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The third baby – Time’s a ticking

8 Nov

And so it begins.

Just 4 months after my 40th birthday and swearing blind that I’ll never have another child, I can feel that tickety tock thing kicking off somewhere deep inside my ovaries. It’s a weird feeling. It’s totally irrational. We’re very lucky. We have a boy and a girl, both healthy, both happy. We’ve talked about it, having a third – but we don’t have the money – or inclination. That is, until now.

This summer was the first holiday we’ve taken since we started the baby-thon that we didn’t need to pack nappies or bring a push chair. We travelled lighter, went further, could eat later, stay out an enjoy a pizza at night with friends without total melt-downs. It was a watershed moment. The hubs and I exchanged smug glances of “that phase is over” here comes a brave new world.

Enter small cute newborn. And another. And another. It seems like fate is throwing them at me faster than my poor aged ovaries can produce eggs. My smallest ‘baby’ is nearly four. The infant I think I have is, in reality, a giant when compared to a newborn, full of willie waggling gestures, poo-rhyming songs and general jumping to which 4 year old boys are want. The newborn by comparison, sleeps a lot on a shoulder, is tiny, beautiful, perfect – and yet to form a personality which requires you to chastise, reprimand, commend or praise.

The placidity (word?) has an appeal in a world filled with chaotic 4 and 6 year olds – and whilst I must admit I’ve spent the last few years realising that I’m not an earth mother and enjoy children much more once they are able to communicate – I now look at these tiny sleeping angels and think – “I’d do better next time, this time I know not to get stressed, I know what to do, when and how to juggle it all. Maybe I’d actually get it right with number 3.”

So in creeps the doubt. They look so tiny, so harmless, so completely incapable of turning life upside down, inside out. How could that happen. Surely not. Tick tock.

 

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It’s all about willies now

14 Oct

“Stop fiddling with your willie”,

“I don’t care if you like it when your willie is ‘strong'”

“No, you cannot show your teacher your ‘strong’ willie”

“Stop prodding your sister with your willie”

“Go on then, pee out the car, but don’t hit the door or drip into the car”

The ‘willie’ has become the focal point of my son’s world. He’s only 3. After two and a half years of oblivion, there’s fiddling, thrusting, humping, tweaking, pulling and general permanent touching. It’s incessant and nothing I say seems to be able to put a stop to it. Sentences I never thought I would have to say, such as the ones above, now come out on a regular basis… to no avail.

I know boys will be boys, but girls just don’t do this kind of thing (please don’t say they do!)  As a girl growing up with just a sister, I’m new to this whole willie-centric world of little boys but I’m learning it has its uses too. It’s not just all about the fiddle. This evening, sitting in the car in the pouring rain, J announces he desperately needs a wee but we’re five minutes away from home. “Can you hold it in darling?”

“No, mamma, really no,” comes the unwelcome reply. So with my mummy-quick-wits about me (but also a reluctance to get wet again), I pull over, stretch back, unclick his seatbelt and open his door with the infamous words, “Go on then, pee out the car, but don’t hit the door or drip into the car.”

A truly fine ‘mummy moment’ akin only to my slummy mummy NCT award, when I wiped up Ellie’s baby vomit with her baby-grow clad bottom, knowing that five minutes later it would be in the washing anyway – to the horror of all around me. I had unwittingly overstepped the funny-slummy-mummy to slummy-slummy-mummy grey line.

Just for the record, despite having to contend with Ellie and me dissolving into a mess of giggles whilst he ‘performed’, he managed it!

 

 

 

 

Confirmation of Stereotypes

13 Oct

So we’re selling the flat. Or trying to. “It’s a buyers market”, so I’m told – with a patronising description of what that actually means. “It means there are more buyers than sellers!” No S*** Sherlock.

This means that I have rather unwillingly been thrust into the dirty world of estate agents. Suffice to say that after nearly three weeks of dealing with 12 year olds acting like they do the most important job in the world whilst wearing a) the most ill-fitting shiny suits in the world – boys b) the shortest Primark skirts whilst pretending they’re Prada in the world – girls, I’m sick to the back teeth with the whole thing.

I’m not saying they’re not very bright, but no one ever became an estate agent because they got too many A levels. So far I’ve caught them out lying, cheating, double-crossing and screwing each other over. And it’s only week 3. I don’t know why I’m surprised when they have such a bad reputation, but I really have been astounded at how they have, without exception, confirmed all the negative stereotypes that make them one of the most hated professions out there.

Here’s my list of my favourite blatant estate agent speak so far where, whilst seething, I’ve had to conceal a wry laugh at how ridiculous they sound:

“We have a phrase in this office, ‘buyers are liars'” SO you don’t respect anyone you’re selling to?

“Let me just say, from a father to a mother, I understand” ARGH – please patronise me some more. Hurl

“It’s so cosy” – AKA – TINY, can’t swing a cat.

“I’ve got a really lovely property” AKA I’ve been trying to flog this dead horse for months

“It’s a bit of a doer upper” AKA someone died here after living in this pit for the last 40 years

“It’s a lovely property on Gunnersbury Avenue” AKA – It’s on the north circular

“It’s not under offer” AKA it is under offer, but we’re trying to screw them over and get another one so we get a higher commission

“You could get £500K on Chiswick W4 yourself, that’s why you need an estate agent to get you more.” AKA I’m gonna say anything to get your property on our books.

