Sunday, 30 December 2012

The lost blogs of 2012

Hello!

It's been a while.

I apologise.

All I can say is I've been... er... busy?

Yes. Busy.

Not busy writing THAT book. Or busy drinking posh coffee in fancy coffee shops. Or busy shopping. Or busy catching up with old friends. No, none of that busy. I've been the kind of busy where you can't really think of one thing you've been doing. But I know I have been busy. The bags under my eyes and my worn out soles tell me I have.

But I have thought about you often little blog, and your depleting and neglected followers and I feel I owe you something, some sort of explanation.

So here it is, in a nutshell... The blogs I never got round to writing in 2012  and the reasons why I didn't write them.

January -Life on Mars Twitter

I welcomed the New Year in with a new born baby. I started breast feeding again... and finally "got" Twitter. I had been on Twitter for years, but only by account name. I had never really been on it! You see Twitter, unlike Facebook, requires dedication, intelligence, maturity and a potty mouth. All of which I had time to muster whilst breastfeeding. I landed in a whole new Twitter world and felt very much at home.


February - Adenoids, Tonsils and Tantrums

I made the jump from two children to three quite comfortably as I had given birth to the best behaved* (*sleepiest) new-born known to mankind. His sleepy disposition was indeed vital for our family to survive Middle Son's adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy which took place mid-February. After the op, the ENT paediatrician said we were in for a week of hell. He was wrong. It was worse than hell. And it lasted 2 weeks.



March - From Sunshine to snow. A mother's survival guide

I can't remember March. Must have been busy! Oh I was, we had summer. It lasted 4 days. We were on the beach, we all got sand in our underwear, the baby turned mahogany and by the time I had unearthed last year's buckets and spades it had started to fucking snow!


April - Help! I look old!

I turned 32. I felt old. I looked old. I didn't want to blog.


MayWith Facebook comes great responsibility

In the cruelest way I became aware of how precious life is and how insensitive social networking sites can be. My relationship with facebook was tested to its peak. I was reminded how self-absorbed some Facebook "friends" are, and then remembered why they are not real friends. I cried for a family who had lost. I was very grateful for the health of my own.


June -What happens in the park stays in the park

Most of June was spent recovering from a nasty experience at the park. Whilst some woodcutters, and lots of health and safety folk (including a nurse) stood blocking the main path watching a tree get felled, me and my sister managed to let go of our buggies (with babies aboard) and watch horrified as they went solo down a very steep hill. It was a moment of madness, one we have no answers for and that has scarred us permanently. But fortunately the babies (and buggies) survived without a scratch and the random nurse, who apparently is a necessity at a felling, gave them a once over and confirmed this. Still it was, at the time, too traumatic to blog about.


July -   How to get over Wedding Blues - start planning your own!

July was filled with my brother's wedding - the event of the year! The occasion was utterly gorgeous and wonderfully consuming. From the planning, the excitement, the actual day and the severe case of Wedding Blues that followed. But I wouldn't have spent July any other way.



August -  Getting through customs with 4 Children and 2 Grandparents

I gave myself over to the Olympics and then went on holiday to Cornwall to recover. We all went. All 12 of us! Getting through customs with 4 children, 2 buggies, 2 babies, 2 slings, 2 Grandparents, 1 sleep machine, no concept of travelling light and a big fuck off to the hand luggage liquid allowance... Yeah that was fun.


September - Why sensible people stop at 2.

The baby started speed-crawling. I no longer had ANY free time. Oh I didn't have that any way, but now I had no blog time. No that was definitely gone. This was what having 3 Children was really like: busy!


October - Why are some woman just horrible?

October was spent mainly avoiding women I don't like. I mean I used to do this at work. That was tough. But then I was a teacher, I  was going to have to put up with bitching, whispers, immaturity and name calling. But that's just what staff rooms are  like these days! At least the kids were nice. But I have realised that those damn right nasty women are everywhere: on the school run, at play groups, in an office, standing at a bus top... That whispering, the false smile, the tilted head, the high pitched voice. You know what I mean. I am SO sick of walking into a room of women and facing that pathetic facade as they pretend they haven't been talking about you. Just lay off each other girls! Life can be unpleasant enough.

November Movember.

He grew a tash, raised a couple of hundred quid, looked terrible and didn't get a kiss for a whole month . "Silver linings" he said. But underneath my disgust at his ginger handlebars I was proud of him. He hates facial hair and he did it to help a tutor group in his house who were unmotivated about raising money for charity. So credit where it's due. He gave up the rights to kiss me to help others. That deserves a clap!

Even though their old fashioned moustache's look ridiculous with modern hair cuts, I think Movember is a good thing. I like Men coming together to raise awareness about Men's Health. I like the return of a Moustache, the statement, the solidarity. I just don't like how it feels on my lip. It's like kissing me dad! Ew!

December - Festive frolics no more...I am a Weightwatchers bore!

I joined weightwatchers. When usually I am planning for the indulgence of Christmas I spent December tracking, planning and weighing food. Believe me it's not as fun as I just made it sound. And My God is it all-consuming! Yes, it worked I lost a stone in 5 weeks, but the downside was how boring I became. I did advise people to stop following me on twitter, avoid me in the pub and under no circumstances phone me up, as there was a strong chance I could bore them into oblivion telling them about how many points there is a Jacob's cracker and exactly how I made the lovely zero point roasted vegetables  I ate for tea.

We were all relieved when Christmas arrived.. The baby turned 1 and started walking, We made it through with only mild illnesses (no hospitalisations so we are improving) and generally a good time was had by all! Success...  And yes I looked bloody good in my size 12 TopShop skinny jeans!


So That was that! 2012, the year I barely blogged.

And what are my resolutions for 2013?

1) To blog more
2) To write that book
3) To get married
4) To move into a bigger house

3 and 4 strictly rely on me doing 2 and not 1. So we'll see!

Anyway, thanks for everyone who has started following the blog, continued to pop by and read my musings and especially those who commented ( even the bridezillas - you too!) It's been a good year, but I promise more activity on here next year. At least one thing's for sure. I won't be preggers this year... No we've made sure that's not happening again!

Happy New Year! Bring it in with a bang!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Lists (6) - Halloween


Lists - the spooky edition!


Sorry no pictures of my kids in Halloween costumes here. None on my phone, on my FB page or on twitter. Haven't even got one on instagram! Sorry. You know, because I bet you haven't seen enough pictures have you? I bet your Facebook News Feed is a Halloween drought isn't it?

Ok... I can rustle up one of our pumpkins, just for you, just because I know you are starved of spooky shots...
 
We call them Spooked, Narked and Wasted.


How was that? Better. Ok, let's continue with the post.

Things I love and hate about Halloween...

Love

1)  I just love a theme! I'm all about themes. I just like to know what is heart of something. Just tell me what we're basing it on and I'll go hell for leather with you. So Halloween's a good one then. You've got crafts, baking, parties, fancy dress, discos, all spooky. Easy I can do that. Apart from this year, as an extra child seemed to make it a push too far! But next year I'm going all out I can tell ya - like a bat outta hell.

