Sportmageddon.


So the day cometh, as they knew it would and the Mummy’s are ready. 

Cool bag’s are ‘anti-bac’d’, dusty ice blocks cleansed and firming up nicely, M & S bargain bin now devoid of summery salads and bags of mango. The Mummy’s using just their licked finger as a barometer, and ‘that’ feeling in their ‘water’ make outfits choices accordingly and select the appropriate level of sunscreen.  With the car stacked high and kids tossed in at the last minute they make their way to…SPORT’S DAY.

I arrive a little late as I’ve had the most marvellous idea of offloading the smallest child to Granma.  A child as cute as a button but as slippery as a fish; completely unable to sit still for longer than her morning ablutions therefore not ensuring any ‘Mummy time’ at all.  In fact last Sport’s Day I was on the track more than any other child; in fact I was there before and after every, single, frigging, race.  Retrieving my whirling dervish as she broke into a sprint, I was too buggered to bother with the Mother’s Race at the end of the day. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Besides I feel it my duty to offload the small offspring onto Granma as regularly as I can as being an active grandparent has been medically proven to prevent Alzheimers and I’m thoughtful like that. 

So on this occasion I arrive cool and carefree in a white, ‘floaty’ blouse; the size of a 4-man tent (truly it could easily save me should I decide to jump out of a tree) and dark glasses creating a film-star look not unlike Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’!  Minus the cheekbones, poise and grace but still rocking a strong brow; possibly too strong.  Anyhow, bottom line was the glasses were purely there to hide my weeping eyes and frame a snot-filled nose on account of the high pollen count.  Either way I was free…free to make small talk, stop without notice and pass the time of day with various lovely Mummy’s gathered.  I did not need to check for wet pants, chase a bolting toddler or repeatedly put a sun hat on a sweaty child’s head. 

At this point I was signalled by my ‘crew’.  With pride I note the veritable picnic island they’ve created with a selection of plastic-backed blankets, walled with hamper’s and handbags.  They’d stopped short of bunting which was a shame but either way I took up my prime position in the centre like a dog with two…erm; tails.  With one Mummy on look out; i.e. keeping an eye on the start line in case any one of our offspring might be about to lollop past with a fake egg on a spoon.  We were free to indulge our femininity with talk of skin care, bunions and other such juicy, girl talk.  Passing round our choices of sunscreen we test, sniff and whoop our approval whilst balancing bacon baps on bare legs and in the case of a couple of the younger one’s comparing bikini lines.  We were privy on this occasion to an Elder.  Who whilst joining in showed us decorum and restraint; ‘how wot to be a proper lady init’.  We all hoped that just a little of her class and sophistication might rub off on us; but there were but three chances of that; fat, no and ‘not a cat in hell’s’!

Whilst showing adequate interest in proceedings; including whipping ourselves in to a respective frenzy when one of our darling’s passed, sometimes in a sack or cutting the grass with a skipping rope, we also manage to nibble strawberries like we are centre court at Wimbledon.  At the point when steam appeared to be coming off one of the Mummy’s pre-school child we decide to move our ‘picnic island’ into the shade.  Here despite being besieged by flying spiders (or a variant of) the more elderly of the group; myself included gave a sigh of relief.  The bikini-line comparing sex-pots in their buttock-skimming hot pants with untarnished, bronzed legs that seemingly went on forever were insistent on remaining in the sun. They’d glance back at us on occasion in much the same way you’d look at a woman of a certain age waiting for a bus, wearing a tabard. But I for one was perfectly content to be under the trees; even with the insect infestation just to be able to breath air not tinged with hell’s fires. 

Lunch time fell and it became apparent that I hadn’t got any.  In my haste to rid myself of cares and be free I also neglected my duty to provide nourishment for myself. Balls.  No matter as my ‘bestest’ Mummy friend came to my aid and welcomed me into the veritable feast of middle-class goodness courtesy of M & S. What a treat! I dined like a queen; noshing down on exotic salads bearing beans I can’t pronounce, crunching ‘scratching’s’ crisps (yes, they’re a thing and jolly good too), almonds and fresh fruit. Oh Mummy you did the event proud; your catering was top-notch, Queen Elizabeth would have been happy to chow down sat upon your blanket, even with the questionable stain! At this point our red-faced lovelies came to join us and it was general carnage; with dropped chips trodden into rugs, pizza’s overturned and inhabited trainers repeatedly landing upon cartons of juice.  But still…awwwww, didn’t they do well?!! 

