Talk About Cheesecake

Musings, meanderings and meditation for my mind.


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Starting the day with a smile

Who ever coined the phrase ‘the terrible two’s’ was wrong. It’s not the two’s that’s bad, ‘ it’s the ‘tantrumming threes’ that wear you down.

Talk about a level seven meltdown, Botboy can screech with the best of them. My morning starts something like this most days –

I’m on a beach, enjoying the sunshine. There is no noise. A waiter comes over, bringing some multi-coloured, umbrella and  confetti emblazoned coconut filled with a delicious, soothing, chilled beverage. A large dark cloud stabs me in the eye and a shooting white light pierces through the cloud into my brain. . .

Botboy pulls back my other eyelid, leans in front of the morning light aimed directly into my unprepared eyeballs and grins. ‘Playstachun’.

‘G’way. Bedtime. Sleeping,’ I grumble.

‘Playstachun, mummy.’

‘NO’ – be warned, this fantasy that we mum’s wake up bright and early and ready to play is a lie perpetuated by tampon adverts.

‘Playstachun, mummy. I want it.’ An edge of demand enters the tone.

‘What time is it? It’s 6 o’clock! NO. No playstation, go back to bed.’

‘S’morning mummy. I want the Playstachun. I want it. Now.’ Decibels are rising, there is a definite screech in the voice.

‘Get in bed with mummy and go to sleep.’ This is my attempt at distraction. Admittedly it is not that enticing or effective when you are a wide awake 3 year old who has scented desperation in the air and is now building to a crescendo, but hey, I am still three quarters asleep and grasping vainly for my cocktail.

Cue explosion. I put my head under the pillows and let the melt down carry on for a while. Sometimes if you ignore them, they go away. Sometimes they don’t.

This particular morning there is a short outlet of noise, followed by silence. I feel a small body climbing over me. Something hard hits me in the head, much like the corner of an iPad. Then there is silence again.

I relax.

The persistent, repetitive ‘bing, bing, bing’ of Sonic the Hedgehog, with music, drums into my eardrum. Over and over and over and over and . . .

You get the picture.

‘Turn the music off’.

‘No. NO, no, no, no, no. Muuuummmmmmyyyyy.’ A long involved whining wail ensues, while I wrench the iPad from his hands and flip it to silent.

This is just the first 15 minutes of my day. We then have the ‘refusal avec screech’ over getting dressed, wearing red instead of blue pants, wearing Mickey over Superman T-shirts. Cleaning the teeth is accomplished by mixing cajoling with threats.

To wash Botboy’s face, I surreptitiously warm up the flannel, sneak up behind him and smother his face while fending off waving arms. Getting him to eat his breakfast requires negotiation over which bowl, spoon and cereal to use.

I am sure this makes me sound like a horrendous mother. I don’t remember Sackgirl being this difficult. I know she used to have tantrums, but Sackgirl was much more organised about them. She would pick her time and place with care – middle of the supermarket aisle, the doorway of a busy shopping centre, the bathroom door while I was trapped on the toilet – and let loose with gusto. If I walked away she would stop, follow me until she had my attention and then resume. It was calculated, which meant she could be reasoned with.

Botboy appears to completely lose emotional control. He is stubborn and determined. There is no reasoning with him. Distractions rarely work. Sometimes the only thing to do is leave him to it. Sometimes I join in, screeching back an stamping my feet in time with his – the noise and release is quite enjoyable and it might surprise him into silence.

This temper began when he was three. We passed the two’s with pretty much no hassle. It seems that as his speech and understanding developed, so did his temper. I wonder whether this is inherited (his grandfather can be a right grumpy bugger!) or the difference between girls and boys.

I hope he grows out of it soon!

 

 

 

 


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The problem with a seesaw

The sun came out today – a beautiful, warm and still day. The first one we have seen for months. Maybe over a year, if my memory of last summer (rain, grey rain) is correct. So I had to take a day off – a benefit of being self-employed!

Of course, a day off for a working mum doesn’t actually mean a day of relaxing. It means a day of catching up on the other jobs that are waiting. Like cleaning out the chicken house.

Yeuch!

