Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A Few Words

I have realised that I have got a new career - as servant to my children. I am butler, housekeeper, chef and cleaner. I am Maid In England. So I sat The Tweenager and The Tomboy down to have a little chat with them as it is constant demanding on their part and constant fetching on mine. Things have got to change I said. Mummy is not here to be your servant. I have A LIFE too you know. They nodded in all the right places. They promised to help Mummy from now on.
"Great" I said. "So you understand Mummy is not your servant?"
"Yes" they responded, in unison.
"Brilliant, well done kids" I said.
"Now get me some juice" screamed The Tweenager.
"Mummy! Pass me a biscuit" screeched The Tomboy.
I guess my little chat worked.

On another note, The Husband is pee'd off with me blogging about him. So from now on I am not going to tell him anything that I've written. And since he is too busy doing his expenses and Powerpoint presentations, he's not likely to check my website.
Anyway, I've discovered a little bit about what he does for a living. It's something to do with the environment. Which is absolutely NOT GOOD because I'm not really big on being green. If the black bin is closer than the green bin then I will throw the recycling in there. I always use the whole pack of baby wipes when changing The Toddler's nappy. I don't really care about animals under threat of extinction as I'm more interested in saving my brain from extinction. I will never ever stop using the tumble dryer even in this weather. I like wind farms but I don't care about alternative energy as long as my GHDs work.
As Kermit the Frog says "It's not easy being green".

The Husband has also been writing his parenting guide again. He says everything about the children that pisses me off is exactly what I do such as shouting and not listening and asking the same question again&again. It's true of course but I'm going to huff&puff for at least the next two weeks over this comment.

That's my blog contribution for the day. My life in a nutshell. Nothing ever changes, does it? xxxx

ps: I am very excited about Bret Easton Ellis's new novel - it's about the characters from Less Than Zero, twenty five years on. I wonder if I'm in it :)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Tantrums And Tampax

I am really feeling it this week. The Toddler has been waking up at 6am followed by The Tomboy at 6.10am. And an early start does not a pleasant daughter make. She has been what can only be described as revolting. There have been tears, tantrums and time outs but whatever I do only seems to make matters worse. She has a very canny knack of becoming a child-monster the minute The Husband leaves for work, thus ensuring that whenever I report her behaviour to him, he only responds "Well she was beautiful for me this morning". It's his way of saying that the children's behaviour is entirely down to me. He should write a parenting manual, really.
We have recently bought The Tomboy some red football boots. The Husband chose to buy them because he knew she would love them and I agreed because they would give me Punishment Power. The thing with my children is they rarely give a monkeys about anything, so I can't take away stuff to reprimand them. But The Tomboy is so in love with her football boots that any threat to them going in the bin immediately stops her commotion. It goes like this most mornings:
Her (crying): "I don't want porridge for breakfast, it's dis-gust-ing"
Me (losing it): "But you just asked me for porridge"
Her: "No I didn't you're lying"
Me: "Just eat it, we're going to be late for school"
Her: "You're the worst-est mummy ever I hate you"
Me: "Okay just for that I am going to put your football boots in the bin"
Her (stuffing porridge in her mouth): "Sorry Sorry gorgeousness mummy, you're the best-est mummy ever".
I'm sure Supernanny would have a field day with me but, really, whatever works I'll use.
My aunt once said to me that whatever it takes to get through the day and keep everybody happy then just do it. Even if it means six hours of television. It's the best advice I've ever received.
As it's so rare these days for me to cook dinner, straighten my hair or go to the toilet on my own I will do anything to grasp five minutes of peace and quiet without some kid hanging off me. The Toddler is the worst when I am taking a shower. He cries and pushes open the shower door trying to get on top of me. If you have ever attempted to shave your legs whilst holding the shower door shut with your head then you'll know what I'm talking about. Except this morning I had a brainwave. As you know, The Toddler is not into toys of any form. Believe me, I have filled the bathroom with cars and balls and crayons but nothing keeps him away from me in the shower. So this morning I gave him a box of Tampax. Super plus. And it worked beautifully. He ripped, threw and chewed his way through a box of twelve in the amount of time it took me to shampoo and condition.
So I get that I'm not going to be nominated for any Parent Of The Year Award. But at least I got everybody to school on time - with clean hair.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Anti-Crafts Mum

