The Teaching Mum

A light-hearted look at parenting through the eyes of a very busy English Teacher.


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Relax! It’s From Yorkshire.

The Parent Bedroom: a child free zone, a place to escape the chaos of the rest of the house, a place of serenity and relaxation?  You what!  Not for us!

A child free zone?  You must be kidding.  Since having our son in January 2015, there has not been a night where he hasn’t slept in my bed.  I wish I was exaggerating – I’m not. Not. A. Night.

My partner, bless him, has been relegated to the spare room for the best part of a year. He tells me that he doesn’t mind though and when I think about it, I actually think he is getting the best part of deal.  Yes, I am the receiver of cuddles from my little man but he isn’t kicked awake every two hours by little feet pounding him in the stomach.  Also, while enjoying these sleep filled nights, my partner is tucked up nice and snug in fresh and clean bedding.  Me, on the other hand, I am having a fitful sleep in and among a milk stained duvet.

Firstly, let me me clear, I wash and iron my bedding every two weeks.  More often actually because sometimes my son decides that it is okay to throw up milk on my clean sheets.  He even thinks it’s comical to have a little wee on it too.  Remember when I said ‘bless him’ about my partner being relegated to the spare room?  I used to think I was lucky one sleeping in the big family bed, but upon reflection, it’s me who has drawn the short straw.  There’s just something special about climbing into a freshly laundered bed isn’t there?

A year of us feeding our boy to sleep in our room has meant that our once tranquil space has been somewhat neglected and our space – the parent space – needs some love, care and affection.

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Quilted Rose Plum Duvet

 

Recently, I have been researching and browsing the internet for inspirational bedroom decoration ideas.  I have browsed both popular high street and internet department stores such as Next and Very looking for duvets and cushions.  My searches however, led me to another company and being a proud Yorkshire girl, I like to support local businesses. That’s what drew me to The Yorkshire Linen company.  My favourite colour has always been purple and our bedroom currently is painted a very pale lilac.  Having looked at the website for ideas, I love both the king size Lexi Plum Duvet and the Quilted Rose Plum Duvet – both of which are on sale at the moment.  The great thing about the Quilted Rose Plum Duvet is that it comes with a matching cushion which I think would make my bed look even more inviting…the only problem is, my little man thinks so too!

quilted_rose_plum_quilt_set2_cc

Quilted Rose Plum Cushion Cover

 

 

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Why Teaching Was My Saviour.

Seven years ago, I was asked by the PE Department at my previous school to accompany them on a trip to some army barracks in Yorkshire.  We took a small group of Year 10 students and stayed for three nights.

It was in January so as you can imagine, it was cold, wet, muddy and tiring – as school trips always are.  Teenagers on school trips believe that sleep is for the weak.

I shouldn’t have gone.

I shouldn’t have gone because I didn’t teach PE and was accustomed to the warmth of a stuffy English classroom.

I shouldn’t have gone because I spent the week in layers and layers of army khaki.

I shouldn’t have gone because it was cold, wet, and exhausting.

But mostly, I shouldn’t have gone because a week after returning, my Dad died.

I knew it was coming so why did I go?  Where on earth did my priorities lie?  If I could go back, I would tell myself to stay at home and spend some precious time with my family. I would convince the younger me, the me who was not in a good place, that I would not find the mile run across some scenic countryside in army camouflage and heavy Timberland boots invigorating.  I would explain that I hated sleeping in a grotty twin room on camp beds in a borrowed sleeping bag.  I would tell myself that the long walks through the woods chatting to my Year 10 students would not take my mind off things and I would tell myself that standing in darkness beneath a clear sky glittering with beautiful stars would not make things all right.

But still, I went.

I went because running in khaki got me outside.  I went because sleeping in some barracks took me away from hospitals.  I went because talking to my Year 10s about their lives, took me away from mine and I went because looking up at a sky filled with a multitude of stars made me realise how insignificant I was and how amazing the world could be if I just stopped, looked and took it all in.  Beauty around us doesn’t fade when life gets a bit tough – it just becomes distorted and it’s up to you to find it again.

My Dad would have been okay with my going, I think.  I don’t know.  I never got around to ask him.

