Sunday, 12 July 2015

My website has moved to www.teachingmum81.com

Hi,

I have decided to self host my site and have moved to www.teachingmum81.com

Blogger has been a fantastic platform for me to get my blog up and running.

My new site is still quite plain looking and you know I am a bit rubbish at technology - so bare with me!

Thanks and please do visit the new site.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

My First Day at Work Smirk.

Monday 6th July

At 5.30am this morning, I woke up and glanced at my phone and my snoozing boy. Yes, I know he should have been snoozing in his cot, but I needed sleep and we all know how much of an imperfect Mum I am. 'Yes!' I silently fist bumped the air as I returned to snoozing for another 45 minutes. Then, at 6.15, my alarm sounded and woke both me and the dozing boy up.  The Other Half came in and laid with him while I had a shower; it was the first mid-week shower I have had with no crying baby, no screaming three year old, no yelling that there is a (tiny) spider on the wall and no yanking (and breaking) the shower door open to ask if I had been in there for two minutes yet. I could have stayed in there all day.

By 7am I was dressed, the boy was dressed and the girl was dressed and eating breakfast downstairs. Sounds pretty awesome doesn't it?  Although, there is a big difference between being dressed and being ready. Grabbing the boy, I made my way downstairs to sterilise the bottles, choose the food to take to Grandma's, make up the formula for the bottles and pack his favourite (only) toys.  I also had to pack up my girl's clothes for the day and, of course,  I had to get her a *rolls eyes* Fruit Shoot before I could gather everything up by the door in the hope that the Other Half may take pity on my plight and pack the car up for me. (He didn't.)  I had four bags and that didn't include my work handbag.  As we were about to leave, the boy began to cry in his car seat.  Suddenly, I remembered I had to grab him a spare sleep suit so I dashed upstairs.
'Stay with your brother,' I said to the girl.
'No,' was her reply and she came upstairs with me following me so close that I tripped over her feet.
I came back down stairs and then realised that I had forgotten a cardigan for the girl so I ran back up again with the her hot on my heels.  After reaching the outside door, I panicked that I hadn't switched my hair straighteners off so I ran upstairs once more, by this time I had a bit of a sweat on. (Cardio.)
'Stay with your brother,' I begged.
'No!' She set off behind me, pushed past me on the stairs, jumped onto the landing.  'I win!' She cried. The straighteners were, as always, off and unplugged and I ran back downstairs.  By this time, the boy's face was almost blue with crying.  Might as well run upstairs again for the laugh, so I did.  Just kidding.  I loaded them and everything else into the car and set off to my Mum's house as she was having both of the children for the day.  Lucky her...

At 8.20 I arrived at work and it was like I had never left.  It was nice to be able to walk and not waddle along the car park and it was lovely to be able to fit through the door that leads to our department.  I said my hellos, found an empty classroom and just enjoyed the silence for two whole hours.  Two hours of no crying, of no feeding, of no mopping up sick, of no running from room to room just to see if my three year old followed me in a blind panic, no being climbed on, no GCSE moderation marking; it was bliss.  But, then I became acutely aware that there was no smelling of my boy's head, no 'Cookie Monster' kisses from my girl, no giggles from the Jumparoo, no random questions about Paw Patrol or Andy's Dinosaur Adventures; I was missing them.  A few guilt ridden minutes passed before I opened my emails and was greeted with literally hundreds of the buggers. My boss had given me a few jobs to do so I cracked on.

I get to appreciate good grammar humour once again.  Us English Teachers, we're a right laugh.

Break time was the first time was able to see some of my old students.  One girl stared at me, looked at my stomach and then my newly acquired fringe; she looked confused.  I smiled.
'All right?' I asked.
She looked embarrassed and then spoke to her friend telling her that I was back.  Her friend stared at me blankly and admitted that she had no idea who I was.  It was nice to see that I had made an impact with my teaching.

I was invited to help some students from my old Year 10 class with their coursework.  Upon entering the classroom, there were more glances at my fringe and a few mutterings of my name being spoken under breaths. One boy broke the ice by asking if I had had my baby.  I glanced at my stomach, breathed in, stood a little taller and replied that indeed I had (whilst secretly cursing the fact that I still had not lost my baby weight). I sat with a student and helped him improve a letter he had been writing.  I found myself getting into the swing of things again when I started reciting some old friendly phrases of mine.
'Connective comma!'
'Oh,'
'Change that to an 'ing' word and add a comma and what have you now used?'
'A complex sentence, Miss,'
'Stop using random commas!'
'What should I use then?'
'A FULL STOP!'
Commas (comma) when used correctly (comma) are ace (comma) but when used incorrectly (comma) that can be the difference between a C and a D.  Is that right?  Oh I don't know!  I much prefer the question mark and the exclamation mark; you know where you stand with them.  Bugger, did I just use that semi colon correctly?
*Pulls hair out.*  Now I know that I am not using the asterisk properly.

By the afternoon I had returned to the empty classroom to continue writing a series of lessons about Frankenstein which is one of my favourite books.  However, I was concerned about how I was going to engage a group of Year 10 students in a novel written well over one hundred years ago?  The language is challenging and the narrative structure is a little confusing also.  I figured it out though and through my use of the asterisk once again, I will describe my actions:
*Googles You Tube*
*Types in Penny Dreadful*
Sky Atlantic comes up trumps once again.

I left work a little after 4pm and raced over to my Mum's house.  Noticing my girl in the window, I waved giddily only for her to stare blankly back at me.  It was nice to see that she had missed me.  I knocked on the door to be greeted by my Petit Filous splattered, dishevelled Mum.  If you read my post about my Mum's special birthday, then you know how lovely she is and how smart and bang on trend she always is.  Bless her, she let out a huge sigh and told me that the boy had spent the majority of the day crying and looking around for me (he was crying in her arms at that very moment.)  I grabbed him and he stopped and suddenly my guilt kicked in once again. 

Grandma P before having both of the Munckins all day and after...

We packed up the car once again and I left a slightly broken Momma Bear alone for her to catch her breath and get some rest before she had them again on Wednesday.  We arrived home just after 5pm, ate dinner as a family (with a food splattered boy moaning in his high chair), bathed the girl and put them both to bed.  At 9pm I finally sat down with my first cup of tea of the day (I drank tea and dunked biscuits every hour on the hour during maternity leave) and by 9.15pm the boy was crying and ninja flippin' in his cot.  Don't judge me for this, but I needed a decent night's sleep.  I removed him from his cot and placed him next to me in my bed.  He had a little feed, a long cuddle and together we drifted off to sleep.

The following morning, we woke, I showered, he pooed, he put his hands in his poo, I freaked out, I grabbed his hands, I got poo in my nail, I freaked out, I put a new nappy on quickly, I showed the Other Half my nail, he told me I was gross, I washed my hands and cut my nail and started the process of getting ready for work all over again.

Happy Tuesday to me!
A Cornish Mum
The Dad Network

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Sun + Water = Paddling Fool

Wednesday 1st July - The Hottest Day of the Year...so far.

