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Peaches Geldof

1 May

I’m very sorry Peaches Geldof is dead. I know it’s not the done thing to criticise those who’ve died in tragic circumstances and nothing can allay the devastation brought on her family and friends of losing a close person at such a young age with such a young family but…
and it’s a big B.U.T… I’m fuming…. Why is she being given a free pass? As the news comes out this evening that her death is related to heroin I hear a ‘friend’ on Channel 4 News extolling her virtues as an advocate of attachment parenting and her promotion of gay marriage rights etc and asking us to “look beyond the manner in which she may have died”. What? Well excuse me if I don’t.
IF… (and please let’s hope it’s not the case) but IF, she was doing heroin in the house with a toddler present, why are we praising her parenting skills at all? How is this not being discussed or at least being flagged up as hypocritical? How is it, in fact, being totally ignored? It makes a complete mockery of real mums (and dads) working away at being good parents day after day after day after year after year. I gave up smoking when I was pregnant seven years ago and now ensure I don’t have my single-half- a-bottle-of-wine-a-night lifestyle, having swapped it for that dull recommended at least two days off a week regime and the rest. I drive more carefully, I cross roads at the right places and I try not to risk my life over stupid or superficial things, whilst still having a fulfilling life. I do this because I have the responsibility of being a parent. My children are young and I want to be around and know that they need me to be around for as long as possible, or at least while they are still growing up. Surely, no one could know this more than Peaches – the girl who lost her mother so young and is such a ‘wonderful example’ of an attachment parent.
I don’t get it. Her death is tragic yes, and clearly no one chooses to be addicted to anything, but let’s not eulogise this and make it something it’s not. Of course the poor woman would have been utterly devastated and traumatised by her own mother’s untimely death and she clearly did try to change into the life of domestic bliss (as if there is such a thing). But reporting like tonight– or the recent, totally uncritical, article in The Times of her attachment parenting – whilst right at the end noting, unchallenged by the journalist, that she has every weekend off as the kids went to her in laws – is just disingenuous to those of us who live in the real world.
It’s not easy and none of us get it 100% right 100% of the time but come on.

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It’s not that I don’t have the answer

12 Feb

Dear God!
Sometimes I feel like a moron. I’ve always been bad at quizzes, but tonight I watched University Challenge for the first time in a decade or so.
It’s not that I didn’t know the answers to the questions.. hell I can hardly pull an answer out of my mental bag for a local pub quiz, let alone compete with Trinity Cambridge.
My disappointment in myself lay in the fact that I could barely concentrate on or even understand the question. “In 1800 when the sum of xxx was y squared what in fact was the sum of the article… and so on and on.

Totally incomprehensible. No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop myself from halfway through the question, thinking “Jeremy your hair’s really grey now” or “oh this green and blacks dark chocolate is really quite orangey.”

Clearly the fact that I can’t even focus on the question means I will never make the dizzy heights of UC or anything remotely intellectual.

Having said that it equally – hopefully – means I won’t ever have to don the Neil-from-The-Young-Ones 70s style hair cut that one boy was sporting on the show.

Cheap shot I know, but it’s one of the few strings left to my bow when the only quiz questions I have confidently answered in the last few years have been …

1. Who lives on the island of Sodor?
2. What fictional mouse dreams up a monster who turns out to exist?

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.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Turning psychotic neurotic means I need a job

13 Oct

Eeek! As I chastised my long-suffering husband for “wiping the crumbs off the granite in the wrong way” I realised I probably need to get back in the real world, get a real job and get a sense of perspective.

It’s not that I don’t work. I do. Not only do I do all the mumsy stuff: to-ing and fro-ing kids to school, swimming, back n’ forth from playdates and parties, I also do all the cleaning, shopping, cooking and even hold down the remnants of a sort of journalistic career.

So far, so average. But what’s tipped me over the edge I fear, is that after 3 years of working by myself, for myself, I’ve hit an impasse – not the first woman to do this by any means, but it’s hit me rather by surprise I must admit.

