Snow day. That's all I need to say isn't it really?
Took me an hour and 15 minutes of skidding and sliding my Fiat 500, AKA the Snowmobile, to leave my house and go 200 metres round the corner in the direction of school, just to eventually turn round and come home. Traffic was a standstill all day. It's almost like the council have completely missed the news about storm Juno which has been ALL over the media!
Kids have been demanding. That's all I can say.
One broke a leg off the table so there was a whole to-do with superglue, nails and hammers, and I eventually resorted to duck tape and begging my mum (I'm 40!!) for financial assistance to purchase a new table!
The dog ate the food that slid off the table when it collapsed.
I had to put out my wheelie bin through the "dog turd zone" which I obviously normally scoop up first but as it was covered in three inches of snow I ended up using a shit shoveller to poke snow every step until I hit brown. Scooped most of it away and got the wheelie bins out before finding, somehow, yet more dog turd in the dry patch under the wheelie bins! How he got it under there I don't know!
The children have driven me mad. After a mad play in the snow I popped coat and gloves on the conservatory heater.
When I smelled a distinct burnt toast kind of smell I realised the heater was on full and now the coat and gloves have a lovely griddled effect of brown lines on them. Oops. They are kinda crunchy too.
I had to send the kids to bed early, they've literally done my head in, totally beat me and worn me down today, but they're mess-arsing about up there and the tension I'm feeling now is like a tightly stretched elastic band being twanged - eventually, it's going to snap. And it's going to HURT.
The fact one child just came downstairs - to which I duly warned her through gritted teeth that bad bad things would happen if she didn't trot back up them quick smart - and said the boys were keeping her awake all wide eyed and innocence, but then went back upstairs with a large plastic sword, tells me it might be a long evening.
Snow - it's been wild. Now eff off and just let the rain back! Please god just rain it all away!!! 😱 (If you can't see that emoji, it's the one from the famous painting, The Scream. That's me right now.)
One day off school is quite enough, please please don't make it be two! I had a whole day of putting my feet up planned!
So I pull the covers back on my bed, and this. Why???!!! Why can't I just go and get in my own bed to sleep without an obstacle course??! And where did the Santa hat come from, the Christmas stuff is in the garage?! And I haven't seen that Legoland medal for at least 2 years!!
Why do I have to clear a footpath to my bed every night? Shall I tell what's around my bed right now? I mean, stuff that isn't mine, that doesn't belong there and that was NOT there at approximately 6pm tonight!? Well, I'm gonna tell you!
A pink dressing gown
A princess blanket
A portable DVD player
A glove (just the one)
A pair of animal slippers
A board book with a steering wheel on it
50,000 Lego pieces! (Approx.)
A bottle of water
A large cuddly Olaf
A medium Hamleys bear
A Nintendo 3DS and game
A "guess who" game board (just the one, who needs 2?!)
A buzz Lightyear dress up helmet
Various My Little Bloody Bastard Ponies with mangled hair!!
A tin of moshi monster figures
A large pirate ship
A different pink dressing gown
3 Ben10 toys
White colouring pencils (because why throw away useless inventions when you can store them on my bedside table?!)
A giant Minecraft sword behind my pillows
My kids seriously have too much stuff, why is it here, why? Is it not enough that the rest of the house is overtaken with small people's stuff and animals stuff?!
This is why I don't go to bed til 2.30am. I just can't face trawling through the stuff to play "guess where Satan hid your nightie tonight Mum! Is it in your pillowcase? Stuffed inside your duvet? Or perhaps wedged down the back of the bed?!" She could at least give me a Phone a Friend option!
Oh, just found a small grey sock...
This is like the most un-fun, shittest ever treasure hunt! And I get to deal with it daily. DAILY.
If she didn't look so sweet and angelic when she was asleep....(.....in my bed....)...
Ah well, calm will come my pretty....one day, one day soon, the bin bags will come, you won't know when, you won't know how, but it will all just disappear! Poof! Just like magic! And that day is sooner than you think....oh I cannot wait for that day....I've been stockpiling bin bags every week....there's at least 30, hidden away, all ready......
Sleep tight my pretties!
One of my boys trotted past me today casually asking if anyone needed the loo....this is boy talk for him going into the bathroom for several hours until the hall outside resembles a doctors waiting room, full of cystitis sufferers...
