Monday, 26 March 2012

My week in 'ings'

Hello! We meet again.  I shall pre-warn you there are no hospital-related dramas in this episode. I didn't want you to get your hopes up.

Very little has happened in fact. Almost nothing. Bea and G 'ran' (I wasn't there so I can't state that they managed to run the whole thing - I should imagine a large amount of walking was involved) their Sports Relief Mile which was most exciting. Especially as they were allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms and something red to school - they could barely sit still with the thrill of it all. It cost me £12 for them to do their 'run' - £1 each for them to wear something red and £5 each sponsorship promised to them by their father who didn't realise he would need to back up his pledge with actual cash. Obviously well worth it though.

One thing of major importance that hasn't happened this week is me managing to write the speech for my younger sister's wedding. The big day edges ever nearer and nearer (just under two weeks now) and I am beginning to panic. I have more than enough to say, I just haven't actually got round to typing it in yet. Mainly because I am very afraid that a lot of my 'funny' anecdotes and jokes come across as bitter and vengeful. Obviously I want to mention the Teddy Ruxpin episode so that my grievance gets a wider audience - but again - it isn't really the place to do so and seems slightly inappropriate at her wedding. I am also remarkably bad at being sycophantic which is needed in a small degree to write a speech about someone. I find it FAR easier to point out people's faults and make light of their shortcomings. But again, inappropriate. My thoughts on marriage and offering sage advice for the 'journey' ahead also fall very short of the mark. After nine years and three and a half children the rose tinted glasses I was incredibly fond of at my own wedding and throughout my first year of marriage, fell off pretty quickly once the children arrived and the money departed, so my main words of wisdom are 'hang on in there'. Again, not something people expect to hear on 'the happiest day of their life'. And I don't want to sound bitter and twisted either - on the whole K and I rub along quite nicely together and as one genius woman put it on a programme I watched recently, 'It's more good than bad'. That, I feel, is a sign of a good marriage, so I wouldn't want to cause any unnecessary alarm. I NEVER trust people with children who make out their partner is perfect. They are born liars and you must avoid them at all costs - if they can lie about that they will also tell you you look good in something hideously unflattering or that something is low fat when it is full fat. Or that they have eaten LOADS even though they are a size 6 and had a lettuce leaf for lunch. One woman with two children who briefly knew one of my older sisters told her on their first night out that she wasn't able to join in the 'crap husband' banter as she was 'Really VERY lucky' with her husband who was, 'perfect'. We have been very grateful for her weird adulation as it has given us many hours of amusement over the years. Along with the woman who told her friend to remove her small son from the room as he was 'ruining her lunch' with his noise. They have become widely used catchphrases and are very dear to my sister and I, but again, neither are particularly useful when trying to prepare a speech on the 'joys' of wedded bliss. I shall have to knuckle down and get on with it soon or face the wrath of my sister. The fear will get me to do it. She is incredibly frightening when crossed. Again, not something one can put in a speech.

