Pages

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Wobble

Today I had a wobble.
I haven't wobbled in a while.
But today I well and truly wobbled.
A wobble by the way is when you need the world to stop for a while, so you can hop off, perhaps travel back to good times when you enjoyed spontaneous drinks in the pub with friends, or even had a bath without someone shouting the name you now go by, 'Mum'.
I think the wobble was initiated by my five year old screaming all round Sainsbury's because I wouldn't buy his grumpy ass a blind bag (a shitty bag that costs the world and has a surprise toy in it that's never the toy they want and causes a strop to ensue.)
The wobble was more or less in full force by the time I got to the self service check out and was trying my best to scan a bastard coupon that got me £4.50 off my shop; with the 5 year old still screaming, now joined by his 2 month old sister, and a shop attendant who was supposed to be there to assist me yet was leisurely chatting to another shopper.
By the time I got home I was ready to quit this 'mum' thing. I didn't know who I was anymore. Whenever I turned round there was someone behind me. Someone telling me to look at something, or someone crying. I was a rope being pulled In a tug of war between two siblings. I had never felt more lonely in my entire life.
The wobble does that to you. Makes you feel like the only mother on this earth despicable enough to actually want 'alone time'
Time to just be the person you once were. Time, so that for 5 minutes you don't feel like a fat frumpy fuck who does nothing but nag.
The wobble may tempt you to tell your partner. But how the hell could they understand? If anything the wobble makes you resent them. Because they get to be 'them' without another set of limbs hanging off them. And by voicing your feelings brought on by the wobble, you will only sound irrational, ungrateful and like a massive twat.
Which is what I did. Obviously.
And do you know what? I'm not bothered! I'm GLAD I wobble! Because without it I wouldn't get to have that moment of clarity which comes an hour or so later. Tonight it came in the form of a smile. As I stared in to space, daydreaming of Leonardo Dicaprio coming and sweeping me off my feet, I glanced down at my 2 month old kicking away in her cot. She had apparently been staring at me and and as our eyes met she gave me the biggest smile I've ever seen her do.
And Mum was back in the room.
I again realised how lucky I was to have these kids. How I had two people who loved me unconditionally. Even if I do wobble. They don't care. And did I honestly and truly need to be anyone else? Because to the world I may just be a mother. But to my children I am everything. And how amazing is that? Pretty fucking amazing.
Mummascribbles

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Elf On The Shelf.

It's the run up to Christmas, and lucky us, the shops have been playing Christmas songs since the moment the clock struck 12 on Halloween. Not a problem for some folks, but for parents, a fucking Nightmare. Not only do we have to put up with the "How many sleeps?" question every single solitary day, but we also have to sit back and watch as our children's attitude becomes more and more shitty with each passing minute.
As I walked down the street on a frosty day at the back end of November, my 5 year old wearing a Santa hat and snapping my head off at every opportunity I decided something had to be done.
I'd heard rumours of a magical Elf who visited children in the run up to Christmas and reported their behaviour to Santa every evening. I decided I needed to get me one of those Elves! I was going to get that little arse hole in check if it killed me.
And I believe kill me it will.
For it appears this Elf is not really magic at all. Well, it is, but it's me that has to do the magic. Every night. For a month. Merry Christmas.
Still! It will be worth it to see the look on my sons face, and will save me a fortune in the Prosecco that I'm forced to drink daily due to his crappy behaviour.
After purchasing an Elf, a magic door, and composing a letter from Santa to my son telling him how god damn awful he was I decided I needed some ideas of what my Elf could get up to and decided to enlist the help of a friend (she knows who she is but let's called her Dee)
Dee is the Mother of my sons best friend and Elf on the Shelf extraordinaire. She added me to a secret group on Facebook for Mums whose children were lucky enough to have an Elf visit them at Christmas.
And it soon became pretty apparent that most Mums were in fact doing this for fun, not in an attempt to blackmail their asshole kid.
The more I delved in to the group and was notified of members comments the more I started to become a little 'elf conscious (see what I did there?)
These Mums didn't just have an Elf door that they'd grabbed from Card Factory for £1.99. They had Elf 'areas.' Yes, that's right! AREAS!! Debbi (oh, I mean Dee) herself had set up a 'construction site' in preparation for her Elfs arrival and was planning to put up a miniature fibre optic Christmas tree for him as well as a flashing wreath on his door.
(It actually looks amazing and I'm totally fucking jealous. But let's not tell her I said that.)
Some mums had designed an entire garden outside their Elf door, with a snowy post box and everything!
There were pictures of Elves floating around in hot air balloons in the living room, discussions of 'North Pole breakfasts,' and fizzy pop labels to make 'Elf Punch' and 'Reindeer something or other.'
There were links to shops on Etsy who sell Elf props and Elf clothes.
And I am totally not cut out for this shit!!
I wanted my son to behave! I didn't think I'd have to put this much effort in.
Sigh.
The Elf will arrive on Wednesday 7th December (because I'm a sucky Mum whose Elf is arriving a week late because she's still waiting for it to be delivered from eBay! Ahem! I mean Santa is still awaiting a signal from me that we're ready to welcome our Elf).
 It looks terrifying on the picture, so I'm now holding out hope that instead of my son behaving because the Elf is magical and does super cool things, he will behave because the Elf looks demonic and he doesn't want it coming in to his bedroom at night. Staging the Elf in that scenario would probably be a lot more fun!
No?


