Thursday, 16 December 2010
But my question is this - what happens when Christmas is over and they have had all the presents that they wished for? (Except in my house they'll get about half the presents - The Husband hates spending his millions on bits of plastic and The Tomboy has asked for really weird stuff like a bleeding Dracula bag). Can I expect the same mind control from the Easter Bunny?
Father Christmas was definitely invented by a parent because he's such a fantastic way to brainwash your kids into behaving. I've scared the living daylights out of mine by saying that Father Christmas is watching their every move and I'm loving the results. However the Inventor must have had pretty well behaved children if he thought that Father Christmas was enough. After the Easter Bunny, I'm a bit short on ideas. And what's gonna happen when the kids wise up in a couple of years, how will I keep control then?
Suggestions please, on a Christmas card. x
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
It started like this:
- Fear of becoming a mum and being tied down for 18 years
- Fear that I might kill the baby or someone might steal it
- Fear that my breasts would never be the same again
- Fear The Husband might want special love
After The Toddler it really grew. Before I accepted that this is my time to 'stand still', The Fear almost brought me down. Thank God for anti depressants. The Fear is very very strong. The Fear tried to take over me like this:
- Fear that I had lost my identity and was just a moaning mum
- Fear that my life is very small
- Fear of being tired
- Fear I was very boring and had no funny stories to tell
- Fear that changing a nappy was the highlight of my day
After almost two years of being miserable that I don't live in the town and that I don't have a job, those two wishes are the things that now frighten me the most. The Husband has recently been offered a promotion and with the pay rise he has suggested that we move into town. Since isn't this what I've been banging on about for two years. Yet the very thought of it frightens the life out of me. What's all that about? And the other day I was practically offered a job managing the children's section in my local bookstore and I ran out the exit faster than the gingerbread man.
The Fear wins almost every time. But it will never ever stop me from having coffee with my mates or watching Desperate Housewives or walking The Dog. You see the only thing to really fear is The Fear itself. And once you realise this, you can carry on being lazy and wasting the days whilst getting by with minimal parental responsibility. The Fear will never get to that.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Me as I would like to be
This photo made me feel sad for a number of reasons. Mainly because I wish I was that person - the girl in that photo looks so carefree and happy with her lot and not like the moany bag that I have turned in to. In fact that girl looks like the old me.
It's not the only time recently that I have glimpsed the old me. I went for an eye test on Sunday after deciding that I am in desperate need of new glasses. Confirmed by every mum in the playground when I wore my dog-chewed, toddler-twisted, wonky-eyed, current spectacles the other week. The optician, surprisingly, was very sweet and funny so we had a laugh. He had recently become a father and had very cute clothes. Since I had no children with me and was wearing my Ugg hat, I was on top form. I was flirting and being hilarious and overall good fun - just like I used to be.
Then things took a turn. My friend's husband came over to fix a pipe for us and we got chatting about children. He has five. I was about to launch into my "isn't having children rubbish" stand-up comedian routine when he stopped me dead in my (kind of funny) tracks. He actually made a very good case for the other side of the coin. He put a fantastically positive view on life as a family unit. He made me feel like an idiot. Basically, his philosophy was that everything before was shallow and what did I honestly want to do, go out and get pissed every night? As we chatted, I thought YES I am so very very lucky and isn't my life fantastically great. It is true to say that it was one of those moments in life where your eyes are opened.
This lasted about ten minutes. I went back inside the house and looked at the photo then looked in the mirror. It was an easy game of Spot The Difference. The Tomboy & The Tweenager were playing their new game of wrestling which involves a great deal of hitting and crying. I said: "If you hurt each other I am going to kill you", and once again things were back to normal in the Smith household.
I have decided, as a compromise to myself, to put the photo away and not look at it again until I am sixty. That way hopefully the children will be all moved out and I will be back to my real self, head held high and happy.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Okay so I've always known that The Tweenager is a super high maintenance kid who needs to have a plan set in place, from what time he is getting lunch to the order in which he cleans his teeth. Although recently it seems to be getting worse, to the point where I'm wondering if he has a touch of OCD.
The Tomboy went to say goodnight to him yesterday in a rare display of siblingship and she moved his bedcover by a quarter of an inch and he freaked. He had to get out of bed then back into it and start from the lower left corner across and up until his duvet was exactly right. That's a bit weird, right? And this morning I suggested that he got dressed before having his second breakfast and it panicked him so much that it gave me palpitations.
I'm comforted in the fact that his OCD is only mild, proven by the fact that his bedroom is always a mess and he doesn't seem to mind that. But I have been thinking about how his OCD might grow, even into adulthood and I guess he'll only have his parents to blame.
Take his father, for example. The Husband may not repeatedly wash his hands or have an aversion to odd numbers, but he cannot live ten minutes without speaking to someone from work or tap tapping on his laptop. He thinks if he doesn't have any contact with the workplace then bad things will happen. Life cannot proceed while the imbalance of him not working remains.