One of the main constructive pieces of advice I can offer the newly weds is to agree on a list of names for their potential offspring before they even consider trying to get pregnant. It has come to pass that K and I can no longer discuss potential names for the newbie due to the 'heated' discussions that seem to erupt from even the most innocent of enquiries on 'thoughts'.  The explosion after I brought up Cyril as a name once again, will hopefully not be repeated for many years to come. Since then I have tried to keep my names to myself. It would appear that K and I are only able to agree on three names in the entire world and we have used those three names already. This child is tipping us over the edge. Oh, and to add to it all, Persephone turns out to mean 'bringer of death'. So even I have vetoed that. I just couldn't give birth thinking the grim reaper in female form was about to tear me in half and leave me bleeding to death - labour is scary enough without that in my head.  K is not prepared to budge on the name Martha for a girl which I have now totally vetoed for three reasons, 1. It would be abbreviated to Mar. 2. He has over used it already and I have gone off it 3. We live in South East London and 'natives' here are unable to pronounce their 'ths' so she would be marfa. I would feel compelled to correct anyone who called her marfa which could cause much embarrassment to both parties. So, that is his choice for a girl which I don't like and Cybil is now my choice for a girl which he hates. (I know the English version is spelt Sybil but it reminds me of Syria so I have opted for the American version spelt with a 'c'). This impasse doesn't worry me unduly as I am still convinced the newbie is of the male variety. However, his choice for a male offspring is K Junior. I assumed at first he was joking, but it appears that he would like to have his final male offspring named after him. I almost didn't go out with K due to his Christian name so I would not want to cause the same distress to my son. No offence to his mother in any way - who clearly chose the name out of love, but nowadays his name is not given to small people for a reason. In fact I tried to re-name K for a few weeks after we started dating, I called him by his middle name of Stuart, however he refused to answer and became quite annoyed with me so I had to give in and carry on with K. I have had to 'park' my first choice of Cyril after 'that' argument (unless K croaks before the birth in which case I have told him I shall pay no heed to his wishes and go with the names I want regardless of 'what he would have wanted') but I am still keen on a number of names he hates and it is causing quite a bit of tension - I feel that he hates every name I suggest just because I sugggested it and he clearly feels the same. One thing I have learnt is that you MUST try the name out loud - as if you are calling them in a crowded, public place - before you become too attached to it. If you feel stupid, it is not the name for you. For example, I have quite a plummy accent and anything too fanciful makes me sound like a total knob - in a museum cafe a few weeks ago a woman with a particularly shrill and 'posh' accent shouted out 'Orlando' and I had to quell my desire to laugh out loud - it was a valuable lesson. That is also why Persephone was Vetoed (with a capital V). So, I want a short, traditional style name with a 'nice' meaning - preferably not to do with death. 'Quiet', 'respectful', 'happy', 'easy to potty train', - are all meanings I would be happy with. I must look up Sid. Although K will no doubt find a reason to hate it. Mainly he knows someone who was a 'maniac' from his school or he manages to find a rhyme, cockney or otherwise, which means the child could be teased. Also I suffer from fictional characters becoming synonymous with names - did you know that Kermit was a usable name pre The Muppets? I wasn't keen on Kermit, but my point is that Barney is a big purple dinosaur, Percy is an edible pink pig and Oswald is an octopus - choosing a name is hard enough without good names being taken by fictional characters. Serial killers are just as annoying - according to my book Myra has become almost non-existent as a name due to the notoriety of the child killer bearing the same name. Hilariously under Adolf my book simply states that it has 'failed to regain popularity' since Hitler brought it to worldwide attention. Not that one can or should compare these things but I would argue that Adolf had the 'edge' on evil out of the two.  Interestingly Jack doesn't seem to have suffered the same fate but surely Jack the Ripper was one of the most famous serial killers of all times? Ditto Fred West - Fred and Freddie are still exceptionally popular. Yet another example of inequality in action - a female killer blights a name for decades but male killers don't adversely affect popularity - unless they kill in their millions.

I have always wanted the balls to go totally 'out there' with naming - one of the more hilarious in the book is 'De-forest' for a boy. I would imagine it could get shortened to De but still, an odd choice. Or perhaps I could go out of ethnic and religious confines and call the new one Fariq or Jesus or something that would cause surprise and confusion at every stage of his life - imagine the fun I could have! For the final few weeks of Ted's stay in my womb he was known as 'Habib'. I became very attached to the name after The Replacement and I spent a few days together at the end of my pregnancy when my mum had the other two children so we could spend the days drinking tea, talking and doing stuff together. I say 'we' but actually I sat down and she did stuff. She is exceptionally good at painting, taking direction on her painting and making tea - as well as being marvellous company - I remember those days incredibly fondly. Anyway, the inevitable name conversations we had became quite dull quite quickly so we came up with the idea of going 'off list' with our name choice and Habib was chosen. I was still quite keen when Ted eventually appeared but thankfully K vetoed swiftly - in favour of Montgomery. Yes, Ted was 'officially' announced on Facebook as Montgomery. Mercifully my hormones were raging and I cried every time I called my new baby by his full name or abbreviated version, Monty. After three days K relented and we went back to the book and eventually settled on Teddy, full name Edward. (In case he doesn't want to be associated with a stuffed toy when he reaches his teenage years and prefers something harder, like Ned or something). So, in order to stop the mis-naming of another baby for three days I want to be fully prepared this time around which means that either I push K down the stairs with notable force or I have to agree to K Junior. I know which one I favour.

The middle of my three planned scans takes place on Wednesday so we will have a chance to look at the genitals and make our own decisions on what flavour baby we have this time which might help narrow down our choices. We don't want to be officially told but want to have a look so that we can come to our own conclusions. Although K and I will probably disagree over what we have seen so it will mean we are no further forward. That is assuming they don't find anything horrid at the scan which makes finding out the sex rather insignificant. One must never take these things for granted.

So, that is that. Procrastinating, running, naming and arguing - my week in 'ings'. This week will bring scanning and hopefully speech writing. Oh and some cleaning - Thursday sees the bi-weekly arrival of my lovely cleaner who spends a whirlwind three hours trying to get some order and cleanliness in to the place and it makes me phenomenally happy. Perhaps that is the night I should write the speech. I will be in a happy frame of mind then and can write 'happy' thoughts on life. That is what I shall do. Thursday it is. Unless I am too tired. Or I have something urgent to write to you guys about. You never know.