2) Pumpkin Carving. So we have an annual pumpkin carving competition in our house. Me versus Him! And I love it... because being creative is my thing! The FH gets to beat me at every sport on the planet. I get "Arty Shit" it's how we work. Every year he refuses to admit my pumpkin is better, but it is!

This year the 5 year old joined in too. He designed it and The FH carved it for him (we are not mental, we didn't let him do that bit on his own). And this year I let twitter decide which one was the winner. Guess who they picked? Yeah the kid's. Wankers.

3) Giving. Not Taking! Do you know what my eldest son's favourite bit of Halloween is? Opening the door and giving out sweets. He doesn't even ask to have one himself. He just loves giving them out and saying "Happy Halloween" - how cute is he? Especially dressed up as a bat! He charms the scariest of them all!

Hate


1) Knocking on strangers doors. It's all a bit wrong isn't it. We're not there yet. Thank god. So I haven't had to endure that battle with them. But really knocking on stranger's doors? Do we have to? It just makes me uncomfortable. I don't mind if you want to come and knock on mine. We'll even have a tub of sweets waiting, but ask me to go out in the cold, dark October rain and knock on strangers doors. No I don't like the thought of that.

2) At the stroke of midnight on Halloween, Christmas will begin. For the big guns, the companies, the advertisers, all Halloween has become is a signal for Christmas commercialism to begin. November the 1st - the start of Christmas being rammed down your throat! Soon we'll be telling our kids "You know why you dress up on Halloween don't you? To ward off Christmas? Yes that's right, we do it to tell Christmas to fuck off for another 30 days and come back on December the 1st.

3) Taking, Not Giving. So yesterday we took the eldest and a couple of mates to a Halloween disco. One of the parents kindly gave us a fiver to buy some sweets for them all. We filled one of those pumpkin buckets with sweets from the tuck shop and they came and topped on sugar and ran round a dark hall intermittently. At one point  an acquaintance type parent type sat next to me. When she eyed the sweet tub she said "Have you already been Trick an' Treating?"
"No" I replied "We bought them here". She looked dumbfounded. A few moments later her son  came and asked for some money, she replied "I'm not paying for sweets here, when we can get them for free afterwards"

Lo and behold who should come knocking on my door later... Awkward!



"Next time I have a good idea.."

The conversation started like this…

Me: When we are in Liverpool I want to take J somewhere he’ll really love for his birthday.
Him: Ok, any ideas?
Me: A really good swimming baths, that has a slide and some paddling pool bits. He’d love that.
Him: I know just the place – Rhyl Sun Centre! We used to go there as kids, but I think they have knocked it down and rebuilt it…

Erm, by the way – THEY HAVEN’T!

It still looks exactly like this…


No I tell a lie, the Monorail has gone.

And to quote my darling OH “No, it’s still exactly the same. In fact I did a crap here in 1987 and it’s still in the Lav!”

Let me first start saying if I was under the age of 15 I would have a loved it! For children who don’t care for mouldy tiles, floating plasters and a really disturbing smells it is swimming paradise! Really! The slides, the surf boards, the waves – they are a child’s dream!

Bur for parents, who just want to make it through the holiday without their children catching dysentery then it’s pretty much hell!

Before we arrived I hadn’t paid much attention to the name, but that is actually the theme, crank the heaters up so you feel abroad. The centre recreates “tropical conditions” and there’s holiday style plastic tables and parasols and sun loungers scattered all around. And people, who don’t actually go in the water, just go to sit and read the paper! Really! They are just there for the weather!
And with the heat comes the smell! My word the smell! If I close my eyes and I try really hard. Yes it’s still there. Still very much there. I can’t describe it. It’s something you have to experience, but be warned… Only the brave will survive.

We renamed the paddling pool “Cornplaster Corner”, the wave machine “The Shit Machine” because it increased the smell and the walkway “The Bridge of Doom”. But don’t let us put you off we probably just have high standards of hygiene (we don’t).

What else? I can’t comment on the food, the smell had knocked me sick so I couldn’t eat. But everything was pretty pricy, including entry fee. The changing rooms were ok-ish! Showers worked fine, I think, it all became a bit of a blur at that point and was carrying a 9 month old baby most of the time. And they have a shop too! To buy souvenirs and swimwear and floats and stuff – just like really being abroad!

But the reason we went… for the kids! They loved it. They loved the slides, the wave machine, the burger and chips and the water shoots! The only thing that the little ones didn’t like was when the sprinklers from the ceiling went off – which is understandable as it’s like being in a big shower really and you know what it’s like trying to get little ones to take a shower!

If you are not at all squeamish or have no sense of smell and want to visit the Rhyl Sun Centre you can find more information here http://www.rhylsuncentre.co.uk/. And it’s worth a look just for the youtube video, it really captures the essence of the place!

NB: The photos are borrowed from this website http://rhyl-life.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/rhyl-sun-centre.html and this one http://www.attractionsnorthwales.co.uk/attractions/rhyl-sun-centre

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Judgy McParents... Here you go... Have a field day!

Ok, I'm going to be very honest here. I have a confession. And, you are the first to know...

I. Am. A. Hypocrite.

There. I said it.

What ya gonna do about it?

Let me explain further?

2 years ago, when my eldest was the age my middle child is (3 and 1/4) at exactly this time of year (October) we (me and some other mums) were discussing possible Christmas present ideas for our kids who were all in the same class. I was absolutely horrified to discover a couple of them were buying their children a DS. And my face, bless its cotton socks, does not hide horror well. They justified it to me with "they have older siblings"/ "it's the only thing they want"/"blah blah blah"

I couldn't believe children as young as this were being given such expensive and anti-social items.

But a year later and my eldest had too become a computer fiend: they had access to i pads and i pod touches at school; his grandparents had a touch screen PC which he loved: he mastered the mouse on our laptop; and, begrudgingly, we had relented and downloaded some "educational" apps on our phone. Basically the digital world had crept up on us and now it had his virtual fingers around our necks. So, that Christmas we decided we would get him his own tablet style computer.

But we weren't irresponsible, frivolous parents. We researched this properly. We found the most educational and value-for-money tablet there was and that was the one he got. A Leap pad explorer. And he loved it. He could take pictures (me in the bath) video record (me breast feeding) and access educational math and phonic games as well as e-books.

The downside was that it turned out every app cost at least £7 each and any Disney or mainstream apps were around £20. But we set it up as reward system for doing well at school, so he earned a new app. (I know, evil aren't we?)

A few months later his younger brother threw it on the floor and smashed the screen. Game over. And with Leap Pad being an American company it seemed nowhere in the UK was able to repair it for us. There we go. Money well spent!

So this year all he does want is a new i pad (bless him, he really thinks it was one) and we have been wondering what to do.

