Do it your selfie

I don’t really do selfies. Not as a rule but in general I try to avoid seeing what I look like of a day as to not feel guilty about the sight I am inflicting upon others. (Think Wurzel Gummage crossed with an overly tired moomin). Although it might be handy if I did do selfies more regularly to avoid going out with Mr Tumble stickers stuck to my forehead and also to realise that my dress was on back to front ALL DAY LONG.

However, the other night whilst perusing my phone it came to my attention that one of us, namely Boy 2 is quite the selfie pro. So here are a few pointers to get the perfect one;

1. Steal a phone.

2. Try the easiest combination of numbers ever like 1234 to crack the password and you’re in. (If the phone’s owner is on the clever side then try it backwards.)

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3. The most important thing to take into account is that your fringe is perfectly aligned. This will give body to your photos, ignore the centre box on the screen. Follow your fringe. Always.

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4. Create an air of mystery. No need to properly open your eyes or change your facial expression.

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5. If you do move away from the safety of your fringe, then don’t forget to focus on your nose, it adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” aspect to your shots.

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6. Repeat and repeat at least a zillion times, until you find the perfect one which is no mean feat!

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UNCONDITIONALLY CONDITIONED

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There is a simple reason why the love you have for your children is unconditional; If a friend, relation, acquaintance or complete and utter stranger did half the things your child does (and gets away with), you would either unfriend (is that even a real word?), report or bust out some serious kung-fu moves on them.

A few examples;

When riding on your shoulders, gleefully announcing “ I’m not going to fall because I’m holding on to your chins…”

Projectile vomiting in your mouth, pooing in your shoes and weeing in your eye.

Trashing your whole entire house, leaving a trail of unidentifiable substances and breaking the door handle with a hearty laugh and then refusing to tidy up, accept responsibility or pass you the gin.

Delving into your top and only being satisfied when both boobs are properly out, with nothing to do and nowhere to go and then walking away pointing and chanting “Boobs, Boobs, Boobs !”.

Rolling around on the floor screaming that the noodles should have been on the left of the plate, not the right and demanding something else.

Waking you up at 2.36am with an urgent order of water, warm milk, cold milk, water again and a ham sandwich cut into squares NOT circles.

Proclaiming loudly that you are not in fact their mum, but their horrible wicked stepmother who gives them poisonous apples for breakfast.

Snuggling up to you on the sofa and wiping their snot away on your face.

Suggesting that instead of going away for one night, you go away forever and ask a doctor for a new boy.

Asking you why you`re still wearing  pyjamas, when you thought you looked quite hip in your new starry jumpsuit.

WHO DUNNIT?

Last week at a party ( for the under fives),  my “friend” did a silent but incredibly violent trump. Cue, parents flocking from the darkest corners of bunting clad trees to check their offspring´s bottoms, nappies, pockets,. “Strewth!” exclaimed one dad ( or words to that effect) “That was nuclear!” coughed another. My”friend” , feeling quite proud of her skills decided to keep mum (literally).

This led me my friend to conjure up a list of the top five situations where it’s morally acceptable to blame it on the kids.

1.  Nails; When you are incapable of painting your nails without it resembling an effort from a chimpanzee using its bottom to hold the brush.

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The boys did it? How cute!

 

2. When your house resembles this multiplied by 7;

 

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Easier to say that the kids were nutters and you literally haven’t had a moment to breathe, let alone wash up. Nobody needs to know that the boys were brilliant and you spent the afternoon watching Bananaman, whilst sipping cooking wine from a mug.

 

3.  Cakes; When you have to take a cake somewhere and this happens.

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In this case, you don’t need to use your faithful scapegoats as it will just be automatically presumed that your recently out of the womb child made it.

 

4. The state of you ;  

When the children are small, it’s socially acceptable to go out covered in unidentifiable substances and look like you have just landed from another planet without a parachute. It’s also ok to have no concept of what you are wearing. The important thing is that you’re dressed and out . Well done you! Don’t have a raincoat or umbrella? No problem, a bin bag will do.

