Archives for August 2011

Simply glowing

Yesterday I was tricked into thinking winter had arrived when it was still dark at half six and the kids asked for Ready Brek for their breakfast. This morning however, buy cialis it appears there is no trickery at play, it is dark, I’ve had to put the heating on and I have a hankering after a hot bowl of porridge and a morning under the duvet watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Does this mean summer has bowed out for another year? I fear so. But then of course, between the fair summer months where the air is warmer and the breeze is balmy and the drab winter ones where the snow is constant and the wind is icy, comes the most delicious season of all, autumn.

With autumn, you know what you’re going to get. There’s no tease of a spell of six weeks of blistering hot sunshine leading to much planning of picnics, beach trips, short floaty dresses and paddling in the sea. You know it’s going to be crisp and a little nippy around the nose. There is nothing quite like the autumn sunshine. It has a different kind of vibrancy than that in the summer, and it’s usually accompanied by glorious blue skies and a freshness that makes you tingle in a pleasant way.

It’s a great wardrobe season for me too – no need for fake tanning or de-fuzzing of the legs – they ain’t going to be on show.  It’s skinny jeans and comfy flats all the way. Fine knitwear in soft caramels, mink and coffee, pumps in hues of gold, copper and bronze and cosy, knee high boots in soft buttery brown leather topped off with puffy jackets that feel like a squishy hug when you put them on.

Walking in the fallen leaves in one of my simplest pleasures. The crunching underfoot is music to my ears, and the vivid contrast of red, gold and brown leaves which have not yet taken their tumble from the trees overhead fills me to the brim with happiness.

Every time I think of autumn, I remember this particular family photo, before Little Monster Blue came along, and that’s the only thing missing from this picture.  The rest of it, is just perfect.

Be Prepared

With the new school term fully in swing now, buy viagra and our friends south of the border starting to turn their attentions to getting sorted for a return to school uniform and packed lunches too, here are a few helpful hints for minimising the morning rush out the door minus the maths homework, so make like a good girl guide and be prepared!

1)      Choose and lay out all clothes for the next day before going to bed.  Get the kids involved in order to save morning wobbles over red Snow White knickers versus pink Hello Kitty ones. Discovering there are no clean socks in the drawer on the morning they are required only results in last minute rummaging through the wash basket for yesterdays pair. It’s not cool, nor hygienic. (Hands up if you’ve done it?! Me!)

2)      Don’t just stop at the kids clothes either, laying out my clothes the night before has stuck with me since I lived at home, and helpfully, it does stop me leaving the house in the morning with one brown shoe and one black shoe on.

3)      Ensure all school bags are packed the night before with all requisite items – pencil case, play time snack, homework books, reading pack, gym clothes, milk money, school trip permission form, lunch money or packed lunch (remember no strawberries as the teachers allergic, swap the muffin for some mango in a bid to keep it healthy, and wipe yesterdays crumbs from the bottom at the risk of moulding), indoor shoes, waterproof jacket. Yes, this results in a heavy bag most likely to haul your little one over on their back, legs wriggling in the air like a ladybird that can’t turn over, but it appears that schoolies these days don’t travel lightly.

4)      Set out breakfast things, so you at least know what’s on the menu in advance.  Cobbling together cereal with yoghurt poured over as you’ve run out of milk, or resorting to Jaffa Cakes as someone ate the last two oranges doesn’t bode well for keeping nippers fuelled ‘til snack time.

5)      Set your alarm. Even if the baby always wakes you at 5.30 demanding to watch Peppa Pig, or the dog arrives at the side of your bed faithfully each morning with the lead in his mouth before you’ve even had time to rub the sleep from your eyes, the day that you don’t – will be the day that they won’t!

Two is the Magic Number

I love both my children in equal measure. But I do play favourites. Little Princess Pink is my favourite girl and Little Monster Blue is my favourite boy, viagra buy and I tell them both that often. The trouble is, when they get together they drive me more than a little bit insane.  There is just over two and half years between them and it’s fair to say that when LMB arrived, a certain (some say spoiled) girl wasn’t best pleased, and I recount regularly telling people that as siblings they had a love / hate relationship.  LMB LOVED his big sister.  And she hated him. Yet over the years they have bonded and formed a relationship which continues to centre on the love / hate theme, though in a much more rounded and balanced way.  They very often have periods where they LOVE one another.  “Oh wee guy, you are just so cute and funny.” (said in the voice a sweet elderly lady would use when saying Coochie Coochie Coo to a newborn in its gigantic Silver Cross Pram) or “ Come and play tea parties in my room, we can make Candy Floss!” or “ Look at mine Cow, him says Moo-Mooo. You play mine farm with me.”  It’s a delight to hear.

