Happy Thankyouful Day

I talked to the kids this morning about Thanksgiving, viagra prompted by a few things. My new boss is American, buy cialis so there’s a bit of a vibe in the workplace today though I’m sure he’d much rather be with his family watching American Football and eating turkey, sweet potato with marshmallows and pumpkin pie. But also we’re trying as a family to be more appreciative and grateful for the things we have.

Some time ago, we added a new element to the bedtime routine, and tucking in was accompanied by renditions of ‘three things I’m thankful for today’. It took while to get into the groove, with the Little Monster only being thankful for the things he saw as treats in the day – chocolate buttons after dinner, watching an episode of Scaredy Squirrel on Pop and getting to play on Mummys’ phone. But I encouraged him to share these thoughts, the practice being more important than the actual list. The Princess, like me, loves a list, so this was any easy ask for her to embrace. Similarly, her initial things to be thankful for were of the same ilk – cupcakes, watching movies, getting new toys. Yet over time, without really noticing, they’ve developed a broader thought process about the things that we have to be thankful for. Small, but beautiful things – enjoying a sunny walk to after school club, playing on the swing in the garden, having dinner as a family, getting to go to school, getting the last yoghurt at breakfast club, getting to sit in the front of the car with Mummy and turn the radio up loud, being able to sing, having strong arms to use to cuddle mummy and daddy, being able to help a friend with a tricky maths problem, staging (not winning!) a dance contest in the kitchen, crunching through crisp autumn leaves, stories at bedtime, soft toys to snuggle in to. Now I find we can’t stop at just three things.

The kids listened intently as I told them about the traditions many families in the US will be enjoying today. They were interested, and thoughtful about it, but the Monster summed it up beautifully when he said “So just like we do everyday Mummy but without the turkey and the football? Happy Thankyouful Day!”

Happy Thankyouful Day to you all!


Weekend by Numbers

One – one trip to North Berwick to visit my lovely folks who were enjoying a well earned break, find until of course we descended upon them pleading to play with the frisbee, get the bubbles out and collect sticks to play pirates!

Two – the number of wrong turns I took on the way to North Berwick despite having driven there countless times. I will not use the sat nav. I will not use the sat nav.

Three – the number of things I asked the princess and the monster to tell me that they were thankful for at bedtime each night. Hugs, mini golf, football class and daddy coming home from his trip made the list.

Four – the number of empty packets of cheese & onion I found on the sofa beside me on Saturday night. No idea how they got there. Very mysterious indeed.

Five – the number of times I sprayed the shower with tile and grout cleaner in order to get it properly white and sparkling instead of that off grey colour it’s been for far too long now.

Six – the amount of times I started a conversation with friends whilst at the softplay cafe, only for a small child (not always my own) running to tell me a tale on another, causing me to feel like a complete airhead who couldn’t remember what she was saying. Happens often.

Seven – the number of toenails I managed to paint before clumsily knocking the remainder of the bottle of ‘vamp’ nail varnish all over the white ceramic floor tiles.

Eight – the number of hours sleep I really should have had on Friday night in order to deal with a mischievous monster who favoured five forty one as his wake up time

Nine – the number of bicycle crunches I managed whilst working out to my Shred DVD before the princess asked me if I could feel the knot in my stomach that was fear leaving the body!

Ten – the number of minutes I told the nippers they could have to play on the iPad, before being distracted by scrubbing the shower and realising they were still watching ‘here’s how to build lego star wars’ clips on You Tube fifty minutes later. Oops.

Twenty Three – the number of minutes Super Daddy was home from his weekend trip before I wondered when his next one was.

Fifty One – the number of shirts, school blouses and work skirts it feels like I ironed on Sunday afternoon

Two Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Six – calories in my Smoked Haddock, Chive Mash, Cheese Sauce and poached egg main on Saturday. Lush.

Three Thousand and Twenty Nine – the number of bicycle crunches I had to do to work off that meal.

What’s on your list?

Say what? The things mums say.