Anyhoo....in his hand he had his iPad - reading material of course, typical lad - when I noticed behind the iPad he was attempting to hide a packet if crisps....
"So, you're off to the loo then son? So, what's the packet of crisps for?"
"I'm taking them with me Mum"
"But you can't do that son, that's just gross and horrid!!"
"Why is it?"
"Because you can't poo and eat at the same time, that's just disgusting!! You can't take them, why would you WANT to eat and poo at the same time?!"
"Well, I will probably be a long time and I thought I might get hungry!"
And off he trotted with his pack of crisps while I was sat with my nose pulled up doing that piggy face you do when you're grossed out!
2 hours later I forced him out as me and the other kids were hopping around in various stages of bladders about to burst. When I got in there, he had a stool next to the loo set up with a handful of toys, a glass of water and an empty crisp packet! 😱What, was he having a bloody picnic in there??
Why???!!?? Is it a boy thing??! Or just a gross thing?! Should I be hiring a child psychologist to find out why he fancies a meal and a bit of playtime whilst sat in a stinking bathroom?! I mean, I was retching at the aroma he'd left behind him, the thought of EATING in that stench, well, just no really, just NO!!
It made me feel all faint. He was so nonchalant, like having supper on the loo is the most normal thing in the world! Is it??
Personally I'd rather sit on my sofa in my delightfully fragranced front room where we all wear clothes and there are no poo particles floating around, but hey, that's just me!
Boys - are they ALL weird?!
So, for tonight's episode in the "Is Mum going to go to bed uneventfully?" show, you will see the answer is a resounding no.
After spending all day boil washing (who, OCD, me?!) and "super washing" my bed sheets after last nights accident (not mine!!!), I had it all made and fresh (ah I love a freshly made bed), with bed mats underneath the other side in the general area that people seem to pee and puke in.
I came upstairs to find a child in bed who promptly jumped up awake sobbing that she couldn't find Freddy (Freddy the teddy...she's more imaginative than me. I had a cuddly brown dog who I called Brown Dog). Personally I wasn't about to walk into the boys Room From Hell to see if her brothers had it as I wouldn't make it in there without severe Lego foot damage.
So after promising to source another Freddy to replace the Freddy that wasn't even hers (but possession is 9/10ths of the law and she'd stolen it off her brother two years ago, he went with her everywhere), and tucking her in with London Bear (a bear we got in London. I told you, imaginative...), I pulled back my bed ready to get into.
When I came back from the bathroom there was a cat in my little triangle of bed. All curled up cosily like a little prawn. But not just any cat. Princess the Bengal Cross rescue. With an attitude from hell. I am physically scarred just from attempting to stroke her as she walked past. She communicates in hisses and yowling and likes to beat the living shit out of anything that walks past. Her collar came off 10 days ago. I'm too scared to put it back on, although I did try for a good 5 days.
So I stroked her, which she allowed, and then really gently tried to put my hands under her to shift her, all the while muttering soothing words to her in the hope she'd stay calm. She did not stay calm. She got the right arse and shot off with a yowl that sounded pretty much like "well, fuck you!". She can sound kinda harsh.
I turned around to get changed for bed, and when I went to get back in bed she was bloody right in the same spot the stubborn little git! So I had to go all through the rigmarole again just so I didn't end up dying on the floor of a jugular vein ripped open by a mental cat! She sat across the bed and hissed at me as if to say I was the shittiest bit of shit that she could ever have the misfortune to stand on and that she would quite simply not piss on me if I was on fire.
As I got comfy, under the evil glare of Princess (oh the bloody irony, a sweet, girly princess hah!), I realised I'd left my meds in my med bag on my cupboard and hopped out of bed to get them.
As I went to get back into bed, you've guessed it, she was laid in the same bloody spot all curled up asleep, like I hadn't hopped out for only 10 seconds! This time she would take none of my sweet talking and just hissed and spat at me as I came near. So I had to take my courage and go in for a quick poke of the behind to which she jumped approximately 3 feet in the air yowling and hissing and smacked me one on my offending pokey finger before going over to perch on my daughters head, glaring at me.
Some of you may know I have some disabilities and health problems. I use a metal bed prop to allow me to sleep upright at night (back and lung op, nearly died, very boring!) and she is currently behind it. She's right behind where I am sitting up in bed.