Then of course there are times when they cannot stand the sight of each other and seem to both be on a personal mission to see who can be the most annoying, irritating and more shockingly, cruel to one another.  The invite to ‘play in my room’ is sporadic and not always doled out with a degree of comforting regularity. Many a door has been slammed in the other ones face, and many a time one has forcibly been evicted from the other ones room, with much weeping and wailing. They battle often, and growl and grimace at one another over the breakfast table. They tell tales on one another that would put Jack-a-nory to shame.  But I accept all of this, as I’m no stranger to having a sibling, and I know it’s to be fully expected that they won’t always see eye-to-eye.  What I find of most interest however, is how my relationship with them as individuals is so much better (and I tend to find I don’t use that horrible shouty voice I hear myself using and think, who on earth is that scary lady?) whenever the other one is not there.

Take last weekend, Little Princess Pink and I went on a mightily fine jaunt to London town, where we spent lots of time with my best girls, and bubs, and with each other.  We giggled and rolled our eyes at the funny American lady next to us on the airplane who whilst dozing, snorted loudly and woke herself up.  We ‘ooh-ed and aah-ed’ at the sights across London as we rode high over the murky waters of the River Thames on the London Eye.  We laughed heartily at my reaction to my bottle of water falling out of my bag whilst we were surrounded by pigeons and I had a mini cardiac thinking an actual pigeon had just flown into my back.  Her behaviour was impeccable.  Her manners were ever present. She was a sheer delight to be around. Super Daddy reported much of the same back at the ranch.  Little Monster Blue was a gem, they sat on the sofa with their pizzas in boxes, and bottles of beer (LMB’s being a cranberry juice in a glass bottle which he truly believed was beer for children. Is that wrong?) and they had some good proper father and son time together.  There were no tantrums (from either of them) and much fun was had by all.  Yet, five minutes in the door on our arrival back from London and the scary lady with the shouty voice was back.  The most heinous of crimes was committed when LMB ripped up LPP’s guide to the London Eye (Sorry Auntie Jo) and she bit down on her bottom lip hard and retaliated by telling him that Hercules Morse As Big as a Horse (from the Hairy McClary books for those not in the know) would come and bark in his ear. I found myself counting down the hours to bedtime.

This week has been a momentous week in which Little Princess Pink started school.  She has as a result been the focus of lots of attention, and we’ve been careful not to leave the big guy out. Nevertheless, he still went into nursery each day, all day, and LPP and I spent more quality time together on the ‘three and two halves’ days that she wasn’t in school (tsk, to ‘phasing in’.)  Again, we’ve had a lovely week together.   A cinema trip, a last minute school shopping trip, a mammoth tidying of the toy cupboard / wardrobe and art boxes all passed without incident. Likewise, on Friday morning, between the hours of 8.45 and 12.30 when Little Princess Pink was at school, the big guy and I had a tip-top time together free from tears, tantrums and telling tales.  We went to Tesco and LMB happily sat in the trolley without the usual squawking and demanding that he walks beside his big sister. He did however reveal halfway round the store that he thought we were going to a disco, not Tesco, perhaps explaining the excited reaction from him when I’d first mooted the idea of Tesco. We coloured in, emptied the entire contents of his toy box on his bedroom floor and put it all back away again, and had a jolly good time in the process.

