Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Award Time

What was it that I said at the end of my last award post? Now let me think. It was something along the lines of...

...if you receive an award try not to stash it away for too long - or you'll find yourself in my position where you've spent all day creating links and lists.

Well I'm so glad I took not even a tiny bit of notice of my own advice...because here I am with not one, but five awards and I just know this is going to take me longer than ten minutes to post. Serves me right...

It has to be said that I do already have four out of the five, but I still need to pass them on to some worthy recipients. And because this is going to take me long enough and you may even fall asleep before you reach the end, I hope you don't mind if I skip the personal list part.

On with the awards...

First up is the Lemonade award given to me by Carol at New Mummy who has a gorgeous 7-month old little girl. Thankyou Carol! This is one to show blog appreciation. So I pass it on to five fantastic blogs that I truly appreciate...

Next up is this ever-so-slightly rude award (not in the mood for swearing today - not quite sure what's come over me), given to me by the gorgeous (and hilarious) Tasha at WAHM-BAM. I hereby pass this on to...
Do with it what you want ladies. When I first received it I had wonderful fun remembering just how much I loved swearing. Enjoy...
Next up is the Honest Scrap award from my fellow-Brightonian, Rebel Mother at One More Day in the Madhouse.
These are for blogs which have shown Honesty in spades...

The penultimate award has been given to me by two people - Sandy Calico at Baby Baby and Clareybabble at Clareybabbling.
Thank you ladies. Your blogs are Lovely too!
I now pass this on to not one, but five Lovely Blogs.
And finally, the only one not yet already decorating my virtual mantelpiece in this - the Palabros Como Rosas which translates as 'words like Roses'....given to me by the amazingly wonderful Fhina at A Woman of No Importance. Thank you my darling - I am most touched.
I hereby pass this on to five more blogs whose words are as beautiful as roses...
Please forgive me if I haven't included you. It's probably because I've already passed an award your way, or else I've just had a quick peek and you have far too many, or more than likely I've become a tad confused, insulted you and you'll never venture this way again.
Apologies whichever applies!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

I'm a failure

So today is the last day of Recycle Week and I just thought I'd let you in on a secret.

I failed my mission.

But don't tell anyone. I'm trying to keep it a secret because it's just so ridiculously daft. I mean, who, other than someone completely useless, can't manage to re-use their carrier bags for one week?




Twiddle, twiddle.

That'll be me then.

Like I said, please don't tell anyone, because I am trying to forge this image of being something other than completely useless.

This is the silly thing - I only chose this pledge, out of the handful on offer because it was the easiest!! That'll teach me for being so lazy.

And just in case you wondered how on earth I managed to fail something so simple, here's the story.

I'm normally smug about re-using carrier bags because I have an enormous supply, some of which are stashed in the back of the car ready to be taken to the supermarket and some of which are in the kitchen having just been emptied ready to be put back in to the car and taken to the supermarket. Notice a common denominator here?


You should have seen my smug face at the beginning of the week.

'Need any carrier bags love?' Said the checkout assistant already reaching for her supply.

'No, I have plenty. Thankyou.' I said, making an extra special effort to rustle them loudly so the whole queue could hear.

Like I said, I was smug.

Fast forward a few days and I checked the calendar. A birthday party. A friend of Renée's was turning five and I hadn't yet bought a present or a card. But that wasn't a problem - no need to drive to the supermarket (let's be all eco and walk to the corner shop instead). So we did. Fairy wings and magic wand and hair clips and all sorts of little things guaranteed to make a five year old smile. Perfect. That was until I was half-way back home, blue plastic bag in hand and suddenly aware that it wasn't one of my plastic bags.


Mission far from accomplished.

So that's how easy it was. The problem lay in the fact that I hadn't factored in the non-supermarket visits. Trips to the corner shop, without the car, were not considered, therefore my generous supply of plastic bags were not available. So here's a warning to all of you wanting to re-cycle - carry a bag with you at all times.