 

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Although easier to point the finger at the boys for lack of time etc… It gets a bit dubious when they look like they have just  stepped out of a catalogue and are constantly asking why you’re wearing dressing up clothes.

** There is a small possibility that I was on my own in above photo, and the boys were in fact fast asleep in another part of the country…

 

5. When you cut your child’s fringe; 

 

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To avoid being reported to the National Society for  the prevention of Hair Crimes. Much easier to say that they mistook their hair for a piece of paper.

* For some reason unbeknown to me and the rest of the human race, Boy 1 thinks this is the best fringe ever. (I think having my fringe as a point of reference has helped…)

 

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LOST IN SPACE

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It would seem that the following concepts are completely alien to Boy 1 and Boy 2;

1. NOW; Used to depict a sense of urgency, i.e; “We have to leave NOW, we’re already super late” or “Stop playing NOW and help tidy up.”

On their planet, NOW is interpreted as a time at least 47 minutes later, sometimes even 47 hours or days. There`s no need to rush, ever.

2. PERSONAL SPACE; Used to describe a healthy distance between two people, especially when a cup of coffee is needed or you are on the loo, doing what you do.

On their planet this means it’s the perfect occasion to clamber, kiss, style hair using toothpaste, demand a story, ask to see what’s in the loo and why…

3. BOY 2 HAS WON; Used to explain to Boy 1 that Boy 2 has scored the most goals, got the most cards, trumped the loudest or run the fastest.

On BOY 1`s planet (this is where there’s a bit of friction between planets), the fact that he landed on planet Earth, 19 months and 27 days before BOY 2, means that he is ALWAYS the winner. Always. Even if he isn’t playing.

4. “AIM IN THE LOO!” means “Please try not to wee on the seat, next to the seat, on the floor, all over the bath, in the sink and on the ceiling.”

On their planet this means “Please, please, please be angels and wee on the seat, next to the seat, on the floor, all over the bath, in the sink and on the ceiling.

5. HANG ON A SECOND, I’M TALKING ; Used to describe a situation where you can’t (lo and behold) give your full attention right away because you are (double lo and behold) engaged in a conversation with somebody else. (If you’re incredibly lucky, that somebody else may be over the age of 5. Imagine!)

On their planet this means ” I can’t talk to you until you whip my leggings and pants down in public, because I love it when everybody gets a glimpse of what lies beneath”

6. IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME!; Used to demonstrate that there is absolutely NO difference between the toy/biscuit/lump of mud they each have in their hands.

On their planet they hear “His is much better than yours, please pummel each other to the ground until you are satisfied with the one you have”

7. “SHHHHH, IT’S A SECRET/SURPRISE”; Generally used to mean keep it to yourself. I.e; don’t tell everybody.

On their planet this means “Tell everybody and make doubly sure you don’t leave anybody out.”

8. NOT NOW; Used to answer questions such as “Please can I eat these 6 jumbo sized chocolate bars I stole from the fridge?” or “Please can we belly flop fully dressed into the paddling pool?”

On their planet it means “Yes of course, there would be no better time than right this very moment.”

 

As long as you’re happy (and your pockets are brimming with qualifications)

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Since January, I’ve been looking for a job in the UK for this coming September. Although I’m not a qualified teacher (no PGCE,CELTA or QTS), I didn’t let this deter me and applied for all the jobs I thought I could do, based on my 13 years experience of teaching all ages, levels and in different establishments. I have applied for all the EAL (English as an Additional Language) jobs I’ve seen, but to no avail and all the rejections have come back with a note suggesting I get a CELTA, before trying again. This costs money and I already did this as part of my degree, although it doesn’t count as there was no teaching practice with it. This and all the other certificates I´ve picked up along the way are fluttering in the gutter.

