Friday, 18 December 2009

Plans go wrong again

It seems impossible to plan anything with any conviction these days. Take today for instance... last day of term... almost there with the Christmas shopping and card giving.

Today was the day when my 6 year old would take his presents in for his best friend and teacher... and I would get my hair cut ready for Christmas. But yesterday the teacher came out onto the playground to meet me with the dreaded words... "I'm afraid he's not been very well all day..." So we went home, kept warm, dosed up with Calpol and hoped for the best. But in the middle of the night a temperature raged and this morning he woke up with a headache and sore throat.

Ah well...for a moment there I was almost organised. Luckily a friend came to the rescue and took the teacher's present and card in for me. Unfortunately the hairdresser had to be cancelled. I'll give me fringe a quick trim myself and that'll have to do! But see what I mean - I just can't plan anything with any certainty anymore!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Role swap - if only!

My hubby insists that if he were at home, the house would be clean, the fridge would be full, hot meals would constantly be bubbling away on the stove and a scene of domestic bliss would greet me upon my return from work everyday.

This of course, p*sses me off.

Partly because he forgets that I actually work (from home) which means that I don't have all the time in the world to devote to the upkeep of the house.

But, having said that, I'll be the first to admit I am not a natural when it comes to housework. To me it is and always will be a huge chore. And, as I am not very organised, I find it hard to just knuckle down to the tidying up etc. I'd say our house is clean and tidy(ish) in a creative sort of way - rather than a showhome sort of way.

Hubby reckons that if he were at home he would build the extension that we can't afford and he would still have time for a round of golf.

Now I know that you are wondering how on earth I've managed to restrain myself from braining him with the frying pan... but I do so wish that I could swap roles with him. Not for a week or a month but for about a year... which I think would give him long enough to realise just how much effort goes into looking after small children.

I know I couldn't do his job because he has to make people redundant and I just couldn't do that - but I'd be quite willing to work full time outside the home and let him do house work just to see what happens.

Is it just me or does anyone else have a hubby who thinks he could do a better job?

Monday, 7 December 2009

Help it's December and I can't cope (again)...

Every year it's the same... I just seem to have far too much to do. I mean, I'm always busy - you know what it's like with kids, you just never seem to stop - and then someone plonks Christmas on you as well!

What with all the shopping, card writing, wrapping, tree-putting-upping... santa letter-writing's enough to give any organised mother a nervous breakdown let alone one as disorganised as me.

Don't get me wrong - I luurve Christmas - as in the big day, big turkey dinner, pressie opening, cracker pulling, paper hat wearing, alcohol drinking, sofa snoozing, sharade playing, all-over-in-a-day-lot!

It's just December that I hate!

And if I thought it was bad before my kids went to school - it's a million times worse now...

Can you buy and wrap a gift for your child...
Can you make a costume for the school play...
Can you supply jars of sweets and cakes for the fair...
Can you attend the fair...
Can you spend lots of money...
Can you fill in forms and pay money for various Christmas trips...
Can you purchase Christmas photos (and fill in forms and write cheques)...

And on top of that there's the job of writing Christmas cards for all the class mates (half of whom can't read anyway) writing Christmas cards for the parents and buying unwanted presents for the teachers...

Hubby says - you can say no - you don't have to do it all... but then I'll just look like scrooge... so I guess I'll just go along with the whole rigmarole for another year and look forward to the big day when I can raise a large G&T to myself for getting through the whole thing in one piece for one more year! (Bah humbug I say!)

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Pets R Us

Amazingly we've accumulated lots of pets!

For ages we didn't have any - then suddenly last February we decided to get a couple of hens. It was a spur of the moment thing. One Friday night I happened to say that I'd quite like to keep hens and to my surprise hubby agreed. That was it, the next day I persuaded him to convert the shed into a chicken coop - and by 5pm I was the proud owner of two Rhode Island Reds!

By July hubby decided he'd quite like a fish pond. So being the handy kind of man he is, he built one and we bought about fifteen assorted types of fish. Some died, but we still have at least ten - they're very difficult to count!

Then a miracle occurred and we got our gorgeous dog back who'd been re-homed over two years ago - circumstances have changed so I am once again able to provide him with a good life with lots of company and decent (almost daily walks... (ie: I don't go out to work full time anymore!)