The Tweenager's mother (ie me) often has intrusive thoughts that produce fear or apprehension - if I consider washing up or hoovering then severe anxiety takes over. These thoughts cause emotional distress and panic that I may be turning into a good housewife. I find by avoiding housework at all costs and having a coffee stops a dreaded event from occurring such as the hoovering turning into a full house clean.
With parents like these, what chance does The Tweenager have of making a recovery? Better ditch the swear box and start saving for his therapy instead.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
2. Always play at another person's house so you don't have to clear up the mess.
3. Avoid Toddler groups at all costs and all child-related conversations.
4. Always blame the other child even though you saw your kid pinching and biting.
5. Do not get involved with competitive parents, especially the type that say their three year old is into the pre-raphaelites.
6. Chose your friends carefully. The mums in the playground are just there to play on your paranoia.
7. Figure out which of your children is easiest to ignore especially if you have three or more.
8. Have a dad in the playground that you fancy, brightens up a dull day.
9. McDonald's is GOOD. Ronald McDonald is your FRIEND.
10. Do not help out another family. If you don't like your own kids, you'll be tempted to steal one of theirs.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
The Husband has recently noticed how little control I have over the kids. I don't know why it's taken him so long to realise this. I've known it for about seven years. What he doesn't understand is that I could so have control if I wanted it, it's just most of the time I can't be bothered. Especially when trying to get three children into a car without his help.
Curiously he thinks he has total control but I know that the children allow him to think that because then it's easier to get sweeties.
Dad + Control = Total Manipulation
Actually if I'm honest, in situations where it matters, I have control. If, for example, The Toddler was trying to stab me with a knife I would take control of that knife. If The Tomboy decided to have a hissy fit over wearing a skirt for maypole dancing, I would pass my control over to her teacher. And I always control The Tweenager's mood swings with jaffa cakes.
Mum - Control = Total Mania
Sometimes I think situations work best when I don't exercise my control. Anyone who attended The Toddler's birthday tea with 14 kids packed in my house will tell you that there was absolutely no control but didn't they all have a lovely time.
So I've been thinking about control in our household. The kids are quite often in control except when it comes to important stuff. The Dog absolutely controls me. And when it comes to The Husband, I am definitely controlling the (purse) strings there.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Just call me lucifer, cause I'm in need of some restraint, oh yeah.
Mick Jagger has clearly never met The Toddler otherwise he would be changing the lyrics to his song, oh yeah.
Anyway, The Toddler turned two last week and it's made me realise:
a) I've done f-all for two years except hang out with him.
b) Terrible Twos is a myth when it comes to The Toddler, he has been bad since birth.
So I have decided to get him christened. I'm hoping by baptising him, it will rid him of the demon within. The Tweenager and The Tomboy were baptised and it's made sod all difference to their behaviour, but I'm thinking THIRD TIME LUCKY, right?
The date is set, church is booked and the godparents sorted. What the godparents don't realise is that they are making a deal with the devil. But instead of youth, power, knowledge or wealth they are going to be contracted to The Toddler. Forever. The Toddler will become their master. They will think they are signing the church register but really in invisible ink I will write a pact forcing them to give up every Saturday night/Sunday morning, every bit of their money and any cool clothes (for me).
It will be eternal damnation and there will be no outwitting The Toddler on a technical point.
The bargain is a dangerous one, but hey, it's better than losing your soul.
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
The Toddler was very excited because the cookies were themed with In The Night Garden and everything ninky nonky iggle piggle just drives him crazy. So I sat him on the work top and we got a bowl, emptied the cookie mix, added a teaspoon of water and an egg. It was all going swimmingly and exactly like Nigella until I happened to turn around for what was exactly one hundredth of a second and The Toddler, seizing the opportunity, grabbed the kettle and poured its entire contents into the batter. When I looked back the bowl was full of gooey lukewarm slime.
Whilst the alien cookies were baking, The Toddler and I went upstairs to play. Forty minutes later, upon smelling some burning, I remembered there was something in the oven.
Upsy Daisy, bless her, got it the worst:
but she was the one The Toddler chose to eat. He loved it. And he wasn't even faking.
Monday, 8 November 2010
Needless to say, my children are not great at sharing either. I would love to take the middle-class approach and pay someone to teach them this skill, but I have yet to find an appropriate tutor.
The Toddler is the worst culprit as being almost two qualifies him for a Guinness Book Of Records entry as World's Worst Sharer. If you even look at anything that belongs to him he will scream "Mine!" so loudly that you can even hear it in space.
And we all know that he will not share his Mummy. If you ask him where his siblings' mother is, he will respond with a clear "Gone". The Tomboy made the grave mistake of sitting on my lap yesterday in full view of The Toddler and he almost exploded.
Now even though The Tweenager and The Tomboy are older and could explain what sharing is, they refuse to share with each other. If we have a toy that has remained untouched for centuries and one of them decides to pick it up, the other will yell "But I was about to play with that!". Unfortunately this means that we have to buy two of everything. Yes it's indulgent and lazy but I'd rather be an idiot parent than deal with the fighting.
