Flying Solo…

You never forget your first holiday without your parents. Mine was the school PGL trip to the Brecon Beacons; there were many other ‘firsts’ too, some more magical than others. Lucky for you I shall regale you with them…

1.    I had my first kiss.  

To the raspy strains of Joan Jett; ‘I love Rock n Roll’ in a corner of a vast room at the ‘mansion’ during the last night party, Melvyn made his move.  It had been on the cards; much eye-contact, a playful though painful punch on the arm (all cornerstone moves of the 12 year old pre-mating male) and an irresistible offer of a lick on his ‘Sherbet Dib Dab’, yeah I had it coming.  Once the light’s were dimmed (i.e. they’d pulled the curtains) he made his move.  I recall the internal struggle of whether or not to lick my lips.  They could be dry; if only I’d followed up my Spangles with a mouthful of Tizer.  Suffice to say in an instant he was upon me like a blue bottle on jam.  The messy mouth-on-mouth action of pre-teens intent on using the ‘washing machine’ method of kissing; round and round we went.  I should have known from his lisp that it would be a watery affair.  It was not pleasant; to endure or I’m sure watch.  On the plus side he did manage to dislodge a bit of meat from my back molar so all was not lost.

2.    I rode a horse.  

Down a rocky stream. Trying not to cry.  I’m not exactly an ‘animaly’ person anyway but had still been excited about the idea of riding a pony; I’d even pictured myself ‘cantering’ daintily in a velvet jacket and white silk scarf.  I had not been expecting, the rain or the terrain.  I mean seriously why take a bunch of novice teenagers with hormonally-induced Tourette’s on horseback down a stream.  Even the horses appeared to be whinnying ‘what the fuck?’ Yet still they took a picture of me for the magazine.  Perched high upon my giant beast; at least 30 foot off the ground, my white knuckles, tears and snot not entirely saying ‘happy day’s I still did my best to smile.  And this was before the ‘descent’.  Not the film though this was just as horrific.  After the stream, I’d finally relaxed enough to unclench my thighs and my spasm-ing buttocks and enjoy a mini-canter along a flat field.  I even smiled at my latent equine abilities and gave my horsey a little pat and word of encouragement.  At which point one of the boys, not Melvyn; he too was crying, shot past the regimented line of riders singing ‘Champion the Wonder Horse’.  With his helmet bobbing under his chin; which even I knew was not the regulation way to wear it and neither foot in a stirrup he was followed swiftly by a red-faced stable hand.  With all of our horses spooked there was a little dance of hysteria where I clung to the neck of my horse praying.  Unfortunately there was worse to come as a sharp decline back into the farm appeared on the horizon.  With hail upping the ante, forty horses with the whites of their eyes showing, bearing forty petrified riders literally skidded down the bank…I’m not ashamed to say there was a minor continence accident on my part and very probably a few others. 

3.    I went sailing. 

With the wind in my hair and the brightest yellow anorak in the history of time I boarded the boat with much trepidation and excitement.  I’m not going to lie within 3.5 minutes I discovered my sea legs had been metaphorically amputated and the green of my face did nothing to enhance the look of my anorak.  Whilst clinging to the mast I had time to re-think my plan to work aboard a cruise ship.

4.    I learned how to canoe.  

It was the only sunny day of the trip so with smiles all round we boarded our little vessels. After the long, boring informative talk we’d received; during which I nodded off, still tired after a night of cackling girls giggling at seemingly fucking everything I was grateful to receive my oar and begin my imagined trip down the Amazon river.  All was going well and I was handling the canoe like a pro; however I quickly discovered I was pulling to the right.  Slightly behind the others and despite my, by now, frantic paddling I was drifting to the right faster than a tory turtle.  I now found myself stuck in six foot reeds and completely hidden from the view of any potential rescuer.  Quickly my killer instinct didn’t kick in and I found myself sobbing and shouting ‘help me, for the love of all that is holy help…’ (tiny embellishment there). 

