September 2016

Well is been a while. We got through the summer holidays hurrah!!! Even enjoyed it in parts but never the less glad September has come around.

Ella’s started school and every morning when I see her in her uniform I still can’t quite believe she is old enough to go. Although each day when I pick her up her new attitude reminds me she could very well be in high school. ‘Mummy’ is often replaced with ‘mum’ and already my authority as the person who knows everything, is being challenged by ‘My Teacher says’ and also God. After the 28th argument between Ella and Max about who’s birthday party was going to be better, I shouted ‘honestly can we just stop this, who cares?’. Ella shoots me a look and says very calmly ‘God cares mummy’. Right well I suppose he does Ella. Probably doesn’t want you to full on fight about it though does he. Ella once a pretty good conformist at meal times (provided a frube or something with sugar in was on offer afterwards) now says ‘I’m not eating that it’s disgusting. Why is everything you make disgusting? Why does tea take so long when you know I’m hungry?’ Why??? Maybe because I’m chopping 6 different veg in a chopper to make it invisible so Max will eat it, I’m doing half mince half lentils as too much red meat is bad for you, I’m blending a balance of herbs so its not tasteless yet not too much salt for Penny, plus adding the appropriate amount of wine for a family meal- all this is besides the point as its actually ready for when they walk in, they just have to wait 8 mins for the pasta to go with the bolognese. Not to mention this is after they are greeted from school with a homemade chocolate chip shortbread- ‘oooohhhh mummmmm I said I wanted a chocolate ball not chocolate biscuit’. Sorry about that. Must do better mummy.

I get my own back by pulling Ella’s hair, ever so slightly, harder than usual when brushing it after the bath and she shouts ‘Jesus Christ mum!’. ‘Ella!’ I said, ‘don’t say that and certainly not in school’ Ella just replies ‘but it hurts. Anyway why did Jesus die so young?’ Good diversion tactic. ‘Not sure El, I think your teacher will know’. Then we go back to the usual conversations of Ella saying she never wants to leave me so I can’t ever go in jail or to heaven or she will want to come and what will happen if she goes to jail as ‘sometimes I like being naughty’. No neither of us are going to jail, heaven is a long way off we will be together forever kind of chat. So imagine my surprise when the next morning Ella says ‘so when do you think you will go to heaven mummy’ and I reply ‘oh El not for a while don’t worry’ and she says ‘well it’s just that I want a cat and you’re allergic’. That’s nice thanks Ella. ‘Oh can we have a dog then’. Give me strength.

Then we’ve had Max’s epic tantrum in Home Bargain, literally the worst tantrum I’ve ever witnessed let alone experienced. So in hindsight yeah he was mega tired, missing daddy who’s gone back to work, adjusting to nursery without Ella any other reasons for this outrageous behaviour??? The usual trigger ‘no you’re not having a massive £30 toy, you can get that car for a quid and we put the big toy on the Christmas list’ usually works, escalated to him growling at me, scratching me and hitting me- he didn’t even do this at 2??? Do I abandon my shop leaving some much needed bargains in there like my linseeds and electric tooth brushes?? Plus I had Penny unstrapped, on her last crackerbread in the trolley (thank god she’s smiling at people so people think- well at least one is nice) so I’m carrying him sideways as I’m moving the trolley one handed telling Penny how silly he is being. People are stepping out the way fast, faces down as he kicks the shelves, and me, and he starts repeating he will now have the small toy. But I’ve said he can’t have any toy now and with the whole of Home Bargain as my audience I cannot possibly do a U turn on it. So smashing to the checkout we go, a very kind lady who works there (thank you card has been sent) got my shopping out of my trolley and packed my bag while Max screams like he’s being eaten alive by spiders. She then wishes me luck as she mistakenly thinks I have the situation now under control. Max picks up speed as I try to get him, I let go of the trolley, Penny goes careering into some plants outside the shop and so the lady comes back, walks me to my car waits for me to unpack and get the kids in (I did think Max may have to go into the boot)- then goes and gets my quid from the trolley! What a legend! Makes a change from the judgemental older people giving me daggers and ‘wouldn’t happen in my day’ looks. I’m just about ready to let rip at him when he falls asleep.

