Party Time

31 May

The Dolly has turned five! To mark this momentous occasion, we decided to have a party for her. For weeks we toyed with various alternatives having been to some amazing parties where thousands had literally been spent (that was just on the mother of the child’s plastic surgery). In the end we plumped for the local soft play centre where the world and his wife go and allow their children to run around like crazed loons whilst they sip lattes and dabble on the stock exchange. We secure a date and pay a deposit which is more than the weekly shop. I ask the doll excitedly, who do you play with? Who would you like to come to your party, bearing in mind we have 14 spaces to fill, she comes up with one name. The doll is the school celebrity, she walks into school where many children greet her and try to walk alongside her, depending on how she feels is how long the chosen child can escort her. She often wears some wonderful accessories to school, for example she arrived at school on the hottest day of the year, trussed up for winter, but also wearing sun glasses. She enters the classroom where a space is secured for her on the carpet between her two favourite friends, another child takes her book bag from her and places it in the box, another child takes her coat, she does not even put her name in the basket. This is remarkable to me as she has a communication delay, quite how she has managed to command such respect I will never know, I must have taught her well!
After much questioning, I manage to get some names from her, I happily write the invitations out and come up with a brainwave, I will fill the invites out and ask the teacher, then just fill the names in as I go. I sidle up to the teacher at kicking out time and shamefully ask who the doll plays with. She runs off a list of names and I shove the invites at her, I also have to ask her what these children look like, some of the children are two years above the doll but she doesn’t care. I lose track of the names and decide to hope for the best. I begin getting texts and emails accepting the invitation, I answer back as if I know who these people are. It’s all going well, I have been organised, I am writing names down and saving numbers in my phone for future purposes. I’m down to two people that have not responded, I decide to tackle this head on. I’m in the school playground one morning, I spy a child who looks vaguely familiar, I can’t remember which parent she belongs to and I don’t know her name but I’m sure she’s been invited to the party. I spy a man handing her a book bag, I assume this is dad and I swoop in. “Hi” I say, the man freezes, I bend down and adopt the same position, I smile and say hi again. The man gets up very slowly leaving me bent over speaking to the playground gravel. I pretend I’m cleaning my shoe and ping back up, I smile manically, the man starts backing away I follow him, I ask him if the girl (I’m so bad with names) is coming to the party, he’s backing away quickly repeating that his wife deals with these things and he’s just doing the school run because his wife is busy and he doesn’t know me and doesn’t speak to anybody. He backs into the fence I have him trapped, I want an answer, he must see this in my eyes, he tells me he will get his wife to talk to me, I think he’s scared. I let him go, and I watch him power walk out of the school scrabbling for his phone, to contact his wife, the oracle of the family. Later I get a text from the oracle, to my horror she was one of the first to rsvp, I’ve scared a husband for nothing, the poor man, he must be traumatised, he will never do the school run again for fear of being hounded by a maniacal woman. I apologise profusely and send a few emoticons in a bid to make peace.
Fast forward to party day, I spend the morning worrying and panicking, who will come to the party? Who will fake the plague so they don’t have to come, it would have to be a good plague as I will find out, will I lose a child? what do these children look like? I decide to stand in full view of the entrance and just smile at everybody who walks through the door in the hope they recognise me, yes, this is a plan. I ask the doll to wait to greet her guests, she has better ideas and runs off and leaves me greeting children who may or may not know her. People begin to arrive, I only mis recognise a few people who spend the rest of the time closely guarding their children from a strange grimacing woman.
The party guests arrive and we have a full quota, my next panic is that I didn’t get too carried away and invite the whole school and have just forgotten that I did. I spy the parents who have all gone into little groups, I dot around and listen to snippets of conversations to see which group I could join. The first group is talking about the best places to go skiing, the only thing I know about skiing is eating the yogurts you buy at the supermarket, next group, they are discussing the benefits of morning yoga, I’m just looking at them and wonder if they fart while getting into the yoga positions, I mean seriously, how do you overcome this? This is why I avoid yoga, if somebody farted at a critical time I would have to laugh, I wouldn’t do a discreet giggle, I would go full blown (a bit like the fart) laugh out loud, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate, I would disrupt the class and get thrown out and probably be barred. Anyway the yoga group discussion is not for me, the next group is discussing spreadsheets, I can blend into this one, I can pretend I know how to use a spreadsheet. The group participants gush about how theirs and their children’s lives are run by spreadsheet, my family is run by me screeching like a headless chicken, running around looking for shoes and accessories ten minutes after we should have left the house. I decide to chip in and say how I use a spreadsheet at work to organise myself, I’m getting nods of approval, I’m in the group, everything is going well, until I’m asked what my job is. I share my profession and the group freezes. The conversation begins again politely and I swig a large latte in The corner of the room.
The party guests begin to congregate around the table, they are hungry and wanting food, it’s not time yet, I can’t find the party host person, I decide I will chase the children around the centre, I tell them I will count to five then I will chase them. This will get me brownie points, people will see me and think wow she’s great, her kids must have such fun, what could go wrong? I’ve counted to five, the children have scattered, I pick some children to chase, it’s going well, people are staring, I’m trying to suck in my stomach so that my fat does not cause a minor earthquake when it wobbles as I run, while sucking my stomach in a decide to make monster noises, it’s going well, the children are screeching with delight, I’ve done a few circuits of the centre, I don’t realise that I’m only chasing one child now, making strange noises. I notice the child shuddering and making her way over to her mother, she runs desperately into her mothers arms crying and shaking, I’m still chasing her like a deranged dinosaur, I stop dead and try to casually look for another familiar child to style it out, heck, there aren’t any, I have to approach the child and ask if she’s ok, I tell the mother I saw another child who may have upset her, the mother comforts her, I nod reassuringly and edge away, the child suddenly stops crying and points at me, I hear her tell her mother that it wasn’t a child it was me, the mini mother groups all stop and stare at me. I have no choice, they are all staring at me, I have to appease the baying crowd, suddenly I have a brainwave, I begin to offer coffees and teas, everybody loves a hot drink, it works, hooray, they love me again. Ok to be fair, I had to buy muffins and cookies as well, but what’s a few cakes and biscuits between friends.
The party continues without a hitch, I’ve only had to scale to soft play apparatus twice to rescue my daughter, I’m feeling happy, it’s kicking out time, the party bags arrive. I too have also bought some extra sweets. I dole out the party bags and the extra sweets and a balloon the children go happily on their way. I spy another guest, I give him a party bag and encourage him to take extra sweets, “go on”‘ I say to him “have lots”, he is very reluctant, I don’t understand, I move on to the child’s brother, again I encourage him to fill his boots, it’s the end of the party, relief is encouraging my generosity, the child backs away. I try again, I really do not want to take home bags of Haribo and have to eat them as well as the cake. I thrust the bag at the boys again, the mother swoops in, she has an icy smile, she touches my arm and informs me that her children do not eat sweets, she doesn’t eat sweets and therefore her children don’t. I look at her and begin to tell her that my children don’t like sweets either, I recount a story where the doll spits out sweets, (granted, this was a year ago, she loves the sweets now), it’s going well, the mother is engaging with me and nodding along, I may just be able to style this out. I tell her about our healthy eating household and how the food served at the party was a strict one off. The woman asked where I get my organic groceries from, I tell her it’s delivered from a local source, Tescos delivery counts doesn’t it??. I tell her I cook all my meals from scratch, she tells me about the juices she blends and the meal plans that she spends her free time researching to optimise the potential of the food she cooks. I’m feeling ready to end the conversation, when my son approaches and asks if we are having nuggets or pizza for dinner and could I not overcook the smiley faces like I did last night as they were too crunchy. I try to laugh it off and blame my husband (sorry lush), but my son will not have it, he continues to point the finger and say it was me, I need a get out, I need to stop him, I try to laugh it off and inform the mother that he goes to stage school because of his comedy skills, she is looking sceptical, I give up and thrust the bag of sweets at him, he shouts yay dinner, I surrender and wave goodbye Mrs non sweet eating organic non friend.
Moral of the story, never rely on a child to have your back.