Then yesterday my eldest stepson arrived with a hamster. He's not so keen on cleaning out the cage regularly and has asked me if I can look after her here - so there we have it... two hens, ten(ish) fish, a dog and now a hamster.

Hurrah! At last we're a real family again!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Computer chaos

Yes it finally happened. My computer crashed and I lost everything!

I know it's all my own fault for not backing up properly, but when your life's in as much of muddle as mine - backing up is not the kind of thing that gets done. Backing up is for organised people who have routines and can remember where they left their keys. Some days I can barely remember where I left my kids let alone my keys!

I lost my emails... I can live with that... I lost some documents... again, there's not much point worrying about that...but I lost photos and video footage of the kids which really does upset me.

I've got some photos on CD but I know there's a batch that are gone forever - and video footage of Christmas morning and birthday parties.

The computer man came round on Monday morning with my blank computer and offered to re-install all of my programmes - but of course I didn't have a clue where the discs where... anyway... to cut a long story short - my very early new year's resolution is to GET ORGANISED!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My 3 year old's in love

This morning, my 3 year old announced that he was "in love" with a girl at his pre-school.
"Do you love her more than Mummy? I asked.
"Yes!" he said.
I should never have asked.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A Poem

Here's a poem written for the kids in honour of our dog!

Our dog

Our dog is stout and fearless,
He’s never, ever scared.
He’s the leader of the pack
No dog can be compared.

He’s not afraid of dragons,
Or pits of poison snakes.
Or monster dogs with fangs;
They never make him quake.

He could wolf down any wolf,
Or guzzle up a bear,
Or scoff a shark for supper,
Our dog – he wouldn’t care.

He’s brave as any lion,
No canine could give more.
His heart is made of iron,
He’s a chocolate Labrador!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jeremy Vine's bedtime Stories

Did you listen to Jeremy Vine's bedtime story feature on BBC Radio 2?

He ran a poll to discover the best bedtime story and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson won. I voted for The Gruffalo and I'm really glad it won. I think it's a fantastic children's story and one which is sure to become a classic. I fully expect my children to be reading it to their own children when the time comes.

My only gripe with the poll was that the books were not really comparable. My kids at 6 and 3 love The Gruffalo and love some of the other books featured such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and they both enjoyed Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg when they were a bit younger.

But we haven't yet reached the Enid Blyton Famous Five stage (although I loved them myself) and they're certainly not ready for The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. And even though they love Roald Dahl films, they are still very much at the picture book stage.

So three cheers to the Jeremy Vine show for highlighting some quality children's literature. Just a shame that it had to be in competition format. It was a bit like watching sprinter race against a marathon runner!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The things they say...

Another funny one today... O's friend J came for tea.
On the way home from school he said he could see a badger in the hedge.
I tell them that badgers only come out at night.
"What do you call an animal that comes out at night?" I ask.
"A reindeer!" J shouts.
Oh well - I guess it is getting close to that time of year!

Monday, 9 November 2009

The things they say

This morning, O (my 6 year old) was feeling cold but did not want to go back upstairs to fetch his dressing gown.

He tried everything to make me go for it.

In the end I insisted that he go himself, "I'm not your slave!" I told him.

At which point, D (my 3 year old) looked at me and said, "So who's slave are you?"

Good question!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Oscar comes home

Finally, after a very long and nervous week of waiting, our dog is home!

Two and half years have gone by since we last saw him and we are all delighted to get him back.

My initial reaction was that he was looking a bit older, a bit fatter and had a few more grey hairs... but then I realised he was probably thinking much the same about me.

He seemed a bit confused when I first collected him but it didn't take him long to remember me and when he arrived at our house, he ran straight to the back door.

He seems to be very much at home and in some ways it's like he's never been away.

I have to say I am delighted to have him back. He's brought a huge burst of happiness into our home.

The children are really delighted and have completely fallen in love with him. O does remember him slightly, but D doesn't - although he's seen so many photo's of him he has a sort of 'false' memory of him.

They are constantly calling him, stroking him and playing with him... and because he has such a lovely placid nature - he's loving all the attention.

Hubby raised his eyebrows slightly on first seeing him, but then grinned. I think he's pleased. He looks pleased, but says, "I'm just happy that you're happy!"

I regret giving him away two years ago. It feels like a mini-miracle has occured to bring him back into our lives; but if we'd had him here all along, the kid's would have just grown up with him and taken him for granted. Getting him back, like a new dog, now that they're old enough to appreciate him is really special, and to see how kind they are to him and how easily they have fallen in love with him makes me feel really proud of them both.

