This Week, (and a little video)
Things have been ticking along here this week, as we get ready for Halloween. I think I may have mentioned before, Oscar has a predisposition for Gothica, so as you can imagine the sudden emergence in his 2 year old little world, of all things ghastly and ghoulish has been very exciting for him. I even took him on a wee walk around the 400 year old cemetery.
Princess Poppy and the Patriarchy
As Poppy leaves the palace to go to the garden party, she spots Prince Harry. As soon as she sees Harry, she decides that she doesn’t want to be a messy princess any more, and runs back inside. So now my four year old is being told that a confident, beautiful girl, in clothes that make her comfortable and allow her to play football and go skateboarding, is not suitable to be at a party with a boy.
Polly goes back to her room, and changes into a frilly dress and high heeled shoes. When she returns, Harry is enchanted, calls her beautiful, kisses her hand and invites her for a game of croquet. The children are pictured surrounded by love hearts. So, here is the reward for changing how she dresses- she gets the guy. We don’t know if she changes how she behaves, beyond a picture of her playing croquet nicely on a lawn instead of climbing a tree. The most important thing about Poppy is how she dresses.
The last picture features Polly’s parents looking on approvingly. “At last, Poppy had become a proper princess!”
The Hardest Lesson Was All For Nothing
Last night as I gave Boo her bedtime bottle I found myself staring into her eyes. She has such gorgeous big, dark eyes and more and more I find myself getting lost in them. As I looked at her, lost in the moment with a lazy smile playing at my lips, I realised that she wasn’t drinking anymore. She was smiling back at me. For about five minutes we sat in the chair in the corner of her room, nestled cosily together, both of us sleepy and soporific in the moment.
That’s being a mummy isn’t it?
Grease is no longer the word
When I was a kid I loved The Sound of Music. I found my parent’s The Sound of Music LP buried in between their Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley albums, and I listened to it non-stop. I knew all the words to the songs before I even knew what the story was about. And I thought that Julie Andrews was the most lovely looking lady I’d ever laid eyes on.
Back in those days there were no video or DVD players, no pay-per-view or movie channels. I don’t think Channel 4 even existed back then. Basically we had three channels to choose from: BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. And TV screening of movies tended to be reserved for special occasions. Like Christmas Day.
I have very fond memories of sitting down with my Nanna and Granddad after a huge Christmas dinner to watch The Sound of Music for the very first time. I had waited all year to see it. Maria hadn’t even sung her way off the hills before my Granddad was snoring.
Nowadays, everything is available on demand. I didn’t have to wait until Christmas to sit down with my girls to watch The Sound of Music.
Toy Heaven And Hell
In my world toys fall into 2 camps: Heavenly toys that kids fall in love with, entertain them for hours and require no adult intervention (important point that) and Hellish toys that are messy, fiddly, noisy and require adult participation.
As children get older I have found that the list of heavenly toys is getting longer and hellish toys shorter, thank goodness, but at younger ages (just like Princess (3) and the Wee One who is rapidly approaching 2) there are far too many hellish toys and activities around. When is a mother supposed to recline with a cup of tea and sewing and gaze adoringly at the little mites playing trains? In my experience, for about 30 seconds maximum but only after spending 45 minutes constructing (and reconstructing) train tracks on her hands and knees sustaining on average two injures from kneeling on small objects, normally lego which inexplicably has migrated to the train track box.
Success in cutting my credit card bill
I am pleased and proud to report that I have dramatically cut my credit card bill. Expenditure on my credit card during October has been less than a quarter of what it was during September.
This is mostly as a result of taking a break from online shopping. I did this because I realised that I was spending way too much money on stuff from Amazon, eBay, Ocado and other online shopping websites and that this had to stop. I’d tried cutting back, but felt it was time to go ‘cold turkey’ and break the habit.
And it’s working. I am finding that if I stick to shopping in real shops, as opposed to virtual ones, that I am much more able to ask the following questions before handing over my credit card or cash:
1. do I really want this item?
2. will I still want the item by this time next week?
3. do I actually need this item?
4. is there room for it in my life and home?
5. do I already have something that will serve a similar purpose?
6. can I justify the purchase to my husband?
7. can we actually afford it?
The Second Time Around
It was at this time three years ago, that I was beginning the final countdown to motherhood and beginning to think about ensuring I had packed those last essential items safely in my hospital bag. So when The Gingerbread House recently posted about the imminent birth of her second child and how her thoughts were turning to packing her maternity bag, it wasn’t difficult to transport myself down memory lane to that special time of anticipation and excitement…
A series of the little things The Princess does, says, writes or draws that make me smile…
No. 6 – The EastEnders special…
#Grooving Toes and Blogging Overload
But there are some advantages to my webbed feet. Firstly I’ve got good balance. Secondly I can swim. And finally they are potentially life saving as there is no chance of drowning when the ice caps melt and the River Thames engulfs greater London. But after speaking of my feet in quite a disparaging way I have to confess to being rather fond of them. They are totally unique, eccentric, and make me smile. So world I present to you my ……. #grooving toes.
