Thursday, 27 June 2013

Therapy and Addiction

And Breathe. All is silent from up above, I have had a calming glass of red wine and some even more calming chocolate biscuits (dark chocolate so that is almost healthy)(and you'd be surprised how well red wine and choccie biscuits go together - wine snobs can go stick it) and K is out. I realised tonight that it is totally amazing that so few mothers are alcoholics. I don't think it's particularly 'cool' to drink and get drunk, I don't do it as a 'badge of honour' or because I can't have fun without it - at the moment it is imbibed solely in order to stop me screaming. I remember learning about scream therapy at university and obviously at the time it seemed an odd and fairly remote idea but I am telling you, I could probably manage a daily session right now. The children have their very own versions of scream therapy, which is either starting a fight with a sibling, starting a fight with me or K or just actual screaming. As adults we use booze, food, fags or exercise (I am told some people do it - quite CLEARLY it is not something I have tried - first three are way easier) to de-stress and it struck me as I walked down the stairs tonight, that in the evenings the children go through their therapy after school and before bed and then once they are in bed, K and I come down and light up/pour out/serve up ours.

This week has been more trying than most. Ted has been ill and therefore off nursery all week.  Whilst my heart breaks for him in his hour of need it also is entirely impossible to stay calm in the direct line of fire from an angry, ill, tired, irascible, fevered 3 year old for more than a short period of time. This illness was a sort of semi-flu, so nothing that could be cured with the magic of penicillin, just time and patience. I ran out of the later quite early on Monday morning. He refused to take any pain relief but was hot enough to cook eggs on and constantly whining and snotting and crying. In the end I had to do the 'medicine wrestle' where you have to hold down flailing limbs and secure the head in place, open the mouth and somehow offload a dose of medicine in to a moving target and then keep it inside the mouth by any means possible. It is obviously horrid and a sort of twisted 'mother knows best' tactic where the anger and upset in the short term is worth the long term gains, but only you know that at the time you are holding them down. To the three year old you are just a bullying arsehole determined to make them feel worse when they are feeling pretty shitty anyway. A child who enjoys having medicine is a wonderful thing - should you be fortunate enough to posses such a thing then high five yourself. I don't believe they are that common. My sister resorted to putting meds in diet coke to try and get them in to her youngest. Although I remember when cupcake sister had to have a course of eye drops when we were quite young - Mum would call the rest of us in to sit on her so that the drops could  be administered. Obviously as a small child that seemed immense fun. And as an adult who has to put in and take out contact lenses every day, I think she was being a bit 'wet'. Although I cannot imagine she sees it that way.

So. Last Friday night was a refreshing change and turned out to be fab. A stress free night at the end of the road drinking a bit of Cava with my lovely local ladies was just what I needed. No disaster occurred and all children slept which meant that I came back to a relaxed K as well. Tomorrow night I shall be back at mums with a selection of children in anticipation of a lovely night out with my school chums in Cambridge, our place of education and where our friendships were formed. I get quite nostalgic about such things and really cannot wait. I worry about mother being left with the unreliable sleeper that is Cybs but I also think they will both live through the experience whatever happens so sod it. I am leaving K here with any leftover children and to deal with the school fete and man the 'stocks' stall which is a little mean but it also won't do him any harm. I have had enough school involvement for the moment as I have had to watch two sports days on consecutive days. The first one - G's - was vaguely enjoyable. G was in exceptionally high spirits and enjoyed every part of it, Cybs slept and Ted was ill so he just sat in the double buggy watching so it was stress free from my end. I also successfully dodged the mums race by jiggling the buggy as if Cybs was in need of jiggling and I even managed to right the wrong of last year's sports day disaster by winning the mums v dads tug of war (K lost the tug of war - along with all the other dads - to the mums and G was unable to cope with the humiliation last year, so had a bit of a breakdown and refused to take part in any further races which K found quite tricky to deal with). Bea's sports extravaganza was in the afternoon and didn't end that well - for the third year in a row now she ended up in tears. I think she gets so over excited about the whole thing that she uses all her energy up in the first hour and by the second half she just wilts. Visibly. By the time she finished the 100 metres today she literally curled up in a sobbing ball and I had to scoop her up and push her in the buggy. She sustained some sort of injury to her leg in the final part of the race and was beside herself with it all. Such a shame as she was so full of energy for her first event, the Tug of War. Sadly they had to fill in time on that section so I think she ended up doing about 6 or 7 turns on it and as I know from my two days doing the mums tug of war, it is actually very draining if you aren't used to it.  In three years time I will have to watch all four compete in their respective sports days. That is four turns on the battle-of-the-sexes-tug-of-war with about three goes a pop so I am going to have to do some serious muscle building before then.

