Today I took my children on a protest

Today I took both my children to a protest in our local park about a decision to rip out the equipment. Old and damaged I hear you ask? The land being heartlessly sold off to make a few pounds for the council? Nope and nope.

The play equipment is too noisy for a handful of residents who live nearby.

Not noise from loud teenagers or attracting late night drunken shouting, but the noise of toddlers and young children on swings, going down slides and stepping on large rocks. I know. Pretty messed up right. You have to be a certain level of evil to hate children playing. Especially when you MOVED NEXT TO A PUBLIC PARK.

It’s an utter joke.

If you don’t know the details, I won’t bore you with the discussions, online rants, council meeting debates or absolute dismay that has surrounded the issue. Sadly the handful of residents ended up getting most of the town councillors to agree to remove the equipment, which was put in two years ago at a cost of £75K. To move it it’s another £60k.

It’s digusting. It at times made me lose faith in humanity. Seriously how can the laughter and gorgeous sounds of children playing make people feel such hate?

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My son running to the park in excitement a few weeks ago

Parks are absolute essentials for families. There is pretty much nothing better than a park trip. For any doubters who aren’t familiar with just how bloody brilliant a park is:

  • They are a sanity break when you’re close to losing your shit at home because the kids are going feral inside those familiar four walls again. “I know kids – let’s go down to the park.” YES.
  • They’re free. A trip to the zoo is currently about £80 and that’s just for entry. Picnic + park = day sorted.
  • It’s a perfect playdate. House a shit tip again? No one really wants to have every single toy chucked across the lounge floor? Park it is then. Meet up sorted. I’ve even been known to take a flask while we all go in snowgear.
  • It’s absolutely vital exercise. See Change4Life PR person – I’m ticking that box. Today on the protest my children ran around and enjoyed the equipment FOR THREE HOURS.
  • Fresh air. Parent or child, there ain’t nothing better than a good old dose of it. Whether it’s warm or wintery it’s always the best tonic…ermm well the best tonic is actually with gin once they’re in bed, but you know what I mean.
  • They’re an outside classroom. Trees, nature, physical and social development all happen here. Learning how to share, learning how to behave, seeing nature, understanding boundaries – it’s all happening right here on your modest park trip.
  • And to add to that – meeting friends is important for everyone. A whole day without talking to another adult can result in me quivering in a corner by the time Mr MotherFudger walks through the door. I’ve had some of my best parenting chats with strangers on a park trip and in fact one of my fabulous mum friends (and one of the kids’ friends) was met just by an impromptu chat here.
  • They’re ace for the local economy. Been to the park – let’s pop into town. Money spent. Economy keeps turning. Win Win.

I could go on.

So yeah, to say I’m a fan is an understatement. So far this summer holiday I’ve visited the park on no less than 9 occasions. And I work. And we’ve been away.

I felt super strongly that the children should know the reason we were going to the park today.

My daughter was on the verge of tears. She said the councillors were ‘meanies’. She said how much she loved the park. She said she didn’t want them to take the equipment away. She didn’t understand. I said neither did I. She got how fucking furious everyone in my community feels about it and she joined the fight.

Because a park isn’t just a park – it’s a family hub, it’s a meeting place, it’s a break, it’s a space for the next generation, it’s a whole lot of perfect when you’re a parent and for anyone that doesn’t get that they just haven’t been to one and watched the children and heard their ‘noise’ to realise just how important they are.

And as for my faith in humanity – it’s been partially restored just by the strength of feeling a bunch of angry mums, dads, grandparents, residents, and people who love a community and wanted to show just how much something means for the benefit of all.

Things that only happen when you’re camping with kids

We’ve just been camping. With kids. I had visions of an Enid Blyton via Swallows and Amazons kinda trip. You see the campsite was BY A RIVER. Like proper beautiful river with rowing boats and teenage boys jumping on rope swings and swans gliding by.

