Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Mad mothers and drawing angels

Ted's behaviour has not remained as wondrous as that one fabulous day. He has, on the whole improved, but last night was an all time low as I looked up from my magazine (it was the end of the day and they were peacefully watching Ben 10 so I was taking ten minutes off - don't judge - it doesn't excuse his behaviour) and realised he was colouring in the carpet with angry black pen marks. I screamed, naturally, threw him on the naughty step and started ranting to the other children about having pens in the living room. They all ignored me and Ted sneaked off the naughty step and went back into the living room to carry on watching TV whilst I was banging cupboard doors in the kitchen. I came back in and flipped out again to discover that he hadn't just coloured in the carpet. The upholstered chair had also received some considerable attention. At that point the TV went off and all the children trembled. I don't think it is actually possible to physically explode but I am fairly sure if you had taken a picture of me it would have looked exactly like someone spontaneously combusting with anger. I sent them all upstairs and even Ted looked scared, which is rare. I didn't talk to him for the rest of the evening which I feel bad about on reflection but I think it may well have been in his best interest. Especially as I have scrubbed and scrubbed at the black marks on the arms of the chair but they will not come out - although they are now faded.  Now they match the faded black marks on the arms of the cream sofa which Ted decorated last week. I can at least remove the sofa covers and put them through the wash, but nothing seems to get rid of this particular black pen. And more worrying still, I cannot find the bloody black pen to bin it for good. Ted, being the evil genius that he is, clearly has a secret evil storage space somewhere in the house and must have crept off the naughty step and hidden it whilst my back was turned.
On to happier events, today was Bea's nativity. Bea was an angel complete with tinsel halo et all. It was actually an incredibly pleasant experience overall as a very helpful friend looked after Ted for me so that K and I could watch uninterrupted as Bea pranced and sang and (excitement) played her recorder for the first time in a school concert. Although I was very concerned during the first half an hour as we sat and waited for the concert to begin. Having been ill yesterday, Bea wasn't in the first run through of the performance, and when the recorder teacher started putting out the recorders at the front of the hall before the children came in, I couldn't see Bea's red recorder and I started to become oddly paranoid that she had been forgotten. My anxiety grew as all the other children slowly began to fill the hall until it seemed that everyone was in place. I am ashamed to say that at that point I became ridiculously over concerned as to her whereabouts and I actually stood up and asked her teacher where she was. He is very understanding and pointed to the staff room door at the back of the hall where the Wise Men, Kings and the angels were preparing to exit. I sat down and tried to make myself feel better - there must have been many instances in the past where children have been entirely forgotten for a concert, either locked in a loo, left in a classroom, still eating lunch somewhere or even asleep in an overlooked corner and so it was totally normal for me to be so concerned. Especially as she was missing from the performance yesterday - they may have got used to it without her and therefore her absence could easily have gone unnoticed - it was lucky I was there to double check.

Once she had entered the hall and we knew she was not forgotten I relaxed slightly but I then became very anxious that her recorder teacher had not included her in proceedings as by now, everyone had hold of 'their' recorder, and it was clear having seen her that Bea did not. K was not joining in with my paranoia. Although when Bea signed to me that her recorder was in fact, still in her book bag in the classroom, he did agree that we would stop paying for recorder lessons if Bea did not perform as this was NOT ON. Of course, this too turned out to be unnecessary speculation as she was handed a recorder that wasn't hers and proudly played Good King Wenceslas and Jingle Bells when instructed. Not note perfect, but she did get to the end which was a relief.

Having endured around fourteen years of various music lessons myself, I had assumed I would be the ideal parent to pass on musical expertise to my daughter. However, it turns out, that much like her inability to spell reliably (she is potentially dyslexic and struggles with word formation) she is also not that great at reading music and I am ashamed to say that I find it totally unfathomable and I become totally and irrationally angry when she gets it wrong. I have NO patience. Which is odd, because I do have patience. I can stay calm during the most ridiculous of tantrums, I can wait on a cold pavement for minutes on end whilst Ted hides behind bins, stands still, insists on going 'the other way' home, I can even change the DVD in the player up to ten times as people change their minds over and over again without blowing a fuse, and yet when it comes to teaching Bea spelling and the recorder I am appallingly impatient and grumpy. I have on numerous occasions, called a calm end to the recorder practise only to take the recorder from her and chuck it against the wall. It is totally not her fault. She is doing her best. It is me. If, on the third or fourth attempt, she still doesn't hold a note for long enough or plays the wrong note yet again, I do find it totally impossible to keep my cool. A few weeks ago I wrote an angry note to the long suffering recorder teacher to tell her that we would no longer be playing the lower notes of Good King Wenceslas as she couldn't play them reliably and it was causing too much tension at home to keep practising the music as it was. Mercifully it worked and she re-wrote the part without the lower notes.

(I felt a bit like my mother - who wrote a note to get me out of having to do pliés during my ballet lessons at primary school. I am not a natural ballet dancer in physique or manner. I am clumsy and clompy and have always, always held more weight around my stomach than anywhere else and I hated bending my knees. I have no idea why.)

Back to the nativity - after the recorder performance Bea played her part of a dancing and singing angel beautifully (naturally) and the whole show was rather fabulous. It was an all singing, all dancing version of the traditional nativity story and I loved it. Especially as we got there early enough to get a seat on the second row so we could see everything. Wahoo.

Before I go I must just tell you that today I discovered my new phone does not alert me when a voicemail message has been left. I finally realised this afternoon and managed to listen to the ten messages that were waiting for me. Predictably four were from my mother, one from K's mother, one from the shop at the end of the road telling me the ballerina outfit for Bea does not come in her size, two were from K (one fully explaining that he would be late home that night, and why, which totally explains why he couldn't understand my anger when he got in at 9pm), one from a heavy breathing child with a number I cannot attribute to any adult in my acquaintance and one from a company I owe money to who would VERY much like me to get in to contact. I think that nicely summarises my life.

(BTW I am not enjoying my new iphone. It doesn't do facetime like it promised and that speaking man in the adverts is no way near as helpful as they make out. It is far easier to do whatever you want manually. And to top it all off it doesn't even tell me when someone has bothered to leave a message. If I wasn't extremely lazy I would ring Orange and complain.)

In an entirely unrelated matter to anything - what on earth is the average life expectancy of a gypsy? I am watching 'My Big Fat Gyspy Christmas' and I cannot believe how much they drink. It is a wonder they make it to 50. Especially as the women are usually great grandmothers by that age and have been doing hard labour for about 45 of their 50 years. It is a total mystery.

This is a very disjointed post. I am not in my right mind. Clearly. I assumed my daughter's school might have forgotten she existed and stood up to ask her teacher where she was and I didn't speak to my two year old for half an hour for drawing on the fixtures and fittings in the living room. I have totally lost the plot.  My New Year's resolution is to gain control of my inner madness. It could spiral out of control if I don't. Although I'll have to try and contain the madness tomorrow - George has a line to say in the early years production of 'Chilly Milly'. I have to hold it together for that, especially as I'll have Ted with me. My patience will most definitely be called upon.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Worrying dramatics

WELL DONE FOR WAITING. You are so very good at waiting. Thank you for waiting so nicely for me. It's lovely of you to wait so patiently for me to get back to you.

As you can see I am in the middle of a positive parenting offensive with Ted. A friend with three boys has recommended it and as all else has failed I am giving it a shot. I have only been doing it for 24 hours so I'm not sick of it yet. I am to give him enthusiastic positive affirmations when he is being well behaved and ignore all attention seeking bad behaviour. So far so good. He has been amazingly well behaved all day. Although that could be the drugs I gave him at 3.30am to get him back to sleep which he obediently did for a pleasing further three and a half hours. Or it could be both - good sleep and positive praise clearly bring out his good side - he has been a total delight and a pleasure to be around. He did punch a boy and shove another at the party this afternoon but I think that is splitting hairs.

I am beginning to wonder if his flair for the dramatics might stem partly from me. In the last twenty four hours I have over reacted heavily to three appliance malfunctions. The first was the dishwasher which refused to start.  I started yelling - 'NOOO not for Christmas, not to me' and desperately wondering how much an integrated dishwasher would cost. I viewed the pile of dishes on the side with a sense of fear and dread and fell upon a friend at playgroup who had recently suffered a dishwasher disaster and demanded the number of the man who had fixed it. Upon my return from playgroup I discovered the dishwasher was back in working order. Drama over. The second was the Sky box this morning - Ted grabbed me from the kitchen to show me that the TV had fallen over and hit the Sky box. The TV still worked but it was telling me that no satellite signal was being received. I got VERY upset. I realised how much I would rather the dishwasher was broken for Christmas than the Sky Box. I unplugged and replugged everything but to no avail. There was no time to grieve as we were running late for school yet again. I did shout to no one in particular, whilst hurridly making the packed lunches, about how we will only be able to watch the freeview channels and what that meant in terms of Ben 10 etc. I was desperately trying to quell the rising sense of panic in my stomach, especially as I'd had a recent conversation with their insurance sales department and told them that I'd take my chances rather than pay £5 a month for their assurances. Plus the Sky box is incredibly sensitive so I was quite sure a TV falling on it was not a good thing. However, again, after a few hours the miracles continued and it came back on as if no TV had ever fallen upon it. By this evening when the microwave shut down for no apparent reason I was ridiculously calm, particularly as this is the appliance I care the least about. It is not essential and they are cheap to replace. Anyway thanks to the other two dramas I reacted calmly and rationally and discovered the plug had come out slightly. I didn't even have to wait a few hours for that appliance miracle.