Much love x

School

6 Oct

September marks the start of the school year and boy did it start with a bang! The bang being my thumping heart when I had to pay for two sets of uniform. My little heart broke a little when I waved the Dolly off for her first day, I had already attended the “meet the other rivals”, sorry parents, coffee afternoon and was on nodding terms with a couple of them.  I saw them clucking in their little groups that they’ve been in since conception of their little treasures and I couldn’t decide which group to infiltrate.  There are the designer mums with skin so tight Phil Collins could do a rendition of in the air tonight on their faces, the “I dress in gym clothes to make you look fat mums”, the harassed working mums, the competitive “my child is sitting gcse’s in reception because I listened to Mozart and ate omega fish oil when I was pregnant” mums and the superior elite mothers who have their own section of playground, their own minions and their own heated thrones, ok not thrones, they survey the playground and pick out victims for the minions to milk of information to build their empire.

We are all waiting on tenterhooks to pick our little darlings up from their first day, there is a hushed anxiety in the air whilst we all wait to hear the teacher regale us of our child’s first day and how they have settled in so wonderfully.  Except there was no glowing fairy godmother-esq teacher with young fledglings flocking around her adoringly, there was an almighty screeching sound bellowing out from the open classroom door, a child’s arms and legs flailing around and the teacher trying to close the classroom door to protect the parents from such a scene.  The tension in the playground reaches fever pitch as eyes dart around looking for the owner of the flailing screeching child, me, my eyes didn’t look around, I involuntarily begin creeping to the back of the playground in the hope of being able to fall into the big hole and be swallowed up.  My backwards steps are suddenly shoved to a halt, I turn around and look and I’m face to face with a skin tight mum who is desperately trying to smile but the god of Botox is conspiring against her, her eyes are looking up at her forehead as she tries to fashion a concerned frown but only ends up looking like she is constipated.  I look at her and she demands to know if that is my daughter, now you know and I know that this is my daughter, she doesn’t know yet, she’s never seen me before, I can swing this, I can pretend, I begin shaking my head and do the obligatory eye roll, all eyes are on me, I’m smiling like a maniac and the evil eyes are penetrating my soul.  I’m doing well and I think I’m getting away with it I’m still grinning and eye rolling but it’s warding them off.  The door opens again and the teacher is looking more composed, I duck behind gym mum in the hope that I can be one of the last mums to collect to reduce the pointed stares, but no, the teacher is calling my name, my daughter is screeching and wailing for her mummy. I have no choice, I have to step forward and claim my prize, I wonder if they will applaud me. The crowd parts to let me through and I do the walk of shame to the tuts and the twittering, as I reach the door the teacher informs me that my beautiful Dolly has kicked her with her shiny new expensive shoes. The gasps could be heard far and wide, I tried not to giggle, I really did but it just slipped out, the teacher gives me the death stare and both my daughter and I had to do the walk of shame together.
After this incident, I was surprised to receive the email inviting me to coffee and croissants by the queen elite Mother. This was to be a “small social gathering, to meet the other mums and to network” hmm, network, as I have no friends I thought I would go, you never know there may be another crazy mum who cannot trust what escapes from her mouth. I go for it, I accept the invitation and trot along to the “gathering”. I was having anxieties over what to wear, do I go smart, gym, casual, or work attire, on the actual day, I went for the first clean thing to fall out of my wardrobe, not everybody’s cup of tea but hey ho. I get to the venue and I am ushered in my a minion and given a cup of filter coffee and I am told that the croissants are due to arrive any minute from the bakery on the corner, I politely asked if that was morrisons, clearly by the reaction, it wasn’t. I was guided further into the venue and put before the queen superior mother like a lamb to the slaughter. She was in the middle of telling the gathered star struck audience the tale of how her husband negotiated with the builder so that he could have his man cave and she could have her own dressing room all for such a bargain price, the star struck lovelies applauded his feat and made wowing noises, I made a loud slurping noise, cue to pointed stares again. Queen superior mother switched her focus on to me, oh heck, I knew I was in for it now. She waved her hand at me as if to flick some dust away, she indicated that she wanted to know my name, as I was about to answer, a minion stepped forward and gave her a run down of my vital stats, name, job, area I live in, bra and pant size, well it might as well have been. I scored some points in the area I live in box, my area is posh, people have money and connections, me, I don’t have a pot to wee in but I have a mobile connection courtesy of Vodafone, that counts as a connection doesn’t it? The minion also proceeded to give me the tag line of “the one who’s daughter kicked the teacher on her first day” I smile nonchalantly as you can only do in these types of situation. Then the questions begin, does she normally do that? How do you control her? What did the teacher say? What did you buy her to apologise? I felt I handled question time well and was encouraged by the amount of horrified looks there were, this only serves to encourage the lottery of words that fall from my mouth. I’m also informed by one of the mothers that her daughter has spoken endlessly about my daughter’s long hair and how she wants it for herself, I jokingly said that I would ask the teacher to keep the scissors away from her, I thought this was funny and snorted coffee and croissant out from all orifices, she, however, muttered that her child was brought up not dragged up and left me with an icy smile.

