Monday, 19 December 2011

O Christmas Tree!

Oh, God, no.
It's that time of year again.
When the children assist in the Decorating of the Tree.
Help. Me.
Not that I am Anal by any stretch (sorry) of the imagination, but I DO like my decorations to look sort of Nice.
About this time, up goes the tree, and I grit my teeth and clench buttocks as Children, with squeals of joy, ruin the Bastard Tree in about three minutes.
A cluster of glittery sort of horrors are placed all over it, while endless small (WHY?) bits of tinsel are draped round and round and ROUND it until the green of the tree is totally obliterated, and it resembles a rather unpleasant sort of Naff Lady Costume in Panto.
And the baubles.
Oh, God, don't let me even THINK about the Baubles...
Each January I surruptitiously chuck Nasty Baubles in the bin, and breathe sigh of relief that NEXT year we will have tasteful, modest, rather Chelsea looking decorations on our tree.
And what happens the next December? Eh?
Blasted teachers (am one of them) send home tatty old bits of tinsel and tired felt, wrapped round lavatory rolls, while Proud Child bears this treasure home, and carries it, with great Pomp and Circumstance, to the tree.
And hangs the Horror on it.
I want a modest little ensemble of lights and glass and colour. I want people to Oooh and Ahhh as they first take a peek of it. I want to sip champagne, with the fire roaring, the tree twinkling, and friends chatting.
I want, I want, I want....
And so, last night we decorated the tree. And I clenched said buttocks while children bickered over where to put tinsel, lights, baubles and general crap.
When I realised that they actually were Doing It Right.
Middle Son instructed younger two to stand back while he draped lights round and round. Standing back to check they were even.
Youngest draping tinsel randomly round anywhere, and the others telling him to stop, as they hadn't finished doing the lights yet.
On finishing the lights, out came the tinsel.
Oh, Ker-ist.
Round the tree the tinsel went, children standing back and looking at their handiwork as they decorated.
Up went lovely bright red baubles, then gold. Always being checked they were in the right place.
'It's looking good,' commented Middle Son occasionally, to himself.
And it was!!!
The fairy lights twinkled in all the right places, the glass bits danced with light, the shiny bits shone just in the right places, and when the tree was done, and we all stood back, we gave out a unanimous, Ahhhhh.
Because it was beautiful. Truly.
And I felt ashamed of my horrible pre-conceived ideas of how Crap my children were at decorating trees and such.
Because they are rather Superb after all.
And we spent an evening in the company of the most beautiful tree in the world, with the firelight glancing off tinsel and glass, and glinting most satisfactorily through my glass of wine.
Hooray!! Another milestone passed in this Parenting Malarkey.
Chuffed, I am.
Really Chuffed.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Insect Days

Had the most glorious time today.
It was an Inset day (Insect day) and after asking Youngest where he wanted to go, he announced, without any hesitation at all...
'DFS please.'
Had thought that he might like to go swimming/bowling/cinema/beach (please, no, too flipping cold) or maybe a little hot chocolate with a bucket of marshmallows on the top.
"OK!" I said. Brightly. Tightly.
And we did.
After a mighty nice breakfast at our local deli... BEFORE which Youngest complained long and hard about WHY should we have breakfast somewhere else and WHY didn't we just stay at home and WHY should he go when he didn't want to, etbloodycetera, and AFTER which Youngest said, WHY don't we come again tomorrow, and when I said No, quite firmly, due to the eye watering bill, he said but WHY until I quietened all of that sort of questioning with a Look.
Anyway, and so to DFS we went.
For God's sake.
And, once again, DFS poured its magic over us.
No, really!
We started with the Crap Sofas by the entrance (bright red and rock hard, euurggh, we all said) and moved on to the Floral Section (swirly flowers and shiny hard legs, eurrgghh, we all said) And then we moved on to the Electronic Chairs.
Awesome stuff.
You press a button and watch as your feet slowly appear from the floor until they are well above you and all you can see is the ceiling. We all sat in various violently coloured Electric Chairs (as Youngest called them) and waved cheerily across the yards of carpet and wandering Pensioners. (I have to watch that, as Pensioner will be me in 9 years)
And we ended up on a vast thing, about 15 feet long, presumably a sofa, but really, you would need a Hangar for that piece of kit...
We all sat in a straight line on this huge slice of Upholstery, when along came a rather keen shop assistant, eyes on stalks, as he probably thought we would buy the bugger.
But I said conversationally, nice sofa, how much, and he lit up like a Christmas Tree, and told us everything we never wanted to know about sofas, until our eyes glazed over and we began to swoon with boredom.
And so we left the Boring Man, as Youngest so aptly described him, and rejoined the normal world outside the shop.
It was fun, though, and we might make another trip next Insect Day, weather permitting.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