I do like to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I don't know why as I am not the dramatic type - I fear it is because I have been 'at home' for so long and I have a related locked in syndrome which means that relatively minor events to the world outside, become dramatic occurrences that need endless discussion by me in my very small world. I have a very long suffering sister who patiently listens to all of my ridiculous neuroses so that I don't have to burden anyone else with it all. Luckily so or I would be sadly alone in the world. There was a time when I talked about which wardrobes I should buy for so many weeks that I am now forbidden to ever mention the word wardrobe. She is very long suffering. When I was pregnant with Ted and the world economy started to implode I became obsessed with procuring a gun so that as the world went to hell I would be able to defend my house and feed my children (I'm not sure how - probably by holding other people up with the gun and stealing their food - who knows). I was at the point of stockpiling tinned goods when my sister intervened and got my mother to ring me. It is very rare for her to have to bring in the big guns but in her defence I had gone too far towards the dark side. I see that now. Mum was reassuring and told me that the world economy would have to continue on some level so reverting back to bartering was unlikely and also that as long as I could get to hers she had a shot gun and a large vegetable patch. We would survive.

Luckily one of my biggest worries - that of major tooth issues which I could not afford to solve - has been totally allayed today as I have completed the second stage of my root canal overhaul. The dentist did continue to sing whilst poking around in my teeth - my favourite was her version of Adele's, Someone Like You - only interrupted by her asking the assistant to grab things or 'more suction please'. Apart from the injection to numb me and the odd singing, the whole situation was strangely relaxing and I was quite sleepy at the end of it - it is the closest I shall get to a beauty treatment for a while so I have to take pleaseure where I can. However on the down side I have been left with a temporary topping until the crown is ready to fit and now I look as if I have a large lump of chewing gum stuck to one of my teeth. I also still have a throbbing pain under the tooth but I am desperately hoping that will subside. If it doesn't I will of course worry about it all weekend.

Still, this weekend is all about the happiness so I shall try to stop all my silly worries - we are putting up the Christmas decorations tomorrow and turning the living room into a mini grotto so I am very excited. The tree is up and standing (NEVER let the children choose one - it cost me £50 which was upsetting but by the time I found out the cost George had cuddled and kissed the chosen tree and they were all jumping up and down excitedly so I had no option but to hand over my card) and ready to be dressed. The children do the decorating every year but obviously I have to then rearrange. They only hang the decorations on one side and they are all at their height so I have to intervene. Doesn't everyone? 

The only thing I worry about with the tree is that it will attract burglars who will be enticed in by the twinkling lights and the thoughts of presents under the tree. I make K stay up very late on Christmas Eve guarding the gifts under the tree so that I might sleep slightly easier. My BIGGEST ever fear after death is someone stealing Christmas on Christmas Eve so that the children come down to nothing. But I think that is normal. Doesn't everyone go to bed on Christmas Eve wondering if they will have everything stolen overnight?

I better go. I worry I am worrying you. xxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Fair Fun and Borrowing Brilliance

I am back. I apologise if the last post looked like I was fishing for compliments - I most assuredly assure you that I was not. 'Tis most against my beliefs. Still, I was grateful for all the positive affirmations of my brilliance so I won't say I didn't enjoy the feedback. I now feel obliged to keep on writing. In that spirit here is all the BREAKING news....

Friday night was the Christmas fair. Unlike most organisations, our school likes to press home the point that Advent is something to 'get through' and not to be enjoyed so every year, the Christmas fair is held on a Friday evening in the dark and the cold and sometimes the rain and/or the snow. This year a very determined group of parents did their very, very best to have the fair moved to a weekend, day slot, but miserably the powers that be were not swayed by their impassioned pleadings and stood fast with their festive Friday night endurance test. I am absolutely sure that when all the children are older and are not two, do not get ridiculously tired after a week at school or freezing cold after five minutes, it will be something I look forward to, however for the here and now it isn't my most favourite event. Much like the concerts, it is an endurance test but with the added hurt of having to pay a lot of money to go through it. (Although having said that, I like to throw money at the fairs to alleviate the guilt I feel for not getting more involved with the parents' association and all the marvellous things they do to make the school even better. I just watch on from afar admiring their dedication and walking ever so slightly faster when they lurk in the playground trying to enlist people to help.) Anyhoo, that said I had pre-booked my slot with the big FC and Bea was due to sing with her choir so I had high hopes that it wouldn't be as bad as I feared. And it wasn't. For about half an hour it was positively enjoyable. Packed, yes, hot, yes but after finding a Ben 10 toy, a batman toy, a stuffed penguin and a Ben 10 dressing up outfit on the table top sale and a successful trip to the big FC, I was positively filled with the Christmas spirit (especially as when they sat in the grotto Bea and G asked him for the things I had already bought - RESULT). And then Bea had to go to a classroom to meet with her choir before the performance. At first all was good. She was happily dropped off and the boys were fine as we waited for about ten minutes to Thwack the Rat. The boys had a one minute go with which they were satisfied especially as they got a prize for their efforts. And then G became very vocal about his desire to leave. Right THEN. Very soon after that I discovered that the choir would not be coming on for another twenty minutes. Ted was keen to leave too. If I told G once that we couldn't leave until Bea had sung I must have told him fifty times. We went back over to games he had enjoyed playing and played them again. He won more things. Including a BHS coat from the BHS coat raffle (not many schools can boast such a stall - I have to admit to being impressed - although not by the coats - I didn't fancy the female ones so we got one for K). There was still time to fill. G was now digging his feet in. He was becoming angry. Ted was wandering off. I found a doorway that was well lit and free so I dumped our bags and sat Ted down with a Ben 10 book - another great find. I then realised G had taken my warnings re the cold weather to extremes and his discomfort, and subsequent need to leave, was due to him wearing five layers - including two fleeces. He was boiling in the heat of the packed hall - although I imagine quite comfortable when we were waiting outside to go in to the grotto. I relieved him of three layers, including the two fleeces and stood him on a table to get a better view of Bea when she appeared. Eventually she came on stage and was totally lost at the back of the small stage by the rest of the choir and the huge number of parents packed around the small stage smiling and waving cameras. I managed to catch a glimpse of her sparkly red hairband and waved manically. The boys were placated with cake. The singing went on. And on. For nearly twenty minutes. In the end I put Ted on my shoulders, abandoned G on the table with all our belongings and my handbag and we managed to alert Bea to our position in the crowd and Ted waved and clapped as required. The relief as they finished was overwhelming. Then began the queue to get her from the classroom they had been herded back into. Ted did not understand why more waiting was needed. Bea came out and immediately demanded to do the fair and the toy sale. I told her the toys were all but gone. She burst in to tears and said that she had missed the fair. Ted was getting heavy on my hip and then G turned up berating me for being gone for so long and that he had been looking for me. Desperately trying to make Bea happy I took her to what remained of the toys - a sad mix of unwanted soft toys, board games and bits of plastic toys. She didn't want anything and the thing that she had her eye on had disappeared. Tears flowed along with sobs. G was pushing me to get me to leave and also demanding to see the big FC again as he had forgotten to tell him something. Ted was still clinging on to me. The hall was still hot and the fair was still on for another hour and a half. I assured Bea that she had had half an hour and £2 to get whatever she wanted before the choir debacle and as she hadn't got it at that time, I couldn't really be blamed. That didn't help. I became authoritative rather than placatory and somehow I manged to get us all out of the hall with all of our bags and belongings - including the coat which turned out to be way too big and has now been given to a very grateful friend - and across the playground. I didn't even shout. I was carrying around five bags and was being trailed by three crying children at varying distances. G then saw the grotto again and his insistence on seeing Father Christmas again became louder. I still did not shout. We got to the car. G started shouting that he wanted his new toys NOW. Bea carried on sobbing. Ted was relieved to be going home. I remained calm through all the random and bizarre ramblings of the tired sobbing/shouting children on the short trip home, got them in the house and up the stairs and into the bath. By this time I had also managed to show Bea the soft penguin and etch a sketch I had bought which I said she could call her own, as well as her present from Father Christmas, so her tears finally stopped. K arrived home. I almost collapsed with relief. He picked up where I had left off. And I STILL hadn't shouted. I felt most proud of myself - a first. I had spent around £40 though. That made me a little weepy.

Onwards and upwards. After a restorative sleep I took Saturday in my stride. Double dance lessons for Bea and then on to help a friend with her son's party. Then dealing with Ted at said party whilst K went off with the milkman (bizarre I know - the milkman knows he is an estate agent and wanted him to see a property - not 'off' forever). Then night in with takeaway and X factor. Not a bad Saturday.

However, I haven't told you of the real excitement which took place this morning - I took Bea and G to Notting Hill! Exciting enough you might think but it gets more so - to the Electric Cinema to see an exclusive screening of a new adaptation of The Borrowers.  My friend was involved with its production so she very kindly invited us along and I am exceedingly grateful I didn't have to wait until Boxing Day to see it. It is AMAZING - I LOVED IT. (Set your boxes now peeps, it is, in my humble opinion, the best Christmas TV since The Gruffalo). The children and I were particularly appreciative of the large leather armchairs and the complimentary and free flowing food and drink that accompanied the screening. (They were on hot chocolate and me tea - not alcoholic drinks obviously - not only are they children but it was 10am on a Sunday morning). It was sodding early on a Sunday actually. We had to leave at 9.15am and whilst that time on a weekday seems quite far on in the day, on a Sunday it seems quite unbelievable that there are other human beings awake and up and out of their homes - I just kept asking WHY when I saw them. We even saw a small group at our usual Sunday park of choice. At 9.20 am? We were incredulous.