So, I have changed game plan and spent the last few days enquiring about School Direct, where you basically qualify while you work in a school. This makes a lot of sense and I think it’s a great plan as I can’t afford to study and not work, as there are two children to support. (They would argue that Lego and kinder surprises are more important than food). So, I got on the phone to find out about the process. An hour later I got off the phone, even more disheartened than before.

“What area are you interested in?” asks the helpful man

“Either Primary or English in a Secondary School” I say.

“What did you get in English, Maths and Biology GCSE?” he asks.

“A*, C ( miraculously!) and a D”

“Right..” he says, lowering his voice

“Biology was the only one I got a D in” I offer optimistically and add ” I got muddled between my organisms and my orgasms” (It is a family defect, that we don’t know when to shut up when we’re nervous)

Silence. Cue to hang up, maybe?

“Hello?” I ask

“Oh, were you talking to me?” asks the man, hopefully giving me a way out.

“Yes!” I say.

The conversation rolls on, more dismal A-level results and Degree results are confessed.

“Right” says the man, wondering why on earth I think this is the career for me.

“I know my results aren’t the required ones, but I’ve got 13 years of experience and I get good feedback!”
I say, feeling like a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent who wants to be a gymnast, but is actually only capable of a star jump and a lopsided forward roll.

“Don’t worry” he consoles ” The recommended degree is 2:! and above but they do accept 2:2´s too, you obviously have lower than that and if you want to teach primary, you will need a C in Biology…and maybe phone some schools and get some classroom experience before you apply”

“But I’ve got years of experience” I say sounding like that “My Mum who’s a nurse” girl on Johnny Briggs.

“Anything Else?” says the man, who obviously needs to have lunch and most probably hears about 673 sob stories a day.

“No, that’s all” I say and we part ways.

I head to the fridge, grab some chocolate and weep into the wrapper. I didn’t think it would be easy, but I also didn’t envisage it being this hard. Nineteen (19!!!!)years ago, I made bad choices. I’m not competitive at all and I chose A-level subjects that I was interested in ; Russian being one of them, despite friends and family advising me otherwise. At Uni, I was better at French than German, but I dropped French so I could concentrate on German.. Well done me. I also got very distracted by toast and the telephone at school and by the excitement of being free and being able to frequent bars at uni and eat as many Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies as my student loan allowed. (N.B- My son was not named after these cookies).

So, despite my experience (have i mentioned how many years I have been teaching?), somebody fresh off a course with shiny grades has a much higher chance of getting a job than me. I respect that they have to have entrance guidelines, but today I have woken up troubled by this, not for me, but for my children.

I think that I speak for every parent on planet earth, when I say that all I want is for my child to be happy. If they colour outside the lines, I’m not going to tell them off. I can help them, but for me this is not the be all and end all. However, the last few months have proved to me, that no matter how talented you are at Lego building, eating a pack of ham in record time or speaking three languages. Grades matter. Am I supposed to stand over my sons, enrolling them in every single extra school class going, so that they come out with shiny grades and breeze into jobs? If only it were that simple, and the other side is that I have incredibly qualified friend who aren’t getting jobs, because they are overly qualified.

My worries were slightly quashed this morning, when O announced that when he’s 31, (this is the oldest age imaginable in our house) , he wants to be an alien or a spaceman, so he can eat his Weetabix on the moon. I breathed a sigh of relief, then made a note to check what qualifications you need for NASA.

 

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SEVEN MINUTES OF “ME” TIME

The boys are playing happily. To celebrate this rare but much welcomed moment do I ;

a) Skip merrily to the fridge and pour myself a goblet or three of wine?

b) Jump in a bubbling bath whilst listening to panpipe versions of music from a life before?

c) Tackle the drawer of doom?

