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Monday, 24 November 2014

Catch Up

A little glance at my productivity suggests that I last wrote this nonsense about 6-7 months ago. That is so the way my life works, so wrapped up am I in the ridiculous minutiae of the day to day. However, recently, to my absolute shock, delight and wonder, I have had a few requests to resurrect this sporadic little piece. And so, whilst ironing I realised I was in fact desperately looking around for something else that might need doing, that I might actually enjoy, having found literally nothing, I thought I might drag my sorry shameful backside to the computer and spend a couple of minutes trying to resurrect something that may or may not work as a blog... Are you still with me?

A catch up I thought was in order to demonstrate the worth and value of my being on the planet and as an excuse to anyone who was wondering what had happened to my pearls of idiosyncrasies that I foolishly imagine you might like to read about.

After a rapid and awkward head first Helter-Skelter into the jaws of "clinical sadness" as husband and I call it, I made a short stop at the Priory where I was put on some lovely little pills that have kept me out of an asylum, phew, thank goodness for that. My children are just so lucky.

My eldest has flourished like a passion flower in her new year at school. At the tender age of 6 she has the reading age of a 10.6 year old, which is fantastic news for us, as we just assumed that there was literally no hope for our children, given their heritage. No more simulated drowning at swimming, she can washing machine her way from one end of the pool to the other, it's impressive to watch and delightful to know that money isn't being wasted there. Her table manners are appalling and I watch in horror at some of the things that go on at any food table. However, she has a furiously quirky turn of phrase and the comical timing of a semi pro, so as long as she never goes to anyone's house for any sort of meal time, we'll be absolutely fine and able to pass ourselves off as people with children as opposed to those people with those dreadful children. It's all about perception.

My youngest has fully grasped her grammar. The other night, when we were coming home in the car in the dark, she looked out of her window and said
"I am so bored with the moon!" Husband and I looked at each other and shrugged and the statement but smugly acknowledged the use of "WITH".
"Good use of "with" darling, well done, not many people say that any more, so well done." came the encouraging reply. With that, youngest thrusts herself a little bit more forward in her chair and bellows at me and husband
"I am so bored WITH THE FUCKING MOON!" absolutely marvelous we all thought, no reprimand was offered as we maturely and unflinchingly burst into explosive laughter. You can't have everything.

We are coming up to Christmas time, and hopefully there'll be something to say about that. I hope I shall be able to maintain this writing thing from month to month, perhaps this year I should focus on some awards, there must be a category for the inept and completely inadequate blogger. Until then, I hope this find you all well and always know, that no matter how bad it is, there has to be someone out there who has it worse, surely? 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

After School Activities

This is something that I am constantly on at myself about, after school activities. My children do swimming and riding, when we aren't doing anything else. I am thinking of upping the swimming as we currently pay a fortune for term time swimming and we've just had 5 weeks off for the holidays, as that seems to be the way the Irish teacher works.

It's not because I am competitive, it's really because I am selfish. I want my children to be able to swim on holiday, so that they don't drown if either me or husband isn't attached to them whilst they are in the pool. You see, the girls used to swim at the municipal cesspit, but 8000 ear infections later and after 6 months, we took a trip to swim with the Uncle. Where, foolishly, I imagined that they'd be pretty competent. So, I let them go in the pool, confident that they wouldn't drown. I now realise that being able to swim doesn't automatically make me a swimming teacher nor indeed, does it make me the best guage of how far ones children are supposed to have progressed in 6 months. Both children had to be saved by me and Uncle, on several occasions, smallest from the bottom of the pool, once. You see now, why I am thinking of upping the sessions, you can go to prison for negligence!

Beyond that though, my children do very little. I still think that the youngest is too young to be at school and so pay very little attention to any of the requests for extra curricular, or indeed curricular activities. In my house, home work is child lead in the main, except when we know that X child will be unhappy if not keeping up with peers.