The children saw the early start and the car journey as a huge adventure and Bea kept telling G we were going to be going 'to the other part of London' in excited tones. The Thames crossing was particularly touching as they gasped and noted its odd colouring. On the North side they began the 'fun' game of counting Taxis. At first I tried to stop this dull game - particularly as it was interfering with my insightful and informative guided tour. As I pointed out Victoria, Hyde Park Corner, The War Memorial etc the taxi game got on my nerves, but then we reached Park Lane and I realised with quiet alarm that the shameless-moneygrabbing-fairbyanyothernamebutwithfakesnow that is 'Winter Wonderland' was on and heavily advertised on Hyde Park's perimeter fence. I did not want three more weeks of nagging to go to it so I threw myself into the taxi game and pointed forcefully to ones on the other side of the road and then almost squealed with excitement at the very abundant and prettily lit Christmas Trees outside The Dorchester. Mercifully they missed Winter Wonderland entirely and I was saved. We made it to Notting Hill with the total taxi count at around fifty (they lost count so approximated). The Electric is a fabulous cinema and I felt particularly at home, surrounded as we were by lots of parents of traditionally named children (and of course the obligatory Rafferty). I was able to fully unleash my private school accent and call the children Darling at every opportunity without shame. (I couldn't do it every day but once in a blue moon it is fun to overdo the accent and pretend that I am 'one of them' - those that can afford a loft conversion, numerous children and the designer handbag I proudly display which my sister gave me for my Bday).  The children behaved appropriately and the whole experience was terribly jolly and well worth the early start. Although as we got back in to the car and I was encouraging the children to tell me how much they had enjoyed themselves, G seemed annoyed and said 'I thought we were seeing the Smurfs. I wanted the Smurfs'. Clearly I should have explained that the 'little people' we were going to see were not blue. Still, you can't please all the people all of the time - Bea and I cannot wait to see it again - she is already asking for the DVD. I was even teary at the end, but quickly stopped as Bea put out her hand in a stop sign, fixed me with a withering stare and said 'Don't you Dare'.

So - The Borrowers, Boxing day, BBC 1.  Don't forget. Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood, Christopher Ecclestone, Sharon Horgan and a small child actor who was 'totes amaze'. BUT No smurfs. WATCH IT.  And then buy the DVD.  It's far longer than The Gruffalo and far better than The Smurfs.

I think that is long enough. I shall leave you to your Sunday evening.

À tout à l'heure  xxx

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Striking abilities

Hello. I have been on strike. No one has ever paid me anything for writing this and I don't even have a pension which is just terrible. So, I took the week off. Plus I have developed stage fright. I read a blog that is much better than mine and I have felt ridiculously inferior ever since. I am not in the least bit competitive which means that if I see someone doing something better than me I just down tools and give up and let them win. It hasn't bought me fabulous wealth or anything but I am not a particularly stressy person and I am unlikely to ever have an ulcer. There are plus sides to all things.

When I first started work I used to take unofficial strike days. I was paid so horribly little in my terribly 'glamorous' PR job (12k a year) that I felt I deserved time off in lieu, so once every few weeks if I could, I would do nothing but sit and email people all day long (there was no facebook nine years ago so it was email or shop and obviously there was no money for shopping). I had struck up a sort of pen pal friendship with a journalist up north and so that took up a nice chunk of time, as did emailing all of my friends, other colleagues etc. I loved my unofficial strike days. I miss them. I mean I have some once in a blue moon but the repercussions of me sitting on my arse all day and doing nothing around the house means that there is a hell of lot more for me to do for the following few days. No one wins in that situation.

So, where did I leave you, oh, the journey to Suffolk. It was ok - long and arduous but we got there in the end. I did Christmas shopping on Saturday, the children played, I ate and slept, all good. The journey back was less than brilliant. We were attempting to get back in time to attend the Christmas Fair at the local community centre and spend some time QT with K on his birthday but as it happened, five minutes in to the journey Ted threw up. Not just a little, but one hell of a lot. All over himself and his car seat. I pulled into a very convenient village car park in front of a very convenient village shop and told everyone to calm down. (The other children were gagging and I was panicking slightly). I got them all out - Ted still strapped in to his car seat with the sick all over him - and put him on the tarmac while I thought about what to do next. I sent Bea to run into the shop to get the baby wipes - she couldn't find them - I sent her in to look again - she came out again because she didn't have enough money and then on the third attempt she came out triumphantly waving the baby wipes. I stripped Ted, covered him in coats and put him back in the car. Bea found me a small stick so that I could start fishing out lumps of sick from the many small plastic crevices they had found there way into. I wiped furiously at the sick on the car seat cover with the babywipes and became increasingly freezing cold. The big two amused themselves merrily and noisily with a massive stick/branch and Ted looked on from the car, for once oddly quiet. After around 20 minutes, enough sick had been removed for us to continue the journey. Everyone was loaded back in, strapped in and Ted demanded to have his bottle of milk back. I obliged (anything for a quiet life and I had wiped the sick off that too) and he went to sleep. In fact they all did and aside from the smell, it was one of the easiest journeys home I've ever had. However just as we got to the A2 Ted awoke and puked again. I skillfully managed to catch it this time, in a baby wipe, with my left hand as I continued to drive with the right. There are not enough opportunities to tell people about such skills. Imagine if you could put it on your CV - "My ability to multitask is second to none, for example I can catch sick and drive...".  Anyway, second sick sorted we soldiered on until we were around the corner from home when he was sick again (in hindsight the milk might not have been a great idea). So, to cut a long story short, the journey took ages and our first greeting to K as we pulled up to the house on his birthday was 'GET BABYWIPES' - (we had now run out) and then he had to help sort out the sick. His birthday improved momentarily when Ted was calm, sickless and in front of the telly so that the big two and I could present K with all his cards and gifts (only three gifts as I am poor) and put candles in his apple pie (he doesn't eat cake).  It then came to a crashing halt when I started to feel very ill and had to lie down. Then I went to bed as I felt even worse. Ted had by this point improved, stopped being sick and was being quite vocal about wanting me, and only me. K spent the rest of his birthday looking after an angry Ted and the big two as I lay in bed and then eventually puked as well. I went to bed at 8pm and K had to load and move my car in preparation for my ww meeting in the morning. It was not the best birthday he's ever had. He was not thrilled.

OOOH that is exciting. The free toys arrived yesterday! In a massive box - just as I was cooking tea. I cleverly told the children the delivery was for a neighbour and when they went to bed, decanted the toys in to bin bags and K has hidden them at work so the children have been left with just the box which has caused so much excitement it is untrue. It has been turned into a rocket and G has instructed me to take pictures so that he can show all his friends as he has been telling them how cool it is. (They spent a lot of time this morning drawing buttons and levers on the inside but essentially it is still a brown cardboard box so I'm not sure what to do re. pictures). They might like the box but I am still a little high about getting £220 of free toys. You don't get as much as you might think but it is satisfying nonetheless to know that Bea's sodding Lotso Huggin Bear hasn't personally cost me £33. I shall be shopping at Tesco an awful lot from now on. Next Christmas is going to be a doozy with a whole year to grab as many points as possible.

What else has happened in my dull little world? Oh yes, the strikes. It actually worked out as being rather great for us in the end. Or me actually. I stayed in bed until 8.30, pyjamas until 11.30 and we didn't leave the house until 2pm - bliss. The extra child was with us all day which worked out perfectly as they always want longer to play with each other and when he comes after school one or other of my children is normally tired and emotional so that a lot of their games ends in tears and tantrums. As they were all fresh from a night's sleep the morning flew by with no tears and no tantrums - I even got the ironing done. After Ted's sleep we went to a park, just in time for the rain, they ran around for an hour and a half in and out of the rain, we came back, had popcorn and then extra child was picked up. Still no tears or tantrums and more importantly no school runs - more bliss. I am wholeheartedly behind the strikes until they start to affect me adversely, but for now, I say let's do it again peeps. I'm not sure anyone won anything from the whole thing but I had a good day as did the children, and let's face it, that's all that matters.

This is crap so I'm giving up.

GOODBYE. I might be back if I can think of something worthy enough to spout about. I'm hoping the dentist pulls something out of the bag next week - she was singing whilst sorting out my rotten tooth today - not enough to be totally weird but definitely on the cusp.  On the plus side she did say that the size of the decay in my tooth was 'amazing' and that she was very surprised the tooth had remained in tact around it. I was most impressed with my ability to decay a tooth effectively. Perhaps this is something I can win at - surely there can be no one better than me at decaying a tooth inside whilst keeping it in tact oustide? I might even put it on my CV along with my sick catching multi tasking skills.  Jobs will be throwing themselves at me when I retire from child rearing.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Fluffy Bunnies as promised

I haven't got long so don't get settled - this is a quickie. Ted is temporarily placated with Toy Story after a very destructive and vicious psycho rampage which occurred after we had to return a pair of Spiderman Slippers as we left a friend's house and I gave him a bag of chocolate buttons in compensation. By the time we walked through our front door I could tell he was on a mission to destroy. He has knocked over small tables, thrown toys to the four corners of the living room and pulled out multiple jigsaw puzzles so that they are all jumbled up on the floor in a puzzle puddle - he has also threateningly put his hand down his nappy in a way that suggests at any moment he might whip it out and pee on the floor (this is a worrying new turn in his behaviour - but now is not the time to go into detail). Naturally, rather than set about rectifying the Spiderman Slipper Rampage I am sitting here looking at it as I write to you instead. The great news is that I am off to my mother's in a few hours so I am wilfully ignoring all housework before I leave so that K can spend the evening sorting it out before the cleaner comes tomorrow. I know - more decadence but it is K's bday on Sunday so, being the loving and generous wife I am, I have said he can have the weekend to himself and a cleaner as his present - he wasn't that keen on the cleaner part but it was a non-negotiable part of the gift so he has had to get over it.

