Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

May 26, 2009

Much Ado About Everything

Whoever came up with the concept of the ‘Terrible Twos’ has, I am afraid, slightly miscalculated. I know this because I am most definitely in the throes of a terrible twos situation six months early. Not content to wait for his second birthday to unleash his fury, it seems that our little guy is in a rush with life and wants to get on with things.

Overnight, my gurgling baby has been replaced by a very frustrated little man who would seem to have anger management issues at such a tender age. Any attempts to put on shoes, jumpers, coats, hats or socks send him into a complete frenzy. He runs, wriggles, writhes and does everything in his power to avoid being dressed. I doubt Harry Houdini contorted this much when attempting some of his greatest escapes.

Even if I do manage to get things on my wilful child, they are then diligently removed when I turn my back to do something else. Pause, rewind and replay the entire scene again. Half an hour and lots of muttered expletives later, we may actually get to leave the house.

TV being turned off, the wrong type of biscuit, the wrong cup for his milk, turning off the tap after washing hands, the wrong book, the wrong song on the CD, sitting in the buggy, getting into the car seat all result in huge amounts of protestation and general outrage.

I patiently (most of the time!) persist and continue to retrace my steps and replay my day over and over again, putting the socks and shoes back on, wrestling with various straps and buckles and, more often than not, resorting to raisins as a bribe.

Suffice to say, I feel somewhat battle-scarred at the end of the day. But as the final protest is offered as I walk out of the room at bedtime, I know that the next few precious hours, before I fall into bed, are mine – all mine. So I indulge in a few guilty pleasures; currently a large glass of wine, M&S Crunchy Combo and Britain’s Got Talent. After all, there will be more battling to contend with tomorrow and I need to make sure I’m fully prepared!


May 19, 2009

8 reasons not to go out

As a parent, nights out are few and far between. There are many reasons for this.

  1. You’re generally too exhausted at the end of the day to summon up the energy required to change into anything other than your PJs.
  2. Babysitters cost a fortune.
  3. You would have to tidy the house before you could let them in anyway.
  4. Once you’ve cleared away all the toys, small cups and odd socks from the sitting room, you really just want to sit down and enjoy being in the room you envisaged when you bought all that nice furniture several years ago.
  5. Having been subjected to CBeebies and Thomas DVDs, you’d actually like to watch something grown up on your TV.
  6. The children's ‘going-out’ radar will be on high alert, so despite your attempts to get them into bed nice and early, they will sense your intentions to leave them and do everything in their power to delay you, stress you out and generally make sure that you’re so frazzled by the time you leave the house that you’d rather just park the car somewhere and have a good sleep than sit upright at a restaurant table.
  7. If you do make it out, you’ll inevitably end up talking about the children anyway!

Despite all this, we ventured out recently. Dressed up in my finery, I was choosing a bedtime story for Max when he asked, “Mummy, what are you dressed up as?”

So rarely does he see me looking clean and tidy, that he had mistaken my ‘fancy dress’, as, quite literally, ‘fancy dress’.

Slightly crushed, I resisted the urge to respond that I was dressed up as an extremely tired person pretending to be enthusiastic about a night out, and told him I was a dragon catcher which seemed to be an acceptable response.

Kindly, he didn’t ask what I was dressed up as the next morning when I was as green and haggard as the wicked witch of the west. And that’s reason number eight!


May 12, 2009

The Convenience Truth

Keeping the small people well nourished is an exhausting, time consuming and ridiculously messy process.

As a new mum, I gladly jumped onto the ‘home-made is best’ band wagon. The hand-blender became an additional limb and like a baby food alchemist, I turned every type of fruit and vegetable known to mankind into a dizzying array of colourful, nutritious purees.

Despite all my good intentions however, my resistance to convenience food inevitably started to crack, as the reality of providing endless meals for increasingly fussy mouths started to hit home.

It started innocently enough with small tins of baked beans. Then fishfingers showed up in my freezer, swiftly followed by oven chips. Soon, my shelves were straining under the weight of spaghetti hoops and the bigger bottles of ketchup are now starting to look like much better value for money.

It is, however, with much regret and head held low, that I confess to taking a convenient step too far - I took the kids to McDonalds. There, I’ve said it, and yes, you may well shake your head in despair. But, hang on just a minute.

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the McExperience. They now have choices other than nuggets and coke (I haven’t totally turned to the dark side just yet). Fishfingers, fruit, milk and raisins were scoffed merrily by the boys while donking each other on the head with the McBalloons they were given. There were, of course, McFries and plenty of McSauce consumed, but it wasn’t the nutritious McNightmare I'd imagined and had silently condemned other parents for in the past.

I won’t necessarily be rushing back under the Golden Arches anytime soon, and I am making a wholesome fish pie for tea tonight to counter-balance my residual feelings of guilt, but once every three and a half years isn’t so Mcbad – is it?


May 4, 2009

In case of emergency

So, there we were last Wednesday morning, merrily tucking into our Cheerios, daddy en route to day 2 of his ‘Important New Job’ when Sam had a fall and thirty minutes later I’m in A&E.

I won’t go into detail but suffice to say; child in booster seat on kitchen chair, child pushes against kitchen table, chair and child fall backwards, almighty bang, lots of tears, anxious mother, mad dash to hospital.

Why is it that things like this only happen when I’m on my own, the doctors aren’t open, I’m still in my PJs, have no credit on my phone and very little petrol in the car?

I don’t remember leaving the house. I don’t think I even locked the door. I wouldn’t say I was in a blind panic, but I was definitely in a visually impaired one. Simple things like putting on shoes seemed to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I couldn’t find my car keys, phone or purse (which were all in my hands already) and only vaguely knew where the hospital was. Nevertheless, we got there.

Of course, by the time I found reception, Sam looked much better. When we were called to see the doctor he was running around the waiting room. Maybe I had over-reacted but all the books I’ve ever read about bangs to heads and lots of maternal instinct told me that I needed medical experts to confirm that he was OK.

Thankfully, they did and less than an hour after leaving the house like a complete mad woman, we were back home calming down with a large coffee and the Teletubbies.

There are three outcomes from this incident; 1) I’m going to do a first aid course. 2) I’m adding crisis-management skills to my CV. 3) My nemesis, the highchair, has been re-instated at the head of the kitchen table - just when I thought I’d seen the last of it – grrrrrrrrrr.

Of course, non of this would have happened if the ducks hadn’t stolen my engagement ring – sob, sob.

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