Thursday, 20 November 2014

We've Clung On To The Age Of Innocence.. kind of.

Yesterday in the car on the way home, the nine year old turned to face me and said. "I want to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with me"  It's very odd when you hear yourself being repeated.

His question was:

Does Father Christmas buy the presents or do you?

Just two days prior to this MrM and I had had this conversation regarding the nine year old. Did he still believe or not?  I thought yes, hes generally quite young natured and naive. We've always told the children that as Father Christmas has so many children to look after, we have to save money to help him get all the presents. 

The nine year old has got an X-Box, however trying to find suitable games on an X-Box is a mission.  Apparently all his friends are playing Call of Duty (rated 18) and  HALO (rated 16).  I've told him that they aren't age appropriate and he has to wait until his older.  I'll let him watch age 12 films but I have to check them first. The current run of Marvel films are fantastic.  We share a Google Play account so I can make sure no inappropriate games are being downloaded and no money is being splashed out. You hear these horror stories where children have wracked up £1,000's of pounds worth of bills downloading in-app games.  

He's never been sure about the tooth fairy although he likes to get money under his pillow and he's never believed in the Easter Bunny and I've never promoted it. 

I also don't want him spoiling it for the five year old. At the moment they don't have the greatest relationship, it's all one-upmanship and he would love having the power of knowing something she didn't and dropping that bomb on her. She's a smart cookie and I'm sure will suss it before the age of nine but until then I want to keep her as young as I possibly can too.

So what did I do with that loaded question?

I lied through my back teeth to keep him believing!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

When Will Feminism Come to Lego Town?

On October 9th 2014 Lego announced it is removing itself from it's association with Shell after a concerted Greenpeace effort.  So you'll no longer be able to buy a Lego Shell garage.  You can however still buy a lovely pink Lego Friends set where girls do nothing but sit in a beach house in their bikini's or trot off to ride their ponies.

When I was a child in the 1970's, Lego was bright, fun, a high quality creative play experience without any  gender stereo-typing.  It was for both boys and girls. Something which I'm sure my parents were pleased I could share with my older brother. Even if I did already wear his handed down jumpers & jackets for going out to play.

My son is a member of the Lego Club and gets his quarterly magazine. Until recently I didn't even know they send out different magazines for boys and girls! What's that all about? Different age groups; fine, but different genders. Is that really needed?

The marketing is pink & blue.. it's a shame. My four year old girl loves pink things but that doesn't mean I have to settle for buying everything in those colours. She has enough pink in her life, you can't fight it but you can try to steer them away gently away from it.

So if we have to have pink Lego aimed at girls, how about some positive role models? A Doctor (note, not just a nurse!), a vet, a judge, an engineer, a deep sea diver...maybe a Greenpeace protester?

Lets bring it back to the days when it was simple, you bought a plain box of bright bricks and used your imagination to build, not worry about a parent hoovering up the small bits because they weren't necessary essential to a set and always left one bit for some unsuspecting person to tread on.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Electronic Holiday.

Every summer we try to get away to sunnier climes for a couple of weeks. This year we went to Malta. Since having the kids we have done "all inclusive" holidays. They make sense. Unlimited drink, more food than you can shake a stick at and the most important part, kids club.

It's a sad sign of the times that we also brought with us plenty of "eletricals".  Tablet computer, two portable dvd players, two Nintendo DS's, our android phones, iPods.  It might seem a lot but when you are back in your hotel room and need some down time it's great to be able to plug in and relax. Shamefully it keeps the kids quiet too.

This year we made a rule that no electricals (barring my kindle) came downstairs in the daytime. The day was for playing.  The four year old was fine, she was happy to play in the kids pool, go the beach and do some paintings with the kids club. The nine year old spent a lot of time moaning he was bored when his holiday friends weren't around. 

Amazingly we managed two weeks with minimum use although the nine year old was the happiest boy to get on his Xbox and chat to his friends when we got home. 

There us a happy medium with letting the kids have screen time and getting them moving. Its just finding it.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Why I Wont Be Doing The Ice Bucket Challenge

Social networking has been fabulous for many things, advertising lost beloved pets, missing people, and raising awareness for many charities.  