So, I promised you joy and unbridled happiness, and here it is. As per usual money has changed my life and I am now back to my smiley and cheery self. Not only does Ted have some fabulous new winter boots thanks to my monthly income plopping into my account (I find joy in all shopping - even children's shoes - it boils down to the fact that I just like spending money - but don't tell my mother as I have been denying her persistent accusation of such for 30 years) but last night K and I also discovered that we had £118 of unclaimed Tesco reward vouchers AND they are still doing their reward exchange which means that after a few hours working it all out online, I am currently awaiting £220 (I have left a bit for the new year) in vouchers in the post so that I can go and spend them all on toys with NO GUILT. Can you imagine my joy. It was a little like getting four numbers on the lottery.  £220 of toys FOR FREE. Nada. Niente. Nothing. Muchos Happios. Now, as much as I would like to say that that would pay for all of their Christmas presents, in the real world even the most average of toys seems to be £20 so really it will buy around 10 presents. But still, split between three children it is a most appreciated start to the proceedings and it has put me in an alarmingly festive mood. I am actually excited about advent. Even K has started taking an interest in my toy research now he knows it is free.  As if the evening couldn't get any better Boden then emailed me to say they would like to give me 25% off and free p&p so I got G's winter coat for £36. Things like this can keep me happy for weeks. Although I ordered it in yellow as I am so OVER navy blue and I am absolutely sure G will deem it horrid due to the bright colour. I am hoping that wrapping it up and saying that the big FC and his Elves made it for him will make it more appealing. I wonder if I should cover the Boden label with a home made north pole looking one. Is that too much attention to detail? Would G even notice? Unlikely. It might be fun though. I'll let you know.

I must race off and pack up so that I can snatch the children from school early and away to Suffolk before the rest of the world joins me on the road.  A huge traffic jam could majorly ruin my joyous mood - although even a trip to the dentist's this morning was enjoyable in my new altered state. I was so happy to be able to register with an NHS dentist near my home and to also discover that they are going to perform my root canal surgery next week for only £47, I almost broke into a skip as I walked out the door. All my other root canal (turns out flossing is actually quite vital for good teeth but I still can't get into the habit) has been prohibitively expensive and courtesy of a wealthy private dentist, so to me this seems like very good fortune indeed and combined with my Tesco extravaganza I can't help but feel the Gods are on my side. So, before I get too sickening with my unbridled happiness and joy, I shall leave you to your weekends - enjoy, enjoy - it is the last weekend in November, K's Bday and a sign that advent is imminent. Joy to the world.  Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Ted just pissed on the carpet... la la la la la la la la etc. Adios amigos xxxxx

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


NOTHING has happened. Nothing good or interesting anyway.

Just a series of petty irritations and annoyances that have taken place in the last 48 hours. Monday morning arrived with another sizeable fox shit outside the front door for me to clean up, I have put on five pounds in ten days (I know I am shocked and also slightly in awe of myself), I spent an hour and a half tidying their stupid bedroom (Bea and G) so that they could play in there with their afterschool friends (one each - it was too much and I admit it was a bit over excitable of me) only for them to make the same amount of mess for me to tidy up all over again, my new iphone didn't arrive when it was meant to (that really is petty - it did turn up eventually - the only brightness on my bleak horizon), I washed a nappy which was mixed in with the washing and now there are millions of little gel crystal things all over my washing machine and the floor (I am too angry to hoover it up), I now can't get my iPad due to budget restrictions, Ted wee'd on the carpet two minutes before we were meant to be out of the door for the school run, Woody has been decapitated (the toy, not a child) and on Sunday the young girl in the beautician's at the end of my road told me that my cheap (in her opinion) moisturiser was no longer good enough because 'when we age' (OUCH) our skin becomes thinner, less elastic and drier.

To be honest that alone was enough to ruin my week. The problem with hanging around with people who are older than you on a day to day basis is that you become quite convinced that you are eternally young. It is only when faced with some spotty faced young skinned bitch at the end of the road that I realise that I am in fact, not a teenager or in my twenties anymore and that I am in fact properly ageing. Not that that Caroline Flack seems to mind - even if you don't know who she is or who Harry from One Direction is, the fact that she is 32 and he is 17 should be enough to make you feel queasy. It might seem ok if you don't know a teenage boy but I do - that is the same age gap as between me and my nephew and the very idea of going anywhere near any of his immature friends makes me feel exceptionally ill. I can only imagine that she is totally deluded over her birth age and in her mind she is a perpetual 18 year old, in which case it wouldn't seem that weird to be dating a person only a year younger than her. It is still totes G-R-O-S-S. Although oddly, not as freaky if he was a girl and she was a man. Although people weren't that keen on Billie Piper and Chris Evans when they married so maybe it still would be - but definitely less odd. Boys reach maturity at around 40+ and girls at about 17 so it makes more sense that way round.

I know all about Caroline and Harry because I have bought an obscene number of stupid 'celebrity' magazines in an effort to cheer myself up (The 'ageing' thing and me sacrificing my iPad for stupid arse Christmas has not had a positive effect on my mood). I also know Martine McCutcheon has put on two stone (BOTHERED), that Mark and Lauren are likely to get back together once a-bloody-gain when Mark gets out of the jungle and that poor old mad Fatima Whitbread had an incredibly horrific childhood. All of this is pointless trivia and is potentially rotting my brain - and I have evidence to back this up - today I forgot how to write my name. What the hell is that about? It might not be a brain tumour (my instant assumption) and it could just be because I had to actually write my name manually with a pen. I tend to do most things on my phone or my computer so I don't write my name a lot. I hope that's what made me ponder how many 'i's there were in my name and not a brain tumour or yet another side affect from being the wrong side of 30 to go with my thin and dry skin.

I am wallowing. I must stop. It is an unattractive quality and I don't need any more to go with my five-pounds heavier stomach and my thin and ageing skin. I apologise for my self indulgent wallowing. I shall make sure my next post is full of joy and glad tidings and fluffy bunnies.

(the spell check isn't working - if there are any mistakes just live with them)

I'm off. laters xx

Friday, 18 November 2011

Parroting Festivities

Well after all that excitement, things are back to normal. I am massively disappointed that my iphone is yet to arrive and obviously neither has the ipad. It is a tad spoilt I admit, but it doesn't stop me feeling sad. Florence is still helping me through the pain and yes, thanks to my sister, approximately 10 seconds after the last post went up, I am now very aware that there is only one machine with her. Although G still calls the great JB, Justin Beaver which always makes me laugh so I like mis-pronunciations.

The cleaner is long gone and I am trying to stay on top of the housework in an effort to keep her good work (and my present) going for longer. I haven't been able to write anything for the last few nights as I've been sorting out the piles of washing from my bedroom. Just thought you'd like to know that so you don't have to worry about the mess at my house anymore. Feel free to relax - there is only one recently washed pile in the basket at the moment. A household record. I have also been thinking that any minute now I will be ill, so I was keen to rest in preparation for it. For some reason I have yet to actually be ill but I am quite sure that I have been on the cusp of illness all week. I even sneezed a number of times yesterday but still nothing. I don't understand where my illness is. Fascinating information for you all. It can't be my birthday every week so you will have to take the rough with the smooth.

Wednesday saw some interest. I took Ted to the Horniman museum (I know it is an amusing name for a children's museum) to see the fish in their aquarium. The aquarium is in the basement of the museum and is very child sized and arranged in a circle with a centre display so that it is exceptionally easy to navigate. Ted and his little friend were very smitten with the frogs, fish and jellyfish and me and my friend were very taken with the giant lobster. All was well. Then we found the tropical fish tank empty and a man with a tube in one of the smaller tanks which Ted and quite a few children were fighting to get to see (it was a man's arm, a tube and some very murky water but clearly more fascinating than a giant lobster). Then as I turned around and said - 'come and look at these blue frogs Ted' - Ted was nowhere to be seen. I literally do not know what happened. It was like something from that hideous show, Without a Trace. I did not panic, Ted is always disappearing. I did a few circuits of the aquarium (which is quite dark) and double checked all the nooks and crannies. My friend was being very helpful and was also searching. I am SURE I heard him say that he knew where his daughter was so he would help look for Ted.  He covered the stairs and I asked the surly man on the entrance if he had seen a small boy with a blue jumper. The surly man was incredibly surly and informed me he was far too busy to see where children had gone (DICK HEAD). Lots of other parents were at this point being helpful and I felt terrible that everyone was being so concerned about Ted who really didn't deserve it. As the friend and I went up the first flight of stairs to the bottom level of the museum I was concerned my friend was being a little too helpful and should return to his daughter in the basement, so I said, 'Don't you want to find her?' And he looked at me as if I was mad and said, 'Yes of Course I do'. It transpires that his daughter had in fact, gone missing too. Ted and his little friend were awol together. Suddenly it became obvious as to why he was being so helpful with my search - because he had a personal interest. From his point of view, I must have looked a little odd, as he ran up the stairs with me in hot pursuit of two missing two year olds, asking him if he fancied looking for his lost daughter. Unfortunately we didn't have time to discuss my misunderstanding as we split up. I checked the lifts, he went up another level to cover the main exit/entrance. I carried on around some of the parts of the museum we had already visited yelling their names and was beginning to lose all hope when I was on my way back to the main entrance/exit and discovered Ted's friend walking towards me with a large stuffed parrot. I pounced, shoved her under my arm and asked a little frantically where Ted was. He turned out to be on his way back down the first flight of stairs with his large, stuffed parrot. They had, in their two year old wisdom, made it up two flights of stairs and in to the gift shop next to the exit and stolen a parrot each. They were clearly on their way back to show us their new toys. They take each step of the stairs two feet at a time so it must have taken absolutely ages - I'm almost totally convinced they must have used the lift to achieve all they did in the time. Ted is an advanced evil genius and I'm quite sure he could use two lifts. (There is a separate one down to the aquarium). Anyway, Ted was elated to see me and ran straight back to the shop and threw the parrot on to the counter, clearly thrilled to have found his paying person. My friend, who found us on the way to the shop, said it was incredibly bad parenting to reward Ted for his behaviour by buying the parrot but it was only £10 and I was sorely tempted. I didn't buy it as it would have been unfair to his daughter. (I'm going to sneak back and get one for his Christmas present though). Ted threw an almighty tantrum about not being allowed the parrot and what with all the hoo ha surrounding their disappearance and our obviously negligent parenting, we left. I didn't time it, but I think they had been gone for around up to ten minutes on their own. That is a very long time when you are two. It is an exceedingly long time when you are an adult minus a child.