So, imagine my surprise this am, when I dropped my little weasels off in the playground at a very cool 9 53 and fled to the school office clutching pieces of paper that had come home in the book bags the night before, telling of an after school bead making club, to which we had paid great attention (including forgetting the book bags this morning as we had made a special effort to remove them from the back of the car, you can't have everything, where would you put it?) Cheque in hand and slips of paper made out, I went to the office like a smug Uber Mother and handed the sheets in. Tick a flipping box! Lovely lady at reception looked at me as if nothing ground breaking was happening here, I imagined triumphant fanfares and the like.
"I have some here already!" She pointed out,
"WTF" my raised eybrow said.
"Only 10 people allowed per four week session,"
"Yes, so it says." I had read the info', didn't need it repeated back at me negatively at 9am.
"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine... with your two, that makes 11"
"hmmmm, yes, so it does" I sort of spat
"I shall check and see if that's ok, then I shall let you know."
"Righto!" I said, once the right side of my brain had engaged and reminded me that, despite the girls wanting to do the club, I had only really agreed to it because I wanted to pick them up on a Thursday at 4 30. You see, totally selfish. Just had the call, and they're in, wouldn't surprise me if the lovely lady at reception pushed this through a little harder because she was very worried for her safety at the hands of this very unhinged mother, we'll never know.

For a very short time we tried ballet, couple of years back. That sent me doo lally and broght out the very worst of Allan Rickman's Sherrif of Nottingham that hides very shallowly below my unrippled psycho surface. There was never anywhere to park, the girls hated leaving the house and I had to light dynamite behind their backs to get them into the dance studio. We also tried gymnastics, that was even worse, them and their friends fought all the way there in the car and then all the way home. There were tears and whinges all round, this is not what after school clubs are supposed to be made of, in anyone's imagination.

I never did any after school activities really, and I'm a social lepper! It's not done me any harm, so unless they go on at me constantly and make my life a living nightmare, as they do about horses and riding, they can be underprivileged and deprived most days after school. Frankly, as I said to my Mother in Law over Easter, they should consider themselves luck that they aren't dead. That's my philosophy and I'm sticking to it.

So,to Mr and Mrs "my child does everything all day every day including weekends and the holidays!" can I just say, I am very happy for you, my children don't, they'll probably, with any luck, be social leppers too, but, my Christ will they be able to drink their depressions away. Apple never falls far from the tree, does it?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Dentist

If you are anything like me, which you're probably not, so count yourself lucky, you'll think about the dentist every time you have to man handle your children to the bathroom to get them to brush their teeth. Why? Why do we have to fight to get them to keep their pearls white? I'll tell you why, because we are supposed to go to the dentist every six months / once a year, depending on how bad the judgment is on the requisite day. And it is a judgement!

This Easter, after the year was up, I took my children up to London to the all singing all dancing children's dentist, Toothbeary. A girlfriend of mine, politely and delicately, pointed out that we actually have a perfectly serviceable dentist in our village, the very same dentist that another mother at my girls school had labelled as "fit" that very afternoon in the playground. Armed with this knowledge as well as the knowledge that we are all registered at the dentist in the idyllic Cathedral Close in Salisbury, I still plumped for the "sell your family to pay the bill" dentist in London. At this stage, you may or may not want to know why. If you absolutely couldn't give a shit either way, stop reading now, as the reason is both lame and uninteresting. I like the London dentist.

Yes, we have to drive about an hour and a half to get there, yes my children murder each other and me several times on the way up, yes, she charges the earth for something that is, in my girls eyes, very unreasonable, but the thing is, it makes me feel like I am doing the right thing. Given that we used to be Londoners, this dentist was a find. I looked it up on the internet and there was literally nothing not to like, apart from the fact that it was a dentist. I wanted my children to look forward to going to the dentist, to ask me if I had made their appointments yet, if not once a day, then once every other day would do.