Here are a few reasons why I hate arts & crafts.
1) Crafts are messy
Glitter was clearly invented by a man or a woman with a cleaner. I won't even discuss the messiness of paint or the downsides of play-doh (ahhh maybe this is why Homer Simpson uses Doh! as a swear word). And what is it that tiny hands must cut tiny pieces? And children only ever clean up a tenth of the mess.
2) My finger dexterity is crap
I could never be a surgeon. For me, threading a needle is a whole days work. When my necklaces (usually a string of thick beads) get in a mess, I cannot for the life of me untangle the knots. I have the finger dexterity of a Muppet.
3) Crafts are never age appropriate
Why is it that kids are never into making stuff that they can do independently? For her fifth birthday, The Tomboy received Hama Beads and a Make A Mobile kit. My children always start the crafts then there are cries of "Mummy I need you!" which ensures I spend the next two hours swearing and getting myself in a right muddle. I'm 41 and can't make these bloody things.
4) Memories of sewing at school
I was the only kid in my class who could never finish the little dress for dolly or the embroidered handkerchief for mothers day.
5) Other kids will always produce something better
My kids are not talented at arts and crafts. If they were then maybe I would be encouraged to do more with them. But the pictures they draw and the paper dolls they make are rubbish. They are, however, very good at stabbing each other with scissors.

Oh, my dear children, I apologise for never doing crafts with you. Add it to your list of things to discuss with your adult therapists.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Bad Parenting Is The New Good Parenting

Having three children means every day brings a new challenge. I have to decide which one is my favourite, which one I can ignore and which one is getting on my nerves. This changes every 24 hours or so and means I constantly have to make that decision.
I defy any of you who have more than one child to prove that you don't go through ups and downs with each little person and that your relationship with them regularly changes. You're into the eldest kid one week with the youngest doing your head in and vice versa the next week.
For me, it's The Toddler who I usually ignore. I know that conflicts with my previous blog about The Suckyasaurus but I've realised lately that he is pretty much left to his own devices as I always seem to be busy with the important job of chatting with my mates. He is the most sucky la la of my kids but he is also the most independent. A dichotomy at eighteen months old!
We were at McDonalds (yes I go there after vowing I never would) last week with two friends of mine. One who is a nanny and the other who has four children. The nanny and I were soooo relaxed with the little ones - letting them run around, do their own thing whilst we were texting and sneaking out for a crafty ciggie. My friend with the four children could not deal with this. She said although she has treated her own kids like this in the past, she found it most stressful when other people were so carefree. She brought up a situation when The Toddler was walking around with a barbeque fork at her house and I did nothing to stop him. I had figured that the small chance of him hurting himself was easier to bear than the twenty minute temper tantrum I would have to deal with if I took the fork off him. But this had completely freaked her out!
So this got me thinking. And I realised that although I am all for carefree parenting with my own children, I too cannot cope with other mothers being this way. The attention I give children when they are running in a pack is usually towards my friends' kids, checking to see if they are having fun but mainly to see that they are not crying as a result of my children. And if the other mums are too busy to eyeball the pack, the weight of it all falls on my shoulders and causes me some stress. When it's just me and my kids, I feel free to do whatever I like, as any consequences only affect my own flesh& blood.
I have no idea if this makes any sense. I'm pissed off that The Good Wife isn't on tonight. And if The Husband isn't tap tapping away on his laptop, he is falling asleep on the sofa.
All I can say is that bad parenting is good parenting when applied to one's own children. Lazy parents make happy children. When I let The Toddler play with scissors, he is most content. From now on I am going to buy all new parents a lifetime supply of Band-Aids.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sick N Mix

I've had a crap couple of days with The Tomboy being off school sick, The Toddler destroying everything in his path (he is the Tasmanian Devil) and The Husband away in Manchester on business (or so he says...funny how his phone ran out of battery).
Having to stay in with The Tomboy throwing up every hour does not work with a Toddler. He has gone from smashing lightbulbs to eating peas direct from the freezer to throwing my car keys in the pond. Speaking of the pond, the six fish we had have mysteriously disappeared. I think they got fed up with my moaning. Or The Toddler has eaten them.
My children are not capable of chilling out at home. And I can't stand being trapped within these four walls, especially as I don't do 'homey' things such as baking and arts n crafts. Okay, so The Tomboy was ill. But not too poorly that she couldn't torment The Toddler or eat Haribo. And she always made damn sure that she never made it to the bathroom before projectile vomiting. My washing machine was on for thirteen hours straight. It is rubbish clearing up sick especially when I have to change nappies as well. Sick, poo, cat hairballs, snot and half chewed food spat out have become my five a day.
So I've been asking myself how come The Tomboy gets ill so often. After studying her habits I've come up with the following:
1) Always walk around the garden barefoot.
2) Drink out of the cat's bowl and always French kiss the cat.
3) Play with the toilet.
4) Run away from mum after getting out of the bath with soaking wet hair.
5) Dig around in the bin for the sweet that accidentally got thrown away.