Still, all's well that ends well. I now have something to get Ted for Christmas and I know that in the event of another disappearance he is more likely to go to the shop than the main road. Actually I am getting slightly worried about Christmas now. It is getting ever closer. If I had a huge stash of cash I could quite easily get on the case and start ordering things to appease my growing panic, but I don't. It would appear that an awful lot of our Christmas budget was spent on my birthday. I still think it's money well spent, but it does mean I'm going to have to be slightly more creative with how I manage to sort a suitable number of Christmas gifts for the children and our families. I don't mean creative in a Kirsty Smugface Allsopp way, I mean, creative with my accounting. I need to work out which bills not to pay next month in order to allow us 'spare' money for toys and bubble bath. That reminds me, I am losing all patience with Kirsty. All her brilliant craft ideas are expensive, both monetarily and time wise. I know I could spend my evenings cutting up old plates and tiles so that I can stick them down on MDF to make a hideous mosaic mirror for some poor unsuspecting relative but I choose to get in to debt the old fashioned way by simply buying things that people might actually want in a shop. Plus, according to her latest hideous smug-fest article in Easy Living (I know - but I love it - I am sooo not Vogue or Living Etc material - I know my place in life, I have no ridiculous illusions of grandeur - my favourite magazine of choice when I was young was Take a Break) she is clearly of the same opinion - one of her 'Crafty tips for having THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS' is 'A little thought goes a long way' - ahh you might think, here comes the mosaic mirror - but no, she goes on to say, 'My best, most special presents have always been from Ben [her husband - GAG]. The other week, he gave me a vintage gold Rolex watch because he said, "you've been working really hard and I thought you deserved a present".  He clearly hadn't been watching her programme.

That's another thing, 'The Perfect Christmas' - I know Grumpy Old Women and many more eloquent people before me have maligned this ridiculous oxymoron but seriously - I am over it. This year we are aiming for a middling type of Christmas where the children are happy-ish, K and I have enough to eat and drink, we don't spend too long in the car saying 'not much further now' and maybe in January I am not looking at every toy Father Christmas gave them with a wistful look in my eye about what it could have bought me/the house/food instead. I like Christmas as much as the next person (obviously I liked it far more when I was a child and I got a huge pile of gifts without having to worry about money) but it is most definitely not the highlight of my year or the best thing to ever happen to me.  Let's all be totally honest - it is a nice end to the year where children get loads of new toys and my mother in law gets me something I like from Cath Kidston. (I told you - I'm no Living Etc person). It is a fabulous excuse to spend hideous amounts of money you would never ordinarily think was a good idea and it's ok to put on weight because, much like being pregnant, Christmas is a 'gloves off' eating event where you can eat until you are almost sick all in the name of religion, family togetherness and it being once a year.

Also, I have three official Christmas social events and two of them are happening in January due to everyone else being so busy in the lead up to the hallowed day. I have every single weekend and 99% of my evenings free up until Christmas so not only do I feel like Norma No Mates but it means that my Christmas this year will last the same amount of time as an entire Season would normally last. I am already feeling bad that the children haven't been to see Father Christmas yet. We are still very much in November but the fact that I haven't pre-booked to visit a grotto is making me feel like a meany. Things have gone too far now. I think I might try leaving everything to the last minute this year and see how it goes. I am also going to let the children believe the Father Christmas at their school fair is as good as it gets - I think it would be foolish to set a high standard at this stage and as well as being very cheap, the fair is at least in December so as far as I'm concerned it ticks all the boxes.

And with that, I must away - it is the middle of the day and Ted could awaken at any moment. Plus I am going out tonight on a non-Christmas jolly - I need to keep my wits about me in order to stay awake. Also Doctors is distracting me. Ted is going to have to stop sleeping in the day soon so that I can wean myself of daytime TV. I know far too much about the plotline to Doctors and the lives of the Loose Women for my own sanity.

Ta Ta for now xxxxxxxx

Monday, 14 November 2011

High Waisted Headiness

Hello and welcome from my new 33 year old view point. I am WAY more mature now which should make life a lot easier from this point forward.

Firstly, I must tell you about my exciting new and mature jeans. I had forgotten the pure and unadulterated joy of a high waist band. I have, for the last 48 hours, been enjoying the extreme comfort of a pair of high waisted, skinny, black, 'proper' (i.e not from a supermarket) jeans. They safely enclose all wobbly tummy fat and leave you with a great feeling of security - my stomach is not about to spill out anywhere and there is nothing moving when I walk. I love that feeling.  These are making me very happy and I intend to live in them from now on.

The jeans are as a result of my exciting birthday shopping trip to Bromley on Saturday. Yes people, my birthday was an overwhelming success. I would go so far as to say it was totally fabulous. It began with hilarious stage whispers from the children and K as they decided how long I should be left to 'rest for a bit longer' in bed and then continued on to the opening of several beautifully wrapped gifts from K, a stunning home made card from Bea, blowing out the candle on my K iced cake, breakfast in bed and some napping until I eventually emerged from bed at 10am to have a bath and get ready for the hairdresser's. My hair took a joyous three and a half hours and was directly followed by a three hour shopping trip in Bromley with my lovely friend who drove us there and back - oddly we only seemed to manage three shops in that time, H&M, Zara and Primark. Miserably I didn't manage to find much I liked so I settled for styling K and bought him some amazing new outfits, myself a top and of course the perfect skinny jeans and then came home in time to put the children to bed and get ready to go out. Another very kind and generous friend then arrived to babysit before K (dressed head to toe in his new outfit and I in mine) took me to a lovely place in Crystal Palace where I ate a huge amount of food and drank cocktails for the first time in ages and we even took a cab there and back. Such decadence. Oh, and the best, most decadent part of the entire day was that whilst I was sitting on my big birthday bottom for hours at the hairdresser's, a wonderfully thorough cleaner was tearing through the house tidying and cleaning it. She even did the inside of my microwave! Can you now see why it was the best birthday ever? I can feel your birthday envy from here.

I don't know about the man, but money definitely maketh the marriage. I am not sure why the millionaire Beatles told us that all you need is love because that is a pile of poo. Love without money is like putting a seed on a concrete slab and hoping it grows. Call me materialistic (I am) but even the most basic of lives needs money to sustain it. My first birthday with disposable income has made me feel incredibly happy, lucky, loved and spoilt and as a result, a hell of a lot nicer, both to K and to the children. Yes, K could have spent many hours learning to crochet and then made me a hat with his new found skill, or, like he did last year, recycle a large photo frame with very stinky magnet paint to produce a new magnet board for my kitchen but actually, nothing says I love you like giving you a wad of cash to spend, lots of pretty pink presents, having your hair done and a cleaner cleaning your house. Plus, one of his gifts has made me ever so slightly cooler - it was the Florence and the Machines CD and it contains the best song ever - Shake it Out. It is highly unlike me (as some of you already know) to like music that isn't from a soundtrack or playing in the background to a very sad scene from Grey's Anatomy, but I am totally in love with Florence and her machines. The whole album is amazing and even G has grown to love Shake it Out played very loudly in the kitchen. As a direct result of K spending money I am happier and possibly a bit cooler - now isn't that better than a crocheted hat which would have just made me hot and messed up my hair?

Oh, I must also mention Friday's lovely birthday celebrations with my friends which was, as expected, perfect. A very kind friend let us descend on her house for lunch and I was presented with a cake, candles, cava and cards. And smoked salmon and toasted panini but they don't begin with c. They also very kindly gave me a gift voucher for the beautician's at the end of my road. I am overwhelmed with the possibilities of exciting treatments now at my disposal. It was seriously the best birthday I've had in an incredibly long time - potentially since my 21st birthday party. Or when Dad was alive and used to give us a lovely fat cheque on our birthday. They were great days.

Anyway, I am still recovering from the lack of sleep on Saturday and the drinks on Friday night (I forgot to mention them) so I need to get going and get some more sleep to try and catch up. After all I am not as young as I used to be. Although I will now be enjoying my sleep an awful lot more as a 33 year old as I shall be enjoying it in my new comfy pyjamas after bathing in my new bubble bath and reading my new book. Oh, and I still have the excitement of my new iphone and ipad arriving this week. These are incredibly heady times. I may faint with all the excitement. 