I'm sure none of you have failed to notice you can't scroll through your news feed on Facebook without seeing someone doing the "ice bucket challenge".   There have been in excess of 2.4million ice-bucket videos posted on Facebook and another 3.7million on Instagram.   But how many people get what it's about and actually donate to a charity?  ALS -  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, the American originator of the idea and  its British equivalent, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, has also benefited. From 29 July to 28 August this year ALS received $98.2m - compared with $2.7m donated during the same period last year.  Pre-ice bucket, the MND Association would receive on average £200,000 a week in donations. From 22 to 29 August, it received £2.7m.  Other charities have also benefited including McMillan Cancer Support and Water Aid by people who are against the wastage of water.

My nine year old asked if he could do it.  I said no. He said his friend had done it three times. When I asked him what charity his friend gave money to he didn't know.  Once I explained the concept he'd thought twice about it. Also because I wasn't going to Tesco to buy a bag of ice.  I wonder how much money the supermarkets have made from this?

I don't feel the need to throw a bucket of cold water over my head to donate to charity. I already have a monthly direct debit set up to support a charity. I spend a good part of my lunch hour criss-crossing the road so often to avoid the chuggers (Charity Muggers who want to sign you up to another direct debit). I often put change into donation boxes as I pass by, I  buy raffle tickets, I round up my spend in Pets At Home (yes; if you ask a lot of shops can do this). I donate old toys & clothes to charity shops and I often buy things in charity shops.  

I do my bit without getting cold and wet. So thanks for the nomination, but no thanks.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Time For Bribery

My children are at war. With each other and MrM and I.  They can't be nice to each other and are struggling to be nice to us too, unless it's impeccable manners when they want... chocolate, fizzy drinks, ice lollies, donuts, McDonalds, toys (insert something "wanted"  here).

I've tried shouting, asking them to ignore each other and pretend the other one doesn't exist, getting on my knees and begging with tears rolling down my sad face.  Now it's time for the big guns. Bribery.  Some you may know this by another name.  "The Reward Chart" 

The nine year old hasn't had a reward chart since he was three and we were potty training.  This is a big step (back?).  The four year old has never had one but as she is a mini Kim Jong-un I think it's time.  I'm staging my own mini coup, in my own house!

I saw the charts in Sainsburys, his n hers. Perfect.  3 for 2 which was a bit of a bugger as I needed two charts and therefore two sets of stickers.  I decided that rather than just dictate to them what I wanted them to do I had to sit with them so we could choose some achievable goals.  These may change week by week.

The four year old. 

1. Dress myself. - She is more than capable of this but with the attitude of a diva princess all we get is "I WANT YOU TO DO IT". Now I don't mind helping if she didn't shout it and not add please.

2. Tidy Toys & Books.   - A trail of destruction is left in her wake until she is asked to tidy it away and then she is miraculously "too tired" and needs to go to bed.

3. Don't shout at Mummy & Daddy. - The demands I can deal with, IF she didn't shout at me if I haven't answered within 5 seconds.  

4. Go to bed and don't get up. - One of my bug bears.  I was always that self satisfied smug woman who had children with a set bedtime routine, who went to bed, fell asleep and stayed asleep until the crack of dawn (I have forsaken lie-ins for a quiet evening with the TV).  Now both my children get up a million times with various ailments, dying of thirst and the need to tell me something very important.

The nine year old:

1. Play with Ozzie more. - Ozzie is our 11 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  I will tell you he was my 40th birthday present but another reason was for the nine year old to learn to be a bit more responsible.  He loves Ozzie but the x-box is more alluring.

2.Tidy bedroom - Whilst the nine year old has less toys than the four year old. His bedroom is like a teenagers.  He finds it difficult to put anything away and his clothes and bathroom towel keep being left on his bedroom floor. This needs to stop before he hits puberty.

3. Don't tease the four year old.- He's admitted he does it.. sometimes.  He knows she is a whirlwind of anger, you can look at her the wrong way and get moaned at.  He plays on this, sits too close, smiles in her face, blocks her on the stairs.. then he ends up crying in frustration because she is a master manipulator and gets her own back somehow.  

4. Go to bed and don't get up - See four year old's number 4.

The reward?? Some holiday spending money.   I haven't decided how much to part with yet.  I was thinking €5 for a week of better behaviour.  Lets' see if my little darlings can manage a week first!