Still, I decided next on the list was to put together the seesaw Sackgirl was given for her birthday. Give me a flat pack, a diagram and a tiny allen key and I can put together anything!

I may have spotted a snag . . .

I may have spotted a snag
I may have spotted a snag

Of course, there is one major problem with a seesaw. No matter how well put together . . .

It does take two!
It does take two!

You do need two!

Poor BotBoy was not very pleased with his first try on the new toy. Luckily his sister came home not too long after, so they could test it out properly.

A seesaw is built for two!
A seesaw is built for two!

Did you get any sunshine today? What did you do?

 

 

 


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My Mini Assignment

I wrote this article for my coursework, but I kinda liked it so I thought I would share it with you too. Plus, it’s about my beautiful Mini, Muffin. 

If you are looking for something with a pinch of spice and stylish cut, but still need the practicality of space that suits a family, then the Mini Countryman is the car for you. How do I know? This is the car I chose for my family after a long search!

Unlike it’s smaller Mini cousins, the Countryman has four doors for accessibility. The back seats can slide forwards for a larger boot space, or backwards for more leg room, but in any position there is still plenty of space for two children in-car seats or three children without – great for those with older kids or bringing friends home for tea.

The high ceiling and upright seats at the front allow plenty of elbow room – a definite improvement on the Mini Coupe. Of course, it’s kitted out with plenty of fun additions, which can be customised dependant on whether you chose to upgrade with the packages Mini offer – Salt, Pepper or Chilli.

Okay, some of the extra’s are frivolous, like the changeable colour lighting dependant on your mood. Others, like the centre rail for attaching additional storage, are entirely useful. I chose the centre armrest with storage compartment, great for car park change and spare pens. In addition the glasses case keeps my sunglasses close at hand and safe from sticky finger marks.

The USB adapter means my iPhone charges while running my sat nav or music and the bluetooth phone connectivity makes taking urgent calls on the move easy and safe. Whilst I don’t recommend chatting away on the motorway, the speakers produce a clear sound on slower roads. I do like my gadgets to be built-in and functional.

Of course, the main benefit of the Countryman over the other Mini’s is storage. The boot has plenty of room for shopping, buggies and even a child’s bike or two. If you are interested in the technicalities, the boot offers from 350 – 1170 litres of space. In other words, that’s one family sized tent, camping stove, cooking gear, sleeping bags and clothes for four, all packed in the boot and still leaving room for 2 children and one dog in the back.

Aside from functionality, the selling point for me though was the sense of fun and style all the way through from looks to driveability. Your people carriers might offer more storage compartments and the Chelsea tractor might be beefier all round, but none of them have the looks or individuality of a Mini. While I needed a car that was suitable for a family, I wanted something that was still about me as a person, not just a mum. I feel I have got all that in my Mini Countryman – and more.

Mini bring out new designs all the time – the newest addition to the range, the Mini Paceman, is basically a 2 door Countryman pitched as a sportier version with sloping Coupe roof. Take a look at their Facebook page for regularly updated pictures to compare the two.


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Birches Valley – Adventuring in the Woods

Considering that I live 10 minutes away from some beautiful forestry and countryside, it’s funny how I have only managed a handful of visits in 7 years.

Until the last 3 weeks that is – when I have taken the kids up there not once, not twice but three times.

I’m talking about a place called the Birches Valley Forestry Centre. It’s a lovely day out and there is just so much for the family to do. For a start, there is the adventure playground. Full of wooden climbing frames, saucer swings and an obstacle course, the kids can spend hours in there alone. And – this may sound a bit weird considering it’s outdoors and covered in mud, leaves and general woodsy type dirt – it’s clean. Yes, it is clean outdoors. 

I think I outdid myself with that one!

What I mean is, there is no litter. There’s no dog muck either, because dogs are not allowed in the playground. And for some reason, this is one of those places where the public actually obeys!

So we took a trip up to play in the great outdoors.

Birches Valley Adventure Playground
Birches Valley Adventure Playground

 

Of course, after that we had to go for a walk through the woods, which is filled with wonderful, bizarre and sometimes just plain odd statues and artwork. To name just a few, there are wooden animals, metal statues representing Mother Earth, the three bears chairs and one huge trainer.

