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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Down With The School Shiz


When Oliver started Reception 4 weeks ago, I was a completely oblivious to the whole school shenanigans. How will I know when he's got P.E? What will he eat for dinner? What happens if he needs the toilet? To name a few questions that spun round my mind!
But I think I'm getting the hang of this school malarkey now! So much so that I'm considering changing my name from 'The Puzzled Mummy' to 'Down With The School Shiz Mummy'
It has a certain ring to it, no?
I mean, look at what I've learned in these first four weeks!

1) They have P.E on a Monday. I know this because every Monday I have to hide with Oliver behind a car in the car park, take his pants off & put them back on again the right way round. This didn't go down too well last Monday as we were stooped behind a car and fully immersed in mission "put yer kecks on right" when said car drove off and left us stood there being watched with a few raised eyebrows.

2) Nothing happens at school. According to Oliver they do 'nothing.' They eat 'nothing' for dinner, they learn 'nothing' and they spend the entire day doing 'nothing'
So I had 'nothing' to worry about after all!

3) All bags, including PE kits and bags with bits and bobs in should remain at school. Unless you're Oliver of course and then you will have to cart 3 bags backwards and forwards each day, regardless of the rules, because in Oliver's words "they're mine"

4) You have to be wary of things you do and say to your child as otherwise they will tell the teacher on you. 
I was given a dressing down the other day because Oliver had 'grassed' on me for throwing his half eaten apple to the squirrels on the way to school. He had actually dropped it on the floor which is the reason I threw it, but apparently this was unacceptable behaviour.

5) You can write cutesy little notes to the teacher in a funky little diary that your child brings home! If you're lucky, they write one back, and if you're extra special you even get a smiley face alongside the note! It's almost like having a pen pal! I make an extreme effort not to write one every day though because, you know, I don't want to ruin my street cred.

6) Despite the fact that they do absolutely nothing at school all day, you will send your child in to school looking as neat as a pin, but they will still come out looking like they've been dragged through several hedges. Yesterday Oliver came home with wet sleeves, paint in his hair and dog shit on his coat (don't ask.) That's a heap load of nothing he's been doing right there! 

7) Like some sort of Super Heroes teachers have the power to recognise, even on the first school day, exactly who you are and which child belongs to you when you pick them up at hometime. So there really was no need to write in Oliver's diary last week that I'd had my hair cut and was now sporting a graduated bob, along with a new cream jumper I'd bought on sale for £14.99...just in case they didn't recognise me.

8) The kids eat absolutely nothing at school. At all. So it's vital that you pick your child up with sweets in your pocket in order to ensure they don't faint from low blood sugars.

That's 8 things & the list is still growing! I'm doing really well aren't i? 



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Friday, 25 September 2015

10 Things You Need To Know About Little Boys


1) They are always naked. You could be sat in an igloo in the middle of the South Pole and your little man will STILL want to strip off every layer of clothing and let it all hang out.
2) You will have to get used to being a human climbing frame. 
3) You will need to learn how to tolerate conversations about farts and poos. You may already have gained this skill prior to the birth of your child if you cohabit with your child’s father
4) They’re Mummy’s boys.
5) Tying in with point number 1, once your child has discovered they have a penis, expect them to constantly have their hands on it. Once again, you may already be used to this from your child’s father. 
6) Little boys have the ability to turn any object in to a gun, or some other weapon that they can shoot/hit you with.
7) They prefer to wear mummy’s high heels than daddy’s shoes
8) They like to pick their nose, show their bogies off with pride and then watch the look on your face as they eat it.
9) You will get peed on. Probably in your face.

10)They are AMAZING!