A day after returning from the trip, my colleagues and I had a Friday drink in the pub down the road from the school I was working at.  I received a phone call from my Mum:

“Your Dad has fallen.  He is okay, the ambulance has taken him to St Gemma’s Hospice.”

The plan was for him to leave the hospice and come back home.

He never did.

Throughout next week I continued to go to work as normal. I was lucky enough to be teaching a phenomenal Year 10 class (some of whom had gone on the army trip) and without knowing it, they made my life normal.  I laughed with them, at them and they laughed at me – in between me instilling them with a love of English Literature and good grammatical skills, of course!

One Tuesday morning, I had stayed overnight at my Mum’s and she told me not to go into work that day. She advised that we should both spend the day with Dad.  The sad thing though was that she had to talk me into not going to work.  Like my Father, I have a very strong work ethic, and phoning in sick is just something that I do not do.  Reluctantly, I called my Head of Department and obviously she was insistent that I spend time with Dad.

I took some GCSE essays with me to mark.

I am ashamed to say that as we sat around my Father’s bed waiting for the consultant to come and see us, I sat with my head bowed low reading my students’ GCSE Film Reviews.  What kind of daughter does that?  My Mum told me afterwards that the Macmillan nurse asked her why I was marking and wondered if it would help if I had someone to talk to, someone to share my fears with.  My Mum assured her that this was my way of coping.  She told them that I wouldn’t want to talk to anyone – and she was completely correct.  Reading this back now, I sound heartless, but this is how I dealt with my grief.  Gathered around that bed on that Tuesday afternoon, the grieving process had properly begun; we all knew that the inevitable was upon us.  Nothing could change that, so the essays that needed marking might as well get marked.

I returned to work the next day.

Friday afternoon had arrived and it had been a week since the PE trip.  I was with my tutor group and I received a call from an unknown number.

I hung up.

I shouldn’t have hung up.

Instantly after hanging up, I knew I had just missed a call from the hospice.  After dismissing my pupils, I raced downstairs into the PE dept and I found the Other Half (as we worked together once upon a time).  He held me down in the eye of the storm and for a brief moment there was only us and silence.

My phone rang again and this time it was my Mum.

His time was almost up.

She told me to get to the hospice.  I had one big errand to run first: I had to pick up my 89 year old Grandma.

Grandma was sitting and waiting patiently for me dressed in her coat, head scarf and patent shoes.  Throughout Dad’s illness, my Grandma, his Mother, barely lost face.  I think I saw her cry twice.  She was a fiercely independent woman who, despite being 4ft 11 with a dodgy pair of lungs, was incredibly strong willed and, like me, wasn’t good at sharing feelings.

We left for the hospice.

But the detour meant we were too late.

I missed you go Dad, I’m  sorry.

Looking back, would I have done it differently?  Would I have picked up the phone?  Would I have left school without running to see my partner first?  Would I have left t’old Grandma to catch the bus?

Of course I wouldn’t.

I don’t think seeing Dad take his last breath would have made things easier for me.  It couldn’t possibly have made the end more final than it was or given me the closure I needed.

I sat with him for a long time afterwards.

I think it was all for the best really.  My Mum was with him and she was enough.  More than enough.  Throughout Dad’s short battle with Cancer, my Mum was a hero.  Like my Grandma, I never saw her break or falter.  She carried us completely.

As the first few years passed, I felt like I had just not seen Dad for a while.  Seven years, however, feels like a life time.  In that time, I have had my family, mourned my twenties and even hit my mid-thirties.  I have forgotten what Dad’s voice sounded like and yet I know that I would recognise it in a instant if I heard it.  He visits me in my dreams every so often and especially at this time of year.  Only last night, we were sitting at the dining table in our old house and he was ill (he is always ill in my dreams) and I was telling him how much I missed him.  Wiping away tears, I woke and instinctively I felt at my cheeks and they were dry – they always are.  The dining room, the talking and the crying are never real.  As distressing as they are though, I welcome the dreams.

On the 29th January – Dad’s birthday (he passed on the 30th), I will draw a heart around the date on my white-board at school – as I do every year.  It’s my little way of telling him that he will be in my thoughts all day.  No song and dance in my remembrance, I’m afraid; a little heart will suffice.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone on the army trip.

