Friday, 30 September 2011

The reason I am

I am most relieved it is Friday. This week has not been great. I am on the bubbles as we speak. I won't bore you with all the petty details but suffice to say that apart from some notable exceptions the week has monumentally sucked.

The notable exceptions were 1. G's certificate he got in 'Assemmberlee' for his excellent sharing and playing nicely (two for two on the certificate front - I can only take this as affirmation of my brilliance) 2. Seeing an old friend for tea for the first time in a year with her baby and new bump 3. Fabulously entertaining evening at a friend's including home cooked meal. Oh and as a minor one 3b. the good weather kept people away from my playgroup on Thursday so Ted and therefore I, could enjoy it far more. That is all I can scrape together.

G and B have been threatening illness all week and moaning quite a lot about it. G has not been keen to go to school all week and getting him there every morning has been a massive uphill struggle. Ted had a fit at playgroup on Tuesday which had to be abandoned very early and on Wednesday he went for the injections I was meant to have caught up on several months ago. We were a year late on one set and only six months late on the other. The nurse looked at me sternly and then said, 'What happened, did you forget?'. They are like mothers, the medical profession, excellent at making you feel very stupid without being directly rude. I had a similar run in on Monday with a nurse. Anyway, ever since the injections Ted has acted as if he was on speed and has been ridiculously hard to handle. The last two evenings have seen him empty a considerable number of things into the bath. Tonight was my clothes and last night was a large array of toys - some soft, some electrical. The clothes one was particularly traumatic as it took me massively by surprise and made me scream - it made it look like there was a body in there. I am very stern and do tell him off, but he has perfected the art of looking sad, cute and contrite all at once so that I find it incredibly hard to stay angry for too long. I am going to start metering out his punishment with my eyes shut from now on.

So on to the good stuff - point no. 3. Last night was my night to go and try on my bridesmaid's dress. This is big news. I have NEVER ever, ever been a bridesmaid before - so this will finally mark the end of 32 years of non-bridesmaid action. I don't think my sisters and I can have been an  aesthetically pleasing bunch when we younger as everyone else I know was asked to be bridesmaid on frequent occasions throughout their childhood - but not us. As an adult, I was the first of my friends to marry - in fact my wedding was the first one I had ever attended apart from one of my sister's which was a lunch party and not the traditional big wedding affair - so I naturally assumed that the maid of honour roles would now roll in as I was the only 'official' married woman amongst our group. No such roles were ever offered to me and as time passed the role of pretty bridesmaid was passed on to my daughter and my role at weddings became Mother of the Bridesmaid. So, you can imagine my excitement to know that in January I will finally tick another 'to do' off my list and I will walk behind a bride, down the aisle with several other women all dressed in matching purple dresses. Even more excitingly, the wedding is only taking place because I exist. Yes peeps - the very reason I am in the universe became clear to me last October. And here is why....

It started in June. I attended an under 5s day in Catford with the boys whilst Bea was at school. Catford is not a salubrious place but once a year I don't just drive through it, I stop and enjoy their considerable park and the excellent free day they provide for pre-school children. It is truly amazing. Anyway, at the end of the day G insisted on going on a train ride which had a large queue I would rather not have joined, but, I could see he wasn't going to budge on this one and so we stood and waited in the heat. As we stood there I noticed a large crowd watching an entertainer do his stuff. The crowd were loving him and he was clearly very funny as well as ticking off quite a few of the other 'must haves' that Bea had stipulated her party entertainer must include. After we finally got off the train I was in a rush to get back to the car and pick up Bea in time but I instinctively approached the entertainer who had now finished his set, and asked him for a card and also double checked he did everything Bea wanted - balloon animals, magic, puppet, making her centre of attention throughout. He confirmed that he did, seemed very affable and a lovable cheeky chappy type and I departed very happy that I had found the perfect person for Bea's party four months ahead of time.

The following week I rang the number, spoke to his father/agent and booked him in - I was just about to put the phone down when I checked the price of this perfect person. It was eye-watering. Treble the amount we had paid the phenomenally expensive face painter the year before. I faltered, told him to keep it pencilled in and rang Bea's Godmother to say that this year's gift to Bea was going to be a whopper. She was not thrilled with the news, especially as she was at work and probably not really in 'my world' of party organising. We left it at that. And then in August I went to have my hair done and the Godmother graciously came to babysit for the three hours I would be away. Upon arrival she saw the entertainer's card on our noticeboard and asked why the hell I had it there. I explained this was the hideously expensive entertainer she was expected to pay half for and she said, 'I know him'. Duh Duh Daaaaaaa.

To cut the rest of the story short - turns out she had dated him a few times - fallen for him and then he had sadly drawn things to a halt after the second date. She was broken hearted. She also told me that he was actually an amazingly good magician not 'just' a child's entertainer and that he had worked with Victoria Wood (an idol of mine). With that news I grabbed the phone, confirmed the booking with his dad/agent and the Godmother became excited by the prospect of seeing him again so that she could rock up all 'look what you missed out on you idiot' and he could be all 'God Damn I am an idiot look what I missed out on'.

The ensuing weeks included many discussions on what she should wear, should she contact him in advance and if so should it be by text or on facebook and plenty of speculation on how he would obviously be married/living with someone/have a girlfriend. In October the big day of Bea's party arrived and so did the entertainer, on time and wearing sparkling bright blue shoes. The Godmother arrived in more suitable attire but obviously looking hot yet subtly as if she didn't care and the resulting conversations confirmed that he the entertainer was indeed single and clearly keen. From that moment on things became jolly interesting and Bea's birthday party became far more interesting to all the mothers/family in attendance (I wouldn't say that I'm a massive gossip but suffice to say most of SE23 knew of the story thus far). As the incredibly successful party drew to a close and I had finally finished clearing away, the Godmother's friend and I nipped back into the scout hut and left Godmother and entertainer alone at his car. Entertainer was slick, Godmother was cool as a cucumber and they both agreed to go for a drink.