This blog has been verified by Rise: R013e576ff807146501eb086f64c8a247

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Sleeping Through The Night

Two questions you will definitely get asked by somebody as a new mum
1. Is the baby good for you?
2. Are they sleeping through the night?
The answer to question one is always going to be no. The baby is not good for me, because when you ask this question your definition of 'good' means you are in fact asking "Is your baby not acting anything like a baby?" And of course this is ridiculous considering they are a baby.
Whilst answering question one, you may find you link in by answering question two before even being asked. Because again, we seem to define a baby being 'good' with them sleeping all night long. The pressure for mums to have a 'good baby' who sleeps through the night is immense, and hitting them from every angle. Friends, family, articles on social media (you must know that the internet is aware you're sleep deprived and desperate), apps, books, and even your Health Visitor.
At a recent appointment my Health Visitor was rather concerned that at the grand old age of 5 weeks, my daughter was still waking every 2-3 hours through the night. Apparently we needed a plan to fix this! Immediately! I'm not quite sure why. She asked me how often she fed through the night. I gave her an honest answer. I never once said I had an issue with the amount of times she woke. And if I don't have an issue, I'm finding it hard to understand why she does? Or anyone else for that matter.
It made me feel quite sad. Sad that new mums were being bombarded with the thought that their child acting like a baby was a problem. Sad that those mums would then go down every route they possibly could to fix the problem, and then feel hopeless when nothing worked. Because it's just not reality.
Which is why instead of blogging about 'how to get your child to sleep through the night with ten simple steps!' I decided to blog about how my baby is definitely not 'good' through the night, and why I like it! Well, not like it but...you know. Im trying to see some kind of silver lining here guys!
1. She pulls cuter faces at 1am, 3am and 5am than she does throughout the daylight hours. Only I get to see these. It's just me and her. These are moments that I'll miss when she no longer needs me physically or emotionally through the night
2. You can learn a host of new things whilst feeding your child through the night. Last week, whilst scrolling through Facebook in the dark in an attempt to keep myself awake, I came across an article that stated yawning is actually your body's way of cooling your brain down when it's overheating! Of course I now think my brain is about to explode every time I yawn, but STILL! Amazing! Think of all the new knowledge (useless facts) I'll have gained by the time she actually does start sleeping through the night! I'll be like a walking encyclopaedia!
3. Regular waking through the night can protect your child from SIDS. Night nursing can also help to develop your child's sleep cycle. So by waking regularly my darling daughter is in fact preparing herself to do the exact opposite, when she's learned how.
4. The twilight hours are a great time to do online shopping! There's nobody around to tell you that no, you really don't need that and yes, you should put down your credit card! In fact, this point alone may actually be a reason to gently prod your child awake, around 3am, just so you have an excuse to buy lovely shit. Can't have them sleeping through and ruining the retail therapy can we?
5. I know I'm following my baby's lead, instead of forcing her in to some regimented routine devised by the likes of Gina Ford and other such Ass Hats. My baby knows best. She is A BABY! She momentarily lives purely through instincts. She is totally incapable of acting a particular way because of 'behaviour.' At least this is what I believe. You're free to believe what you choose and that's why you parent your child and I parent mine. And that's fine!

But let's face it. It is pretty shitty being dragged from your slumber every few hours, relentlessly. I truly believe that the ageing process officially starts when you have children. I definitely have a noticeable amount of new crows feet of late. BUT! The point I'm trying to make here is IT'S NORMAL!!
Your baby NEEDS to wake. They need YOU! The sooner you embrace night waking the sooner you will accept that it won't be forever. Baby's are cranky, miserable, irritable, sleep robbing bundles of pudge. But that is kind of what happens when you don't have the ability to talk. You can't say "hey mum! My tummy kind of aches and a breeze went past my toe!" So you have to cry. At 3am. Exactly 11 minutes after you cried the last time.
But don't worry Mummy.
You were made for this.
You'll survive the lack of sleep.
I promise!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Let Me Just Warn You


A few hours after you have given birth, been plonked in a wheelchair, wheeled backwards and delivered to the postnatal ward, you will feel like you have literally been beaten to a pulp by a heavy weight champion. You'll hear every other new mothers sigh, every baby apart from yours will cry, and other people's visitors will make you want to drop kick them to the floor through the adjoining curtain. None of this will matter of course as you spend endless hours staring at the tiny little human you made, lying there in a see through box.

Prepare yourself in advance for the sight of any children that already exist in your life, as it will shock you to the core. Your once cute son, daughter, niece, nephew have now warped in to actual manbeasts. How did you never recognise how gargantuan their heads were? And what's with those enormous eyebrows and saucer like eyes? Grotesque. Be warned.

You might become a bit of a shit friend. Or realise that your friends are a bit shit. Whilst you're still the person you were pre baby, you're simultaneously almost completely not. Your new best friend is now Google. Google is always on standby, and never gets tired of hearing you ask questions that begin with
"is it normal if my baby....?"
or "why does my baby.....?"
Google never rolls its eyes at your insufferable over anxiousness, or tells you that all you talk about these days is the baby. It only serves to provide the answers you require. Even though most of the time they will be completely inaccurate and quite possibly cause an emergency doctors appointment with suspected meningitis for a mere milk spot.

You will never come closer to slamming a hardback book on your partners head at 3am whilst you sit there feeding your child, head bobbing as you try not to nod off, with your partners snores echoing around the depths of your skull.

It will be the best of times and the worst of times. All at the same time. Before 8am on a Monday morning.

You'll become a weeping, paranoid wreck. Your first child thinks you don't love them anymore. Nothing will be the same again. Your partner thinks you're ugly. That blanket is going to smother the baby and can't possibly be used. The midwife looked at me funny.
And then all of a sudden you'll be fine again, and you'll curse fellow mums for not warning you about the nuts stage a few days post birth.

The squelching sound of a freshly soiled nappy will evoke multiple emotions from you, dependent on time and situation. Annoyance, as you tip the pram to be wheeled out the front door; relief as you rub your child's tummy who has been squirming and struggling for the past hour at 3am. It will be the first time another humans bowel movements will toy with your emotions.

Your baby will always want to eat when you eat. Standard behaviour.

Intimacy with your partner will have to be 'booked in'. Gone are the days of spontaneity. And you'll have to be wary of not spoiling the  mood by discussing the colour of the baby's last turd before you get it on. Although it's guaranteed you will. You won't be able to help yourself.

You will be so tired, the word tired doesn't even cut it. We're talking eye stinging, body shivering, everyone's face is pissing me off kind of tired. And then some.



Be warned.











Thursday, 27 October 2016

Beauty And The Breast

Breastfeeding is beautiful. But that doesn't necessarily mean it always looks beautiful. I appreciate the gorgeous photos of women breastfeeding, modelled in an attempt to normalise the natural way of feeding our children, but seriously, that's just NOT what breastfeeding looks like. Unless you are particularly blessed, which undoubtedly some of you are. The rest of us however, aren't so lucky. The beauty of breastfeeding does not have to be portrayed by half naked, perfectly posed filtered shots. It's beauty comes from the act itself, not the way we look when performing that act.
There's beauty hidden within the rawness and vulnerability of sitting upright at 3am, with blurry eyes and disheveled hair, looking down at your feeding baby as they curl their tiny cold hands round your finger. Beauty lives in the eye rolling awkwardness of your baby needing to feed at the exact moment you sit down to eat, resulting in you eating one handed and spilling crumbs on your baby's head.
Beauty can be seen in the mum who sits with cabbage leaves stuffed down her bra, googling further tips to relieve tender breasts, with determination on her face to keep going, even though at the minute she has never felt more like giving up.
As wonderful as some of the trending breastfeeding photos are, they don't always portray the reality of breastfeeding, and the various relationships and journey each woman and child takes.
It's important that breastfeeding in its entirety is illustrated, in all its beauty. All of its gloriously awkward and inconvenient beauty.
Women do not sit naked, in a graceful position, with perfect hair and size 6 bodies, breastfeeding. If we do happen to be naked, it's more than likely we've been dragged out of the shower, or were halfway through getting dressed when our baby has cried to be fed. Our bodies are rarely size 6 considering we've just spent the past 9 months being pregnant, and no one with a new baby has perfect hair. Ok?
Instead of donning tattoos like so many of the breastfeeding models that are popular of late, we are more likely to be in possession of stretch marks; and rather than full, pert breasts, chances are they are lopsided, with the free breast leaking and slowly making a damp patch on our Primark bought pyjama top.
So yes, lets share beautiful imagery. Let's celebrate feeding our children in the most natural and wonderful way. Let's support each other as women and mothers and continue to freeze frame these moments in our children's life that will soon become a distant memory.
But let's share reality.
I don't breastfeed to follow a fashion, or because I'm influenced by the latest pin up mum model. I breastfeed to nourish my child, to provide warmth and security, and because it's who I am. And you don't get much more beautiful than that.




