Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Peace at Last

My cold is still making itself heard. Mostly at night, according to Himself. He is comparing my peaceful nocturnal slumbers to the rasp of chainsaws and the felling of the rainforests.

I would just like to point out that I don't snore. Whatever he is trying to insinuate, he is wrong. I am simply exhaling deeply through my nostrils as I dream of all the annoyances the children and Himself have inflicted upon me that day.

Himself on the other hand... He has a cold too. And... well I did hear that blocking nostrils was a cure for snoring. So I rolled over and pinched his nose closed. All it did was change the pitch and tempo. Which, by the way, if you pinched at different places in the nose and with differing force, can actually play a tune. Like "Jingle Bells". Fun. Still snoring though. Well if blocking the nostrils is supposedly a cure, surely blocking the nostrils and mouth would work too?? HEY! Success! No more snoring! He's awake and all is silent (apart from the shouting "what the hell do you think you were doing??!), and now - even better - he's scared to go to sleep in case I suffocate him in his sleep.

Night night.

Never the Twain?

Something that might surprise you, Dear Reader, is that when I write to you I have no specific person in mind. I tend to write for myself rather than for any specific reader, and in fact very few of my "real-life" friends know that I blog. (If you are a "real-life" friend AND you knew about this blog already, just sit over there in the corner, this won't take long. Don't worry, there's only a half dozen of you so it won't be crowded).

So it was an act of either foolishness or courage to actually add my blog to my Facebook page. Now people that I actually know can read this - if they wish to and have several hours to kill. Perhaps while waiting for a bowel prep to work, because I certainly wouldn't read this whole thing for fun!

(Except I just had to read the whole thing, to quickly run through and edit certain posts before anyone's feelings got hurt. Holy crap, I talk way too much.)

Facebook is actually consuming much of my time at the moment. And not just the scrabble game, which is usually the only part of the site I look at. There seems to have been a surge in people using it, and that surge seems to consist entirely of people I went to school with. People I haven't seen in twenty years (ugh, I had to say that didn't I? That counting thing again. Twenty years. How in hell am I that old?).

The memories of that time are so bittersweet, which I suppose school memories often are. You make friendships there which stay with you your entire life - whether you ever see those people again or not, they make their mark on you and you never, ever forget them. You also make a total and utter prat of yourself and writhe in shame at some of the memories that are refusing to stay bolted behind those steel doors. You never, ever really forget those moments either - although I so wish I could!

The good side of it though, is touching base with those friends who made their mark. People I've never forgotten. My first boyfriend. My best friend. The person I tried to live up to. The person that caught me when I couldn't. And the anticipation of wondering who will join next is tantalising and wonderful.

And if any of you did click the link and come over - I'm so, so pleased to see you again. I hope life is treating you well.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Traditional Habits

I hab a hed code again. S'not a hangover, is just a code. I nearly always hab a code on Boxing Day, is almost tradition. Bleurgh. Stupid Tradition.

Do you have family traditions at Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate? Ours are a bit of a mish-mash of things brought from Himself's family memories in Poland, mine from England all mixed up with good old American consumerism - e.g. "Santa" instead of "Father Christmas".

In Poland the children open their gifts when they see the first star on Christmas Eve. This is a lovely idea and we have adopted it, although for some bizarre reason every year the children have managed to open new pyjamas as their chosen gift. Funny that. One tradition we have thrown away is eating Christmas carp. Ugh. Full of bones and skin and icky things. We'll stick with good old turkey thankyouverymuch!

Taken from my family, Santa leaves the children's stockings on their beds. They find them in the morning and come running in to wake us up and rip open the small gifts inside while Himself and I blearily un-peel our eyelids. The other gifts from Santa are left downstairs cleverly coordinated so that the wrapping of the stocking gifts matches the wrapping of the bigger gifts, so there is never any confusion.

Christmas Lunch is followed by more gifts, the ones from family and friends which have been sitting under the tree for weeks, tempting the poor children unmercifully. Shame they don't yet have my skill of being able to un-stick and re-stick Sellotape without any sign of tampering!

Games of charades, scrabble, trivial pursuit or whatever comes to hand, plus more food end the big day, but the festivities and feasting continue! The traditional Boxing Day full English breakfast - the good old fry-up cooked by Himself! - followed by pantomime tickets or Boxing Day sales and then we all visit Grandma's for her version of the turkey dinner.

Perhaps this is why I have a cold? The one day a year that I don't ever have to cook at all, and can kick back and relax. Makes sense I should always be too sick to enjoy it!

Friday, 19 December 2008

What is the opposite of "organisation"?

Copy of an email I just sent, since I'm far too lazy to think about two ways to say the same thing and copy/paste are just so handy....

"Am not stressed. Not. Am fine. Did NOT forget that Thing One was at a birthday sleep-over. Did forget that she would then need a gift and card for birthday girl. Did have to quickly panic and run into town - the Friday before Christmas so the shops were disgustingly busy! Did also forget that the party is at a pool, so she needs a swimming kit. Did NOT forget that Thing Two was having a sleep-over here. Did NOT forget to wash the bedding. Did forget to dry it... Oh help. Also did forget that Thing One needed our sole sleeping bag for HER sleep-over so we can't have it for Thing Two's, so am quickly reshuffling duvets and quilts. {Sigh}.

Am not stressed, and my feet aren't killing me... also the word "forget" is not looking really weird to me now...

PS Also did NOT forget that sleep-over girl won't eat anything I make. So while I was in town I bought a packet of chicken nuggets, which is something I normally never buy. DID then promptly forget about them and so they have defrosted and am now cooking FORTY bloody chicken nuggets. We'll be eating them all week at this rate."

Yes, I am well aware of the irony of this all happening directly after the last post, headed "organisation".

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Organisation!

The British are great at small talk. We have 'The Weather'. Traffic. The Weather. Temperatures. The Weather. At the moment, though, the number one conversation starter is... "Are you ready?" And the terribly sad thing is that without any further point of context, everyone understands what the hell you are saying.

(I have eleven days to go. No I'm NOT bloody ready.)

It is a never-ending nightmare of present buying, card writing, grocery shopping, menu planning, decorating, wrapping and details. All preceded, of course, by list-making.

I am, naturally, a fantastic list maker. I write lists everywhere and for everything. Perfect tables of lists arranged in Word. Neatly wriiten lists for the notice board. Scraps of paper tucked into my purse. Back of envelope lists. Back of HAND lists. Texted to my own mobile lists. Called to my own telephone and left on the voicemail lists. Lists dictated over my shoulder at various children, friends, or whoever is there "Don't let me forget x, y and z!"

Lists keep you organised. They stop you from worrying and trying to remember things. Instead I tend to spend all my time looking for the damned bit of paper I wrote my list on. But that's okay! Because once I have the paper I will know what to do next because I made a list...

P.S. I just opened my Facebook page and sat staring at it wondering what was wrong with Scrabble now. Why isn't it loading?? I hadn't actually clicked any links or anything, I assumed it would know what to do by now.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Top of the Season to You!

It's December 13th, twelve days before Christmas. Tradition dictates it is tree up day, woohoo! Some people do put the tree up way earlier than this. I've tried that but I only have a limited amount of patience so the later it goes up the better. The year I put it up on the 1st it was down on Boxing Day!

I love the look of "designed" trees. When one person creates a co-ordinated look and the colours and textures dazzle while the balance is perfection itself.

We tend to go for the "many hands make a balls-up" approach. There is no co-ordination. We have many home-made works of art, more precious than Fabergé. Shame they look like so much Fromage. We end up with bare patches and over-laden branches. We have Disney princess rubbing shoulders with Thomas the Tank Engine. We have angels and robins and teddies and drums. Musical bells and icicles. Bits of glittery paper and tufts of cotton wool, so old and battered I have no idea what they were originally supposed to represent. Definitely not perfect. And I will spend the next 3 weeks itching to re-arrange it. But I won't, because the girls have done it and they love doing it!

treeOh... and the fireguard? It's just the perfect finishing touch in a house with toddlers, Labradors, cats and clumsy mums. Actually, perhaps I could expect a "House Beautiful" call soon...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Gutter Press

I keep seeing this rather strange item popping up all over the web. It's slightly bizarre and - for those like me who send their brain to vacation in the sewer - ever so slightly.... um.

banana bunkerTell me, what do YOU think?

This strangely a-peeling object is a sheath to protect your "delicates". To prevent them from becoming bruised and abused, you see. Notice the ribbing so that it can conform to any shape? And the cleverly open ends to slide through? Regardless of your personal opinions and foibles, it isn't a gag (pun intended?) gift.

Still, I can't see any kid happy to whip this little item out in the playground no matter how pristine his banana...

Monday, 8 December 2008

Mrs Malaprop

Cousin (to MIL): Why do you have white powder around the house outside? Have you been vandalised?

MIL: No! It's poison. There are hundreds of sardines here and I hate them.

Where's the nearest river?

MIL (Confused): There's a river just under the next building it goes under the street.

Oh, so then comes under your house?

MIL (Even more confused): No, it goes under and across the road.

Huh? So how do the sardines get in?

MIL (exasperated): What are you talking about? They just walk in. On their feet! There's some in the kitchen, even, it is disgusting! They are inside the walls and all over the floor.