Shake it Out, Shake it Out, Shake it Out, it's alwasy darkest before the dawn, etc etc etc (Just be grateful you're not K - I have been singing this non stop)

I shall catch you on the flip side. Laters. Innit. (I am a bit cool)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

32 and counting

G has come up with a brand new insult. It is genius. Tonight, angry that he couldn't take Ted's end of the bath and then disillusioned by the whole bath experience the 'wrong' end of the bath, he was particularly angry as I attempted to dry him and said, "Mum, you are worthless".  He then used it as my name when answering questions, 'yes, worthless', combined with a particularly scathing tone.  As an insult, being worthless is one of the very worst if not the very worst. Far worse than him saying he hates me or that I have a fat tummy or that I smell of poo or that he is not my 'fwend' anymore. I am hoping he got it from the cartoons he watches and didn't just come up with it all by his five year old self. I have always assumed Ted was the evil genius, it would throw me totally if he had learnt it all from his big brother.

As I am imminently about to turn a year older his insult hit a nerve. Yesterday someone asked me for a brief biog of my life in bullet points. All I could come up with was that I am married, have three children, their ages and where I live. I did not include my morning of work once a week as a WW leader. That is the only other thing I could think to say about me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not feeling sorry for myself in the slightest, it's just that on paper there isn't an awful lot more to me. I am 'just' a housewife. It doesn't help that I am not particularly good at being a housewife. I am very good at being at home and caring for children without going crazy but I have never mastered the art of actual housewifery - I think I could charitably be called slovenly at best. A new friend and their child popped round unexpectedly on Wednesday and I was particularly ashamed by the state of the house they encountered. Luckily there were no used nappies laying around or piles of washing with sick lurking within but that was more by luck than design. From now on when the house is particularly disgusting I am going to leave the hoover out, the dishwasher open and the bleach by the loo. That means that if anyone turns up unexpectedly it will look like I am imminently about to tackle the mess and they caught me mid-clean. The bleach will mean I can excuse myself and throw bleach around the loo to give the illusion of a recent clean. I think other people must just live in tidy houses because I have popped round to friends without warning and discovered shining examples of housewifery excellence inside. Their bathrooms are even clean. I just don't know how they do it. They must clean and tidy constantly. That is the only thing I can come up with.

I also hate putting washing away. It is soooo dull. I am very good at getting dirty washing in the washing machine and turning it on, and on a good day I manage to get it into the tumble dryer within 24 hours, and I can also usually allocate time in the day to take the dry clothes out of the tumble dryer but then I stop being productive. The idea of sorting all the clothes in to piles and then putting them away in the correct places leaves me cold, so I usually just dump them in my room and wait until I feel the urge to tidy. This means that for six days out of seven there are clothes mountains in my already tiny room making it feel even more claustrophobic and untidy. If, or should I say when, I win the lottery I would not pay for a small entourage of nannies or anything silly, one of the first things I would do would be to hire a housekeeper. I'm pretty sure the luxury of not having to put my own clothes away would be enough to keep me happy forever.  Oh and a chef, to cook for K. I don't do that either. A true 50s housewife would strip me of my title in disgust which would mean I am totally profession-less other than being a mother. I am going to have to either get good at housewifery or find something else to use as my label.

Actually as a mother I am not that brilliant at the moment. My patience has hit an all time low, my throat hurts from shouting at Ted so much and I spent most of Wednesday in the pub. The last part was actually an activity for Ted. The new friend and I went along to the playgroup held at the local pub. It is a genius concept - the playgroup runs from 10 -12 and from 11am you are able to order booze and should you wish to look really bad, you can even smoke outside in the beer garden. There are no other playgroups like it. Oh and there is cake - home made - lots of it. I'm not making it sound that great for Ted but he also had fun. They have a great number of rabbits in an impressively large hut and run in the beer garden which he loved and there are fishes in a tank and birds in a cage when inside the pub - Ted loves all animals and I never take him anywhere to see them so this was almost like a petting zoo for him. Not to mention the toys that had been laid out inside for the playgroup element of it all - he was very taken with a stuffed frog. However the bit I liked the best was at noon when the tables were put back out, the many, many, many small babies disappeared and the pub reverted back to its primary purpose. We stayed for lunch - although the friend is as poor as me which meant that we ordered a kids meal (£3.50) for the children and ate it ourselves - whilst the children watched the Disney film showing on the kids TV provided. Ted fell asleep on his Ikea kids chair in front of Aladdin whilst I enjoyed his very good hand made fish fingers and chunky chips and it was all in the name of childcare. It really is a truly genius concept. I'm not sure how long Ted will find the animals and frog toy fascinating but I'm hoping I'll get at least one more week out of it.

I must go, I need my beauty sleep. Tomorrow is my birthday party with my mummy friends and my last day of being officially 32. I am planning to make the most of it. Cava, conversation and good food. Can't wait. Saturday is the big day when I shall officially be 33. I don't like the age. It's not that I don't like the idea of getting older, it's just that two odd numbers together sound wrong. I have mistakenly been telling people I am 34 such is my dislike of the age 33. I can't believe I have been ageing myself unnecessarily.  I think I might stay 32 for the next two years to make up for it. Chin chin people and happy birthday to me.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Thrills, spills, quizzes and squitty poo.

Gadzooks what a week. Halloween, Birthday, two nights out and a birthday party. For me that is epic.

I can't believe I totally forgot to tell you about Halloween last time. How very remiss of me and how very worried you all must have been wondering if my children trick or treated or not. They did. Even though Monday had begun at 4am included a WW meeting and the final preparations for G's Birthday the next day, I diligently carried out my Halloween duties on All Hallows' Eve. 

The elderly neighbours returned home from their weekend away after we got home from school on Monday and brought with them three more pumpkins which we duly carved on the kitchen table and then added them to the two already out the front of the house. Bea had seen my sister do a vomiting pumpkin over half term so we did the same - she drew a puking face on to the pumpkin, I carved and then we emptied the insides and used them to spill out of the mouth  - we put it on our front wall with the 'sick' spilling down on to the pavement and it was particularly effective even if I do say so myself. We had people stopping and taking pictures of it which I saw as a ringing endorsement. As there was going to be no one at home to answer the door to other trick or treaters we left a bowl on our doorstep with cold pasta and macaroni all mixed in with the treats and Bea knocked up a sign which said 'Grab one if you dare' which we put over the top to conceal the cold carbs underneath - combined with the numerous glowing pumpkins the whole effect was very pleasing. Unfortunately all this preparation meant that the children were ridiculously over excited by the time we got to leave in full costume and I was already dreading Ted's first Trick or Treat experience as they ran screaming with excitement onto the pavement. Ted refused to go in the buggy which meant he was loose on the streets dressed as part spider, part spiderman and high on sugar and the thrill of being out at night. However, my fears were unfounded as it turns out that we have inadvertently discovered Ted's calling in life - he was made for trick or treating. He looks so cute and cuddly on the outside - particularly dressed as a spider - and yet he has a heart of darkness and fearlessness which is required for roaming the cold, dark streets of London and eliciting sweets from strangers. It was genius. The bigger two were often too afraid to approach a dark doorway for fear of people jumping out at them (for the last two years I have mistakenly taken them to some very over enthusiastic places where people had rigged microphones and falling spiders and people jumping out from behind dustbins etc so it's not that they are particular scaredy cats but just wary) - whereas Ted, who by now had got the gist of what was happening, would run straight up to the door and bang particularly loudly and if they didn't open quickly enough would then shout 'ayoooooooooooo' (hello) to see if he could hurry them along. When they did open the door he would dutifully hand over the sweet/chocolate he was in the middle of eating from the last house to the poor homeowner or me and then dive in with whatever was on offer at the present house. Or, if they had a pet or something particularly interesting inside, he would push past the homeowner and have a good walk around their hall or kitchen to see what was going on. He was also very polite saying goodbye and thank you to each house we visited and was declared by nearly all of them to be 'adorable' - an evil genius in the making. He never once got tired on the walk around which must have been at least an hour and a half ,whereas G had to go in the buggy after an hour and by the time we got home and in the bath, Bea was in tears with tiredness. I wanted to cry too but as soon as they were in bed K and I got on the case with preparing for G's birthday and setting up the kitchen. I'm not sure what other people do for Bdays but in our house I take a fanfare approach so there are always helium balloons, a number helium balloon, some sort of cake, bunting and a table full of presents and cards. I also like the kitchen to be clean for the photos so that in future years I might look back and think - hmmmm I wasn't as slovenly as I thought - or the children might look back and say - I don't remember the kitchen ever looking like that. Either way, it's how I like it done and now we've started we can't just stop so we are going to have to do birthdays like this until they are 18 or something. It all seemed such a good idea when Bea was 3 and G was 1 - I didn't realise what I was starting.

