Thursday 16 December 2010

Thank F**K For Father Christmas

I hate to admit it, but the children have been really good so far this week. Which is a bit rubbish because I don't get much blog material. Unfortunately it's not down to my fantastic parenting skills but rather because I went onto Portable North Pole and sent them a message from Father Christmas. The beauty of this website is that you can input if your children have been a bit naughty and the areas where they need to improve. And it works! My kids have been mesmerised and have taken on board everything that Father Christmas told them. They are trying really hard to please and ten days respite is mind-blowing for this tired mother.
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

The Fear

Recently I have been suffering from The Fear. Actually, not recently I just realised, but ever since I gave birth to The Tweenager.

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
By the time The Tomboy was born, I was an expert at being a mum and was almost a success in my own business, so The Fear subsided for a while. It was still there (it never goes away completely) but had developed into a Fear of not being late, Fear of the sandwich shop not being open and Fear of my days off from the shop when I had to have my children. The Fear was manageable.

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
Recently The Fear has been very clever. The Fear has metamorphosed again. Just when you think you are beating it, The Fear comes back bigger and stronger and in ways that you did not expect.
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

Ostrich Parenting

Further to my previous blog, I would now like to post a photograph of what I normally look like at the end of the day:This is on a good day

Examining myself last night I have come up with the term "Ostrich Parenting" which is basically how I am bringing up my children. It involves a great deal of craziness from them and lots of burying head in the sand behaviour from me:
This is also on a good day
As The Tomboy & The Tweenager continue their passion for wrestling each other, I have decided to stop trying to referee in the hope that we don't end up in A&E. Instead I am now hiding in the other room. I don't want to be a witness to their bloodbath.
It's pretty much the way I am in general, recently. God forbid I ever go to a toddler group, but the way The Toddler is into hitting and freaking out, I can guarantee that I would spend the whole time hidden behind the soft blocks. I'm going down the line of
"If I didn't see it, then it didn't happen"
The Husband hasn't cottoned on yet but in his own way he is also a practitioner of Ostrich Parenting. Every day he burys his head in his work load in an attempt to avoid the children and every evening he burys his head in Braveheart or Gladiator in an attempt to avoid me.
Ostrich Parenting comes in handy especially when you are asked awkward questions like "Why couldn't you get milk when you are home all day?" and "Do you think the washing up can do itself?" and "Mummy, will you play horses?".
The children are loving my new parenting style. It basically means that they can run riot and cause havoc and they think I will never know who started it. But they forget that although the Ostrich may not be able to fly, it can run very very fast indeed, especially in their direction.

Out With The Old, In With The New

I recently saw a picture of myself that was a really good photo. Good in the way that it didn't look like the real me. It was taken at a wedding where I had been spray tanned, make-up'd and styled within an inch of my life even though I didn't know until five minutes before the ceremony what I was wearing. I was too preoccupied with making sure that The Tomboy didn't wear a football kit. It's a very flattering photo and I don't honestly look like this, especially not at 8.45am when I am trying to get three children out of the door. Okay, so here it is:

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


I asked The Husband this morning if he thinks The Tweenager has a mild case of Obsessive-compulsive disorder. "Yes" replied The Husband, before switching the light on and off three times. Only joking.
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

Ministry Of Mum's Top Ten Survival Tips

1. Don't change another child's nappy - guaranteed to make you heave.

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

Ground Control To Major Mum

Parenting, apparently, has got something to do with control. This came up in conversation with The Husband last night after he witnessed me attempting to put all three children in the car. He was in the garden picking up dog poo, which is the one thing I promised him I would do, and he was feeling a bit tetchy because he had found 13 poos. I was so busted. I was like "oh the dog must have a funny tummy today" but he assured me that he had been monitoring the situation for several days and could I please take control over getting the kids in the car.
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

Sympathy For The (mother of the) Devil

Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name, oh yeah.
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 Fake Bake

Today I pretended that I was a good mother and set about making cookies with The Toddler. It was a Fake Bake. Fake because I really didn't want to do it and fake because I can't cook. I can't even do salad cream on celery.
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.
Instead of my usual reaction of losing it and chucking The Toddler on the naughty step, I decided to resolve the situation by adding some flour to the cookie swamp. Our flour being two years out of date of course. So when the mixture was put on the baking tray ready to pop in the oven, this is what it looked like:

