Is the school system turning me into a tiger mum?

Three weeks ago the girlchild went up to Year 1 at school. That’s the second year of primary school for anyone confused.

So far so good. We had a good reception year and I felt confident my independent mini me would be fine.

Over the summer everyone seemed to say ‘it’s soooo much harder in Year 1′, ;the step up is tough’, ‘there’s no playing now’ in that slightly fear-inducing way people with children who have been there before you do. So despite thinking it would be fine, there’s been a niggling spectre of concern she was in for a rough ride.

img_1100

But it’s been OK. Until last week.

Hello the weekly spelling test. WEEKLY.

She turned 5 in June.

So despite muttering to Mr MotherFudger that perhaps we should move to Sweden and let her climb trees until she’s 7, we cracked on and encouraged her to practise her words. Her 10 words included ‘fright’, ‘turnip’ and ‘brown’. Pretty full on I thought. Did I say she was only 5 in June?!

She really tried – like usual – and always makes us proud, but all week I was completely torn about encouraging her to do it the required three times (as stated by the note with the spelling test book) and just letting her have some much-needed rest time. I’ve tried to feel hugely positive about the process, that if we’re chilled out about a ‘test’ she will be too.

Mr MF and I both felt unchallenged and still remember being frustrated at our primary schools – so perhaps having a challenge to sink your teeth into isn’t so bad. But I just can’t help feeling it’s too much, too young.

Over the week I had various convos with my mum chums who were a mixed bag of love/hate/not really sure about it all.

But we did do the required homework. We sat with her and went through what was required. Each time a bit of me wondered whether my encouragement and enthusiasm was a bit too much of a tiger mum style. When she resisted doing it, I’m not going to lie – I didn’t say ‘oh well, go and play’, but instead my encouragement (and Mr MF’s) pushed her on to finishing it and telling her she needed to do it. Eek. It’s not sat entirely comfortably with me.

It’s also taken up pretty much the only time I have to spend with my daughter. Once in from work, it’s a rush to sort tea, do bath and bed. Squeezing in all the homework has sapped that brief period in between.

Then the night before she had a meltdown while practising. And I didn’t blame her. She’s exhausted.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – SHE’S 5.

Friday came, she did the test and did very well. We’re really proud – mainly because she worked hard all week and tried. But now we’re onto the next set of questions and the next test on Friday. That’s as well as the maths homework she has, the daily reading of her own reading book and us reading to her.

So I’m sat here wondering how right it all is. Surely it’s too much? How gently coercing her to do all this through the week is a good thing? She’s engaged now – but will she be week after week of doing the same thing every evening? I hoped school would inspire and engage, not just force-feed the building blocks of learning…and not turn us into parents who are supporting our daughter by becoming tiger parents about what she’s ‘learning’.

 

Advertisements

Rules of Shopping with a child

What is it about shopping with a young child that turns what formally was an enjoyable, nay leisure pursuit, into some kind of fresh hell you’re never quite prepared for however many times you’ve been before.

Next time, I shall be following my newly created list of rules before I venture out with a skip in my step:

  1. Forget any concept of browsing.
    That wonderful thing you used to do in your lunch hour, or on a Saturday, is long gone. No more perusing gift shops finding that ideal present for your mum. No more hour-detour to Primark to treat yourself to an unethical bargain purchase. The nail was in that coffin at the moment of conception. With a child you are going to be on a mission. Even if, and we all know this is insanely rare, you are fortunate enough to go without the kids, browsing still sucks as there’s a slab of guilt attached to it now. SUCK.
  2. You will spend at least double your intended budget – save now.
    How you will laugh at your previous parenting intentions of boundaries on how much you spend. ‘Maybe if they’re good they can choose just one small thing’ you think to yourself before you go. ‘They can use their pocket money’ you say.You’ll be so fucked off with their incessant “please buy this Mummy, pleeeeeeeeeeease” it will be easier for everyone (including strangers) if you just give in and start agreeing before you’re practically throwing toys and clothes in their direction and remortgaging your home just to gain a few minutes for the things you really need to buy.Suddenly you’ve become THAT parent. Oh.
  3. It will take you the entire day – make no other plans.
    I went shopping a few weeks ago and actually said to Mr MotherFudger “we’ll only be a couple of hours”.How I laugh.We left at 9.30am and got home past 5pm.All those extra minutes in toy aisles, all those discussions about who at school has that toy/dress/fancy dress costume will eat up the day. You will also quickly realise you bred the world’s most prolific dawdler.
  4. You will have to have at least three refreshment pitstops.
    Breaks for the toilet, coffee, drinks, lunch, snacks. Not only should you set aside approximately £100 for refreshments, your child will eat more slowly than they ever have before. I’d say the poor little things are practically in painful indigestion, but I’m convinced my daughter knows just how to work the system.See point 2.
  5. View your child like a ticking time bomb.
    Have a baby – that baby may be asleep right now, but you have mere minutes before that sleeping bubba is going to go off and those screams aren’t going to be impressing anyone. Shop, shop very very quickly.
    Braving that trip with a toddler. Basically you’re insane. Pay for whatever amount of childcare/cash in favours but don’t take them. Ultimately though – you have total respect from everyone. No one is looking at you when they have a meltdown in New Look. Everyone (who has a child) is just feeling your pain. But go home. Fuck the shopping trip. Admit defeat now.
    Taking a preschooler – brave move my friend, but still this could all go horribly wrong. Walk past that Disney Shop and it’s game over. Decide it’s OK to go into a toy shop and you’ve lost immediately.
  6. Enjoy it. 
    Having said all of the above, embrace that it’s not like shopping ‘in the olde days’ and enjoy it. I love shopping with my four-year-old daughter. We call it our ‘girl time’ and she loves being able to comment on things I choose, or pick out stuff for her. It’s cute overload.Annnd, who the fuck doesn’t like playing ‘where am I hiding Mumma’ when she’s buried in a rail of clothes?!

