Thursday, 30 July 2009

Making Pom Poms is NOT a cottage industry

Just in case you thought I'd disappeared off the face of the earth, I'm just writing a quick post to assure you that I haven't. We've been visiting the Grandparents in Norfolk for the past week, and ever the optimist, I thought I'd be able to post from there, but alas, the Internet was a tad too slow and I just didn't have a moment.


And now I'm back at home there's just too much washing (on to my third load already today and it's not even midday), sorting, tidying, etc and not a moment to sit down and breathe. But before I go completely insane through lack of blogging I'm going to quickly update you with news of the pom pom for Bobble. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then where have you been? I insist you click here before reading on...

So, not wanting to let my poor child cry for longer than was absolutely necessary (quite a few hours in this case, but I'm trying not to think about it), I took the advice of a number of very clever people and decided to make her a pom pom all by my own. Whoops, sorry - meant all by myself - have spent far too long in the company of small children.

Unfortunately, it wasn't actually all by myself, as the result would probably have been somewhat more professional-looking. Instead I enlisted the help of small children and husband. Not a good move.

But first thing's first - although it's been a few years since I have made one (about a quarter of a century in fact), I embraced it with great enthusiasm and Renée and I, along with Grandma, toddled off to purchase enough wool to make 100 pom poms. At least, that's what I thought until I'd spent four hours winding said wool round and round and round and round and round and round........and realised it was, in fact, only enough for, Shhhhh - don't tell Edie. Her consolation pom pom will have to wait until another day.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the details too much. Except to say, that when you next decide to make a pom pom (in 25 years time perhaps), do make sure you don't use the bluntest scissors you can find and don't, under any circumstances, let anyone, other than yourself, take the glory moment of snipping all the way round, especially if they veer off-centre as they're doing it, thus making one side rather longer than the other.


However, Renée seems happy enough - (I love it you think it might be a bit big? And why is this side longer than this one?)


But the person who was most impressed was my Granny, who it has to be said, at 85 years of age, doesn't have the best eyesight.

"You know you could sell those and start a little industry."

Erm...let me just do a few quick figures Granny.

How much would anyone be willing to pay for one of these?

£2.00 perhaps (on a good day when the sides are all the same length).

So for four hours work, I get £2.00. That's...quick calculation...50p per hour. Not forgetting the cost of the wool which was £3.00. So for four hours work, I would have earned minus £1.00.

So thanks for the support Granny, but I think I may have to look elsewhere for my fortune.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

What constitutes a tragedy?

So my darling 4-year-old has finally finished her first year of big school and to mark the occasion, an enormous Bring and Buy sale was held at the end of last week. A Bring and Buy, for those of you not in the know, is where you do your best to have a good old tidy up and sort out, finally clearing out the broken plastic tat that your child has never played with, only for it to be replaced the very same day with another child's tat that your little darling has excitedly spent your money on. That is, if they don't end up buying back what was originally theirs - I understand this is common.

Luckily, there was less plastic and more cuddly toys brought home this time. And Renée's cuddly toy of choice - a rather, ahem, delightful, formerly white, teddy bear with a pink and blue bobbled hat sewn on. It was immediately christened 'Bobble' and taken to bed where it spent its first night cuddled up in my daughter's arms. Since then, it has not left her side...even taking precedence over her already-established 'guys' (as she calls them) at the breakfast table. She is nothing, if not fickle. Indeed, never has a new 'guy' been welcomed into the fold with such open arms since Woof Woof and Woof Woof first made their appearance. To further concrete its status, Bobble even accompanied us on a camping trip at the weekend where it spent the night under a tent...narrowly missing out being weed on by Edie in the morning (but that's another story entirely).

However, on the journey home, a scuffle broke out in the back of the car...resulting in Bobble's 'bobble' being torn off by little sister Edie. Whoops. Despite my reassurance that the bobble could be sewn back on, Renée was distraught and spent almost an entire hour crying over the dismemberment of her beloved Bobble. Still, I kept the bobble, putting it in the side pocket of the car, promising to sew it on when we got home.

I forgot.

And then I was too busy.

And then I forgot again - despite being reminded every evening and every morning since the incident.

This morning Renée reminded me again.

And I could hold off no longer. She really had been very patient and understanding.

So I took a deep breath in, braced myself for a search of the sewing kit and a bit of effort and walked out to the car to retrieve the bobble from the side door.


It wasn't there.

It really wasn't. I searched EVERYWHERE. Believe me - I searched under car seats, behind car seats, under dirty rubber mats - I DID NOT want to have to break this tragic news to my child. I honestly didn't think I had the strength to cope with the repercussions.

But alas, I had no choice.

I walked slowly back into the house.

I knelt down beside Renée, who was playing on the computer, took her hand and looked straight into her eyes.