As you might have guessed by now the Godmother and Entertainer are now living together and engaged (less than a year after I brought them back together) and they are indeed made for one another (he really was a total prat not to realise four years ago). So, there you are - after years of looking after my children, buying presents, meals and sometimes balloons and entertainers for parties, I finally repaid all the Godmother's generosity by giving her the gift of eternal love (she had been single for many years which I think adds a bit more to my brilliance).  Clearly this was my role in life - to bring the random entertainer from Catford (incidentally he is from North London so it was particularly odd he had found himself in Catford where 99.9% of the residents would never ever dream of paying him a small mortgage payment for a children's party) and the single Uni friend who had showed me many, many years of kindness and generosity. I finally feel like my life has served a purpose. Oooh another tick on my 'to do' list.

The lovely couple sent me home from the meal and dress trial with two bottles of Cava (clearly they have too much Champagne to ever get around to drinking knock off Cava - not that I'm complaining - I'm drinking it now which is why I'm going on for so long) and two jars of Marmite. That might sound odd but in response to my moaning about a lack of money and therefore having to substitute my weekly jar of Marmite for generic Yeast Extract which is horrideous and absolutely and categorically not comparable - one is delicious and the other tastes as hideous as it sounds - the Godmother became fairy like and whipped out two jars she was never going to eat and donated them to my cause. Turns out they went off in 2010 and earlier in 2011 but another great thing about Marmite is that it can never, ever go off. So, if anyone knows the PR for Marmite please tell them I would prostitute my Blog most highly with pictures and endorsements of their product in return for a never ending supply.

Oh golly, I must go now, the bubbles have really gone to my head and the room is beginning to rotate. Oops I have also written a lot. Sorry - I hope you did it in stages. I will, however, just leave you with one final highlight of my week. It went like this:

During the heatwave I showed G how to cool himself down by putting water on his forehead and the back of his neck. He did not look impressed as I bestowed my wisdom and the water upon him so in my best 'sing song' mummy voice I said, "Now, isn't that better? Don't you feel much cooler?" To which he left the obligatory comedy pause before he looked up at me and said "No, I just feel wet".

Chin, Chin, clink, clink, cheers and bottoms up. Enjoy your weekends! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 26 September 2011


Hola! Just a quick one tonight. I have only just finished up my paperwork from wibblies and it is already late but K is watching the MOST boring programme ever produced on Channel 4 about the dodgy dealings of Tony Blair. I don't like to be political but I have never, ever, ever liked that man. And I don't trust that Cherie. She has a dodgy air about her - I wouldn't trust either of them to return my tenner if I accidentally left it in the cash machine.

Anyway, politics aside, I thought I'd jump on here and tell you about current affairs instead.  The big news is that K returned safe and well from the ladies with loose morals (he said it wasn't very enjoyable - obviously), the quad bikes (I am assured he wore a helmet) and copious drinking - phew. Brighton also seems to have survived. He did, however, lose his voice. This instantly gained him unnecessary sympathy from the children who were overjoyed to see him again after a weekend at grandma's but very concerned to find that he was no longer audible. I was less than sympathetic. I did try valiantly to sound chipper and bright and not at all annoyed that he was so exhausted from the high japes of the weekend he could do little more than lie on the sofa whilst I rushed around him, but I'm afraid I may not have been convincing or continued the farce for very long.

He is still tired now - either that or the programme actually isn't as interesting as he has pretended - as he is now fast asleep. I might try and sneak over to grab the remote but it would no doubt wake him up. So, my news - Ted dispatched yet another iphone to the great beyond. This time it was actually my fault for being so stupid in the first place. I had realised that by downloading episodes of Ben 10 for him to watch, I could get to and from school without him wanting to get out of the buggy and use the scooter. One episode there, one episode back and Bob's your uncle, we were home safe and sound. It even meant that I could pay some attention to the other three children at pick up, so all in all I thought I was a genius. However, on Thursday I paid about £13 for a whole series, got terribly over excited and failed to notice that somewhere on the way home he threw it or dropped it from the buggy and some lucky bugger behind me clearly swiped it. Probably one of the Blair's offspring. I haven't ever thought about it but they must be dodgy too. I did run back as far as time and children allowed - I even put up a notice asking for its return - but still no sign. However I was greatly relieved that Orange didn't quibble over my fifth insurance claim in the last fifteen months and sent a new one the following morning to my mother's house (I still think this is a miraculous service). However I have lost a number of contacts, hundreds of photos and a million text messages. Luckily I will survive. Ted has only just. By the skin of his teeth.

Other than that I have little to report - the children and I had an amazingly lovely weekend in Suffolk and as Mum isn't working at the moment, I also got three lie ins in a row. It is totally miraculous what sleep can do for you. I have managed to achieve the most phenomenal amount in the last day and a half because of it. People who have uninterrupted sleep for nights on end have absolutely no idea how lucky they are. At some point I am going to have to 'train' Ted to sleep through the night. There are newborns who allegedly achieve such things without prompting - how he can't manage twelve hours sleep at the age of two is totally beyond me.

Oooh Doc Martin is on and there is a baby in it. I must go and 'ahhhh' over it and finish off the crumble mum sent back for me. Well actually it was for K but don't tell him as I've now eaten it all. Silent retribution.....