I told you about G's bday already so I'll move on to my two nights out. I know TWO in a row. I am soooo cool. Wednesday night I was out 'in town' - I made it to Bond Street in very quick time (40 mins in case you were wondering) and was utterly thrilled to realise that 'in town' clothes shops stay open ridiculously late. H & M looked particularly shiny so I ran in there and told the friend I was meeting to come and find me. 7.30 pm and I was out and shopping. The rush was pretty heady. I grabbed armfuls of clothes, totally ignored the friend I hadn't seen in three years and went to the changing rooms before they closed.  I think the mirrors in their changing rooms are doctored as I looked good in everything which never happens and having seen a picture of the dress I bought and then wore to G's party yesterday, I definitely do not look as good as I had hoped. Anyway, I didn't know that at the time and assumed I looked amazing so I dutifully queued up at the till with my chosen items. I was particularly scared about my card being refused and as we inched forward I practised what I would say on being told my card had been declined and desperately tried to remember what might be left in my account. But miracle of miracle the £70 purchase went through and the clothes were mine! Such elation - I don't think anyone who has never had to worry about their card being declined can ever imagine the unbridled joy you feel when the till clicks open and the card machine says, take your card. It  makes the purchase even more special. However in the thrill of the chase of new clothing I had tactfully avoided thinking about how I was going to pay for the meal out I was about to enjoy with this poor friend I had so far ignored and forced to sit outside a changing room for fifteen minutes. Mercifully I had battery in my phone and had recently paid the bill so I was able to text K who immediately resolved the situation and transferred funds - the joy of modern technology and a recent payday. Then I went on to enjoy a grown up Italian meal with a bottle of wine and a lovely friend. It is hard to imagine a better Wednesday night all in all.

Thursday was harder work than usual though, as I didn't get in til 11.30pm which, as you know, is way past my bedtime and Ted was still adjusting to the clock change so I was awake again at 5am. The fun did not stop there though - Thursday evening was curry and quiz night at the school. I know, I know. try to contain your jealousy.  It was BYO so I stole the bottle of Cava K had been given by a client and toddled back down to the school again.  (The journey home from school that afternoon had been slightly fraught with a scootering accident, buggy crash and packed lunch bag dropped in a squitty animal poo on the pavement and me losing all kinds of patience trying to push an injured 7 yr old one handed in a recalcitrant buggy whilst pulling a crying 5 yr old on a scooter beside me and holding out the squitty poo lunch bag which I was very tempted to just bin but couldn't quite bring myself to go through with it as I didn't want to have to go to Sainsbury's specifically to replace it. Plus they cost almost £10 so I clung on with gritted teeth and anger in my heart until we got home where once again the dettol came in desperately handy.) With all that in mind, I was particularly joyous to be out of the house and on my way to drink alcohol and eat curry leaving K in charge of tired children and the remainder of the bedtime routine. The quiz part was incidental. I had already made my position clear - I was on the team to sit there and look pretty and answer any questions on Girls Aloud and all geography questions with 'Kazakhstan' (none of the geography questions required that answer which was a shame as I would have looked very clever if it had).  I was secretly hoping for some Celebrity pictures so I could be of some use, however aside from the celebrity baby pictures where you had to match the celeb with their baby picture - I correctly identified Brad Pitt due to his likeness to daughter Shiloh, but they ignored me and wrote the incorrect answer which cost us the quiz (we came joint first but lost at tie break) - the only other celebrity question was on our local resident and everyone knows that - it's Timothy Spall of whom all SE23 are justifiably proud so I was totally useless to our team and took to drinking to accompany my sitting and looking pretty. It turns out that I am incapable of drinking sensibly out of a plastic tumbler whilst sitting slightly uncomfortably on a child's chair at a child's school table and I was incredibly merry incredibly quickly. Even though I couldn't answer any questions and I wasn't that keen on the curry, overall the evening was ridiculously good fun (although I think it got more fun the more I drank and I am really hoping I didn't make too big a tit out of myself). I do know that by the time I got home and collapsed into my bed with contact lenses in and make up still very much on, the world was spinning scarily and I yelled for K to hold my hand as I was scared. I was actually scared I was going to be sick but I didn't want to tell him that in case he left my side and stopped reassuring me.

Friday was naturally a disaster of a day but I had nothing on so I spent it at home with Ted who, it turns out, is much easier to look after on his own, at home. I am going to do it more often. It is only when he is mixed with other children or outside of our home that he becomes a true liability. I would say I almost enjoyed our time together, even with a raging hangover.

Saturday was the party day, and due to the hangover of Friday and lack of Tesco delivery slots, I had to get to The Big Shop pretty early to prepare for the 2pm kick off. I won't go in to too much boring detail but the party was fabulous - The Magician who I set up with the Godmother came to entertain and was particularly brilliant. The superhero cake I ordered from the extra child's mother was AWESOME in extreme although rather stupidly I had asked for it to have spiderman on which meant that for almost the entire two hour party Ted was determined to have the spiderman from the cake and would not take no for an answer - there was a lot of annoying screaming from Ted and sighing from K (can't remember if I mentioned Teds total obsession with Spidey and spiders - it is overwhelming and all consuming). (look i have added a picture! Exciting)

I am a little sad that some of G's close friends failed to show up but there were plenty of others (an awful lot of girls which led to speculation of G being something of a stud) and he didn't really notice amongst all the madness of the 24 over excited children so it was just me that felt the pang of rejection.  The extra child was there which was all that mattered to G and the fact that he got to be the Magician's helper and do some magic, so all in all, a great success.

I am particularly jubilant as that now makes three for three on the birthdays and parties front. Yippeee! Just mine to go now. It's going to be an amazing birthday to make up for the last seven years where all money and effort has gone into the children's birthdays, or where I have been 11 days postpartum and still in agony when I sat down thanks to G's enormous head. I am rightfully hoping to be very spoilt. There is money in the bank and on the gas card and K is promising to sort out all the scary bills for me after my dazzling display of girly silliness at being too scared to speak to any of them in case they tell me off. If I could just lose this extra half a stone I have rather stupidly agreed to carry around then things would actually be perfect. But then I'd worry that everything was too perfect and something bad was going to happen so it's lucky there is something wrong.

I feel this particularly keenly after I saw the pictures of that horrific motorway pile up in Somerset. It is unlike me to be too serious, but suffice to say that when I see things like that it puts money and weight worries rightfully into perspective and makes me ridiculously grateful that my children are safe and well and asleep in their beds. So, as Sunday draws to a close, as does Downton Abbey, I can safely announce that M&O is happy, warm and loving her new clothes - except the dress which makes me look huge - and I am not even that tired as I was in bed until 11am this morning. It is a whole new world people. It's hard to imagine but things may even get better as my birthday celebrations begin in earnest. I don't want to tempt fate but at this precise moment in time I am happy. But still not smug. If you ever feel me veering that way do let me know. It is a hideous thing.

Must dash, X Factor is on and I still need to write my talk for tomorrow morning's meeting. I shall leave you reeling with my declaration of happiness and prepare the tissues for Downton. Spanish Flu is on its way.....


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Half term and Birthday naughtiness

I haven't got long, and really, I should be using the next valuable hour to race around the house like a blue arsed fly trying to get some order back to our clothing piles and I also really wanted to sort all of G's new toys out in the playroom so he could return from school to find them all pristine and set up and ready to play with, but, as you can see I chose to sit on my arse in front of The Mentalist and tell you all about my fascinatingly interesting life.  The sacrifices I make for you people.

Half Term - nothing too unusual. Very long journey down to mum's on the Saturday with Ted awake for almost all of the two and a half hours which was absolutely hideous - especially as I have never ever come so close to wetting myself on a journey - the pain was immense. Sunday saw much debate over who was going to the village table top sale, what time we should get there in preparation for the opening of the doors, what money to take, who was in charge of looking for what, briefing on what Ben 10 characters looked like and eventual last minute change of plan over who was going to go and who was looking after the children which meant the little sister and I were eventually the ones to walk up there half an hour before it was due to start only to discover that we were in fact, a month and half an hour early. Three adults had seen the advert in the Parish News and misread the part about it being in November and not October. Still, when the rest of the party broke rank and followed us up there we decided to cut our losses and hang out for an hour on the slide, roundabout and two swings with Bea's dolls Rosy and KJ who she had diligently walked up to the village hall in a double buggy so that she might buy them baby clothes at the table top sale. Luckily she was very forgiving of our mistake.

The beginning of the week was spent with cousins, shopping, dentist (for me - I need half a tooth removed and refilled - joy) and park visits - nothing interesting to report.  Thursday saw mum and I being adventurous and attempting to find a pumpkin patch and maize maze the other side of Mildenhall. We had no fixed address of where it was and all we were going on was the postcode we had gleaned from the few signs we had seen on various roundabouts about the place. After an hour of driving around and taking various wrong turns we eventually arrived at the destination the postcode had taken us to. There was no sign of anything but a lot of farms and tractors. I took this as an excellent sign as it would be the natural stomping ground for a maize maze however there were no signs or any indication whatsoever of any of the farms being specifically involved with the maize maze business. We returned to the main road and eventually found another sign advertising the maize maze at a T Junction so this time we were able to read all of the information available and finally discover that it was only open at the weekends. The children were not exceptionally thrilled with the news and Mother and I were a little anxious as Mildenhall is only famous for its American Air base and from the looks of it, being one of the dullest places on the planet, so after an hour of sitting still and waiting for us to find something to do, we felt sure a fairly serious revolt was about to take place. I remembered that we had seen an Anglo Saxon village half an hour ago so we set off in the vain hope that that would make up for the lack of mazes and pumpkins. Luckily as we didn't take any wrong turns it took half the time expected and there was an amazing play area next to the car park which far outstripped the dull Anglo Saxon mud huts in a field mum had generously paid £21 for us to look around, so whilst she grumbled on about the cost, they set about making dens, throwing sand and flying down slides with mazes and pumpkins long forgotten. It filled in a day nicely.