We know if we had bought him a i pod touch or a DS last year and the screen had broken we could have got it fixed ANYWHERE. We also know that Android or apple tablets have thousands and thousands of free apps. Some educational too. and out of the ones you have to buy the most expensive is usually around £4. We also know that these hand held devices do last a lot longer in terms of "growing with your child" if they can mange not to break or lose them in that period.

But deciding the 5 year old ( most of his year group is 6) will get some sort of handheld computer device for Christmas was pretty definite.

But what about his 3 year old brother?

The one who is obsessed with anything digital: phones, laptops, ipads and beebies. The one who is throws terrible tantrums when it comes to sharing and taking turns. The one who has every toy suitable for his age group because his older brother already had it. The one who wouldn't want any of his own presents if he sees his brother with THAT. What do we get him?

The equivalent cost in plastic crap that he won't use or bother with past January?

A bike or scooter? Even though our shed is full of barely used ones?

Generally as parents, we are more sensible than most when it comes to Christmas spending. We can't afford to be anything else, we have three kids and one income!

So when I sat with my OH last night discussing digital Christmas presents and said "Do we get Jonty one too?" I then had to scramble around on the floor, pick up those dirty words and eat them! Because yes, I was THAT parent and I AM that parent, I'm a hypocrite.

The truth is I don't want my 3 year old to have an ipod touch, or a DS or similar. And the truth is he probably won't get one. But if he did, it would make my life a lot easier.

Yes, there would be no arguments, no fighting and no tantrums, yes it would keep him quiet whilst I was making dinner, or breastfeeding the baby or you know, blogging. But in reality what is that teaching him?

It's ok you never have to talk to us. You never have to share. Yes, the world does revolve around you.

And in buying him it am I not just giving in to this materialistic world of ours? Just giving in because it's easy. Giving in because I feel guilty about the world being such a shitty place. Do we all fill our homes with expensive crap for them because we are too scared to let them go outside on their own?

Of course, given a choice, I want them to have my childhood. Where a computer was what Dad borrowed from school in the 6 week holidays and was shared between three of us. The games were on 5 inch floppy discs which loaded up to the sound of a tractor revving its engine. On a good day the games loaded up, the rest of the time it just made the noise. I want them to spend the rest of their free time making dens in the woods, skateboarding in alleyways, staying out till they are near dehydrated and only returning to glug a litre of water and grab an apple. I want them to have all that rather than a computer. But sadly, today, the police are still searching for a 5 year old's body, and for now, my children are just too small and too precious to be let loose in that world without me.

Maybe I'll just get him one of these?
`

What do think blogging hemisphere? Do we put an age limit on digital gifts? Did you? How old were your kids when they got their first computer-esque gift?

I dunno what the answer is, maybe I'll just right a letter to some bearded bloke with a soft spot for the colour red and see what he thinks!


Friday, 19 October 2012

My techy kids!

My hypothetical kids were never going to watch TV, own computer games or have Mobile phones. My hypothetical kids would need nothing more that a good book and a bit of playdough. We certainly wouldn't be considering buying those hypothetical kids an ipod touch for their 3rd and 5th Christmas.

However, my real, breathing, demanding and digital kids are very different!

The TV is the 6th member of our family (they don't understand why he doesn't come on family days out with us) , the ipad is one of their toys and they laugh in the face of mobile phone security pins!

So these techy kids amazed me twice this week...

1) My Mum rang me up to tell me that after my 3 year old had been playing on her ipad, she recieved an email saying he add ordered a £90 electric fire from 1-click-to-buy amazon which would be delivered in the morning.

2) I had to explain to my 5yo that not everyone can pause live TV. And that unfortunately we are part of that few!

This led me to think of many future conversations I will have with my kids where they say "Shut up!" in disbelief (Essex accent optional)

1) "What? You had to go a Library? Why?"

2) "You couldn't pause live TV? What did you do if you needed a wee?"

3) "You wrote letters!"

4) " You had to start every Facebook update with 'is' "

5) "You didn't photoshop your pictures! You must have looked terrible"

6) "You didn't have a mobile till you were 18! How did you tell the time?"

7) "What? When mobiles first came out nobody texted?"

8) "You wrote your exams by hand!"

9) "You used money - wasn't that in the olden days"

10)  "What the hell is a pager?"

11) "Nokia? What's a Nokia?"

When Nokia Ruled the World!


But the truth is, this is the world they live! And the digital transformation means it is a world that revolves around them. Then can pause the television whilst they run up for a wee and not have to desperately hold on till an advert break! They can find any TV programme on the internet and watch till their heart's content. Any piece of homework is only a copy and paste click away!

I have to except this is part of their lives and that the digital world is only going to get faster! Cbeebies is only going to become a better babysitter, it may even provide digital snacks one day! And they will run with it, as I jog slowly behind. I guess my job isn't to prevent them having access, but to protect them whilst they do.

Anyway, back to the comedy...

Please make me laugh... tell me what your kids will be unable to believe about the world you grew up in!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

She wore an itsy bitsy, teen weeny, mustard yellow, crochet-string, bikini

Two things happened this week.

1) I sat on the beach at the weekend, with my family, relaxing. The children played (ate sand, knocked over sandcastles and threw bombs stones in the sea) whilst I people-watched (discreetly as I was wearing sunglasses).

I happened to be taken by a lovely, boden-clad family. There were two Mums and 2 boys and a girl. I couldn't tell which child belonged to which, but that didn't matter. What was more interesting was that at first I couldn't tell what gender the children were. They were aged between 8 and 11 and all wearing beach shorts nothing on the top. It wasn't until the middle child took of a baseball cap and a mop of long hair was let loose that I realised she was in fact a girl.

How refreshing to see a young girl innocent, free and comfortable on the beach.

She reminded me of me. My younger self. This one...


Sporting the towelling stripey trunks. Think they may have even had a 'Y' on the front too.


Me, my grey knickers, my crisps and my ball!


Going topless in a dinghy

I never owned a "two piece" as a child. In fact I was under the belief that girls either got a swimming costume or trunks. I thought you could only get bikinis if ... you know <whispers> had boobs! This is because my Mum only ever bought us the bottoms, and in the earlier days when she couldn't find any for girls, as they didn't sell bikinis for babies then, she would put us in trunks.

She said we were happier in them. Which we probably were. The one summer she did by us a swimming costume for our  hols we spent the whole summer unstrapping them and rolling them down to our middle. Trendsetters that we were.

But she's right swimming costumes are uncomfortable and down right painful when sand is involved too.

When were about 8 and 9 we got given a binbag of "hand me downs" from  a second cousin. Amongst the usual dross we came across 2 bikinis - one green and pink! I begged my mum to let me wear one for my swimming-themed birthday party. Surprisingly she agreed; I emotionally blackmailed her saying it was the only thing I wanted for my birthday. However, the joy was short lived, because as soon as the wave machine came on the damn thing untied itself and floated away! Turned out my. mum had taken us to one of those feminist water-parks.



