Parenthood is…

Anecdotes from the chaotic world that orbits a modern and extremely busy mum of four.

Sick, sick, sick and a bit more sick besides!

Before having children I had genuinely believed that you were only ever sick for one of four reasons – you had a tummy bug, you were drunk, you’d eaten something dodgy or you were pregnant.  Therefore, if I knew someone had blown chunks and they were not obviously pregnant or slurring, I’d convince myself that they were contagious and that I was now DEFINITELY going to be ill – and would immediately start feeling sick accordingly!

Then I had children.

It still amazes me the seemingly endless reasoning behind a child vomming.

Noah has been known to resort to the “uh-oh, I’ve eaten too much – here comes the blow-back” spew on occasion. (OK, have to fess, I’ve done that a couple of times too – I still have some trouble looking an enchilada in the eye after one particular over-eating incident I shan’t dwell upon any further…!)

Isly is a particular fan of the “you made me eat something I didn’t want to” puke.  I’m actually quite envious of her cunning – no parent wants to induce a barf if they can possibly help it – wish I’d thought of it with my mum’s “risotto” aka dodgy ‘special’ (eyebrows raised) fried rice… 😉  Sorry Mum!!  xx
(Just going to quickly digress – I mentioned this dish to my mum a while back and she has absolutely no recollection of it – whereas I am haunted by it forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ha ha  Sorry Mum – again!!  xx)

Gabriel, thankfully, (to-date) is not a major player in the technicolour yodelling championships. To-date.  (VERY important not to tempt fate about these things!!)

And Tobs, well, he’ll choose any reason he pleases – he’s a bit hot, he’s got a cough, he just felt like it…!  He’s a great believer in partaking in an in-car chunder – I have had to de-sick a car seat more times with him than all the rest of the children put together (and he’s not even 2 yet!).

Whatever the reason, I think it is fair to say that clearing-up after a projectile ralph is one of the more grizzly parenting jobs on offer!  If the child has done a good job, there is inevitably a brief moment where you pause in the wake of the vomit tsunami and just think “Where the f*** do I start?!”.  You look at your now-crying, possibly near-hysterical, child and see their saturated, chunk-covered clothes and the now-matted hair and think “that’s going to need a bath and hair-wash”, knowing that the last thing the ill-feeling child wants is to have a bath.  You look down at the floor and think “oh b*ll*cks, it’s missed the (washing-machinable) rug, that’s going to be a ‘hands-and-knees scrubbing the carpet’ job”.  You look at the bed or car seat and think “that’s going to need a complete strip-down”.  And then you realise that your top and legs are damp and you think “and I really just want a shower and a glass of wine!”!!

It only takes a few seconds for you to think all this and jump into action, working methodically through the tasks in whatever order suits you best (I favour the run a highly-scented-bubble-bath bath & plonk them in while I strip everything, then get them into clean clothes / bedding before shoving all I can into the washing machine and then tending to the floor / car / car seat, etc. – then finally having a shower when the sick has all been banished – IF I get time before the next wave flows, that is…!)

But, I’m very relieved to say, sick no longer phases me and I can deal with the aftermath without feeling ill myself.  Obviously, in a few of the more disgusting cases my body can’t resist a dry-heave or two, but I no longer feel sick myself and my brain has stopped trying to convince itself that I’m obviously now going to be ill too!  My children have taught me that the a tummy bug is actually one of the rarer reasons to drive the porcelain bus or pray to the porcelain gods….!!

(And yes, I have been trying to use as many different ways of saying ‘sick’ as I could think of – but failed to get ‘pavement pizza’ in there – gutted!  😉 )