Auntie, show me the sardines, please.

MIL: There! By your foot! Lots of them!

Auntie? That's an ant.

My MIL told me this conversation this evening and I couldn't stop laughing. I did ask what the words were in Polish to see if she had confused two similar words, but she says not (SARDYNKA and MRÓWKA). They both end in "ka" at least, I said. So do at least half the words in Polish MIL told me glumly.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Babe Swap

I know I have a reputation for being oblivious. I know I don't notice things. I know I didn't see a 60' Christmas Tree in the local mall for 4 years. But c'mon. Even I'm not THIS unobservant surely??

doll-dinner The Babe waited until we were all eating quietly then slipped down, placed her doll on her chair to substitute and wandered off to watch television. As if I wouldn't notice!!

OK. OK. I didn't. Thing One started laughing and alerted me. I really need to start paying attention...

Let Them Eat Cake

I don't bake. Wait, I'm not sure you quite got that. I DON'T bake. I cannot stand baking. I don't make fairy cakes. I don't make birthday cakes. I don't make rock buns*. I don't make bara brith**. I don't make pie. I don't bake. Full stop. End of story.

(Short entry then huh?)

(You know better than that!)

I think I had fooled my children into thinking that the "don't" in "I don't bake" was actually a synonym for "can't". Until recently, when Thing One started senior school and Home Economics. And now she needs to make a cake at school. And wanted to practice at home. And so I reluctantly showed her how to make a basic sponge. And now the ruddy kids know that I CAN bake.

Over the last two weeks we've made sponge cake. We've had chocolate cake. Three times. No, five - if you count Himself's efforts. We've had fairy cakes. We've had brownies. We've had butterfly cakes. If I see cake again I may just have to scream. She is going to make her cake on Friday at school and then I need some sort of memory altering ray like the Men in Black so that the children forget I can bake and stop bugging me. I just thought. She's going to bring this cake home, isn't she? We're going to have to [gag] eat it, aren't we?? Oh, help.

Shall just quickly*** tell you about Himself's cakes. Firstly, he criticised the heck out of me for chucking everything in a bowl and mixing it up and throwing it in the oven. Apparently we need to cream the butter and sugar and sift the flour and do something weird with the eggs and add some white stuff and blah and blah. He bet us that he could make a better cake than I could, because he could do it "properly". I have to admit he made a great cake. If you like ring doughnuts. As in, risen and crispy around the edge and sunken to the base in the middle. Even our very polite houseguest slipped her slice under the table towards the dog. (Poor dog now thinks cake is some form of torture).

So this weekend, Himself barricaded himself in the kitchen and with much muttering and banging and swearing he emerged an hour later with - I have to say - two extremely good chocolate cakes which I sandwiched and iced. And we were impressed. Until I found the Betty Crocker packet mix in the bin...

But I didn't complain. In the present economy I feel it is our patriotic duty to support Betty Crocker, Mr Kipling and his pals. You should all throw away your scales and mixing bowls and support our businesses by purchasing all your biscuits and pies and cakes and other goodies. Down with home-made! Support businesses world-wide! I'm on a one woman crusade. Would you like to join me?

I'll make a cuppa. But not a damn cake!

*Incidentally. Rock buns. Why can't you buy those anywhere? I seem to recall liking rock buns.

**Fabulous Welsh fruit cake thing that my mother made every Christmas but hasn't made me ONE since I left home. I want bara brith, Mum. PLEASE!!

*** Ha! Quickly. As if.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow!

Himself managed to kick me so hard today that I fell - face first - flat on the floor. No doubt one day I will laugh about this. One day. Not today though.

mads-and-dad-dec-08 So, about three years ago, Himself bought a sled. Ever since then we have had freakishly warm winters. The odd tiny scatter of snow has only arrived when he is at work. Today though, the snow and his day off coincided and come hell or high water he was taking that sled out! Sadly The Babe refused to go near it, and had to be bribed just to stand near it for a photo. He still had to play on it though, and coerced me into dragging him around. So. Top of hill. Him on sled. Me holding rope. Me pulling rope to start his forward momentum. Me jumping out of way. Him forgetting first lesson of any decent ride i.e. keep bloody arms and legs in the bloody vehicle!

His legs are all over the place and as I jump he kicks me really hard in the thigh and I fall face first forward into the snow! He laughs so hard he skids off the sled but that isn't poetic justice enough so I am planning some revenge. Ideas accepted.

HE thinks that a) it is my fault for getting in his way and b) he was just getting me back for throwing a snowball at him the other week. Can I point out though that The babe and I threw snowballs at Thing One and Thing Two as well as Himself?? Shame all three of them were sitting on the sofa at the time... (not joking about that bit).

mads-snow-26m "Mummy, WHY are you taking so many photos of me in the white cold stuff?"

Bits, Bumps and Whoops-a-Daisy!

Himself's privates need to be discussed again. And again actually. Huh. You'd think I didn't actually know the definition of private. Oh well.

So, it is with some trepidation and not a small amount of internal glee that I announce that Himself needs to go for further tests. You know what that means don't you? A small camera. A smaller entrance. A cystoscopy in fact.

And that gleeful little part of me, the one counting: laparoscopies... labours... caesarean sections... colposcopy... smears... forceps... episiotomy... that little part is sitting in a corner almost wetting herself with laughter.

"Oh no.. he doesn't want anaesthetic! This is a productive pain. We want to do it naturally, don't we darling??!" I'm actually wondering if the doctor would let me hold the camera.

Of course the trepidation part is gloomy and pessimistic. The little drama queen inside us all (please not just me!) who is trying to intervene with worst case scenarios. I'm trying very hard to ignore that bit and just continue imagining Himself. With a camera. Shoved up his bits. Mwah-ha-ha!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Hairy Mc Lairy

There is nothing like a great haircut! Makes you feel a million bucks, all swish and confident and sexy and young and lookitme-I'm-so-fab!!

And what I got at the hairdresser yesterday? Was nothing like a great haircut. Or even a good haircut. In fact, dare I say, it wasn't even a haircut. Butcher job perhaps. A candid camera lark, perhaps?

Firstly, they had a slip of a girl doing the washing, a trainee. So no head massage. Just coldHOTcoldHOtcold water and a quick lather and a squirt of water in my eye. The same trainee combed my long curly (read: frizzy) hair afterwards, after she'd rubbed the towel all over and knotted it to hell. Combed with one hand. I had to bite my lip to keep from crying out. Never mind, here comes the professional to take over so now I shall relax. Just take some of the length off please and shape the front if you will.

It did look good when she cut it, I can't deny that. Sadly as it dried it sproinged up up up until I had an upside down pyramid and - oh no!! - a FRINGE. A thick hefty squared lump of hair on my face. I had.. [sob].. OLD LADY HAIR!

 

me Luckily, my neighbour rescued me from a vat of gin (old lady drink you see!) and fixed it. But now my "past my bra" hair barely reaches my neck. I'm never getting it cut again!

 

And the really stupid bit? I woke up today and SOMEONE HAD STOLEN MY HAIR!!!! Oh yeah, it was cut. I went to the town and caught sight of myself in a shop window and SOMEONE HAD STOLEN MY HAIR!!!! Oh yeah, d'uh. Saw my Mother-in-Law and she said ooh you've had your hair cut and I automatically put my hand up to my hair and SOMEONE HAD STOLEN MY HAIR!!! Oh FGS. I need to get a grip. If for nothing else but to hold my fringe back (my FRINGE!! Where the heck is my HAIR??).

It'll grow. It'll grow. Let it grow.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Karma

You brag that your toddler can do such-and-such a trick and they always then refuse to do it. They aren't performing monkeys after all. You write what you think is a sweet yet clear-eyed picture of your children, written - you hope - with wit and love - and what happens next? Yeah. They bite back. Story time, folks, pull up a chair!

Back story: Thing One took her coat to school on the first day of school, stuffed it in her locker and I haven't seen it since - despite countless requests to wear it on the rainy cold days or at least bring it home for a wash.

Conversation this morning.

Cast
Me (M) = Well, me actually
Her (H) = Thing One

M: Cold today!
H: I'm freezing.
M: Well I keep on asking you to bring your coat home.
H: I can't get to it, my locker is too far away.
M: Well I don't actually care, I want you to bring your coat home.
H: But if I go to get it after class I'll miss my bus home.
M: So get it at break!
H: No it's dorky.
M (quietly beginning to steam): Just bring your coat home today please!
H: I don't want to.
M: Bring it home or you are grounded.
H: So I'm grounded. Big whoop.
M: Thing!! You're making me cross. Bring your coat home or I will come into school and get it!
H: I don't care - all my friends' parents are really embarrassing too.
M: BRING YOUR COAT HOME
H: What's my "or"?
M: There is no OR. Bring your coat home and that is it.
H: Or??

So I built a time machine, went back 13 years and got sterilised. Hurrumph.

I knew that I had little or no chance of seeing the elusive coat after school so spent all day devising Machiavellian plots, eventually resigning myself to piling all the children in the car, driving to school and walking her and her sisters through the school corridors - loudly berating her at all times while encouraging The Babe to shriek for attention - all the way to the lockers. Bwah-ha-ha!

