Sunday, 9 July 2017

"Poo-Poo to To-Do"


With London summertime positively sizzling and whizzing by at breakneck speed, it seems as good a time as any for a summing up:

A creative summation requires little more than a glance at any one of my ever-expanding 'To Do Lists' scattered randomly about (iphone, laptop, notepads, family calendar, online Google shared calendar (which to my husbands chagrin may as well not exist), uber-cool Japanese diary (luxury gift from the husband), or my current favourite, - barely legible 'mental patient' scrawls on the back of an Apple instruction booklet which accompanied my latest prized acquisition - 'Beat' wireless headphones (the insertion of which not only facilitate the immediate tuning out of unwanted whining, whingeing and all manner of domestic ear pollution, BUT helpfully also double as fetching 24/7 neck candy).

Confession time: undoubtedly the most shaming item on my list is a reminder to collect on a travel insurance claim from seven years ago (yes, I know, but please don't judge, as I blame entirely the Virgin operator who back in 2010, glibly informed me that since the case was now logged I had 'no time limit' in which to claim...something i obviously took literally).

Almost as bad is the reminder to claim for Squit's lost pushchair, which Air Canada managed to lose en route to Canada three years ago (something i attempted to rectify in an almost autistic manner for numerous weeks with countless repetitively futile conversations with disinterested staff sweltering in Mumbai call centres). All efforts culminated in a potential Netflix pitch which saw me increasingly uneasy as I was given a personal tour through an abandoned airline warehouse by a creepy contender who definitely would have made the final cut in a 'Who most resembles a serial killer' pageant (should such a thing exist). The only thing which stopping me from permanently erasing this chore is the fact that were I to actually get the financial compensation we deserve, I could so justify the glorious new trainers I've been lusting after for a few months now...so you see.

Most current I suppose is the reminder to pay our local vet £288 for our cat's triple-whammy of an op this past week (micro-chipping, castration and surprise hernia). Bloody heck. The vet informed me that Ghengis is one of the naughtiest kittens she has ever come across given how the vast amount of administered anethesia appeared to have little effect as minutes after she had sewn up the last stitch he determinedly embarked upon the immediate removal of said stitches decorating his entire underside. For his sins, he has to wear one of those ridiculous cones around his little head for the next two weeks, but if anything it makes him slightly more endearing, and foolish looking enough to garner sky high ratings on comedic value alone.

Of course it didn't help that the day after his op I went to pieces when Ghengis went AWOL for several hours after we had sacrificially deprived ourselves of any relieving breezes throughout this most unusual killer London heatwave, only to discover that he'd somehow pulled a Houdini and escaped where no escape was possible???

All I kept replaying was the vet sternly admonishing me about the need to keep him indoors at all costs, given that any sort of athletic trailblazing over neighbours fences would likely mean certain death due to the likely rupturing of his unfortunate genetically thin-as-tissue-paper stomach muscles.

Squit was somewhat distraught and between bouts of playing with his beloved toy cars would look for him periodically.  Dumpie was disgusted, labelling me a 'cat killer' claiming it was all my fault if he was dead (though strangely felt no inclination to leave his online gaming to actually ascertain that his pet had definitely passed into the next dimension). True to form, Egg teared up ever so briefly upon hearing the news later that evening after a gruelling cricket match, but after a single half-hearted garden shout-out, retired upstairs to his bedroom for the remainder of the night in order to brush up on his cubing skills in advance of his upcoming Cube Championship.

The husband, shattered from a hard day at work, returned to find his kids shouting 'Ghengis is gone and probably dead!', his wife manically folding shirts on the bedroom floor feeling like a total and utter loser, merely shook his head (probably adding up the pointless financial costs of such a short pet undertaking), simply muttered something demoralising under his breath about this being yet further proof of our family's inability to lead a 'normal life'.

It was much to everyones surprise later that evening when the doorbell suddenly rang and we found our neighbour clutching our pathetic looking cone-headed kitty, incredulous that he had managed to fit through such tiny trellis holes with his new head gear. As with most things in life, the thrill was relatively short-lived and as we breathed a sigh of collective relief we simultaneously went back to focusing on the biggest cat issue at hand: OUR HOME REEKS OF CAT SHIT.

It would appear that despite the cat eradicating the scurrying vermin problem (they are thankfully now out of sight but annoying appear to have set up shop inside the wall cavity of our master bedroom), the price we pay for the cessation of my phobia is the permanent disgusting stench of our home. No amount of posh aromatherapy candles, room sprays or creative placement of the litter box has managed to slightly dent the ever present smell of poo.