I am hoping that Cybs might be quite sporty. She is already up and walking - I bought her her first proper shoes last weekend which was pretty exciting. I know it doesn't sound much but it really is. She is my earliest walker - not yet 11 months. I swear she actually ran this evening. It does make life easier as she has happily bypassed the back breaking stage where they will only walk when you are hunched over, holding their hands for hours on end. I am most grateful to her for that. If only she could sleep past 5 am and go down without a fuss at 7pm then she would almost definitely be my favourite. Although she would have stiff competition from G who has recently been ridiculously good. After his bad behaviour came to something of a head a few weeks ago (me ranting and raving around the house about how I was most definitely getting someone else to take him in as I refused to live with his hideous mood swings ANY LONGER) I put him on a simple 'tick' or 'cross' chart and he has been so desperate to receive his 'tick' at the end of each day, he has been unrecognisable. He even let me put sun cream on his face - and agree to wear shorts for sports day (he has a deep rooted hatred of shorts and sun cream application). The only downside to both G and Bea at the moment is something I could never have foreseen. I returned from half term to discover that K had had my ipad fixed which seemed fabulously exciting at the time. Now his kind act seems to have backfired magnificently as I made the unwise decision to treat Bea to the Minecraft App. This was a mistake on a mammoth scale. The fighting over whose turn it is on the flipping ipad to build various important buildings in their respective 'worlds' is enough to make me start drinking at 7am. That is when it starts - the 'can I have a turn', 'It's my turn', 'their turn is taking too long', 'he/she went on my world' etc etc and it dominates the time I spend with them which I hate.  I have tried putting an end to it, by throwing hissy fits and banning the the flipping thing but it never lasts long. They stop the harassment for a short time after the screaming subsides but then they start again as soon as they think the coast is clear. Every now and again I will look at their Minecraft world - you create buildings and communities and 'worlds' out of single blocks - it's a bit like online lego (it really is that basic but I can see the appeal - but not the addiction to it) and I am slightly impressed - the farm with animals in, the vast hotel Bea created, the underground caves G created - they are so proud of their developments I find it difficult to stop them going back on to it to finish what they started. But I am worried about it - I truly think they are totally addicted. If I took it away permanently I think they would start rocking back and forth and humming to themselves. Anyway, do not allow your children to even view this game - it is like child heroine.  I may smash the bloody ipad myself just to get them watching TV again if it carries on for too much longer. I live in hope that eventually the novelty just has to wear thin and some new thrill will take their fancy and Minecraft will become old news.

Right. I am too tired. And the bed still needs sheets. I got half way through changing the sheets and had to rush off. I can't actually be arsed. My arms are still hurting from the tug of war and the rest of my body seems to want to give up in sympathy. I would happily sleep on the sofa if I had the choice. Oh, I forgot to say that K has started his jury service. That is actually a tad more exciting than new baby shoes in the scheme of things. I perhaps should have mentioned it earlier. His first day was yesterday and having turned up at 9am I was eagerly awaiting a text to find out what was going on and whether he had been told what case he was on etc etc and so by 11am when I had heard nothing I sent a text, 'Any news?' To which I received the enlightening reply, 'No fag break until 1pm'. Now that is an addict.