My step children will be here this weekend. They remember Oscar well and have often said that they missed him. I know they will be delighted to see him again and I'm really looking forward to seeing the happiness on their faces when they see that our dog Oscar has finally come home.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

My dog ... the latest...

Well he's still languishing in the kennels. I called yesterday fully expecting to hear that he had been collected by his new family - but no - he was still there waiting.

I've filled hubby in on the details and told him that I've said we'll have him back if his new family no longer want him. He gave a forebearing smile. The kind that said, "The things I have to put up with!" But importantly, he didn't say I couldn't have the dog back.

I've yet to tell the kids. There's still a chance that the new owners will collect him and I don't want them to be disappointed. I did ask them if they remembered him and they did - but only vaguely - and I think their memory is more to do with the pictures of the dog rather than the dog himself.

They have to keep strays for seven days before they can be re-homed so apparently I can collect him tomorrow morning if he's still there.

Already I'm wondering whether he will have changed. After all - I have no idea what his life has been like for two and a half years. He had such a friendly personality. I hope he's still the same.

Also I'm hoping that my kids will love him again. I'm dreading O saying he's scared of him or something like that. Labradors are quite big dogs after all.

The worst thing of all is that I've set my heart on getting him back now. If his new owners do collect him I'll be so disappointed.

Oh well - only 24 hours to go!

Friday, 30 October 2009

My dog

I love my dog. He's a chocolate Labrador called Oscar. A really crazy, tear-up-the-garden / wreck-the-house kind of dog with a thick whip of a tail. I call him my dog but actually he's not my dog at all anymore.

About two years ago during a very stressful time I had to give him away - which broke my heart. I was working full time and my kids were even younger (D was still crawling) and I didn't have the time to walk him and the garden was full of poo and the house was full of dog hair and I just couldn't cope - so I called a friend who owns kennels and he found a lovely family to adopt my dog. Also hubby is not a dog lover and although he was fond of Oscar - in the end he was glad to get his garden back.

That was two and half years ago. I still miss Oscar and feel sad that he is no longer a part of our family but hope that his new owners are loving him and looking after him well.

This was all until yesterday when the dog warden called to tell me that she'd "found my dog Oscar!" After a complicated conversation we realised that the new owners had not changed the details of Oscar's micro-chip and he is still very much registered to me.

I now have a nine day wait. I've told the dog warden that if his new family no longer want him I will gladly have him back. I'm longing to get him back but I know it will cause ructions. What will hubby say to the prospect of the garden-destroying dog making a come back into our lives? I know I'll be in huge trouble but I just can't help it.

If the new family collect him then all well and good. But if they don't... Uh oh! I think there's going to be trouble!

I'll keep you posted....

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Why I'm always in a muddle

I don't know about you but since having kids I seem to find it incredibly difficult to think straight.

I put it down to the sheer number of things I am trying to remember at any one time - along with the constant chattering distraction from the kids.

This week has been a prime example really.

Wednesday is swimming day for O (my 6 year old) so after a difficult day at work, I collected O from school and D (my 3 year old) from pre-school. In my head I was still re-living a difficult meeting from earlier in the day and wondering whether I could have said better things...

Anyway... I took them home for a quick snack and then rushed out to swimming - only to discover that I had left all the swimming gear in a bag on the kitchen table.

I had it all ready - just forgot to grab it on the way out. I know this was because I was trying to stop them arguing over a toy as we left the house. (It's my car... I had it first... you're a poo-head .... Mum he called me a poo-head... etc) And both of them were insisting that they couldn't put their own shoes on, and then D needed the toilet just as we were leaving, and O wanted another babana etc etc... so we arrived at swimming and then had to turn back and get the bag - so we were late.

When we finally got there, I rushed O into the changing room, and started to help him to get changed but when I looked around D was missing. Yes one of those heart stopping moments... I knew he couldn't be far but panic was rising. I left O in the changing room and began searching the swimming baths... there was no sign of him until a half naked O came out of the changing rooms with D. He'd seen a friend from pre-school and wandered off and in my rush to get O to his lesson I hadn't noticed.

So that was Wednesday... Friday was much the same. D started screaming and crying in pain everytime he went for a wee. I called the doctor and made an appointment for that afternoon. D seemed fine all day apart from when he tried to wee... we saw the doctor who prescribed antibiotics. I rushed round the supermarket for essential supplies and then home for a quick snack before O's music class.

