Archive of ‘The Accidental Parent & Hopeless Housewife’ category

So What Do You Do All Day?!

so what do you do al day shopping trolley

So I tumble out of bed, make it downstairs with minutes to spare before the time to leave the house (yep Hubster is a saint who’s got the breakfast/packed lunch gig down to a fine art as I’m usually up til stupid o’clock blogging the night before), drop them all off at school/office/police station (ok last one was just for effect but that’s where I may end up one of these days if this morning was anything to go by) before heading to the supermarket to do the week’s main grocery shopping.  Then it goes down like this:

Spend 20 minutes looking for parking because inconsiderate twunts have parked their car in their own space AND the free one next to them.  So six drivers have managed to occupy 12 spaces between them.  I’d love to say this is a one-off but no this is Malta.  #BloodPressureAlert

so what do you do all day parking note left on car window

yep…I really did leave this on the car that was in the space I managed to squeeze my car into

 

Find a trolley, speed to the lift and watch in disbelief as the doors close
while the two people already in the lift just watch me running.  Strange isn’t it?  They manage to steer their trolleys into the lifts presumably with the aid of their hands as opposed to telekinetic/mind control skills, but have bizarrely suddenly lost all use of their upper body leaving them unable to lean 1 inch to the left and press the button to stop the doors from closing (you know…like I do for others).

Get into the store, fight past the boxes and wooden pallettes of items left on the floor
by a shelf stacker who must have not noticed how narrow the aisles are in the first place, barely allowing one trolley to get past, never mind another.

Grab some after school treats from the bakery section (stop tutting)
and wince as the entire wooden board at the base of the display cabinet tips forward and hits me in the shin.  Go tell an assistant who of course just looks at me blankly, no word of “Oh sorry about that Madam”.  Sooooo much I could say here about culture and manners but best not, lest the hot heads get wind of this post and get their knickers in a twist, as is the habit.

Shopping done, queue up and put goods on conveyer belt, all the while feeling uneasy about the woman behind me who just stares. And stares. And stares at me.  If it were possible for her to bore a hole into me with her eyes, I’d look like a colander.  I start getting all the shopping (and there is a LOT of it…I must have thought Christmas had been brought forward by six months) into the bags.  She carries on staring.  The cashier is humming – literally won’t stop and I have to do my deepest breathing to stop myself from smacking him because I’ll never understand people who emit that weird unidentifiable hum that’s merely indicative of their total inability to shut UP.  Still the woman is staring.  I even try smiling at her.  Oh no!  Now she ramps up the glaring.  Mental note to self: don’t smile at her again.

The last item’s in the bag and the cashier announces the amount.
“Sorry how much?” I ask.  He repeats it. “Pardon?” I sputter again.  He repeats it (again).  “Excuse me, how much?”  The man is terribly patient with me.  Far more patient than I’d probably be if I was the cashier.  I swear he must think I’m either freshly arrived from a rural Indian village capable of only pidgin English or deaf.  Actually, I think I have gone spontaneously deaf at the mention of the total.  What the eff?!  Never mind Christmas being brought forward, I don’t think I even spend this much at Christmas! I think to myself as I part with my money sobbing inwardly.

I drag the trolley to the car, get it all in – no mean feat squeezing it all in next to the
beach toys, deck chairs, 300 bags for the Red Cross, two further unidentifiable bags, my hiking boots, sand (a lot of sand) and God knows what else – dump the trolley and finally head home.  Yes, I know… #OnlineShopping

Not even going to bore you with the details of the driving nightmares
suffered at the hands of the highly conscientious, aware, sensible safe drivers on this island [sarcasm] on the way home.  Because.  Hotheads. (See above.)

Arrive home, deftly save one of the bags from splitting before I get it into the house.
Haul it all into the kitchen and wonder if I really just heard the fridge say ‘Have you gone completely mad?  You’re not coming near me with all that…I can’t possibly stand up straight with all that inside me!”

Discover I now have more frozen mixed vegetables, fish fingers
(don’t judge me, they’re extremely useful!) and mushrooms than I know what to do with, as I’ve come back with a whole load of items we already had, unbeknownst to me.  What?  How would I know what food we already had?  I’m only the woman of the house!

NB. If anyone in Malta is wondering where all the tomatoes are…they’re in my fridge.

Move existing contents of fridge around.  Feel defeated by the teeny weeny size
of my freezer and literally can’t fit everything in.  Focus Prabs, you can do this.  Go at it again, moving things around in an intricate configuration, using every last millimetre of space.  Result.  #NinjaHousewifeSkills

In fact, so in awe of my dexterity am I that I’m seriously tempted to take a photo of the freezer.  Because.  Blogger. #InstagramCalling

High five myself.  Consider pouring a celebratory glass of something
but realise this is lush behaviour as it’s not even 11.30 am.

Turn round and spot the pile of dishes.

And reconsider that drink.

Now, shall I tell you about my afternoon and evening…?

So if you’re about to ask ‘what do you do all day?’.

Don’t.

 

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5 Reasons Why The Tooth Fairy Never Came

title of post plus silhouette of tooth fairy

I’m not the bake-sale mum with perfect coiffed hair. I’d eat all the cakes, would rather endure Celine Dion on constant loop than attend football practice and my hair is decidely un-’coiffable’. 

However, to go as far as admit that I am in fact the mum who cannot, for the life of her, remember to put the tooth fairy money under her kids’ pillow when they lose a tooth…E-V-E-R. Well…I’m about to admit that (as well as give you five reasons you can use if you ever need to explain why the tooth fairy never came…you’re welcome).

“She’s joking right?” you ask. Oh, but I’m not.  In my pathetic defence, although I was born and bred in the UK, am more British comedy series than Bollywood drama, prefer a Sunday roast to a curry (I know, shocker right?) and own a ridiculous amount of Union Jack items from oven gloves to shoes, I did nevertheless grow up in an Indian household.  We just didn’t do the tooth fairy ritual so I guess it’s a culture difference thing.  I could double-check with my siblings to see if they remember it differently but I’m quite sure we didn’t get anything when we lost a tooth. Apart from a ugly gap in the mouth.


So,
let me take you through the fiasco of my son finally losing his first tooth, aged seven.

He had excitedly placed his tooth under the pillow – BIG moment – and I wished him and the girls goodnight, making a mental note to fetch a coin once he was asleep. I went back down, told Hubster about the tooth and…promptly forgot about it myself.  Ironically, I forgot because after cleaning up the kitchen, I got busy writing a post about what I’ve learned since becoming a mum.  Clearly, I must have learned to not put the damned tooth fairy money under the pillow.  Honestly, my scatty mother behaviour has become so legendary that an actual newspaper article has been written about me.


