Friday, 1 December 2017

Stranger Duvets

Night time. As Bjork once sang in her broad Icelandic drole,” It’s oh so quiet, it’s all so still.”  A time to sit down and relax. Pop the kettle on and make a cup of tea. Maybe indulge in an episode of Stranger Things or four. Go on, put your bed socked feet up and just ‘Netflix n chill.’ However, Bjork goes on in her joyful ditty, “All is peaceful until..” She obviously had a constipated, nightmaring Toddler when she penned her hit song. The night waking is still going on and is very much alive. Constipation can be a culprit but at the moment we have a new enemy in our midst:  the duvet or to be precise, kicking off the duvet. It can strike at any time.  An hour in, three hours in and then three or four times in the night. I have tried tucking her in like an over- zealous Victorian nanny but then she will scream as if she is being detained against her will. The sounds she makes are similar to those being made by Winona Ryder in many an episode of Stranger Things. It’s like she’s been taken by the monster and is being abducted to the Upside Down.



 My daughter could actually play the part of Eleven in Stranger Things. Eleven has telekinetic powers which means she is able to see people and find them with the power of her mind. My daughter must have these powers too as she knows exactly when I come in from a night out and the exact time I go to bed. I usually catch up on The Archers on Radio 4 before bed and I always play it very quietly. However, she knows, like she knows the exact moment my head hits my pillow that this is the time to wake up. It’s quite a skill. I can literally have just got into bed when the “Mummy!!” starts. And 9 out of 10 times at the moment it’s because of the sodding duvet. As soon as I put it back on she starts snoring. Put her in a grobag I hear you say! I think if I tried putting her in one of those things now it would be the end of days. We do have one big enough so I may well try one last attempt but I fear she will get too hot, panic or both. I fear it will all be in vain but then we are about to put her into a toddler bed so a grobag might be a plan. That’s right. The monster will be free to roam. I haven’t quite got my head around the fact that she will have freedom for the first time in 2 and half years. The cot is going to a friend of mine who’s just had a baby so my girl has been bought a very nice white bed by her Grandma. We live in a flat so the potential for her to get out and cause untold mayhem is infinitesimal. I am seriously thinking about putting a gate on her door but luckily she doesn’t have the strength yet to turn the handle on it. But I know once the feeling of freedom has been felt, there will be no turning back. She has only in the last fortnight discovered a love of climbing and I just know that the beautifully organised Great Little Trading boxes that I have lovingly put into categories including Craft, Vehicles and Dress Up/Make believe will be upturned and strewn on to the carpet to the blue light of her Angel care nightlight. The OCD in me is already starting to make my eye twitch at the thought. What if Duplo gets into the Megablock box? What if the farm figures end up in the Puppy park. No. Stop Harriet. It doesn’t bear thinking about.



 Anyway, Christmas is around the corner so the transition from cot, happily incarcerated to the freedom of the toddler bed will not be happening until the Christmas tree is long gone. I don’t want to hear pine needle in toddler skull in the middle of the night. The possibility for  toddler mischief in a house adorned with Christmas decorations doesn't bear thinking about. So we are going to wait until the New Year for that one. 2018: the year of even less sleep that we had before because our daughter is free. Pass me the Prosecco pronto.
 She is beyond excited. This morning she woke up to find a mini Christmas tree in her bedroom and she got to open her Paddington Bear advent calendar. Seeing her little face was priceless. That smile makes everything worthwhile. It’s beautiful. But I also know the smile she has when she’s done something naughty.  That cheeky smile which says,”. I’ve just pulled the Christmas tree over or pulled off tiny bits of the tinsel or peed all over the laminate flooring. No, we shall avoid ‘That’ smile until the New Year. The New Year in which I turn 40. Wish me luck.



Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Guilty

Relaxing music plays in the background. She runs a bath and fills it with Jo Malone oils. She has a long soak, moisturises and puts on her fluffy white, warm, clean dressing gown. The drawer to her dressing table is open. She looks through the bottles of nail varnish, turning each one and gazes at the bright shades. Some shiny, like patent heels, others shimmery like a Christmas bauble. ‘Thigh High’- that’s the name on the bottle. Carefully, the colour is applied. Time is left between each coat, allowing it to dry. Once they are done the hair is coiffed, dress and tights laid out on the bed and so begins the trying on of high heeled shoes….(Sound Effect of record scratching to a halt) What a load of bollocks! Let’s turn off that soothing music, drain that bath and chip those nails. Dragging you back into reality kicking and screaming. Hang up that fluffy clean, white dressing gown and replace it with a slightly thread-bare one that’s in need of a damn good wash, as it is also used as a makeshift blanket in the middle of the night. For good measure, run a toddler’s nostrils down the front for a shiny snail trail. Et voila. Sexy mama is back. Those heady days when you had over an hour or even an afternoon to get ready to go out are long gone. Vanished into thin air along with your pelvic floor.

  I think it’s fair to say that I don’t go out much, in fact I go out rarely, so when my agent who is also my mate offered me comps for the musical ‘Kinky Boots’ I said Yasssss please! However, it’s never quite as simple as saying a simple yes, is it? Oh no. The problem was that we couldn’t get any childcare last minute so one of us needed to stay at home. I won the going out card that night so whoop! A night off. How lovely. But it’s a never a night off is it? The evening out was reliant on all of the planets aligning which involved my husband getting home from work on time and him not being too ill to look after the small one. So, during the day I had cleaned, tidied, made a casserole, oh did some childcare, made sure the cot was ready, bit more childcare, pyjamas out, bath ready for running and at some point, putting some slap on my face to cover up the lines, bags and general wear and tear.
Sadly, the day before some bastard had broken into our block and burgled two of the upstairs flats so earlier on in the day I had been on the phone to the management company to organise a locksmith to come round. Now he arrived at 4:15. My ETD was 5:30. He was there for nearly an hour, checking outside locks and trying to get the front door to close properly. He left at 5:10. Whilst he was talking to me I was trying to edge back in the flat, making sure that my girl wasn’t up to mischief and put the oven on for the casserole. I also had the small task of getting ready! Finally, he went and I ran into the bedroom and tried to do something with my knackered visage. I then put rice in a pan, set the table and finally hubster got in at 5:25. He looked like death warmed up and promptly fell on the bed asking me what time I was heading out. I replied, “Now” and he groaned. As soon as my daughter saw me put heels that was it. My cover was blown. Proper ploppy tears ensued, followed by lots of,  Take me with you! Don’t leave me!”. Kids are great aren’t they?
 I had four minutes to get ready. I put on a dress which I’d never worn before and when asked how I looked my husband half looked at me, and said, “Oh? Erm. It’s fine. “ Now we all know that this is code for “That dress does nothing for you. Why did you press confirm purchase on ASOS? “ Great. So, I left the house looking less than average with a screaming toddler and an ill husband. I felt frazzled and guilty as hell. As I walked down the street I could still hear my daughter wailing, I had Mum hair and bare nails. I texted my husband on the train and was promptly told that my daughter took ages to console and was refusing to eat the ruddy casserole. I looked down at my shit dress and felt a ruddy winner, I can tell you.