Until the next ridiculously important update, my friends, I shall say au revoir and good night. Me and Fariq need our sleep.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Fackin Mother's Day

Hello and good afternoon on Mother's Day 2012. I'll launch straight in - there is a lot to get through. I awoke at 5am to G who, for the second day in a row, believed it to be morning. K has a very bad back so every time he moved he made a sound like someone with a very low pain threshold having their first bikini wax. I quickly deduced I was on parental duty. G was sent back to bed but by 6am all children were awake. By 7.40am they could wait no longer and 'mother's day' began. I put in my contact lenses and sat up in bed in great anticipation. Bea retrieved the 'stash' from K's wardrobe and approximately 30 seconds later 'mother's day' had ended. Both children had dutifully produced personalised cards from school and Bea had even hand crafted a small pot in the after school art club I had paid for her to attend. Both cards were effusive in their love for me and were suitably touching but obviously 'standard' issue. Then I was forced from my bed for a 'show' downstairs which consisted of G behind the arm of the sofa holding aloft various stuffed toys who spoke and could never find the other toy which was just behind them. Bea joined in and then Ted began to fight for his chance to be involved. It quickly became less than enjoyable. Mercifully it was a far shorter show than usual and we were able to go for breakfast as soon as it had ended. Cue more fighting, Ted demanding sweets for breakfast and having a small break down at me saying no and Bea deciding that she had lost all interest in the cake she asked me to bake the day before but couldn't be bothered to ice in the cold light of mother's day. Mercifully G is always up for icing cake so we did have a nice ten minutes sharing our love of cake and him 'accidentally' getting a lot of icing on his fingers which then 'had' to be licked clean. As this was going on, Ted was busily emptying the bin in the living room of K's beer cans (I have shown K MANY, MANY times where the recycling bins are but to no avail) and then emptied all the dregs of the beer still left in the cans on to the long suffering carpet. By the time K hobbled downstairs it has to be said that my empathy for his condition was at below zero. Luckily, I knew he was taking the whole lot of them away from me so I did not push him over and jump on the part of his back most afflicted.

So, they have been forcibly removed from me and I am now 'resting' on the sofa and trying to get over the fact that for the first time in 8 years (I even got one when pregnant with Bea) K couldn't squeeze five minutes in to his busy, busy life as Head of the Free World to buy me a sodding card which might in some way mark and celebrate my slavish devotion to motherhood. If it wasn't for me getting my lazy arse out of bed and taking them to school every day I would have awoken to nothing but a half arsed animal show and a hastily coloured in certificate from Lindt Chocolate that Bea happened to pick up last week in Sainsbury's, along with her free chocolate. There wasn't even an hysterical spelling mistake in her card (which actually she had tried to give to me on Friday afternoon at pick up because 'it will be too difficult to hide it from you so can you just take it now?'). Last year, for those of you who haven't spent the valuable hours reading from the very beginning, Bea gave me a card which said 'Fack you for loveing me' inside. It has, and always will be, my favourite card ever.  So, although this year has given me no lie in or breakfast in bed or humorous fuck you card or anything similar, I have at least clung on to the tradition of having the afternoon to myself. Glee is on the TV and I am here with you. Things are definitely on the up. I even have the cake that G and I iced to devour.

This weekend could really do with a high point. Friday night was a total bum. Friday afternoon was my usual excitement of Cava and cake for a birthday lunch with the other yummy mummies from school. (Is it wrong to look forward to the days when we can enjoy those lunches without irritating children running around?) Then after the usual drama of pick up and forcing Bea to keep her sodding card secret from me, we returned home to perform an exceptionally quick turn around to get out for the first of two school discos. I was quickly in charge of three Batmans (batmen?) and one Princess. (The theme was superheroes and fairytales but you may have already got that far). Then I realised I was bleeding which is definitely not great. I rang the midwife who told me to get checked out at the sodding hospital. Cue rearranging all my very intricate and careful plans regarding pick up and drop offs for all the children and K having to get home to help. He did, G was picked up from his hour of partying and Bea and the extra child were dropped at school for their turn on the dance floor. I then set off on my merry way with a book, a magazine, a can of Vimto and 40% of battery left on my phone. ERROR. As you know my hatred for hospitals in all but life and death situations, is great. Kings is big and there are not a lot of people around to help at 6pm and everything seemed closed. After forty minutes of toing and froing I found my way in to the formerly locked maternal assessment unit which was entirely empty of any other patients and for an hour or two I spent a rather pleasurable hour or so enjoying sitting down with my magazine, book and can of pop while helpful and cheery women took my blood pressure, listened to the heartbeat of the newbie and generally had a bit of a rest whilst I happily thought of K at home dealing with bath and bed. I even spilt my pop on the carpet and found it all very amusing. THEN I was moved as the MAU closed due to staff shortage and I was taken to the labour ward and left in a small triage room for another hour or so whilst I waited for a doctor to discharge me. Miserably I saw no 'action' as I had hoped - there was a lot of talk of a woman having triplets but I saw nothing. No fun. Anyway, by 9.30pm my battery was down to 3% and the Doctor had finally appeared, examined me and concluded that there was enough reason to keep me in for monitoring overnight with a scan the next day. To get a very long story short, turns out I couldn't be scanned until Monday (which I said I couldn't make due to wibblies) and thus began my constant threat to self discharge as the whole debacle seemed rather pointless - I was able to 'monitor' the situation myself in the comfort of my own home. However, I went with the flow thanks to their persuasive arguments to the contrary and by 10.15pm I was settled on to the ward awaiting the morning and a chance to be reunited with my phone charger. Before the phone had completely died, I had managed to send a text to K to tell him I was staying in overnight, that Bea needed to be at her dance exam the following morning at 9.45am and I couldn't quite remember where the specific black leotard for 'modern' was hiding. I ended with the words 'Good luck'.

