. The products get hurled across room. Game turns into fishing shopping list items out from under the sofa, my bra, leftover lunch.
Any puzzle: F likes to do puzzles when they are nearly finished. As in, the last piece needs to be placed. He will instruct you to do it with him, then he will conveniently go off to find his princess cape shouting “Is it ready? Is it ? Is it? “ Then screams as O puts the final piece in , just as he gets there.
Penguin game: (The idea is to flip your penguin onto the vibrating igloo) It is only ever O’s go.
Peppa Pig Snakes and Ladders : F decides how many spaces you can move (regardless of dice) and where you can go. Even if you are one square from home, you will most likely be sent back to number one because “I was one when I was little”
All of these games are accompanied by dulcet screeches of “I’m the winner, No I’m the winner!” Then tears and hysteria “He said he’s the winner, but I’m the winner…. “
In short, as much as the idea of sitting down to play games is one I envisaged romantically when they were about a day old, the reality is the noisier and faster and more running aroundness (preferably just in pants and wearing a crown) the better. Yesterday they were entertained for a record 27 minutes by “Run from the Dragon”. This highly innovative game was thought up by a desperately shattered teetering on the edge me, you need two children, a scooter and a go carty thing stolen , borrowed from the neighbour. Children hurtle round garden and I lob , gently throw an inflatable dragon in their flight path. Crashing into it and when it hits your brother´s (not your) head is apparently the most hilarious thing ever. They couldn’t get enough, until O ran over F’s toes and then drove into the clothes horse. The game had come to a natural end. Or so I thought, until twenty seconds later, while I was making chocolate milk for the screaming injured, I was met by two (plastic) sword wielding boys wailing “I’m the winner” “NO, I’m the winner!, you’re the LOSER!”
Anybody got a 50,000 piece puzzle I can borrow?
We seem to have unwittingly adopted a birthday tradition in our house. It doesn’t involve flowers or balloons but snot, loads of. Last year, O spent his birthday on the sofa, a funny shade of beige, hotter than a heatwave. The morning after he asked me why we hadn’t celebrated his birthday, as he had no recollection of presents etc.
Not to be outdone, last night, on the eve of his third birthday, F woke up coughing like a seal with a piece of cardboard stuck in its throat. Not a good sound. When our children are ill, S gets in a panic and I become uncharacteristically practical and a bit matrony (in a non Carry-on film way). But last night’s cough was a newcomer in the world of coughs. So, while S was panicking, instead of telling him to calm down, I was putting on my shoes and balancing a barking toddler on my thigh.
We got to the hospital and all systems were go. He was so tired, that he was sleeping while they checked and prodded him. Turns out he has laryngitis, they gave him cortisone, which was promptly spewed all over me. (Was quite proud of my choice to wear a white top, they matched). And then an oxygen mask was popped on him and that´s when he woke up properly and started to flail, scream and hit. It took two nurses and me to rugby tackle him into a “comfortable” position and half an hour later, he fell properly asleep with gotham city style smoke billowing from his mask.
At 5am this morning O woke up , overly excited about F’s birthday. F , who was in a bit of a post party slumber didn’t wake up until lo and behold 6:55am. His waking words were ” Where’s my blue chocolate cake?” and he thought the tale about going to hospital was hilarious and made up.
Today’s birthday treat was not going to school, which also caused a bit of a stir due to an accidental lost in translation moment. I phoned to explain that F had laryngitis and wouldn’t be going today, only to be called 6 hours later by a slightly perplexed and frantic Headmistress ringing to confirm that F had meningitis and that they would have to quarantine the children.
Despite the snot, tears and an overzealous “I LOVE birthdays, especially YOURS F!” big brother trying to open his presents, it’s been a fun ever so slightly quiet day. I´m considering changing their birthdays next year to fool the germs, but in the meantime, I shall just wish my most deliciously loveable rogue, an extra happy third year of being absolutely stark raving bonkers.
Aside from an alarm failing to go off, we made it to school awake, dressed and mostly happy ( the news F couldn’t wear his cape, which is actually a double bed sheet didn’t go down very well). The BIG day we have been waiting for excitedly, nervously, desperately and in denial-ly has been and nearly gone.
There were only tears when O couldn’t see me as I had momentarily lost F in the hoards of parents, only to find him sitting down on the floor talking to a recently decapitated caterpillar, and it was a bit emotional seeing O’s sleep creased face looking a bit too serious, but we survived, phew! “What, you didn’t cry?!” shouts everybody who knows me. I know, I know, I was on the brink. But yesterday I had an EPIPHANY! Amongst the nerves, the melancholy that the summer was over, I realised that going to school means that bedtime will be at NORMAL o ‘ clock, NOT half past completely RIDICULOUS o’ clock! A fact that fills my slightly heavy “Where have my little boys gone?” heart with jumping joy. It turns out that days of beach, lego, umpteen viewings of Frozen, eating your bodyweight in ice-cream , destroying the house, painting yourself from top to toe with felt tip doth not tired boys make. Quite the contrary, it fills them with extra energy which burns slowly throughout the day slowly getting greater and greater until, just after 7.30pm (the bedtime of yesteryear) they turn into the duracell bunnies and nothing suppresses the great ripple of energy. Nothing, not talking in a ridiculously calm (slightly psychotic) voice, closing all the shutters (” Mummy, we can still see the sun, why are you making the house dark?”), warm milk, reading stories where all the characters are going to bed, putting on their pyjamas or going to bed myself. One night I managed to get them to bed by 7.30pm, it was paradise. I was ecstatic, until they woke at 1:45, 2:37, 3:15, 4:52 and 5:45 am where I admitted defeat and we started the day. “Oooo, it’s a bit dark outside isn’t it!” exclaimed O “Yes” giggled F shouting “Wake up lazybones day!” at the tired sky. In fact bedtime turned into such a ridiculous part of the day that on a few occasions I had to throw it all to the wind and just join them. One night all dressed for bed and nowhere to go ( I showed them the way to their bedrooms, they just laughed) We piled them into the car and we did a bit of rock climbing, made all the more exciting by potential wild boar sightings, but luckily they waited for us to leave. ( I was not too excited by the prospect of scooping up two boys and running down a hill in my flip flops from a herd of hungry boars). They fell asleep in the car on the way home – result! Another night , I took them out on their skates and scooter, only for them to come back and F had a meltdown about circular bread and triangular fish fingers. So, instead of two ready for bed boys, the next hour was spent negotiating with an angry toddler who was only calmed by watching Frozen from start to finish, twice. Bedtime had become BADtime. Obviously being the holidays, I wasn’t expecting bedtime to be early but closer to the witching hour than In the Night Garden was a bit much night after night. Today at lunchtime ( school day – 9-12:30, 3:00 – 4:30pm ) O started wailing , “I’m too tired Mummy, I don’t need school. I didn’t go for a hundred years, why today?” I try to distract him by making a cake , Once he has licked the bowl inside and out, he smiles, satisfied. “I’ll go and put my pyjamas on, when the cake’s ready we’ll eat it and then it will be bedtime , ok? ” He says hopefully. It looks like recruiting for my Bring Back Bedtime Campaign is going to be a piece of cake.