2) Jessica Simpson shared this picture of her daughter on live TV...


Maxwell looking comfortable and at ease in her two piece

Babies in bikinis! What is that all about? I thought we had hit ridiculous-celebrity-parenting- mecca with Suri Cruise and the high heels. But no, it seems to have got worse. And just like Suri and those sodding heels, I feel a parenting "trend" starting and it makes me feel a little sick.

Now, I don't have daughters, so you can shoot me down in flames because I don't know how hard a 4 year old girl will scream if you don't let them wear a pair of heels to a birthday party or school disco! But I'm pretty sure if my hypothetical daughter did my response would be: "Fine! You don't go."

There were things I begged my Mum for that I never got. A bikini, obviously, the Clarks shoes with a slight heel and a secret key hidden it (you know the ones) and a perm (thank god). And yes we probably kicked up a stink. My god some of my tantrums became urban legends amongst the townsfolk round here. But she still said no. Because all girls want to dress sup and pretend to be "grown-ups" but there is a place for that and it is in the same room as the dressing up box.  Because as parents we have the responsibility to make sure are children are safe, comfortable and, primarily, children.

The desire to over-sexualise young girls, and now babies, with adult clothing is something I cannot get my head round. Please for the love of god encourage them to be kids.  They have so many years ahead of them to battle with badly fitting bikinis and to struggle with walking in heels, for now just let them play at being grown ups. but the rest of the time, what's wrong with them looking and acting like children?

Plus, every girl I have seen totter into a birthday party in a pair of "Suri" heels has kicked them off within 2 minutes so they can run around with the other kids.  So they can do the things children really like doing: being free and unconstrained - from adult concepts as well as inappropriate adult clothing.

The bikini as an item of clothing is burdened with sexual connotations. The media uses the word "bikini" as a weapon: each summer it is a measure of which celebrity bodies are "bikini-proof". Our younger generation is being suffocated by a pressure to become part of an adult world too soon. A world that is saturated with body-image, sex and the pressure to "fit-in". How early are we introducing our children to this world? And how long are we going to let celebrities and the media dictate how we bring up our children?

For me, the one gift we can give are children for free is innocence and the longer they can enjoy it, the happier they will be as adults.

But if you disagree with me, you are in good company. This week the fabulous parenting role model Liz Hurley has bought out her own designer children's swimwear collection... IN LEOPARD PRINT!

Because Liz Hurley has just the wholesome image a children's clothing line needs.
 
Are we really allowing celebrities to set trends in parenting? People who are out of touch with the real-world, with real parenting issues and real children who need to be told the word "no". Where the sole aim is to desperately claw at some good publicity, and detract from the fact they haven't lost their baby weight and are being squeezed into a heavily structured, black dress for their TV reveal? (I'm talking Jess Simpson here) Really? *These people*

Just look at all the  fuss the Duchess of Cambridge has caused by removing her bikini top... How does your 5 year old feel about that? Couldn't care less? Wouldn't understand? Wouldn't want to or need to? Mine neither.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

No Children Please!

Ok, so there are places that are appropriate for children and there are places that aren't.

We all know that.

I haven't taken my kids out clubbing with me (because the last time I went was 2002) or to theatre to watch Our Country's Good (also in 2002). But I wouldn't anyway. I rarely take them to a restaurant these days, unless it has a huge outdoor space when they can partake in some lungeing pony training  to tire them out before they are forced to sit still for 3 and half minutes.

But before I had kids you wouldn't have found me eating in Pizza Hut at 5.00pm.

Like I was saying, there are places you expect to find kids and places you don't.

And maybe I am out of touch, but two places I expect to find children is on aeroplanes and at weddings!

Before I had kids. I travelled A LOT more. We had holidays back then you see, real ones, where you go to another country - one that is hot! And do you know what? I can't remember there NOT being  a child on the flight. In fact, I think on every flight I had a small child in the same row as me. But I expected that. I expected them to be sat right next to me and scream the whole 4 hours. And if they didn't then it was a bonus.

But  if there was a noisy child  on the flight, do you know what I did? I put my ear phones on and I watched a film or played some music. And I didn't hear a thing. Simple.

I find the fact that an American couple, who were taking their twin boys on a  trip to visit their Grandparents, felt the need to provide "apology" gifts to the whole plane, absolutely ludicrous.

Here's the gift bag... some sweets, a sickly note written by over thoughtful Mum and dad, the twins, and ear plugs.


Only in America! Where you have to fly everywhere because it's massive!


Apparently the apology for reproducing "gifts" took ages to prepare... Which boils my piss even more as THEY have twins! How did they find the time? Just look after your babies. Every one else will cope. I'm sure they've heard worse.

So sorry folks, from now on we are all going to look like thoughtless bastards if we just show up at the airport with our kids. And if you do, you'll probably get some joker in a suit, sat in front of you, who says "Where's my present?" as soon as your child starts to whinge. It's ok, you have my permission to give him a bunch of fives!

I recently took a one hour flight with three kids. Four including my nephew, who was also on the flight. The kids were really well behaved on the plane, to be fair they ran riot round the airport but on the plane they were good. But still a jumped up, spotty student still felt the need to turn round and give me daggers every time my 8 month old babbled. Babbled. Not cried or screamed, he just babbled. If I hadn't been too busy giving out lollies, breast feeding, loading games on i pads, reading a book, colouring in and singing a nursery rhymes I would have stuck my middle finger up his upturned nostrils. But I was too busy ensuring my children were entertained. I was parenting. So, instead I wished him the worst fate I could think of. I wished him a colicky baby. Therefore, in the future when he was was pacing the streets in  the middle of night, begging for sleep, clawing at the edges of sanity, he would look back on that flight to Newquay and think "my God that women had a well-behaved baby. What an ignorant little cock I was?"

Which brings me nicely on to weddings...

Weddings? Yes weddings, that FAMILY occasion, where the FAMILY comes together to celebrate a couple who are statistically very likely to have children, if they haven't already.

 So with it being such a family occasion I cannot fathom why some people make it a"No children affair".

What are they afraid of? They might make a noise during a speech? Well at least someone will, chances are it's going to be naff anyway. They might not match with the colour scheme? They might have fun? Fart? Breathe?

Do you know what? I'm already bored of your wedding. I'm glad I'm not going.

Some people have said their parent guests asked them to make it "no children" - who are these people with unlimited baby sitters? And why did they have children? Was it purely because they felt left out because they couldn't shop in Mamas and Papas?

But it's their wedding, it's up to them. Just please don't send me an invite saying "No Children Affair" on it. Please don't expect me to face the guilt of asking someone to look after my 3 kids for a whole day AND night. And if by some miracle, I do find that angel, then please don't let me come to your "No Children Affair" to discover there are actually children there. The "special" children who are allowed to go, because they are under strict instruction not to be child-like  blood relatives. The ones who are bored shitless, because they are stuck with loads of pompous adults who don't want to interact with them. The ones who are having their playful souls ripped from their chests as they watch Uncle Knobhead get wankered.