As for me, a life long cat despiser, though still trying to warm to said cat, I've inadvertently stumbled upon a most surprising delight. Every morning I'm blessed with a wake up ritual not unlike a poor man's head massage. The kitty leaps onto my pillow, tangles himself up in my not unsubstantial mane, and in the process of detangling himself, inadvertantly administers a most pleasing sort of head massage not unlike the ones I happily fork out for in Goa. So there you have it...a silver lining. The buzz saw purring is a small price to pay for pleasure, and it's only cut short when the cat is lobbed one handedly off the bed by an irate husband who has woken to rightly ascertain the too close proximity of someone else's butt-hole to his face. Fair enough.

To end on a positive note, I need merely to refer to the jubilantly scratched out 'MUST FIND NEW CLEANER!!!!' to recalibrate my current self-worth. After the best cleaner in the universe quit suddenly a month ago (upon which i immediately rang my sister who also uses her to ascertain that she had also been ditched), I had a regrettable two week trial with a woman my age who clearly felt cleaning beneath her (Don't we all lady?! Don't we all?! Me with my university degree, dreams, as of yet unrealised potential, reduced to spending a huge percentage of every day sniffing male underpants to ascertain whether they're dirty or about to be needlessly laundered again, on my knees at the toilets trying vainly to eradicate semi-permanent pee stains from boys too lazy to lift lids?) and was worryingly way more interested in rifling through my charity bag of fashion cast-offs than hoovering. Things culminated in a rather ridiculous late night texting war which neither of us won, and was only proof that we are clearly both not in a terribly good place at present.

So 'hello again' to whomever you are, whatever you're doing right now, and might I strongly suggest that if life is currently beating you down, try and avail yourself of some wireless headphones as a coping mechanism. I may appear to be just another world-weary female statistic in her middle years, but ear pods inserted, tunes blazing into my weary skull, I'm a force to be reckoned with...and these days, that's good enough for me.














Friday, 19 May 2017

"Kissy-Kat, Kissy-Kat, Where Have You Been?"

Two things of note happened this past week: I face planted onto wet pavement in my slippery Converse during the school run, emerging bloody, rips in my new Current Elliott jeans and humiliated beyond belief. Secondly, we acquired a pet.
We are now proud cat owners of a 12 week old Tabby(?) whose name we have typically spent the past week vehemently arguing about ('Kismet' vs 'Genghis'). To some, this news would be no big deal, but as a self-confessed 'dog person' and up until now, life-long 'cat despiser' (sorry, but to me, cats have always been a bit like Zara - nice but no Prada.) They can't be taught tricks, aren't any impediment whatsoever to a potential burglar, and are merely fur-shedding, stand-offish creatures who slink around arrogantly, giving back very little value in the way of affection. Or so I thought...

Meet "Kissy-Kat", a feline with a penchant for french-kissing (should one accidentally leave ones mouth ajar during the thrice daily minimum make-out session he requires. "Kissy Kat" loves nothing more than climbing up onto your chest, a bit of brief foreplay nuzzling around the chin area, then straight into a marathon session of langorous licking: eyelids, nose, lips, then back again, ad infinitum, until your face is as clean as a whistle and there remains not even a hint of your former eye makeup. This can literally can go on for hours, or until the smell of cat food breath and stray cat hairs make you want to choke...but much like a hot guy with bad B.O., he's cute so you let him get away with it.
I blame one of our oldest and best friends, 'That in the Hat'. Not unlike "The Cat In The Hat" he's prone to turning up randomly, unexpectedly, turning your world upside down for a few days (in the most delightful way of course), and then suddenly disappearing when there is no more havoc to be wreaked. Until the next time of course. Ergo a Friday night of much good natured lively chat, excessive wine consumption, and a mere few hours sleep before an 7:30 am wake-up to watch Egg play in an important school cricket match a fair distance away.

This would all have been fine except for the fact that upon waking I had shot back a triple shot cappuccino like it was nothing, resulting in severe insomnia and subsequent sleep envy once the husband had crawled back into bed after having fortuitously ascertained that Egg could catch an early ride with some other poor soul.

Queue a lovely Saturday morning snuggle in bed with the middle son, absentmindedly googling Rescue Home cats and dogs, resulting in this picture randomly popping up on screen:
Dumpie and I look at each other. We are so alike.

"I think I just found our cat," I said with wonderment.

"Yeah, he's the one. Let's buy it."

"Should we ask Dada?"