I'm a bit scared to go to sleep. Did you ever see that film where cats come and steal your breath and kill you?! She could be lying there behind me just waiting! What if I fall asleep and flail my arms around, she'll attack them and I'll end up with accidentally slashed wrists!!
She is one scary psycho cat. No wonder her owner was getting rid of her! Gets on with cats she says (she tries to gouge their eyes out every time they look at her), gets on with dogs too she says (yeah, cos the dog is bloody petrified of her!), gets on with kids she says! Well she IS slightly better with the kids, it's as if she knows she can't do too much to them or I'll be, well, deeply unhappy!! Although Mental is sporting a scratch from stroking her for apparently 2 seconds longer than she required!
I do feel sorry for her, she's obviously been passed from pillar to post and is just misunderstood. Or maybe really premenstrual? Or she could just be a mardarse!? But I'm way too scared to get rid of her so I'll let her stay I guess.....I've worked out she likes cheese so we are living on a mutually beneficial bartering system. Otherwise known as blackmail...I give her the cheese and no one gets hurt and I will be allowed 3 strokes. Anymore have to be bought with cheese and salmon treats and even then there is a strict limit before she takes herself off upstairs to bed. My bed.
One day I'm just going to come to bed and just actually get into it without dealing with any disasters! Or psycho cats! Maybe.
Right I must go, I'm erm just popping downstairs to check up on our cheese rations...
As we have done with Christmas, its back onto the rounds of birthdays - Mental has his in only a couple of weeks.
There was never any point to writing how to survive and enjoy Christmas with Kids because there is a reason people drink alcohol on Christmas Day, and that is to survive it! (I don't drink often so I go more for the wide eyed rocking and bibbling in the corner come 3pm). Daytime drinking is a widely accepted Christmas tradition and I can't help thinking it was invented by a parent, one who had battled sharp plastic packaging which cut into them so much they ended up looking like they'd tried to slash their wrists on purpose (which may even seem a fairly fun thing to do when faced with box upon box of sharp plastic packaging), used every tool available to snip through those stupid plastic coated metal twisty wires, unravelled the new Eco friendly twisted cardboard ties (you know, the ones they wrap 30 times round a rectangle piece of black plastic so tightly that you can't cut it), pinged a thousand small accessories across the room from the plastic moulded packaging, and battled with 40 different backs of toys, with 20 different screw sizes, requiring 20 different screw drivers only to find a butter knife is the only way to unscrew them, and tried to find 10 different sized batteries to go into the toys, all of which required a 30 page booklet on how to put together and which sticker goes where. I actually spent 2 hours building Satans much coveted (demanded) pony castle with slide, which required 5 hands to build and got thrown across the room more than once with a screaming tantrum (yes, from me - I told you, I don't drink!). Most annoyingly after finally biting my lip to shreds and gritting my teeth, I triumphantly build the thing, all in one piece, I felt like I'd just gained a degree, that's how proud I was of myself. Unfortunately none of the pieces quite fit properly and it now looks like its been picked up in a tornado and dropped on a pony from a great height:
So THAT, ladies and gents, is why people drink alcohol on Christmas Day. People think its to get through the day of seeing the relatives they only see once a year, the ones they want to argue with and, occasionally, punch, to get through making the "perfect" Christmas dinner for 20, when you're used to pinging a microwave ready meal for one so have no cooking ability or experience to call on to make this "perfect" meal and feel that alcohol will somehow make you Gordon Ramsey - you know, like when you've been drinking and suddenly feel that urge to sing at karaoke and think you ACTUALLY sound like you can sing, despite evidence to the contrary, shown by lack of pop star status and other people's bleeding ears.... No, alcohol on Christmas Day was invented by PARENTS!! And its well deserved after spending months, even a whole year (January sales make great Christmas presents for the following Christmas!) preparing the perfect Christmas, with the perfect amount of magic and wonder. It takes more effort than lifting an entire car by yourself and more will power than a chocoholic on a diet at Willy Wonkas factory, it takes discipline, and stamina.
So much effort is put into it that come birthdays, we are done! So how to make a fab birthday for your little one without actually making much effort or spending tonnes? There are certain things that will make kids happy on their birthday, all the fuss is purely parents putting pressure on themselves, and there's no need, kids know they had their magic quota for the year at Christmas! They don't expect anywhere near as much as we do of ourselves. So here are my top tips of how to keep your child happy on their birthday/birthday on a budget/birthdays using as least energy as possible!