School pick up went without a hitch, LMB being extremely excited to see his big sister, and her equally so. Home for lunch, a quick change of clothes and out to the soft play to meet friends was on the agenda for the afternoon.  Yet we’d only been in the door for somewhere in the region of 11 minutes and I found that the scary lady with the shouty voice was hanging around again. Lunch descended into nothing short of a chimps tea party. Changing of clothes was met with great mirth and a strop or two. Apparently being seen in your school uniform in the soft play is the thing to do. Getting in the car and getting seatbelts on was preceded by a squabble over who was getting to sit in the front – easy answer- no-one, you are 5 and 2, deal with it. In the short time it took us to get to the soft play, LPP had according to LMB ‘snapped his arm’, she’d broken her heart in the manner you’d expect if she’d been told all childrens’ television was ceasing to exist and LMB had folded his arms, stuck out his bottom lip and declared ‘I’m not talking-a you’ when I mentioned in passing that it was their favourite macaroni cheese for dinner.  I give up.  And, yes, that all sounds fairly tame, and some may say I need to deal more appropriately with squabbling, strops, huffiness and horridness, but it’s just. So. Frustrating. Once again, I find myself counting down the hours to bedtime.  Then bedtime comes, and reading to Little Monster Blue is a fun affair, he is at the stage where every story is his favourite and they are all rather hilarious, made more so by his insistence that I read every story in a funny voice. Settling Little Princess Pink down is the same, we chat amiably about the best parts of our days and chuckle as one tries to top the other with how much we love each other – ‘To Pluto and Back a million gazillon gamillion times. Or ‘more than vanilla ice-cream with a flake on top.’

And so I settle them both down, kiss their sweaty foreheads and bid them both goodnight, count my blessings, remind myself why contraception is so important going forward and pour a big glass of wine.  Aren’t I an awful mummy?!

Run Mummy, run.

I’ve heard lots about this ‘school run’, price mind and given Little Princess Pink has now donned her very cute uniform and commenced her classes as a primary one, site I think I need to pay more attention. I’m assuming said school run is the dropping off and collection of small children at their schooling establishment and not anything to do with actual, proper running? I think I would struggle with that given my relationship with my trainers has soured again (not that it ever really got properly off the ground last time, fickle as they are.) I imagine also that running would involve much flapping and flailing of school bags and lunchboxes, would jiggle my blackberry too much and would result in sweaty pits under my suit jacket.

The dropping off and collecting part sounds straight forward, providing I can find a parking space amidst the hoardes of cars belonging to others also participating in the school run.  I’m well aware of the irony in there – school run; car; school run; car. Believe me, if we lived close enough and didn’t have Little Monster Blue to drop off at nursery a whole 7.2 miles away in the opposite direction, then an 8 mile trip along the bustling M8 to the office all before 9am, then I would be quite happy to walk the school run (still not running.) I hear the warnings from government officials loud and clear about the increase of traffic on the roads at peak hours as parents a plenty chose a petrol powered method of getting the kids to school over using shanks’ pony (using ones legs as a means of transport, not surprisingly, this expression is believed to be Scottish in origin.)

What is less straight-forward to me, and the part I’m struggling to get my head around on the whole concept of the school run is the etiquette and dare I say, the rules.

According to one source, a mummy should apply a slick of lip gloss prior to the school run, so she looks ‘together.’ That I can do, though more often than not find the attraction between lip gloss and my hair somewhat limiting in the looking together stakes. Caitlin Moran, whom I adore for her frankness and honesty on the issue of why women should / shouldn’t have children, claims in her latest book that “in the real world, women who always blow dry their hair before leaving the house are freaks, and any mother at the school gates with a glossy bob is the subject of pitying looks from other mothers who can’t believe she wasted 20 minutes and lots of upper arm strength for any event less momentous than announcing her engagement to Kiefer Sutherland at Cannes”.

Therein lies the first dilemma.  Am I to undertake the school run with limited grooming and attention to personal hygiene at the risk of embarrassing daughter, myself and anyone associated with me in order that I don’t become the recipient of helpful suggestions levied in my direction as to how best spend an additional 20 minutes in the morning at the expense of my coiffed barnet? There is also the small matter of adhering to the company dress code when I do actually make it in to the office, and ensuring a professional frontage when I get there.  Lip gloss and freshly washed and blow dry hair are a necessary requirement for this. I’m not quite sure if I fully understand the spectrum of acceptable glamour on the school run.  Is it appropriate perhaps to sit somewhere between unkempt, bed head, perhaps partially hidden by an anorak hood, and the just-stepped-out-of- a-salon look and opt for simply taking a brush through yesterdays freshly washed do? Is it okay to wear the suit that I plan to wear to work, or is that deemed too ‘sharp’ for the school run? Should I veer towards smart skirt and blouse and casual knee high boots with a hell of less than 3 inches? Is a hoodie and pyjama bottoms with dried on Weetabix a step too far in the other direction?  Frankly, if day one school drop off was anything to go by, it makes absolutely no odds what I wear or how I style my hair as I’ll forever be known as the one with the mascara running down my cheeks (serves me right for applying make-up before leaving the house) and snot dripping from my nose as I weep and wail goodbye to my princess.