And then we have Penny. She’s on her 17th cold since being born and bang on cue to Kev leaving she was up 3 times a night for 2 hrs a at a time for a week and that nearly finished me off. Thankfully she’s given up on this phase for now and until next time, I can be rational. Ella is growing up, her attitude stinks and evidently she wants to trade me in for a cat but call me thick skinned (go on I dare you!) I’m glad she feels she can say anything to me without fear I’ll blow up at her. I know she loves me and she tells me I’m the best mummy ever most nights and if she can tell me anything without fear of upsetting me (excluding when she’s being deliberately mean and a horrid cow) I think that stands us in good stead for the teenage years. As for Max, well he’s been a lot calmer since the monumental melt down, better out than in maybe. He does remind me of someone. . . Probably rather it wasn’t in public but we can’t have everything. And yes Penny is back to sleeping through and being pretty easy going. Maybe she just wanted to remind me she might be the smallest but has the power to make me sleep on her floor as and when she likes and that I best not take her good nature for granted. Fiesty, full on, f***ing hard work but that’s family life, wouldn’t have it any other way, would we.

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May half term 2016

Finally Kev has got back offshore, we have been waiting for it for so long we were elated. It was only after the excitement wore off it clicked that he was leaving before the onset of bank holiday weekend and half term. 9 days with not an hours break from three kids under 5 plus no one to take it out on and pour me a large red at the end of the day???? So I got busy making plans.

First up was a bank holiday family day out to the beach. Me, the kids, Nan, Uncle Chris and Aunty Adge. Well it was supposed to be New Brighton crabbing but after getting various necessities from Home Bargain and looking at the traffic backing up then the sat nav (mistakenly i think) saying it was 60 miles away it was replaced by a trip to the pinewoods. We finally arrived and after trying and failing to reach the actual beach (it was absolutely impossible pushing a pram with a baby in it, not to mention all the other crap stored underneath), we settled on a very prickly grass area with no shield from the growing wind and so a sandy gritty picnic was enjoyed by all. This was followed by Ernie and Marv (the dogs) popping the football, eating the toy golf ball set and spilling all the bottled water. Quitting while we were ahead we headed home to Nan’s garden, Chris stopping for ice-cream on the way home which melted (all over Adge) before reaching the kids. Cue tears. Next bank holiday will be a garden day.

Next a trip to see Aunty Nancy, with Sam and her three kids, in the gorgeous picturesque village of Barley, near Burnley. As with most pretty places, it is a nightmare (for someone with my limited driving skills) to get to. Lots of incredibly narrow roads on the steepest hills imaginable and I was sweating and shaking by the time we got there, desperately trying to get a grip of my anxiety. After a lovely lunch we headed out to the stream to paddle in. I went in too as its always my kids who can’t be trusted. I borrowed Sam’s wellies which immediately filled with water, to the point where they weighed me down- ‘Yeah they have a big slit in them’ what the hell is the point in keeping them? Obviously everyone is soaked but we had a great laugh and then it was time for an ice cream stop. All going well until Max falls back off the bench whacking his head. Wow it was a crack but when I picked him up I was not expecting the blood. Christ almighty I have never seen anything like it, taking him in the cafe, the owner came and tried to sort him out. She kindly ended up taking us to a&e, Max hysterical, me feeling a bit dizzy and blood dripping all over her car (sorry/thank you card and flowers sent the next day). Sam was left a bit bewildered with a long walk ahead, 4 kids, 2 prams, 1 baby and a lot of people staring at her like wtf and they then had to close the cafe due to the absolute carnage blood trail. Getting to the hospital literally looking like we had been shot, covered in blood from head to toe, the girl behind the desk looks slightly irritated to be disturbed from her data inputting duties and generally a bit uninterested. Empathy was obviously not a trait they looked for when interviewing for the post. She took some details and told us there would be a 5 hour wait. Long story short, a bit of calpol went a long way (not sure if it was sugar or paracetamol) and they glued him back together. Ella’s memory of the day being ‘Max shouted NOOOOOO my ice cream’ as he hit the deck. Mothers son that one.

