Monday, 30 August 2010

The Aargh to Zzzzzz of Parenting (unsponsored book review)

The Aargh to Zzzzzz of Parenting, An Alternative Guide
by Joanna Simmons and Jay Curtis

Mr Humdrum bought me this book for my birthday this year. It became my Bathroom Book (polite way of describing Toilet Book). So called for non-derogatory reasons, I might add. It's ideal to flip through a few entries whilst ... otherwise engaged. It's not the sort of book you should read straight through. I have savoured every entry and it has taken me from June to the end of August to finish. 

I haven't done a book review before, and this certainly isn't a sponsored post (but if anyone's reading this who might want ... ah I bet they won't). This is just a brilliant read. I've read most of the Fabulous Mummy's Guide to Being a Yummy Mummy range and yes, they were good to read in times of "poor me" and sometimes a little instructive, none of them hit the spot for my humour. Until this one. Here's one of my favourite entries: 

Cooking with your coat on
You come in and there's just no time to take it of. There's no let-up. One activity plunges at high speed into the next, like a sadistic Newton's Cradle. So before you can say "I'll just take my coat off" you've got a boiling pot on the stove, an onion chopped, cans opened and grillable food grilling, you've given them both a drink and turned Cartoon Network on to buy you extra seconds and you're listening to your voicemail messages while opening the post. Spectacular! If a bit warm. Because you're still wearing your coat.

Its dry humour will certainly amuse mum of Baby O, 4 months, who we are seeing today. I shall pass this gem onto her. I thoroughly recommend it to any new mum, or to any jaded, seen-it-all, sarcastic-is-normal old girl. Enjoy! (Available in those coffee shops that sell books too. Not just online.)

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Gallery - Flipping Blipping Good

The Gallery this week is about Blipping and we have been tasked with taking a photo today! All of us Galleryers. So here is my effort. When I first started blogging, I kept Mr Humdrum and Elf's pictures out of it - for fear of I don't know what. But I've got a bit more lax about it as the months have gone on. 

Here we are at the Kite Festival, having given in to Elf buying A Gun. One of my previous posts dealt with my issues on the matter, and after lots of helpful advice on how to give in but not give up, I've given in! 

Well done to the three UK parenting bloggers going to Bangladesh to raise awareness of Save the Children.

The Gallery - A photo I'm proud of

The Gallery A photo I'm proud of

My iPad, although deliciously gorgeous, has its downfalls. I can blog on it, but the rich text editor on Blogger doesn't work. So I can put pictures and links in but they don't work very well. I always have to use OH's laptop to tidy up my posts!

Having looked at others' Gallery entries, I realise I have interpreted the brief slightly differently. I couldn't post a picture that I am proud of because I am not that good a photographer! I have taken this picture with my iPhone and am quite pleased with the clouds.

I am proud of this picture, taken at the beach yesterday of Elf and Mr Humdrum, is it shows that we have survived. We have finally exchanged contracts on our new house after 4 months of stress and worry. Usually the lynchpin of the family, as mum, I keep us functioning. Mouths fed and watered, house (sort of) tidied, social events arranged, plans made and kept... The worry of the last few weeks has meant that the appearance of a ready meal if any meal at all is a regular occurrence. The house is a half-packed pit. We are barely functioning as a couple, too tired and stressed to even talk to each other!

This is all over now as we have a definite move date. It might not be until the end of September but at least it's a date. They say moving is the most stressful thing (along with death and divorce) and having no experience of the other two, I can vouch that at least one is stressful!

I am proud that I haven't fallen apart. I am proud that now we can enjoy family days out, like this one, without anything else overshadowing them.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The curious incident of the two party-orphans

The other week we attended the firth birthday party of the the son of Elf's childminder. We struck gold with our childminder and she is still a good friend. Her son, we'll call him Blondy, and Elf got on like brothers - they fought a lot but they are better friends now they are older. Blondy is one of the youngest in his year at school and is just about to start Year 1. His party was at the local gymnastic centre, where Elf used to take his trampolining class. We turned up, Daddy in tow too as we know the family.

As expected, Elf knew only Blondy and I recognised just one or two friends. Blondy's mum confirmed that they were nearly all friends from school. Lesson number 1: Your child's friend demographic will change dramatically once he starts school.