Days have passed with no incident, until I get a letter in both book bags asking me to collect junk building material. This you may think is an innocent request, it isn’t, it’s an extension of the lunchbox police, they are no longer content with rifling though the contents of the lunchbox and judging your parenting style, no, they want to see what junk you feed your children when they are not around. My eyes move to the recycling bin and quickly move back. Let’s look at the contents and explore the endless possibilities and judgements. A wine box, stressed mother, low income, hasn’t got a wine cellar, could be turned into a castle, the foil bag, once rinsed, could be an astronaut’s something or other. Maybe leave the wine box, ok I have a cereal box, please be granola please please, nope, honey sugar ball things, again a castle or a wing of the replica house that queen superiors mums child is building to replicate their own house. A cider bottle, no, coffee jar for the “hangover” of the cider and wine, it’s a cheap brand, why couldn’t it have been the brand that costs as much as a tank of fuel. The bin rifling is not going well, there must be something that is worthy of the clientele at the school, and there it is in all it’s glory, a glimmer of hope, an empty box of organic crackers, I have been saved, I’m organic I eat crackers not crisps, I will show those mothers. I proudly trot into the school with my cracker box on display waving at everyone with box in hand pointing out the word organic. I am stopped by the ruler of the playground, she looks at my box and sniggers, the snigger brings about her little gang and they fall into formation around me. She asks me if I eat these a lot, clearly I don’t, I’ve never seen the box, I have no idea how it got into my bin, but she doesn’t need to know this. I nod my head with conviction and inform the group how addicted I am to these and eat these for dinner when I’m on a starvation day, yeah right, the only thing I starve is my soul when I haven’t logged in to Facebook for an hour. Queen mum is looking intrigued and really interested in what I have to say, she asks me if I put any toppings on the crackers, I tell her about the oak smoked Scottish salmon, the finest cream cheese, I get carried away when I mention caviar but she was really interested, I was doing well, she might let me into the gang. The mouth lottery is flowing well until she rudely cuts me off, I stop mid flow, mouth wide open, she asks me what the rabbit eats. I don’t understand, I don’t have a rabbit, what is she talking about. All eyes are on the box, my eyes are now on the box and it all becomes clear. These so called crackers are fancy rabbit treats, I don’t understand, the box is too nice, how did the box end up in my bin, what about my salmon topping, what am I going to do now? I can hear a voice chatting away, I zone back in and I realise it’s me who speaking, what am I saying oh lord! I catch up with myself and realise that I am discussing some so called research that I have read telling me that the rabbit treats are the answer to eternal youth. I haven’t read any research but suddenly everyone is interested in my findings, they begin complimenting me on my youthful skin, I’m asked if I have had any “help” I laughed and couldn’t stop myself, I waved the cracker box my audience gasped, I could almost hear the cash registers pinging away and sales going through the roof, the whole population going mad for the rabbit crackers and me with my little known research being nominated for an award for being good or something, I’ve got into the gang they love me. I must dash any how, I’ve got some rabbit crackers to fancy up for the bring and share.

Much love xx

Nursery Times

5 Oct

So,  the youngest of my brood has started nursery….with a bang!  We didn’t plump for the usual paint in your hair and play dough in your poo nursery, no, we went for the one that teaches degree level french before lunch.   With this nursery comes a new level of thoughts and anxieties.  The first one being the lunch box police.  Amongst the millions of policies that we have to wade through, there’s a wonderful document about what we can and cannot put in our little darling’s lunchbox.  The lunch as a whole has to cover every food group, cue a mini search on google and a mega melt down.  I carefully unpack the lunch I have made and say a little prayer.  The sandwich, ok well its good, its on seedy, as in with seeds not dirty old man seedy, bread and its got ham in it that will do, despite the fact she doesn’t really like sandwiches, then there’s the usual yogurt,  stringy cheese- which was evicted from the hello kitty lunchbox, the crisps were taken out and the chocolate bar was removed, oh heck there’s nothing left.  I rummage around in the cupboard and manage to scrape together a box of raisins and a ritz cracker and peel a carrot and a little fairy cake that I skillfully take out of its wrapper roughen it up a little bit and wrap it in foil…homemade.  I’m feeling content as I trot along to nursery and hand over the semi homemade fare, when I overhear a Mother tell the nursery worker that Django or whatever his face is, has his favourite lunch, the nursery staff  perk up as if there’s a notoriety with this child’s lunch,  Tango or whatever he is called is pushed by his mother to spill all and tell EVERYBODY what this fantastic lunch is, I’m still feeling good at this point, Lexi has a balanced lunch, her brain will grow, until Tango face tells everybody he has homemade Sushi for lunch.  I freeze as I’m signing Lexi’s name in the book and somehow scrawl across the page with the pen, Sushi?? who does that?? maybe she has a fancy exotic au pair that makes this stuff, yes that must be it, well I work and don’t have time roll rice in seaweed, that’s my reasons anyway, then the mother pipes up that she makes it all herself and she works. Humph she must roll the sushi with one hand and close business deals with the other, I can do that.