 As I arrived at Waterloo, I ran into the big Boots and bought some nail varnish, hilariously called ‘Thigh High’. The only thing that was thigh high was my self pity and massive guilt. I found somewhere to sit and managed to apply two coats. I used the walk across Waterloo Bridge to dry the buggers. It’s amazing how resourceful one becomes as a parent. Oh, I was so busy sorting out everyone else that it dawned on me that I hadn’t had supper. Sarnie and a packet of Percy Pigs from M&S will have to suffice. This was washed down with a medium glass of overpriced Merlot at the theatre. However, taking everything into account, I had a brilliant night and Kinky Boots really is an astonishing musical. Damn, those drag queens can dance! Nothing like a bloke in a pair of heels and covered in sequins to lift one’s spirits and boost your day.
Afterwards, I turned down after show drinks and whizzed home to a dark house. Husband and daughter were fast asleep. I took off my mediocre dress and put on my pyjamas. Bliss. That night, my girl unusually slept through and woke up bouncing the merry shit out of her cot. I was greeted with a big hug and a kiss. Pathetic I know, but I had missed putting my girl to bed.

 Anyway, one place that is going to benefit from my night out is our local Fara. There’s one leopard print dress coming your way. Every cloud, eh?

Friday, 3 November 2017

Another?

Long time. No read. There just haven’t been enough hours in the day. All parents suffer from this but sometimes you go through a few weeks when you don’t know your arse from your child’s elbow and you barely have time to sit down and drink half a tepid cup of tea. The last couple of weeks have been a bit like that. Works been mental, my husband’s work has been mental, we’ve been away and I’ve been working out of town a lot. Can not complain though. Being busy to a freelancer is a truly great thing. Christmas and the tax man are a comin so I’ve been voice overing shed loads.
It seems that this year there has been a bit of an epidemic. An epidemic of multiplying and procreation. Basically, everyone is ruddy pregnant, trying to get up le proverbial duff or has just had a baby. Many of them are second or even third babies, and some are fresh new ones with just Mummy and daddy and their entire extended family to dote on them and spoil them rotten this Christmas with things that they don’t really need. Take it from me, do not go overboard with gifts on the first Christmas. They are small, they won’t remember it and you will be so knackered and emotional that you probably won’t want to remember it either. I remember my girls first Christmas. I slept on the floor of my mother’s study with one bap lobbed over the side of the sleepyhead as it was the only way to get some sleep and get her through the teething from hell. There were enough presents to set up a competitor to Hamley’s as friends and family had gone berserk with presents. I shit you not, it took all day to open them. Myself and my husband bought her 6 presents thinking that was a top idea. Everyone had been so generous but I found it all too much. Teething, sleep deprivation and lots of presents for a child not yet one was surprisingly over whelming.


However, I digress. About seven of my friends are pregnant or have just had their second or third baby. We are also expecting another addition to our  family in the shape of “baby cousin” as my sister in law is pregnant. My small one is beyond excited and thinks that baby cousin is growing in her tummy. I’m getting a lot of “Sssssh Mummy. Baby cousin is sleeping. In my tummy.” Ok. We’ll just go along with it for now. Bit early for “the chat”. There is a lot of baby joy and excitement going down all around. And with this comes the age old question of, “You going to try for another?” . This then goes into, “Why aren’t you having another?” to “It would be a bit cruel if your daughter was an only child.” Boom. Just like that. We’ve gone from “When are you getting married, to when are going to start a family to when are you having another one. Maybe I’ll be asked next when are you going to die? Well, it’s possible. So, I always feel I have to defend our decision to have one child. And yes, we are having one. One and done they call it. I am secure with my decision. As I pack up my daughte’rs old baby things and pass them on to friends and family I have no pangs in the womb, no “what ifs”, no weeping because of my empty tummy. I feel grateful for what I have and pleased that these things will get used again. Fara kids certainly don’t need anymore stuff from us. We want one child. End of. I was an only child. I was very much loved, not particularly spoiled and happy. Our decision wasn’t come to lightly. We’ve spoken about it at length but we are just happy. Three people in this family works. We don’t have the spare cash to comfortably bring another life into the world, we don’t have the space and my career is such that I would find it difficult to juggle work and two kids with no family on the doorstep. But the simple answer is, “We want one child.” I have no wish to go through the baby stage again as I had such a lovely time with my first. I’m enjoying each new stage with my daughter and as my dear friend Julie says, “It just gets better and better.”


I’m thrilled for friends who want lots of children and have them. I am thrilled for those who have tried for years to conceive and have had one and decided to just have one because of fertility issues. I’m also thrilled for my child free friends; those who have decided parenthood is not for them. When it comes down to it, it’s your choice and your decision. Sometimes things happen in life which means you don’t have a choice. You know, I’m going to be the big 40 next year. And I might not be able to conceive. Also, statistically I am more likely to have twins which quite frankly scares the shit out of me. Double buggies frighten me.



I am so lucky to have my daughter. There was a point when we thought we might not be able to and that made be very sad but then I got pregnant and this small, blue eyed girl turned up and changed my life and brought a lot of happiness and light along with her. She makes me laugh, she makes cry, she makes me want to be better and she sometimes makes me wonder about my parenting skills as she has such an affinity with fruit and veg that she wants them to be her friends. I’m trying not to worry too much. Maybe she’ll become a greengrocer. We could do with one near where we live and she’s a real people person. Anyway, whatever she wants to do it will hopefully make her happy and it will be her choice because, let’s face it, that’s all that matters really in the end.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Accept and build.

Here I am, staring into space with that zombified, morning look on my face. I stare at my laptop. What am I going to write today? I am sat on the train going to work, plugged into my podcast, one bircher muesli down and reluctantly swigging from a berry smoothie as I didn’t have time to get a coffee. The world is a slower, darker place if caffeine has not been ingested by 8:10am. Let’s just say, that sleep is not plentiful at the moment. We have entered into the magical world of monsters. A good old fashioned nightmare, teamed with constipation and you have one heck of a night. Two nights ago I admitted defeat and got up to make a cup of tea at 4:30. Little one then wanted milk so the day started until the little bugger decided, that yes, she was actually tired and spread eagled in our bed until 8. Other reasons for waking have been as follows:
1.Duvet has been kicked off during nightmare/ mad moment. Duvet needs to be replaced by Mummy and hand must be held.
2. Cold because of lack of duvet.
3. Husband has gone to bed late and put bathroom light on which starts the sodding fan which sounds like a Boeing 747 taking off.
4.Trapped wind
5.Lost muzzie
6. Trouser leg of pyjama has ridden up causing acute anger.
7. Just missed me.

Luckliy, compared to the sleepless nights of old, we can cope with one or two wake ups. As long as she goes back to sleep quickly and I can go back to sleep quickly, equilibrium will be achieved. Hmmm- as long as I can go back to sleep….now, that’s the problem. I am now getting back into bed and looking at the clock. Then I lie staring into the darkness. Come on. Let’s get some zzz’s. Nope. Ok then. Let’s have a quick shufty at the news. Oh Christ, some horrific terrorist attack has occurred. This will prompt more sleeplessness and lying there trying to work out how I can still go into town with my girl but avoid open spaces and the tube. I can cope with a little bit of broken sleep but if I am awake for longer than an hour, then a lot of concealer has to be applied in the morning and a lot of coffee has to be put into my system. But, it’s something that I am now used to. Also, my running is really helping. I used to be a dreadful mum after a crap night. Very emotional, unable to cope with menial tasks. Unable to think clearly. But running has been an absolute life saver. I have got myself back. My brain is clearer and more active and I can breathe deeply and walk up our hill without getting out of puff. I have even run up our hill which was one of my goals when I started running again. I am well proud of myself. The only down side is that exercise makes you hungry and I don’t think the amount I am exercising warrants the amount of carbs going back in. But sod it. I feel good and my legs are coming back too. Bring it.


