Monday, 22 December 2014

Week 167- communal singing, Frozen and drinking on a school night...

Hangovers and small children, eh?

They're fun, aren't they?

So I'm sitting off in the cinema with my three year old, watching Frozen. The sing along version. 

The only difference between this and the original is the karaoke style words at the bottom of the screen. 

Oh. And it's a fiver more expensive than normal screenings.

Communal singing is evocative at the best of times. 

But imagine a cinema full of under 10s, all unselfconsciously belting out the sound track to their short lives.

It was something else.

And when 'Let It Go' started, two girls no older than six, both dressed in identical Elsa dresses, pushed passed their mums and, drawn like moths to light, ran towards the screen.

They were not only singing, but miming all the actions. Throwing their imaginary cloaks off. Fashioning themselves a dress of ice. Stamping their feet as they built a majestic ice castle. 

It was then that I realised that, two days after having a few festive drinks, I still hadn't shaken off the hangover.

I was crying. 

Like literally blubbing my face off as I watched two children I didn't know reenact a film I've seen at least 50 times.

And then I turned to my daughter. And she was singing with her eyes closed. 

That finished me off. 

I was having a shoulder-shaking beal, totally overwhelmed by how wonderful it was to see children as yet unaffected by embarrassment. Or judgement. Who were having the absolute time of their lives singing to their favourite songs.

And I thought that I should make a New Years resolution to join a choir. 

Be brave. 

Be inspired by these brilliant little people who take such joy in just singing their hearts out.

Either that or I should stop drinking Sambuca on a school night. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Week 168- Fagin, Christmas wish lists and Barbie dog turds...

I am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of crap that’s being advertised on TV for children this Christmas.

In between Peppa Pig and Toby’s Travelling Circus, there is a stream of not-so-subliminal messages telling my daughter how much happier she’d be if she was the proud owner of a whole heap of brightly coloured, plastic landfill debris.

From princess dresses made with material so cheap that you can’t stand anywhere near an open flame, to Barbie dolls complete with handbag, dogs that shit and an accompanying pooper-scooper accessory, with the strapline ‘Anything is possible’.

Seriously?

Picking up Barbie’s dog turd is meant to pass as entertainment these days?




Luckily, my daughter is just a tad too young to realise that she is the target audience and they’re trying to sell her stuff. She watches with frustration while complaining, ‘We’ve seen this programme, mummy.’

Her list for Father Christmas is innocently short.

She wants a pink yoyo and a packet of Smarties. Oh, and a green yoyo for her baby brother for when he’s older.

Although I feel like Fagin in the festive cheer stakes, I’m just going to suck it up this year.

I can’t imagine there are going to be too many more Christmases when I can trade good behaviour for a present so small that they don’t even charge P and P for delivery on Amazon.

Don’t miss the next You Can Take Her Home Now post: 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Week 167- They're boobs. Get over it.

What is the obsession with breastfeeding mothers?

Seriously.

Everywhere you look it seems someone’s banging on about whether women should cover up, be more discreet, or sit in a corner to feed their child.

How’s about we just don’t say anything.

Don’t cast judgement.

Don’t offer up alternatives, like covering a breastfeeding mother with what looks like a massive tablecloth as a waiter recently did to a mum feeding her 12-week-old baby in Claridge’s.

Don’t make stupid comparisons like the King of Neanderthals, Jeremy Clarkson, who likened breastfeeding in public to taking a piss in full view of the general public.

Just don’t. Say. Anything.

Anyone who’s breastfed a child knows it can be a nightmare.

You’re desperate for your baby to latch on, but the chances are that your nipples are blistered at best; bleeding and infected at worst.

Before you’ve even left the hospital, the breastfeeding police have been round to check you’re doing it right, and often won’t let you go home until you’ve ‘proved’ you’ve got the hang of it. 

So there’s that.

There’s also the slight disadvantage that you can’t negotiate with a baby.

You can’t say, ‘hang on a minute mate, I know you’re hungry, but how’s about holding on for a minute until I can find an appropriate, inoffensive corner to sit in to feed you?’

It can be a messy, uncomfortable experience, punctuated with milk-soaked breast pads and cheesy smelling bras if you’ve stumbled in a knackered fug from day-to-night wearing the same nursing bra until you realise the bottom-of-the-fridge smell that’s been following you round is actually you.

And when you do get the hang of it, there’s no guarantee that your baby is going to stay feeding for any length of time once they’ve started.

I have, on more than one occasion, been feeding my son whilst messing about on my phone or reading a magazine in a café, only to realise that he’s nodded off and I’m sitting there, tits out.

The point is, and I know this is so painfully obvious it makes me want to shoot myself in my own face for even having to say it, but breastfeeding is natural.

It is feeding. 

Feeding a baby that would otherwise be hungry.

Women are not getting their breasts out for the sexual gratification of men. I mean, seriously, who gets a boner over that?

Women are not doing it to offend other people. Or to make a statement.

They are simply feeding their children when they are hungry.

So, Jeremy Clarkson, Nigel Farage, Claridge’s staff and anyone else for that matter who wants to pass judgement on breastfeeding women.

