HOW NOT TO HAVE A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

The general word on the street is that this here Christmas is causing an elf* of a lot of stress (*no apology for rubbish pun). Well, fear not! Like nits, Christmas has already happened in our house this year and if you DON`T do anything I did, you will have the Christmas that Hallmark movies are made of.

¨Christmas Eve¨

  1. 4:07pm: Think ¨What Would Santa Do? ¨and get overly friendly with a passing bottle of Port.IMG_4368

2.    7:26pm: Try to convince Boy 1 that due to an unexplained illness, Father Christmas` dietary requirements have now changed and only Prosecco and a chocolate version of himself will do and that Reindeer do in fact eat left over Chow Mein and Prawn Crackers.

3.    9:27pm: Send an emergency message to your Mum, as apparently Reindeer do not and will not ever eat Prawn Crackers, only carrots will do. Not Wotsits.

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4.    9:46pm: Boy 1 is finally appeased and agrees to go to bed. With you. Holding him tight. All night long. Mild panic sets in as does the Port. Try really hard to keep eyes open, this does not please and causes wails of  “He can seeeeeeeeeee, he can seeeee” Spotting the confusion in my hazy face, he elaborates “Father Christmas can see that YOU are still awake and he won’t come! Sleep Mummy, Sleeeeeeeeep. Don’t break Christmas, pleaaseeeeeee”

This delightful exchange goes on for about 37 minutes and a half.

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5.     10:31 and a half pm: Twas`the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring not even Boy 1, so you unravel yourself and promptly fall down the stairs. Which saves a whole 2o seconds, so all good.

6.      10:32pm:  Grapple around in the dark to find a pen for FC to leave a note. Only thing you can find is a rainbow crayon.

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7.      10:46PM: (Never underestimate how hard it is to write with a rainbow crayon) You bust out your ninja skills and start stealthily leaving presents under the tree

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8.    10.46pm: (Yes, really) “Mummmmmmmyyyyyyyy! YOU ARE SOOOO NOISYYYYYYYY” in-between sobs of “I can’t remember how to go to sleep, but YOU ARE SOOO NOISY, HE WILL NEVER COME! Stop throwing paper snowballs!” Note to self , to get an actual life in 2017, one which at least means your child will think you are doing something a bit off the cuff, rather than having a pretend paper snowball fight with yourself.

9.      10:47pm: Skulk upstairs and try and become friends with the angriest six year old on planet Earth. Fingers are waggled and stern reminders that if there are no presents in the morning, all 20 child fingers will be pointed at you.

¨Christmas Day¨

10.     Some time after midnight: Boy 1 is snoring, murmuring “Her, it was her..”, You peg it downstairs, wolf down a choc Santa and some carrots with a gulp of Prosecco and slouch wearily back up to your bed, not forgetting to set off the really loud singing christmas dog on your way.

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11.     12:37am: Boy 2 wakes up screaming with a very high temperature and a lot of snot. Spend quite a few hours with a wet flannel and very hot boy on your chest.

12.    04:06am: Boy 2 is asleep. As you put him into bed, you remember the freaking stockings. More stealth like stumbling ensues and you go back to bed feeling like you are bossing it.  All stations go for the big day in um.. not very long at all. Even so, you give yourself a huge smug pat on the back.

13.    04:32am: YES. Half past blinking four. In comes Boy 1 and he is smiling and excited and positively high on chocolate coins. Try to negotiate a reasonable time to open stockings and presents. Manage to get into some awful just popped out of the womb cycle of him sleeping for 3 minutes then waking howling about the injustice that is waiting, then sleeps again.

14.    05:16am: Tensions are high. You compromise and pull open a cracker with Boy 1. He turns on all the lights and reads the ¨joke¨. Laughter ensues, followed by more laughter and uncontrollable giggles. ¨Oh, Mummy. That’s soooo funny. The funniest ever! Listen!”

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You listen 9 times and then fall asleep laughing at the sweet, bright lighted irony.