My brother got married recently. We took our kids. So did everyone else who had them. In fact it was more of "please bring your children, and if you don't have any bring someone else's" kind of an affair.

And yes. I spent most of the day, along with The FH, running after them. It was hard work. Children are. I'm afraid that comes as part of the "having a family" package. It is hard work. But it was still good fun. We all had a cracking day. The kids especially. They loved it. And I am so glad that the experience wasn't taken away from them for fear of spoiling it for the grownups.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Lists (5)

The Olympic One.

(Things I LOVED and  HATED about London2012)


Picture borrowed from here

I'm going all out on this one guys and doing an Olympic theme too.

Fuck it.

Yeah it's over and we had it shoved down our throats for like 7 years (actually, it was exactly seven years of throat shoving) but you know what I miss it and it was bloody good, so it deserves a blog, albeit a late one.



The point The FH stood up and did a
double handed wanking sign "Come On!"

LOVE


1 (Gold). I LOVED the opening ceremony. I loved that the rest of the world didn't get it. I loved that Danny Boyle flicked the V's at them and wrote a love story for us. I loved the theatre, the energy... The show.

I loved being Great. Great Fucking Britain. That's us right there, taking centre stage and doing it well.





2 (Silver). How well our female athletes did.

They totally stole the show.

To quote @victoriapeckham "isn't it amazing for young people to see women judged on what their bodies can do and not what their bodies look like"

And this isn't about women versus men. It is just about celebrating positive female influences. A little bit of hope shining out amongst the dreary, damp wag culture that is depressing our  country's daughters.


What a woman!

3 (Bronze).  Jessica Ennis.

Because she is a-maz-ing.

That last race, where she wasn't winning, the one she never wins, the one she didn't need to win. That last race where just wanted it. Where she just did it.

That's an Olympian.


4 (Fastest Loser). Exceeding expectations.


There's a quote on Facebook, that I'm sure you've all read. And if you haven't read it just click on that tosser friends Time line, the one who likes pictures of a baby and a dog cuddling with the caption 'dogs are family too' they'll have posted it somewhere. It goes something.like "Seven years ago they said we wouldn't get it, but we did. Four years ago they said..." Blah blah you get the idea. Anyway it's a bit cheesy and naff, but it's true. We all thought it was going to be shit, and there was a chance we could fuck up royally, especially with "flag-gate" at the first football match. But it wasn't.. It was really good. We did it. We finally exceeded expectations. Great Britain? Amazing Britain. That's us



That Geordie tosser who did us proud.
5 (Just Loser) And finally last on the love list is the Unity!

I just love it when it all comes together; it didn't matter if you were posh, a chav or from Wales - we were rooting for you!

Even that tosser from the North East who said he's been on the lash for 2 years then trained for 7 months (not exactly what Seb Coe meant when he said "inspiring the future generations"), but it didn't matter, because  if you were Team GB we cheered.

But thank god for those posh people eh? We are pretty good at Hoorah Henry sports aren't we?




HATE


1 (Gold).   How shit TV is now it's over.

I mean seriously, is this it for four years? Seriously? Even X factor isn't helping. In fact it's making it worse.

Alright so it's a bit of a cop out giving the number 1 spot on the hate list to it being over. But it's not that it's ended it's the gap it has left behind, a gap that is  not going to be easily filled with Keeping Up With the Kardashians.



2 (Silver)  Gary Linekar.


This guy? Really?

Stick to football Gary. Presenting the Olympics is just not your thing.

I mean, you won't get another opportunity anyway, to be honest you just cocked up your biggest ever presenting job. Which is a shame, because I do like you, but this one was a step too far for your tanned little face.

And if you have any doubts about this one just watch him  interviewing the Judo girl who got Silver, and if you get through it without cringing or screaming " Just Ad lib Gary...ADLIB!" then you are made of sterner stuff than me.



3. (Bronze) Miserable China.

 Ok, so everyone has a right to be a bit pissed off if you get silver, a mean they wanted Gold right? I get that. But still it's a medal, get over it. Smile. Even a fake one. Or just something other than dead pan. Please. And if you get gold, then why not cheer. Go on. I dare you.






4 (Fastest Loser). The dark side of success.

For example 8 years ago in Athens some one got a bronze. A bronze! Wow. Achievement. Success. How we revelled. How good it felt. Now. London 2012. Someone gets a bronze A bronze? Is that all? Bronze? Huh.

No room for Bronze on our front pages ...
Unless you are the Netherlands
Dressage Team ofcourse - The Daily Idiots!
But among our Golds The Daily Express did still make room for Bronze  medallists on their front page.. Only because they managed to print a picture of the Dutch Dressage Team instead of Team GB's Dressage Gold Medallists.






5 (Just Loser). Closing ceremony.


Ok, so it wasn't going to be as good as the opening ceremony, we knew that. But come on... A dinosaur singing Waterloo Sunset, Spice Girls wobbling on top of taxis and fucking One Direction on a haribo rush. 

Talk about going out with a bang! Unfortunately that bang was the noise of millions of televisions being switched off simultaneously.





Wednesday, 8 August 2012

"Getting 'em out" - Breastfeeding, my boobs and my babies.

You don't have to go far to catch sight of a woman feeding a baby with a bottle do you? I mean they're everywhere right? At the park, in cafes, in playgroups, sat outside shops, on park benches, travelling on public transport, waiting in waiting rooms... My God the list is exhausting!

But a breast-feeding mum,  that can be quite rare.

Oh she probably is there somewhere, like a kingfisher lost in the colours of a riverbank, you just didn't see her. Because contrary to popular belief, a breast feeding mum isn't "getting them out here, there and everywhere", she's usually quietly sat in the corner, her top slightly ruched, with a baby wrapped around her belly as if it were sleeping.

But when I do see her, catch a glimpse of a feeding position or realise later, she was ACTUALLY breast-feeding her baby something I hadn't noticed straight away, I always feel the need to go over and hug her, congratulate her, suffocate her in admiration. But I stop myself. She doesn't need that. Because the likelihood is, to have got to this point, she already knows how amazing she is.

Because unfortunately for most, breast-feeding isn't easy, it's bloody hard work; there's a lot of tears, angst, self doubt and  challenges to overcome.  Then if the skill (which it most definitely is) is mastered, having the confidence to do it in front of people isn't as simple as just "getting them out".

Breastfeeding in public requires a thick skin, a subtle amount of confidence, a grounded outlook and a positive attitude. Some people are fortunate to have these already. Others have to find them, muster them or grow them.

I was one of these women.

For me the act of breastfeeding was relatively easy. OK I'll take those rose tinted glasses off... Yes with my first there were some challenges. But compared to other peoples' hardships, mine were quite easily overcome.