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tense and sensibility

Well that was £2 I will never get back. Sodding Lottery. It is the destroyer of dreams. I had some amazing plans in place and the new wardrobe I had decided upon was just lovely. Particularly because in the last few weeks I seem to have been placed on a mailing list for people who have a high disposable income and so a large number of luxury catalogues have been arriving through the post on a daily basis. I have no idea how this confusion has arisen because a quick double check with a credit agency would have soon alerted these marketing whizz kids to the fact that I am a confirmed pauper and am yet to win the lottery. Still, the post arrives in time for lunch so I have been giving the catalogues the time of day as something interesting to look over whilst I eat and I had compiled a long list of exciting things that were going to change our lives once purchased. My lack of lottery winnings now means I shall NEVER own the £360 soft leather jacket from Isabella Oliver, the children will have to make do with boot sale plastic toys as opposed to hand made wooden ones as well as Sainsbury's clothes instead of Boden and Joules and our kitchen will never have super sharp knives and a Kitchen Aid. I'm sure you'll agree this is all quite heartbreaking. Stupid stupid stupid lottery.

So the news in M&O headquarters (that is new - did you notice? I am trying it out). There is quite a lot of tension actually. Bea and G are both shattered from the first few weeks of school and yet also ridiculously over excited that their birthdays are nearly upon us. I cannot stand all the excitement - not in a bah humbug type of way but because of the pressure that it puts on me - I am solely responsible for fulfilling all their hopes and dreams and am ultimately responsible for any disappointment they experience on the big day for which they have waited all year long. Bea is similarly afflicted with the pressure of the day - she is still struggling to decide on a theme for her party and so every day she tries to think of something other than Hello Kitty but then ends the day deciding that Hello Kitty is in fact the only choice. She has even made a countdown calendar to the big day and is marking each box off with a big cross. Bring on January where all pressure is off and I place a ban on all talk of Birthdays and Christmas for another nine months.

The other tension is between me and K who is off on a stag do this weekend.  This in itself is not the problem, as this is only the second one he has gone on in about eight years and it is also for his brother, so I have had to agree to him going. However my problem is with knowing that the stag do will inevitably involve a visit to the type of seedy club all men deem an obligatory part of a stag do. I realise that even a very lazy or ridiculously stupid internet user could find all manner of aesthetically pleasing young females in little to no clothing within seconds of searching, but, the idea of K specifically going to a place where there will be many of them right in front of him and in the actual flesh, is what I find particularly disturbing and upsetting. Over the last twenty four hours I have toyed with the idea of becoming the new Mary Whitehouse and starting a campaign to get all such 'gentlemen's' clubs closed down and the women in them burned at the stake, but now I realise that I am too lazy and I have no idea where to start with such a campaign which would, I'm pretty sure, require a hefty amount of funding.

I also realised that my real problem (after some considerable soul searching) is knowing that these stupid and scantily clad women, (who will no doubt deem my husband and his entourage as being particularly 'sad' and even worse, 'middle aged' whilst fleecing them for all our food money for the next month) will be young and lithe with pert boobs and a stomach that doesn't fall down when the control pants are removed, and quite frankly I don't like that. I am not jealous so much as irritated that he will be reminded of what bodies can look like before the owner uses them in which to grow multiple children and as a dumping ground for any food within a five mile radius. It might confuse him. My body confidence is not helped by G who is brutally frank over my appearance - a few weeks ago in a coffee shop he announced very loudly that he knew I was having a baby. I informed him in hushed tones that I was not having a baby. He responded, even louder this time, that he knew I was having a baby because I had a fat tummy. I replied, with as much dignity as possible, that the fat tummy was not as a result of a growing baby but because I had eaten too much for too long. He went back to his drink muttering that he just knew there was a baby in there. This is coupled with the particularly delightful conversation I had with him whilst I was applying make up a while ago. G was watching me at work and then said, why are you doing that? I said 'to make myself look pretty'. He carried on watching. After I was satisfied with the job, G asked if I had finished. I said yes. He said, 'It hasn't worked'. I thanked him and went to the loo behind a closed door. Upon finishing I opened the door to find G still there. He looked at my face again and then paused before saying, 'It's still not working'.

All this stupid stag do stuff has got me thinking - it is very difficult to be a modern woman.  Not only are we meant to be a whizz in the kitchen but not a slave to it, fun but not wild, sexy but not oversexed, career minded but not career obsessed, thin but not too thin, motherly but not mumsy etc etc etc but we are also meant to be 'enlightened' enough to wave our menfolk on their merry way with a cheery smile and a happy heart in the safe and sure knowledge that they will be surrounding themselves all weekend with half naked ladies they have paid for the pleasure of seeing. I find it confusing.  Even more so because I am in trouble for not being more 'happy' for him. Ridiculous.

Still, I am trying desperately to bury my head in the sand about it all, which will become a lot easier when I am safely ensconced in the Suffolk countryside. The children and I are escaping to the technological black hole that is my mother's so that I can watch Poirot and House of Elliot with her and not think about all this modern day filth and my own body inadequacies.

So, all in all tension is running high. I think once the invites are given out, K's hangover has abated and I am back at home, well rested and with a full fridge and freezer we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. I shall also be buying some more lottery tickets - I clearly just had the wrong ticket last week. I am going to buy the correct ticket this week and therefore enable me to begin my new anti-filth campaign in my new and beautiful leather jacket whilst the ugly, fat nanny I have employed is at home whizzing up a freshly baked cake on my beautiful Kitchen Aid.  I am excited again.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Pantomime Parenting

Good Evening! And what an evening it is. I am full of the joys of spring, actually Autumn, after a good weekend. It included all the vital elements - extra sleep, extra help with the children, three park visits, takeaway, X Factor and the completion of some much needed housework. I have even totally prepared for my second WW meeting tomorrow. Text book weekend really.