The Husband, in his innocence, expects everyone to share. If we are eating out, he often has the audacity to suggest that we share a side dish and, more shockingly, CHIPS. I say "Don't you know who you are married to?" (with a few expletives in between) and he replies "Lovely example to set the children, darling".
Oh but I think it is a wonderful example. If my children never have to share McDonalds fries or chocolate or crisp sandwiches then what a happy fulfilled life they will lead.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
We are mainly having problems with The Toddler and, apparently, it's all my doing. I have created a monster. The sucky la la baby who loved his mummy is swiftly turning into a terrible two. I should have seen it coming, I have had two other children previous to him after all. But no, I relished the fact that at least I had one child that was super attached to mummy and would give me love not based on the contents of the sweet jar or what was planned for the day.
The Toddler is turning into a real life horror movie. He is worthy of a starring part in the next Wes Craven franchise. Not only is he into whacking everything in sight (usually me) but his night time shenanigans are becoming the stuff of nightmares. Or maybe he is a terrorist and using sleep deprivation as a means to break me.
It goes like this:
The Toddler shares a room with The Tweenager and since The Tweenager has to be bright & breezy for school and on form for being rude to his mother, his sleep takes priority. So currently The Toddler is being put to sleep in our bed. When he eventually falls asleep after four pints of milk and umpteen versions of "Yes my name is Iggle Piggle", we move him into his cot. Where he stays until right in the middle of a tense part of Ugly Betty when he awakens shrieking "Mummmmyyyy!!!!". He will not allow The Husband to go near him so I have to forsake my tv watching to settle him back down. This normally lasts well into the programme so I usually opt to stick him back into our bed for a quicky night-night result.
The Husband will then move him back into his cot when we go to bed.
At some point in the very early hours, The Toddler will wake up again and because it's cold or maybe because we now do this in our sleep, he ends up back in bed with us until the morning.
And it's not then all cozy cuddle time as The Toddler can fidget and squirm and wiggle for hours on end. His legs take on a life of their own and he can kick with the force of a stallion. He is also a master at positioning his body so that The Husband is at the foot of the bed and I am left with about half an inch of space at the edge.
I do not think I have had an uninterrupted night for about seven and a half years. Apparently sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of strange behaviour. So there is surely no hope for a mother who wakes up to the sound of her children throughout the night.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
As I am in no position to sleep train The Toddler (not my fault, The Husband has relinquished his space in the bed by being at his mother's), I have decided instead to try and control The Toddler's behaviour. The best way to do this, so I am told, is by having A Naughty Step.
The Naughty Step is a favourite place of all the child-behaviour gurus because it is the place where the child can sit to calm down, think about his behaviour then eventually say sorry. Clearly they have not considered the combination of a determined 22 month old with a mother who has no idea how to keep him on The Naughty Step. It's all very well putting him on there but getting him to stay is a different story. I have tried pinning him down, using a forceful foot and no-more-treats threats but nothing can keep him on The Naughty Step for more than ten seconds. So the one minute per year of his life theory is such a load of rubbish when your child is nearly two but thinks he is seven.
I am using The Naughty Step because The Toddler is quickly picking up the bad habits of his siblings and The Husband says, in his wisdom and expertise as SuperDaddy, if I "don't sort it out now there will be trouble later". The Toddler is into hitting me on the leg with toys and whacking The Dog over the head with cutlery so he must be stopped before he ends up a psychopath.
It's not going well.
What the child experts also fail to explain is what you do when you are out-and-about and there is no Naughty Step to hand. Such as this morning when we were dog-walking in the woods and The Toddler decided to throw a rock at my head. Introducing a Naughty Log doesn't really work when it's been raining and the log is covered in gooey moss and snails.
Anybody got an App for The Naughty Step on their phone please?
Thankfully at least somebody is getting a kick out of The Naughty Step. The Toddler's new favourite game is dragging The Dog onto it and making her sit there for a minute per year of her life. And if you're counting in dog years that's at least eight. The Toddler is doing a much better job at it than I am. Perhaps I'll get him to put me on it next time I fancy some peace & quiet - 41 minutes on The Naughty Step sounds fantastic compared to time spent disciplining The Toddler.
Saturday, 23 October 2010
The Toddler really needs sleep training but neither myself or The Husband can be bothered. We've been through that before with The Tweenager and it is hellish. So the day always starts at around 4.30am when The Toddler ends up in bed with us. He is not very spatially aware so being about 84cm long he absolutely needs to lie in whatever way his little frame can take up the most amount of bed. It's the Quantum Theory Of Bed-Hogging. He also has a cold so is snoring - and I can't stand snoring. I eventually get some sleep squeezed between The Toddler's feet and the top of the bed with a pillow over my head, only to be woken by a house alarm going full blast about three doors down. Which then awakens The Toddler who demands milk and mummy time - and it's 6.45am.
I then have to get The Dog to the vet to have her paw checked. The bandage, which we were not supposed to get wet, got soaked after being on for about ten minutes so we've had to remove the soggy stinking mess and give the paw some air time.