Did you brush your teeth?
You missed a bit. Is it jam?
Pick the towel up off the floor please.
Can someone switch that tap off.
The money for your school trip is in your bag.
No, ed your school bag.
In an envelope that says ‘school trip money’
No you can’t have a chocolate egg you’ve just eaten breakfast.
We’re leaving after Peppa.
Shoes on please.
There are no strawberries.
How did those shoes get so filthy?
Shoes off please until I clean them.
I’ve not see your cow. Isn’t it in the farm box?
Why would I take it to work?
I don’t have your cow. I promise.
We’re leaving after THIS Peppa.
Here you go, put your shoes back on.
I’m just putting bags in the car.
What’s going in in here? Can I not leave you for a minute?!
Pick the popcorn up.
We’ll have some after lunch.
No, it’s not lunch time yet.
I don’t know what’s for dinner yet, you’ve just ate breakfast.
Don’t drink your sisters milk.
She doesn’t have germs, she just needs to drink her own milk so we can leave.
Switch off the tv.
Put your cup by the sink.
Two hands please. Careful!
Walkings not boring. It’s good for you.
Go in the buggy then.
Are you going in the buggy?
You just got in the buggy! I thought walking was boring?.
Watch the puddle.
Walk round the puddle.
ROUND the puddle not through the middle.
It’s in your bag. Envelope says ‘school trip money’
Why didn’t you go before we left the house?
You’ll just have to wait.
Macaroni Cheese.
You liked it last week.
I’m not joking.
Shoes off please.
Don’t leave them there.
Where they always go.
Put. Your. Shoes. In. The. Box.
What do you mean ‘you broke the radiator?’
Sit nicely, feet off the sofa.
Did you do your maths homework?
Bring me your book.
Excellent reading. Stop chewing your plaits.
No, you can’t play a game on my phone.
Why is your cardigan screwed up in a ball in your bag?
Put it in your wardrobe.
It’s not dirty.
That’s dirty, pick it up and put it in the wash basket.
Wear the grey one instead.
You’ll freeze, it’s bitter out there.
Cold. Very cold.
Give me a kiss. Love you.
Close the door.
Don’t run. Walk please. WALK IN THE HOUSE PLEASE.
Choose a banana instead.
I’ll think about it.
If you eat your dinner.
I said I’d think about it.
Slow down and tell me again.
Who is ‘she?’ that’s your sister you’re talking about.
Sometimes things aren’t fair.
I don’t care who started it. Cut it out.
Use your fork please.
Use your fork.
Careful you don’t spill….
Don’t worry, here’s a cloth.
Three more bites.
Another one.
I’m still thinking about it.
Don’t call from the other room. Come here so I can hear you.
Yes, that’s fine.
Yes, really.
Go, before I change my mind.
Where’s my phone?
Who has my phone?
Ask Daddy.
Put it in the wash basket.
Underneath the towel on the bathroom floor.
Guys! Stop that, it’s dangerous.
It means someone could get hurt.
Again? You are always hungry.
You’ve never tried it.
It’s good for you.
No, that’s bad for you.
Because I said so.
Did Daddy wash your hair last night?
With what?
The green bottle? I thought it looked greasy.
Close your eyes then and it won’t sting.
Right, scrub til they are gleaming.
Yes, very good. Shiny.
It doesn’t need a plaster. I can’t really see it.
He was last on your sisters bed.
Have you seen the Dinosaur?
Stop it!
I said Stop it!
It doesn’t smell.
Cuddle up here then. Move over.
I’ll sit in the middle. Save any fighting.
We did your book first last night.
Well, ask Daddy instead.
Don’t make me count to five.
Fine, but move over.
Stop picking it.
It’s fine.
Right, go wash your hands. I told you to leave it.
Here, give me a cuddle.
It’s fine.
I love you.
Put your book away.
In the bookcase.
You’ll slip on it.
I love you.
Ask Daddy in the morning.
Ready Brek?
Well see how you feel in the morning.
Five more minutes.
Sweet dreams cherub.
Who’s up?
Just remember to flush.
Get back to bed.
UNDER the duvet.
I’ll leave it open a little.
Back to bed.
Sweet dreams.
Did you hear him snoring?
She’s out for the count.
Angelic girl.

My Week in Snaps

  • Little Monster Blue had a Birthday ….. Yay










  • Everything required for week two of potty training with an indecisive and on occassion unwilling participant











  • Scaling Ironing Mountain



  • Mental week at work meant lots of working from home 

fitted in around grabbed moments between

proper office time, viagra usa school run, generic viagra birthdays,

potty training (did I mention potty training?) 

ironing, cleaning, cooking and a little bit of sleeping.






  • That’s Saturday Night right there folks

Fancy a nosey at what everyone else got up to this week?

I wonder how many will feature wine?








Where does it hurt?

This blog post is part of CLIC Sargent Do Something Yummy awareness campaign.  Over on Nickie’s blog this week, sovaldi sale Nickie has posed writing prompts relating to family.