Then another mum comes bustling through the door and informs the staff that Spike’s lunch hasn’t cooled down yet and could they take immediate action to ensure that the food is cooled down, I snigger to myself, well maybe out loud and she looks at me, I had to fake something so I try a cough which sounded more like a shi tzu yapping, didn’t work, I fake a sneeze which makes two children cry and hide behind their mothers, I have to find out whats in this child’s lunch box , I need some ideas.  I’ve done as much signing in as I can and looking in Lexi’s work tray and Lexi said goodbye a while ago, I really  have no excuse to be here, in fact I’ve been there so long, my husband comes looking for me, he wants to know what I’m doing, the Mother’s want to know what I’m doing and the nursery staff want to know what I’m doing they all look at me expectantly like they are expecting a song or a dance.  I still need to know what’s in the lunchbox but there’s no conversation they are all looking at me, the nursery lady asks if she can help me, please god let something intelligent come from my mouth, I blurt out that I’m CRB checked and not a weirdo and then laugh manically, which automatically makes people assume you are a weirdo, everyone is smiling sympathetically and nodding, I’m looking around frantically for some inspiration and I see a poster advertising for parent helpers on the nursery trip, bingo! I point to the poster and say that, the nursery lady falls on me like I’m giving her a kidney or something, I somehow volunteered myself to help at the trip, then I get a round of applause and these mothers tittering and twittering about how they don’t have the time and how wonderful it is, I tell them I work but it falls on deaf ears, so now I’m a parent helper. But it still doesn’t answer the lunch question, until Spock, oops Spike , well to be fair he has got pointy ears, pipes up and begins to wail that he doesn’t like omelette, no way!! Who puts omelette in a kid’s lunchbox, I’m tempted to invite the kid round and ply him with drinks of coke and bowls of haribo, live life boy!  I leave the nursery quickly escorted by my rather embarrassed husband, he’s used to it by now.

A little later I’m queuing up to collect Lexi and am indulging in some earwigging and have to dig my nails into the palm of my hand not to laugh.  Bearing in mind I live in a small but affluent town, I’m a minority as I have no money ha ha, anyway, I’m listening to this woman wailing about something or other.  This woman is dressed head to toe in designer clothes, me, I’ve pitched up in my uni hoodie and jeans.  I hear the woman go round all of the queuing Mothers, apart from me,  and ask how much their “help” is, now I’m thinking she talking about a cleaner maybe.  No, she’s asking about Nannies and general dogsbodies that pick up after these spoilt women and their children.  One woman says that she pays 25k per year, the nanny has her own car, wing of the house and her own help, ok not the help bit but you get the gist, another woman chips in, trying to out do the other, with a 25.5K salary, a mercedes and a gym pass and a separate flat in the garden.  I can see the original asker beginning to twitch and you can see the gold plated calculator totting up amounts, she then announces that she will need, and get, according to her,  a part time job that pays 50k a year, at this point, my nails have almost gouged through my palm I have to resist the urge not to laugh and chip in.  Rather than one of the mothers giving this clearly clueless woman a reality check, they all begin nodding like nodding dogs and tell her that there’s plenty of part time work that pays that amount, silly me yes there are…on cloud cuckoo land.  I’m looking forward to hearing what her job is and seeing if its legal.

A week or so later, it’s nursery trip time and it turns out that a few of the mums have taken time out of their salon schedules to accompany their children.  We have been advised in the extensive letter about the clothing and the dreaded lunch, and this time I’m fully prepared. Or so I thought.  I’m packing Lexi’s lunch according to instructions and I’ve met the food group targets and even thrown in the odd whole tuna to make sushi and a  hen to lay a fresh egg for the omelette, in case I feel the need to make one for Lexi’s lunch.  I look further down the list and see that an ice pack is requested for the lunch, I have two choices, randomly in my freezer, I have a frozen bottle of water in a coke bottle, choice one, or i have a bag of mixed veg which could be decanted into a less conspicuous bag and would not highlight so much the lack of organisation that I have.  The simplest option would be the coke bottle, I could peel the label off and maybe wrap it in some wrapping paper and pretend its from cath kidston or one of those fancy boutique shops that are run by bored wives of bankers, I decide against this and go for the mixed veg option.  I put the mixed veg in a small bag and shove it in the lunchbox and off we go.  We are instructed to meet in the car park of the local farm and Lexi and I pitch up in our banger of a car and park it in between two chelsea tractors and walk towards the group of immaculately dressed mothers and children some in the same outfit as their parent.  I do a quick check, suncream, hat, shoes and lunch, we are there we are in.  We end up waiting in the car park for this one mother who comes with the help in tow and instantly three smart phones come out of three designer bags to call for their help who is probably back at the mansion ensuring the gardener is tending the bush (es) correctly, we wait a further 20 mins for the help to arrive, by this time, I’ve had two invitations thrust in my hand, one for a tea and couture afternoon and the other for a botox party, as I obviously need some help!  Anyhow whilst reeling from the invitations I turn to see my daughter attempting to board a coach that has nothing to do with our trip, she manages the first step and thinks shes on for getting a seat, the driver ushers her off the steps as she is preventing a large rowdy group of children from leaving the coach and she is fuming and attempts to board the coach again.  I try to ignore her and shake my head and tut and hope that as I’m a new parent they wont realise she belongs to me, she then screeches and starts banging the coach door which has had to be shut until the offending child has been removed, I look around for my help and realise that I am the help and have no choice but to help my daughter into the farm.  By now any help that needs to arrive has arrived and we are allowed into the farm, we are shown into a room and given various instructions about hand washing and petting of the animals and we are allowed to start looking at the animals.  The mothers all mill around in their little groups and I manage to tag along in one of them.  I notice a lady has a child called Mungo, instantly I begin humming the “umbungo umbungo they drink it in the jungle”  advert, out loud, but soon stop when the invisible daggers start piercing my lungs, clearly someone has done this before as she knew where to aim the daggers.  We are roaming around and Lexi becomes fixated with a large turkey who isn’t very impressed at being gawped at, I am terrified of birds and try to get Lexi to look at a goat but she’s having none of it, in the end I’m falling further and further behind and have to coax Lexi to the next section with some hidden sweets that I managed to smuggle in.  We get to the cow shed and all of the sudden i hear a high pitched shriek and Mungo’s mother has realised that hes gone missing and  we all begin calling out for him, I forget his name and start calling out Mango at the top of my voice, I go in search of him shouting out mango and I am attracting some rather strange looks, which are warranted, who honestly goes around shouting mango at a children’s farm.  Mango is found and we carry on until lunchtime.  We are shown into a shed and like oil and water, the mothers and their children separate and the au pairs move in.  I begin doling out Lexi’s lunch  and have managed to infiltrate a little mummy’s group and have been included in the conversation, admittedly it’s about private schools, but I can nod and agree like I know what I am nodding about.  The mothers are nibbling like little hamsters at some rivita thins and go on that that’s the only thing they are going to eat for the whole week as they are so fat and their personal trainer has told them so.

