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Sunday, 3 April 2011

children or Torture?

And so... Again I have neglected my blog. Not intentionally, not purposfully, not anyting otherly than I have managed my time badly. As well as my children's time. With nothing but a biro and any bit of paper that looked blank lurking amongst the detritus of my handbag to record snipets on. Since my birthday I no longer have that excuse as the husband to be generously gave me a net book as a present. So now, I can complain right then and there on the spot, not just write stuff down, rip it up and put it in the bin, the place where in all honesty, they probably deserve to be.

So, my latest musings are thus. Children and torture, very, very, VERY much the same. If you think about torture, the act of inflicting severe physical or mental pain on a person, and compare it to bringing children up, you will notice that at almost every point of these two exercises, there are comparisons to be drawn. For instance, Japanese water torture, this is similar to the repetition of the word "why"that one might hear in a day, or "Mummy" or "daddy" or "I want" or screaming and crying etc. In fact, I would wager, the degree and length of children's excessive, relentless repetition of mundane irritating noise, is far worse than the soothing, cooling almost therapeutic, by comparison, drip, drip, drip of water. Being beaten to within an inch of your life is possibly a holiday compared to the CONSTANT, everyday for the next eon, clambering and scrabbling that one endures throughout the day before your children are in bed. At least when you are beaten, you know that there are 2 ways out, death or freedom. With children there is no hope or respite, just when you think that you have a moment or you've finally got them to realise that you are not a climbing frame, they are back on you like a shark on a bleeding seal. Trying to keep your cool and maintain a good and level head so that you don't mess your children up, I'm sure is very similar to keeping a clear and level head when being questioned (as a spy) having been captured by the "other" side! Your life, rather like a captive, is no longer your own, sacrifice, saving, generosity, anything that you care to throw at the situation, literally means nothing, they're still going to do what they want and how they want to do it, in fairness, it is totally out of your hands. You just have to wait until they have grown up and pray that they don't hate you and that you've done enough to make sure that they move on to bigger and better things.

Have you ever wondered why you, as a parent, are so tired all the time? The answer is most probably this. When you leave anything container like, i.e house, car, play centre nursery, school etc, you are immediately in flight or fight mode. Every single sense about your being is on red alert to maximum capacity. Who's going to snatch them? Which one of them will get run over? How do I stop this tantrum from irritating everyone in the world? Why is pink not acceptable now when six seconds ago you couldn't get enough of it? This is a state that you hardly ever break free from, hence the ridiculous tiredness, and this alone is enough to drive you mad. This is like the sleep deprivation torture that is a form of torture. This we experience quite gladly as parents with a new born only when in a "torturous" capacity, you are allowed to go mad/expected to go mad, as a parent you are scowled and frowned upon as "the one who can't handle it all".  The difference here is, you don't really realise that this is what's happening to you, you rationalise it and it becomes normal. You press the urges to spit blood and tear your hair out, because, what would people think?

Disciplining children is like being kept in a cell. You know there is nothing you can do to break free from it, all you can do is the time and then hope for the best at the end of it.You, rather like a prisoner in a cell, have little to no control over the eventual outcome. Will you be set free, will your children be something other than ghastly parasites, or will something happen that is out of your control, meaning that you'll be sentenced to life, will your children never leave home and simply be hideous blood sucking leaches? That is ones sentence. So, in true "Life of Brian" style, when someone says to you "childcare?" I would simply answer "oh no, Crucifixion please!"

Today, I could go on with this negative diatribe. I don't need or want children today, I want my freedom. I no longer want to be driven mad and taken to the very edge of my physical and mental capability. I want a holiday with booze and no guilt, with sun and lie ins and no incessant drivel from people who have no idea what they are saying, let alone the fact that the audience is only half listening. Give me alone, lonely, loneliness. Give me deathly quiet and horrible eary tranquility. Give me a desert island with no one else on it, and I swear, I will take that, run a mile and not once complain that this was torture. After all, surely one mans torture is another mans paradise?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Marriage, Illness, Moving, etc

Good heavens it has been some time. Some time that I haven't even noticed the passing of, it's just gone in a cloud of illness, organising and furore.