 I have also been continuing my odyssey of retraining/ studying/ adding strings to my small bow. I had a long chat with my Mum. One thing you need to know about my Mum is that she’s A. Awesome but B. Nearly always right. She sat me down and said, “Look, you love what you do. Why don’t you work with what you’ve got and don’t reinvent the wheel.” She’s right. I love my job. I am so lucky to do something creative, something that changes weekly, often daily. I am also the luckiest girl in the world as I get to work with my best friends. Yes, I’m, self employed. Yes, it’s not a secure profession but I’ve lived like that all of my working life and I am used to it. There are tough times, especially at the moment with childcare costs and mortgage but the childcare is worth every penny and I love our new flat and where we live. I keep telling my daughter how lucky we are. And that’s just it. It’s very easy to take things for granted and get bogged down, always looking for the next big thing, the next potential job, more money, more whatever it is. It’s a bit of an actor thing, to constantly look ahead rather than just accepting one’s lot and being truly happy with it and being happy with now. It’s taken me a long time but I am happy. I’ve got a great job, lovely family, I love being a wife and Mum and yeah, I worry about cash but everyone does. Things ain’t bad. In terms of my career, I’m going to stick with what I’m good at and enjoy and I am looking at doing an MA but not straight away. I don’t want to put pressure on myself or my family. I will do it when it suits us. Just one small hurdle: getting accepted on a ruddy course but we’ll tackle that when we the time comes. In the meantime, I have a day off, sans work, sans small person. I am typing this, I am going to put several washes on. I will spend the afternoon chasing that sodding squirrel out of our garden and I will go for a run in our beautiful local park. Oh, and I’ve got a tub of M&S mini chocolate mini rolls. Life is good.

Monday, 25 September 2017

All change please.

Thanks so much for the lovely messages of support that I received after my last post. I read it back to myself and it was a tad wingey but hey, we all gotta winge sometimes. To give you a Constipation update, well….. (drum roll)…..Poo Patrol are on a roll! We’ve nearly cracked it. Just lifting her up every time seems to be helping. Two movements in two days. Boomshackalack!
Anyway, Christ. I’m boring myself. Poor kid will be so embarrassed in years to come that I aired her problem to the world. Anyway, during this dark time we had to purchase prune juice. Now, I had forgotten just how much I love prunes. As a kid, I was first to the prunes at the hotel breakfast buffet. Only once in my life have I had my daughter’s recent affliction. I have only ever had to have Milk of Magnesia once and that was enough so I count myself lucky. Well, she had a couple of the Ella pouches but wasn’t enamoured with the juice. Our lovely childminder tried putting it in a syringe and pretending it was medicine. Old Sherlock  was one step ahead. She spat it out immediately. So, I thought I would sample the juice and see what all the fuss is about. I had one glass with lunch and got a bit of a taste for it. I had another glass and then another. 19 minutes and 21 seconds later and all hell broke loose. I couldn’t move quick enough. I had the same feeling of horror that you have when you reach into the glove compartment on a long car journey and you’ve run out of  Percy Pigs. But worse. I nearly took my foot off on the kitchen side board as I ran. The irony is that as I ran to the bathroom about to “release the kraken” ,as my poor, owled small one was having a bath. Our toilet is next to the bath. I apologised profusely and asked her desperately to “not look Mummy in the eye.” In the words of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, “it was coming out of me like lava.” I looked at the loo roll holder. Down to half a roll. Luckily my phone was in my jeans pocket so I texted my husband,’ Bring loo roll. Had prune juice. Nuff said.’

 I’m not proud of what I’ve done and I probably haven’t sold the whole prune juice thang to my daughter but if only she would drink it. Things would be outta there like a 20 year old man in a cafĂ© full of breast feeding mothers. I mean, the hype is completely justified. Prunes clear you out and no mistake. They had the same effect on me as a Mexican (the cuisine, not a gentleman of South American origin). I was going to go for a run that night but thought better of it. I played it safe and remained in my own home, close to my bathroom. Me and my childminder thought about starting up the “Prune Cleanse”. A new diet for the yummy mummies of South West London. With results like that, we could be on to something. I’m sure I would have been a size 8 after attempting the diet if I hadn’t consumed half a packet of Oreo’s.

 Anyway, whilst my mind has been elsewhere and having to deal with the heady, glamorous world of constipation I have been taking a long, hard look at my career. I have been in acting and voice over for nearly 18 years. It has not been an easy road but in voice over I found my niche and I have been relatively successful at it. However, as with all things that involve a face, a voice or occasionally a well, worn body, there is a shelf life and after the age of 40 the work sadly starts taking a downward spiral. This isn’t immediate but in time, the work just starts to diminish. I am under no illusions that I am immune to this. I have a couple of very successful cartoons under my belt, recently been part of some great computer games but I need to future-proof myself and my career for the inevitable. But what to do? It’s the nightmare of all actors and voice artists. The realisation that you have no transferable skills and haven’t been in the real world of work for some time. I also have a complete lack of confidence in myself and my academic ability. I used to be quite bright but many of the skills I used to have ie. reading music, writing essays, reading a book and retaining the information, the use of the English language, have all faded into the ether. Can they return? I ruddy hope so.


 So, the arduous task of getting another qualification begins. I am looking at a broad spectrum. From Forest school and Primary Teaching to going back to teaching drama to little people, nursing or even starting up my own business. It’s scary stuff but I am also excited by the challenge and the potential for change. I am the only person stopping me at the moment. I have a bit of a lazy streak but I am also spurred on by my daughter. I want her to be proud of me and I want to be proud of myself. At the moment, the teaching is in poll position but I am not rushing. I am 40 next year so I don’t want to be messing around. Hopefully exciting things are on the horizon, if I don’t get in the way of myself.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Crap Mum



The last couple of weeks have been a little trying. The Chicken Pox finally got us and, even though there was a dearth of spots, my little girl felt very unwell and it’s taken a good 10 days for her to get back to full battery. We’ve had some crap nights and now the constipation has come to ahead too. Initially,I was trying to find the “brighter side” of constipation especially when my girl stopped in front of courting couples and had a good strain but it’s been going on too long now and I’ve lost my sense of humour over it. She’s now so sore around the rump that its painful for her to sit and she will only go to the loo in the bath or when she’s in bed. She is potty averse. But something’s got to give as it’s affecting the everyday and she is truly miserable because of her affliction. I’m quite emotional at the moment. A. because my girl is in pain and B. because I’ve gone back on my pill and I’m waiting for my hormones to calm the hell down.

 In days of yore I would have listened to friends with children and taken note of the trials and tribulations of everyday parenting but only half listened. That wasn’t relevant to me and surely they’re over exaggerating? Aren’t they? Surely a child not being able to go the loo is a minor problem and you just get them to eat fruit, drink water and voila. Done. The End. Oh no. How wrong I was. I thought that once all of the teeth were through that would be it. No more major probs. Sleep and plain sailing. Ha ha. We went to a BBQ with our wonderful NCT gang this weekend. My gal was running round with her friends, balloon dancing and playing kitchen. I, on the other hand was stressed out that she wasn’t eating and kept checking her nappy, nagging her to try and eat something. If my arse was red raw then I probably wouldn’t be that fussed about lunch either but I kept persisting. I irritated myself. It meant that I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I should have done and I sounded like a mother who constantly fussed and flapped around their child. Watching your child squat in the middle of a room trying to poo onto a hard floor with eyes watering whilst her friends play merrily around her is quite distressing but unless she was asking to be changed or calling for me I kinda should’ve just left her to play.

 Her sleep is broken too because of it. Last night she kept calling out for me so I just brought her into our bed. Three in a standard double is a bit of a squeeze, especially when the smallest member has the wing span of an albatross but we all snuggle quite happily. Except for last night which was unsettled to say the least. She woke up in quite a good mood. We stayed in bed to have her milk and then we got up, dressed her in favourite Paw Patrol hoody (I can not stop singing the sodding theme tune).  Anyhoo, then came the time for teeth. Well, it was a battle that was never going to be won this morning. The only winner was the toothpaste which got in her hair, my hands, my black leggings and also somehow, my hair. But the shame of it is that rather than just admitting defeat I tried to persist. And I shouted at her. I then walked away and threw the toothbrush in the sink. I then cried. Great. Well done Harriet. If you really want your daughter to get into brushing her teeth then this really is a fabulous way of putting her off for life. I felt so damn guilty that I hugged my girl and held onto her, weeping through my apology. She looked at me and said, “Mummy crying.” Yes, my sweet. Your mother has lost it and is indeed, crying like the silly cow that she is.

 I am currently on a train feeling guilty as hell. Never mind run fat bitch run but run stupid bitch run. I was going to go for a run this morning and probably should have done but felt so unbelievably terrible. I want to pick my daughter up, bunk off work and run away to Peppa Pig World to say sorry. (Actually, anywhere but there. That’s a shit idea.) Anyway, I have treated myself to a Pret Smoked Salmon sandwich, not that I deserve it and I am trying to take stock. The poor kid has a sore arse, had had a crap night’s sleep and has a cold as she refused to wear her coat in the park yesterday. Give the little one a break dag nammit!

I feel like the crappest mother on the planet today and worry that my emotional outbursts, of which there have been a couple this week, will have a lasting impact. I never thought that I would cry so much over a sore bum and a child with trapped wind. It’s emotional stuff. Who knew? But when you have a small one, you don’t want them to be in pain, uncomfortable or sad and I know that she’s been all three over the course of the past couple of weeks. Poor thing. When I get home tonight she is going to get the biggest hug and a copy of the latest Peppa Pig Magazine. Crap Mum? More like Crap and Guilt ridden Mum. They may be small but they have a huge impact on our lives. I didn’t know I could love anything that much. They’re pretty amazing aren’t they?

Friday, 1 September 2017

The Devil wears toothpaste.

Tis morning. The sunlight peeks through the blinds and I hear the faint birdsong underneath the sounds of the Heathrow flightpath. I look at the monitor. All is still. I look at the clock. 7am. I turn over and snatch another couple of peaceful minutes under the duvet. I drift off back to sleep. Then, suddenly the bars of the monitor start to judder. “Peppa Pig World. Dinosaur. Dinosaur too angry.” These are the morning utterances of my offspring. Peppa Pig World was a big hit. (With her, not me. I am still in recovery. The glockenspeil playing in the background and the bright colours give it a tinge of ‘The Shining’. I left there traumatised. Plus, spending over a hundred quid to queue for 35 mins to go on a ride that is as fast the London Eye urks one’s gizzard.) Then suddenly she shouts at the top of her lungs, “Mummy!”. Up gets Daddy and brings a small person in ladybird pyjamas, who has recently been visted by the hair fairy into our room. She is deposited in the big bed for a bottle of milk and a morning snuggle. After this scene of serenity the day must begin and boy, does it start with a bang. First, you have to get clothes on them. When they’re babies and can’t move, life is simple. Nappy, babygro or whatever is clean. Et voila. Then they start to walk, talk and get opinions. It’s really irritating. My daughter has taken to having a say in what she wears. If I don’t comply then she grows horns, her eyes turn red and she starts frothing at the mouth. I never knew that wearing the wrong colour trousers could provoke such wrath in one so young. Sometimes I wrestle her into clothes, with her moving off the mat or trying to run out of her bedroom door. But, other mornings it’s all good. Fine. No arguments. Just put on the mouse trousers and be done with it.

The dressing of the toddler is just the start however. Then one has to brush their teeth. I’m relatively strong and have until recently been the main brusher. But of late, things have taken a turn. If you wanted to get on with breakfast, get out of the house or get to work on time then I’ve got news for you. This is war and it’s a war I am willing to fight.The war of the teeth. I have had sleepless nights and sore nips becuase of those buggers and we ain’t losing them.
I cover myself in protective armour: a white Egyptian cotton towel. My weapon of choice is an AK- Sainsbury’s dinosaur toothbrush. Standard issue. My amo is Sainsbury’s Kids toothpaste. Mild Mint. (Any other variety has been banned under toddler UN sanctions. I enter the battle ground, code name Lion’s den at 0800 hours. The battle is tough. There is wrestling, flailing arms and much aggressive movement from the enemy. The jaws are sharp and there is risk of finger loss or at worse, a whole hand. I look down. My towel has been compromised and my black jersey top has been placed in danger, right in the line of fire. I stand on the front line, the enemy frothing at the mouth. The enemy is now trying to combat roll out of the situation and I go to grab them but it’s too late. Mouth and Jersey top are face to face. The battle is lost. The war is over until the next time. The Jersey top is covered in Shrapnel.

 By the time I have to go to work, I am exhausted. I usually drop the small one off at childcare, covered in toothpaste: her face and my clothing. On occasion she looks like she’s a decorator, off to paint someone’s living room. Once I am on the train, I look down and see the trail of Mild Mint, 0-2 years covering my person. The Health Visitor said to brush for 2 and half minutes at the 27 month review. 2 and a half minutes! My husband tried that and nearly lost an arm. It’s dangerous stuff. In the evenings we try brushing in the bath. It usually works a lot better as there are distractions but sometimes she moves around the tub like Shamu and we can’t catch her. The thing is, everyone has worked towards those teeth with a hellish two years of teething so we are ruddy well going to look after them. Fall out they shall not.