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.
Here is the end result:

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

Sharing Causes Swearing

I am not very good at sharing. In fact I do not share food - ever. Don't go to a restaurant with me and say "Oh can I try a bit of yours?" because the answer will not be a polite one.
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

Night Night Don't Let The Children Bite

Take three children. Yes please, take them. Take them between the hours of 8pm and 8am - any other time I can just about handle them. What I can't handle is interrupted sleep and my children were born without snooze buttons.
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

Tales From The Naughty Step

The eldest two have gone to Grandma's for a couple of days which has left me home alone with The Toddler. They have great fun at Grandma's because she does everything that I don't do such as baking and making and faking fun. She talks to them non-stop and is able to sort out any squabble with minimum fuss. The Toddler is not welcome there because her house is an Aladdin's Cave of ornaments & trinkets and, being in a haphazard phase, he tends to break at least seventeen things each day of his visit.
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

Slice Of (my psycho) Life

Let me give you an example of how my life works. This morning being a typical example. And can I just add that it never seems to be from anything I have done - I am simply the eye of the tornado.
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

Little Boots And Good Mothers: Weapons Of Mass Destruction?

As if I haven't got enough on my plate, The Dog has cut her paw and because she has been licking it, it's become swollen so she has to wear a little boot. Three children and a dog with a little boot is much more than this mum can manage. The Dog, of course, hates the little boot and everytime my back is turned will rip it off and discard it, never to be seen again. I have already spent my entire child benefit on little boots. I could, if I was a stronger person, put a collar on her to make her look like Queen Elizabeth I, which will also stop her destroying the boot but I am way too soft. So instead my days are spent replacing and fitting the little boot and coming up with ideas such as The Toddler's sock and The Tomboy's glove as replacements.
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

When Your Daughter Is A Girl One Day And A Boy The Next

I saw a glimmer of hope with The Tomboy yesterday. A bright flashing light at the end of the Tomboy tunnel. She came out of school WEARING A SKIRT! This may seem like no big deal to you but it's over two years since I've been able to get her to wear anything vaguely girly. I felt like there had been a major breakthrough in the ongoing war which is "The Battle Of What The Tomboy Will Wear".
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

Why I'm Happy To Be Sad

I think I am suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
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

A Look Into My Future

On Sunday we were all sat having a lovely roast (cooked by me would ya believe it) when something went down the wrong way and I had a coughing fit worthy of a 40-a-day smoking habit.
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

Mood A La Mode

I have been in a mood. A very bad mood. I woke up yesterday on what can only be described as the extremely wrong side of bed.
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.

The Ten Kid Commandments (and I've broken every one)

1. Thou shalt not tell your child "I hate you too".

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

The Learning Log and The Dog

I fully expect that one day my children will co-author a book entitled "How To Annoy Your Parents: A Step-By-Step Guide".
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

Turning Cure Into Cult

Alas I am not going to write about The Cure (Boys don't cry) or The Cult (She sells sanctuary) although by saying that I am showing that I still have an ounce of cool about me.
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.
Moaning encouraged.
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

Happy Days

Oh I forgot to mention that I put the kids to bed at 5 o'clock the other day. The Tomboy said "Stupid Mummy" about seven thousand times and The Tweenager was refusing to do his spellings. They were both being what can only be described as Absolutely Bloody Revolting, so I put them to bed. And don't give me that Supernanny bulls**t about taking toys off them, naughty step etc etc because IT DOESN'T WORK. Well, on my kids anyway. They don't give a monkeys about anything enough for it to be taken away and their behaviour to change. I even took away everything The Tomboy owns from her bedroom but she didn't care. So I put them to bed.
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

Let's Get Flexible

The Husband is supposed to have all this week off but he informs me last night that today is, in fact, a "Flexible Day". Now in my years of knowing The Husband I have heard him say many important things like "My diary changes daily" and "It's going down faster than a sinking souffle" but I have never ever come across "Flexible Day" before.