Which brings me to saying goodbye at the school gate. Is hugging, kissing and calling ‘I love you bear’ after the blonde bouncy plaited head of my girl disappearing into the classroom permitted?  Or will I be mocked for my public display of affection, notwithstanding that it is to my five year old? Should I remain resolutely stoic and unmoving for fear of being regarded as uncool and clingy otherwise, or will this render me the nickname ‘The Ice Mum’?

Should I, and will I, make friends with the other mums on the run?  I’m a newbie, LPP coming from a different nursery to the school feeder nursery, does this therefore mean I will be freely welcomed into the fold and invited to join in with morning gossiping, or will I have to watch on from the sidelines, nervously twirling my hair and wondering how I can strike up a conversation that doesn’t make me look like I’m desperate for a school gate friend nor cross the boundaries of acceptable morning school gate chat (unfamiliar with that as I am.) What topics are suitable for a gaggle of mums who huddle together for 10 minutes at the start of the day and 10 minutes mid afternoon 5 days a week?  I’m assuming with small children in earshot, swearing is not permitted, nor is the ‘Snog, Shag or Marry’ game about the hot male teacher who takes primary 6, the middle aged music  teacher (female, though with a wispy beard) and the school janitor?

Being last to arrive for drop off, just as the school bell is ringing loudly.  I’m assuming this is downright unacceptable, but unfortunately has to befall one of the school run mums (or dads). If it was me puffing and panting as I sprint down the path, arms overflowing with school bag, lunch box the jacket that we didn’t quite manage to get on (despite the rain) and a hairbrush and bobbles for last minute plaiting in an attempt at neatness, would this behaviour be frowned upon?  Could I successfully argue that I couldn’t find a parking space that wasn’t a) on a zebra crossing, b) across someone’s driveway, or c) long enough and wide enough to fit my SUV?  Okay, so I don’t have an SUV, but if we’re stereotyping here…..Perhaps I would be scorned for spending too long with the hairdryer and maybe glean some helpful pointers on the right things I should be spending my time on between the hours of 6am and 8am.

And, what I wonder, is the etiquette as far as breakfast on the go is concerned? Are coco pops bars allowed to be consumed whilst small child runs frantically at double speed to keep up with mum or dad as they power walk briskly up the path to avoid being the last one to arrive?  I suspect this could also be avoided if hair drying is forgone in favour of rustling up a suitably nutritious and nourishing Eggs Benedict or kedgeree for the nippers prior to departing for school.  Surely it’s better that any breakfast which must be dispensed literally on the run is witnessed by the other mums in those scenarios where it just hasn’t happened at home that morning for fear of perhaps the teacher asking to see me after class to discuss the constant tummy rumbling and requests to eat her packed lunch at 10am from my non-breakfast eating daughter? Coco pops bars might be frowned upon, containing chocolate as they do; maybe bananas with their energy giving qualities might be favoured and deemed satisfactory?

I believe I have lots to learn in the ways of school run mum, and will pay close attention on the next drop off, carefully studying those who stand outside the primary two class, smug that they now ‘get it’ after having had a whole year to learn the rules. In the meantime, the lip gloss will remain, after all, the luscious shade of pink matches my Minnie Mouse pyjama bottoms perfectly.

Moving On

This coming Thursday marks the end of an era.  Little Princess Pink will go to her private day care nursery for the very last time. Eek, cialis eek and double eek.  My eyes well up, find my bottom lip trembles and I could physically hurl every time I think about it. Of course there is the excitement of this being the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next  – “big school” –  but she has gone there since she was 6 months old when she regularly spat up on me and couldn’t yet crawl. Yet here she is today, infinitely taller and most definitely wiser, spitting is something the boys taught her how to do and crawling has progressed to scaling trees and wild and somewhat amusing interpretations of street dance in the middle of the living room floor. She has blossomed in every way and each and every day she takes me by surprise, be it with a quick witted comment, a perfectly recited rendition of ‘Aboot a Haggis’, or a glued photo collage of 14 different items from the Argos catalogue that constitutes her Christmas list (apparently it was easier than writing it out so she tells me, and so lovely that she clearly takes after her mother in the ‘being uber organised stakes’.)