The conversation moves on to their children’s healthy eating and Lexi has a reasonably well balanced lunch which I have nicely laid out for her, one mother snorts at an item in Lexi’s lunch and gives her child some seeds and a carrot, undeterred by this, I proceed to say what a lovely diet Lexi has and everything is fresh and organic from the garden just like birdseye, when Lexi grabs her lunchbox from my hand and pulls out the bag of semi frozen mixed veg and it splits, showering the mothers with hard chunks of broccoli and squidgy peas, I have no choice but to act mortified and out loud exclaim how could such a thing get in her lunch box and how we only use that for injuries, I think I got away with it, but they didn’t speak to me for the rest of lunch, I sat back and ate a snickers instead.

We move to the animal handling section and my daughter is not known for her patience, she has to be first and will not take any other place, unfortunately she is fourth in the queue to hold a chick, I hope the thing doesn’t shit, Lexi is getting more and more impatient while other children are looking at the chick and each mother/help is pointing out eyes beak etc and every fricking feather.  Lexi decides enough is enough and launches herself at the bench, forces a space for herself and takes the little mat that the chick sits on and removes the chick from a child’s hand.  The chick is squawking for it’s mother, the farm person is shocked and I’m trying to release the tight grip that Lexi has on the chick.  We manage to get the chick on the mat and Lexi is stroking it and when she is told it is somebody else’s turn she grabs the chick and screeches no, I need to release this chick as I swear I can see it’s eyes bulging and everyone is looking at me and I’m sure it will shit in shock.  I have no choice but to unleash the jelly tots and wave them in front of her, this doesn’t work and the chick is going bug eyed, I get my phone out and throw it at her, she releases the chick and the mat goes on the floor and Lexi is swiftly removed from the tutting parents.  I hide in the portaloo and smoke an imaginary cigarette and drink an imaginary vodka.  The rest of the trip goes well with Lexi not lifting her head from my phone and before she knows it, she is back in the car seat and en route to home.

Funnily enough we were never invited to any of the get togethers that were going ahead through the summer/autumn…..Thank God!

Much Love x

Organisation

22 Jan

So, in a bid to become more organised at home in the run up to me beginning my new job I decide to embark on a new routine.  Instead of the the usual rush in the morning which consists of snoozing for an hour instead of 15 mins, ironing the school uniform on a towel on the kitchen counter and throwing together a packed lunch, I decide to be a normal Mum.  On Sunday nights, instead of chilling out and socialising on Facebook, I begin the excavation of the under stairs cupboard to find the ironing board in the hope I still possess it and that it didn’t move out during one of our many house moves, deep joy! I find it, it looks like its been mauled by a hungry Alsatian but nevertheless I shove the oddments of foam back into the rips and we are good to go.  I also begin my battle with the strip of wonder web as my efforts never seem to survive the wash.  I should really sew but unfortunately I’m a jack of all trades (well some) and master of none.  I can knit and I can cross stitch but I cant sew hems , sorry mum I know you’ve shown me numerous times but I just nod and pretend I don’t get it until you’ve done all of the sewing that needs doing and then I suddenly get it, until the next time.  Anyway, back to the wonder web, the ironing is sizzling nicely and spitting out lumps of limescale through the steam holes, I’m good to go.  The first pair go nicely and there’s only about a half an inch difference between the leg heights but whats that between friends.  The second pair is also coming on nicely until I try and put my hand through to turn them inside out and realise I cant and I have rather cleverly wonder webbed the leg together, whilst this is going on the iron is nicely melting through the roll of wonder web that is innocently sitting minding its own business.  After scraping the gloop off the iron and salvaging minute strips of wonder web and patch work bits together to form a strip I finally manage to get the trousers looking acceptable….for another week.  I get into the habit of doing the packed lunch the night before and I admit I’m feeling smug that I’m so organised and we are getting to school with time to breathe rather than screeching at the teacher to ‘hold the door’ from across the playground. So its good.

This week, however, things slip.  The children were behaving like exhibits from the zoo and by Sunday evening I was exhausted and in no mood to fight with the wonder web so I let it have its victory and let it high five itself in the kitchen drawer, that’s ok I’m the bigger person.  Monday night, still feeling scarred from the Monday morning rush I vow not to allow that to happen again.  Out comes the ironing board now sporting a new accessory or wonder web gloop and looking stylish I have to say.  I plug the iron in and notice, like me, the lights are on but no-ones home, even a few swear words aren’t helping I even treated it to some nice smelling water in the hope it may take pity on me, but no.  Oh heck what do I do? I have five pairs of trousers all with the hem half hanging down and ripped, I could cut them off but I have a wonky eye and what may look straight to me the highways agency would put a hill gradient warning sign up.  I’m left with no other choice but to get the stapler out and staple the hems, it looks kind of unnoticeable if you are standing miles away, I’m happy with the result and developed a new technique.

Keep the staples in mind for this next bit.  Today is Ryan’s take a parent to school day, apparently I pass as an acceptable parent and come into the school.  Ryan is beaming and telling all the children who I am and teachers are smiling and nodding, its all going well.  We all go down to assembly and one of the other mums comes up to chat in a whispery sort of way and its a pleasant chat as chats go, we’ve done the obligatory fake compliments about each others kids even though I didn’t know which one she was pointing to so I made a non-committal comment about a jumper and it was gratefully received.

