I am back and full of vim and vigour (slight exaggeration but at least able to keep my eyes open) after my half term staycation chez mother. I was a tad concerned that the temporary lodger she has taken in (my teenage nephew) might adversely affect the service, but mercifully not - all was normal and I got to recuperate after the exhausting month that preceded the break.
This Winter has gone on for far too long. I am desperate for Spring to arrive and hopefully bring with it an end to the constant coughs and colds with which we are currently plagued. Also C seems to be teething which is making life rather hellish. She is, at this precise moment, trying to gum her way through a Top Trump card. I am too tired to stop her as it is keeping her quiet. She managed to gum her way convincingly through an entire piece of Margarita pizza over the half term. I took Bea and G out with their cousins for a meal and after rejecting the crust C spent half an hour devouring her first taste of pizza. I have no idea what the 'official' meal plan is for a 6 month old but I heartily recommend introducing pizza from Frankie and Benny's. Far nicer than cottage cheese and papaya which I have heard is the preferred choice of the yummy mummies. I wouldn't eat that shit so I have no idea why I expect my baby to. Ditto with baby rice - what the hell is the reason for it? It is tasteless crap - you are far better off mashing potato and adding fruit and veg to it or giving them some bread. I am still unable to understand why it is peddled as the best thing to wean a baby on - it is so dull and as far as i can make out it's just a sort of cereal mush which is fortified with vitamins they don't particularly need if they are getting them elsewhere. Food is a huge love of mine and I consider it a total disservice to introduce new human beings to the amazing world of food with one of the blandest non-specific crap created by man. Sorry - I have become ranty - you get the message.
Valentine's - K surprised me with a spectacularly good looking bunch of flowers and a funny card. I was shocked. I didn't even do a card. Well we don't tend to. As I have explained before I don't really believe in it. Even so, I was so shocked and pleased with my surprise valentine that we decided to make an occasion of the evening with a Micheal McIntyre DVD, champagne and good food. It was an entirely surprising day. In recognition of his effort, when he arrived at my mum's that weekend I offered to slip in to something a bit more comfortable for him.......... I came back down from my bath in my new, navy blue, Tesco onesie. He is such a lucky chap. I look like a developed Cabbage Patch doll in it, but I care not a jot. It is beautifully comfy and the children and I can now all wear one and they think it's hilarious. I did take a sneaky peek in the mirror and it wasn't too horrifying if you like cabbage patch dolls (which I do) but I was struck by how excess weight really does block out the light. If I look in the mirror I am stealing all lighting from behind me as there are no gaps between my arms and main body, or in between my legs, so I am just a block of light stealing, onesie wearing, 'special' looking adult. Anyhoo. It acts as a great form of contraception which can only be a good thing.
My allure wasn't much better during my teenage years. Whilst away I discovered my old diary in my bedroom and low and behold my weight was making me pretty miserable 20 years ago as well. Funnily enough my writing style was very similar and my foreign language skills were as developed. And my attempts at procuring a boyfriend were laughable. My favourite entry, alongside many moany entries about my hideous family, was the following. "Went to Center Parcs with Nell. Rang Anton to ask him out. He said No. I'm not surprised as Nell had only just dumped him. Oh well. Bibi says he thinks I'm a weirdo. That hurt." My total and utter lack of finesse with the opposite sex is quite incomprehensible. They are easy creatures - look pretty, flirt, smile and don't ring up the day after they are dumped and ask them out on a date. I was a hopeless 14 year old. The only male I regularly had contact with up until my 16th Birthday was my dad. All other information I learnt about males was from the TV or books. And for some inexplicable reason my favourite reading matter at the time was Take A Break magazine. I was a most peculiar child. It does explain why I didn't have a boyfriend until I was 17 though.
Anyway, back to the half term. I managed to make a rather fabulous costume for Bea to wear on World Book Day, thanks to mum's endless reserves of 'stuff'. She manages to pull almost anything you need out of a cupboard or a drawer - even I am impressed with the costume I managed to produce from an old skirt and a netting bed canopy, but her ability to produce the materials needed is far more impressive. I would defy anyone to arrive at the house, ask for something obscure and for her not to manage to find something that would suffice for the purpose. One evening we picked up my nieces from the station at 5.30pm for a sleepover (their half term was stupidly different to ours which meant we had to snatch their presence whenever we could) - as we neared Grandma's house, and therefore quite a few miles from my sister's house, the youngest one remembered that she had to go in to school dressed as a Tudor the following day. As they catch their train at 6.50am in the morning it didn't give us much scope for picking it up en route for her return to the station. So, within ten minutes of arriving at mum's she had managed to whip out a hat, top, apron and long skirt - et voila! A Tudor child was produced. It really is quite a skill. As is my pleasing feat of taking all four children to the cinema on my own. As the cousins were busy at school or work, we had to amuse ourselves for the week - which meant I was the only one available to take them to see Wreck It Ralph. (Oh - you may not understand that mother doesn't 'do' the cinema - the last time she entered a cinema with children was, I think, when she took Newly Married Sister, Me and two friends to see White Fang - but made us all walk out half way through as she was so angry at the dog fighting aspect of the film - oddly that embarrassment wasn't in my diary - surely there couldn't have been anything worse?). It actually went better than expected - the big three sat behind me and I sat with Cybs at the start and then after various kerfuffles, I ended up with G sitting behind me holding on to my neck, Bea and Ted on my lap and Cybs asleep in the travel buggy in front of me which I wiggled with my foot. Still, we all stayed for the entire film without even leaving for a wee break. The rest of the week actually turned out to be very sociable after a recent (in the last few years) influx of 'fresh blood' in to mum's village and the subsequent children they have provided, coupled with a lovely day spent with our old SE23 neighbours who chose to move to Norwich a month after we moved in. I was sorry to come home and back to the freezing school run, endless washing piles and constant food preparation.
The first school run back is always a mixed bag - horrible because you are up and dressed and cold at 8.30am but happy because you are finally going to be temporarily absolved of responsibility. Particularly welcome after a hideous night of no-sleep thanks to C and her various cough, cold, teething ailments. As I left one school on Monday morning to deliver Ted to his, I overheard a conversation from a mum who was telling another one that she had been skiing during the half term. To Val D'Isere no less. I felt momentarily lifted at how 'up and coming' our school was - only to turn around and see another mother turn her head and spitting on to the pavement whilst pushing her buggy and then I had to veer my buggy around some poo. Lesson Learnt.
Quickly before I go - my night out goal is progressing nicely. I am now in posession of an electric breast pump (still haven't had the guts to use it though) and I have managed to persuade C to sleep in her cot from 7-11pm with just a dummy for comfort. Hoorah! And I have organised a local night out as practise the week before - so if there is no serious illness issues I should finally make it out of the house sans enfants a mere 7 months in. Muchos Exctingos.
Right, I better go and get Ted and ruin my tranquil morning idyll. More fascinating news and updates will be with you as soon as possible. Now I have my evenings clear anything is possible.