Sunday, 29 April 2012

Curse and neglect

Hello one and all. I am all alone. Well, all alone except for the staff and patients of Seattle Grace Hospital keeping me company. What would I do without them. They must keep making Grey's Anatomy forever more or a little part of me will die inside. I have already had to cope with the end of Brothers and Sisters and it wasn't pretty.

I am all alone aside from fictional TV characters because I have made K take the children to his mother's house as I am no longer fit to parent them. I am failing spectacularly on all counts so I thought it was best for all if we were temporarily separated. I feel terrifically guilty about sending them away on yet another rainy day so that someone else has to find a way to amuse them in a small, confined space. In the same way that when the weather is warm for a number of days in a row (to any foreign readers, this is known as a heatwave in the UK and can sometimes last as long as a week) and you look at your winter coats and boots and can't imagine a time when you will ever wear them again, the same has happened with the rain. I have now decided that it will continue to rain forever, two weeks of almost persistent rain has completely obliterated any memory I might have once had of those days when it was possible to leave the house without socks, wellies, coats etc for me and all of the children or why you would ever buy an ice cream from an ice cream van. I feel that I am never going to see the sun again. Foreign holidays are never going to happen for us so this is it now. A lifetime of rain and misery awaits me. Gone are the days when I could prance around wearing my Sainsbury's Maxi dresses, instead I have used some of my valuable last income to invest in yet more maternity jeans. Although having moaned - the persistent cold and rain could all work out to my advantage - there is nothing worse than being boiling hot and heavily pregnant and sweating so much from a short walk you have to change your clothes. When I was heavily pregnant with Bea and working I used to be so hot by the time I got home I would stand in a paddling pool and get K to hose me down outside with all my clothes on. Actually we can't do that even if we do have a sudden and unexpected heatwave in June (apparently May is going to be very rainy too) as there is still going to be a hose pipe ban even if we have to spend the next six weeks swimming to school.

Anyway, that is enough on the weather. Back to my hideous parenting which is far more interesting. I will admit that there are times when I feel like I am doing a rather good job on this whole parenting malarkey. I have content moments when I think all the children are happy and well and it is all down to me and my brilliance. For example the Friday morning before the last half term, when we had a text book, good school run, arriving in plenty of time without having had to rush, with joyful children full of happiness and excitement at the imminent half term, with all their appropriate bits and pieces - books, signed pieces of paper, skipping ropes, packed lunches, water bottles, footwear, attire and show and tell toy. I also had in my hands, the home made, joint-project-with-the-children cakes, ready to be deposited in the library for the school cake sale. (I put our surname in very big letters on the top of the cake box so people knew that the pregnant mother of three with an exceptionally part time job had found time and energy to bake for the good of the school.)  However, smug moments aside, this week has descended into an annihilation of any feelings that I might have even a modicum of talent at parenting. It is like the rain and the sun - the metaphorical rain has set in to my parenting and I cannot imagine a time where the sun will shine again.  

Firstly, I have told them all they are annoying, and in particular annoying me, more times than is healthy for a child's self esteem. I have no idea if they are being far more annoying than usual or if I have developed an inability to cope but whatever it is, that is where we are. I think it all started when I had to shatter everyone's dreams and put Mr Croc out to meet his maker. So sad. Mr Croc was the three metre cardboard crocodile we made over the Easter holidays. (I was having a good parenting time then). We collected egg boxes and cardboard boxes for weeks from friends and neighbours and spent an afternoon sticking and painting to create the below:

However, after the initial excitement and pride at what we had created, along with the obligatory photographs, I was left with a three metre obstacle to clean and move around in the kitchen. Also, after one night in situ, it turns out that painting sellotape is not a long term solution as it chips and flakes everywhere. So, since the first Wednesday of the holidays I have been in a very difficult situation. My children were in love with Mr Croc and also convinced it was worth money and should be sold online, K was keen to have it thrown away quickly (after being suitably impressed and complimentary of our considerable skill) and I was left moving it in to various different positions so that it could be cleaned under only for the movement to leave large areas of chipped green paint in its wake. So, finally this week I took various parts of Mr Croc and squished them down in to the recycling bin (I took ages deciding if it was regular rubbish or recycling) but the main part of the body was too big so had to be left on top of the bin and then the rain began again and the paint started coming off and running away in little sad, green rivers. It was a sad sight and Ted was particularly affected by witnessing the slow and miserable death of his friend. (They had played together many times over the last three weeks). Since he was crushed unceremoniously in the back of a recycling van, nothing has been the same. After a brief period of excitement that Bea's new glasses might actually have made a significant difference to her ability to read music and therefore make recorder practise more enjoyable, it turns out that she still doesn't know the difference between a 'B' and a 'C' and her wearing glasses has had absolutely no affect on my patience level whilst she tries to work it out. In fact the glasses just remind me of my shortcomings as a parent because she should have been diagnosed long sighted at least four months ago (if not more) and perhaps she would have found things a lot easier if I wasn't so lazy/suffering from pregnancy symptoms.