Perhaps I should have picked up my phone.

I am sorry that I marked essays beside his bed.

After losing Dad, I returned to work after two weeks.  Some might think it was too early and maybe it was.  I returned to my classes and I returned to my Year 10s.  We started studying GCSE Literature and began to read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.  I had never read or taught it before – but boy, did they get some good grades and do me proud!  It remains now one of my favourite books, not because it is so universally well loved and one of the ‘greats’, but because it reminds me of the time when teaching a bunch of Year 10 students saved me.

And I don’t think Dad would have questioned that.

Dad

I don’t think you could get more of an ‘eighties’ picture if you tried!

 

I keep him in my car too!

 


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Please Don’t Slope Off!

This is a plea.

A persuasive speech if you like.

Please don’t go.

I don’t think I can handle it if you leave.  Not with the  half-term holiday coming up. Please.  For the sake of your family, don’t go.

I know I agreed over a year ago that you could go skiing with your school this year because I know how much you enjoyed it three years ago when you went when our little girl was one.  But, it was easier then.  We only had one child.  A child who slept.  A child who could not ascend and descend the stairs in twenty seconds flat.  A child who would let me put her down so I could shove discarded toys in the any old cupboard tidy up.

However, now darling we have two children – an intelligent and yet an incredibly strong willed little lady who can cry relentlessly for half an hour if she is denied a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a one year old Dude who, if given the chance, would commando roll down the stairs and leap unaided from his high chair.  Little did I know that when I happily said you could go skiing last year, that our beautiful boy would not have slept through the night yet.  Little did I know that when he does sleep, it is just for two hours at a time. Little did I know that he would be able to climb the stairs faster than lightning and reverse crawl right under his sister’s bed so much so that we think we have lost him because he has disappeared completely from our sight.

Why? What does it even achieve?

Little did I know that he would be able to cock up his little leg and climb out of the bath, as well as destroy every toothbrush in the house by throwing them into toilets and baths that he has stood up and wee’d in.  Little did I know that he would be able to manoeuvre himself around the back of the television and pull out all the wires.

Behind the television is NOT a hiding place!

In addition, since your last whizz down a snowy mountain, our amazingly talented and beautiful girl has changed from being angelic one year old, who didn’t really notice Daddy had gone skiing three years ago, to a four year old who feels that it is okay to just go up to the freezer and take out a Smarties icecream any time she so wishes.  Who, when I told her no, looked squarely at me, sized me up and with her purple wellington boots she kicked me right on the shin.  She forced my hand; she gave me no choice.   I had to use my teacher voice on her.  I made her cry.  A lot.  Please don’t go, because if you do I may have to use my teacher voice her again, which, despite it working an absolute treat, it made me feel incredibly guilty – especially when she attached herself to my leg (the one with a bruise forming on it) and cried.  She didn’t get the Smarties ice-cream though.

Approach with caution!

You can’t go.  I fear that our children, the ones I am so lucky to have, the ones who make me feel blessed every single waking day, will push me over the edge.  I fear that when you return, you may find me wedged into a kitchen cupboard, surrounded by Weetabix and homemade Hipp Organic Jars shaking uncontrollably.  I fear that our girl will have taken her Crayola Marker Maker and made 1000s of the bloody things and taken to drawing her name all over the wall.  But, at least our girl is potty trained.  What about the boy?  I fear he will turn feral and crawl round nappiless and use soiled Huggies wipes as a lasso.  Even worse – what if he becomes territorial and starts marking his territory by standing up and p*ssing all over the stairs?  This may be the end of me.  The end of us.

What if I break our family?

Don’t go.

Last night, you had Parents’ Evening and you arrived home to find me laying on our bed with our children.  One was in an iPad induced sleep while the other was wide awake.  When you arrived, I had been singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ for at least twenty minutes and was slowly going mad.  I was angry.  Not at him and not at you.  No, I was angry at myself for not choosing a song with more lyrics to it.  I could have chosen a 14 minute Meatloaf ballad to sing to him or perhaps even ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ because at least it’s a song that can be made interesting, especially when Peppa, Batman, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes (it was on TV during the last sing-a-long) have been known to ride on my bus in the past.  But no, I chose to sing a short song about a star that I was continuously in wonder about.  Just as I was using a simile (always teaching) to compare the star to a diamond, you entered the room and asked me how I was, how we were doing and if I needed anything.  I quietly asked you to bring me a towel as I had been sitting in a little bit of milk sick for the best part of an hour.  Lovingly, you passed it to me and then…headed downstairs to watch television.