Then, not expected really, all the parents save a few disappeared! I saw a mum handing Blondy's mum a business card saying "Right I'm off, here's my number if you need me." All very well I thought, but which one is her child? I think Blondy's mum expected this, and I have seen it at parties before, but it's still a shock to me. Lesson number 2: Find out if the parents are staying. Better still hold a swimming party, they'll HAVE to stay. Won't they? The days of chatting to the other NCT mums over tea in the corner while the kids try to slice each others' heads off with their pirate swords - gone forever? The chance to gossip to the other nursery mums about that member of staff who was caught eating the children's food? I actually like meeting my son's friends' parents, but I remember a friend's husband saying when their daughter had just started nursery "I don't want to be spending every weekend at some child's birthday party". Each to their own.

Back to the party. Because I know Blondy, I felt obliged to keep an eye on unparented guests , party-orphans, during the play time. I helped one child swing across the bar to the other side; I encouraged one to join in with my son in the pit; I was on the look-out for boys doing the I Don't Want A Wee I'm Just Dancing jig that they always do, or a child crying because they'd hurt themselves. (I hoped other mums would be so kind if I weren't there.) I thought Drop'n'Run at nursery was almost a crime, party-orphans take the biscuit!

At food time, the guests were treated to a mighty feast. (Did I mention that Blondy's mum is a professional cake maker and has been on Masterchef?) I settled Elf in, and stood behind him when he asked. (Why do the children expect their parents to stand behind them? It also makes photos look ridiculous - a child with the lower-half of an adult behind them!)

Next to Elf were two obvious party-orphans with nothing on their plates, not confident enough to help themselves. After filling Elf's plate with sausage rolls and ham sarnies, I asked them if they'd like a sausage roll. A ham sarnie? A cheesy puff? A strawberry? It went on. I mopped up their drink when one of them spilled it and pleased with myself, almost smug, that I'd done such an altruistic deed, can you imagine how I felt when behind me, the mum of those two poor party-orphans stopped chatting to the woman the other side of her and said to me "There's always one who spills their drink eh!" and promptly went to kneel in between her son and daughter, in the space that I'd just dried up for her!

Lesson 3: Make sure each child has a name badge, and a dot on it indicating "My mum is at the precinct either shopping in New Look or having a latte in Costa". Party-orphans - that's that last time I'll be taken in!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Gallery - Memory
This week's theme at The Gallery is a memory. (Apologies for the link in html etc, blame mobile blogging!)

The photo above isn't yet a memory. In fact it was taken just a week or so ago, but it soon will be a significant memory. Elf is due to start school in T-18 days. The Build-a-Bear that I bought him, called Captain Rex Baseball Boots (after Captain Rex from The Clone Wars) (oh and baseball boots cos he's wearing them), was a token to help him through the transition to school. He smartly looked at me and said "Well if that's from you, what will Daddy buy me to help me go to school?" Cute yes. Okay so maybe his innocence has already been shaken off, but the memory will be of him cuddling up to Captain Rex in bed at night, just as he changed from My Little Boy to My School Boy. He at nursery today refused to give me a kiss goodbye. It's already started!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

My tooth falling out is The Last Straw

Yes you read my title correctly. My tooth falling out today was The Last Straw. I have been on a one way street to stress this summer, I thought I was coping quite well but obviously I'm not! As I bit into the salami and mozzarella panini in Nerd, sorry Nero today and felt my tooth fasica crack off, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I laughed. It was close though.

As you will note in No 6 below, I am fed up with work and so have decided to open a new special chain of hotels. It is called the Stress Hotel, and is a halfway house between your house and where you'd go if you really couldn't cope. You can check out any time you like, or is that from the Hotel California? Anyway, this hotel chain has a no children policy so you will be guaranteed a rest. It will be a no partner zone, so you can stop arguing. You will have a life coach there, you don't really need therapy just someone paid to listen to your moaning and tell you that you Can Achieve Anything If You Put Your Mind To It. Positive mental attitude and all. The food comes straight from M&S, you can hire a "mum" to come round and clean and tidy up for you. There is no gravity so there won't be anything on the floor that you have to pick up, and that your partner has avoided picking up for the last three days. Do I need to go on, or can I take your booking please?

Can I just take a second to bullet point the stress points along this irritatingly windy, stony, one way street to The Last Straw? It will make me feel better if I do.