Anyway, the following morning I nearly fell out of bed with a pounding heart as I
realised the mistake.

My Dreamy D: such an undemanding gentle child (when he’s not tanked up on Asthma meds) for whom the least I could do is remember his tooth fairy money.

dhru

 No worries, he’ll be fast asleep; I’ll just slip it under the pillow now, I thought…before I heard him in the bathroom sounding very much awake. Cue mini heart attack. Is he kidding me? He chooses this morning as the ONE morning in the whole week to wake up early, instead of being dead to the world like he normally is?!  Then I thought No problem, he’s always half asleep first thing; there’s no way he’s noticed the lack of silver under the pillow.  My sick-to-the-stomach feeling now replaced by calm complacency, I popped my head around the door and smiled as brightly as I could (no easy task as I don’t usually smile til I’ve literally bathed in coffee).  I nearly shrank in mortification as my son mustered up his bravest smile, tried to mask his disappointment and said:

“Mama, the tooth fairy never came.”

Quiet, flat, deflated voice.  Those huge doe eyes.  Go Team Prabs.  #MotherOfTheYear.

I crept back into my bedroom, punched myself in the face, briefly considered punching Hubster in the face and told him about the mess-up.  His response was “We are sh*t”.  What can I say?  He’s a man, an Aries man; they’re fairly direct but to be fair, this Aries man had a point.  Yet, though I totally agreed with the sh*t verdict and berated myself for my crap parenting, I was cheesed off at the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and all the other damned myths I have to try to stay on top of.  My brain instantly fogged up with panic trying to figure out the right course of action.


In my frustration, I came up with 5 excuses I could give to explain the absence of money i.e. 5 Reasons Why the Tooth Fairy never came.

1) Toothy overslept after a mad night out with Tinkerbull (as Tinkerbell is now known because of her legendary Vodka Redbull consumption)
2) She got stuck in fairy traffic, due to an accident caused by two fairies not looking in their ‘wing’ mirrors 
3) Times are tough; even the tooth fairy is affected by the poor Fairy Dollar (FD) exchange rate.
4) Wait, you were expecting money? You know what I used to get when I lost a tooth? Kleenex!
5) Your mother is sh*t

 

I decided against mentally scarring him any further by using these excuses and instead, the whole situation went down like this:

  • I ran downstairs to fetch my wallet only to bump into Musical M (9yo at the time). Is she kidding me? She chooses this morning as the ONE morning in the whole week to wake up early, instead of being dead to the world like she normally is?!  Are you detecting the pattern here?
  • I hurriedly grabbed some coins. Musical M saw me. So I threw her my look. You know THE look that all of us are suddenly able to do once we become mothers. The “Don’t even think about asking me” look. Not you? Just me? Seriously?!
  • I pegged it back upstairs (I swear I never knew I could moved so fast) and bumped into Cheeky K (4yo) who’d climbed out of bed, having also chosen this morning as the ONE morning…you know what, I’m not even going to bother finishing that sentence…
  • I literally threw the money under his pillow not realising that Cheeky K was watching.  It’s pointless trying to administer THE look to a four year-old upon realising you’ve been rumbled. A hand may have been clamped over her mouth as she started asking me questions. I can neither confirm nor deny this. You’ll have to speak to my lawyer about that.
  • Now comes the rolling-my-eyes-in-shame bit (like it’s not shameful enough so far): I FORGOT TO TAKE THE TOOTH FROM UNDER THE PILLOW.

W

hat did Hubster do during all of this?

What, the man who can survive on three hours sleep? The man who never hits the snooze button? The man who practically leaps out of bed ready to face the day, the second the alarm goes off?  (Incidentally, how did I marry someone like this? I could just thump him.)  Basically, after delivering his “we are sh*t” verdict, he chose this morning as the ONE morning in the whole year to…

…go back to sleep.

Is he kidding me?!

A short while later, Hubster woke up, Dreamy D lifted his pillow again – er possibly prompted by his mother – and found money that had miraculously materialised while he’d been brushing his teeth.  He ran out of his room in total astonishment to tell us both that the tooth was still there.  Now, I’m a blogger. I write. Words are obviously my thing. But I have NO idea which words describe the look on my husband’s (or my son’s) face at this point.

 

I may or may not have crept out of the room silently.

I can neither confirm nor deny that rumour.

You’ll have to speak to my lawyer about that.

 


Rookie Mistakes
Originally published two years ago in different form. A version of it has also appeared on the brilliant guest blog series Rookie Mistakes by Life, Love and Dirty Dishes
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A Funny Thing Happened at the Doctor’s…

I recently launched a guest post series the #OopsFiles where bloggers have been revealing embarrassing life incidents.  

It honestly is hilarious and if you’ve not read the posts, it’s worth doing as they are such a treat.  I subsequently shared a few of my own epic fails recently, one of which mentioned problems I’ve had with my name.   After writing it, I thought of another ‘name spelling episode’, this time at the doctors.  Then that reminded me of another embarrassing experience (non name-related) that happened at a gynaecologist appointment (yep, my stomach just clenched).  So, I guess you could say a funny thing happened at the doctor’s.  Well, more than one.  I should probably think hard before going to the doctor’s again to be honest.  Anyway, I give you:

A Funny Thing Happened at the Doctors title image for

 

1) Dreamy D is asthmatic so we’ve spent a lot of time in and out of hospital/clinics etc.

One time, we went to the doctor to get his routine prescription.  The doctor we had at the time was a rather doddery old man, bless him.  You know: looks at you like he’s never seen you before despite being your family doctor for years, asks for your name three times, enquires what’s wrong but then talks over your answer etc.   Anyway, as if the doctor wasn’t doddery and forgetful enough himself, he’d had the superb idea of employing an equally doddery male receptionist (which in itself is mystifying because everyone knows men can’t take messages down properly).  I swear it was like the Fawlty Towers of doctors’ surgeries.  It was so like something out of a 1970’s TV comedy, I half expected an unstable secretary to come in on wobbly legs spilling a tray of tea everywhere like Mrs Two Lumps in that hilarious Monty Python sketch.  To this day, I have NO idea what purpose this receptionist served because he just sat there and made a list of names of people waiting but never took the list to the doctor nor call out the names of the next patient!

We sat down in the waiting area and Mr Receptionist asked for my son’s name.

To be fair, Dreamy D is very softly spoken.  A confident boisterous loud volumed child, he is not, so I admit it can be very hard to make out what he says sometimes. Mr Receptionist understandably didn’t catch his name and asked him again.  This time, I answered.  Now obviously my son’s real name is not Dreamy D and is just his alias on here (but FYI his name has only four letters…let that sink in for a second…JUST FOUR).