A little while later, our Little Man fell asleep and as he was dozing off to the Land of Nod (where dreams only last two hours), he turned to me with closed eyes and let out a little wet fart.

‘It was just a trump’, I told myself.  ‘It was just a trump.’

It wasn’t just a trump.

Texting you, my saviour you, you came to the bottom of the stairs…and together we made an executive decision to let the Dude sleep in it for a while.  This sounds shocking, I know.  But we discussed the fact that he would probably wake up in twenty minutes anyway and we would tackle the situation then, as a team.

So twenty minutes passed and I had managed to iron at least two t-shirts and a pair of jeans, when we heard the stirrings of the Little Man upstairs.  You grabbed the nappy.  I grabbed the bag and together our hands touched as we reached for the Huggies.  We made it into the bedroom where we saw that our boy had just sat up.

“Grab a towel!” you cried.  “We don’t want poo juice on the bed.”

I grabbed the towel and placed it under our boy.

“I’ll do the changing and you distract him,” you suggested.

My hero.  I would not be getting my hands dirty for this change.

Babies

You were like this guy…

Everything was going so well.  The bum was being wiped, I was keeping all hands out of the poo and I was even leaning down to give my boy a little kiss to calm him down.  But then it struck.  It struck me in the face.  His little dinker had been let loose and he had managed to wee in my face.  But you, my love, you didn’t panic.  You swiftly passed me a wipe for my face and then wiped your only son’s cheeks and continued to kick ass out of the task at hand.  It happened again!  Another wee began to flow up and out and this time it missed me, but went all over the boy’s sleep suit and our bedding.  Did you get angry?  Did you swear?  No, you gently picked up our boy, laid him on the carpet (as surely there was no more of the brown and yellow stuff left in there), put his nappy on, grabbed a new vest and sleep suit and dressed him.

Here comes the best bit.  You didn’t hand me the baby and go downstairs.  No, you handed me the baby and you stripped…

BedmakingMan_jpg_6

You were even like this guy…

…the bed!  You pulled clean bedding from the wardrobe and began to put it on the bed.  While you were doing this, I was watching quietly, soothing our son back to sleep and secretly planning to hide your passport.

Don’t go.

You can’t.

Our little family doesn’t function without you.

Can you even ski anyway?

Man Plowing Snow with Skis

Don’t be like this guy!

This post, I am sure you are aware, has been  written with my tongue firmly in my cheek and I can assure you that my children will be thoroughly loved and cared for throughout the half term holiday – just as they always are.  I can also assure you that the Other Half going skiing during the holidays was a mutual decision and I would never stop him from doing anything he wants to do.  Over the last few days, however, I have become acutely aware of the fact that I am going to be doing this parenting malarkey on my lonesome over the half term and I just wanted to pay tribute to all the partners out there who are keeping us mothers sane and take my hat off *bows and takes pretend hat off* to the parents who are tackling this parenting journey alone; you are doing an awesome job because caring for little ones is tough, challenging and so damn tiring.  You are all a million times better at this than me.

In fact, what are your plans for the February half term?

Can I call you?

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows


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Saturday! My, How You’ve Changed. 

My Saturdays used to be selfish.

My Saturdays used to consist of a lie in (when my body clock wasn’t being an absolute b*stard), some reading in bed, watching a programme that didn’t contain a bossy pig called Peppa or the ‘Pup Pup Boogie’ and eating food that wasn’t someone else’s left overs.

My Saturdays used to contain netball.  A huge heap of it in fact as I would both play and umpire and get paid for it!  After netball, and before the Other Half came along, I might even go out into town and feign enjoyment in ‘Reflex’ whenever the theme from Baywatch would come on and people would be dancing around with ‘Hoff’ pants on their head.  I have a vivid memory of a friend grabbing a nearby red clutch bag and using it as a float as I stood there longing for either the ground to swallow me whole or for the DJ to accidently play some Grunge song from the 90s.