1. My Dad's heart op - after which (and thanks for all the nice comments) he is making a good but slow recovery. No sarky comment about this, it is my Dad of course.
2. The house move - we have still not exchanged and our third successive person at the estate agents have asked us some dumb arse question because they haven't remembered what they told me last week. Grrr.
3. My hormonal state - dads look away (I have fibroids and although my acupuncture is working very well, I do suffer two days a month).
4. Mr Humdrum working all hours - actually at work, then working from home, which is only punctuated by shouts of "I should have bought a f*&(%ing Mac Book" at the point the laptop is doing yet another Windows Update, and 5am book reading sessions because he can't sleep.
5. Elf's school looming - I know this isn't that bad, but it's still on the radar as "teeny bit stressful".
6. New management and dept restructure at work - I am about to be demoted from Data Manager to Marketing Executive, two rungs down from Marketing Manager which is what I was pre-Elf. A fellow part timer said "Are you suffering from Part Time Mum?" She understood. The first thing New Management said to me was "Can you print this out for me". I forgot, I have breasts.
7. My tooth breaking - I'm sure it's the tooth that is technically dead (root canal treatment) as otherwise I'm sure I'd be screaming by now. I have to phone tomorrow for an emergency appointment and have been asked by new management (see No 6 above) to schedule it for after our departmental meeting tomorrow, if not could I work Friday instead of Thursday this week.

I want to cry and book into my Stress Hotel!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Can I have another ice cream? Please?

At the BBQ I attended yesterday, I picked up a kids' food tip that I want to share with you. Mid-summer and I'm fed up already of hearing Can I have another ice cream? Please? Not only is it a snacktime staple, fed to shut up the I'm hungry whining when they didn't realise that th picnic we ate two hours ago was their lunch (or is that just my child?), it is also then an after tea treat, handy when I've run out of yogurts, and also a Treat When Daddy Takes You To The Shop. I counted four ice creams in one day once!

The tip is this: Freeze a squeezy yogurt (Yeo or Frubes are our favourites). Make sure when you take off the wrapper that you don't flake off too much of the yogurt-slate. Obviously frozen yogurt is quite soft, so your little one could use it as a teething aid too.

Secondary tip: Take out your frozen yogurt and put in lunchbox in the morning. While the yogurt defrosts, it keeps the lunchbox contents nice and cool!

Thank you to S's friend, mum of 3 girls from toddler to 7 year old. Can we start a tip swap?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

What the *&%^? Part 2 - Stumps and High School Musical

This is a bit of a cheat really. I was at a BBQ for M&S today (Mr Marks and Mr Spencer they are not). M, pictured here, was using my son's grabber and the picture just looked funny to me. I don't want to laugh at missing limbs because it is not funny (I think I am allowed though, my grandad had both his legs off and we used to call him Grumpy Stumpy).

I digress - the point is this. I wanted to post a picture of M&S's next door neighbour's 4 year old boy who kept peaking over the wall to entertain us. He put on his sister's red High School Musical dress, on top of his own High School Musical jock outfit, and then proceeded to sing one of the songs from it. It was hilarious. I did take a picture of him but resisted posting after being chastised by Mr Humdrum. It was wrong to even think about it, yes I see. Good job I was sober eh?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Is Amy Winehouse my sleb stalker in reverse?

You may remember three weeks ago that I took in some home-made chicken soup for my dad who was in hospital following open heart surgery. It seems that Ms Amy Winehouse has been stalking me and was papped doing the same for her dad! I mean, yes it's a good thing to do but stop following around me Amy!

Compare the two. Just because she's thinner than me!

My post and Amy's (or have I got that wrong?)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

What the *&%^? Part 1

Being a dozy big moo at the moment, I am idea-less and have decided to tell this story a la London City Mum and her people-watching posts (OK that's a polite way of saying that she posts hilarious pictures of hideous fashion and style crimes!)

Here is my version - What the *&%^? Part 1. I give you: The chav pram Excuse the white monstrous vest creature (I call that disorder Fat Back, and I do have FB myself, that's why I can laugh at others).

Look at the baby seat in the trolley! Quite a good idea yes, to put the baby seat inside the trolley in the supermarket but when you have finished your shopping and are now walking around the streets of a market town, NO!

Thanks to OH for this little gem, taken on his iPhone. I hope for more!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Gallery - Playtime

This week's theme over at The Gallery is playtime.

I tried to upload this picture and some text with mobile blogging on my iPhone. It posted the picture but not the text! Better luck next time...

Here is Elf last week at the new park near my parents' house.

I played at this park too when I was his age, and younger. My parents lived, and still do live, just over the road from the park. I remember going to sick way round on the roundabout (was that just us?) and when a girl from school broke her leg because it got trapped under that roundabout, probably when it was going the sick way. Makes me shudder to think about it.

The park is way cooler now, with tractors galore (its new name is The Tractor Park) and a skate park. We had our school sports days there too, and Guide and Brownies fetes. Happy memories!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Help! Can you remember who showed us how to make lovely headers?

I've lost my marbles. I saw instructions on someone's blog how to make headers out of pictures. It involved going to another photo website and I can't for the life of me remember what that site was, or who it was who posted the instructions!

Please tell me!