After another rubbish night's sleep, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed hot, sluggish and with the Ninja Flippin' Dude next to me.  To say that I woke up would be very wrong.  As always, I was woken by the girl banging on the door demanding to be let in.  Daddy, fresh from the shower, opened the door for her and she came bounding in Fruit Shoot in hand.

'I want something to watch!' she demanded.
'Shhh, your brother is asleep.'
She whispered: 'I want something to...' and then shouted: 'watch!'
She looked at her brother.
'Look, he's awake now.'
I screamed into my pillow as the Other Half waltzed back in and unknowingly annoyed me further by saying:
'You won't be able to get the paddling pool out today.  It's too difficult to manoeuvre because the lawn is on a slope.  You have to position it and prop it up with stuff so that it doesn't over flow.  I wouldn't bother if I was you.'  He was only trying to help.  In hindsight, I should have listened.  I didn't  Today was scheduled to be a scorcher.  I'll show you. I thought.

I didn't.

It was nursery day for the girl so after dropping her off, my plan was to sit in the garden with my boy and enjoy my last week of maternity leave.  I thought I would be also attempt to be Super Mum by getting the paddling pool out for her to enjoy after nursery.

Last year, Asda were selling big paddling pools for a tenner and so not to miss out on a bargain, we decided to buy one.  Only we couldn't.  Every single bloody Asda near us had sold out. We ended up forking out about £35 on one from Smyths.  It was huge.  We didn't think the purchase through as five hours after pulling it from its box, it was still filling up.  We only used it once last summer so I thought it was time to dust off the literal cobwebs and get it out again for the hottest day of the year.  Granddad came and took the boy out for a walk at 11am so I seized the opportunity to sort out the pool whilst I had the house to myself even though the vacuum was out, the washing needed hanging out and the breakfast bowls were still in the sink.  (You can clearly see where my priorities lay.) I just had to brave the garage.  

The garage, for me, is unknown territory.  I don't go in at all as legend tells that there are spiders the size of horses in there; it has even been noted that some carry shields and swords.  Wearing my shorts, vest and flip flops, my only form of protection came from some gardening gloves so I was not unarmed.  Upon entering the garage, it was like the home to a long lost tribe.  There were chairs scattered around, a TV (plugged in) perched upon a large container and the remnants of old toys long since forgotten.  There was a sledge, buckets and spades, curtain rails, sun loungers, a boxed up bouncy castle, two bikes and the dead rotting corpse of a spider splattered on the wall.  The Other Half must have, at one time, won a battle with it.  However, they were clearly winning the war, as I could see webs hanging precariously from above and some were woven neatly among the abandoned furniture and toys.  Then I spotted the box.  The paddling pool was boxed up gathering dust under the curtain poles and some discarded bits of carpet.  Using my gloved hands, I tried to pull it over towards the door, but alas it was too heavy.  I had to lift things and move things before I could pick up the box.  Closing my eyes, I squealed picked it up, ran for the door and threw it in a heap on the grass and then hastily stepped on anything that crawled or fell from the box.  It was mostly crumpled up old leaves, but sword wielding spiders sounds better.

We wrestled these from a spider earlier.

The Other Half's wise words whispered in my ears: 'The garden is on a slope.'  I dragged the pool to the flattest point of the garden and opened it up.  I then started to blow it up.  Forty five minutes later, I was still blowing it up.  I won't bore you with the detail but if you could see me, I was sitting crossed legged on the grass, blowing the pool up inbetween batting away flies and jumping up and screaming every time a wasp or hornet came within five feet of me.  I don't know if you can tell this, but I am not an outdoorsy person.

Next bit was the hose.  Dragging it out of the garage, I switched it on and threw it in the pool and waited.  And waited.  I went in to make a coffee.  I returned outside and waited.  Screw this, I thought and went inside to watch an episode of True Detective (it's rather good, isn't it?)  I returned outside every so often and once again the Other Half's wise words haunted me.  Only one half was starting to fill.  Darn.  They were my exact words...  Dashing about the house, I found old pillows and cushions that I thought would provide leverage and tried to ram them underneath the pool.  I didn't realise that a large amount of water all pooled together would be very heavy.  I couldn't lift the bloody thing and just shoved the pillows around the side the best I could.  I stood back and admired my lopsided handy work just in time for Grandad to return.

I don't think it's supposed to look like this.

I have to admit that I was a little excited about getting the boy in the pool.  I may have (once or twice) mentioned that I am a bit rubbish at doing all the new mum and baby things.  When my girl was a baby, I paid for her to go to those baby swimming classes which were, in my opinion, a complete rip off.  I had to drive for the best part of an hour in order to get twenty minutes pool time.  After being kicked out of the pool, I then spent a fraught half an hour drying a cold crying baby surrounded by other mums in a communal changing area.  Not one for loving public nakedness and panic drying, I vowed never again.  Watching American box sets is much more exciting than swimming and bonding...

Armed in his little swimming trunks and cap, I dunked his feet in. He cried. Never one to give in, I dunked him again and for a little longer this time.  He cried. This continued for ten minutes before I gave up and returned inside and watched the end of True Detective. (Did you see that coming at the end of episode two?) 


Loving every second of being in the garden.

Before I could attempt round two of 'dunk and cry', a rumbling in the distance could be heard and I saw a few splashes of water on the windows. The poor boy was shoved in his ever faithful Jumparoo (why did I even attempt a new activity with him?) and I made a mad dash outside to collect the cushions, put the hose away and put the garage back in lock down.  The heavens opened on my poor lopsided paddling pool and my dream of being Super Mum was washed away by the torrential rain.

At 3.15pm the other half called me as I was typing this blog.  He was on his way home from work and told me that he would collect the girl.

'Have you got the paddling pool out?' He asked.
'In a sense, yes,' I answered.
Did you prop it up?
'Yes...but...' he didn't let me finish.
'Is it full?'
'Erm.'
'Has it been acclimatised?'
'What?'
'I might take her to the park,'
'What!? You will not take her to the park!' I shouted.  'I have spent the best part of the day filling it.'

By the time the girl returned home, the sun was shining again. She came running in and asked for her ladybird costume. The Other Half followed, glanced at the paddling pool and shook his head.
'What is that?' he asked.
I explained about the cushions, about boy's aversion to water, the torrential down pour and that really he should give True Detective a chance.  By this time, he was being dragged upstairs to get changed. Once she was in her swimming gear, the girl launched herself into the pool and started splashing around.  The Other Half soon followed.  Upon observing the sunken walls of the pool and the floating leaves, he glanced at his daughter and smiled.
'It's served its purpose, I suppose.' He said.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is about as much praise as I am going to get for my attempts at being a Super Mum.

At least someone appreciated my efforts.

And so here we are.  It's 5.30pm and after continuing to play in the pool whilst I held (but didn't dunk) a very sweaty little boy, the Other Half suggested a barbeque.  He and the girl are out getting lighter fuel and I have just fed my fussy boy and reached for my first Peroni of the evening.

The abandoned pool and bbq. They've gone out to buy some lighter fluid...

I'm sure a day in the garden never used to be this hard work.