As I mentioned last millennium, I am getting married, albeit next year, but, as those of you who have made your steps down the aisle, THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. Everything that you think is simple and straightforward immediately becomes more complicated with the secret subplot that you had no idea existed. For example, venue, you have one in mind, you ring, but then you find out that if you have one person over their stipulated amount, you have to move the venue to their far more expensive location 6mm left of the one that you had your heart set upon. Children, we want them at our wedding, but we want them gone by 6:30/7, so that the adults can have that time without the threat of being sick or falling over, or both, under the skeptical eyes of their offspring. Logistically this is a sub plot that, after 3 bottles of wine, we decided would be better parked in the "to do" column. Dresses, this I found easy in many regards, but having listened to the advice of those more knowledgeable than I, visiting one shop and deciding on the first dress, just meant that all the other shops wouldn't be able to beguile and befuddle me, so it was best to see a few. Thankfully though, the first dress in the first shop won out over all and Amanda Wakeley or We Saw You Coming as I like to call it, can keep her size 2 dresses with size 80 price tags.

Both my children, I have been told, will be undergoing general anaesthetic. The youngest on the 7th April and eldest at whichever point the NHS  actually get the referral letter that is currently being passed from pillar to post. I don't agree with operations in smalls, particularly not my smalls (I mean children here, not underwear, just incase there was confusion). I said this to the specialist in charge when he gave me and the Registrar the six seconds of his very precious time, and he said that the removing of the lump in my daughter's nose was such a  minor operation that I need not let it concern me for another second and that "if it were his child" he'd have the operation (not him, he confirmed after questioning, but his child) and that "it's better to get it over with now as we'd look very silly down the line if it was something nasty and we had done nothing about it!" To which I nodded, although afterwards I thought (once the petrified panic had left me), if you're worried about looking stupid, might I suggest another line in footwear, as opposed to operating on my child? Just a thought. My eldest daughter is waiting for her slot for grommits, of which I had many sets when I was younger, but I am a little more keen on that as I understand it and have been through it and it might stop her "whadyousay-ing" me every other sentence. Selfish I know, but it's either that or death!

We're also looking at moving, taking the plunge and leaving the smoke behind for the vast sprawling metropolis of Dorset. We have fallen in love with it, there is a school there that we have found that is basically a stable where the girls can go and be free and the worst thing that might happen to them is a falling out with a tack box or an angry sheep. A place where the main road is in a foreign place that the locals talk about in a similar way to the characters in The Lord of the Rings talk about Mordor. I am pretty sure that once we get down there, the children will take care of themselves and be like Wendy Darling and the dog will become self sufficient and take himself for walks and put the keys in a place that I can find them once he returns. The fact that we have to treck over hill and glen to get a pint of milk that we'll inevitably run out of, we always do, just doesn't really count. That and the fact that it'll be so cold that we'll be numb because all the houses come with natural air conditioning and run on oil that we won't be able to afford. We won't be able to go out ever really because everything shuts at 9 and we'll be ostracised by the ridiculously friendly yocals because "we're not from London you know!" It's ideal and I can't wait.

The children are going through another "phase", this is the "whingeing, badly behaved, irreverant, impertinent, non-listening phase" that all the books tell you about. The one that seems to be the longest, the one that I have no idea how to tackle so change my approach mid-sentence and confuse the children as well as myself so that no-one knows where they are. They say that you should be as irregular and irrational as possible, that's what makes stable, mentally healthy and delightful children, I know because I don't think I could cope with anything else. But it's alright, because this is a phase, so no matter what I do, they'll get through it, I just need to get to the next phase, surely?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Admirable Struggle of Children!

These last few weeks have prevented me from being a blogger of any nature, even a very bad one, in fact, I haven't been one at all.

My eldest has been diagnosed with glue ear, which therefore explains her almost total loss of hearing and my need to shout everything at her like a banshee. People look at me even more weirdly when they hear me repeat myself for the fifth time and then lose it and shout like I am telling my poor child off. It's like Japanese water torture, I say something, which is often met with a "why" and then I try to answer the why and every time I speak she says "whadyousaaaay". The same child has also been out of action with a sick bug which she kindly passed on to me!

The youngest seems to remain fairly constant throughout, tank like in constitution.