The reality was all of that plus two parents pretty much screaming “don’t go near the river”, “come back here”, “don’t bother those people again”, “will you stop fighting” for three days.

Parenting is so yin and yang at times.

Mr MotherFudger almost began twitching when I said “I’ve booked a campsite that looks absolutely beautiful and IS NEXT TO A RIVER.”

A three-year-old who is basically Dash from The Incredibles and a daughter who is pretty fearless is great in so many situations. We often tell ourselves “when they’re older these traits will serve them well.” I hope so – but in the here and the now it’s hard work.

It was a really ace trip, and the river was bloody lovely. We went on a woodland walk, saw badger poo (children’s highlight), found the quaintest church I think I’ve ever seen, abandoned phones and iPads and enjoyed being our little team of four. When I say enjoyed please refer to the screaming comment above. Because there are some things I imagine some parents will understand about camping with kids:

  • The time you want them to be absolutely great and not wander off/find a new friend/explore the river is when you’re setting up a tent or when you’re packing away. Remember they smell fear and your weakness. There are buttons and panels in your car you never knew existed, but your children will discover when you decide ‘play driving us home’ seems like a great idea to contain them. We have now seen under a panel of wires in our car we have never seen before and one of those wires has been pulled out.
  • One of your children will want to make friends with your camping neighbours. What starts as a “ahh that’s nice, he’s playing with a little mate he’s found” becomes a “please child do not go over there again – having to retrieve you AGAIN is becoming embarrassing” and the neighbour’s “honestly it’s absolutely fine” does run dry.
  • Apparently your five-year-old daughter has the ability to swoon at teenage boys who throw themselves into rivers as she tells you she finds them “exciting”. Cue Mr MF having more heart palpitations and me seeing a future of “she’s dating another bad boy. Gah”. Can’t wait for those easier teenage years to come.

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  • Campfires are magic. Nothing is more fun than toasting marshmallows with your kids. Memories are made.

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  • Woodland walks are also pretty damn special. What’s not to like about venturing down little glades en famille and checking out animal poo together. Glorious. Seriously.
  • Give up on any attempt of a bedtime. Screw your routine, all it will do will cause you pain.

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  • *SEXIST CLAXTON ALERT* Men will moan about how much you’ve packed and how crazy it is, but once you’ve bitten your tongue because you’re the one that’s packed half the fucking house, you will need all those things during the camp trip. “You’ve packed two coats – two, why on earth do each of our children need two coats.” Insert smugness here after one coat gets wet. 1 nil MotherFudger.
  • Portaloos and camp toilets suck arse. You are more grateful for the modern sanitary system and your home flushing toilet than you ever knew possible.

The girlchild’s first school sports day

I’ve never been much of a sportswoman. I was one of those kids who had other skills in life and quite frankly running around a field wasn’t my idea of fun.

I think the issue was that I wasn’t really competitive and quite frankly a bit lazy. I didn’t have the drive to care about winning and had sucked up every single ‘it’s the taking part that counts’ message and was happy to go with that. I’d do it, but was also more than happy for my peers to thrash me. My preferred sport, even from a young age, was dreaming about my favourite boy, who bought me one of those awesome pencil cases that has the bits of elastic to hold individual pens and pencils on a family holiday to Mallorca. It had a shiny cover of his holiday destination. Amazing. #neverforget #firstkiss

Yeah, so that was then. A person can change.

Apparently there is a monster within that was released at the girlchild’s sports day.

Having started running it’s switched on a light in me. I’ve become a Born Again Runner and I appreciate how fucking boring that is to anyone who couldn’t give a shit about running or exercise. I like to think they haven’t seen the light yet. They probably like to think I’m a total boring fuckwit. I might hold up neon placards in the street to inform them. To those who have, they’re more than welcome to discuss mile times, trainers, injuries and whether stretching really is worthwhile or not.

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But it seems the runner in me has grown another dirty little side of me – the competitive sporty mum.