Ryan is sitting so well in assembly and I’m really pleased and he keeps turning round and smiling and blowing kisses etc etc. But then it suddenly stops and hes found something more interesting than me to look at.  I notice that he begins to pick at something and takes great measures to recover the victim of his pick, he then brings it up to his face to examine it more closely.  I can’t work out what it is and he wont turn around any more so I have no idea what it is.  He then begins to fidget and nudge his friend and point to his mouth.  At this point Ryan then turns to me and I see staple embedded into his lip somehow, I cant get to him discretely without stampeding on several rows of children and causing broken limbs, I’m at a loss as to what to do.  The child next to Ryan begins to scream as if Ryan’s eyeball has fallen out and is lolling around on his cheek, then a whole row of children start screaming and pointing.  The teacher rushes over, the assembly stops and everyone is staring.  I feel myself being ‘comforted and squeezed’ by chat mum and I just stare, by this time the staple had been removed and there is no damage, but then the questions begin.  ‘Ryan, where did you get this from?’  please don’t answer please don’t answer, I have to do something to stop the horrible truth emerging, but what, a dance? a song? oh heck I don’t know.  I begin half lurching half skipping across the hall to Ryan almost flying in fact, and I randomly start to clap,  this doesn’t work and the teacher is demanding to know where he got it from, I think she is going to launch a full health and safety investigation and call the health and safety executive in and shut the school down until the source is identified, if the source is identified two crimes will be uncovered.  The first crime is that I pinched the stapler complete with staples from my Mum, sorry Mum, and secondly my poor laundry skills will be exposed.

As I begin to act like the wounded party and start to say to the teacher that there’s no harm done and do the ‘kids’ whilst rolling my eyes thing I hear Ryan, clear as day, ‘It came from my clothes’ me: ‘ha ha oh Ryan you are funny’ Ryan: ‘it did Mummy, look  there’s lots of them in my trousers’ Cue gasp from the gathered crowd.  Me: ‘My goodness me! these are new trousers who could have possibly done this? Ryan still continuing to examine his trousers dutifully points out more of my crimes on the other trouser leg.  I try to steer the conversation back to the assembly topic but it’s not happening.  I realise that people are still waiting for a forensic analysis as to how the staples met the trousers, I have no other choice but to blame my husband (sorry Lush, I really am), people instantly begin the rolling eyes ‘husband’ routine and I’m in the clear, phew, well I’m in the clear at school but when my lovely husband reads this which I know he will, I will be back in hot water.  Fortunately he is a good man who tolerates alot, he has to, he’s married to me!

Several lessons learnt today, Children never have your back and will always out you, I have always taught him to tell the truth so I can’t argue with this.  I don’t think this organisation thing is working out for me and lastly I have though of a new hemming technique, Superglue anyone????

Much Love xxxxx

The run up to christmas

15 Dec

Its that time of year again, it crept up too quickly, I’m sure last week I was filling up the paddling pool in the garden for the wild children.  Every year I vow to be organised, just for once I want to be THAT person that puts the fear of god into people by being the first person to send a Christmas card to them, I have some seriously organised friends, the wonderful ones that send birthday cards on time and Easter ones and moving home ones, I’ve moved house so many times recently I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for photocopying the original moving home card and just doling out a copy each time, times are hard I get that! I realise that I’m not organised in the card sending department, but this year I have checked the final posting day (one better than last year) AND I’ve bought the cards, whether or not anyone will get a card before next Christmas is another thing.  I feel like I’ve totally achieved something when I post it in a letter box, I feel like high fiving myself and doing a glory lap round the post box to victorious music playing and confetti and glitter streaming down from above, wait sorry got carried away, back to the serious business of Christmas.

On the theme of vowing to be more organised, we decided to get the kids presents relatively early.  The danger of this is that they grow bored of the character that you bought every item of- in our case fireman Sam, so over the past few weeks I have cunningly been sky plussing fireman Sam episodes and putting them on at every opportunity, Ryan the naughty 4 year old has worked out how to use the computer and has found a fireman Sam shopping page and every few minutes I hear the familiar ‘can I ‘ave it mummy’ I take a deep breath before I view the latest must have item and say a silent thank you when I see his finger jousting at the screen displaying what is tucked away upstairs.  We did have a small breach of the Christmas present stash, I was alerted to this fact when Ryan appeared beaming from ear to ear,  rather than complimenting Ryan on his lovely smile, my instant thought was one of fear and a questioning as to what deed he had done.  He produces a present, my eyeballs almost fall out of my head and then we embark on a ridiculous tom and Jerry chase around the kitchen and the living room, whilst chasing him I am trying to think of an excuse as to who the present could possibly belong to.  I finally manage to get him and wrestle the present from his clutches, he then asks who the present is for, err right  ‘well Ryan the present is for the poor children’ phew I did well, I’m just removing myself from the tom and jerry catch scene smiling and commending myself on my quick thinking, ‘Mummy, who are the poor children, where do they live, can I see them’ oh gosh, now I’ve opened up the can of worms.  I find myself describing a scene from Annie, where all the beds are lined up and the girls have nothing etc etc. Hoping the curiosity has been satisfied I once again begin my retreat, ‘Mummy, can I speak to the poor children’ ‘No darling they don’t have phones’ ‘Can I go to their houses’ ‘No darling they don’t have their own houses’ it continues on and we go into their clothes and their messy hair and shoes.  I need to stop this conversation before he thinks we live in Dickens times.  The conversation is bought nicely to an end by Ryan’s sister who has kindly undecorated the Christmas tree and is wearing all manner of decorations, cue another tom and jerry scene.