Mummy and Monkeys
Modern Dad Pages
The Dad Network

Friday, 26 June 2015

Mushy or gushy or just a bit sucky? I don't know...

When I first starting writing this little blog just over two months ago, I thought it would be somewhat easy. I knew that it would be difficult to balance writing regularly with being a mum to my two little ones, keeping the house from looking like it had been hit by a nuclear weapon and, of course, teaching full time.  But, I thought that the writing side of it would come easy. You see, I have always wanted to write. Every couple of years or so, I have a little whizz of brainwave and a (probably crap) idea for a story pops into my head which makes me decide to have a go at writing because apparently 'everyone has one book in them' or so I have read, or most likely heard from one of my hundreds of American box sets I regularly watch. So, off I trot to my laptop, write a few thousand words and then just discard it forever.  Sometimes I return to the story, read it, cringe, weep at my utter drivel and dreadful grammar and leave it in the netherworld forever unfinished, forced to walk among a paperless limbo of unfinished novels.  So that's why I thought writing a blog would be easy; a couple of short posts every week and it's done.  Only it's not is it?  You have to first of all think of something that will entertain others; my life is not interesting and most certainly not entertaining, unless you think that simultaneously answering questions about Andy's Dinosaur Adventures, weaning and completing on line surveys in order to get Amazon vouchers is entertaining.  It isn't.  Especially when you get Ella's Kitchen gloop stuck in between your lap top keys (the 'space bar' now has to be hit down rather than just being tapped down).  You then have to think of something that no one else has written about, which is beyond impossible - especially when one in two of you guys are proud owners of a hissy fit throwing three year old girl and a Ninja Flippin' Dude who just won't sleep.  I personally then have to think or something that won't offend others as it would upset me to learn that I had offended or upset anyone in any way.  (I am a bit of a softy and a complete wimp, so the idea of any confrontation makes me vom a little bit in my mouth.)  Although, in saying this all this, I have to admit that my first few posts did come really easily. I just thought that I would take the piss out of myself a bit and write about how I am sometimes a rubbish mum.  About how I am a mum who turns up late to everything, a mum who can't be bothered with baby classes and baby sensory thingymajigs (totally a word - I am a half arsed novelist after all) a mum who probably leaves her son in his Jumparoo for a little too long, a mum who buys her cake mixes ready made, a mum who watches kids' TV with her children too much and a mum who generally lacks any kind creative bone in her body. But then I opened myself up to this little blogging community...

Just a few of my current American Box Sets (Hannibal, Vampire Diaries, Wayward Pines and Game of Thrones are recorded on the next page... Peppa is never far from the screen though.
Using my one creative bone.
I didn't realise that you were all out there floating and typing away in cyber space.  Sure, I know that there are lots of blogging parents, but just look at you all!   You're all supporting one another, being creative together and generally just being pretty fab parents.  I have snooped into your Twitter feeds and gazed longingly at your super savvy fancy blogs and have just been in total awe of you. And do you know what's really sad?  I love it when that little '1' or '2' or even '3' comes up on my notifications on Twitter and I see that I have gained a new follower or being mentioned in someone's Tweets.  I have to admit that I do a little 'whoop' that I have been included in the Twitterverse. However, upon reading all these blogs and totally stalking your asses on Twitter, I suddenly became really scared and nervous about my writing and that my posts probably weren't funny at all.  My creative juices got metaphorically stuck in my mouth a little...

Initially, I thought I was being dead unique and had found my little blogging niche by being a teacher and a mum. But, guess what? There's bloody loads of teachers who are parents, doctors who are parents, midwives who are parents and so on and so forth and you all write these amazing and insightful posts about juggling work with parenting, dealing with post natal depression, coping after a miscarriage and a whole plethora of other issues that these lives of ours throw at us.  And I was embarrassed.  Embarrassed that I wrote about going to the tip, embarrassed that I dedicated a whole blog post about going to the dentist or going for a walk to a sandwich shop.  Whatever your niches are, you all appear to have this parenting malarkey, working full time and blogging regularly thing down and I really don't know how you do it.  You have my utter most respect.  I know that's not something important but here, have it - it's yours for the taking.


He may have been in his Jumparoo at little too long at this point.

I don't really know where I am going with this post and having read a lot of blogs about Brit Mums Live this week, and knowing that there is no way on Earth that I will ever go to a blogging conference where I can meet you all face to face (as I will never accept myself as a blogger or writer), I just wanted to say is this:  I am really enjoying being part of this community that you have allowed me to force, push and kick my way into recently and I really hope that you will let me stay - even if I don't or can't post anything for weeks.  I am learning things from you:  I am learning more parenting skills, I am learning that it is okay to not be perfect and that it is all right for me to count down the minutes until my children are in bed.  I am learning how to link up to Linkys and I am slowly learning how to make my blog look a little bit more fancy (have you noticed that my photos now have a purple border around them?  I know.  Professional, right?)  But, for the most part I have learnt that I can reach out to like minded people and not be afraid to write something that has a beginning, a middle and an actual end.  I have had the guts to not leave something in limbo albeit it probably being packed full of rubbishness.  I am in no way saying that anything I write goes anywhere near what could be classed as a story or novel, but I love that I am growing a little in confidence and have had the guts to 'publish' something that a few other people may read.  I have you guys to thank for that.  Despite, having a complete creative writing block at the moment, and despite me not knowing where to take this (novice) blog, I don't want to stop writing just yet, so thank you.  I am not going to bug my friends into reading this post; this is just for my followers on Twitter (the ones I have probably just blagged out out of sympathy) - it's just a note to tell you that you have all inspired me in some way or another, so thank you. 


A day out in Tesco (no, really) that highlights my 'mum crapness' which I may or may not blog about soon.
Modern Dad Pages

Friday, 12 June 2015

Weaning and Screaming: Child one Vs Child Two

Despite being determined to wait the magical six months to wean the boy, my partner and I got our dates a bit mixed up and started earlier than originally planned. I am including the other half in this as he was the one who, last Sunday, said. 'Shall I put this strawberry in his mouth and see what happens?' So we did and the boy lapped its juices like an iddy biddy pussy cat. We cooed over the cuteness and were impressed with how chilled out we were this time around.  Then the arrival of the first 'non boobie milk only' poo arrived and suddenly my new born was gone. I blinked and I missed it. Again.

So here is my run down of how weaning has changed in the three years since we had our daughter. I was going to call it a 'guide' but this is anything but a guide.

Child One
Wait the suggested six months before trying the tiniest bit of baby rice for a few days.  Mixing it up with breast milk so that you know she is still getting a bit of the good stuff.  Pluck up the courage to move onto the thicker creamier baby porridge for a few weeks after that.  Then finally  start making and buying puréed food.

Child Two
Wait five months. Grab left over strawberries from child number one's dinner and see if child number two knows what to do when there is one being dangled in front of him (by the other half - I was all for waiting six months...)

Child One
Purchase a brand new fancy high chair from Mother Care. Don't look after it, cut the straps off it because they were filthy and getting tight and then throw it in the tip when no longer needed. We did this knowing we wanted a second child. Money to burn, us.  Yeah right.