The dog has pulled a ligament in his shoulder requiring 5 days rest, which sounds lovely, but really just means there's yet another small thing hanging round my feet to trip me over, usually in the kitchen where the only landing zone is either a boiling pan or a sharp object. It makes me happy to be blessed with such good fortune.

However, whilst all of this patheticness has been going on, I still can't help but notice those parents who are struggling admirably with their latest addition or indeed their first taste of hellish babydom. For example, the other day I saw a woman collecting her first child from nursery with her very new number two. He was in the cocoon on the bottom of the dreaded Phil and Ted's, perhaps that's why the ladies day seemed to be going so wrong. Anyhoo, the little bundle started screaming blue murder, real, real distress, as only new and nearly new borns can manage. His face was bright red and he was FURIOUS. Everyone was willing him to be silent as well as trying to placate him before Mummy got back. Sure enough, Mummy got back with big sister and the little boy was still creating. I'd imagined that the mother would take him straight off the deputy head who was trying to rock and coo him out of it, but NO, she did nothing of the sort, she merely looked at the screaming bundle sighed and rolled her eyes. Everyone, surely, everyone knows that feeling? That feeling when enough has already happened and yet it's still going on interminably. When there is nothing more left in you to give, when you would give anything to be whisked away to some lovely time past before children existed, when silence seemed monotonous, not enviable, when neat and tidy was an option not a virtual impossibility and when time was something that ticked on, not a luxurious commodity.

The thing is, how can you help? How can you reach out to someone and let them know that it is alright, all this will probably pass and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, without sounding like a meddlesome know it all? I look back on those times and remember how I felt and how I was, and wish that someone had done that to me, but then, perhaps I would have thought that they were being interfering or telling me that I was ACTUALLY as useless as I felt? I wish, that people were more honest about children, I hope to be if and when it comes up with my girls, and I try to be when people ask me. You have to fill out form after form after form, sit through interviews and red tape rigmarole a plenty to adopt, yet ANYONE can have a baby, why is that? Surely babies should have some mental health warning attached? Awareness of the veritas that is children should be made more clear so that we aren't carpet bombed when our first baby arrives.

I wish it was OK to let people know that children as they are is so not what you were signing up for. But, however, just so you know, I believe that it is OK to let people know when you are struggling and any parent worth their weight in nappies will surely ally with you and let you know that they too have had similar situations or are experiencing similar things as you talk. If you're having a hard time of it now, my heart goes out to you. But it's normal and totally OK for you to feel like you can't, you can, really, it just takes time?

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Before or after? That is the question!

So, the other day, I was in my house, in my usual state. My eldest, at 3, was teaching the youngest, at 18 months, to darn, my partner was putting up shelves and sorting socks and making sure that the house was running smoothly, and I was whiling away the time with thoughts of puppies and the new Good Housekeeping chocolate fudge, marshmallow and minus calories muffin that I was about to bake. When low and behold, the other half got down on one knee and asked if I was available to put down said Good Housekeeping recipe and get married some time in 2012...? I duly obliged with the recipe book and accepted the ring... that eventually turned up once darning fingers had been quelled, shelves had been returned to flat and cupcake creases had been pressed and ironed and returned to something worth competing about. You'll understand that none of this is true, apart from the proposal, it just seems that people might imagine it this way?

My husband to be and I have been through A LOT. The children, the separation, the christenings with massive family divides, births, deaths, friends and relations and we're here, possibly at every one's true relationship beginning. But does that make sense? Should you buy before you try? Should you have children after you've "sealed the deal"? Surely the deal becomes more shaky after you've had the children? Thus making it less binary?

I know that the fact that I have been proposed to means a lot to me, because we, as individuals have been through divorce (not in courts and not legitimately) but because we have GENUINELY hated each other. We've had children, two lovely children, and hated the living daylights out of each other.

There are people who've never been on a date, there are people who've never stopped being on a date, there are those in, out and amongst those who have done something and nothing of the sort. But how many have had children and then got married? I think about this, I know a few and I remember that when I was young the very notion made me shudder.