Actually, the weekend wasn't totally perfect - I had to spend Friday night at an extremely long area meeting to discuss VITAL Weight Watchers business (sarcasm) in a hot and stuffy conference room in a flipping Marriott hotel in Bexleyheath. No one would ever wish they were in a conference room in a Marriott in Bexleyheath on a Friday night. Although there was a wedding going on at the same time so maybe someone does. I always have an overwhelming urge to run up to brides and yell 'It's all down hill from here so enjoy it while you can!'. I don't know why. Moving on.....

Friday day didn't turn out to be totally perfect either but it was a dramatic improvement on Thursday. We most definitely made the morning school run without any screaming from anyone which I rated as a huge success and I didn't even have to do any mad mum-running in the playground which was a relief. But the big news of the day was that Bea emerged from her classroom in a jubilant mood as she had been presented with a Star Pupil award in that morning's 'Assemmm-ber-llyyy' (you have to pronounce it like that). This prestigious award was bestowed upon my first born for her great breadth of knowledge and the way she utilises it to answer a lot of questions in class. I was immensely proud - and immediately decided to take all the credit for her great general knowledge. It's a shame they don't make awards for mothers too. Not only would I like one for great knowledge bestowment but I would like one each time I complete a scream-free school run or I manage to remember everything needed for that day. I didn't remember to buy a Euro Lottery ticket in all the excitement though, but I have bought two normal ones for last night - I haven't checked yet as I thought I'd do it after I posted this just in case I had actually won. I wouldn't want to spend my first few fabulous hours as a millionaire writing to you impoverished losers now would I? I would instead spend the time browsing through one of K's glossy brochures and choosing my new luxury Dulwich pad. So if you don't hear from me in the next few weeks you can start to send me begging emails. I'll get a member of the staff to reply.

As we also find ourselves impoverished losers at the moment, the weekend needed free entertainment, hence the three park visit. I am a huge fan of our local parks. I don't want to brag but there are an awful lot of great ones around here, each offering something slightly different and more importantly, each one offers a different clientele of parents for me to sit and watch.  I have now been able to identify a very important type of parent which you will find in every single park - and I have named them the Pantomime Parent. I am a particular fan of these as they are so much fun to watch. The Pantomime Parent typically has a child called Zac or Finlay or something not too ridiculous but not boring and they are the parent you can hear above all others as they posses an unusual ability to throw their voice so that everyone can hear them above the background noise, as if they were on a stage somewhere. They are also immensely keen to show the rest of the park population that they are an AMAZING parent. At any moment I expect them to break in to song and dance, Glee-style, about how much they love being a parent and how much they love their children - Jazz hands! They are always ridiculously happy which annoys me. I like a tired looking parent - preferably yawning - or ones that are happy that the children are finally amusing themselves and are taking the chance to sit down and fiddle on their phone or read the newspaper or something. Don't get me wrong, I don't want total disinterest or anything distasteful but over-the-top and dramatic 'playing' from a parent is just plain irritating. The Pantomime Parent can't just push a child on a swing - they have to come up with ever more elaborate ways to make the act of pushing slightly more entertaining. I am all for a bit of tickling and play punching to pass the time and make them smile but some people act as if they are auditioning for an episode of Total Wipeout. Not only is it noisy and annoying but it makes your child feel as if they are missing out as their parent is simply pushing.  There are also the pantomime parents who do it with food - today I had one who was trying to dissuade her son from grabbing at Ted's lollipop by explaining that he should remember he had already had his 'fruit bar' that morning. She said 'fruit bar' particularly loudly so that all those around us could hear that she was really an AMAZING parent. Once I had a mother who said that maybe 'it was their Birthday' to her child who was pointing out that my children had crisps. I find myself apologising that my children are taunting them in such a blatant fashion. It's ridiculous. There are also the Supernanny Pantomime Parents who shout so loudly with their positive praise it is painful. Zac, they shout, you waited SOOOOOOOO well!!!! you did SUCH amazing WAITING!!!!!! I am SOOOOO VERY PROUD of you ZAC!!! High Five me Zac for your Extremely Amazing and Extraordinarily Brilliant WAITING!!!!! Yipppeeeee for Zac who can WAIT!!!!

I hope I don't sound bitter. Honestly, they really are as bad as they sound.

Anyway, let's hope you are all as good at waiting as good old Zac as I am now going to bed and you will have to wait a little while for the next thrilling installment. Actually if I have won the lottery you will have to wait for an extraordinarily long time or at least until I have run out of money and need free entertainment in the evening again. Actually knowing me I could quite easily get through a million in under a year. Maybe six months. Actually if I buy a house it could be a matter of weeks. I'll be back in those parks before I know it. Seeya there.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tomorrow, tomorrow

I have nothing cheery to tell you. Don't get your hopes up. But K is watching a Top Gear on BBC 3 even I have seen at least three times before and I have to do something, so I'm here.  Also I need to use my brain. I was half way through my supper before I realised I was eating with a child's fork with a plastic end and a picture of a cow on it. In my tired state I clearly got confused and didn't notice. It was butternut squash mash so I can see how the confusion arose. It was basically baby food on an adult plate.

Yesterday G's first day started promisingly. He was in no way sharing my pain at separation and ran in happily with his packed lunch box. However on collection he was catatonic. He was clutching a chocolate coin they were giving out to celebrate a birthday and due to the heat of his hand it had melted. I could tell that although he knew it had melted, he still wanted to eat it, and he had been told by his teacher to eat it at home but he clearly wanted to eat it right then and there. These thought processes rendered him entirely unable to answer my questions on his lunch, friends, teacher or in fact his time at school in general so he just stared at the melting coin. I was initially very worried that he was in some hideous state of shock from being at school all day, until I opened the foil to reveal the melted chocolate and prove my point that it was no longer edible, whereupon he licked it clean and after that he was able to tell me his day had been ok. By the time we got home, via the sweet shop, he was very happy. I relaxed. That was a mistake.