A Map Of Memories


I've always looked quite young for my age, which in all honestly has mostly been a hindrance. Yes, it's had its good moments, such as being able to get on a bus and pay for a 'half' instead of full fare. But for the majority of the time it's been nothing but a pain in the ass.
Having to take my passport everywhere when there's a chance I may purchase alcohol, listening to people patronisingly say "REALLY?" when I tell them my age, and having to accept that in work related situations I sometimes don't get taken seriously or with the same amount of respect as someone who actually looks 31 instead of 12. 
A couple of years back an elderly woman actually confronted me on the bus and asked me why I wasn't at school! And I've been known before now to be ID'd for the lottery.
Over the past year however, this has all changed. Now, when I purchase alcohol from the supermarket, they don't even study my face, they just scan it right through and wait for me to pay. People don't seem as shocked these days when I tell them my age, as they did in the past.
And although looking younger has always annoyed me, now I'm asking myself why I had such a problem with it. In fact, I'm quite hurt when I don't get asked for ID now. How dare they? I feel like saying "look at me! Come on look! I'm clearly under age! Ask me for some identification!"
Surely I can't have aged that much in the past couple of years?
But now, when I look in the mirror I notice that a few wrinkles have started to appear. Round my eyes, and between my eyebrows. I can see my youth vanishing before my very eyes. And I wonder where them wrinkles came from. 
And then it occurs to me. I have a child.
4 years of parenthood has aged me.
4 years of 6am wake up calls, sleepless nights, doctors apointments and hospital visits from falls and croup. 4 years of worries from leaving a crying baby with a childcare provider, and working full time to provide only the best. 
Thinking about it, I can pretty much pinpoint where each wrinkle on my face has come from.
The three lines that have appeared between my eyebrows are from the time I had to rush home from work to a worried Daddy who had turned his back for one minute and was now rushing our 2 year old up to A&E with a lump the size of a golf ball on his forehead. And the time I stood there frowning as my son threw himself on the floor in the middle of Home Bargains and screamed for some irrational reason. And let's not forget the time on the bus when Oliver was potty training, pooed in a potty in between my legs, and we had to ask the bus driver to stop so we could dispose of the pottys contents.
But the lines round my eyes are different. They are creases brought on by laughter. There are too many to count. But I could guess that a few of them belong to first words, first steps, lazy days in bed watching Disney Movies, and funny things that are said, that sound so adorable when they come from the mouth of your toddler. They are from Christmas Days, firework displays, days at the park, and birthdays. They are from love, happiness and joy.
And suddenly those wrinkles don't seem so bad.
They are a map of memories. Each has it's own story, even If I can't fully remember the details. 
And with each new memory, more will come. And I'll try and see the beauty in them.
The Twinkle Diaries

Monday, 21 September 2015

Sit With Me Mummy

Sit here with me mummy
Let me lean in the nook of your arm
Close the curtains
Let's shut the world out, so it's just us
Don't worry about the housework or making the dinner
You're always so busy
Just sit with me for a while

Stand with me Mummy
Let me hold your hand
Let's look at the world together
Don't worry about places we have to be
You're always in such a rush
Just stand with me for a while

Watch me Mummy
Let me show you this
Watch how I can do things all by myself
Don't worry about me growing and gaining independence
I'm still your little boy
You're always worrying so much
Just watch me for a while

Lie with me Mummy
Let me put my head on your chest
and listen to the cars go by outside
Don't answer your phone, or respond to that text. You're always trying to please others
But I want some time for just us
Just lie with me for a while

Hug me Mummy
Let me wrap my arms completely round you
Don't push me away because you have things to do
You always have things to do
But I need you close
Just hug me for a while

Because soon Mummy, the years will pass. They'll pass by quicker than you think. And after all that time you spent rushing about and worrying, you will wish that you had just stopped for a while. Just for a few moments. And been with me. The way I love to be with you.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Shaming Mums For Money