 

 

7 things I’ve learnt since my daughter started school

So the girlchild is now a pupil. The home visit was fine (read the post) despite the four-day delay due to the silent knocking teacher. So that was fun keeping the house immaculate for the best part of a week.

The initial period of settling in seems to be done and sorted. Days and days of a morning here, afternoon there, while Mr MotherFudger and I had to rearrange our lives is over. I blahed after the first drop off. The girlchild didn’t. The initial motivation, by me, to plait her hair has passed, but we’re ironing her clothes for fear of the wrath of my mother who told me off before term had even begun. Actually Mr MF is doing the ironing as I do most other things, so have dug my heels in about that one.

It’s a crazy world this school thang, and a learning process for all of us:

  1. The school system pretty much hasn’t moved on from the Victorian era.

Mornings, half days, sit and see sessions, assemblies – firstly they seem to assume one parent doesn’t work. Hello – it’s 2015. I had an invite to an assembly 2 days later. On Monday week there’s some kind of meeting at 2pm on a Monday I need to go to. Now luckily I don’t work on a Monday – but oh, hang on, other children aren’t invited. Great, so erm, they’ve made it easy to attend that one!

And aside from that – what is with the paperwork? Erm hello 2015 school system – what about social media, what about updating your website, what about text alerts, what about not photocopying information and handing it out on A4 sheets. We’ve all moved on. Let’s embrace technology together.

2. Your child imparts “nothing”

Oh how I looked forward to the little anecdotes we’d share about her day:

Me: “What have you done today darling?”
Girlchild: “Nothing”

Me: “Who did you play with today?”
Girlchild: “No-one”
*Heart breaks as I visualise her sobbing in the corner*

Me: “Did you do drawing today?”
Girlchild: “No”

But then she’ll reveal random snippets of information like “Aspen was sick today”. I don’t even know who Aspen is?

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. It’s so frustrating. I’ve had a chat with the teacher – apparently she plays with everyone, she’s settled and involved. She isn’t doing “nothing”. It’s OK. Mummy panic averted.

crumble

3. Having said she says “nothing”, we have had plenty of discussion about the lunch menu.

Talking about what the option is – they still have arctic roll, insane – dominates the morning, the evening, the post-school discussion. Apparently she’s refused to eat broccoli her entire life because mine is awful – awful being still in a floret form opposed to over cooked slush which she prefers.

The food is the only time the Victorian era of school life is a positive – they have crumble, custard, proper big desserts. Jeeeezzz, my kids are lucky if they have dessert once a month. We’ve been palming them off with a yoghurt as a great end to dinner. She thinks it’s Christmas every school day – although this has incited the “what’s for dessert?” question a lot. Weekends have been dominated making crumbles. Mr MF has found his nirvana. We’re boosting Ambrosia’s sales right now. It’s ridic.

4. I’m a total snob.

Fuck I hate myself. *hangs head in shame*

I actually found myself saying to another mum the other day “she would’ve eaten the salmon, but it had breadcrumbs on it and she thought it was fish fingers.” Feel free to punch me next time you see me.

bike

5. The school run dominates

I naively thought on my non-working days (please note NOT days off as I still have the wild thing of a toddler to look after), I would have some time to do stuff that doesn’t revolve around cleaning, cooking, washing, organising.

Apparently not. From the moment I wake it’s like I have a cattle prod up my arse to get showered, dressed, put some form of makeup on my ever-ageing face, sort the kids out while I shout at Mr MF to chip in, before we then have some kind of ‘debate’ about shoes/coats/not watching iPads/how knickers are an essential item of clothing/that I actually do have to clean the crap from that nappy/that we aren’t taking 4,000 Paw Patrol figurines on the school run. Then we march up to the school in some kind of urgency I’ve never had before in my life.

I fit in a bit of gossiping with other mums (natch) before marching home, and then blink, look at the clock before I find myself having to have similar conversations with the boychild about having to stomp back to school to collect the girlchild. Fucking exhausting.

diary 2

6. Your child starts school – you become their PA

Not a day seems to go past without several pieces of paperwork in the girlchild’s bag. Daily communication books, notes about parents’ evenings, clothes collections, assemblies, meetings you have to attend during a working day (see point 1), cake sales, the Christmas play, water bottles needed, blah blah blah. It’s never ending.

The other day I (AGAIN) sat down and got the diary out, put in dates, highlighted sheets with important dates while Mr MF cackled next to me basking in the glory of watching some shite on his phone. Because also this is apparently the deal – my vagina automatically means I pick up the load on the paperwork.

I missed that memo.

7. You miss them so much

Before my daughter started school we had the week off and had loads of time together. I realised what a great age she’s at – she’s so capable now and my little mate. We can do stuff together. I love it. And I felt so sad that I have to send her off to school.

I know there’s weekends, but I really miss her.

Despite my usual tongue in cheek blogging on parenting, I shall end on a positive though – two positives – just in case my children ever read this. The girlchild did say this week pretty much the cutest thing ever. She said “Mumma, you are the bestest loveliest Mumma in the whole wide world. You are so much better than Santa.” LOVE LOVE LOVE.

AND a friend who visited with her newborn last week texted me and told me what wonderful children I have, how polite, sweet, happy and kind they are and how they want to parent like us and hope their baby grows up like my children. I always feel proud, but felt super proud of my little duo. You know who you are and you made my year – nicest thing ever, because in this crazy path of parenting, the mum guilt, the struggle, the daily battles are all so worth it.

Apols for Oprah end there.

The girlchild is starting school

In a few days’ time my firstborn starts school. I’m quite emosh about it, probably more than I thought I’d be.

But I am putting aside the emotions of the occasion, as quite frankly I don’t have the bloody time. Why? Because the whole process means I have had to morph into some kind of secretary, personal shopper and socialiser.

Firstly the paperwork. Jeeeesus. It began last year, school visits to plan and organise, school place application forms to complete, acceptance emails to write. That was all before we knew which school. Then when we did the flow of letters, notes, messages and yet more bloody forms was like the scene in Harry Potter when the owls bombard the house with letters. It’s been endless.

I don’t even understand how I’m supposed to sign up to Parentmail, which will no doubt be another method of communication I have to engage with on a daily basis, all FOR MY FOUR-YEAR-OLD. Oh and then she’ll also have a daily communication book that goes back and forward to school I’m supposed to write in. FFS.

Secondly the stuff. Book bags, PE bag, PE kit, new plimsolls, new shoes, branded sweater, branded cardigan, pinafores, skirts, tops, wellies and raincoat to stay at school. It’s a wonder we haven’t had to flip a coin over which one of us would sell a kidney to afford it all. My parents bought the £50 shoes (Mum and Dad – if you’re reading and want to make the new shoe thing ‘a thing’ with the kids I’m more than happy!!!). I confess we still haven’t got the plimsolls, raincoat or wellies. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. I am THAT mum. Bollocks.

Oh and the name labels. I’ve discovered we’re all a type. I’m in the modern iron-on camp. I’ve invested in ones with a ghastly Hello Kitty symbol and pink writing. But there are the traditionalists among you – the ‘sew on, embroidered’ types. Those of you who are buying for life. My friend said the other day “these will last him forever”. I’ve yet to meet a ‘tag labeller’ or an ‘ink stamper’. Maybe they’re an urban myth?

Thirdly. The pre-social-school-events: summer fair, parents’ evening, playdates. I may need a new wardrobe soon just to fit in. Oh hang on, we’ve spent all our pennies on branded items most people tell me will be missing or be stolen within the first term despite the labels.

As soon as the school announcements were made over which one, I noticed divides too. People sizing up who was in the X school clan, which mums were at the Y school. I did it, hell I even wrote a little list on my phone. I’m spending the next 7 years with these bitches, I need to know some are on my wavelength.

lounge 2

Look – the sofa cushions are all nice on the sofa

Fourthly – the biggy, the most pressured and quite frankly something that has ruined my night (drinks with a friend cancelled), and pretty much my day tomorrow. The home visit. Yes, tomorrow, my daughter’s teacher is coming round to, well, I guess size up my child, me, our house, whether they need to ring social services, I dunno. It’s totally put me in a spin. I may tell Mr MF their feedback was largely based around the need for a statement rug in the lounge (I’ve seen one, I want it). The visual stimulation will probably help my daughter to learn!

messy lounge

What the lounge usually looks like

I’ve acted like the fucking queen is coming round. I snapped at Mr MF earlier – that’s what my mum does when she’s in ‘entertaining mode’ as my dad calls it. Another step towards becoming her. And I’ve spent the last 2.5 hours tidying, cleaning, sorting and mainly hiding crap that lurks over the floors, sofas, kitchen, leaking out into the ‘communal areas’ of our home to make it look like a total shitpit everyday. In case you’re thinking “I bet it doesn’t look that bad”, well let me tell you that my mum acknowledges every time she comes round that it does indeed look like a shitpit. If she doesn’t say those words she tends to say something along the lines of “darling, I couldn’t cope with the mess, so I gave it a little tidy.” Bless her!

Mr MF even got involved. The stairs are usually covered in stuff. Stuff to go up, stuff to come down. Stuff the kids have put on it, stuff I’ve put on it. Toys, washing, crap. Mr MF picked up every last little bit and rehomed it. Beautiful:

stairs

Hmm, the stairs are clear

I might even bleach the sink in a minute, but I’m having a 10-minute break because the floor is wet as I mopped it. The last time it was mopped was when we had a cleaner – which we don’t have anymore since we moved *weeps over keyboard*.

I’m still wondering whether I should bake a cake, get some wholesome, yet educational, activity out for the children. I’m already geared up to tell them the TV has broken 30 minutes before she arrives. That way, any tantrums can be passed and they won’t ask to have it on. If the boychild asks for Paw Patrol while she’s here, I’ll pretend it’s a wonderful imaginary play game we do. That’ll go down well – or she’ll think I need meds.

Anyway, must crack on, might even rearrange the toys.

Wish me luck!

I couldn’t give a shit if you say cheese, just sit still for a nano-second

Mr MotherFudger isn’t a fan of taking pictures of the family. He once said “all you need is a picture when they’re born, one when they start school and another if they get married”. He wasn’t really joking. Think more of a Victorian gent of a man with a love of his e-cig and his iPad and you’d be about right. Despite his love of technology, he’s not a photo fan. It’s in the genes. His family practically retort in pain when I get my phone out AGAIN.

Paula Abdul was very right when she sang “Opposites Attract”.

So there I am whipping out my phone to take yet another picture. Weirdly I am also from the kind of family who last took a photo in 1987, finally sent it off to Truprint in 1992 and haven’t bothered with that kind of thing since.

I’m the self-appointed photographer for the whole family. The Mario Testini to the Royal Family as t’were, although most of my pictures are pretty shit and all are taken on an iPhone.

The thing is, everyone loves the photos I take. Mr MF has even been known to shed a tear while scrolling through pictures of our offspring – and the emotion on the grandparents’ faces the Christmas before last when I’d made them each a photobook was pretty special. Oh yes.

So persist I do through the groans and the grumbles, which is kinda weird in a time when taking pictures constantly is the norm. Most of my rellies would laugh at the idea that Instagram is a thing. Even the girlchild seems to have the anti-photo gene and growls, shouts and basically refuses to have her picture taken. Despite a period of showing off for the camera aged 2, she’s now a camera hater.

But occasionally I persist, nay, demand I take some. I bribe, I promise, I do whatever is needed to ensure I get some pictures I can proudly display on the wall. I say on the wall – there is only one image of the boychild as a baby because I was LOOKING AFTER TWO BLOODY CHILDREN and had no time to upload a million of said images to Photobox and print any. It’s fine – we all just lie to him and tell him some of the baby pictures are him, even though they’re his sister. Shh, he’ll never know.

Soooooooooo, the other day, there we were, the 4 of us looking not quite so tramplike as usual and I thought oh yes, let’s do this, let’s do a DIY job of a family picture.

I bribed the girlchild by saying she could click the selfie stick button thing. She did a good job – we ended up with 80 pictures. There’s 2 good ones. I say good as in they are acceptable.

But as we were reviewing them, Mr MF and I did laugh at the event.

The girlchild had a tantrum about the whole scenario, then refused to take part, then we got her back on board and the boychild went nuts as his blanket was taken away, and then everyone (apart from me) left the scene, and then we all came back together.

My legs look like the size of small whales. This is probably because they are the size of small whales. I’m hopeful it’s just the selfie stick angle, however it has motivated me to rejoin Slimming World.

I thought I’d share a handful of our rather failed attempt at getting that perfect picture…bet Mario didn’t have to deal with this shit at the Royal photo sessions:

I know how to treat the kids

Don’t you love those days when you have planned nothing to do with the kids? I don’t know another parent who disagrees that a day at home with the kids without a playdate, shop trip, soft play, visitor or excessively-priced-but-sanity-saving outing is involved is a blood tough day. We found ourselves with one of those days recently. By 3pm we’d all had enough and before the onslaught of witching hour, I decided we would venture out. I know how to treat my kids I thought. I know where we’ll go…. roadworks 3 TO SEE THE ROADWORKS. Yup, we went for a wander to see the men dig up the road. “Look kids, it’s like Mr Bull in Peppa Pig…<insert my best Mr Bull voice>’let’s dig up the rooooooad’.”. I was like the best PR person for what has to be the shittest outing ever. Then I took on the role of a patronising school teacher and started pointing out elements that quite frankly they could see with their own eyes…”ooooo men with hard hats on….woooooooow there’s a big drill…..look at the huge pipe.” The kids were curious for all of about 2 minutes, before the girlchild put her hands over her eyes at the sheer volume of noise of the pneumatic drill and asked to go home. But they did do some kind of little dance along the path. Coming in the for the close up: roadworks cropped That made the afternoon to be honest. Then we walked home, I gave in to icecreams, more TV and clock watching till Mr MotherFudger came home.

Think you know your dinosaurs – take the test

As is the way with this parenting malarkey, as soon as you spring a child from your loins, you give over your house to baby-related stuff. For months the Jumperoo was my best friend. It also ate up approximately 45% of the floor space in our house. Getting rid of it was bittersweet as it meant my sanity break of the bouncing baby meant said baby was now crawling around and pulling off/throwing/catapulting things we’d had in our life we loved that essentially were ruined within minutes. Fisher Price need to make one for every age of child. I need that level of entrapment.

The Jumperoo was replaced by other stuff that are apparently toys. Overpriced plastic shite I see it as. Sometimes they play with it, often they beat each other up with it, frequently they nag for more of the shite when we’re out. But one group of these toys that seem to be breeding in MotherFudger Towers is dinosaurs. They’re everywhere.

Tubs of little plastic dinosaurs that find their way everywhere. My “no toys in our bedroom/kitchen/utility room”* rule has gone to shit.

One thing I am failing on (aside from being the earth mum clearly I’m not) is the names and types. It’s starting to get embarrassing. The boychild knew a pterodactyl before I did. He turned 2 in March. I’m down with that T-Rex – who isn’t – but most others I haven’t a clue.

This isn’t helped by Mr MotherFudger’s knowledge of dinosaurs that’s akin to a paleontologist. I’ve always said he’s on the spectrum.

So I’ve set myself a challenge – to teach myself what each of them are….take my test with me and see how we do:

1. I’m starting with an easy one. The big daddy of em, we all know this one don’t we:

IMG_4636

A: The T-Rex. Look at the mighty Tyrannosaurs Rex – meaning King of the Tyrant Lizards apparently.

2. Okies, another easy one, even I do know this one really:

IMG_4633

A: Triceratops there having a little fight. I know these, I know these, I can do this dino thang. (Hello Kitty is so shouting on from the side lines “fight fight fight”. Cheeky little bitch.)

3. Errrm OK, I want to say summat obvious, but I don’t think I’m right:

IMG_4631

A: I’ve forgotten, so have to look them up. They don’t eat meat. I think. Hmm, not sure they’re the same there though….Mr MF I’m stuck on my own test…..could be a Barosaurus (are their necks long enough?), the dino bible we have is telling me they’re ‘sauropods’. Mr MF is confirming Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus. You live and learn.

4. This one is hard:

IMG_4632

A: I didn’t even get a chance to answer. Mr MF is now gate crashing the fun and immediately said “it’s some kind of ankylosaur”. GEEK ALERT GEEK ALERT.

5. What’s this trio of bad boys?
IMG_4635

A: I’m thinking raptors of some kind. I’m also getting bored…akin to the owl in the photo – it’s so bored with this game it’s passed out. Apparently the geek is saying “obviously you can see they’re some kind of theropod”. Ermm obviously?! Keep with this – the owl is going to make an entry soon. You’re on the edge of your seats I’m sure.

6. This is super controversial in MotherFudger Towers:

IMG_4627

A: Not only have I apparently positioned it all wrong (not standing up). I know this is a pterodactyl. Mr MF just said “why the fuck is it in a tub of dinosaurs, this is a quadroped. However, this isn’t as bad as putting a dimetredon in there”. You can see why I married him right?

7. God I love this little chap:

IMG_4637

A: Easy tiger, not another triceratops, no sireeee – this is a Pentaceratops. Five horns or summat. Yeeehaaaaaa.

8. IMG_4630

A: Left – our friend old steggers. On the right I actually asked a four-year-old boy at toddler group today what this was. He looked at me, embarrassed, and told me. I have forgotten. I’m now so bored I’ve given up.

Also Mr MF is now telling me his top dino facts. Duck: dinosaur. Pterodactyl: not a dinosaur. Owl: dinosaur. Pterodactyl: not a dinosaur.

Knowing your weaknesses as well as your strengths is a good thing.

How did you do? Get all 8, although actually there are really 10, or laughed at my poor dino knowledge?

50 Things That Make Me Happy

I’ve been tagged by Emma at Hey There House (great blog, read it) to write my 50 Things That Make Me Happy. I feel damn lucky in life at the moment, and feeling quite emosh about it, so I will enjoy this gushy lovely list of things that are all good (I know, no moaning, what a bloody surprise, usual service will resume again soon):

1. Dinner parties. One last night, another planned for next Saturday. Let’s bring back the 80’s trend.

2. Homegrown allotment produce. I moan constantly about it, but secretly love the haul we get.

broad beans

3. Eastenders. Judge me, go on.

4. Cuddling. A 20-second cuddle kicks off the production of oxytocin (the love hormone) don’t cha know.

5. Catching up with old friends. Had a recent meet up with a fabulous old colleague I haven’t seen for 2 years. Made me remember just what always made me smile about them. Making the effort is always worth it.

6. Gooseberries. See recent post!

7. My children running in for their morning cuddle. Bestest feeling ever.

8. Mr MF making crazy house design suggestions that I immediately say “oh good god no” to, then start really loving the idea. “Minecraft torch lights in the dining room”…”let’s do a lego wall”.

IMG_4606

Magnetic chalkboard, although this was actually my idea. We are seriously planning the Lego wall.

9. Writing, stuff, about real life people and my kids and things and places and stuff.

10. My children’s laughter.

11. The fat cat we spot from next door. “Hello fat cat”.

12. Going to festivals.

IMG_3950

Cider and wine will do that to your selfie. We’re both mums. We were just pleased to be out. It’s been a long time.

13. Pictures my daughter draws. This is rare, I savour every little masterpiece. See featured image. Boychild, hurry up moving on from those ‘amazing’ scribbles.

14. My new mug from my sister.

IMG_4059

15. Crisps. Skips, McCoys, Frazzles, Tyrells. Hmmmmm crisps.

16. Mr MF giving me surprise flowers:

IMG_4392

17. Watching the children play while they make up little stories about what is happening.

18. Coffee

19. Friday nights.

20. Finding missing pieces of toys I’ve been searching for for weeks. Parental nirvana.

21. The shop Tiger.

22. And Ikea.

23. My new house.

24. Buying fabulous shit for the new house.

25. My car. Honest. Should join some kind of twatty group for Vauxhall Zafira groupies. Can’t get enough. SEVEN SEATS people, SEVEN FUCKING SEATS. I’ve blogged about this before…here….and here because I love it that much.

26. Finding a box set Mr MF and I love. Currently Silicon Valley. Was Stella. Mad Men before that. We’ve done all the Hugh Fearnley W’s. We are eclectic in our taste.

27. He doesn’t love this – but I do:

IMG_4336

28. Friends. All of you. You know who you are and you enrich my life because you’re a part of it.

29. My family. Spoilt with a damn good bunch both sides.

30. My magazine subscriptions. You can mock my monthly Prima all you like, but I lovessss it.

31. Doing puzzles with the girl and boychild. Love their sense of achievement at finishing it.

32. Camping.

33. Camp things.

34. My mum’s sandwiches. No-one’s taste anywhere near as good.

35. My sister’s quiche. See note above.

36. Stomping through a forest on an autumn day.

37. Not caring that I’m 37 years old. Age, pah, who cares.

38. Role play. Yup, I am that office weirdo.

39. Kilner jars. This one has black beans in it. It makes a nice noise when I shake it. Hmmm Kilner jars.

IMG_4436

40. Mr MF holding my foot when we watch telly.

41. Chinese fortune cookies:

IMG_4296 (1)

42. Dreaming of visiting New York.

43. Big windows.

44. I love that my mum asked her surgeon for her gall stones because I wanted to look at them. Childhood dream to be a doctor never died. Awesome gore detailing on them too! Shant post a pic.

45. My mum’s endless support in being my mum.

46. My dad’s sheer motivation to continue to achieve in life.

47. My sister’s ability to totally ‘get me’ whatever I say/think/feel.

48. Mr MotherFudger. Cupid got it so right.

49. This fabulous little girl “I want to pick flowers for you mummy”.

IMG_4437 (1)

50. This bloody adorable boy “Mummy can we have ‘big’ eggs”

IMG_4602

The tapir willy, my new sandals and the gooseberries

Well it’s been a mixed bag of shizzle happening in my world this week.

Highlight 1: I saw a tapir cock. I joke not:

tapir penis

It was the length of its leg. Took us all by surprise, that and my friend saying “look at the Tapir tripod before us”. Who fucking knew? Obv had to take a picture. Mr MotherFudger had to look it up and apparently they basically use them as an extra limb. Couldn’t stop myself being that immature eight-year-old self and saying to the zoo keeper “wow, we saw the tapir willy”. He said: “I know – lucky tapir ladies hey”.

My friend was mostly obsessed with how long the tapir girl’s bits were.

Highlight 2: lie in. Repeat, lie in. Mr MF came up trumps this weekend, mainly as I pretended I was asleep when the boychild started launching breakables down the stairs, as is his 6am trick after we’ve relented and got him out of the cot. Despite the risk to the children’s safety, we play the ‘who will give in first and get up’ game where we go back to bed in the vague hope of getting a few minutes more rest. Once released from his baby prison cot the boychild largely throws things for attention until something breaks and one of us launches out of bed.

Today AND YESTERDAY I won. Woohoooo. AND I ended up having a siesta (can we say that in Britain?) yesterday. Mr MF is now claiming he’s banked some kind of future nap. Ermm no because he got to go to the allotment yesterday by himself for 4 hours. This ain’t the good life, we aren’t self sufficient. We live in a 1970s build and still have Asda online shops. Clearly it’s a HOBBY. So no, screw his make-believe nap glory.

But credit to him growing these beauties we had for dinner the other night (pretentious moi?):

broad beans

Highlight 3: gooseberries.

There have been thousands at said allotment. The girlchild and I picked some. Well, this is an exaggeration – we all went to the allotment last Sunday as Mr MF naively thinks we’re in an Enid Blyton novel and that it will be magical and wholesome and good for the kids. The reality was that the 31-degree heat was fooling no one and within 2 minutes the boychild pointed towards the car and said “get in, get in, too hot”. So I had to put him in the car with pretty much every emergency snack and form of liquid we had. The girlchild spent all of 43 seconds trying to pick gooseberries before giving up due to the heat and sheer viciousness of the plant. They are brutal though, she did well for 43 seconds.

Both children then stayed in the car during the scorching heat while I picked gooseberries because I had committed (in my head) to making jam. Jam I plan on giving as presents to the girlchild’s preschool teachers as an end of leaving gift. Oh yes – I am so winning that middle-class prize.

Also – to the two walkers who passed by muttering about what I guess was children dying in cars all the doors and windows were open and they were in the shade.

However, I’ve given my mum, mother-in-law and sister jars of the jam and nothing. I was expecting a few little texts or emails of “ooo lovely jam Lucy”. NOTHING. I even prompted my mum who moved quickly over the subject. To be fair she’d had her gallbladder removed and jam was probably not a priority subject for her – but still.

So now, I’m wondering if the jam is utter shite. However, in Chez MotherFudger we’re loving it.

jam

Also – please note, they now have gingham hats and I’ve even bought white plain paper bags. I’m like an Etsy shop.

Highlight 4: catching up with an old friend. Nuff said, was lovely, albeit I had to buy time to talk with handing over the iPad and letting the girlchild go to the room to watch something inappropriate while I put Toy Story 3 on AGAIN for the boychild.

Highlight 5: catching up with one of my besties who lives too far away and who did an amazing thing by having a play she wrote staged in Cambridge. Oh so proud. She’s a total reminder to keep going for your dreams.

Highlight 6: new sandals. Pretty:

sandals

Lowlight: Shant dwell on this, but witnessed a really horrible car crash this morning. We were on the way to the zoo and never seen anything like it – a car didn’t slow down at all and ploughed into cars on a roundabout. I felt far more shaken up than I thought I was and it sounds cheesy but made me feel really lioness about my brood and how much they mean to me.

Night night.

x

5 Things I Learnt When We Moved House

Sheeeeiiiittt it’s been 6 weeks since I dusted off the laptop and blogged. I’m like the crappest blogger ever. Although secretly I actually think a lot of bloggers do it so frequently it’s overwhelming.

Anyway, this blog’s excuse is THE MOVE. Oh yes, it’s happened. After killing orchards of trees in paperwork sent between solicitors, throwing more money at the event than Elton John does at his weekly flower delivery and eating my stupid fucking words that “we don’t have that much stuff” when clearly we did – it happened.

But like most life events, it was not without it’s challenges – or shall we say lessons:

1. You will need double the boxes you think you need. Think you won’t be that domesticated tramp-like woman eyeing up cages in supermarket car parks for empty flattened boxes. YOU WILL. Think you won’t start developing ‘moving Tourette’s’ and chucking in the occasional “haven’t got any spare boxes have you?” at the end of sentences. YOU WILL. Just face it and accept it. We had 37, yes, 37 of those huge Ikea bags ‘for last minute bits’. How we laughed that we wouldn’t use them. We used every single one.

2. Don’t shit, wee, basically don’t use your toilets for approximately 6 months before you move. ‘Errm what?’ I hear you think. Let me paint the picture my friends: 4pm the day before we move I notice a real life shit stream running down the garden. The jets of crap were actually pushing through the earth in the garden and trickling down the garden with their gutt-curdling stench. Oh yes, the drains decided to be blocked just before we moved. Karma is a bitch. Not even the morning, not even the fucking morning to give us time to sort it out.

At 5pm – after some kind of meltdown by myself – Mr MotherFudger rushed home as did my wonderful father-in-law who ‘brought the rods’. Oh the rods. Sadly the shit river knew no bounds, and despite my father-in-law giving it a damn good go at clearing it and get covered in our waste (a bonding moment I never wanted), we had to accept defeat and pay £180 to Dynorod to come out at 9pm and sort the problem. My father-in-law’s words still echo round my mind “someone didn’t digest an olive properly now did they?”.

I even took a picture of the Dynorod machine once the shit swamp had been rectified – they have cameras on the end of the rods. Technology huh.

IMG_4070 (1)

£180 – I’m taking a picture Mr Dynorod….although that is Mr MF’s back (he’s covered in poo at this point but you can’t properly see it!)

3. Never buy a pug dog. Stay with me, stay with me. So there we were, ready to get into our new home. All our stuff was in the van, we’d left our old home. The air fraught with excitement, tension, anticipation. I’m having a chat with the removal man:

Removal man: “have a look at my dog, isn’t he a beaut [reveals photo of pug dog]. £1000, but shouldn’t been £1400 – he had some stuff wrong with him.

Me: “a-ha, ok.”

Removal man: “he’s a busy dog, was playing around with him this morning, gave him a cuddle, then had to change my shirt…because…you know – because of [as he breaks off mid sentence as if I’m supposed to know what he means]…”

Me: I shake my head

Removal man: “you know – they seep don’t they – from their bums”.

Me: Retching in my head while making a mental note that we will never get a pug.

4. Do not under any circumstances move with your children around. Thank fuck we didn’t. 2 years and 3 years – need I say more. It was a wonderful sight to see them so excited when they did arrive from Chez Grandparents. And we’d really worried about how attached they’d be to the old house and how they’d feel really funny about the new one. Nope, just pure glee. And then when you want to do anything – unpack, paint etc ensure they are nowhere near.

IMG_4079

Fuck you beige – we went with teal

5. Don’t plan your child’s birthday party within a month of moving. Clearly an over ambitious move. I was convinced it would be fine, but something has to give – in this instance it was the cake. I have quite bad parenting shame about the Pinterest fail that is my daughter’s ‘ice palace’. Hmmm, it was an interesting process, one I don’t want to repeat. But she loved it and so did her friends. Don’t mock me too harshly:

IMG_4221

I could weep at the cake shame