This morning as I ran down the stairs screaming at them to put their shoes on G began his revolt and stuck himself to the sofa shouting that he didn't want to go to school. From then on my day went entirely down hill. Suffice to say there was screaming - his about school, mine about having to put his shoes on and not taking them off again when I had managed to shove one in place. He screamed and cried all the way to school, where he clung to me and sobbed to go home and stay with me all day. I began to well up. A lovely teaching assistant tried to pull him off me but promptly dropped him when she realised how much he weighed (he is a very solid boy) but then rallied, picked him up and took him off wailing into the distance. I cried, was comforted by friends and then left for playgroup.

Ted then decided to become the centre of attention having taken a back seat for too long and proceeded to try and kill himself many times on a scooter by playing chicken with the road. Playgroup offered something of a reprieve and some adult interaction which is always thrilling. I even skived singing time which was the highlight of my day. Ted emptied the instruments from the box - hitting small children as he did so - and then put the box on his head before walking into the small children he had just hit with instruments. We ran out quickly and had the playdoh to ourselves. Result.

Upon arrival home the lunch time guilt hit, where Ted is asleep and I feel I should be whipping the house into shape but I find my bottom inextricably stuck to the sofa instead. Then Ted awoke and screamed at me for an enjoyable half an hour until I abandoned a phone call with my mother, got him interested in Curious George, emptied and reloaded the dishwasher and washing machine and then we set off for the afternoon pick up.

I was first in line to pick up G who I had worried about all day. I discovered from his teacher that he had been fine from about two minutes after he left me so I could have saved myself the worry. Having waited patiently on his scooter for G to exit, Ted took his appearance as a sign we could now leave and set off for the school gate at lightning speed on his scooter (scooting in the playground is in fact banned and there are signs and frequent texts to parents to reinforce this policy and I had two more children to obtain). I abandoned G mid-sentence about his shark picture and ran hell for leather through the throngs screaming TED. Ted took over the screaming when I managed to catch up with him and tore the scooter from his sweaty hands. I picked up the other two children with Ted safely in the buggy and screaming incredibly loudly and we managed to leave. The screaming lasted for far too long and G became pretty annoyed with the noise and with the fact that I did not have a Scooby Doo chocolate egg in my possession. I had, in my stupidity, tried to bribe him with one this morning and totally forgotten about it because he hadn't really stuck to the deal of going happily to school. So, Ted was screaming, the extra child I look after was less than impressed and Bea was valiantly trying to push the heavy buggy so I could pull a recalcitrant G on the scooter whilst he lambasted me for being 'nuseless' and not as good as the GOD that is Daddy. As we approached the home straight a teenager walked past with an ice cream which saved the day. We stopped, bought our own ice creams and all screaming stopped. Until we got home and Ted got hold of the Calippo Shot G had left on the table and shook it all over my freshly cleaned living room carpet - big angry red spots of sugary ice lolly - everywhere. Ted hid behind his hands.  I screamed.

Nothing has gone to plan today and I am greatly looking forward to tomorrow and starting again. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow I will be beautifully serene and glide into the playground with immaculately turned out and well behaved, quiet children. I shall at no point break in to an ungainly run or raise my voice in any way for any reason. All the children will be happy and smiling as they wave me a merry goodbye whilst Ted sits happily in the buggy. Everyone will look at me with awe and wonderment and I shall smile benignly with the smug knowledge that I am amazing.  Oh, and no one will approach me in the midst of all the mayhem of pick up and tell me that we have managed to bounce a cheque to the school and I need to cough up in hard cash. Tomorrow I shall also win the euro lottery and then generously donate a vast sum to the school and have a whole building named after me and my serene and well behaved family.

I am going to retire to bed in anticipation of all the excitement awaiting me. Buenos Noches.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Venting and Part Two

Before I go any further I must vent my spleen. Today, on the afternoon school run a man shouted at me for not thanking him for stopping at the zebra crossing whilst I used it to cross the road (or traverse la rue as I like to say). Now, as I don't routinely thank people for abiding by the highway code and stopping at red traffic lights, not mounting the pavement, giving way, indicating etc, I feel it is excessive to thank people for stopping at a zebra crossing which is in fact, required by law - and I quote "you MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved on to a crossing". Every now and again when I am in a jolly mood or I have seen that they had to make an abrupt stop, I will raise my hand or smile in a gesture of thanks to the motorist for making the effort, but, and rather crucially, it is most certainly not required by law or indeed a moral code of conduct that I thank them. Which leads me to believe that this is just another symptom of the male ego - the mistaken belief that all other people are busy thinking about them and their stupid feelings. The truth is I was most certainly not thinking of that man in his stupid little enhanced Ford Fiesta. I was, at the time of crossing, thinking of a vast and varied number of things, NONE of which included his feelings at having to stop at a zebra crossing whilst a woman and her buggy crossed the road. Amongst my thoughts were (in no particular order); Bugger, I have just seen the Tesco delivery van who is running late for my slot and so now my elderly neighbour will have to make a judgment call on any substitutions they have had to make which will unsettle her, George will have to help her unload the bags which will be interesting, can she in fact open the door on her own as she has needed me to pull it open for her of late as it is sticking, will the delivery driver know to push the door to open it and help her if she can't open it, I hope the woman in the car who didn't stop at the crossing just now realised I wasn't cross and I could see it was a genuine mistake and I did see her apologise, I have done that a few times and always felt quite guilty afterwards, why is Teddy saying the same word over and over and over and over again and what on earth does he want, boy it is suddenly very hot with the sun out even though it was raining and I had the heating on only a few moments ago, this is the last day G will be at home with my elderly neighbour, will G be ok tomorrow all day at school, I wonder if my knickers are showing as these jeans are far too tight and they are slowly slipping down with the strain of the fat pushing against them like an elastic band ready to ping. And so, as you can see, in the 20 seconds or so it took me to leave the pavement on one side and reach the pavement on the other side the rather stupid and petty man waiting impatiently for me to cross really NEVER CROSSED MY MIND. I feel better, thank you.