I have also had to acknowledge that the letter they sent from school which I received at a particularly low moment, is something I have to deal with. It turns out that after the recent weighing and height  measuring as part of the National Child Measurement Programme, my beloved G is far too heavy for his little bones. Now, I was expecting him to be in the over weight section, I sort of found it funny. He is a 'solid' boy who looks as if he was born to play rugby. However, he is no prop forward. He doesn't have a stomach that hangs over his waist band or have to wear clothing three sizes too big, or become short of breath and red in the cheeks after climbing the stairs. He is, and always has been, very solidly built. He came out at 8lbs 8oz and amazed the midwife by being 10lbs 4 oz when she weighed him again after ten days. He is now a big lover of milk and mashed potato, both in large quantities. I have always found his hearty appetite a rather endearing quality - there is something lovely about feeding a child who really appreciates their food and regularly clears his plate and then licks it clean for good measure. Although it is not as if he eats bars of chocolate for breakfast and haribo before bed so I was more than a little shocked to find his weight puts him in the 99th percentile for his height and therefore makes him (obese). (I have to put it in brackets so you don't say it out loud - it feels so horrid to label him). He is still wearing age 5 trousers so unless uniform and clothing manufacturers are making clothes that only cater for the obese market, I was totally blindsided by the whole thing. I have therefore been making a huge effort to cut his calorie intake without him knowing or getting upset. It is exhausting making endless decisions on what he can and can't have and trying to gauge regular portions. As you all know my portions are more supersize than superskinny so Cupcake Sister has had to become my portion moral compass. Apparently small children only need one sausage per sitting. That is weird. I have always given two. Also this means an end to the mash mountain and a downsizing to mash small hills which doesn't have quite the same ring to it. I have included a photo so we might also mourn the loss of my culinary genius (I am on a roll with pics today - the ketchup is lava as the mountain is also a volcano).

Every time I look at G now I keep trying to be objective and work out if he looks obese to the untrained eye and if I am just not seeing it because he is mine. Every time he pulls on his skinny jeans I feel vindicated. Although added to my guilt over his weight (which is my fault whether he is predisposed to weight gain or not - ultimately the buck stops with me), I am slightly concerned he may have some tooth decay as well. I am petrified of going to the dentist to find out for sure. It is yet another urgent thing I have to put on my to do list which isn't being done, not because I am so ultra, ultra busy that I can't fit it in, but because I am too chicken shit scared to do anything about it. Before I write again I am going to HAVE to take them to seek urgent dental attention. Bea's teeth are growing in all wonky too so she needs to go and see him. Oh and she needs to go to the doctors for her hearing. I haven't done anything about that either. Let's face it, things are not looking good for my motley crew of children. Let's hope they have great personalities.

Ted has been his usual still-in-nappies, evil-genius self, until yesterday when he became badly wounded due again, to my crappy parenting and utter neglect. I had left him downstairs with his father and siblings watching Alvin and the Sodding Chipmunks (I added the sodding btw although the makers of the film really should have thought of it) and gone for a sneaky lie down upstairs. After half an hour Ted came and found me. I tried ignoring him which worked and he went away, but then came back saying he had a hurt. I didn't look up and told him to come to me and I would kiss him better. He became quite insistent and didn't move. I looked up and saw a lot of blood on his finger. I also noticed the smell which was obviously why he had come up to see me (K says it is Ted who insists on me changing him but I secretly suspect K tells him to come and find me after he's filled his nappy). So, upon inspection of the fingers I saw more and more blood, but Ted was telling me not to touch it or clean it and was becoming quite upset about it all so I couldn't see the source or work out what had happened. To cut a long story short, after a lot of trying to find out what on earth had happened and not being able to change his nappy he took me in to the bathroom where I found a scary bloody smear on the bath and the razor Ted had been trying to describe to me for quite a while. THE GUILT. I had left the razor on the side of the bath. After many months of moving the sodding razor from the sink (where K had left it) to the cupboard so that Ted couldn't use it against anyone/himself it was finally me that left it so that it was easily within his grasp. He kept trying to show me how he had wiped his finger on it during the whole crying/bleeding/charades minutes before we got to the bathroom and I had totally not understood. Poor thing must have thought I was very lazy and very stupid. After he eventually let me deal with the gushing blood, even with three plasters over the finger the blood kept seeping through and I felt sick. I am not good with blood and gore - particularly when it is my fault that the blood is there in the first place. He also kept holding it out ET style which just made me feel even worse.