I however have, thankfully, fallen into a category that means that I can comment, THANK GOD! The man that I am marrying has had 2 children with me, therefore, he knows that I am satanic, that I don't want to have sex when he wants it, that we have done something better than that, that our girls are here to do better than us, that we've been through the very hardest, worstest, most hideous journey of them all (speaking relatively, I cannot presume that our relationship's worst is everybodies worst, comparably!). We've done it, we're on the other side and that which may or may not come, will be the very best that we have to offer. Either that or we'll ACTUALLY be divorced and this will mean nothing!!

So, therefore, I ask. Do you get married before or after children? When children change everything that you know do you get married then have them or have them and get married?

Also, can I just quickly say, congratulations to Esther, who reads this ridiculous musing, and has had a happy and sound baby to add to her brood. Good luck, congratulations and may you get to sleep full nights as soon as is humanly possible. Keep us up to speed!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Ill children.

This has got to be quick and to the point as I have an ill child. A child who has had a temperature of 102.2 today.

It's a very sobering thing when you're child is ill with a temperature. Teething and ear ache and ailments are easily Calpoled and forgotten, but a temperature means something very different. I have a friend whose son is regulalry soaring in the hudreds with his temperature and has had fits and god knows what else because of it, and she says she's so used to it now it doesn't phase her. It phases me. I want my daughter to get back to normal. I carry around this horrible feeling of panic and "what if"... NHS Direct have been great as has the Out of Hours doctor, but there's a big, scaredy, juvenile part of me that wants all these people to say that I need to take her to hospital, not becasue I like the drama and fancy a trip, but so that it's someone elses responsibility as well as ours. Is that wrong? Does everyone feel like that or is it just me being pathetic and childish?

Anyhoo, I now want to go and press my daughter's forehead and force liquids of any description down her throat. I don't care if she's sleeping, to me, dehydration can happen in a second, that's how ridiculous and out of touch with reality I am when it comes to my daughter's and temperatures. I also want to wrap her up in anything I can find and give her a hot water bottle, constantly fighting that mothering urge that to me seems so natural, but actually only makes the whole thing worse. But flinging open the window and getting her naked just seems so opposite to that which I am programmed to do.

Off I trot. Please let this all be gone by tomorow so I can go back to being useless but thinking I am doing well and the children can irritate me to the point of insanity and I can complain once more without touching wood before I do so.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Phases, them or us? let's talk.

So, having established that both me and my children are human, it is also important to know when and for how long "it's natural!" and "it's just a phase" can be applied to certain types of behaviour? I know that I can sometimes become that mother who tries to explain away her children's misdemeanours with things like "tired" or "teething" or just a straight up smile and roll of the eyes when greeted by another parent's look of disgust and disbelief. But these bad things are bound to happen, like smoking and drinking and possibly drug taking, although let's hope that none of these things happen at 3 and 18 months!

Anyhoo, this question I ask because my 3 year old seems, I hope, to be going through yet another "phase". I don't think it would be too aggressive to call it the satanic phase. No, it would be, she's not satanic, she's 3 and dealing with something that she can't quite express with words, I am the satanic one, her behaviour (crying, screaming, stubborn non cooperativeness) makes me see red. In that second I become the mother that I wince at in the street. The mother who screams at her already inconsolable child. I know it's so wrong, and afterwards I feel guilty and apologise and explain to her why it makes me so cross, but by then, is it too late? Has the damage, if any, already been done?

You see, I am a classic example of "the apple never falls too far from the tree!". My mother died when I was 13 and so I was left predominantly with the influences of my father, my brother and my school mates. The latter two thankfully seem to have had the most major effect on me, but my father's aggressive, impatient, intolerant fieriness is what I am when I see red. I don't want to be that, I don't want my children to be that either, but they will be if I don't learn to control it on the occasions that I can't. I don't want my children to be like me, I want them to be far better than me. In order for that to happen though I have to completely micro manage myself when reprimanding seems like the right course of action... ooh it's hard.

Par example. Every morning we have the same fight about GETTING DRESSED! I know it's going to happen really, but there is that huge part of me that thinks that maybe this morning will be different. Maybe, the "phase" is over and we are pastures nouveaux? Not yet, the vest comes out and she says she doesn't "want anyone to go anywhere". After a few sensible suggestions and reasoning's such as "if you don't get dressed then we can't go to play group!" and "if you don't get dressed then you'll have to stay here by yourself!" I take to trying to put her vest on without consent and that is when it kicks off. She loses it and then so do I. You see, I am still a child, I don't want to be the adult, I don't want to have to make all the decisions and tell them what to do. But I do want them to be well behaved and well liked and polite.