 So, last week as I typed, all was calm and I had a glass of red to hand and Fleetwood Mac: Greatest Hits (of which there are many, I might add) was a playin in the garden room. The scene is oh, so very different this evening. I am in bed with a hot Ribena and a throat that’s on fire. I have bed socks on as I am shivering. I have tonsillitis. This affliction on its own is bad enough but my girl is also ill. With Chicken Pox. It’s been a fun filled couple of days. My dear Mum has been an absolute ruddy star and dropped everything to look after her Granddaughter for two days. On day one I returned home early from work. The good stuff had been saved up for Mummy. She really has quite a scream on her even when she’s feeling like utter shit. We had to get out of the house so we attempted a walk in the park. It was a hell of a lot hotter than my weather app had said so once small person had been in peaceful slumber for about half an hour we decided to take off her shoes so she didn’t get too hot. Well, knock me down with a feather. That was a crap idea. She had a tantrum to end all tantrums. She tried to get out of the back of her pram and as her face was crushed against the netting I was reminded of scenes from The Exorcist. I think the lesson here is to let sleeping toddlers lie. Don’t take their shoes off as a gesture of good will. Nay. Keep them on and let them sweat. And as for brushing for two and half minutes? Well, if you can do that then you are truly a brave warrior.




Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Owled.


Over the past few weeks I have been stuck in a world of poo. I have a 2 year old that is ready to be potty trained if only she would sit on the damn thing. We have three potties: one that is like a throne adorned with Finding Dory stickers, a travel potty in pink which also doubles up as a child’s toilet seat and a bog standard *(‘scuse the pun) one from John Lewis. She won’t sit on any of the buggers. Correction. She will sit on them but not perform in or on them. We tried a bit of ‘no pants on’ action before bath time. She sat on the potty out in the garden. I was lulled into a false sense of “potty training- this shit is easy”. And then she got up and crapped all over the decking about a meter away from said potty. It was a watering can job to get it out of the grooves. She’d had sweetcorn that night.

 Since we got back from holiday we have entered a whole new dimension. Constipation. She is aware of her bowel movements and is hanging on a bit too long. We have had a couple of really tough days when she’s been so “owled” as my mother calls it: a phrase that beautifully describes the complaint. When one needs to go, one has a certain look about one. You know, wide eyed and well, owled. And she can’t sleep and spends all day straining and in a right old ratty arsed mood. It’s been really horrible. She has taken to squatting and hitting the deck and flapping her arms, shouting out “no, no, poo, poo, happening.” She starts straining and goes red faced and watery eyed. It’s quite something to behold. Now, this can happen anywhere. In the middle of a path in a National Trust property. In the street, in a car park, in Peppa Pig World in the queue for Miss Rabbit’s helicopter… I mean, it can be awkward. Also, when we’ve had faecal success she is so happy that she wants to tell everyone. On the way home from Peppa Pig World, we had to stop at a Harvester. I had never been to a Harvester. I’ve patronised a Beefeater and a Berni Inn but never a Harvester with their infamous free Salad bar. My relieved little girl emerged from the ladies and told the whole restaurant that she’d done a “big poo”. And then kept repeating it. The chap on the table next to us who’d ordered the mixed grill wasn’t overly chuffed, I can tell you.



 You see, decorum and discretion have gone out of the window. I’ve turned into one of those parents who will wipe a pooey bum in public. I’ve done it at the station, in car parks, in Royal parks and in a family members garden. When you gotta wipe ya gotta wipe. I find myself asking “Do you need a poo poo?” quite a lot. And it’s always in “that” tone. You know the one. It’s ever so patronising and has an upward inflection at the end. What the hell has happened to me? I got so emotional about my daughter’s constipation that I not only cried in public but it was in a Harvester. A ruddy Harvester for pity’s sake. My little one looked at me and said “It’s ok, Mummy.” And presently wiped my tears with a Harvester paper knapkin. I mean, we’ve reached a low. It’s not ok.

 I am obsessed with it. Poor child is being followed by a desperate parent, constantly enquiring about her bowel movements. I need to get a grip. When she’s been, I think about it on the way to work and actually feel relieved on her behalf. I never realised that constipation could be so all consuming. Reading this back , I actually sound certifiable. Thank God I’ve got some major weight loss to occupy me instead. I have started running again and I also took the decision to come off the pill and try something else. Within a week and half I have put on over half a stone. I feel heavy, have boobs round my ankles and I’m ready to snap at a moments notice. I’m wearing all my fat girl clothes which consist of a lot of Jersey separates in a dark palate. So, today I started back on it. I can not be arsed with the weaning off process. Back on the mini pill I go. No periods, no tampax, no mess, no libido. Job done.

The running is going well so every cloud. Starting off with 20/25mins, two or three times a week. I’ve bought a book entitled, Run Fat Bitch Run. And this fat bitch is running. I run at dusk along with all the other fat bitches and wear all black. My ipod is packed with banging toons which I ratchet up the volume so as not to hear my laboured breathing. And I feel good. Really good. I am currently curled up in our garden room, having run in the park avoiding deer and I am typing with a glass of Portuguese red to hand, listening to Fleetwood Mac. I didn’t get the commercial I was pencilled for today but I did play a Shocked Cow and a squirrel in a computer game. Oh, and the small one is asleep and has done two big poos. Life. Is. Good.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Curious incident of the dog in Padstow.

The Curious incident of the Dog in Padstow.

I'm back. After a 3 weeks leave of absence I'm back in the blogosphere, coming at ya with average to middling tales of parenting wins and losses. Cornwall was ruddy awesome. By jingo, by crikey we needed that holiday. A week by the sea, fresh air, good food and the happiest toddler you ever did see. Pure bliss.
Then you have to come home. A car full of sand, shed loads of washing and life. We came back to my Grandad's funeral. My Mum did an amazing job and gave him the dignified send off he deserved. 
 We also had to put up a shed (still married after that), go to the tip and I had to go back to work. I love my job but I have an unwritten rule that, ‘Thou shalt never work he day after a holiday.’ But, being self employed and a little cash strapped after holiday I took the work. I worked most of that week with los of travel thrown in too. By the time the weekend came round I was comatosed. 

 Now, we three had actually slept on holibobs. A heady mixture of a buggered routine, the odd late night, she's loads of exercise and lung fulls of Cornish sea air meant our little girl slept. All frickin night, almost every night. It was SHamazing!! Then we came home, she got constipation and she had to go back into a routine. Mummy also went back to work. The sleep went out the window for a week. It was the shittest week of sleep we've had in a while. However, now she's had a poo and she's back in the swing of things he sleeping has started up again. It's really good isn’t it? 
The holiday was rally fab but it threw up some new challenges. My gal is a year older. She's bigger, bolder, with new opinions. Strong ones. With this new found voice come tantrums. Big ones. Let me set the scene: 
The sun is shining in a cloudless blue sky over Padstow. There is enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers. Seagulls are calling to each other across the harbour. We'd managed to get a parking space and Mummy had found a place to get a flat white. All was calm. We'd also got a table at Rick Stein’s cafe . This was the idyllic scene suddenly shattered because……
SHE DIDN’T WANT TO GO IN THE PRAM. All
Hell broke lose. It took two parents with some smooth WWF moves (wrestling not the organisation with the panda) to get our beloved strapped in whilst she was screaming and frothing at the mouth. This was the Paddy in Padstow. 
I did the honourable thing and ran away shouting” You're not mine. You're not mine.”, whilst my husband (sporting a pink short. Strong look) pushed our daughter through the bustling streets of Padstow. One man said, “I’d be screaming if my Dad was wearing pink shorts”. Then we were stopped by two well- meaning ladies win two well-meaning small dogs. I cheated to the older one (the lady not the dog). She did lots of sympathetic nodding and said “it's difficult isn't it when they can't express themselves.”

I think she’d expressed herself quite clearly to the good people do Padstow, leaving them under no illusions that she had been placed in her stroller against her will. The other lady chatted to my pink beshorted husband. Next thing I know, my little one has a a small dog on her lap. The shock of it made her stop howling because the dogs claws were digging into her leg. The well-meaning lady looked at her and said, “My son has autism too and he finds the dog a very calming influence.” 
I didn't know where to look. I didn't know whether to be grateful, horrified or offended. Instead we both got the giggles moved away apace. I mean she has a penchant for citrus fruit and likes to wrap them up in a flannel and pretend their a baby but…
Hey, I'll keep an eye. (Wink wink emoji). 



 So, now we're back I am on operation “Remove Mum bum and tum”. Seen the photographic evidence of me in shorts and the evidence is conclusive, filter or no. I need to start exercising again. The Weight Watchers subscription has been paid for, the Couch to 5k app installed and the scales dusted off. I'm ready to go. Well, I was suppose to start last night but small had constipation again so was up most of the night but tonight is the night. Lycra and a shall be donned. I will keep you abreast of my journey. I'm going to need a lot encouragement and rocket up my arse but I am determined. FIRM BUMS NOT CREAM BUNS!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Adieu

When you have children your world changes. For the better, I might add. They enrich your life and fill it with moments and adventures that you never imagined. Your days are full. There is a routine and, especially when they are very small, their needs are great. It is all consuming but I personally, wouldn’t change it for the world.
 Then suddenly, something happens in your life. A house sale, a house sale falling through or in my case, sickness and a death in the family. Suddenly, you have to fit this routine into an alien situation. I first experienced it when my dear Dad became terminally ill. We were told that there was nothing more that could be done. He was gone within 3 weeks. We dropped everything: the viewings of our flat had to go on hold, work cancelled, all of the baby stuff we had hidden in our car for viewings was dumped in our hallway. With our 8 month old baby in tow, we literally filled bags with stuff and ran out of the door. I, in the end moved up to my Dad’s in Derbyshire for 3 weeks. My husband had to go back to work during this time so I was left to look after my girl and be there for my Dad on my own. I found it very difficult to spend enough time with him as my baby needed me. I was still breastfeeding at the time. She was amazing. I couldn’t have got through it without her. That smile and that giggle got us through and was a comfort to us all.

 We were all with my Dad when he died. It was lovely having such new life in a room full of sadness and grief. Dad passed away at 6:30pm. I realised that I had to get on and do bath and bed. So, life started up again. When she was asleep, I rang the funeral directors and had a good cry. Needless to say, my daughter didn’t stay asleep so she was there when Dad was taken away. I bid him adieu with my little girl in my arms.

Fast forward nearly 18 months and we are going through a similar situation but with my Grandad. At 97, he is dying of Prostate Cancer and a piece of Shrapnel from the 2nd World War, has shifted and ulcerated his leg. It really is very cruel. We have watched him deteriorate and it all came to a head last week. Only this time, my daughter is 2. She walks, talks, needs proper meals and one decent sleep during the day. She is also becoming increasingly emotionally aware so one is a little more hesitant about taking her into certain situations. Luckily, Grandad was placed in a hospice. A wonderful place of peace and tranquility, with truly amazing nursing staff who not only care for him but the family around him. I only wish that we had had this for my Dad. Mum rang me on Monday and said that I should see Grandad sooner rather than later as his condition had deteriorated somewhat. We decided to go yesterday, and take our daughter. All three of us went. We got to say goodbye even though he was semi conscious, and spent precious time with him. We set up camp in the family room and spent the day there going in and out of his ward and looking out for Spike the cat who sleeps on the patient’s beds. My daughter was very taken with Spike.

 I didn’t really think about where I was taking her. It seemed wholly appropriate. And she was brilliant. As my husband said, “She made a lot of people smile today.” In a place of sadness, a place where people go for respite, where people go to die, a little girl in a navy party dress and party shoes (her choice), collecting snail’s shells and pebbles brought a little bit of sunshine to many. I can not thank the staff at St. Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley enough for the care that they have provided for my Grandad. Somehow he is still battling but he should be at peace either tonight or if there is someone looking down on him, even as I write this I hope he has been released from his anguish. Cancer is a long, drawn out and painful death even with the best palliative care. The nursing staff carry out their duties with such professionalism and dignity. I honestly don’t know how they do it.

 I have said my goodbyes. I shall not see my Grandad again. It was terribly sad. I sat there holding his hand thinking, ’What a life.’ This is a man that fought in the second world war, survived two injuries and the two year journey to get back to the UK. He survived three nights lying on the slopes of Monte Casino, having been shot in the leg. He lay there, able to hear the German line. He shouted out “Hilfe”, “Help!” in German, which he had learnt at school and this saved his life. They took him into their medical tent, patched him up and took him to an Italian hospital. The theatre of war is a very different place and I very much doubt that such humanity would prevail amongst enemies nowadays.
I know that my Grandfather will leave this world having lived life. He has seen it at its worst but he has also experienced some wonderful things and seen its beauty. Wherever he ends up in the next chapter, I know that he will truly be at peace. The world will have lost a true gentleman. I was privileged to have known him and my daughter was so lucky to have had a Great Grandad. In the words of Mr. Shakespeare,

‘He was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again.’

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Never be too smug.



  
 You know, it was the only the other day that I was thinking how nice it was that the summer has now arrived and we have walked out of the fog of winter bugs. We have moved away from constant runny noses, pockets filled with old tissues that have dabbed a small pair of nostrils so many times that it has started to disintegrate and make tissue snow. We have moved away from hacking coughs that keep small people up all night and the consumption of Calpol has gone down. I was thinking, when my small one is well she sleeps, eats and is happy and joy to look after. Stupid cow. Ofcourse, reflecting on all of this and being slightly smug about it has really bitten me on the arse. I think about 24 hours later my daughter woke up in the middle of the night with a raging temperature. Myself and my husband thought nothing of it and gave her some Nurofen which seemed to work and packed her off to her lovely childminder the following day. Luckily, she was only doing a half day and it happened to be during that ruddy heatwave. I picked her up, popped her down for a nap and put a wash on. Nearly two hours later she woke up and was panting, hot as the frickin sun and very distressed.
 We had workmen in and I had an electrician asking me questions at the time, as I watched my daughter’s temperature rocket above 39 and checking her mottled skin. I have the guidelines for Sepsis on my phone and I glanced down the list of symptoms. You don’t mess around with something like that so I texted my lovely doctor friend and she said get her checked out, go with your instinct. Great advice. Let’s go to A&E. I went into coping, mum mode. Clear head, pack a bag, leave keys for the electrician, take nappies, change of clothes, water, a blanket just in case we have to stay in and some snacks. I called my husband’s school and off we went. Me trying to stay calm with a very unhappy little lady in the car seat holding a shopping basket with a thermometer in it. That’s what she wanted to take.( Atleast, it wasn’t a piece of citrus fruit. Her latest obsession. Hold a piece of citrus fruit, wrap it in a flannel and pretend it’s a baby. I’m not concerned. Not worried in the slightest..) Got small one, paraphernalia and stroller out of the car, checked in and were sent straight through to the Paediatric A&E. Now, this happens to be air conditioned and on the hottest day of the year it was actually a damn good place to be.

 We set up in a corner and my little girl pottered around in a nappy and her sandals. I laid it on a bit thick about the breathing and temperature so we were seen pretty quickly. About 30 mins later a nurse came up to us and told me that they were worried about my daughter’s heart rate. Just what you want to hear. I felt even sicker than when I took her in. They then presented me with a sample pot for my daughter to wee in as they needed a urine sample. Ha bloody ha. Trying to get a urine sample from a two year old that isn’t potty trained is nigh impossible. Eventually they gave me a bowl and I followed my nappyless daughter around like Zayn Malek’s PA for about two hours trying to catch a wee. I won’t bore you with anymore but she basically had a throat infection and it made her rather unwell. She also got a post-fever rash. My husband lifted her top one morning to be faced with a measles type rash all over her torso. Initially you lose your shit and then you calm down and realise that she always gets one after being ill.  I was really worried about her. She didn’t want to eat, play or sadly, sleep.  Oh, sleep. You cruel mistress. I was getting used to you but now you have fluttered away into the ether like my bank balance after a good old session on the ASOS sale. Paw patrol was back on (5th bar, right hand) and my sleep went down to about 3/4 broken hours for an entire week. The consumption of biscuits and cheese went up three-fold and that grey looking skin with wrinkles and flecks of grey sticking out of my hair came back. Good look, lady. Good look. I’ve also been donning a lot of “casual” wear ie. a jersey separate or two to cover up my sagging legs and arse as jogging on such little sleep was out of the question. It’s quite astonishing at how quickly one’s standards can go downhill. I think if I ever had anymore children I’d be a onesie Mum and turn up at the school gates in a pair of Faux Uggs from Primark and my pyjamas.

 Anyway, two weeks has past and I think, so has the sickness storm. It has taught me to not even think about how well my child is and how lucky we are that we haven’t had chicken pox yet (it’s in our area so she’s bound to get it next week). Never be a smug Mum. Just take everyday as it comes and be very thankful for it. I’m thankful if I now get small one into bed without being kicked in the chest at nappy time. With illness has come a new phase of behaviour. This new model of my daughter comes with added tantrums, 15% more fury and 100 more decibels of screaming. She’s definitely been “upgraded”. My smugness, however, is going to stay in the basics range. I’ll go own brand I think. Don’t want to jinx anything now do I?

Friday, 30 June 2017

You know you're a parent when...

Your once pristine car now looks like the bottom of a packet of Organix Carrot Stix.
You feel tired when you wake up.
You feel tired even after two strong flat whites.
You notice on your way to work that the black top you are wearing has two snail trail marks down the front.
Your friend at work notices that on the same top you have toothpaste and yogurt ingrained on your right shoulder.
You turn your car on and the first thing to play is Wheels on the bus from the Cbeebies CD.
You know the running order of the Cbeebies CD.
You can retrieve a half eaten rice cake and pass back a beaker of water to the car seat, all whilst driving.
You know all of the words to the Frozen soundtrack.
You wear a lot of flat shoes because of all of the running you have to do, to stop your child falling to certain death.
Your back aches if you wear high heels. Even a Cuban is problematic for the old sciatica.
You use more concealer than you have done in your entire life.
You are pissed after two glasses of wine.
You are asleep after three glasses of wine.
Getting into bed after 11pm is torture.
You watch a lot of Love Island and actually have a conversation with your husband about what’s going on like it’s really important.
You rush to get the washing up done because Love Island is about to start.
You pause Love Island to go to the loo just in case you miss something important.
You have lost the ability to read a book.
You now listen to audiobooks instead of having sex.
When you get on the train, tube or bus you always look for a seat.
When you go to restaurants and they have baby changing facilities and high chairs you think, “Gosh, that’s good,” and make a mental note.
You’ve started looking at the clothes in Cos as you can’t be bothered to lose weight anymore.
You will never wear a bikini again and purchased a Mumsie cossie from Sainsbury’s with tummy panel, in black.
You will never wear shorts again as your once show stopping legs have varicose veins and look like an old stilton.
The bottom of your handbag has more shit in it than it would normally have. Shit may include plasters, hair clips retrieved from the floor of the car, a stray nappy and half a cereal bar.
You use wet wipes for everything.
You wet the corner of a napkin and wipe your child’s face even though you swore you would never do this.
Your Tivo box is filled with daily recordings of ‘Something Special’.
You see the appeal of Justin Fletcher (even though we’re all questioning it.)
You have the super hero power of being able to hold a hundred things in one hand whilst holding a child in the other. Items might include your handbag, their day bag, a half drunk juice carton, a used wet wipe, house keys and a shoe plus the mid week top-up shop.
Thinking that a child that has eaten breakfast is a breakthrough and you silently congratulate yourself.
You can’t watch anything on TV about kids being upset, hurt, lost, born without balling your eyes out and looking like Kung Fu panda at the end of it. (Mascara round your eyes, not fat from all of the crisps you’ve eaten.)
You make an ‘Ah’, sound when you sit down in a comfy seat and have a cup of tea.
You buy a pair of silver Superga trainers as they are comfortable, flat, waterproof but the same time, silver so a little bit smart and sexy.
You’ll eat regurgitated food that your child has rejected without batting an eyelid.
You will actually remove a poo from their nappy with your bare hand (wrapped in a wet wipe) to save a nappy and time.
You find the melody of Ewan the dream sheep rather relaxing.
You have lost the ability to sleep in the day no matter how frickin knackered you are.
You are secretly quite competitive and proud when your child constructs a sentence of more than four words infront of your friends.
You spend a lot of time watching your child sleep because they are beautiful.
Your decking is covered in stones and pebbles as your daughter is Makka Pakka’s biggest fan.
You know all of the words to the intro of In The Night Garden.
You use the television as a bargaining tool and a vehicle with which to get some things done but feel guilty about it at the same time.
You get a feeling into the pit of your stomach when they fall over and you hold them so tightly.
You can’t eat when they’re ill.
You have rekindled your love of Play Doh.
You have rekindled your love of Duplo.
You save train tickets because they love a train.
You will willingly go to the station and watch the trains.
You order something called a babycinno.
You won’t go into the pub unless they have a kid’s menu.
You go out to the pub with friends and peruse the kids menu whilst ordering Prosecco at the bar and think “Gosh, that’s good,” and make a mental note…
You don’t drink as much Prosecco.



Wednesday, 21 June 2017

HMS Tena Lady.

 She’s back! Well, a slightly rotund sweaty version but the mojo has returned. The ruddy molar isn’t quite through yet but sleep has been had. I might even have got more than 6 hours in a row. Yeah! Boom. Back of the net! I’ve even been jogging. I know? Jogging. That’s what yummy Mummy’s from South West London do, wearing really nice gear from Sweaty Betty and with very pert yoga bums. I am a very different type of jogger. Pair of old black leggings. Preferably ones without small one’s toothpaste all over them and a complete crutch sans holes. My Lionel Richie t-shirt and a pair of very comfortable M&S trainers and I have more of a ‘Yoda’ bum. I look quite the Mum about town. I finish off this look with a crimson visage and an air of “get out of my way, I’m about to die” about me. But hey, I went for a run last night and that was hot. I mean I was moist and not in a good way. I had to pass our neighbour and had that awkward moment of pausing my music and making some out of breath pleasantry as he watched my flabby arse bouncing around into the distance. I have to have my music up pretty loud to cancel out the sounds of my laboured breathing. I’m sure running used to be easier. I’m about 5 runs in now but in my twenties, I’d have been back up to fitness. Now, each run is tough. I’m carrying extra saddle bags, bigger boobs, fatigue and a very dodgy pelvic floor. It feels like when you walk over the trap door outside a pub. You know; unsafe. Could let you down at any moment. Rattly.