Coupled with this, since the curse of Mr Croc, things have once again become strained with K. Mr Croc's demise happened to coincide with the first of my now weekly visits from the cleaner (the final nail in Mr Croc's green and plastic coffin). At the last minute (or so I thought, I may have had it wrong for weeks), the cleaner told me she was coming 24 hours early and the house was in no fit state for someone not in our family to witness or indeed attempt to clean, so I spent two and a half hours running around trying to tidy ahead of her coming in behind to clean. In total nearly six hours went in to the transformation of our house from 'disgusting' to 'acceptable' and I was justifiably proud. I even made quite an effort to maintain the new state of the house in the face of a friend and three small children spending the afternoon here, as well as the usual boisterous after school play from the four children in my care, so, it was with some considerable anger that I greeted K's 'innocent' comment as he ascended the stairs that evening with the immortal line 'I thought the cleaner was meant to have come today'. THERE ARE NO MORE WORDS. And there were none between us, aside from the terse vital words regarding practical or parenting matters. That remained the case until very recently actually. The wound went ridiculously deep. He bought me a new broom yesterday - I have no idea if this is to rub salt in the wound or is meant as a peace offering. For the sake of us remaining in the land of the talking I have not asked.

In other, entirely unrelated news it is going to be impossible for me to ever go to America. It will totally shatter my illusions of God-like-Doctors who not only look good enough to eat but are able to save even the most hopeless of cases just by thinking a bit harder about how to perform the operation, but I would be entirely disappointed to learn that high school wasn't full of people running around falling in and out of love and singing about it up and down the halls. Yes, I have moved on to Glee. I am catching up with all the programmes I have missed for the last month. Although this happy scenario (complete with a tub of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food) may well come to a very premature end as K has just texted saying that he will be probably leave soon as the children are uncontrollable. DAMN. I was just beginning to like the idea of children again but now I know they might return I am very keen that he should try harder and keep them away for a bit longer. I feel guilty that I am doing a crap job when they are here, I feel guilty for sending them away because I can no longer stand them and their annoying whining and fighting and bleeding from razors, then I feel guilty that I enjoy my time away from them and now I feel guilty that I want them to stay away for as long as possible so I only have to watch them whilst they sleep (children are at their VERY VERY best when fast asleep) and then look forward to dropping them off at school tomorrow so that Ted and I might concentrate on our 'loafing', which we have really perfected in recent weeks. (The third trimester has also coincided with a very obvious bottom sized dent in our sofa).

So to summarise, Mr Croc is dead and his curse means I am no longer coping. I even realised the other day that no one had had their hair washed for as long as I can remember. It grossed me out significantly. I mean, they have definitely rinsed it in the bath and it inevitably gets wet in all this rain we have had, but as for a proper shampoo and rinse - I was totally at a loss to remember when that had last happened. I did then immediately properly wash all of their heads in the bath, with shampoo and everything and aside from the dubious colour of the bath water reinforcing my guilt and neglect, it has turned out well as I have realised that Ted smells fabulous when I am cuddling and kissing him, as do the other two. It turns out that unwashed hair does not smell as sweet as recently washed hair. Regular hair washing is also going on my urgent to do list. There are still nearly three months to go of the pregnancy so I am slightly fearful of how much further my parenting standards can slip. The only way to find out is to keep going. I shall keep you posted. Let's hope they all live to tell the tale. I have definitely learnt my lesson over razor blades so that's one less thing to worry about. I am going to have to be far more careful over the knives I leave out in the kitchen.

Right, seeing as I may not have long left (on my own - hopefully not on the planet), I shall heave myself out of the bottom sized hole on the sofa and start tidying and hiding knives and scissors etc. Glee hasn't quite finished yet so I shall start by finishing the rest of the ice cream so I can throw away the tub - one has to start somewhere.

Seeya. x



Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tantrums and trauma with a happy ending

Well hello. You find me in a very sorry state after a sodding terrible evening. Worst one in ages. Particularly odd as yesterday evening was one of the greats. A trio of happy children who had thoroughly enjoyed their day and evening, who went to bed happily and easily with smiles on their faces. Even K and I had had great days (he sold an expensive house with a good commission and I completed my final Weight Watching meeting and had a lovely lunch with a friend) so last night the Mother and Other house was full of happy vibes, peace, good will and smiles. Tonight could not be more of a contrast.