Child Two
Don't buy a high chair at all. Wait until the boy has been lapping on strawberries for a few minutes, phone the in laws and ask Grandma to look for one next time she goes to a car boot. Grandma comes up trumps and brings us a second hand Silver Cross one. Bargain.

Child One
As they are not quite sitting up unaided yet, prop them up in high chair with towels so they will be comfortable.  If they start to slide forward or sideways, stop feeding and reposition. Repeat this at least four or five times over the course of the meal. 

Child Two
Sit the boy in the chair and when he leans forward and starts to suck the table, gently nudge him back to his sitting position.  When he starts to lean sideways and appears a bit distressed/pissed off, feed him quicker and then grab him moments before he loses his shizz altogether. 

Upright, upright, tipping, uh oh... 

Child One
Sterilise the shizz out of everything. We used to sterilise two plastic bowls and at least three spoons just in case one fell on the floor, touched the side of a chair/sofa or just looked at child one in the wrong way. Bottles and bowls have been sterilised that much that they have been discoloured; spoons have been melted and bent.

Child Two
Clean a spoon with a Milton wipe. 

Or a Huggies wipe.

Or just get one out of the kitchen drawer.

Child One
Cook all of your food from scratch. I boiled carrots and processed them, broccoli and processed it, sweet potato and processed it. I made loads and froze it. Days later, I lost all trust in the freezer so I binned the stored food and started again from fresh. After a few weeks (days) of doing this, I took a stroll down the baby aisle and (I swear this happened) a bright celestial light shone down and introduced me to Ella's Kitchen pouches. Amen.


Aww, are you not sure about that one? I'll make you something else from scratch...

Child Two
Buy the whole range of Ella's Kitchen from Tesco. Throw in a few Hipp Organic jars as the are on offer '4 for £2' and Bob's your Uncle. The irony? I have been(almost) exclusively breast feeding for six months in order that my son gets the best start in life and to save money by not purchasing formula. As soon as I have to cook myself, out come the pouches. 

Child One
Use a different spoon and bowl for each course of the meal.  Discard any unused food.

Child Two
Use one spoon. Spoon it out of a jar or pouch (or shove pouch in mouth). Put unfinished jar in fridge for use the next day.

Child One
Google 'baby led weaning' at least ten times before boiling a batch of carrots to almost mush. Precariously place one carrot on the sterilised high chair table.  Wince and cringe as baby number one clumsily tries to put it in her mouth. Secretly rejoice when she doesn't know what to do with it and puts it back down. Promise yourself that you will try solids again tomorrow and then return to Ella's Kitchen pouches forever.

Child Two 
Sit him on your knee at dinner time and if he can reach your plate and grab something from it, then let him have it.

Child One
Get excited about giving her her first Petit Filous yoghurt as you used to eat them when you were little.

Child Two
Share (using the same spoon!) a Petit Filous yoghurt as you are not quite sure if, at five months, he should really be eating it and you haven't had time shower, go to the toilet, drink and let alone eat yet.

So that's how weaning is going down in our house. How about yours? The boy seems happy though when he is not either licking the table on the high chair or sucking the (second hand) straps. I do keep wiping the straps and table down with Milton wipes, that's okay isn't it?

New (barely used) steriliser Vs microwaved to a crisp steriliser. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Liebster Award

I Thanks to @lazyhousewifeUK for my nomination. This is such a great way to meet other bloggers and find out more about each other, so here it goes;




1. Do you have any nicknames?
No nicknames as such, but I have quite a unique surname which is 'Hirlam'.
Before I became a teacher, my email address for my old place of work was shirlam@... And someone once sent me an email and made the wrong assumption that my name was Shirley Lamb. This became my nickname until I left the job to pursue a career in teaching. In fact, only a few weeks ago, I was in a pub car park when I heard 'Shirley Lamb' being shouted and it was an old colleague who I had not seen for eight years!
Other nicknames have included Hirldog (another old and dreadfully missed work colleague from my first teaching school) and The Hirlamshake (mostly by students from around two years ago when the song came out.)



2. Do you have any pets?
This is an easy one. No pets. No time. No intention of getting a pet. I sometimes take the girl to the local garden centre to look at bunnies, guinea pigs and hamsters, but she hasn't asked for one yet.  She clearly knows what Mummy's answer will be.

3.  Do you have any strange habits?
I have an awful habit that would, if he knew I did it, make my partner's stomach turn. For some strange reason he has a real aversion to milk; it makes him feel sick. He can bare the smallest amount on his cereal and that's it. So, he would would be disgusted by the fact that I regularly drink out of the milk carton. I usually do it whilst I am waiting for the kettle to boil and I suddenly crave something ice cold. I have also been known to spray him with some 'other kind' of milk too but we'll not talk about that one!

4. What do you catch yourself saying?
I really beat myself up over this. I say 'in a minute' 'just a sec' 'give me a minute' a lot to my three year old daughter, especially now since my son has been born. I feel really guilty about it, but I have a five month old, a house to run and I am marking GCSE coursework at the moment to try to get a bit of extra money to fund my maternity leave.  I have to admit that once I return to work full time in a few weeks, I am worrying about how I will find time to do anything.  Time is precious and I am concerned that I won't spend enough of it with my children while they are young.

5.  What is your favourite food?
Easy. Chocolate. But if you ask me to my face I will say tomatoes.

6. Where is the most interesting place you have visited?
I am not very cultured and should really do more arty farty things.  I don't seek out museums and places of interest as such.  Give me a good bar/pub, shopping centre and food and I am happy.  A few years ago, before children, I took forty students on a school trip to New York that I organised.  I had taught a lot of the students for a number of years and knew them very well; they were a great bunch.  They most definitely made the trip interesting.  I lost one boy in Bloomingdales as he 'nipped off to find a loo' and didn't return for an hour.  He never did find that toilet.  One girl left over $200 dollars at the top of the Empire State Building in a Tesco carrier bag. (She got it back though.) And another girl, in the airport, got questioned by customs for a substantial amount of time because she apparently resembled someone on their 'Most Wanted List'!!!

7.  What is your favourite way to relax?
My favourite way to relax is with a cup of tea, some chocolate watching something good recorded on Sky or on Netflix. I barely watch live TV any more, unless it's Peppa, Ben and Holly, Scooby Doo... The list is endless.  The amount of Disney films recorded on our Sky box is ridiculous.
At the moment I am watching: Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Penny Dreadful, Wayward Pines and The Affair. I love psychological thrillers and horrors, but then I watch teen stuff like The Vampire Diaries and medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy.  I have cried rivers over Grey's Anatomy over the years.

8. Do you have any irrational fears?
Again, not very original. I am afraid of spiders. And yet, if I see one I have to stare at it. I am also good at spotting them in my peripheral vision and will happily attack them with the vacuum and yet won't stand on one in case I hear it crunch.