Sitting back on my chair, full to the brim and happy as a pig in…erm custard I reflect upon this wonderful band of Mummy’s, the other lovely Mummy’s further across the field, the well-mannered children, teacher’s and generally fabulous event and take stock of just how lucky I am.  It is at this point I also realise I can have an ice-pop for 50p…so skipping over I collect a stick of frozen e-numbers and revel in the relief of it’s coldness.  With children buzzing around; like the flies around our designated plastic bag bin, I eat my ‘pop’ like an 5-year old suddenly quite forgetting that I am cool and grown-up and shit.  Still the moment passes and gathering up mine and the children’s discarded plastic tubes I then drench myself quite liberally in the leftover juice of the amateur ice-pop eaters who frankly have a lot to learn.  With my aforementioned floaty white blouse now stained beyond comprehension it is time for me to take my leave.

That and my bean salad is winging it’s way through my intestines…either way I’m already looking forward to next year!

Grotty Training.

In the words of Yoda; ‘stubborn she be, shit she will, wherever like she…’ Number four is proving a tough nut to crack.  She appears to have no more desire to use the toilet than I have to scrape her poo off the gusset of her Disney pants.  Apparently standing with a lump in her leggings the size of a small Easter egg is also not a problem.  She’ll not sit down; obviously, but standing and continuing to gawp at the TV is perfectly acceptable to her.  In fact, worse than this she finds it all rather funny and is more than happy to sashay up and down the lounge pointing out said bulge and shaking it in my general direction.  Dealing with this ‘gift’ is wholly dependent on just how much fibre she’s ingested and I’ve found myself thanking God when it’s obvious she could do with an apple.  Then of course there’s the embarrassment factor; I mean let’s be honest she looks about 5 years old and nearly has the vocabulary to go with it.  Making it all the more wrong that she’s still shitting in her pants.  Then there’s the other issue of nappies and pull-up’s.  Yeah, they don’t fit anymore.  After all she’s too big to be still wearing them.  I’ve dabbled with the idea of adult Tena pants, but frankly the cost put me off.  Or perhaps a ‘night-time’ sanitary pad with wings; but they were too long to fit in her ‘My Little Pony’ pants; in fact they stuck out of the top of her leggings both ends, which is not a good look at Pre-School. So what to do?  I’ve began and ended this trial by continence many times since the back-end (pun) of her second year and yet here I am; she’s 3.5 years old and still quite content to sit in her own filth. 

Short of duct-taping a potty to her undercarriage; which I’m pretty sure will affect her knee joints pretty quickly I’ve now had to increase the size of my nappy bag to incorporate several changes of clothes and 26 pairs of knickers.  We’re trying in earnest once more, having sent her to Pre-school today in pants.  She showed an encouraging sign of being pissed off that she had to sit on her wet car seat (on a plastic bag) after yesterday’s accident which occurred less than 4 minutes after leaving the house. And she is beyond proud when she produces anything yellow or brown into porcelain.  I’m still recovering from the last time we tried in earnest.  After a 7 hour working day I arrived at nursery to be told very excitedly that she was in the toilet; as she’d asked to go!  The scene of stinking devastation that greeted me behind the door was nothing short of ‘Shitmagedden’.  There was my curly-haired beauty sitting on the bog cradling her pull-up full of shit on her knee whilst still straining because ‘there more Mama, more poo in my bottom’.  I then spent 15 full minutes in that toilet, bagging up clothes, wipes, washing hands, faces (yes both hers and mine after her initial greeting) and trying not to scream “FFS YOU STUPID TW*TS WHATEVER MADE YOU THINK SHE COULD GO ON HER OWN…LOOK, LOOK THERE’S SHIT IN THE GROOVES OF HER BLOODY LELLY KELLY’S…AND NOW MY FRIGGING SHOES TOO….” But instead I cleared up as best as I could even wiping round the taps then left, drive home and drank on a school night against all my best intentions.

So I’m trying not to be disheartened.  I’ve even tried to see it in terms of; she’s my last, this is the last time I’ll have to potty train so stop wishing it away…But this is a stupid train of thought so I’ve metaphorically bitch-slapped myself and whilst pulling myself up into my full 5ft 3inches I am announcing to the world that this is it.  I must now continue onwards and upwards; like Froddo and his fat-faced bum boy friend on their quest to tame the ring.  An epic journey that will take me to highs, lows and just when I thought I couldn’t go no lower, lower still whilst I drag my little Smeagol/Gollum into full continence and I no longer have to deal with the ring ever again….THE END.