So. That lesson learnt I shall move on. By going back. The stay at home holiday is, I think, where I left you. In brief, it turned out to be an expensive option. The exciting line up of day trips I had imagined turned out to consist of the Ikea trip already mentioned; me going to Sainsbury's; a trip to the local park followed by the ceramic decorating cafe, followed by Toys R Us in preparation for Ted's birthday; a trip to Crystal Palace Park to see the dinosaurs (disappointing dinosaurs although great park) and the Crystal Palace farm where Bea got stung by a wasp and all I had was diet coke to soothe the pain (it works oddly enough); a trip to London Zoo (heinously expensive especially the gift shop part which cost more than the entry ticket); the children and K going to his mum's so I could sort the house out, get the carpets cleaned and prepare for Ted's birthday; Ted's Birthday which consisted of me being hideously tired after a very unsettled night and then a visit to Hell's portal - Gambado (soft play warehouse filled with the most ridiculously horrideous people and their devil-like offspring); and finally three days of us all being exhausted and distressed over all the money that we had spent on our 'holiday' and the children being very over excited about the start of school. Tadahhhhhh!

There were some good things to come out of our week. The stuffed animals we got from the zoo and Ikea went towards creating the most amazingly life like zoo in our living room, complete with signs and habitats (trees for the snakes, white sheets and cushions for the polar bear - oh and a 'river' made out of all G's new school jumpers crumpled up next to the white sheet) and the soft food sets we got from Ikea were used to provide the food at the zoo cafe which was created in our kitchen. That game went on for many days and made them all very happy. The ceramic cafe left us with some very expensive painted animal ornaments which will now gather dust in the kitchen until the children are old enough for me to chuck them away. Although K did paint me a lovely mug. It has our initials and a heart on each side with red spots decorating the rest. The only slightly disturbing thing is that the spots are made by his fingerprints using red paint so that where there wasn't enough paint to make a solid spot it does look like someone met a rather grizzly end and kept grabbing for a mug to leave some useful evidence. Still, I love it, as it has left me with something permanent from our very peculiar 'staycation' and it is a great size for my morning cuppa.

Which I think in a roundabout way brings us just about up to date. Ish. If there is anything else I remember I shall bung it in later.

Yesterday was my first meeting for Weight Watchers which turned out to be a rather exciting success. I had organised at least two friends to turn up so that it wouldn't just be me, my area manager and the friend I had arranged to help out on the shop, sitting around twiddling our thumbs for an hour. So I was incredibly surprised to find people turning up who I didn't know at all. I questioned them a few times to make sure they were in the right place which indeed they were. In fact lots of people came through the door (relatively speaking - fourteen in all) which meant that I was incredibly busy for the whole hour and I even made a small profit (after childcare it was enough for a takeaway - for one). However the best part is that the first one is now over and I know that it is indeed possible to get three children up and out and deposited at their allotted place and then on to a scout hut where you have to unload a car full of crap which then needs putting up and laying out inside. All before 10am on a Monday morning. I felt more satisfaction at that accomplishment than the meeting itself.

I shall leave you now - I have a bit of a cry to have and I feel I need to be by myself. Don't worry, K is now talking to me but it's G. From tomorrow he's going to be going all day every day to school for the rest of his life (alright obviously not but still, it just feels like it). K keeps saying I should be thrilled as I will suddenly have 'all this time' to do the stuff I moan about not having time to do. However, firstly he has clearly forgotten about Ted and secondly, this marks the beginning of the end for me - G is now officially no longer a baby - and lastly, he will turn all 'boy' on me. Spending so much time with other boys at school will mean that me, Bea and the old lady across the road will no longer form his major daily influences and he may quickly tire of watching girly films, plaiting hair or playing Mums and Dads and Babies. Any minute now I will turn around and he will be eighteen and celebrating by getting drunk with his friends who puke in our garden (my nephew had his eighteenth, so I know). So, this is my last night with my second baby. As of tomorrow he will leave the house a nearly eighteen year old and I shall be bereft. Sniff, I have to go.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Not part two - a brief interlude instead

I am in a hurry again so no time to wax lyrical about the rest of the summer holidays. After tomorrow, things should finally go back to normal so I will have time to catch you up then. You lucky devils.

Thank goodness for you though, otherwise the silence here would be deafening. You see I am sitting here in the silence of the dog house. It is an odd feeling as I have only been here once or twice before in living memory. Naturally it is K who normally feels the full force of the silent treatment for being 'in the wrong'.  I am not exactly sure why I find myself in the doghouse today. I mean, there IS a small chance that I am in trouble because I left the house at 11.30am yesterday to go and celebrate a very good friend's 40th birthday, and as it was a lunch I had assumed I would be back at around 5-6pm that evening and told K to expect me then. He was quite keen that I should 'not be late or pissed'. However, it turns out that once I had a few glasses of champagne down my neck I really was exceptionally keen to carry on the celebrations so I actually walked through the door at around 10.45pm and I was quite obviously not able to walk in anything even approaching a straight line and my volume control was slightly out. I was told to 'shhh' and go to bed more than once as I insisted that he tell me if he still loved me. He clearly does not because he not only punished me by making me get up with the children this moring, but he has also been exceptionally 'frosty' all day. 