With my peers and several teachers speeding past with the wind in their hair and much laughter and tomfoolery, I imagined this might be my demise.  Left to die in the reeds in a canoe.  I began to accept my fate; much like Rose on that bit of debris that she pushed Jack off in the film Titanic.  I mewed ‘help’ then found a whistle in the pocket of the regulation cagoule we’d each been given.  Bastards if I’d had my yellow one on fucking NASA could have seen me and radioed for help.  Then I saw him.  My saviour.  The Geography teacher; quite a hottie in retrospect striding towards me on the bank.  Thank you God; I whispered.  I presumed at this point he’d board a boat and paddle out to get me; yet he kept on walking, nearer and nearer to me.  He had a bright white aura around him as he literally walked on water to come and save me.  I knew in that time that God was very real and my church going days totally worth it (even though in truth I was only there for a crafty fag after and a sip of the wine), as he arrived at my side and said something I’ll never, ever forget.  “Get the hell up Jones, why are you just sitting here?  There’s only six inches of water underneath you; and stop bloody crying.”  FFS.

The undeniable highlight of my flying solo experience was the bus ride home. Here I ploughed through the rest of my contraband sweets like the pre-diabetic chubster I was. Well that was until Melvyn attempted round 2 of the Zanussi challenge. Suffice to say ending our three-day relationship was the last ‘first’ before Dad arrived in our Cortina…

 

The Bedtime Routine

As if the tea-time routine were not enough for one poor soul to bear; after the verbal diarrhoea of repeatedly pleading for cooked food to be consumed and hydration levels be topped up there’s yet another soul-destroying task to be endured before ‘me time’.  Yes, yes I know we’re supposed to bathe in the glow of our love for the little cherubs 24/7, 365 days per year since we’ve been so blessed to receive one from God, delivered by his almighty (and jolly painful) hand, but ‘newsflash’ that ain’t the case.

You see parenting is a double-edged sword. A minefield of seemingly limitless responsibility combined with shelving your human rights between the hours of 6 and 9 on a daily basis for many, many years.  Strangely despite this no parent would change things; so go figure!  However, we can’t be expected to not rant, whinge or cast dispersions on our front-bottom offerings in the meantime.  Nobody got time for that. 

Therefore after leaving an apocalyptic mess in the kitchen one must ascend the stairs with food-spackled children and begin ‘THE BEDTIME ROUTINE’; a title fully deserving of upper case.  Firstly the ‘big cleanse’. Sometimes a bath or shower or ‘wash, posh and dosh’ (as my sister calls it).  Whilst I attempt to separate my two to complete this quickly and efficiently it never seems to happen.  Generally one or the other needs ‘a big poo’ and refuses to go to the downstairs toilet preferring instead to sit and narrate everything else happening in a voice borrowed from Brian Blessed.  I quickly lose count of the amount of times I say these phrases:

“Get on the toilet then and quiet now please.”

“Get on the step, come on; hands.”

“Have you wiped properly; front to back?”

“Put your hands in the water; both of them, fully in, go on…”

“Leave the tap alone, stop it, just leave it alone until your hands are soapy.”

“Come on move rub them together, you’ve not made any foam, rub them together.”

Get off the toilet now, I know you’ve finished.  And stop shouting please.”

“No leave the tap on now, get the soap off, leave it on.”

“Put your pants back on.  Well get them out of the shower.  Put them on.  Not that way, they’re front to back. Just put them back on right now.”

“Turn it off; it’s spraying everywhere.  Don’t block the tap.  Just take your hands out.  Out.  Off.”

“Flush the toilet please, and please stop shouting.  You are shouting, now stop it.”

“Here dry your hands.”

“I’m not being mean. You’re disturbing the cows in the field.  Ssh.  Now wash your hands.”

“Oh for God’s sake why have you put the towel in the sink; it’s soaked?”

“It’s not funny. Come over here, dry your hands again.”

Wash your hands.  Did you flush?  I asked you to flush.  Look.  It’s not flushed; it’s still there, winking at me.”

“Right stand still while I wash your face.”

Your hands need soap, look they’re covered in food, paint and now possibly poo.”

“Get off your sister’s step please you’re eight.”

“Get off it, you’re tall enough to stand at the sink.  Have you washed your hands properly?  Let me smell them.”

“Get on the step, here’s your toothbrush now brush your teeth properly.”

“Wash your hands again they don’t smell clean and stand still so I can wash your face.  There’s no soap on it.  It can’t be in your eyes.  It’s just water. Stand still and stop shouting.”

“Brush your teeth not the tiles.  Look there’s paste everywhere.  Right now I’m going to do them.”

“There’s your brush get yours done too please.”