"Renée, darling. The bobble has gone. It's not there anymore. I'm so sorry."

The realisation was immediately apparent on her face and her bottom lip started to tremble and before I could say anything more she was in my arms crying, big sobbing tears, whilst I held her against me, kissing the top of her head. We stayed like that for some time.

And I know it's not a tragedy, and I'm grateful for that. But to my poor innocent child, it is as much tragedy as she's known.

Monday, 20 July 2009

It's those priceless moments

"Mummy I love you" said Renée to me this morning as I was brushing her hair in time for school.
"I love you too darling", I replied.
"No, but Mummy, I really, really love you."
"And I really, really, really love you."

This had the potential to go on for some time. It reminded me of the book that my Mother had bought for me when I had first given birth to Renée and one that I hadn't read in a long time - the one with the two hares - 'Guess How Much I love You' - where Mummy Hare concludes by saying 'I love you right up to the moon and back'.

I wanted to say something similar to Renée, but she beat me to it.

"You're the best Mummy in the world and if they had Mummys on other planets then you'd be better than them as well."

It was a priceless moment which brought tears to my eyes and made me realise just how lucky I am.

Friday, 17 July 2009

It's all about ME

As always, I'm a bit late on posting about this. If it's not recovering from Swine Flu, then it's picking up poo....(don't worry Edie hasn't regressed I'm pleased to say - it's just the darn fox outside who's been keeping me awake all night and leaving me special little presents in the sandpit). Doesn't he know I've had just about enough of poo?

Anyhooooo...I finally have a moment and I'm going to celebrate because (a fantastic website full of parenting advice, pregnancy tips, and child-related info) have voted me as one of the Top 20 Mummy Bloggers in the UK and in doing so, they have made me happy. They have made me smile and feel all warm inside, and on a cold, windy day, that's no mean feat. So thankyou Gurgle. You're fab (and I love you even more because you think I'm hilarious). Did I ever say that the people I get on best with are the ones that laugh at my jokes?

And while we're on the subject of awards, I thought I'd take this opportunity to mention that I've also been given this one...

It's the MEME award and it has been bestowed upon me by the amazing 'I don't know how she does it' Amy at And 1 More means 4 and the stunningly beautiful, stylish and hilarious That Girl at Forty Not Out (you can thank me later sweetie).

Rules of the award need me to list 7 personality traits and pass it on to 7 other wonderful blogs. But because I like to change the rules, I'm going to make it 5. Shoot me now...

1 - I am ridiculously tidy (although not quite as tidy as my Mother). I just can't stand mess and I think I may have passed this on to my children because a few nights ago I hadn't tidied up the books in Renée's bedroom (not like me) and she said she wasn't able to sleep until they had been put away. Oops...poor love - she doesn't stand a chance!

2 - I am a stickler for bedtime (the children's, not mine). They're normally in bed by 6pm and anytime after 7 is a late one and I start getting edgy.

3 - Despite the above, I like to think that I'm laid back. Hmmm...well, if I think it, then that's all that matters!

4 - I try to make things as easy as possible for myself (I always take the easy option).

5 - I'm very open. I will tell anybody anything. My husband's not a great fan of this, but I always think it's easier that way - otherwise you're always trying to remember what you've told people and what you haven't. Too stressful.

And I'm passing this on to...

Brits in Bosnia - because there are no girlie friends for her in Bosnia and I want to put a smile on her face. And er...because she's also called Emily.

WAHM-BAM - because I've met her and she's wonderful.

Home Mum of 2 - because I like her a lot.

Who's The Mummy - because she has a new blog and it's great...and she once lived in Brighton and I know she wants to come back.

Notes From Inside My Head - because I met her too and she always makes me laugh.

So that's all for today. Feel free to pass the MEME award on ladies...

Monday, 13 July 2009

Children's reading material? Not quite.

I thought I'd share a little conversation I had with Renée in the car this morning.

We'd just delivered Edie to nursery and were on our way to drop Renée at school. On leaving the nursery, Renée had helped herself to a whole handful of leaflets and flyers that had been left just outside the entrance - it's part of a community centre with a cafe and meeting rooms, a hall and various other non-descript offices.

As I was driving along, Renée was sitting behind me, reading through the leaflets.

'Mummy. I'm reading this magazine.'

'Well done darling. Your reading is really coming along now isn't it? I'm so proud of you. What does it say?'

Now, if you can - imagine you're reading from the point of view of a 4-year old. It's letter by letter, phonetically...

'Hmmmm. 'S'...'I'...'Z'...'E'.

'That's 'size' darling. Well read. What else does it say?'

'Hmmmm. 'M'...'A'...'T'...'T'...'E'...'R'...'S'...

'Size matters. Well done honey. Great reading.'

'Mummy, What does it mean, 'size matters'?'