Mr Receptionist: Darren?
[Seriously?]
Me: No Dreamy D
Mr Receptionist: Andrew?
Me: D-r-e-a-m-y D (I started spelling it…story of my bloody life…)

It was unreal. The guy was either incompetent or hard of hearing or both.  He mentioned various letters that aren’t even in my son’s name:  N? V? K? [What the actual heck?]

Now I know death, however it happens, is no laughing matter

and phrases like the one coming up aren’t funny (or responsible) especially when voiced in front of your child.   However it was an expression uttered in bewilderment by a woman who had spent 36 years of her life spelling her own name before incurring the additional nightmare of constantly having to spell her kids’ names.  So yes, I gasped “Oh my God I want to kill myself”.  I know.  Bad.  Very bad.

You know what though?  The other patients started giggling.  I kid you not, one of them hid her face behind her magazine. Best of all (in a not very proud parenting moment kind of way):  my shy quiet son burst into giggles.  Then (probably out of sheer relief that my words hadn’t offended the people sitting in this room in this very Catholic country) I started laughing:

Until Mr Receptionist asked: “Now, what is your surname?”

Laughter over.

Me: “

No way!  If I give you his surname, we’ll be here all week.”

 

Once upon a time there was a young lady who moved from London to France to work for Disneyland Paris.  One day she realised it was probably time she started seeing a gynaecologist.

Her workplace was on a beautiful avenue opposite the Champs Elysées and she booked a routine check up at a nearby clinic.  Except…erm…for her there was nothing routine about it because this was her first gynae appointment.  Gulp.  She really had no idea what to expect because when you grow up as an Indian girl, no matter whether it’s in India, Britain or wherever, there really isn’t much ‘nether regions talk’ at the dinner table in between “My God how many chillies did you put in this mum?” and “Sorry, I didn’t come first in my exams”.  Anyway, this young lady headed to the clinic after work and nervously entered the consultant’s office.  He got some details down, did a BP check etc.  So far so dignified.  Then it was time for the familiar: “Right, pop behind that curtain, then hop on the bed once you’re ready”.  Obviously this was in French but don’t worry the young lady’s French had come a long way since THAT kiwi incident in 4 Epic Fails and she didn’t do anything stupid.

Yet.

And as you know, this story is about me so I’ll drop the third person act.  Now, when I said his request was familiar, I mean that it would be familiar now, you know, now that I’m a mature grown woman and mother who clearly has seen many gynaes since this episode.  It was not familiar then on my first visit.  I didn’t know what “get ready” actually meant.  Well this is Paris, everyone’s so groomed, should I put on lipstick and spray some perfume?  I’ve no idea  what this man means!  I know, I know, I’m gaping at the screen in disbelief and amazement WITH you, dear reader.  I emerged from behind the curtain nervously in my underwear and couldn’t understand why the man’s expression changed from measured to astonished to downright apoplectic all within about two seconds.  He totally went off on one, as the Queen would say, about me still wearing my bra and knickers.  To be fair, the curtain was totally on the other side of the office from the examination bed; how was I to supposed to know I was meant to walk across the whole office starkers without even a modesty towel?!

I may not be able to remember what I had for breakfast yesterday but I’ll never EVER forget the sound of Monsieur Charles (see, it was over 20 years ago and I still remember his name!) literally bellowing:

Well I don’t know how you people do it in England but in France WE TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF!

Mais oui oui.  They sure do…

 

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15 Wines Every Desperate Mum Needs to Survive Parenthood

 

So a while ago, I came up with a Cocktail Menu specifically for mothers.

People related so much that I got to thinking it’s only logical I do something similar with regards to wines. Then recently, I saw an article by Life As a Rambling Redhead on a friend’s wall, joking about pairing real wines with our child’s behaviour.  It seems that Mummy wine (well wines for parents cos dads have been known to drink too, although mummy wine has a ring to it) are becoming a parents’ survival mechanism. I mean, you can barely go a week on social media without ‘bumping into’ a wine meme such as this now legendary one:

glass-wine

 

So I reckon there is a real demand for wines made specially with parents in mind!

Don’t agree? How familiar does this sound?

 

Wouldn’t it be great if they made a mummy wine range, a vino for parents based on what we go through during the many stages of raising our kids?

Just think: entire vintages cultivated for those of us who have endured:
– the newborn sleepless nights phase
– the shock to the system that is breastfeeding
– the torture of toilet training
– the marathon otherwise known as the school years
– and dare I mention the obstacle course of the teenage years.
Alas, there is nothing on the market for those of us in the trenches otherwise known as parenthood. But fear not dear reader:


The Absolutely Prabulous Whinery (see what I did there?…oh the GENIUS) is coming to the rescue of wine-drinking parents everywhere.

Yes, I have been working hard to come up with a range of wines that does just this. Without further ado, I bring you, [trumpet fanfare, drumroll etc] 15 Wines They Should Make For Parents. So bottoms up (and pants down). There again it’s precisely that nonsense that got you into the situation where you need these wines in the first place. So on second thoughts, keep your pants on and just read the post.

The first three up are the New Parent Wines (or those still growing their young family):

potty-sleep-boobs


Going Nuts
, Sleep-Deprived Zombie and Weapons of Mass Distraction are fine choices that will help you survive those early years. Alright, it looks like I’m suggesting breastfeeding mums partake. I don’t know how that happened. I think I fell on the keyboard and accidentally photoshopped that one. Also, I may have embellished when I called them ‘fine’ choices. When you’re so sleep-starved that you could cry at the drop of a hat, can’t remember the last time your boobs didn’t hurt or leak and you’re waaaay past the point of caring if you smell of kiddie wee, Honey, you won’t CARE WHAT THE HELL KIND OF WINE you’re drinking. Vinegar? Sure, fill up my glass.

 

Next we have a selection suited to parents of toddlers who are at home or those in daycare or pre-school:

ladies-night-gym-lunchboxes
Just Shattered, Fraudster
and Lost Identity are light-weight fruity wines. These three are perfect for the woman who realises her life has changed f-o-r-e-v-e-r and with it, her ability to drink more than one glass without falling over. Dads are more likely to handle more than one glass (sorry but it’s the truth). The exhausting baby phase might be over but the routine of daycare or preschool is a reality and crawling home at 4am after a night on the tiles is a distant memory. The desire to exercise is there but it never quite happens. And shopping for life’s luxuries such as fancy handbags and must-have cosmetics is no longer a priority and anyway it’s a total mission with little ones in the equation.


