Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Birthdays and Holidays... Part Three!

Right, so the negatives are out of the way. Here are some things about my holiday that made me very happy:
  • Food - Food always makes me happy. French food even more so. I do not know how anyone is thin in France, when they are constantly surrounded by croissants.
  • Sunshine - I had been checking the weather forecast religiously in the week leading up to our departure, and on the basis of this, had mentally prepared myself for a week of clouds, rain and thunderstorms. The first day was pretty miserable, but after that we got some real and actual sun! And warmness! It was rather lovely, and I didn't even burn the children overly much. The Toddler's left arm got a bit singed, but other than that, I actually managed to be vigilant enough to keep them pretty much un-burned. Result.
  • Seeing my sister - I adore seeing my sister. As do my children. And as she is not a haggard, lazy, sleep-deprived mother-of-two who spends most of her life in the company of two small people, but an energetic aunt for whom said small people are still very much an exciting novelty, they run around playing together, while I sit and watch, eating croissants.
  • Sleeping - as a result of playing all day, and going to bed at ridiculous hours (well, they went to bed at fairly reasonable times, but then, fired up by the excitment of sharing a room, they sat and giggled at each other for hours before finally falling asleep), the kids actually did some pretty good sleeping. The Toddler fell out of the very narrow bed a couple of times, and The Littl'un still usually had a litttle bit of a yelp about something or other at some point, but overall, much better sleep was had by all. It has, sadly, not continued now we are home.
  • Not having housework - The best thing about holidays is not being in your own house, surrounded by all the things that you know you should be doing. We did have to keep on top of the cleaning - the house was so tiny that I would have swung a cat in it, but only because I don't really like cats so wouldn't care if it took a few knocks to the head, so it got messy really quickly - but being able to switch off from thinking about the constant cycle of dusting and hoovering and washing and ironing and tidying and sorting is all kinds of awesome.
And, you know, all that general stuff about being with the people I love, doing fun things, seeing nice places, seeing my children happy. That's all pretty good too.

And now we are back, and the washing is almost under control, and today is The Toddler's third birthday. (I have decided to re-christen her, as The Littl'un is starting to toddle, and The Toddler just walks. Henceforth, she shall be known as The Big'un, until I get fed up of it)

We had nice plans for today. Due to her current obssession with princesses, and her disappointment that Caen castle was just the battlements, and not "where the princess lived", we decided to take her to a castle which looked like a princess might live in it, so thought we'd drive up to Alnwick for the day, then go out for tea with my parents. It was all going to be very lovely, and I was looking forward to it immensely, until Husband decided to contract some kind of stomach lurgy, which has made him so ill that I'm even being sympathetic and kind to him. He managed to get up and see The Big'un get her drum kit ("It's my favourite! I can't belieeeeeve it!!"), but anything more was beyond him. My mother had it too, which meant even the tea with them was off the agenda. Obviously, it couldn't be helped, but it made me a little bit sulky anyway. I tried my best to make a nice day for her anyway. I allowed her to ride her trike to the shop, where she brought a smile to several people's faces because she was wearing her new fairy princess outfit, complete with wings and tiara. I even tried not to despair over the fact that the trip, which is 10 minutes maximum sans children, took nearly an hour. We made it to a castle, which, even though it was "broken" (ie, in ruins), she was quite impressed with, where we met up with a friend and her little boy (he taught her to say "It's boring!", even though they were clearly having a whale of a time, she taught him to roll around in the grass, so they even had a mutual exchange of useful life skills). I bought a chocolate cake and let her decorate it with chocolate buttons. But I fear that large portions of the day still ended up being how they always are when I am tired and have to deal with them both alone when they are in high and defiant spirits, which is with me being tetchy and impatient and a bit useless. Ah well. Her party is still to come so we have another chance to give her the perfect birthday day. If your definition of "perfect" involves several small children hyped up on icing, of course.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Birthdays and Holidays and Apologies - Part Two!

Sorry! Again. I said I would continue last night, but I watched the football instead. I really shouldn't have bothered. I could have done something much more exciting, like watch paint dry. Actually, that would be pretty exciting, I have just bought some tester pots because, inspired by pictures of other people's houses on the internet, I have been suddenly gripped with a mad desire to re-decorate my living room.

Anyway, I think talking about the brilliant things about my holiday (which I am honestly going to do, I wasn't just going to leave it with my usual whingeing) will have to wait at least another day, as I've got to wrap The Toddler's birthday presents. She is three tomorrow. Three! Can I even call her a toddler anymore? It seems too little a word for my sturdy and sassy little madam. A madam who, tomorrow, will become the proud owner of a drum kit. Yes, a drum kit. I know. Yes, I probably have lost my mind. Or if I haven't, I'm sure I soon will.

Oh! And also! Walking baby! The Littl'un can walk! Ish. She's been taking one or two steps for a couple of weeks, but not very well, and not very often, but tonight, she took at least four little staggery steps across the landing, and then repeated it a few more times. I am very proud. And amused, because she looks like a drunkard.

Oh God. Sudden grave misigiving. Why have I bought a drum kit, which in theory is for the exclusive use of my eldest child, when the youngest one is into EVERYTHING? And can now use her feet to get to EVERYTHING. This was a mistake. Oh dear.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Birthdays and Holidays and Apologies!

First - the apology, for not having written anything for ages, just in case you were sitting there thinking "D'you know? What I really need in my life is the incoherent rambling of a woman who is barely in control of herself and her two children, and it's not there!". I haven't had time to write much lately. Partly this is because I have surprised myself with a new-found dedication to housework (no, really), so my evenings are spent finding things to clean. This is most unnerving behaviour on my part, but I am enjoying living in something resembling a neat and tidy home, even if there is still just too miuch STUFF in it.

But mostly, the reason I haven't had much chance to blog is because June has been fecking BUSY. Not content with having two children's birthdays to sort out this month, we, for reasons which now escape me, decided to go on holiday in between the said birthdays. So it's all been a bit busy, and we're not even done yet, but I am going to tell you about some of it anyway. Aren't I kind?

So, yeah, The Littl'un is now 1. One whole year old. We celebrated by having a little party for her, attended by all of her friends. Well, strictly speaking, they were mostly The Toddler's friends, as one of the many ways in which second children are deprived (or at least my second one), is that you don't spend your whole maternity leave seeking out things to do and people who have children the same age to do them with. You spend it taking your first one to soft play and drinking coffee with the friends you already have. As a result, The Littl'un only hangs around with nearly-three-year-olds, and is fascinated any time she sees a baby of her own age. I think she enjoyed her party anyway. There was food, and she got a trike, which she liked. And by "liked", I mean "crawled on top of the box, sat on it and refused to move".

Then came the holiday: a week in France with my parents, and my sister and her boyfriend joined us for a few days too (although they almost didn't make it due to an almighty farce involving them locking their car key in the boot of the car in the South of France, and them having to have new one forged in the fires of Mordor, or some other such nonsense). We had a very lovely time, although, naturellement, I found things to despair over as well....

Things that pained me:
  • Driving (well, passengering. Husband makes fun of my driving, therefore I refuse to ever do it if I can make him do it) -  I do not live very close to France. Getting to France involves driving from the Tyneside coast, to Portsmouth. That's far. Although, to be honest, the drive down was not actually as bad as I thought it was going to be. Or at least, not after Wetherby Services, where I decided that rather than sitting in the front, it was best to wedge my arse in the gap between the car seats and keep the kids supplied with a constant stream of rice cakes. So that bit was OK. The painful bit of driving came once we disembarked. This is because we were in convoy with my dad. My father is a wonderful man, with many admirable skills and qualities, but it has to be said that getting directly from our point of arrival to our accommodation on any given holiday is resolutely not one of them. My childhood holidays to France always commenced with some kind of circuitous wandering around mysterious back roads, with the whole family on the lookout for road signs, or some kind of significant landmark like the sea, or Paris, to confirm for us that we were, in fact, heading in the wrong direction. Ah well, we got there in the end.
  • Eating out - There is apparently a book out called 'French Children't Don't Throw Food'. If that is true, then all of the restaurants must have been slightly shell-shocked by my children, who cannot eat anywhere without redecorating the walls and upholstery with bits of fruit and partially-chewed chip. The Littl'un has an excuse for this behaviour, in that she is only one, and still working out the best way of getting food into her face (and fails to realise that smearing it in her hair is not it). The Toddler has no such excuse, she's just a pain in the arse. She lolled on chairs, she crumpled up bits of food in her hand, she refused to eat anything that wasn't a chip, she showed everyone the contents of her mouth at every opportunity, and generally made me look like one of "those" mothers who is incapable of making her child behave nicely. By the last night, I had resorted to telling her that princesses (which is she is currently and suddenly obsessed with) sit and eat nicely, so if she wants to be a princess when she grows up, she had better do as she is told, while the feminist in me cringed.
  • The Littl'un - The Littl'un seemed to spend the week vying for the title of Clingiest Baby In The Whole Entire World. The first weekend, it was quite funny, as her affections were almost exclusively directed at my sister's boyfriend, who she adores. She would fling herself towards him the second he was in sight, and if he dared to leave her, she would cry as if her heart was breaking. It was pretty cute, and I don't think he minded too much. Or at least I hope not. But once he had gone, the clinginess was turned my way, or my mother's, and if she knew that one of us was there and not cuddling her, she would let us know, in no uncertain terms, that she would like us to rectify this situation. Husband was a bit put out by her behaving as if he was some kind of evil stranger every time he held her, and I was a bit put out by being constantly clambered on and pulled at by tiny hands. It's a good job she's cute.
  • The ferry home - It was choppy. It was unpleasant. I was ill. The Toddler was so ill that she put her Haribo down. Poor thing.
So that's my whingeing out of the way. There were many, many lovely things as well, but I will write about them tomorrow, as now I am tired, and I have to make sure I am well-rested for my fresh assault on the washing mountain that awaits me in the morning.

To be continued....

Monday, 4 June 2012


My baby is one in three days. Three days!!

When did that happen?

I feel I should do some kind of profound looking-back over her first year of existence, but quite frankly I'm in shock.