You walk in to this dentist and immediately you feel like you've won the mother of they year dental award. You're greeted by a huge stuffed bear slumped drunkenly on a chair in the jazzy reception. Lights are embedded into shapes in the wall, everything gleams and sings "lovely dentist" at you. If it were to be encapsulated by a sound, the sound would be a serene, but heavily designer, "whooosh"!

Once you've fallen over children, scooters, prams and parents corralling their children to the waiting room, you are seen to, by "funky" people who "love" their job and tolerate the hellish children with an award winning smile. You then go round the corner into a designer play room with cushioned alcoves and organic user friendly wooden toys, books and two big plastic designer animals that could be dogs or horses or zebras (as youngest suggested). It's AMAZING.

Once the officious dentist has patronised you and your children into realising that you need to spend most of your salary and your husbands on this trip and the next, you get to go and see the hygienist. Back to the waiting / play / design room. Hygienist comes down, wearing pink and speaks to all of us like we're babies, pats our heads and ushers us up the stairs to the state of the art "cleaning workshop". It's slick and fantastic. Rows of little basins with brightly coloured things around it magically pull you to your cleaning station where the beautiful toothed hygienist sets to work with her "Professional Preventative Programme". Winnie the Pooh and Disney Princess toothbrushes in hand, my girls are lulled into a false sense of security as they chew the magic blue pill that shows how well (or how badly, this is the look I get from shiny gum tooth woman) we are brushing our teeth?

By then end of this, I am on my knees weeping at my oral hygiene ineptitude and the girls are wondering where the hell the gold coin is for the egg machine in reception and looking at me like I am leading my lambs to the slaughter. I kick myself, but smile back and emulate the cooing, patronising noises of dental oracle. Both mouths were administered with the choice of chocolate, bubblegum, water melon, mint, apple, to name but a few flavors of toothpaste. Their mouths were scrubbed to a brilliant shine and we were sent off to pay the mammoth bill while the children collected their eggs with their golden coins.

All in all, a very successful trip. I learnt that I can do this a lot cheaper in Salisbury, but having been remorselessly tapped up for £15 a month for the dental plan, I feel that once a year we're really getting in their with the dental wizards. Love it or hate it, it's got to be done, and why not razzle dazzle yourself out of some hard earned cash and give your children the same treatment so the bitter is painted over by the sweet? Might make it easier next time, on the other hand it might not, either way, you can tick a box, and that's what parenting is all about, isn't it?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter

HAPPY EASTER!
Soo, amazing as it sounds, we've got past Easter!
Some children are back at school, some children aren't. Mine are, it's really rather sad, when ones children are around, one seems to be constantly looking for new and improved ways of getting rid of them, last night however, I was conjuring up ways to keep them here for a little longer.

We had a smashing Eater holidays, very Swallows and Amazons. Went to Wales with another family, to the most beautiful place I have been to in the UK to date. My youngest caught a dog fish, our friend caught a crab which we ate for tea, beaches, train rides, food and sun, on the last day. My children then spent half a day at the stables looking after horses, we saw Grand parents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, made a trip to the dentist, held the Reception / Year 1 Easter egg hunt in the garden, caught up with friends and managed not to kill one another throughout the duration. We do seem to be getting rather good at this family business.

I didn't come here to gloat though, more to spread the "happy easter" message. I trust that people enjoyed their holidays and their children and spent a little bit of time sober to create memories that will last forever. I think I managed a good couple of hours without alcohol, not least so that I could drive. But that's not the point. The point is, equilibrium, finding a path through the time one spends with ones children to make sure that it's a happy period, so that next time, the holidays aren't dreaded, they are looked forward to. Should anyone be struggling with this, can I highly recommend the Croods, on DVD, £5 from Sainsburys, it's a fail safe as luck would have it. Well, if you can't help yourself out with electronic baby sitters, what can you do?

Happy Easter, enjoy the back to school time.