Hair today…

Hey, children are such a grounding force are they not?  Sure I hear you cry; they often let you down in public situations or say the most embarrassing things (about you; probably your bottom or mum-tum) at the supermarket check-out or in a library.  But still you look into their big, cherubic eyes and you forgive them. Though I must say there are times I can find it a little harder, to see past their cherubic misdemeanour and have faith that they’ll live, learn and ultimately turn into a great adult.  And this weekend it was a little difficult to feel that divine forgiveness whilst the little one was holding a handful of my hair.  That’s right; a sizeable handful of hair I really can’t afford to lose.  Since her challenging behaviour and life in general is currently encouraging an over-the-top shedding process and I’m already patchy and malting like an abused German Shepherd.  A handful I actually debated double-bagging in frozen peas (to preserve the follicles) and taking into the nearest trendy looking salon to enquire about it’s reinsertion. A handful she physically removed with a swift yanking motion. Which in hindsight served me right for being stupid enough to bend down to chastise her for saying ‘you’re just a stupid poo’, in an ice-cream parlour, after I was once again, stupid enough, to part with 15 quid for a ‘real, Italian Gelato experience’ in Wales. Still after a short cry behind my sunglasses on my recent mini-break to Anglesey I sought solace in a ‘New Age’ shop.  Here the overwhelming stink of incense, pointless and expensive ‘fairy door’s’, beaded shit and tie-dyed ‘wanky’ crap led me to a poster of Sinead O’Connor.  Which reminded me that ‘bald’ can often look foxy on a woman,  then as my cherubic three year old slipped her hand into mine and smiled up at me, I could almost hear her singing ‘nothing compares to you’!  Though in truth it would more likely be…’you’re just a stupid poo’; either way all roads led to wine on that day. 

 

Before I die I would like to…

Go to a ball.  You know a full-on crystal chandelier under canvas, chequer-board dance floor with groovy local jazz band ball.  One where I’ll not only be raising money (thus guaranteeing a potential photograph in the local glossy magazine) but also indulging my inner Princess.  I’ll  get to hire a long, bejewelled dress, dig out that uncomfortable strapless bra and buy the cheap supermarket version of ‘Spanks’ in nude.  Next I’ll book a spray tan, a ‘hair up’; potentially involving a fishtail plait and lots of grips and buy over-the-top fake eyelashes from Boots.  I’ll borrow a friend’s ‘bestest’ fancy clutch, use Dylon to match up the Bridesmaid shoes I wore 11 years ago and as the date get’s closer start the Cambridge Diet.  In readiness I’ll have sorted the kids out for a two-day stay at The Mother’s as that’s how long it’ll take to prep, attend and get over said event.  I’ll even bear an entire day ‘fannying’ around in several ‘salon’s’.  Here I’ll endure long-winded and at times painful primping in order to find my inner Princess who is currently very well hidden under a stressed singleton who currently isn’t arsed with body maintenance; I’ll wash obviously, I’m not an animal!  I’ll silently allow hot wax to be put in places I’d forgotten I have then pray to retain what I was born with and pretend my sniffles are caused by a summer cold.  I’ll risk yet another cornflake adorning each side of my mouth to remove my stubborn ‘Burt Reynolds’.  And take care whilst painting my toenails and ‘pumicing’ my dinosaur heels.  With the ‘carriage’ (taxi or Jim next door if he’s visiting his Dad in hospital whose having his piles tied) due I’ll enlist a ‘very’ good friend (for what has seen cannot be unseen) to help me dress.  This may or may not include positioning chicken fillets to produce the best possible ‘top bollocks’ to suit the frock or squeezing anything that’s appeared overnight.  Finally the good friend and I will sip Prosecco and check my clutch for essentials.  Money, phone, ticket, lippie, emergency sanitary pad, tweezers (seriously shit grows quick post-45), a couple of Rennie, Paracetamol and a miniature sewing kit (I won’t risk another wardrobe malfunction after tripping over the hem of my trousers whilst trying to quietly follow the bride up the aisle after fucking Jim was late dropping me off). So there it is…I wanna go to a Ball; any offers and I’ll polish off my tiara.

Fitness; The Journey Continues…

So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my fitness journey; a journey I’ve been reassured will have to go on forever and ever into infinity and beyond if I wish to remain ‘fit’.  Which I think should be a firm lesson to those debating purchasing Lycra, and those little socks that don’t show over your supermarket trainers, to not fucking bother.  I mean if you never start; you’ll not feel coerced and guilt-mongered into continuing.  You see that’s what I’m up against.  I attend the same four classes every week.  At those classes I see relatively the same faces.  Pale and tired at 6:30am, then purple and swollen by 7am.  I’d like to say I’m not judging them but that would be a massive, shitty lie.  I am judging and noting.  I note new leggings or water bottle, deeper lunges and increased weights.  I judge speed, form, the curve of the buttock and cinch of the waist.  I see the journey on their faces too. 

 

I see the determination that we set our alarm for the ungodly hour of 5:45am, we rolled out of bed and into chilly fabrics with little of no comfort.  I know we’ve debated cleaning our teeth then didn’t bother because we don’t want to wake the kids.  We’ve also debated whether or not to brush our hair or dab concealer on the more unpleasant looking spots that have reared their ugly head’s overnight (I don’t bother). We’ve crept around the house like ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ in a cast-iron sports bra and breathable Polypropelene.  Then we’ve headed out, at certain times of the year, into the cold and dark; had to piss around, scraping the windscreen of the car with an old CD case, wondering if we’ll regain the feeling in our fingers in time to pick up a 5kg plate. Then we’ll drive with zero visibility because  we haven’t the time to wait for the condensation on the inside of the car to clear.  Hoping against hope the ratio of exercise and fitness to accidents in difficult driving conditions is weighing in our favour. 

 

Finally arriving with ten minutes to spare.

 

Here genuine salutations and pleasantries are exchanged as only women can; “Crickey, it’s cold.” “Ooh I struggled with the alarm this morning.”  Or “Shit I’m fucked; I literally can’t be arsed today…” (that’s me, lowering the tone.) Lining up sensibly we await the arrival of ‘her’. ‘Her’ that pushes us (ok, motivates), that dreams up evil, painful movements holding heavy shit that must be repeated over and over. ‘Her’ that stands before us,  barely breaking into a sweat, like a Sargent major in a hoodie driving us forward (ok, encouraging) and generally forcing us to be uncomfortable.  ‘Her’ whose levels of induration and strength I’m not jealous of in the slightest.  Who’s fancy leggings I’ve not yet found; even after a thorough rummage in TK Maxx and ‘her’ that barks phrases like “Start your day right!” or “You’ve earned your breakfast ladies!”

 

Strangely one of these ‘hers’ I gave birth to, and that somehow makes it even more difficult, for I feel further coerced into impressing and astounding her with my fitness prowess. I find myself squatting lower, lunging further and reaching for a higher kg if she’s watching me.  I also note the tiny raise of the eyebrow if she see’s me slacking or slowing down or daring to be out-of-breath.  In short it’s not fun.  But on the other hand, it kind of is fun. 

 

Like a constant battle to be won.  A daily (almost) reminder of our grit and determination; and that’s just to get out of bed.  Our fortitude and strength of character to leave the home, get in the car, drive, get out, sweat our wobbly arses off, then get back and let’s fucking face it ‘START ALL OVER AGAIN’. 

 

In most cases there are children who still need coercing out of bed, washing, breakfasting and dressing. We’ll squeeze in a short shower and complete transformation into whatever the hell we’re expected to be that day.  Then collate book bags, PE bags, lunch bags and water bottles.  Re-brush hair, scrabble round for clips, sign slips and stuff yet more money into all brown envelopes.  Then gather our brood at the door in readiness for the school run and then, yes, only then our actual job. 

 

With beautiful timing and the kids are now ‘handed over’ we’ll switch on Radio 4 and drive to work or wherever we’re needed next.  We’ll take a deep breath (the first one in seemingly 2 hours) and the rear-view mirror will reflect a really fucking smug smile!  A smile dripping in super-smugness, a smile we’ve earned, in sweat, will power and resolve.  And for that short period of time; whilst it’s quiet enough to think clearly, ENJOY and rejoice in how utterly fabulous we are for we’re winning; one work-out at a time! 

 

Incidentally for those faces I see most morning’s, I call Thursday’s class ‘Shit 30’!  “Ssh; don’t tell ‘her’.”

 

 

Nostalgia

It hits you like a wave, smothering sensibility, filling you, like the surf; fizzing and tingling, glorious pictures in HD, stereo sound, filling mind and body with mind-blowing, evocative images of yester-year, beautiful days-gone-by with those no longer here, at least, not in the way they were, you’re no longer that person, senses pricked, emotions heightened, you must swallow down the memory and look on.
New days are here; comparatively better perhaps, yet rose-coloured glass, reflects perfection from the past, don’t try and hide from it, for it’s insidious in it’s approach, and the soundtrack to your life is playing, each track, taking you back, or a sight or a smell, a small snippet of news, nostalgia is here to incite and confuse, but those days are gone and no matter what is left, you must look on.

Don’t look back, just look on.

Review – Morrison’s Supermarket Restaurant.

Cutting to the chase; it’s ace.  The car-park is vast and has afforded way more than the average number of minority spaces with additional square footage.  The pointless ‘turnstile’ doors have been replaced with a vast opening to allow quick and easy passage for the bargain-hunting thrifty.  Through the doors and immediately right and there it is.  Invariably quiet; plenty of empty tables, bright and fresh paintwork with padded chairs in faux-Farrow & Ball colours and several friendly hobo’s enjoying a chippie tea.  We’re well versed.  Hell we love it here!  Grabbing a tray we prepare to load up with carton’s of juice, fruit bags, hot beverages and a red number; proof of our hot food order!  The Mother usually likes scampi though of late has had a hankering for sausage (leave it there), I only ever want the fish & chips with ‘mushies’, then pizza and nuggets with chips and beans. At this point we’ll hand over under a tenner.  That’s fucking right; ‘under a tenner’!  It’s daylight robbery but in this case quite refreshingly I feel like the consumer is ‘doing over’ the conglomerate giant!

Nestling at our favourite table; by the window perusing several life forms picking out plants in a temporary ‘poly tunnel’ in the car park.  Here we settle and the 8yo positively rejoices in the responsibility of collating the cutlery and ‘free’ condiments!  Following suit to all responsible parents I’ll keep the 3yo amused by ‘flash carding’ and teaching her to count in French (aka watch Peppa Pig on my smart phone).  At this point The Mother and I will take our first sip of latte.  It’s a short-lived yet sublime moment usually punctured by the 8yo realising she needs a wee and the 3yo smelling somewhat-less-than-fresh.  Still 10 minutes later after the usual debacle in the ‘disabled toilets’s’ we’re back, yes my latte is now only tepid but I’m safe in the knowledge that I can have another with pudding!  The food arrives quickly enough to applaud but not so fast as to cause alarm. My fish is fresh from the surf as is The Mother’s scampi…the chips are adequate and the mushies to die for.  I’ll decant at least 7 sachets of Tartare sauce which is in keeping with Piscean law then open a further 32 sachets of mayonnaise for the children.  Whilst openly salivating I’ll then mop up the inevitable spillages of juice (‘ffs don’t squeeze’…) run back to the till to buy another whilst marvelling at how quickly a queue can build.  Then return slightly out-of-breath to an unrecognisable 3yo coated liberally in bean juice.  At this point I’ll think ‘fuck it’ and commence operation ‘chow down’ on my now lukewarm dinner.  The best bit is still to come.  Hang on to your hats…

After dinner we move on swiftly to pudding. And Morrisons do puddings; proper stodgy and ‘spongetastic’ served with non-lumpy, yellow custard.  Hot ‘pud’s’ of yesteryear that leave The Mother and I with the grins of our 10yo-selves back in the day.  ‘Roly Poly’, jam or syrup sponge, chocolate or bread & butter pudding, fruit pies or crumbles enough to make Greg Wallace cream in his Chino’s.  These cost £1.  Yes, you read that correctly.  If you buy an adult meal with a FREE children’s meal and the FREE bloody drinks and fruit bags…you can also get a bowl-full of your sugary past for a quid!  Seriously.  What. The. Hell. Is. Not. Love???  The food is cheap and fresh; not unlike a school dinner, and served by similarly built women, wearing hair nets and bearing a greasy smile. I feel safe in Morrissons.  It provides for all my family’s ‘belly-lining’ requirements on a budget. I can only assume now you’re informed I’ll see ya there!!