Monday, 26 September 2016

35 Week Scan

So I went for a 35 week scan yesterday. A routine thing as I'm high risk due to my first child being underweight and a bunch of other problems in my pregnancy.

Expecting the usual "yes everything is ok blah blah blah" I was quite shocked to hear that my waters surrounding the baby have just decided to disappear. There has been no gushing, no trickling sensations. I've observed a few 'damp patches' but doesn't every woman in pregnancy? 

I sat waiting for the registrar to come and talk to me and literally shit a brick when she told me she was going to examine me and if I was showing signs of leaking then she would admit me to have the baby delivered immediately. 

And then the universe remembered this was me.

And there was no way that such a drama could go down without me also having to suffer deep humiliation and hilarity at the same time.

I lay on the bed, knickers down, with a blanket over my ghost white legs to protect my dignity. Cursing myself for ever writing A Hairy Situation , as ever since my partner has refused to assist me down there and I am now sporting...well, I don't know what I'm sporting as it's impossible to see, but I doubt it's pleasant. 

As I lay there, panicking about the state of my vagina I picked up a horrific whiff in the air.

My feet!

It was a hot day. I was wearing pumps with no socks and had walked the school run that morning. Those pumps now sat neatly at the side of the bed, letting off the most offensive smell known to man.

"Erm...I'm really sorry but I've had to take my shoes off and my feet really smell!"

I had to warn them! And when I say 'them' I mean the registrar, the nursing assistant who was helping her, and some random woman who had entered the room, failed to introduce herself, but had decided to stick around and give me sympathetic smiles. 

They all glanced in my direction but none of them seemed to be perturbed by the foot confession. They were too busy muttering and whispering amongst themselves. 

"This is why we usually send them to MAU"

"Do you have one on your phone?"

I lay there, craning my neck to see what the commotion was about. 

It appeared that they had the equipment to perform the examination, but the light was too bright. They were in need of a small torch. And of course that small torch was going to come in the form of the nursing assistants iPhone! 

I found it hard to lie there, legs akimbo as a nursing assistant held an iPhone in between my legs and the registrar prodded and poked me. 

"Just make sure your finger doesn't slip and you don't take a picture by accident!" I shouted. 

"I don't think my vagina is in a selfie mood today"

God bless the NHS! 

Luckily there were no signs of leaking at the time (except for everybody's eyes from the stench of my feet) and I was booked in for a scan the following week to monitor the situation and to look at possible induction.

This is particularly the reason why when the health visitor asked if "Mum had a birth plan in place" Mum stated that no she didn't. 

I have a perfect birth in my head. A natural birth (ideally in water) on the midwife led unit with no pain relief. From the offset its been clear that the likelihood of that happening is slim. Therefore I'll skip the birth plan and take my labour the way it comes. 

On a serious note, because I've found myself a bit pissy when discussing my current situation with people and they've felt the need to have an opinion; some women will get their perfect birth. It will go exactly as planned. Some won't. And that's fine too. People seem to have an opinion on your birth the way they will have an opinion on every other fucking thing you do as a parent. From feeding, to sleeping, to toilet training. But it's MY birth. I own it. And in the end, what will happen will happen. 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

How To Be A Health Visitor.

When I received a letter from the health visiting team saying they were coming to visit, I'm not going to lie, I had a semi nervous breakdown.
It seems whenever  my children are involved I immediately seize up and think that every professional is judging me and making notes on how inadequate I am as a mother. I just can't help it.
I spent the day before she arrived throwing paint at my lounge walls, spraying bleach over everything, and sobbing that no one lifts a finger in this god damn bastard house!!!
But it turns out there was no need to worry. Because my health visitor is clearly insane. And as I sat  opposite her plastic smile, as she balanced on my wonky couch that is being held up with two books, I found my mind wandering as to whether health visitors had to go through specific role plays to determine whether they had the correct patronising nature that is clearly needed for the job. And throughout said role plays do they have to touch on a list of requirements that I imagine include the following;

1. NEVER address someone in the first person. Always the third.
"And how is Mum feeling?"
"Does Mum have a birth plan in place?"
"Is Dad looking forward to the arrival of baby?"

It's important to make 'Mum' feel as though she no longer has a name or an identity, in fact she is so insignificant as her former self that she is now spoken to as though she were not even in the room. Pair this with a soft spoken voice and a condescending smirk.

2. Use strange questions to trip Mum up. I particularly enjoyed the ones I was asked at my recent visit.

"What does baby look like?"

Erm.....I'm not...sure? She hasn't come out yet?

"Yes but how does mum imagine she'll look?"

Like her brother? I don't know.

“Yes but does she have hair?”

I'm not sure how to answer this question

"Ok, moving on! What is  baby like?"

Small? Squidgy? A baby? What's the deal here? Are mums now required to already know their child's facial features and personality prior to birth?

"Yes, but when Mum and Dad talk about Baby, what do they imagine her to be like?"

I'm not sure, we haven't really talked about it. I don't think it's sunk in for 'Dad' yet that we're having another baby!

Which brings me to the next point

3. Be deadly serious about every word that is spoken by Mum.

"Ohhhhh”
 *shakes head sympathetically*

“It's really important that Dad is involved in the pregnancy as much as possible. You might want to think about having these conversations with Dad. Perhaps Mum and Dad could sit on the sofa together whilst touching Mums tummy and discuss the questions we've just been over?”

Or…..you could just kill me .

4. Just as you have driven Mum to the depths of despair and have her at her most vulnerable, you need to strike while the iron is hot

"Does mum feel low, depressed or have any feelings that her life is pointless or worthless?"

Well, I  didn't!!!......however! Now you mention it!!



