Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Creative activity

As you're all aware, I'm currently on maternity leave. I realise sitting on your arse for 6 months eating cake sounds like rather a good deal, but when you factor in the looking after of two small children then I suspect it loses some of its appeal.

One of my major concerns over maternity leave was the responsibility I was suddenly going to be required to take on as regards to Jamie's entertainment, something I'd previously more than happily handed over to nursery for the princely sum of twelve thousand pounds a month, or whatever the hell it is I pay them. I'd made it my aim for us to interact during at least one period of 'creative activity' a day - be it drawing, painting (look out for those home made Christmas cards coming your way. They look like shite. No, seriously. Jamie has clearly inherited his mother's artistic ability.), cooking ... you get the idea.

And yesterday I hit gold. Because for our designated period of 'creative activity' ... Jamie and I made SKITTLES VODKA. I know, could there possibly be a more suitable task for a 3 year old to undertake?

For those who are wondering, the process goes something like this:

1) Buy vodka and Skittles from supermarket. Buy additional random items to avoid cashier thinking you are an alcoholic-mother-of-two.

2) Open bottle of vodka. Remove an inch or so of the vodka by drinking it. I mean, pouring it down the sink.

3) Open multiple bags of Skittles. Convince yourself there is an educational element to this activity by encouraging 3 year old to sort them into colours.

4) Remove all green and purple Skittles. Permit 3 year old to eat them, stopping him just in time to avoid a multi-coloured-vomit incident.

5) Make 3 year old drop all red, orange and yellow Skittles into the neck of the bottle. Forbid him from sticking his fingers in.

6) Put on lid of bottle and shake like a bitch.

7) Spend half an hour explaining to 3 year old all the reasons why he is unable to even taste the beautiful reddish orange concoction you have created.

8) Wait until 3 year old is in bed, then taste Skittles vodka just to be sure it has worked. And taste again, just to be sure. And taste again ...

My call for the next Blue Peter presenter auditions must surely be in the offing ...

Monday, 29 November 2010

Dracula

You know things are taking a surreal twist when you have to go into nursery in the morning and explain to your son's keyworker: "Incidentally, don't worry if he starts talking about drinking blood. Or the fact it's naughty to drink blood. He's just discovered Dracula."

(Was it wrong of me? Should I have lied when he asked me what Dracula liked to eat ...?!)

And as for Beth? Well, I think the below sums her up. Smiling like a LOON.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Get your tits out for the ... OAPs

We had a family trip to the supermarket this morning. Proof that I may be spending far too much time (yet again) in supermarkets came as we drove into the car park, when Jamie - not known for his ability to correctly produce words of more than one syllable - clearly pronounced "Oh look Mummy. There the supermarket." That's my boy.

Unfortunately, in my excitement at getting Neil out of the house (yes, admittedly, it's to the supermarket - but you take what you can get), I'd failed to properly consider Beth's 'I-must-eat-every-30-seconds-or-VERY-BAD-THINGS-WILL-HAPPEN' philosophy. Which meant before we'd got out of the fruit and veg section she was giving me menacing looks and threatening to scream the place down.

I managed to distract her for a good 20 minutes or so by propping her up over my shoulder (highly recommended if you want to encourage lots of conversations with elderly ladies who start oohing and aaahhing at her) and permitting her to chew on my little finger. Fingers are, however, no substitute for the real thing, and so by the time we'd made it down to beverages (alcoholic ginger beer: THE best drink ever. Well, apart from champagne. And white wine. And pink wine. Etc. But you get the gist.) I capitulated and took her over to a bench next to the checkouts to - well - get my tits out. Which I did, much to her delight. Hmmm, maybe it's not Jamie who will end up being the gay child ...