I have lost The Dog's lead. Although I know where I left it but somebody has decided to move it to a more suitable dog-lead place. So I have to go via a friend's house to borrow a lead which is perfect for her poodle but will just not suffice for an overexcited Lab/Collie Cross.
After the mentalness which is me trying to control The Dog at the vets, I go to pay only to realise that The Husband has removed my cash card from my purse. I am thinking about making a run for it and am about to leg it to the car when somebody comments "Is that your car, you've got a flat tyre."
It's 10.32am and the day is just beginning.
I am writing this just to illustrate to you how my days tend to pan out. Somebody commented on my blog the other day on how I come up with so many mad situations and I found it amusing that people think I actually make this stuff up.
I am approaching my 100th blog and when that happens I am going to offer one reader the prize of "A Day At The Smiths" so you too can experience a slice of my (psycho) life.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
So you can see that I am feeling rather stressed.
On top of all of this I seem to be attracting Good Mothers at the moment - the mums that bake fairy cakes and label clothes. I am positive that these mothers exist simply TO MAKE ME FEEL EVEN CRAPPER. Try as I might, I will never ever be able to have things in alphabetical order and own a book called Fun Games With Children.
I commented on this to a friend of mine who said: "Well I'm not making fairy cakes at the moment."
I cried: "At the moment? I don't bake ever".
(Nor can I keep a little boot on a dog, I wanted to add.)
I told my friend: "I am not the mother that I thought I would be."
To which her reply was: "Well maybe you're the mother you need to be".
I will take comfort in that. Until I see a Good Mother eating a fairy cake whilst walking her dog wearing a little boot.
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Story is that she fell over, got all muddy and this was the only spare uniform they had. No idea what they would have put on a boy. Anyway, she could either spend the rest of the day in her knickers or wear the skirt. And you know what, she actually quite liked it. So much that I asked her teacher who this impostor child was calling herself my daughter.
Last night I was triumphant. I wrote it on Facebook, I rang all my friends - heck, I practically shouted it from the rooftop "MY DAUGHTER IS WEARING A SKIRT!!!!"
Fast forward to this morning and not only is The Tomboy dressing herself in her brother's school trousers, she is telling me a story of the day she will have a willy and it will grow & grow until it is enormous.
The impostor-child has clearly gone back to its rightful family. And once again there is dark at the end of my Tomboy tunnel.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
What seems like a lifetime ago, in the summer, I actually experienced something called Happiness. But with the weather turning and the days getting shorter I am, by the hour, getting SAD.
On top of my Obsessive Dog Syndrome and Compulsive Non-Cleaning Disorder, it doesn't seem like a big deal. These are the winter blues you get when you wake up in the morning and suddenly remember you don't live in California. Apparently the symptoms are feeling tired, overeating and bad mood. For example I did a reccy of what I consumed yesterday and it went something like this: 2 bags of crisps plus a crisp sandwich, a Pot Noodle, 5 Celebrations choccys, 3 cups of coffee, 1 diet Coke and a gin & tonic. I was also very snappy with the kids. This might suggest that I have SAD all year round.
The truth is there is really nothing wrong with me. It's just the onset of winter and being half way through the busy Christmas term. It's so hard doing the school run in the winter especially with such rubbish winter clothes. Can't believe I'm wearing last year's coat.
Anyway I can't change the winter so I'm attempting to change my attitude towards it. I have decided to embrace the dark days by wrapping up warm and drinking mulled wine. I also need to laugh more with the children rather than let them wind me up.
I just looked up SAD on the internet and actually it helped my new attitude. I typed SADS by mistake, which turned out to stand for Sudden Arrhythmic Cardiac Death Syndrome. As soon as I realised I don't have this, I felt much better.
(idea for this blog nicked from a Sandi Toksvig article - yes sometimes I cheat!)
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
I was in no danger but it did bring tears to my eyes.
The Tweenager, bless him, showing deep concern wrapped himself around me and repeatedly asked "Are you okay Mummy?". Which is the first time in ages that he's uttered a sentence without being revolting to me.
The Husband suggested I had a drink of my Coke.
The Tomboy, who had been happily tucking into her chicken oblivious to my choking, looked up ears pricked and shrieked "Oh I want Coke".
I so know who is going to look after me in my old age.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Naturally, I took it out on the kids. By the time we left for school I had screamed and ranted and shrieked myself silly. And for once, they weren't doing anything wrong.
Now I think this bad mood comes from the fact that I have got no money and therefore no autumn/winter clothes budget so I am wearing last years stuff which I simply DON'T LIKE ANYMORE. It's all so LAST SEASON.
The Husband is unsympathetic. He says "I can't remember the last time I bought something new". I say "Well you don't have the illusion of yummy mummy to carry off".
You would think that, working for an important French company, that The Husband would get as a benefit-in-kind a clothing allowance for his wife. France is supposed to be the fashion capital of the world and here I am dressed in last year's New Look. Perhaps that's why he never takes me to any dinners or events.