But I think i know why

Firstly, I did have an emergency c-section with my first, this meant I was in hospital for three nights after his birth. During my stay the breastfeeding support, advice and warmth I received from the midwives was first class. And if, like other new mums, I had discharged myself at the first opportunity, it may have been a different story.

Secondly breastfeeding wasn't really a choice for me, in my head it's just how you feed your baby. I'm pretty sure I breast fed my dolls. You know, after I'd given birth to them out of my jumper. But that's because I watched my Mum feeding my brother till he was two years old. Because she breast feed me whilst she breast fed my 18 month older sister, because she's probably still remembered by some, thirty years on, as "THAT women who breast fed in the cricket club" But for me, us, our family, it was the norm. So of course I was going to breast feed my own.

And, although now,as I type one handed whilst breast feeding my third son, it's difficult to remember the struggles, but there were some. In fact sometimes it was a two person job, (three if my mum was visiting) as me and The FH tried to get O to latch on to an over inflated, veiny, water-melon-shaped-boob that would project milk spray if the wind blew the wrong way. And yes, there were tears and tantrums as we desperately tried to remember the exact position of infamous "rugby-ball"  that had "SAVED THE DAY" on ward 17.

But when I got it, I really did get it and it seemed to be plain sailing...

....Indoors.

Outdoors was a whole other kettle of fish.

I was really self-conscious. Worried (I have No idea why) about what others thought. Scared  Petrified about receiving negative comments (which unfortunately some women do). Convinced the world wanted to watch me feed my baby - which I have now realised it doesn't, but it should - I'm bloody good at it. But the reality is most people couldn't care less, they have their own lives to get on with, and really just aren't that interested in seeing my boobs; be it going topless on a beach in the Caribbean or feeding my child in the middle of a shopping centre, 99% of the population just aren't that interested.

But it took having three children to really understand this, to stop caring and to be really comfortable breast feeding in public,  I'm not sure what happened to make me this self-concious, but somewhere between being the girl who breast fed her dolls and becoming the young women who sunbathed topless on holiday, I let some people's idiotic views influence me. Which is a shame. A real shame. I wish I felt like I did now when I had my first, but it was a learning curve and I'm just glad I got there in the end.

I do believe that if breast-feeding did in fact make your boobs firmer that a lot more families would do it. Regrettably, in our shallow, vain and image-obsessed culture, health incentives for you and your baby aren't enough. But it seems if it gave you a cracking pair of tits we'd all be doing it!

I was inspired to write this post because of World Breastfeeding Week, I know it was last week, but what's new?

I don't like to preach, or tell people they should do this, that or the other, purely because I have been on the receiving end of that... and it's exceptionally annoying

But I don't mind being smug, so here goes... One thing I am sure of, the decision to breastfeed my children is one of the best decisions I have ever made. So I couldn't let the week pass without commemorating it somehow.

So if you do happen to come across a women breast-feeding her child in public, you just need to do one thing: smile! Whatever you think, however you were fed, however you feed, just smile at her... Because I can assure you of one thing, she's not doing it to get attention, that baby is just bloody hungry!

This one is for you World Breastfeeding Week. 

This one obviously needs fattening up,





More tales of my boobs and public breast feeding are found here.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Need some parenting advice... Please read and help if you can.

I  didn't set this blog up to give advice, just to share my experiences.

I am really fortunate; I have an excellent support network, I have my  fiance, my mum and sister round the corner, my parents in law at the end of the phone, ex-colleagues who have kids, new mum-friends from playgroups... I am really lucky, I have a lot of people around me,

So I set up this blog, to share my parenting stories, help others who may not have the same support. Because it's not advice that you want to hear, just experiences, as sometimes someone else is going through the same as you.

But for the first time, my support network can't help me. Together we are stumped.

So I am asking you, followers, Internet friends, twitterers and fellow parents to read, share and offer any advice you have.

In February my middle child (who is about to turn 3) had his tonsils and adenoids removed and grommets put it. This is a really heavy op for a 2 and a half year old to have. I only recently understood how heavy when different specialists  told me this op is something surgeons will hold off undertaking for as long as possible.

In our case, the specialist examined Jonty and then booked him in for the earliest operating appointment he could get; things must have been bad.

Only looking back I realise that they were.

He had suffered from chronic nose infections since he was born, he snored as loud as a grown man, suffered from sleep apnoea and was constantly tired and irritable, plagued by nose and ear infections.

The illness was bearable, but it was the way it was affecting his development and personality that broke our hearts.

Although we had flagged this up with Doctors since he was born and been told "babies are mucus-y", it was only when I had shared my concerns about his speech and hearing that they referred us to a specialist. The hearing test showed he wasn't localising any of the lower volumes, we couldn't get a percentage of his hearing loss as he completely flipped when they tried to put headphones on him, but the department's reactions showed us this was not good.

Afterwards, the surgeon who operated on him said his tonsils and adenoids were enormous, quite possibly the biggest he had seen.

Pre-operation his speech had lacked progression, he was still only using the handful of words he had formed a year earlier and the rest of his noises were undecipherable baby language. He had found ways to communicate, but he had never said "Mama", didn't attempt to craete a word for his brother and was frustrated that the world couldn't undertsand him. So he bagan to shut us out.

We had slowly watched him turn from a smiling bubbly baby to a shy, introverted toddler. He would remove himself from social situations, isolate himself at play groups, and was reluctant to interact with his grandparents or aunites and uncles.If visitors came to the house, including our family, he would take himself off upstairs. Shutting the door.

Post - operation we have slowly seen him return. A new day brings new words. He is confident, sometimes to the point of cockiness, and at my brother's wedding a few weeks back  he was the life and soul of the party. He couldn't get enough of socialising.

I can't tell you how good this has been. The interaction, the moments, hearing him say my name, reading a book together, laughing and giggling over words, sounds; enjoying together the world around him.

Things are good; everything is falling into place.

Apart from one thing...

In December (2 months before Jonty's op) I gave birth to my third son Leo. He is a wonderful baby. He rarely cries, pretty much slept for the first 3 months and is always smiling.

However,now he is 7 and half months and become quite vocal, The usual stuff: teething noises, babbling, exploring sounds and he does have quite a loud cry if something startles him.

Last month Jonty started whimpering when Leo cried. And if we were somewhere where I couldn't comfort Leo or Jonty, like pushing them in a buggy on the school run, or driving in a car, this whimpering would turn to a full-scale tantrum where Jonty became hysterical, inconsolable and distressed.

This has now escalated so when Leo makes any noise at all, a babble, laugh or a yawn, Jonty screams, wails or shouts.

I was hoping when the holidays came, with my partner being off and two of us on hand, this would be ok, but things are getting worse.

And it's wearing us all down. If you have any advice, please share it with me. He has come so far and is doing so well it's heart breaking to see him so traumatised by his own brother's voice.