I'm starting to have a real issue with this new fad for 'distributing' products & building your own business from home. You've all seen them right? You probably have several friends on your Facebook who do this, and if they weren't your friend before, they sure as hell will be now in an attempt to build their network. I have AT LEAST 4 friends on Facebook who are making a career out of distributing products such as Forever Living and Juice Plus. And they're great. They advertise their products subtly, they're not overly pushy, and they really seem to be achieving amazing things within their business.
However, (you knew there was going to be a 'however' didn't you?) I have recently been subjected to distributors who are not on my friends lists, and are not so pleasant. Distributors who are strangers that randomly request your friendship. Distributors who post comments on local selling pages, or mother and baby pages. These are the ones who are really starting to grind my gears.
It appears that these particular 'business owners' are that desperate to sell their products that they are stooping to levels that are sorely uncalled for. 
Only last week was I presented with an image as I scrolled through my Facebook feed that said this:
"MUMMY. PLEASE DONT GO TO WORK TODAY
Blah blah work from home blah blah be your own boss blah blah earn up to £2,000 a month. 
BE A MUMTREPRENEUR!!!"
Have you ever in your life? First of all, I'm not even going to acknowledge the 'mumtrepreneur,' because, well, it's just fricking stupid. That's what it is! You can't just make up words to make you sound like the female, mum version of Richard Branson. It's embarrassing. And I can't bring myself to talk about it, it makes me nauseous.
Let's focus on 'Mummy, please don't go to work today'
As a Mother who works full time, I hear these words pretty much every day from my son. And guess what? They make me feel pretty shitty. They make me feel like a bad mum, and ridiculously guilty. My child says it to me because he wants to spend time with me. He misses me. It is a perfectly understandable, and acceptable thing for my 4 year old to say. It is NOT acceptable however for a business owner to say these words, using my child's emotions to convey the message that actually I should join their business. Because if I don't I'm being cruel to my child. I'm not being the best mother that I can be.
And why are they using this message? Because they'll make money by targeting a specific group of women who will be experiencing the guilt of leaving their child to go to work.
Using a mothers emotions surrounding her children is definitely not a cool way to expand and develop your business. In fact, it's downright mean. I don't need that bullshit in my life, and I especially don't need to see it presented as a meme. 
Despite turning a blind eye to this particular marketing technique I was yet again subjected to the same type of crap sack just a week or so later. Although instead of shaming mums who work, in order to expand their business, this time they were shaming mums in general to sell their products.
"IS ANYBODY INTERESTED IN LOSING THEIR MUMMY TUMMY IN JUST 9 DAYS?' The post read.
No. No I'm not. I'm not interested AT ALL. And using cutesy phrases like 'mummy tummy' doesn't hide the fact that what you're actually saying is this.
'Not only are your boobs heavy & painful, you've had 1 hour sleep in 3 days, your child won't stop crying, and you're so emotional that you just cried to the theme tune of Eastenders, but guess what? You're also FAT. You're HIDEOUS. And regardless as to whether you are Breastfeeding, low on iron, or recovering from a traumatic birth, you need to stop eating for 9 days & drink these magical milkshakes, which will cost you a months rent, but at least people won't have to deal with the mental trauma of seeing your massive post pregnancy wide load walking down the street. So it's a no brainer really!'
Women are usually under enough stress to 'lose their baby fat,' mainly due to the 
pressure of media, other mums (mum wars) and occasionally tactless family & friends, without some 'distributor' who quite frankly probably knows nothing about a healthy lifestyle before or after pregnancy, aside from the brief training they've had surrounding their product, and that product alone.
But here's the deal. We get pregnant, we get fat. This happens to more or less every woman. It's NORMAL! There's a valid, biological reason for this, and shock horror, you will probably find that if you eat a healthy diet, it will come off eventually. Simple.
What's the rush? You've spent 9 months growing a child. Your body is amazing. Look at what it has managed to do! Look at what it continues to do! Your body is beautiful.
With all the added pressure of having a new baby, fixations on body image, and everything else that comes with being a mum, the last thing we need is distributors highlighting our sensitivities and using them to their advantage.
I'm fully supportive of anybody who is an opportunist and strives to be the best at what they do. I absolutely respect women who build a business from home, and consequently get to spend more time with their families. But please! Give us mums a rest. You don't need to prey on the vulnerable (because I feel we are rather vulnerable postpartum) in order to increase your sales. 
If your product is everything you say it is, then surely it will sell itself.
If it isn't, and you feel the need to employ shaming strategies then maybe you should consider distributing something else? Or perhaps you could get a full time job and listen to your child ask you not to go to work every morning. Then you can also have the same experience of cringing when you see those same words presented in a boldly printed meme on your Facebook newsfeed.