I couldn't actually stand upright this morning. Ted, who usually insists on being carried downstairs actually volunteered to climb down on his own and then held out his hand to help out his clearly decrepid mother with the descent. I also couldn't face sorting out proper food for the children so breakfast meant asking G to open a pack of jammy dodgers and share it round in front of Toy Story 3. After an hour and a half I admitted defeat and crawled back into bed which K then mercifully but begrudgingly vacated to get up and properly care for the children and provide them with toast.  I eventually got up a few hours later and by this time the Ibuprofen had kicked in and I was able to set about getting ready for my new WW meeting tomorrow. There are no doubt many things I have forgotten or not done properly due to my sorry state, but, to the best of my knowledge I am all ready to drop the kids off at school in the morning and rush round to unload the car into an empty scout hut and get going. I am obviously VERY worried about it but as it isn't life and death I will try not to lose any sleep over it all.

Even with the painful day I have endured today, yesterday's fun and frolics were totally and utterly worth it. Not only did we have a great meal in a fancy pants restaurant with oodles of fizz, but we also got to spend a good five hours dancing on a patch of grass by Tower Bridge thanks to the genius of something called The Disco Shed. (Shed with a DJ inside - not sure if it was obvious enough). It was all part of The Mayor's Thames Festival which meant there were lots of people in very high spirits and old men dressed up as Elvis who shared in our drunken enthusiasm. We even saw the King of 'Bangers' himself, Gok Wan, who was NOT at all drunk and clearly getting a bit pissed off with being badgered for photos and autographs. I didn't really care enough not to ask him, so I managed to get a picture of him with my birthday friend which made us even happier. I normally get to a point with drinking where the world begins to spin and I know that just one more drink will render me incapable of moving or caring for myself, but yesterday, by some magical twist of Thames Festival mysticism, I never reached that point. I just got happier and happier with each glass of fizz until the end of the night when the six hardcore women who still remained were hugging and kissing (on the cheek - don't be silly) and professing deep and profound love for one another. Somehow we all managed to make it back to the safety of SE23 by getting on to the right train and then getting off at the right stop. We even had all our belongings which is ridiculously fortunate as we left our bags unattended on a picnic rug whilst we spent our happy hours dancing on the grass and increasingly, the mud. (I'm not sure I will ever get my feet clean). 

So what with that, the first week of term and Ted's Second Birthday party, I haven't had time to get on the laptop and write. But, as I have said, this week will see G go full time at school (he started mornings only last week - I cried, he did not), my first meeting out of the way and with any luck a return to the normality which will very soon have me moaning about how dull my life is. I am looking forward to it actually. And to not having a headache. And to getting out of the doghouse. I shall keep you posted. Tarahhh for now. xx

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The last month - part uno

I am BACK. Which can mean only one thing. Term starts tomorrow. On the one hand I am thrilled to be getting rid of one and then in two weeks, two children, but on the other, I am desperately not looking forward to getting up in the morning, the hideous rush and shouting to get out of the door, the school run in the rain, the grumpy children afternoon pick up and then ballet runs on Saturday. Plus, if money were endless I would actually quite like having the children at home so we could go and do fun stuff all the time and I could pay someone to sort the house out and do the washing whilst we were out. Oooh and I could have a nanny who could take them to the park for me so I could have my nails done when they are getting on my nerves. That is the dream.

So, what has happened. Well just about everything. The start of the holidays had me all excited as I found out I was due a tax rebate. As you can imagine after the cash strapped year so far, this was more than a little over exciting. I was happily told it would be in my account within the next four weeks. The great wait then began. As did the endless holiday searching. I was selflessly going to donate my rebate to a family holiday. There were a few limitations to our search - it had to be available for the last week in August, it had to be cheaper than an iPad, it had to be in the UK as the boys don't have passports (and I've since found out I need to renew Bea's as well) and it couldn't be too yucky (Gt Yarmouth was out). We spent many hours and weeks (and when I say we I mainly mean me and my long suffering family) researching caravans in St Ives and almost all Kent resorts, farms in Wales and even dabbled in some cheap inland cottages but until the rebate was in we were unable to book anything. Eventually it got to the penultimate week of the holidays and joy of joys I checked my account and the money had gone in from the wonderful HMRC. After a quick dance around the kitchen and some girly screaming between me and Bea, off we went to the local Horniman museum to meet Bea's friend and her Swiss au pair. Upon arrival I confidently marched up to the desk to pay for our annual ticket to the aquarium (I know - I felt terribly important - £15 on a ticket without even thinking - the decadence). My bravado quickly turned to embarrassment when she politely told me that my card had been declined. At that moment it dawned on me like a lightning bolt that what I had in fact seen online, was that the stupid HMRC had deposited a cheque into my account, not cash, which meant I had to wait a further three days for money. The teenage au pair who had had her card authorised was wondering what had happened - clearly she had mistaken me for a grown up and as such was unlikely to have my card declined - just goes to show you should never judge a book by its cover.  As luck would have it however, I was able to turn to my own teenager in the shape of my beloved nearly-18 yr old nephew and demand money with menaces to pay the patient woman behind the desk. I was not ONE little bit mortified that the patient woman and all the other wet and holiday weary parents saw him leave my children in the foyer and walk over to the reception desk, get out his wallet and ask me how much I needed. I hope my tone of voice was enough to convey that he was in fact a nephew and not my toyboy/sugar daddy.