As my children slowly become embroiled in full time education, I’m left with the ‘freelance career’ that used to fill the gaps in between sporadic childcare, but which now seems an odd dead end. I’m lucky to get enough work to get by but not lucky (talented?!) enough to yet get a proper career from a column or book etc. So I find myself in unchartered waters career-wise. Quite odd for a girl who for the best part of the last 20 years has defined herself by her career – well in my own head at least.

So the psychotic neurotic temperament has slowly grown to the point where the poor old hubs gets short shrift for misplaced crumbs, the cleaning takes on a weird priority and daily meals become a focal point to fixate on conjuring up the perfect family scene.

To worry about or do these things is not in itself an issue of course, but to fixate on them is. The road to bored housewife must surely be paved with lack of fulfilment. Meaningful things to do where you feel valued for who you are in a professional capacity – not as a mum, cleaner, cook or wife – must be key to that.

So here begins the search for the next chapter in my life. Full-time mum, full-ish time worker. Lets’ see what happens. Any tips welcome.

Drugs & Cool dudes

9 Jul

My mother always jokes that she’s disappointed to have lived through the sixties without ever being offered drugs – her rationale being she would have at least liked the opportunity to turn something down.

I never really felt her ‘pain’ until just recently, when we were at a friend’s party. A lovely affair, I enjoyed cocktails, then Prosecco & scrummy nibbles, did a bit of dodgy dancing and impromptu karaoke and the next morning awoke feeling suitably shabby. Good night all round.

It was not until hubby mentioned the offers he’d had the previous night of an assortment of Class As – all of which he’d sensibly turned down – that I realised there’d been a whole other level to the party which I’d failed to even notice, let alone be at. No wonder they’d all managed to stay up till 6am, when I could only just make 2.

I had not been offered so much as a sniff. No one even offered me a dodgy smoke, let alone a line.

Now I know it’s not cool to do drugs and all that, but like my mum I would rather have liked the chance to say ‘no thanks’.  Then it dawned on me… I obviously give off such a dull, mumsy, middle-aged vibe that everyone just knew I’d say no, so no one could even be bothered to ask.

Oh well, they always say you turn into your mother… It could be worse, I guess I’ll just have to stick to the Prosecco.

Marital Rules.. to tell or not to tell

10 May

As we watched Modern Family last night (very funny & worth checking out if you haven’t already), the gay couple were arguing about the ‘shooting down’ of Cam’s protracted and not very funny story.

As I’m sure we all have those moments of thinking “not this one again… (Lobster humidor/Paul).. It got me to wondering – is it a spouse’s duty to sit and listen over and over again, dutifully providing the needed response of “ha ha darling/ oh no!/ really, that’s hilarious”? Or, should one say in a quiet moment – “enough now babe – it wasn’t funny when you told it to me on our first date but I fancied you and wanted to see you again so I laughed, now it’s like groundhog day torture… PLEASE STOP TELLING THAT STORY” – or something perhaps a little more sensitive.

And then if you extrapolate it out – where do you stop – the dandruff? the ear & nose hair? the snaffling eating habit? the bogies hanging from the nose? – oh no that’s the kids.. but that kind of thing.

Similarly I walked out the house the other day with a rice krispie stuck to my cheek and yesterday’s mascara smudged under my eye creating a fetching battered woman-type look – I think something should’ve been said, but no – out into the big wide world I went, totally oblivious.

I’m curious – where’s the line? What’s the correct spousal supportive action – to tell or not to tell? – and what actions should we be picking up on?

Here’s my  interventionist starter for ten:

Boring protracted stories with lame endings

Groan-worthy puns

Facial cereal

Age-related hair growth: nose/ear/chin/upper lip or anywhere else

Skirt in Knickers/Flies undone

Shaving cream trails

Random food stains on clothing – especially fish related

Bad parking manoeuvres  – ‘helpful’ hints on how to do better?!

Queuing strategies that involve pushing to the front “for the family” but in fact just embarrassing said family

Dance moves from last century – or the one before! (Paul/me respectively)

 

What are yours?