9. At the end of a hard day, you like a large glass of..?
At the end of a hard day I love either a cup of tea, an ice cold lager or a glass of red wine. Tea is for Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I allow myself alcohol from Thursday onwards.  Red wine is my favourite tipple at the moment.  I don't drink wine on the rare occasion that I go out as it makes me fall asleep in random places so I only drink it at home where I know my bed is near by.

10.  What is your best parenting tip?
Always smile and tell your children that you love them more than they will ever know.



Find out more about about the Liebster Award.

Please take a look at my nominator’s blog page – The Lazy Housewife UK

I nominate the following Bloggers for the Liebster Award.

@EducatingR

@LMAblogger

@StacyLeaLea

@angrivatedmom

@AbPrabulous

1. What's your proudest moment outside of parenting?

2. What would you tell your fifteen year old self?

3.  How would your children describe you?  If they can't talk yet, how do you think they will describe you?

4. Where in the world is your favourite place?

5. What is your earliest childhood memory?

6. Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?

7. What is your favourite item of clothing?

8. What did you want to be when you grew up?

9. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

10. If you could meet anyone alive or dead who would it be?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Do you want to see my tattoo? No, I'm crabbing with my son!

Friday 5th June.
Today, me, the munchkins and Grandma P went to Scarborough for the day. In the past, every planned or impromptu trip to the glorious East Yorkshire coast usually ends up with us being soaked to the skin or being so blown away by the wind that my hair starts to resemble that of a 1989 Pat Sharpe. However, today it was glorious and because it wasn't the weekend or the summer holidays, it was quiet. Yay for maternity leave.  I return to work in a few weeks and need to get a few family days out in now that the sun is finally starting to shine.

We arrived just after 11 and no sooner did we step out of the car and the girl had a meltdown. What caused this meltdown you ask? Her five month old defenceless little brother had dared to use her pushchair - the pushchair that she hadn't used in over a year.  

'Let me take a picture of your strop!'
Loving the fact that he has peed off his sister.

This resulted in me using my 'right, I am taking you back home' tactic and started to open up the car. Always one to throw a curve ball into the mix, she agreed because she was tired and didn't want to walk. Damn it. I had to quickly back peddle.
'I mean, you will wait in the car and me, Grandma and your brother are going to the beach.'
This worked. Although, not quite the way I wanted as the strop turned into tears of despair.  Grandma intervened.
'Do you want to go on the little choo choo train and then we will come back and get the other pushchair out too?' (We didn't think we would get two on the miniture train). This worked better. (Note to self: be nice and don't use threats - especially ones you have no intention of following through.) So off we went to experience the mini train.

I had to carry the girl up to the ticket shop. Even though the strop had ended, she was still too exhausted to walk the two hundred yards to the ticket office. Once we were all board the train all was well with the world again and we 'oohed' and 'ahhhed' at the beach, the castle and the fact that is was so hot.  We decided to have little wonder for half an hour and by that point the boy had decided to make his presence known. The girl and Gran went to go and write their names in the sand. Me? What did I do? You know the answer to this already: I fed the boy. Today's unusual feeding place was standing up, (I have now mastered just about every position), rocking and turning away from every person who decided to walk past. Thankfully, it wasn't busy, but I was still doing a slow rotating circle along the beach front. Then the girl looked up and noticed an opportunity.  She was no longer writing her name in the sand. She was bounding towards me; her eyes fixated on something. She stopped abruptly in front of me and suddenly 'remembered that she was tired', bent down to 'catch her breath' and then threw herself into the pushchair. God, she's good. I had to carry the boy back up to the train, (with Grandma pushing a heavy three year old) where I quickly changed his nappy on a train seat whilst shouting 'second child', shaking my head and rolling my eyes to anyone who glanced my way.  Poor kid; I change him anywhere. 

I'm inside changing the boy's nappy..! ;)
We are not 'The Finch's', not with that apostrophe error!

Next stop was fish and chips as you can't go to the seaside without having fish and chips. We chose an 'award winning' one that also had a five out of five rating from Trip Advisor so we were pretty confident that they would taste delicious.  We made it just in time though as it shut at 1.30pm. If we ever needed further confirmation that the fish and chips were worth every penny, it came from the quite elderly woman who arrived at her favourite fish bar at 1.35pm, found the doors firmly shut and proceeded to turn the sea air blue with her profanities.  Covering my daughter's ears, we ate up and I resisted the urge to lick my lips and rub my stomach in front of the still annoyed (and yet, still lingering) woman and off we went to buy a bucket and spade for the beach.

In another life - a life where I am still in my twenties without children - I could have fallen asleep on that beach, something didn't think I would ever be able to say about Scarborough. Anyway, as it happens, I am well into my thirties and blessed with two munchkins so I had to make do with laying on a Peppa Pig blanket spluttering out pieces of flying sand that were being shaven away from the girl's sandcastles.  Grandma and my girl then went to go and paddle in the sea and I laid back down. You know how this bit pans out. The boy woke and I fed him on the beach. I have to give myself the tiniest pat on that back at this point as I really struggled at feeding in public the first time round and would get very stressed at the thought of it.  However, thanks to a lot of reading of articles on the internet this time around, I have learnt to put the needs of my child over what others think. Also, at the end of the day, does anyone care? I think it was all in my head. Serious bit over. Grandma and my girl returned and it was my turn to take her to the sea.

I'm just going to pause for a second there and explain that last week (along with other bloggers) I was invited to take part in a linky hosted by mamavsteacher. As I am still very new at blogging and very unskilled when it comes to managing my page and links, I am very flattered to be asked. The linky is called Imagination Matters and you would think that with my being a teacher, I would be imaginative and creative. I'm not.  This week's linky is called 'by the sea' and rather than use this title to create any number of creative stories, metaphors, games and pictures, I decided to take the title literally and head to the beach. (Okay, okay, so the trip was pre-planned, but it's a bit of a tenuous link for the linky so I hope it will do for this week.) Here is my 'by the sea' bit: 

The girl has, until recently, being a bit wussy around the water and I guess it's partly my fault as I don't really get the time to take her swimming. I was very impressed that she was paddling happily  in the sea and running onto the sand when the tide washed up.  What the girl didn't notice though (neither did I at first) was that scattered along the beach were a few washed up dead crabs.  When I did finally notice one I internally freaked out and then praised the Lord that I had kept my shoes on. I chose not to alert the girl until she chose to run in from the sea and step on one. She didn't realise, but I couldn't hold it in.
'Argh! You've stepped on a crab!' I yelled.
She stopped.
I stopped. 
And waited.  
There had to be a meltdown brewing; I had made a terrible terrible mistake. However, much to my complete and total surprise, she just bent down and asked if it was asleep.  I nodded and took her to show another and another and another.  Poor 'sleeping' crabs.  As I was doing this, I noticed a Dad was doing something similar with his son.  I haven't yet discussed with you my teenage (and adult) obsession with the greatest band on Earth: Green Day.  Don't worry, I won't bore you with all the pointless knowledge embedded into my brain about this awesome band. (I'll just bore you with this blog post instead.)  But, I noticed something familiar on the dad's arm.  It was a tattoo of the Kerplunk Flower.  I too am the (not so proud) owner of a tattoo of the Kerplunk Flower but mine is on my stomach.  A stomach which has now twice been stretched to its full capacity leaving the poor little flower a bit worse for wear.  Note to my seventeen year old self, who asked her mum to go with her to get a Green Day tattoo: (Could I be more of a geek?)  Your stomach will not always look like it does at seventeen.  Despite all this though, this Dad had to know that he had a kindred Kerplunk spirit standing right next to him.
'You have the Kerplunk flower,' I said.
He looked up.
I lifted my t-shirt slightly and showed him my smaller, older and blurrier Kerplunk Flower on my postpartum stomach.
'Oh yeah,' was his reply.
Oh yeah?  Oh yeah?  Was that it?  Were we not going to have some heated discussion as to whether 'Kerplunk' was better than 'Dookie' and have Green Day, with their last three releases, lost their greatness?  No, of course we weren't because he was crabbing with his son, he was holidaying with his wife (who I hope to God didn't think I was flirting), we were complete strangers and it would just be weird.  Proper weird.  I went back to running in and out of the sea with my daughter.  I was secretly smiling inside though as it's always nice to find a fellow Kerplunk fan even if he thinks you are strange woman who should be putting more attention into playing with her daughter.