I DO NOT like living off The Husband. I am UTTERLY UP for getting a job so I have my own income. But I have calculated that even if I worked three days a week my child care would be about £800. Yes I know it's my choice to have my children but I never chose to do it unfashionably.
And to top it all I have lost my silver Gucci bracelet while out walking The Dog. I'm hoping a kindly walker will put a little notice up to say they have found it. It might be a good find for them but it's a piece of my old life to me.
And I can always pawn it if the clothes situation doesn't get any better.
2. Thou shalt not give a dummy/comforter/blankie.
3. Thou shalt not argue with your spouse in front of your child.
4. Thou shalt not bribe or enter into bargaining with your child.
5. Thou shalt not feed food in jars or junk for ease or visit McDonalds more than twice in the week or give crisps for breakfast.
6. Thou shalt not have a child in your bed because you can't be bothered to sleep train.
7. Thou shalt not put a child in the wrong car seat or have child in front with airbag or just not strap in because you are in a rush.
8. Thou shalt not ignore it if your child hits another and nobody else notices.
9. Thou shalt not pretend to drive off while your child has a hissy fit on the side of the road.
10. Thou shalt not throw your child's belongings out of the window for punishment.
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Chapter One will definitely be about homework. The school have had the brilliant idea of introducing a Learning Log much to the irritation of many parents (well, me). As if managing three crazy kids, a dog, a Husband with a sexual appetite, a messy house and weekly spellings isn't task enough for this mum, they have decided to up the homework.
Now I hate homework at the best of times. The Tweenager finds it a wonderful opportunity to be even more rude to me than normal. The Tomboy thinks it's definitely something to cry about. And The Toddler cannot stand anybody else having his mother's attention so will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to get me back.
The school have tricked us into thinking that we are the only educational institution in the UK not to have the Learning Log. They do not know yet that I have asked around and am yet to find another school that have even heard whispers of it.
The Learning Log is supposed to be a wonderful scrapbook of weekly home tasks that the children can be proud of and the parents can participate in. It is supposed to bring JOY. What they haven't taken into account is my children and a mother who loses it when the children don't listen.
The Tweenager, who is great at literacy, loses all capacity to use capital letters, full stops and spell any word longer than three letters. Our joint experience of the Learning Log usually lasts about six minutes before all hell breaks loose. I sit down thinking how nice to spend time with each other on a project and end up close to slitting my wrists.
The Tomboy is slightly better but wants to draw pictures of footballers even if the topic is How To Make Bread. She usually ends up scribbling all over the page and blaming it on The Dog.
The Toddler upon sight of the Learning Log has been known to, in no particular order - throw himself on the floor, bash his head against the radiator, take his nappy off after pooing, threaten us with anything sharp and try to make himself sick.
Oh yes, the Learning Log is bringing us great joy.
I'm just wondering if the excuse of "The Dog Ate My Homework" still works these days.
Thursday, 23 September 2010
I am just going to bleat on for a moment about Ministry Of Mum and if the fact that it helps my shrivelled brain is enough. I am thinking about turning it into a Cult like Scientology or The Community Of The Phoenix (if you watch Ugly Betty you'll get that joke) because I need to make some money.
I was having a little moan about The Husband last week to a friend and he said "Mmmm you're all right living off him though, aren't you?" and I was shocked. Shocked because it's true and shocked because I realised that not having my own money is crap. Occasionally The Husband will ask me where the money has gone that he has given me for the month. He thinks I spend it in Cafe Rouge and New Look. So I have been writing a list for when that question comes up again. This is what I will answer: gym fees, dog food, school dinners, washing powder, riding lessons, sweets, nappies, petrol, beavers subs, milk, birthday pressies. Not one mention of a new frock or cappuccino, is there?
I am desperate for my own money although I don't particularly want a job. So I've been thinking of ways I can make some dosh from my blog and I've come up with the idea of expanding my blog into a Cult - The Church Of Ministry Of Mum. I am happy to be the authoritarian, charismatic leader as long as I am paid.
So here is the Ethos:
Meetings round my house, no kiddies allowed.
Gin & tonics provided with nibbles.
Be honest about your role as a parent.
Do not judge especially when someone admits they "lost it" with the children.
Respect each other and understand that we once had a life.
A small subscription fee will do, as long as collectively it pays for my winter wardrobe.
Promise we won't blow things up or kill people (no matter how trying our Husbands are).
Make sure we all snog the face off any male celebrity who joins (preferably Tom Cruise).
Are you brainwashed yet? Hope so. I've got my eye on those biker Ugg boots.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
I allowed them back downstairs at 5.30pm for dinner and they so thought they'd got away with it. Imagine their surprise when they finished eating and I said "Right, that's back to bed again now thank you!".
It seemed to work as punishment because they hated it. But the mistake I made was forgetting to forewarn The Husband, who came bouncing in at seven with the bright idea of them all taking the dog for a walk to the shop to get sweets. And The Husband at home time always supersedes The Mum who has been dealing with the crap for the past two hours.