1. Kids want to see big boxes of presents. They really don't care what's inside them, its all about shallow appeal at this young age. So instead of spending money you don't have on expensive presents, just make a bit more effort on making the presents look good. Put every present in a bigger box before wrapping nicely and putting ribbon around it and add a bow; to be SUPER impressive, buy a nice patterned cardboard storage box for them to keep their new toys in - mine have pirate boxes - as its well known that kids love to play with boxes! So give them a box! Inside put any dodgily wrapped pressies that are such weird shapes that they end up looking like a 1 year old with an attention deficit order has wrapped them (we are giving PRETTY looking presents, impressive looking presents, not presents that look like a giant wrapping paper cat has hacked up a giant wrapping paper furball). Voila, nice packaging, a box to play in, AND dodgily wrapped pressies inside! What more could a child want?!
2. Kids don't want expensive presents. Well, strictly speaking that's not true, they want the world, but if you can't give them the world then give them something messy or noisy instead! Playdoh sets are the best for kids, they won't be able to close their mouths due to the shock of being given something that will make a mess, by their own parents! They're used to a family "friend" or family member who takes great pleasure in buying them messy or noisy toys, (this is purely because they hate you, or else why?!?!), but the kids are used to these slowly edging closer to the bin until one day they just disappear....
3. Quantity not quality! Lots of cheap presents are always going to be much better received than one or two good quality items!
4. You don't need to do an expensive birthday party or pay a fortune to have a soft play place party, quad biking party, paint balling party, baking party, teddy bear making party, princess party or bouncy castle party; nor do you need to spend hours of your life preparing buffet food only to spend the next three hours sweeping it up off the floor and scrubbing it off the walls. Simply tell your child they can choose 2 or 3 friends, take them to the cinema, or bowling, or a soft play area (depending on age range), and either eat cheaply at the places or promise a McDonalds on the way home. And let them actually SIT in there to eat instead if going through the driveway, then back home for the cake!
5. Get a cheap cake. If you're feeling adventurous get one of those flat edible toppings of their favourite character. Don't bother spending £80 + on a handmade 3D Frozen castle, a 3D ninja turtle head or Mario - your kids will see it for an entire 30 seconds and then you're going to chop it up!! Cheap plain cake from the supermarket, edible topper, or you can decorate yourself with ready made icing and 3D toppers if you're feeling adventurous, let them soak the effort in for 30 seconds and then they can blow the candles out! Really it's best to keep the cake as flat as possible as there will be spit involved and a smooth cake means you can wipe it off quick with a tissue!
6. Cut up cake, give to said friends, send them home, then send your child to bed!
Simple, easy, affordable, and the kids will love it! The effort, money, style and magic is saved for Christmas, a once a year effort, and all the birthdays are cheap and fun, kids already know this automatically, its an unwritten rule, but us parents have been a bit slow off the mark. I've done the £400 parties where you rent out an entire play place privately and invite every child from the class, only to watch one of them repeatedly smash your toddlers head into a plastic slide - you're basically paying £400 for your non birthday kids to be tortured, and feel like you have to be the hostest with the mostest! At this £400 party I was also heavily pregnant, feeling nauseous and ended up with my friends younger child throwing up onto a paper plate at the meal while I tried to reassure the poor lad whilst trying my hardest not to vomit on his head. So really, was the £400 worth it?!? In retrospect, no, but I did it because I thought my son would love it! He really didn't care all that much in reality!
So take the pressure off yourself, you simply can't compete with Santa, so don't try to! Take an easy, relaxed approach with no stress involved.
Also, unlike Christmas, its considered bad form to drink alcohol at 9am on your child's birthday, especially if its a week day and have to take them to school......
Remember those New Years Eve's before kids? The ones we always hanker for at the start of the evening?
You remember them, surely? Paying a fortune for tickets to stand in your normal local pub, with at least 500 extra uninsured people, a foot square to stand in, and a 200 strong queue of people every time you squeeze through to the bar? All just so you could count back from 10 at the stroke of midnight with a room full of strangers (and lets be honest here, hope of a bit of a snog off a stranger just to see the new year in...don't say it's just me, we all know the truth here....😉), and end up cross eyed and paralytic in the Kebab House at 2am hoping that the kebab will keep the alcohol in your stomach but already knowing you are about to spend the next worst 20 hours of your life stuck in bed, unable to move?