Now I probably should have been concentrating more at this point, but if you have children, you'll understand that every now and then you drift off and you can have a conversation without actually thinking about what you're saying. Either that or I'm just a bit slow. Hmmmm. No need to comment here.

'Well, darling. Size matters. You can be big. You can be small. You can be tall. You can be short. That's what size is.'

'Hmmm. Ok. I'm going to read some more. And I don't need your help this time.'

'Ok, honey. You go for it.'

'AH-NALLE. Mummy, what does AH-NALLE mean?'

'AH-NALLE', I said, repeating back what Renée had read. I said it in my head, thinking that perhaps she had read it wrongly.

'Hmmmm. I'm not sure darling. Can you spell it for me please?'


It was at this point that I came to my senses.

'Darling, what exactly is it that you're reading?'

She handed me the magazine and I looked at it. A full-frontal, naked torso. I mean this is Brighton, and I like to think that I'm open-minded, but please. Try not to leave your erotic men's magazines lying around so my four-year-old daughter can pick them up. I do wonder why she hadn't commented on the picture, but all I can say is that she's an avid reader...I'm hoping she hadn't noticed!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Swine Flu or not? I have no idea

Ok, so I think I may have worked out why I've been such a procrastinating underachiever this week.

Swine Flu.


First there was the birthday party we missed because we were all just so bleeeuuurrghh...

Then there was Renée's Sport's Day which I can not even bring myself to write about because it's just too sad. She'd been up all night coughing and wasn't in a fit state to wipe her bottom, let alone run and jump and dribble balls as she did. I was hoping that pure guts and determination would win through just as it had done for Home Mum of 2's little M - do have a read - it actually made me cry. But alas, it was not to be. She finished last. And now we're not speaking about it.

But the very next day we were sent a letter from the school saying that there had been a case of Swine Flu and that we were to be extra vigilant of any symptoms.


I looked at Renée with her pale, drawn face, at her coughing and spluttering and I decided that she was just under the weather. So off to school she went. And before you call me a bad Mother - she had actually asked to go (and it was my free morning after all)...

So feeling achy and pretty bad myself I thought I'd take the opportunity to Google Swine Flu symptoms. You know, just to be sure. And this is what I found.

Sudden Fever
Sudden Cough
Aching muscles
Limb or joint pain
Diarrhea or stomach upset
Sore throat
Runny nose
Loss of appetite

So it was a yes to pretty much all of those. But no stomach upset yet. So I sat back and twiddled with my hair instead. And that's when the phone went. It was Renée's school.

'We have little Renée here. She's not feeling very well. She has an upset tummy. Can you come and pick her up please?'

Oh Lordy. That's it. Swine Flu. Or is it?? I have absolutely no idea. But, as I search around the blogosphere, it seems that I'm not the only one. Jo at Reasons To Be Cheerful has been affected, Jo Beaufoix, indirectly Rosie Scribble. There's been talk on Twitter and as I passed a newsagents this morning, it's on the front cover of the papers agan. Is it just me, or is it spreading like wildfire?

Well, I'm off for now. But if you don't hear from me for a few days, assume the worst. Toodle-pig...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What is Mummy good at?

Forgive me - it's been a long, hard week (and please nobody remind me that it's still only Wednesday)...and I haven't had a second to sit down and write a thing. Well, that's not entirely true...I have had a few spare moments, but I'm a terrible procrastinator and have instead decided to sit, contemplate life and twiddle my hair.

Needless to say, I have achieved absolutely nothing and my brain has turned to mush.

But rather than leave you postless until I put an end to my procrastination, I have decided to lift an idea I saw on A Modern Mother by way of Wife of Bold and WAHM-BAM. You see, it turns out that I'm not the only one stealing ideas...

So here it is, THE Interview - my girls on their Mummy...

By Renée (almost 5)
And Edie (2 and 2 thirds)

1. What is something Mummy always says to you?
Renée - I Love You
Edie - Happy Birthday to you (Hmmmm).

2. What makes Mummy happy?
Renée - Doing the right stuff (You got it girlie).
Edie - Papa (bless - hubby will be pleased about this one)!

3. What makes Mummy sad?
Renée - When we don't do the right stuff (She knows me too well).
Edie - Me (Oh Edie honey - that's not exactly true).

4. How does Mummy make you laugh?
Renée - When you do jokes (no bribery was involved here...I swear).
Edie - (Pulls a funny face and says nothing).

5. What was your Mummy like as a little girl?
Renée - Naughty. (Quickly changes her mind and says Good after my sharp intake of breath).
Edie - A bottle (Hmmm...slight lapse of concentration here I feel).