As we are all well aware, I have absolutely no shame, and hence made no effort to cover my right breast other than strategically placing a baby's head in front of it. A little like an attempted solar eclipse, only one where the moon only manages to block out about 30% of the light. While Beth mainlined milk I entertained myself by calculating the percentage of passing shoppers who sneaked a crafty look at my nipple. About 70%, I reckon, and probably equally split between men and women. Equal opportunities are alive and thriving in my local supermarket.

And then, just as I was about to get up and get dressed, a WONDERFUL thing occurred. An elderly man and woman walked past. She was intensely focused on pushing the trolley; he was equally intensely focused on my breast. Which was unfortunate, as his lapse in concentration caused him to inadvertently trip over the wheel of the trolley and land on his bottom. Where he was helped up by his wife, who then, upon noting where his gaze had rested, started loudly berating him for getting his kicks in a supermarket, and telling him he deserved everything he'd got.

I laughed for about three hours.

Monday, 22 November 2010

War and Peace

The peace bit first: clearly I've been a bit slack on the blogging front. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Time spent blogging directly correlates with time I spend with two hands free. Minimal, at the moment, and in fact this post is only being achieved due to Child #1 being at nursery, whilst Child #2 is strapped to my front snoring loudly on my breasts ...

As for the war? Well, Mr Jamie seems to have entered what I can only describe as a 'hideously violent' phase. I'm trying to convince myself that it's entirely normal for 3 year old boys to go running around the house, brandishing any menacing object they can lay their hands on, yelling "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU" at previously much loved family members. In fact, I think last night's bed time conversation with Neil went something along the lines of:

"Night night Jamie. I love you."

"I not love you Daddy. You not my best friend and I get my sword and I GOING TO KILL YOU. RRRRRRRRRaaaaaaaaaaarrrrgggghhhh."

Alternatively, I'm just raising a psychopath.

With all this in the background, I'd done my best to set Mr Jamie up with plenty of quiet, non-fighting-related activities. Reading, playing families, making collages (whilst keeping a firm hand on the scissors) - that kind of thing.

Neil showed no such caution. And bought Mr Jamie a sword. And an axe. That's a FULL SIZE sword and axe. For fighting.

To the relief of all Health and Safety managers out there, I can confirm that, thankfully, both sword and axe are made of latex. And therefore about as violent as fighting with a chocolate teapot would be.

But still ...

Oh, and enclosed with the sword and the axe was a demonic latex mask. Which, needless to say, Mr Jamie adores.

As a result, this is the sight that greets me in the rear view mirror these days ...

Monday, 15 November 2010

10 things I really, really don't like ...

... and really, really should - what with being a parent and everything.

This post (my 400th, as it happens. Woo yeah me.) has to come with a caveat at the start: that of the acknowledgement of how staggeringly lucky I am to have my two (mostly) fabulous children, and how hideous I imagine it must be if you want to have children and are unable to do so. But that said ...

10 things I really, really don't like - and probably should do

1) Children. Obviously my own two are the exceptions for this rule, being linked irrevocably as they are to my front bottom. Which, by the very nature of that link, clearly deems them to be most fabulous and awesome (much like my front bottom). But other peoples' children and babies? No thank you very much. They are too noisy, too smelly, and, most importantly, too attention grabbing. It's all about meeeeeeeeeeee, dontcha know? (To avoid losing all my friends here, it's probably important to note that over the years I've discovered the children of close friends are also pretty cool. But the rest? No thank you very much.)

2) Children's parties. I would rather gouge out my eyes with blunt teaspoons (as opposed to the 'sharp as a knife edge' version most people use to make their cups of tea) than attend one of these. For all the reasons why, see point #1.

3) Pushchairs. Pushchairs, and mothers pushing them. Particularly, pushchairs being pushed by mothers in crowded places. For the love of god people, have you not heard of slinging? And what's that? Your child's too big for a sling? Well bloody well make them walk then. And, if you must have a pushchair, then please, please, research your shopping choices appropriately and try to pick something slightly smaller than a large tank. Do you have a pushchair? Are you using it in crowded places? Is it the size of a large tank? Then yes, I WILL judge you.