So, I am aware that their phases are drastically altered by my reaction to/my own phases, but can I or will I get a grip of it? I don't know. I'll try, and indeed do try, but I'm just as much of a child as I ever was and that makes me just as petulant and ridiculous. So, next time I tell someone where to go or piss someone off, remember, it's not me, it's a phase. Just so happens that my children are perfect, it's the phases they try on for size that don't suit them!

Monday, 10 January 2011

PND, it's a thing, it happens and it's better once you know it.

Depression, so taboo... Why? If you have an ailment you'll take medicine, if you feel rubbish you'll tell someone, why can't this be the same with depression, post natal or otherwise?

I suffered with depression very badly before I had children. After one of the world's most pitiful and ridiculous suicide attempts I was told to leave my job, leave London and was put on anti depressants. When I found out I was pregnant with the first, I then (stupidly) took myself off them and after the birth of the first one I was in denial about it all.

I was tired beyond recognition (that I put down to the sleepless nights and the breast feeding and babies) I was low (that I put down to being tired and loss of freedom) snappy and short tempered (that I put down to everything else) and generally a nightmare to be around most of the time. I flipped easily, bed was a haven and something I returned to as often as possible, life became mundane and drudging, my new daughter felt like my prisoner and life (which actually, compared to most, was rather lovely) felt like an existence that I endured, rather than lived. Then, once I could ignore it no longer I took myself off to the Doctor. He gave me a questionnaire to fill out and, as it turned out, I was a full house of yeses. Not entirely sure if that makes me more depressed than anyone, but it did make me certifiably depressed which, to me, really is enough. Anti depressants, that weren't all that great, were prescribed, until I fell pregnant with the second when I also (again foolishly) took myself off those with reckless abandon.

Hormones have a funny way of making all these things better, then slowly but surely the spiral began. Again, just like most, I tried to tell myself to "pull yourself together, things aren't really that bad, it can't be depression, what do I have to be depressed about?" Long and short I was given Sertraline which, again, I didn't get on with, so regularly forgot to take it and thus it made very little difference. Long story short, I ended up in the Dr's surgery again with various ailments and he said that it sounded like depression, out came the questionnaire, this time not so many yeses, but I was still a "looby" as my father would say. I told him (Dr not father) that the only thing that would change this is Effexor XL which I had been on before I had had children. Duly the drug was prescribed and after careful monitoring and jigging with the dose I am right as rain, provided I remember to take it!

If things are getting on top of you and you don't really know which way is up, then perhaps, just maybe, you might need a little pick me up? No one need know if you don't want them to, but you'll know you feel better and, in a way, that is pulling yourself together, surely?

This is something that I feel very passionate about as I have seen so many people struggle (possibly with depression although I am no Dr) and yet you can't tell them that they're depressed, who am I to judge? But it's a real life thing that happens and it doesn't mean that you are a bad person, or less of a person, it just means that the chemicals in your brain aren't quite doing their job properly and they need a bit of help. If you don't do it for yourself, then as my brother said to me, "do it for your children". Problem shared is a problem halved, and solutions are so satisfying even if it's just a chat. No one is perfect, least of all me but if we can share and we can chat and we can be honest, then... who knows?

This new year, I have decided to be honest, so, now it's clear, you should no longer read any of the drivel that comes out of my blog, I might be clinically insane... I have two children, isn't that proof enough?

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Top 10's love 'em or hate 'em, I hate them, along with so many more.

New year. If it's good enough for most television channels, then it's good enough for me. So, in no particular order, but because it's fun, top 10 things that could lead most to a mental institution...

1) The Tweenies.

2) Wipes that come out in a clump as opposed to one individual one, I don't want to swaddle my child's bottom, I want to wipe it before it gets away and spreads the joys of its nappy all over the place.

3) Parents who make out that their apologising to you when they're really reprimanding you "sorry that my child can't share that with yours, I'm just going to take him away!" Yes, please do, or I'll take your handbag away and won't share that with you either!