15. 9:30am:  There was sleep!!! Everybody wakes up. Boy 2 has no recollection of being ill and seems to have had Duracell bunny fairy dust sprinkled over him. Paper is strewn, there’s genuine excitement at plastic tat, everyone bounds downstairs, you grab a coffee (bypassing the water and milk) and watch as there is destruction, delight and sheer unadulterated joy.  Theirs at the prezzies and yours that it is over for another year and then some!

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AN APOLOGY

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Dear Boy 1 & 2,

I just wanted to write to you both to apologise for not being “That Mum”. You know the one, the one I see  all three of us gazing at longingly, the one I’m not.

“That Mum” looks like she has just stepped out of a salon as she sashays past us with her two impeccably dressed children, speaking in a sing songy voice followed by bluebirds and sparkles. I however, am rocking the recently evicted from the jungle look. She´s nailing this, I´m not.

Space theme for Show and Tell? She’s been in touch with Tim Peake, he will land at approx 2pm to take the whole class for a quick whizz to the moon before home time, whilst you proudly present a soggy loo roll covered in glittery cling film cos´we ran out of foil, inspiration and wine.

Her house? Straight out of a shiny, coffee stain free magazine not like ours which is the stuff Channel 5 documentaries are made of.

Play dates? Minion shaped apple slices and a planned activity, none of this fighting over the Xbox and sharing a bonus fish finger that you found down the back of the sofa malarkey. I´m also pretty sure she doesn’t have to spend half of it consoling you because she invited the wrong “Max”.

Parties? She effortlessly throws together a Disney on Ice party in her bathroom and the cake is a life size Mickey Mouse rather than a poo-shaped sponge, made at 3:46am the day of the party and a peg basket instead of a piñata.

” That Mum” is the mum I thought I would be, the one I want to be when I’m growling at you both in a voice reminiscent of Chewbacca before his voice broke because we`ve lost something in the abyss that is our sticky lego filled  house, when we should have left the house 13 minutes ago.

I will never be “That Mum” but I will always be “This Mum” in my oversized knickers and three day old dry shampoo, ready to fight off dragons, ogres and sad days like a ninja, powered by the ridiculous immeasurable and unconditional wonky love I have for you two.

Thanks for your patience and for not trading me in for Match Attax cards,

love

“This Mum” x

 

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HOW TO UNLEASH YOUR INNER TEENAGER by a 36 year old

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This is a recent photo of me at my happiest.

I know, I know, you are all clamouring to know what my secret is. Well, you too can achieve the teenage angst look, complete with cap in one simple step; Move back in with your Mum! Simples.

Since September last year, I have been living at my Mum’s and it has been a learning curve (for both of us) and any surplus teenage angst I had from when I was um, actually a teenager is most definitely being used up.

So, how can you be as delightful as me?

Here are some essential changes I have made to my attitude;

1. CLOTHES – Yes, I know there’s a huge empty cupboard with clanking coat hangers, but my clothes are much happier on the floor. Preferably scrumpled and easy to reach. Don’t underestimate the ease of outfit planning when it’s all there in front of your eyes and a palm away.

2. DOORS –  I wasn’t born in a barn, but I have to leave all the doors open, at all times. Oh, unless somebody has dared express an opinion and I need to have a bit of a Slam. SLAM, SLAM, SLAM. It feels sooo good, so I’m going to do it a bit more, with a bit of a stomp mixed in too. SLAM, STOMP, SLAM, STOMP!  Feel much better now, thanks door.

3. ADVICE – Any advice given, especially if it’s extra logical and practical and really what I should probably do, will be promptly ignored, humphed at (see point 2) or argued with, It has to be MY idea, from MY head, when it suits ME. Even if that’s about 27 years later.

4. FOOD – I helped myself to some cheese, a few biscuits, a coffee,  two and a half crumpets and a yoghurt. Your point is?  To put it back after? Are you bonkers? How do I know if I’ve finished or not? I shall wait until everything  changes colour a bit and the ants come out, then I shall decide. Don’t dare intercept this process.

5. SPEAKING – I can hear you calling my name. But if I open my mouth to answer, I might be at risk of exhaustion and I need to preserve all my energy for whatsapping and looking at photos of people I don’t know on Facebook.

6. EFFORT – I made you a cup of tea. Isn’t that enough? You wanted me to take the teabag out? WHAT?!!! Some people are SOOOOOO unreasonable. (Cue, SLAM, STOMP, SLAM, STOMP.. SLAM)

7. WEATHER – I know it’s cold and raining and stormy ! Everybody was talking about it on their walls. A coat? Wellies? Umbrella? What? I shall go out in my thinnest thin clothes and call you by reversing the charges at 2.37 am when I get absolutely sodden and need a lift. OK?

 

 

 

 

p.s – A ginormous THANK YOU to my Mum for putting up with me and putting me up xxxx

 

 

 

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MOVING ON TO 2016

If I were some sort of boffin and had to produce a diagram representing 2015, it would look a bit like this;

 

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It’s a pie chart, not a bejazzled acorn…

 

But as moving on seems to have been a bit of a theme this year, I am going to wave off 2015 and gallop (possibly stumble) into 2016 with gusto. I´m not making any resolutions as I will lose the piece of paper I wrote them on, or it will be used for snot or other child sized bodily fluids. However, I think if the boys had to make my resolutions for me, they would probably go a bit like this;

  1. Chill out about punctuality; It’s so last year. It’s really ok if we turn up late for school, there’s no rush as long as we show our faces before 3pm, it’s cool.
  1. Stop pretending you’re trying to find a screwdriver in the cupboard under the stairs, we know you’re downing tubes of Smarties and scoffing Pom Bear Crisps. Come out of the cupboard and share the love.
  1. Bedtime? Playing on the Wii time limits? Forget about them; there is no need. Your world (ours) will be a better place without them.
  1. Save money by ditching the green stuff on the weekly food shop. Replace it with Kinder Surprises. (Toy and food – nutrition and pleasure -bargain!) it’s much better for our souls than veg.
  1. Stop saying No. Replace with “Yes of course!“ at all times.
  1. Embrace the small triumphs. We see how hard you try to overcome hurdles like getting into your most definitely last year´s size Your routine needs a bit of tweaking, but even if you need a bit of a rest afterwards your perseverance is admirable.
  1. Don’t beat yourself up about the effect you and Daddy separating is having on us. We are excited about having two places to live and all the (guilt presents) stress-free fun times we’re going to have with two much happier parents.
  1. Enjoy 2016 and take (add to our collection of plastic crap) each day at a time.

 

 

 

*A huge hearty thanks to everybody who contributed to the green sparkliness..

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IT’S EMOTIONAL, BUT IT’S WORTH IT!

 

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According to a survey of 2000 UK mums carried out by Nurofen for Children, when asked how they found the first year of parenthood and the emotions they experienced, the answers were these;

1. Tiring 69%
2. Love 59%
3. Amazing 48%
4. Fatigued 46%
5. Joyful 44%
6. Stressful 43%
7. Hard 38%
8. Chaotic 36%
9. Lonely 29%
10. Wonder 29%
I am now in my sixth year of parenthood and I experience these emotions daily, normally all of them in the space of the school run (please replace run with very slow dawdling, tantrum filled walk)
Here is my breakdown of those emotions in order of appearance.
1- Fatigued;
 This is how I feel before I even wake up. Luckily we have a faulty stormtrooper alarm clock that flashes and screams to bring us out of our warm peaceful cocoons and fall into reality with a bump and a bit of a grump.
2-Amazing;
It is truly AMAZING that every morning we go through the same groundhog day rigmarole of groans, moans, breakfast complaints (who knew that if you ignore your shreddies until 30 seconds before you need to leave, they turn into a large congealed lump?) strops, refusal to put our coat on , remembering we need a poo as we are leaving, crying that we still don’t have a car (this is mostly from me) , hilarity that Mummy has something unidentified stuck to her nose and is still in her slippers.
3-Stressful;
 Yes, education is necessary and all that. But there is SO much to remember of a day! Packed lunches, one with crusts, one without. Money for toast, money for mufti day, money just in case. Homework. Readers. Socks. School monkey… If you leave the house with less than six bags, you have most definitely forgotten something.
 4-Hard;
 When it’s -6 outside and the boys are clamoring for a day off, it is incredibly hard not to bribe them all the way to school, with two packs of smarties and a creme egg. ( There is a small possibility this might have happened …..)
5-Chaotic;
 Baggage, children, busy roads, knotty hair and all the rest makes the time before school ever so slightly chaotic, factor in a Mum who hasn’t managed her 3 coffees yet and chaos is rife.
6-Lonely;
 It is so easy to feel that you are in this alone, especially when you walk past the other parents with their beautiful glowing faces and perfectly behaved pristine children and pull along book bags. DO NOT BE FOOLED! A quick survey conducted via whatsapp in the last 2 minutes amongst some of my closest parent friends, shows that we are all in this congealed cereal state together. I promise!
7-Tiring;
 Having the same conversation about how you don’t have Inspector Gadget arms or Superman biceps and can’t carry both children over your shoulders (45+ kilos of combined child weight) at once, does get a tad tiring, but it’s apparently a necessary part of our daily walk.
8-Joyful;
 This is how you feel when you have got to the playground and handed them over to people in a position of much more responsibility of you, you walk away with a positive spring  in your step, you did it! Hooray! this process doesn’t need to be repeated for another 23 hours . The joy is immense!
9-Wonder;
 This is what goes through your mind along with fear, when you hear the teacher and your eldest son  calling, yelling your name. You are a millimeter away from the school gate.. but you turn back , to see your son telling you that he forgot to tell you something really important. Worry sets in that you have forgotten something vital like … well you can’t think of it , cos’ you haven’t had your coffees…
10-Love;
 The eldest didn’t run out to tell you off for not putting enough ham in his sandwich, he has run to tell you that he in fact loves you , more than Lego. You melt into a puddle of unhinged parental emotion, he skips off happily , oblivious to the fact that despite your grumbling, you would in fact do the school run a zillion times a day if it meant that every now and again, you get the biggest confidence boost ever.
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to blog about a specified subject or review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have been entered into a prize draw to win a £100 voucher as a token of thanks for this post”.
 

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THE VIRGIN NATIVITY

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“Twas` a few weeks before Christmas and all over the country,
Parents were elbowing their way into the na-tiv-it-yyyyyyyyy”

“Fear not….” said I… Um, I shall stop there with my shoddy parodic ( is that a word? ) attempts. This week I went to my first school nativity as a parent and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time, (possibly too much of an insight into my  non-existent  social life).

The highlights for me were;

1. Mary getting in a strop with Joseph and avoiding all eye contact whilst maintaining a distance of 65 cm from him, throughout the whole play.

2. The Narrator yawning her way through her script.

3. All the children standing up to sing; only the wrong CD is in the sound system and nobody noticing until the chorus.

4. The camel coming on with the shepherds and the donkey with the Angel Gabriel.

5. The innkeeper (aka Boy 1) forgetting he is on stage and having a cheeky pick of his nose and a nibbled of his fingernails and doesn’t realise all the other innkeepers have gone back to their seats.

6. The waving. The waving was the BEST bit! I LOVE how the most important thing for all the performers  is waving and stopping mid performance to greet their family and ask why they didn’t bring the hamster.

7. How everybody was having the best time ever. It’s like looking in on a fancy dress party, where the guests get drunker and drunker , sing with gusto, getting more and more out of tune and flapping their towels and bashing each others with their wings, before tripping up over their costumes and ending up in a huge love fueled hug, costumes in tatters but comradery lighting up the room like a slightly flickering guiding star….

Please accept my apologies and offerings of Gold, Frankenstein (another Nativity classic) and Myrrh for turning into an official Nativity bore   addict. My name’s Beth, I’m 36 and I’m not sure I´m going to last 364 days, 16 hours and 26 minutes until the next one. Anybody got a ticket going spare for theirs?

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A blogging brilliant day!

Just in case I haven’t mentioned it enough on social media or to anyone who has crossed my path (no matter how random), I went to Mumsnet Blogfest 2015 on Saturday and it was out of this world AMAZING! I went there like an overly excited teenager allowed out for the first time with no curfew (I even emptied my bag of squashed bananas and pants but seemed to miss the transformers poster, loo roll and a wind-up super Mario) and I left floating on inspiration, coffee, amazing line-ups and a few and a half bubbles or four.

TEN THINGS I LEARNT FROM BLOGFEST 2015

  1. If you have really bad circulation, don’t forget your super duper thermal tights, underwear and portable duvet as it will probably snow on your way there. IMG_3310

(I know it looks suspiciously like dandruff , but I promise it really did snow!… honest…..)

2. You will feel incredibly extra important when handed your name badge. You have an identity! You’re nobody’s Mum for the whole day, well you obviously are, but nobody is going to come and wipe their snot on your face or cry because you took the stairs and not the escalator (Unless you are extremely unlucky)

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3. The line-up was overwhelmingly amazing, just incredible. I was a star-struck fan during every talk, presentation and session, hanging on to every word like an over amorous monkey.

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4. That we are our own worst enemy. We need to believe in ourselves and big ourselves and everybody else up daily, if not hourly. ( I wanted to write minute-ly but it didn’t look right; as you can see.)

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5. Everybody has a story to tell and there are some incredibly brave people out there and if by sharing your experiences it helps just one person then you’re doing a better than great job.

6.You won’t go hungry or thirsty; the food was out of this world delicious , coffee was on tap and there was a whole table dedicated to puddings and chocolate. AMAZING!

(There are no photos of the food as I was too busy snaffling it up and whistling the tune to Gojetters when people commented on how fast the chocolate cakes were going)

7. Margaret Atwood got up at 4:44am her time, (US) to talk to us via live link. She rocks!

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(She’s on the screen! Looking over us all! Amazing!)

*Please excuse rubbish out of focus photos, I was too giddy with excitement and couldn´t stop wobbling! 

8. The team who organise Blogfest have magic powers. From the outside, it  looked flawless, they were unflappably awesome and very helpful and patient when dealing with slightly lost and confused bloggers. (I’m talking about “my friend” of course)

9. I may have a teeny tiny columnist crush on one of the speakers, who in his book “How to be Beth´s a husband” wrote an ace message and it is one that was reiterated by every speaker and panelist. Nobody ever made it big through watching Homes under the Hammer or This Morning.. (Note to self to tell afore mentioned “friend” from point 8….)

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10. Take seven and a half incredibly large suitcases to house all the amazingly fab goodies you will end up with including a ping pong ball, a swanky Boden brolly, posh body lotions and a jar of festive mayonnaise and LOADS of chocolate. Unfortunately,  there is no photographic evidence as I was pounced on whilst walking  in though the door by two over zealous hooligans who ran off with my loot , leaving me with nothing but my name badge. (“Why doesn’t it say Mu-mm-eeeee? Who’s Bet-Han?”).

IMG_3393“They showed no remorse.”

10b: Don’t be put off by the price. It is worth every single penny. If you saw any of those speakers on their own, you would pay the ticket price for each show, also if you ate and drank the quantity that’s on offer, you would spend six times that. I had to bully  ask various family members for the ticket and train fare as my Christmas present and I shall forever be indebted. While we’re on the topic, If anybody’s stuck for ideas for my birthday……

 

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YOU’RE WHAT?!!!

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When I had two children under two, and people dared ask me how I was. ( A dangerous question to ask any parent at the best of times.) To save the enquirer from a badly scripted episode of Eastenders meets Show me Show me (your leaky boobs and sore bits) I replied with “Tired!” one word, that is all. To which they would  reply  “Oh! You’re always tired!” and waltz off with sparks of wide awakeness turbo power shooting off their trainers.

At the time I was too blinking zonked to muster a reaction, four and a half years later I am still tired but I think familiarity numbs the pain so it kind of moulds into your grey face and you wear it like pants, necessary but not always comfortable.

 WHAT TIRED MEANS

You catch sight of Ronald Macdonald on smack in the rear view mirror and remember you haven’t washed off the make over you were given by the nearly 2 year old and the dogs three days earlier.

Instead of people cooing into the pram they are giving you sympathetic looks, not because they feel your sleepless pain but because you have a pair of George Pig pants on your head.

If you do manage to shower, you will probably do so at least 3 times in the space of seven minutes as you can’t actually remember if you did or not.

Trying to breastfeed the non breastfeeding toddler and wondering why the new born is refusing Thomas the Tank Engine spaghetti shapes.

Making plans to meet somebody for coffee , getting ready early, putting your coat on, sitting down to feed the newborn and put the toddler’s shoes on. You taste the fresh hot coffee , you savour the hilarious adult conversations then you wake up to 27 missed calls , a jumping Yo Gabba Gabba DVD and the local cavalry hammering at the door.

Taking it personally  that not everybody likes mushed carrots and Weetabix for dinner.

Putting big boy pants on the 3 month old and a nappy on the potty trained one and not realising until in the middle of a very hot and busy IKEA.

Even if your dress is on back to front and inside out. You need to be given praise! Flowers, knighthoods, trophies. You made it out of the house, Woop! You rock!

Worrying you are entering new levels of eyesight problems, before remembering you are showering with your glasses on.

Bursting into tears when a child falls over or sings, especially if it isn’t yours.

Being annoyed by everybody and anything. Especially the person who is 50 per cent responsible for the state you’re in.

When somebody says “Rest when they are sleeping” you are enjoying the image of doing your most ninja powered moves directly where it hurts and then you realise you might actually have carried them out and are too knackered to run.

Forgetting you drove to the supermarket and wondering why you forgot the sling and pram whilst carrying two wriggly, hungry, screaming children home, which is a long way away.

Taking a photo of the two cars parked either side of yours and sending an SOS whatsapp to anybody in the vicinity to please come and get your car out of the squeeze.

Listening to veterans of parenthood, who promise that it really is all worth it and realising that they are possibly most definitely right.

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Do it your selfie

I don’t really do selfies. Not as a rule but in general I try to avoid seeing what I look like of a day as to not feel guilty about the sight I am inflicting upon others. (Think Wurzel Gummage crossed with an overly tired moomin). Although it might be handy if I did do selfies more regularly to avoid going out with Mr Tumble stickers stuck to my forehead and also to realise that my dress was on back to front ALL DAY LONG.

However, the other night whilst perusing my phone it came to my attention that one of us, namely Boy 2 is quite the selfie pro. So here are a few pointers to get the perfect one;

1. Steal a phone.

2. Try the easiest combination of numbers ever like 1234 to crack the password and you’re in. (If the phone’s owner is on the clever side then try it backwards.)

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3. The most important thing to take into account is that your fringe is perfectly aligned. This will give body to your photos, ignore the centre box on the screen. Follow your fringe. Always.

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4. Create an air of mystery. No need to properly open your eyes or change your facial expression.

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5. If you do move away from the safety of your fringe, then don’t forget to focus on your nose, it adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” aspect to your shots.

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6. Repeat and repeat at least a zillion times, until you find the perfect one which is no mean feat!

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UNCONDITIONALLY CONDITIONED

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There is a simple reason why the love you have for your children is unconditional; If a friend, relation, acquaintance or complete and utter stranger did half the things your child does (and gets away with), you would either unfriend (is that even a real word?), report or bust out some serious kung-fu moves on them.

A few examples;

When riding on your shoulders, gleefully announcing “ I’m not going to fall because I’m holding on to your chins…”

Projectile vomiting in your mouth, pooing in your shoes and weeing in your eye.

Trashing your whole entire house, leaving a trail of unidentifiable substances and breaking the door handle with a hearty laugh and then refusing to tidy up, accept responsibility or pass you the gin.

Delving into your top and only being satisfied when both boobs are properly out, with nothing to do and nowhere to go and then walking away pointing and chanting “Boobs, Boobs, Boobs !”.

Rolling around on the floor screaming that the noodles should have been on the left of the plate, not the right and demanding something else.

Waking you up at 2.36am with an urgent order of water, warm milk, cold milk, water again and a ham sandwich cut into squares NOT circles.

Proclaiming loudly that you are not in fact their mum, but their horrible wicked stepmother who gives them poisonous apples for breakfast.

Snuggling up to you on the sofa and wiping their snot away on your face.

Suggesting that instead of going away for one night, you go away forever and ask a doctor for a new boy.

Asking you why you`re still wearing  pyjamas, when you thought you looked quite hip in your new starry jumpsuit.

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