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Sound Of Summer

If asked you to describe the sound of summer what would you say?  Water splashing, children laughing, birds singing, crickets & grasshoppers doing whatever it is they do.

Mine is children arguing, the four year old whingeing, the nine year old playing minecraft and shouting on his headphones to his friends. Or he's having a water fight and the four year old is screaming and I'm moaning my washing is getting wet.  The dog is barking at the birds in the tree's and next door's dog who also happens to be barking. MrM and I saying "It's so hot" every five minutes.

When you are a working parent, you are very limited to what you can do in the summer holidays.  MrM was recently made redundant so there's also the money issue. We have a dog so we always have an excuse to get out to the park, except, it's too hot in the middle of the day for the dog, the kids moan we are walking too far and if we get to a playground we can't take the dog in, we don't want to leave him tied up outside for dog nappers to snaffle him off.

We have Merlin passes, but when it's one adult and two children of differing ages that presents it's own problems. The four year old can't go on the big rides, nor does she want to. The nine year old can't go on the big rides alone and doesn't want to go on the tiddler rides.  Catch 22.

I've booked a trip to go and see "Aliens In Underpants" at the theatre.  I've told MrM to take them to the library for the summer reading challenge and the Monday morning arts & craft session. I've recommended taking them to the cinema kids club.  

What do you do with your kids in the summer holidays before you run out of steam and the will to live?

Pick A Positive

So I'm joining in this link with adventuresofanunpreparedmother this week.  I found it via my real life friend MrsT who usually runs it on her fabulous blog lifeonplanett. But she's having a bit of a rest, what with it being summer holidays and wotnot.

I would normally say I was fairly positive type person but it's kind of left me a bit at the moment. MrM was recently made redundant and his demeanour is bringing down the house.  I'm flailing around looking for positives so this link has come at a good time to focus me.

My positives for this week are:  My boss is away for two weeks, but as we go away when he returns I wont see him for a month.  It's not that I don't like my boss, but no boss for a month is always a bonus!

I'm off out Thursday night to go and see Boyzone.  I 'm quite excited. Never been a huge, huge fan but a night out with great friends is always welcome.

I have a new mobile phone and I am loving playing! 

What's your positives for this week?  Join in and get happy :)

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Prompt: It's a Man's World

The Prompt: It's A Man's World 

I'm up around six
for a quick wash and caffeine fix
Feed the dog and into the garden for a wee
(That's the dog; not me!)
Make sandwiches for packed lunches
Adding snacks for the mid morning munchies.

7am and I'm dropping kids at Nans,
Uniforms, packed lunches, book bags,
I don't have enough hands!
Brisk walk, bit of a jog and a skip,
Get to the train station for my morning trip.
25 minutes standing squashed in the heat
I'd beat anyone out the way for a seat.

Make it to work, usually a bit late

I'm meant to start at half past eight.
Log onto the computer to beaver away
instead check, twitter, facebook and play.
The day is haze of emails and spreadsheets,
Endless cups of tea with the odd birthday treats.
Back to the train station I go,
Follow the commuters, go with the flow.

At least I am collected at the other end
by Grandparents my children have driven round the bend.
They want us to go so they can have a rest,
and clear up my kids almighty mess.

Back at home, straight into the kitchen,
Four year old trying to get my attention.
All it is, she's trying to tell me,
Is what's she's done today at nursery.
Dinner eaten not without kids whingeing,
This is the start of my evening.

Get them into the bath thats too hot or too cold,
No wonder I'm starting to look so bloody old.
By now I just want them to go to bed,
So I can get that bedtime story read.
Give them a kiss and then a cuddle
Then I can log onto my Hudl.

Sit down in peace and check out blog posts, 
Catch up on TV I recorded a year ago, almost.
Do the washing, ironing and tidy the toys,
At least I'm doing it with no childrens noise.
Before I know it, it's 11pm and time for bed
Time to rest my weary head.

And where is MrM when this is all going on I hear you ask,
He's waiting for me to do the duvet dance!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Wicked Wednesday

I'm linking up with brummymummyof2 for Wicked Wednesday

The nine year old fell asleep on my bed and as I was taking one of thos "how cute are they sleeping pics", the dog jumped up and woke him up



Monday, 21 July 2014

Desperation Diet.... It Starts Today!