4) People who don't pick up their dog poo but leave it to spread over everything and anything.

5) People who tut when your child is having a "moment" in public, if you can do it better my friend, then be my guest!

6) Traffic wardens who don't appreciate that "5 secs" can well turn into "the rest of your life" in any given situation and still give you a ticket even when they see your 2 children, 1 dog and eighty four million carrier bags, none of which smack slightly of luxury!

7) People who talk to children like they're morons!

8)People who make out that the ridiculous hell of children (at certain/many points) is nothing but "just so lovely/brilliant/funny/charming/sweet/adorable/enthusiastic" etc! No it's not, it's revolting and bratty and hideous, you know it, you just won't admit it... why?

9) Places that serve food that is "nuclear" by any one's standards, yet they won't let you feed your children anything else. Yes, you do have a business to run, but if you make me feed my children that toxic flotsam, I will contact health and safety and we'll see how much of business you have left to run then!

10)The Tweenies.

I feel much better after that, 2011 is here and it's a new year. A year when we should be able to be honest and open and give ourselves a little bit of a break. Harking back to my earlier blog, the next time you are going to berate yourself for something that isn't perfect in your parenting manifesto, remember that this is the only job in the world that is totally thankless, in which there is no hierarchical system up which the buck can be passed, nor is there any statutory holiday days, you take what you can give yourself here and there and the rest you have to manage. Good luck for this year, and just to leave you with one "love em"...

1) The lady in the supermarket today, who watched as my 4 pints of full fat milk slid from my bulging trolley to the floor and smashed all over the place like a dirty milk bomb, and said "there's a man behind that, has to be, you can tell!" then laughed a haughty laugh and ushered the grunting trolley man over to clean up the devastation! Made my year in a day.

Monday, 3 January 2011

The children, the job

So after my last shambolic blog, I recoiled to my lovely friend's pile in Herefordshire, where we relaxed, Christmased and made merry! On this, my final day before I return from post Christmas and new year excess, I thought I would take a moment to redress the balance of my shoddy blogging performance.
I remember this holiday period before I had children, the time seemed endless, false time spent with family getting fat and drunk when I'd much rather be drinking and cavorting with friends and lovers, (never sounds right in way of tacky novelist) this time (and other years with children) I had no concept of time whatsoever! That is to say, my day job as mother of two completely escaped me. Time was irrelevant, my military precision of leaving the house in the morning became slap dash and non existent. Bedtimes really only existed in my head and were only enforced on the children because, as much as I love them, it's just so lovely when they're tucked up in bed as opposed to clambering all over me and the rest of the world in the near vicinity! Breakfast, lunch and supper fell upon me with a secrecy so great that, had it not been so ingrained, my two girls would have existed solely on jelly beans, After Eights and any other Christmas period goodies that one finds lying around. 5 a day simply became a niggling thing at the back of my mind. Excess, greed and gluttony replaced any semblance of pious motherliness that I may or may not previously have had.
So I wonder, these children that are my job, these two lovely mortals that I would do anything for, these two little people have quite literally become my job. With that in mind therefore, I also wondered, where is the statutory pay? Where is the minimum wage? Where is the statutory holiday that everyone is entitled to? Surely, if we as mothers take on the children hook line and sinker, in the way of a job, then we too are entitled to something more than that which we can fund?
Perhaps this is in keeping with the New Year, New me thing? Perhaps we should all be striking as on the Underground and airplane companies? If everyone who has a job is entitled to certain periods of abstinence then, surely, by law, mothers and fathers should also be allowed to take paid leave, beyond that which they can afford? Mothers should be allowed a fag break, tea break or any other break that means that we aren't ready to baste our children in the oven with the turkey or fall to our knees shouting "a break, a break, my kingdom for a break".
I trust that every one of my 9 followers enjoyed their Christmas and New Year break, along with anyone who doesn't follow my blog but is a mother or a father. Perhaps the children, the job, is so true to some people they're going mad? I did, I went totally stark raving mad, but perhaps, regardless of all that, as a parent you should just accept what comes? After all, they didn't ask to be born (both children and parents ongoing).