At some point this afternoon Ted fell asleep in the playroom (I wasn't paying him any attention and it took ages for me to realise it had been a while since I had heard anything) and he was still asleep by the time I needed to leave for the school run. This has happened a number of times (him being asleep at school run time, not me ignoring him) and has never been a massive problem in the past, but today it would appear that Ted hadn't had as much sleep as he wanted and about 30 seconds after I woke him up he began protesting in earnest. It was a bog standard tantrum before we left the house - screaming and lying on the floor, arching himself backwards if I tried to pick him up etc - and usually these sort of tantrums desist once he gets out in the fresh air. Again, today was different.  The tantrum worsened upon leaving the house and continued to worsen as we got down the road. He wriggled out of the buggy and sat on the pavement. I attempted the 'fine stay there' approach and walked off. He was happy alone on the pavement and showed no sign of moving. I was by this point incredibly late for pick up and realised there was nothing for it but to get on and bear the pain. I picked him up, strapped him in the buggy, remembering the middle strap this time and pushed him determinedly towards the school. The angry screaming and wailing continued, along with the furious kicking of legs and straining against the buggy straps, all the way to school, at the classrooms for pick up of the three children and then all the way home. Around 25 minutes in all. Added to that Bea was unhappy as I wouldn't carry her school bag as well as her coat and when I gathered G hastily from his teacher, I was presented with a one eyed misery as he had recently been poked in the eye and was pretty upset about the whole thing and acting as if he had lost the eye. He also began whining over the lack of car to take him home and the fact that I wouldn't pull him on the scooter as an alternative. Bea realised she was out tantrumed by her brothers and her and the extra child set off to walk comfortably ahead of us, disassociating themselves from the whole sorry sight. Wisely so as we were attracting an awful lot of attention from other school leavers and members of the public. Ted's straining, guttural tantrum noises were making people look round very quickly to see if there was a child being abused/abducted that they might be able to help. Instead people were confronted with the visual of a red faced, pregnant and harassed woman pulling a crying, one eyed, five year old along whilst pushing a recalcitrant buggy (mum found it in the charity shop and it was there for a reason), with a screaming two year old inside straining against the straps and wearing only a nappy, a pair of white socks and a spiderman top. I know with every fibre of my being that all the people in the cars stuck at the traffic lights and all the people with or without children walking on both sides of the road were looking at me and my supersized bump and thinking the same thing. 'Why on earth are you having another one you idiot'.

We arrived home in one piece and I will admit to you all that I was not as gentle or as calm as I should have been when I released Ted from the buggy straps and put him in his cot so that he could finish the tantrum out of earshot and I could calm down. Unfortunately in the middle of all this and trying to treat G's eye issue and Bea's overheating from too many layers of clothing, a man knocked at the door. Clearly life had not dealt this man a fair hand as he was going door to door to try and peddle LoveFilm and he chose to knock on my door at an incredibly inopportune moment. He did not receive a very warm welcome and I unleashed some of my pent up anger on him. This turned out to be quite lucky as I was then calm enough to rapidly sort out the big two before turning my attention to Ted. I calmly questioned if he was ready to calm down, removed him from his cot and sat and cuddled him in front of the TV until life had returned to something approaching normality. Then I was just left with the usual fighting over who was playing with whom - the extra child is still regularly fought over - and the constant request for various toys that need to be found instantly by me. Bedtime was even worse as they all had melt downs over various things. It took an hour after I officially said goodnight for them to admit defeat and shut the hell up and sleep. It was as if they knew that K was having a rare night out and I was on my own. Oh and that poor man from LoveFilm returned (clearly very desperate for a commission), whilst the children were still complaining from upstairs, in the hope that 'this was a less busy time'. Dear Lord men are stupid.  Although luckily for me, the man with whom I share my life is not as stupid as I thought. He had thoughtfully left me a bar of chocolate in the fridge. He even hid it to make finding it all the more exciting. And he didn't tell me it was there, so he was obviously only thinking of me and my delight at discovering such a thing when he hid it there.