Yes, I became that mum at sports day.

I am not proud, well that’s a lie, I’m immensely proud of my daughter who did so bloody well and tried her hardest at every single little race. Her efforts were utterly amazing and I loved seeing her so eager to want to do well. But I’m not proud of my behaviour.

Something took over and I could not stop yelling and shouting words of encouragement. Some parents didn’t even cheer, or shout their child’s name. (WTAF? Support the little lambs for Christ’s sake).

When they reached the relay race I nearly lost my voice. I was so eager. My mummy friends the other side of the friend said they heard me.

And when it got to the Mums’ race I was fired up and ready. I knew I wouldn’t win. I couldn’t give a shit. I just wanted to go for it. I also tried to encourage loads of other mums too as my adrenaline was pumping by this point. My mum used to walk the race with her friend while chatting, as the other sporty mums went hell for leather to win. Who knew I’d be in the latter camp.

I was so so proud of my little girlchild and how hard she tried. Her team didn’t win overall (they did come second in the relay though. #justsaying). But it didn’t matter one iota, and she couldn’t fail to know how much I was cheering her on. And you know what – the girlchild was super proud of me and has told loads of people “Mummy did a race too.” How cute is that.

8 things you’re guaranteed at a blogging conference

If you don’t blog, or are unlikely to ever blog in your life, I won’t lie to you – this probably ain’t the read for you. If you are a little curious then continue my friend…

Having been to a blogging conference today (Britmums Live 16), my lazyarse slackness in blogging on MotherFudger made me think I really do need to pull my finger out of my proverbial and write summat.

me and dummies

So as I’ve been at a conference this is what’s in my head right now – all the things guaranteed at a blogging conference:

  1. Cake. Jeeeeez how much cake and biscuits and more cake is there? Probably now have type II diabetes from today’s sugar overload.
  2. Jargon. It’s hard to escape it from any particular world, and blogging ain’t no different. Word of the day ‘collab’ as in collaboration…as in collaborating with your blogging brothers and sisters my friends. You ain’t anyone if you ain’t doing a collab. I clearly ain’t anyone then.
  3. Ability to go feral for freebies. They are aplenty, of which I absolutely love. Love in a way that I turn into my eight-year-old self who cannot stop collecting them and hunting them out. I am the queen of the loiter awaiting that ‘would you like a goodie bag?’ to which I will ALWAYS reply ‘yes, yes I would thank you’. Another free pen with the name of the venue on it. YES PLEASE, because quite frankly I don’t have enough at home.
  4. See a fellow blogger you recognise. Always a bit weird. Someone you follow on social media, or whose blog you’ve read. Sometimes they don’t look anything like themselves. Sometimes it’s totally obvious. Do you say hi or walk on by?
  5. Enter competitions. Erm more free stuff, like better free stuff like a camera or suffun. Of course I’m going to enter. Crawl into a tent and pretend I’m in an enormous Instagram frame while having my picture taken so I can share it on social in the hope of winning a BBQ, despite already owning a BBQ. OF COURSE I WILL.
    me in tent
  6. Everyone else is doing way more than you. Vlogging, Snapchatting, pinning, kicking the arse outta this thing and generally socially showing off their blogging wares while I’ve been, well being a mum – and also carrying out the day job – which kinda takes over. But hey, you’re doing something because you’re there.
  7. Some sessions are inspiring, some really aren’t. Suck up the good, spit out the bad. Not everything is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but you will take away a lot of blogging gems that float your boat.
  8. Meeting others. Please refer to point 4 too, but meeting others who are blogging is ace because who doesn’t want to talk to new people and connect with another of us mere mortals.

NB: The featured image of me with a jar of dummies was a competition that I didn’t win. However, I have now Instagrammed the fuck out of that image in the hope of winning a camera. GUTTED.

26 things that will happen when you visit a museum with children

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We’ve been to the museum again. Well a different one. Not THE museum as if there’s just one in the whole wide world.