Inspired by the prompts ‘What kind of family did you grow up in? Why is family important to you?’ and a little of ‘A perfect family moment.’ I’ve written the below account of growing up in a family where mental illness had a steady hold.

Depression. Manic Depression. Bi-Polar Disorder. Anxiety. Paranoia. Not words that colour your average teenagers vocabulary (though as naive as I am, shop I do suspect the teenage sufferer stats are higher than I’d imagine.) But as a teenager, concerned only with new clothes, underage clubbing and snogging the face off my boyfriend at the bus stop, it’s fair to say I had little time for my mother’s ill health. And for that, I feel regret.

The glaring absence of a large plaster cast that screamed ‘Look, I’m broken and hurt’ didn’t help with the understanding that my mum was suffering from a horrible and extremely debilitating illness which had taken over her whole life. It was her life.

It wasn’t uncommon at all for my mum to be in bed all day. Hidden away from the world, the fug of the horrible darkness she now describes enveloping her and smothering her whilst the world carried on as normal on the other side of the door.

My coping strategy was to make like an ostrich and bury my head firmly in the sand. If I didn’t think about it, or dwell on it, then it wasn’t really happening. Depression wasn’t ruling her life – our lives. For the most part, this strategy worked, mum didn’t have any outward emotion other than indifference and on occasion what seemed to me to be extreme sadness, and she certainly didn’t pick me up for not caring. At other times, an intense madness, a rage would bubble up inside me and spill over into a tirade of fury which led to me screaming and questioning her as she cowered in the corner looking like a lost little girl. I couldn’t understand what she had to be sad about when the world around us, that we were untouched by, was cruel and horrid. Famine, war, poverty, death, abuse, violence. I couldn’t understand what she was frightened of, what rendered her unable to face not the world, but her friends and family who loved her dearly. I couldn’t understand what she was unable to cope with.

What I did know for sure was I hated this wretched illness and what it did to her, to us as a family. It shaped how I feel now as an adult with my own children. I now know and fully understand that mental ill health is every bit as challenging than physical ill health, and I know the impact it can have on families. My mum lost friends, people who struggled to understand that she wasn’t choosing to suffer from this damning illness, despite it overtaking everything good in her life. Perhaps they felt they’d simply tried too often to get their friend back, the one with the spark, the wicked sense of humour and the most caring, giving and gentle side. Perhaps, like me, they didn’t know how to support, how to be with her and how to feel themselves. I was moved recently by a friend who wrote about their own experiences with mental ill health but it brought to the surface all those emotions I tried so hard to bury deeply 15 years ago.

Back then I vowed never to allow such a ravaging illness to take over my life. There goes my naivety all over again. I may not have a choice. There is no blueprint for who is susceptible. But today I surround myself with positivity and I choose a thankful and grateful attitude every single day. I’ve said before, our family motto is ‘we can do anything we try.’ Simply because it’s the polar opposite of ‘I can’t.’

After a seriously long spell of illness which didn’t dissipate as previous episodes had, some extremely dark and bleak moments within that time which thankfully had positive outcomes, and a risky and unpleasant treatment, we now have Mum back. My Dad has been there with her every step of the way, through those bleakest and darkest of times. Rightly or wrongly I’ve put my Dad up on a pedestal for that. It’s bold to say, but I don’t think my husband would stand by me as he did her. To see the pair of them now, enjoying the things in life that previously were simply too frightening to embark upon is wonderful, and I’m talking little things here, meals out, walks along the pier on holidays.

She is adored by her grandchildren, she has fun with them, and they know nothing of the lost days with them when they were tiny and even the miracle and wonder of their arrival couldn’t break through the barrier of despair.

A little part of me is still a tiny bit scratched. But a bigger part of me is joyful; glad that for the last two years at least, the darkness and emptiness has lifted.

No sugar coating

Today my kids had jammie dodgers for breakfast.

And a cup of tea each. With caffine in it and everything.

Yesterday they had birthday cake with yellow and black icing just before bed.

Three times in the last week they have had chips with their dinner – Tuesday, best viagra chicken dippers and chips; Wednesday, buy cialis pesto pasta and chips and Thursday tomato ketchup…and chips.

On Saturday morning they will most likely watch television from when they rise (before the birds) to about 9.50am when I’ll shoe horn them into clothes and wipe their faces with baby wipes before the grandparents arrive at 10am. We won’t brush teeth as frankly it’s not worth the fight.