And so my night in hell began. It is honestly how I imagine prison to be. I was confined to my curtained room/cell with a small reprieve every now and again to visit the loo next door which I always imagine to be festering with germs from all the unsavoury people who must have used it before me. I had no phone, it was dark and I realised two pages in that the book I had brought with me had been read before, by me. There was also an awful lot of heavy breathing by other women who were sharing the ward with me. Nevertheless I decided to make the best of things and settled down in full clothing, with make up on and contact lenses in on to the plastic bed and cotton wool pillow to make the most of my night away from the children. One of the trainee nurses who greeted me upon arrival had kindly given me a tuna sandwich, cup of tea and a slice of processed cake to eat so I was in a fairly positive frame of mind, trying to liken the experience as being the closest I would get to a night in a hotel for quite a while. However, fairly soon after I closed my eyes and started to stress about a. the car - did I lock it? Was is parked in a place that was ok until the morning? Did I lock it? Was there anything in sight that might be appealing to thieves? Did I lock it? and b. Bea - will she hate me for not being at her first dance exam? Will K remember to do her hair? Where oh where oh where did I put the sodding leotard? WHITE SOCKS. Then just as I started to believe that K would be able to cope and I should relax and the car would probably be ok even if I hadn't locked it, our room became the recipient of another bleeder. Her, her partner and the nurse were merrily using their 'day' voices at gone 11 at night and even put their light on which, although personal to your own bed, really does shine through the blue curtains that separates us from one another. Still, that all died down, the partner left, she turned the light off and I managed to drift in to a semi-sleep. Until, one of the heavy breathers was sick. Her breathing was becoming ridiculously annoying but then to hear her hurl and the splattering afterwards was just TOO MUCH. I was, afterall trying to enjoy my night away from all of that. After she had apologised to the nurse and it had all been cleared up, she returned to moving around a lot and breathing increasingly heavily and frequently. As I suspected, she was in the beginning stages of labour. She started on the gas and air (at this point I was mentally willing the midwife to send her off to the ward specifically designed for noisy labouring people  - the helpfully entitled LABOUR WARD)  but no one was in the mood to do anything quickly so she stayed opposite me, breathing incessantly and loudly on the sodding gas and air. After what seemed like an absolute age the midwife finally deemed her to be in established labour (3 to 4 cms) and the wheels were set for her to bugger off.  I am normally very kind regarding various people's pain thresholds, however, at gone midnight in a full ward to make that much fuss over contractions at 3 to 4 cms I was mentally hurling a shed load of abuse at the poor girl. I had to physically put my hand over my mouth to stop myself hissing 'shhhhhhh' at her every few minutes. For me to have gas and air I must be in the final stages of cervix dilation - 7 to 8 at the very least. Even with Bea who was back to back. I was walking around at 3 to 4 cms for God's sake. What a loser she was. I HATED HER. And then her sodding lame arse partner arrived (I hate to use the term husband as you never know these days) and he started giving her his lame arse 'rush to hospital' story in his very loud DAY VOICE. She kept apologising for being light headed and told him she had been sick. For God's sake they were pathetic. They both agreed she would need an epidural very soon. Pah - I rejoiced heartily when they finally wheeled her heavily breathing namby pamby baby arse out of there so I could get back to sleep. For a few hours until 6.30am when the ward starts up again. Oh yes, by ten to 7 it was as if night had never been - lights were on, strange shouty people were coming in to announce that breakfast would be served on a trolley in the corridor and if we wanted anything we would have to get up and get it ourselves. BPs and fetal heart rates were taken for each and every one of us and the other heavy breather started moving around and therefore breathing heavily and crying out in pain every now and then. (You must understand that ordinarily I hold the deepest of sympathy for pregnant women in pain/labour but deprive me of my sleep and annoy me and I feel nothing but contempt for your noisy and inconsiderate suffering.)

