Tuesday 24 May 2011

Just Saying...

A few things have happened around here over the past couple of days, that I would like to write a reminder to myself. I am hoping that you guys will also pay some attention to this list too, in case you find yourselves in similar scenarios.

1. Make sure there are no other dog walkers around when you are adjusting your knickers.

2. Put brake on buggy before turning round to put lead on The Dog. It is not nice for The Toddler's nose to get busted on the ground when the pushchair freewheels off the kerb and falls sideways.

3. If you are going to ground The Tweenager, then ground him. Letting him go to cricket and play with mates will not stop his back chat if the punishment means nothing.

4. Do not under any circumstances suggest to The Tomboy that she lets you plait her hair. Unless you want to be shrieked at like a banshee.

5. Try not to watch Peppa Pig episodes back to back, especially when The Toddler is doing something else.

6. Ensure that it IS one of your mates before slapping her bum and saying "Hello Cow Face".

7. Try not to wear your new white summer top when The Toddler is eating chocolate unless you want it to be your new brown summer top.

8. Don't suggest to The Husband that you go to bed early. He will misinterpret this.

9. Try to curb your language when stepping on Lego.

10. In the evening, staying up late for alone time seems like a good idea. In the morning, it's not such a good idea.

No moral to this little blog, folks. Just saying...

Sunday 22 May 2011

Damage Control Parenting

A trip to JJB Sports the other day coincided with me reading an article about President Obama's Middle East speech. Basically Obama blew it with his comments, so what does he do? He reverses course pretty damn quick. He employs his spin doctors to assert Damage Control. It's the same as poor old Harold Camping and his 'end of the world' prediction yesterday. I guess they will say that his ideas were 'misunderstood'. Although I did feel like I had been placed in hell this morning when it was all kicking off in my house.
Let me explain a bit about Damage Control. It's a term that is used by the navy in situations that might cause the sinking of a ship. Damage Control has also been adopted for politics, media and project management to describe the actions needed to deal with a problem that might bring danger or a negative reaction. Thanks, Wikipedia!
The Obama article and yesterday's non-Rapture got me thinking about the events that occur in this house and how, basically, The Husband and I are guilty of Damage Control Parenting.
Take the situation at JJB Sports. The Tweenager is really into cricket at the moment. Which is great because he is slightly better at it than he is at football. And he is crap at football. Anyway, all week he had been asking for cricket stuff and being the lovely supportive parents that we are, we promised that a trip to JJB Sports would be forthcoming, depending of course on his behaviour. We agreed with him on four things which quickly went down to one after his usual attitude and mumbles of "Whatever!". So off we trotted to JJB with The Tweenager excited about getting a bat.
Of course we're talking about my family here and a nice little trip to one store never goes as smoothly as you might think. The Tomboy, realising that The Tweenager was getting something and she probably wasn't, kicked off big styleeee and demanded cricket stuff too, even though she hates the game. The Toddler had just fallen asleep but pinged wide awake, sensing he was also missing out. The Tweenager, catching on that his special moment was about to be ruined by his siblings starting freaking out/moaning/whining/Tweenagering which, combined with his sister's tantrum, really wound up The Husband.
"THAT'S IT!" shrieked The Husband. "Nobody is getting ANYTHING!"
Cue my dash to the disabled lift with the pushchair.
"But Dad-deeee!" cried The Tweenager. "You promised!"
By this time I was heading for the exit.
I decided to keep out of it. Hell hath no fury like The Husband in a mood. I hid behind the footballs and waited. Ten minutes later, The Husband appeared with three very happy children. I'm wondering if disciplining has actually worked for once. Then I spotted the shopping bags. Oh yes, The Husband has backtracked on his original outcry and bought The Tweenager a cricket ball, The Tomboy a gym top and The Toddler a tennis ball.
"What's all that?" I asked sweetly.
"Damage control." replied The Husband, grinning.
I am all for Damage Control Parenting if it makes things easier. I know it's probably the anti-discipline method, but who cares?! If you can retract or reverse your actions to avoid a major kick off then do it.
I'll await Wikipedia's revised entry.