Anyway, The Husband has officially been off now for two days and, believe it or not, everything is still working in the world - there has been no big bang or millennium crash. He is doing his two favourite things 1) Jobs In The Garden 2) Going To The Tip, in between taking conference calls and receiving emails.
Of course he has been getting on my nerves.
Yesterday, for example, he had to measure some curtains for me while I was in the shop ready to buy. He knew they were for The Tomboy's room but did a completely different window so when I brought them home, they were totally the wrong size. This might seem of little importance, but in my rock n roll life it was a Big Deal and utterly warranted my anger. (Ah did I mention that I am finally allowing The Tomboy to have a football bedroom - it's goodbye everything pink and pretty).
The Husband says that the time he spends working on his days off is nothing compared to the amount of hours I spend speaking to my friends.
I say work is his only friend.
So I have been doing things without The Toddler like getting an eye test and power walking with The Dog. Keeping out of The Husband's way on his time off is the best technique for spending the day without squabbling.
Our family seems to work best when everyone is off doing their thing. Can't wait for him to go back to work.
Monday, 20 September 2010
My take on it is this - basically he has got the day off, but he can't stand to be away from work. He has got to think quickly because he's already told me that it's a holiday. You have never seen anybody back-track quite like The Husband. This is his back-track 3 step plan:
1) Deny everything.
2) Blame the other person for misunderstanding.
3) Admit there might have been some ambiguity but this is what was really meant.
While following this plan, The Husband comes up with the term "Flexible Day". Meaning that he can do whatever he likes work-wise but it's still really a holiday.
This is what actually happens:
The Husband tells me this morning that he can take the children to school because he is on a "Flexible Day". But because I dare to stay in bed for twenty seconds more than normal, everything (of course) goes slightly disarray. The Tomboy is still in bed at 8.30am. The Tweenager has lost his school shoes and his book bag. The Toddler is naked in the garden.
Somehow The Husband gets them to school on time. He then goes to work.
I am stuck at home, as usual, with The Toddler.
At tea-time he informs me that he will be home by 6.30pm (half an hour earlier than normal).
The Tomboy has a hissy fit about nothing and tips the entire contents of the Lego box on the floor upstairs. It is a Lego lake.
The Dog jumps up against the side while I am dealing with The Tomboy and eats half the dinner.
The Tweenager spills juice all over his homework.
The Husband arrives home at 7.20pm.
As I sit here writing I think, well, at least I didn't have to do the school run this morning. And that is on my list of Very Best Things You Can Do For Me. So I suppose if I was more open minded I could consider that the "Flexible Day" wasn't too bad - but hey, I'm just not that flexible.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
The Tomboy does lie an awful lot. She told me that Justin Bieber had gone into her class to tell them that he is going to perform at the Halloween Disco. She blames everything on The Toddler or The Dog. And plenty of other falsehoods beside. I googled searched Kids Who Lie and there is a five year old in New Zealand who is decidedly better than she is at not telling the truth. Which pissed me off a bit because if she's going to do it, then I want her to be the very best at it.
She is also very good at Going Mental. You all know the one about The Tweenager's new bike. Well she pulled a blinder yesterday as well. She got wind that The Tweenager had been invited to his mates house for tea. All hell broke lose at the school gate. Her jacket was flung on the floor. Her book bag ended up in the road. Her water bottle was launched into someone's garden. It was Tomboy Theatricals at their very best. And since it was home time, there were many spectators - I only wish I had sold programmes and popcorn.
The main thing I have noticed recently about The Tomboy is that she is great when she has boys come home but horrid when girls are over. She's a little butch (sic). The girls will invariably go home crying whilst the boys will emerge covered in warpaint after the 'best army game ever'.
I don't want The Tomboy to change any time in the near future. I enjoy the complication of her. Especially when she comes up with some classics - I mentioned again about the boy who cried wolf and she said "Don't mention that again, there are no wolves around here, we're in England remember."
Monday, 13 September 2010
Last night The Husband tore himself away from his laptop to come and see me. Bit annoying because I was watching that great beginning of Frasier when Niles does the whole mime routine (if you've not seen it then YouTube it immediately).
This is our conversation:
The Husband: "Can I just talk to you for a minute?"
Me: "Oh here we go, you need to go to China with work, don't you?"
The Husband: "Well can I just ask what your thoughts are on tomorrow night please."
Me: "My thoughts? You're already staying away, aren't you, and you need to make it seem like it was my idea."
So, yes, my Sunday lie-in had a price and it's that The Husband gets to stay in a 5star hotel tonight in sunny Birmingham while I deal with his three offspring.
The Toddler has an ear infection and will probably be up all night. I am quite proud though - it's the first time he's ever had antibiotics so his diet of dirt and leaves is doing wonders for his immune system.
The Tomboy is wound up from gym and over excited because her very bestest friend (a boy) is coming to tea tomorrow. She is currently in a headstand on her bed.