 Yes, the pelvic floor. I was very good about the old Kegel exercises before and after the bubs. I would do them anywhere and anytime. On the train, on the bus, watching Netflix and my eyebrows always seemed to rise as I did them. All seemed ship shape and dandy until I had the cough from hell at the beginning of the year. It went on for five months and that pretty much blew out my hull, so to speak. It’s got worse and any ideas of grandeur of jumpy jumpy on a trampoline are but a pipe dream. If I need a wee I have to go straight away, otherwise there’s potential gusset failure. That’ll teach me for taking the piss out of the Tena Lady ads (no pun intended). I have actually considered investing in them. There are certain exercises on my ‘Davina- Fit in 15’ DVD that are now out of the question. What has become of me. I’m trying to do the Kegel’s now, without my eyebrows rising. Try it. It’s really difficult.


 Anyway, enough talk of pissing oneself. Let’s move onto the average to middling parenting that you haven’t read about for a week. Well, it’s going ok. She’s just at a gorgeous age. Last week work was pretty quiet, hence lack of post as I hardly had any free time. She’s just awesome. What can I say? I miss her more and more when I do have to go to work. We have great fun when we’re together. We go swimming and she does her Kung Fu Panda kick in the water and she’s started baby ballet. Sweet mother of pearl. It’s the cutest darn thing you’ve ever seen. After the taster session she was hooked. Granny has now bought her a tutu and leotard so she looks the part. Good toes, naughty toes are practiced in the car and I am constantly followed by a little girl doing pointy toes around the sofa. The older she gets, the more fun we have. She actually makes me laugh. I’m not going to lie. When parents used to say that to me I thought it was pretty wanky. Peep Show makes me laugh. Victoria Wood makes me laugh. How the hell could a toddler be funny? But they are. I think I’ve mentioned it before but my daughter can be an utter prat and genuinely funny. Recently, she’s got into carrying a piece of fruit. Normally an orange around with her. It goes everywhere. She’s currently having a nap and it’s in the cot with her. The other day she’d wrapped it up in a flannel and was cradling it like a baby. I walked into the living room yesterday and she was trying to give it milk. Should I be worried? When asked at her 27 month review, “Do you have any concerns?” I shall keep quiet. Maybe somewhere deep in our lineage there is a long line of green grocers. Who knows? Maybe she’ll change her surname to DelMonte by deed poll one day and have a penchant for a linen suit. Whatever she becomes, I shall love her just the same. Except maybe a butcher. Being a vegetarian I would struggle with that. I’d better start hiding my husbands fillet steak, just in case it gets wrapped in a tea towel a popped in the pram. Anyway, I’m off to do my Kegel’s. This HMS Mutha doesn’t want a leaky hull. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

London is the place for me.

I’ve lost my mojo. It went about 3 weeks ago. My funny seems to have gone and everything seems to have been a bit more difficult than it usually is. I wake up tired and go to bed tired. I’m back to zero battery life and a bad attitude. Might have a little something to do with the fact that the last tooth is coming through and my small person has become rather Mummy orientated. She tries everything to keep me in the room at night. “Mummy lie down. Mummy blanket. Mummy hug. Mummy pink water bottle. Mummy Calpol.” It means that bedtime is drawn out and I’m not sitting down sometimes until gone 8:30. The evening just goes. Then after you factor in an episode of Versailles and a House of Cards, it’s pretty sodding late for someone that has a small, furry alarm clock that can go off anytime between 5:45 and 6:15.



 This dip in normal service has also coincided with some horrendous atrocities in my beloved city, the place I call home: London. I work in the centre of London a lot. I travel by train, go to busy stations, travel on the underground, walk through places like Trafalgar Square, go drinking by the river. I have never given it a second thought. But my experience of late has been very different. Instead of marching through my city without a care, tutting and sucking my teeth at Tourists that walk 5 abreast across the cocking pavement (5 across. Come on people!!), and elbowing TEFL students and their orange rucksacks out of the way, I am walking down back streets to avoid crowded areas, I am getting out of mainline stations quickly so I’m not caught up in the throng. I’m also having terrible thoughts. What if something happened to me? What if I didn’t come home one night? I had a dreadful realisation the other day that I need to do my will to make sure my daughter is taken care off. That’s not the sort of thing I want to be thinking about on my morning commute. I am a born worrier and all of this has just exacerbated my worrying tendencies. I am still going about my business and I won’t stop enjoying my city but I am seeing it in a different way. The London Bridge attack really rattled me. It’s where myself and my husband used to live, down the road in fact. We used to go out in Borough Market and the whole area was part of our lives for over 10 years. It was an absolutely amazing place to live. Friendly, vibrant, eclectic, fascinating. I know those streets so well, the bars and pubs, restaurants, places of historical interest, the cobbled back streets and the beautiful walks along the river. I feel sick to my stomach that so many innocent people, enjoying a care free evening out in such a great place were murdered, injured or witness to some horrific acts. My heart goes out to them.





 If I was not a parent I would be worried. Now, I have a two year old, with her whole life ahead of her I am really worried. I took her into Soho last week for a private showing of the new Fireman Sam Movie that I happen to be in. My husband came too as it was half term. We had such a magical day. She went on a train. She met Fireman Sam; both the voice and some poor sod stuck in a body suit. She got a phallic looking balloon flower which was bitten into on the journey home and burst in her face. And then to top it all off she got a Fireman Sam tote bag with Mummy’s character on the front and a toy and stickers inside. What more could a toddler want. Initially I was really scared of taking her into town but once we were there it was fine. I relaxed. We walked back to the station over Waterloo Bridge and looked at my favourite view. Then Saturday night happened. Would I walk across that bridge with her now? I’d do it but probably walking very quickly and constantly looking around me. It feels utterly ridiculous me thinking like this and I know that by doing that I am playing into the perpetrators hands but from now on, when I take my daughter into town I will be on full alert.






 But my daughter already loves her city. Her favourite book is ‘Hello London!’. She loves Tower Bridge and the Queen and her palace and thinks the river is well exciting. When a double decker bus drives past there is incessant waving and trains are the best thing ever. When we came home from our trip last week she started singing one of the songs from the Paddington Bear film: London is the place for me. That’s my girl! Yes, it ruddy well is. It’s an amazing place to live. It’s been my home for over 20 years. It’s where I started my career, I met my husband, met most of my friends, bought my first house and had my daughter. Yes, I’m scared and I would urge anyone to be more careful when out on their daily business and by God, I certainly will be. But this is where I work and where I live and I ain’t going anywhere. If it’s good enough for Paddington, it’s good enough for me.


Stranger Duvets

Night time. As Bjork once sang in her broad Icelandic drole,” It’s oh so quiet, it’s all so still.”  A time to sit down and relax. Pop the ...