Thursday, 20 March 2014

Shouting

I was brought up on a hearty diet of shouting, smacking and blame served up in a large bowl of belittling. The culmination of which was ginormous alcoholism, minor suicide attempt and a very ropey trip to Bagshott in a Mini that I was piloting. Luckily, having driven straight over a roundabout, I plumped for sleeping some of it off in a Holiday Inn car park and when I awoke at 5 30am I realised that, not only was I going to be late for work, I also had to cover some ugly lacerations to my wrists. Thankfully my long time therapist sent me home to take medication and regroup, otherwise, I feel I might have looked for a shotgun. My Father would no doubt put the lack of shotgun down to bad planning and management, and to a certain degree, one must agree. If a jobs worth doing and all that!

As L.P Hartley states so fabulously in The Go Between, "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." Massive sigh of relief, as I just don't want my children to go through any of that or, in my eyes, I will have failed totally as a parent. Of course I want them to drink, enjoy themselves and experience life, but they might not be as lucky as me, and this is what sticks in my head when I shout.

This morning for instance, getting my children to school, something that I have to do 5 days out of 7. Granted we are nearing the end of term, and tiredness is setting in, but that doesn't change the fact that by law, they have to attend academia. My eldest, who has the capability to make almost everything she says to me, seem like tazers to the temples, my bad, was "creating", as they say. She didn't want to go to school.
"I hate school Mummy" said in weak crying whinge
"What do you hate about school darling?" Mother's gentle, measured response.
"I hate work!"slightly less weak whinge
"You have to work at every school darling, that is what school is. If you didn't go to school, you wouldn't know how to read and you're now really good at reading, and you're spelling is great, you're a spellerer now, aren't you?" Slight smile creeps on to face of eldest child
"Yes, but I don't want to go to school because I hate work and I don't like Mrs X" Back to full whinge.
"Well, school, is a lot better than prison, which is where we'll all end up if we don't get dressed and go to school!" Slightly more formal impatience to interlocutation.
"But I don't want to go to school, I hate it, I really, really don't like work." Maximum whinge and almost full throttle crying, tights thrown to the floor in demonstration of disgruntled absolutism.
Tazers applied aggressively to mother's temples and all major pressure points
"EDLEST CHILD! We have to go to school, if we don't we'll go to prison, so stop bloody whining (not at all proud of my swearing here, but I want to paint the whole picture), get dressed, as we have to do every morning and get to school."
At this point, husband came through the front door from dropping the bins at the end of the road and I hear my youngest speaking to him
"hello Daddy! Mummy's upstairs shouting and Eldest is crying!"

My heart melts, I'm the worst mother ever, but does that stop me? No, not at all, that just makes me angry with myself and leads me on to all the things that I do for the family that I don't complain about, that if I didn't do, then all of them would be at sea. Husband kindly tells me to belt up, I know I should, but that just makes me shout about stuff even more. It's ghastly and hideous, but it's learnt behaviour that I need to saddle in order that my children not turn out like me. Books and Google.

In my sane and virtuous mind, shouting should only occur when normal talking cannot be heard and or, as the dictionary would have it, as "an expression of strong emotion". Shouting at children because you are an impatient human being, is simply not, in my mind, acceptable. Doesn't stop me though!

There are those times, when you know that you shouldn't shout at your children, because you are in polite society and the majority of people have mobiles that mean Social Services are just a few buttons away, but it's impulsive. Like when your child runs out into the busy road, usually at school pick up, tries to pick up the iron by the hot plate, tries to pull a pan of boiling water on to their face, is about to cut through their fingers at an arts and crafts gathering. You shout, people look and tsk, but you know they all do it. Mother Theresa shouted. I bet, even the Dalai Lama has shouted. It's not the end of the world, it's what you do after that counts, isn't it?  

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Checking in

I have started a few blogs over this last period of silence, but then never actually got to finishing them for fear that one might offend someone and the others, people probably just don't want to read about, and another, was relevant at the time, but no longer so, and so it went on.

It turns out, that nothing really seems to be giving me cause to rant or gripe at the minute, probably means I've cracked this bringing up children malarky. One should look to me from now on as the "raising children compass" of the world. It's all here, in amongst these blogs. Got a question, flick back through the fromer detritus and read something that's slightly relevant, it'll change your life!