Max is recovering nicely, in fact he was more put out from falling and scratching his knees the day after. Today we went to cousin Vicky’s house for Theo’s 7th birthday party straight from nursery. I’m slightly apprehensive just because Max struggles having no nap with him being in all day and usually moans consistently for the 3 hours between hometime and bedtime. He managed to walk the three doors down to Theo’s from nursery with the aid of three biscuits. The party goes really well, only a few rages from Max and then a little accident of massively wetting himself on the grass as he couldn’t be arsed to go to the toilet. Standard. The only thing I had for him to change into was Ella’s luminous pink dress which he put on with no argument, in fact it matched his nails he wanted painting pink this morning. (At this stage he has a striking resemblance to Jim Carey in Ace Venturer Pet Detective when he is admitted to that hospital in a pink tutu). Eventually it’s past bedtime, so tired and wired we walk home. Max has his Thomas bike helmet on with the pretty dress and I can feel people looking at us, sod it we are nearly home. Get there and find there are no keys to be seen. SHIIIIIIIIIT!!! Phone Vicky, they are not at their house, phone mum she’s out walking the dog she can be here in about half an hour- then I remember I went to Tesco earlier. Sure enough when I phone the keys are there. Relief flooded through me but now I have to walk them back round to pick them up. Max protests wildly, Penny starts crying- her nappy is bordering on a social services referral- did I not change it at Vicky’s?? So allowing the kids to eat the entire content of their party bags we manage to walk round, Max shouting and screaming and constantly lifting his dress up when he has no underwear on, still wearing the bike helmet and no bike. Me, the definition of scatty mum in Tesco’s while the kids scream for chocolate as their food has run out from the party bags. Im too relieved to care. Home we go, bath and bed for all 4 of us. On the plus side, at least its not raining.

And so half term done and back to nursery. Now I can’t pretend this doesn’t give me butterflies of excitement, but that said I can genuinely say I have enjoyed half term. Its been a rocky road but the laughs have out weighed the cries (obviously we are not counting Max’s tantrums here) and we have spent some great quality time together. And more importantly I have realised I can not only cope but can have a good time too even when Kev isn’t here. And for that, I think it deserves a large red.

Easter 2016

In anticipation of all the chocolate I’m eating over Easter, I booked a spin class Easter morning. I went last week for the first time and despite feeling like I may never move again, in a perverse way I enjoyed it. So with that in mind I had masses of guilt free chocolate the night before while preparing the Easter trail from the bunny which led from their bedrooms to a couple of presents on the hall then more little eggs leading to a collection of big eggs on the kitchen table. I was excited for their excitement.

So when the shouts and squeals start early next morning that the bunny has been I’m delighted to see its 6.55am, wow nearly 7am. Then I remember the clocks went forward but I pretend they have slept in and keep the dream alive that we are making progress. Max cries he doesn’t like the wrapping paper, that he doesn’t want to get up (then please don’t??) and also he wants Ella’s present as his is rubbish- they are matching books and look identical. Keen not to start the day on a sour note the eggs are cracked open immediately before even leaving the bedroom and with a mouth of smarties Max is now my best friend and says I can come to his party.

We have some quality chocolate time in bed then when we run out we go downstairs. Max starts crying upon seeing half a chocolate rabbit whilst Ella has a full one. There is absolutely no reasoning with him and he won’t acknowledge that he stole his rabbit yesterday (from the poorly hidden bag of Easter goodies) and ate half of it under the table whilst I was dealing with Penny’s bum explosion. Screaming that I am a stupid old woman he throws himself back banging his head on he floor, I’m frantically trying to get a lamb hotpot done as well as pancakes and get to my spinning class as I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of sugar. Max is heavily crying now, snot dripping onto his chocolatey face, him then rubbing it and putting his chubby hands everywhere leaving a brown trail while I’m shouting all the eggs are going in the bin and what would the easter bunny think of such silly behaviour. They prob thinking the Easter bunny is full of shit seeing as though they were threatened with him not coming at least 500 times for naughty behaviour yet voila, a chocolate feast is left on Easter morning.