Incidentally for any agents reading this, I’m not trying to be picky but I do not want any properties:

on the A4, M4 or north circular or any other major arterial roads

backing onto sewage works, train lines, electricity stations

overshadowed by a brick wall

next to a derelict decaying property with or without dodgy tenants living in slum-like conditions

riddled with damp in every room and/or crumbling before ones eyes

in a war zone

A mum’s night out

8 May

Up until now I had – naively or arrogantly – assumed I’d side-stepped that awful mummy-pitfall of over-dressing for a night out.

I’ve noticed certain mums doing it over the last few years. I think the infrequency of nights out brings it on – like a rash. A night down the pub brings out the sparkly tops, skimpy skirts and pre-childbirth stilettos. It’s like having “I’m a mum on a pass out” written all over your forehead – it’s basically a spotlight highlighting how out of place they have become in the regular world of socialising.

So when I went out to meet some old friends at Green Park last night, I realised, as I tottered to Gunnersbury station in heels that I could clearly no longer walk properly in, that I had not so much side-stepped the over-dressing banana skin as gone hook, line and sinker for full banana skid.

This was confirmed, not only by the heels, but also by the fact that I spoke during the day of going ‘into town’ – like some true-blood suburbanite.

When oh when did that happen?

I have no idea how I slipped out of urban outfitters & into suburban mum unfitters, but I want to get back to the real world of socialising..

That means I need to go out more than once a month, not wear high heels on inappropriate nights (& re-learn to walk in them for when they are appropriate) and remember that living in zone 3 IS already ‘in town’…

Charity Shop pricing is out of touch

1 May

How much?

So I was in a charity shop in Chiswick this morning – which perhaps means they saw me coming – but an M&S cashmere jumper with a pretty significant hole and a stain on the front was on sale for £25. They’re only £60 brand new. I only wanted it as a replacement blanket for Ellie’s ‘blankie’ but for that money I could buy a brand new top in the phase eight sale next door.

I understand that the more money they make the better for the charities they represent and I genuinely don’t begrudge that most of the time, but  they seem to’ve lost all sense of proportion. It used to all be 50p/£1/£2.50 type pricing, which is clearly never going to make anyone any money fast but surely there’s a sensible middle ground somewhere?

They seem to be totally out of touch with the current reality of retail pricing where Primark is selling t-shirts for £2 or £3 while other high street names seem to be having permanent sales, bringing their prices down, in many cases, to below those in the charity shops.

Maybe someone will just do the naughty trick the shop assistant told me about – take the item to the changing room, rip off the tag and swap it with another cheaper item’s tag – clearly bad form.

Needless to say I didn’t swap tags, but nor did I buy it (or the Phase Eight top) and so the charity loses out and so does Ellie, whose current blankie is on it’s last legs, having been reduced to mere threads after 5 1/2 years of loyal loving.

A smile costs nothing

15 Mar

Children are so perspicacious.

Walking along the street this morning, my five year old and I passed four policemen. As we walked by she smiled and said ‘hello’. The response. Blank looks and lowered heads to avoid her eye line.

So my daughter asks: “Mummy why is it that firemen always smile and wave at us, but policemen never say hello or smile and are so grumpy?”

Good question.

My children love the fire station, they always get waves and smiles and are even occasionally invited in to sit in the fire engine, try on a helmet or watch a fireman slide down the pole. They think firemen are great and always pass the entrance hoping there will be someone there they can make contact with by wave or whatever. Conversely they are already disappointed with the police.. the smiles are rarer than hen’s teeth and they only get personal contact at open days and fetes etc, where they are mobbed.

It’s common knowledge the police have a generic image problem. So smiling, being friendly and showing willing that you are a part of a community would surely be a good thing. Community policing is hard enough but a smile to a five year old not only costs nothing, has no dangerous side effects, but also puts police in the “friendly, there to help” category of a child’s mind – rather than some aloof untouchable.

I fail to see how this could be a bad thing and think it could go some way to improve the police image for the future. There are already plenty of ‘kids’ who see them as ‘the enemy’. It may seem simplistic and clearly it’s not the only solution, but smiling more will never build barriers, however, it just may help break some down.

Present Politics

6 Nov

There are 30 kids in Ellie’s class, then there’s the kids she knew at nursery, then there’s the NCT group, then there are old friends who have kids of a similar age, then there are the neighbours -and then there’s the same for Josh.

Kids parties are therefore a constant feature in our weekend lives and present buying can break the bank if you’re not careful. I don’t want to be mean, but I do try to have a sense of perspective – they’re only five after all and Josh’s peers are only 3 – how much do they really need?

But using this philosophy and living in the glossy environs of west London, I’m sometimes found wanting.

Awful moments come in many forms – major, life changing ones we can’t do anything about – and the little ones that are merely mortifyingly embarrassing – like when the going home present in the obligatory goodie bag is the same as the gift you’ve just given. Gulp.

#busted as a cheapskate