Here are some other ‘sick truths’ I have learnt along the way:
#1  A child will generally (always?) vomit at precisely the moment where you think you have it all in hand (e.g. when you’re reading the last story to the last of your sweetly-smelling, bathed & pyjama’d babies and have just found yourself thinking “nearly there”… or when you’ve just got everything loaded into/out of the car and everyone is finally ready to head off… then, at exactly those moments, that’s when the vomming will start!).
#2  The faint smell of ‘eau de puke’ will linger in an infant’s hair / on their neck for approximately four days or four thorough baths & hair-washes, whichever is longer.
#3  Pink sick stains like a bitch.  In fact, any food that would stain if spilt, will stain like a bitch when packed in a chunder-blast.
#4  When undertaking the Krypton Factor puzzle that is stripping-down a sick-soaked car-seat, the most sick will be lodged in the most difficult parts to detach, therefore guaranteeing that the sick gets a chance to properly permeate into your skin.  This results in the “lasting memory effect” –  every time you doing anything at all over the coming two weeks, you will get the merest whiff of sick.
#5  Your child will be sick in your car exactly 24 hours after you have looked at your car and thought “crikey, stuff’s built up in here again, I’d better have a clear-out” (and, of course, before you’ve actually got round to acting on your observations of the previous day).
#6  A projectile vom / the sick spatter will ALWAYS have gone farther and wider than you initially thought.
#7  When cleaning-up, you will always miss some somewhere….!
#8  Towels take just as much washing as bedding (and actually take longer to dry) – yet we cover the bedding in towels “in case”.
#9  Even if you cover the bed, floors, toys, etc. in towels, the sick WILL find the one small area you’ve not covered.
#10  Every family has a designated “sick bowl” under the sink!  Ours is a ‘Celebrations’ tub – what’s yours..?!

And on that note, I need to head to bed – though I have a slight feeling of dread as I just heard myself thinking about the feeling of satisfaction I have after finishing cleaning-up Toby’s earlier in-car chunder!  Must stop feeling in control (quick, look at the mess in the living room!! 😉 ).  So here’s hoping for a quiet night tonight….  Fingers crossed!
Nighty bless.


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Is nothing sacred?!

Anyone else have children that chew?!  I’ve just gone to plug my laptop in and noticed bite-marks in the rubber insulation on the bit that pokes into the computer (I’m so technically-minded!!) – a. when?! b. why?! and c. just generally wtf?!

It’s not the first time my children have chewed odd items – a while back I noticed a perfect crescent-shaped bite-mark in my pumice! (That’s quite eeuuww, when I think of what I do with that thing!) Think shark-bite on a surf board and you’re pretty much there. This week, I noticed a second bite-mark has appeared and is now keeping the first one company. Was the pumice really that tasty?! Well the youngest two – who are my main suspects – do love cheese….

(eeeuuuww, ok, that was a bit gross even for me! 😉 )


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Simplification – not so simple.

During the first few weeks / months / year of parenthood, you gradually build-up an ‘essential kit bag’ of all the stuff you MIGHT need when (if?!) you make it out of the house – nappies, wipes, nappy cream, change mat, change of clothes, warmer clothes / cooler clothes, muslin(s), calpol sachets, favourite toys, spare toys, etc. etc. etc… You take everything and anything, JUST IN CASE, because it makes you less stressed while out if you think you are prepared for every eventuality. Once you walk out that door, you can breathe easy knowing you’ve got it covered!

You then spend the next few years gradually learning what, really, you can actually do without and what really IS essential! Why? Because you have learnt that, while carting around four tonnes of baby paraphernalia may make being out and about less stressful, WHILE YOU’RE OUT, getting it all ready and trying to not to forget Red Bear (which your baby chews slightly more often than Blue Bear and, therefore, following your hormone-fuelled powers of deduction, must be his favourite…!?) causes more stress than being potentially under-prepared by not taking the ‘mega kit bag’!

I have now, after nearly 8 years of parenthood, got my ‘kit bag’ down to as close to the bare bones as I’m willing to go! A few weeks ago I took the boys onto the beach for a play before nursery / work – they wore their hats and I took one nappy and some wipes. OK, so when I changed Toby’s nappy after he inevitably did a “you’re in a place you’d really rather not have to change a dirty nappy so I’ll do a really grizzly one just because it’s great sport and, well, because I can” poo he did get a bit sandy around his nethers (the amount of sand he ate while on the beach, his nethers were going to be getting sandy sooner or later anyway!), but, in reality, I didn’t need the change mat or cream or any of the other nappy-change-related items I would have taken in the early days. No disaster occurred because I didn’t have anything more than the essentials and it meant that we were able to just get out of the car, get onto the beach for a play in the sand and a paddle and then get back in the car with an absolute minimum of fuss. And it means we often have time to do little trips to the beach or the woods between the school run and nursery / work because the preparation time is negligible.