My Saturdays used to be mine.

My Saturdays are now ‘ours’.

Who am I kidding?  My Saturdays belong to the Dude and the Princess.

Yesterday, I was kicked awake at 5.54am and there was no way on God’s earth that I was getting up at that time so I did what I do best and fed the Dude back to sleep.  YES, I am still doing THAT even though he has teeth. But, I’m lazy and wanted an extra hour in bed.

At 7.24am I was head butted and it was time to get up.  We ventured into the Princess’ room to find her already awake and playing on Daddy’s phone.

“You coming downstairs?” I asked.

“Yep!”

Bugger.  I wanted to watch Tuesday’s ‘American Horror Story’.  Too bad.  I ironed instead. While the two were mesmerised by Nick Jr for half an hour, I ticked off one of my jobs for the day.

“Right, time to get you dressed for ballet.” I said after finishing the ironing.

“I’m bored of you.” My Girl said before racing back upstairs.  Glancing down at the ironing board and iron, I agreed.  Yes, I would be bored of me too.

The Girl had to be at ballet class for 9am. At 8.20 and still in my dressing gown, she informed me that I would be taking her to ballet today.  Brilliant.

At 9.35am I stood waiting in a little waiting room at our local Parish Centre for the ballet lesson to finish at 9.45am.  I arrived early because I have learnt that the Ballet Mums are brutal.

I once arrived on time one rainy morning to one Mum guarding door outside the building.

“Has the class finished?”  I asked, balancing the Dude on my hip.

She shook her head.

“Can I just squeeze past?” I asked, gesturing to my son.

She shook her head.  Like I said.  Brutal.

So now I arrive early because as well as picking up children, some mums are there to drop off their little dancers for the next lesson that starts at 9.45.  For a few horrible minutes, a sea of tutued girls, with perfect buns, descend upon the Parish Hall and picking up your child becomes a game of Where’s Wally.  On more than one occasion, my heart has leapt into my mouth when I haven’t been able to see my Girl and wondered if she has been accidently taken by a near sighted Mum.

Yesterday, I arrived at 9.35 and I was the third mum waiting in the tiny waiting area.  Slowly, a queue started to form.  I was standing next to the most gorgeous Asian woman who was wearing a short skater skirt, black tights, killer heels and hooped earrings.  She had a full face of makeup and was holding onto the hand of her equally gorgeous daughter.  Me?  I had Weetbix in my fringe and pyjama bottoms on under my jogging bottoms.  Thankfully, another mother took my attention away from Hot Mum.  This was Rebel Mum.  She ignored all the rules of the queue and marched up to the door and glanced through the little window to see if the class had finished.  It hadn’t.  Not to be outdone, her equally rebellious little ballerina daughters marched up behind her and opened the door to see if class had finished.  It still hadn’t.

Once class had finished, I stood back and let all the other parents enter before me (even though I arrived third).  Once in the room, I spotted my little ballerina, scooped her up, told her we had a party to get ready for and went home.

But first, I had to wash my hair.  After all, it had Weetabix in it.

The current problem with ‘the house that eats all our money’ is the shower: it is blocked, dingy, dark, cold and resembles a blue tiled torture chamber.  I started to run a bath.  Pouring in my some relaxing bath salts, my Girl thought she would assist by throwing in a jug, a pirate ship, a speed boat being ridden by a crocodile, a water pistol and various Johnson’s Baby bottles.  With the Other Half out doing the big shop, I would have an audience.  So between shampooing and and conditioning my hair I had to persuade the girl not to put bubbles on her brother’s head (I failed) and convince her not to strip because she got water on her ballet leotard.  (I failed.)

Gotta love a relaxing soak in the tub!

After the bath, I realised that if we didn’t crack on and get ready, we would be late to meet JC in the pub before the soft play party.  We have an unwritten rule: Party at a soft play = pub first.