Outside of the playground dogs are welcome. So we took the puppy with us on an adventure through Fairy Wood.

If you are quiet, and you are good, the fairies welcome you into their wood. 

After some looking about we found a fairy tree. Lots of little doors and windows open up into the tree itself, where we saw the fairies homes. There were even little washing lines hanging up, full of clothes.

Further on past the wood we saw the fairy queen’s throne and a mushroom fairy ring. Of course, my little elves had to go sit on the throne before dashing off to explore the picture maze behind it.

Peeking inside the fairy tree. Look out for the weird and wonderful artwork though.
Peeking inside the fairy tree. Look out for the weird and wonderful artwork though.

From there we went on to den building in the woods. Luckily, being slightly worn out by then, we found some nice handy big ones already made, so we all squeezed in to warm up around the fire – Granny and Bagel too.

PicMonkey Collage

Birches Valley has other things to offer too. Mr G and I went some years ago for a few hours tree climbing, swinging around amongst the branches and speeding along zip lines on the Go Ape course. We plan to go again soon.

Last week we took MM1 on her brand new birthday bike. Birches Valley has a number of difficult courses for the serious riders – we took the basic family path. MM1 did great, getting used to gears, brakes, hills and crossing streams with only a few tumbles. MM2 was serene, sitting in his chair on the back of my bike and waving happily at passers by.

In fact I think it was Mr G who had the worst time, since he was trying to stay upright whilst being pulled sideways by the puppy. Who, by the way, was ecstatic at a good run through the woods, if a little miffed at not being able to wander off willy nilly after every new smell. Beagles are not good at concentrating on one thing for long!

And every trip ends up the cafe, where they sell the most decadent creamy ice creams!

Definitely a great place for a family day out. It got us all up and moving without complaints, and as a generally indoor gadget focused family, I was pretty impressed with that!

 


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Disney – our week of magic

Two weeks ago we went away for our secret getaway in celebration of our first wedding anniversary. We took the kids – after all what fun is a trip to Disneyland Paris without the kids.

Woohoo – we went to Disneyland. It was fabulous – magical, brilliant, fun, entertaining, exciting.

Expensive.

We didn’t tell the kids we were going. On the Saturday we packed up the car while they were distracted, told them we were off to McDonald’s for lunch and loaded them into the car. After an hour or so we actually did give them a McDonald’s, since they asked so nicely. And often.

We were just driving around London when MM1, being 6, began to notice that we were not heading home. We told her we would find a hotel for the night, prompting her to worry about having clean pants. Yep, my daughter has her priorities on straight.

We got through the Channel Tunnel and onto the French motorways the next morning before the kids really started to question where we were going. When we told them, MM1 was pure excitement, tempered somewhat by the long ride ahead. MM2, however, was much more blasé. Three years old may be a little young to really understand without seeing it.

We stayed in the New York Hotel, placed about 5 minutes walk from the park and very convenient after a long day of walking around. Very handy for small children. However, although clean I did think it looked a little rundown.

The park itself is amazing. We have been to various theme parks in the UK and we love them. However Disneyland just blows them out of the water. The attention to detail on every ride, every attraction, every statue and flower bed is amazing. I’m serious about the flower beds. Look at these –

We went to bed and it was winter. Heather grew in all the beds - a different colour under every tree.

We went to bed and it was winter. Heather grew in all the beds – a different colour under every tree.

We woke up and it was spring, flowers growing, green everywhere.

We woke up and it was spring, flowers growing, green everywhere.

Walking in to Disneyland and seeing the magical castle – an iconic picture that every child recognises on sight – was just amazing. No matter how hardened the grownup, it must make you draw a breath, just for a second.

The iconic Disney castle.

The iconic Disney castle.

Inside the castle - even the window's carry the detail.

Inside the castle – even the window’s carry the detail.

One of the things I liked best about Disneyland is not only have they spent time putting in the details, we can actually climb on them, play with them, get involved in the displays. We climbed inside Skull Rock, explored Pirate Cove, walked around the balcony on Sleeping Beauty’s castle. After all, one of the most depressing things about other theme parks is seeing something that looks like amazing fun to play with and not being allowed to touch it.