It is a shame that the last eight hours or so have sullied my good mood. Especially as I had lots of good things to tell you. I shall try and improve things by telling you some of my recent excitements. I have picked up a pregnancy book and discovered that I am well in to the third trimester now - not sure what that means to you but to me it signals the home stretch and means that the newbie could be 'viable' if born from now on which is also nice to know. (Although it also alerted me to Toxoplasmosis which I seem to have all the symptoms for - books are incredibly dangerous for hypochondriacs and really should be avoided. I shall be getting the midwife to test me though, just in case). The third trimester also seems to have coincided with K deciding I am pregnant 'enough' to warrant help, so, (drum roll please) I am permitted to have a cleaner once a week now! Oh yes, this is most thrilling. And, upon the safe arrival of No. 4 I am allowed her twice a week. Such luxury is unheard of in this household. It is almost too decadent. Still, I am rolling with it just in case having another baby is actually quite tiring even after it is out of the uterus. Cupcake Sister has assured me that it does. She is constantly ruining surprises for me.

There was even more excitement last week as I went out. Not just any ordinary going out - this was to the theatre. It has been many years since I have been to the theatre, even more since I saw anything grown up.  This was a very grown up play - John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. I didn't know what it was about before I got there, I went as a stand in for a friend of mine who couldn't make it and her husband very kindly said I could take her ticket and go as his date.  I knew it wasn't going to be Mary Poppins, I had managed to ascertain that it was a tragedy and having studied a fair bit of Shakespeare and plays of around the same era, I realised it wasn't going to be joyful or hilarious, but I was looking forward to using my brain regardless. However from the get go I knew I wasn't going to handle it - it started off with people walking in slowly and ominously with big cloaks and hoods covering their faces and immediately it looked like something scary from Midsomer Murders. As we know, I do not 'do' scary and MM is quite often way above my 'comfort' threshold. Without wishing to ruin it for anyone planning to see the play there are some almightily horrid brothers who decide to punish their sister for her perceived wrong doing (marrying beneath her and procreating with the lowly man) and eventually end up having her killed - right in front of my eyes. Two men pulled very hard on a rope they had placed around her neck and continued to do so as she struggled, gasped and strained against it - for a very long time. It was horrifying. Coupled with the fact that after she did finally die, the 'bad' man went on to order the death of her lady in waiting and the Duchess' two babies who were with the lady in waiting. This was after the horrific visual of the husband and first son of the Duchess, hanging from the gallows with their hands cut off. (Luckily they weren't real in the play or in real life and this was just another way the brothers had thought up to upset the poor Duchess). Although the husband does end up dead by the end. Only her first son survives the whole terrifying ordeal.  I left the Old Vic a tad traumatised. Still, it was nice to be out of the house and to have caught up with my friend's lovely husband who even treated me to an ice cream in the interval, so it wasn't all bad.

And of course, as of now, I am officially on maternity leave from wibblies. I carried out my final meeting on Monday and bid farewell to all the lovely ladies who had become my regulars. I even got a card and small gift from the lovely old lady who had been there from my very first meeting in September. It was all very touching. As soon as all the stock is picked up and taken away, which means we will once again have storage space in the house and the use of my car boot, I will crack open the champagne. I shall miss my £100 or so pocket money it provides once a month, but enjoying my Sunday nights once again and not worrying every Monday morning will more than compensate for the monetary loss.

So, there you have it. Happiness, despair, trauma and chocolate. A typical week. I am shattered from all of it so am going to bed to enjoy some snore free sleep time whilst K is still out. (His snoring, not mine, in case that wasn't clear). I also like to have the whole bed to myself - it is one decadence after another with me. So, without further ado I shall away to my bed to dream of murdered mothers and children. (It is five days since the play and my dreams are still haunted). I am sticking to animated cartoons from now on. The children and I have recently managed to watch Toy Story 3 without getting upset although Coraline will always remain off limits. (The alternative mother collects children's eyes - when will people stop the madness?)

Sweet dreams people - may they be filled with chocolate, clean houses and no murders.


Monday, 16 April 2012

Post Speech Life

HELLO! and welcome to the dawning of a new era - the era post speech. You probably heard my loud sigh of relief as it echoed around the four corners of the land as soon as the speech had ended last Saturday, but just in case - relax, it is all finished now. My sigh of relief is today joined by the relief that I have run my penultimate Wibbly meeting. Next week is my official handover with the new leader who is already more efficient than me and has been putting up laminated posters advertising the meeting all over the place - she could have waited until I was out of the way to show me up. This time next week I will be totally devoid of anything to moan about. That will be a new era.