Life with Baby Kicks

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Chilling Tales of The IPad

The iPad 
A nifty little device that can entertain your kids for hours. When you first introduce your children to the iPad you'll think it's the best thing since sliced bread. You'll catch yourself saying things like "Best present we ever bought him that is!" And "What did we ever do before that iPad"
There will be hours of fun on silly little apps, and eventually your kids will be introduced to Youtube. 
Youtube will provide a whole new world to explore. Nursery rhymes, cartoons, episodes of Barney.
Eventually you'll comment on how the iPad has done wonders for your child's cognitive skills because now they've been introduced to Youtube, they've sussed out how to choose what they want to watch through the considerate way it brings up suggestions at the side of the video they're already viewing. 
Nursery rhymes will evolve to people opening Kinder Surprise Eggs. Not exactly the most thrilling thing to watch but it allows you to wash the dishes and run the Hoover round quickly whilst your child is entranced.
Kinder Egg videos will soon progress to toy reviews, and over time your child will learn that you can pretty much type anything in to Youtube and watch what your heart desires.
This is when the cracks start to show. This is when you start having seeds of doubt about the amazing iPad. 
You've already started noticing how the iPad is constantly asking you for money. Colourful, noisy apps that appeal to your child are asking for £1.79 to download, and you're stuck with the decision as to whether you tell them they can't play on this wonderful game, or whether you allow them to have it, just this once (I mean £1.79 isn't going to break the bank is it, you tell yourself) 
You're also not blind to the manipulative way in which you type your password in to download an app, and the iPad then allows your child to download any app, regardless of price, for the next 15 minutes without needing to retype your password. You realised this when your bank statement showed multiple purchases of 'gems' and other in app purchases.
But although those issues are a hindrance, they can be controlled, and you shrug it off. The pros far outweigh the cons. The iPad is great. It really is. 
Your child may now be fascinated with a particular theme. For our son it was dinosaurs. And you'll happily type 'dinosaurs' in to Youtube, and watch your little angel squeal with delight as videos of dinosaurs fill the screen. 
But then one day, after typing in dinosaurs, and allowing your child to surf the suggestions at the side of their original video, you'll realise that by endlessly hopping through videos, they are no longer watching dinosaurs. You'll come to realise this as you're making a cup of tea in the kitchen and hear a man bellow "F@@@ you Asshole!' From your child's device in the next room.
You'll scurry in and see that your child is actually watching somebody playing a Jurrasic Park video game. You'll quickly turn Youtube off and explain that this particular video isn't for children.
You'll make a mental note to keep a firm eye on the iPad from now on. You will not have your child subjected to this!
Everything will be fine for a while.
Then one day, after typing "halloween" (your child's new obsession) in to youtube , the doorbell will ring. You'll run to answer it as your child sits and happily watches songs from Nightmare Before Christmas.
After you have dealt with whoever was at the door you'll go back to your child.
But your child will be stood up, shaking, petrified, pointing at something. At the other side of the room you will see the iPad face down on the floor. 
"Don't touch it mummy!"
Your child will warn you.
But you won't listen. You'll stride across the room to retrieve the device, secretly congratulating yourself that you bought that all important screen protector.
You'll reach down, oblivious to the sounds of your child shouting "No Mummy! Don't do it!"
And you'll turn the iPad over.
And staring back at you.
Is Chucky. 
Image taken from www.fanpop.com

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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