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Hairy Situation

Even though I've completely lost sight of my nether regions I was more than aware this week that I needed some sort of grooming down there. The weathers getting warmer, I have a five year old on summer holidays from school, and will be guilted in to going swimming at some point in the next couple of weeks.
Now, I can cope with looking like Humpty Dumpty in a costume, but I'm not sure fellow swimmers want to see Humpty Dumpty in a costume with half of her lady garden on show. I owed it to the general public to groom myself and prevent the occurrence of any nightmares that I may provoke. Now when I say "groom myself" I think any pregnant woman alive knows that this is virtually impossible. Some women may be able to do it. Those who are well practised in yoga and can bend with ease in to a suitable position. I however am not one of these people.
Last week I got stuck in the bath. My five year old had to literally prize my arse from the tub where it had suctioned itself down like a vacuum. I can only imagine the psychological issues he's going to have from that.
Deciding that emotionally scarring my child wasn't enough I decided that I should have a bash at damaging my partner also. He got me in this situation after all! I'm not going to strain myself like a struggling Buddha when the person who contributed to my newly accustomed figure sits downstairs eating tea and biscuits. If I have to lose my dignity he's coming along for the ride.
This thought process eventually led to me lying here on the cold bathroom floor, legs open as my partner looks on worryingly at the mission ahead of him, glancing nervously in my direction. Feeling sorry for him I decide  to shut my legs and call off the mission when he breaks the awkward silence.
"When you think about it, a vagina looks a bit like a ham sandwich doesn't it?"
Oh.
"I don't know. I haven't seen it in months. Can you just concentrate on what we're doing here please"
Pause
"If you lift your legs a bit higher I can do the back part too"
Back part?
"What back part?"
"You know. Your bum"
"My bum? My bums fine Thankyou! Just concentrate on the task at hand"
I lie back and close my eyes
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
WHAT THE??!!!
I stretch forward to see actual clippers looming towards my hoohaa.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING??
"Stay still or they'll nip you."
Jesus. I wanted a quick tidy up down there and I've ended up lying on a cold slab with Sweeney Todd stuck between my legs! Mind you, wasn't he played by Johnny Depp most recently? That might not be TOO bad then. He'd probably have more of an idea of grooming than this bloody bozo!
After squealing like a pig from what is definitely one of the most traumatic experiences of my life I feel around to see that literally nothing has changed. That bikini line is still exactly the same.
"You're going to have to use a proper razor"
Pause
Krrrrrr krrrrrr krrrrrrr
That's the sound of my skin being scraped off with a bic
"With shaving foam you idiot!!!"
Foam squirts on to my hand and I'm instructed to put it where I want shaving. Well if I could do that I wouldn't be in this position would I?
I reach down to cover the area, looking like a half crazed hippopotamus and end up blindly shaving the damn thing myself.
Once finished I then lie there, stuck on the floor as my partner takes out his phone and proceeds to tweet or whatever the hell else he does as if I cease to exist.
Erm helloooo?
I'm stuck here!!!
Bottomless, on the bathroom floor, writhing about in shaving foam.
And then it strikes me ladies.
When pregnant you must come to accept the fact that your dignity is none existent. You're taking NO ONE along for that ride with you. It's just you. Accept defeat. And in some cases be grateful that despite the fact you're 3 times your normal size, breath like Darth Vader, and have been constipated for a week, someone loves you enough to sit in between your legs and assist you to do something of which you're temporary unable. Whilst commenting on genitalia and the foods in which they appear similar to.

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

It Doesn't Take A Village To Raise A Child

I've found myself thinking about "punishment" recently. From discussions online about other parents styles of discipline, to conversations about particular coffee shops posting status' on Facebook claiming they will chastise children who have tantrums if parents are too scared to. Usually I will state my opinion to whoever I'm speaking to and happily continue with my life. I'm not one who usually concerns myself with the opinions and choices of others. However I've recently found myself in a situation whereby I now appear to be on the defensive every time this topic occurs. I've read other blog posts about how parents appreciate and respect other adults telling their child off, and I've browsed through the comments of agreement, usually choosing to sit on the fence. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it. However I now appear to be living the scenario and can state that I've hopped  off the fence and can categorically say I do not fucking like it. Not one bit. I'm actually violently against it in fact.
Don't get me wrong, if my child is pissing you off and it is directly affecting you or your own child then go ahead and fill your boots. Tell him to stop what he is doing. Explain that you don't like him doing that. Or turn to me and tell me to sort my demon child out before you do. I totally get that. I don't want my kid aggravating you. I will try my utmost to prevent it. However if I happen to be daydreaming at that particular point I will fully expect you to dive in and give them an ear bashing.
But this is not the situation I've found myself in.
For a couple of weeks now I have found myself in the company of an adult who has been chastising my child, whilst I stand there with my eyes wide open and my mouth gaped, because they are behaving in a way that is undesirable to THEM. Because they have placed their own expectations on MY child. Expectations that are clearly higher than my own.
Let me give you an example.
As we happened to be walking with this particular parent we passed by our old house. Clearly feeling confused my son walked in to the garden and knocked on the door. I laughed lightheartedly and whispered "We don't live there anymore!! Quick!! Come out!"
However all of a sudden a voice boomed at the side of me "We don't knock on people's doors!!! That's very very naughty!!"
Hang on a minute.
"We don't knock on people's doors?"
Well clearly that's bullshit because everyone knocks on people's doors. It's something we do to announce we have arrived and are waiting to be let in. So, not only have you just humiliated my child by chastising him in public, you have also just belittled him for doing something perfectly normal.
So if you're going to discipline my child without my permission and against my wishes, try not to do it in such a fucked up, confusing manner.
Secondly, I don't like the word naughty. I especially don't like it when a stranger says it to my child. I will be the judge of what is deemed inappropriate behaviour or not. I am after all his mother.
This announcement of my sons "naughtiness" then provoked his child to get in on the act. She begun telling Oliver that he was so naughty he could not have ice cream. At which point my son began to cry.
I explained to Oliver that it was my decision as to whether he could have ice cream or not and to ignore the child, hoping this would be an enormous hint to the parent that I did not like his actions.
The hint didn't work. We turned the corner, my son and I slightly ahead as we tried to escape the gruesome twosome, when we came in contact with a dog and asked if we could stroke it. The dog was a bit jumpy and my over excited child was clearly making it nervous. As I opened my mouth to tell him to calm down I was interrupted by "don't jump like that by the dog!! He doesn't like it!! You need to calm down or come away!!"
Seriously. This guy was asking for a spade to the head.
At six months pregnant, hormones flying everywhere and knowing I couldn't be trusted to approach this in a friendly manner I marched off in the other direction.
Oliver did not seem overly perturbed by the events. But I was!
It made me feel that not only is there pressure on parents these days to discipline their children in a particular way, but now if an adult deems you incapable of doing so they will step in and do it for you. It made me feel worthless. Humiliated. It made me angry. Angry that in 2016 I am not given the freedom to raise my child in the way that I choose to. I felt like a disappointment. Because I should have stuck up for my son more, but struggled to make a spur of the moment decision between showing him how to defend yourself, or showing him how to walk away and be the better person.
It's times like these that I really struggle with motherhood. And I don't want to come across like a whiny bitch. But I want my son to be shaped by my own values. Values that I'm proud of. Not some other Tom Dick or Harry's who decide to open their big mouth.
Usually when I'm struggling and I blog I can see the funny side of the predicament I'm in. But with this I just can't. There's just nothing funny about it. It's awful.
So to all those that have read blogs of parents who encourage others to tell their children off please remember, we don't all feel that way.
In fact, some of us find in damn right rude.
Some of us believe that chastising is a parents job. We lay the boundaries. They may not be the same boundaries as yours, but really, it's none of your god damn business. Don't over ride our authority with our own children by stepping in and telling a child off because they don't fit your idea of perfect behaviour.
It doesn't take a village to raise a child. It's takes the person responsible for that child at the time. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Mother/Father is accompanying that child then it certainly doesn't mean you, you nosey bastard. This blog has been verified by Rise: R013e576ff807146501eb086f64c8a247