The range I spent the most time developing comprises six wines, for parents of school going children; and most closely matches the stage of parenthood I am in myself.

yoga-pants-homework-form


Mum’s Uniform, Parents’ Punishment and Scatty Mama are medium-bodied wines that suit the parent adjusting to a new routine now that their child has entered the school system. These go especially well with supervising homework (may I suggest a discreet plastic cup so that the budding student doesn’t suspect mummy or daddy is a lush), searching for that damned form again which was due in yesterday or simply relaxing (translation: slumping exhausted) on the sofa after kiddie bedtime…in those yoga pants you’ve been wearing all day.

 

lost-projects-bell
Super Glue, Ugh and School Run are for parents who require something a little heavier. When getting them to school on time, running around the building trying to locate yet another lost pencil case/coat and spending the entire evening on a science presentation (that you’re pretty sure your child was meant to do) just gets a bit much, these go down nicely.

 

Last but not least, wines for parents of [inhale] preteens and teenagers [exhale].
Need. I. Say. More.

 

teenage-wine
Looking for something with more body (translation: to knock you out)? Then may I suggest Floordrobe, Bankrupt and Denial? Robust and as full-bodied as they come,There again, there are simply not enough wines on earth to help anyone cope with that.

Let me speak to my people at the Absolutely Prabulous Whinery about that.

Crap, there are no ‘my people’.

There is no Absolutely Prabulous Whinery.

These wines don’t exist.

Dammit.

Someone pass the vodka.

Cheers/Santé/Salute!


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Why This Mum Is NOT Cool With Back To School!

All These Cartoons About Mothers Overjoyed at the Kids Going Back to School.

Why THIS Mum Isn't Cool With Back To School

Call me a jumbo dumbo but WHY is everyone so excited?!  Granted, my kids have driven me bonkers in other ways this summer (leaving their underwear ALL over the house, never switching a single fan off after leaving a room and hardly ever remembering their sunglasses or sunhats in this intense Mediterranean heat) BUT I’m still not filled with glee at them going back to school.

If you’ve read my post about the Exhausted School Mother you’ll have a pretty good idea of:

Why I’m Dreading the New School Year.

In the space of just one week of the first term last year, I managed to:
– mistake day two of the cycle for day one
– dressed K in P.E. clothes when they didn’t have P.E.
– dropped them off late twice
– left K’s folder at home twice
– forgot to listen to Dreamy D read his book
– didn’t get round to buying the mini whiteboard requested by his teacher
– and ‘overlooked’ the twelve – yes TWELVE (that’s what you get for having so many kids) – forms that needed completing and signing.

In fairness, the latter was sort of intentional: I ‘overlooked’ them until I had a sufficient supply of wine to help me cope with completing the whole damned lot. But let me explain:

Why I’m Not Putting up the Bunting to Celebrate The Start of Another Academic Year in:

back-to-school-featured

 

1) INSTEAD OF LYING IN TIL LATE O’CLOCK enjoying the peace because MDK creep downstairs quietly and get their own breakfast and then switch on the TV (yes my kids do this because they know Mummy would love to raiser her kids on zero screen time but #LetsHaveAGoodLaughAboutThatOne)

I NOW HAVE TO GET UP EARLY AND FACE THE DAY. Anyone who’s ever met me will know I have never coped well with this and cannot gel with the “I’ll sleep when I die” motto because when I’m dead I won’t have the satisfaction of waking up and looking back at a great night’s sleep because I will be dead…

You KNOW I”m right (unless you’re up half the night with your kids in which case, sorry, sleep when you’re dead).

2) INSTEAD OF YELLING AT THEM FOR not being able to pack a single swimming essential or beach item the entire school holidays despite practically living on the beach every long hot Maltese summer

I AM NOW YELLING AT THEM FOR not being able to put their reading book/homework/school folder/lunch box – in fact anything – in their bags despite two of them having attended school for several years. “Ooh I wonder where they get that from then Prabs…” Stop it. “You know yelling doesn’t achieve anything right Prabs?” I said stop it.

3) IN PLACE OF ENDLESSLY RUNNING AROUND the pool/beach searching for their swimming goggles, flip flops etc after a day of swimming,

I WILL BE ENDLESSLY GOING BACK THROUGH THE SCHOOL GATES every afternoon to go up to the classroom (ha! classroom x 3) just as everyone else is trying to come through the gates the other way, to try and find water bottles, hats, clothing etc

4) I HAVE SWAPPED TWO MONTHS OF SINKING INTO A SUN LOUNGER after mentally high-fiving myself for my kickass organisation because I’ve packed everything we need for a Summer’s day out [see 28 Reasons],

FOR NINE MONTHS OF SINKING INTO DESPAIR having actually high-fived the teacher because I’ve remembered everything from sports gear to school trip money to art class clothes, only for her to say “You remembered his library book right?” following it up with “Oh bless…shall I move in with you to help, love?”

Seriously…this actually has happened!

5) INSTEAD OF REALISING I’VE HARDLY GOT ANY FOOD IN THE HOUSE but it’s no biggie cos I can jolly well give them pancakes if I want to (or another bowl of cereal)

I NOW HAVE TO GET MY SHIT TOGETHER AKA actually planning lunches and snacks…oh God the planning…it just kills me.

6) RATHER THAN JUST ENJOYING THE BENEFITS OF MDK relaxing, playing, not getting in my hair at all and being super low maintenance housemates

I WILL BE SPENDING FIVE DAYS a week ferrying them around the island to tennis, football, swimming and choir (well alright, not quite ‘around the island’…more like within a one mile radius..but FIVE days MAN!).

7) AND DON’T GET ME STARTED on all the time spent trawling through every computer I’ve owned trying to find old photos for some project or another, spending my mornings running around buying items for various school productions and my evenings gritting my teeth doing internet research to help them create – oh hang on, help me create on their behalf – presentations.

8) AND DEFINITELY DON’T GET ME STARTED on…cue Pyscho’s shower scene music……MATHS HOMEWORK HELL!

9) BUT WORST OF ALL, THERE IS MY OWN TOTAL BEWILDERMENT OVER HOW LITTLE I GET DONE DURING THE DAY now that Cheeky K is finally at big school with her siblings.

I honestly struggle to the point of depression over not being able to find enough days or hours in the week to fit in the housework, school run, blogging, after-school activities and (dare I say it) some exercise…and I’m a stay at home mum for goodness sake! What’s my excuse?! Working mothers have it far worse; alright the blog is my work and I take it seriously but it’s not the same as having an actual job with an employer and official working hours and all that jazz.

 

I Can Feel a Blog Post Coming on About Trying to Manage it all.

It will be very short post and will consist mainly of me crying all over the computer and typing “Just. Can’t.” and possibly ending with a plea for free chocolate.