‘Creating your first video post’ tutorial – Part One ‘Facing the Fear’
Where Mr Charles Onion-Smythe talks facing your vlogging fears…err yes he’s an onion but he knows his stuff 😉
So now it’s all over and I’ve finally got a bit of time to sit down and think about things. I do try not to do this much purely because the amount of time I get to think directly correlates to amount of stress I feel. As I’m sat here eating Nutella straight from jar, I do wonder what the hell I’m doing. I go from day to day doing school runs, going to baby groups, running the older boys around to kick-boxing / swimming / gymnastics, working, making food for the clan, cleaning, washing and ironing without any real thought about what I’m doing.
My Top Ten Tips for Organic Parenting on A Budget
As The Soil Association’s ‘Organic September’ draws to a close, here are my top ten been-there-done-that tips for organic parenting on a budget…
1. Veggie Box… Oh the joy of Tuesday mornings. My daughter buzzes around the house in anticipation for her ‘mukh’ (toddler-speak for milk) to arrive. And when the ‘nice man’ drops off our box we unpack the produce like it’s Christmas morning. Miyagawa satsumas, cherezo, vulcan, and purple gusto chillis, desiree potatoes and rich deep, peppery salad leaves: no dressing needed.
You don’t choose which veggies are in your box, but that’s the joy of it. Your fruit and veg boundaries are constantly stretched, who knows what you’ll get this week? It’s too exciting for words! (er, well if you really want to know you can check the website). And because, you’ve committed to spend a certain amount each week and you’re happy to be flexible, the farmer can plan ahead and be truly seasonal passing on savings to the customer: an organic box is cheaper than buying seperate veggies and it’s easy to budget with the same set amount paid by direct debit every week. Forget being seduced by endless two-for-ones on strawberries that go off tomorrow.
What to do when faced with poo
And I’m not taking about Winnie the Pooh!
I’ve never had to think about ‘what to do when you’re faced with poo’ until I became a parent. I used to avoid situations when there was the remotest possibility of having to deal with poo, most of that stems from having contracted campylobacter a good few years ago.
Once you become a parent you’ll obviously have to get used to the idea that you’ll come in to contact with poo, and when they’re first born it could be several times a day!
We did get used to the nappy changing, you don’t get a choice with this one, and it just became part of our every day life until this evening when things were taken to a whole new level!
My OH is currently attending physio for a trapped nerve every Wednesday evening, which means bath duty on a Wed night is down to me. Our little lad loves his baths, we usually have a play with his toys followed by the actually washing process itself, but tonight’s bath had a bit of a shock ending, we had POO in the bath, and it wasn’t from me!!
What Halloween looks like in our house
We start with a pumpkin…
Parenthood – it’s a marathon not a sprint
As I battled the winds and rain along with 24,000 other brave and crazy souls in the Great South Run at the weekend I started thinking how running a long distance race is just like parenthood. Although with less nappies. Actually it’s not really like parenthood at all but there are a few similarities so bear with me.
1. At the start you won’t believe you can do it. You can.
2. Sometimes when everything is getting really hard and you feel like giving up, you go round the corner and realise you still have a hill to climb.
3. Sometimes when everything is getting really hard and you feel like giving up, someone will give you a pat on the back and a word of encouragement and it will help you to keep going.
a birth story – part two
So I rolled myself out of bed,
over the top of the enormous maternity pillow,
and I pulled myself up to standing using the chest of drawers for assistance.
I remember I had a funny, excited feeling in my tummy that I couldn’t really describe.
A bit like the nerves you get before the first day back at school,
or the feeling when you wake up and realise it’s your birthday,
or you’re going on holiday today.
It was nothing I could put my finger on specifically,
just a strange energy.
Does Anyone Really Have it All Together?
I wonder if yummy mummys cry when they’re alone at night.
Horrible thought isn’t it?
Do you know what’s even worse?
I kind of hope they do.
I hope that sometimes they feel weak and scared and overwhelmed by it all. It shouldn’t matter and I actually think it’s pretty damn cruel to wish ill will on anyone, but for my own sanity, when I see these wonderfully put together moms, I begin to convince myself that at some point, when they’re sure no one is looking, they have themselves a little melt down.
I know that makes me a horrible person but my brain cannot comprehend how it is even possible to have everything in life fall together that well.