We’ll then all sit nicely round the table with Nana and Granddad and have brunch as lovely extended family unit, oohing and aahing over how excellently our five year old daughter has written her ‘sh’ words in her homework jotter and how our 2 year old son’s eratic scribbling with a green crayon on a yellow piece of card is a very artistic representation of a farm. We’ll ladle heavy praise at how wonderful our daughters French pronouns  are coming along,  how our son demonstrated great skill with the tennis racket at his ‘ball kids’ class earlier in the week, and how he is really showing positive signs to potty train.  We’ll marvel at how clean and tidy the sitting room and play room are, and talk excitedly about the itinerary for our winter break in a quaint little cottage in the countryside.

Brunch over, hugs and kisses will be dispensed, we’ll stand sweetly on the front door step like a mini version of the Von Trapp family and wave breezily with wide grins on our faces until Nana and Granddad’s car is round the corner and out of sight.

When the front door is closed (slammed), our son will most likely pull of his trousers and nappy in quick succession and pee on the hall floor. Then splash his hands in it.  We’ll move the small corner unit from the hallway that was covering up the green wax crayon and give it yet another going over with a soapy cloth to see if it fades anymore.  We’ll ask our daughter to find an eraser and remove the word ‘shit’ from her ’shop, shoe, fish, show and ship’ list in her homework book.  We’ll ring my friend to see how the bump on her sons head is going down after being rattled with a tennis racket. We’ll give the kids the lurid coloured, golf ball sized lollypops we promised them for doing such a good job of stuffing all the toys wildly scattered across the playroom floor into the toy box and lifting all six cushions from the sitting room floor and putting them back on the sofa in an orderly fashion at 9.58 this morning, whilst mummy ran to the bin with three empty wine bottles that were gracing the kitchen table.

The television will go back on and probably won’t go off until Strictly is finished, and then, over a glass of wine, we’ll give some long hard thought to just exactly what the hell we’re thinking we’re doing going to do with two wild kids in the freezing rural Highlands for a weekend in December.

I. am. a. robot. (Part 1)

I fear I’ve gotten a little carried away with myself.  You see, here purchase today I started a new project, information pills malady or rather Little Princess Pink did.  As it’s the school holidays we don’t have the usual Jolly Phonics sounds and flash cards for homework, no, we have the far more inspiring and exciting…… Robot Homework Challenge!

In the interests of helping the nippers learn about 2D and 3D shapes in a creative and fun way, all Primary 1’s have been tasked with crafting their very own robot over the next week and a half using any junk modelling and craft materials they have at home.  Having an arts and crafts box that could rival an entire Hobbycraft store, Little Princess Pink and I set about the challenge with gusto.  Like some kind of torturous touchy-feely team building exercise, I witnessed from the off that Little Princess Pink shares one characteristic with Super Daddy which, shall we say, is at the opposite end of the spectrum to some of those which I display when setting about a new task or project.  LPP full of enthusiasm, bursting at the seams with great ideas  and just itching to get started, was desperate to wrap three toilet paper tubes and a rice crispies box in some shiny tin foil and bobs-your-uncle, hey presto, ta da…..’Lola’ the Robot.  I on the other hand, whilst not wanting to be one to dampen her enthusiasm was keen that we reflected  further on the task in hand and perhaps undertook some form of planning exercise before construction commenced. There’s the project manager in me.

Surprisingly she was quite agreeable, and came up with the suggestion herself that we drew a blueprint (her word, not mine) of the Robot, whom we kept referring to as ‘he’ despite already tagging him/her with the moniker Lola (after our goldfish). Using a blue felt tip pen, LPP carefully sketched her first idea of what Lola should look like.  Her plan was simple. We’d draw the blueprint, and from that, identify which shapes we needed to make up the component parts, and only then set about the house on some kind of crafting, robotic treasure hunt seeking out body parts for Lola.

One sketch, some scribbled notes and twenty minutes rummaging in every corner of the house later and we had located every identified object which would form some limb or other for the greatly anticipated robot. Taking after her mother this time, LPP donned a painting apron and spread old newspapers all over the kitchen table so as she could crack on with task 1 – naming and numbering of the constituent parts of the production, and a developing an ordering system for how we should paint or decorate each part.