She, being occasionally sensible, brought her coat home.

I was actually a tad disappointed....

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Practically Perfect

Are your kids perfect? Are they MENSA members before their 5th birthdays? Are they infallibly polite to their elders? Do they co-operate with siblings and peers and talk their problems through?

Or do they scream, fight, bite, kick, fail their classes and in general make you miserable and wonder why on earth you thought you could ever parent?

I was reading a thread on a parenting forum by the lovely Katie who posed this question. I love Katie, she makes me feel normal with her tales of throwing I-pods out the window and running in the street in her pjs.

Thing One is autistic. You can't tell, because she is amazingly intelligent (sorry! But she is, she's in the Gifted and Talented programme - so there!). She observes and learns how to interact with the world by copying what she sees. Sadly she copies her younger sister and American teen programmes so her responses aren't as accurate as they could be. She quite often comes across as shy (her view) or rude (my view) and tends to behave quite badly in new situations. Holidays are a bundle of fun, as Posh and Ally can attest since they were brave enough to holiday with us this year. But she is loving and funny and clever and you take the bad with the good and make the best of it. And persistent - no you may NOT have a degu!

Thing Two is lovely. She is a sincerely nice child. She is loyal and brave and smart. She's clumsy and sometimes sly and revels in getting her sister in trouble. She is at the dishonest stage where she didn't do it, really! Even when the evidence is all over her (case in point; playing with my perfume last week. Her room and hands were very aromatic, ugh. Her punishment was having to sleep in it mwah-ha-ha). She isn't perfect but she is a nice kid who tends to find the good in any situation, a trait I hope she carries to adulthood.

The Babe is a brat. She is spoiled by her sisters and father. She can't count, doesn't know her colours and refuses to learn farm animals. She has an amazingly advanced sense of humour and is very affectionate. She throws amazing tantrums and is a little velcro cling-on. She's inherited my insomnia but she's always so happy to see me that her infectious joy almost makes up for it. Oh, and she loves to dance, which I must tape one day because I'm telling you - FUNNIEST THING EVER.

Are they perfect? Hell, no. Do I adore them anyway? Hell, yes. Will I continue to brag about them and stuff their bad sides under the carpet? Hell yes again. Will the carpet bulge and give me away? Hell yes too. Ah well. I'm not perfect either. (Practically though...)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Unclean!

Run. Run for your lives! There is yellow quarantine tape around my house, and we have started to ring bells on the infrequent occasions we try to leave. Of course, we aren't actually allowed to leave anymore, since the nice men in the helmets and white suits won't let us.

Oh okay, I exaggerate. We are sick though. Thing Two woke with a sore throat on Wednesday and by mid-afternoon was pale, tired, lethargic and - oh, look inside her mouth! - suffering with white spots in her throat. Tonsillitis. Took her to the doc who said "Oh I remember you, I saw you last week about your arm. Was I right? Is it broken?" Thing Two listlessly waves her cast at the doctor, which is taken to be a threat since she promptly jumps up and bustles out to fetch penicillin.

Thursday, The babe woke up croaking and unhappy. She pointed in her mouth. "Hurts, mummy". Oh no. Luckily, no white spots and hers has developed into a full blown cold. The kind where the snot runs constantly and if you try and lie down you swallow it and then throw up but there's no point lying down because you can't sleep anyway and if you can't sleep then by damn no-one else will sleep and don't even think of changing your clothes because I'm going to wipe my nose on you and then I'm going to refuse all foods except possibly a lightly scrambled Dodo egg mmm yes that sounds good make me that mummy now I'm hungry and don't palm me off with a hen's egg because I'm sick and I won't be reasonable and I will scream and scream until I'm sick and oh my god did you ever see so much snot in your life and and and and.....

Friday morning, Thing One wakes up, takes a look around her, and packs a bag.

Himself has a lump in a place that he would rather I didn't discuss with the world at large. So I shan't discuss his lumpy privates in public. His privates will thank me for keeping them private then. And you won't know anything about his privates because they are private. Is the word private starting to look weird to you?

Ya'll know about my hospital trip so I shan't belabour that. Suffice to say bit crampy and itchy still. And my mouth still hurts, but now I have a reason to go relax in the dental chair so it's all good. Apart from lying sobbing on the floor at 4.30am that goddamn I am so tired why won't this child just blow her nose and sleeeeeeep, I'm actually doing okay.

And Thing One? Haven't actually seen her since Friday morning. She is staying at a friend's until the Hazmat unit drives away. And thus, the contamination secretly escapes control and seeps into the general public...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Colposcopy Update

I know you've been on tenterhooks so I shall quickly tell you - I'm fine! Ok, ok so you haven't been on tenterhooks, in fact some people forgot I was going at all! That's okay, I've been on enough tenterhooks for all of us. Is tenterhooks starting to look a little strange to you?

Thing One is exclaiming in horror that I even want to share this with you, Dear Reader, she thinks I'm being "gross and disgusting". So, take fair warning - gross and disgusting descriptions of colposcopy coming up!

So, I laid on my back, feet in stirrups, camera viewing my hoohaa and had vinegar poured all over my tender bits. I even got to watch the camera progression on a television. Some sights are hidden inside your body for a reason. I don't actually ever want to see the eye of my cervix ever again, thanks! The vinegar stung a bit but in the cold, itchy sense rather than the ouch/flinch sense. It was over and done with in minutes and hurt no more than a regular smear test (yes, we say smear. You may say pap. You are wrong.) Nothing to worry about!

I haven't slept in weeks, and thunderclouds have lived over my town recently. I came out of the clinic into sunshine, feeling on top of the world!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Mental Dental

Yesterday I had to visit the dentist. I'm terrified of dentists, ever since I had a molar yanked without anaesthetic when I was 10 - a baby tooth that hadn't come out and needed to make room for the adult tooth. Just check-ups fill me with fear, I shake, and stutter and have floods of adrenaline running through me.

So imagine me yesterday. In the chair. Tilting back. The bright lights. The sound of the drills. The latex gloves squeaking and rubbing my cheek. A huge rush of adrenalin, I tensed and... wait. No kids. Nobody is calling me. Nobody wants me. I am lying supine. It is daytime and I am lying down and I'm... free. I relax. Wow. I'm going back next week just for the break!

Just since you haven't had any recently, here're some pics of what my day is usually like.

The babe... destroying shoes, emptying drawers and eschewing cutlery.

mads-shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

mads-reading mads-in-drawer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mads-eating

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Happy Birthday Thing Two

Never underestimate the sheer quantities of pizza a room full of pre-teens can eat. Or ice-cream. Like locusts they were! And the ice-cream sundae concoctions they dreamed up were simply disgusting. Lemonade, ice-cream, crushed meringues, whipped cream, sprinkles with a cherry on top? Anyone? Still Thing Two had a fab time and for a slap-dash last second party it went well.

Kids' parties exhaust me.

I thought I had it sussed. I have two rather wonderful child magnets in my house. (that sentence makes me feel just like the Child-Catcher. It's no wonder I like to dress in black.) I have at one end of my house a rather splendid rocking horse, which draws children to it like moths to a flame. At the other end is a trampoline, which has a similar function. Now normally these child magnets - the rocking horse and the trampoline - placed at opposite ends of the room can leave a child almost literally torn in two. They will stand frozen in indecision for ages, leaving you free to get on with the important tasks needed. Like catching up on your blogging. I bet you can guess what actually happened after sufficient quantities of e-numbers in the ice-cream sundaes?

Yep, the prize goes to the lady in the blue who guessed "Herds of screaming shrieking over-hyped children running from one end of the house to the other, unable to decide what to do yet unable to remain locked in stasis".

Never again.

Until the next time.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Broken Thing Two Update

Thing Two now has a beautiful bright pink cast. She's been an absolute star. She has never once complained - the most she has said is "it's a bit sore". She isn't allowed to swim, or take part in PE or go to her Cheerleading club, all things she adores, but she hasn't uttered a sound of protest. I'm not sure I would be so stoic. Hell, I know I wouldn't be! I'd take advantage shamelessly, guilting others to cater to my whims. Wait, I already do that. No point me breaking any limbs then.

It's Thing Two's birthday this weekend, she'll be nine years old. The original party plan has had to slide - a disco and karaoke - and we are now planning on having a quiet night in with a movie and pizza. And eight girls, 23 bottles of nail polish and immense quantities of e-numbered snacks and drinks. I'm already shaking in fear. Makeovers and movies. What fun!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Himself broke my baby!

He may never forgive himself. He took the girls to an organised event last night, for Halloween. It was dark, muddy, they were on a hill. Thing Two fell. She broke her arm. While in his care. If you've read earlier entries you'll know exactly what his reaction was. That's right, he hustled her straight home; "She's hurt, fix her!"

alex-broken-arm

We've spent several hours in various waiting rooms, she's been examined by several people, she's been x-rayed, poked and prodded and finally had a visit to the wet room to have a heavy duty cast put on for a few days. Next week she gets to go and choose a lightweight colourful cast and then we shall all sign it. All I can do is count on my fingers. Six weeks... one, two... it comes off just one week before Christmas! Phew!