The Kerplunk Flower!

More feeding on the beach followed and I think a pre-teen boy noticed what I was doing because when I looked up I noticed him staring and he didn't do the polite thing and look away.  He just continued to stare until he was hurried along by his mother.  I hope I haven't scarred him for life.  I probably have.  

After a good hour on the beach, we went to find a coffee shop, had some cake and decided to make our way home.  We packed the car up and within minutes of driving, the two munchkins were fast asleep.  The moment I posted a 'pretty perfect day out' post on my Facebook status, we got caught up in a huge traffic jam.  There had been an accident, but rather than complain, we were thankful that it wasn't us in the accident and hoped that all involved were okay.

Then the boy woke up.

And started screaming.

This then made me glance into the back and I realised I hadn't fastened the seatbelt around his chair properly.

I clambered into the back, lifted him out of his chair, (the traffic was at a stand still and I obviously wasn't the driver) stripped him to cool him down, fed him, calmed him and placed him back in his seat securely and safely.  It's a bloody good job he did wake up and alert me to my total and utter slackness.  We ended up being stuck in traffic for about an hour, but despite this, when I think about it, it was a pretty perfect day by the sea with sun, sand, sea, a miniature train, fish and chips, an elderly profanity spewing woman, lattes, cakes, my favourite people in the world, my mum paying for everything and a dad with a Green Day tattoo. 

Well, my strange definition of 'perfect' anyway.

Sandy bum! 
And beach fun. Look how excited he is! 


Saturday, 30 May 2015

A birthday, some booze and of course, a boob.

Good morning! It's 11am on the 30th of May and today is my Mum's (Grandma P's) birthday. It's not something I would usually write about, but it's a special birthday. She has told me not to 'write anything on Facebook about my age' and I won't. However, if you can guess my age then you can probably guess hers.  Please see my craftily added emoticon at the end of this post.

It all started so smoothly. I woke leisurely at 8am (after being up at 11, 2, 3.30 and 6 - when do they actually sleep through?), hung the washing out, put another load in, got a shower and actually washed my hair. I even dried it too. So it was all going to plan. The other half was happily playing with the children upstairs whilst I started 'operation tidy up' downstairs. 'Operation tidy up' usually involves me throwing things in the dining room and closing the door and then vowing to vacuum it and clean it properly in the morning. I'll just add that I was (and still am) in my dressing gown at this point.  Suddenly, I saw something in my peripheral vision outside.  Was it a ladder? Window cleaners! Bugger.  All the curtains in the house were open, I wasn't dressed, there was underwear drying upstairs, there was probably a disguarded breast pad in every room of the house.  Not wanting to be caught in my purple M&S fluffy dressing gown, I ran toward the stairs, did a combat roll down the landing (just to add to the drama) and dived into the girl's room. She was playing at having Chicken Pox (as you do) and laying inside her make shift 'hospital bed' wardrobe. Daddy was taking her blood pressure and the boy was doing his usual ninja flipping and face planting the bed.
'The window cleaners are here!'
'Have we got a tenner?'
'I have loads of jobs to do and I am trapped.  Help!'
He put down his stethoscope, (in my mind) did a hands on hips Superman style pose and dashed off downstairs.  
And that kind of brings us to now. I have been stuck in the girl's room for the last hour feeding behind closed curtains. The girl, the Ninja Flippin' Dude and I are all in a state of undress and Grandma P arrives in an hour. It was all going so smoothly too.  However, I can add that the other half has completed my jobs downstairs. Bless that man. Upstairs however, it looks like one of the window cleaners could have chucked a grenade in through an open pane because we didn't have a tenner (we never do) and it would pass unnoticed.  Upstairs looks like hell on Earth.

It's now 9pm and remember when I said that Grandma P was due to arrive in 'an hour'?  She should have arrived at 12.30pm in order to have a drink and leisurely open her presents.  At 12.25pm I was still rocking the purple dressing gown and was downstairs ironing the clothes I was going to wear.  I had managed to straighten my hair and do my make up, but I was also sporting a Peppa Pig hair clip in my fringe as I am currently starting to resemble to Dulux Dog.  At 12.40, we were all ready.  At 12.50 we were still all ready, sitting together on the sofa just waiting.  At 12.55, we got a 'just setting off' text.  At 1pm, the boy started to kick off.  At 1.10, I cracked open the bottle of champagne and by 1.15 I was feeding again.  Finally, at 1.30 Grandma P decided to show up.  I greeted her with a pile of dried washing in my hands (I knew that my doing a job would inevitably summon her arrival), shoved a discoloured Kir Royale in her hand and led her to the living room where we ripped open her presents, got a tad emotional for about thirty seconds and inhaled our rust coloured Kir Royales.  The creme de cassis was definitely pink when I bought it pre pregnancy number two.  Who knew it 'could go off'?  We drank it anyway though; we're made of strong stuff...    

For personal reasons Mum didn't want a party to celebrate her birthday (see my last post) so we decided to go to Wentbridge House near Pontefract for a late dinner.  It was all very lovely and we got to see a beautiful bride as we were entering.  The girl was being well behaved, the in laws arrived, we ordered drinks, sat down and the boy woke up.  Therefore, a delightful game of 'pass the baby' began.  I panicked and made some formula (no way was I feeding in a posh restaurant) but he didn't want it.  I then got frustrated with myself for making the formula too early as I hate wasting it.  Have you seen how much it costs? Between us, we eventually got the boy to sleep and made a make shift bed with his legs resting on mine.  Ten minutes passed and it was calm.  I ordered the lamb.  The lamb arrived.  I moved my chair a millimetre closer to the table.  Rookie move right there.  I should know better by now.  Of course the boy woke and once again 'pass the baby'commenced between mouthfuls of lamb, haddock, steak and burger.  Will I ever get to savour a meal ever again?