Sunday 15 May 2011

The New Mum Whisperer

One of my best friends has just had a baby. I am not being very supportive as I find myself telling her what and what not to do which is the WORST thing you can do to a New Mum. But I can't help myself. I like to think I am some kind of New Mum Whisperer. I will not be surprised if she stabs me with a (sterilised) knife.
Now New Mums are sweet & lovely in their innocence but, boy, they are frustrating especially when I think I know better. I have been laughing because she is sterilising everything, feeding at every cry and panicking about leaving the babe for more than two seconds. She doesn't have a clue and although I have three children and still don't know what I am doing, she turns to me for advice and, well, I like to give it. Needless to say, a year down the line, I doubt she will be talking to me. But this doesn't stop me.
Once upon a time, I was a New Mum and it was HORRIBLE when people used to tell me what to do. And yet here I am doing it to my friend. Her baby, in the future, will seek its revenge.
Oh but how I like to secretly think that I am a New Mum Whisperer. That both friends and strangers look to for help and advice. When I see a New Mum out with a newborn, I immediately become the all singing/all dancing WonderMum around my children so that the New Mum thinks "Gosh, I hope I'm like that". It's all a lie, of course, because if the New Mum actually spoke to me she would be giving her baby up for adoption pretty damn quick.
One thing I do know is that all parenting gurus are idiots. There is no such thing as a textbook baby. I will admit to quite liking Tracey Hogg because she is Northern, but by far the best advisor is Cesar Millan who is TV's Dog Whisperer. He has the ability to train any dog to behave and I reckon some of his wisdom makes sense for raising children.
No one would suggest using his harsher methods on children, although I would like to try them, but what's best about Millan is that he can retain authority without speaking. The Husband thinks he can also do this, with stern faces and looks, but Millan has the advantage in that dogs can't laugh. I, on the other hand, am rubbish at being quietly in control. Quite often I am weary and willing to do anything for a bit of peace & quiet so the kids sense this and obviously take advantage. But Millan never falters and the dogs are happy and well-behaved. Cesar Millan could no doubt train my children much better than Gina Ford. I can only hope that one day my kids will do stuff I ask them without barking.
I will leave it a couple of weeks until I stop my New Mum Whisperer act on my friend. Or maybe I'll hang on until the weaning stage as obviously I'm an expert at that. (This coming from the mother who fed her baby a rice cake at four months and nearly choked him).
But best I wait until my friend is at breaking point and then I will let her know the truth. Yet I'm sure by then she will have performed an act of her own on me, which I doubt will involve whispering.

Friday 13 May 2011

Bad Celebrity Mums That Are My Role Models

I've been hearing a lot lately about Gwyneth Paltrow's website so I decided to check it out. It's supposedly really successful & popular and I'm pretty sure she gets more hits than I do. But you know what, it's bor-ingggg. The only interesting bit was where mate Stella McCartney and Gwyneth herself wrote about their day and the way they balance work/family. It made me laugh because it was such a load of crap. They have car services, chefs, nannies, assistants and, errrr, money that makes their day a hell of a lot easier. Gwynnie should bloody well come round here and try to get my kids to eat brown rice/sweet potato stirfry.
World's apart G and me.
So it got me thinking about which celebrity mums that I really like. Here's a little list:

BRITNEY SPEARS: Who can forget her very public meltdown/driving with kid on lap/shaved headed moments. General lack of care when with her kids. Love it. So goddamn real and not dissimilar to me.

DINA LOHAN: Makes no secret of living off Lindsay's success. And when LiLo is in court, she pushes the other daughter to make money through her music career. It's so how I will be with my kids - when they fly the nest I intend to milk them for all they've got.

SHARON OSBOURNE: Swearing, drinking, drugs and a successful reality show. Sharon has it all.