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Pramphobia

I have pramphobia. That's not its official name but I fear there may not be one as I'm probably the only mother who has this condition. I'm basically afraid of prams. They come in too many different shapes and forms. There's too many options! With Oliver I hardly used a one. I was terrified when his head jiggled as we went over a rough pathway and thought I was giving him brain damage, because I'm an absolute jerk. I was much happier with him strapped to me and I've hoped this will be the case for baby number 2. 
One thing is different now however. I have another child and we have a dreaded school run. 
I've recently found myself browsing at prams and wondering if life might actually be easier if I were to give one a chance. 
My stepsister suggested a Facebook group in which people swapped and sold prams and parts for cheap. 
How helpful, I naively thought! Other mothers like me who can give me some constructive advice.
But no. This group was NOT helpful. And these were NOT mothers like me. 
Out of interest, have you ever met one of these pram fanatics? It appears my step sister is one, however this has always gone unrecognised by me and therefore this must mean they disguise themselves well. The only clue she ever gave me was when we went on holiday and I couldn't put my pushchair down to enter the plane. She took it off me and smoothly slid it down without an issue. I did briefly wonder how she knew how to do that, but then thought it was just that I'm an idiot and she isn't.  But anyway, these pram fanatics. They just walk around, pushing their prams, looking like normal civilians. But little do you know that beneath the surface they are freaks of nature!! Tapping away on private Facebook groups about the latest model, or some wacky accessory that they've attached to their multifunctional, futuristic baby pusher.  
Five minutes of being on that Facebook page reaffirmed exactly why I am petrified of prams. I have not a single clue what I am doing. I don't know the "cool" makes. What if I get one that's blatantly shit and people laugh at me!! It's like being at high school all over again and having to decide on shoes and coats! In short, it's awful. 
The women on this page are like Pram Pros, discussing Urbo's, Solas, Armadillo Flips etc! What the hell!! I JUST WANT A PRAM!! You may as well be speaking another language. 
Don't talk to me about a Luna, a bug or an XT because I simply do not know what you're talking about you absolute lunatics!  All I want is a regular pram, with one of those carry cot things, in a grey or black, with the possibility of a snazzy blanket being thrown in? Oooh and one of them board things that my kid can stand on. 
I am so not cut out for this shit. I wasn't last time and I'm definitely not this time! 
If you're a pram fanatic I'm sure you're a wonderful person. But you must understand that you are also scary as fuck. And there is one terrified woman sat here typing this!! 
Normal women like me should not be able to join closed groups like that with such ease. There should be some prior warning given beforehand of what to expect and to determine whether you're made of strong enough stuff to be part of the group. 
I do of course realise that it's not just the scary pram people who are at fault. I am merely a pathetic loser who just isn't in the know. After realising I just wasn't getting it on Facebook I took to the online catalogues and miserably typed in "prams".
It was a good 15 minutes of thinking "Gosh! I've actually heard of silver cross prams, and these are quite reasonably priced" Before I realised I was actually looking at dolls prams. For children aged 3 and above. 
I'm just not sure what to do. Or where to go from here? 
I feel that walking to school holding my four year olds hand, whilst simultaneously having a baby strapped to me, and somehow carrying a coat, handbag and book bag, is going to be a far easier choice than putting myself through this pram hell. 
The idea was to make life easier, but instead I'm a raspberry footmuff away from armadillo flipping out. 
So that's where I currently stand with the pram situation. 
Stuck in pram limbo. 
I'm so befuddled by prams that the word pram doesn't even make sense anymore. 
Pram. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Have You Thought Of Any Names Yet?


"Have you thought of any names yet?"
You'll find when you're pregnant that this is a question you'll be repeatedly asked. You'll expect it. You may even excitedly anticipate it. Or if you're completely insane you'll raise the subject yourself! Don't. Don't mention names you like, names that mean something to you, or names you've read in a book. Pretend that names don't even exist. Say Nothing. Do anything you can to avoid people asking you this question. 
Many people presume that parents keep their baby names secret to avoid people copying. 
Nope. 
That's really not the reason. 
They keep them secret because they, like I, know how awful people can be. And once you've seen that look of disgust on someone's face as you sweetly tell them the name you and your partner have finally agreed on, you'll be sobbing in to your big book of baby names and wondering why children need names in the first place! Can't they just be given a number? 
There's a collection of responses which will all more or less have the same effect.
The stone faced smile response, for example. This is a more discreet reaction where the person doesn't quite know what to do with their face. They're in between either throwing up with repulsion at the name you've just told them, or they're about to laugh. They manage to reign in their rudeness and muster up a stony smile. This will sometimes be paired with an "ohhh" response, or a redirection in the form of names they "do like." But either way, you're now paranoid as fuck and having second thoughts about the name you once adored. 
Some people have less tact and will simply state with no qualms whatsoever
"I don't like that!
Oh no!
It's awful! 
Don't call them that!
Vile!"
If you weren't so dumbfounded by the rudeness you may state that it's a good job it's YOUR child and not THEIRS! But of course you will be dumbfounded and the words will not come. 
I'm unsure what the general thought process is with these types of gobshites but I'm going to hazard a guess that they don't comment rudely on adults names when they're introduced to them.
"Pleased to meet you, I'm Bernard"
"BERNARD!!! What a revolting name! I had an uncle Bernard. He was a total nobhead! All Bernard's are nobheads!" 
It just doesn't happen. 
When enquiring about people's name choices, the general rule of thumb should be, If you can't poker face through the answer then don't ask the question. It's a simple rule.
I'd forgotten the valuable 'name' lesson from my first pregnancy but have since had the pleasure of revising it this time around. I've experienced both stony faced, and gobshite responses. As I answered the question for a third time and was greeted by "I'm not sure about that. You could always call it (this) instead" it all came flooding back to me. 
How could I have forgotten the worlds incessant need to push their baby name opinions on to you whilst simultaneously sending your already hormonal and irrational being in to a sense of despair! 
So no. I'm not keeping my choice of names secret from now on because I'm afraid someone will copy. I'm 30 something (a lady never tells), not 5! 
I'm keeping it secret because I'll sucker punch the next person that gives my future baby's name the asshole treatment!! 