“It is your brush. She hasn’t used it.  Look I’m using hers, it’s in her mouth right now.  Now get on with it and stop shouting.”

“Right your done.  Go into your bedroom please.  Your bedroom.  Go on…”

“Have you finished your teeth?  You can’t need another poo…well hurry up, then wash your hands; again and stop shouting I’m  not being mean, for the love of God we’ve been in here for 20 minutes already!”

After this ‘joyous’ experience it’s cajoling into pyjama’s that invariably they ‘don’t like’, ‘are not comfortable’, ‘look stupid in’.  Like Kevin Spacey in ‘The Negotiator’ I will spend an inordinate amount of time I’ll never get back to persuade them to put on whatever I’ve put out for them whilst wondering if securing five million dollars and a private jet to take them to Rio might just be easier.  At this point; I’m usually sweating, have a mild sore throat and the unpleasant realisation that whilst they continue to live at home I’ll always have a fat belly on account of all the Cortisol my body is releasing. Now I must convince them with a nurturing, kind voice that television at this time is not a good idea and that pre-bed wind-down must only involve a book, soothing maternal voice and a cuddly toy.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BLOODY TELEVISION I SAID.  I KNOW I SAID BLOODY, I’M AN ADULT, IT’S ALLOWED.  I CAN SAY SWEAR WORDS AD INFINITUM UNTIL I KEEL OVER AND DIE BECAUSE I’VE EARNED THE RIGHT AND PAID IN OVER-INFLATED MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS, GROSSLY UNFAIR COMMUNITY CHARGES AND NO CAREER ADVANCEMENT WHATSOEVER IN THE LAST TWENTY SHITTING YEARS. YES I  KNOW SHIT IS A SWEAR WORD AND HERE’S ANOTHER GET THE FUCK INTO BED SO I CAN READ YOU A WONDERFUL BEDTIME FABLE ABOUT WOODLAND TWATTING ANIMALS BEING FRIENDS, FORAGING AND FROLICKING IN THE TAX-FREE HAVEN OF THEIR FOREST LAND.  OKAY?”

Best of luck Mummy’s…sleep well.

Sweet Dreams.

Goodnight X

 

 

Parenting Karma.


My little cherubs are a whole lot of fun!  Both cheeky and mischevious with huge grins and guttural laughs.  They’re confidence levels are high thus no human being on  planet earth is off limits to their inappropriate questions and boundary-less communication.  Any exposure to the general public can best demonstrate this; particularly in the 3-year old who only yesterday smacked the arse of an unknown Father innocently taking his child into pre-school.  I apologised wholeheartedly then went an unpleasant shade of aubergine as he explained he was afraid it was me. AFRAID?  

She also likes to enter a room; restaurant, café and announce in a very loud voice that she’s arrived: “Hello everyone!” Anyone under thirty will pretend they’ve not heard, those over sixty will generally look like they’ve just licked piss off a thistle and only the other Mother’s of ‘bright, spirited and wilful’ children will proffer a smile of solidarity and understanding. On a recent trip to Starbucks said 3-year old asked several people if they had a home? Would they like to come to her party? And that ‘she would be buying them something special!’  All relatively innocent; the trouble starts when the stupid fuckers attempt to respond.  Honestly I give them the eye; you  know the ‘wild’ one combined with a shake of the head and a wonky smile, showing only one tooth, but no they wade in; where angels fear to tread.

 

“Yes I have a home, do you have a nice house?”

“Eugh what’s that smell?  Have you poo’d?  Why your face smell funny?”

 

“Ooh a party; is it your birthday?  How old will you be?”

“You’ve got a fat, fat tummy. Eugh what’s that smell?  Have you poo’d? Why your face smell funny?”

 

“That’s kind of you, what special thing will you buy me?”

” Don’t say idiot. It is very, very bad. Don’t say stupid. It is very, very bad.  Don’t say rat. It is very, very bad. You’ve got a fat, fat tummy. Eugh what’s that smell?  Have you poo’d?  Why your face smell funny?”

 

So there you have it; you’ve been warned.  If a small child with wild curly hair and a massive ‘tic-tac’ grin enters a café to her own announcement followed by a sheepish and often haggard me do not respond to her line of questioning.  Simply smile, perhaps grasp and pat my hand and tell me “it’s okay, nothing stays the same forever, one day she’ll be the Barista here and you can sit on one of the hard to clean material-chairs and piss your pants whilst dribbling into your latte.”  And at that point; that thing that goes round, has come around.

 

Top Ten Bugbears

 

1.    A Compliment Sandwich:

A marvellous way to say something lovely followed by an insult then an attempt to clumsily retract with a further kind comment. 

“You look gorgeous in that dress, you’re not wearing those clumpy shoes with it are you? I like them but they’re quite high for your flat feet.  Lipstick? To light up your beautiful face? I’ve got some amazing cream for blackheads you know, is that a stye? Hey I bought these tweezers for you, do you know you can get a template to give you a decent brow shape? Cup of tea my love?”

2.    Passive Aggressive responses:

“Hi darling, I’m not being funny or anything but the way you spoke to me earlier could have been seen to be offensive, I’m not saying it was or wasn’t; simply that it could or could have been conceived as shitty or twat-like. But hey I understand you, I get your ‘way’, you know, but others might not and you could be perceived as a turd.”

3.    Making a children’s packed lunch:

I don’t know why this appears such a mammoth task to me.  To simply make one cheese sandwich; wrap in clingfilm then add several pre-packed items into a lunchbox, but it does.  I’m as happy as a dog licking a Chum lolly when on a Thursday night I realise the small fry doesn’t need one on a Friday.  Boom!  Like I’ve gained an extra hour and no longer got the soul-destroying task of finding the end of the cheap cling film or slicing cheese.

4.    Finding there’s no toilet roll:

Yeah, you’re sitting pretty, you’re all done and you turn to finish the transaction and find nothing but an empty toilet roll.  A cardboard tube devoid of all absorbent properties; a sign of man’s lazy attitude and thoughtless nature.  But what to do?  Call out?  Then have the awkward ‘reach’ round a partially open door. Waddle to the cupboard where the surplus are kept praying the window cleaner doesn’t put in a surprise appearance.  Towel/Sock?  Then wash, obvs. Or simply stay there until hell freezes over and you die; pretty sure that’s what happened to Elvis.

5.    A hole in the toe-gusset of your tights:

We’re all irritated when a decent pair of tights bite the dust particularly if they’re barely run in and the crotch is still in premium condition.  But Dear God when you’ve spent a day on your feet with this innate nagging feeling that something, somewhere isn’t right but you just can’t put your finger on it it’s both a blessed relief and horrific discovery when you take your shoe off and your cold, blue toe is the first thing you encounter.  Initially there’s fear; the feeling, colour, warmth will never return. Then there’s relief; the feeling, colour and warmth HAS returned!   You’ll rejoice that both sandals and flip-flops are still a summer option for you and that your balance will continue to be shit but at least you’re not disfigured.  Then you’ll mourn the loss of a perfectly good pair of tights…unless you’re the domestic goddess that will not only repair the hole but also add a reinforced patch for longevity…I’m not her.

6.    A wash disaster involving brand new underwear:

You know that smug feeling when there are several new items of underwear in your drawer; not yet worn?  M & S sale drew you in like adult equivalent of the Pied Piper with a bottle of Prosecco and bag of Kettle crisps?  You managed to spend nearly one hundred pounds on some basics and one fancy set in case a member of the opposite set ever tickles your fancy (literally) and there they sit; with pride in your knicker drawer.  Then time moves on and you finally decide to test drive the fancy set; it’s an occasion, you’re not getting any younger, you’ve been arsed to trim back and therefore there’ll be no ‘hairy frame’ to your new smalls.

You feel good in your grown-up lingerie; knowing your perfectly prepared for an emergency trip to A & E should the evening take a wrong turn or in the case of a right turn; he’s in for a treat. The next day after showering in ‘Solpadeine’ and wondering if it’s too late to write your bucket list you might toss your new set into the machine to make up a load. It’s only later when you come to retrieve the freshly spun garments that you realise your error. 

Your beautiful lingerie set; matching and everything is now grey; not dove or slate but sludgey and shite a bit like your life (you think at this point, as the excesses of the night before have put you into a negative spiral that only Pizza or chocolate can lift you out of…).

7.    Being made into a ‘Nag’:

“I’ll let you know.” 

It starts with a perfectly reasonable comment.  That person has said they will inform you of something that will ultimately affect you; how you act, where you go, what time you get there.  Then as a date or event approaches you’ll wait.  You may or may not see them or converse with them in the meantime.  You’ll attempt to bring the conversation round to the ‘thing’; the elephant in the corner, albatross round your neck but they’ll not be drawn in to comment. 

You are left waiting.  And it get’s closer, and closer.  And you’re still waiting.  And they’re strolling round like their shit don’t stink, without a care in the world; tossing their hair, throwing their head back to laugh and showing too many teeth.  And you’re beginning to feel really pissed off. 

Why won’t they tell me?  Do they still not know?  So eventually when you can stand it no longer you ask. 

“Shit, yes of course, right let me sort it and I’ll get back to you.”

Sweet baby Jesus, the hour is nearly upon us and you still don’t know.  So you now can’t plan or organise.  You’re essentially trapped.  This person is trapping you with their inability to ‘let you know’; to inform you, make you aware in order that you can make decisions, dot i’s and cross t’s.  You let it go but deep inside you’re furious. 

Another day passes and the ‘thing’ is the next day. You’re not going to ask again…no fucking way.  And then it’s out of your mouth; again.  This time their irritation and contempt is visible; hell they’re not even trying to hide it. 

“I’ve said I’ll let you know.”  But it’s tomorrow; when, when, but frigging when are you going to let me know?

And there you have it.  You are now a nag.  Twisting on and on like a broken record, and who is to blame?

THEM…they have made you into the one thing you swore you’d never be.  Bastard.  A plague upon their house and may God give them persistent thrush until the end of time.

8.    Excessive talking:

I’m not one that needs to fill a quiet space.  I feel the world is a better place when punctuated with moments of silence.  For they allow the brain to breathe; the mind to quieten and the fucking chance to gather one’s fucking thoughts when in the company of noisy fuckers.  I’m happy to sit in silent contemplation; even when sitting next to a friend or lover and frankly it’s only one that can indulge my need for peace that I’ll keep around.  Yes, yes I’m all up for good gas and believe you and me I can talk, but I like to think that what comes out of my gob is either informative or amusing.  When one can offer neither the mouth should remain shut; permanently.

9.    Sodium-lacking chippie chips:

So you’re on holiday perhaps; by the sea the sound of the waves crashing as the tide heads inland chasing away the Seagulls feasting on leftover sandwiches.  Your lover; tall, dark, reasonably handsome except for the nose hairs he appears determined not to tackle walks towards you bearing two paper parcels of lush-ness.

Inside fresh ‘catch of the day’ encased in crispy batter and chippie chips! You open the parcel with the reverence of a ring-box on wedding day and there it is; in all it’s glory, a slice of seaside heaven.  Wielding a tiny plastic fork in blue you stab away whilst simultaneously blowing until your first stack of fishy flakes and chips are perfectly poised and ready for entry.  In it goes…STOP. Where the hell is the salt?  Why in God’s name would I want to eat fresh catch of the day with chippie chips and not smother it in enough salt to induce a stroke?  I’m at the fucking seaside.  The sea is full of salt.  Why is my deep-fried sliced potato not coated in it?  I’ve been known at this point to have a paddy; spoil a perfectly good day/holiday or return stony-faced to the kiosk and raise the shaker dramatically whilst eyeballing all those within reach and mentally double daring them to take me on.

10.    Warm wine:

I’m not talking red or mulled here.  Though red can be too warm if you fall asleep in front of ‘Antiques Roadshow’ with a glassful between your thighs. I’m talking white or sparkling or horror-of-horrors champagne.  You simply can’t serve it tepid.  The bottle must be so cold that it might threaten to stick to your skin.  The liquid a few notches off freezing; cold enough to cut through your palate, awaken your slumbering taste buds and chill your heart.  Imagine; I’m off to a party, all dressed up (I might be wearing my new sale M & S lingerie before it became grey) and I’m excited for a good night out.  I’ve had a very successful fake tan, bought the host a nice bottle of wine and my eye liner’s on point.  The taxi arrives on time, the driver is a handsome fella with good hair, sparkling eyes and a horn-inducing aftershave. My favourite tune comes on the radio, the sun is high on a summer’s night and life is joyous!  Arriving at the house party, I’m handed a glass of Champagne, I take a sip…STOP.

Life’s too short for warm wine; was my overriding thought whilst sipping freezing cold Sauvignon from the screw-cap bottle in the back of the cab heading home…THE END.

 

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.