You know when they say that you look like you've been through a hedge backwards?
Well, that was me.
You see, I actually went through a hedge backwards.
Clearly I had to go forward in order to be able to reverse the process and go backwards. I could have quite easily turned around, and gone back through the hedge forwards again. Only I couldn't, you see, as I had to hold my dog by his tail, in order to prevent him running after a man and his two dogs along the lane.
And so, there I was, hair attached in agonisingly painful fashion to rather a lot of brambles, in the MIDDLE of our hedge, and wishing that I had NOT let the dog out just before I had my nice cup of tea, well deserved after SIX hours of very dull ACCOUNTANCY work. For God's sake.
And as I clutched the very end of said dog's tail, I found that my grip was not going to hold.
Dog (Milo)gave an almightly yelp and leapt out from our hedge, into lane, bounding around with two rather cross looking dogs, and an equally cross looking man. Utterly unable to follow, due to thick branches, brambles and nasty looking nettles, I stayed put.
'Ooops!' I said, in conciliatory tones. 'I let go of my dog's tail! Silly old me!'
And I leaned forward, peering through the hedge, trying to catch eye of Cross Man, while tearing brambles off hair, clothes and face. Mad Woman of Borneo-style.
Cross Man, after aghast looks in my direction, started shouting at his dogs, and so I joined in and shouted at mine.
None of them paid the slightest attention, as it was clearly more fun sniffing bottoms and comparing notes.
When all of a sudden, Milo (my dog) came belting through the hedge, tail between his legs, turned around and prepared to go out again.
'Oh, no you don't!' I said, breezily and confidently.
As Milo went straight out onto the lane again.
This jolly little ritual went on for an agonising couple of minutes, while I alternated between yelling and wheedling. Just what Dog Owners Shouldn't Do.
Finally the little bugger (Milo, not the Cross Man) belted back into the hedge again. With an almighty leap in his direction, I grabbed him by the collar, and speaking through the large branch now actually lying across my face said,
'Got him! Thanks so much! Off you go!' sort of stuff, and to my intense relief, Cross Man started off up the lane, dogs trailing behind.
Thank Buggery for that, I thought.
And then realised that I was completely Stuck.
Brambles were pinning me down on every side, and one large branch had me braced against another.
Flipping Wonderful.
And so I Went Through a Hedge Backwards. Slowly, hair tearing out, face scratched, nettles doing their damndest to prickle and sting as much bare skin as they could.
And as I finally prised myself loose, Milo darted forward. Again.
'OH NO YOU UTTER UTTER BUGGER NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!' I yelled, and lurched forward, JUST grabbing his collar and.... yes..... Going Through The Hedge Backwards Again.
I dragged my Bad Dog into the house, slammed the door and went to check the damage in the downstairs loo.
Peering into the mirror was a Sight to Behold.
My recently cut hair was combed forward by obliging branches and twigs, giving me the look of a teenage Rock Star, only with mad eyes and nettle stings on cheek and forehead. I had sticks clinging to shoulder, a large leaf of indeterminate origin, hanging from my left ear, and my beautifully clean shirt was blackened and green in equal measures.
In short I was a shocking sight.
And so, sipping my tea a few minutes later, having tidied up a bit, my children looked at me in amazement.
'Mummy, what HAPPENED to you? You look like you've....'
None of them could find a suitable comment.
So I finished it for them.
'...Been through a hedge backwards?'
Bloody dogs.

Just too cute, eh?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Summer Holidays...

I forget.
Each Summer holidays I forget how wonderful they are, how sodding HARD they are, how full the days, how LONG some days, how short some blissful some moments (beach, sun, children playing and me reading 'The Help') and how BLOODY AWFUL other moments ( beach, sun, children playing and me freezing my tits off in an icy wind, longing for home and tea)
I forget the highs and the lows, the tumbles and the scrapes, the giggles and the rows. I forget how FULL each moment is when we are all together, eating our breakfast, arguing over the cereal choices (low and v. v. boring) bickering over what to do that day, chuckling at memories of the previous day.
I forget the bliss of lie-ins, as children crawl out of bed early and watch TV or else lie in themselves, and we all emerge, tousle haired at about 9.00, clustering round the kettle as I make tea to take back to bed.
Forget the guitar teacher coming at 5, and realise with horror several hours later, as we amble slowly home from the beach, pink faced and glowing from hours of body surfing.
Forget timetables and lists.
Just being. Day after day after day.
Each year I forget this. And each year I remember, with heart stopping gratitude, that the Summer holidays are here again.
Until the cat is sick over the children's dirty washing, or voices are raised for the 5th time within an hour, over a RABBIT RUN for God's sake, and I wish fervently for September, and the bliss of an empty house, and lists, and timetables.
But for now, I am loving it.
For now, this is, I think, heaven on earth.
(Ker'ist, children all in tears about how to bounce on trampoline. Lunch not made and Husband fed up with ironing each night as I moan how little time there is to do everything. So hard to fit it in between my morning cup of tea, tennis and swim on the beach... )

Saturday, 2 July 2011

I'm Still Standing....

My new Best Friend. In the middle.
My old Best Friend. On the left. Husband.
And WHY didn't I take my camera??
WHY did I just have a crappy old mobile phone to take the PICTURE OF SUCH AN ICON?
And, no, I DON'T have a rather unpleasant stain on my left nipple. It was a VIP sticker, and bloody hard it was to rip off the shirt after we got home, I can tell you. (Gosh, what HUGE bazookas I seem to have. They aren't that big, honestly. It's the light. Ho hum.)
A REALLY fun evening. In Hove Cricket Ground, of all places. Meeting Elt (all his friends call him that, you see, and I AM a friend now that I have met him for at least 3 minutes) and rocking along to his music for almost THREE hours. I didn't know a single word of any of them, but know all the tunes, and so drove everyone mad around me as I 'yelled' all the songs without One Single Accurate Word of the Lyrics.
And then we got home, and the cat was sick.
Oh, well.
It was fun while it lasted.
THANK YOU to my darling Brother-in-law and Sister who donated these wonderful tickets to us... just because.
They ROCK.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Flossing 'eck.

I bloody hate visiting my Dental Hygienist.
This is because am not Particularly Partial to having painful exploration of mouth, and hearing Tutt Tutt'ing as rubbery fingers make their squeaky way round my molars, forcing my mouth open in position that is, quite frankly, wide enough to fit a small automobile in.
My teeth are, after all, My Teeth.
I think my Hygienist thinks they are Hers.
She almost weeps as she stabs at them with what appears to be an Extremely Sharp Utensil.
'Well, have you Flossed?'
Have I 'eck.
Since my last visit to her six months ago I flossed like Mad Woman for six weeks. Urged my husband to Floss. Friends to Floss. Strangers to Floss.
I was Floss Queen. Smug too. Looking in mouths for signs of Flossing.
'Ah.' I'd think. 'That Person Does Not Floss. Look at those Yellow Bits.'
Well. Time passed. And the flossing phase was over. Each night I'd look at that damned little plastic floss container and feel Floss Guilty. To make up for it I'd swill a bit of Mouth Wash round the old tombstones. Grin maniacally in the mirror. Grimace to show the teeth at the back.
And not Floss.
But now its time to see the Hygienist Again.
Feel like rather Cross and Grumpy Adolescent.
Have dusted the floss container and flossed last night. Sulkily.
And again this morning.
HATE going to my Hygienist.
I go next week.
Bet she Sighs Heavily and asks,
Well, have you Flossed?
Have I 'eck.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Daughters... a mixed blessing?

Half term was upon us and we had done Bugger All.
'What are we doing today?' would ask Daughter, aged Almost Eleven, twiddling with her hair and looking bored, even though it's only 7.05 am.
'Um.' I'd say. Which is all I seem to say when asked that question.
That question makes me paralysed with Crap Mother Paralysis.
When you can't think of a good answer because you don't want to do ANYTHING today except eat breakfast, drink coffee and read the paper. And then go back to bed.
Had no courses booked.
Had no friends booked.
Had nothing planned, bar visiting family over the first weekend.
And was loving it. Except for Bored Daughter asking what we are doing today, we would have had rather a nice time.
I had thoroughly cleaned the kitchen.
I had thoroughly cleaned the top of my desk, papers not needed any more chucked out, and the rest put carefully away into the right files.
Except for Bored Daughter.
Who managed to instill panic that am Crap Mother by her tones of quiet resignation that today would be another Boring Day.
Oh, dear.
So. What to do?
Had asked her to ring her friends and arrange a play date.
No friends are around, it seemed.
Had asked her to get her swimming things out, and we would Go Swimming with her brothers.
'But you will hate that,Mummy,' she says.
'No, I won't,' I lied.
She looked miserable AND bored at the same time. Amazing combination.
We decided not to go swimming.
I arranged a riding lesson for her at the end of the week.
'But that's ages away,' she complained, looking irritated, miserable AND bored.
Again, impressed at the mix of emotions.
And so I arranged a little visit to one of my friends, with loads of children.
She hated it.
'They were all much younger than me, Mummy. It was SOOO boring.'
Aside from beating her with a concrete pavement, was flummoxed on what to DO with the girl. Until I realised that maybe, just maybe, she needed a hug.
And so she got one. Arms tight round her, and breathing in her hair type of hug.
And I felt her misery and boredom leaving her, as she hugged me back.
'Sorry, Mummy,' she whispered.
And I kissed the top of her head.

And here she is... throwing herself into a lake after a sailing lesson... (NOT booked this half term)

Monday, 23 May 2011

Yet Another Lavatorial Tale

It was a blissful momentary thing. It seemed that my work as a Mother was done. Complete.
I had no more need to chastise, clean, order around or shout.
This morning, was running around as normal, shouting at people (mostly my children) and ordering people (mostly my children) to get lunch boxes, PE kits, coats (bloody cold this morning, eh?) book bags, heads, etc into some semblance of order so that we could get them all to school...
When I smelt it...
A shiny, green, fresh sort of smell, not often found in my house, unless instigated by me...
Toilet Duck.
Yes, I smelt it... an aura of Cleanliness and Order, of Shiny Enamelled Lavatories, of Non-Crappy Loo.
One of my children had Actually Used it.
To clean out the loo after Performing.
The window was open, the loo shiny new, and the sweet sweet smell of Toilet Duck flooded the senses. (and the bloody Bowl, must have used half the bottle)
I tell you, my work is over.
The lessons over the last 22 years are finally coming to Fruition.
'Have you Flushed?'
'Is it clean?'
'Can my friends sit down on the seat without Fresh Urine all over their legs?' ('Ewww, Mum, you are DISGUSTING.'
'Not half as much as you PEE'ING with abandon ALL OVER THE WALL.')
But no. Not any more, it seemed.
One of them could handle Toilet Duck. Appropriately.
And this would surely mean that the others would too.
Take me home, James.
My work is done.
And then, this evening. As I sat at the computer, in that peaceful moment after the carnage of tea and washing up and more shouting, was interrupted in my blissful reverie by child crashing their way into the downstairs loo.
Smugly waited while they Went. And smugly waited until they had finished.
Smugly went into loo to inspect Pristine Lavatorial Dwelling.
Oh. Shit.
Literally. Round the bowl and even on small pieces of loo paper on the floor.
An entire tree's worth of lavatory paper piled up, meringue style, almost to the top of the loo. And the stench! Brought tears to the eyes...
Back to basics.
Work as Bossy Cow of a Mother is to continue...
(Incidently, what the HELL does a DUCK have to do with lavatorial cleanliness???
Why not Toilet Tortoise? Or Lavatory Limpet? Or Bog Bat? Grrrrr)

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Hungry Caterpillar

Bugger it.
It appears I have reached new depths.
Was taking my two younger children to school this morning. Beautiful May sunshine, albeit rather chilly at 8.45 a.m. Kissed the children, said 'Morning' to anyone within reach, passed the time of day with a friend and talked about nothing much, and was about to walk back home when same friend plucked a small Green Caterpillar from my rather natty new cardigan (another story) and deposited it into my hand. I rather gingerly held it on the end of my index finger, thanked her politely (she paid absolutely no notice, never does) and started off down the road, sticking out my index finger as if playing guns with Youngest.
Not really liking this small Green Caterpillar being on the end of my finger, tried to shake it off. No luck, so flicked the slimey green bugger off into the hedge.
'Eww!' said a passenger of car sloping past (so slowly could hear the news on the radio through the open window)
Ewww?? I thought? Why?
And then realised.
They thought I was flicking off a bogie. Snot. Nose Mucus. Greeny. Any other delightful word that describes such an odious function. Flicking it OFF my finger and into the hedge.
In full sight. A Great Big MOVING Green Bogie. (anyone on the other side of the Atlantic? A Booger to you)
New depths.
I wanted to shout after the disapproving backside of the car 'Hey YOU! It's not a bogie, it's a CATERPILLAR!' but thought, quite rightly I think, that this would have made me seem even more weird.
And so I'll simply kill my friend and then let things lie for a while.
Or else pluck a caterpillar from HER natty cardigan (not QUITE as natty as mine) and place it just below her nostril. With Superglue.
For God's sake, WHY ME.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Rude Talk

I think our neighbours might be a little unsettled by some of our loud Garden Talk recently. I yelled across the garden to Middle Son just yesterday, as he was helping Husband to tie up some raspberry canes,
'I think that they are finally DOING IT!!'
And Middle Son yelled back, 'Who? Who?'
And I yelled back, 'Hang on, can't quite see... aha, it's ROSIE!'
And Middle Son yelled back, 'Hooray, dear old Rosie!'
And all was silence again, except for the recently arrived swallows, chattering and arguing about who should build the nest. Or something.
And a few minutes later, Middle Son yelled back to me, where I was weeding a particularly obstinate bit of rose garden,
'He's at it again! Only this time it's Tilly!'
'Hooray,' I yelled back, 'Did he last any longer this time?'
'Um. ' (yelled, quite hard to do really) 'About 5 seconds.'
'Oh. (also yelled, also quite hard). Good for him.'
And again, another five minutes later, 'He's at it with Honey now!'
'Hooray! Such a good cock!'
You see, we haven't had neighbours for ages. By neighbours I mean the house down the lane, about 500 yards away. Only their garden stretches up to the corner of the lane, on the other side of the road from us. And their children have a trampoline, as I can hear the boing, boing noises of children hurling themselves up and down when I put out the washing. Slightly disconcerting to hear neighbours when you never did before. And significantly disconcerting to know that THEY can hear EVERYTHING as I can hear Every Breath of theirs. Every single WORD is as clear as a bell, as they jump up and down on that trampoline of theirs.
Oh, dear. They will think we are Hardcore Deviants.
YOU think we are Hardcore Deviants?
No, no! I am talking about our new cockerel. Timmy. Red plumage, thick as shit, but goes like a train.

Which is just what we want as CHICKS are longed for. And we all know that No Shag means No Chick.
And so we will continue to call out to each other our observations of Timmy the Cock, because each Act is a possible Chick, and that is MOST Satisfactory.
Although, clearly, not to the neighbours.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Messing About In Balloons

Great excitment with balloons the other day.
No, not the Banging sort of balloons. I mean the huge ones that soar over the land during the early evening. Attached to large basket. With people in it.
Carried along on the gentle breeze. Soundless, except for the hugely breathy sound of the balloon filling with hot air.
Saw one recently. We were staying in Essex with my parents. On the farm. We had killed yet more time between lunch and tea by doing things like jumping up and down on a huge pile of sand. Tea time was approaching when...
Saw a Balloon! On the horizon. Very low. Our conversation going rather like...
Ooooh, there it is!
Oh, no, it's not!
Ooooh, yes, it is!
Oh, it's disappeared behind the hedge!
Ooooh, it's come back up from behind the hedge!
Sort of thing.
Well, imagine our excitement when the balloon drifted slowly downwards behind the trees... within what seemed like yards.
Quick! we all yelled at each other. Run!
Children leaped on their bikes and tore off down the track. Parents heaved themselves into Landrover and moved off at less hectic speed.
And me? I ran. After the children, down the track.
Reached the field where we thought the balloon might be. Panting somewhat.
Wasn't. Near.
Was far away across several fields. But definitely on our land.
We all watched.
Balloon was definitely Going Down. Would dip down, lurch up, dip again.
And then, all of a sudden, down it Really Went. The big roundness of the balloon deflated slowly and slid onto its side, looking like a curious sort of whale, floundering around on the field.
Huge excitement. We all shouted at Pa, my father, to drive us NOW to see the landing... what was left of it.
Pa drove us, very slowly, across the fields.
Can't go too fast, he explained. Might get a puncture.
Faster! Faster! we yelled. Desperate to get there and See The Balloon.
After an agonisingly slow journey with an awful lot of, PLEASE GO FASTER, PA! finally arrived at the Scene.
Curious, balloons are. Huge and elegant in the sky, where they belong.
Beached whales on the land. Where they don't.
We sat on the gate of the field and watched all the palaver of undoing ropes and unhitching other bits. Not to mention the several square miles of silk.
When all of a sudden arrived a filthy dirty landrover which hurtled its way along the road. I could have sworn the vehicle itself was furious. The driver was. Goodness me. Out he shot. Yelled obsenities at the man in the balloon.
Things like,
@What the f**??ng hell do you f*??!ing think you're f**??*ng doing with my f*!!?ing animals with that f***ing thing floating in the f*??!ng sky. Kind of words.
And with one more look of loathing he threw himself back in his landrover and drove off.
Stunned, we were. Hoped that Youngest hadn't heard. Judging by stunned look on his face, he had. Would look forward to him repeating that word to me at some later, highly inappropriate moment.
Man in balloon then called over to us,
'Are any of you the farmer of this field?'
Pa, my dad, strolled over to upsidedown balloon and Balloon Man.
Explained that he was actually the father of the farmer, and tut tutted about the state of the field. After the landing.
Balloon Man offered Pa a bottle of whisky.
Pa said, in nice clear tones, that actually he was owed £50 by any balloon that landed on the farm.
Poor old Balloon Man. He didn't stand a chance what with Furious Men in Landrovers (We found out later that he had had his animals severely frightened by Balloon overhead) and Pa, who was insisting, with great courtesy that he paid what he owed.
Balloon Man was a Brick. As they say in Enid Blyton books. Baffingly.
Said he would pay up. Apologised for state of field. Took details of my brother, whose farm it is, and let the children clamber all over the basket of balloon. They had loved the whole drama, getting closer and closer to balloon and basket, trying to listen in on the excitement.
Balloon Man answered all sorts of questions about Balloons.
What happens if you crash?
How do you jump out?
Where do you go to the loo?
Is there food?
Sort of thing.
The basket was Most Strange up close and personal. Sort of hessian looking with neat compartments for everyone to stand up in, so that no one falls on top of anyone else. The children looked rather like knives and forks in an upright knife and fork basket, neatly arranged and in the right place. Rather thought it would be nice to have basket at home in the house to neatly arrange children when desperate for peace and quiet.
As sun sank below the horizon we settled ourselves back into the Landrover and drove home, back across the fields, for tea, chatting madly about rude men in landrovers and balloon baskets. Killed the time nicely before tea.
And so, next time the children see a Balloon, hovering above the sky line, they will be able to say knowingly to each other,
Been in a balloon.
Which won't half impress their friends.
Will save a penny or two as well. They often comment about how much they'd like to go in a balloon. Well, they have now.
Ticked that box.

Monday, 4 April 2011

My Mother

My Mother
Well, the best mother in the world, of course.
Well, because she listens.
And when listening to someone's tale she will say,
'Stop! Wait! Start at the beginning! You parked the car...'
And will then Really Listen. Right to the very end. And beyond.
And you know she's listening because she likes to know all the details. And asks for them.
Which is pure gold.
She cares.
When I am sick, she rings.
'Darling, how ARE you?' she will ask.
And keep asking, until she knows I am OK again.
She goes to see darling
Persil, aged 92, who used to baby sit for me when I was little, every single day to check she is fine. Rain or shine.
Takes her out for elevenses, or a little trip to the village shop, recently re-opened, to enormous excitement to our family. We all arrived the morning it opened, swelling the crowds (one other person) and bewildering the shop assistant with exclamations of joy, 'They've got TEA BAGS!' and 'HOORAY! I can see BAKED BEANS!'
Thrilling, though, when the nearest shop is miles away and is Tesco. Yeeurch.
My Mother loves.
And tells us so whenever we need to be told. And when we don't.
She laughs.
Fruity, deep laughs or 'I'm going to be sick, I am laughing so hard' or 'Oh, God, I'll wet my pants' laugh. She has a way of telling a story that gets you giggling way before the punchline. By the time it's reached, you are in agony and are begging her to stop.
She weeps.
Copiously. She gets cross with herself for the tears that get in the way of what she wants to say. And wipes them away. Before weeping again.
She understands.
Always. Knows what's going on in that head of mine. And helps me tease out the muddle. So that I can see straight again.

My Mother.
How I love her.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

By the Skin of his Teeth

Youngest is awfully good at saying he had Done His Teeth.
And not doing them.
Every morning I ask him, EVERY MORNING,
'Have you done your teeth?' as he comes down the stairs to have his collar straightened. It gets stuck under his school jumper. This also happens every morning.
'Yes,' he beams. Every morning.
'Show me,' I say. Every morning.
And Every Blasted Morning he does a Half Bare'ing sort of smile. Showing bits of teeth, but not the full package.
'No, you haven't, go and do them again.'
And EVERY CHUFFING MORNING he sulks, and goes up the stairs to do them. Again.
Although he hasn't done them AT ALL.
You would think after almost 7 years of Teeth Cleaning, of which the last 700 mornings he has done it on his own, with me peering into his mouth to check out the missed bits, that he would have Copped On.
Oh, well, at least I don't have to check his bottom these days. You know, the 'Have you wiped your bottom?' scenario, when they say they have and you know, you just KNOW that it hasn't been That Successful.
And you check.
And you thank the Heavenly Stars above that you did.
Because it is Carnage.
So checking a mouthful of teeth isn't so bad really. It's at the right end of a person. Can't really go wrong.
Teeth? Or 'Wiped' Bottom?
Absolutely No Contest. Teeth every time. I avoid bottoms at all costs these days. Apart from my own.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Hysteria during Revision

Am vaguely aware of Middle Son revising for his Geography Exam, as I examine my emails, tea all finished and washing up complete.
'Ecosystem,' he is muttering to himself.
Occasionally he asks me a question, but I am too engrossed in a new email that am not really hearing him.
'Just a minute,' I say.
When suddenly, through my consciousness, I hear him say, quite distinctly. 'Orgasm.'
What the ****?
'Dead orgasm,' he is muttering now.
'Darling,' I say, brightly. 'Don't think you have the right word.'
'Huh?' he grunts.
'ORGASM!' I yell, trying to Get Through fog of incomprehension.
Middle Son's eyes widen like an animal caught in head lights. There is a brief moment of brain ticking.
Then the penny drops.
Helpless giggles begin.
'Don't write that in your exam,' I weep, trying to get the words out.
'Nope!' he whimpers back, holding his stomach.
'Dead orgasms!!' I manage to voice, hoarsely.
'Living orgasms!!' he claws out, with effort, between bouts of laughter.
And so it continues.
Until we have exhausted the orgasm jokes. And then, we settle back into Sensible Revision Time.
With just the odd chuckle or two to relieve the monotony of memorising Food Chains and Herbivores.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Puppy Love

'Oh, it's just like having a baby again!!!'
Says Everyone.
About having a puppy.
I laughed.
I did!!
Because I thought to myself, WHY?
It's a Puppy. Not a Baby.
But. I. Was. Wrong.
A puppy is NOT a dog. A puppy is a wee'ing, poo'ing, whining, biting, taking everything away'ing, BABY.
And not only that, but as I sit next to his cage at night, waiting until he drops off (yes, I do, I really, really do) and thinking to myself that this is JUST like being a mother and waiting for that baby to GO TO SLEEP so that I can finally put my oh, so weary head on my deliciously comfortable pillow and disappear into the haven of unconciousness...well, as I do that, I am KICKING myself for not doing this sooner.
Because I am loving every minute.
Because although Milo is just like a baby in some ways, (wee, poo, feeding) in all other ways he is a delightful, gallumping, sweet natured, DEAR little thing.
And the best thing is that, unlike new mothers, I DON'T have anything pouring out of every orifice that I possess. (not ears, I seem to recall...)
I DON'T have breasts the size of two magnified melons, each one seemingly plugged into a painful and persistent electric shock treatment, just as the baby latches on, yet again, for another agonising feed.
I am NOT stupified by a 48 hour labour, the equivalent of a triathlon. Twice.
My stomach is NOT a quivering and wobbling landscape, trying to escape from Maternity Jeans at every movement.
No. Really! HONESTLY!
On the whole, I am just as I was a week ago, perhaps a little weary from getting up in the middle of the night, to potter outside with Milo, while he wees and does his stuff. And then waiting for him to settle, before I nip upstairs to bed.
But also very happy as we wander down the track behind our house, with Milo in arms until we are off the public footpath and we can finally let him go, and let him gallump and gambol next to the children.
Who LOVE him.
I mean, who COULDN'T!
I mean, LOOK at Milo and Eldest. Ad-or-able. Both of them.

And so, yes, it IS just like having a baby again.
Only without the enormous breasts, sleepless nights and preoccupation with Orifices.
Mind you, looking forward to a whole night's sleep. Tell me, how does that feel again?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Meet Milo. Small, round and gorgeous.

Look who's arrived at our house.
Name of Milo.
Howled throughout the whole of the first night. Thought that would have to return the little blighter.
Slept until 5 am this morning, which was a vast improvement.
Children are totally in love with him. Well, who WOULDN'T be?!
Youngest says things like,
'It's all different now, Mummy. All changed. The cat's food is Not On The Floor anymore.'
And sighs deeply, as if all the weight of the world were on him.
But this IS the biggest change in his life. Huge.
And we are all adjusting to the strangeness of a new member of the family who pees everywhere and bites little holes in our shoes.
But OH! We love him.
Hope you do too.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Little Tale about Nothing in Particular

'Mummy, Mummy, Mummy,' started Youngest, yesterday after tea. Was still struggling with the clearing away of mountains of plates and cutlery, forcing the buggers into the Dishwasher, as I like to fill each and every Available Crevice with plates and cups and saucepans and lids and big spoons that won't fit into that absurd Cutlery thing that's supposed to fit all the Cutlery. But never does.
'WHAT?' said I, somewhat Exasperated, as can't seem to finish a Thought in my Head at the moment, let alone a Simple Task about the Home. 'Can't you see I am already busy? Trying AS USUAL to do too many things at the same time??'
You can see what a marvellous mother I am.
I can see Youngest thinking.
'I can do two things at once,' he announced.
Was a little Doubtful. He is after all Male and six years old.
'Yup,' he said. Confidence oozing out of every pore.
'Tell me what two things you can do at once,' I muttered, from the bowels of the Dish Washer, forcing that last fecking glass in.
Youngest almost Preened with Pride.
'I can make a Poo AND a Wee come out at the same time.'
Oh, Dear.
Could see my giggling mirror image in the dirty reflection of saucepan lid, winking up at me, as I am crouched over my machine like a paratrooper over land.
Heaving myself out, Youngest asked when I would be ready to play with him.
'In a minute!!' I said, in that time honoured way, crashing dishwasher shut and hearing the familiar whirrings and splashings to indicate that the cycle had begun.
'Oh.' he said.
Eeyore-like with Gloom.
There was a Very Long Silence.
And then he said,
'I'll just stand here then and Stare at the Floor.'
Oh, for God's sake. Talk about Martyr. Clearly action was needed and Fast.
'Nearly done! I boomed, in Cheerful Mother mode, when she knows that Playing with Children is Inevitable and there is NO MORE procrastination available.
In desperation I tidied the Fairy Liquid.
I could see Youngest in his droopy pose in the reflection in the window.
Staring at the floor.
I pulled myself together.
And took my Youngest into the warmth of the sitting room where we played Racing Demon for half an hour before bath time.
Which is crap with just two people, but Youngest doesn't mind.
It beats staring at the floor.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Neat and Tidy. Not.

Yesterday I very Carefully cleaned out a Wooden Box to put things into. Even lined it with paper, and left it, nicely waiting, by the back door.
Thought that I might put the children's boots into it.
Or maybe the dustpan and brush, used every flipping day to remove detritus from kitchen floor.
Or how about all the cat food, nice and tidy?
Fond thoughts of getting some sort of Order back into the house after the madness of Christmas.
Fond thoughts of getting some sort of Order back. Full Stop.
Only, when going to the back door this morning, to put Said Children's Boots into nice clean box, I find the cat, sitting in the box, weeing.
Not just a bit of wee. I can see it slowly puddling around the edges of the box, and starting to trickle towards the cat bowl. The paper inside the box has turned yellow and is starting to stick to the box.
'Terrific,' I say. To no one in particular.
And the Fond Thoughts of getting some sort of Order back into house after the madness of Life in General are forgotten, as I tip cat out, still weeing, and take box to end of garden and hurl at compost heap.
And back into the house I go, to clean up the Wee.
Which, of course, is the story of my life. As you all well know. Wee or Poo. With the occasional detour via Vomit or Blood.
Dammit. I was SO looking forward to that neat box containing something and creating a little bit of Order. Like Other People's Houses.
Back to Plan A.