This is my first time dealing with a broken bone. I'm not actually very sure how to cope. My baby is broken. My poor baby. I may never forgive myself either.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Can you imagine being a pop singer with several hits, being a fashion icon (of sorts), being featured in magazines and on television... and thirty years later being a Halloween costume??

See the pic? We have the pirate and {drum roll} Cyndi Lauper! Twice!

halloween-2008

Girls just wanna have fun. Indeed.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Kid Eating habits

Against all my natural inclinations and maternal urgings, I am extremely disappointed that my children have grown up to be... dare I confess? Oh the shame... "healthy eaters". They are all vegetable freaks, and fight over the dish of veggies to eat as leftovers after dinner. If you ask them what they want to eat they range all over the globe; fajitas, curry, chili, lasagne, golabkis, sesame shrimp stir-fry, pierogi, borscht.

What the hell is wrong with a stick of nitrates, otherwise known as "hot-dogs"? They are kids, they should be eating spoonfuls of ketchup sucked from chips - which is classed as two vegetables, and therefore healthy. As a cook, I excel at opening cans. I bought some tinned pasta several months ago, thinking that I had time to teach The Babe proper toddler eating habits before her sisters corrupted her. She won't even consider it. I intend to print a label filled with "ITNG" characters to wrap around the can, hoping to bribe her to eat the damned stuff before it goes out of date.

Himself must shoulder some of the burden for corrupting his children. He has a small "thing" for protein bars (which taste like compressed cardboard teenage male trainer inserts, left for three months then recycled as litter tray lining. Appetising.) and keeps bringing home new varieties and shoving them in my face to try. As if!

Story time though! He came over the other day with an unidentified white slab and waved it about an inch from my eyeball. "Wanna try this???" I recoil in horror by habit. Hell no. Get it away from me! "Too bad," he smirks, walking away with a white chocolate coconut bar. Git.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Kids on Kids TV

I have a challenge for you. Pick a programme, any children's programme. Turn the sound off and just watch. See if you can guess where that programme was made, here or across the pond. There is an easy way to tell, you know. Look at the children.

Are they little Stepford kids? All bounce and shiny teeth and arms waving and colourful and perfect hair? Are they participating and watching everything avidly as if whichever person hiding in a costume in front of them is the most interesting thing ever!

Or. Are they a bit grey. A bit washed out. Mostly dressed in blue sweatshirts. Staring out of the window in boredom. Absently picking their nose. Pinching the child next to them.

I wonder just which child is the Brit and which child is the Yank??

I was very pleased to catch a Barney episode this week, the one with the pets, with a dog that actually showed a sign of independent intelligence. By which I mean, ears back, eyes rolling, pulling like hell to get away from that damn purple chunk of condescension. Run dog run, don't let them get you into that lab at the Men's Club!

I rather think my dog fancies his chances on one of these TV shows. He certainly demonstrates his acting abilities. He jumped on the sofa today (bad dog!), so The Babe grabbed his paw to pull him down. I gently reprimanded her for possibly hurting the dog, then turned to get him off the furniture. At which he laid his ears back, lifted his paw and licked it, whimpering - all before I'd opened my mouth. Nice one. Even my DOG is a diva.

Finally, because I'm pretty sure you readers in India haven't heard (yes I know you are there! I see you on my stat counter lol. Hi! How are you?) although possibly everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere has. I have another brag. Thing One saw that I had posted about Thing Two and had to go one better. I received a letter from her school today. Apparently my daughter "achieved one of the best overall marks in the 2008 KS2 SAT tests and has been invited to take part in a residential visit to a Gifted and Talented educational centre". Wow. Am so proud I could burst!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Oops

Things I have found recently:

A card bought for a friend's wedding this summer (Hope you had a good day Hon!)

A birthday card written, addressed and stamped but not posted.

An unwrapped baby dress and unwritten new baby card. The child is now at school.

A half finished baby jumper, still on the knitting needles. The baby is 19 years old now.

I swear, I could open a shop with the number of pristine cards, wrapping paper, gift bows and sundries I find in my house. I always MEAN well. I'm organised enough to actually go out and buy the card, showing that I am at least thinking of you, and even write the thing out, but actually walking the 30 yards from my front door to the nearest post-box? Yeah.

I have to admit to stonking black lies now and again... "That damn Post Office must have lost it! Again!" Poor postie, he always gets the blame. All while frantically pulling on shoes and flying out the door to post my niece's card two days late. "It got there a week later? How bizarre! No idea what happened there. Damn Royal Mail!"

My epitaph will be "She meant well..." (with a huge I TOLD YOU I WAS ILL! underneath it). The road to Hell isn't paved with good intentions, but littered with unposted cards.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Our favourite book (BlogRoll post)

I swear that Lynda has some sort of Machiavellian plan to gag me. Our favourite book? BOOK??? Like, ONE?

Thing One is - thankfully - a big Potter fan, so we swap the entire series back and forth between ourselves. We have two copies of a couple of them (neither of us was willing to wait for the other so we had two copies of DH delivered on publication day) and have managed to wear out GoF entirely. She also loves the current dog craze books, about naughty dogs completing the family, a la Marley and Me. She actually swiped Buster's Diaries when I left it open on the side and hid it in her room. I was not very pleased when I looked for it that night!

Thing One is also a fan of the Classics which is a sheer joy. Black Beauty, Jane Eyre, The Little Princess, The Railway Children, Water Babies, Narnia - it is like the bookcases of my childhood revisited. And I do revisit. She knows where to find her books - on my bedside table!

Thing Two is a huge fan of the Rainbow Magic books, which aren't exactly my cup of tea. However that led logically on to several of my childhood favourites - Enid Blyton's The Wishing Chair and The Enchanted Wood. I may have sneaked a peek at them to enjoy once again Pop biscuits and Mrs Washalot and the Slippery Slip. Ah, they take me back...

Thing Three, aka The Babe has given me the perfect excuse to sink gracefully back into some of my all time favourite books. Dear Zoo, Five Minutes Peace, Hairy MacLary, Room on the Broom, Dr Seuss, Each Peach Pear Plum, Where's Spot. The list is enormous but discovering old friends and making new ones is a pleasure.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Thing One is waving her hands mysteriously around her head and swaying her body sinuously. No, she isn't dancing. She's left her plate on the table and her first response when I asked her to take it through? "I already did!" So the plate on the table is...? "A hallucination!" Hence the waving her hands, just an inch over the plate "See? I can pass my hands right through it!"

Yeah.

I'm all better from my cold, though, thanks! Sadly, it seems that viruses can pass not just from human to human, not just from human to animal in some cases, but from human to machine. My computer, RIP, has gone and been replaced. Long Live the King! Now I have some super fast thing with dual core blah and terabyte this and some other swish stuff that I'm supposed to care about and just nod my head to. And what will I do with my super fast computer? Well, I'm just waiting for February and the release of.. tada!... the Sims 3! Yes, I know. You are just in awe.

I just need a proud brag, quickly, that Thing Two - who manages to keep her head down enough that she is rarely mentioned here - has been receiving perfect scores at school recently in both maths and literacy. Go Thing Two!

And finally... I received a letter this morning that I need to attend the colposcopy clinic at my earliest convenience. My results have been bad for a couple of years now, and I haven't yet found a way to tell my mum. What?? She worries. Anyway. Sorry, mum. Now you know, though, 'eh? However part of me is all.. two years of bad results. Two years of nasties simmering and stewing. Why on earth haven't I been booked in for a total radical hysterectomy?? And I am not panicking hysterically, not at all, but would you like to do a mastectomy while you are at it??

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Woman flu

I is poorly. My dose is blocked and by sinuses hurd. I hab a cold and I am miserable.

I am so not a good patient. I am - dare I say - almost as bad as a man. Snigger... nah! No woman is ever as bad as a man with their man flu. I am be ill but I still did the grocery shopping, catered a party, hosted a dozen people, cleaned the house, did the laundry, took the Babe to clinic, supervised homework and cooked dinner before falling into bed. When Himself gets the sniffles (sorry, sorry - MANFLU) all he can do is play a million games on the playstation, or sit at his laptop, he is far too ill to actually move.

The problem with the word "cold" is that it just doesn't convey quite the correct level of misery. Is it just the sniffles and a sore throat? Or are you literally unable to lift your head from the pillow without the room spinning? Do you need mother's chicken soup? In Himself's case this is a test. If you want me to make chicken soup you can go get me the ingredients. And if you are fit enough to push a trolley you are certainly fit enough to make the damn soup yourself. You're not sick, you malingerer!

The problem is, with me being a bad patient and him being a man (which essentially means the same thing, 'eh?) we tend to get a bit competitive about which of us has it worst.

"Oh I barely slept a wink, my back aches, my head is sore.. "
"Well you certainly snored well enough all night keeping me awake and I have a headache too but you don't hear me complaining!"
"I'm only snoring because my sinuses are backed up, my whole face hurts and now I have to go to work."
"Yeah, where you'll sit around and drink coffee all day while *I* have real work to do..."

It's never-ending.