The Tweenager is definitely on the Gifted & Talented List for backchat. He has been horrid to me from 7am to 7pm. Perhaps he should do a sponsored Rude-A-Thon, he'd raise thousands. He has gone to bed in tears because he is grounded for the week and it's quote/unquote "The first time I have ever been grounded in my whole life!!!!". Not bad for his seven years.
So here I am with The Dog. Letting her go on the sofa even though she smells of fox poo. I am that used to the smell that if she doesn't have any on her, the ambience of the house isn't right. Hopefully Ambi-pur will bring out an Eau De Fox Poo.
Well at least I have the remote and the bed to myself tonight. The Husband being away is a very small price to pay.
Sunday, 12 September 2010
You see we had friends over last night and I drank quite a lot of gin & tonic. Which doesn't seem too drastic except I am just under five foot two and seven doubles is slightly more than my petite frame can take. I remember the first two glasses but it's all a blur after that. Hey but I was a GOOD DRUNK and probably flirting and being very hilarious, even if The Husband doesn't think so. I also managed to do absolutely nothing apart from drink and eat. The Husband, bless him, cooked and served and washed up while I sat an arm's length from the kitchen appliances. But, hey, I was the entertainment for the evening.
We ended up having a great night with our friends but a dreadful night with the children. The Tweenager has been complaining about feeling sick yet not sick enough that he can't have Cornettos and Wine Gums. The Toddler is very hot and bothered with a dribbly nose. The Tomboy is having nightmares because she is addicted to the pages of her Children's Bible with pictures of Jesus on the cross. So sleep is not an option.
What happened during the night was what can only be described as a game of Musical Beds. Nobody finished the night in the bed where they started. I ended up top-to-toe with The Tweenager.
This morning I did the usual routine of Toddler milk and Dog Breakfast but then somehow The Husband took over and I went back to bed. Until 11.20am! The Husband and the kids were out walking the dog so even got to shower, eat toast and drink coffee in peace (albeit with a raging hangover).
So far I can't see any repercussions. The Husband hasn't mentioned it all day. So he must be plotting. He's either after special love or six months coming home late from work. Or a boys weekend. But I don't care, I will be living off the back of my super lie-in for the next eight years.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Which got me thinking about the whole Pack Order in this family.
First of all, The Dog thinks she is a kid. The Dog considers herself on a par with the children and obviously sees the way that the children often challenge me -so she thinks she can treat me the same.
So my mission is to sort out where everybody stands in The Smith Family Pack.
Let me explain - in a pack there is a leader and all other members of the pack defer to this leader. There is then a Number Two who submits to the boss and nobody else...and so on down to the bottom dog who submits to everybody.
Now, the leader is also called the Alpha and is the most dominant. Within our pack this Alpha is obviously ME. I will use aggression to protect my pack and I also expect them all to submit to me. Where our pack gets confused is that not everybody knows who is dominant to them and who is submissive to them.
The Husband firmly believes that he is the Alpha. He is happy to hand this over to whoever he considers to be his Number Two (i.e. Me) during the week. But at the weekends he will raise his heckles and reaffirm his leadership. This often results in us arguing over matters such as the disciplining of the children. I don't mind The Husband believing he is the Alpha, in fact I encourage it as it makes him feel better, but I will not have him thinking that my leadership is open to challenge. So I have been taking a firm but fair approach to The Husband every Saturday to assert my rightful place as leader of the pack. He has no idea I am doing this of course, but that's the thing about Alphas - they are sly and cunning.
The Tomboy and The Tweenager bicker constantly, thus ensuring an ongoing argument over who is below the adults in the pack. The Tomboy, when she is not pretending to be a boy, often pretends to be a dog so you think that would give her a head start. But unfortunately The Tweenager is two years older and his seven years to her five years is the trump card.
The Toddler, well, he is the Alpha's cub and will always get that extra Alpha attention. He can currently do no wrong in the Alpha's eyes much to the chagrin of The Husband who is probably about to lose his position as the Number Two.
And The Dog? Well she is starting to learn that she is the bottom of The Smith Family Pack because I have filled a bottle with stones and she hates me shaking it at her when she challenges me. One rattle of the bottle and she goes all submissive.
I am considering using it on the two eldest kids and The Husband.
Monday, 6 September 2010
1. Tell Toddler that we are going in the car so he gets very excited.
2. Make sure I have his blanky and numerous yummys to bribe him.
3. Open car door and attempt to lift him into seat.
4. Plead with him and pretend to cry as he is kicking & protesting.
5. Distract him by getting animated about planes and boats.
6. Stuff a sweet into his mouth.
7. Grab his arm with one hand while pushing with the other hand against the front of his nappy while using maximum force (I'm surprised he doesn't have a permanent red hand print there).
8. Scream at him and hold him in a Full Nelson as I lock the straps into place.
I have said it before and I will say it again. When I am an old lady, I challenge him to get me into my wheelchair. And if the Adult Toddler attempts to use any of my manoeuvres, I will be straight on the phone to Help The Aged.