I shall away. Bonne Nuit mis amigos. xx

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Tweeting and plugging

Well this week has been interesting. Sprautumn has become a hot topic of conversation which is jolly exciting. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, my season amalgamation genius appeared in a national newspaper via the mind of the rather lovely Tim Dowling. He is a bit of a favourite amongst most parents I know, so the blow that my claim to fame had been stolen was lessened slightly. Although I was a tad on the miffed side. There is little excitement of any note for an uncool stay at home mother of four, and being able to claim that I had 'created' a new season which made people chuckle was my own little piece of personal pride. So, I decided to email him. Google didn't come up with his email address. And then I remembered that the 'kids' of today like to Tweet. Google did come up trumps with his twitter name. So I dug out my blog post from last year when I quite clearly invented Sprautumn, and tweeted him over my lost claim to fame. Joy of joyous excitement, he retweeted it! As I am not really a 'tweeter' this was thrilling. I used this new fangled thing that is constantly talked about, et voila, it does turn out to be rather marvellous. I can see how people get addicted. I don't suppose for a minute he sat down and read the blog but at least he retweeted it and I have no idea if his comment for 'Dictionary Editors (to) take note' was meant sarcastically or if he genuinely cared that I had a former claim to the invention of the season, but it matters not. I was happy. I felt my feelings were noted. And it all happened marvellously quickly. That is more than enough excitement for this dullard. Especially after a nasty illness wiped me out for the weekend and left me feeling particularly sorry for myself.

Clearly somewhere down the line I have really pissed off Friday night. I have no idea how, but it doesn't seem to matter, it is wreaking a terrible vengeance upon me regardless. After last week's rat drama I was looking forward to a quiet Friday evening, which was exactly how it started off. But then I began to feel unwell. I had and still have NO idea what brought it on. But it quickly became a violent illness.  My stomach felt decidedly odd. I was boiling. Then I got the shakes so badly I thought my jaw would break. I had to run repeatedly to the loo. I thought I would be sick as well but it was just horrid nausea. K was out, it being a Friday night, and I was stuck looking after myself. I sent him a number of texts informing him of my illness. Nothing. I stumbled to bed which meant that as I was upstairs, I had no choice but to frequently visit the 'rat' loo. That made me shake even more.  Although the more visits I made the less I cared and very soon I would have welcomed a distraction from the horror of my illness. I may even have scared the rat. Not that he would have seen my face, but it was bright red, livid, I would say and blotchy. I was boiling to the touch but freezing internally. I was pretty tearful and a bit of a sorry sight. Ted, as per usual joined me at the foot of our bed. K eventually returned having finally got my texts at 1am and again, realised there was little to do to help so fell asleep. Cybs started up at about 3am and I staggered back and forth to her and did what I could until I just gave up and took her in with us. So, there were four of us in a bed. One was drunk, one was dying, one was only quiet when breastfeeding and one had taken up so much space at the foot of my bed I was squeezed in to an odd foetal position which wasn't particularly comfortable and the number of bodies around me made me even hotter. I didn't sleep much.

So, all in all it was another horrid Friday night. I just waited for the morning to come, which mercifully it always does. And in the morning K rallied. Like a Knight rising from his drunken stupor and then going in to battle, he donned his dressing gown and took all of them downstairs first thing so that I could wallow in an empty bed. Ordinarily I might have welcomed an excuse to stay in bed on a Saturday but, just as the year before, the timing of this illness meant that I missed Bea's dance exam. Again. Only this year she had four of them and the bed I was lying in was my own and not a hospital one. I just about managed to do her hair before she left and struggled to look after the remaining children as K ferried her back and forth between exams. He was only gone for up to half an hour at a time but by the time he did return he found all of us in tears. Ted, who is usually my biggest fan, quickly realised I was worse than useless so refused to accept any help from me and kept asking for daddy. That became quite an issue when he stood awkwardly on a piece of lego and started bleeding. His cries were piercing and nothing would convince him to stop or accept a cuddle from me to try to ease his suffering. By the time K walked through the door even Cybs was crawling towards him in tears. It is at moments like that when I wonder what other people are doing on a Saturday afternoon and whether they are all in tears and shuffling around in their pyjamas unable to hold in so much as a dry biscuit as two children cry at their feet. If Facebook is anything to go by then I very much doubt it which always makes the situation feel worse. Although thank goodness it was a Saturday or I would have been totally stuffed. Even with a busy Saturday, I was able to spend an awful lot of it in bed. Even though it wasn't particularly restful, at least it was better than attempting school runs and having an 'accident' en route. It does not bear thinking about.

So, as I lay there, dying and not trusting my body, I had time to think. I thought of Bea in her dance exams obviously, I thought of how filthy my windows are and just HOW much I want a bedroom makeover and new bed. And then my mind wandered to butt plugs. I know. It was a leap. BUT. Until relatively recently, when Channel 4 and K informed me otherwise, I was quite convinced that a butt plug was exactly that - something that was used to 'plug' one's bottom. As the wise Joey once said in Friends - you hear a word, you see a thing, you think that's what it is. So, I assumed that it was something used to 'plug' an over zealous bottom so that you didn't have an 'accident'. It never occurred to me that it could be anything used for fun.  Probably because it really isn't my idea of fun and because many moons ago I used to work with a man who always jiggled and wriggled so much if you happened to be talking to him when he needed a no. 2 - indeed it was him who introduced me to the phrase 'touching cloth' - I think I just put two and two together and came up with a very practical idea. It was only a documentary on a booming online sex toy company that brought my misunderstanding to light as I mentioned it to K and he helpfully told me where I was going wrong with my assumption. Anyway, having had to change a number of times already, my mind wandered back to my original butt plug idea and I thought how grateful I would have been for one. By Sunday, with no end in sight and feeling weaker and weaker by the minute, K broke off from his Father's Day jollity (I am jesting of course - as you know very well by now, every day is Father's Day so we don't do anything particularly special on the actual day) and went to the Big Shop (or Sainsbury's if you aren't a child) and purchased me the wonder that is Imodium instants.  Along with Medised (which has sadly and wrongly been discontinued) I think Imodium could very well be the best medical break through of non-life threatening modern day medicine.  By the afternoon I was up, washed, dressed, fully made up and cooking. Remarkable. Luckily so as Bea had a friend over and K was keen to finally take up his Father's Day position on the sofa. Which was for once, well deserved.

Father's Day. He did end up having quite an acceptable father's day in the end. The good thing about having a lot of children is you get a lot of cards - admittedly all home made - but in this case it is quantity not quality that matters. He also got a handsome mug designed by Bea, a toblerone, jumper and, most importantly of all, a Onesie. The children were beyond thrilled with this one. The boys had picked it out and Ted had even managed to keep it a secret for a few weeks - only divulging that we had got him 'pyjamas' - which is a massive leap forward for him. They couldn't believe that he was going to wear it. He did. Bea laughed until she cried. It was hilarious. We even managed to get a family photo of us all in our onesies. Sadly I am not allowed to show it to anyone but I am very keen to have the picture blown up and put somewhere in the house.

So, as I said, a mixed bag. A few good parts with some lovely sociable times and the shiny sun making us happy, my Tim Tweet was clearly my highlight but the illness was quite obviously my lowest ebb although the dishwasher breaking and the tumble dryer taking a holiday from actually drying things have made every day life pretty long and boring as well. I am slightly afraid of tomorrow night now, as I wonder what Friday has in store for its third week, but I have taken matters in to my own hands and organised a night out to try and break the cycle (I say 'out' as it is technically out of the house but as I organised it, I have asked everyone to meet at the end of my road at the Tapas place so that I can run back to sort out whatever disaster this Friday has to throw at me without too much stress - so it isn't out out). The only good to come of my two dark Fridays is that they seem to have kick started my weight loss. I have lost a fabulous 7 pounds in the last two weeks which has made me very happy. I am pretty sure that every woman who gets a tummy bug/flu/pneumonia etc lays in their sick bed at some point thinking 'I might die. Oooh I bet I've lost loads of weight'. I am sure it helps you get better as it gives you something to look forward to and to get up for.

Right, I am off. I need my bed so I don't fall asleep in to my Cava tomorrow night.  A bientot xxx


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Life moments

WELL. Over the last few years I have shared many a life moment with you. The good, the not so great, the highs and the lows and the downright dull. I have obviously had to keep some things secret and for K's sake I have not shared absolutely everything that goes on under our roof but I have done my best to give you a good dose of the edited highlights. Naturally. As much as I would LOVE to tell you every last detail it really isn't fair on the rest of my poor family so, the edited version is as good as it gets. With this in mind I felt that really I could not share this last weekend's happenings as it is not something I want people knowing. And then I realised that this was a life changer and if we are to stay in communication you really have to know.

So, Friday night is where my tale of woe begins. Yet again K was out. Since last September when they met at Ted's 3rd Birthday party, K has been involved in a heady bromance with Blonde Bombshell's husband, I shall call him J. Anyhoo, K and J seem to be incapable of being in each other's company without beer and tend to imbibe said beer until gone midnight most Friday nights. So, it was me, as per usual, alone in the house with the children. I normally quite like this set up as it means I can watch Nashville and Honey Boo Boo - epic btw - without him tutting or sighing or generally questioning my intelligence level and I get to go to bed very early and enjoy the silence. However, since a nasty cough and cold (yet another one) over the half term Cybil's sleeping has gone up the spout so my silent enjoyment was short lived. At 12.45 am I was back in her room trying to convince her to lie back down and shut her eyes. She wasn't keen so I busied myself by visiting the bathroom (since babies my bladder capacity is unable to manage a whole night - also I know you might think that is an unnecessary and slightly unsavoury detail but it is pertinent - forgive me). I went back in to Cybil and tried to convince her once again that sleeping lying down was a much better idea than screaming at full volume standing up, when she dropped her dummy. I picked up said dummy and decided to rinse it (unusual for me as I usually dust it off, suck it or none of the above before  I shove it forcefully back in her screaming orifice). As I re-entered the bathroom and stood at the sink to rinse the dummy, I was suddenly aware of something in my peripheral vision which caught my attention. It was black. It was in the loo. It was moving. At that moment the world shifted slightly on its axis. No, I had not left a moving bowel movement - it was in fact, a rat. YES. A live, scrabbling, wet, black rat trying to exit my lavatory stage right. (Pause for collective shuddering and shivering and involuntary noises).

Are you done? Good. Back to me. As you can imagine I acted with frightening speed. I shoved the loo lid down, placed our wooden steps on top of it, flushed and flushed and then ran back in to pacify Cybs with the dummy I was still holding. Then I flew downstairs, hoping that K was safely sitting downstairs/had fallen asleep on the sofa. He was not/had not. I ran back upstairs, ignored the screaming Cybs who was NOT pacified by the dummy and grabbed my phone. Mercifully he answered, (although in hindsight he wasn't exactly superman) and I whisper-screamed (for the sake of the other sleeping children) that there was a rat in our loo. He said he would come straight home as he was still drinking at J's house. I told him to run. I continued to keep trying to get Cybs to be quiet as I awaited his return. As soon as he got back and came upstairs I immediately realised that he had had too much to drink to be any use but it was still comforting that I was not alone in the house with four children and a rat. He checked the loo. Ratty was long gone. K struggled to cope with my hysterical state. Cybil's screaming did not subside. K sat down and put his head in his hands. I continued to blub. It was a rather horrendous time.

It is not like we have never experienced the hell of rodent invasion before - when George was small our occasional rodent visitors reached a peak and we definitely realised we 'had a problem'. We paid a rip off merchant to come here and fit traps and put down poison (I cancelled the £400 cheque he took off me for his 40 minute visit and his company started court proceedings but thanks to the wonderful Magician Godmother who put her law expertise to good use, it never got to court and I got away with paying them just £60 - far more reasonable) but even that didn't work. The only thing that did work was getting a stray cat to move in with us which is what K did on my 30th Bday and the problem went away almost instantly. So, it was a total shock that over four years later I was back to living in fear of anything that moved, felt scared in my own home and even worse I had no ability to control the problem or help to stop it happening again - I have no access to the waste pipe or sewage system (luckily I think) and we can't get rid of the loos altogether for obvious reasons. I admit to feeling exceptionally sorry for myself in those wee small hours. Whilst mentally acknowledging that it wasn't war, disease or famine and I'm sure if I lived in the slums of Mumbai it would have been very far from a big deal. But it was a huge deal in my world.

I was scared to walk passed the bathroom which I had to do each and every time I went in to Cybs. K was exasperated by my upset and terror as the rat had now gone. I couldn't understand why he didn't understand. I also couldn't understand why Cybs wouldn't bloody shut up (I'm sorry to be so blunt but only a person tortured by a bloody minded infant who is desperate to sleep but seems to be making the active decision not to, in favour of standing and screaming and snotting for hours on end, can understand the mindset and remarkable dispassion that suddenly comes over you and 'shut up' is quite the nicest thing I thought at the time.) But suddenly it all became clear to my sleep deprived, deep in shock and terrified brain. We were clearly OVERRUN with rats and my lack of dummy rinsing meant that Cybs was clearly suffering from Weil's disease, hence her screaming. I had, and still have, no idea what happens when you get Weil's disease but I knew of its existence (mainly because every time anyone lives near/looks at a house by any large area of water or river etc my mother always sites it as a reason NOT to live there) and so it dawned on me that the persistent cold, annoying cough and gunky eyes my baby had been suffering with over recent weeks were all due to our rat infestation. I did not share my findings with K. He had gone downstairs as he had rightly reasoned that there was nothing more he could do. He had opened the loo lid and shut it. He had told me not to worry. He had tried to stop Cybs crying. None had had any affect so he went downstairs to eat a takeaway. (I discovered the bag in the morning - either he a. went out again after coming back to get it or b. stopped in on his way home to get it as he 'ran' back to his terrified wife. I didn't fancy the argument so have ignored.) Eventually he came up to bed and started snoring. Ted had by this point joined me in our bed and was offering me quite a lot of comfort.  He had no idea of my shock and didn't notice/didn't care that I had been crying but spent an hour being very cute, trying to sleep and keeping me company as I got out of bed every time Cybs started up again on her crying campaign. Eventually he fell asleep and I lay there shivering and worrying about rats and their diseases and waiting to see if Cybs would cry again. She didn't and seemed to have finally fallen asleep. Eventually I did too.

In the morning with K still asleep, I knew I wasn't brave enough to re-visit the scene of the crime. So, I did what all good mothers do, I sent in my eldest son. G unknowingly became my test for rat activity when he came in to the room as per usual to ask for some milk after he woke up. I agreed readily and asked him if he needed his usual morning wee. He did. Off you go then, I said. I waited. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred. I concluded all was safe. I did feel a teeny weeny bit guilty. Sort of. I mean, G is a great lover of animals - particularly the 'yuckier' ones, in my eyes, such as the snakes and spiders of the world. In fact we paid a small fortune (£300 should you wish to do the same/go in to the business) for a couple to bring all their 'yucky' and not so yucky animals to his party for his 6th Birthday party so that he and the other children could hold them. AND he has asked me for a pet rat in the past so in actual fact, if the rat had returned and set up camp in the loo, he may well have found it a treat so really I was being nice. In any case the rat was still long gone and G didn't even question why the steps were on top of the closed loo lid. I don't know if it is all boys but G is ridiculously unobservant when it doesn't matter to him. He would TOTALLY notice if one of the other children had one more sweet than him/bigger portion of food/toy/longer story etc but steps on a loo does not phase him. SO. By mid morning, the rat was gone, children were awake, Cybil was actually better than she had been all week and clearly didn't have Weils disease, Bea went out to her dance classes, K and G did battle at a shoe shop (G won) and life continued as if I had never had the shock of my life in the wee small hours.

However my mind kept replaying the event constantly on a loop. My house, which I fall in and out of love with on an almost daily basis, suddenly felt scary and horrid and unlovable. I felt that my sanctuary had been violated and I was incredibly on edge and miserable. K tried to reason with me. He assured me that any rat that could climb a waste pipe one floor up was not common and it wouldn't happen again. I agreed that the rat was indeed talented but it wasn't something I had stopped to discuss with it before I flushed and that it didn't stop my brain from running at a million miles an hour imagining what COULD have happened and, wondering if it did happen regularly but we just never caught any of them in the act before. I also demanded that the entire house be covered in poison just in case and that we move immediately. At that point K gave up trying to alleviate my mental anguish and stayed silent. I think it is quite common with men that if they can't 'fix' your problem then it is just annoying and they rather wish you would just be quiet about it as there is nothing they can do about it. K is the same with pregnancy although he usually makes the mistake of mentioning that it was 'my idea'.... So, suffice to say that the Saturday was a bit of a right off. I was incapable of finding happy thoughts or a happy place to take my mind off to. K was a bit grumpy due to the beer from the night before and my resistance to just 'moving on'. We carried on as normal for the sake of the children but my heart was majorly not in it. I shared my woe with cupcake sister. She was horrified. She told my mother, who I don't really think I wanted to know because she would no doubt view it as a slur on my housewifery skills. However I was wrong. She rang me on the Sunday to assure me that it 'even happens in Suffolk'. Good golly. In fact a neighbour of hers had had it happen in none other than Bury St Edmunds. She also said that she would be sleeping with the lids down from now on. And advised me to lace the loos with bleach. I was already one step ahead on that. I know it is not their fault but really, if they are going to unlawfully enter my sacred space then they should expect to meet with a wall of bleach when they do so.

All of this was such a bally (such an underused word) shame as the five days preceding ratgate had been rather blissful. K was still happy to have us home, we were still happy to be home, K had done some rather fabulous DIY and furniture rearranging whilst we were away and I had enjoyed hosting a very enjoyable coffee morning/lunch for my local friends and their various small charges (a number of them are childminders so there were a lot of small ones) on Wednesday and there had been another fun ladies lunch on Friday so all in all everything was going really well and I was very happy and upbeat. So the contrast to Saturday was stark.

Anyway, I don't want to Harp on. I am aware a rat in the loo isn't the very worst thing to happen to a person ever and by Sunday I was feeling less freaked out and tried hard to put it to the back of my mind as K's mum and husband were coming over for lunch. For a BBQ lunch, in what I was assuming would be a beautifully sunny day, according to the weather reports. Sadly it was freezing cold so the BBQ was eaten inside with roast potatoes and hot apple crumble but it was all very jolly nonetheless.  It was a lovely day which 'normalised' the house again and my talented ma-in-law brought with her matching nana-knits for all four children which are entirely adorable and they all love too. It was just what I needed to get over my trauma. I am still not able to go to bed without checking the loos have their lids down with something heavy on top and I still send G to the bathroom loo every morning to double check (obviously I haven't told any of the children what I discovered as I don't want them to be as scared of the loo as I am), but I am getting less hysterical about it as the days go by. My relationship with our loos will never be the same again but I am at least able to use them without being entirely terrified. Progress.

Right that's it. I am off to bed. I am shattered and slightly freaked out after re-living it again. Let's hope that it is a beautifully uneventful night and I get lots of lovely sleep. I hope that I haven't traumatised you too and made you afraid of your loos. Don't live in fear.  But I would urge you to keep your loo lids down from now on. Just in case.

Good night xxxx

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Jeggings and geography

Heartiest felicitations people. Sunny Suffolk and I welcome you. Half Term is all but over and I for one would like another week off. It seems all too soon I have to pack us up and get back to the big smoke and the school run. Even though some of the meals have been decidedly alternative and there hasn't always been a cold diet coke in the fridge and I have watched Lewis (Poirot is temporarily unavailable) every night for about five days in a row, it has been a jolly nice week and the children are as happy as pigs in muck.

I have had quite a rest in comparison to my usual day to day life and have even had the chance to frequent my favourite clothes shop, (Asda - the glamour!) and am now the proud owner of something called the 'jegging'. They have been around for a number of years but I have always thought they were a slippery slope. The legging is a fat girls best friend after all - they are cheap, comfortable, make dresses possible and most importantly they are extremely stretchy - which is why they are such a problem. No one ever grows out of a pair of leggings or bemoans their weight gain because they can no longer fit in to their favourite pair.  They simply buy some more. So I was extremely wary of owning something that could be worn as a jean but is as comfortable as a legging. I was right to worry - they are extremely comfortable and give you the mistaken belief that you are not 'that' fat. The last time I was hideously fat I remember eyeing up my 80+ year old neighbour's 'house dress' in all its polyester glory and marvelling at how comfy it must be and thinking to ask her where she bought them.  It was at that point that I realised that I absolutely must lose the weight.  I am hoping a similar thing will happen now that I have given in and am effectively cavorting around in what Joey would refer to as 'Thanksgiving pants' or maternity jeans by any other name. They are as hideously unflattering as leggings at the top end and give me what I call an 'American tummy bum' (I think it is also rock bottom for me as far as looks go).  I hope that all of these things combined will MAKE me take serious action against the forces of evil who have clearly invaded my body and are making me continue to over eat much against my will.  I had my tarot cards read today at a village fete and the tarot reader was extremely convinced that Now was the time to start on a life change as there is a significant shift in my emotional state, so I shall trust in the cards and hope this really is as bad as it gets weight wise. I am getting incredibly bored with a. complaining about it b. lugging it around everywhere c. the bad back it is giving me and d. having so little choice when it comes to clothing. Not that I go anywhere that requires nice clothing but it would still be nice to know that they were there.