First came the painting.  Having discovered a Dulux  tester pot in ‘Chic Perfection’ (a silver grey) lurking on my desk in the office (not having actually found its way to the walls in the hallway for aesthetic testing) we began slopping and slapping this all over a Pampers size 5 nappy box which would be the robots body. Early on in this phase we identified through a crude risk analysis that we simply weren’t going to have enough to cover the whole box, and made a strategic decision to cover only the top and two sides in this colour and use red paint sprinkled with silver glitter on opposing sides. With more left over in the tester post than anticipated, we tactically decided to adopt a similar approach to the smaller brown cardboard box we’d found in a rarely explored kitchen cupboard, which had contained a traditional sweet shop portion of chocolate limes (marketing idea adopted by Super Daddy for his like-named web design business). ‘Chic Perfection’ on the top and two sides, red paint and silver glitter on opposing sides.  With the creative juices flowing, and a robust robot production plan in place, all was going tickety-boo.

Then came the holler of ‘Ah don wannnnaa naaaap…’ from upstairs.

Little Monster Blue had spoken.

The creative team had company.

‘What’s this mummy?’ he asked, clamouring up onto a seat at the kitchen table and making a clumsy grab for the blue glitter shaker.

‘That’s glitter, big guy.’ I tell him removing it gently from his hands and placing it out of his reach at the other side of the table.

‘What s this one?’ he tries, making another fumble for a second glitter shaker, this time green.

‘That one is glitter too honey,’ I answer, ‘In green, your favourite colour.’

‘Yes, mine favourite.’

‘And what’s this mummy?’ he asks, successfully managing to expertly dive half way across the table landing one hand in the paper plate holding the red paint and grabbing the brush from the Dulux tester pot tightly like the baton in a relay race in the other. By the brush end.  With lots of paint still on it.

Exasperated by her brothers efforts to get involved, Little Princess Pink made a bid to quickly finish the outstanding painting activities – setting herself a critical milestone of 3pm as Chloe’s Closet was coming on tv – and she swiftly coated two Twinings tea boxes, and an empty Disney Princess colouring box in red and blue paint and vigorously shook a myriad of coloured glitter over every square inch (of the kitchen). The lid of a tube of jelly tots, a bottle of fizzy juice and a milk carton were also covered haphazardly in the now globby paint and glitter mix, but oh was it looking good.

With Little Monster Blue safely deposited in the playroom with Granddad Dogs Pick Up truck and a box of raisins, ‘Super Team Creatives’ (I know, I’m sooo geeky) continued our great work.

Pipe cleaners in pink, purple, red, and yellow were twisted round pencils to create  springy wire effects,  pink yoghurt pot ears were decorated with sticky foam numbers and letters to signify an explosion coming out of his/her head (!) and toilet roll tubes were covered in shiny foil ready to be attached by elastic and hoisted on as his/her arms when the time came.

With the time drawing close to 3pm, and my kitchen drawing closer to an explosion in a paint factory, we wound down production for phase 1.  A quick check of the blueprint, and we’re very nearly good to go on all body parts being primed and ready for manufacture. I feel I’ve brought my project planning, and creative skills to the homework challenge this far.  Super Daddy is the engineer – it’s over to him tomorrow for the assembly and construction process.

In the meantime, does anyone have any tips for getting vinyl silk off a two year olds hand?


Is it bedtime yet?

Today I have shouted. A lot. And loudly. And I’ve cried.

I have just had one of those days where it all seems unmanagable and overwhelming and out of control.

My buttons have been pushed, check my patience has been tested and I’ve not responded in the best of ways.

The children haven’t had their listening ears on, nor has their OCD cleaning and tidying gene which I’d hoped they had inherited from me come to the fore yet.

My ironing pile is gargantun in proportions. My kitchen floor has been swept 5 times and still has pink playdough dots all over it.  As does the livingroom carpet. Which is cream.

I’m having a bad hair day.  My right eyebrow looks curly.  My socks have holes in. Actually, scrap that. They aren’t even my socks. They belong to a man with size 11 feet, which means they are baggy at both the toes and the heels on my ickle size 3’s.

I burnt my tongue on my lunch and I stood on the plug of the hoover.

I fought with the ironing board. Ironed three things, then fought with the ironing board again.

I woke Little Monster Blue from his afternoon nap to get to a family fun day only to find it was bursting at the seams with families and there was little fun to be had.  A consolation face paint did the trick for Little Princess Pink.  A carton of apple juice sweetened Little Monster Blue.

I still have mascara smeared all over my cheeks from my earlier tantrum, and I probably should have sat on the naughty step (with a good book) for 33 minutes (a minute per year old in this house)

So today, I’m telling it like it is.  Sunday Sucked.  I did not like it and strangely, I’m rather looking forward to Monday.