4) Spending 'quality time' with one's child. Otherwise known as maternity leave. Yes, yes, I'm sure it's perfectly lovely spending the day doing 'arts and crafts', followed by a nutritious lunch together and then a family walk down the park. But you know what? How much MORE fun does a day sleeping, shopping and getting drunk over dinner out in the evening sound? There you go then.

5) Having my house filled with children's toys. Farewell, minimalistic living. Sigh.

6) The fact I can no longer have long lie ins, spend the day sitting on my arse on the sofa (without having to resort to an amount of CBeebies even me, the anti-mother, feels guilty about), and get off my tits on cheap wine and champagne in the evening without having to worry about the hideous post-drinking-session-hangover-in-the-company-of-small-children-6am-wake-up-call the next day.

7) Other parents. Well, other parents are okay, provided they don't insist on talking about their children. The moment we spend more than five minutes chatting on the subject of our respective offspring (and not about meeeeeeeee) then you're going to lose me.

8) The amount of 'luggage' most mothers seem to find it necessary to lug around with them. Okay, we get it, you've got a small child. Maybe two. So pick up your (oversized) handbag, chuck in a couple of nappies, a pack of wipes, a cup of water and a snack and make sure you've got a couple of spare outfits in the boot of the car. Done. Sorted. So that'll be one bag then, not 5,000. Got it? Good.

9) When my child uses his 'silly voice'. You know the sort I mean, when they start talking like they've only just learned to speak and think it's hilarious. Makes me want to tape his mouth up.

10) Responsibility. Oh god, the responsibility. Don't they know I can only just look after myself?

So there you go. Feel free to lynch me in the comments section below, or alternatively just add your own ...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Surgical spirit

Tales of my general incompetence continue to write themselves ...

Tim, one of my fabbest friends from drama school, came down to visit this weekend. (Hello Tim! He is a sporadic blog reader, hence having to write nice things about him ;) ) Accompanied by Neil, Mr Jamie, and small Beth, we decided to go out for lunch.

And thus the conversation unfolded:

Tim: Neil, this is one for you. Sorry Kathryn, but you won't get it. You're not old enough.

Me: Fine. (I chose not to comment on the fact that Tim is, in fact, only a matter of months older than me. When you look as haggard as me at the moment, you take all the compliments you can get.)

Tim: So, Neil, do you remember surgical spirit?

Neil: (Begins to answer, but is cut off by me.)

Me: Oh my GOD. I can't believe you are so bloody patronising. Actually, I remember surgical spirit as well. Very well. So there. Too bloody young indeed. (Etc etc. My rant continued for some time, but I'll spare you the full details.)

Tim: (Looking at me oddly.) Okaaaaay. So, do you remember that actor in it, the one who also did ... what? (Looking at me even more oddly. I am now laughing so hard I cannot speak.)

Me: You mean ... Surgical Spirit ... the TV show. Not ... surgical spirit ... the stuff I put on my feet when I did my Duke of Edinburgh ...

Hilarity ensued.

Honest to god. I am a straight A student, I really am. Promise ...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Breastfeeding

As someone who's had her tits perpetually hanging out since the age of about twelve, breastfeeding was pretty much designed for me. Thankfully, I've been one of the lucky ones for whom it's a relatively easy process, and given Beth is a big fan of having a nipple in her mouth (goodness knows what this bodes for her future), everyone's happy.

Being something of an exhibitionist by nature (I know - it's always the shy retiring types ...), I have again been fortunate not to have any of the misgivings I know some of my contemporaries may have suffered from in regards to feeding in public. In fairness, breastfeeding can be done very discretely, by means of a cardigan or shawl draped over the exposed breast. You would hardly know you were doing it at all.

Or you can simply drop your top and waft your nipples around in the breeze whilst half heartedly guiding the baby's head towards them. But it's good to know you have options.

Now, in the early days, babies breast feed A LOT. Which means you have your tits in and out more times than a stripper on heat. (Or something like that.)

And so it was that yesterday I went to answer the door, Beth over my shoulder. It was the postman. I had a package to sign for. As I did so, I found him looking at me oddly. I presumed this was because of my signature. (The parcel was addressed to Aswad Marmaduke Tits. There is a story behind this, but I'll save it for another time. Suffice to say this was probably a bit of a contrast from the usual Smiths and Joneses.) No matter. I signed his electronic pad, took the parcel, and shut the door.

And looked in the mirror. And saw what he would have seen.

Me. With a baby over my shoulder. With my top hitched up to my neck, both bra flaps down, and both nipples firmly pointing in his direction, wafting in the breeze.

What can I say? I'm a natural.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

If you can't be arsed to read this blog ...

... this is a brilliant summary:



Thank you, www.wordle.net. You have brightened my day.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Idiot

I know my postings are a bit more sporadic these days, but you can rest assured that in the background my life is just as farcical as ever. Thursday night was a case in point.

Neil came home from work and was in the kitchen making his dinner. (No, we don't eat together. There are a million and one reasons why not, all of which are far too dull for me to waste this blog entry going on about them. And no, my cooking isn't that bad.) I was in the lounge wrangling two small children, looking forward to an evening filled with nothing more challenging than lying on the sofa, drinking my one permitted glass of wine (I reckon the day drinking booze and breastfeeding becomes compatible, sleep deprivation will suddenly become a whole lot more bearable), and watching the episode of The Apprentice we'd recorded the previous evening. (What do you mean, why didn't we stay up to watch it? Stay up until 10pm? In my dreams.)

Except life never works out quite like that, does it. I suddenly became aware of Neil swearing rather a lot in the kitchen. As a man who is not prone to excessive use of expletives (in marked contrast to his wife), this was somewhat out of the ordinary. And HIS cooking isn't that bad, either. So I went into the kitchen to see what was going on.

Turns out, we had a mouse. In the kitchen. In the cupboard, to be precise. Now, we've lived here for the best part of 10 years, and never had a mouse problem. In fact, when the kitchen was done up a couple of years ago, all possible entry points to the outside world were sealed up. So we had to face facts. Not only did we have a mouse - we had a mouse which wasn't going to be getting out again. Not without considerable input from us, that was.

And so our lovely, relaxing evening turned into a complete and utter shambles, as Neil and I alternated holding the baby and taking apart the kitchen. In the end it was Neil who claimed victory, teaming up with Sandwich the cat to corner the mouse behind the washing machine, trap it in a plant pot and release it into the wild. (We are nothing if not humane here.)

Now, contrary to popular opinion, I am a very intelligent individual. Holding down a high (ish) powered job, straight A student, blah blah blah blah blah. So there really is no explanation whatsoever for my remark to Neil as he walked back into the house. Please don't hold it against me. Or judge. I thank you.

"Well, thank goodness for that. The only thing is, I hope we got it out quickly enough. I hope it didn't have a chance to lay any eggs ..."

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Butt kicking

My patience is short at the moment. (Parenting two children on around 2 hours' broken sleep a night will do that to you.) Hence yesterday's 'discussion' with Mr Jamie ...

We are in the bedroom getting ready for bed. Jamie is overexcited. (Can't think where he gets that from.) He is demonstrating this by leaping from bed to bed (we have three up there at the moment) and exuberantly bouncing from one mattress to another. His bouncing goes awry and he bounches towards me and Beth. And kicks me.

"JAAAAAMMMMMIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Do NOT kick me. What do you say?" (I spoke on behalf of fishwives everywhere.)

"I not say sorry Mummy. I not kick you."

"YES, you did. Now say sorry NOOOOOOOOOOW." (I am trying to be entirely honest in my retelling of this little interaction. I'm not sure capital letters are entirely giving you an accurate appraisal of just how loud my voice was. Think Brian Blessed. On crack.)