If you like a good rant on the subject of names you can read about another time I lost my shit 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Take My Kid Out Of Your Box

I have a real issue with 'quizzes' that appear on my Facebook newsfeed that turn a serious issue in to a joke or game. A couple of years ago the "How Bipolar are you?"
And "How OCD are you?" quizzes came around and I remember putting a status on Facebook stating that if people were genuinely concerned they had Bipolar or OCD it would be more beneficial to visit a GP and get a mental health referral rather than take a quiz on Facebook. The point being, these are serious conditions that people live with every day and it's damn right disrespectful to turn the symptoms of a disorder in to measurable traits that you may or may not possess just for a bit of social media attention
"Oohhh! I'm 95% OCD because I like to clean my house!!" Bullshit.
So think how overjoyed I was when I browsed through my newsfeed and flicked past a quiz entitled "Can YOU pass a six year olds SATS test?"
It was bound to occur. The media has been bombarded this week with the "Let our kids be kids" campaign, and rightly so! 
I didn't take the test. And at first I wasn't too disgruntled about it. After all, maybe it would be educational for adults to see just what this government is expecting of our children. 
It was the comments section that grinded my gears. It's always the comments section! 
There was the usual eye roll provoking comments "oooh I passed I passed!" 
Yes, you passed. You're 38. Well done. 
But the majority of comments were actually offensive, hurtful, and completely missing the point.
Apparently "ALL kids age six should ACE this test, otherwise their parents need to work harder at teaching them"
And
"Just because parents are thicker than their kids, doesn't mean they should underestimate them."
There were many more comments along the same lines, but these two really struck a chord with me. 
Why are the parents to blame all of a sudden for this governments constant changing of goal posts in terms of our children's education? Why is there an assumption that ALL children should be on the same academic level, ignoring any individual differences and capabilities? Why is there an inference that the children who will not "ACE" this test are offspring to "thick" parents who don't put any effort in to teaching their children?


It won't be long before MY child has to take this test. Maybe he will ace it. Maybe he will get every single question wrong.  But do you know what? I really don't care. He will be SIX! SIX YEARS OLD. There are countries in Europe where he would not even have started school yet. Of course I teach him and assist him with his school work, but I spend more time trying to teach him how not to be a dick. A lesson that many people who commented on this quiz thread clearly missed in life. 
A child's intelligence can not be observed simply through a test. To state that is to deny the fact that intelligence exists in many forms, not all of which can be measured with pen and paper. 
Yes, we could push our darling children harder. But perhaps when weighing up the effects of that we choose to value our children's mental health over their academic capabilities when pushed to the absolute brink. What good will it be when our children can't make their way through university or hold down a job because they've been pushed and pressurised so much that they have seriously deteriorating mental health issues.
What happens when the expected achievement goal of our children is raised so high that they are immediately set up to fail and our special educational needs support is flooded with children who don't really have educational needs, but are instead unable to achieve a result that is unachievable? 
My son is 4 and in reception. He is classed as "delayed" because he is not reaching specific targets for his class. Does this mean I'm a bad mother? That I don't spend time with him helping him to learn? 
Was I a bad mother yesterday when instead of sitting and going over his letters and sounds I allowed him to have fun in the garden and soak up the sun? Was I a bad mother when I showed him how to weed the garden instead of showing him how to do adding and subtracting? Was I a bad mother when he asked me if the worm he had found was a boy or a girl and I told him that earthworms were both boys and girls at the same time? Because to me THIS is learning. 
Remove the box that you are so readily eager to place my child in and the rest of the children in this country.
Wake up and realise that they need their childhood, not tests so that they can be a statistic on a bar chart. 
For the record. I have a degree in psychology and work for one of the biggest mental health charities in Europe. My sons Father has a Masters Degree, makes films and lectures at a local university. So whilst your busy removing the boxes from our children you can also remove that ugly stereotype you've got going on about 'thick parents' not educating their kids.






Tuesday, 26 April 2016

From Poppy Seed To Jalapeño (Or Week 5 to 14 For Those Regular Folk Who Don't Use Crazy Fruit & Veg Comparisons)


Week 5 was the exact reason I dislike fruit & veg comparisons. According to everyone the baby at this point is the size of a Poppy Seed. This is according to everyone but my waistline it would appear, because I'm unsure how a poppy seed could possibly have been responsible for my gargantuan bloat belly. I'm kind of thinking that wind may have been a huge factor though, due to the fact I couldn't bend over without a sudden gust catching me off guard. 

Combine that with the adult acne that erupted on my chin and it's clear that at week 5 of pregnancy I was an absolute catch! 
It was at this point I also discovered that my brain and mouth were no longer friends and did not work together anymore. I could have an extremely intelligent opinion that I desperately needed to share with people, yet as soon as I opened my mouth I forgot the entire gist of this amazing piece of information I had, and instead regurgitated snippets of sentences that didn't necessarily make sense. Luckily my breasts (touch them and I'll scream) had gone up a size, putting me at a distinct advantage of thrusting them in people's face to distract them from the utter shit that was falling from my mouth.

At week 6 (Black Peppercorn) I suddenly decided at 5pm on a Sunday that after cooking a roast chicken I in fact no longer liked chicken, and had to spend the entire meal dramatically averting my eyes from those in the room eating it. I had also developed the skills of a sniffer dog and could have been employed by MI5 immediately. No scent was undetectable and I took to just walking around sniffing the air. 
Then again, do MI5 hire people with narcolepsy? Because I appeared to have contracted that also. 

With baby the size of a blueberry at week 7 I spent the majority of my time 
horizontal and gipping at the smell of pretty much everything. If it hadn't been for my secret pancake & maple syrup gorges I would have been convinced I had some sort of terrible stomach flu. Or I was maybe turning in to a zombie.

Week 8 informed me that baby was the size of a raspberry, however I was beyond caring as I trundled through the week on an emotional roller coaster. I was still horizontal and walking round like a zombie although this time I was a zombie with a permanently anxious face. Every worry or negative thought I could possibly have was surfacing this week. I must be crazy to have another child! What will we do for money when I leave work? What if there isn't enough space in our house? What if my four year old thinks I don't love him anymore? What if I die in childbirth. Yes, I went there. I went as far as death. Now I'm sure a glass of Prosecco would have eased these nightmarish thoughts, however all alcohol has been banished so instead I was forced to find comfort in 2 boxes of milk tray and a 5lb weight gain.

Strawberry sized at week 9 I can make no sense of my diary scribbles for that week except for something to do with wanting a vanilla slice and being an irrational cow. 

I kind of lost interest in mocking fruit comparisons at week 10 (if I'm honest it was a fruit I'd never heard of and I didn't have the audacity to mock when I'm clearly so uncultured) 
But week 10 was the week I went off tea! My favourite thing to drink, and I'd been such a good girl by having decaf too! My morning beverage now consists of hot water with honey and lemon, or a fruit tea. Of course this makes me feel extremely healthy and Gwyneth Paltrow(ish) in my pregnancy. I just need to take up some antenatal Yoga and Pilates. Or not. 