With the Other Half still out, we dressed for the party while simultaneously destroying the already untidy house.  I had a fleeting thought back to Hot Mum from 9.35am that morning and wondered if she had superpowers because after an hour of getting ready, my un- straightened, but dry hair meant I resembled Garth from Wayne’s World, the Girl had been wrestled back into her PJs to keep warm and the Boy still had some bubbles on his head.

Where was the Other Half?

Just then, the door opened and in he came laden with Tesco carrier bags – about £3.50 worth.  He then proceeded to put the shopping away, clean and vacuum the living room as he too had his own little party planned that afternoon.  One that involved him having the house to himself and watching the football sprawled out on the sofa.

We were eventually party ready and off we went to the pub and then to soft play for one of my best friend’s daughter’s third birthday.

It was a Frozen party and it was going great.  My only qualm was that somebody had put the mini party sausages and cold sausage rolls way out of my reach and when JC offered me a chicken nugget instead, I sulked and went in search of the party sausages myself.  I eventually found them being guarded by a group of mums who were gathering to help feed their own children while my child had been left to forage for her own party food while I hunted for sausage.

Then Elsa arrived.

Excitement reached its pinnacle point.

I had to settle for a chicken nugget.

Elsa sat with the birthday girl and the children speaking eloquently in a soft American accent.

“Do you think that’s her real accent?” One of my friends asked.

On cue, Elsa walked past and reprimanded JC for eating her daughter’s jelly and ice-cream in a low broad Yorkshire accent all while I looked on concerned about Elsa’s lack of a vest and wondered if she had central heating up in her ice castle.

I didn’t notice that bra in the film.

After I had gotten my fill of party sausages, I went to take the Dude into the soft play.  While we were in there, I noticed Elsa being backed into a corner by a group of pre-school age children with my Girl as the ring leader.  The poor woman.  There was a hysterical moment when Elsa made her getaway while singing ‘Let me Go, Let me Go, followed by a herd of children.

 

All together now – Let Me Go! Let Me Go!

Once she had escaped, both Elsa and the children gathered for some glitter tattoos.  Now the proud owner of a ‘Hello Kitty’ tat, my Girl proceeded to tattoo Elsa.  I think I had better teach her the difference between being a fan and being a stalker.

 

Elsa, would you like a tattoo with my name on it?

As the party was drawing to an end, Elsa gathered the children for a final Frozen sing-a-long with a snow machine that blasted out fake snow at bullet like speed.

The Birthday Girl was in absolute heaven and I have never seen a child look so happy with her lot.

The happiest little girl I have ever seen.

This is what my Saturdays are about now and they are awesome.

Mostly.

 

 

 


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The Ballad of the Boy

So now you’re the big ‘one’,

I thought a poem might be fun.

Then I thought: ‘Do you know?’

You’re my only boy, so I’m giving this a go,

I thought I would attempt something original and new,

A group of poems where the subject is you.

Let’s be clear – poems don’t have to rhyme.

This is just my intro.  Please, lend me your time.

 

Let’s tell a story with my first poem,

A narrative tale we shall say.

We’ll journey back to the beginning,

You were due at the beginning of January,

Usually this is a cold,

dull,

depressing kind of month.

But, despite the rain falling down outside,

You brought sunshine into our lives.

The early days were such a blur,

days filled with

endless feeds,

milk,

poos

and wees.

Then your Dad returned to work,

your sister went to nursery,

And it was just me and you,

My son.

Our days were now filled with washing

And making sausage casseroles.

Sometimes we went walking.

But, most days,

In we stayed,

And cuddled.

I love you.

I love a Haiku,

Let me explain them to you,

They are Japanese.

 

The first line is five,

The second line is seven,

The last line is five.

 

They are a snapshot,

Of something you love dearly,

I love you dearly.

 

Your eyes are bright blue,

Your head still smells like heaven,

Your smile gives me joy.

 

You can climb the stairs,

Giving me a heart attack,

Must buy a stair guard!

 

You climb off the bed,

Who on Earth taught you this skill?

My clever young boy.

 

You love your sister,

I think she likes you also,

No major fights.  Yet.

You make us happy,

Our precious number one son,

We are now complete.

 

Wow! I am on it,

So now let’s write a sonnet.

I’ll continue now.

 

Fourteen lines ten syllables and rhyming;

No waiting around you arrived so fast;

Waters broke in Natwest Bank – good timing;

Now you’re one, how quickly a year has passed.