Sunday, 5 September 2010
2. All first time mothers who talk about nappies/weaning/dummies/breasts.
3. The Husband, whenever he says he is tired or falls asleep in front of the telly.
4. "Mummy, I need you!".
5. Any child (including mine) that says "Can I have something to eat?" minutes after I have fed them roast dinner and artic roll.
6. The lady who signs the afternoon programmes on CBeebies.
7. Mums in the playground who says their child is advanced or academically gifted.
8. When The Husband moves things that I have put in a specific place for a reason.
9. Any homework about Florence Nightingale/2D and 3D shapes/Telling The Time. Or when the kids are reading and guess the word by saying something random which is nothing like the word written.
10. All the crap I have to carry to & from school but most of all bloody packed lunches which come back as a squashy mess.
Actually I haven't been totally honest with you about the summer holidays. It really wasn't all peachy. For example, a friend and I counted the amount of times our collective five children cried for no reason between the hours of 7am - 1pm and the answer was sixteen. We gave up counting after it got well into double figures. It was like a crying orchestra.
Anyway it's back to life, back to reality as the new school year starts. I am already paranoid in the playground. My new philosophy is trying to be non-bitchy but it's really hard especially when one of the mums said to me "Do you really allow your daughter to dress like that?". Everyone is commenting on how I seem to be turning into an Earth Mother but I'm insisting that it's just that I've let myself go since getting the dog. Gucci sandals, beads and flowery maxi dresses don't really go with walking through fields and washing off fox poo. I have been wearing the same pairs of shorts since last Tuesday but I am most definitely not baking cupcakes and making paper dolls.
I realised life was returning back to normal yesterday when everybody was getting on my nerves. Don't tell The Husband but The Dog was even doing my head in - she likes to chew shoes and up til now it's been quite funny because she always chooses The Husband's trainers. But yesterday she ripped a piece out of my Ugg boots and now it's not so funny anymore.
The Husband made some comment about it always being about me. Which it is but I didn't think I was that obvious. And I certainly don't want him thinking that. I want him to feel GUILTY AS HELL that he goes to work and has adult conversations and free time on the train while I'm stuck at home trying to stop World War Three from kicking off over Who Has The Most Jelly Tots In Their Packet.
The Tomboy since going back to school has started crying over absolutely bloody everything. Which is probably in the Top Three Things Of What Gets On My Nerves The Most to the point where she can have half her arm hanging off and I am way past caring. I explained to her about The Boy Who Cried Wolf and she said "Well what about The Mummy Who Didn't Have A Heart". Mmmmm maybe she's got a point.
The Tweenager has become a hardcore hip hop rapstar since going into Year 3 and, what the hell, I'm just gonna go with it. He might end up selling a multi-platinum album and having him being super-rude to me is a small price to pay for the riches which are heading for my bank account.
So you'll be happy to hear that my blog is on its way to returning back to normal. I must have been possessed over the summer by the Spirit Of An Almost Happy Mother who has been well and truly exorcised by the regular routine of Smith family life. Welcome back!
Thursday, 2 September 2010
So speaking of the kids, I'll give you a quick update.
The Tweenager has decided that he is a "gangster". Which in his seven year old world means wearing his underpants above his jeans and being as rude as possible to his mum. He has also become Mr Insecure again (and no, he doesn't read my blog so he has no reason to be insecure). I am finally beginning to understand that he is never going to be a 'fly by the seat of his pants' kinda guy. The summer holidays freaked him out purely because he couldn't handle having no plan and no structure. And in addition it was so overwhelming for him that we could spend the whole day at Disneyland, eating sweets, swimming and doing all the things he loves but he would still ask the question "What are we doing next and at what time?". The Tweenager has also hit a red book milestone by using the F-word for the first time. Which just happened to be when we were in Lidl with my parents and he said "When the fuck are we getting out of here?". Uncanny, really, because it was exactly what I was thinking.
The Tomboy continues to wish she was a boy and has actually been lovely this holiday. Because her mother (ie me) has finally accepted her for what she is. And it's a situation which is making her very happy. I am allowing her to go out dressed in a West Ham football kit carrying a toy gun and telling everyone she is called Sam. I didn't plan to have a daughter who wishes she was a boy but neither did Angelina Jolie, and if it's okay for the Jolie-Pitts then it's okay for the Smiths. And The Tomboy likes me at the moment for giving her the freedom to be who she is so I'm feeling a bit puffed up that I'm winning one parenting battle.
The Toddler is starting to talk and order me around and because he is my baby I am letting him. Quite often he has crisps for breakfast and chocolate biscuits for lunch.
And The Dog. The Dog is my new obsession. I was getting really freaked out by my seemingly small life but The Dog has changed all that. I've been pretty happy this holiday in the great outdoors with kids and dogs and English weather.
God I sound like I've been in therapy.
Well maybe I have.
Maybe what I've been needing all along is a good dose of my children to consider I can still have fun. And a good dose of anti-depressants to make me believe it.