ramblings of a stressed-out mum

whingings, whining and general drivel.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The all-night party animal.

It used to be my three year old who was the party animal. We've had a breakthrough, she's now sleeping through! Wey-hey, woo-hoo,celebrations and restrained jubilations (don't want to wake any sleeping babes !) If I only had three children I would be now on seven, eight or the undiscovered realms of nine + hours sleep a night. But I have four kids. They like to follow the traditions lovingly set down by their older siblings. So my 20 month old toddler is now the night owl.

The nights are starting off more settled now. DD2 (3 years old) and DD3 (20 months) are off to bed about 7ish. They take to bed their warm wheatie teddies and are settled down after brushing their teeth (ok. chewing the toothbrushes, but it's still getting the toothpaste in their mouths? yes? ok then.) and asleep after about ten minutes.
So far so good.
The two older kids (9 and almost 12 - how did I get a 12 year old? omg!) slope off to bed. Dear husband falls asleep on the sofa. I rouse dear husband, tell him to go to bed.
I shake dear husband and tell him to go to bed.
I shake dear husband again and tell him to go to bed. Eventually he wakes enough to shamble up the stairs and collapse all over the bed.
So I have the lounge, the PC and the TV all to myself. Bliss.

And this is when dd3 wakes.
She knows. She must have a sixth sense that says mummy is chilling out...time to play.... MUUUUUUUMMMMMMMY!!!!! WOOO-HOOOOOOO, actually it sounds more like she has been abandoned and is never going to see hide nor hair of mummy again.
So I give her the dummy that has fallen out, has fallen all the way over to the other side of the room - and yes, I fall for this ruse over and over again. Just proving that those braincells that you lose in pregnancy never actually return. I lay her back down and slope off back downstairs.
All is peaceful.

Repeat the last few lines . And again.
Eventually I give up and go to bed - usually with her in tow. Big sap. Yes I know.

Well, not all nights are that bad and something positive has come from three years of sleep deprivation... I used to be unable to sleep anywhere but my familier bed. Now I can sleep on a clothesline

(but it would have to be a pretty wide clothesline... I never got back the pre-pregnancy body either :D )

Friday, September 24, 2004

and then they started talking...

Kids grow up so quickly. I look at my older children and it's hard to believe they were the same age once as my younger kids, and by the same token it's hard to imagine my toddlers as school children, as teenagers or as adults.
They change so imperceptionably too. A month ago my youngest was not walking, only cruising but now it seems impossibly far away. A year ago she was but a three month infant. How scary is that that? In twelve months she learnt to roll, to crawl, to walk. She discovered how to laugh, how to form words and what some of those words mean. She cries "Mummy" when she is upset and "no-nee" when she wants her dummy.
This babyspeak grows into a family language. In our house, if something is small, it is 'nidgy'. If it doesn't look nice, my three year old will say "'Scustin!" Her version of 'disgusting'. Mispronounced words are really cute in small children as are unexpected phrases. My eldest as a three year old was often heard shouting at her brother; "Don't do that, it's not recommended!"
And swearing is even more fun. Isn't it funny how a two year old mispronounces every single word except f--k ? My husband was mortified that his daughter gleefully repeated his exclaimed swearwords back at him. I didn't have the heart to tell him about her trailing the moggy about the lounge muttering "Bastard cat!" all afternoon.

big feck, little feck

I won't mention the name of it on here but if you've seen this programme you'll know which one it is, and if you haven't then you'll be in the dark. It's for little kids and it's all about two chefs who work in their (mysteriously empty of customers) cafe and make meals for fairy-tale characters. This is not the funny part.
One of these chefs is a rather affable looking bloke with an inane grin. He's the main chef and you'll see why in a minute. I don't know what disturbs me so much about this bloke except that he is so bloody cheerful, he must breakfast on prozac, either that or they really ought to stop making those hash brownies before they go on air.
The second chef is just as cheerful, just as disturbingly enthusiastic and worse still dresses like Swampy the road protester, but he is only about 8 inches tall. Eight inches tall? Isn't that a bit of a disadvantage working in a kitchen? Operate the blender? Sure...arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Put these chips in the deep fat fry-arghhhhhhhhhhhh. And it must take an awfully long time to peel a potato. What the feck is he anyway? A borrower?
The really funny part is some of the things they come out with. It seemed to be all sexual innuendo today as the little one exclaimed "Mash my spuds," WHAT? Now where I come from spuds is another term for testicles and I really didn't want to think what 'mashing' them could mean. Or how you could do it, if the guy is only the size of your average potato peeler just how big are his spuds? Nuff said there I reckon. I was even more speechless when the big fecker said "Fillet my haddock!" Well, really!!!

what goes arghhhhhh arghhhhhhhhhhhh DING?

Little fecker in a microwave....