In the meantime, I'm sitting here surrounded by crumpled tissues and a cold cup of honey and lemon (ugh). Better get on...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Happy Birthday Sweetheart

mads-newborn

Newborn, less than an hour old

maddie-standing-10m

Around 10 months, learning to stand for the first time

mads-2-yrs

This week. Full of mischief and love.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Boobie Doll!

Or, how The Babe discovered Barbie. She is totally enamoured, but Himself isn't as happy. The Babe found a Barbie doll today, immediately stole all her clothes and spent several minutes staring in awe. Himself had to run an errand and took The Babe along, but she insisted on flashing her naked "boobie doll" at all and sundry until Himself was forced to flee in mortification. He's left "boobie doll" in the car, in a moment of distraction, but The Babe has spent all evening asking "Where boobie doll, Daddy?" so I fear the obsession is just beginning.

Which segues nicely into a theme I was planning on talking about yesterday, except Posh and Ally kept me chatting too late (on purpose, I think, in fear of being quoted). Ally started several conversations about sex the other day. Recreational sex, as opposed to procreational. Come on, you remember that, surely? Cast your mind back, before children. Lazy Sunday mornings and the desire to do other things apart from seek the oblivion of sleep in your bed. Before CAB sex became the norm (no, you perverts, not sex on the back seat of taxis! Christmas, Anniversaries and Birthdays!). (Actually I'm joking. I'm FAR too tired to even consider it at Christmas).

Posh decided to take it a step further and started to look at various toy sites. Several things were so weird that we were planning on asking some more experienced friends what on EARTH they were. Seriously. Lobster claws, I ask you. (Actually, I don't ask you. Please don't tell me. I know that I must have a somewhat deprived background but that is better than the depraved background of whoever came up with those torture devices). However, the site must be used to such novices as we are since Posh stumbled across - I kid you not! - instructional VIDEOS!

However, it wasn't the video that shocked us as much as the soundtrack. Hard-core opera! We were more engrossed in figuring out why on earth they chose opera than watching the video. To convince us that this was an intellectual highbrow venture rather than something rather seedy? It's not porn if we're playing opera?? Or a subliminal "you too can hit the high C with the right, uh, stimulation?" Well, I suppose all operas have a climactic moment...

(No, I'm not telling you which site! Go find it yourself). (Oh, alright. Sigh. It's the one that does that parties since that is the only one we could think of).

Friday, 19 September 2008

The Brightest Crayon

The Babe sat on my lap earlier, cocked her head to one side and batted her eyelashes. "Mummy, wuv oo." Awwww. "More, mummy?"

"You love me more?" My heart melts.

"NO!" Scorn drips. "More choclit, mummy, pwees?"

How can you have more when you haven't had any? Hurrumph. Yes, ok, you may have a chocolate button. She is delighted. She grabs her little duck and sits with it and the button. She brings the duck's beak to the button. She makes "nom nom" noises with her mouth.

Himself and I glow with pride. Our little baby, playing pretend at such a young age. "She's so clever" he beams "Takes after her dad!"

The Babe then tosses the chocolate over her shoulder and shoves the duck into her mouth. Yeah.

"She does indeed." I agree.

By the way, keeping in mind that the The Babe isn't yet two years old... Himself called "Bedtime, honey!". She came careering into the dining room where I type.

"Hide me, mummy, hide me!"

Seems to have inherited Thing One's drama queen tendencies and dramatic flair too...

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Your life in six words!

You have got to be kidding.
Six words, describing my life now?
You want to limit my speech?
I have verbal diarrhoea, I can't!

Hmmm, I'll try, let's see then....
(Are contractions cheating, by the way??)

Mother, wife, sister, daughter, teacher, friend.

What a load of utter tripe.

Housework, laundry, cooking, driving, arguing, shouting.

Heh, slightly more me I think.
Which is very depressing, isn't it?

My heart now walks outside me.
I live in fear of everything.
I'm blessed to be a mum.


Bah humbug - sentimental and depressing, huh?
This is tougher than I thought.

Life is bittersweet, but I'm happy.

That'll have to do I guess.

Starting School, part deux

So remiss, I am. Slap my wrist, I should. Told you about Thing One's new school, I didn't! Why am I talking like Yoda? Freaky new grammar there.

Day One

jess-uniform She's quaking, although she's trying not to show it. No tears, just complete and utter fear. Me, not her. Spent all day nibbling my nails. Arrived to collect her 20 minutes early. Watched the gates erupt with black-blazered swarms at 3.15. Watched the hordes disperse. No Thing One. Butterflies in stomach multiplied. 3.25, texted her. No reply. 3.30, called her. No reply. Phone on silent, she's forgotten to switch the sound on after class. Images of abduction, bullying, and other horrors. 3.35, ready to storm the gates. 3.40, eye up the trees, gauging their use as battering rams. Wonder where to get an axe. Child comes flying out the gates. "Oh, hi mum." {Giggle} "I got lost and couldn't find my way out!" Time spent outside school: 45 minutes. Huh.

Day Two
Sent Himself to collect her, couldn't face sitting outside for hours again. She arrived back all smiles. "Hello hon, had a nice day? Who did you sit with at lunch?"
"No-one."
"Oh. Who did you hang out with at break?"
"No-one."
"Oh. What did you do?"
"Just walked around by myself."
Stomach swoops down. My baby has no friends! Damn stupid admission system sending all her friends to School B while she has to go to School A. My heart breaks, but I plaster a smile on. She's not fooled.

Day Three
She's going solo today, on the bus alone. I ask her 4 times if she has her bus fare. I almost ask her a 5th time, but she stares at me witheringly. "Oh, mum, don't forget I need colouring pencils for geography." What? First I'd heard of it. We have thousands of pencils at home, can't she just take some of those? No? Wants a new all matching set. Fine, whatever. "Oh, and a new swimming costume, my one is no good, I need a blue one." Fine, whatever.

She turns up at home at 3.50pm, first bus trip safely completed, a smug smile on her face.

Day Four
"Mum, don't forget I need high-lighters for history." What forget? You never told me! Fine, whatever. Don't forget your coat. "I won't!" And she flies out the door, coat-less. It rains cats and dogs all day. I call her at 3.20, 3,25, 3.28, 3.30, 3.34, 3.40 and 3.44 to see if she wants me to collect her since she has no coat. She never picks up her phone. What is the point of buying her a mobile if she keeps it on silent?? She arrives home, dripping wet, at 3.55. "Mum, I need an umbrella to keep in my locker." Fine, whatever. Take your damn coat to school next time.

Day Five
Getting into the swing of things now. She comes home absolutely caked in mud. What on earth? "Oh, it's from playing on the field with Jane and Sally at break. And can I switch to packed lunches since Jane brings one? Mary and I are entering the school inter-house competition! Can Sally come for tea? I sat with Jane during lessons and she is so funny, and Jane said.. and Sally.. Jane.. Mary... " My baby has friends! The relief. All is right with the world.

"Oh, mum, for Art I need paints and scissors and 2b pencils, and and and and..." Fine, whatever.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Is it just me?

It's morning. I roll over in bed and glare at the traitor snoozing beside me. I punch him hard in the arm.

"Oof! Whazzat? Huh?"

"You complete and utter GIT!"

"Wha'? Did you just HIT me?"

"You dirty SNEAK!"

"Oh god, not again..."

Sometimes my dreams are just really vivid. Sometimes they are about him and him cheating. Not that he ever has, but meh. Dreams. What can you do? I wake up with a surge of adrenalin and fury and narrow my eyes, and clench my fists, ready to give him what for.

He fends me off "How is it MY fault what happens in YOUR dreams?"

"Don't you try and turn this around, YOU were the one sneaking around!"

"In your DREAMS!"

"Hah! In YOURS!!"

Just another happy morning in the Aldee household.

Regardless of certain people's coyness on MSN last night (glances at Posh balefully), I can't be the only person in the world that does this. Can I?

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Babe Wants a Word

The Babe is in Seventh Heaven. She had chocolate ice-cream for the first time tonight. Chocolate. AND ice-cream. IN THE SAME BOWL. Whoever thought of that combination must be a genius.

              choc-icecream

Himself was swiping cash from my purse earlier, and The Babe ran over in glee. PENNIES!! "Me have penny, dad, pees?"

"Why?" Says he "Where will you put it?"

Her brow furrowed. Her outstretched palm flexed. She looked at her palm and then back at him. "Um. In my HAND?" she said. Clearly he is a simpleton.

After the! worst! summer! in! history! ever!, I threw some shaving foam onto the dining room table for the Things to draw in. Not the brightest idea I've ever had. Still, the table came up lovely and clean afterwards. Shame the same can't be said for The Babe's hair.

                  shaving-foam

This morning The Babe woke at silly o'clock, and my sleep-dazed um, considered decision was that she could just sleep next to me for the rest of the night. So I lay her in the middle and snuggled up. Suddenly she froze. Something had touched her foot. She struggled to sit up and see which interloper had invaded her space. Daddy! Outrageous. "Daddy, out! Move! You no there, you go work!"

Um. I think we had one too many lie-ins this summer, when she came in for a snuggle after he had got up for work...

Thursday, 28 August 2008

I Can't Take No Steenking Photos!

I forgot! No, I didn't forget, all day I had my camera, all day I thought "I must get a shot of Thing One now she's had her head shaved." I just.. time escaped me.