Although let’s be honest, they’re always full of similar shit, separated into dead stuffed animals, old paintings and stuff no one cares about but you look at as if someone is going to judge you for ignoring, old bits of animals – like fossils and bones, stuff about knights, and old stuff about the war. Plus the gift shop. Always the gift shop.

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You growl like that tiger my son.

Every single time we go I can almost predict the experience:

  1. Mr MotherFudger and I feel a sense of inner smugness that we’re taking the children somewhere educational. They’re going to learn stuff just through osmosis. Being around all those lovely old things means history, the lessons learnt by our ancestors will automatically be passed on. My job as a parent is practically done.
  2. The immediate location the children want to visit is the gift shop.
  3. Offering the opportunity of using the toilet will be refused.
  4. Your children will literally run past everything they see trying to find…ermm, not really sure.
  5. You will start reading the oh so informative plaques, then give up within seconds because quite honestly this is pointless.
  6. …pointless because you will spend approximately 93% of your visit running after your children as they sprint around the exhibitions. Think Benny Hill sketch.
  7. Adults (who clearly never had children) will look at you with the sounds of tutting going off in their heads.
  8. You’re all thinking how the stuffed animals are clearly the best bit. Natch.
  9. After 10 minutes the visit to the gift shop will have been asked for around 102 times.
  10. Some other grotty child will be hogging the best ‘interactive’ children’s thing to do. Your inner lioness won’t be able to stop slightly hating that child if they don’t let your kids have a go.
  11. Out of politeness you’ll then hardly let your own children have a go because there are others in the queue.
  12. You will feel pissed off about missing out of reading the plaques and properly looking at one of the exhibitions.
  13. Your children will find old stairs more interesting than anything else they’ve seen. WOW OLD STAIRS.
  14. You’ll have a thought that ‘one day, when we’re on our own we’ll come back here and have a proper look’, knowing deep down you never will.
  15. You will sneakily think ‘fuck it’, abandon the troops, and take 5 minutes to look at something. Like. Properly. Look. At. It.
  16. One child will fixate on something and not want to leave, while the other bleats on about how boring that particular bit is.
  17. Your child will need the loo at the worst moment, when you’re a trek up/down 101 stairs and halfway across a castle.
  18. You’ll have an irrational OCD moment wondering whether the ‘dress up clothes’ have ever been cleaned and just hope all that dirt will build your kids’ immunity.
  19. …but at least you’ll get a cute picture of them as a mini queen/knight/Victorian tramp – oh no, you won’t as that one click was when they were running off again/refused to have their picture taken/was too dark and is basically crap.
  20. You will actually look forward to the event finishing and wondering when you can get to the cafe and spend more than your mortgage on a coffee and cakes.
  21. You will curse taking the buggy round as quite frankly, Norman castles were not forward thinking to consider a three-wheeler all-terrain off-roading pushchair. Self fucking Normans.
  22. You will weep tears of joy that you have the buggy when your children take off yet another layer of clothing, and you’re left holding the exceptionally large rucksack you brought with you that includes spare clothes, drinks, snacks, nappies, wipes, plasters, blah blah blah.
  23. You will weep tears of fear when your child picks up something so precious and old, then nearly chucks it down that even the ‘trying to embrace toddlers’ staff weep too. NB: I can only apologise to Time and Tide Museum for the enormous large horn incident. He was just curious. Really.
  24. You will spend more time in the gift shop than the rest of the visit.
  25. You say ‘just one thing, hurry up and choose’ about 55 times while in the gift shop.
  26. You will have a post-museum conversation agreeing how great your museum pass is and how you will obviously be renewing it next year.

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Featured image: the babes sitting on thrones as the king and queen!

Shit the boychild does

Last Sunday I made a crumble for my parents. They lovingly look after my children once a week (and likewise the in-laws in case they ever read this). As a little bitty thank you I baked.