By 8am I convinced the unhelpfuls on the desk to allow me to ring home (they made it clear it was for emergencies only - luckily Bea's dance exam was terribly emergent) and I spoke to K who sounded very sleepy and hadn't started looking for the missing black leotard yet. He sounded annoyed that I sounded annoyed that he hadn't started looking. But, I got to tell him about the white socks, we discussed her hair and he said he could 'handle' the leotard situation. I felt relieved and sat on my bed to continue reading the shit book I had already read and to wait for the doctor to come and finally set me free from the hell hole. I read an awful lot of the shit book as he didn't turn up until 11.15am where he spent under a minute with me before he said, 'let's get you out of here' (all bleeding had ceased and the baby was absolutely fine). I was very close to kissing him. He went away, came back, we discussed what I should/shouldn't do - that there was no need for a scan as I was booked in for one in ten days time anyway and that the midwife would be in shortly with my notes so that I could leave. She was, I ran away and made it home before Bea was back from her second dance lesson of the day - Ballet this time. (I had locked the car and it was indeed, fine). The elation at being home and reunited with my children and my phone charger lasted for over an hour before the tiredness set in, they became annoying and K's back issues meant that the 'feet up' afternoon I had planned wasn't quite going to work out that way. Luckily Ted was tired enough for a sleep and the big two were tired enough to watch a film so I did get a kip on the sofa and obviously this afternoon my feet are only touching the floor to take me to the kitchen for another slice of cake.

So, there you have it. Another year, another Mother's Day. Another weekend I didn't expect on Friday afternoon. Still, I am here with you now and there is cake on a plate so I mustn't grumble.  My mother received a card from me which she opened yesterday because she doesn't care about protocol and K has taken his mum out with the children to a Harvester, so I feel mothers day has been done all round. I will of course, hold on to the pain of K not getting me a mother's day card forevermore and bring it up in every argument hence forth (and the lack of chocolates - this year I would merrily have scoffed a whole box today but oh no - the one time I am NOT adhering to the WW plan he doesn't get me so much as a pack of three ferrero roche from the local newsagent whilst he's picking up his sodding fags) but all in all I am lucky - I could still be on that ward with the heavy breather or something could have been terribly wrong with the baby so luckily, my time 'inside' has given me enough perspective to cope with the lack of card, chocolates, gift, breakfast in bed etc and just be grateful for my working iphone, lack of children for the day and my own comfy bed and tracksuit bottoms. A night away has given me the gift of perspective. And I am grateful for it.

So, Happy Fackin Mother's Day all round. Here's to the healing powers of cake and perspective and to another successful year at the helm. I say successful in that I have managed to keep them alive, fed and watered etc not that I believe myself to be phenomenally successful as a mother - I would put my success level at an average level with flashes of brilliance here and there - unless K is describing me - preferably in card form - when I should then, rather obviously, be descrived as phenomenally successful. I shall have to wait for another year to receive such affirmation. Next year better be worth the wait. Or his back will be the least of his problems.

Cheerio and ta ta for now xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 12 March 2012

Spring and scrubbing

Good day to you all. I am full of the joys of spring. I have no idea why the sun has such a profound effect on life but it really does. The house seems less small and dirty, money issues seem less dire, marriage seems less hard work and overall the sun 'takes the edge off' the harsher realities of life. It's the gas and air of nature.

Last Sunday was spent entirely indoors thanks to a. the weather and b. my tiredness. Thank goodness for a. The Sound of Music and b. me setting up a small school which helped us get through the day but still, the difference between last week and yesterday was amazing. Three and a half hours of a Sunday spent in the park under the sun has fully restored my zest for life and even though the tiredness will not abate for many years to come, I am far happier. Although I have to say watching Bea and G loving Julie and the von Trapps singing their hearts out did go some way to helping me reach my happy state - the sun can't take all the credit. I really thought that they would only tolerate watching one song, 'My Favourite Things' as it had some relevance to their life, (I have been known to sing it quite a bit over the years) but they carried on and lapped up Do-re-mi and on further until the end of the film (explaining the Nazis to a seven year old is tricky - luckily G didn't ask). So much so, I have downloaded the music and Bea and G are now fully committed to having seven children so we can form our own choir.  Bea did ask to be called Liesl for a few days but we soon all forgot. I am very up for calling the new baby Gretel though - particularly if it is a girl.  Oh and Glee is back on TV. Oh and I only have four more wibbly meetings left to do. And the weather means that I can now wear maxi dresses on rotation for the next twenty weeks which dramatically reduces my need for maternity wear. Things are good. It will probably snow next week just to piss me off but so far, so good.