I have to say, I did continue to re-use my bags for the week, but a fail is a fail and I can't lie to you all (tempting though it is).

And just in case you thought I'd forgotten, there is a forfeit to uphold. I can't quite bring myself to say it though because I think I might cry...

No computer use for a whole day. That's no Blogging. No Twitter. No e-mails. No Facebook. No Google searches. No life as I know it.

So as of midnight tonight, I will be computer-less for a day. Apologies in advance if I ignore you. I will be back on Tuesday raring to go.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

When conversations need to be about more than just children

I'm beginning to feel a bit nauseus. And before you ask, NO I am NOT pregnant. You need to have done certain things in order to have achieved that. Don't you?

She asks, moving swiftly on.

No, the real reason why I'm feeling slightly sick is because I'm going out this evening...and just the thought of it is making me want to find the nearest hole, bury my head deep inside and not come out until the morning, during which time I would have thought up any number of believable excuses as to why I couldn't make it.

Now don't get me wrong. I am no wallflower. In fact, if my fragments of memory serve me correctly, there was once the time (ahem...first night of my honeymoon) when I danced on the bar, served drinks to whoever wanted them and had to be carried off as the sun came up, minus one pair of trousers, one shoe and one earring (later discovered in the undergrowth) only to wake up later that day with a black eye and a slightly dismayed husband. Needless to say, I have never touched cheap Filippino rum since.

But look at me. During my nostalgia trip, I have digressed somewhat. What I'm trying to say here is that social situations don't often send me into a dither. Take the Mummy Bloggers Get-Together, for instance. Surely walking into a room full of people who you've never actually met, at least not in the physical sense, is slightly more harrowing than sitting down chatting to people who you already know and have previously managed to string a sentence together with?

Well, this is the thing. Being a Mummy is what I do. As much as I subtley fight against it and pretend I'm still young and hip and have absolutely no stretch marks whatsoever, it's who I am...and it's who I've been for the past five years, so when I was planning to meet up with a whole host of other Mothers and Fathers, at least I knew I would have something to talk to them about. And I wasn't disappointed. There was not one moment where I felt out of place or bewildered. I mean, I even managed to work poo into the conversation. So why am I feeling so sick at the thought of this evening?

Well, the difference between that get-together and the get-together I'm off out to this evening is that tonight I'm meeting up with people I knew pre-children. Doesn't that have a strange ring to it? I shall say it again. Pre-children. Crikey, I'd almost forgotten those days even existed. And not only that, but most of these people still work in the same, scary industry that I left all those years ago. Television. Now apologies, if you work, or have ever worked in Television, but having served eight long years in such an industry I feel I have the right to say what I want about it. So here goes...people who work in Television think that it is the most important thing on this planet. Strangely enough, I'm not of the same opinion. And I never was. Which is why I'm sitting here, feeling slightly sick.

And please don't ask me why I'm going. I don't have much of an answer - only that it seemed like a good idea when I replied to the invitation a few weeks ago. So that's that. Wish me luck. It has been five years. Maybe I'll find that I'm not the only one who's had children in the interim years. And if not, then maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to find something to talk about other than children. Here's hoping.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

I have poo on the brain...or is that the tongue...?

For some reason Edie has decided not to have a nap this afternoon, which kind of messes up my schedule a bit seeing as I had put aside her nap time to write a post. Hmmmm. But I have a good idea instead. In the spirit of recycling, I have decided to recycle an old post. Call me a cheat...it was written a while ago - and I think you need to read it...really I do...it's for your own good...

So, just sit back and relax...A post from back in March...Happy reading!

The time has almost come. I'm thinking of potty training Edie. Although if the little 'accident' on the stairs yesterday is an example of what's to come, then I may delay it even further (despite scrubbing for a good half hour, the stains are still pretty evident). Hmmm. Funnily enough it brings to mind an incident which happened a couple of years ago during Renée's 'potty training period'. A friend had come round for a coffee with her two children. Both our youngest were babies so they slept whilst the two eldest played in Renée's bedroom. I was breast feeding at the time (and possibly on a diet too if my memory serves me well)...so let's just say I was pretty hungry and the chocolate biscuits my friend brought round were slightly too tempting to refuse.