We ordered our desserts and I went to go and change the boy's nappy in the toilets (poshly named the 'powder room'.  Unsurprisingly, there was no changing station so I plonked him on a posh stool, thanked the Lord that there was indeed no stool in his nappy and did a lightning quick change.  He screamed the place down so I caved and went to feed him in a toilet cubicle.

After about fifteen minutes, I made it back to the dinner table only to find that everyone had eaten their dessert and mine had been returned to the kitchen to keep warm after the other half told the waitress that I had been on the toilet for the last twenty minutes.  Thanks love.

With our faced well and truely stuffed, we returned to our house for a bit of tea and cake.  The boy had mellowed so the girl decided that it was her turn to shine.  She was placed on the naughty step twice for stealing a ball from the boy because it was hers.  She hasn't so much as looked at the ball once in two years, but now it was all she wanted in the world.  Finally, at 6pm we all decided to call it at day.  Grandma and Grandad said their goodbyes.  Within minutes, we noticed that Grandad had left his phone so we called Grandma to to let him know.  Then Grandma P said her goodbyes and once again, within minutes, we noticed that she too had left her phone but we were unable to contact her to let her know.  Ten minutes later, Grandad returned to pick up his phone and said his goodbyes again.  Ten minutes after that Grandma P returned to pick up her phone and said her goodbyes again (she had made it half way home before realising and turned back).  A rushed bathtime and bedtime hour passed smoothly and for once we successfully divided and conquered the kids and got them to sleep with no meltdowns.  That brings us nicely back to now. It's 9.54pm. I have had my cuppa and another bit of Grandma P's home made birthday cake and am pondering on what I can take away from today.  I have learnt then to: always expect a grandparent to leave something at your house, don't move an inch with a sleeping baby on your lap as he will wake before the lamb touches your lips and don't ever leave it to your other half to explain the (entirely fabricated) reason as to why your sticky toffee pudding needs to be returned to the kitchen to keep warm.

Good night!

Pictures:
An excited little dude snoozing over dinner (for at least ten minutes) and the girl with Grandma P and her emoticon covered cake. 
Oh, and one with me on it after 'being on the toilet' for twenty minutes. 





Wednesday, 20 May 2015

An open letter to my Dad

Hi Dad,

You won't read this as you no longer use your eyes to see.  You won't hear me read it as you do not need your ears to listen and you won't be able to tell me your thoughts (not that you would anyway) as you were taken away from us way too soon. But, you're still with me, Dad.  You're locked inside my head and that's where I will keep you safe always.  You can't get old there, you're not ill there, you don't feel pain and I hope, really hope, that through me you can see the little family we have created.

I became a mum.  Me? A mum!  I am responsible for two little humans and I think being a parent has really changed me.  It made me see the world a bit differently because I put a lot of others before myself in both my personal and professional life. (Although, the only child in me hates me for it.) Motherhood has taught me to be kind; I know you will say that I have always been kind but now when a group of girls bicker at school, I encourage them to make friends and support one another because I dread the day that my daughter comes home broken-hearted after a fall out with friends.  I encourage boys to be respectful of those around them because I want my son to respect his peers whether they be male or female, old or young.  Losing you taught me that life is too short to hold a grudge and to refuse to say sorry and I encourage others to allow their grudges to subside also.  I can even admit when I am wrong now (even though it pains me a little)!

So, you have a granddaughter and most recently, a grandson. Your name is his middle name and it fits him perfectly - I have to admit that I was afraid that it wouldn't. Also, I can see you in him, I really can. It's when he scowls! Now, please don't take that the wrong way - you didn't scowl that often.  I think of you everyday, Dad and it doesn't hurt me to speak of you.  In fact, I like speaking about you as it brings you back to me a little bit.  Cancer somehow finds a way to bite its way into a lot of people's lives and it hurts the most when I learn that sometimes my young students have such a heavy burden to bare.  Your illness taught me how to empathise with others - particularly my students; it also allowed them to see me as another human and not just that teacher who 'Googles' the spellings of really difficult words!  I am not a trained therapist and don't pretend to be, but I am a pair of ears if they just want a sounding board.  I remind myself often that I was lucky to have you for twenty eight years, but still cry behind closed doors on those days where I need you the most.

I hope you're proud that I stuck to this teaching malarky. I recall my mum telling me that you were pleased that I had finally found myself a career.  Of course, you would never tell me that.  You and I were the quiet ones in the family. 

I often speak to my daughter about you and constantly worry that one day she will notice that she only has one granddad. The Granddad she does have does a mighty fine job of loving his grandchildren enough for the both of you.  He does so much for us as a family and both he and Grandma are there for us at a drop of a hat when we need them.  I tell them both frequently that we would be lost without them.

And that brings us round to the other Grandma.  Your wife and my mum - my lovely mum.  We bicker often, but she says it's because she worries about me.  Does that worry ever come to an end?  I know one thing's for sure - I don't think I could breathe without her.  Losing you made our mother daughter bond unbreakable and she is the cement that holds us together on the days when I feel weak. To this day, I don't know how she stayed so strong when you were ill and I still feel like even though I was around, I was somehow absent, lost in a busy NQT year and embarking upon a new relationship with the now father of my children.  I realise though that those final months and days were yours and Mum's and not about me at all.  Sometimes I forget that before you were mine, you both were and are people.  Being a parent doesn't define you; it's just another string to your bow.  

As you can imagine, Grandma dotes on her grandchildren and I adore the happiness they bring her. Pictures of them are scattered around your home and she kisses the one on her phone every night before bed.  I know that she speaks of you to my daughter and sometimes when I hear my girl say the words 'Grandad Paul' it tears me up inside because I wonder what kind of grandad you would have been.  I imagine that you would be more involved as a grandfather, I don't know why I think that - I just do.  I try to explain where you are, but I am also aware that I am not ready for her to learn about some of the sadness and horrors we may face in this life. I do want her to know that I too, like her, once had a Dad who loved me the depth of his soul.

You were a quiet person who would observe a conversation. Until, that is, you had a couple of beers inside you and then we could never shut you up!  I recall begrudgingly having to pick you up from various pubs on Sunday afternoons and then bringing you home to sit at the dinner table by yourself and eat because Mum and I had already eaten. I wonder now, if you had your time again, would you do a few things differently?  All I know is that I would give my right arm to be able to pick you up from the local pub now, even if I could smell Mum's Yorkshire Puddings cooking in the oven. 

I hope we've done you proud Dad - Mum and I. And I hope that somewhere, wherever you may be, you can see your Grandchildren because they are well behaved (most of the time), polite and pretty flippin' gorgeous. The girl can throw an awesome tantrum every now and again; she is still learning that, unlike us, she isn't an only child. Lucky her though, because, unlike us, she will hopefully never have to bare the burden of going through the pain of losing a loved one alone. 

Pictures: Me, Dad and Ben the Dog. Me and the Munchkins.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Moderation Sickness and Multibuys

Saturday 16th May and it's the bedtime hour (two hours).

I have been trying to blog all week about my first week of moderation and to think of a way to make it interesting.  Truth is: I can't. At the back of my mind though, I have it in my head that this is a teacher blog so I have to get some teachery (totally a word) stuff on here too. What you have then is an amalgamation of the week's events where I try and fail at my first attempt at moderation, survive a vomit filled night and attend a birthday party where three of the girls all wore the same dress.