Is it bedtime yet?




Being there

I have just successfully managed to get my boss to agree to me reducing my hours at work.  Obviously I am talking about my ‘proper’ work, sildenafil i.e. the place I go to where I do grown up things like present papers to Executive Steering Groups, engage stakeholders to work collaboratively towards critical deliverables, develop project plans and change the date on my weekly programme status reports. Not the one where I wipe snotty noses, build Hello Kitty jigsaws puzzles with my eyes closed  and iron what feels like the contents of the entire children’s clothes section in M&S on a weekly basis.  As at today, that work still remains unpaid in hard cash terms.

No, this turnaround from ‘Throw it all at me, I can do it!’ to ‘Perhaps I need to redress the balance just a little,’ coincided with Little Princess Pinks’ first week at school. Up until then, much in the way of advice on the matter of mummy working / children schooling had been extremely conflicting, from the ‘it gets so much easier to do it all when they are at school’ to the ‘trying to get everything done, especially when you need to factor in homework now, is just so difficult’.  I decided (in the stubborn way that I often do) that I would make it work.  After all, I’m *ahem* supermummy.

I’d never entered the unknown territory that was the After School Club until I decided that my working pattern would remain as was, and we would quite simply have to make use of said club as a means of childcare for LPP from a Monday to Thursday.  Decision made, but still battling with this voice in my head which would occasionally bellow in my ear – ‘Are you really sure?,’ we set about registering, booking and arranging all childcare requirements from school bell at 3.10 to which-ever-one- of- us-could- get- there- first (but somewhere in the region of 5pm) at the After School Club.  From day one, it niggled and niggled at me.  It just wasn’t part of the master plan.  I have very clear memories of my mum picking me up from school, taking me to the library where I would choose six books (yes, even back then I was a read-y / write-y book geek) and off we’d trot home for milk, biscuits and homework at the kitchen table.  I remember the hours mum spent with me, reading, drawing and answering countless ‘but why’ questions, and so along with primary teachers 1 – 7 and the entire cast of St. Kentigerns Academy, she is to be credited with me turning out fairly okay.

But, we ploughed along regardless.  After School Club it was.  Until day one when I arrived to pick LPP up after her first full day at school and after school club only to find her in floods of tears (despite being dressed up as Snow White which is usually a smile-inducing activity in our house.) I had to fight with myself not to stuff the cheque I’d just written to pay for the month hurriedly back into my handbag, whisk her away in a stealth like manner, yelling ‘Thanks, it’s been lovely, but we won’t be back any time soon’ over my shoulder as we made haste for the door.

Now, I know day one will always be the tough one, and the most logical part of my being says the same as everyone else is thinking – I know she’ll settle and I know it will all come good.  But I couldn’t argue with the part inside me that said, ‘You know what you need to do.’  I should have gone with my gut in the first place.  After a week of number crunching, case building, looking where we could cut the cloth accordingly, putting forward a request to my boss, seeing LPP settle more and more into the After School Club (well, it was always going to happen wasn’t it?) we got to the point this week where it was a done deal.  I’ll be an even parter-part-timer in the workplace and hopefully a there-when-I-really should be mummy.  Conversation with boss and bosses boss was very much in the realms of ‘don’t for one minute think I’m any less committed, because I’m not.’ And truly, I’m not.  In fact I already anticipate that I’ll put in more than I’m contracted to, as it’s an unwritten and unspoken rule that part-timers need to prove their worth, part-timers need to show just how productive they can still be, no slippage of quality, no dumbing down of the old grey matter.  Still on the career ladder, perhaps just teetering on the edge as opposed to two feet firmly on the rung, but still there and hanging on.

So here we are, from next week, I’ll be picking LPP up from school, and after school club will become a great option for us when I just have to be in the office late in the afternoon, or when school holidays come around and between us we still don’t have a enough annual leave entitlement to cover all the days needed.  Little Princess Pink has already expressed some disgust at the new arrangement in the form of “BUT I LOVE THE DINO CLUB – THEY HAVE PICTUREKA!” however, shes coming round.  I’m not sure if it was the grand plans for French on a Tuesday or swimming lessons on a Wednesday that did it, or perhaps it was the promise of Tuesdays being solely restricted to library visits and milk, biscuits and homework at the kitchen table.

One day, I hope she too will reflect fondly on it, knowing that us mummies only ever try to do our best by them.

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?!

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