We climbed inside Skull Rock and hung over the sides of the pirate ship.

We climbed inside Skull Rock and hung over the sides of the pirate ship.

We explored Pirate Cove.

We explored Pirate Cove.

An island built just for a roller coaster

An island built just for a roller coaster

The rides were fabulous. Disney do not do things on the small scale, that’s for sure. They built an entire island to house a roller coaster!

As for the night show, now that was beautiful. Projected lights and images flickered across the castle. Tinkerbell flew around the spires and Peter Pan chased his shadow across the night sky.

The queues however, not so great. Even in off peak season there were a lot of people there. I’m not saying it was unexpected, but goodness! We queued for over an hour for some rides.

Small mummy moment – my kids were fabulous. No whinging, no whining. They queued, they walked and they did so without complaining. Now that really is Disney magic!

On the other hand, the prices are not quite so magic. WOW.

Realistically, the prices for the memorabilia, toys, key rings etc are no more than you would pay at any other theme park or in a Disney store elsewhere. The difference really is that in any other theme park you just wouldn’t buy much, but you can’t take your kids all the way to Disneyland and refuse to buy them a single present.

That aside though, what was extortionate was the cost of the food. On the one hand, the fast food did taste good – much less cardboard and rubber involved than the usual park fare. But boy, did they charge for it. In one restaurant we paid twenty six EUROs for a burger. Yes, it was a themed restaurant where we got to meet the characters – the kids were ecstatic at personally getting to hug Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Tigger and Eeyore. But the minimum fee for a child’s meal was around twelve EUROs. Two over excited children who were not going to sit and eat anyway – that’s a lot. It adds up – lunch and dinner for four, over 5 days.

The best value meal we had was at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. I recommend it completely. Not only is food included in the ticket price but the show was brilliant. Mr G was, I think, most excited. The kids got involved in cheering for their team. As usual, Disney do not do things by half. Real buffalo – need I say more.

Stagecoach hold up at the Wild West Show

Stagecoach hold up at the Wild West Show

MM1 had a wonderful time searching the parks for the various characters, getting hugs, photos and signatures to show her friends. MM2 is now a Mouse devotee, Goofy coming a close second as his hero. Even Mr G got a hug with Minnie and was quietly smug. Of course, my favourite had to be the roaring dragon who lived under the castle.

Over all – it was a wonderful holiday. What can I say, I am a sucker for the magic.

Mickey Mouse on Parade

Mickey Mouse on Parade

The dragon beneath the castle.

The dragon beneath the castle.

Top tips for Disneyland Paris adventurers –

1. Book dinner in advance. At least for the first night you are there. If you don’t book your table in a restaurant or your hotel, you could face a very long wait. Not great with two small, hungry and tired children. We ended up at McDonalds the first night – although I have to say, even McD’s in Disney is huge – the biggest I have ever seen.

The biggest McDonald's I have seen yet.

The biggest McDonald’s I have seen yet.

2. There are long queue’s for all the major attractions, food stalls and just about everything really. Take snacks and drinks for the kids. Oh – and get those elbows out. The queue hoppers are blatant and prolific.

3. Plan your day. If your kids want to meet the characters, then you need to be hanging out in the right place at the right time. They have set places where they will sign autographs for the crowds for a limited amount of time. Then they are off. If you want to have a good view for the parade – get there in time to line the walk.

4. Go to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The ticket price is worth it. But don’t pay the extra for the front row seats, we were second from the back and had a perfect view and plenty of space.

5. You get one free fast track (to jump the queue to a ride) with your entry ticket, which is fine if you are there for a few days. If you had to do the whole park in one day it would be worth paying the extra for a full days fast track, or you will miss 3/4’s of the park due to the queues.

6. The hotels on site might be closer and more convenient, but the off site ones are newer and fresher. For those with young children, I do think on site is better. Getting them home to bed is easier. Had mine been a little older, a short bus ride each night would have been doable.