Well how the Bloody Hell did that happen?  How has my holiday (booked in January) suddenly crept up on me and is now only 5 weeks away?  How much weight can I shed in five weeks? Seriously?

Okay, I don't actually like the word "diet" and prefer to call it healthy eating.  I'm between a size 16-18.  Why don't they make a size 17?  I don't mind being a size 16 really but it's the flabby bits that really bother me.  The bingo wings that wobble like jelly for a good couple of minutes after I've stopped waving and the flabby belly. You'd have thought the good Doctors would have given me a tummy tuck after two unplanned  C-Sections!

In January I started eating healthily and managed to lose around 12lb's. Almost one stone. Almost.  I was calorie counting and using a free app called MyFitnessPal.  I've done Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Amphetamines (by mistake and that's another story!). Fat busting injections, starvation.  The only thing that works is having a healthy attitude to what you are eating, exercise and using a child's plate for portion control.

Today is Monday 21st July 2014 and I am about to embark on shifting at least half a stone in 5 weeks. I'll be doing it with the help of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD.  If the dog lets me lie on the floor to do the crunches without licking the sweat off my face.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Prompt: Anger

I'm linking up with @mumturnedmom for this weeks prompt although I think I'm a bit late to the party this week!



a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath

Depending on what day this is being written and what mood the four year old is in, depends on how this piece will turn out.

Unfortunately at the moment, the four year old is the cause of most of my anger and frustration. We have a battle of wills and I sadly think I will lose.

I don't know if this clash of personalities is because we are both female, because we are both born under the Scorpio star sign, because she has red hair or just because we are maybe too alike? I can guarantee she is the one who can push my buttons quicker than anyone in history.

As a child I don't think I was too angry. I was a chatterbox and fairly happy with my lot. My friends and I would fall out, we'd fall back in. Girls can be fickle things.  It's only as I've got older I've become grumpier but also learned how to control my feelings more. I'm willing to be the one to back down and say "sorry" (not that MrM would agree with that statement!)

MrM and I rarely argue, but we do bicker. Have a quick snip at each other and then it's done. Gone are the days where we wouldn't talk for a week.  I don't want to show my children that this is approriate behaviour. They need to learn you can disagree with someone, argue even and still be friends.  Luckily I learnt this from my in-laws who also snip at each other a lot but never fall out and they've been successfully married for 44 years.

Anger is quite a big word.  A bit like "hate".I often "dislike" something in the same way I'm often irritated, and frustrated but I rarely "hate" something and I'm rarely "angry" too.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Two Little Ducks, Legs Eleven, Two Fat Ladies, Guess Where I Went!

A few weeks ago a friend of mine went to play Bingo.  She's been to LasVegas and isn't shy of a little gamble.  Me either and I never seem to win the lottery so I thought I may have more luck, and fun, playing Bingo.

There were three of us going and we met outside the GALA Bingo hall on Monday night.  To start with you have to sign up, but it's free! No doubt my email inbox will fill up with offers to start playing on-line but you can opt out of any emails. The lady on the desk was extremely helpful and I got a new shiny card to join the other hundeds of loyalty and store cards lurking in my purse.

We went inside and I felt a little intimidated as I had no idea what I was doing, what I was asking for and what I needed.  I eplained to another lady on the till I was a bingo virgin and she was very helpful. My friends and I decided we would play the Main Ticket and the Special Ticket costing a total of £11.00

The main ticket is a book of bingo sheets.  Each sheet has six bingo cards and each card is colour coded so you know which card you should be playing.  The special ticket is just one bingo card but it's linked with other GALA bingo halls across the country with a large prize fund.

Before we started there was time to buy a drink and snacks, even a main meal that would be delivered to your table if you wanted it.  I bought a fizzy drink but had brought my own snacks in with me.  At your table there are coin slots and you can play on an electronic board that slots into the arm of the chair when not in use. You can watch the numbers being called on a large screen and again is linked with other players.  At one point there were over 6,000 players, on a Monday night and not even for the main event. I was very surprised by that figure. Looking around, being at the 40 middle aged bracket;  it was also suprising to see such a mix of age ranges from early twenties to the golden oldies.  