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

Tomboy Tales

Just when I thought The Tomboy was settling into school (well it's only been a year), the Teaching Assistant had a word with me about her allegedly spitting at another child. Now this is a difficult one for me in the World Of Parenting - am I supposed to discipline her for A) something that happened five hours ago in school and B) an incident which she opposes ever happened. The Tomboy will, without fail, categorically deny any event which involves her misbehaving, so that point doesn't really phase me. But what am I supposed to do when it took place hours before when I wasn't even present? The answer was simple - I asked her who the child was that she was supposed to have 'assaulted' and since it was a kid that I am not particularly fond of, I let her off. The Tomboy isn't always kind, she's not great at sharing, she can't control her temper, she never tells the truth but she is a good judge of character.

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

There's No Such Thing As A Free Lie-In

Ah it's just as I suspected: a lie-in don't come for free.
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

Bright Eyed And Bushy Tailed

Something miraculous happened this morning and I still can't quite believe it. I HAD A LIE-IN. Not your average kids-sleeping-til-seven-for-a-change type of lie-in but a proper number, the kind of which I have not had in eight years. Are you ready for this - I eventually got out of my bed at 11.20am. Can I just say that again please? 11.20am !!!! LA LA LAaaaaa let's sing it from the rooftops.
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

My Family And Other Animals

I am on a mission. Over the past couple of days The Dog has been getting a bit naughty. We were out for a walk and she started jumping up at the lead then attacked my wellies (which might not seem so drastic except they are Hunters and cost a whole kid's monthly child benefit). I couldn't walk another step without her growling and pretend biting my foot. I then noticed a couple of other things The Dog is doing such as barking incessantly and getting Haribo-type hyper when the kids are running around. So I spoke to my doggy friend who advised that I need to show The Dog where she is in The Pack.
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

Not What The Health Visitor Would Advise

So The Toddler has decided that he is six and can do everything his siblings do. Such as go on my new computer and change his own nappy. It's funny and endearing especially when he calls me "Mum" instead of "Mama" but since the weekend he has become desperate to sit in a booster seat instead of his toddler car seat. Watching me get The Toddler into his proper seat is the most horrifying event you will ever witness. I am shocked that I am not being surveyed by Child Protection. This is the current schedule of events:
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

Top Ten Things That Get On My Nerves

1. The Toddler when he pisses about in his cot and won't go to sleep.
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.

Back To Life, Back To Reality

Ah so the summer of love is over and everything returns to normal. The kids are back to school. The Husband is back to running the country. And I am back to tearing my hair out.
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

The Blog Is Back In Town

It's the end of the summer holidays and I am back. For a whole month I was computer-less which actually wasn't such a bad thing because it forced me to give my full attention to the children. And you know what, I never ever thought I would say this, but I am a little sad that the holiday is over. But don't tell anyone, I don't want my reputation being ruined. I don't want people to think for a minute that I actually enjoy hanging out with the kids.
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.

Monday 9 August 2010

Time Out

Not forgotten my blog! We have got a lodge for the summer with no internet and only four tv channels which is forcing me to enjoy nature and (would you believe it) my family. There will be a Lodge Blog coming soon so do not fret!

Wednesday 21 July 2010

If You're In A Good Situation, Don't Worry It'll Change

Just when things were going okay and I was (gasp) feeling positive about the summer holidays, The Tomboy dropped a clanger of a tantrum which made me remember why I started this blog in the first place. I thought my days of tantrums were over, except for The Toddler, (two months free of embarrass-mum-in-public moments so far) so I was gobsmacked by The Tomboy's performance yesterday.
Fortunately The Tweenager was being lovely which generally happens when The Tomboy loses it. And vice versa. They get a kick out of the other one being in Big Trouble. And Big Trouble is not a place you want to be when I am feeling hot & bothered on the way back from school.
It all started with me talking to The Tweenager about getting him a bigger bike. Bearing in mind that The Tomboy likes all things black and boyish, I thought what a perfect idea to give her his old bike. But I was forgetting that you can't predict The Tomboy. As soon as she got wind that The Tweenager might be getting a new bike, she went mental. And I mean that crashing to the floor, screaming like a banshee, shouting "YOU ARE A STUPID MUMM-EEEE" kind of craziness that always happens in public when a Perfect Mother is walking by. Plus the addition of her being slap bang in the middle of the road when it happened. Thankfully The Tweenager was being a sweetie and The Troublesome Toddler was asleep, otherwise I would have just laid down in the street with her.
Now it takes a lot to make me smack. I don't always agree with my reasoning behind it, but hey, if it makes me feel better than why not. So I tapped her on the bum. "Ha" she said, "That didn't hurt". So you know what I did? I dumped her scooter in the nearest hedge and dragged her by the arm, hoping her body would follow, all the way home and shut her in the bedroom. Which might sound a bit harsh, bearing in mind that it was partly my fault.
A good mother, you see, would have predicted this tantrum. Any promise of new stuff to a sibling is bound to cause a major freak out from the other child. But being in a glass-half-full sort of place, I thought everything was going swimmingly. (Needless to say my glass is now very empty and very smashed). Mentioning a new bike in front of The Tomboy is the equivalent of holding a bacon sandwich to a newly turned vegetarian.
So after recovering from my post traumatic stress, I have decided to analyse the situation and have come up with the following formula:
Which will be handy to know when the new bike arrives. And The Tomboy has to see it every day.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Getting My Own Back And Other Things I Plan To Do When I Am 85