Ella is using the commotion to her advantage and shoves as much chocolate into her mouth as possible until anyone can stop her and Penny is just looking around thinking what is the deal with these hysterical people. Lamb is sticking to the pan, pancakes are burning, serves me right for telling Kev I can make more pancakes out the ingredients than him. Look at the time, spinning starts in twenty minutes. Bollocks. I text them and say I’m not gonna make it and vow I have to go for a run seeing as though the sun shining. Breakfast is actually a success (by our admittedly low standards) so I get out on the road. Five minutes in and it starts spitting, interestingly its not putting me off, its spurring me on. Then like something out of a sci-fi film it all goes dark and the most aggressive sideways rain hits me in the face like knives. I jog on the spot wondering whether to turn back. Now the thing is, this is my one half an hour away from the kids all day. Sod it I’m going for it. Onwards I go, pitying looks from dog walkers wearing cagoules and drivers actually slowing down staring at the mad woman looking like she’s been swimming in her clothes, while hurricane winds blow branches around me. Is it really Spring?! I actually can’t see much towards the end as rain has flooded my eyes. Eventually back home, of course there are now brilliant blue skies mocking me. In the shower my body feels so battered I don’t know if the water is cold or hot, it’s an extreme temperature either way. But do you know what, I am actually refreshed. My kids are happy to see me, my husband is impressed with my commitment and I am justified in eating more chocolate. Never thought I’d be one of those ridiculous people running in the rain with a smile on my face but that’s what being a full time mum to three young kids does for you. Not to say I would do it every day mind.

The rest of the day involved record amount of chocolate and sweets consumed. I put up no resistance (pot calling kettle and all) and as a result a lot of fun was had. Inevitably bedtime was a somewhat hideous ordeal. Both wired, Max running into wardrobes, jumping off his bed. Ella wanted someone ‘alive’ to stay with her as she couldn’t sleep, her doll just wouldn’t cut it. Ella then felt sick, Max had the runs, Mummy just wanted wine. All in all? On reflection it was a great Easter, same again next year and can’t wait.

Contradictions (Feb 2016)

It’s not unusual for me once the kids are in bed, to be found on the sofa with a large glass of red, maybe pint of fosters or glass of Bombay if I’m feeling posh, reflecting on the day, wondering where it’s gone wrong and how I can be a better parent tomorrow and keep myself together. I’ll google positive parenting strategies which I vow to follow from now on but which go out the window after I’ve been exposed to Max’s prolonged whinge or Ella’s sinister tactics.

But after a lengthly chat with the hubby (chat implies it was a two conversation when his standard response to my parenting concerns is ‘well they are kids aren’t they’), I analysed what I am actually saying to my kids and at best it is possibly a bit confusing and at worst downright contradictory. Any of these familiar?

Lennon, Heidi and Polly eat all their veg/ sit nicely at the table/ go to bed sensibly.
Well I’m not Polly’s mum/ you don’t live with Heidi/Lennon’s older than you.

No of course we are not having McDonald’s it’s bad for you.
Eat up all those chips as there is nothing else until teatime.

Don’t pick up sweets of the floor and eat them you will have tummy ache.

Oh that’ll be right, eat it up quick (dusting down a dropped sandwich)

Please don’t hit your brother come and tell me if he keeps being silly and ruining your game.
Oh for goodness sake stop telling tales I don’t need to know your every move!

You must tell mummy every time you need a wee so you don’t have accidents.
Seriously you need another wee that can’t be right, are you sure?

Yes next time we will bring wellies to the park so of course you can go in puddles.
Get out of that puddle it’s been raining solid for over a week, now you are soaking, how silly!

We don’t eat chocolate first thing in the morning do we, come on, let’s be sensible.
This does obviously not apply to mummy. Or daddy these days.

That is not how we talk, speak kindly STOP SHOUTING!!!!! Pot calling kettle maybe??