So no, dear reader, I am not shouting Hooray at going back to school. (Well silently mouthing it at the thought of going for a coffee alone I admit…)

Can you relate?  If so, what’s the bit you dread most about the school year?

 

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To All The Fathers Trying Damned Hard To Get It Right

fathers-day-hero-meme

Quality Time With Your Child

Musical M was recently off school the other day. After taking her to the doctors and running a few errands, I popped in to Hubster’s office nearby to say hi. A short while later as we headed off home, I noticed a lovely new café opposite his office. I’m always lamenting how it’s impossible to grab individual time with each of my kids so I thought it would be a great thing to just hang out with M for a short while and have some girlie time, considering I had the rare luxury of having just her with me. So, despite having a mound of packing and jobs to do before leaving for the UK the next day, I turned the car round and headed back to have a cheeky cappuccino and a chat with my eldest at the new cafe.

That decision turned out to be a life-changing moment for my child and a defining moment for her mother.

Should You Smoke In Front Of Your Kids?

As I came down Hubster’s road and started turning into his office garage, we were both so excited to see him again (I know…it’s pathetic right?), this time standing in front of the building having a little break. A split second later, I spotted it was a break of the cigarette kind. Musical M til then had been totally unaware that her father has the occasional cigarette. We’ve brought the kids up in a non-smoking environment emphasising the dangers of it. Well I have anyway. Sadly (sadly for me I mean as I’m the staunch non-smoker) Hubster has had the occasional cigarette once every few months/once a year for a while. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me. It just does. However, he’s never got addicted and it really is occasional so I’ve kind of made my peace with it (kind of)…or at least I had til the other day…

No offence to smokers. Go ahead. It’s your life. It’s just not for me and personally I’d be royally gutted if my kids wind up smoking when they’re older.

When You Make A Bad Mistake In Front Of Your Child

Back to that moment. Hubster’s eyes locked with mine and I spotted the panic on his face (he has a deadpan hard-to-read face usually but when you’ve been with someone for years, you spot flickers of expressions etc that others would miss). And what I saw looked rather like panic. In fact, no this was definitely panic as he then immediately threw the cigarette on the ground at lightning speed whilst looking right at me with the old ‘rabbit caught in headlights’ stare. Another nanosecond went by in which I prayed that M hadn’t seen him. Stupid me. Of course she’d seen him! The girl who adores her father and who is in a car just 2 feet away from him has obviously seen him just panic-toss his cigarette. As we started descending the ramp – because no I didn’t stop the car as usual to say hi to him as I thought How the flipping heck are we going to handle this? – she said “I can’t believe what I just saw” with a voice of total shock. Great. Way to go team Hubster. She’s never going to forget that sight. It was then followed by “Did you know about that?” Oh crap. Crap crap CRAP! What in Holy Hell’s name do I say here? Think. Oh God THIIIINNNNKKKK! Blind panic. Don’t know what to say. I’m screwed either way here.

Let’s see, if I go with option 1)

No I never knew he smoked

I’m teaching my child that couples keep secrets from each other. No, not wild about that one.

If I go with option 2)

Yes I knew

she’s going to think I’m the biggest hypocrite raising her and her siblings to see smoking as horribly unhealthy and unadviseable. Even though it is horribly unhealthy and unadviseable.

So I went with option 3)

A mishmash of the two.

I knew he has smoked a bit in the past but I thought he’d stopped.

Oh God. Nope. Not much better. He still comes off looking deceitful and I come off looking like the dumbo who never knew and this isn’t the right lesson to teach her. What the heck is the right lesson to teach her here? Seriously, Google, what say you?

The scene that ensued will probably seem laughable to half the people reading. What on earth is the big deal? She can’t be serious…this was a life defining moment?! But for Musical M and me, it was.

Hubster quickly came down the ramp to meet us getting out of the car. Even though nobody was to blame for what had happened I couldn’t help feel really annoyed that our daughter had seen him smoking considering I wish he didn’t in the first place. Neither M nor I could get a friendly hello out. I honestly didn’t know what to do or say. Neither did he, poor guy. I told him we were going for a coffee and off we went. He went back to his office.

I ordered my coffee, some food for M and as we waited for order to arrive, I noticed tears starting to stream down her face. More tears. Then more. Until she was actually sobbing with head buried in arms at our table.

He didn’t even tell his own wife!

I asked him ages ago if he’s ever smoked and he told me ‘just the once and I didn’t like it and haven’t done it since’

My friend’s dad just died a month ago because of smoking.

And on and on the bawling went.

How Not To Console A Child

I messaged Hubster to come down as I felt he really needed to explain his way out of it as I was struggling to know which side of the fence I ought to be on. He came down a while later and if I’m honest seemed rather puzzled to see M so upset. After chatting to her trying to reassure her that he was not a serial smoker he clearly – in typical Hubster fashion – felt that he had spent the required amount of time on the matter and turned to me and asked how my coffee was. I think I just stared open-mouthed at him. Our daughter was in a crumpled heap with her world having fallen apart after seeing her father smoking and here he was asking me how my coffee was. I couldn’t believe it. My eyes told him as much. He spent a few more minutes saying useful things like “Don’t cry” to our daughter which is always extreeeeemely helpful to someone who is a-l-r-e-a-d-y crying. After a while he asked if I was going shopping. I thought he meant so I could pick up a small thing for M to cheer her up. Nope. He needed me to pick up razors. Eff me. Is this guy for real right now? We’re facing the biggest hurdle so far in our parenting experience and he’s asking me if I’m buying him razors. God help me.  The response was “Oh I thought we’d finished talking about that”. One of those shoot-me-now-cos-I-can’t-handle-how-men and women-are-so-bloody-different from each other moments.

Betraying Your Own Child

I could go on. But the long and short of it is that Musical M’s trust in her father took a massive hit that day. And her father, not being the most emotionally aware/sensitive of people himself (having grown up in a culture/family where parents didn’t focus on their children’s feelings) was not able to handle it in the way she needed. Her comment “He didn’t seem at all bothered” confirmed that she didn’t feel he’d understood how hurt she was.

We talked to her at great length about the issue trying to comfort her as much as possible. Personally I didn’t think Hubster should be judged by that mistake. It shouldn’t negate all the years he’s put in as a loving father who works seriously bloody hard to pay the school fees, put food on the table etc.

Parents Make Mistakes!

My point is this: I don’t know what would have been the right way of handling this situation. To many reading this post, there was no issue. However, whether you are a smoker, non-smoker, drinker, non-drinker, or whatever, doesn’t really come into it. The point is she lost a lot of trust in her father that day and neither of us knew quite how to handle it. You can read ALL the parenting books. You can take a flipping course on child psychology. You can be the most ‘perfect’ faultless parent (whatever that is) every day of your parenting experience. Until you f*ck up.