Tuesday morning arrived and I know you have missed them so the first thing I will tell you is that my trusty jogging bottoms made an appearance. As did my make up free face, a t-shirt that was 'won' in a 10k race from years gone by and the (everyone has to have one) mum bun. In fact, I even planned ahead as I knew that I was going to wear the exact same outfit on Wednesday too. And I did. 

However, as with every morning comes the dreaded night before and on both Monday night and Tuesday night when I really needed to be 'on it' the following day, I was doing the old tried and tested lay down feed every two hours. 

Both nights played out a little like this: 2am - awake again for the third time. I can't do a sitting up feed again in fear of falling asleep, slumping over the boy and giving him a deathly bosom for a pillow. Sideways on. Boob out. Boob in. Doze. Wince as boob is shaken all about. Doze. Have a weird lucid. Doze. Become aware that the boy is waking again. Oh, he can't be, it's only been ten minutes. It's 4.30am. Repeat the pattern. It's 6.15am and he is still asleep when suddenly the bedroom door is pushed open by the other half, who is currently getting uninterrupted sleep by bunking up with his favourite girl (which, by the way, certainly isn't me). The carpet to our room is really thick so when he opens it, it's like he is opening a World War Two bunker that's been locked for seventy years. He isn't even opening it to say good morning; he does it to make sure I am awake for when the girl wakes, realises Daddy isn't there and wants a *shakes head in shame* morning Fruitshoot. The opening of the bunker this morning did wake both me and the boy or maybe is was my 'SHUUUUSH' before slamming my head back into my pillow and silently screaming.

With the girl dropped off at nursery, it was time to begin my work. I took out my first batch of coursework and began. Within minutes, the boy decided to reach a milestone in his little life and he rolled over. He was very pleased with himself; so was I. Pen down. Phone out. Video on.
'Roll for Daddy,'
No movement.
'Come on, roll so I can show Daddy.'
A blank stare. 
This continued for a while until I returned to my work and then he ninja flipped onto the carpet. Perhaps I was looking for a reason not to start my work as I tried to film it again and again. Poor Daddy had to wait four days to finally see a roll.  We learnt that he does not roll on demand as he isn't a performing monkey. How were we supposed to know that? 

A knock at the door came just as I was about to tear my hair out. It was my mum; she had come to look after the boy whilst I 'got my head around' the first batch.  It wasn't so much the moderation I was struggling with; it was (and still is) all the paperwork that I have to fill out and return alongside it.  My mum came and helped out on Wednesday also and I finally finished and posted my first batch that afternoon after starting it on Tuesday morning. I have to do this for twenty two other schools - it's going to be a long old slog. Oh well, only twenty one to go.

Thursday morning arrived and it was the same pattern Tuesday and Wednesday.  The guilt hit on Thursday.  Was it unfair and selfish of me to stay at home all day with the boy just to try to earn a bit of extra cash?  I felt like he was missing out on baby classes similar to the ones I did with my daughter when she was a baby.  Although, I have to admit that Baby Yoga and Baby Massage were pretty bloody horrendous when I took the girl.  She used to get 'olive oiled up' and then scream the place down and I would leave the place dishevelled and smelling like a chip pan.  By Thursday afternoon I had almost finished my second batch of moderating and was starting to feel a bit more confident about it.  Then the girl returned home from Grandma and Granddad's and for the next twelve hours a sea of vomit descended upon us all.  We were doomed.

She came through the door.
'Mummy, can I have some big girl crispies?'
Granddad informed me that she had already eaten a lot today.  However, I had two more scripts to moderate and if I did that then that would be another complete batch.  I gave her the crisps and the next hour passed without drama.  I am not the cook in the house and Daddy was at Parent's Evening so as a treat I suggested that we go to the local garden centre for tea. (How lucky are my children?) We were putting on our shoes when the girl put her hand to her mouth.
'Do you want to be sick?' I asked.
She shook her head.
'Shall we go to the toilet?'
She shook her head.
'Let's just go for a wee before we leave anyway,'
'Noooooo, I don't neeeeed a wee.' She said.  She raised her hand to her mouth again.
'Do you need a poo then?'
She shook her head.
'Are you going to be sick?'
She nodded her head.
I grabbed her to rush to the toilet, but the pointless conversation you have just read above meant that we were too late and BLEUGH.  All over the living room floor.  Twice.  I didn't panic.  We jumped over it and made it to the toilet just in time for her to stand over it and just spit.

After wiping everything up and making sure that the girl got fluids, I went to check on the boy.  I had left him on his play mat.  The ninja flipping Little Dude had somehow made it over to the TV and was currently face planting the laminate floor.  Oh.

I decided on an early bath for all.  I simultaneously bathed boy the girl in the big bath and the boy in the baby bath all while silently cheering myself on for being so calm and completely handling the situation.  Suddenly, the girl retched again and her hand came to her mouth.  I lifted the boy from his bath, wrapped him in a towel, emptied his bath in the shower, brought the bath to the girl's mouth and BLEUGH!  I caught it.  Could not have timed it any better if I had tried.  Amazed at my quick thinking, the girl could remain in untainted waters until the boy's PJs were put on.  It wasn't until I emptied her bath that I noticed three pieces of sweetcorn and a stick of carrot going down the plug hole.  There is always a bit of carrot isn't there?

The night was pretty awful with the girl waking and retching every hour.  For Friday then, I envisaged a trip to the doctors followed by another day of being trapped in the house with a poorly princess, Peppa Pig and unmoderated coursework staring at me.  However, she woke, smiled and asked for a Fruitshoot so off to soft play we went.  Hurrah!

That kind of brings us back around to today.  We have been to a joint third birthday party and I have two very tired but content children on my hands.  Now, I assume that three years ago there was nothing much on television one night as most of my friends all had babies within days of each other. This means lots of birthday presents and parties - which is lovely for the children as they are now growing up and playing together.  However, with me being the most unimaginative birthday present buyer ever, I think my friends have come to expect a present from Next.  I am worried that the kids have too.  'Oh look the boring lady who brings us shirts every year is here, yey'.  But hey, at least clothes don't take up a load of room in your dining room or living room, right guys?  Needless to say, three children at the party (including my girl) were all wearing the same dress that yours truly bought them for their birthdays.  You're welcome!  They looked cute though and I promise that they weren't purchased on a 'buy one get two free' offer!  Fortunately, today's parties were boys' but it's safe to say that had they been born girls, then they too would have received a grey spotty dress for their third birthday.

Just before I sign off.  After returning home from the parties, I noticed that my first batch of marked moderation had been returned back to me with a request to do it all again.  I had filled out the paperwork incorrectly but on a Postit note have been reassured not to feel 'downhearted' as I started with a 'problematic centre'.  So that's twenty two to go then...

Oh and just before going to bed last night, the other half was sick. BLEUGH indeed.

Pictures: That Dress! and The Little Dude rolling amongst my work.