Having said that, I did go for a sneaky peak around the main Disney hotel, which is right at the gates to the park. Inside it looks like a castle fit for a princess, with sparkling everything, a fantastic staircase perfect for sweeping down in a ball gown and light, airy foyer. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to sneak into any bedrooms to check them out but I would expect similar high standards.

The Disney hotel with sweeping staircase

The Disney hotel with sweeping staircase

Disney hotel foyer

Disney hotel foyer


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In memory, one year on.

When I was a child, every Christmas or New Year we would pack up our car with presents and set off on the 3 hour drive to Bolton to stay with my dad’s cousin – the only remaining family he had.

My dad’s cousin M had married Errol, a slightly round, slightly short man with a beard who had a raucous laugh. They had two children, S, who was older than us and off and married before I was old enough to really play with her, and P, mid-way between my two brothers in age.

I remember the Christmas where we tied strong across the doorhandles, locking our parents into the lounge – and incidentally away from the booze – so that they had to climb out of the window and run round to the back door to get into the house again. We would booby trap the stairs with rope and party poppers, whilst Errol and my dad would mount an assault and attempt to reach the landing.

I remember when ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc’ was on TV. My mum said I was too young to watch the end as it was scary, so P woke me up early in the morning to watch a recording of the last few minutes. P, unlike my own brothers, also liked to read. I would spend hours in his room working my way through his collection of Terry Pratchett while the boys went off to do whatever boys did without annoying little girls following them around.

Each New Year P, as the tallest male with dark hair in the house, would get thrown out of the back door and sent to knock on the front, carrying a lump of coal to bring the house luck for the coming year.

Sometimes the cousins would come to our house for Christmas. The boys would have to sleep downstairs in sleeping bags. I was never allowed to join them though. They came to stay one summer, I don’t know why, but I recall Errol challenging my mother to drink whiskey with him. My mum likes a glass of whiskey at night, but she is not a heavy drinker. I believe between them they finished a bottle and my older brother brought my mum up to bed. I was 18 at the time, as I had to work the next day and came home to find my mother suffering in the garden with her shades on. Errol is, I think, the only person I have ever seen manage to get my mum to drink that much.

I don’t remember much more about Errol, except that he was always smiling, always happy and ready to have a joke. He seemed to find great joy and a reason to laugh in everything we did. He liked to smoke and have a drink. Of course, he had a northern accent that we southerners found hilarious and my brother would mimic all the way home after a visit. But I didn’t take too much notice of him – he was just another adult.

At my wedding last year the cousins were of course all invited. It was a family occasion, the first time we had all been together in some time but also the first time Errol had had his whole family, all the way down to the grandchildren, around him in some months, now that they were scattered across the world as our generation tend to be now, following the work. I like to think he had a fun time. I remember catching glimpses of him with cigarette in one hand and beer in another watching us all party and laughing.

Some time during the night of my wedding Errol had a heart attack. He fought it valiently, but he passed away two weeks later, the day Mr G and I returned from our honeymoon. Two days and one year ago today.

I am glad that his last full day with us all was spent partying, cuddling his grandchildren and surrounded by happy, laughing family. One year on, I remember a cheerful, happy, joking man who was well loved by family, masses of friend, and is missed.


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Mummy flu.

Wake up, head pounding. Sinuses are throbbing. Breathing is hard.

Forcing my body out of bed, into motion. Trousers on, t-shirt pulled over aching head. Tramp downstairs to let dog outside. Wellies on, trudging through the mud, hunched up against the driving rain.

Chickens jump squawking from their house. Fill pellet holder, check their water, trudge back to the house, dog jumping up my leg, sloughing muddy paws across trousers.

Mini Monster 2 comes downstairs, shouting as he comes. ‘Milk mummy. Want breakfast. Milk. Milk. Milk.’

Place bowl on table filled with cheerios and milk. More milk in a cup with a straw. MM2 starts to eat, dripping milk and wheat circles across the table and his knees on the journey to his mouth.

Mini Monster 1 wanders in quietly. ‘I’m hungry’.

Weetabix in a bowl with milk, splash of sugar. Drag chair closer to table, MM1 eats.

The cat miaows.

Squeeze lumps of sticky, drippy meat product from a sachet. Shuffle through to the hall, place plastic bowl on the floor, stroke cat from head to tip of tail.