And then there were 3 (Feb 2016)

First email since being a mum of three and the godawful prompt was an after school pick up when really I should have been ready to happily embrace them after not seeing the older two all day- and I really thought I was?! I was looking forward to seeing them and decided to take them to playtown for tea as Kev was painting.

First bullshit incident came when I saw how many bags of wet clothes Max had, my spares plus nursery ones, he must be chapped from pissing himself so much, what’s the issue with toilets in nursery??

Then I see his little face so excited and that lifted me thinking it was because he saw me, but no, second bullshit followed as he told me there was a dummy in his bag. He hasn’t had it for a week or asked for it, so I grab it and say it must have gone. Max screams that I’m a liar and I’ve taken it and to give it him right now before he gets really cross. I say maybe later and he screams rigid on the floor. I’m gathering up bags, lunch boxes and piss stinking clothes trying to put in my pram under the abandoned Penny then Ella runs out of nursery (hopefully with Aunty Sam?!) Max then finds the dummy in my pocket and goes mental when I take it back (if he has it now he has it forever) the head teacher gets involves and confiscates it and we walk (Max is dragged) out.

Step in dog poo on the way to car. Bullshit incident number three. Can’t count the rest, things snowball massively downhill.

Finally get in the car, say I’ve got a surprise we are going playtown for tea. Max screams he wants to have soup at home so we settle for soup at Nans and get Ella a portion of chips and some party rings (no standards it’s not even Friday).

Max falls asleep despite me trying to wake him up with ridiculous high pitched, desperate, false promises of no birthday presents. No wonder he doesn’t give a shit what I say. That’s bedtime f*****.

Get to Nans, Penny’s overdue a feed, not that she’s kicking off but need to get it in her as her next bottle is at 7 and she needs to take it all to get the most sleep out of her. No clean bib so we have to use a wet one covered in sick and snot. Hope it’s from today. Shout at Ella for eating her chips on the couch telling her she’s not an animal and to wait. Slight overreaction. Heat Max his soup up, cue screaming he’s not eating it he doesn’t like soup, Ella shares her tea while Max complains about everything as they both make me feed them while I’m feeding Penny the most disjointed feed imaginable. Then Penny has mass dirrhoea so her pants are ruined and vest a bit wet. She has the rest if her bottle with bare legs. No change of clothes packed in bag ready for such a situation, she’s the third child. Max is crying about his soup, don’t even know if it’s because he does or doesn’t want it, it’s all mixed in with the snot down his face and looks like someone’s punched him in the nose.  No one is eating tea so I say to get down then in a mood I spill the tomato soup all over the table. I put Penny down (bare legged) on a cold floor to sort it out, grab the party rings off Max and say he’s only having one, we have a fight over the packet which rips open and biscuits come smashing out, me trying to get them out of the tomato soup screaming this was bloody ridiculous and the kids scrambling on the floor for broken biscuits like stray dogs.

They run off and I pick Penny up. Still in the damp vest and bare legs. I flick the heating on. Max shouts for Paw Patrol so I put it on then he screams he wants the ‘Alex giant’ one, thinking I may explode if I hear his whinge again I quickly try and put it on but press delete!! Wtf. More screaming then fighting, Max aggressively says to me ‘oh you stupid woman’ (potential direct quote from mummy’s road rage) more false threats from the harassed and slightly hysterical mother so the biscuits come back out, everyone on my knee fighting with each other watching ‘the wrong’ Paw Patrol.

Another accident by Max on my knee, a turbulent bathtime, then an anything but smooth transition to the car, I blast One Direction and they start singing like they don’t have a care in the world and I have to smile. Could be worse hey?!

Good news is, they break up for half term tomorrow.

The Library (June 2015)

After not feeling too sick for a few days I decided I need to get back into a routine with the kids and start eating healthier and doing more regular cheap activities. To combine this I made a plan to go to the health shop and then to the library to join with the kids. This would then become an activity we will do each week, which is free and educational.

So we get on the bus there (to make it more exciting) which is a lot harder than it looks with a 2 and 3 year old but we manage and get there and off to Holland and Barratts, Max screams all the way round and its full of peaceful health people who are staring at him clearly put out but I get the kids some snacks, get the hell out and think, could have been worse. We then get to the library. Again its not so bad, lots of nice talking to the kids in a high pitch voice about how amazing the library is, sit down and have a couple of stories, then my kids run off and I’m sat telling stories to other kids who are much more interested and generally nicer than mine. Ella then latches onto a grandad and his grandson (she’s gunning for granddads at the moment, in Jollies last week I heard a commotion, a given my kids would be involved and Ella is doing pileys on a 75 year old man who is just sat with his very sweet young grandson) anyway, back to the library, she sings over every nursery rhyme he is trying to read and copying all this 1 year old babies behaviour, crawling, grabbing books and throwing them and so of course Max joins in, both laughing loudly. We leave to register, each getting their own library card, Ella starts telling a woman behind us in the queue that her book is disgusting and so I grab our books to take home for the week and sharply exit. They both seem quite excited about this and I smile walking through the sunshine and nip to the supermarket for things for tea. Both acting like angelic children I think wow what a great afternoon, how lovely to be a full time mum in the sunshine, 18 weeks pregnant and feeling well again.

We get to the bus stop and realise I’d got a return for the X2 so had to wait quite a bit for the next one. The bus stop fills up fast and I start to panic. It arrives and we get on, Max screams to get down and I have to fold my pram as the bus is rammed and a sign says I’m legally obliged to do so (with shopping on and various snacks and crap in the basket). I manage it and squeeze us onto two seats with the pram under our legs and try and speak in my calm Im Out In Public And Don’t Shout At My Kids voice, making happy observations out the window, trying desperately to project the image that I have control of these children. I am calm and I am not mad to be pregnant with these two to look after. We see another kid watching Peppa Pig on an iPhone and I smile smugly to myself at how wholesome I am with my kids engaged in library books and eating sugar free snacks (in truth they would fight over the phone if I got it out and it would end up being launched at an elderly persons head that is why is still in my bag).

Then its the stop before mine. I try an act in control and pull Max off my knee and put together the pram, the bus is rocking me from side to side, Max falls off the seat, I try and pick him up shushing him and put him in pram while helping Ella stand without falling. Max screams and an almighty tantrum starts, he wriggles out the pram at the stairs where people are waiting to get off, the rucksack falls off the handles and spills out, the doors are opening on the bus. I still have my calm voice on, people are asking if I need help, to which I politely decline, I karate chop Max into his seat and smile saying I’m fine but thanks, get off the bus, bouncing Max down the step as the driver didn’t lower it to the curb, nob, the wheel brackets snap off my pram into the gutter, Max slides out the front of the pram in absolute rage. Ella then runs off to the pedestrian crossing and I just give in and say loudly For Fuck Sake. In front of old people. I then walk off, take a deep breath and smile to myself thinking, well serves you right for thinking you had it all under control in the bus you silly bitch. Then I realise the shopping is on the bus all the way to Preston. I could have  cried. No tea for us (including Fudge who’s not eaten anything fresh for days) and more importantly no f****** array of nut butters, ground nuts, coconut flakes and coconut oil. Thats it I’ve had enough. What silly silly children, we are never going on the bus ever again you have ruined the day etc. I get in phone the depot, he phones me back and says he’s got them and he’ll put them on the next bus back to me, so a quick inappropriate tea of toast and crisps, bath and then walk to the bus stop to meet the driver looking like I’ve stepped straight out of Shameless complete with Ella with a nighty on and no knickers, saying she can’t hold her wee in and Max screaming to get back on the bus!! FML!!

Sat here writing Andy (from Preston depot) a thank you card and smiling at my nut butters, feeling for the first time in 4 months like I could murder a glass of wine. Think to myself I’ll go and have a calming bath and then realise that method if relaxation, my one salvation is out due to the bastard cervical stitch! So I’ll quit while Im ahead, have a shower and read my book in bed. Tomorrows another day . . .