Spring is here, the sun is out, it seems to have stopped raining for the time being and children can once again be free range. The trampoline in our garden is proficiently and gloriously, creaking and groaning under the strain of a thousand children and I am now thinking of ways to get the children in to eat / stare at food in front of them as opposed to getting them out from under my feet. Can I get an Amen!?

With Easter looming, I am actually looking forward to having a whole load of time with my 4 and 6 year old. I keep asking husband if there is something we can do to freeze the children, even yesterday when the youngest emptied ink out of a biro all over the new car and this morning when they broke husbands new "man" measuring tape. We pulled ourselves back from the brink of capital punishment and rationalised that...
"yes, they may be totally out of control and have little respect, if any, for anything, but they are children, more than that, they are our children!" and the point I think is in there. They are children.

I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to go back to being a child. Wouldn't want my childhood, but I'd like to be a child again. I'd like to be able to take responsibility for literally nothing and leave stuff all over the place, have someone think about my every move and lay life out in front of me, not in a controlling way, but in a whimsical film clip kind of way.

I am very aware that I have said virtually nothing in this blog, but I just wanted to put something down on screen, seems to be quite important if you want people to read the things that you write.

We might go camping in the Easter holidays, probably just end up at the bottom of the garden. Skiing was a little out of the price range this year, but there's next year. And, we're thinking of taking off for a year, with the children and a tutor and learning all these things then, why the hell not. You're only young once, make plans, break plans, but don't do nothing, that's what we do when we're dead. This is spring, let's spring, got to be worth a shot, no?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

1/2 Term

I was supposed to write this before last week, but I was totally occupied with being the super mother that I seem to have become. It's effortless as well!

We had the most amazing half term, I think even my children would agree. I told myself, in no uncertain terms, that this half term we were not going to be hampered by time constraints or busy ourselves into prolapse. We were going to do a bit of this and a bit of that and in between we were going to do nothing, if nothing were required. If the children asked me to do something I just had to say yes, within reason obviously, but if the thing I was doing could be done at another time, I had to go and be painted / quaffed / be "it" / search for my children. It was simple, and for the love of christ it worked.

The first weekend we went up to London to have supper with some friends, this also coincided with Uncle time and Godmother time (for the children). Eldest is studying The Great Fire of London, we went to Pudding Lane... Youngest had a teddy bears picnic, I carried our eighty foot, inherited with the house, Winnie The Pooh through the playground at the beginning of the day and the school at the end of the day. Could massively have done without this, parents looked pityingly at me, like people look at others in nice cars and think "small penis". But I looked back with scorn, rolled my eyes and stuck my middle finger up at them, middle finger was covered by massive bear arm, but the thought was there.

We got new wellie boots, as my children seem to get 3 foot sizes bigger every holiday, thankfully we've gone up a price bracket, but I was relieved to know that there is another bigger price bracket so, swings and roundabouts really. We went to see Granny and Grandpa and went to a farm where Granny bought the children dinosaur eggs. these were monitored, on a second by second basis, and took up most of the surface space on the kitchen units. We went to another farm that was free, with one of my youngest's school friends and had a ball. We played in most of the playgrounds in our local area, "it" seems to be a huge hit, as well as "what's the time Mr Wolf?" only, my youngest insists that we start in a different county if she's being the wolf, takes about 5 hours to get to her and we're all hoarse and exhausted by the time it's "dinner time", but we all slept well/died. We talked a lot about entering some design competition to build a model of something that would be effectively used in 2114, gathered lots of empty packets and cups, that was all thrown out yesterday when it's identity was mistaken as rubbish. We swam, we saw friends and we qualitied our time.

Yesterday, when it was all over, I dropped the children at school spent some time in the morning researching home schooling and then spent the rest of the afternoon staring blankly into space, I think they call it Post Traumatic Stress?