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Not Just For The Children

I have a confession to make. I like kids TV.
Oh yes, I am one of the first to moan about the neverending stream of cartoonish and muppet-like characters that dominate my TV, but it's all a bit of a front. My youngest two daughters love to watch Cbeebies. I'm quite a fan of Cbeebies. Bob the builder is a guy who actually gets off his backside and fixes things, that's pretty cool. The teletubbies are cute creatures that talk in babyish voices and really do remind me of toddlers running around with saggy nappies in sleepsuits.
My fave Cbeebies program has got to be the Shiny Show. This is a game show for pre-schoolers along the lines of watch-the-video-and-answer-questions. What makes it special is the three characters that take it is turns being the 'quizzer'. Dogsby is a rather stupid dog who has a 'lucky hat'. Tigs is a narcissic ginger cat with a wicked line in sarcasm and her ''Mr.Cheese". Mucker is a sensible monkey. The banter between the three is hilarious.
And it's not just Cbeebies, my son has developed a taste for anime cartoons, one of his favourites being Teen Titans. Superhero teenagers with funny shaped faces, including one called Raven who is the drollest superheroine around and a shapeshifter who proclaims in every show "I am nobody's pet." Um yes, ok BeastBoy.
Get any group of twenty or thirty something people together and ask about the programs they used to watch as children. They will spend hours happily singing old theme tunes, I've gone one further and actually sought some out on the net. I can barely remember any of the episodes from these classics but can still hum the theme tunes fifteen years later.
So next time I'm moaning about my house only has two TV channels (and they both come under the 'kids' menu), take it with a pinch of salt. If you could see me, I'm the one watching therm whilst the children are happily oblivious!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Stereo Howling

So it's like this. I'm laid on a mattress in a darkened room listening to my pre-school daughter howling in one ear, and my barely toddling youngest daughter howling in the other. It seems to be a competition between the two as to who can howl the longest and the loudest, and who can squeeze the most tears out. What sort of cruel mother can actually completely ignore not one but two distressed youngsters?
The mother who is following her health visitors' advice and using controlled crying to sleep train the kids. It sounds simple enough. Bath, story, bed. And if it actually happened that way I would be in estatic raptures. This is what actually happens...
Bath.
Story - skipped as it only winds them up.
Bed.
so far so good....
Kiss goodnight
Children realise that it's bedtime and start howling.
daughter number 2 climbs off the bed, mum puts her back
daughter number 3 throws her dummy from the cot, mummy gives it back
an hour later...
daughter number 2 finally crashes out
daughter number 3 falls asleep, but over the covers. Mum tries to move her, wakes her up.
the renewed howls of number three daughter wakes number 2.
back to square one....

After over an hour of such a carry-on, both girls will be sleeping (and I will be on the verge on nervous exhaustion). But downstairs there is a blissful silence, an oasis of calm that envelops my poor battered emotions and soothes me. And this is when controlled crying seems a good idea, when it all seems to be worth it. When I can sit an have a few hours by myself on a sofa not covered in sprawled out sleepy daughters.
And it's always then, just when my sanity comes crawling back, just as I raise the first glass of wine to my lips that I hear it, the distant sound of a howling baby.
Oh well. There's always tomorrow.

Endless Apologies

I've been a mum for over eleven years now, my children are passing, or have already passed through the stages of two-hourly feeding, night waking, potty-training, terrible twos, playground politics and the latest, hormonal pubescence.
As each stage brings new and interesting ways to really pee me off, make me tear my hair out, wonder why I ever had kids in the first place and generally reduce me to a gibbering wreck, I always find myself doing the same thing.
That is wondering if I, as a child, was as bad as my children seem to be. And the terrible thing is that I am beginning to realise that not only was I as bad; frequently I was worse .
I have two daughters who are bad sleepers. I am assured by all my older relatives that they pale in comparison with the non-sleeper that was the infant me. More than one person has informed me that I used to sleep for about four hours a night...and not all at once.
When my older kids are fighting it out over possession of some treasured thing or other, the complaint is barely out of my mouth before I am reminded of the time I bounced a tennis racket off my sister's head, and that other time when...oh yes and that night when you and your sister....
And as for teenage angst; I dare not even mention it to my mum as I can remember perfectly well what a horrible teenager I was. I have no wish to be reminded of that version of myself, who made up for the lack of experience and common sense with a whole truckload of bolshy attitude.

So I was an awful baby, child and teenager. That's certainly reassuring to know. It means that whatever my kids are putting me through, there was someone who had it harder than myself, and came through it whole and unbroken. And it means they have lots of handy tips to pass on to me.
My parents joke a lot when my childhood behaviour is mentioned, they can afford to, it is a period that is over. They make reference to it in the same way that my Grandparents mention the War; terrifying and seemingly endless during the event, but looked back apon with fondness for their having survived it. Not an experience they would wish to repeat (how my sister came into being is a mystery to us all) but something they got past and can now enjoy the fruits of.
So, back to my own children. In the light of all my parents tell me about myself; the raging hormones, the years of war with my younger sister, and worst of all the sleepless nights of my youngest years. I really cannot complain too much about my own kids. Or at least, I can't complain to mum and dad, instead I find myself apologising to them for all the stuff that my children do, that I know I was far worse at. And I can look at my kids and grin, because you can't beat a past master.