So that's the scene. Two Mummies chit-chatting on the sofa...two babies asleep...two toddlers playing happily in another room. What could possibly go wrong? Well, as it happens, quite a lot.

No sooner had the two toddlers spied the packet of chocolate biscuits, they were upon us, demanding that they too be given a share of the goodies. Keen to carry on chatting with my friend, I dismissed the two girls with a hastily given supply of biscuits and the promise of more if they played quietly together for at least ten minutes. Chit chat chit chat chit chat. All was going according to plan until Renée walked into the sitting room clutching the potty...'Mummy, Roxy done caca' (that's French for poo poo just in case you were wondering). 'Right - thanks darling. Lovely.' I took the potty and handed it to the other Mother (it was her child's poo after all). I like to think I'm a great hostess but I only deal with other children's poo if it's a dire emergency. This, as it happens, was not.

So that was that. Potty emptied. Babies still sleeping. Toddlers demanding more biscuits (and getting them). Mummies still chatting. It was a great morning. Great, that was, until the moment of departure came. Now for two toddlers to play happily together, a certain amount of mess has to be made. That's inevitable. But that doesn't send shockwaves through me in any way. A ten-minute tidy-up and no one need ever know that the bedroom was a disaster zone. But this time it was, how shall I put it, different. It wasn't the scale of the mess which surprised me, or the extent to which two little children had been able to run riot. No, it was this simple fact. Chocolate biscuits do not mix well with toys or bedding or carpets, or rugs, or white walls. Somehow, whilst I was happily chit-chatting away in the other room, I had managed to completely ignore the fact that almost a whole packet of crumbly biscuits with melting potential had been taken away by two two-year-olds. I mean what was I thinking? I'll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking that just a little bit of peace and quiet is worth a ten-minute tidy up at the end of the day. But on this occasion I was wrong. Oh so wrong.

After ten minutes of crawling around on my hands and knees trying to tidy up the toys which hadn't been smeared in chocolate or crumbs, I made it to the potty corner. I don't know what had happened, but it looked as though either one or both of the children had been eating whilst sitting on the potty - like a man reading the Sunday papers on his 'throne' - and the whole surrounding area was covered with chocolate biscuit crumbs...or so I thought. And before you pass judgement - please remember - I was on a diet (and I just hate wasting food). So what did I do? I started eating the chocolate biscuits crumbs of course. Aside from the covering of tiny particles which I later had to vacuum up, there were a few big pieces of biscuit lying around. So piece by piece I put them in my mouth, pleased with myself for not only tidying up quickly, but doing it in a very efficient manner. But hold on, that doesn't taste like chocolate. Does it? No, it can't be. Can it? Just one more chew to make sure. Oh no. It really is what I think it is. It's POO. Aaaaaarrrrrggghhhh. And I'm eating it. Of course, I rushed straight to the bathroom where I spat my mouthful of biscuit and poo into the sink and quickly filled my mouth with mouthwash and water and mouthwash and water. Over and over again. But I'm telling you this - however many times I washed my mouth out and scrubbed and brushed my teeth, I still couldn't rid myself of the taste of poo. I could smell it. I could feel it. I knew it was there invading my every sense.

When I went to bed that evening, a good ten hours after the 'incident' I could still taste it somewhere deep in the back of my throat. And as I lay there thinking about it (how could I even try to think about anything else) it dawned on me why it was so horrific. It wasn't that I had eaten poo, as much as that in itself was hideous. But it was that it wasn't even my own child's poo. It was Roxy's poo. And she wasn't my own. Poo is bad enough when it comes from the ones you adore, but when it's someone else's child's poo, then that really does take the biscuit. And as for potty training Edie, well maybe I can leave it just a little bit longer...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Even I can manage a bit of recycling. Can you?