We Don't All Have A Great First Week At School

A lot of the blogging world this past week has been filled with new posts surrounding first weeks at school, as first time school mums share their experiences of this new phase in their children's, and their own life.
Each time I open a new post I hope to see some sign that another mum is actually having a pretty hard time, but instead I've been greeted with phrases such as "he skipped in through the gate and didn't look back" and "I've made friends with most of the mums in the school yard, and we've even arranged a day to meet for coffee when the children are at school"
I'm deflated.
As you probably know, I'm an honest blogger. I try and reach out to mums who are actually having a pretty shitty time, and need someone to say "hey! I'm having a crappy time too! Let's make sarcastic jokes about it and cheer ourselves up!"
So here is my experience of the first week of school. 
Every solitary day that I have dropped my son off, he has cried (except Friday - understandable). And I don't mean he has whimpered in a cute, adorable fashion. I mean he has screamed, kicked and wailed, in a "someone is about to murder me" fashion.
Every drop off has resulted in me throwing him at the Teaching Assistant, whilst simultaneously trying to pry his chubby little hands from my hair, skin, eyelids, or whatever other piece of my being he is clinging on to. 
I have then had to speed walk to the door, dodging all the well behaved children who are sat maturely, waiting for their toast.
It takes me every ounce of effort not to sprint at 100 miles an hour, screaming "get me out of here!"
It takes even more effort for me not to open a bottle of whiskey at 9am.
I haven't had chance to make friends with fellow parents, as I spend the entire time silently whispering mantras to myself to keep cool, don't make eye contact with anyone, don't let anybody see I'm bothered.
My defence mechanism after the whole saga is to laugh and joke about it, in a deranged attempt to convince myself that every mum must go through this. I'm not on my own.
But I am on my own.
Why is this only happening to me?
And if it isn't just me, then why is nobody else talking about it?
Somebody talk about it! Please. 
I can take the fact that on his first day he had a toilet accident. I can take the fact that this morning we had to stop for a wee in the woods (a ploy by Oliver to stall the inevitable school drop off), I can take the fact that he's a summer baby and is a little less developed than some of the other kids, and I can take the fact that other people are looking at me and my son as we are peeled away from each other inside the classroom.
I'm used to it all. Oliver has never been easy. You only have to read through my past posts to realise this.
What I can't take is the feeling of utter isolation. Nobody is speaking up. Nobody is saying "oh my child does that too! Thank god I'm not the only one!"
So I guess it's up to me to speak up.
My first week of school has been hell. I'm close to developing a twitch.
There must be someone else out there.
Anybody?
Speak up!
The face says it all!

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Monday, 14 September 2015

Screw You Scooby Doo

say stupid things to my kid.
I can't help it. 
Some people would frown upon it and say that I am lying, or filling his head with nonsense. Some people would laugh & say I'm igniting his imagination.
Walking through long grass I will often say things such as 'watch out for that crocodile over there'
And we like to go on long walks through Jurassic Park (The woods) looking for dinosaurs whilst I play a youtube video of different dinosaur noises on my mobile phone, safely hidden in my pocket.

Someone on our street just happens to have a camper van with a striking resemblance to the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. And one day I casually mentioned that Scooby Doo must be staying on our street in order to solve a mystery. Of course, being 4 and completely gullible my son believed every word and commented on the Mystery Machine on our street every day, asking where Scooby Doo was and what he was doing.

So imagine my delight when we visited a fair being held nearby and I saw somebody in a full on Scooby Doo costume. It completely fit in with the tale I'd spun! 

My son sat on my shoulders as Scooby Doo pranced about the stage to the theme song, and listened to me gasp that this must be the reason he'd been staying on our street! He was making a special appearance at the fair! Oliver was so excited to see one of his heroes that when Scooby had finished his performance and waltzed off the stage, he ran towards him, desperate to tell him that he had parked his Mystery Machine right outside our house, and he'd been watching it for him.

But then something dreadful happened. 
I can still see it now playing in slow motion in my mind, like a sick dream.
Just as Oliver was approaching Scooby Doo, the man behind the mask reached up towards his head. I saw Oliver stop, and look up in bewilderment as Scooby Doo literally ripped his own head off, to reveal a measley, semi shaven, perspiring man underneath, who looked at him and grunted.
Grunted.
He actually grunted.
If I hadn't already seen the world crumble in my 4 year olds eyes (and if they didn't have the police there, doing tours for the kids round their vans) I would have grabbed him round his scraggy little neck and throttled him. I quickly dragged Oliver away and tried to distract him with a donkey that had just trundled past us, but I could still see him straining his neck to try and make some sense out of what had just happened.