Eyes down it was time to start the first half.  My friend had bought a "dabber" pen to mark our numbers off. I do love pens but I wouldn't be able to take this home, the four year old would be on it like a shot and my house would be "dabbed" all over.

The first numbers are called out, they are also displayed on a screen just in case you can't hear it so well.   I got lost a few times and it's a real struggle to try and catch up. I also kept forgetting if I was only looking for one line, two lines or a full house.  Memory isn't my strong point. In the end I marked the top of each card with one dab when we only wanted one line, two dabs for two and three for a full house.   

My previous experience of bingo had been in a church hall with my Mother in Law.  When numbers were called out, so did most of the audience with "bingo lingo".  This was far too professional and I was disappointed I didn't get to shout out clickety click or two little ducks. Having said that, the silence is deafening.  All those people concentrating. 

After the first five cards there was a 25 minute break, then we were back again for the special ticket then back to the last five cards.  Unfortunately I didn't even get close enough to finishing one line let alone a full house.  Luck of the draw I guess but you'd think they'd let the newbies win!

I'll be back next month trying my luck.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Is Average okay?

Friday was school report day. The nine year old comes out of school and I have to ask if he's got his report. I must admit by the time we get home I've forgotten and I'm thinking of cooking dinner.  So its not until we are sitting at the table eating that it starts getting read.

To start, attendance is 97.8% I don't think that's bad at all but I'm pretty sure they include days out of our control, snow days and strike days. As it has been every year with nine year olds report, spot on. He's sociable, kind, sensitive and inquisitive but is easily distracted and loses concentration (he has mild ADHD). He hits his targets but everything is satisfactory according to his teacher. He makes no effort and will get by on the minimum he needs to do. Fair enough, I know this.

But what about all these parents posting on Facebook about their wunderkind? "So and so's excellent report" "miles ahead of their reading age" "my child is a prodigy among us".  Facebook of course is the place where parents who are " friends" do the oneupmanship. It's the equivalent of some baby & toddler groups all parents have been to at some point.

I'm proud of nine year olds achievements. Literacy hadn't come easily to him but he plods on, he's earned his pen licence and is doing well in maths.  The personal statement from his teacher highlighting his many wonderful character traits is what makes it all worthwhile and tells me my son is better than average.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Prompt: Those Who Don't Believe In Magic Will Never Find It. Roald Dahl

He raised the cup. No time for words now; time for deeds; and with one of her lightning movements Tink got between his lips and the draught, and drained it to the dregs.
"Why, Tink, how dare you drink my medicine?"
But she did not answer. Already she was reeling in the air.
"What is the matter with you?" cried Peter, suddenly afraid.
"It was poisoned, Peter," she told him softly; "and now I am going to be dead."
"O Tink, did you drink it to save me?"
"But why, Tink?"
Her wings would scarcely carry her now, but in reply she alighted on his shoulder and gave his nose a loving bite. She whispered in his ear "You silly ass," and then, tottering to her chamber, lay down on the bed.
His head almost filled the fourth wall of her little room as he knelt near her in distress. Every moment her light was growing fainter; and he knew that if it went out she would be no more. She liked his tears so much that she put out her beautiful finger and let them run over it.
Her voice was so low that at first he could not make out what she said. Then he made it out. She was saying that she thought she could get well again if children believed in fairies.
Peter flung out his arms. There were no children there, and it was night time; but he addressed all who might be dreaming of the Neverland, and who were therefore nearer to him than you think: boys and girls in their nighties, and naked papooses in their baskets hung from trees.
"Do you believe?" he cried.
Tink sat up in bed almost briskly to listen to her fate.
She fancied she heard answers in the affirmative, and then again she wasn't sure.
"What do you think?" she asked Peter.
"If you believe," he shouted to them, "clap your hands; don't let Tink die."
Many clapped.
Some didn't.
 J.M Barrie certainly believed in magic; but when do we stop believing and why do we pick and chose what we do believe?