The thing is, the kids get on my nerves on the best of days but there is nothing like having an ill child to really do my head in. Especially when my day has been planned with two of them at school, just for the teacher to ring at 9.30am for me to collect him/her. I'm not heartless. I just struggle on a daily basis to keep things running smoothly and vomit does not help this!

You will be happy to know that The Tomboy is all better now. She went to school today with the full intent to tell all about her sickness bug in Show And Tell.

God, these days when I stay up all night it's with a sick child - it used to be with a healthy adult.

Friday, 11 June 2010

The Suckyasaurus

Much in the way Dr Frankenstein created his monster, I have spawned a Suckyasaurus (pronounced suck-eeee-a-saurus). Way before the dinosaurs seen in that classic movie 'Jurassic Park' (don't you just love a T-Rex?), there was a period called the Triassic, about 245 million years ago. The first dinosaurs such as Coelophosis appeared as well as mammals, crocodiles and frogs. There was also a much feared reptile called The Triassic Toddler, also known as the Suckyasaurus. By some bizarre freak of nature, millions of years after this dinosaur's extinction, I appear to have given birth to one.
The conduct of the Suckyasaurus can be detailed as below. It appears by the patterns in his behaviour that he is mostly akin to the Triceratops.
1) He is mostly a plant eater, concentrating mainly on leaves, grass and pond debris.
2) He walks around slowly, eats and wees/poos at regular intervals.
3) He is occasionally violent - lashing out with much force, pushing objects out of his way and throwing himself to the ground in rage. This aggressive behaviour usually comes from the need to feed or sleep.
4) He can communicate with other Triassic Toddlers in a manner not understood by the mature human eye.
5) Being two-legged, he lies down to sleep.
However what distinguishes the Suckyasaurus from other creatures is the unique way he manages to cling to his mother at all costs and cannot cope with any kind of separation. He is also known to have a soggy muslin square 23 hours of the day and wails "Maaamaaa" for the remaining hour.
The Husband appears to believe that I have created this monster, that he is not so much a derivative of nature but rather nurture. The Husband's research into paleontology suggests that it is the mother who encourages such sucky decorum. Being the last baby of the family, it is typical of the mother to shun any form of independence shown by the Suckyasaurus.
Hmph! The Husband is definitely a Dinobore. I think it's time to tell the story of The Husband as a young boy, pretending to be a T-Rex by shortening his arms and chasing the neighbourhood cats, growling and roaring.
The dinosaur gene must have come from him.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