Week 11 to 14 I just felt, well, normal! Hooray! Normal to the point where I kind of forgot I was pregnant for a while. And that's where I am now! Week 14 and feeling fabulous! I've also discovered nonalcoholic Prosecco ACTUALLY tastes like Prosecco, and I've fallen in love with Kopparberg non alcoholic pear cider! What more could you want!!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

First Pregnancy v Second Pregnancy


When I was pregnant with my first child I was filled with excitement, curiosity, hopes and dreams. I itched to find out what sex I was having so I could buy them their first outfit.  I was signed up to every baby club going so I could make use of free nappy samples and changing bags, and my first scan was framed and had pride of place on my window. 
Second time around things are a little different. Maybe it's me? Maybe it's experienced by every woman after their first pregnancy? I don't know. But I've definitely noticed some vast differences in my behaviour this time around. 

Scans
My first pregnancy scan was so exciting! I couldn't wait to see my little baby wriggling around in there! I kept the picture in a cutesy little frame (that I had free when I signed up to Pampers baby club) and put it in the centre of my window where I could see it every morning when I woke up. I would stare at the picture for hours and after uploading it to Facebook I used it as my profile picture.
For my current pregnancy scan I was excited, don't get me wrong, however I was more apprehensive that the sonographer was going to tell me I was having multiples! 
There was no frame for the picture to go in and I've probably looked at it twice. At present I don't actually know where it is. Probably somewhere in my sons room as he somehow convinced that this is "his" baby. 

Baby buying
For pregnancy number one I had a precise list of things I needed, after thoroughly researching relevant baby books. I stocked up on nappies and wipes when they were on sale. I had tiny outfits that I folded and unfolded time and time again and placed neatly in the drawers of a changing table. I had selected a pram and a cot, and the nursery was all set up. I would walk past the baby's future room and stand there looking around, imagining the time when my little bundle of joy finally arrived.
My current bundle of joy on the way has a cardboard box that's been slung in the corner of my dining room full of baby gro's and vests that I had for their big brother. I have no intentions of buying a pram or a cot until they're about 5 months old, and there's no nursery to set up as they will simply be residing in my bedroom.  

Baby Apps
I had everything going the first time round. I'd open them all up on my phone every morning to see what had grown today and what was developing this week. One app even posted to Facebook for me every week so all my friends had the glorious opportunity in joining me for the ride (I probably saw a noticeable decrease of Facebook friends over those months.)
This time I have one app. I haven't opened it in a good few days and the majority of the time that I do its to remind myself how far along I am with my pregnancy. 

When I first started recognising these differences in behaviour between 1st and 2nd pregnancies I felt like an awful mum. I wondered what was different this time. And then it struck me. Everything is different!! Unlike in my first pregnancy I already am a mum! I have another mini human occupying my mind and time. 
This baby isn't less loved, or less important than my first, but I just don't have as much free time to completely absorb myself in my pregnancy and everything it involves. Sometimes I forget I'm even pregnant at all! 
My second child isn't less fortunate because they won't have the things their brother had. If anything they are more fortunate because mummy now knows that this baby really won't care if they're wearing hand me down baby gro's and don't have non essential baby items. 
Instead of a mummy who prods them every half an hour to check they're breathing, and stares at them wondering how on earth they're going to keep them alive, this baby will have a Mummy who is more confident than what she was the first time around. They'll have a mummy that knows her capabilities and doesn't strive to be somebody she is not. 
It isn't that I care less this time around, it's just that I'm now more aware. Aware of the things that are important and the things that are not. Aware that my baby is oblivious as to whether I'm staring at its scan picture, but my four year old isn't when he wants me to look at a certificate he's won at school. 
Things are completely different with this pregnancy. But a change in behaviour doesn't mean a change in emotion and feelings. I still feel the same way about this child as I did my first. I'm just a different person. A different mum. And hopefully a better one. 






Friday, 15 April 2016

What Parents Say And What They Mean




Kids are hardy little creatures, but despite their tough natures there are some things we just can't say to them, and as parents we rely on saying things that have actually no resemblance to whatever it is that we are really trying to say, to avoid having to say the things that we really want to say.

I know! It's complicated. 
I've become so good at saying things that I don't really want to say in order not to say something I do want to say that I don't know what I'm saying anymore.
And I don't stop at children. I've perfected this technique to be adult friendly too. And I'm guessing that if you have a child that is now walking/talking you'll have started to perfect your own techniques and may use some of the following!

Kids! What we say and what we mean!


 "In a minute"
I'm hoping you'll get distracted and forget about whatever it is you've just asked me to do.

"Do you want to play with my phone?"
I'm willing to trade off my personal belongings to you just for five minutes peace, where you can stare zombified at YouTube clips and I can close my eyes. 

"I'm not going to tell you again!"
I've already told you to stop whatever it is you're doing 13 times in 5 minutes. But THIS TIME Mummy is seriously going to lose her shit. But no doubt I AM going to tell you again because from the day you were born you've been working on weakening my soul.

"Because I said so"
Listen! I can't put up with much more of this "why" shit. 

"Ooohmmmmmmjistbewama"
You've just caught me shoving a Bounty in my mouth behind the fridge door, because I'd rather lose my dignity like this than allow you to get your pudgy little hands on it. 

Adults! What we say and what we mean!


"He's tired/She's teething"
I actually have no clue why they are acting like this other than they were put on this earth to kill me. Yes. Kill me. 

"Excuse the mess"
I'm saying this so that you're aware that I'm not oblivious to the dump that I'm living in. Please refrain from eyeballing the cobwebs hanging from my ceiling. 

"Thanks for suggesting that! I'll definitely try it"
You're an idiot. I'm never doing that to my child. Get the fuck out of my house. 

"We'll have to do lunch one day with the kids!"
Or we can just sit and drink a bottle of prosecco?  

Note: It's a complex case of communication malfunction and the list is not exhaustive. 

Life Love and Dirty Dishes
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Monkey Business


I'm unsure why I felt a trip to the Monkey Forest with my 3 year old would ever be a good idea. 
Probably because it was in the midst of summer and I was in a cheery and positive mood, ready to receive a 'Mum of the year' award for taking my child to a Monkey Forest. How bohemian and spontaneous of me! 
The outing began successfully and I was really getting in to the swing of being laid back, fun mum when my son pointed out that there were some giant trampolines over in the play area and "pleeeaaaasee" could he and his younger cousin go on them. 
Of course!
However, only two seconds after paying a months mortgage for them to access the trampolines my son wanted to get off. 
"Ok Oliver just come off and put your shoes back on and let Ava carry on bouncing. She's enjoying it"
"Come get me!!"
"I can't come and get you sweetheart! Just bounce off!"
I glanced nervously at the trampoline assistant who was staring in to space, oblivious to the fact that my son was starting to freak out. 
"Come get me mummy! I'm scared!"
For F**** sake!
I wave over at the assistant to ask if I can pop on to the trampolines to help my son off, but now she's taking money for more kids to get on. 
Sod it. I can nip on, bounce along the trampoline, pick my son up and bounce back before she even notices.
I jump on. Jesus Christ! No wonder he's scared! Are these safe? How are you even supposed to stay upright! There's too many kids on this bloody thing. I get jostled and jerked to the other side where my son waits for me, now in tears. 
"It's ok, mummy's got you"
He looks back at me with uncertainty in his eyes.
"EXCUSE ME!!" Blasts a woman's voice over a microphone. Yes. A microphone.
"NO ADULTS ON THE TRAMPOLINE!"
"I'm not ON the trampoline as such!! I'm helping my son OFF!"
"PLEASE VACATE THE TRAMPOLINE!"
"I'm trying! I'm trying!! Just tell all these kids to stop bloody bouncing!!"
Several tuts are noticeably heard from onlookers. 
My sons starting to look slightly embarrassed, clearly forgetting this is all his fault.
I manage to scrabble off with my child in tow and then order him to get his shoes on.
Times now up for the rest of the kids on there and I wait to help my niece off and look around for her shoes that have been slung somewhere in her anticipation to get on. 
My sister in law returns back from wherever the hell she has been as this chaos has been unfolding and takes over. At which point I turn to find Oliver.
Gone.
Oh no wait, I can just about see him.....what's he doing? Wait. Is he? Yes..he is mounting himself over the fence of the monkey enclosure.
"Oliver! Don't you dare go over there!!"
I start running over to the fence with thunder in my eyes and low and behold..in he jumps. 
So my son is now in the monkey enclosure. Fabulous! What a wonderful day this has turned out to be!  
As I get nearer to him I order him to come back out. It is strictly forbidden for anyone to access that area. He looks at me. And he runs.
I have no choice. I have to get in. 
Now it's one thing getting told off by a woman half your age for jumping on some kids trampolines. It's a whole new kettle of fish when you then have animal guides shouting at you to "GET OUT OF THE MONKEY ENCLOSURE! YOU ARE IN GREAT DANGER!"
A great many people are now stood at the fence with wide eyes and open mouths. I spot my sister in law hanging her head in shame. 
Anyone would think we were in there with fricking King Kong, not a handful of Barbary Macaques! Although the 'danger' they are referring to could be in relation to the nettles that are stinging my bare ankles. 
Thankfully I caught the little basta..... erm, monkey and we evacuated the enclosure. We then evacuated the Monkey Forest. 
And by evacuated I mean we were escorted out. 
And probably never allowed to return. 

Rookie Mistakes

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A Puzzled Mummy's Guide To Food Shopping With Kids

Grocery shopping with kids.
A sentence that evokes a deep sense of dread in to the pit of every parents stomach.
If you're like me you may have taken the chicken shit way out and took up online grocery shopping. There's some things even the ballsiest of parents can't face. There will come a time however when you need that "top up shop," or your online supermarket has inconveniently failed to deliver a specific item, or provided a crappy substitute (Yes Tesco I'm talking to you). When that time comes you need to have a plan in place. A mental instruction manual if you will. 
With my four years experience of grocery shopping hell, I've come up with a few strategies and rules that I follow religiously in order to save my sanity.

1) Forget the Supernanny shiz. That kind of perfectionism belongs to the organised Pinterest mums who can make personal visual shopping lists for each of their little cherubs. The fact that you've clicked on to this post immediately tells me you're as hopeless as I am and no amount of Jo Frost is going to do the trick. By all means, try it if you like, but try it with the knowledge that there is a 90% chance the technique will fail miserably and you will leave the supermarket with tears in your eyes, or in a straight jacket.

Now we've erased any delusions of a perfect parenting/shopping combination, we can get down to the nitty gritty.  

2) Keep your cool if you forgot snacks (of course you forgot the snacks). There's no need to worry. There's an entire shop full to choose from. Let your child take their pick and then hand the empty wrapper in to the cashier when you pay. Hell, grab one for yourself too! (I'm partial to the odd Jaffa Cake to get me through the aisles). You may get a few 'how trashy!' looks, but like we care if it's a toss up between a 'look' and a tantrum. 

3) Practice the 'park and dump' technique. This is where you find a place to leave your overflowing trolley to make unnecessary, multiple toilet stops with your child. No matter where you leave the trolley it's going to piss someone off, so don't waste your time frantically looking around for the perfect dumping place. You'll never find one. The art of park and dump is one that needs to be perfected so no one sees you dump it and no one sees you retrieve it. You remain a mystery at all times. 

4) Sharpen up on those distraction techniques. You'll need this when you pass an aisle that's likely to make your child whinge and whine for something on the shelves. In my case it's the toy aisle. I'm not sure WHY supermarkets feel the need to sell toys but alas it's something we must accept. (Although I must admit it's pretty handy when you're on your way to your child's friends birthday party and realise you haven't bought them a present.)
You can use pretty much anything as a distraction, 
"oh look!! A zombie!"
Or
Spin the trolley round a few times so everything they see for the next five seconds is a blur
Or perhaps 
"Let's see who can close their eyes for the longest!"
More or less anything will do so long as the focus is shifted from ones chosen aisle.
It may be worth visiting a supermarket your child isn't familiar with for this technique to work. If it's one they know they'll be on to you immediately and you're pretty much screwed as soon as you walk in the shop. 

5) Buy alcohol. It's an incentive to get to the end of this nightmare. 

6) Of all the guidelines THIS is the most important. If you choose to take note of only one of the points I have raised, choose THIS ONE.
NEVER, I repeat NEVER use the self service checkout when accompanied by children. 
In fact, there should be a sign strictly prohibiting this. 
Let me put forward this little scenario to emphasise my point.
First of all, there will be an item that according to your child you simply "must put through first!" (Cakes, sweets chocolate - to name a few examples).
As you scan the item your child will snatch it from you immediately, only for you to be greeted with
"PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA."
The lights will flash red and a stroppy cashier will march over as you waffle on about how your child has taken the item before you had chance to place it in the designated area. They'll sigh, you'll blush and you'll pick up the next item. As you scan it your child will decide they no longer want to hold the previous item and will now decide to place it in the bagging area after all.
"UNIDENTIFIED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA
PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE"
There will be another unpleasant interaction with the cashier. 
Said cashier is probably wondering why incapable parents bring their children grocery shopping, before she huffs away for the second time.
You then reach for the next item. It's your empty Jaffa cake box. Knowing the weight isn't going to be accurate you scrunch up your face and close your eyes as you scan it through and place it in the bagging area 
"UNIDENTIFIED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA....."

And so it continues....
Play it safe and go to a real checkout with a real human being. It may be embarrassing when you hand over those empty wrappers, but it beats the aforementioned hell by a longshot! 

There's always another option of course, and you won't be thought any less of for taking it. In fact you'll be envied. You can decide that there is no way in hell any grocery item is worth the tirade that is food shopping with a child. So what if you have to skip a few meals this week due to insufficient ingredients? The kids can survive on just beans! Hell, it's practically all they eat anyway! 

Sometimes option "F*** it" is the only strategy you need.