Suddenly D really needed the toilet and the crying got much, much worse. I was at my wits end. Eventually I ran a warm bath, stripped him and told him to do his wee in the bath. He did and from that moment on - he was fine - and amazingly he has been fine ever since. I have no idea what was wrong with him. He evidently didn't have an infection and I haven't given him the antibiotics. I can't explain it.

All I know is that by the time this crisis had passed - it was half past four and I had inadvertently missed O's music class which starts at four.

You see - Mum in a Muddle!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Don't be scared of Halloween

The kids have broken up for half term - and usually at this time of year they have a Halloween party to look forward to. Being a Muddled Mum I usually find myself buying ill fitting costumes at the very last minute - when all the best costumes have been snapped up by more organised mothers.

But this year - things were different!

Oh yes - as soon as those costumes appeared in the stores I bought two. I was ready!

Which is why I'm so appalled that the school has decided against holding the annual Halloween party this year. Apparently a concern was raised as to whether it was appropriate for a C of E school to be celebrating a Pagan festival.

Had they done their homework properly, they would have discovered that most of the mythology concerning Halloween is incorrect. Halloween comes from early Catholic beliefs that you could pray your deceased relatives out of heaven's waiting room (known as pergatory).

With the festivals of All Saints and All Souls (or Hallows) days on the way in early November, Halloween was the Eve of All Hallows.

But let's face it dressing the kids up as witches, vampires and demons is no more likely to turn them into mini Pagans or Satanists than dressing them up as Spiderman is going to turn them into arachnids.

And you can also be sure that fears of creeping Paganism will fade when it comes to Christmas and Easter. As far as I'm aware, Santa, baubles and pine trees have nothing to do with the birth of Christ and neither do chocolate eggs and bunnies have anything to do with his death and resurrection.

So here's a plea for next year - please keep things in perspective and let the kids dress up and have some harmless fun.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Things they say

My littlest boy, D, who is only three, said the funniest thing today. The conversation went like this:

D: Mum, where do spiders sleep?
Me: On their webs.
D: (After some thought) But where abouts on their webs?
Me: (Again, after some thought) Well... on the edge I suppose.
D: So where do they keep their blankets?


Minding my language in front of the kids

It’s funny how having kids changes you in so many little ways. I used to swear like a trooper. Obviously, not in front of my mother or the parish priest, but at work and out with friends I effed and jeffed without a second thought.

Now I have my kids, not only have I metaphorically washed my mouth out with soap and water, but I expect the rest of the world to do the same. Suddenly I am horrified at people who use expletives in public. Yes, it’s true – I am turning into my mother. She has always said that bad language offended her ears, and I used to laugh. But now I know exactly what she means.

There are even some words that are not technically swear words, but which I discourage my children from saying. Words that are generally used as insults such as “idiot” and “stupid” are not allowed in our house, despite the fact that these type of words often crop up in films aimed at very young children (which really p*sses me off!).

Of course the problem is that in moments of pain or frustration, some kind of swear-like word still needs to be uttered. Recent research carried out by scientists at Keele University found a link between swearing and the an increased ability to tolerate pain. They had people stick their hands in buckets of iced water and discovered that the group who were encourage to use a swear word could keep their hands in the water longer than the group who used a neutral word. Must have been quite an entertaining spectacle for the scientists!

It is probably for this reason that I have invented a whole vocabulary of pseudo-swear words that I can use in front of my kids. I try not to “take the Lord’s name in vain” as my Mother calls it, but I do quite frequently shout, “cheese-us!” - which actually sounds so similar when spoken out loud I wonder why I bother! I also still rely on old favourites like ‘Fer-crying-out-loud’ and ‘shine a light!’ but find ‘sheesh’ or ‘sheesh kebab’ are also very satisfying.

Last weekend though, the moment I was dreading arrived. My 6 year old son, announced that he knew a naughty word that began with “sh!”
We all tried to ignore him but he repeated the fact over and over with increasing insistency.
“Shall I tell you what it is?” he asked.
“No thank you,” I said as firmly as I could muster. The table fell silent as he blurted out,
I can tell you it took a great deal of control on my part to prevent myself from falling about laughing and instead to say with a poker straight face,
“Now you know we don’t say stupid!”