Being a fool, I choose option C. Although I must admit that it is more appealing than listening to Panpipe cover versions. (Note to self, never be a quiz writer)

Here is pictorial evidence of the drawer of doom:

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Look closer, there’s something with deadly tentacles …

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The dull reality is that there are masses and masses of piles like this one:

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(Slightly elated that the missing for a very long time tv control has been found)

Anyway, the point of this post is that in my 7 minute de-doom the drawer plan, I didn´t account for the following SEVEN interruptions:

1. Boy 1 has a nosebleed, a never-ending nosebleed, over himself, over the floor, in the drawer of doom. I have it under control , only for him to catch sight of himself in Dora the Explore’s camcorder and all hysteria breaks out.

2. Boy 2 and Neighbour’s son, have a fight because they can’t find the treasure they buried in the sandpit, or remember what it was

3. Boy 1 announces he will only recover from excessive bleeding if I give him a snack. But it has to be the same as his friend Nil’s. The identity of this snack is however, a secret and I have to guess what it is. I still haven’t guessed …

4. Boy 2 has a nosebleed. (Who knew they were contagious?)

5. (Not-so)-Super Mario is stuck on a rock and can’t get on his pony. I am called in to unstick him, which i do but then promptly get him killed by one of those shooting flowers. My popularity is not booming at the moment.

6. Bedtime, there was also dinner too but they gave up on me and helped themselves to weetabix (6 each). I followed the trail of milk to discover this, and they were quite impressed by my detective skills. (Slowly clawing back at being Mum of the moment). Bedtime, Boy 2’s room, was full of rubbish from the drawer. “You’ve made my room really messssssssyyyyy!” He says happily, on realization that he can’t get into his bed, or the drawer or the floor. He spends the night in my bed. Whilst I work out where various bits of plastic have come from , and about midnight end up chucking it all back in and change furniture around.

7. (A whole 7 hours later) I am awoken by shuffling and scraping and harrumphing. Boy 2 is not happy with new room layout and is single handedly trying to move everything back to “like before, Mummy. Just like befoooore”

Moral of the story? Always choose option A. Always.

 

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WATCH OUT, THERE`S A NEW PARTY ABOUT

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If the boys had their own political party it would most definitely be called the “It´s mine, not yours” party. (IMNY to its followers)
Their manifesto would be something along the lines of this ;

TIRED OF RULES, ROUTINES, BEDTIMES AND PERSONAL HYGIENE? VOTE IMNY!

WHAT WE STAND FOR:
It´s time we showed those rulemakers that it’s time to play (literally) our way;

EDUCATION: No need for school, we can learn all we need from Star Wars, Cbeebies, Frozen and Lego

WORK: No need to go to work, we will grow money trees next to the lego and chocolate and ham trees.

CLOTHES: Who needs them? Run free!

BEDTIME: What is the point of that? You snooze when you choose. Fancy a nap between 5pm and 9pm? Nap on!

TIDYING UP: We are aiming to abolish tidy bedrooms by 2016, much easier to find things if they are all over the floor and under the sofa than hidden away.

PARENTS: We have thought a long time about how to deal with this major problem that blights our daily fun, but we aim to teach them to know their limits. By Christmas 2015, each citizen will be handed a buzzer, linked directly to their parent, when drinks or food are needed press the buzzer and your parent will come running, we will also issue full skivvy work uniforms for them as well as a direct link to other parents in the circumstance that you can’t get hold of your parent, or they can’t get to you quick enough

HOLIDAYS: by June 2015, we hope to implement a 365 day holiday a year.

SHARING: the main principle of IMNY is that there will be no need to share ever again, everybody will have what they want on tap, this will eradicate the risk of fighting and jealousy, leading to a harmonious kingdom run by me, not you.

WHO´S IN?
You! Step away from the barren reward chart and worn naughty step. The IMNIES are waiting!

WHO´S OUT?
Anybody who thinks routines are the way forward and uses the word No, more than once a day. (You know who they are)

DON’T WASTE YOUR VOTE, IMNY IS WAITING FOR YOU!

 

 

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