6. How old is your Mummy?
Renée - I've forgotten. Fifteen???
Edie - Don't know. Three? (Hmmm).

7. How tall is your Mummy?
Renée - 18 steps (???)
Edie - very tall.

8. What is her favourite thing to do?
Renée - Cuddling.
Edie - Cuddling. (Copied her sister I'm sure).

9. What does your Mummy do when you're not around?
Renée - Go on the computer (Like I said, she knows me well).
Edie - Crying (oops - I swear it's not true)!!

10. If your Mummy became famous what would it be for?
Renée - Movie Star (I'm liking it).
Edie - Ice cream (Hmmmm...attention deficiency I think).

11. What is your Mummy really good at?
Renée - Cuddling and kissing.
Edie - Pillow ( I said, slight lapse of concentration).

12. What is your Mummy not very good at?
Renée - Nothing...(Long think)...I'm sorry Mummy - I can't think of anything you're not good at. (Did I ever tell you I loved this child?)
Edie - Eating paper (Dubious).

13. What does your Mummy do for her job?
Renée - Look after us and before that she was a Television Producer (Wow - I had no idea she even knew I had a life before her. Now that was interesting).
Edie - Cauliflower (Attention well and truly gone methinks).

14. What is your Mummy's favourite food?
Renée - Lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber (Oh purlease Renée - and there I was thinking you were on the ball).
Edie - Chocolate cake. (Now that's more like it. How to get Edie's attention - talk about food).

15.If your Mummy could have one wish what would it be?
Renée - To have another daughter (Oh Renée you've let me down - DO NOT let your Father read this - it is SO not true).
Edie - To eat chocolate cake. (what did I say)?

And that concludes the interview.

In the meantime, do pop over to Brits in Bosnia who is hosting the British Mummy Blogging Carnival which showcases the best posts from the last couple of weeks. There are stories to make you laugh, cry and ahem, never want to have children.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Poo Stories RIP

Guess what?

Edie did a poo on the potty yesterday AND one on the big girl's loo at nursery today. She even got a sticker that said so.

But you know what that means don't you? Let me just wipe a tear from my eye as I say it...

There will be no more poo stories ever. I know. I know. I'm almost as distraught about it as you.

But before I pack away the nappies and break out the champagne, I thought it was only right, in light of Edie's, ahem, performances, that I mark the occasion with a final farewell.

I hereby give you the last ever poo story from Maternal Tales.

Last weekend marked my Aunt's 60th Birthday and we were invited along, en famille, to join in with the celebrations, with husband making such a surprise appearance that I think half of those assembled didn't know who he was.

But that aside, let me paint the picture for you. A smart garden party...barbeque...champagne and strawberries. I mean, I'd even considered wearing my new Pucci floor-length dress (ok, so it wasn't really Pucci, but it sure looked like it when I'd bid £5 at the frock exchange the week before). What I did eventually opt for was not important, other than I chose to wear it with flip flops. Now that is important. But as usual, I am digressing. Back to the point. What was it? Oh yes.


So, they have a dog, which, it has to be said, had been shipped off to a friend's house for the day, lest it get far too friendly with small children and their even smaller digits. But nonetheless, there is a dog in residence. This is important too.

Anyway, as I'm happily walking around the garden, admiring the roses, enjoying the sunshine, eyeing up the soon-to-be ready food, chatting with family and friends and delighted that my two small children are pre-occupied with other small cousins, I suddenly feel a squelch underfoot. Now as much as I may lead you all to think other things with my often ridiculous behaviour, I am not a stupid woman. I knew it could only mean one thing.

Dog poo.

Dog poo which had managed to squish itself up and over my flip flops, spreading, as it did, right in between my toes. I was mortified. Obviously, I picked up the offending shoe and sniffed it, as is the normal habit, just to make sure it wasn't a mutant mud pie.

It wasn't.

Not one to make a fuss, I ran accross the garden, flip flop in hand, screaming.

"Uncle David - I've just trodden in the most enormous turd that your ruddy mutt has left behind". (I didn't actually use the words 'ruddy mutt', but I can tell you that's what I was thinking).

A rather red-faced Uncle David quickly got to work removing said turd and was even gallant enough to offer to wash my shoe. Of course, I wouldn't have accepted his offer had it not been for the fact that it was his ruddy mutt's turd.

And that, I thought, was that.

Except it wasn't.

"That's strange", said my Aunt. "I could have sworn I'd cleared up all the poos. And the dog has been at a friend's house for a couple of days now."

Closely followed by my own Mother's interjection...

"It didn't look like a dog poo darling."

I was incredulous.

"What do you mean it didn't look like a dog poo? Well if it wasn't a dog poo, then who's poo..."

The true horror of the situation suddenly dawned on me.

"The dog's been gone for two days you say Auntie?" (Judging by the squelch factor alone that was not a two-day old turd. No, it was most certainly very fresh. Very fresh indeed).

I looked over at Edie.

She looked at me.

And I knew.

I just knew.