I love pantomime and every year the "M's" go on Christmas Eve. We are building our traditions and family memories.  The four year old loves it. It IS magic and if we don't clap our hands raw Tinkerbell will certainly have her fate sealed.  The nine year old is starting to feel embarrassed, he furtively looks around to see if anyone is looking at him. I always try to encourage him to "let go" enjoy the moment, no-one is looking at him they are all having far too much fun and watching the stage.  Yet, for the nine year old we are on the cusp of not believing in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy.  Unfortunately he is a complete pedant so I fear the four year old will lose her belief earlier than nine.

I completely believed in everything I was told as a child, and am still fairly susceptible to suggestion. Some may say gullible. I don't need proof to believe in fairies, ghosts or God for that matter. I don't believe in Father Christmas but that's because I am the one going out to search for the elusive Christmas Toy that is out of stock everywhere but is that year's "must have". 

 There is magic in lots of things around us. We are all magic. "Life" is magic.  Yes it's lots of genes, cells and chemistry but that doesn't explain the soul of a being.   But sometimes it's very hard to remember to stop and look for the magic.  We all lead such stressful lives running from work, to school to clubs to home to sleep.

Is it also easier to believe in magic if you have children in your life?  To see the marvel of every new thing through their eyes, take pleasure from their enjoyment.  If I hadn't had children, I wouldn't be at the pantomime every year, I wouldn't watch all the kids films I actually really like and there would be a little less magic in my life.

Clap your hands everyone and keep the fairies alive.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Clash

My four old has red hair and a temper to match if you believe that gumph.  Many things make her cross, her brother mainly, but its the wrong hair clip, not being the one to open the front door, not winning, not being first.

The biggest cause of her anger is having her toe nails cut closely followed by hair wash & brush.  It's not fun for anyone, but for her I may as well have threatened to actually cut her toes off in some weird medieval torture.

I only have to mention it and she starts crying, screaming and begging to go to bed. Unfortunately for her and me, it needs doing. It's a two man job in that MrM has to hold her top half whilst I pin down the bottom half. She kicks, twists, turns and screams ear piercingly loud. Our neighbours must worry what we are doing. 

Tonight was the worst it has been. She's pinned down like a wrestler on WWE but I can't keep hold of her. She's screaming at ear shattering decibels, I'm trying to clip, she's pushing me with her other foot so much she's hurting me. I smack her leg.

I leave her with MrM and go in the bathroom. I'm followed by guilt, shame, frustration, fear and if I'm honest pure anger. I sit crying into my bubble bath.

How can a four year old make me feel like this? I have far more patience with the nine year old, he doesn't bring me to tears on a regular basis. I can walk away from him. I worry that if this how I feel now, his will I cope with her as a teenager?

My own relationship with my Mum was up and down as was hers with her Mum. My Mum passed away when I was 18 and I have many, many regrets.

I want to make sure my daughter and I have a good solid relationship and I'm the one that needs to learn to pick my battles.

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Girl Who Said "I Don't Feel Very Well"

My four year old is rather partial to a bit of medicine and a trip to the Doctors. She often says "I have a poorly tummy" "I have a headache" "Oooh my back's killing me" (a bit of Nana's influence there I think).   A few weeks ago, MrM was hospitalised in the middle of the night with what turned out to be severe food poisoning. He was in hospital for four days, we went to visit and four year old rather enjoyed cBeebies on the pay per view bed television.

The past couple of weeks the tummy ache complaints have increased, the request for medicine has increased too. These complaints always happen either first thing in the morning or at bed time. 

Friday night bedtime, four year old again complained of tummy ache and headache. She's duly packed off to bed.  Until 2.30am.. she comes into my bedroom crying.  She may hold the World Record for whingeing but she rarely cries at night. I hear the gurgle and shout out "she's going to be sick". I have rarely seen MrM move so quick. Lights are on and he's out the bed like Usain Bolt and got her into the bathroom.  I set about her bedroom carpet and keep destructive dog away from trying to get to a midnight snack and thinking we're all up to play.

The nine year old is woken up and now out of his bedroom moaning so we decide we need to play musical beds if any of us are to get any sleep.  Four year old is in with me, nine year old is folded into four year olds toddler bed and MrM into nine year olds single.  