And we all eventually f*ck up.

But it’s okay. Because we’re doing the best we can.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there trying oh so very hard to get it right. You’re doing a great job (despite the f*ck ups)!

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And then the fun began...

Knackered Mothers Epidemic As School Year FINALLY About to End

end of school year mum

 

A mother of three is being treated for exhaustion as the school year draws to a close. Our Daily Fail undercover reporter (posing as a stressed father with Man Flu) managed to obtain a copy of the hospital admissions form containing Mrs Prabulous’s own reasons for seeking help. It makes for sorry reading. Amongst her sins were:

– Failing to RSVP to birthday party invites

– Telling her youngest there were no more spaces at an after-school activity because she “couldn’t bear to spend one more minute in the effing car to get there”

– Failing to check homework folders since May April

– Hardly ever remembering ‘”that fricking library book”.

Even worse, the pint-sized British Asian mother who lives in a four bedroom house by the sea in Malta (this is the Daily Fail remember…we love to throw in totally irrelevant shit like that and pretend it’s real journalism) confessed that her biggest crime of the school year was feeling actual relief when her eldest went down with a suspected case of chicken pox forcing the whole family to miss a school event. She confessed:

“I nearly did a jig in the middle of the lounge upon realising that I was off the hook having to make entire trays of tandoori chicken for the British table at the biggest event of the school year. Wrong. Attitude.”

A senior consultant at the clinic that deals mainly in treating Syndrome of The Underachieving Chronically Knackered Yelling (SUCKY) Mother said “This is not an isolated case. We’ve actually seen a sharp rise in this sort of case over the last few weeks. It’s not unusual for stressed out mothers to be admitted complaining of lunch box boredom, school project frustration, PTA exhaustion and utter dread over ‘that stupid new maths long division method’. However, if I’m honest, this is the most severe case we’ve treated so far.

“Mrs Prabulous is not just suffering from run of the mill fatigue. Upon closer analysis, we noticed serious symptoms of general disorganisation and apathy. When interviewed upon her arrival, she admitted she:

– has considered giving her kids a packet of crackers and a jar of nutella between them and “just letting them fight it out in the playground” as she was tired of coming up with lunches that all three would finish.

– was the last parent to pay for end of year teachers’ gifts

– resorted to using her five year-old’s Hello Kitty markers to write the children’s names on clothing as she never got round to ordering name labels. Ever.

– got the school start date wrong once leading her kids to miss the first two days of term.”

 

Mothers at her children’s school have been shocked by the developments. “We always knew she wasn’t the most organised or involved of mothers but this is a shock” said one who did not wish to be named.

The Daily Fail’s special investigations unit has learned that the clinic was full of mothers repeatedly asking “Is it wine o’f*ckingclock yet?”, clutching crumpled unsigned class trip forms and muttering something about waiting for the bell to ring on the last day of term and collapsing at the finish line.

Doctors have identified the condition suffered by Mrs Prabulous.

It is called Sheer Relief.

It is often replaced by another disorder 48 hours later:

Omg-they’re-home-for-two-months-itis

 

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If They Did A Cocktail Menu For Mothers, It Would Probably Go Something Like This

Oh the excitement we mamas feel when we finally make it out for that long-awaited night out… The thrill of letting our hair down over a few drinks instead of just falling asleep on the sofa after one glass of wine. Especially when we notice we’re still in time for happy hour. Yep, cocktails! Why not? After all, it’s a much deserved ‘night off’. Actually, that goes for ‘ladies who lunch’ get togethers, Mother’s Day celebrations, birthdays…

But life totally changes when we have kids. Suddenly that cocktail menu that was a hoot in our younger days can seem like an almost unfamiliar blast from our partying past and the drink names are almost ironic. So I’ve been thinking, they really ought to come up with a cocktail menu specifically for mothers that helps us choose a drink based on what motherhood is like rather than the ingredients they contain. And if they did, I reckon the menu would go something like this.

THE ESSENTIAL COCKTAIL MENU FOR DESPERATE MOTHERS

 Cheers mothers everywhere!

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Friday Frolics

Apparently This ONE Thing Tells You Hell of a Lot About a Woman…

I was at after school tennis the other day when someone asked me if I had a tissue or baby wipe on me. As I dutifully waded through my handbag (or purse for those of you Stateside) – and I really mean waded through – some underwear flew out of the bag. Yeah…joke all you want. Anyway, that evening I remembered how they say you can tell a lot about a woman’s mind by what’s in her handbag. Or is it what a woman’s house looks like from the state of her handbag? Either way, I’m so screwed. Now, I don’t hold a doctorate in Forensic Object Analysis (don’t scoff…that is a real qualification you can gain at the University of Prabulousness) but I reckon I can figure out what my handbag contents signify all by my clever little self:

One chocolate bun thingy: No idea why there’s just the one. I have three kids. It could well be a fight to the death between them, all over a chocolate bun thingy, I reckon.

Open bag of mini Dutch waffles: Not sure which day I put them in there. Not sure which week either to be honest. Not even sure that a load of syrupy glucose mess is the best form of nourishment before their after-school sports activity.

Sparkly pink princess fabric wallet: Coz…when you have two girls there is always something sparkly, pink and princessy in your handbag.

Four bananas: Because I felt guilty over the crappy waffles? No idea why there are four. I have three kids. Clearly I’m struggling with the ratio of food to child thing.

Aforementioned panties (yep they’re still in there): Cheeky K’s…not mine. Because when you have kids, someone’s underwear always seems to end up in your bag. You need to have kids to get this (although one of my friends who does have kids didn’t get it…mental note to self…unfriend her immediately).

Travel draughts/chess: Erm, I may suddenly get the urge to play a game while running my morning errands?

The belt to one of Cheeky K’s cardigans: Because apparently we don’t possess a wardrobe to keep her belts and knickers in judging by what’s turning up in this bag. (Don’t look at me. I told you this is what happens when you have kids. I swear, stuff just ends up in your bag and most of it isn’t even yours.)

Antibiotic ointment: Because Dreamy D had a wart removed from his finger a while ago, an ‘event’ that will remain etched in my memory and quite possibly the memory of everyone in the waiting room outside because the screaming was like nothing else on earth. And let’s face it, why would I put the ointment in the first aid box that has a dedicated storage place in our bathroom when I can carry it around with me. Huh? HUH?

Prescription for said ointment: Because it needs to stay in my bag another three months so that it finally so crumpled and illegible that there will be no point filing it away. At which point, I will then file it away.