I'm attempting to avoid all the tags....can you see me? Head down, trying not to make eye contact, shuffling along. I may just pull it off...

Didn't think so.

I've been tagged.

A few times.

I'm saving the lists for another day (one when it's not quite so sunny and I haven't got quite so many small children flapping around my ankles)...but I'm going to do this one quickly because the gorgeous Jo Beaufoix and the equally gorgeous Sparx have tagged me. Apart from not being able to say no to two such lovely ladies, it's also for a good cause...

So this is the story.

Almost Mrs Average at The Rubbish Diet has roped in the Mummy Blogging community to spread the Recycling word. From June 22nd until 28th it is Recycle Week and each of us must make a pledge to waste less. So click HERE to see my pledge.

And if I fail???

Well I didn't want to make it too difficult for myself (not like Jo who has pledged to compost all her kitchen and garden waste and if she fails to do so, will allow her 4-year old daughter to apply her makeup and post a photo of the result - can't wait for that one).

So if you haven't clicked on the pledge above I will quickly tell you. I have pledged to re-use all my carrier bags for the week and if I fail to do so then I will abstain from computer use for a day (just the thought is making me giddy). My husband will be especially pleased with this forfeit as less time on the computer means more time with him...so now all I have to do is make sure he doesn't hide the bags in a sly attempt at sabotage.

And just a bit of info about carrier bag usage because it isn't just a game of tag after all...

"In 2008, UK Shoppers picked up a staggering 9.9 billion new carrier bags. That's an average of 400 per household - or enough to fill 188 Olympic swimming pools.

To produce that number of bags required around 180,000 tonnes of oil and emitted greenhouse gases equivalent to up to 100,000 extra cars on the road.

If you and every household halved the number of bags that are picked up, we would reduce waste and save energy. Over a year, this would mean using around 90,000 fewer tonnes of oil and a reduction in greenhouse gas production equivalent to taking up to 50,000 cars off the road."

I'm just off to find those pesky carrier bags. Wish me luck...

And just to end this post I have to, of course, tag five more people who I think will be able to shoulder the responsibilty as well as me!! Nothing like a bit of pressure...

Hee hee.

Here goes.

Tasha at WAHM-BAM

Karin at Café Bébé (who incidentally has just launched a fantastic new website - so do go and check it out).

The Wife of Bold

Rebel Mother at Another Day in the Madhouse

Mama Po at Home Mum of 2 (or 3 if you count their Dad)

And here are the rules for the tagees...

1. Visit http://www.recyclenow.com/ and sign up to one of the pledges to waste less.

2. Share details of your pledge on your blog.

3. Choose 5 other bloggers who you think will be up for a bit of recycling fun.

4. Return to The Rubbish Diet and share your pledge in the comments section.

5. Optional - As a thank you to all involved, The Rubbish Diet will be publishing a British Mummy Bloggers' Recycling week carnival on Monday 29th June. To be included, simply submit your favourite post revealing the progress of your pledge by Saturday 27th June to karen@therubbishdiet.co.uk

Can we be turned from simple Mummy Bloggers into Mummy Garbloggers? Only time will tell.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Mummy Bloggers get together

I've got the blues today. The sort of blues you get when you return home from a holiday where you've had a great time and realise that your house and your life are not quite as interesting as they'd been before. I'm on a post British Mummy Bloggers get together downer. It's all over. It just kind of came and went too quickly and now all I can do is sit in front of the computer clicking on my blog list to see who else has written a post about the event. Ok, I lie a little. I have had a rather busy day, but sitting clicking on my blog list is what I'd much rather be doing.

But, seriously, it was great. I was too tired to write a post last night, but realised this morning that I had, in fact, dreamt about everyone in my sleep. I was tempted to base this post on the dream...but I didn't want to lose friends so soon after making them. Hee hee.