So here's some more info:
  • Jonty doesn't like it when any child cries, his older brother, or some one at play group hurting themselves will reduce himto sobs.
  • No other noises seem to effect him , but when we were watching a live swing band the other day he covered his ears
  • Jonty has never interacted with the baby, generally he isquite wary of him.
  • When I had Leo and Jonty came to hospital to see me, he caught sight of his brother and buried his head in his dad's shoulder and wept.
  • Jonty's speech is improving, but he you can't reason or explain yet... he is still learning to follow simple instructions and interpret sounds


This is what we have tried:
  • Reassurance, lots of cuddles and comfort when he cries
  • Possitive association, encouraging Jonty to play with Leo.
  • (not ideal, only in desperation) Separating them different rooms, different floors
  • Sending Jonty upstairs to his room to play when he does it
  • Reasoning
  • Talking
  • Calming
  • Shouting (when pushed to it)


Please help, offer advice, or share this blog to see if anyone you know has been in a similar situation.

This is the only part of my parenting where I have thought "I can't do this" and that really isn't a nice feeling, if it wasn't for this one thing, life would be perfect. I know I am very fortunate to be able to say that, but I do need some help with this bit...

Thank you x x

Friday, 3 August 2012

What do you do?

Before I gave up teaching,  people would often ask me what I did, when I told them, the standard response would be "Ooh I couldn't do your job."

I remember, after becoming a victim of crime (slightly dramatic turn of phrase for having an empty handbag nicked from your car) the police woman filling out the form asked "profession?"
And when I told her she said "Now that is one job I couldn't do."
"Really?" I asked bewildered, "I 'm just dealing with the younger versions of what you're dealing with."
"Oh but it's different isn't it?" she said
"Not that different" I replied
"Yes it is" she said sternly, and as much as I wanted to go on to rant about how schools were merely microcosms of society, things between us had become awkward, so I left it there.

Similarly when in hospital, having my children, midwifes, nurses and doctors on hearing my choice of profession all said "I don't envy you".

"What? You'd rather work here?" I would think. My skin itching as I eyed the sterile and soulless environment.

But we each have own corner of the earth to work in. By choice or by need. Some people have their vocation, some people just have to work.

Currently I am full time Mum; the hours are REALLY long and although most people think it is unpaid today I did find £2.53 at the bottom of the washing basket. But one thing I know being a Mum is the closest thing to a voaction I have ever had.

One day I want to answer the question with "writer"* but for now, this is right where I want to be.


I didn't think "full time Mum" was on here, but look there we are... with the cocktail shaker!


* and by "writer" I don't mean the stuff I do now, because I'd look a bit of a cock passing off a bit of freelance work as a writing career. I mean to be able say "writer" and the other person say "yeah I thought I recognised you". That kind of writer!




The picture is borrowed from here

Friday, 27 July 2012

A big white tent, lots of roses and two peas in a pod!



My little brother got married! He got himself a gorgeous wife! The wedding pretty much kicked ass!

It was our first family wedding, by family I mean the ones who lived in the same house as me for quite a long time. You know, THE family! Out of the three of us, my little brother was always going to be the first to get married, that much I always knew. Just like he was always going to be the high flyer - somethings are just obvious. But, who he married and how amazing the day was, completely blew me away.

First of all you need to know the background... A couple of years ago him and his girlfriend went to work on the other side of the world, whilst they were there he popped the question, she said yes and they set the date. They planned to work in Oz for a couple of years, then do some travelling, then come home and get hitched.

So when most Brides-to-be are nil-by-mouth and stressing about whether the bridesmaid dresses are going to clash with the centrepieces, these two were doing this...


Bringing in 2012 in Oz; the year of The Wedding.


But they did come home eventually. And when they did it all came together.

As one of the bridesmaids I had taken it upon myself to send them lots of e mails with ideas on centrepieces, decorations etc. You know, being one of those "helpful" future sister-in-laws. I'm pleased to say they didn't do any of them, because what they did do was just perfect...

How to have an amazing but unpretentious wedding by Pip and Claire.

You will need:
  • a bride who is as far removed from a bridezilla as possible
  • a laid back groom
  • easy going guests
  • to let the bridesmaids and grooms choose their own suits/dresses
  • to make your invitations whilst travelling and send them  postcard-esque from the other side of the world
  • to buy your centrepieces from M&S the day before
  • to send a few e mails from a camper van in Australia to the guests/venue/caterers
  • to remove the "night do" invites - if guests are coming they are coming all day!
  • to encourage people to bring their children       
  • to write name places on luggage tags
  • to write the seating plan on a chalk board that happened to be lying around at the venue.
  • to donate the money you would have spent on wedding favours to a charity
  • to have your Dad turn up with a cake he had iced himself because it "was better than nothing"
  • to ask some of your friends,who are nifty with a camera, to take the pics
  • to not have a top table, just sit in amongst your guests
  • to most definitely NOT have a theme
  • to ensure you have a 3 year old page boy to blow out all the tea lights you had lit in church
 Basically throw all of the above into a big white tent, with some great food and a stunning location and it's pretty much gonna be a blast! Mix in plenty of booze, stir it up, play some classic "tunes" and sit back and enjoy!

As weddings go, Mr and Mrs P you totally nailed it!

I've got some pictures of the day, not many though, because I was too busy having a fabulous time whilst keeping half an eye on the boys. But I've got what really counts, great memories, of a great day...

But just in case one day my memory fails me, this is what I hope to never forget...

... How honoured I felt watching Claire get ready to marry my brother, her beaming smile, the wonder in her eyes as she effortlessly put together the pieces to create this...

Pink champagne! Cheers!



...Walking down the aisle, holding my eldest child's hand, a blur of faces in the pews and suddenly catching sight of Pip at the end, no longer a boy... a handsome, successful man. A husband.



Leaving the church as Mr and Mrs.


...How even as a bridesmaid you can do the following: breastfeed in a church; cry all your make away with happy tears; play hide and seek; fall over in the mud; and flash your knickers to passers by with the aid of an unruly breeze!


That's me in the green, you can't see because of the gorgeous bouquet but I'm actually flashing my bra!




... My brother's speech; his words, our laughter, her smile!


His Speech

Her smile.



















...The pair of them dancing to Bruce - completely unchained from inhibitions. 

Even if we're just dancing in the dark

 
...Meeting new people, welcoming old friends, knowing they have great people around them.





...Catching up with family, realising that my Dad's cousin Sheila is still one of the coolest people we know and she can rock a pair of skinny jeans with the best of them!

Long-lost cousins



...Laughing, dancing, crying, smiling. Not wanting the day to end.


Still smiling.

Still dancing.

 


...Waking the next morning at 4.30 am and being gutted it was over.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Once upon a time...



Once upon a time I was a Chalet Girl!
That’s right.
I was.
Me? The Chalet Girl?
Yep, this girl woman you see before you with baby sick on her jeans and a mascara smudge on her cheek, once upon a time lived the dream in The Three Vallies
Once upon time I lived in France (and never spoke French); my boss was a Lady (as in the title); cleaned the bogs of the rich and famous (well someone off Corrie and the drummer from Status Quo); necked a toffee vodka shot daily (warmed you up); skied whenever I wanted (not THAT much) and woke up to this…
That fresh air did wonders for a hangover.