My beloved nearly-18 yr old nephew who is normally based in Suffolk, had travelled all the way up to London on the train - ON HIS OWN  (in my mind he is still under 10 and it still freaks me out that he is old enough to catch a train and use the underground without a responsible adult being present) in order to be my Manny for the week. It was a life saving move as that was the week that I started 'proper' work with Weight Watchers.  I was covering four meetings for a leader who was on holiday and I was extremely concerned about it all. So the Sunday we got back from Mum's, I 'popped' my leader cherry if you will. I have to say as with the real thing, it was less painful than I thought and it was all over very quickly. Fortunately with this activity I got paid for doing it so it was worth all the anxiety and embarrassment. Also fortunately, the meetings were all quite quiet as it was holiday season so it was a gentle immersion into the WW world. I'm still not exactly loving it though - there is an awful lot of work involved for absolute peanuts of an income, but I've come too far now to give up especially as (drum roll please) my very own wibbly meeting is starting a week tomorrow. Oh yes - from September 12th I shall be holding my own meeting in a local scout hut at 10am. I am dreading the meeting but more so the hour or so preceding it as I dispatch various children willingly or unwillingly with their respective carers. But as I keep reminding myself, it isn't life or death and the worst that can happen is that I'm crap and I give up. Actually that seems like the best case scenario. I could really do with the space in my car and the under stairs cupboard back. The amount of stock you have to store is quite unbelievable.

I digress, back to my nephew. I am very used to seeing him in his own environment and at my mother's which is all very convivial. However having him in my house just brought home the fact that I will have two of these smelly food guzzling giants in my house before I know it. It's not that he smells bad, it's just that with a teenage boy in residence it either smells of 'boy' or 'boy and deodorant' and that is just one of them. There simply isn't room for two teenage boys in our house which means that I need to a. be more dedicated to playing the lottery and stop being so half arsed about it b. make at least one of them gay or OCD or both, both or c. make K take a weekend course in amateur loft converting so that we could put them up there with their own bathroom and an airtight door so that we can enjoy the middle floor un affected by their largess and odour. The amount they eat is also a revelation - it is constant. I am thoroughly disillusioned of my assumption that as they grow up, their need for constant food preparation diminishes. If anything he was more needy than Ted on that front. Ted is more than happy to spend the day existing on milk and grapes. I am being a little cruel as actually he was bloody brilliant with the children and with me - there aren't many nearly-18 yr old boys who could be left with three children under 7 at 6pm. He coped with Ted wanting me and asking where I was (he shut my bedroom door and told Ted to shhh as I was asleep which worryingly Ted totally bought and then became insistent on going to bed too - a genius deception), he bathed them, brushed their teeth, read them stories and got them safely off to sleep before I came back shattered from my meeting. He even counted out my cash and did all the banking at the post office for me the following day. I can't recommend him highly enough for all your childcare/assistant needs. The only thing I would warn you about would be the vaguely inappropriate T-shirts. It started with the 'Wang Cars' t shirt he donned for the children's museum - now I'm not Mary Whitehouse and I'm pretty sure the children at the museum wouldn't have been able to make the connection between the words on his t-shirt and the more adult meaning, but I knew the other parents would and they are usually the nice East Dulwich mums who are a 'cut above' the SE23 lot so I didn't want the hired help casting indelicate aspersions upon my virtue so I asked him to change, which he kindly did. Worse was to come though as in preparation for the park on Thursday I saw him walk towards me and all I could see were the words 'The Bitches'. The rest of the t-shirt said 'love it Doggy style'. At a park you run the risk of all age groups and I was pretty sure that a vast number of them, including one of the boys we were intending to meet, would have been able to read the very charming message he was putting on display. At this point I grabbed the biggest top of K's I could find and forced him into it. Sod the rest of the world, I was worried Bea might read it. Just call me Mary.

Back to the holiday - so without the cheque clearing until Friday, the day before we wanted to go away, unsurprisingly all the options we had narrowed down (My particular favourite was a Hoseasons Chalet in the Isle of Wight) had all gone and there was nothing left but some undesirable caravans in Camber Sands so we made a brave decision to Holiday in the glorious SE23. Unfortunately, the decision that we had somehow been hard done by meant that I became very free and easy with the 'treats' we felt we deserved. This started in Ikea. BIG MISTAKE. I let the children roam free in the kids department and I'm pretty sure the ferry ride to the IOW was spent in there alone. That was before I got involved and started the 'imaginings'. If you spend enough time in Ikea you become brainwashed into imagining that your house is in fact twice the size it is and twice as tidy and uncluttered. When it is all laid out beautifully and neatly before me I believe with my heart and soul that we desperately need the very thing they have for sale in order to make our house look bigger/tidier/prettier. However upon arrival home I am always surprised to find the same smallish and messyish house I left behind and the things I have bought never ever look the same as they did in store as they have seemingly doubled in size on the journey home and knowing how much they have cost has made me ever so slightly hate them. We left the store with me welling up with tears at the shock of the cost, the new manny saying 'I told you so' and the children clutching a menagerie of stuffed animals. However I did manage to get the new covers for my sofa which was what I had gone for and I am sitting on them right now. They make me happy. A small fortune well spent after all.

Right that is all of part uno. I am too tired and I need my sleep, afterall I have to get up and out tomorrow for the first time in six weeks.  I am scared. Bea is ridiculously excited. K is unaffected. As is G. Ted will just be pleased to leave the house - he has been kept in all day today in order that Bea is well rested for her first day in year two. She will soon be seven. It is incomprehensible. Buenos noches.