Sunday 27 September 2015

Week 207- Whitney Houston, air punching and making yourself cry...

There are the golden moments with children when you think, 'yessssss. That is why I did it.'

There are the obvious ones. 

The first time they say mummy, or tell you they love you. 

The smell of the top of their head. 

The soft, panty breath on your neck when the occasionally fall asleep on you.

And then there are the more bespoke moments.

Like discovering that you and your four-year-old both think 'You've Been Framed' is hilarious. 

For example.

But the absolute winner of late was listening to Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs at the weekend as he dedicated Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' to a couple celebrating their Ruby Anniversary.

Now, any girl who was a teenager in the 90s will a) know all the words and b) be able to lip sync the fuck out of it.

So, with remote control in hand, I mimed the whole thing to an audience of one; air punches, eyes closed- the works.

And when I'd finished, my four-year-old daughter looked at me, awe-struck and whispered, 'was that your voice mummy?'

And then, as she clapped, I bowed.

Only to discover I had tears streaming down my face.

I had done such a brilliant job of being Whitney that I had literally made myself cry.

And my daughter thinks I have a singing voice that spans over five octaves.

Not bad for a Sunday morning. 

Sunday 20 September 2015

Week 206- Yoko Ono, complicated outfits and shitting on the floor...

We’ve found a shit in the middle of our sitting room floor.

A human shit.

Produced by my 17-month-old feral son.

He has recently learnt how to take off both his trousers and nappy, and within moments of getting through the front door will have whipped both off and is running around au naturel from the waist downwards.

Now, I don’t want to start being all Monsieur Prudish at home.

I like being naked as much as the next person, (unless I’m sitting next to Yoko Ono or Katie Price for example, they probably like it more,) and I want my kids to be comfortable with their bodies, of course I do.

I want them to see us with no clothes on so they grow up not feeling self-conscious.

I want them to feel happy and free, whatever shape and size they grow into.

I do not, however, want them to shit on the floor.

I know all the baby books say it takes about three weeks to grow out of a phase, but I’m putting a 24-hour deadline on this one.

And as the only word my son says at the moment is ‘cheers’; I don’t think this is going to be a sit down and explain scenario. (Unless it was over a beer, then his response would be perfect.)

No, I will just have to dress him in seriously complicated outfits. All zips, buttons and braces so he will never be able to take an item of clothing off again without assistance.

This is going to be the trouser equivalent to Fort Knox.

Because I’m not a house-proud woman.

But I have a line.

And a poo on the floor has just crossed it.

Sunday 13 September 2015

Week 205- birthdays, parties and and Monday resolutions...

I don't know what's more knackering; hosting a four-year-old's birthday party with seventeen of her buddies, or going out afterwards and drinking a metric shitload of Prosecco to celebrate my 37th, having only had a packet of Pom Bears and three Haribos for tea. 

Either way I am broken.

I feel every one of those thirty seven years. 

And look about an extra ten on top of that today.

So this year is the one where I'm going to grow up.

I shall:

Watch the whole of the news. 
Go to the dentist regularly. 
Read classics. 
Eat five fruit and veg a day. 
Stop adding 'arama' and 'amundo' onto the end of words.

But for now I am just going to go to bed before the children and hope I wake up on Monday being able to lift my head without feeling like someone's held it in the world's tightest vice. 

Because as we all know, all good resolutions start on Monday. 

Sunday 6 September 2015

Week 204- Babybels, Googling and being a grown up...

At what point does being a parent translate to being a grown up?

I'm lying on the sofa having eaten two giant cookies for dinner, iPad precariously balanced on my tummy that's making noises like a hot water bottle, and trying desperately to remember ANYTHING we were told about the new nursery my daughter is starting tomorrow.

Now, I'm not usually the most organised woman on the bus but I feel my standards have slipped to an all time low of late. 

And, as we drove back from a weekend camping with friends earlier on today, I suddenly remembered that my daughter is starting a new nursery tomorrow and we have at some point between going to the induction meeting and now, lost the pack that  answered every question I am now trying desperately to Google. 

Will they feed her?

What time do I drop her off?

Do I need to prove she is who I say she is?

Or more likely, do I need to prove I'm her mum, as we have different surnames? (Come on world, catch up with 2015, not all parents are married and I haven't just kidnapped a random 4-year-old and tried to enrol her into a nursery.)

My own mum always seemed mega together. 

I don't remember her panicking her face off that she only had half a Babybel and a yoghurt that was two days past its sell by date for my school lunch.

Or sniff testing my clothes to see what was clean and what wasn't as she'd just put the whole lot in a cupboard to give the illusion of tidiness. 

But maybe she did.

Maybe that's the key.

Give the impression you're a grown up on the outside, and only admit to your absolute besties that you still feel like it was only days ago that you finished your GCSEs and you can't believe how you have 'suddenly' got a mortgage and two children.

But for now, I have to negotiate the most pressing near crisis, and nip to the garage to get my daughter a pack lunch that doesn't say 'my mum bought this from the garage'.

First impressions last and I don't want her to be the girl who's remembered for having a Ginsters pastie, a king size Mars Bar and a scratch card for lunch on her first day.

And then I'm going to get organised. 

Like, wall charts for shopping, chores, and meals kind of organised.

Starting Monday, as all life changes take place on a Monday, I am going to turn this disorganised ship around.

So I best polish off the rest of the bag of gigantic cookies now before the new, grown up me, reveals herself tomorrow like a DIY SOS series finale. 

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Be kind. Never stop caring. Because we are the fortunate ones, for now...

We all have to make difficult decisions every day as parents. 

When to stop breastfeeding, whether to send your baby to a childminder or a nursery when you go back to work, when to move them into a bed from their cot, which infant school to put down as your first choice.

But what if you had to decide if getting on a boat to sail over dangerous waters to a country you've never been to and don't speak the language is safer than staying where you were born. 

What if you had to look in the eyes of your small children and weigh up whether taking them on that treacherous journey was less dangerous than staying in your war-torn country.

I read an article in The Independent today that suggested practical ways in which you could help refugees; how you could make donations, where to drop off clothes, that kind of thing, and then I made the mistake of reading some of the comments below. Vile, heartless rants from people who accused them of wanting a free ride or sponging off wealthier European countries. 

And I thought, when did it become OK to think so little of other human beings that their actual right to life became a privilege?

When did we stop thinking of people as people and started thinking of them as a number. X number of refugees are arriving in Calais every day. X number of refugees are entering the UK. This will put a strain of X pounds on the economy.

When did we stop caring? 

Every one of the people living in sub-standard conditions, waiting to hear if we will help them, has escaped terrifying circumstances to make a life-threatening journey to get there. 

Everyone of those people has a name. They had a home. A life. Friends. They have family, people who care about them. Or maybe they did. Maybe they don't any more. 

As I dressed my daughter this morning to take her to nursery, I thought of the mother of the little Syrian boy who tragically drowned and who's body washed up on the beach.

His mum must have dressed him that morning in warm clothes, knowing the journey they had ahead. Given him breakfast and then left their house for the last time, desperation and hope for a better, safer, life driving her. 

Because no mother puts her child on a boat unless it is safer than the alternative.

We sign the petitions then scroll onto the next Facebook post. I know. I've done it myself. 

But as I sit in my comfy flat writing this, there are thousands of people sleeping in camps that will have turned to bogs over the last few days in the rain. As my children peacefully sleep in their beds, there will be toddlers and babies tonight clinging to their parents, cold and hungry. 

I'm not suggesting we should feel bad about being safe or warm or happy, I just think we need to remember that a year ago, many of these families may also have been planning for their children to start school, buying school uniforms or organising family days out. 

If someone had told them that a year on they would be thousands of miles away from home, living in a makeshift camp, not sure if members of their family have survived the journey, they wouldn't believe you.

So be kind. Hold your children tighter. Say I love you more often. And do what you can to help. Because we are the fortunate ones. But we never know when our luck might change.