7.30am on Tuesday morning: I got out the crumble, put it on our kitchen table bagged up good to go in the car.

7.32am: I go outside to start the car to warm it up for my little baby children.

7.33am: The girlchild screams ‘MUMMMMMMY EMERGENCY’.

7.33am: I rush inside and the boychild has pulled off the crumble onto the floor and the entire thing has smashed.

I’d like to say this is a rare moment. Perhaps it was my fault for putting it within a mile of Mini Mr Tickle’s reach.

However, this is the regular bullshit I have to deal with.

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This was a coaster he bit a chunk out of recently. Great.

A few weeks ago, on a work morning, I did my usual rushing round the house, gathering belongings, yelling at the kids that we need to leave. In that final minute we had to put on coats and shoes, I discovered the boychild had dragged a chair from the kitchen table to the surface where the fish tank is, reached about a metre to the fish food and put the entire tub into the tank. Oh and also added a bottle of hand soap – because clearly the fish needed a wash.

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This is the fish pre-immersed in fish food and hand soap.

FFS.

The fish tank looked like soup with the poor little buggers barely visible. Cue me then frantically scooping out the sludge, leaving practically no water for the fish, then filling it up with tap water, which in doing so caused all the fish shit at the bottom to erupt volcanically. Love a morning like that before my working week.

I adore my son (and my daughter natch’). He is a character. He is funny, cheeky, clever, loving and also a boundary pusher. We love his personality, but it is testing. I know everyone says and feels their child is harder work than anyone else’s, but seriously, my boy is definitely harder than most.

Birthday parties – I see other children having fun then having time to chill on their parents’ laps. Aside from checking in with me, he never sits still at a party.

Playdates – Why is it my child who always makes the most mess/hates the concept of sharing/is more physical than any others I know?

Noise – Loudest. Child. Ever.

The weird thing is, if I’m honest, despite all his little challenging behaviour he is the most amazing boy I have ever met. I wouldn’t change him for the world. He is absolutely perfect, and even though he’s about to turn 3, he will always be my amazing little baby boy.

Here are some of the things he’s done:

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White sofas – ideal for drawing on Mumma.

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My sister may have painted her tea set – but trashing it is even more fun.

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Permanent red marker on the fire place ONE WEEK before we move. Consider it done.

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Let’s not stop at fire places eh!

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Mumma I know you hate those kitchen handles – best idea yet – push Play D’oh into them. Sweet.

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?!

 

 

The Pet Quest

Teacher: “Your daughter has said you’re getting a tortoise, that’s lovely”

Me: “Well we’re looking into it”

Teacher: points to picture my daughter has drawn of tortoise.

Me: *SHIIIIIIIIIT*

For the last few months I’d had a thing about getting a pet. And the thing about my things is that I voice them. I overshare. I raise these thoughts, suggestions, family ideas like an excitable puppy at Christmas that THIS IS the next adventure in our lives.

I work my hardest to get those around me on board.

Then the reality of these suggestions and ideas hit home.

The tortoise seems like the best idea in the world.

Apparently not.

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One thing is for sure – I never want a tapir as a pet – do you get why???

You see, I have a thing about pets, about growing up with animals. It’s a rite of passage (isn’t it?) and I think we’ve failed so far. I could ride out the non-pet situ before kids as I was “well let’s have the babies first and clearly a pet with a baby is wrong because they’d eat it – you’ve seen that Meryl Streep film in the 80s based ON FACT haven’t you”…then I had the babies and now they’re growing and it feels like it’s time.

I had loads of animals growing up: cats, a dog, 2 pet cows, a horse, 3 goats, geese, chickens, ducks, a lizard, guinea pig, hamsters, gerbils, a guinea fowl called Git, various fish and 2 terrapins. Hmm, the terrapins.

