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?'


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.


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.'


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.

Monday 3 November 2014

Week 162- dancing, screaming and Come Dine with Me...

I'm in a pub function room dancing to Thriller. It's dark. The floor's sticky with spilt drinks. And everyone's going mental. Like properly crazy- screaming, stamping feet, the works.

It's a Halloween party and people have made some serious effort with their costumes. There's devils, witches, fairies; you name it.

It's 2 o'clock.

That's 2 in the afternoon and I'm with my three year old daughter. 

Everyone knows that your social life takes a bit of a battering when you have kids. Alongside that, I feel like my musical references are now almost entirely drawn from an eclectic mix of Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Peppa Pig's Madame Gazelle. 

And companies have started to capitalise on this. They can smell the desperation of mums who haven't been out for weeks, possibly months, potentially years. 

So they've organised discos for kids in pubs.

On paper, this sounds immense. 

You get to go out, listen to loud music, have a shandy and entertain your child at the same time.

But the reality is the people who have organised them have almost definitely never had children. 

A tad unfair maybe, but if I was going to put on a do for mums and kids there are several things I'd do:

1. Clean the fag butts up from outside. There's nothing grimmer that your child presenting you with a dog end as a gift.

2. Serve food that isn't going to make kids go totally crackers. If you say you're going to provide a buffet, don't just serve jelly as the main course. And three year old don't get the concept of using a skewer for a chocolate fountain. It's more of a massive chocolate tap to them.

3. Play music that people born in the late 70s/ early 80s can enjoy. My daughter literally doesn't give two shits what she listens to. Her repertoire includes Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wind the Bobbin Up and The Wheels on the Bus. Great for a sing along to in a community centre but none of them have a floor-shaking bass. Whereas I would kill to listen to  'You've got the Love' on louder than volume 5 on our rubbish, tinny stereo. 

But it's not all bad. I'm in the pub. I'm with my friends. I might only be listening to five Halloween themed songs on loop. But then 'Ghostbusters' is a classic. Who wouldn't want to listen to it 4 times an hour? 

Another bonus is you're not going to get the impending sense of doom the following morning when you wake up and find a wallet full of receipts for drinks you've bought in the pub. 

It's hard to spend more the a fiver on a round of orange squashes. 

And the whole thing is finished by 4pm.

So, practically speaking, you can have a dance, an activity for the children, and still be home in time for Come Dine with Me.