Respond to demand to provide MM1 with yoghurt.

Flick kettle on.

Pour water onto lemsip. Sit down, relax backwards. Acknowledge drumming in head and stuffed ache running across my face.

MM2 requests a yoghurt. With emphasis on requests.

The dog whines.

Mr G enters the kitchen.

Time passes in a dozy haze. Sausage and egg, dosed in ketchup, held between bread. Placed in my lap.

Scoop dry, coloured shapes into the dog’s bowl.

The clock ticks. MM2 slides through the doorway. ‘Want food. Want biscuits. Want food mummy.’

Back to the kitchen, shoulders heavy, head down. Bread, cheese, cucumber, no butter. MM1. Bread, butter, no filling. MM2. Salt and vinegar crisps. MM1. Quavers. MM2. Fizzy water. MM1. Tap water. MM2.

More lemsip.

Remove the plastic cat bowl from the dog’s bed before she crunches through the plastic completely.

Waiting for 6pm.

Cottage pie and green peas. Cake and milk for the children.

No more meals to provide. Mummy chores complete. Bed calls.

The cat miaows.


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Daily Prompt – Happily Ever After

“And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?

This particular Daily Prompt just called out to me for two reasons.

Living happily every after is something that happens to every fairy tale princess after their wedding to their prince.

And of course – not only are we about to embark on our secret getaway to the land where fairy tales come true, but we are doing it in honor of our first wedding anniversary. Yes, one year ago I married my prince. Although I’m not sure anyone would describe me as a fairy tale princess, we did have a magical day surrounded by love, laughter, family, friends and complete with castle.

The problem with fairy tales is that they always end at the wedding.

No story of derring do, love conquers all, true loves kiss and singing birds, who can also curiously do housework without crapping on the windowsill, ever mentions what comes next. The bit that follows, where happily ever after gets tested.

Mortgages. Work. Redundancy. Debt. Kids. Finding time for each other amongst the stress. Living next door to your in-laws. (No? Just me then, that one?)

Reality!

Although, I suppose the whole fairy tale aspect precludes reality getting a look in. It’s an oxymoron.

Not to say that people can’t and don’t live happily ever after. But I do think that you have to take a good hard look at what that actually means, take away the spoonful of sugar and see what really grows from your magic bean.

For example – if my ‘happily ever after’ was to live in a palace with singing wardrobes, stables full of prancing ponies, fairgrounds in the garden and racks of glass slippers, I could be setting my prince up for a definite fall. To be fair to him, that’s a lot to provide.

If however, it was to have a secure home with a pretty good standard of living, money to treat ourselves and the kids to a holiday every now and then, well that’s doable.

In addition, if it means that my prince is my best friend; that he can make me laugh when I’m sad and cheer me up when I’m grumpy, love me when I am wearing sweats and haven’t washed my hair in days, bring me coffee and aspirin when I have a hangover and cook  sausage and egg for Sunday breaky  – well, he is a prince to me.

The goalposts on happily ever after may move as we age,  lifestyles change and the kids grow up. I’m just a fickle princess. But as long as I have my prince, happily ever after seems pretty ok to me.

Happy anniversary Mr G.

written for the Daily Prompt


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A Proud Moment – an Extra Special Post

This is an extra special post, so I wanted it to be about something extra special in my life. Of course, there is nothing more special than my beautiful, wonderful, funny and cheeky Mini Monsters, so let’s make today about them!

I’m doing this backwards, but let’s start with Mini Monster 2.

My wee man is 3 years old. He is a funny little chap, he loves to make people laugh so that he can join in with a great big belly chuckle. MM2 takes after his dad, he likes to do things properly and he won’t take instruction. Instead he watches everyone around him until he is sure he knows what to do – and then he goes for it.

For example – take learning to crawl. Mini Monster 1 did the whole pushing herself along the floor on her tummy – usually backwards – until she was wedged under the sofa. Then she learnt to get on to her hands and knees and rock for a while before splatting face first into the carpet. When it came to walking she spent time surfing around the sofa before taking her first tentative 3 steps – and splatting turtle style.