One of the best things about yesterday, other than meeting so many virtual friends in the flesh, was the fact that I somehow managed to bring only one child, thus resulting in an almost-relaxed day. I had originally planned to leave Edie (the two and a half year old) at home with my husband, but true to form he had had to work, so I was left with a trip to London, two fairly small children and a slight dilemma. How on earth was I going to manage it on my own? Well, thankfully I didn't have to put that to the test because a wonderful friend offered to look after Edie for the whole day (poor thing - when I eventually arrived to collect her, Edie was in the kitchen stirring cake mixture, mess everywhere, having just had a shower because she'd decided to do a poo in her pants...I could have put money on that happening). And when I saw the venue of the Blogging meet-up - The Rainforest Cafe with its vast underground caverns, hiding places and potential mishief-making corners, I was pitifully relieved to have left Edie behind.

It's rare that I spend time with Renée on her own and I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to. A bus ride from home along the cliff edge commenting on the flight of the seagulls, a train ride into Victoria, complete with a whole hour of colouring, followed by another bus ride through the centre of London, rounded off with an entrance into the cafe of soft toys, rubber snakes, an aquarium of tropical fish, a meal of pizza and ice cream, a rainforest goody bag and a whole host of playmates. For an almost 5 year old it was bliss. For her Mummy, it was possibly even better.

But the reason for making the journey to London, was, of course, to meet a handful of my fellow bloggers...none of whom I had ever met in the flesh, but most of whom I feel like I know almost as well as 'real' friends. I know that Sparx who writes Notes From Inside my Head has a little boy with chickenpox and is currently bribing him to use the potty with promises of chocolate (note to self...bribe with chocolate). I know that Tasha or Coding Mama from WAHM-BAM is pregnant with her second girl and suffers from SPD, like me. I know that Metropolitan Mum has recently given birth to Little L and I was dying to see her. I know that Peggy from Perfectly Happy Mum has not been feeling so pefectly happy recently, although judging by her wonderfully smiley face, she's feeling much better now. I know that Amy at And 1 More means 4 has 4 girls all under the age of 4 and had travelled down from Manchester for the meet-up. I know that Zoo Archaeologist at Being a Mummy is also having potty issues and that her husband, DaddaCool has recently started writing a blog too. I know that Melissa at More to Life Than Laundry is planning on sailing around the world next year in the Clipper Round The World Race and I know that Surprised Zoe missed out on the Isle of Wight Festival for the first time (but chose to come to the meet-up instead).

And the great thing about knowing all these little pieces of information is that you can cut the small talk - because you know what they do/how many children they have/where they live/what they like and instead you can get straight to the more important issues...so how exactly did you cope when you woke up to find your son trying to re-inact his baby breastfeeding moments? Sorry Potty Mummy - I know you won't mind!

So it felt easy to talk to these people - people with whom I know I already have so much in common with. The only downside is that it wasn't long enough. I wanted to talk to everyone and I nearly managed it...apologies if I didn't (Noble Savage, Alpha Mummy, Boozlebox, London Baby and Charlene from Thames Valley Mums). Please let's do it again soon.

Thanks so much to Susanna at A Modern Mother who is the pioneer of British Mummy Blogging. If it wasn't for you finding my blog one day then I probably would have floundered after a month. And thanks also to Amy and Silver Cross for organising the event. I hadn't realised until a friend had mentioned it the week before, but Silver Cross are the manufacturers of the original old-school blue prams (remember Wendy Craig in 'Nanny'? - I do) and so have been around for years. But they've re-launched with new and contemporary pushchairs and gave us all a fantastic demonstration (despite having to stop half-way through for the virtual thunderstorm). I was a little disappointed that my children are just about out of pushchairs...otherwise I would have been tempted - especially when I saw the size to which they shrunk once folded up. Apparently they are small enough to fit into the back of a Mini. No room for the children perhaps, but at least the pushchair will fit!

But thanks to everyone - I genuinely enjoyed meeting you all and thanks to Nixdminx's MiniMinx, Susanna's 3 gorgeous girls, all in matching outfits, and Part Mummy, Part Me's little Ella, Renée was kept entertained the whole time. I'm sorry (for Edie) that she missed out, but I'm sure it would have been a different kind of post entirely had she have come...

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Pregnancy weight - it's just so depressing

I had the shock of my life today. My hairdresser is pregnant. Ok, so she did actually tell me she was pregnant about 3 months ago, but I had completely forgotten...so when I walked in today (for my 3 monthly treat - nothing whatsoever to do with the Blogging meet-up on Sunday - you have to believe me) - and I was met with a bump the size of...well something rather large, I was a little taken aback. But only momentarily, of course. I quickly recovered my composure and instead mustered the most amount of excitement possible on a wet and windy midsummer day. But then I saw Kelly's face, and it didn't match my excitement at all...Could it have been that she wasn't happy being pregnant? I was sure she'd viewed it as good news when she'd initially told me...So what was the problem? I decided to enquire further.

"I just feel so fat. I hate it. I feel like a baby elephant. And I know I look like one too. I can't find any clothes to fit and I'm aching all over and I can't walk, I can only waddle and...well...nobody told me it was going to be like this. And the worst thing is - I'm only 5 months gone."

Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. I knew exactly how she felt. It is a well-documented fact (or at least it is if you read this blog) that I gained rather a lot of weight during both my pregnancies. I'm not sure exactly how much (5 stone with the first and 3 stone with the second). Come on - do you really think I'd forget that? And I can honestly say I hated being pregnant. I didn't hate the fact that there was a tiny creature growing inside me...or that I was about to help make a miracle happen...I just hated the aches and pains that went with it. And most of all, I hated being so fat.

It's not that I have anything against fat people (some of my best friends are fat)...hee hee...it's just that, well, I wasn't comfortable being fat. It had never happened to me before. I had grown up proud of my humongous portions and fast metabolism...and even during my first pregnancy when I was eating for Britain (and France...and Italy and Spain and the rest of the world come to think of it), I wasn't in the least bit worried. There I was waking up in the night to eat my third king-sized Magnum of the day and I still managed to convince myself it was just the bump...

So when I finally gave birth two whole weeks of scoffing after my due date and realised the true horror of what had been left behind, I was more than a little traumatised. No longer did I possess a flat, toned stomach, or even a round taut one. Nothing of my former body had been left behind. Instead I resembled a character straight out of Channel 4's Body Shock series. 'Ten ton Mum'. That was me. I think she had to be fed out of tubes or something equally as sinister. And I wasn't just fat. I was fat and sweaty. I put it down to the breastfeeding, although it could have been something to do with the oh so natural organic deodorant that had promised not to harm the baby, but couldn't deodorise a fragrant rose.

So there you have it. I was fat and sweaty and full of misery and getting absolutely no sleep and still wearing maternity clothes 4 months after giving birth. BUT, I had the most beautiful little baby and it could have been much, much worse...

So why am I writing this now? Well apart from poor Kelly who is going through the exact same frustrations as I went through on two separate occasions, I am also currently reading a lot about other people's weight struggles, including the now infamous 'Wednesday Weigh-In' in the blogosphere. It's not just me who piled on the pounds during pregnancy....And without sounding patronising I want to say...Don't worry. The weight will go. If you want it to. It's now two and a half years since I gave birth to my second child and I no longer resemble Ten Ton Mum. My stomach isn't quite as toned as it once was (nor my breasts as pert and pretty - but that's another story entirely)...but I did lose the weight. Where it went I have no idea. But I don't care. It's gone...and yours will too.

Oh, and one last thing - if you just so happen to be pregnant - congratulations and enjoy - but try to stay away from that second helping of cheeseburger and chips...if you can.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Friends forever?

Becoming a parent for the first time is one of the most daunting experiences a Mother or Father faces. There are so many questions which need answering - apart from the most obvious - how could anyone in their right mind have trusted someone so unqualified in newborn baby-minding to take home this tiny/living/breathing/pooing/crying bundle? I mean, surely there should have been an exam to pass? Did I miss it?

But in all seriousness, we can never, alone, find all the answers to all the questions. How much milk does my baby need to drink? And if I'm breastfeeding how can I even tell? Are they sleeping too much? Too little? What temperature should their room be? How do I stop their incessant crying? Am I going mad? And honestly, is it normal for them to excrete marmite from their bottom just after they're born? (Sorry - you know me - I couldn't not mention poo somewhere)!

Books, of course, go a long way in providing some of the answers, but there's nothing quite as in-depth or honest as hearing it from other Mothers and Fathers - people who are experiencing the same fears and anxieties as you. Some parents-to-be join NCT groups. Other new parents partake in Mother and Baby bonding sessions at local community centres. Some meet through friends. Some meet in parks, at play centres. But however they meet, these friendships forged through having children of similar ages are invaluable and often life-long.

When I gave birth to Renée almost 5 years ago I met a number of other Mums with newborn babies, some of who are still my friends now. Some, inevitably, became friends purely because we had babies of the same age and I was eager to make friends on behalf of my children, as well as for myself. But others became friends because I genuinely liked them, with or without children. Children had obviously brought us together, but I had found kindred spirits who would have been friends if we'd happened to meet any other way.

But this is all pretty obvious. Surely there is more to this post than me repeating all sorts of things that you already know?

Of course there is (did you really doubt me)?

So last week, just before Renée went to bed she asked me what we were doing the next day - (she has this habit of asking for an itinerary for the following day before she goes to sleep and can only sleep if the itinerary is to her satisfaction).

"Well", I replied. "You've got school. And then after school Mr B is coming to play."

I expected, of course, a big whoop and a smile and an easy drift off to sleep dreaming about the escapades her and Mr B would get up to the next day, because Mr B had been her friend since she was born and his Mother was one of my 'kindred spirits'. But I was a little shocked, if not even more disappointed at her reply.

"I don't want Mr B to come and play."
"Oh no. Why not, darling?"
"He plays too rough. And he wants to play boys' games. And he doesn't want to dress up."
"But I thought Mr B was a good friend. I thought you liked playing with him."
"Well I don't. And I don't want him to come. Can you cancel it Mummy?"

Oh dilemma. What to do? I hadn't seen Mr B's Mother for a while and was keen to catch-up... but I didn't want Renée to be upset. And if I cancelled, did it mean that Mr B would never be invited round again? Was this to be the end of their life-long friendship? Would this be the end of my 5-year friendship with his Mother?

Eventually, I persuaded Renée to let Mr B come round one last time as I convinced her it was too late to cancel, but that I would be extra-vigilant of Mr B's rough behaviour and if after that she still decided that she didn't want to play with him then I would see the Mother on her own. She seemed happy enough with this.

As it turned out, Mr B wasn't rough in the slightest, Renée managed to persuade him to put a fairy princess outfit on (how on earth she did that I have no idea), and there were even tears at the door when neither of them wanted to part. And she's already asking when he can come round again. So a good result for all concerned.

But it has got me thinking. Pretty soon, it won't be me in control of who's invited over, or who Renée chooses to be her friend. I always used to ask myself this question - was it worse if the children got on, but you didn't like the parents, or if the children didn't get on but you really liked the parents? I still don't know the answer to that one, but I think we're almost at the stage now (at least with Renée, if not Edie) where that question might be irrelevant. Renée will choose her friends and I will choose mine and we might meet in the middle somewhere, we might not. But until then, if she could be friends with the boys and girls whose parents I like, I would be extremely grateful.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Poo-related karma

So we're finally back on South-Coast chalk and if the 5-hour car journey in the blazing heat is an example of what happens when we leave home, then I may never set foot outside the front door ever again. I'm sure it's something to do with karma and the cosmic universe - you know what I mean - the good times only last so long before you're made to pay. We had a truly fantastic week in Norfolk - Good food, sunshine, plenty of outdoor activities and no stresses or strains of normal day to day life with two small children (apart from lack of sleep - but I'm saving that for another post). In short, a little bit or R & R. But in the space of 5 very loooooooooooooooong hours, it was pay back time. One hideously painful hour for every fun-filled day we'd just had.