Well I love my New Years Eve's with the kids WAY more! So, how do you celebrate New Years Eve as a parent?
When you first become parents, you don't. Well, I could never bring myself to. Kids and alcohol doesn't mix. It would always be me at home with the kids/baby, not touching a drop, except for maybe 3 sips of wine at midnight, whereafter my ex husband would find the nearest neighbours house party and disappear until at least 6am. When he eventually crawled through the door, paralytic, while I'd had my measly 2 hours of sleep, got up 4 times for the baby and was up for the day, I'd stand watching him trip over invisible shoelaces (preferably into the door frame - he's not my ex for nothing...) while I stood with steam coming out of my ears and my foot tapping on the floor, DARING him to so much as breathe anything other than the words "Im sorry, I'll make it up to you" so I could let my frustrations rip about spending the new year alone, tending to babies/toddlers etc. He'd then finally ending up asleep snoring in the dogs bed/up the stairs/front room floor/bathroom floor while me and the kids had to do everything around his comatose, snoring body. Sometimes when the kids were older I'd let them jump off the furniture onto him just to see if we could wake him up, if we couldn't then I'd let them jump on him more, just for punishment! We'd also play "let's pinch Daddy's nostrils shut to see how long it takes him to open his mouth!", which was my eldest's particular favourite Drunk Daddy game! So my first few New Years Eve's were NOT fun and I dreaded them every year. The kids however, had a whale of a time!
Then something changed. My marital status. And therefore, my life and entire outlook on everything!
So now I celebrate New Years Eve in MY way! This basically means that you get together at another parents house, other parents come too, everyone brings their kids, and we let them stay up late with junk food and films while we have a few drinkies, get a bit merry, and give a good example of sensible drinking to our kids (ahem), or as they might see it, embarrassing parents giggling stupidly to themselves for no apparent reason!
Unfortunately kids do tend to take this abnormal behaviour of their parents to task and ensure that all bad parenting traits get fulfilled in one evening. Junk food overload? Tick. Fizzy hyperactive neon coloured drinks? Tick. Fireworks set off by a drunken Dad? Tick. Same drunken Dad accidentally setting fire to things? Tick. Child gets smacked in the face by the dog resulting in a massive red patch that looks like someone beat 7 tonnes of crap out of them? Tick. Same child receives a giddy kick in the face from a sibling resulting in a split lip and lots of blood? Tick! (Thanks for that Satan, after mixing my few drinks and eating lots of curry, the sight of blood didn't do wonders for my stomach. Thanks Sensible for kicking your sister in the mouth on the trampoline you were jumping on at 11pm in the rain..don't think I have forgotten...!)
But its not a party unless there's blood and fireworks! And I think this year the kids particularly enjoyed our singing along to Queen in the manner of people who believe they can actually sing.....sounded good to us anyway!
It was a quiet taxi home at 1am with 3 sugared up, partially battered, trampolined out kids, and me - a few drinks down but just at that happy merry place, as paralytically drunk and kids do not mix (see above!), and they need at least one parent who knows what they're doing! But being a single mummy, I was up WAY past my bedtime, I don't know how the kids did it, but I'm suspecting it might be the sugary neon coloured soft drinks they were downing like an alcoholic downs pints after walking round a desert with no water (or alcohol) for 3 days! Just hazarding a guess there...
So, the evening with good friends, getting giggly on a couple of glasses of wine and an obligatory shot of something you wouldn't normally touch with a barge-pole, good food, kids all having fun together being daft and hyperactive, bad singing, fireworks and plenty of laughs - its not your expensive 1 foot square space in a pub getting drunk enough for a 20 hour hangover, but I wouldn't give up my New Years Eve's as a parent, they are SO much more fun! Even better, guaranteed lie in next day! 😁
And with that, I'd like to wish all my Slummy Chummies a fabulous 2015! Kick out the old, bring in the new, I can't wait to see what the year has in store for us, and for this blog! Thank you so much for reading and joining me last year, lets hope these kids get into action and give me some good writing material.....kids DO come in handy sometimes! 😉