Friday was a trip to the cinema sans Ted to watch A Dolphin's tale. Mothers are exceptionally useful for looking after small uncontrollable children so that you can do stuff with the easier children. To make up I took one of my sister's children who is 12. Which was lucky as she was the only child able to cope with the trailers the cinema saw fit to inflict upon my two much smaller children. At first, I thought maybe it was just me that was a Mary Whitehouse follower and that everyone else was fine with their children watching a vampire child being conceived and then slowly killing its mother, or people committing suicide after the time on their arm ran out or men bursting into doors and being shot in the head at point blank range, but when the 12a film wrongly started to play it soon became apparent that a great number of other parents also thought it was horrifying. I ran out and complained - being the fastest, bossiest and noisiest of all the parents present - and managed to get the film stopped before any more trauma passed before their innocent eyes.  As compensation we all got free tickets for our next trip so all in all it worked out ok. Although by the time we got out we had been in our seats for two and a half hours with the delay at the start and I wasn't entirely sure it was worth all the hassle when ten minutes from the end with the Dolphin finally accepting his fake tail, G turned to me and asked 'what is this film about?'.  I was in tears, naturally, so I just mumbled through the tears and pointed at the bloody great dophin in front of him. When it all got very sad I put my arm around Bea as I assumed she was as sensitive as me but she took my arm off her, looked at me and said, "mum, you don't need to worry about me anymore, I'm seven" as if I had two heads. Hey ho.

Oh, I must just fill you in on the cashmere loo roll situation. Even though I have been expressly told not to, I must tell you that the last rolls from the offer were used in the Halloween game where you mummify children with loo roll. It was quite heart breaking. I was tempted to stash the discarded tissue into bags to take home but it would have been a tad impractical with Ted around who would have thought everyday was Christmas when he flung it aruond the bathroom. So, there endeth the excitement of cashmere loo trips.

We came back on Sunday in time for Bea to attend a halloween party and for me to prepare for my Wibblies meeting. I do hate the fact that Sunday evenings are no longer indulgent and slovenly but now in preparation for Monday morning. Lucky I did prepare the day before as Monday morning started with a 4 for me. YES A FOUR. Thanks to the very stupid clock change and the change in accommodation Ted slept fitfully and finally gave up trying at 4.40am. I cannot get over the injustice of it all. Just as I get the stupid children to sleep until nearly 7am - the holy grail in terms of sleep for me - they put the clocks back so that they are now waking between 5.30 and 5.45am. Sorry, I appreciate this is muchos dullos but it is the most important thing in my life. Lack of sleep makes me a hideously unpleasant person to live with - for the children, naturally K wouldn't notice much of a change, I am under no illusion that he deems me easy to live with. I can only be patient with the stupid ins and outs of children's wants and needs if I have had a good sleep.  It's nights like that which makes me wonder whether I should have gone with the She-Devil that is Gina Ford and programmed them to sleep for twelve hours regardless of any outside factors. If only they didn't make babies so small and sweet so I didn't worry about leaving them to scream for hours on end I might look at least five years younger and have a much happier husband. Luckily I am pretty sure K is going to die before the children and there is always make up and plastic surgery to I took the risky decision to let them set their own sleep patterns.

Anyway the meeting was my most successful yet and I even managed to get a 5 Balloon on the way to school for afternoon pick up for in time for G's birthday on Tuesday. Yipppeee! His Birthday was a fantastic success - G was ridiculsouly happy which makes me happy, and I took the risky and inappropriate decision to skive him off school so he could enjoy his toys at home and I could spend the day with my new five year old. I am unashamed. It seemed immensely unfair to send such a happy child to school and rip him from all his new and shiny plastic. It would appear that taking him to the park on his new scooter, in his new outfit and with a massive 5 on his top and returning as all the children were coming out of school, was a mistake. Several of them asked why he hadn't been in school and rather than sticking to our lie about his cough (which he had gone along with when I phoned the school in the morning, he even coughed convincingly in the background to add credence to the lie) he told them all very proudly that his mummy had said he could because it was his Birthday. There was much talk about it in the school line this morning as they waited to go in. I did feel guilty then. I don't want to cause problems for other parents but in our family G was going to be the only person who had his Birthday on a school day as even mine and K's are at the weekend and Ted's was during the summer holidays, so it seemed as if he was being punished coupled with the fact that he's not a massive fan of going to school at the best of times - so I selfishly did what was best for him and me.  I hope the party on Saturday will help everyone forget my wrong doing.

Ping! The hour is up. I must go and prepare for the school run and wake up a filthy Ted. I spent three hours in the park this morning and Ted and his friend spent about half an hour rolling around in the piles of autumn leaves which looked fun to start with but we soon realised that there was a huge amount of dirt that had been blown into the piles along with the leaves. At least I hope it was all dirt and not dried dog poo or anything revolting. I wish Dettol would bring out a bubble bath - it would be immensely helpful. I will send them an email to let them know there is a demand for post park and poo children's bubble bath. I'm sure it will catch on.

Must dash. Toodlepip. x

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Raging Tyres

There is much to talk about but first I must share this with you. Every now and again I idly look up how people who read my blog have found me - shockingly it is mainly from Facebook where I post the link on my wall  - but there are also a few from netmums or similar and occasionally people accidentally stumble upon me thanks to a google search for something entirely unrelated like Spa + SE23 or similar. However this week, someone found my blog after putting in the following search words "head to toe measles beaver".  Is it just me or is that a) an hilarious search full stop and b) not something I would ever have believed in a million years would lead them to a blog from an overweight suburban housewife. I am tempted to read each and every post to find where those words all make an appearance.  I suppose Beaver could have come from Bea going to Beavers and head to toe is pretty common but put them together with measles? I am mystified. I am also amazed that the number of UK and US readers are almost the same. It came as a total shock. I do have a sister in America so that would explain a few of the page views but I doubt she has time to click on my page a hundred times a week which means that there must be actual people in America catching up with my comings and goings. Surely there must be a lot that is lost in translation. Still, I am grateful and will remember not to be rude about Americans in the future.

Today has been massively hectic - in my world. I imagine someone with importance in the World would view my day as quite restful - in particular I am thinking of Nicolas Sarkozy who allocated a full half an hour of quality time to meet and greet his newborn daughter before jetting off to another important meeting. In comparison to that my day was a breeze, but still hectic in comparison to a usual day. Four trips to and from the school - two school runs and two parent teacher meetings - playgroup, food shopping, over an hour at a garage with Ted waiting for them to replace my illegal tyres and puncture - house tidying, meal preparation and a road rage incident. I did get to sit down once they were all in bed only to find K distinctly disinterested in a bloody football match but resolutely refusing to change the channel until the dulltastic crap ended. That put me in a good mood.

I will start at the most interesting part first - road rage. A STUPID BITCH WOMAN and a slightly less rude man blocked in my car at school pick up with their illegally parked cars so that after I had picked up, walked out and strapped in four children I then had to wait for a further fifteen minutes before either of the idiots graced us with their (in one case considerable) presence. The considerable female was cross with me for being cross at her and used the ridiculous defence that she 'wasn't the only one doing it'. STUPID. I lied to emphasise my point by saying that we had now missed our Doctors appointment I had waited all week for. She was unmoved - to be honest, she was 'that type' - I don't think she'd have cared if I said I was bleeding to death and she had stopped me seeking urgent medical attention. She was, in my humble opinion, ridiculously selfish. The male arrived after the slanging match between me and the considerable woman had concluded and did at least apologise politely so I just slammed my door shut and shouted through the closed window at him. I think I might have overreacted a tad. I mean, it's not like I am Nicolas Sarkozy and they were eating into my valuable half an hour with my newborn daughter or anything. Also I should admit that the children were quite happy in the car and just wanted me to stop being angry but still, it's the principle. The double parking issue in the road outside school is long and documented and people know full bloody well not to do it, and if you do double park, do it bloody quickly, don't hang around chatting in the playground as if you have not a care in the world. GRRRRRR.

I would never normally use the car for the school run but Ted and I had just hot footed it back from the garage after the illegal tyre replacement which took a lot longer than expected and there was not enough time to dump the car and get to school in time.  It also means that I have to go back to the garage yet again to get the tracking sorted - that will be the third day in a row - Wednesday to price and order the tyres, Thursday for tyre fitting and Friday for tracking. Cars are SO DULL. And expensive. At least it means that the trip to Suffolk on Saturday will now be a safe and legal one. I for one am muchos excitedos about our half term country trip. Lie ins, good food and cashmere loo roll are all awaiting. (Word has reached the woman herself that I have told you all she has cashmere loo roll and is exceptionally keen that I point out that it 'was on offer' in Waitrose and she would never waste money on such frippery at full price - I hope you are all relieved.)

Parent teachers - nothing exciting - usual. Both children are normal. Neither has two heads or two brain cells. As far as I can tell everyone is told pretty much the same thing when the children are so small. I think with infant schools it's all standard fodder for the parents - they are learning to read and write, some better than others. I would dearly love it if this wasn't the case so that I could boast about my two perfect children as a reflection of my considerable brilliance, but alas I have produced standard offspring as a result of my standardised parenting. The only bit of excitement was Bea being put on the smiley face for correctly identifying a Foo Fighters song and I cannot take credit for that as her 'cool' music knowledge comes courtesy of K. Clearly I have only taught her Adele, lots of soundtracks, Hannah Montana and just recently Five courtesy of The Vault music channel - genius invention.

I think that's bought you all up to date. Scintillating stuff I know. I am going to have a bath and mentally prepare myself for the Harvest Festival Concert tomorrow. Bea is looking forward to my 'loser' signal but I am dreading the whole shebang. I have tried to offload Ted so that I might take some pleasure in sitting through the singing but he is, as ever, my constant companion and I shall have to pack a mighty arsenal to get through it with him. His current propensity to run away could cause a bit of scene so I am going to have to be a bit imaginative. Or dastardly. Either way I will let you know. Until then amigos. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx