5 toys that piss me off

Back in the glory days when a toy needed its own planning permission, how I cursed. “Oh be gone Jumperoo”, “how much longer do we have to live with this effing baby gym” I would joke, as I manouvered my post-pregnancy girth around said items.

I long for those days.

Come back Jumperoo – all is forgiven.

Those days meant tidying up was achieved in approximately 2 minutes, with a quick shunt of the item to the side of the lounge and adult space resumed. There were zero expectations your baby would help to tidy obvs, and although bedtimes still felt exhausting, and I was more tired than I have ever been in my life, I look back through my rosey specs thinking about how easy life was back then.

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For now we life in a whirlwind of toys. Toys that come with thousands of microscopic pieces designed to cause injury if you tread on them and go missing and don’t come back however hard you click your fingers (Mary Poppins is a liar).

Tie that in with endless requests to your offspring to help with tidying only adds to the pain. Oh and it seems the older they get they don’t want to part with anything. So the toy slurry grows.

Having hit my limit I had a clear up and have rounded up my top five toys that piss me off:

1. Lego

Actually add in Play Mobil. You know that character in the Lego Movie who superglues the sets together. He’s a genius. Those sets get put together once, then it’s a soup of bricks peppering the entire house existing just to fuck me off. Play Mobil too. Bastard tiny miniature cutlery with the campervan. Small tiny torches with the police van. Where are they now? No one knows. The sets aren’t complete and never will be again. It bothers me.

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2. McDonald’s/Kinder Toys

I already know I’m killing dolphins with the insane amount of plastic in the sea. The guilt of these makes me feel even worse. Whales – I’m sorry. Sea otters don’t hate me. Plus they’re crap generally and are played with for approximately the length of a Happy Meal then tossed into the mass of toy shite in my lounge. BUT if I get nasty on their ass and bin them, my daughter has a sixth sense for this and I guarantee will ask “where did that red plastic car go from the McDonald’s trip Nana and Grandpa took us on circa August 2017?”. So the guilt of throwing away their stuff adds to my already mental burden.

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3. The loft returners

On that note, we have certain items we managed to move to the loft. The cleaner’s stealing trick, so Mr MotherFudger revealed (I didn’t DBS check him when we met). So appaz, you move stuff to another area, then hope the person/child doesn’t notice. Then eventually you can throw it away.

We’ve been caught out and had to bring some items back into play. This castle is one of those things. The thing that pisses me off about it is that I thought we’d moved on, but alas no, and somehow we can never rebuild things like they were before. The castle should be condemned quite frankly as no soldier can stand on it as we can’t figure out how to put it together again. Even Spiderman has given up here – he probably couldn’t even cling to those loose walls.

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4. Nerf Guns

My pre-child self said I’d never buy a child a gun. My pre-child self said a lot of things.

We have six.

Have you been fired at by your over-energetic child onto your bare flesh. HAVE YOU? They should require a gun licence. I wish I could blame Trump, but I only have myself to blame… well and Mr MF who suggested we buy the hideous toys.

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5. Skinny girl dolls.

Size 0, unachieveable examples of a woman telling my daughter – and son – this is the norm. We know the story here. This isn’t even a feminist issue, this is basic inaccurate physiology (and also oppressive to women).

They piss me off. If I could melt her tits into saggy teabag tits and stick on lard where she needs it to be healthy I would. Actually there’s a Pinterest craft project in this. If only I had the time and didn’t spend most of it picking up Lego bricks from the carpet.

NB: I also have mild hatred for Hama beads, marbles and sets of cards that purely seem to exist for the purpose of being taken out of the packet to throw across the floor.

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The pet rite-of-passage you’re guaranteed to regret

“Mum you need to clean the fish tank out. It’s getting a bit grim again.” said the girlchild yesterday.

“Yeah, I probably do, but it’ll be OK for another few days”. I replied with the feeling of foreboding that she was probably right.

Fish.

Fucking fish.

If you’re one of those families who didn’t have a pet before you have a baby, I guarantee these utterly pointless creatures will factor in your life at some stage.

You see I’ve always been a cat lover, and for years I’ve harped on about how we should get a cat. Then we had a baby and, well a cat might sit on their face and suffocate them. That was Mr MF’s excuse for a while. That and the fact that he basically isn’t (well wasn’t – I will come onto that) a fan of cats.

Then we had another baby, and same issue of potential baby suffocation/excessive excuses came my way, but also added to his argument was the cost. Vets’ bills, medicines, food, “what if they get hit by a car and we have to pay hundreds of pounds to fix them when we have mouths to feed.”

So I parked the cat fantasy for a while and moved onto a tortoise – but apparently you don’t just put them in the garden or a box during winter like I was led to believe from Blue Peter. You need heat lamps, and indoor areas. So I went back to a desire for a cat in my head and did what any respectable mother would do – and manipulated my children to mirror my own views and feelings and fly the flag of us having a pet.

So two years ago while whispering mentions of pets into their ears continued they were brainwashed enough to start voicing their ‘own’ desires.

Brilliant. Try saying no to their little faces Mr MF.

But the plan went awry when the different suggestion of fish came into play and we found ourselves at the pet shop buying a tank, some poxy fake plants and fish so small you could barely see them.

I’d like to tell you tales of how we all watched the little creatures swim around their tank, giving us plenty of fishy memories for years to come, but this isn’t the case.

What is the case is this:

  • Those fish have lived forever. Well when I say forever, the goldfish died but the tiny tetra fish are double the size they once were, have gone through a variety of colour changes and still going strong two years on. HOW? I once even accidentally tipped one down the sink while bleaching (yes bleaching) and didn’t realise for a good two minutes, only to find it flapping around in the bleachy plug hole. It is as hard as nails as that was more than a year ago and it lives on.
  • I am the ONLY ONE who cleans them. Mr MF – nope. Never. Not even once. There I am, every few weeks filling up buckets of water, letting it stand, clearing and cleaning the entire sink so I can then tackle the shit show of a fish tank, because despite being about an inch long, it’s surprising how much crap three tetras can produce. Also it’s quite a shock how much concealed watery poo slime sticks to those ornaments in the tank. But there I am, for the good of nature every few weeks.

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BARF

I even added a cleaner shrimp and weird thing that sucks the side six months ago, because we’ve all seen Finding Nemo right, those dudes can help clean the tank. Not so much. Apparently Pixar lied to me. They’re mainly good for hiding or having a weird human/fish stare off.

So people, if you find yourself at that pet cross roads in life where your child (and/or you) are desperate for a pet, don’t even contemplate fish. They are pointless.

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And what’s even more frustrating – and also wonderful – is we finally got Mr MF to give in to the cats, they’ve been in our life for more than a year and are everything and more. Mr MF is now a cat obsessive and they’re the most amazing addition to our home.

But it means there’s even less interest in the fish I still have to clean. Sigh.

Why every parent should be given these to wear

I’ve just painted the garage door. Again. It’s a task I started two weeks ago and seems to require endless coats of paint as still looks patchy. But rather than get changed out of my clothes and find some I couldn’t care less about, I had a lightbulb moment and thought ‘why not put on Mr MF’s overalls?’

Well, little did I know about the world of overall wearing – but in the last few hours I’ve become a convert.

Who knew the warm, comfortable, durable and actually flattering garment was holding such joy?

Let me take you through what I’ve found out about the pleasures of overall wearing and why, I think every mum (and dad) needs them in their life:

1. They cover everything. 

Don’t want your nice fancy clothes to get dirty – sling on an overall. Job done. Feeding the kids, which is basically still like a scene from the zoo when the monkeys are given boxes of fruit. No worry – the overall will cover your ass (quite literally).

And when I say cover everything I’m also referring to the junk in my trunk that no diet or form of exercise is ever going to shift. Postpartum tummies – nothing to see here people. They’re actually quite flattering. Fuck yes.

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2.  They’re oh so comfy

I feel like Mr MF and my dad have been hiding the secret pleasure of wearing overalls from me. Do boys get told about overalls when girls get taken off and told about periods? Who knew just how comfortable they were. I’m not going to lie – a bend and snap is tricky – but you’re so contained, so warm, so all in there. It’s a nice feeling. Kinda like going back into the womb again.

3. Pimp potential

Granted they’re plain (we’ll get onto the zippage) but versatility is the key here. You’re doing the nursery or school run – overalls on, job done. You’re off out for a pint to the pub (like that ever happens as a parent?) – slick of lippy and a bangle, job done. Maybe it’s a rare dinner out – big chunky necklace on, maybe add a belt – job done. So many accessorising possibilities here. We’re been missing a trick for years women of the world. As you can see here I’ve pimped mine up with a dirty pair of Mr MF’s overlarge Crocs, however, sling on a kitten heel and you’ve done day to night in a second!

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4. Zips and pocket pleasure

You know all that crap you have to carry around as a parent. Jeeez, will that changing bag stage ever be over? And then it is and you’re still laden down like you’ve fled your home for good. Well fear no more. Leave that bag at home because there are so many pockets. Phone pocket on right boob, other pocket on other boob. Leg pockets for snacks or keys or whatever. THIS IS THE DREAM GARMENT PEOPLE. Look how happy I am. Maybe they’re even laced with oxytocin? *Calls Travis Perkins to ask*

5. We have the skills

We’ve been embracing jumpsuits again for the last few years – this is just the next step. Yes you may have to peel the whole ruddy thing down to your ankles to have a wee, but we’re used to that. We’ve perfected the art of that with the return of the jumpsuit. We’re ready for this.

You know those poxy freebies you get given as a new parent – bottles of lotions you never use, endless leaflets about shit you feel judged on? Well THIS is the real win. Bounty should abandon everything else and give these as standard issue after childbirth.

We’d all live happily ever after.

Why autumn is the new New Year

Last month the boychild started school. He’s settled well and although has told me he misses me, he was ready to start. More than ready really, and for the last few months it was getting harder to stimulate his little mind. I spent all summer feeling a bit twitchy about it and not really because I was concerned he wouldn’t settle or worried he wouldn’t make new friends. I think because it highlighted what a massive milestone it was for all of us.

Unless Mother Nature throws us a curveball, he’s our last baby, so the boychild heading off into the wild world of education means I have no more babies at home.

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The fur babies are the only babies at home now. *sob*

It’s proved stranger than I thought it would be in a way. I was so excited to have more time for me on my days off. Extra long coffee sessions with mum friends and a deep clean to the house (seriously what was I thinking)? Oh the time I was going to have. Ooo what I’d achieve.

I didn’t think when the time came I’d actually end up feeling a bit in limbo about it all, but it’s felt like more of a new chapter than I thought it would for me.

I’m not a standing still kinda person and often feel the pressure of what’s next in my life – I’ve always been like that. However, it really is feeling like more of a New Year and new start in many ways, and I’m both excited and itching for what else is around the corner.

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Although I’m not a garden person, I’m even finding the harvest of our little veg patch satisfying and refreshing before the winter sets in. Can we all acknowledge just how immense this carrot and parsnip cuddle is. Emosh.

Since term began I’ve been seeing a personal trainer and been more motivated to go running again. Both of which are such good natural highs and although I’m an exercise hater I genuinely enjoy running when I go.

I’ve repainted the stairs after the cats scratched them (again), touched up all those bits of walls where the kids have smeared jam and finally painted the toilet door. We’ve also had our bathroom done and I’m enjoying finishing it off as it was absolutely disgusting before.

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I know the skirting boards need to be done, but hmmm greeeeeeeen wall.

I’ve been working on some other creative projects, one with a friend, and it’s so refreshing and exciting. There’s nothing stopping me now – so why not? And my smug level is pretty high as I’ve even got a bit more involved with school stuff, because quite frankly for the last two years the guilt bubble has been building and I felt I should. No doubt the PTA politics will be strong. Come back in a few months for a blog on why I hate the school PTA and why I’m never going back. Insert hysterical smiley face here.

It’s made me realise I don’t need to wait for New Year to do these things. Why waste another few months before getting fit. I can do it now. Right now is the best time to start something new and that’s really exciting.

Autumn is the perfect time for new beginnings. The leaves are falling off the trees and almost cleansing themselves – so why not us. Schools are back, new years have begun there, there’s still a bit of good weather and we’re all itching to go again. What better time to launch that new idea, start a new hobby, try a different thing, just read a new book.

Happy new New Year everyone.

Parenting = shit harvesting

Yesterday I stood in a public toilet cubicle for a good 20 minutes while the boychild did a poo.

“Have you finished yet?”

“No”

“Still got some left?”

“Yes Mummy… can you turn round I like to be private.”

5 more minutes

“Finished now?”

And so it went on.

When both children were potty trained I thought that would be the end of shit harvesting. Hooray Mr MotherFudger and I cheered. Drunk with thoughts of how we’d spend those heddy hours away from pooey little bums. Delirious about the spare time we’d have without the argument over whose turn it was to do the nappy change.

How wrong we were.

As a proud naked bum sticks up with the tribal call of “Muuuuummmy I’ve had a pooooooooooooo” long after they’ve cracked potty training, the reality of shit harvesting continues.

When will it stop I ask myself? Maybe never.

I will take to my grave the sheer fury of my Dad if we EVER left poo streaks in the toilet (his personal pet hate). I now know why – because he’d had enough of shit harvesting deep into our teen years when long gone are the nappies or bottom wipes, but you’re into reminders to “use the bloody toilet brush”.

It’s all a phase, and for shit harvesting it’s one that clearly never passes but just changes. Like so much of parenting.

8 truths about family holidays

The family holiday. Ahh, those blissful weeks of anticipation you spend dreaming about the relaxing days of adventure mixed with lazy evenings reading, eating yummy food and drinking with your loved one.

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There’s no doubt it’s a calendar highlight, whether it’s camping in the country or a blow out all expenses trip to the other side of the world.

We’ve just been very lucky to have spent a week in Majorca. The four MotherFudgers embarked on our first trip abroad since 2 became 4.

The smalls are now 4 and 6 and it’s the first time we thought it wouldn’t be like some form of hell going on a plane. Anyone who does it with a buggy and a baby needs some kind of medal. We clearly aren’t that brave.

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I won’t bore you with the minutiae of our trip – we had a fabulous time, it was a much-needed break for all of us, but there were some things that occurred to me about holidaying as a family wherever you go and whatever you do. Things that next time I’ll refresh my memory about before our next trip:

  1. The journey is a game of parenting roulette. Also see point 3. You have no control. Whether you’re in a car on the motorway, using the trains, flying, you’re in the lap of the Gods here my friend. That mixed with kids, yeah, good luck. It’s a gamble and you’re going to lose at some point.Find your happy place. This too shall pass. Grin and bear it. And if that fails dish out Haribo like your life depended on it. No judgement.

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    A three-hour flight delay, lost luggage and our taxi driver buggering off – we all felt the boychild’s pain.

     

  2. Same shit, different location. If you’re the one who always remembers the rubbish needs putting out, or you’re the one who sorts the picnic for the day. You know what – it’ll be you who’s doing that on holiday. Just because you’re away doesn’t mean the miracle fairy will have waved a wand.
  3. The kids will have meltdowns. Accept it. They couldn’t give a shit that this is a precious week and hundreds of pounds of hard-earned cash. They’re kids and they’re going to lose their shit whether you’re in England at home or a restaurant abroad.icecream
    So much ice cream

     

  4. Pick your battles… but maybe don’t pick quite so many on holiday. It’s your holiday too. If the kids are on the iPad AGAIN and it means a bit more of a break for you then go with it. And if they ask for another ice cream, fuck it. Go for an easy ride. It’s not defeat. It’s a sanity saving exercise. 5 a day only matters when you’re on home turf. Fact.* (* = I’m lying.)
  5. Take pictures. My family, Mr MF’s family. Our own little team – it’s always me taking the pictures, so going on holiday isn’t going to change that. If I didn’t document our holidays there would be no memories. This even includes my overly direct requests by strangers to take pictures of all of us as I want at least one pic of the four of us.me
    This is a selfie, because if I didn’t take them, no bugger would!

     

  6. This is your chance for some partner time. If you have a partner then claw back some moments together and if you’re single then enjoy those moments too. You don’t have the million bullshit domestic jobs you have at home. This is your chance for a bit of couple time. Whether that’s when the smalls are at a kids’ club, or just during the evening when you plan a takeaway and time together. Make sure you do something a bit different to the norm. Put your phones away, enjoy being with each other. Reset together. Priceless.sangria
    Sangria and couple time

     

  7. You don’t have to go abroad to have fun. It was our first holiday abroad as a family and it was great. We loved it, but actually I don’t think you have to go thousands of miles away on a plane to have a great trip. I doubt we’ll be able to afford to go abroad next year but wherever we go will another adventure together.
  8. The kids will love the bits you don’t enjoy. It may be a boring train journey to you, or a wait for your luggage at the airport, but for kids there’s wonder in everything. The smalls loved watching the luggage popping out of the shoot at baggage claim and seeing new insects abroad “that were red and had extra bits”. That’s the wonder of kids – they remind you of the gems in the norm and that’s even more apparent when you’re taking time out to relax yourself. Go with it because they’re so right in seeing the magical new world in front of them.on bus
    A bus journey in a different destination is amazing

If you’ve been away then hope you had a blast, and if you’re off on your holibobs enjoy it as you’ll be making memories – whatever they are.

MF

x

Why are thank you cards like pulling teeth?

I blame Hobbycraft. They had an offer on those blank cards you can use to create whatever message you want. Blank for your picture and message. £2.50 for 20 seemed like such a bargain.

“Save me buying those oh so predictable ready made versions” I thought. “Be nice for the children to draw their own pictures” I said. “How special it will be for the teachers and nursery staff to have a personalised picture from the smalls”.

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That was back then. Now I know the truth. Now I know the real pain of THOSE cards. Now I know why they were on offer.

If you have a child you’ve probably been living your own fresh hell of getting the kids engaged in the thank you card process this week.

Next year I’m starting it in March. I swear.

My daughter’s birthday was in June. A month on we still hadn’t crossed off thank you cards from the never-ending list of chores I have to cattle-prod the kids into doing. And while the birthday thank yous sat on the list, the thank yous for the teachers came up to bite me on the arse too.

So there we were at the beginning of the week and after two homemade ones completed for her friends I gave in and made the girlchild write in readymade ones for her friends.

We got through this hurdle. The bigger mountain was yet to climb – the teacher cards. Now when I say teacher cards, this is 4 for the teachers, but my son is finishing both preschool and nursery, so that totals 16. Let’s just repeat that – 16 cards I decided would be a good idea for him to create.

What the fuck was I thinking? Pinterest peer pressure got to me. I hate the me at the beginning of the week. That me sucked. But there I was thinking this would be a nice gesture. And you know, my role as a mum is to teach my children to say thank you.

In reality no one learns the lesson of thanks here, what we all really learn is endurance because that one bloody task has now expanded across the whole week. It’s like a game of parenting chicken about who will break first – me or them. All under the umbrella of the shitfest of tantrums that is the final week of term. It’s not a pretty sight for anyone by the time bedtime comes.

So there we were, felt tip tub at the ready, blank cards out. Game on.

I’m there like a positive football coach willing the children on, showering them in praise “this is fabulous… I love the colours you’re using… Mrs X will love this card… wow is that a ermm dog….” but after approximately 15 minutes and half a card done by each there are cracks in my spirit.

Then the moans start from them.

“Can I finish noooooooooooooooow? I don’t know how to spell her naaaaaaaaaame. I don’t want to do this anymoooooooooooore.”

One card done by the girlchild, lovely picture of some flowers. The message written. The boychild has drawn a fabulous face. We can do this I think.

Then as soon as the creative whirlwind has begun, it stops.

After more ‘soccer mom’ chants of encouragement the second cards are started. The boychild draws what can best be described as modern art, at worst a scribble he tells me is ‘a caterpillar’. Abstract.

The girlchild groans and starts muttering how she wants the iPad.

30 minutes in and they’re clearly done. And so am I. So we savour the task for another day.

By last night we were still 2 cards down and even Mr MF was involved for 30 minutes before it broke him too. At 9pm the girlchild finished her final card. It was a relief like no other. Done for another year… oh hang on there’s Christmas not so far away.

So I’ve decided – next year I’ll be Moonpigging the shit out of this task. Screw you Hobbycraft!

Happy holidays and good luck!

x

Has becoming a mum made me a prude?

I don’t know what’s happened to me. My 20+ self would be laughing at me right now, but my 30+ self is recoiling in shock and a little bit of disgust to be honest.

I’m talking about Love Island and Naked Attraction.

I imagine you’re aware of them, particularly Love Island, as EVERYONE is talking about it.

I don’t get it. Not so much don’t get it but utterly repulsed by it on so many levels. And believe me I’ve tried to watch it, to love it and get hooked on it. But it’s just not happened because instead of hang on every word of the vacuous lip-pumped 20 year olds having sex, I just think it’s obscene.

I’ve become a modern day Mary Whitehouse.

How is having sex in a room of other people OK? If they were doing it under coats in the street they’d be arrested. It’s just not OK?

I can’t help thinking if that was my son or my daughter how gutted I’d be. How ashamed. That’s going to stay with them forever. When they’re 40 and want to be respected all anyone will think is ‘you had sex on national television’. Grim.

And don’t get me started on the people they choose to go on there – all cardboard cut outs of what we seem to have put into the box named ‘attractive’. That being toned, slim, overly made up, a bit of cosmetic surgery and a bottle full of tan.

It’s so shallow it’s not even funny. These aren’t the ideals I look to and I certainly don’t want my children to aim to look and live like these people do. All for a fast buck and their 5 minutes.

Let me know move onto Naked Attraction. Equally as vulgar and crude, but in a way weirdly more innocent – six naked people expose themselves bit by bit, literally, while a person wanting to get laid a date examines first their legs/bum/genitals and then torso and boobs before finally revealing their face.

No honestly I’m not lying, this shit is real.

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I’m kinda horrified but also weirdly a bit hooked on this one to see if it works on some animalistic dating premise. It does and doesn’t.

Both programmes make me pleased not to be entering adulthood right now. A place where your worth is judged so strongly on looks and how far you’re prepared to go seuxally, this under the eyes of social media where nothing is yesterday’s chip wrappers but forever imprinted in the memory of computer servers to be raked up again by strangers and future employers. Mistakes don’t get forgotten, they become present to be used against you at will.

I fear for my children and how they’ll respond to this when they’re older, how pressured they’ll feel to become a part of this norm and route to what is deemed successful. How horrible.

They won’t be able to bask in the glory of risk taking, having fun and making mistakes without people pulling it back out of the ashes to haunt them. I lived my life to the full in my 20s and don’t regret any of my choices, but I wouldn’t want to relive them in my 30s, 40s or 50s when I’ve moved on and put them behind me as part of life’s rich tapestry.

These ‘contestants’ may feel like they have it all with the newly signed make up deals, movie premieres and being invited to chat about their sexploits on This Morning, but the reality is they’ll have to face all of that when they do have children. And it will feel just as grim, probably even more so.

Or maybe I have just become a prude?

 

Have we reached the holy grail of parenting?

Mr MotherFudger took a big pause this weekend, moved closer to me and uttered the words I never thought we’d speak:

“I think we’ve reached it… I think we’ve reached the golden period of parenting. You know – the time we never thought we’d reach.”

Puzzled I looked at him while he smiled, a sort of halo forming around his head, a clink of light coming down from on high in an angle gleaming down on us while angels harmonised.

“We’ve hit the holy grail when the KIDS DON’T NEED US 100% OF THE TIME. The time when we can actually do stuff around them.”

I nodded sagely.

He was right.

cam kids train

It is happening. A time when the parenting leash has been loosened and we’re getting IT back a bit. IT being our own time, IT being a bit of space where we can breathe a little more. IT being a time when the children don’t need us shadowing them like over-bearing helicopter parents when we’re out.

We have just popped our cherry on a pub trip where we sat in the beer garden and the children played and made friends with the other kiddies like something from an Enid Blyton novel. It was magical. We sat, we drank, we chatted. The children ran over every so often for some crisps and a drink only to return to the fun that was the child collective. We did the acceptable smiles and nods to the other parents, but mainly we actually got to talk and catch up.

Although it’s unlikely any non-parents are reading this – just in case – you may be thinking this is just odd, of course this is how a trip would be.

Well not so.

Young children are basically on a suicide mission for their entire existence. Mix that together with a desire to push over another child/hit another child over the head/run into the face of danger and what you have there is essentially a trip out that revolves entirely around saving your child’s life/stopping your child hit or push over another child/apologise to another parent because your child has done the latter.

But it seems we’re there. We’ve moved up the phase hierarchy and felt even a tiny bit of smug looking back at our former selves. The possibilities of weekends seem endless. There was a fizzle of excitement in the air.

And while the air was still zinging, the boychild shouted from the garden that he wanted to wee outside AGAIN, the girlchild burst into tears about some injury she’d caused herself, before a fight between the duo ensued and we realised normality has resumed once more.

 

The 7 steps to getting a passport picture for your child

So this summer we’ve venturing abroad. As feeble as it is, it’s not a step we’ve ever braved before, because, well so many reasons I don’t envy any family: buggy on plane, child overheating, trying to get a baby to nap while wanting to sit on a beach, litres of suncream, panicking they haven’t got enough suncream on, insane stuff, just all the stuff you need for a younger child plus a flight with a baby. No thanks.

However, we finally felt we could handle it. Mr MotherFudger wasn’t so sure, but we’re going. Hoobloodyray.

So we cracked on with the kids’ passports, which obviously includes photos.

Now the smalls have a weird thing about photos – the girlchild basically hates having her picture taking. And currently we’re in a phase where the boychild copies her – so he hates it too.

I take a lot of pictures like this:

cam kids

So the whole passport taking process was an interesting one:

  1. “Kids you need your pictures taken for the passport”
    Imagine if you told your children you were banning Christmas or cancelling their birthday? Basically the same reaction. They groaned and moaned and said “noooooo” about a thousand times. The girlchild refused. I told her there wouldn’t be a holiday then as they wouldn’t let her on the plane. They came round in the end as I told them it wasn’t an option, they were having them done.
  2. “I can’t take them though – we have to get them done in a booth”
    Repeat response to 1.
  3. “I need to brush your hair and make sure you both look semi-respectable”
    More dramatic wailing. The boychild WAS OK before we left the house – as usual – by the time we arrived at the photo booth he already had dirt on his trousers, but at least his face wasn’t his usual look of ‘I’ve dipped my head in mud, glue and general muck’.
  4.  “Kids you’re going to have to kneel, hold your bottom up so we get at exactly the correct height…”
    Whoever changed the design from a twistable stool to the one big orange stool has never met a child or a person under 5ft. That big orange stool may look fabulous in their Shoreditch apartment but it’s shite at performing the function it was put there to do. Try encouraging a just four-year-old boy to stay at exactly the same height while on his kneels…followed by….
  5. “DO NOT SMILE. No, don’t move your head….keep looking forward. DON’T SMILE. Don’t look down. Keep your face exactly as it is.”
    What fun we had. How much I enjoyed the other shoppers in the supermarket watching me scream at the children like circus animals.
  6. “Well done children – we have the photos. Let’s go choose a treat as you were so good.”
    Phew. Big sigh of relief. Just to get the photos and form signed by my friend. So pleased the photos are all fine. Actually the boychild looked quite good. The girlchild looked, erm, somewhat strained, but hooray. Winning.
  7. Have photos refused at Post Office because there’s a tiny clink of light on their cheeks.
    Swear in front of PO woman. Curse entire photo system. Silently weep.

    I’m pleased to report I then went somewhere where THEY took the picture.