"No Mummy, I NOT kick you."

We both stared at each other in an aggressive silence for a moment.

"I not kick you. I kick your BUTT."

Not a lot you can say to that, is there?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Parenting fail

Now, as regular readers of this blog will know, I am not one for particularly giving myself a hard time. I refuse to beat myself up about failing to conform to parenting ideals. (Hell, I positively laud myself for it.) And with a small baby to contend with as well ... If Jamie gets any kind of parenting at all, he can count himself lucky.

But this morning? No, even I would have to confess to the fact that this morning was a definite parenting fail.

We've had some problems over the past couple of weeks with getting Jamie into nursery, as previously posted. Instead of the usual kiss good bye we've found ourselves in the midst of some Victorian melodrama, complete with sobbing heroines and small skinny children pressing their faces piteously up against the window. (Don't panic - I do feed him - he just stays skinny. I am channelling his metabolism.)

Thankfully, this morning I was confident we would have no such problems. Why? Well, because today nursery were celebrating Hallowe'en, and therefore all the children had been asked to dress up.

Mr Jamie was VERY excited.

"What would you like to dress up as on Monday?", I asked him.

"Ummmm ... ummmm ... I be a PIRATE. No, I be a SKELLINGTON. No, I be a PIRATE SKELLINGTON."

Riiiiiight. Not sure how well stocked Tesco was going to be when it came to 'pirate-skeleton' costumes, but I'd give it my best shot.

You need to, at this point, bear in mind two things.

#1 - I am not creative. Not even slightly. Whilst other parents might have jumped enthusiastically at the thought of making a pirate-skeleton costume, they can fuck off. I, frankly, have better things to do with my mind than hand crafting pirate-skeleton clothes. Not to mention the fact that when it comes to sewing I am utterly shite. For goodness' sake, I have to resort to sellotaping up my own trouser hems. (Yes, even that iron on stuff is beyond me.)

#2 - I remember, as a child, being quite cringingly embarrassed by any kind of event which required 'dressing up'. Particularly given that for some reason, I always seemed to be somehow more 'dressed up' than anyone else. I didn't want Mr Jamie to suffer the same fate.

It was with all of this at the back of my mind that I drove to Tesco, scanned the shelves, and purchased a pirate mask, along with three plastic skeletons. Pirate - and skeletons. Perfect. I took them home and gave them to Mr Jamie. He was delighted. In fact, he wore the mask for the entire of the rest of the weekend. (Including to church. That was an interesting one to explain away to the rest of the congregation.)

And so this morning we woke up, got dressed, and set off for nursery. "I a PIRATE SKELLINGTON", announced Mr Jamie proudly from the back of the car. (Beth watched on in stunned silence.) "I not cry today." Halle-bloody-lujah.

We arrived. We got out of the car. We walked up the stairs. We went into Jamie's room.

Oh FUCK.

I was a DREADFUL bloody parent. The worse parent in the whole sodding world.

Why?

Well, we'd walked into a room FILLED with children - in FULL ON FUCKING FANCY DRESS. I'm not talking one or two accessories here. There were pumpkins, cats, witches, spiders, and PROPER bloody skeletons in PROPER skeleton costumes.

And then there was Jamie. With a mask. And a plastic skeleton.

I attempted to brazen it out.

"Here you go sweetheart. Here's your pirate skeleton mask. Are you going to put it on?"

He looked sadly at me. His lower lip quivered.

"No Mummy. I not want to wear that. Can you put it back in my bag? I want to be a PROPER skeleton."

Arse.

Thank goodness then for his lovely nursery workers, who came to the rescue.

"Don't worry Jamie. We've got another skeleton costume, would you like to wear that? Or Scooby Doo? Or a spaceman?"

Worst Parent Of The Year Award. It's official. Poor Mr Jamie.

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