Lest we not mention the terrapins again my friends, for fear of a call from the RSPCA. I was about 7. I didn’t know, I PROMISE, that cleaning them did not mean getting a cleaning product from the cupboard (Ajax) and a scourer and giving them a scrub. It didn’t bode well for the poor little animals. I’m not proud.

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Maybe plastic animals are our pet fate?

Tragedy aside, I’m an animal lover. I love having a warm cat snuggle on my lap to stroke. Or a dog excitedly jumping up to say hello. It’s a hugely important lesson as a kid – the looking after, the caring, the neutral friend to be able to talk to and the death – and sometimes the birth.

If my children didn’t get to experience that I would’ve failed them. So the pet quest began and the a tortoise was mooted (by me). I dunno why – an easy pet. I’m not going to lie. We all watched Blue Peter. Pack them away in a box for winter, let them eat the grass during spring and summer. Job done.

Apparently not.

Modern-day tortoises are high maintenance. Who knew?

Not put off, we decided to investigate further. The Tortoise Rehoming Club clearly states a complicated collection of heatlamps, tables, enclosures etc for your pet. WTF? Erm methinks they didn’t have heatlamps on Blue Peter?

We ventured to a local animal place where they sell baby ones and I spotted a tortoise owner. So up I go, I ask (bombard) the overeager tortoise owner with questions. Yup, she has the set up: tortoise table for inside, enclosure for outside, a day heat lamp, a night red heat lamp – and get this – she bathes her tortoise every other day. Ermmmmmmm the boychild and girlchild only have a bath every other day. We’re heading straight back to shelled creatures and bathing products…..gaaahhhh.

Gutted. I’m not adding ‘bath tortoise’ to my endless list of chores. It’s one step too far.

So deflated as I was, we all decided perhaps a tortoise wasn’t for us.

We have rediscussed a cat, but Mr MotherFudger is from one of those (weird) families that hates them, thinks you can train them and would never have them on the bed (ermmmmmmmm say whaaaaaat?). Plus he’s allergic.

So we’re going to get ………….a goldfish.

The thing is – everyone is genuinely excited. I guarantee we’ll argue about the name. I am pushing for Miss Gloria. I guarantee the girlchild will go for Rosie (she names everything Rosie). The boychild will probably want to call it a Paw Patrol character and Mr MF will always call it “the goldfish”.

I’ll keep you posted…and keep the kids away from the cleaning products.

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.

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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.

I now understand the woman with the melon

When I grew up we lived near a woman who used to walk around the village for miles and miles holding a vegetable – or sometimes a melon – with her arm outstretched. The woman clearly had some kind of mental health issue. I’m not mocking her by any means. As a child I was always slightly fascinated about what drove her to it, whether it was some big life event, or whether she’d always had issues and life proved too much, so she found her solace in a good walk with a large melon.

Now I get it.

The woman was a mother.

This will be me in a few years’ time.

You see I too walk miles and miles every day. Well, looking at my never-shrinking fat arse, probably not miles, but walk back and forth, back and forth I go around the house, up and down the stairs, inside and outside. I pick up toys from one room and relocate them to another. I pick up dirty washing from one room and take it to the washing machine. I take piles of clean washing up the stairs for sorting. Back and forth I go, every fucking day.

Apparently Mr MotherFudger wears some kind of invisible glasses that ensure he can’t see all this misplaced items, but is able to step over them. I don’t have these glasses.

I won’t list the stupid amounts of things I have relocated just tonight, but if I see a Mr Potato Head arm in our bedroom it almost pains me to leave it there, when I know a nose is in the bathroom and the rest of the pieces are in the nice tidy box in the lounge. How can I ignore that child’s stethoscope when it so needs to be with its little doctor’s set friends in the case?

So walk around my house I do. Putting Pat back with his post van, returning another Happy Land character to their rightful home, marrying up cup and plastic saucer. On and on I go.

Mr Potato Head feet carelessly in a random toy box…

Mr Potato Head 2

…no no no, I must relocate them to their correct location…

Mr Potato Head