Kidding, by the way. I did not shave my pre-teen daughter's head. I used hair removal cream, so much safer than a blade.

Oh ok. Fine. Spoilsport. Here's the best (photoshopped to try and lighten it so you can see) pic from today.

 jess-aug2008

So what did I take photos of, if not my beloved eldest? Well, I did try and get a few shots of The Babe, at an aquarium visiting the fish. I have a lot of this type of shot:

mads-aug08-bluereef

Back of head, running away type shots.

I got fed up and forced all three of them to sit down and say cheese for-crying-out-loud-it's-only-one-picture-can't-you-just-pretend-to-be-normal-kids-for-once. The result?

kids-aug-08-bluereef

Fake smiles and not a single one looking at the camera. Grrr.

I did get one shot of The Babe smiling at me, even if I did have to strap her down and bribe her...

mads-aug08-icecream

Starting School

I thought I was used to this. Playgroup. Nursery. She's had new starts, made new friends. She is used to this, for goodness sake. So why do I feel sick?

Primary School. I remember her first day. I didn't cry. Nor did she. However, grocery shopping that week was hard, and I sniffled slightly as I realised she wasn't going to be home for lunch anymore. But she had a fabulous time, and I learned to let go. Just a little.

Secondary School. Oh. My. God.

Today we collected her uniform. She tried it on. My little baby, the soul I carried beneath my heart for nine months and in my heart ever since. She was wearing a {sob} BLAZER! (By the way, blazers are so much cooler now! They have pockets for mobiles and pockets for Ipods with a special lining for your headphones and probably a special pocket for your cigs and lighter, and one for your flask, and and... Oh, and they are machine washable. My school one was dry clean only and I had the fear of God put in me in case I ever got it dirty.)

(I have no idea where I was going, you let me sidetrack again).

Nope, it's gone. Train of thought derailed. Cool gadget thoughts now running through head.

So, piccy time! Here she is, my little girl, all growed up (she is so going to kill me if she reads this sentimental slush. MOTHER! She'll say. Then she'll see the pic of her PE Kit, get in an absolute strop and storm off to her room and I'll get some peace and quiet for a little while). (Note to self: show this entry to Thing One).

blogpekit bloguniform

Tomorrow, hair cut. Be prepared for more pics!

Friday, 15 August 2008

That's the way to do it!

The Babe attended her first ever Punch and Judy show today. I thought she would be slightly intimidated by the crowds, by the shouting, by the hitting, by the throwing and casual violence. Yeah, right.

maddie-22m She was on her feet shouting, stamping and jostling with the best of them. My daughter, the hooligan. She went right up to the Prof after the show, demanding a prize. She had such a great time - first sunshine all week too! - that I had to share.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Dinner Talk, chez nous

Thing Two "Daddy took me to the baker today and I had a Danish Pastry!" For some reason, she pronounced it "Pass-try".

"What's a pass-tree?" asked Thing One, facetiously.

"Well... in Denmark they have two types of trees, you see. A Pass-tree and a Pee-tree. Dogs are only allowed to use one type of tree, and they use the other types to make nice cakes and things."

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Childhood Memories, II

Once upon a time, a girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead decided to play a trick on her parents, who were out grocery shopping.

She dusted her face with purple eye-shadow, and red lipstick. She lay face down on the stairs, feet pointing up, head lying on the hall floor. She contorted her limbs, then allowed herself to dribble slightly on the floor. As she did so, she heard a car door slam, so she closed her eyes and waited.

It was worth the dropped eggs and the screams, mwah hah hah!

The ending of the story fades into the mists of memory, but one thing remains to be said.

Sorry, Mum. Embarassed

alex-injured Funnily enough, my daughters have the same sick sense of humour. Look at Thing Two, winding up her father after he accidentally hit her face... she was totally unmarked, this is all make-up!

Childhood memories

Once upon a time, a girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead went missing. This was before the times of over-protective parents, so it wasn't until dinner time that her mother noticed and sent her sisters to find her.

When the sisters returned alone, the mother sent out the father. Again, he had no luck. Mildly disturbed, neighbours were roused and checked, and entire streets meandered up and down, enjoying the late summer sunshine, and checking with each other. "Have you seen her? No. Ah well, she'll turn up."

When she didn't, perturbation moved up a notch to worry. Not panic, not yet. Soldiers from the nearby barracks - since this was the seventies, and West Germany - were called in. Teams of squaddies hunting high and low.

Where was the girl? Well, she was playing in a sycamore tree. She liked climbing trees and had played happily all afternoon. She had heard her sisters calling, but wanted to play. She saw the neighbours, and whistled to get their attention, but they didn't look up into the branches. She dropped "helicopters" - sycamore seeds - down on the soldiers' heads, but they didn't look up either.

Bored finally, the girl slipped down the tree while it was quiet and went home. She probably helped herself to some cold dinner since she would have been hungry. Had she chosen a damson tree to climb she may well have stayed up there longer, spitting the pits at passers-by. Her parents may well have found her at home, reading a book and bemused by the fuss. She was a very laid-back child.

The ending of the story fades into the mists of memory, but one thing remains to be said.

Sorry, Mum.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Doggie Doodads

There's a knock at the door. Dog turns into Scooby-Doo, running as fast as he can while remaining stationary, legs flying everywhere, no traction, until he falls on his butt and slides into the wall. God, I love wooden floors.

Merlin, aged 11 weeks

Dog is a close relative of Marley (of Marley and Me fame) as far as I can tell. He's a field labrador so slightly less chunky than show labs, much more streamlined and energetic... and destructive!

In his quest for fun, Dog has removed our television privileges by eating the TV aerial  - we can't actually receive terrestrial channels anymore. He has helped the children's art projects by eating their crayons - incidentally crayons only semi digest. They keep their individual colours while the form breaks down, making rainbow poop piles with swirls of red, yellow, green, blue, purple. He took an irrational dislike to my kitchen and tried to burn it to the floor, by somehow turning a stove burner on while we were out. Sadly for his aesthetic ideals we got back while the countertop was only smouldering so he has had to live with the decor ever since.

He also developed Houdini skills, refusing to use his crate at all. We'd put him in it and come home to find him sitting on the window-sill, tongue lolling, laughing at our frustration. Crate totally unmarked. I have no idea how he got out. We padlocked the door. We padlocked around the door. We padlocked the corners. We padlocked the floor. That crate looked like some sort of S&M fantasy, yet he still continually, magically, was found at the window every time we returned.

You'd think as he gets older he's calm down somewhat. Tell it to the postman as he spies the dog sliding down the hall every day. Tell it to my curtains, digested by a bored mutt and leaving a fancy "handkerchief" ragged hem. Tell it to the cat who will be fast asleep when - from nowhere - loco Dog bursts, demanding that Cat jumps to the highest point in the room to escape the dinner plate paws pounding the floor. Tell it to The Babe who has taken to yelling "Mer'in, SIT!" as soon as she comes in the door, since her face and the classic otter tail - that can sweep a table clean with one swipe! - are at the same height now.

He's a menace.

But we got burgled once, and Dog made a noise I have never heard before, the most blood-thirsty growl, and threw himself into battle to protect us. Crack-head burglar never ran so fast, leaving us with his bicycle, traceable, and a very aromatic smell. What a fabulously wonderful dog he is!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Hmmm

I'm suffering with writer's block. You'll be the first to know when I get over it. For now, though, nada. Schtum. No hablas anything at all.

Instead, I shall share with you a conversation I had on MSN recently. Discussing speech development (see, and you think all we do on MSN is play scrabble and compete for most useless husband. You should be ashamed of yourselves, indeed!).

Me says (22.24): Thing One had huge vocab very early, and by two was talking in complete sentences. Thing Two grunted and pointed until she was 3
Posh says (22:26): now they are the other way round

Ho-ho-ho. Hurrumph. However, Posh does have a point. Thing One morphed into Kevin and/or Perry with the first whiff of hormones. However, there are times I get a tiny glimpse of the sweet child she once was.

This week she left Primary School. No one-liners about that, because she is hurting so much now, leaving her friends. These last few days, she has climbed into my lap and rocked herself back and forth, and I get to hold her and close my eyes and pretend that I can kiss her owies.

It gets so hard as they get older, and you can't make it better.

(Oh, oh, oh! Rather than leave on a sad note, the ridiculous SATs system finally coughed up some results, so I shall share my proud moment with you all; top scores throughout! Cleverbear that she is!).

Sunday, 20 July 2008

When I was little I wanted to be...

...a naked dancer!

Wait. That wasn't me. That was Thing One. Aged about 5, at Disneyland. It was so hot that year, and she was dancing around our hotel room in the buff, jumping on the bed. So free, so happy. "Mummy, when I grow up, I want to be a NAKED DANCER!"

You dream of your children wanting to be vets, doctors, lawyers... I tell you, that one brought me down to earth with a bump.

My elder sister, when she was little, desperately wanted to be a pathologist. Which, yes, is slightly perturbing when you think about it. "When I'm a grown-up, I want to cut up dead bodies...". Sweet. But she only wanted to do that so she would be our father's boss, so not quite as creepy as it sounds.