We gave you a name we weren’t sure you’d fit;

Your middle name once belonged to my Dad;

Your Dad wants you wearing a Barnsley kit,

Whereas, I think Leeds. Would it be that bad?

But, seriously please follow your dreams;

And become whoever you want to be;

When life gets tough and things aren’t what they seem;

Recall how proud we are, your Dad and me.

Enough with the mush, please don’t take the ‘mick’;

I’ve tried to make light with some limericks…

…There once was a Ninja Flippin’ boy,

Who thought an electric toothbrush was a toy,

Take it away, with your sanity you’ll pay,

The non-stop buzzing, oh what a joy.

I once had a baby I nicknamed the Dude,

Because he was cool and calm and in no way rude,

Then when he would never ever sleep, into the pillow I would weep,

Screaming and swearing, but never saying anything too crude.

 

Dude.

 

When we decided we wanted another baby,

There were no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ or even a ‘maybe’.

The house is always dishevelled, my head is no longer levelled,

And no part of me looks at all like a lady.

Now for some some imagery…

With poetry, you can make the words dance across your page.   This here is a snapshot of you at a certain age.

Your laugh is chocolate to me, so sweet and so addictive.  Your smile is my sunshine; with it such joy you give.

Your cry is a volcanic eruption from  deep within the earth; your heart is what I held from the moment I gave birth.

Your cuddles are my life line when things get a little too much; your little fingers are like locks gripping onto everything you touch.

I’ll be your guardian angel, your minder and your keeper, and in time, my boy, I guess one day you’ll be a good sleeper.

You and your sister are my light in the dark, you make my half a whole. The slushiness ends here, before it gets out of control.

 

There, ‘thank God’ you cry – I have finished.

You can breathe a sigh of relief,

I attempted a narrative, haikus, a sonnet,  limericks and rhyming verses –

but feel I was quite brief.

Don’t worry, you’ve reached the end and I am done.

But, no matter what, please remember this: no one loves you like I do, my only son.

 

“Stop being so self indulgent and mushy, Mum!”

 


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A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

It’s the 3rd January 2016 and it is my birthday.  The morning started with a bang literally when I was woken at 2.11am by the little Dude falling out of bed.  I was ripped out of fraught sleep by a giant thud and a scream. Scooping my boy into my arms, I checked him, soothed him and he fell back to sleep cuddling in next to me.  Twenty minutes later, two tiny feet kicked me solidly in the sternum and we were awake, but you’ll be pleased to know that this is not another post about lack of sleep!

After being kicked relentlessly and yet afraid to let him go, my son and I snoozed, woke, snoozed, woke until we succumbed and got up at 7am. Last night, the Othet Half promised me a lie in and said he would get up with the children; I was giddy with excitement – although the dark circles under my eyes and the Pat Sharpe circa 1992 bed head did not give my giddiness away.

“Are you going to get up with Daddy and come down stairs?” He asked the Princess.

She peeled her eyes away from the iPhone for a brief moment.

“No,”

The giddiness subsided and I was faced with the harsh reality that this lie in would not be happening today.  I was up, in my famous purple fluffy dressing gown and I was going downstairs with the Dude in my arms.  Dark Sunday mornings are not for arguing with the Girl.

As I switched on the lights, I was greeted with this lovely sight.

However, the Dude was heaving over by the desk, so nappy duty it was.

“Stop looking at your presents Mum and use these Huggies on my morning poo!”

We had a ‘breacher’.

“It’s a two man job!” I shouted.

And like a knight in grey jogging bottoms and a grey hoodie, the Other Half swooped in, grabbed the dirty nappy and stopped the Dude from flipping feaces all over the living room. My hero.

“Present time!”

Yes!

“Don’t get too excited.”

Oh.

My girl raced over to the table where two presents were standing next to the lovely purple flowers that were not from Tesco.  She grabbed the first present and started to rip it open.

“We’ve got you some chocolates, Mummy,” she said while she was mid-unwrap.

“Did you not un-wrap enough presents at Christmas?” I asked.

“No.”  It was a ‘no’ kind of morning then.