I've been loving the report in the paper of the 80something man caught off his head on Benylin cough syrup which you can add to my list of things that I wouldn't do now but am looking forward to participating in when I'm 85.
There's a long list of things I plan to do when I'm an octogenarian.
Ever since The Tweenager was born seven years ago, I've become so goddamn responsible and ridiculously conservative in my actions that I need an occasional release in the other direction. Like confining 90 percent of my annual alcohol intake to the school summer fair the other week. I was so rock n roll. I got drunk whilst running the children's tombola stall then went on the spinning teacups and almost threw up. The other big release is my promise to myself to catch up on all the stupid, socially gross and self-destructive things that I'm not participating in now but am going to do in my golden years. I have no bucket list of mystical places or extreme sports. My list is stupid and perhaps illegal things that I'd never get away with as a parent of young children without social services getting involved.
Doing drugs is high on the list. It's been almost a decade since I did any illegal substances. Except after my C section I realised what prescription painkillers can do if you're taking too many when you don't actually need them. And when I'm 85 I will want to feel like that all the time. Realistically I'll have to practice in moderation in case of grandchildren but hopefully I'll be able to indulge when they go home and I'm left alone in my retirement apartment.
Wearing pyjamas everywhere is another must. At the moment, I try and make an effort on my trips to & from the schoolyard and Asda. But since getting The Dog I've been letting myself go a little and I plan to go the full way when I'm 85. And wear a visor with wraparound sunglasses.
Refuse to get in/out of my wheelchair. So these bloody kids will pay for all the time wasted trying to force them into the buggy and carseat.
Soil my incontinence pants at inopportune moments. That'll teach The Toddler for always pooing just as we're leaving for school.
And finally, be very very fussy about food even if I'm being liquid fed and projectile vomit anything green.
I can't wait! I'm going to fun again! Only another 44 years to go...

Friday 9 July 2010

Life On Planet Poo

Many years ago I had a boyfriend who came to stay at my parents house. In the morning, I discovered that the dog had poo'd in his shoe. I broke it off with the boyfriend the following week. I figured that if the dog didn't like someone, then I shouldn't either.
That was my first encounter of living under the Rules of Planet Poo.

My life now is governed by poo. This is how my day went yesterday:
- The Tomboy woke up in the night because she needed a poo.
- The Tweenager did a huge poo when he got up.
- The Dog decided to poo twice right in the middle of the village playing field.
- I took The Toddler's nappy off for his bath and he poo'd all over the kitchen floor.
- I discovered that The Dog has been pooing in the corner of the garden over the past week.

I do not like toilet humour and I'm not a fan of people who talk about potty training and toilet habits. But I felt like I needed to mention poo because clearly I am living on Planet Poo.
I think it's really interesting that I can be talking about Jackson Pollack one minute and smelling poop the next. That's how complicated my life is getting. But come to think of it, my children do have the ability to poo in Jackson Pollack type patterns.
I'm well aware that this blog is an effective form of birth control. And I think it's a particular low point when I talk about poo. Don't get me wrong, it's wonderful when a child says "I love you" but that backfires when they do a particularly smelly poo right when you're taking a shower.

Oh I've just remembered when I was fighting the Battle Of Potty Training with my fellow first time mums. There was a particular mum who was bragging that her daughter was fully trained and had been wearing pants for weeks (at aged 18 months). Right on cue, her daughter did a massive poo which came out of her pants and thudded on the ground. Hilarious!

