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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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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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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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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WHO DUNNIT?

Last week at a party ( for the under fives),  my “friend” did a silent but incredibly violent trump. Cue, parents flocking from the darkest corners of bunting clad trees to check their offspring´s bottoms, nappies, pockets,. “Strewth!” exclaimed one dad ( or words to that effect) “That was nuclear!” coughed another. My”friend” , feeling quite proud of her skills decided to keep mum (literally).

This led me my friend to conjure up a list of the top five situations where it’s morally acceptable to blame it on the kids.

1.  Nails; When you are incapable of painting your nails without it resembling an effort from a chimpanzee using its bottom to hold the brush.

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The boys did it? How cute!

 

2. When your house resembles this multiplied by 7;

 

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Easier to say that the kids were nutters and you literally haven’t had a moment to breathe, let alone wash up. Nobody needs to know that the boys were brilliant and you spent the afternoon watching Bananaman, whilst sipping cooking wine from a mug.

 

3.  Cakes; When you have to take a cake somewhere and this happens.

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In this case, you don’t need to use your faithful scapegoats as it will just be automatically presumed that your recently out of the womb child made it.

 

4. The state of you ;  

When the children are small, it’s socially acceptable to go out covered in unidentifiable substances and look like you have just landed from another planet without a parachute. It’s also ok to have no concept of what you are wearing. The important thing is that you’re dressed and out . Well done you! Don’t have a raincoat or umbrella? No problem, a bin bag will do.

 

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Although easier to point the finger at the boys for lack of time etc… It gets a bit dubious when they look like they have just  stepped out of a catalogue and are constantly asking why you’re wearing dressing up clothes.

** There is a small possibility that I was on my own in above photo, and the boys were in fact fast asleep in another part of the country…

 

5. When you cut your child’s fringe; 

 

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To avoid being reported to the National Society for  the prevention of Hair Crimes. Much easier to say that they mistook their hair for a piece of paper.

* For some reason unbeknown to me and the rest of the human race, Boy 1 thinks this is the best fringe ever. (I think having my fringe as a point of reference has helped…)

 

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LOST IN SPACE

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It would seem that the following concepts are completely alien to Boy 1 and Boy 2;

1. NOW; Used to depict a sense of urgency, i.e; “We have to leave NOW, we’re already super late” or “Stop playing NOW and help tidy up.”

On their planet, NOW is interpreted as a time at least 47 minutes later, sometimes even 47 hours or days. There`s no need to rush, ever.

2. PERSONAL SPACE; Used to describe a healthy distance between two people, especially when a cup of coffee is needed or you are on the loo, doing what you do.

On their planet this means it’s the perfect occasion to clamber, kiss, style hair using toothpaste, demand a story, ask to see what’s in the loo and why…

3. BOY 2 HAS WON; Used to explain to Boy 1 that Boy 2 has scored the most goals, got the most cards, trumped the loudest or run the fastest.

On BOY 1`s planet (this is where there’s a bit of friction between planets), the fact that he landed on planet Earth, 19 months and 27 days before BOY 2, means that he is ALWAYS the winner. Always. Even if he isn’t playing.

4. “AIM IN THE LOO!” means “Please try not to wee on the seat, next to the seat, on the floor, all over the bath, in the sink and on the ceiling.”

On their planet this means “Please, please, please be angels and wee on the seat, next to the seat, on the floor, all over the bath, in the sink and on the ceiling.

5. HANG ON A SECOND, I’M TALKING ; Used to describe a situation where you can’t (lo and behold) give your full attention right away because you are (double lo and behold) engaged in a conversation with somebody else. (If you’re incredibly lucky, that somebody else may be over the age of 5. Imagine!)

On their planet this means ” I can’t talk to you until you whip my leggings and pants down in public, because I love it when everybody gets a glimpse of what lies beneath”

6. IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME!; Used to demonstrate that there is absolutely NO difference between the toy/biscuit/lump of mud they each have in their hands.

On their planet they hear “His is much better than yours, please pummel each other to the ground until you are satisfied with the one you have”

7. “SHHHHH, IT’S A SECRET/SURPRISE”; Generally used to mean keep it to yourself. I.e; don’t tell everybody.

On their planet this means “Tell everybody and make doubly sure you don’t leave anybody out.”

8. NOT NOW; Used to answer questions such as “Please can I eat these 6 jumbo sized chocolate bars I stole from the fridge?” or “Please can we belly flop fully dressed into the paddling pool?”

On their planet it means “Yes of course, there would be no better time than right this very moment.”

 

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SEVEN MINUTES OF “ME” TIME

The boys are playing happily. To celebrate this rare but much welcomed moment do I ;

a) Skip merrily to the fridge and pour myself a goblet or three of wine?

b) Jump in a bubbling bath whilst listening to panpipe versions of music from a life before?

c) Tackle the drawer of doom?

Being a fool, I choose option C. Although I must admit that it is more appealing than listening to Panpipe cover versions. (Note to self, never be a quiz writer)

Here is pictorial evidence of the drawer of doom:

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Look closer, there’s something with deadly tentacles …

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The dull reality is that there are masses and masses of piles like this one:

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(Slightly elated that the missing for a very long time tv control has been found)

Anyway, the point of this post is that in my 7 minute de-doom the drawer plan, I didn´t account for the following SEVEN interruptions:

1. Boy 1 has a nosebleed, a never-ending nosebleed, over himself, over the floor, in the drawer of doom. I have it under control , only for him to catch sight of himself in Dora the Explore’s camcorder and all hysteria breaks out.

2. Boy 2 and Neighbour’s son, have a fight because they can’t find the treasure they buried in the sandpit, or remember what it was

3. Boy 1 announces he will only recover from excessive bleeding if I give him a snack. But it has to be the same as his friend Nil’s. The identity of this snack is however, a secret and I have to guess what it is. I still haven’t guessed …

4. Boy 2 has a nosebleed. (Who knew they were contagious?)

5. (Not-so)-Super Mario is stuck on a rock and can’t get on his pony. I am called in to unstick him, which i do but then promptly get him killed by one of those shooting flowers. My popularity is not booming at the moment.

6. Bedtime, there was also dinner too but they gave up on me and helped themselves to weetabix (6 each). I followed the trail of milk to discover this, and they were quite impressed by my detective skills. (Slowly clawing back at being Mum of the moment). Bedtime, Boy 2’s room, was full of rubbish from the drawer. “You’ve made my room really messssssssyyyyy!” He says happily, on realization that he can’t get into his bed, or the drawer or the floor. He spends the night in my bed. Whilst I work out where various bits of plastic have come from , and about midnight end up chucking it all back in and change furniture around.

7. (A whole 7 hours later) I am awoken by shuffling and scraping and harrumphing. Boy 2 is not happy with new room layout and is single handedly trying to move everything back to “like before, Mummy. Just like befoooore”

Moral of the story? Always choose option A. Always.

 

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