MrM and nine year old manage quite a decent night's sleep they tell me. No such luck for four year old and I. Every hour we are visiting the bathroom.  We even get a little routine going on, I sit on the floor, she sits on my lap holding my hand and I rub her back.  We remained this way for the most of Saturday. I noticed how dirty the bathroom floor is under the radiator and the tall standing medicine cupboard. I spotted a cobweb in the corner of the bathroom ceiling too. It's amazing what you see when you have time on your hands.

Apart from the vomiting and paleness of a ghost, I knew she really wasn't well when she didn't have a meltdown for Peppa Pig not being on the TV and let me watch the Wimbledon Ladies Single Final.  She finally requested Jake & The Neverland Pirates, then an episode of Topsy & Tim. 

Around 7pm it was like a switch was turned on, she smiled and announced "I feel better". Just in time for bed!

Sunday morning  the four year old was back on form, chatting, singing, dancing, whingeing and requesting repeats of Topsy & Tim.

All is well in the world and I must remember to clean the bathroom.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Fit Friday

I'm linking up with Life On Planet T for Fit Friday.  I always like to look artistically on the human form and in honour of the World Cup I bring you:

David Beckham

And Youann Gourcuff (plays for Bordeaux)

And Cristiano Ronaldo (plays for Real Madrid)

I think the World Cup just got a little more exciting, don't you?

The Prompt: TV Could You Live Without It?

This is the first linky I'm joining up with so bear with me until I get it right! 

I'm not sure I could live without TV. I love it but I never watch anything when it's actually on. I pre-record everything so if  catch-up TV and netflix etc don't count as real TV then yes I could.  

There are loads of programmes I love from comedies, thrillers, detective stories to historical drama.  Yet my one guilty pleasure and programme I will NOT miss, ever, ever is Casualty.  I've watched it since I was a young girl and continued to do so. And will do forever Amen.

On the other hand, I don't think my sanity would cope if I couldn't plonk my two kids in front of the TV for a while.  My four year old loves Topsy & Tim  and Swashbuckle from cBeebies and there's nothing better than hearing her leaping from the sofa shouting ahar! like a pirate.  The nine year old likes a bit of Marvel but I'm still mourning the loss of Thomas The Tank Engine to his infant years.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

What's A Day Off?

I work four days a week.  I mean I travel to a place of employment that pays me to write my blog work.  They don't pay me for the day I don't go there and I don't write my blog do any work for them on that day.  I sacrificed 20% of my wages for this privilege.  Lots of my colleagues are envious of my day off and no doubt I would be if I were in their position and not knowing what I know of "days off" when you are a parent.

I get a half an hour lie-in until 7am.  I race around the house making breakfasts for myself, children and the dog. I also make rounds of sandwiches and hunt down packed lunch boxes. I mainly act as a referee between the nine year old and four year old.  The elder is a morning person and generally a bit slow to get going but happy enough.  Don't even think of looking at the four year old.  He touches her chair on purpose to get a reaction, she whinges, I shout. This merry go round continues into the car and the trip to school.

It was four year olds sports day.  For my overly competitive child this is the equivalent of the Olympics (in a Disney Princess dress).  My Mother In Law and her friend who also happens to have a child at the same nursery pitch up with camping chairs and packets of biscuits ready to cheer on their little darlings.

I am dragged from the sack race (she won) to the egg potato & spoon race (she won) to the teddy assault course (she won twice). No nice sit down for me.  I'm also encouraged to take part in the Mummy's Race. I didn't win.

An afternoon of more sandwiches, putting Topsy & Tim episodes on TV that have been Sky +, trying to find last years paddling pool, going out to buy a new paddling pool (£10 Asda) collecting nine year old from school and blowing up new paddling pool have worn me out.

Somehow I end up with my two, and various neighbours other children arriving. It's like the local lido with not an adult in sight. The water guns come out, someone is spraying the hose everywhere. Four year old is crying,  the dog and I hide in the house.  

Eventually a group of shivering children are dispatched back to their own houses. Nine year old jumps straight on his X-Box, four year old gets dressed and continues to shiver as I start cooking dinner.

The bed time routine starts, my children's stalling tactics are great.  The four year old needs to read to me, I need to read to her, we have a sing-along, she's too hot, too cold, needs the night light, it's too bright, her bum is itchy and needs cream..... The nine year old  is suddenly ravenous, or didn't realise I meant "now" when I asked him to turn off the TV.