Friday, August 06, 2004

the (pre) tweenies

Sixty years ago they didn't exist, there was no such thing as a teenager. You were a child right up until you hit the age of majority, and if male, until your mother finally decided that you were old enough to decide things for yourself (usually about age 40). Now, not only do we have teenagers, in all their sweaty spotty adolescent glory, we have pre-teens.
Pre-teens tend to be female. They are not yet old enough to buy lipstick, wear skirts so short that they are an affront to decent society and buy their own CDs. No, the pre-teen borrows your lippy, wears the skirts they grew out of two years ago and filches all the CDs from your rack that she thinks she can get away with.
Teenagers are gangly and awkward, pre-teens are at the very beginning of puberty, unsullied by acne and greasy hair, it's a beautiful stage between childhood and hormonal witch-hood. But it is deceptive. Just because they don't look like foul-mouthed, self-opinionated rebellious teens, nor brattish sulky children, it doesn't mean they are not these things. In fact pre-teens tend to be both.
So, is there anything good about having a pre-teen in the house?
Er....thinking....
Oh yes, eventually they grow up .
And you can take them to the pub, if you have really trained them right, they may even buy you drinks.
My own pre-teen is a wonderful person. Full of the joys of childhood still; watching 18 hours a day of solid cartoons, crisp sandwiches and complete monetary freedom ( mum-um, please can I have...) Yet she is also discovering the pleasures of being a young adult; tv programs after the watershed, the wonderful gutter humour of the filthy minded, and just how nice alcohol can be.
It's a journey that every child makes, and it's no less wonderful than watching your baby smile for the first time, or your toddler taking those first staggering steps. So is there anything good about having a pre-teen around?
Yeah. Quite a lot actually.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Slippers and cat biscuits

I'm not a slippers type of person. It's not that I have anything against the wearing of slippers, it's not even that I don't own any ( I do. Two pairs). It's that, apon waking, the first thing I look round for with sleep-blurred eyes is not my slippers.
( Actually, with blurry eyes you would be forgiven for thinking that the first thing I groped around for would be glasses, but I'm not a glasses person either.)
It's a pity really that me and either of my pairs of slippers do not get on better. If they were not treated like neglected friends - I come across them occasionally, make vague promises about getting together with them, then promptly forget them again five minutes later - then perhaps the cat biscuits would be less of a problem.

My daughter likes to feed our cats.
The trouble is, she's three years old. It's not enough for her to get the cat biscuits from the cupboard, pour them onto the tray and leave the moggys to it.
My daughter seems to think that the cats like to look for their food. Either that or she is so keen to ensure that the moggys are well fed that she leaves cat biscuits all over the house. Why the top of the stairs is a good place to feed a cat I have no idea. Or the reasoning behind her taking the dog's dish into the bathroom...and filling it with cat biscuits.
Have you ever walked barefoot over a floor covered in cat biscuits? They are small and hard, relentless on the soles of your feet. They stick on your footpads and even brushing your foot over the carpet on the stairs isn't enough to dislodge them.
And the stupid thing is, unless the biscuits are on the tray, the cats will not eat them. The dog will not eat them either. In fact the only consumer of floor-lurking cat biscuits in the house is my year old baby. She will happily go searching for these apparently delicious morsels and chews them with a concentration close to obsession.

Maybe I should take it as a tip and subsitute cat biscuits for breakfast cereal,but then again, given that so much of my daughters' breakfast ends up on the floor, the words 'back', 'square' and 'one ' spring to mind.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

hello......is there anybody out there?

Welcome to my world. My life, my truth and my insane musings. Insane? Perhaps that should be inane. It depends on the day.

I'm not sure exactly what I should write about on here. Do you want to know exactly how many times I have changed smelly nappies today? Does the torturous route of toilet-training interest you? Probably not. It doesn't really interest me either, that's probably why I'm writing a blog instead of going to mother and toddler groups with my younger two darlings.

Mother and Toddlers (shudder), now there's a rite for the new parent. You get to take your child to sit in a church annexe/community centre/some other cheaply rented room, sit with other parents and their children ( what a fantastic opportunity for your child to come down with colds, chickenpox, general lurgy, oh, and nits.) and discuss your children whilst they play. It's fine in theory. Lovely in theory, but fails a bit in reality. It's not the mums, generally, that spoil it for me; it's the kids. Dozens of small children running around shrieking, slapping each other senseless and having fun. Fun for them. Nervous torture for the poor parents. Our local M&T has an even better twist; it's a church group. Happy clappy for infants. Fantastic.


So, I'm not mumsy. Many mums aren't actually. We nurse our children with gritted teeth through the agony of breastfeeding (well, I didn't. Gave it up as a bad job, nothing worse than a newborn howling for food whilst you are so sore that your nipples look like belisha beacons), we change nappies that even Environmental Health would take issue with, and we even clean up other people's vomit. We have working days that last from the early hours of the morning with children up at the crack of sparrow-fart, to other children who simply don't realise that they are supposed to go to sleep on the same date they woke up! Very unlucky families have one of each pursuasion.

And what bloody thanks do we get? None. Well, except cards on Mother's day, and hugs off said children. And kisses. Ok. They thank me. It's a pity that somedays it feels such an arduous task. And boy, does it ever.