The whole way home we didn't speak about Scooby Doo. It was too raw. I couldn't find the right words. We walked down our street and passed the Mystery Machine without a glance. 

Days passed. 
His Scooby Doo figures lay in the toy box, untouched. 

One day we took a walk out to the park, and passed the Mystery Machine. 
"I wonder if they ever caught that Villain, Oliver?"
*Glance*
"I'm guessing Scooby Doo is still here because he's trying to catch the man who was pretending to be him at the fair"
*Glance*
"Maybe if we see Scooby we can tell him what the man looked like, to help catch him"
*Smile*
I'm not sure if he believed me. He probably saw my words for exactly what they were. A desperate attempt to win back some of his imagination. To claw back some grains of his innocence and childhood.

It isn't the end of the world when your children realise that some things aren't real. Dinosaurs don't really exist in the woods, Mummy isn't really a Dinosaur Hunter, and kisses don't actually have magical healing powers. But 4 is too young! He still has sleepless Christmas Eves to look forward to, listening for sleigh bells, and wondering how Santa manages to get round the whole world in one night. 
Believing in these things is magical. He has the rest of his life to know the truth about the world. 
Now is not the time. 
Image taken from http://picturesforcoloring.com/2012/03/scooby-doo-coloring-pages/
Mummascribbles

Sunday, 6 September 2015

'The Whine' Apocolypse

Quick! Shhhh! Over here! I don't have much time. I need to tell you my story before I lose my sanity completely and the monster I am plagued with is free to roam, without an utter word of warning to my fellow man. 
Listen. And listen good.
There are plenty of phases through a child's life that fellow parents prepare you for when you have a baby.
When they begin to crawl/walk you hear expressions such as "oooh they'll be in to everything now! You'll have to have eyes in the back of your head!"
You'll hear horror stories of the terrible twos, the tyrannical threes, and the fearsome fours. And you'll be warned of irrational tantrums and 'meltdowns'
One phase that slips the net however, in terms of fellow parents warnings, is the phase of 'The Whine'
Let me tell you something now. Sleepless nights, teething, potty training, tantrums and irrationality are NOTHING compared to 'The Whine'
'The Whine' is the equivalent of nails being scraped down a chalkboard. It could actually be used as a form of torture. It would be sure to get better results than any other technique used.
When your child masters 'The Whine' you can pretty much guarantee your teeth will be itching from the minute they wake, until they fall asleep at night.
There are no warning signs of 'The Whine's' appearance. It can appear at any second, and can last between 12 seconds or 12 hours. 
It can come in any shape or form. It may appear as a simple request for something,
"Mummmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyah I waaaaaaaannnnnntttt a driiiinnnnnnnnnnkkkkkkkkah'
Or it may appear as a complaint,
"I wannnnnnteeedddd that toyyyyyyyyyyyah and heeeee tooook ittttttttttah'
It involves speaking in a high pitched voice and dragging out every word for about five seconds, ending with an 'aah' sound.
I can't tell you where 'The Whine' comes from (although I do suspect Caillou and Peppa Pig are partially responsible) and I can't tell you why it appears suddenly, turning your child in to one of the most irritating creatures to have ever existed. 
All I can tell you is that it exists. And you should be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
It lurks. It watches. It waits.
Then it pounces, and sucks every last drop from your soul. 
You can run. You can bury yourself under 1000 Supernanny books. But the truth is, 'The Whine' will find you. You can't escape. 
I've been living with 'The Whine' for 2 months now. I can't remember life before it started. I'm unsure when it will end, or if it ever will. But I have to have hope. Hope that life will be good again.

Good Luck

Mummascribbles
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