Tampons: Oh Sweet Pea you’re shocked? You must be new here! I don’t exactly do muffin recipes on this blog. But hey, they’re in a chic pink and black tin so it’s not that bad. There are also several loose ones rolling around but don’t worry, they’re individually wrapped. I believe this more than adequately describes my feminine hygiene situation – and has more than adequately just lost me a few readers. Oops. To all you men who say my site gives you an insight into a woman’s mind, I’m SO sorry. (And yet glad to be of service.)

That concludes the toilet humour part of the programme, folks. Blush.

Bush Naturals Organic face cream: Because I take skincare seriously (translation, I’m too rushed to apply it before the leaving the house in the morning).

My Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle: I said goodbye to buying endless small plastic water bottles years ago, for environmental/health/cost reasons (yep…I can do serious too ya know) and this thing really is one of my most prized possessions. Go figure.

A grocery list from…last September? What is there to say? It’s just wrong.

Pure Republic Pukka Skincare brochure: Which I’ll eventually get round to reading once my skin is too aged to be rescued by any form of skincare or when the company that makes it has shut down.

Hello Kitty mini notepad: Coz…girls…again.

Cyclone hair wax: Kind of ironic considering I’m the woman who n-e-v-e-r uses hair products. But then, these days my hair looks like an actual cyclone hit it. In the bag it stays.

Neals Yard Hydrating Facial Mist: Who knew I had this many toiletries/cosmetics in my bag? Now all I need is shower gel and shampoo and I could actually get ready inside my bag (it’s big enough).

So many supermarket receipts that my wallet won’t shut: Well you never know when you’ll get the urge to check what you paid for 641 grammes of carrots back in April 2013, now do you?

Business card of the pest control man: In case I need him to come round and spray my kids. I mean bugs.

Cable for my Mac plus USB stick: No laptop…just the cable and the USB, you understand…

Socks: Mine… Why? Or more accurately WHY?

Tangle Teezer hair brush: logical enough, especially considering previous cyclone comment.

The label from a cereal bar – just the label: Obviously waste bins don’t exist.

Usual suspects of house keys, car key, phone, make up bag etc: Praise be! It’s a miracle I actually have these on my person…ask anyone who knows me.

Sunglasses: Because I may leave the house without my keys or wallet or brain on an alarmingly regular basis (read Ten Signs of the Scatty Mama or I Don’t Know How She Does It to see what I mean) but I will NEVER leave the house without my sunglasses, you hear me?

Remote control to Hubster’s office garage: Man I hope he doesn’t read this post…was meant to put the damned thing back in the car after a near disaster recently.

What does it all mean?

1 That if they do a remake of Mary Poppins, they should pay me for the use of my bag for that scene.

2 The only thing I have a doctorate in is how to fit the maximum amount of crap into it.

3 I’m apparently terrified of having messy hair, dry skin or someone going hungry.

4 When I’m suffering from writer’s block and need inspiration for a blog post, I can just look inside my bag.

5 If we ever run out of storage space at home between the laundry room, the closet, the storage room, the office and everyone’s wardrobes, there is nothing to worry about (see point 1).

Told you I was clever.

They Say You Can Tell A Lot About A Woman From What's In Her Handbag. Oh Boy...

 

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Sleepover Rules Your Child Should Know Before Coming To My House

This post originally appeared on Chaimommas.

Dear mum from school, you know how we’ve been saying for the longest time we must get our angels together for a sleepover; yet it’s not happened? About that. I waited for you to initiate, but I heard through the grapevine that yours is a show home and you are nervous about hosting sleepovers. Well guess what honey? If you’re nervous, I’m positively terrified. I may not have a show home, but I’m a control freak; it’s a cross I have to bear. Anyways, we haven’t got our acts together and seem to be at stalemate so I’ll initiate. I’ll host it… alright?

But here’s the thing. There are…

Sleepover Rules Your Child Should Know Before Coming To My House

Basically, just to be clear, your little cherub isn’t entering my house unless the following sleepover rules are read, memorized and understood:

TO THE GIRLS:

1. If your idea of having a good time involves jumping on my furniture then I must warn you my idea of handling this involves super glue and duct tape.

2. Please don’t just help yourself to the contents of my fridge and kitchen cupboards without asking me first (at which point I will say no) especially when it’s your first time here. I know, I know…call me old fashioned.

3. Try not to use my sofas to wipe your hands.  I have a sink AND running water.
(Otherwise, Honey Bunny, it’s you, a cleaning cloth and some elbow grease on hand print removal duty whilst the others watch “One Direction” for the hundredth time.)

4. Movie and popcorn? Sure, no problem. Standard.
Popcorn stuffed down the sofas and stamped into the rug? Not so much. (See point 3 for consequences).

5. Don’t even think about using bad words to look cool, especially in front of my two younger kids. (Besides…they already hear enough from their mother.)

6. Ditto sarcasm. I could run a master class on it honey.

7.

i) You know when you say you don’t want to eat so I order enough pizza for the others and then you decide you’re hungry after it arrives? Not cool, my dear.

ii) You know when you say you’re super hungry and then the pizzas arrive and you refuse to eat? Also not cool.

iii) If I spend my precious time, (which I could have wasted looking at Pinterest housecleaning tips and recipes that I’ll never ever use) cooking you a nice meal and you try either i) or ii), you can use that nice phone of yours to call your mother and explain there is no point her fetching you in the morning as you’ll be here til you finish every morsel.

8. Don’t even think about spending literally hours on the computer. May I suggest a mind-blowing alternative: it’s called ‘socialising’.
Put your phone away. You didn’t come here to do selfies and hit instagram. Let me introduce you to a new social network: it’s called ‘outside’.

9. Please take your personalized goblets and plates, that took us an age to make together, home with you. Arts and crafts don’t come naturally to me and you’ve no idea what self-restraint went into my coping with you dropping glitter EVERYwhere and waving those damned markers around. So please let it not have been in vain. Take that crap HOME sister.

10. If you can put your phone inside a fancy case and put that inside your designer sleepover bag, then I’m pretty sure you can handle putting your dirty undies inside the bag too. My floor is not a storage device and I’m pretty damned sure I’m not paid enough to handle someone else’s kid’s panties. Hang on…I’m not getting paid for any of this…

 

To The Boys:

I know I don’t have your attention for long so I’ll make it short and snappy. Like me.

1. Please try not to ask for fizzy drinks and TV the minute you walk through the door. Ask me once, I’ll be polite but firm. Ask me twice, you may hear my teeth grind. Ask me three times –  actually just don’t ask me three times.