She has confidence in just the right measure, social skills which allow her to make new friends easily, and a kindness which melts my heart.  Yes, she can be a bossy little madam, and I’ll let Super Daddy pass comment on where she might get that trait from, and she answers back and takes the huff like every other five year old I know. But her desire to learn more about others and the world we live in gives me comfort that school will provide the right challenge and stretch she is so ready for.

My emotion when I think about Thursday doesn’t come from me feeling it’s too early for her to move on.  I simply can’t believe we’ve gotten to this point so quickly. Clichéd as it is, it feels like only yesterday I held her in my arms for the first time, my beautiful, red and wrinkly, 9lbs newborn baby. At this time of year, just a few weeks after her birthday, I often find myself thinking of those midnight feeds in the early weeks, quickly followed by a 2am feed and another one just a swift three hours later. I remember sitting on the rocking chair, in that half awake / half dozy state, listening to the contented little noises that came from her as the warm milk filled her little tum. Many a time I thought of all the other mothers across the world doing exactly the same in their own homes with their little ones, and strangely I felt part of one big group who knew exactly what it felt like to be unconditionally in love with a person they’d only known for a matter of weeks.  The love I have for that little baby has grown with every centimetre that she has.

The excitement she has about starting school is on a par with the frenzy the nation whipped itself into earlier in the year when Kate & Wills said ‘I do’. We’re sorted with school uniform, school bag and lunch box and she has already made two cards for her new teacher – the first said “To Miss Kearney, I love you.” Hopefully this is not a sign that she is vying for top position as teachers pet, nor indeed a reflection on my ability to inappropriately tell people the extent of my true feelings (Tesco Delivery Man incident). The second more appropriately says “To Miss Kearney, I am ick sited about coming to Primary 1.”  Sniff.

Tissues are at the ready for Thursday.

We’ll be back every day of course, with Little Monster Blue, but where we leave him in the ‘Two’s’ room, there will be no going down stairs to Pre-school as we usually do. There’ll be no racing each other to the cloak room, and jumping up and down to hang her coat on her peg. There will be no ‘Come and see the giant snails Mummy’, no ‘Look at my picture on the wall, it’s a Pea, a Plate and Porridge for the ‘P’ sound of the week”. There will be no last minute hugs before skipping off to tell her friends all about the teeniest scratch she has on her knee that simply had to have a Cinderella plaster over it.  There will be no ‘Show and Tell’, no ‘Number of the week’, no adventures of Ernie, the travelling teddy bear.

But, there will be so much more to come.

I guess I’m a little ick sited.

Super Tan

So, and a Government agency is warning people not to use a new tanning spray that is on sale within the UK.  It’s not one that you apply directly onto your skin after exfoliating, body brushing and moisturising.  No.

You spray it up your nose.

I mean, come on. Would it really have taken a government agency warning to make you go, ‘Erm, no, thanks, I’d rather not’?

I am indeed a fan of a tan, and the faker the better. I remain firmly in the ‘girls against sunbeds camp’.  I do prefer to have a little bit of a glow, and as previous Super Mummy blog articles recount, a wee bit of fake sunshine on your cheeks works wonders for pepping up the glamour rankings of tired mummies.  But spraying something up my nose, in the hope that I’d slowly develop some bronzed godess-like appeal?  I remain unconvinced. Yet, many women in the UK are using this product, and more worryingly, without knowing what it contains.

What happened to a good old slap of a biscuity-smelling lurid coloured potion applied just before bed, making you dream about Weetabix all night but wake up in the morning positively glowing (and with a big white streak up the back of your left calf)? Or better still, as my Granny and her Granny before would have done, taking used teabags and wiping them up and down your legs to create that two weeks in Marbella (or Margate as it more likely was) look?

I’m being a little unfair as the range and quality of tanning creams, sprays (including booths!) and wipes available today has improved beyond measure. I expect my glamourous granny would approve. Which begs the question even more, ‘Spray something up my nose in order to get a tan?’ I’d rather attempt to drink a gallon of carrot juice and see if the orange colour permeated my skin that way. And if it didn’t, well, at least I might be able to see better in the dark on those midnight return trips with Little Monster Blue back to his own bed and avoid trodding on  a minature Roary the racing car on the way.



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