After another trip out to get four year old a proper swimming costume, it's nine pm, I'm home. I can finally sit down with a cup of tea and catch up on the stuff I recorded at Christmas.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Every Dog Has His Day

This weekend I had big plans for a lot of housework. I often have these kind of silly pipe dreams then something else far more interesting pops up, like taking the dog and the kids to the park. Or, like this weekend, a dog show.

I only found out about it late on Friday night having a coffee with my friend. The weather forecast wasn't great but we thought we may as well go.

Saturday morning I gave puppy a bit of a groom, he's in between puppy and adult fur and also moulting so is a bit of a scruff at the moment.  As usual for our family we were running late and only just made registration. We entered puppy in the following categories "Waggiest Tail", "Best Puppy" and "Dog The Judge Would Most Like To Take Home".   

"Waggiest Tail" was about to start so the four year old joined me in the arena. She had the most important job of holding up our number as we paraded round the ring smiling like a "round card girl" in a boxing match.  Puppy was most interested in all of the audience and decided to jump up at one of the judges.  We lined up and waited anxiously for the results.  There had been some very waggy competition so when the dog next to us was given 3rd place I lost some expectation as I'd been watching that tail.. it wagged... lots.  Second place was called from somewhere down the line, I hadn't seen their tail.  I held my breath, I waited for what seemed like an eternity.  Good job I'm not a contestant on any kind of TV show that makes you wait an excruciating amount of time to know if you've won, I'd pass out before an announcement was made.  Finally they called out number 10. It was us! We'd done it! The Puppy, four year old and I all made it to the centre of the arena to collect the prize, a 1st place rosette and a packet of doggy Dentastix.  Woohoo! 

Rolling off the high of our win we entered the "Best Puppy" category. Competition was high, next to us was the cutest shith-tzu who was very well behaved.  Puppy was good but let himself down by turning his back on his audience to sit facing me.  I think he was still showing everyone his waggy tail.  No surprise we didn't win that one.

We wondered around the tents and entered the "guess the total" for the amount of doggy biscuits in a jar.  The prize was the biscuits and a rather lovely doggy hamper.  

The heavens opened, thunder and lightening started so we decided to give the last category a miss and headed home triumphant.

That evening we had a phone call from the ladies at UK Romanian Dog Rescue who'd run the "guess the biscuit" competition.  We'd only gone and won that too!  We were one biscuit out.  Puppy was on a roll. 

Now to get him choosing our lottery numbers.

Friday, 27 June 2014

What's Your Childrens Legacy?

What do your children give you?  Grey hair? Definitely!  Unconditional love (sometimes debatable with the four year old and has been told no or she wants something) laughter, tears, frustration and a huge helping of pride.  But what about other things?  

I have two unusual things and both were given to me when I was pregnant. Prior to the nine year old being with me, I suffered from a bad back.  It ached, it pained, I couldn't bend, it hurt to walk and was an excellent excuse not to do any hoovering and have a few days off work. I saw my GP, I saw an osteopath, I was given exercises and pain killers.  Strong pain killers.  

As I got bigger with my first pregnancy I waddled (apparently). I was huge, the weight was everywhere.  Seeing as the nine year old was only 4lb 2oz it was water and not the copious amounts of cake I ate. I wasn't eating for two I promise!  After his entry into the world; I slowly got back to "normal" I realised the back ache had gone. No aches, pains, twinges, I can bend and flex. Yay! I can hoover. Not so yay!  Obviously the extra weight shifted something or strengthened some muscles but the nine year old is pretty pleased with himself he cured my bad back.

Onto the four year olds gift.  I have never been able to burp. I'm told as a baby I took hours and hours of winding for a small gurgle to arrive. I have always suffered from this. My brother always thought it was funny, my hubs thought it was odd and surely it all needed to get out.  I would gurgle and could feel it in my throat and chest but it never went anywhere, until the four year old arrived.  Now I can burp with great gusto, loud and proud.  Apparently this isn't the thing to do, I should be discreet but I'm at the four year olds stage, I haven't learnt how to do that yet and I quite like I can do it.

Now how to learn how to burp on demand or belch the alphabet!