Try saying nothing. This isn’t the 70’s. You’re not Benny Hill.

When the thought pops into your head to open your mouth or put pen to paper. 

Don’t.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Week 166- Heart FM, service stations and rediculously long car journeys....

We've been on a car journey today that took seven hours when really it should have taken five, at worst. 

Over an hour and a half of this was spent in a service station negotiating with a three-year-old that if she needed the loo, now would be the time to go and not when we were back on the M1.

But the thing that made me feel like my brain was going to melt out my ear was the relentless questions. 

Well, one question in particular.

'Are we nearly there yet?'

OH. MY. GOD.

I thought it was a cliche that children asked that. On repeat. Continuously. 

Turns out it's not. 

Thank God for Heart FM and ear phones. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Week 165- boring games, payday loans and babyccinos...

I used to think people who went to the same places on holiday every year were completely unimaginative. 

Why would you want to stay in the same hotel, see the same staff, eat in the same cafés and visit the same beaches year on year? 

Because it's easy and there are no surprises. I now get it.

I have, without realising it, become a complete creature of habit since having children. 

Unfortunately my habits don't stretch to an annual trip to Marbella.

I just go to the same cafés and sit at the same tables and order the same drinks.

It's like lack of sleep (aaaaahhh! Not the dreaded sleep deprivation chat again...) has sucked out any ability to think creatively. 

So I stumble from one overly familiar situation to another. 

For example, there's a new market that's opened near our house. Its full of exciting, interesting stalls and shops.

On the first day I went to have an explore with the children. 

We sat at the first cafe we came to and had a coffee and a babyccino (I feel a deep self-loathing every time I ask for a babyccino, like I've got 'TWAT' tattooed across my forehead.) 

This is now the cafe we go to every time we visit the market. 

It turns out, out of the 10 or so other cafés in the 20 metre radius, this one is by far the most expensive, with a cheese sandwich coming in at a payday-loan high of 5 pounds.  

But I can't make my brain deactivate and sit anywhere else.

The poor children have become a product of this inability to think creatively. If at all.

We play a pitiful number of games on rotation. 

There are three parks we go to. 

Meals are beyond dull, and I've inadvertently ignored 90% of their story books in favour of a small number of tales which my daughter now knows off-by-heart and corrects me when I miss a word out.

I need to mix it up a bit.

I'm not talking skydiving for kids, but I need to break some routines before we all die of boredom.

Either that or take out a second mortgage to afford the lunches in the most expensive cafe in Brighton. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Week 164- weaning, vomitting and the yoga teacher voice...

Weaning a second child should be a doddle. 

You've already done it once. 

Gone through the huge panics that they will never digest a full meal. Watched in horror as they, for the seventh consecutive day, suck in their lips so you're basically smearing puréed butternut squash all over their face in the hope that by some miracle a dust-mite sized molecule may get ingested.  

Not this time, I told myself. This time it's going to be different. 

I will be the epitome of calm. They embodiment of the chilled mother who just takes it her stride. The woman with the patience of a saint and the voice of a yoga teacher.

Nope.

It's worse. 

So much worse this time because as you are trying to effortlessly cram baby rice, which incidentally is the consistency of sick and smells totally rank, into a six-month-old's face, the three-year-old is watching over proceedings attempting to help.

'Let me hold his spoon.'

'Can I try it?'

'He doesn't like it mummy, he told me he doesn't like it.'

'HE'S DROPPED IT, IT'S ALL DOWN HIS CHIN MUMMY, LOOOOOOOK.'

The meals are never ending. It's like no-one's ever full. We sit down for breakfast and I feel like I've only just cleared away the bowls when it's time to start thinking about lunch time for them both. 

My three-year-old is living on a rotation of ham sandwiches and pasta and pesto, while my son hasn't eaten anything other than jarred food since we started this whole process. I wanted to cook for him, I really did, but I've no idea where to find the time.

And the one time I did make him some sweet potato, he vommed it back into the bowl almost immediately. 

On top of that, I just can't be bothered to let him get messy. I know that sounds mean spirited, but it's true.

With my daughter it was all about exploring food. Her having the time to try out different stuff, hold things, throw them around, get used to it.

But this time, if I had to change my son's clothes after each meal, we literally would never leave the house.

I forget how easy just breastfeeding can be. You're basically a walking pantry. 

Also, my boobs have lost so much elasticity after feeding two children that I can literally feed my son discreetly while he's strapped to me in the sling. I can be in BHS at the checkout and to the untrained eye, I have a sleeping baby, but actually he's having his lunch. 

I'm kind of hoping this will sort itself out. 

One day I'll wake up and he'll be like, 'hey mum, what's for breakfast? I quite fancy some Sugar Puffs.'

Either that or I'm going to turn into Mrs Rochester and will spend the next decade stuck in the house. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Week 163- duping your kids by mistake...

There comes a point in parenting when you realise that you have made a choice that has affected your child's outlook on life. 

I take my daughter to a gymnastics class once a week held in an old church. 

She now thinks all churches are gymnasiums.