Parenthood is…

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

Me & my ‘phone

Those who know me well will know that I am not the most reliable phone-keeper in the world – I often forget to charge it and my favourite party trick is mis-placing it first thing in the morning, before I’ve taken it off silent! Add four young children to the mix and my relationship with it is fairly doomed (my previous phone died when it was slobbered to death by a teething child!)…

On Wednesday morning, my ‘phone went M.I.A. sometime during the school-run rush. When I got to work I gave my handbag a thorough check and came to the conclusion I’d left it on the side somewhere at home. I got home that evening and couldn’t see it anywhere obvious so tried the usual “call myself and see if I can hear it ringing” approach – promptly followed by the realisation that I had, of course, not taken it off silent before it went A.W.O.L. Of course! Cue the “call myself and listen really, really hard to see if I can hear a faint buzzing, somewhere in the house, over the noise of the children” method of unsuccessfully finding a lost phone on silent. As usual, I gave up pretty quickly (knowing it would turn up sooner or later).

Thursday morning came, still no sign of the missing ‘phone. I gave the car a thorough check as I remembered that Isly had been rooting in my handbag just before we left for school on the morning it went missing – but nothing.

Thursday tea-time, I’m just about to leave work when I suddenly hear buzzing on my desk. My ‘phone! It was in my handbag all along – obviously! I search my bag – but no, no ‘phone. By this time the buzzing has, of course, stopped! ‘Luckily’ (?!), the caller is persistent and tries again. I look all over my desk but can’t see it anywhere – why would I, it went missing before I’d got to work on Wednesday. But the desk is definitely buzzing – even my ruler is shaking in the pen-pot. I’m stumped: “Where the f*** is it if it’s not in my bag, my bag is the only thing that is from home in the office…?!”

And then I spy something, remember something and it all clicks into place. Earlier that afternoon I’d had a fit of sneezes so had brought in a box of tissues from the car – the box of tissues that had been right next to Isly when she’d been rooting through my bag…

And so I am, once again, temporarily re-united with my ‘phone. I knew it’d turn up sooner or later!!

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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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Oh My God, I’ve dyed my baby!!

Today I decided to be a good parent and do some “activities” with the youngest two children – some painting and maybe some cooking…

We started with the painting – I got everything out and ready, set Gabriel up and let him get creative. Then I thought it’d be nice to get some hand prints from Tobs while he’s little so painted his hand. A couple of right-handed prints later he started wriggling and then grumbling. Shortly after a familiar, warm smell drifted up to my nose (that distinctive smell of hot, digested milk and baby rice – how can two such innocuous foods create such a pong?! Maybe that’s a subject for another day…?!). Sure enough, upon inspection, I found that Tobs had not only pooped but had decided to do some artwork of his own and his and my clothes now had a new, yellow pattern to them. Nice. So I took him to the sink to wash off the paint before I changed him… I popped his hand under running water and it very soon became apparent that, under the paint, Toby’s skin was now blue!! argh!

Practical mum kicked-in and I headed back through to continue with the task of changing Toby’s nappy and clothes. As I walked back past Gabriel, however, I found that Gabriel had not only painted both his hands in a medley of green and red, but one of his arms in the same red-and-green-make-durgy-brown medley and, (most alarmingly given my recent discovery regarding the dyeing nature of the paints), his nose – in bright blue!

At this point I found myself pondering the dilemma of which substance to deal with first – the paint decorating Gabriel or the poop adorning Toby…? I chose the poop (Tobs having been the one making the most noise!). That done, I faced the challenge of cleaning-up Gabriel. Sure enough, soap and water revealed that Gabriel was indeed now sporting a farmer’s tan of murky green… and a bright, blue nose, like a colour-blind clown!

(It was at this point, looking again at Toby’s hand, that I found myself momentarily wondering whether it would be truly bad parenting to ‘neaten the job’ and paint ‘gloves’ on his hands to disguise my inadvertent dye-job…?!)

Half an hour of soaking and scrubbing in the bath later and Gabriel’s skin was duly restored to its natural, pink colour – that is, all except for his blue nose! Toby’s hand was still blue at this point but, as it was rapidly heading for home-from-school-time for the eldest two, I had to abandon my plans for bathing him early and, instead, headed back downstairs to clear up the ‘art’ and prepare for the inevitable “Why is Toby’s hand blue?… *pause* …And why the *#!@ is Gabriel’s nose blue?!” that would emanate from the other half upon his arrival home from work….

Upon clearing-up, I discovered that Gabriel had also taken the time to thoughtfully paint one of the dining chairs and washing the pots and brushes left the kitchen resembling an explosion in a Picasso studio – fortunately the paint came off furniture significantly more easily than it did off skin!

Lessons learned?
1. I am not safe in charge of child-friendly paints.
2. Wipes remove paint very well from furniture – not so well from skin.
3. The constant stream of teething-dribble produced by a six month baby has the cleaning power equivalent to a half-hour soak in a bath (thankfully!).

I think I’ll save the cooking for another day! Now, where’s that bottle of wine…?!