In other news, I have almost entirely abandoned potty training. I knew Ted would be my nemesis when it came to potty training and I have been proved entirely right. He quickly assessed that I wanted him to go for a wee and therefore went out of his way not to wee on my demand, or indeed his and seemed genuinely quite pleased when he wet/shat himself so, either he works it out for himself or he shall remain in nappies/pull up pants until he is old enough to find it embarrassing and work it out for himself. I give up. Which just goes to show you that one shouldn't be too quick to judge on the whole parenting front. If I had stuck at two children I would imagine that people who couldn't handle potty training were just 'not doing it right'. I have done it right. Ted is programmed wrong and no amount of love is going to get me washing any more poo out of his mini boden pants - they are far too cute to throw away. TOP TIP. Buy cheap, crappy (pun intended) pants for when they start training so you can just throw them away with each unpleasant accident. Only when they are fully 'trained' should you use all your money off vouchers and child benefit to invest in nice cotton pants from expensive mail order companies. I am, as always, here to help you.

I would probably be slightly more tolerant of his effluence if there weren't so many other reasons for me to be scrubbing carpets and soft furnishings from various other 'accidents' around the house. For example, take Friday morning. I was greatly looking forward to Friday because of a lunch my school friend had organised with a couple of other school friends in posh Putney. I did the school run without make up and in slobby clothing and came back to have a bath and hair wash - I haven't ever attempted this before but it was very successful, no one pointed at my dishevelled appearance and laughed, and Ted spent the whole time I was in the bath downstairs, using my iPad to surf You Tube to find clips of Spiders and Spiderman, so there wasn't even any damage done (he is freakishly able to negotiate You Tube to find almost anything he wants - the other day he was very happily dancing along to a dancing, singing banana - it freaks me out what he knows). It was only after I got out of the bath and started to put on my make up that he took a black felt tip to the cream bedroom carpet whilst I wasn't watching. Little sod. Particularly irritating as I had only just put my duvet in the recently vacated bath to try and get out the stench of sick. G sat up at 6.30am that morning and threw up all of his morning milk all over my bed. The duvet is super king and filled with feathers so it is incredibly difficult to clean. I settled for cleaning only the part that smelt of sick. Sick is like broken glass - you never quite get it all - little splashes seem to get in to the most ridiculous places. My bedroom still smells a bit of sick. Although that could be from Ted who was a little sick on my carpet at some point last week - I forget when - it was still dark and K was still asleep so I probably did miss a bit. I got in to bed on Saturday night and got a real whoosh of sick from a cushion so I had clearly missed a bit of G's outpourings as well. At least I could throw that out of the bed without having to get out myself. The other evening I got in to bed and found a suspicious damp patch on top of the duvet - a Ted calling card. So extreme was my tiredness at that point in the evening I deftly moved the damp patch over to K's side and fell fast asleep - I'm not proud of my increasingly low levels of cleanliness and standards of hygiene but I am passed caring. When the youngest is potty trained and fully able to make it to the loo to be sick I shall have my entire house gutted and everything in it burnt in a deeply satisfying ceremony. I shall drink a lot at that ceremony in toast to my ruined hands and aching elbows from all the scrubbing.

To the rest of Friday - the lunch was lovely - Ted had a whale of a time running around with a huge snake and my friend's son who is the same age. He even managed to find a loo brush and ran through the place very pleased with himself before I rugby tackled him to the ground and wrestled it out of his very determined fist. I also ate loads of great food which is always the sign of a great time. As an additional bonus, the lunch has provided me with something that has kept me amused ever since. My very learned lawyer friend who is a total stickler for punctuation and grammar told us of her hatred for mis-spelt texts.  In particular a boy with whom she had been on a few dates, sent her a text saying 'I hope your well'. A common enough mistake, however my learned friend was not going to tolerate such things and was unable to ignore his mistake. She replied, 'You hope my well is what?'. This has honestly kept me laughing for a good 72 hours. K cannot understand why I should find this so amusing but clearly he has never been made irate by a mis-placed apostrophe or laissez faire attitude towards the use of 'your' and 'you're'. Or 'their' and 'there' actually. Equally as annoying.  The relationship went nowhere after that - luckily so as she has since met and married a very nice man and produced a sprog so all in all thank goodness for this poor other boy and his temporary illiteracy. Some spelling mistakes are better than others - after all if it wasn't for Bea's slight dyslexia (still to be 'proved' officially) I would never have spent last mother's day with a card that said 'Fack you for lovin me'. I doubt any other card will ever make me as happy or provide as much amusement - this Mother's Day will be a tad disappointing.  She wrote me one at the weekend that was almost totally correct - where is the fun in that? Although it did tell me that 'f' is for how fun I am. I like the idea of her thinking I am fun. But it doesn't warrant a blog entry - let's hope one of the others is similarly affected and I can get some mileage out of them.

I shall leave you to your lives. Enjoy the weather while you can.

