Saturday, 20 August 2011

Smoky smokerson

I was going to start this with "I try not to judge people..." but that would mostly be a lie - I judge people all the time, we all do, if we're completely honest - but yesterday I saw something that made me REALLY mad, really sad and kind of horrified.

I was outside our local Asda waiting to use the (one) cash machine (one? Seriously? Useless) and a family was nearby waiting for a taxi. The Dad was playing on his phone, ignoring the children, aside from briefly when he clouted one round the head for swearing at his sister. (He said "don't swear at your fucking sister" - I wonder where the kids learned that?) the Mum was rummaging through the bags for various things (bottles of coke for the kids, a pack of crisps for the daughter, a bag of sweets for the son) and in her rummaging she pulled out a multi pack of cigarettes and handed them to her daughter - "Get me one ready" - the daughter opened them, pulled out one pack, opened THAT, pulled a cigarette out and PUT IT IN HER MOUTH.

The little girl was about 7 - her parents didn't bat an eye as she danced around doing a little routine to the pop song she was singing with a cigarette in her mouth, pretending to puff away on it. It was bad enough that her dancing was really adult and seductive, thrusting around like a tiny little Rihanna, it upset me enough seeing them being ignored and fed on crap and sworn at, it bothered me that the little girl was dressed in heels and a mini skirt - but the cigarette? Really? It's not a problem to you that your primary school age child is sucking on your cigarette? 

The Mum finally took it from her - then got the son to light it. With a lighter. He was even younger than the girl, 5, maybe 6, he was a cutie pie in a little Lightning McQueen shirt and shorts set and a pair of trainers that looked like boats - and at that age he was already swearing at his sister and lighting cigarettes for his Mum like it was the most normal, ok thing in the world.

I don't really know how to conclude this - I was just so shocked, so saddened. I don't get how people can be so blinkered to the damage they're causing - what hope of growing up healthy and responsible do those children have? 

I'm sure this post will annoy a whole BUNCH of people, so I want to point out that i'm FAR from perfect - my kids have heard me swear and been fed junk, I've made mistakes and failed in a variety of ways - but I'm AWARE of those failures and try to be a good example, I try to make the right choices and apologise for the wrong ones - that whole situation just made me so sad. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

From the mouths of babes.

Tonight I was colouring my hair - I was dressed, very fetchingly, in a pair of shorts and a feeding bra massaging dye into my hair and the boys were getting ready for their bath. Hubby said "Jellybean, what does Mummy look like?" and he replied "Mummy she is a BIIIIIIIG BIIIIIIIIIIIG lady!"


He's not wrong though - I'm even bigger now than I was between babies - and now that Midget Gem is 6 months old the "I just had a baby" line is wearing a bit thin. The carbs I cram into my face on a regular basis (preferably filled with meat or chocolate, fried and wrapped in extra bread) are showing their mark now - I've not only stopped losing weight, I've started putting it back on - which is NOT how it's meant to go! 

I should be saying "So now I'm putting it out there - I'm changing my ways" but do you know what? I don't actually want to. I don't WANT to diet, I don't WANT to join the gym, I DO want to put on my PJs, curl up on the sofa with a jar of nutella and a spoon and read a book. I want to eat cheesy pasta, I want some toast and peanut butter, I want MORE FOOD. 

I feel like I've spent the last fortnight HUNGRY - and sadly, you can tell - so I'm going to HAVE to stop eating so much (before Jellybean is too ashamed of his BIG BIG Mummy to leave the flat) - but it can totally wait until after my holiday, right?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Mamas and Papas Mylo pushchair

Today was the day - the Mylo finally arrived! I feel bad being grumpy it arrived late - after all, I didn't have to pay for it! Still - grumpy I was, until I spoke to the people organising it; it turns out that Mamas and Papas have switched over to a new order processing system and there are some pretty big teething issues; one of my many past lives involved working in sales administration and even when the computer system was working fine there were loads of glitches - so I feel their pain! I bet they're currently fielding a LOT of cross hormonal phone calls from people waiting for their things!

Anyway - there was MUCH excitement. DRRRRRRRIIIIIIIING went the doorbell, eek went we (it's really loud!) and I dashed downstairs (nobody ever realises we live upstairs and it takes a while to get to the door - often they're back in the van and driving away and I just get the bit of card through the door to tell me I have to rearrange delivery of the parcel I could have signed for if they'd just waited a minute more!) and FOUR HUGE boxes were delivered. (By the way, Mamas and Papas, the delivery man was LOVELY and I think he's just had a baby - if there's any more free stuff going he's definitely worthy!)

I managed to get the boxes upstairs and into the flat with no issues and then managed to calm Jellybean down enough to get off them so I could open many pieces! So many things!

Not only did we get the pushchair, we also got the stand so we can use it as a high chair or travel cot, AND a great big box full of toys for Midget Gem - which is very nice indeed! 

The Mylo came in many, many pieces - my first instinct was PANIC PANIC PANIC because it looked utterly bewildering - but I took a deep breath, opened the instructions (like a grown up) and flicked through. It was pretty straight forward, actually - I grasped it pretty quickly and the actual mechanics of getting everything put together was simple. The only complaints I would have were that the pieces themselves weren't labelled - ie I think the packaging could have on it, for each piece, "hood" or "chair" or whatever - it's not THAT hard to work out as you're going along but if you're (like me) the type that just goes blind with panic and hormones when faced with putting things together it might just make it a little easier. I found getting the basket clipped on pretty hard - it took a while to get it clicked in properly, but that was the most difficult bit - the rest was perfectly simple! Even with a two year old 'helping' it went without a glitch.

Here is a very blurry faced Midget Gem trying the new chair out - he totally missed the point of the carry cot and insisted on sitting up in it but LOVES his new chair - he sat there and watched me make lunch with a big beaming smile the entire time - very nice indeed! 

So far so good, Mylo - I'll blog my review for actually using it in a week or so and then come back to it after a longer period with a final conclusion; for building and packaging I'll give it a 7/10 - more labelling and slightly more detail in the instructions would be very useful - the images were great and I managed to do it but there were a couple of pages where some actual words might have helped! 

The Poo Incident.

I don't often blog in the day time - I generally leave it until the boys are in bed - but this warrented more than a tweet, more than a facebook status, more than just a hysterical phone call to someone...this is something that will haunt me, always.

Midget Gem had just had a feed and was curled up on a big blanket having a nap. Jellybean had finished his lunch and said he wanted to go and play in his bedroom with  his cars - so I sat down at the desk to get some work done. I'd just scanned through my inbox and decided which email I was going to reply to first (this can take a while, in amongst the many offers for a bigger penis - which I'm tempted by - and press releases that arrive by the dozen) when I heard the oh-so-dainty footsteps of my little elephant running back through from his bedroom. 

"Mummy! Mummy!" said a very excited voice - I didn't know what was coming, didn't suspect a thing...let me just pause the memory there for a moment where I'm still innocent, pure, undamaged by what was to naieve, so happy...

"Yes my darling?" 
"You catch!" 

I turn to look - I barely have time to register that he's taken his trousers off - taken his nappy off - before instinctively trying to catch what he's thrown.

Yes. It's a poo. A very sloppy poo. I don't catch it all - some of it splatters (shudder) out of my outstretched hands and hits me.

In the face.


"Hahahaha, Mummy, you dirty - need a shower?"

He had taken his nappy off and pooed directly into his hands, for what reason I will NEVER understand, and thought it was the FUNNIEST thing he'd ever done when he threw it at me. 

This was an hour ago. I've spent the time since cleaning - everything. Me, him, the floor, the chair, the desk - it's amazing how far a soggy toddler poo can splatter. He's very proud of himself. He keeps giggling, and saying "Mummy, I threw my poo!" like it's the best joke he's ever heard. 

I'd offer him up for sale - but I don't think this is the best advert!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

5 hours a week.

I keep seeing press releases and articles talking about how parents only spend five hours a week with their children.

I think they mean QUALITY TIME - I can't imagine there are that many who LITERALLY only see their children for five hours a week. 

Part of me is shocked by that figure - but then I thought about it. I am home all day with my children - but I run a business from home, so I spend a few hours a day working. I try to do this in the evenings but I have to do a lot in the daytime. I'm lucky that after a bit of playtime in the mornings my baby wants to sleep, and my toddler wants me to leave him the heck alone to play with his toys. This can last anything from five minutes to two hours, in which I work. Then I have to do housework too - I stop and play with them, chase, do monkey noises, read stories, sing songs - but the dishes still need doing, the laundry still needs doing, the toilet still needs that's a big cut into the quality time. 

I'm lucky enough to work from home, so I get to stop working whenever they ask for me - I get to stop working to lie on the floor and play, I get to take them to the park or the library. Thing is, I also have to work - so I have to say "In a minute" every day, I have to run off to answer the phone in another room, I have to shush them and work when I'd rather be playing. I also spend a fair but of the time I'm playing watching my email in box, or checking my messages, which makes me feel really guilty - but I'm ALWAYS at work because I work here, so there's no real boundary between "Elizabeth at work" and "Mummy" or "Housewife" because I have to juggle all three.

I can see how, if you work long hours outside of the home, it's hard to get back, make a meal, clean up after the meal, do the laundry, put away the laundry, run the vacuum cleaner around AND read seventeen stories and do some brio or play dough or bake cakes together, or teach the alphabet song, or visit Sea World. It's bloody tough. I know I'd rather play with my kids than do housework, the state of my home is proof of that if nothing else, but the housework NEEDS to be done, work NEEDS to be done. 

Even so, I think there are then a lot of parents who flop in front of the TV and tell their kids to be quiet when actually they could knock it off and read a book, or talk about what they did in playschool that day, or do some make believe with a cardboard box and some stickers. 

I'm no Perfect Mother. Working from home means I don't get enough work done, don't get enough housework done and don't play with my children enough, or make it to enough playgroups. Every single day brings a whole new list of things I fail at, just a little, constantly. I'm always playing catch up and feeling guilty. I have no time for the hobbies I used to enjoy and miss just sitting with a book and a cuppa and chilling out with my husband in the evenings - but I signed up for this life so I have to make the best of it. I know my kids love me, they know I love them, and as long as I manage to keep us in clean underwear and stop new species forming in the carpets we're doing ok. 

However much guilt those figures made me feel I know that I manage way more than five hours a week QT with my boys - I know that we do a lot together that some kids never know. There are kids who go to school and can't write their own name (some don't even KNOW their own name - that's not made up - some don't KNOW THEIR OWN NAME - how does that happen?!), kids who don't know the alphabet or how to count to ten or one colour from another. I can't quite get my head around those statements. I think it says a lot more that often (sorry for the generalisations) those kids come from homes with full time stay at home Mums. There's a big difference between being around your kids a lot, and spending quality time with them. I have to work, sure, I have to hide in the bathroom to take business phone calls, sure - but my kid can sing his ABCs and recite his favourite books and count things properly. 

We're doing our best. That's all anyone can do. Those single Mums who are working three jobs to keep a roof over their families, and barely see their kids - they're doing their best too. Those working couples who fall onto the sofas blind with exhaustion in the evenings - they're doing their best too. You can't dedicate your life to your kids. You try, but there are too many things eating into your time - and you do what  you think is best. 

If you can't give them another five hours, try giving them ten minutes. Read a story before bed. Make up some dances together. Make up a song with them as the star - the reward of a happy child is SO worth it - happy children make for happy families and a world of difference. 

Remember, none of us are perfect - we're all peddling madly under the surface and trying not to drown, and I for one hope that the foundations I'm putting in now mean that we'll have a better lifestyle and that when I'm in my 40s I can afford the fees for the therapists my kids need for all the issues I give them by simply trying to do my best. It's all I've got.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Mommatwo's Monday Dream Meme

It's Monday and that means Dream Meme! I like to think that there are dozens of you out there reading and blogging about your dreams and that you're just too shy to link up - and not just that it's a rubbish meme that nobody wants to join! 

I enjoy doing it - so whether you join in or not I'll keep going, but if you DO want to join in add your link below in the comments, I'd love to read and comment :-) 

This week I've had loads of weird dreams and for the first time in ages I've not made notes when I woke up - thinking I'd remember when the time came to write this post. Obviously I can't remember - aside from there being a lift in one dream that I kept going up and down in. 

Dreams aren't very subtle in their symbolism - it literally means that I'm a bit up and down! I'm going up in the world, but also dropping down in other ways. It represents my life emotionally and physically - life is perking up, work is picking up, so other areas have to slide (like housework, haha!) and some days I'm on top of the world, feeling great - and others still hit where it's all I can do to get out of bed and remember to breathe in and out. 

What did you dream this week?


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Ten things about me!

I've been tagged in this Meme twice this weekend - by two of my favourite people in blog land. Monika at Mum On The Brink and Karen at Tales of a Twin Mum.

The Meme is a list of ten things people don't know about me. This is pretty tough, when I get nervous, drunk, bored or awake I tend to get hideous verbal (or typing) diarrhea and struggle to find the boundary between "ok to share with strangers" and "for goodness sake, stop talking, stop talking, you're scaring people away!" 

Thus thinking of ten whole things people DON'T know about me is hard! The list might be gross or disturbing - sorry for that, but the few things I haven't already shared with you are probably kept to myself for good reason!

1: I have huge feet. It's a family trait I think - my paternal grandmother had size 9 feet - something she'd struggled with when she was a teenager. She told me her first six months of pay packets, when she left school and got a job in an office aged 14, went on shoes because she had such a big growth spurt, shooting up from her child body to her full height of 5'10" in less than a year. This is something I think happened to me too - I was short compared to my peers in early secondary school then suddenly I wasn't - but it happened pretty late. My feet were there before the rest of me - I looked like a penguin; puppy fat, not very tall with adult sized feet. Feet that are big for an adult. I like to say they're size 7 and that I buy an 8 for comfort. This is a lie. They're  just size 8. 

2: I tell people I like to listen to radio 4 - occasionally this is true and I'm genuinely listening to it now. I'm purely listening because my husband phoned to tell me a show I'd enjoy was coming on. In reality I suspect I'm not really intelligent enough for radio 4, and listen to radio 1. This is because I find Chris Moyles amusing (shame on me) and want to marry Fearne Cotton. 

3: I both love and loathe tattoos. I have two - one I love, one I loathe. My husband isn't a big fan so I might never get another. If he liked them more I'd be covered in them - but only in the areas I can cover with clothes. I have one on my wrist and when people notice it it feels like they're seeing something that should be secret. I'm not ashamed of them - it just means a lot to me, and I feel like I have to explain, and share part of my soul with people when they ask. When I see them on other people I sometimes like them - more often, though, I think "You fool - you didn't think that one through - and now you're stuck with it and look like a thug!"

4: I am a wanderer. I dislike being in one place for a long time. We've been in Dorset 2 1/2 years and I am desperate to leave. I have nowhere specific in mind that I want to go to - I just want to go. I don't know why - there's just so much I haven't seen yet. I want to see it all. 

5: I'm jealous of thin people. I think they have more willpower than me, and that makes them better. 

6: I eat my scabs. I don't think this needs elaborating on. 

7: My memory is terrible. I remember, with great detail, things that happened in primary school but can't remember the names of people, or what I did last week, or my to do list, or what I was in the middle of doing. This enrages me because I know I'm smarter than I appear. I had meningitis in my teens and it damaged my memory. Saying that enrages me too, because it feels like I'm using something very old as an excuse for something recent. It being true doesn't help. 

8: I want to be a singer. I'm not very good at singing, but I love very few things more than singing. 

9: I'm often repulsed by how smug I am. This doesn't stop me being smug. The fact that I'm smug is likely no surprise to a lot of people. It stems from insecurity. No excuse for it - I'm just smug. It's vile. 

10: I'm glad I never had a daughter. I don't think I'd be a good Mum to a girl. I was massively relieved when I had two boys. I think they're phenomenal. 

Now I've to tag people. I'm going to tag some real life blogging friends and hope I can bully them into joining twitter off the back of it and join in the amazing blogging circle of friends I've made. Some are already on twitter - but to the others, join already! 

First I tag Kathryn Ashcroft - her Thursday Column makes me think differently - or just think - about things. I like that. Intelligent writing FTW!

Next the lovely Andrea - our first children were born very close together and we made friends online; I love her updates and sense of fun and humour, and admire the parenting choices she makes. 

Next up is Robin - I love her blog, love her pics and updates and again she makes me laugh.

Now for Katrina - Lushworld is hilarious as a blog, and makes me think, and laugh, cry, love. All the things Katrina did when we lived together way back when!

Finally I tag Corrine - when we grow up, we'll run away together and live in a log cabin in the woods. I'm pretty sure between us we could work out how to sustain it!