Not so for MM2. He sat and watched everyone run around him for ages. Not even a hint of rocking. One hot sunny afternoon in the summer he sat and studied MM1 and her cousins sprinting about the garden and splashing in the pool. All day. We went indoors in the evening, sat him on the floor and when we came back he was crawling off up the stairs. Yes, from sit to climb in one afternoon. When he was ready to walk – he did. He got up one day while we were watching TV and walked from one end of the room to the other.

Of course, I don’t have a super baby. I’m not totally mental. There were a few splats. But generally he likes to study the problem and then get it right the first time.

So – on to my proud mummy boast for MM2. This month we have tackled potty training. I did try about 6 months ago but clearly he had not spent enough time studying the process then. This time round, he got it pretty darn quickly. Yay to a nappy free house!

Now on to Mini Monster 1. My delicious 6 year old girl is pretty darn funny. She loves to make jokes and is a cheeky little girly – no flies on her when it comes to remembering something you told her so that she can use it against you. Who knew they actually listened to you, right?

MM1 shares some of my more admirable qualities. No patience, the ability to completely ignore you while staring you in the face (she just discovered daydreaming is a great excuse for everything), complete stubbornness (oh, hang on, they both have that) and being able to find something funny in just about every situation (believe me, sometimes this is just so inappropriate!)

We have been working together on her maths recently – as you may recall this is a stressful time for us both. Still, it looks like it has paid off, because she has moved up a group in class and is working on the harder problems. Proud mummy boast – I have spawned a genius. Clearly she gets that from me too!

OK – maybe not.

Still, I have 2 pretty wonderful monsters to cuddle and I am grateful for that!

Which reminds me – the extra special bit.

This is my 100th post – I am amazed that I have got this far and written so much, after my 1st little post. More amazed that some of you stop by regularly to have a read – so thank you very much for taking time not only to read but also to comment.

What’s made your month special? Share it with me, we can grin insufferably together.


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To clean or not to clean

I’m stuck in a dilemma at the moment. As a WFHM, trying to fit in puppy training, spending time with the kids, studying a home learning course,  . . . I just can’t cope with it all right now.

Mr G and I have discussed getting a cleaner to help me – just a few hours a week to tackle the growling troll living under the ironing and the gremlins that scatter toys and clothes across the house whenever my back is turned.

So why is it I feel so guilty at the idea of having a cleaner come in to help me out? Why do I feel as if I should be able to do everything. After all, I know that I can’t – I even said so not so long ago.

I don’t expect my home to look like a show house. I accept that some days the kids will be fed frozen food and not fresh, home baked meals every night. I don’t worry about polishing school shoes daily or making crafty decorations out of toilet rolls and dry pasta (I wouldn’t even know where to start with that one!).

I don’t buy into the theory that a perfect mum bakes and sews and spends 4 hours every day on home education. There are many different things that make a great parent.

Having said that, for some reason the idea of getting a cleaner, even for a few hours, makes me feel as though I am somehow failing. After all, I am working from home. I am physically in the house. Surely then I should be able to keep it clean and tidy, even as I work an 8 hour day, cook the dinner, do the shopping, school runs and homework?

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When I went out to work all day, the mess could just wait until the weekend. It’s only now I am home that it grates. It’s the proximity to the chaos that seems to be wearing me down.

Am I indoctrinated into feeling like I must be the perfect wife, mother, housekeeper . . .  ? Actually, I don’t believe in the stereotype of a women’s role. Mr G helps around the house but I am here the most so have, in theory, more time to do it.

 

In the ‘good old days’ when a woman was more likely to run the house and the man be the only breadwinner, then maintaining a perfect house was expected. It seems a fair share of the work involved in keeping a family moving –  being the mother, housekeeper, taxi service for the children and cook is a full time job.

It makes sense then, as more women work – and have to work as the cost of living increases – that the housework will suffer. Something has to slacken off and we can’t very well stop looking after the children or feeding everyone, now can we?

Despite the logic showing that something has to give, why is it then that I still feel the need to manage without help?

Cost aside – that’s a separate discussion – do you have a cleaner – or would you have one? Do you think that in this day and age we should be able to manage running the home and working full time?