Although before we left for the half term I WAS treated to my third night out sans enfants in ten months.  Third night out and second school quiz but this time it was the turn of the Junior School and a change of main meal - fish and chips not curry - so a dramatically different night out for me.  Another key change in pace was the relative ease of the quiz questions, which I had assumed would be better, but it actually wasn't as much fun. Random guessing and trying to work out answers 'bonds' a team together whereas everyone knew what Y.O.L.O stood for (how topical my last post was..) so there wasn't a need for heated discussion or personal anecdotes. There was an hilarious exchange between me and one woman on our team who had no knowledge of the Kardashians and assumed I was talking about Doctor Who when I mentioned them (I am not really a sci fi person in the slightest so I didn't understand that we were talking at cross purposes for quite a while and had no idea that a person can go about life without knowing of The Kardashians in even the most vaguest of ways so it never occurred to me that we weren't 'on the same page'). Still, I know better than to be judgemental on a person's general knowledge. I watched Eurovision with The Replacement and K and it turns out that my general knowledge surrounding the European countries is ridiculously low - they were quite shocked to discover that I had no idea that The Netherlands and Holland are in fact, one in the same. Who knew? I have spent my 30 odd years believing they were two separate countries. I also referred to the Swedish hosts as The Swiss (I did realise my mistake but it was too late by then - they had heard me and wouldn't let me take it back). I also innocently suggested that Ikea might be sponsoring the entire pre-results show/extravaganza because it was all branded in Ikea colours, that particular blue and yellow. K paused for comedic effect before calmly informing me that that particular blue and yellow were the colours of the Swedish flag and therefore that is why the show/extravaganza were all based upon them.  I blame Geography lessons at school. It was in a very boring classroom and one of the teachers was a total mad woman so I never bothered to listen or learn anything about countries.  I do remember ox bow lakes, why rivers have bends in them and about volcanoes and earthquakes - all the interesting stuff.  I think extremely early on I realised there was a huge number of countries in the world and I shut down my brain to anything concerning them. It has only recently become solid knowledge to me that Vietnam is not in South America. I have NO IDEA how/why I managed to place it there but somewhere many moons ago my brain managed to connect the dots that it was the Americans who went to war with Vietnam and therefore I placed this country in a convenient continent south of them - I suppose I assumed it was near Colombia if I was pressed on the precise location. I have even watched a number of Vietnam films (back in the days when I 'studied' film as part of my English degree and didn't just watch The Proposal and 50 First Dates over and over again) and I never twigged/computed that my mental world map was incredibly flawed. Still, I now know the error of my ways so I shan't be passing on my mistakes to the children and I shall ensure that I am incredibly circumspect about answering any future geographical questions they might ask. I'm not sure it is entirely down to stupidity/laziness though - Bea watched a programme today about something called Face Blindness - a horrid sounding thing where your brain fails to recognise faces so you can't pick your own mother out of a line up without help - and I can't help but think that I have Geographical blindness - even though I have looked at various globes, maps, films over the years absolutely none of it has sunk in. Although I have an excellent sense of direction and am very capable at map reading too but clearly one can't be perfect at everything. A propensity to obesity and geographical blindness are pretty small fry in the grand scheme of things.

Other than that there is very little to report. Aside from a hideous tooth extraction in the dentist's chair (G), a Hip Hop dance exam (Bea) and nettle sting and a new Spiderman outfit (Ted) life has remained fairly unchanged. I shan't bore you with yet more tales of illness but there has inevitably been those too. And that is pretty much that. The mother who doesn't want me to live next door to her has had a small change of heart after the hideous events that unfurled in Woolwich before we arrived. Woolwich isn't especially close to our SE23 idyll but it does share the SE part of our post code and is where the ingenious powers-that-be want to send us to receive emergency health care and maternity services after they shut our excellent local hospital services so it would inevitably become somewhere we see more of as time goes on. This information has worried her sufficiently so that she now thinks it might be a good idea for us to move to the sticks after all.  Although K is still a massive stumbling block so it is sadly unlikely to happen any time soon so I shall still need my country holiday home for a while to come.

Toodlepip mis amigos. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx