Tuesday 30 March 2010

Mummy Olympics

With only 2 years left until London 2012 I thought it was time to introduce the Mummy Olympics... Here is the daily schedule:

Early Morning
  • Toddler clothes wrestling - get that reluctant child into the clothes you want them to wear
  • Primary schooler drag - pull the other reluctant child out from under their duvet
  • Laundry scoop & lift - pick up all those stray dirty clothes and carry down to the washing machine
  • Multiple stair climbing - make many trips back upstairs to find various items kids and yourself have left in the bedrooms / bathroom
  • Car seat wrestling - get the toddler in the car with seat belt fastened in less than 20 seconds
Mid Morning
  • Supermarket car park dash - chase the escaping toddler around car park before they get themselves run over
  • Toddler tantrum wrestling - hold that child tightly until they stop screaming about whatever it is that you won't let them have
  • Shopping weight lifting - get those heavy bags into the trolley, then into the car, then into your home
Lunch time
  • The snatch - grab those flying items of food or cutlery before they hit the floor or you
  • The juggle - see how many items your kids have collected at school you can carry back to the car without dropping them
  • Toddler chase - get toddler to bathroom, return toddler to bathroom, return toddler to bathroom - repeat until teeth cleaned, toileting completed and in bed time pants
  • Toddler return - carry toddler back up to bed, carry toddler back up to bed, carry toddler back up to bed - repeat until they give up
  • "Mummy I need" relay - take up forgotten water bottle, take up forgotten reading book, take up forgotten cuddly toy - repeat until it goes quiet
  • Grand finale - see how fast you can open that bottle of wine and collapse on the sofa...

Can you think of any more events to add to my list?

Monday 29 March 2010

Fantasy daydreams!

I have been tagged by Super Single Mummy to talk about 5 fictional characters that I wouldn't mind having a closer acquaintance with.... as she tagged me last night I've had a lovely time dreaming about my fantasy dates. Some of these you may also agree with for the Plastic Joy Awards:

So in no particular order my hot fictional men are....

Dr Who as played by David Tennant. Would love to go for a ride in his TARDIS.... 

Maybe he could take me back in time to see Mr Darcy as played by Colin Firth. Then I could learn to dance and wear those gorgeous Empire Line dresses whilst staring in to those smouldering eyes...

Or even Richard Sharpe as recreated by Sean Bean... I would love to watch him showing off his sword fighting skills....

And then a quick zip forward to the 1930s to go searching for treasure with the hunky Indiana Jones with my childhood crush Harrison Ford cracking his whip....

And then rounding off with a visit to the 1960s to help Mr Bond track down some villains... as long as it was in the Sean Connery era... 

Fantasy daydreams over so its back to the day job of being a mummy and I hand the baton over to:

Thursday 25 March 2010

My brighter side!

A lot of this blog is doom and gloom so I'm glad to have been tagged by Potential Mummy B for a meme on what makes us happy! This therefore forces me to do a post on things that brighten up my life. I hope that some of these will strike a chord with some of you..

So what puts a smile on my face and a glow in my heart?

  1. Snuggles in bed with my gorgeous children. There is something about their warm little bodies cuddling up to me under the duvet.
  2. The sound of my children giggling and laughing at whatever has taken their fancy. It's spontaneous and natural and wants to make me join in.
  3. A mug of freshly brewed real coffee, especially if it's been made for me by my daughter as I'm lying in bed on a Saturday morning. This is my favourite Emma Bridgewater mug which sums up 2 of my loves in one:
  4. Reading a good book, especially historical fiction or fantasy, without any interruptions. Normally this only takes place after the kids are in bed.
  5. A glass of fine wine such as Merlot, Pinot Grigio or Champagne. Preferably in the company of someone else who appreciates good quality vino.
  6. Spending time with the people I love and care about and who love and care about me. No need to act or pretend just enjoy their company.
  7. A walk in the countryside with just the noises from nature and the sight of the beautiful British landscape.
  8. The way my kids run to greet me when I pick them up from school / nursery.
  9. The feeling of climbing into bed when the sheets have just been changed. They are just so smooth and fresh.
  10. Getting a good report about my children from school. Knowing that they are doing well makes me feel like one very proud and happy mummy.
OK so now I hand over the baton to:

Monday 22 March 2010

Potty Training 101

OK before I either put my son back in nappies or superglue him to the potty (only joking on that one!). Can anyone give me their top tips on getting my big boy to get all his pees & poos in the right place? He is 3 and a 1/3 and he can get it right and is just choosing not to...

Putting a McLinky on here so you can post your tip or a link to your own blog if you have already posted on there!!

Sunday 21 March 2010

I'm forever blowing bubbles...

... pretty bubbles in the air....

My day started really well and I was feeling very positive as I was snuggled up in bed with both my kids telling me You're the bestest mummy in the world. The kind of phrase that makes you feel loved and doing a good job! Unfortunately some of the usual problems soon reared there ugly head and I was scooping the poop off the laminate floor...

I really found it amusing watching my kids going hell for leather on the Wii Family Fitness Trainer game. They had no idea what they were doing but were very competitive! Unfortunately 3 year old did not like losing some of the matches and dissolved into tears so it was time to turn off the Wii. We switched to playing the Very Hungry Caterpillar game. Trying to stop the cheating was interesting but we all enjoyed it until the 3 year old lost! Luckily kids took themselves out in the garden at this point...

A friend then popped around to pick up a surplus PC and some old kids games. All part of Operation Downsize which seems to be going slowly! After lunch the lucky eBayer who bought the Happy Land set came to collect so that's more space and the kids have some more spending money. By this point O is bouncing off the sofa and has yet again presented me with a package in his pants...

So spotting that the sun had finally come out I suggested a trip to the park. It always amazes me how stressful it can be to get 2 small people out for a fun trip ... Any way despite O's attempt to run across a zebra crossing without looking we made it to the park. E had asked to bring the bubble kit down so I chilled out blowing bubbles for O to catch whilst E climbed around.

We just made it to the cafe as it was closing for the kids to have the obligatory ice cream and me a hot chocolate. Then we discovered that the park closes it's loos at 4 leaving E desperately trying to find enough cover for a sneaky pee! It was a lovely spring afternoon and the park was heaving so why do they shut the loos well before dusk?

We bumped into another mum from nursery and her lad so the boys played football whilst we gossiped. Then E & O managed to fall out as she pinched his ball. They were friends again within 2 minutes and O got upset if E didn't hold his hand - the joys of siblings!

I think the park must have made for a nice calm evening as we had a relaxed tea whilst watching Monsters Inc and then O went to bed like a dream. He even shock horror asked to get back on the loo to do a poo. Much hugs and congratulations over that. Then to top it all he managed to get his own PJs on which has been another battle ground. Story & kisses and he was off without protest...

Big girl time was nearly a disaster as we heard a worrying noise from dining room and discovered NIbbles had once again escaped from her cage! Luckily she had dropped off the table straight into a waste paper bin and was easily retrieved. She & E had a lovely time on the sofa until it was bed time. Another smooth bedtime for my big girl leaving me free to finish the chores.

I thought at one point today that it was the kind of day that might reduce me to tears. But the simple pleasures in the park of blowing bubbles seemed to resolve the problems between O & I. Not counting my chickens but here's hoping that 1) he decides that keeping mummy happy is his best option and 2) I can crack his toilet training...

Friday 19 March 2010

Joined up government?

You would think that in this modern computerised world that once one government department clicked the box marked "Income Support" that all the other government departments would automatically update their records? But no that would make life too simple...

HMRC needed 2 telephone calls to change my tax credits. Didn't the first person actually click the right buttons?

To get Free School Meals for my eldest I had to fill out another form and give into the school. This then has to go to county hall and only gets approved a month later when the computerised records do get transferred to their system.

The NHS sent me even more paperwork to fill in to claim Healthy Start Vouchers (£3.20 a week towards fruit, veg & milk for my 3 year old). Then to top that it has to be signed by a health professional i.e. health visitor or GP that has given you advice about your child.I haven't seen any of the current HV's so tried the GP. GP hadn't heard of the scheme so wouldn't sign. Off I go to where I hope I can find an HV.... only 1 in the building and she has never met me so has to give me some advice on potty training just to sign the form!

At least I already had the NHS Exemptions card from getting Tax Credits the first time. This did come through automatically but quite a while after credits approved.

The government wonders why people don't take up all the benefits they are entitled too! I can tell them one thing if it was all done in one place and automatically triggered all the benefits then people will take them.

Rant over now and I guess I am lucky that I get all these benefits from the government but just wish it cost less in time & money to get them!

Thursday 18 March 2010

Getting back in control

I realise that, understandably, I probably haven't been as strict a parent as I need to be over the last 6 months. My kids have taken advantage of this and I need to get back to being the only boss in this house!

My 3 year old has lulled me into babying him to get attention. He can get partly dressed by himself but I've been doing it for speed, at nursery he is expected to sort out more of his own clothing. Sometimes I've spoon fed him a meal to get him to eat when he is perfectly capable of doing it himself. I think his toilet training issues are also just him getting me to have to do things for him. There is also the issue of him getting into my bed in the night leaving me with less sleep.

So I have to put my foot down and get him back to where he was for both our sakes.I have started returning him to his own bed when he appears in mine, this seems to be working as I've had more child free nights! The dressing thing may take longer as sometimes there isn't time to get him to do it... I know I need to allow more time with a 3 year old..

Toileting seems to be improving and I just need to stay on the ball to remind him to go. The potty is almost permanently in the front room but its better than puddles & piles of poo! He does seem to react well to stickers and positive praise. Let's hope we are on the home leg on this one.

He has been less aggressive and destructive but still finds it hard to share me with his sister or the telephone or any major task! I'm sure he will just grow out of this with plenty of quality time to make up for the rest!

As for my 6 year old she has definitely turned into a right bossy boots and doesn't like to listen to me. I have to really put my foot down to get my way and sometimes even then she goes behind my back and does it any way! One battleground is the TV in my bedroom which I regularly find her watching without permission. I keep hiding the power control but I am going to have to remove the TV as the only way to ensure she can't watch TV whenever she wants.

She thinks she can do lots of tasks which are actually beyond her. I have to strictly enforce the rules on which kitchen appliances she can use - coffee machine & toaster - everything else is forbidden. At other times she reverts to babyish behaviour and asks me to do simple tasks for her. The joys of 6 years of age and not sure whether to grow up fast or be babied!

She is very loving and brings me breakfast in bed most weekends! I am very proud of the fact she is doing brilliantly at school and won her poetry recital class at their Eistedfodd (got to watch the repeat tomorrow morning!). With her I just need to keep her focussed on things that she can do and enforce the rules on the things she shouldn't.

I have two gorgeous children and compared to many they are little angels. I just hope for all our sakes I can retake the upper hand!

Tuesday 16 March 2010

The Gallery: rainbow colours

Just in time for Week 3 of Tara at Sticky Fingers gallery I snapped something I had never seen in my life before..... a horizontal rainbow:

Shame I only had my mobile phone on me as it was an incredible sight and had all the school run mum's staring!

Monday 15 March 2010

Secret Post Club

This month I signed up for Heather from Notes from Lapland's brilliant Secret Post Club.

The idea being to share a little love with a fellow random blogger by popping them a parcel in the post. This makes for a nice surprise arriving at your door...

Mine turned out to be from Amanda at Flying Start Magazine she had checked out my profile and saw that I like puzzles so I now have a challenge of solving this:

come back later and see if I can:

  1. work out how to take it apart 
  2. can put it back together

Apparently the instructions are hidden in the box so I need to keep them somewhere safe.... but not look!

Thanks Amanda should keep me out of mischief for hours :-)

Sunday 14 March 2010

Mother's Day Musings

Today was bound to be strange as the first one as a single mother and not part of a couple. So to a large extent it was going to be very much like any other Sunday as it isn't the case that Mother's Day sends out magic vibes and stops all toilet training accidents or children's tantrums for the day! (Wouldn't it be good if it did?) But I tried to relax more and let myself enjoy the positive sides to my beautiful children and not let the negatives get me down...

It started off well with a small body appearing at first light saying:

You're the best mummy in the whole wide world

then quickly snuggled back to sleep letting me sleep until nearly 8 AM - almost a lie-in! Then my big girl popped up and headed off to get the breakfast in bed sorted (I had laid most it out last night!). So we all tucked into croissants on my bed whilst they watched CBBC and I read a novel.

Afterwards it was time to open all the "secret" cards & handmade gifts that had come in from school, nursery & playgroup. There is so much more pleasure in receiving things they had made themselves:

The kids actually managed to mostly get dressed by themselves whilst I showered. Every outfit I tried on O said:

Mummy you look beautiful

That lad will go far! E just told me things were too plain and I needed something pretty to wear... Then not too much arguing to get them out of the house for church.... I got a lovely bunch of daffodils presented to me by E on behalf of church. 

Back home after coffee and E gets a quick lunch ready.... 20 minutes later we sit down to an interesting mix of cold meat, cheeses, crackers, dried fruit, crisps & chocolate cake... Tasty but not very healthy!

I will gloss over O's meltdown as he had recovered by the time we were well on way to the Old Town. It was lovely watching my kids walking along the pavement hand in hand - I just wish they were always that nice to each other. Across the top of West Hill and the sun came back out before our descent to the yummy bakers at the bottom of the hill.. Cakes eaten it's straight into the funfair for a few rides. Joy on the kids faces as they whizz around on the carousel...

After being in town for 7 years I finally take the mini train to the Aquarium - quite a fast ride and we have it all to ourselves! Almost as fast around the aquarium - good job we are members...  Then a stroll along the promenade to the Chinese for an early tea. Kids love the buffet style and I just need to get O to be more adventurous than sausages & chips ;-) Funds raised by Operation Downsize now depleted to we walk home & curl up on the sofa watching original Black Beauty (Not Sean Bean version).

At this point things go back to normal so I will draw a veil over them....

To sum up I really enjoyed my day with the kids. I'm sure future Mother's Days will be more relaxing as they get older and more independent. But I will always treasure the innocence of their handy work..

And not forgetting the fact my STEP daughter called me to wish me Happy Mother's Day! I love her so much too xx

Thursday 11 March 2010

A perfect day (in my dreams!)

After yesterday's downer post I thought I would invent one about my idea of a perfect day or how today should have gone... at the end I will tag a few people so you can also let us know about your ideal imaginary day....

I slowly realised that I was awake and was all on my own in my nice big, comfy bed and it wasn't time to get up yet! The kids had let me enjoy the freshly laundered sheets by myself and I had slept straight through the night. Shortly afterwards the radio clicked on and I snuggled under the duvet listening to Moira Stewart reading the news on Radio 2. A few minutes of Chris Evan's show and I was ready to get up and face the day feeling refreshed after a full night's sleep.

I wandered down the hall to the bathroom and on passing the kids' room I called to tell them it was time to get up. There was no moaning & whinging just two bright & bushy tailed children keen and eager to start the day. By the time I had had my nice hot shower the kids were both dressed and ready to go down for breakfast. E went and made me a fresh coffee from the Tassimo whilst I got myself dressed. Once downstairs everyone quickly chose their breakfast and we were all ready to leave on time for school with all required bags, coats etc.

A smooth drive to school and we got there in plenty of time for the kids to let off steam in the playground whilst I had a good natter with the mummies & grannies. My daughter readily went into class with a quick kiss and O and I headed back to the car. Another quick chat in the car park whilst O balanced on the wall then it was off to softplay for some fun.

O was straight into the ball pool leaving me to enjoy a good workout with Active Hastings. Afterwards we had a snack before chasing each other around the slides & climbing frames. Then a nice healthy lunch before one last play and off to nursery. Through out all this there have been no toileting accidents.

Time for me to go home and catch up on housework and paperwork without any children needing my help. Plenty of time to get on Twitter & Facebook and catch up with people.

Still feeling good I head off on school run to get the kids. E happy to see me and chats all the way back to town about her day. On picking up O I only hear good things about him playing nicely, not being rude and going to the loo.

Back home the kids play nicely together leaving me plenty of time to cook a healthy dinner. We all sit down at the table and no-one objects to anything that is on their plate and tuck in gusto. After tea time for a bit of TV before starting bedtime routines. O has a bath, several stories and then goes straight off to sleep. I then have some time with E to listen to her read and to play a game before she too goes off to bed like a dream.

It's 8 and I'm still feeling energised enough to sort out the kitchen and get the laundry on (not as much as normal as Oliver has been perfect with the loo!). Then time for me to curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine, my laptop and some TV...

Bliss! Shame it hardly happens that way... now over to:

Potential Mummy B at A Baby Adventure
Adrenalynn at Rainy Day

tell us your perfect day and then tag 4 more peeps ;-)

Wednesday 10 March 2010

The Gallery: 70

As part of Tara's Gallery here is my contribution with the number 70:

My grandparents 70 years ago last November on their wedding day!

Not waving but drowning...

This post is inspired by Josie at Sleep is for the Weak's Writing Workshop this week.

After some previously stressy posts such as worrying about my kids and having to deal with vicious comments from other people last week I thought I was turning the corner on this divorce and single motherhood thing...

I was feeling a lot bouncier and positive and getting a decent night's sleep. Things were moving in the right direction. The big downsize mission was moving on nicely with 8 bags of clothes donated to charity and at least 1 bin load of useless stuff had been removed. My friend Suzanne is a life saver and comes round once a week to do a little de-clutter mission. So all starting to look better and I was feeling better...

... then came last weekend. It started going downhill with the table top sale from hell. I had my kids "helping" to set-up. This involved E deciding how everything should be laid out and O deciding that several toys needed rescuing or playing with. Then it transpired that O had a poorly bottom and needed several emergency clothes changes. Things would have been fine if I'd actually sold enough to cover the cost of the table.. I was so stressed by it all I thought I'd have a nice relaxing meal in Sainsbury's to recover.... wrong... my kids misbehaved getting me all those looks from the older generation that signal disapproval - well they were tired and despite the snacks I'd taken they were hungry. Turns out that someone spotted me that only vaguely knows me and she felt sorry for me!

Sunday started off well with nice trip for E to shoot her longbow at Bodiam Castle with the Medieval Siege Society . This was her first competition and with only 3 in her class she was guaranteed a prize. Unfortunately I mistakenly told her they won Easter Eggs. Despite her longbow breaking in round 3 she did really well with a borrowed bow and deserved to win a prize even if only 3rd. By then I'd realised Easter Eggs were raffle prizes not archery prizes so bought tickets. As the prizes were won E got closer and closer to the table until there was only 1 egg left to win.... when another child won she burst into tears and I had to promise to buy her one on the way home. As the kids were tired after full day out I thought a quick pit-stop in the NT cafe would be a good idea - how wrong could I be... There was a major screaming tantrum from E over sharing a cake with little brother (there was only a little choice left in the cafe). They screamed at each other being bloody idiots and how much E hated O. I apologised to the nearest table having once again picked up nasty looks from around the cafe. Turns out they were relieved it wasn't their kids who had had to be removed from the gift shop for tantrums!

Things have been more relaxed since the weekend but the fact that the kids have both taken to getting in my bed in the night again - especially O - means I'm lacking a good night's sleep again. I know that tiredness doesn't help me get through things feeling positive so I hope I can get O to stay in bed. O has also been quite vicious towards his sister and she is losing a lot of hair to his pulling and biting.

The downer of failing to sell the kid's Happyland on eBay hasn't helped either. I did my market research but have had to try again. I just a) want less stuff in the house b) want the kids to have some money saved for when they need things in future and I can't afford it.

Hopefully this is all just a temporary set-back and by next week I'll be in a better frame of mind.

Thursday 4 March 2010

The beauty of blogging [Guest Post]

This a guest post by Potential Mummy B from My Baby Adventure. As part of Little Mummy's  Guest Post Day. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did and please visit her blog.

I’m new to blogging and already I’m captivated by it.

As a writer I’ve always put pen to paper, especially in the darkest hours of my life so far. I find it therapeutic, cathartic.

But when, on Christmas Eve, I suffered an early miscarriage, my world took a turn for the painful. During this time of sadness my writing was one of the things (apart from my wonderful husband and my amazing family) that took my mind off my loss and made me focus on all that is positive in my life.

I kept a journal of my feelings and began to dig around on the Internet for ways of expressing myself that was more befitting of the current century (not that I don’t love my parchment, feather and ink pot!). I’d never considered blogging before but, after some investigation, I discovered a whole new world out there. A world where everyone has a voice and that voice is valid.

It didn’t take me long (with the help of my longtime buddy, Google) to find a platform from which to broadcast my particular strain of voice.

I love to express myself, exercise my opinions and explore my feelings on paper. Whether anybody reads my ramblings or not was not my immediate concern (though of course I’m eternally grateful that people actually do!). The real reason for my blogging (and I think for many of the other bloggers around me) is to work through thoughts, put feelings into words and thereby make dealing with them all the clearer and more logical.

And yet, by entering into the wonderful world that is blogging, I’ve discovered a whole new community. I’m still lingering on the outskirts of that community, like the new girl at school, nervously twiddling her fingers and scuffing the toes of her shoes on the ground while she wonders what might happen if she strays too far into the playground.

Will people point and laugh and pull my metaphorical pig tails? Will people ridicule my writing, my thoughts, my feelings? Or will I be accepted with open arms and invited to partake in the rituals (Memes, vlogs, carnivals and workshops) of this magical, mystical world?

Having taken my first few tentative steps into the blogging world, I’ve learnt that sharing and spreading comment love is the currency of acceptance here. The only emotions I’ve encountered since venturing in have been positive ones. Support for my writing, recognition of my emotions and confirmation of my feelings by so many lovely people.

And imagine my delight when I realised that this mysterious, dizzying world isn’t just about writing about your own thoughts, your own life, your own misgivings and successes. It’s also about delving into other people’s lives and drinking in life, love, fear, joy and rants through other people’s eyes!

This is a school I shall enjoy attending. I can’t wait to learn more things, explore more worlds and create more blog posts.

I love this blogging world that is the ‘inter-hyper-mega-global-interweb’ and all that it entails!

Thanks for reading,

Potential Mummy B

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Kiddie comedy

Yesterday we were driving home after collecting kids from nursery & Beavers respectively. Big E in the front next to me, little O in the back. Out of nowhere this little voice pipes up from the darkened back seat:

E you've ruined my life

For one thing where did a 3 year old pick up that phrase? For another what had E done to deserve it? 

What have your kids done this week to make you smile?