So, THE WEDDING. Well, to preface the day itself I should inform you that my ability to cope efficiently with stress is the same as my ability to cope with scary/tense films. I do not posses the ability. I was tetchy, difficult and over emotional. Oh and tired to add to it all as I had already endured the first week of the holidays and our Anniversary meal out so by the time we got down to mum's on Friday night I was in a very peculiar frame of mind.  My hair appointment had taken far longer than I expected (four hours) on Friday morning and due to a last minute change of plan late on Thursday afternoon about when we were leaving, my allotted time to pack was reduced to 20 minutes. Mercifully K agreed to take care of his own packing so I was only left with four people to pack up for a week away and a wedding. I packed with sparkling speed and drove like a lunatic so that I managed to arrive at mum's just in the nick of time for Bea to go to the wedding rehearsal with my little sister and for me to enjoy all the amazing baking mum had put on for the various guests the little sister had over for the pre-wedding festivities. (They are the same bunch as came to the hen night - all thin and glamorous and clearly not people with hearty appetites as there was A LOT of food leftover - if I had been bulimic I could have been in serious trouble. Luckily I am just overweight and pregnant so I had a ball). 

On the morning of the wedding the little sister and her entourage left nice and early to prepare at the venue and we were left with the house in which to ready ourselves. Somehow we lost half an hour and were running late which made me even more stressed and tetchy so that by the time we reached the venue things between K and I were 'strained' to say the least. It is always a tad depressing to watch people exchange vows of eternal love and happiness as you sit there, nine years down the line, secretly seething at the person you promised such unrealistic things to. I am slightly concerned that my stage whisper for him to 'Just F*** Off' may have been overheard, but I hope there was enough going on to conceal it. (I was trying to take a picture of Bea and he was telling me not to by the way - it wasn't apropos of nothing - I wasn't that mad). Bea looked beautiful, as did all the flower girls (there were no official adult bridesmaids) and the bride herself looked perfectly acceptable. Oh, ok she looked ridiculously amazing, like she was the main event at some kind of Hollywood wedding. Seriously - compare her to Catherine Zeta Jones on her Hello! wedding day and C Z-J looks like the ugly, fat sister. I know people usually look good on their wedding days, I do, and believe me, if I could find fault with her appearance I would, but she had put a year in to looking her best and it really showed. Teeth, hair, skin, body, eyelashes - it was all tweaked, improved and perfected so that in the end you were left with an ethereal effect only usually seen in magazines of celebrities and people who have 'people' to ensure they look that good. I shan't go on as it sounds gross and sycophantic. Suffice to say she looked very pleasingly bride like and her groom turned up so all was well. In all he turned up to four ceremonies - yes I said four. It was a long day for me - I had fabulously impractical heels on (4 inches), and I looked a little like a hippo on very small stilts, but I think the bigger you are, the taller you can appear the better, as it goes some way to help even things out.

The first 'official' wedding ceremony was at noon followed by an unofficial, official wedding in the church at 2pm and then the Iranian and Baha'i ceremonies at 4.30pm. By the time we got to the evening meal and my impending speech I had reached breaking point and was about to crumble with the nerves. Thankfully K is not one to hold a grudge and having got Ted to sleep, tried to comfort me with words of wisdom and comfort. I rebuffed all of his efforts, naturally. The whole reason one gets married is to have a permanent sidekick on which to take out your moods and he definitely played his part that day. After a few false starts I was finally called up to stand at the microphone and begin. I had just downed four bottles of Diet Coke so I was shaking, in need of yet another wee and likely to burp at any moment which added to my already fragile emotional state. Luckily, as soon as I started to speak I began to feel better and then an older sister came rushing in carrying a crying Ted who had been found in his buggy, very much awoken from his sleep, which distracted me sufficiently that I could stop feeling worried and just carry on reading. Years of reading bed time stories whilst thinking of many, many other things mean that I am able to compartmentalise my brain sufficiently so that I could worry about Ted and look on as K tried to comfort him whilst simultaneously reading eloquently.  As it happens, K calmed Ted down quickly and my speech was being surprisingly well received, so by the time I got half way through I was almost enjoying the experience. I even made the little sister cry! In a good way. I became a little choked up too which is very odd for me. It turns out it is quite emotional having your baby sister married off.  By the time I reached the end of the 8-10 minute ordeal (my older events organiser sister had told me I MUST time it and ensure I did not go on too long even if it meant cutting out large passages so I know I didn't go over the 10 minute mark) the relief was immense - I have only ever felt relief like it post birth, when you finally know the pain is over and you don't actually give a shit if you gave birth to a two headed blue monster as long as you know that another contraction is not coming. (I still ask if it's over when the baby is well and truly out - just to make doubly sure.)  Speech completed, suitably congratulated and bride and her best friend wiping tears from their eyes, I returned gratefully to my table to retrieve my tired Ted and begin making amends with K. That actually didn't go very well as a short time later we were arguing over when to leave - he believing that the children were beyond tired and me insisting they were 'fine'. An interesting reversal of our normal roles. After we had finished the argument and I felt I had won, ten minutes later all children melted before our very eyes and I had to agree to get them packed up and off home.  They left at 8.30pm and I left fifteen minutes later with my over tired mother, sister and her family.  The sister with four children had left at 8pm on the dot. The other guests and little sister's new in-laws must have found us a strange bunch. I'm not sure many people have their own family being the first to leave on their wedding day. Still, she was not upset by our desertion and was incredibly happy with the whole day - it was beautiful, as was she, and it all went swimmingly - it was everything she had ever wanted and was, as is tradition, the best day of her life. Job Done.

So, all sisters are now married. DONE. First round, ding ding. There are many years to go so there may well be a second round. Never say never. Although you will be relieved to hear that K and I have fully recovered from the wedding - no round two for us just yet - we are back to our usual selves. Well, me more than him as I was obviously the more emotional of the two, but he could clearly have coped far better with my dramatic mood swings, so we were both at fault.

I worry that I have lost you with all the sister talk so I thought I would take this family occasion to clarify the sisters - here goes. There are five of us. The eldest is a half sister, but a whole person who lives in America and will henceforth be known as American Sister. She was my father's daughter from his first, short lived marriage. (Mercifully so otherwise I wouldn't exist - quelle horreur). The next is the oldest of our bunch of four sisters and she will be known henceforth as Kent Sister  - she moved there a few years ago and is now obsessed with the County. She is also the Events Organiser, used-to-be-actress who is married and has one four year old beautiful daughter who G is very in love with.  Then there is the Queen of Cupcakes who is the mother of four children, the eldest of whom was my 18 year old manny for a week at the end of last summer and the other three are girls who are Bea's surrogate sisters as I seem so rubbish at providing actual sisters for her, henceforth known as Cupcake Sister. Then there is the fabulous moi. And finally there is the littlest sister who has just returned from her honeymoon in the Maldives. Henceforth known as Just Married Sister. I hope this clarifies things.

The rest of the holiday was spent filling in time in Suffolk, going to the cinema, visiting long suffering friends in Norwich, getting Bea's eyes tested (four months later than advised by the last optician and it now turns out that she does indeed need glasses as she is long sighted - cue lots of guilt on my part and immense happiness on her part as she was desperate for them), rolling my eyes at my mother over yet another inappropriate comment and generally enjoying the fact that I had nothing to do all day. Although by the final weekend the constant bickering from the children and subsequent enforced separation of the fighting parties had driven me to the brink of insanity. On Saturday I put the big two in the trolley park in Waitrose and told them to keep an eye out for a nice looking lady and then ask her if she would be their new mummy. (In my defence it wasn't Asda - it was a jolly nice Suffolk Waitrose with a lovely clientele so they could have done a lot worse). It was too much for anyone to take. Although I hated having to get out of bed this morning, dropping them off to other responsible adults who could deal with their various whims and wants was joyous in the extreme. Yet again I thanked my lucky stars that I cannot afford private school which would mean I had to endure the fighting for yet another week. Unthinkable. God Bless the state system and their short holidays.

Right. That is enough for now. I need to eat, I am starving. The effects of the Ferrero Roche Easter Egg I had for lunch (as well as my sandwich) has finally worn off and I need to source more sustenance. Seeya. xxxx

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Brevity and dullity

Bonjourno! There is an awful lot going on that I wish I had time to tell you about but I don't and that is the way life goes. So I shall have to be brief and just get on with the bare essentials.

The speech is written. That is the good news. I am NEVER writing one again. It has blighted my recent life. Writing this post on my comfy sofa in front of the TV knowing that if it is badly received I will never know about it, is one thing, but writing something that a. is filmed, b. could cause someone to cry in a bad way and c. can be witnessed going down like a lead balloon whilst I am reading it, means that the pressure is too much and I literally melted under it. I do not respond well to pressure. I tend to freak out and shout. Still, something that will 'do' is written and ready. I feel slightly relaxed. But I won't be totally relaxed until Sunday when it is all over. I am looking forward to enjoying the 'big' day but I am looking forward to Sunday even more. The Easter holidays for me will properly begin then.

The Easter holidays so far have included an awful lot of play dates, a WW meeting with Bea in tow, a trip to a friend's in Kent, a sleepover here and the creation of what can only be described as an awe inspiring three metre crocodile. I have been quite nice to the children so far but that is only because I know I am getting my hair done on Friday and I am going out for our Anniversary meal tomorrow night. These incentives have helped me to be ridiculously patient over the last 72 hours. It is amazing what I will do for hair and food. (Nine years BTW - it doesn't seem possible.)

The scan - it all went well you will be relieved to know. Ted was even magnificently well behaved. It was actually a pleasurable thing to do. Newbie performed its part perfectly - showing all the relevant parts of the body on cue. We even got a great arse-eye-view so that K and I could disagree about what we saw. I obviously believe it to be male. I saw some white blobs which I suspected to be testes but K has cleverly pointed out that they are too far apart to be sure that that is what we saw. On reflection he has a point. The ones I have seen on the outside have all been closely linked together and if they were testes I saw, they were obligingly either side of a white line in an almost cartoon drawing of meat and two veg which makes me suspect I might not have seen what I thought I saw. So, we are no further forward which is exactly what I wanted. Annoyingly the sonographer said she knew exactly what it was which made it far too tantalising for me. K even had to leave me alone with her when he took Ted out of the room so I could have asked her and found out and told no one. But the will power I used to lose the weight has been sitting dormant for the last five months so I put it in to action and walked out of the door quickly so I didn't have a chance. God knows how I am going to cope in the next scan. I may crack under the pressure.

We even only had to wait 45 minutes for our appointment - almost a record. We have waited almost an hour and a half before. However I still had enough time to people watch all the other people waiting which is my favourite past time. It was as I sat there watching all the other women and their partners/friends that I came up with the most genius idea. If I ruled the Country I would make it compulsory to go through a Dull test. It would be the most fabulous way of getting rid of the class system. Dullness transcends wealth, class, race and everything else that people are judged upon or judge themselves by. The dull scale will put all of those in the shade. The terribly dull will stick with their own people and the fabulously interesting can do the same. People who pretend to be interesting by doing stuff like sky diving or white water rafting would soon be sifted out - the dull cannot hide. Personal interviews would have to be conducted over a period of time so that the dull inspectors could properly ascertain your level of dull. And it wouldn't be entirely judged on actions - oh no no - otherwise I would fall foul of the dull-o-meter. No, it would primarily be scored on personality, life choices, ideology and then past times etc. It would be everything - the whole package. This would mean that millionaires who were ridiculously uninteresting would be persona-non-grata at dinner parties across the 'circuit'. No more dull conversations about skiing holidays and boat size for them - they will be stuck with the other dullards of all backgrounds and bank balances. The same applies to 'celebrities' who are only known because they had sex with someone or once appeared on a TV programme or something equally as dull. It would also mean that Katie Price no longer had currency as she would fall very short of the interesting mark. People who volunteer for charity to try and make the world a better place would be given top billing - people helping the homeless to keep warm and fed or who make very sick children's dreams come true - would be the high fliers in the world of the interesting. Plus, the Dull would be asked to stick to only two children so that we might keep their numbers down. I wouldn't make it compulsory as that is horrid and dictatorship like but they would be strongly advised to have none, but two at most. Can you imagine my exciting new world? There are endless possibilities with this one - I have only highlighted the tip of the iceberg so far. It can run and run. I know you all know really dull people you wish you didn't. Under my regime you would be able to shun them with valid reason. Oh and people who feed their tiny baby (around 3 months) juice from a baby bottle would also be shunned - there was one of those in the waiting room. Juice? I mean why in heaven's name would a tiny baby even want Ribena? It really does take all sorts.

I shall leave you with my awesome new idea. If it wasn't pointless I would try and get it put in to action. For now I have to put my beauty regime in to action - I have hair to wax and fake tan to apply. I am dreading such things after a particularly hideous lady-grooming-wax-incident pre-scan. The growing bump meant I was unable to fully control what I was attempting and I was left hideously bruised and sore and when I awoke on the morning of the scan, I found that I was physically stuck together. I had to bathe in a very warm bath just to be able to walk properly. Still, there is no budget to pay some kindly person to do it for me so I shall be brave and attempt to wax once more.

Ooh, before I go I must also clarify that when I said bi-weekly - I meant every other week. I am only permitted six hours cleaning help a month - K deems that to be extremely decadent as it is - to have someone helping me twice a week would cause him to fit. Next time I shall use 'Fortnightly' to avoid any confusion.

There you are - you are up to date. I shall let you know all about the wedding next week. Until then mon amies. xxxxx