(We glance in the direction of the snoring hunk of man meat to our left. No response, even after a firm elbowing to the ribs.)

"I don't want to pay that much money though. What if I offer her less and if she takes it we just go for it."

"Yeah, do it," Dumps agreed.

So I did. The random stranger accepted my offer, we agreed to collect the 12 week old kitty later that day, then immediately began rousing the husband to share the good news, shoving the 'kitty porn' screen grab into his sleeping face, eventually extracting a vaguely positive-in-nature grunt which we decisively concurred to be a firm 'yes'.

Skipping over mundane details, having eventually garnered a resigned "Whatever" from the husband once fully awake, a few hours later found us all rattling through London in our aged camper van, hungover friend in back with our sqaubbling offspring, headed off to watch our son play cricket - and buy a kitty.

Stumbling across the cricket grounds, looking none too impressive (ie. feeling 'last scene in Breakfast Club' but coming off like pilot episode of 'Shameless') I was struck with a sudden burst of paranoia. I mean, if we were going to acquire a family pet for the next fifteen odd years, surely a random google search resulting in the impulsive online purchase of a brokered discount kitty from some woman with questionable communication skills, after a night of excess and barely any sleep, was not ideal?

Frantically I googled, coming upon an even younger, maybe cuter(??) tiny ball of black fluff, only 8 weeks old, available immediately and fortuitously just around the corner from Egg's school.
"What do you think of this one?" I asked the husband, shoving my phone in his face.

"What? I thought you said the other one was 'the one'? He glared at me.

"I know, but this one is even younger and I think I like the shape of the face more and is it cuter? Is it? I can't tell. Also I think it would suit our house more...you know? What do you think?"

Around this point the husband walked off, clearly disgusted, throwing a pissed off scowl my way, turning his attention once more to the game.  I studied the contrasting pics on my phone for some minutes before realising that there was only one thing for it: I had to 'phone a friend.' In this case that meant sending said pics to a rather random group of family and friends to illicit their opinion. The feedback was mixed. I decided that we simply had to see both kittens and hoped that we would 'just know.'

An hour or so later found the lot of us charging into a strangers' tiny kitchen, surveying a sorry lot of feline specimens.

"Which one you here for then?" the woman asked.

"Umm...the black one?" I offered.

Immediately, a tiny dark fur ball shot past my legs and hid behind a tired old washing machine. No amount of cajoling would force it out, and after several minutes of awkwardness, the rain beating down relentlessly outside, I started to feel like we should just get the heck out of there, go home to bed and re-think the whole thing. However just then the angry little fur ball was captured trying to escape upstairs by a sullen towel clad teenage girl who stoned-faced, held it out to me. Clawing my All Saints jumper, staring angrily out of slitty yellow-tinged eyes, I quickly shoved it at the husband.

"Here, you hold it. You love cats" I mumbled, wanting now definitely to leave and wondering how I could do it without looking like a fickle freak (I had sounded so sure on the phone in order to get her to agree to an immediate visit).

Somehow I managed to get us out of there by spouting some nonsense about a family chat being needed at a nearby imaginary pub before most likely coming back to acquire the evil kitty for a sum. She bought it, the kids bought it, and even the husband seemed to.

"Urgh...no way," I declared as we buckled ourselves back up in the van. The family surveyed me with confusion. Apparently they had not deemed this creature as horrid as I had, and were as a group, terribly annoyed. Whatever.

At this point our sleep-deprived and hungover houseguest began to seriously lose it in the back seat. We proceeded to lurch and halt our way through vile London weekend traffic across town for the next forty-five minutes or so, until he categorically demanded to be let out at the next pub and be collected later. We obliged, eventually making our way to the home of a young single mum with a tiny daughter living in a small council flat near the river. Once again we trundled inside en masse, but this time instead of encountering a demon fur ball I looked down to discover a creature not unlike 'Gizmo' from 'The Gremlins'.
Several cuddles later, after much stroking, and that face, that adorable little face, I instructed the husband to hand over the money in his wallet and we swiftly departed clutching our newest family member and a shopping bag full of cat accessories. I was pleased...very pleased. Mission accomplished. Why on earth did I ever doubt my initial instincts? I felt smug, not unlike the time I marched into a designer sample sale emerging shortly thereafter with the prize steal of the century.
So there you have it. We have a cat. We are proper, official cat owners. Puzzlingly, five days in, the monsters seem rather nonplussed with the new arrival. They are treating it like a Christmas toy: momentarily ecstatic, a quick play, slightly less enthusiastic the next play in, then gently pushing it to one side whilst picking back up their respective devices and losing all interest.