Me and Soph; Chalet Girls!
 And I got to share it all with my best mate!
The chalet we worked in was beautiful! And an absolute bitch to clean. It slept twelve, not including the two bedraggled and inebriated chalet girls who slept in the cloak room.
(Seriously, when the chalet was out of season the family who owned it used our bedroom as a “Cloakroom”). 

Thankfully we had been best friends since we were 11 and knew each other very well, as that small space tested us, our friendship and our sanity!
But that tiny room was for just for sleeping. We were in Meribel baby! The rest of the time we partied… And skied… Of course! Oh and cleaned and cooked – we did that A LOT!



There I am - ski jumping!
 But what I remember most was the freedom… The freedom of the cold, thin air against your face as the skyline raced past as a blurry snow-topped mountain. The freedom of space, space that can only be found when the world around you is trapped under snow. Freedom from deadlines, bills and paper. Freedom from magazines, Television and fashion. Freedom gained by being frozen in a time, a place and a moment. We were frozen from when we arrived and the first snow fell till it melted away and we left.
Once upon a time I was a chalet girl… I watched decent live music every night of the week, I had great skin that only a high altitude can give, spent my free time on a pair of skies, ate the rarest steak known to a Briton, danced in ski boots, snogged a stranger in salopettes, laughed hysterically in a cable car, found friends in strange places, came home with the bread van, went to a bin bag ball and watched the world from a mountain top!

 Once upon a time that Chalet Girl was me!


Check out the brains behind the badge for "Once upon a time..." at Older Mum in a Muddle.




Once Upon A Time

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Torch!

The Olympics are in London this year. Yes really they are - did you not know? How could you have missed that?

Of course you know. EVERYBODY knows. You can't even pop out for a loaf of bread without bumping into Team GB wrist strap, or a Team GB mug, or a Team GB T shirt... or a Team GB rubber duck. RUBBER DUCK? Really? Yes. Really.

Yes, every one knows about the Olympics. Especially my 4yo. He knows EVERYTHING!

He knows about all the races, running AND jumping ones, and he knows that they are in London where the Queen lives (The Queen who just had a party). He knows all about Wenlock and Mandeville, in fact Wenlock came for a sleepover. He knows all about The Union Jack AND he knows about The Torch! Oh yes he knows all about The Torch.

That Torch
Yes that Torch. The one that was coming to our sleepy little town and lighting it up. Yes his school were very excited about the torch. They've been watching videos, mapping its progress, making paper mache torches, doing a torch collage, drawing in it charcoal, making a display... they had done it all.

They had a torch calendar to count down the days and they were even putting on a family Olympic breakfast on Torch Day

So there was no way we could not go to watch the procession. No way. All weekend O was rabbiting on about it and then on the morning of Torch Day the first thing he said when he woke up was: "I'm so excited to see the torch"

But it was OK because I had prepared for it. It didn't matter that we had to be on the main road at 7.50 am when on most school mornings it's an achievement to get there at 8.50am. Or that The FH would be leaving even earlier because of possible road closures. No that didn't matter because I could do this. I washed my hair the night before. I had everyones' outfits ready and I would just get up an hour earlier. Simple!

Every thing was going so well. The predicted down pour was in fact bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine, my hair was done, the boys were dressed...  I had even found a black shirt dress in my wardrobe that I hadn't worn since having kids, which was once a size "too small" and now fit with "room to spare".We did have a moment when we thought there may be a "missing shoe" disaster, but alas, it was under the couch. I'd even had time to put on make up - lipstick too, which I never wear, but it's a once-in-a-life-time event huh?

I quickly rang my sister and mum to see if they were going and planned to meet them there. It was on these phone calls I discovered that The Torch was not actually arriving at the church till 8.05. But I poo-pooed this; I would aim for 7.50 regardless, just to be safe.

But it only takes one thing doesn't it

Just one.

Turns out our "one thing" was poo! Runny poo running out the side of middle child's nappy and into his shorts and shoes. Runny poo up his back and on his T shirt. Runny poo I had to clean whilst he squirmed and wriggled off the mat and around the living room. Runny poo that trailed behind him. Runny poo that took two thirds of a packet of wipes to clean. Runny poo that took so long to clean the baby screamed and screamed. Runny poo that meant a new out fit, new shoes and a new changing mat were needed. Runny poo that darling little O tried his hardest to help me clean up so he wouldn't miss the torch...

Runny fucking poo!

But it was OK. Because the whole time I was thinking "It's OK, It's not expected till 5 past"

So at just before eight, we left the house, the two little ones strapped in the double buggy. Both red faced with hot tears and Little O frantically running ahead. 30 metres down the road  I spotted my friend casually strolling down and I this filled me with hope -"Great we must be on time". It failed to register with me that said friend is notoriously late. Then...When the main road was in sight... And the crowds and flags could be seen in force... Just at that moment when the stress started to trickle away... I saw them all fall backwards, like rats deserting a ship and my heart dropped out of my size-14-shirt-dress and smashed on the floor!

My friend stopped, turned, caught sight of me and smiled "I think we've missed it". I looked at O. His face crumpled. He tried not to cry. But he did.  Next thing I was hugging him, apologising into his ear as he wiped snot, tears and anger into my black shirt dress.


This is what we missed.

Look at the blue skies! Have that Cumbria!


We pretty much saw every one we knew on that road, as I stood hugging him feeling like the worst parent on the planet, looking surprisingly over-dressed and made up for that time in the morning. And everyone who stopped to see what the matter with sobbing O was looked at me accusingly when I explained we had missed it. I read their thoughts :"I see you had time to put lipstick on though"

We headed up to the school, for the celebratory breakfast but the deflated Samsung advertising batons had more enthusiasm than us.

When we got there, the rats were fleeing again; the school's gas was off and there was no bacon butties! We didn't bother going in. We just waited for the gates to open. The boys ran about, O was pretty much over it, where as me... I just stood there, letting the guilt nibble away.

I couldn't go on FB that day. It was full of updates an pictures of how fabulous it had been. It was like missing Christmas all over again!

I texted the FH. You know, being a PE teacher and all, I thought he would have something to say about it. But he didn't. Instead he fixed it. And this is why I love him.

A lad he teaches had been a torch bearer the previous day and he would bring his torch into school so Oscar could go and see it and get his picture taken with it. Our hero.

My bacon (or should I say beacon) was saved...


Middle child holding up an equally important packet of Walkers Ready Salted.

And we all stood there, admiring O and the torch. Us, the torch bearer and half the staff. The FH takes this moment to ask him "Is it good to hold the torch?"

Do you know what he said...

"Yeah. But it's just like the one like the one that came into my school!"

Anyway we got our first photograph of the five us - sorry six, let's not forget the fucking torch!


 I actually look a lot better in real life. The torch looks the same.