So why am I seemingly unable to simplify everything in the same way that I’ve slimmed-down the kit bag? Nearly 40 years into life and I still feel like I have to carry around the mega kit bag for life, just in case. If anything, I’m still adding stuff to it. Why is my house literally bursting at the seems with items I don’t need or use, just in case one day I might? Why do I juggle three different childcare providers so that I can work in a job that doesn’t even cover the cost of one of them, just in case I would become unemployable if I gave up work for any length of time? Why am I doing yet another course for yet another qualification when I don’t even have time to shower every day, just in case I want to change career? I think I am now finally at the realisation point that I need to start simplifying my life and slimming-down the mega kit, so as to free-up time for the important things in life. I am just hoping that the build-up to slim-down ratio is going to be different for my life than it was for my essentials kit – otherwise I’ve got a 280 year wait before my life is simple!! 🙂

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Bollocks – pressed ‘publish’ when I meant to press ‘preview’!!!!!  Oh well, I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going next with that last post so perhaps it was my subconscious putting my conscious out of its misery?!?!  🙂

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Music, sweet music (*sha la la*)

I am by no means a music aficionado – I am definitely very ‘mainstream’ in my musical tastes – but, whilst not having ‘cool’ (how 80’s am I?!) tastes nor having any particularly great musical knowledge, I do love music. But since having children, my brain seems to have ditched my traditional, disco-flavoured repertoire for shower-time self-serenading in favour of a complete back-catalogue of children’s tv themes! I can safely say that I know more CBeebies & Milkshake themes than I do groups / singers in the Top 40 (does that even happen on a Sunday night any more?!)!!

So, by way of recourse, I have been making a concerted effort to introduce some of my old favourites to the children – never have I had a prouder moment than a couple of weeks ago when, on the way to school, Isla gently tugged my sleeve and said “Mummy, this is a cooool song” – Massive Attack no less – good girl!!

I was also delighted (if unable to stop myself laughing out loud) when, whilst shopping in Tesco last week, Isla suddenly burst into a full-on dance to Thriller!

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** Breaking news **


Yesterday there was an explosion in the Hovis factory!

Oh no, my mistake, the flour and dough EVERWHERE are just the after effects of Simon cooking “Roman” bread with Isly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll just clear that little lot up then (after I’ve been at work all day, got all the children fed, bathed & in bed and then cooked tea), shall I?!

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Where the Hell did that come from?!

I just went to unload the washing, opened the machine door and there, sat quietly on the rubber door seal, was a poo! Where the hell did that come from??!! I know I had put in some clothes that were suffering the after effects of a leaky nappy or two, but we were talking seepage there not full-on logs creeping out the leg holes…. Thought I’d best check the load, make sure I’d not lost it and accidentally put a nappy in the washing (and, thus, the clothes in the bin..??!!) – but no, no signs of any nappy or additional poop anywhere else in the clothes or machine. Maybe it was a protest by the Laundry Pixies, fed up of their appalling working conditions and the ever-growing volcano of washing, threatening to erupt and spill a flow of pants and socks all over the laundry room floor…?? Or perhaps a rather grizzly practical joke or someone getting caught short?! Did someone perhaps sneak in when I wasn’t looking and lay one in the machine, Frank Gallagher style?! (For the fellow Shameless fans amongst you – “ta-dah!”!!) Who knows, but there it was, sat proud but a little resigned as it waited for its inevitable removal and disposal.

The thing that amazes me, and inspires not just a small amount of admiration, is the resilience of the thing – there it was, having just been through a 2 ½ hour wash, sitting proud and remarkably unscathed (what am I feeding my children?!)! What a robust little poo it was! Unless, of course, it started life as a great big rock of a turd, gradually weathered and eroded by the wash until, there it sat, smaller and smoother, like a pebble washed up in the tide…

Needless to say, the whole load has now been put on a lengthy hot wash with a double dose of Vanish anti-bac!! Being a Mum can be a grizzly old job!

Reminded me of a joke I once heard my Dad tell:
“There are three kinds of turd in this life – cus-turd, mus-turd and you, you big shit!” Ba-boom!!

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No Dancers today….

This morning, Isla was due back from dancing and I was on the phone to mum – there was a light Isla-tap at the door and when I went to answer it, I could see her bright pink jumper through the door window – so I swung the door open in an over-dramatic fashion, loudly proclaiming “sorry, not today – no dancers today!”…. as I realised that it was not Isla and Simon as I was expecting, but two elderly ladies inviting me to a “service to celebrate Jesus’ death”!!

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