The husband has taken to our new little friend with the same delight as the arrival of our third son. He graciously concedes that it was a fortuitous move on my part, has swiftly grown rather fond of the delightful little mogwai, and is utterly charmed by the fact that the kitten has chosen as his new comfort place/sleep zone, his ramshackle bicycle collection in the corner of the basement.
As for me, I feel like I just ticked that parental 'expose children to pet' box, and as a bonus, appear to have been gifted with an affectionate feline that loves cuddles and kisses. Perfect. Love without the hardcore responsibility of a dog. But most of all I love that face, that adorable little face. Who knew hey?




(Dislaimer: Truth be told, I got the bloody cat simply to put an end to the periodic mouse problem we appear to have in this old house of ours. Since his arrival there has been no sign of them, and the resulting peace of mind has been so worth it. Given that I hate bad smells, need more responsibility like a hole in the head, and can't bear cat hair getting onto my furniture or beloved clothes - PLUS have a sister whom we adore who happens to be wildly allergic to cats - is proof of how desperate I was for some vermin-related piece of mind. Now, I just have to continue to sell myself on the idea, and as the husband knows, being criminally cute helps...it helps a lot.)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

"Goan Deep Down"


Today I reached the zenith of escape from my usual existence as a harried, often bored, Mama-of-three, hamster-wheeling through life in a Groundhog Day-esque vision of middle-class mediocrity back in Ol' London Town.

Watching Egg and Dumps climb a waterfall in the middle of the jungle, then sitting sweat-soaked, huddled in a mere three inches of rock pool (on account of the freakishly large fish which were feasting upon our extremities with great gulping miniature jaws should one dare to venture any further out), I realised that at last I had achieved the much longed for separation from my life as I know it. 




















This waterfall visit had been preceded by a glorious two hour drive on the back of le husband's beloved purple Enfield to a magnificent Spice Farm where we proceeded to tuck piggishly into delicious 'Thali's' and then rid ourselves of an obscene amount of money (okay fine that was all me) by buying up countless packages of spices that realistically have a one in five chance of ending up forlorn on a shelf somewhere a year from now.  

With the wind in my hair and the winding tree-lined vistas that we roared through showing off with all manner of views and glorious fauna, we were utterly transported. Oh how we needed that...

"It's good for the kids to see us in this context," the husband roared over the engine as we overtook the sulking children in the air-con taxi, staring out resentfully at us as we roared past.

"Yeah, totally," I yelled back, bouncing my head in time to the music from the bluetooth headphone I'd snuck in one ear.

After countless years of returning like homing pigeons to this sacred bit of beach in this special part of the world, I love watching our city slicker boys go local. After about a week they stop complaining about every little thing "There's a bug in my milkshake"..."I got another mosquito bite"..."How come Netflix won't download"...and start tearing around with other kids on the beach, hitting up strangers for money to buy sweets, wearing the same shorts for four days in a row (even though stiff with dirt and beginning to spawn their own eco systems), and attempting to learn tightrope walking on the hastily erected ropes outside our glorified shack on the beach.
I love how the all encompassing heat makes allies out of the husband and I, who are way too hot and tired to do more than raise a lazy eye if we see the other doing something we're not completely on board with. We are slower, gentler versions of ourselves here, and though the decompression process is not without its challenges (submitting to the inevitable squalor of perpetually sandy beds, mattresses no wider than a slice of Hovis, and random bugs which fall periodically from our slanted, desperately-in-need-of a-mend roof via the click-clacking fan...) once we've cracked it, we've cracked it, do you know what I mean? Simply put, night after night, toes buried comfortingly in the sand as we dine under the stars, we feel like the luckiest people in the world...
Our boys (who are never happier than when all crammed cozily in our bed) love the proximity of this place and the fact that we are living on top of each other. It makes them feel happy and secure (the husband and I less so, nightly fighting claustrophobia as we laughingly attempt sleep, glued together like gummi bears, in what amounts to a double bed).
Still, I remind myself that these days are precious. Egg, who I so clearly remember toddling about with "Wanna cuppa tea?" and nightly indulging in post-bath nudist dancing to Goldfrapps 'Number 1', is almost a teenager and the other two can already kick our respective arses in the card memory game (any memory-related exercise to be honest), and I'm patently aware how numbered these days are have recently resolved to start appreciating this period of my life more than I have been doing so of late.


Saying that, if one more little bugger pulls out the charging cable from my iphone, it's going to be cheeky backhands all round.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

"Oversized Baggage"


So we're back on UK shores after a three week sojourn in Canada. It feels weird to be honest, though I'm sure having thousands of miles between us and unlimited supplies of Tim Horton's Timbits is a good thing - no I know it's a good thing.

The night before we left, the National Lampoon classic, "European Vacation" was on telly and I giggled through my favourite scene (the one where the family are on a train, so fed up that they purposely try and annoy each other, wishing desperately to be shot of their fellow family members), only to reenact it twenty-four hours later at the airport.

First off, the husband was barely speaking to me on account of the amount of luggage I had acquired in three weeks. Never mind that most of it was baked goods and sundries you can't get here in the UK (anyone ever try making Rice Krispy Squares with UK marshmallows? The whole mess congeals into a burnt blob of gelatine and stubbornly refuses to melt). He was livid that we were returning to London with four pieces of checked luggage and 10 pieces of carry-on. (Unfortunately for him, some internet sleuthing several days earlier had unearthed the surprising fact that Air Canada allows not one but two 10 kilo pieces per person to be carried on board - no matter that in our case one of the passengers happened to be a four year old incapable of carrying anything heavier than a teddy.)





Also, we have a long-standing conflict regarding airport timings. I hate getting there too early and like to leave myself JUST enough time to cruise through and right onto the plane. The husband prefers to get there in enough time to give himself time to sink an overpriced pint and still get halfway through his holiday read.

This time my cousin was giving us a lift in his jeep and despite the cramped conditions (Dumps on my lap, Squit on the husband's lap, and all of us with bags piled up to our necks and numb extremities) we made it there in plenty of time to ascertain that our flight was going to be delayed (surprise surprise) and that somewhere along the line, the delicious slice of cold pizza I had stashed in one of the 10 carry-ons had fallen out and I'd have to make do with a soggy creme cheese bagel instead.

But get home we did, and with no excess baggage charges to boot. Forty-Eight hours later and the husband is only just thawing out, and this despite the horrendous discovery that not only did we cart back an insane amount of stuff, but a raging case of head lice to boot (thanks Egg)....we're talking legions.

So here we are, (not really) ready to start the Autumn term, with fast-fading suntans from the near tropical daily heat of Toronto, and massive sugar and cocktail come-downs. Even the end of holiday Espresso Martini the husband and I just balefully downed barely touched the sides.

Now I have the small matter of where (and how) to stash the year's supply of edible goods I brought back - though I am greatly enjoying the novelty of fitting out my kitchen with all manner of cool gadgets I couldn't resist. However all that will have to wait as my first job tomorrow morning is to find a glazier to replace the glass on our french doors which Egg rather randomly smashed this afternoon.

We're back alright.


Friday, 19 August 2016

"'Toronna'...'Toronna'...I Love You 'Toronna"


So we're back in good ol' 'Toronna' (Toronto, Canada to those not acquainted with the sometimes local vernacular) for our annual summer trip back to visit family and stock up on North American baked goods (I kid you not, should Customs and Excise ever decide to pull me over I shall be accused of trying to open an illegal corner shop).

Due to logistics (and fairness - truth be told - especially in light of the husband's recent 8 day solo bike trip through the Alps) I have had the unique pleasure of being rid of any parental or spousal duties for the past fourteen days now...and oh, how easily and quickly I have adapted.

Perhaps due to having temporarily shed the mantle of responsibility for anyone but myself, I have shockingly quickly reverted into somewhat insolent teenage behaviour.

Case in point: the other day (in hindsight, rather rudely but not without humour) I donned one of my usually elegant Mums' outfits and proceeded to do an impromptu fashion show complete with comedy gait and pursed lips (Derek Zoolander would have been proud), clad in a boxy linen blouse and shapeless, calf-length denim skirt. I collapsed in giggles whilst my mother, raised eyebrows and all, tried to talk me out of wearing said outfit over to her condo as a dare, where my sister was going to meet us.
It's all in the stance...
Whilst admitting it to be a ludicrous get-up when viewed from the vantage point of spectator, my mum nonetheless defended her right to wear it for the sole purpose of dog walking.

Her inability to concede that it was a fashion faux pas on an apocalyptic level merely prompted a comedy walk down the hall, into her packed lift, into the car park, up another lift (all the while my mother nervously trailing behind, muttering under her breath, hoping we didn't run into anyone she knew) and into the condo where my sister satisfactorily roared with laughter. I then did an about face onto my mum's 19th story balcony and in a burst of admittedly childish rebellion, stripped off and chucked the whole sorry mess into the air and over the edge.
"One is not amused..."
Something about wandering these Toronto streets connects me back to my rebellious seventeen year old self, and prompts me to don bright orange nail polish, a trucker hat, oversized shades and storm the streets to my favourite spotify playlist, sucking on ice-lollies, chewing bubblegum and buying up vintage rock t-shirts. (Mind you, it's not like I sustain from this sort of behaviour ensconced in my middle-class London enclave...)
FYI this is how you do a bathroom selfie Kim Kardashian...
All this to say that it is with some trepidation (yet honest yearning and delight - I adore and miss those little monsters) that I anticipate the boys' arrival to downtown 'Toronna' from Mississauga tomorrow when the husband drops them off and likely scarpers - not to be seen until the departure lounge at Pearson Airport one week hence. I imagine there will be a slight adjustment period wherein I sternly have to remind myself that it's not a good example to have two glasses of Pinot Grigio and a family sized bag of Smartfood popcorn for dinner - nor is it acceptable to storm through human barricades of 'five abreast' tourists on downtown sidewalks in my hurry to get an iced-coffee, despite possibly causing bodily harm to the young and elderly.

And don't even get me started on the fear that accompanied the husband's final email to me last night regarding the recent regression of our four year olds toilet training habits:

"There is still an evil bag of shitty clothes awaiting me."  (fyi i'm pretty sure he means actual shit)

URGHHH.....


Monday, 27 June 2016

"Slummy-Single-Mummying It"

One of the last things the husband said to me yesterday before departing for his much anticipated eight day cycle adventure from hell (well, hell by my standards anyway...I get winded just pedalling my Brompton up the slight incline to our street) was this: "Remember, it's all about survival. Just give them what they want and make it easy for yourself."

He was of course referring to the monsters and the creeping dread I've had about 'single parenting' whilst he's away. For him, a typical afternoon jaunt with the boys in tow almost invariably ends with a protracted solo visit to the pub after dropping them back home, shaking his head in defeat and muttering something like, "I wasn't cut out for this," as he legs it out the door to my plaintive, "Well I wasn't either!...Hey, when are you coming back? You are coming back?....Please come back..." In other words, he gets it. He knows that by day three I'm likely to start panic texting him in the Alps (where he's cycling a gazillion kilometres up and down mountains from Geneva, Switzerland across to Venice, Italy with one of his 'besties' - another like-minded MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra), demanding he return AT ONCE or will have to collect his offspring from various temporary foster homes upon his return.

Okay, so I'm sounding a wee bit dramatic as the boys are not exactly terrors per se, but when the planets align such that they ALL kick off at the same time, and I've not had much sleep, and Squit has wet not only his bed again but my bed as well (having snuck in for a cuddle in the middle of the night) and Dumpie has lost the power cord for his ipad (the only thing keeping him from staging an impromptu coup just for the fun of it) and Egg has just discovered a plastic Sainsbury's bag under Squit's bed containing a multitude of plastic pieces which in its previous form was a beloved limited edition Japanese speed cube...well, you get the picture.

Now to be fair, I must confess that for the next few days Egg is away on a school trip, so at least I'll only have the two to contend with. That means I don't have to wake and fall asleep to the persistent sound of lightning fast creaking cubes being relentlessly twisted into submission and can temporarily remove the not insignificant number of sweets and biscuits I've been forced to stash in my wardrobe (the most recent hiding place, for it changes weekly given Egg is a renowned sugar junkie and if left to his own devices would devour every E-number in sight until falling into a diabetic coma). On the other hand, neither Dumps, Squit nor my good self are what you would call 'morning people.' Egg however can be reliably counted on to 'wake and cube' starting round about 6:30am daily. There is no danger of sleeping through an alarm on a school day when he's around. So to that end, I have about five alarms set for tomorrow morning and as a further precautionary measure am sleeping with my blinds open, so on the odd chance it's sunny I'll be woken with a jolt of migraine-inducing rays. Well that's the plan anyway.

Going to sign off now. Watching Coldplay close Glastonbury on the telly is proving rather distracting. The worst dressed man in Rock is currently doing some hardcore autistic piano bench rocking and incorporating some rather confusing high kicks into his stage choreography. If I didn't know any better I'd say that he was attempting the first ever Hokey Pokey on the infamous Pyramid Stage. He's sporting such a crazy grin that I can only assume that he's either on the best drugs ever or has recently joined Scientology and is having a major Theta moment.


Friday, 17 June 2016

"Which Came First...The Boy Or The Egg?"

Tomorrow my darling Egg turns twelve. And that people, is Egg-xactly how fast life goes.

One minute you're in agony in a hospital overlooking Big Ben as your husband feebly plays around with his new camera in the background (purchased with the sole purpose of catching such a life-changing moment - but instead proving such a giant distraction that his old school chum is almost allowed to charge right into the birthing room and witness your most vulnerable moment ever as a human being...but i digress).

The point is, I recall the agony, the stupendousness of giving birth to my first, to dear little Egg, as if it happened yesterday. That twelve whole years have passed since then is almost inconceivable, and I shudder to think how quickly the next twelve are going to whip by (I for one, am SO not ready to be twelve years older than I am now...if I think I have facial contouring 'challenges' cropping up now...goodness me).

Anyway, as is my tradition, thanks to a vile film I saw years ago starring Uma Thurman (the ONLY good thing about it, and I do mean ONLY, is how in the film she has a tradition of taking a picture of her children as they sleep, the night before each birthday) I have taken the prerequisite picture, filled his room with Happy Birthday balloons and put a few 'Breakfast Pressies' on his dresser for when he wakes up.  I grew up in a family where birthdays were magical in every way, and I've tried hard to carry on that tradition with the monsters. To that end, I've been studying for hours online, the best way to try and create a Rubiks Cube Lemon Poppyseed Birthday Cake from scratch.

Why Rubiks Cube you ask? Well, let's just say that the boy is obsessed...and no, that is not too strong a word. In the preceding months he has collected around 26 cubes of varying shape, size and difficulty, mastering them to the point of insanity (14 seconds anyone?!) and started his very own Youtube channel with almost as many subscribers as I have for my blog. I kid you not.
Am I proud? Hell yeah - but more on that some other time.

For now, I just want to make a public declaration about how lucky I feel to be a M.O.E. (Mum of Egg). He is truly unique (and at my ripe old age I totally appreciate how rare that really is) in that his amazing brain has not relegated him to wallflower nerd status as one might suppose, but rather the boy has surprised us all the past few years with his amazing athletic prowess - no thanks at all to his rather un-athletic and somewhat oblivious parents.

Turns out he's a proper sportsman with a wicked arm for bowling in Cricket and such a natural when it comes to table tennis that he recently at a festival remained undefeated for hours against a growing crowd of adults cheering on the unbeatable 11 year old and queuing up to have a go themselves. Recently on school photo day, he apparently had to scramble into seven different uniforms for all the pictures - ridiculous I know. But that's Egg you see: whatever he is 'into' he is 'really into'. He has always been that way. First it was Maths...then remote-controlled ANYthing...then...well you get the picture.

But all of that matters not a jot really. What makes me truly proud is the absolute kindness the boy inherently possesses. He certainly didn't get it from me or the husband, that's for sure. Egg has always possessed a genuinely beautiful and gentle soul. When he was a toddler that manifested itself in spontaneously hugging and kissing other little ones on the playground (me chasing behind in his wake, trying to explain to parents and their sometimes bawling offspring that he meant no harm) and now manifests itself in generously often giving all his money away to those less fortunate than himself and keeping local newsagents in business by buying bucket loads of sweets for all his mates. He is generous to a fault, and sensitive in a way that brings tears to my eyes - and his at times.

He is also very funny...and sweet...and has the most expressive dark rimmed green eyes with lashes to die for, which - if lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them through the silky blond hair he still insists on wearing way too long - have the ability to make you melt in an instant.

Simply put, I adore this boy. I love him to the moon and back, and getting him as my first, my eldest son, remains one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I know we don't deserve him, and that probably out there somewhere is a Professor and his wife puzzled with their brute of child, who grunts and plays video games 24/7 while scratching at a never ending itch on the nether regions who would have done wonders with a boy wonder like Egg. Instead Egg has been allocated two flawed but well-intentioned parents who have often stood by with a mixture of wonder and confusion (and sometimes annoyance - I shan't lie - imagine the sound of energetic and constant 'cubing' as the soundtrack to your life) and thought, "How on earth did we birth this boy?!"

Egg, we salute you...all twelve years of you. You are an amazing person and we can hardly wait to see what you do with your life. We know that you want to leave home and go off to Uni already (or in your more frustrated moments stage a Drew Barrymore-esque emancipation petition) but stay with us awhile longer please...years in fact. We love you and couldn't be prouder of you, and until you're unleashed into the world and no longer our precious little secret, we intend to enjoy all the madness and joy that you bring into our lives.

I Love You...
Mama x

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

"The 'Nammie Man' Has Left The Building"

It's been a pretty big month round these parts. Firstly, a few weeks ago, my 'baby' Squit turned four to much fanfare and a bright red ride-on mini Ferrari. The first thing he did was run over the husbands foot and then reverse into his 18-month old cousin. To be fair he was fairly jubilant and likely high on the giant wedge of Red Velvet birthday cake he'd just scoffed...but still.


A few days after this momentous day, I had parent teacher meetings and it was gently suggested that given Squit was now four and showing no signs whatsoever of giving up his beloved nappies, I might want to seek professional help.

That was it.  I think it triggered some form of primal parental shame which had puzzlingly remained intact up until this point.

I strode home and marched straight up to Dumpie - who was so focused on one of his 'addictive as crack' video games that he let me stand there like a moron for a few minutes before bothering to even acknowledge my presence.

"Make Squitty go on the potty and I'll give you twenty quid."

He glanced up, only mildly interested.

"Fine. But you don't have to pay me that much money. I'll do it, but can you buy me some more gold coins for my game?"

"Done," I said, and with that, he led Squit into the bathroom, firmly shutting the door, and proceeded to work some manner of goodness knows what manipulative magic on his adoring little Mini-Me. A short while later, he emerged, triumphant and victorious, yet entirely nonplussed.

"Okay. Buy me the coins please."

Bish bash bosh. And that, people, is apparently how it's done. What has taken me years to totally fail at, Dumps managed in ten minutes.

And so thus ends yet another era, another parental milestone crossed off the list: the 'baby/toddler' stage dispensed with sans fanfare and ceremony (save the special thrill of permanently deleting nappies from my online shopping lists and realising with a small burst of joy that my weekly spend on 'nammies' can now be used in the purchasing of a fine bottle of Rioja. Nice one.)




Saturday, 6 February 2016

"Squitaliscious"


So I'll officially never be the parent of a three year old again.  And honestly, I'm going to miss it.

Three remains one of my favourite ages as little ones possess just enough chubbiness to hang tentatively on the precipice of babyhood, but are clever enough to start using language in unintentionally hilarious ways.  Age three has always epitomised 'Munchkinhood' and a part of me will from this day forward be in mourning for that sweet baby smell (garnered from the back of the neck or the forehead in a pinch) and the sweet cherubic smiles and silly eggbeater-esque running gait (or maybe that's just Squit...in fact, I'm pretty sure it is).

At any rate, Squit turned FOUR(!) on the weekend and as usual, we celebrated with balloons, cake, too many pressies and plenty of boozes for the attending adults.  As a special treat, this year Squitty had his beloved Grandpa in attendance - who good-naturedly put up with the insistent birthday menu request of Domino's double cheese and pepperoni pizzas and diabetes-inducing million-calorie Red Velvet Cake smothered in rich vanilla icing and covered in about 500 Smarties.
(To be fair it was divine and the next day the remains were fought over bitterly, with yours truly pathetically indulging in deliberate subterfuge with the under-twelves in order to secure the biggest piece.  Oh, the shame.)

But the highlight was the 'yes-we-know-it's-disgustingly-indulgent-but-it's-our-last-little-one-so...' miniature bright red Ferrari motorised car (sigh).  Thing is, I've ALWAYS wanted one, ever since I was a little kid around Squit's age, and snuck off in a huge mall and sat hiding for hours in a toy car just like this one, whilst my parents and store detectives stood wringing their hands, on the verge of calling in the police to report an alleged kidnapping.

Obviously Egg and Dumpie were writhing with envy, and who can blame them? We were forced to drag out the husbands scale and weigh Egg in order to prove that he was WAY over the 25 kilo weight limit of the little car (38.5 kilos to be exact) even though he had somehow miraculously managed to wedge his pre-teen lanky frame into its confines.  Even Dumps is a touch too heavy (26.5 kilos) but adores it so much that he has managed to take possession of one of the ignition keys and has claimed it for his own.

And so proper boyhood beckons for our littlest fella and it's bye-bye forever to the Fat Baby. And in a few months or so when the monsters have managed to trash the little red sports car (I'm calling a head-on into Dada's precariously constructed 'DJ Booth') we'll also have a giant piece of recyclable junk which we'll probably never manage to dispose of properly and will sit out back in the garden slowly rusting and becoming a world class hotel for wayward snails.