Anyway, I promise I won't mention poo again. Except maybe Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo. And Winnie The Pooh.

Tuesday 6 July 2010

My Dog Blog

Ministry Of Mum is very pleased to announce the safe arrival of Slim Shady Shadow Bella Swan Cullen Smith (or Shady as she is known). A blacklab/collie-cross fantastic addition to our feral household. After many months of whining at The Husband, he finally reached breaking point and agreed to let me have a dog. Anything for a quiet life, he said. And a barking dog is much more bearable than a moaning mum.
At six months old, The Dog has the temperament of The Toddler but the added value of me being able to put her in the garden/the downstairs hallway/on the lead whenever I want (which is virtually impossible to do with the kids). She goes to bed when I tell her, eats whatever I feed her, fetches stuff and sits on demand. Doing whatever I ask while showering me with affection - it's a new experience for me. Give me dogs over the children any day. I make a much better dog owner than I do mother.
I have no idea what made The Husband finally cave in. I didn't even have to do the special love. He says I can't cope with three children nevermind a dog and it's him that suffers when he gets in from work. So if ever I have an 'off' day with The Dog, I can never ever tell him because I've promised that I can manage.
I love The Dog, the children love The Dog, but The Dog hates The Cat. Problem One. It's not bothering me (yet) constantly separating them - I just wish it was as easy with The Tomboy and The Tweenager.
But the best thing for the kids about The Dog is that whatever badness they get up to, they can always make out that The Dog did it. Tonight The Tomboy drew on her bedroom wall and insisted it was The Dog. The more I learn about the children, the more I love The Dog.
So YES this one time City Girl is starting to make peace with village life. Think I'm going to turn into Barbara from The Good Life. I've even bought wellies. Okay so they're Hunters but I'm not ready to give up the fashionista in me yet.

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.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Til Death Do Us Part?

Children change a marriage. Completely and permanently. They change who we are as individuals and therefore who we are as a couple. They affect how we see each other and how we are with each other. You can't tell me that The Husband still looks at my frou-frou in the same way as he did before he saw my daughter's head coming out of it. Children throw a solid marriage into turmoil. I do not understand couples who have children to bring them closer because clearly this is not the case. I have never felt such annoyance, exasperation, infuriation and, occasionally, resentment towards The Husband until after the birth of each child. And I'm sure he has felt the same way about me (I had to write that in case he's reading this).
The Husband, as you know, is very important in the Working World. But at home he often lacks Common Sense. Don't get me wrong, he is very helpful around the house - he does all the jobs that I refuse to do such as packed lunches and hoovering, without complaint. But when it comes to the day to day management of the children he doesn't have a clue. Oh yes he is very good at running around outside with a hose in the midday sun but will never remember to apply lotion to his little funsters. I agree he is just brilliant at taking them to their activities like swimming but often forgets the costumes. He is superb at driving The Tweenager to a sleepover but sends him without his pyjamas and toothbrush.
Add to this lack of Common Sense, three very demanding children and a Mother trying to hold it together and you have A Nightmare On Marriage Street. Having a child is like planting a bomb in the middle of your marriage and when the dust settles everything is different to how it was before.
I love The Husband dearly and he loves me, but nothing tests us like having children together. The kids wear us out quicker than they wear out their shoes. At the end of a crazy day the last thing I (and probably he) want to do is rekindle our romance, put some effort into our marriage.
I am not a fan of spending time together away from the children to nurture our vows. If we have to go out then I would much prefer to go to the cinema or go out with another couple. That way we can avoid any sort of awkward silences mid-conversation, even though all we probably do is talk about the kids. Our marriage works because we have an unspoken agreement that in the evening I watch my crappy American shows and he spends time with Miss Laptop, his square headed girlfriend.
Oh I'm sure he has a lot to put up with too. My breasts have turned into pitta breads and the only thing Brazilian on my body is the rainforest between my legs. I am moody and selfish. I spend money on clothes and hide the evidence. I pretend I am interested in his day. But saying that, I love The Husband for putting up with me and when he comes home the kids are still alive - so I'm fulfilling my side of the contract.
I just adore being married, it's so great to find that one special person you can annoy for the rest of your life.