OCTOMUM: At first Nadya Suleman's feat of giving birth to eight babies seemed pretty amazing. Then we found out that she's an ex stripper, single, unemployed, already mother of six. It's so irresponsible you've got to admire her balls.

KERRY KATONA: Actually I can't stand her.

Gwyneth can piss off for all I care. And so can Jules Oliver, Myleene Klass etc.etc. They are not real. They are Robot Mums. My kids could beat their kids up anyday.
Rant over.
What a role model I am.

Sunday 8 May 2011


Ha! I am so proud of that title. Even though it's not really true. We actually had a nice time but I loved my play on words so much I had to use it.
I've not blogged in AGES. That's because we have been in Tenerife. I at last persuaded The Husband to take a cheeky week away. If he takes time off and is at home, the temptation to work is so great for him that what he actually does is just work from home. This really pisses me off because not only am I still lumbered with the children, I have to hear him on the phone saying "Blah Blah Blah...that's the way the cookie crumbles...Blah Blah diary changes daily...Blah Blah Blah...Claire, can you please sort out the children...Blah Blah Blah".
So we booked a last minute holiday and, boy, did I need it. Usually when we go away, we stay in a villa or an apartment but this time we decided to go to an all-inclusive hotel. It's not really our thing but I liked the idea of doing f-all for a week and saying to The Husband "But darling, the children really want YOU in the pool". If you've never been to an all-inclusive then basically the score is this - all your food, drinks, extras like icecream are free (well, you've already paid but you forget about that). The food is okay but when you've got kids that are always hungry it's a god send. And the best thing about the drinks is that the amount that gets spilt (about 18 a day) doesn't matter, because you just send the kids to get another.
The funniest thing about all-inclusive though is the people, especially the ones that go year in year out and make sure they get more than their money's worth by eating twenty times the amount they would normally and drinking from 8am til, well, 8am.
Anyway, the holiday was fun. I've been worried that I've not got much blog material - I mean a child getting lost or a huge public argument with The Husband would have been great - but here are some thoughts.

The Tomboy, as always, was mistaken for a boy about fifty times. Even though I carefully bought some mini denim shorts and a nice greenish tee, she wore the same clothes every day which consisted of The Tweenager's army trousers and a black skull top. Plus the beanie hat that she tucks her hair into. The best comment I got was from a waiter who said "Ooo you're so lucky, THREE boys, you've got a real football team there." I've stopped pointing out to people that she's a girl because that makes me look even weirder than I already am.

We have been converted to the joys of Kids Club and Mini Disco. If we timed The Toddler's sleep with a kids activity, we got about 45 mins kid-free. That was well worth the boring food in the restaurant.
Years ago a friend said to us "What, you don't go to all-inclusive? Don't your kids want a mini disco?" and oh how we laughed. But she is the one laughing now because I am a MASSIVE mini disco fan. It's the same songs every night and the same routines but the bit when The Tweenager fell off the stage was priceless.

The Tweenager had a holiday romance. It was really really cute. I over heard him telling his mate about it last night and he was like "Well, she's my ex now but she'll be my girlfriend on holiday next year". Love it. Perhaps he does have a nice side after all.

The Toddler loved it. As always he got to do what the hell he wanted but this time it was in armbands in the pool. The Husband made several comments of course about the way I am rearing him but he couldn't deny that ignoring The Toddler's behaviour meant extra time on the sun lounger.

So we're back home and things are getting back to normal. Oh I forgot to mention one incident. I was in the kiddie pool playing ball with The Toddler when he slipped over and grabbed the nearest thing to him to stop him from falling. It happened to be my bikini bottoms. Except he took hold of them a bit too well. He didn't slip over but he made damn sure that something did fall. Yes, folks, my bikini bottoms hit the deck, exposing my lady bits to approx 22 Germans, 7 Spanish and countless Brits.
I guess this year they did get their money's worth.