I grabbed the second present before she could put the huge box of Dairy Box down. (They would be devoured later.)

“They’re socks.  I picked them,” she said proudly.

I opened them and burst out laughing.

It’s 11pm as i write this in bed and I am wearing a pair!


“Because you’re always nicking mine!” The Other Half said.

‘Tis true, I am.  But still.  I laughed.  Over night I had turned from a being a woman in her early thirties to a woman who sleeps in bed socks.  And I have to admit, since returning home from the restaurant and as I type this now, I am wearing the purple spotty socks and my feet are indeed ‘toastie’!

At 12.30pm we were going to eat at a local restaurant.  My Mum arrived at 12 and I was still in my dressing gown, the Other Half was in the shower, the Dude was asleep and the Girl was at her other grandparents.  Clearly we were all set to go…

Before Mum arrived, we had spoken on the phone.

“I have to warn you, you may think your present is a little too young for you,” she said.

That sounded ominous.  What was it going to be?  The Cabbage Patch Kid I had so longed for as a child?  The cropped top I keep revisiting on ASOS and wondering if I can pull it off or a skirt that is just a little two short for a woman in her now mid-thirties?

“Well, I have just opened a pair of bed socks, so perhaps your present will even things out.”

So at 12 midday, we sat and I opened my present.

A skull pendant, a multi-pack of Huggies and my purple dressing gown. What more could you want from a picture?

I actually really liked the pendant, but wasn’t sure if I was too old for it.  Can a thirty-five year old mother of two pull off a silver skull?  The Meatloaf singing rock chick that’s buried deep inside me thinks so.  Off the dressing gown came and on the pendant went (with clothes, I might add.  Or that would be just weird.) 

We picked up the Girl on route to the restaurant and with the rain beating down, we raced in and shown to our table.  Now I appreciate that eating out with small children is not something that usually runs smoothly. As we sat down, my Girl was suitably settled with her ‘Hi-Pad’ and was playing an (ahem) educational game called Plants Vs Zombies.  

“Cheers! Don’t move the hi-pad, don’t move the hi-pad. Don’t YOU dare move the Hi-Pad'”

 
The Dude was strapped into his high chair and lasted a record three minutes and twenty seven seconds before he magically climbed out of the chair and into his Daddy’s arms.  He stayed still for at least another two and a half minutes before he started trying to escape from his Daddy’s clutches.  The Peronis arrived.  Good.  We were going to need them.

“Let him roam,” I suggested.

And we did.

Almost tripping up our waitress, the Ninja Flippin’ Dude crawled towards the bar.  At almost one year old, he successfully completed his first bar crawl. Ah, a proud Mum moment.

With the Dude, propping up the bar, we ordered our food. Now on my birthday last year, I was very heavily pregnant and was unable to eat a lot of things on the menu.  Today, however, I spotted the goat’s cheese and ordered it instantly. I barely chewed it as I ate it that fast.  Heaven.

My boy has recently broken his fish fingers and peas virginity so we ordered both him and my girl ‘fish goujons’ and hoped that they didn’t realise that they weren’t from Captain Birdseye.  As expected, the Other Half ate most of the goujons and the peas made a splendid pattern on the carpet.  

A couple of hours passed and after three courses, we had to be rolled out to the car.  Once home, we waved goodbye to my Mum and settled down to watch a film.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  The boy was getting fussy.  Then, from nowhere, the Other Half spoke some words I haven’t heard in over four years.

“Why don’t you go upstairs and take a nap?”

He DID NOT have to ask twice.  Scooping the Dude into my arms, we both went upstairs and went to bed.  Cuddling my little man in my arms once again, I smiled and couldn’t help but think how this was a perfect end to a perfect day.  Why you ask?  Because I was warm and cosy in bed and wearing an awesome pair of purple bed socks.  

 

Fruit shoot in shot? Check. Nappy bag in shot? Check. Nap Time!!

 
For a sleep deprived thirty-five year old mother of two, who is ALWAYS cold.  This.  Was.  Bliss.

And.

We.

Slept. 

(For an hour and a half.)

Happy Birthday to Me! Pack of Huggies just in sight…

NB – This post is not sponsored by Huggies.  We just have a pack in every room of the house.