Let me explain in a little more detail. Now I may, or may not have mentioned that Edie is in the middle of being potty-trained. If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you'll know that we've had a few...ahem...problems in this very area. But we are making progress. She's now out of nappies in the day and using her potty and the 'big girls' loo' for her number ones. Hardly any accidents. Number twos, however, are slightly more miss than hit, unfortunately for all involved. So that'll be unfortunately for me then... And as you can imagine, given this background information, a 5-hour car journey could provide a number of, how shall I put this?...Rather indelicate situations.

Could and did.

Add to this the fact that the one day we chose to drive 200 miles home conveniently turned out to be the hottest day of the year...and when you're stuck inside a car, with or without indelicate situations, it's not very pleasant at all.

I won't bore you with the trivial details of 5 separate wee wee stops in the first hour, all of which required pulling in to a side lane, extracting small children from car seats, holding them aloft, legs akimbo (parents of boys may not be able to empathise here), trying desperately not to let that small trickle of wee (which did occur to me half-way through each and every procedure that it was hardly worth stopping for in the first place), trickle dangerously close to clothes, or worse still, bare feet in flip flops, whilst at the same time, trying to remain inconspicuous to passing traffic.

Like I said, I won't bore you with the details.

The part about the turd though, I will have to disclose, because, well, I owe it to you...You can thank me later.

So, just as we'd finally navigated our way through the small lanes that make up most of North Norfolk and made it on to the motorway, I heard the words that I was praying I wouldn't hear.

'Mummy I need a ca ca' (That's a poo to you and me).

Strangely enough there was no inconspicuous country lane to pull over into. There was, however, a potty. A kind of 'chair' potty with an insert part for the seat which I couldn't recommend highly enough for those of you thinking of potty training your children. I'm not sure my reccommendation would stretch as far as using it on a car journey though...

Somehow I managed to pull Edie out of her car seat - don't worry - husband was around and he was driving - you didn't think I was that crazy did you? Anyway, I plonked her on the potty - inbetween the two car seats. And, unbelieveably given the circumstances, she managed to produce a rather fine looking specimen. Now is it just me, or has anyone else ever wondered how a relatively small child can produce a rather adult-looking turd? Maybe this is too much information. I'll stop...

In my excitement at seeing my youngest child perform under stressful conditions, I must have taken my eye off the ball for one milisecond too long. In truth, I think I was reaching for the wipes between my feet. Excuses aside, I took my eye off Edie long enough for her to take the insert part out of the potty and offer it to me, a look of pride etched on her still baby face. I almost had a second to share her pride, but at that precise moment (it was karma I tell you), the car (not husband of course) decided to apply the breaks a little too hard and the rather largish, rather sticky, exceedingly smelly, quite repulsive, in fact, turd, ended up being deposited halfway between the gear stick and the dashboard, a little towards my side.

I am, if nothing, fairly practical and not particularly squeamish...but this, was not how I'd wanted to spend my car journey. In the one second it had taken for Edie's poo to land next to me, all the country walks, barbeques, tractor rides and relaxation had been erased. I could have cried. Instead, I managed to pick up the offending object which had now, unfortunately, become objects and stashed them away inside a plastic bag. I'm electing not to mention how many wipes were used in the clear up or how long it actually took. Suffice to say, I'm happy to do the driving next time...

And a perfectly-timed text from a friend was just about enough to send me over the edge...

'Hope you're enjoying the sun. We're in the back garden with the paddling pool out'.

I looked at the plastic bag, with it's revolting smell emanating through the plastic fibres and filling up the car in the 30 degrees heat and decided to laugh. It was, after all, just another day in the life of a parent.

As for the turd, I can't actually remember what became of it...

Luckily I don't have a 'proper' job to go to, or I could follow More Than Just a Mother's rather unfortunate example and find myself taking it to work with me. I'll be thankful for small mercies then...