(If you want creepy, we spent our childhood in hospital and research labs, one of my main childhood memories is of a huge pickled human foetus in a jar of formaldehyde).

Himself wanted to work on submarines. I'm sure there are all sorts of things you can read into that, so I won't bother to point out the phallic symbolism.

I was much more prosaic. I wanted to fly. And talk to animals. Oh, and be invisible, and have supersonic hearing. A sort-of "SuperDolittle". Failing that, I wanted to be a teacher. I'm a pre-school teacher now, so you can guess which superpowers failed to arrive. I'm still disappointed.

Still, I did fulfil my childhood ambitions, of bossing people around, having my word be law, and never having to grow up and stop playing with finger-paint... so that's alright then. What, did you think people who worked with children had loftier ideals? Pfft.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

A Work of Fiction

Once upon a time, in a small cottage in the middle of the woods, lived a family of bears. There was Fatherbear, Motherbear, Cleverbear, Sweetbear and Babybear. Every morning, Motherbear would wake up with a spring in her haunches and a smile on her face, and rush downstairs to make breakfast for her beloved family.

What?

Oh, ok. You want realism, huh?

Every morning Motherbear would growl and stomp around the cottage, bashing pans and dropping bowls, while shouting at Cleverbear and Sweetbear to get out of their pits and get ready for school. Motherbear would burn the porridge while she was upstairs pulling covers onto the floor to stop the bears from snuggling deeper into their beds that were too comfortable. Then, she would put breakfast on the table anyway since it was too late to make something else.

"Gulp," said Fatherbear, tactfully "My porridge is too hot".
"Ewww," said Cleverbear, "My porridge is too full of burnt bits, gross!"
"Um," said Sweetbear, seeing the dangerous glint in Motherbear's eyes, "My porridge is just right." and she ate it all up.

Then, Motherbear used her fore left paw to comb Cleverbear's fur, her fore right paw to comb Sweetbear's fur, her rear right paw to comb Babybear's fur and her rear left paw to hold the bobbles. Then she would fall on her ass, because c'mon. She's a bear, not a spider! Then all the little bears would laugh and laugh and Motherbear would cuff them around the ears and stuff
them into the bathroom to clean the foul bear-breath teeth.

"Get out" screamed Cleverbear at Sweetbear "I shouldn't have to share a bathroom with you, you can wait your turn!"
"I don't want to share with you anyway," huffed Sweetbear, "You're smelly."
"Mine teef, mine" said Babybear, pushing everyone out of the way to squeeze toothpaste all over her toothbrush, hands, feet, clothes, floor, sink, mirror and walls.
"Oh for crying out loud," sighed Motherbear "Can't you do anything just right?"

There came a knock at the door, and a golden-haired girl peeked around the door. "Haven't you left for your walk yet?" She asked "I really wanted to play on the Wii while you were out."
Mother bear sighed. "Very funny, Goldilocks. I didn't realise it was that late again. Oi, you miserable lot, get yer butts down 'ere, it's time to go to school."

There came a flurry of paws, and shouts of dismay.
"I've lost my jumper."
"Where's my lunch?"
"Mu-u-um, where's my swimming kit?"
"Can I have 10p for tuck shop?"
"She's wearing my cardigan, that's MINE you thief!"
"Butt!"
"Mu-um, babybear said 'butt'!"
"Why do I have to wear a coat? It's summer, no-one else wears a coat!"
"Buttbuttbuttbutt."
"Mu-um, Babybear is swearing again."
"Why did you even have me? It was just to ruin my life, I know!"
"Can I say butt?"
""Ow, muu-um, she pushed me!"
"Did not, stop swearing."
"Babybear swears."
"Butt."
"Mu-um! Why aren't you listening? Mu-um!"

Motherbear sighed, closing her bedroom quietly as she snuck away, with a cup of tea with honey. "It's no wonder I'm Grizzly." she muttered.

Standard disclaimer: as a work of fiction, any resemblance to any person (living or dead) or situation is probably coincidental.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Random Pith

The Babe has spent the last few days asserting her personality. And believe me, it's a rum 'un, full of pith and vinegar as the saying goes. I think the tooth fairy drops an espresso off to The Babe on the way back to Fairyland each morning. Nothing else would explain how she can be snoring one second, then hit the ground running, and stay buzzed all day. Wheee!

For all the injuries The Babe has had, miraculously she's never actually seen one. Stitches in her head, blood draws from her upper, inner arm or heel, bruises under trousers. Yesterday, though, she managed to get a scratch on her wrist. An injury she can see, and in a place she catches sight of frequently. She hasn't stopped whinging. "Hurts Mum, hurts, kiss".

Not that it stops her. She has a new party trick. She pushes a chair against the radiator, climbs up, and - back to the wall - inches out to the far end of the radiator. Gasp! I don't need a heart, it spends more time in my throat than in my chest anyway.

It was late. She was in her pjs, but doing everything she could to prolong things. They learn it early, you know. Asked her to find her dummy, so she closed her eyes and walked away, arms outstretched to stop herself falling over. If she can't see it or find it, it can't be bedtime. Where did she learn that??!

You know how children seem to be drawn to electronics and telephones? I've always wondered what would I do if one of my children, while playing, dialled out. The other day I got to find out. I heard tell-tale beeps and ran in to find The Babe on my mobile, chatting happily. I rushed over, grabbing the 'phone and looking to see who she had called, to hear a disembodied voice float out of the handset. Horrors! To my shame, in panic, I just hung up.

Now I need to find new kennels. Damn.

For my own benefit here, so when I have forgotten all her milestones I can look back and read (ie probably next week sometime): The Babe has started to poop on the potty, hurray! She has asked 4 times this week, and today she took off her nappy, said "poo mummy", and peed in the potty too. Yay Babe! But I spent a fortune on those cute nappies and you're going to wear them until you start school whether you need them or not!

Oh, yes. She has also moved on from solitary play, skipped over parallel and gone straight to interactive. I'm so proud. How do I know? Well she and her best friend have started to ask for "crash, mummy, pees". Crash = golf clubs. And as soon as they get them, they knock seven bells out of each other. Oh, bless them. Such little angels they are. Hurrumph.

Lastly, pith. {Giggle}. My new favourite word. Pith, pith, pith.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Villain

After the last blog entry about himself, I got sent this. I thought it was hilarious, so am sharing it with you (with permission lol).

bondbaddie

Monday, 14 July 2008

Himself

Himself hasn't figured too prominently so far, he has kind of receded into the background. Like his hair. Oops, shouldn't say that, he's a tiny bit sensitive about it. He's also sensitive about his greys, so I won't mention those either. Heh.

Himself does actually recede as much as possible. He likes to stand back and observe rather than get involved. He blanks his features to make his face unreadable. He is so laid back he is almost prone. Which is fun when we argue, him all quiet and brooding, far more "Heathcliff" than Mr Brown. Although he has never killed anyone, despite that receding hair and
current goatee making him look like a made-for-TV film villain. And he doesn't wander the moors crying for his lost love, except when we go on walks and I wander away. So maybe not Heathcliff then.

                 alan1
                     See? Villain material, definitely.

We are polar opposites. He rarely shouts. Neighbours think I have Tourettes. He is tall. I'm... not tall. He is comparatively slim. I'm.... not slim. He could sell snow to Canadians, I fall for any sob story and give away my car. People won't approach him for directions, I hear the life story of anyone waiting for a bus. He can fix anything, I'm all for "getting a man in" to
change a tap. He is tolerant, I'm impatient. Good job opposites attract.

He's not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. Heck, he was an hour late for our first date. He is a horrific driver, tailgating and changing lanes willy-nilly without indicating. Exactly the same things he shouts at other drivers for, funnily enough. I hate being a passenger with him, I spend the whole drive hitting my imaginary brake with my right foot.

Today we had a row. It's not an uncommon occurrence, and I only kicked him three times until he fell over whimpering. I don't actually remember exactly what the argument was. Suffice to say that I was right and he wasn't. It had got to the "icily polite" stage. We weren't actually inflicting bodily damage anymore, but nor had we drawn a truce. Neither of us sulk. Sulking involves ignoring someone else, and we are both incapable of remaining silent in the face of utter stupidity (me) or of not trying to defend a losing quarter (him). So, icily polite, teeth gritted, smiles on the mouth but nowhere near the eyes. You know how it goes.

Let's see how many of you will understand this. My car needed petrol, and we were, um, "discussing" who would fill it. Not in the usual "go do it yourself you lazy slob" way but in the "no, I'll do it, I insist" way. He had offered to go, with a tiny sparkle of triumph is his eyes, since he knows I hate going out late and I hate filling up with petrol. However, had I accepted his offer, he would have tacitly won the argument you see. I would have given way before him and - more importantly - put myself in his "debt" by letting him do me a favour. I would, indeed, "owe" him. However, if I were to go, I would win the argument. I would have stood up for feminism, refused to become the little woman bending before the lord of my home. I would have done something distasteful, rather than ask for help. Yes, I would cut off my nose to spite my face. Smell is an over-rated sense anyway, who needs it?

Have you ever seen two adults slapping at each others hands to get the car keys, bumping each other out of the way with their hips, squabbling and shoving to get to the car first? It ain't pretty.