How Does It Feel, Ten Years Older

In a couple of weeks it is going to be The Tweenager's birthday. He is turning seven going on seventeen. Since we have been on holiday on his past two birthdays, we have decided to let him have a party. This was a big decision on my part because I can't stand all the shenanigans around kids birthday parties - unless it's a party where I only take one of the kids and I don't have to get involved, be fun or help clear up. My idea of a perfect children's party is where some form of entertainment distracts the kids for two hours and I can sit with a coffee and OK! magazine. Or even better, a celebration where my child is taken out for the afternoon leaving me with a reduced number of afflictions.
The Tweenager's bash will be a football party where The Husband will referee twenty manic seven year olds and I will attempt some crafts with the invited girls. Thank goodness there is a bar at the venue. I am avoiding party food and instead ordering in from the local pizza delivery. I was very comfortable with the whole idea as The Tweenager is most excited until I spoke to a friend of mine who is throwing her son a football party this weekend. She has enlisted her brother who is a professional football coach to train the boys and her BFF to paint faces, make jewelry and do gorgeous things with the girls. And get this - instead of party bags she has commissioned football medals for all party goers. Suddenly I am feeling like Crap Mum. I am usually pretty secure in my role as mother until somebody comes along to show me up and expose me as being, well, just plain rubbish.
The thing is, I just can't be bothered with children's parties. What happened to balloons, pass the parcel and a slice of supermarket cake wrapped in a napkin? It's fine when the kids are little but once they reach school age, it is much more fraught.
Aside from any parental competition to throw the best bash, I hate all the politics over who will come. Some schools have a policy that everybody in the class should be invited which I think is kinda fair but it does mean much expense - that's twenty nine presents I have to sacrifice my child benefit for. The Tweenager has come up with his list which I have amended to include all of my friends' kids (girls - even though "girls have germs") so I thought I was pretty safe. Until this morning when The Tweenager received an invitation to a party the week after his from a child we haven't invited. Oh the guilt, I don't want to be responsible for making a seven year old feel like Billy-No-Mates.
And then there is the issue of extras. I am drawing the line at brothers and sisters. If The Tweenager had his own way, little tantrum Tommy and moody teenager Joe would be invited. He would also like the lollipop lady, the man at the petrol station, his Beavers leader and the weird kid from the fair. Not gonna happen. And if parents decide to stay - do I have to feed them? Will cloudy apple juice and stale pizza cut the mark?
I am also very aware that I am going to be in charge of twenty something hyped-up super-wired seven year olds. It's all very well your child being invited to a party but it always ends up being your turn. I'm preparing for the kid that cries, the kid that breaks something, the kid that does a smelly poo - well that covers my three, but what about the rest?
I'm hoping that my friends, starved of social engagements, will decide to stay and lead me into The Battle Of The Birthday Party. That way if I do get accidentally drunk there will be someone to drive me home too.
The Tweenager may be turning one year older, but for me I'm aging by at least ten years.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Better Deal Or No Deal

I have written before about how The Husband and I take part in the daily competition of Who Has The Crappest Life. However recently I have been feeling a bit sorry for him as he has been doing much international travel to Manchester, Birmingham and, erm, Harlow. As a little treat we decided to go and have fun en famille in London, seeing fabulous friends and staying in the world class five-star Premier Inn (come on, it's advertised by the one&only Lenny Henry).
The Tweenager and The Tomboy are desperate to go on the London Eye. I am not. I don't do heights. I have a fear of heights, falling off something very tall. I've conquered a great deal of my fears, such as having children, but heights is something I am not willing to address.
So it's decided that The Husband will take them and I will hang out with The Toddler on the South Bank. I book the tickets, cannily for 11am which just happens to coincide with The Toddler's sleep time (clever me), thus ensuring that I can sit in a trendy coffee bar, sipping latte and people watching for forty minutes or so. I can pretend that I am young, fashionable, carefree and single - albeit with pushchair.
As always, we were running late. So The Husband, The Tweenager and The Tomboy jumped in a cab and I happily strolled along the river while The Toddler fell asleep in his buggy. Plan ZZzzzz totally falling into place. Until five minutes before I reached the Eye my phone rang and it was The Husband reporting that The Tomboy had taken one look at the ride ahead and had decided that there was no way she was getting on it. Annoyed by his lack of forceful parenting, I marched down to the entrance only to be greeted by The Tomboy in tears and The Husband shrugging his shoulders. At which point The Toddler woke up, after having precisely six minutes of sleep. "Must go" trilled The Husband, and off he went towards his pod of peace, high above London and me. I waved goodbye to The Tweenager, my latte and forty five minutes of respite.
Sixteen quid later spent on juice, human statues and a carousel, I am about ready to jump into the Thames. I said fear of heights, not fear of drowning.
The Husband returns, looking considerably younger than he did this morning, and we proceed walking along the South Bank and onto Borough. I am having to give The Tomboy a piggy back as her legs utterly will absolutely not walk another step. Anybody who is savvy about this area of London will know that it is full of gorgeous eateries and chic wine bars. It is also where The Husband's desk is when his jet-set lifestyle allows him to be in the office. And, boy, doesn't he show it. His commentary is worthy of an open-top tourist bus - oh yes the food is very good in there...oooo that's where we got a free bottle of champagne...the bill in there came to over three hundred quid...must take you to that pub, the steak is amazing...
I am no longer feeling slightly sorry for The Husband. In our game of Better Deal Or No Deal, he strolls the Walk of Peace & Quiet, flips the lid on his galavanting, unveils a life and beats the wife.