P.S Since I wrote this post this afternoon I have been asked to do one extra wibbly meeting meaning I am back up to five before I finish, we have realised that Bea's £100 scooter was left in the park car park on Sunday and is now no longer there and the sun has gone to brighten up the other side of the world - so my shine is somewhat tarnished. Let's hope the sun comes back tomorrow. I need to take the edge off.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Too old for Cosmo

Welcome back to the first post, post anniversary. Yes, from now on I shall pretty much be repeating everything that happened last year for your reading pleasure, mother's day, father's day, sport's day etc. Rest assured that all days will be making a reappearance. Hopefully there won't be quite the dramas there were with K's job, the gas meter and severe/chronic money shortage but obviously there is the new child's arrival which should make a difference this time around. Also last year I was about to start becoming a wibblies leader and now I am on the count down to Not becoming one. I am a little hazy over precisely when this will happen as it has all been done via text but according to me and my interpretations of the texts I am around four meetings away from The End. Hoorah! They are even carrying on my meeting which makes me muchos happios. That is something that has remained unchanged - apparently there has been no improvement in my language skills. G had a lovely Spanish speaking boy over for tea on Thursday and as we walked home from school I tried to impress him that I, an English mother, could speak his 'mother tongue'. I said 'my name is Alicia' in Spanish. He looked unmoved. I said hello, goodbye and how are you - also in, I thought, text book Spanish with an impressive accent. He did not reply. He told me he knew the word for toilet - I said, so do I! Our words differed massively. As we approached the zebra crossing he finally agreed with me that perhaps we were speaking 'different spanishes' as he didn't understand anything I had said. We did, however, agree on the word Vamos, as we approached the house. I felt happy we had found at least one word that overlapped in our different versions of a single language. It was even stranger when his mother arrived to pick him up as she spoke the kind of Spanish I thought I was speaking and I understood her perfectly - tres odd. I wonder if it was just the roar of the traffic and my accent that didn't help us understand one another? I am going to get him back over and try again.

Anyhoo, so here we are in the exciting second time round of a year. Now the only excitement you have to look forward to is the countdown to the big push. Ha Ha. 21 weeks left should you wish to keep track. I actually want to keep the 'new one' in for as long as possible as I had a crashing realisation a few mornings ago that I do not like broken sleep and if the last three are anything to go by, I shall not be sleeping through again for over two years. And even then it will be majorly hit and miss. And as a by product of the sleep deprivation I have realised that I will begin to look even older than I do already. I know that women are self deprecating as a matter of course but I can assure you I am looking older by the day - obviously I AM actually older by the day - but you know what I mean. Nowhere was this made more apparent than last night when I spent the evening surrounded by the great and the glamorous of my younger sister's acquaintance. It was SERIOUSLY like being involved in an episode of Footballer's Wives but with real, actual people. The older sister and I, who do usually make an effort when out and tend to scrub up quite nicely, even being faintly glamorous on occasion, were suddenly acutely aware of our age and appearance. I felt as dowdy, frumpy and out of place as Miss Marple at the Playboy Mansion. The 'theme' of the Hen (for that is why I was there) was The Only Way is Essex - the reality TV show set in a part of Essex where people do not wear tracksuits and trainers as a matter of course, but instead spend aeons of time agonising over their appearance, spending lots of money on themselves and their small dogs and talking about what other people are doing - oh and having plastic surgery. So naturally glamour was on the agenda, but I wasn't expecting so much. Not having any maternity wear in my new smaller size and no money or desire to buy a glamorous maternity dress, (which actually don't really exist if you are bigger than a 12 and a bit on the poor side) I went through my existing wardrobe to find something that still fitted over my sizable stomach and expanded uterus. The only thing I found, buried at the back, was an odd graphic/animal print stretchy dress I had bought in a moment of madness in a Per Una sale quite a few moons ago. It had been worn but once before being hidden as a. I lost weight and it was too big and b. I saw a rounded, short and much, much older lady wearing it at a gallery evening once and the haunting image of it made me finally and FOR GOOD realise that you cannot buy anything from Per Una and look young. Having assumed the dress had long ago been donated to charity it was a shock to come across it hidden away but it turned out to be the only thing that fitted comfortably and didn't become too short when stretched over my middle, so it was chosen as my dress for the evening. I had spent quite a while trying on various other options and showing Bea, my in-house fashion guru. With the first option she pulled a face and said 'sort of, with tights', before going back to the TV.  The second dress prompted her to again remind me that I would need tights to look vaguely ok. The third was a no go and the fourth had a zip which stubbornly remained around my chest area and wouldn't budge. Although Bea gave up trying remarkably quickly. The next dress had no sleeves and Bea said yet again 'maybe with tights' before saying 'and you will need to shave those arm pits'. NICE. At that point my frustration over came me and I yelled - 'OK BEA I GET THE BLOODY MESSAGE' before I slammed the door behind me in my bedroom. I gave up showing her after that. They were all too tight or too short. Finally I showed her the Per Una dress and we settled on it as 'the winner'. I was so relieved I was almost grateful to the dress. Plus, on the way to the train I realised I was, in fact, going as a member of the TOWIE cast - I was Mark's grandmother, Nanny Pat. A wise old sage who makes a mean sausage plait and likes to iron her grandson's clothes. Although amusing, it did little to comfort me as all the glamorous ladies in the hotel room with us began to prepare for the evening with their beautifully manicured nails and expensive shoes and dresses. The make up was also in another league. They all looked like they were on their way to a film premiere - even the ones in short sequin dresses that barely covered their crotches (they had fully and bravely embraced the theme rather than dressing as a granny and putting sparkly nail varnish on like I had). It was fun to watch but I did feel like 'the old maid' in the room. Some of the ladies were only two years younger than me but it could have been a decade. No more so than my celeb-a-like younger sister who wore a skin tight beige dress Posh Spice would have been proud to don. What with the celeb hair and make up and precariously high shoes to boot the pictures of us together look like I am some crazy sad fan who has finally got her picture taken with her favourite celebrity. I shall stop boring you with how amazing they all looked - I'm sure you have the picture by now - and move on to the important stuff. The food was SOOO GOOOOD.  Twice baked smoked haddock souffle and an enormous steak with chips and sauce. God damn. Even the bread was a cut above.  Totally worth the train journey in to town. I was even too full to attempt pudding which we were forced to order to satisfy the private dining room's minimum spend requirement. There is something so sad about unappreciated pudding. They all just sat there looking at me all sad and uneaten. The others had to run off to get to the karaoke bar so the older sister and I sat there staring at the forlorn puddings as she polished off the expensive champagne we also had to order - I valiantly tried to inhale enough of the fabulous custard that accompanied the Spotted Dick but I had to admit defeat - the pain in my stomach had got too much. So, to summarise - an enjoyable hen. Minimum number of embarrassing questions in the Mr and Mrs game, lots of glamour, private dining, excellent food and a suitably exclusive venue. Oh and the most important element of any hen - I was in bed by 11pm. That is the key to success in my book.

Me in my Nanny Pat mask helpfully provided at the table to finish off my 'look'.

So, that is me as an old lady. I am a year older, getting fatter not thinner and ageing spectacularly. So much so that I am now 'too old' for Cosmopolitan magazine. This is odd, I remember quite vividly being too young for Cosmo. How did I now become the wrong side of the Cosmo readership? It's not that I don't think there is merit in debating the motion 'Can you have a Vajazzle and still be a feminist?' it's just that an awful lot of it is clearly aimed at a younger market than a 33 year old mother of 3.5. Although I shouldn't be too pious there are some great tips in the Cosmo Commandments which can be used by anyone of any age to help them with their lives - my favourite is  'Be true to yourself. If you prefer a DVD to a bar crawl on a Saturday night, say it loud and proud. Yeah!'. I just feel like these kind of positive affirmations and 'important' debates are unneccessary at my time of life. Which is so odd because a. the freebies on the front which made me buy the magazine after all this time were the Clinique products I use and b. Holly Willoughby was on the front cover who is around my age and a mother of two herself. I should have noticed the warning sign on the front cover, along the glamorous sexed up picture of Holly was the enticing headline 'Totes Amaze, 104 Handbags You'll Heart'. (Not that I'm impartial to the word Totes as you know - it's just I like to think I'm being hilariously ironic when I throw it casually in to conversation). The interview with Holly was a slight disappointment too - she is far too sycophantic about her husband, she twice mentioned that when people meet him they prefer him to her (ha ha ha) and she even put that she would rather 'eat her own face than break wind in front of my husband'. No man is that special. I used to think she could do no wrong and now she has. The rest of the magazine seems largely concerned with sex, feminism, periods and relationships. I think I should put in my subscription for Country Living now and be done with it. Actually K and I once graced the pages of Cosmo magazine - we answered questions and posed for pictures about how we fell in love. It was pre-wedding and children naturally and I did it for the nice photos which just turned out to be good of me - the one they used in the magazine unfortunately made K look like he had had an allergic reaction and his face had swelled up - it was quite cruel of them. They also added in fictitious facts about our sex life to 'spice up' the interview a bit which was hideously embarrassing - my poor father read it. Gross. I think all in all I can put the Cosmo part of my life behind me. I have moved on.

I think that is enough from me. You must want to get on.  I shall be back in touch soon. I am going to check out The Lady and see if it is more 'me'. Adios! One hopes you are able to decipher that Spanish. xxxxxxxxxxxx