I won. Hah!

PS... Some tiny exaggeration for comic effect may have taken place here. May. I'm just saying.

PPS. I still won.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Mummy Blogging

I write about my kids a lot, huh? I do have a life outside of snotty noses and snotty hormones, but it's just really boring; work, groceries, chores... Gawd, that's depressing. I'm sure I was supposed to be a rich heiress, a lady who lunches. Then my blog would be much more fun! I'd tell you about sitting next to Johnny Depp at lunch, and shagging him senseless in the loo. Sadly, my mother married the wrong husband and I didn't get the life I was supposed to have.

I never intended to be a "mommy blogger". I swear too much to be a good role model and I bribe the kids with chocolate and late nights just to leave me alone. I'm never going to win that Mother of The Year award, but I do get to sit on the computer and play word puzzles (note: I beat Katie yay!!).

I'm not the most fabulous of home-makers either. I'm very good at delegating, so everything gets done, just not by me. What? There is nothing wrong with teaching toddlers their colours by making them sort socks! I aspire to be Monica, but I am much more Waynetta. I should have staff... that would go with the heiress lifestyle that I want to be accustomed to. Of course, if I did have staff I'd end up doing far more housework that I do now, since my middle-class roots would kick in and I'd clean before they arrived so they didn't think I was a dirty slob. So maybe it's better that I don't.

So why am I a "mummy blogger"? Apart from the fact that Ally prodded me until I was forced to start. Is it because I feel the need to share my innate knowledge of child-rearing with you, Dear Reader? Am I the Guru of all child gurus?

Well I do have one tiny bit of wisdom: Figuring parenting out isn't hard. It's just scary. And really hard work. Go have a cuppa and a chocolate biscuit while you have the chance (and if you give a choccy biscuit to your toddler you'll get twice the peace. Ahh bribery)!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Random Questions

Thoughts I have had this weekend, in no particular order.

1. If I buy Himself a lavender v-necked jumper, and he throws it at me in disgust, since he wouldn't wear it, so I sigh and say I may as well keep it... does that make it a present for him or a present for me?

2. Is it worth spending £20 on a useless bit of plastic tat if it keeps The Babe quiet for ten minutes?

3. If lightning hits your car when you are driving at 45mph in torrential rain, will you feel it fizzle through the steering wheel?

4. Why would a child who is terrified of baths make a beeline for a huge outdoor paddling pool when you have no change of clothes handy?

5. Why would it be lovely and sunny until you are 500 yards from the nearest shelter, and then the heavens open when you are halfway across a main road?

6. How does The Babe know how to use the camera? And why do I have 6 random pictures of the ceiling on my memory stick?

7. Why is it that The Babe and her partners in crime can be totally wiped out, asleep in their pushchairs yet wake up the second we stop for coffee?

8. How come in real life I talk complete and utter random rubbish, yet on the Internet.. wait. Scrap that. I seem to have no brain/mouth filter and stuff just burbles out in all sorts of abrupt tones. It's like premature ejaculation of the voice box.

9. Why does Thing One think it is a compliment to tell me I have lovely shiny silver hair? It's not grey, dammit, those are stress highlights!

10. How come The Babe can't walk out of Clarks without getting her feet measured? Little shoeaholic she is. Size 3.5f now, though, she is growing, w00t!

Trauma!

The Babe is traumatised. She went to a farm today, and they had some very unusual pets in addition to the usual poultry, pigs and whatnot. All the children were sat in a row, and all were given a small wriggly worm to hold. The Babe was charmed. It wriggled up her wrist and around her thumb. It curled around her little finger and hugged her tightly. It wiggled and giggled and became her new best friend.

She barely glanced up as the farm assistant brought out the rather cute and cuddly hedgehog. She certainly didn't bother to look at the other children while she played with her worm. The assistant crouched in front of The Babe.

"Sweetie, do you want to feed Prickles?"

Caught unawares, The Babe lifted her hand slightly. Quick as a flash, sluuuurrp, the 'hog guzzled down the snack in The Babe's palm. Just like slucking spaghetti. That nasty spiky thing ATE The Babe's new pet!!

Inconsolable, I tell you.

Well, at least until Bruce the Boar came out to play and she helped to feed and bathe him. Fickle creature that she is.

Bath a 30 stone pig

Friday, 4 July 2008

Dressing Up

The Babe thinks that padding around the house in other people's clothes and/or shoes is just the funniest and cutest thing ever. I kind of agree, so am sharing these with you. Plus the fact that I haven't put pics on in almost a month and am getting bored of so much writing.

dressup1 dressup2 dressup3

Awww cute. Yes?

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Yo!

You've heard of the Walk the Dog trick? Thing One can Walk the Baby. We're very impressed. Thing One went to bounce her yo-yo and The Babe caught the falling spinning ball, so Thing One just took her for a walk, The Babe hanging on for dear life while Thing One dragged her along.

The Babe thinks yo-yos were invented for her own amusement. She doesn't quite get the concept, so while Thing One is trying to learn tricks, The Babe grabs another yo-yo and walks it along the floor, making sure it is balanced correctly to roll behind her.

Himself gets home and excitedly pounces on the new yo-yos. Oooh, shiny! He immediately starts to show off, spinning them around and whirling the blessed thing around his head, before losing control and almost taking my windows out. So help me, boy, you break anything and I'm stopping your pocket money!

Meanwhile, Thing One is befuddling me "Look, Mum, the Eiffel Tower.. a Bow Tie... the Aliens (dum dum dun)..." I have no idea what she is on about, I just smile and nod.

I know the eighties are doing a revival, but do they HAVE to drag along the toys? I hate cat's cradles, yo-yos, elastics, scoobies and all that other assorted rubbish. Go play with your DS and leave me alone!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

NSFW

I confuse the hell out of myself, you know. I have no idea what kind of person I am. I have a mouth like a sewer, yet I hate swearing. I want to have a family that is organised and effortless in the morning, yet I loll in bed until 7.47 (and thirty seconds. Seriously. I've timed how long it takes me to get ready and start roaring at the kids because we are late, and that is the latest I can loll for.)(God help me in September when Thing One has to leave the house by 7.30 to get to school for Far-Too-Bloody-Early o'clock every day.)(Yes 7.30 AM!!).

I am seriously anti-hunting, yet I own a gun shop (shut-up shut-up shut-up, they are all for hitting paper targets with). The other part of the shop sells fitness and health products, yet I am a size 20. Am curvy. It's puppy fat. Yes, at 36. Leave me alone.

I am the classic do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mother. My children are not allowed to smoke, drink, take drugs, stay out past curfew, worry me, have boyfriends, skive from school or in any shape or form have a life. (Yes, my name is Pollyanna, and my children are perfect). (Leave me alone!).

Why am I telling you this? Well today I had a teeny tiny miniscule almost not worth mentioning little "peep" of road rage. Some stupid fracking idiot on a bike, high on something, wheeling all over the road, SMIRKED at me when I was trying to be nice and stay back away from him. Then he slowed down and stayed in the middle of the road (mostly... as I said, swaying a bit) so not a single other vehicle could get past him in either direction.

No I didn't run him over. I didn't even roll down the window and yell. But in my head, I thought a bad word. I thought he was a stupid... I can't say it. I can't even type it. I'll spell it out.. no, I can't! It was that bad one. That see you one day early next week one. I did. I thought that word at him.

And then I blushed.

I can't even THINK a bad word without embarrassing myself, for goodness sake.

I am a mass of contradictions.

I am woman. Hear me roar. Pathetically.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Need X-ray, Long Distance Binoculars

Is it a tiny bit too stalker-ish, a tiny bit "helicopter parent", to go sit outside the school for two hours, waiting for Thing One to appear?

I hate this. The schools admission system totally sucks. Thing One is visiting her new senior school today. It isn't the school we wanted, although it is academically far superior to Wanted School. However, all her friends are going to Wanted School, and she is the only one going to Academic School. She is scared, although she won't show it. She was literally shaking this morning, and walking to school her shoulder brushed mine the entire time, she was walking that close (incidentally... shoulder brushing mine? Yeah. I'm short and she is growing. So unfair!).

I want to hug her and squeeze her and kiss her and love her and call her George, but I have to let go. She is terrified, but she has to stand up and pretend to be cool so she makes friends and isn't labelled School Dork before she even starts. This is so damn hard. Parenting hurts, every single step of the way.

The Babe is having one-of-those-days. Clingy little snot monster. She spent the entire morning wailing and trying to fall asleep, but pinging awake the second I put her to bed. Finally I just got her up and fed her some lunch. How does anyone make that much mess?? She called me through at one point asking for a baby wipe, holding her bare dirty foot up in one hand with a piece of bread stuck to her upper arm. Buh-wah? I have no idea how she gets into these situations. It's okay though, she cleaned herself up. Poured her whole cup of water over herself...

She is wailing one second and happy as Larry the next (who is Larry? Can I have some of whatever he is taking?), typical toddler. Either over clingy and weepy or fawning and hugging. In the end I turned Cbeebies on just to get away from her and sit online for a few minutes. Parent of the year again, kerching!

Only 84 minutes until I can wait outside the school, heart in mouth. Not that I'm counting. 83.