Ryan has recently started school after a long process of appeals and my poor facebook friends being subjected to my constant whingeing about him not having a school place, I bet they all praised the Lord when I announced that finally my foot stomping, screeching and sob storying had gotten him a place.  Bear with me this story does go somewhere.  We go and view the school and its lovely and fine and Ryan is given a start date.  When he arrives for his first day, unfortunately his eczema has flared up rather nastily on his face.  He looks like an abused child and its awful and the more you try to explain to the teacher the more you look guilty.  For the first few days I stand alone in the playground and then a few of the mums begin to saunter over to get the goss, which is fine, I can deal.  One afternoon I am standing in a small group of above said mums and the children begin filing out of the classroom.  Ryan is one of the first out, I’m not sure if this is engineered by the poor exhausted looking teacher who cannot bear to look at him for another second or just his eagerness to look at his beautiful mummy.  I stay and listen to one of the group conversations and have a little laugh to myself, really, if picking the right pair of Uggs is all you have to worry about then I suggest you read a book or something.  Ryan is tugging at my sleeve and really wanting my attention, the conversation stops and I turn my attention to Ryan who points at one of the children in the group and rather loudly says ‘Mummy is that one of the poor children’  my smile freezes on my face I notice the mum put a protective pair of hands on the prospective ‘poor’ child, I stupidly ask Ryan why he asked that, he then points down to the shoes and proceeds to inform me and the group that he must be a poor child because the shoes are ruined and dirty and have holes in them.  Not content with this, he then turns to another poor child and informs me that this child must also be a poor child because he has ‘bad hair like a girl’.  I make my excuses and run dragging my accuser away.  I don’t think he will be getting any party invitations any time soon and I don’t think I will be invited to the cosy ‘mums get together’ which was billed in the email as , ‘ an evening where we can get together, get to know each other,  let our hair down and have adult talk’  I don’t think my sort of adult talk would be acceptable in this group, they didn’t even know what fifty shade of grey was, I hope they don’t ask me to tell them as I haven’t read it.  I must be in the 1% of women that haven’t read it.  I read the first 50 pages and quite frankly got bored, been there got the t-shirt etc, in fact it was the t-shirt I used to….must stop!!

The presents have been bought- not wrapped but bought, the cards are waving at me from the top of my dishwasher, what else have I forgotten?? Oh the actual day with the food and crap that goes with it.  I thought about who to invite, last year we invited some people who would’ve otherwise been alone and some family and it was lovely.  This year these people are no longer lonely as they no have boyfriends/girlfriends which is fab news, this leaves family….the only member of our immediate family on both sides that we are speaking to is my mum and she is on thin ice!! But it’s our first Christmas in our new home and minus a few tragedies and heartaches we aim to have a good time, a personal goal of mine is not to screech at my mother who very kindly informed me today that she would rather have a present than my Christmas dinner!

I wrap (ha ha  did you like that one) this rather not very funny and up to my usual standard blog up by wishing you all a very merry Christmas.  I for one will very much be looking forward to waving this year goodbye- well that’s if we make it to Christmas, we may all be wiped out just before it, what a bloody waste I’ve bought presents and by that point I may have actually sent cards, hang on that’s a perfect excuse for not sending the cards, ‘so sorry I thought we were all going to be mind controlled by the things I’ve seen on Stargate sg1 so I spent my time usefully by watching the episodes so I know what to expect and then maybe I can educate and become a leader of our new population’. I knew I should’ve been made a queen.  Goodbye to a horrid year, for those that know me personally can relate to my eagerness to start afresh and I know that some of my friends will also share the same desire having lost loved ones.

 

Much Love x

New Town New Playgroup

14 Sep

HI!

It’s been a long time, for those that know me, poor you, will know why and those that don’t, count yourself lucky!  This blog is not about my tales of woes, its too long and boring and you would probably need to go to counselling afterwards.  No seriously this blog is exactly what it says on the tin, I’m a bit rusty but here goes….

We’ve been lucky enough to be moved to a lovely house in a lovely area, the type of area where you google earth it and see your little house surrounded by mansions that have epic swimming pools in their grounds, shit.  They have to let their guard down occasionally and let the riff raff move in to show they are doing their bit ‘for the community’.  As wonderful as this sounds theres no school place for Ryan (4, star of previous blogs), AKA they cant afford the 12:1 staff ratio for him, no that’s unfair he’s improved it’s only 10:1 now for his daily dramas.  There also isn’t a nursery place for the screaming dolly, Lexi (2, no doubt star of future blogs).

I decide to make myself known on the mummy circuit and try to make local friends, they have to speak to me first but that’s only a small detail, I will fit in I have a pair of uggs and converse surely that’s the golden ticket into the clique.   I scour facebook and find the group that I will inflict myself and my zoo upon, it’s quite apt as its called monkeys, great they must be aware of naughty children that you can’t blatantly call sods so you pat them on the head and call them monkeys instead, yay!

I arrived and join the queue to pay my mortgage admission fee, Ryan instantly darts off his location unknown until I hear a screaming child, Lexi is clinging to me like a baby monkey and refusing to give me the dummy that is vacuum suctioned into her mouth, mummy sin number 1.  I pay and I’m in, I feel like a virgin at a strip club.  I walk around trying to find a place to drop my carefully packed bag, I packed this bag with everything and for every eventuality to make me look organised and like a good mum, I cant carry the thing buts its all gravy.

I find my spot and look around smiling like a maniac in the hope of catching someone’s eye.  I need to ask if you have to pay for coffee but not sure if that would make me an outcast, i literally brought the admission fee and that was it.  I pick my way through the throngs of children and yummy mummies and reach the counter.  This one heck of a posh playgroup, they do filter coffee from a cafetiere and they have homemade cake, and individual bowls of cucumber and banana for the kids.  I try not to speak as my cockney accent always lowers the tone I also have tattoos which instantly makes everyone clasp their designer bags tighter than their  own children.

I get the coffee and retreat back to my camp.  I begin to survey the group and notice what everyone is wearing, there’s groups, I notice, some women are still power dressing, maybe lusting after their once successful career before their wombs twitched them into submission, some are dressed like mother earth all paisley and flowy, you can imagine them going home and digging up their dinner from their gardens, there’s the jeans and converse mummies, oh I look like one of them except my roots make my clean hair look like it hasn’t been washed for a month, oh well onwards and upwards.  Lexi begins to bitch slap an innocent looking nicely dressed little girl and I take that as my cue to begin a conversation…WRONG.  Move on to next victim except there’s no one on their own and I’m not approaching a group its like putting your hand in a nest of vipers.

I look at the toys and notice that every one of them had batteries in them that worked, this is posh, mega posh, my kids toys haven’t seen batteries since they were shipped out of Taiwan.  Lexi falls upon this dolly in a pushchair like she has never seen anything like it, cue super bitch top dawg mummy….”oh doesn’t she have a dolly? every girl needs a dolly, such a shame” and then walks off.  This woman is immaculate she must have a team that dresses her, she honestly pitched up to playgroup in a twin set, hair in a gorgeous bun type thing, make up is flawless.  My make up routine stretches to slapping some oil of ulay on my face in the hope it will harden and cement up the wrinkles.

I notice that there are lots of newborns and expecting ladies, oh my gosh I need those horse blinker things before my womb begins to twitch, I have just completed a degree I need to now complete an application form and complete at least one month of work before I can contemplate babies again- sorry husband I know we had “the talk” but I suddenly developed partial deafness at that time and must have mistook what you said :).

The playgroup is in a church hall, but this isn’t some ramshackle old hall, it’s a super hall, designed by architects, it has a dishwasher and eco friendly things.  It had a lovely little garden that backs onto a graveyard, I aimlessly wonder out there to try and spot at least one of my children and something catches my eye, it’s a bright yellow blob and it looks like its poledancing on a big cross thing in the graveyard, please god no, please tell me I didnt dress Ryan in yellow…..oh heck I did.  I did an olympic style sprint and hurdle over the fence and dragged Ryan back through the fence before he began to earn any money and plonked him in a wendy house, I calmly walk away smiling and rolling my eyes “kids hey” when all of the sudden Ryan remembers the rude naughty word he likes to use and leans out of the window and yells out that I’m an “effing punk”, ground please open and swallow me now!!  I’m ashamed to say I ran off and hid in the toilet and looked on facebook for a bit.

The rest of the time went reasonably ok and I managed to find some poor lady to speak to me and I’m pretty sure she wont be coming back in case she runs into me.

Oh and the ONE question I wanted somebody to ask me to check my status in life and the only time I have a pretty impressive answer no body does.  “what do you do?” I wanted to tell them what I am about to do so I could watch them shove it up their range rover pipe and smoke it but no one did, oh well a good excuse for next week.

Much Love x

Christmas Round Robin ;)

12 Dec

So, it’s Christmas and with Christmas comes the cards with the smug ’round robins’ tucked neatly inside.  They are so smugly tucked in the cards and they look like every fold has been ironed, the paper is pristine and expensive bringing news that will make me vomit.  With bated breath I open the first smug robin.  I didn’t see who it was from i enjoy guessing the contents, for example how many babies has the village chav popped out this year, how many A*****’s some estranged distant cousin got and how many times uncle Fred has wiped his bum, ok slight exaggeration, I don’t have an uncle Fred but you get the gist.  Whilst reading about the numerous achievements and counting how many times the word ‘wonderful’ is used and how many exclamation marks are used, I start to compose my own smug robin.  Mine would be on the back of a Costa’s receipt, full of sarcasm and  would probably go something like this…

‘Merry Christmas one and all, hope this Round Robin finds you well.  We are all doing wonderfully and life is great! we have a new addition to our family… a dishwasher! our life has changed.  I am back at university now and I’ve managed to go a year without getting pregnant or giving birth! go me! (dig at my auntie).  Ryan has started nursery now and has settled in famously, not only does he shout and scream he has now added biting to his repertoire, we are so proud! (dig at smug mother from playgroup) He has a best friend at nursery and between them they rule the nursery, no need for a teacher really!   His tantrums have been upgraded from 5.5 on the Richter scale to a 9.2 we are amazed at his progress, so advanced for his age, normally that sort of tantrum  isn’t witnessed until teenage years, who would’ve thought we had a genius in the family, he will be sitting his G.C.S.E.’s in reception.  Potty training has been a triumph!  He no longer uses his nappy, just the wall to display his deposits, some would say it belongs in the Tate Modern.

Bradley has started high school! it’s just wonderful, its amazing to watch him grow into this huffing puffing young man who grunts these inspirational words at us usually ending in idiot.  I mean who could he be referring to? I don’t see anything wrong with dropping him off at school, asking for a kiss and having my music loud, I mean seriously!

Lexi-Nicole is still very small but lovely, we feed her once a week and give her the occasional bottle of milk (dig at every person who has informed me that she is small and every health visitor who has shoved growth charts under my nose!), she is a happy little thing and doesnt take up much room (another dig at my auntie!)

I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since August and I’m very much looking forward to spitting in their boxing day dinner and watching them eat it, all with a smile on my face- never cross me in-laws mwahahahaha!

Lee and I are still married! Yes I know its amazing we’ve made it to four years, 3 years 6 months more than some people thought and three years longer than a particular couple I could mention who epically failed at marriage (dig at…well you can kind of guess without going into too much detail!). 

Christmas preparations are going well, we have bought the kids a tangerine, lump of coal and a pencil each for Christmas, I know its a bit extravagant, but why not push the boat out! (only joking kids). 

I do have to report the sad demise of our Christmas tree though. Day one went well, all was still intact, day three involved slight harassment from the two youngest members of the household, day four involved the youngest member of the household doing some sort of body surf into the centre of the tree and me having to assist in some sort of birth procedure to get her out of the tree.  Day five involved the stripping and humiliation of the tree and day six has included beating it with wrapping paper rolls by both heathens that are under five.  It now is a shadow of its former self, the kindest thing would be to put it down but I haven’t the heart just before christmas!

I must wrap this up now, it has been fantastic hearing your wonderful news and we really must meet soon (yeah when hell freezes over!) blah blah’

Now hands up who would like to get this smug robin?….No Takers???? oh ok I will just post a link to your wall instead!!

Much Love and Merry Christmas  xx