2. Don’t open up every puzzle, lego set and board game my son owns and throw the contents all over my house thinking that’s how you play with them. No there are no batteries, you don’t proceed to the next level after you’ve injured or killed someone and they don’t ‘switch on’ via a remote. You’ll live…you might even like it. Old school is cool kiddo.

3.

i) Put the toilet seat up. Just do it.

ii) Watch where you point that thing. Just do it.

iii) Don’t forget to put it back down again. Just don’t.

By the way, remembering these three rules will make you very ‘popular’ when you’re a bit older. If you don’t know what I mean now…you will.)

4. Don’t bother looking in every storage box, basket and hamper I own, searching for toy guns.  You won’t find any in this house.
If you ask me why I don’t have any, you’ll actually hear my eyes roll backwards.  In fact, if you’re that desperate to play a game which involves pointing a weapon and aiming with deadly precision, I already suggested one: see point 3 ii).

5. See point 7) of the girls’ rules re: dinner etiquette. Ask your mother for a dictionary if you don’t recognize the word etiquette.

Right, I think that just about covers it.

So new mummy friend, did they read it? Now, what time would you like to send them over?

Hello?

You still there?

Oh…that’s odd…

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What Parents Say About Other Parents’ Kids And What They Really Mean!

Ever wanted to march someone else’s kid straight out of your house because they’re subjecting your child to the play date from hell? Or wondered if they’re fed a diet consisting solely of M&M’s, gummy bears and doughnuts, they’re so unable to sit still for five seconds? Whether it’s a quick playground rendezvous after school, a play date at someone’s house or a sleepover, let’s face it, sometimes hanging out with other peoples’ kids can be a bit erm, well, challenging. I confirmed a regular Thursday playground date with a friend of mine the other day and commented on how cute her son is. Her reply cracked me up. Let’s just say she was quite ‘verbal’ and didn’t exactly echo my sentiment as he’s driving her nuts at the moment.  And this got me thinking about what parents say…

Here’s the thing…what she said is something I have no right to say myself, nor would I as he’s absolutely lovely. Oh yeah and because it’s just not right or socially acceptable to go around making certain comments about other people’s kids. Did that stop us from having a giggle over the kind of things we’d love to actually say sometimes, though? Hell no! Et voilà… Thanks to my friend, another blog post idea was born.

So I got to work carrying out extensive research canvassing other parents – well alright, I spoke to two girlfriends who’ve got kids – and came up with a list: What parents say about other parents’ kids and what they really mean.  It’s just for fun. Kind of. No honestly, I’m just kidding around. Of course, I’ve never had these thoughts myself. Well, only sometimes… JOKE.

Disclaimer: To any of my friends reading this…relax…none of these are inspired by your kids!

what-parents-say-about-other-parents'-kids-and-what-they-really-mean

1. Awww, he interacts so well with other kids, doesn’t he?
If that Neanderthal pushes my kid off the slide one more time, I’ll push him into the sandpit when your back’s turned.

 

2. I’m so happy our kids are in the same class.
I hope your kid’s in another class next year. Or another school.

 

3. He’s full of beans isn’t he, bless him?
If the hyperactive little turd bangs on my glass coffee table one more time, I won’t be responsible for my actions.

 

4. My word, isn’t she articulate?
For the love of God, does she ever shut up?

 

5. He’s been great; he was SO fascinated by our toys.
He asked me 25 times if he could take my kid’s lego home and then I caught the bugger sneaking it into his backpack.

 

6. It’s so lovely when kids have good manners isn’t it?
Did you raise your kids in the jungle?

 

7. Don’t you just love how inquisitive kids are?
She didn’t stop asking me questions from the moment I picked her up from your house til the minute you turned up to collect her. My mouth has gone dry.

 

8. They’ve had a great time and occupied themselves for hours.
I have no idea what they were doing up there. On the plus side, I did manage to watch an entire season of Homeland.

 

9. She has such a clever little head on her.
She’s such an argumentative smart arse, it’s a bloody miracle you haven’t put her up for adoption.

 

10. Your son is hilarious…he’s got a great sense of adventure.
I have to disinfect every toy we own. Who on earth told him it’s ok to do THAT with marbles?

 

11. Your little angel offered to help me tidy; I wish my kids did that!
Next time if the little witch goes into my bedroom, messes about with my wardrobe and then tries to put everything back, I’ll lock her inside it.

 

12. Awww your lot have got a healthy appetite haven’t they?
There is literally no food left for my kids.

 

13. He’s really focussed when he’s playing; nothing distracts him does it?
He ignored me literally every time I spoke to him.

 

14. They’re such sporty kids; you must be so proud.
I can’t believe you put a trophy cabinet right by your front door…they’re just participation medals for goodness sake.

 

15. They were soooo excited as it was their first sleepover.
Seriously, what possessed me inviting them over? I finally had to slip brandy into their milk to make them go to sleep.

 

16. They’re welcome at ours any time; they were an absolute pleasure.
I’m moving house.

 

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What It’s Like Inside the Brain of a Mother

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Wow they’re really quiet. Are they still alive? I’d better go check on them. I’ll check in a minute. Just after I’ve had two more minutes sleep. Better not get into a deep sleep. Yep that’s done it. Can’t sleep now. So much to do. House is such a mess. Boy do I need a cleaning lady…preferably one who doesn’t throw saucepans like that looney tunes one…nice saucepan it was too. Ucch, what’s the point? She’d just clean around the mess. The mess would still be there taunting me…’go ahead Prabs…do your best…you can never get rid of me’.  So sick of doing all the cleaning myself…okay there’s no ‘all’…if I did it ‘all’ the house wouldn’t be such a state.

Best get up. I wonder how many seconds of solitary bum on seat time I’ll get before the first one appears at the door. I could just play dead. Not that it ever works. They still call my name clearly not realising I’m unable to answer in my fake dead state. We really need to replace this bathroom mirror. Holy crap, is that a wrinkle?! It’s that Paddington frown a mate told me I had. It’s causing wrinkles. I never even realised Paddington frowned. He’s just a cute bear who loves marmalade isn’t he? Oh we’re out of marmalade. Must get some. Must get a lot of things. I really want that mummy organiser chalk board thing I saw online. At least I’d use mine unlike my kids and that enormous chalk board I spent frigging ages painting onto that wall in their playroom. So glad I passed up on watching the entire Sex and the City box set and opted for losing hours of my life wrestling with masking tape and blackboard paint instead.

What on earth are they fighting about now? Sure isn’t which one of them uses the chalk board the most. Wait, what I was thinking about? Oh yes, if only I could have one of those naturally smiley faces. What do they say? A smile uses fewer facial muscles than a frown. Wow if that’s true, then my face sure does get a daily work out. How did that mum at school manage that perma-smile? The one who said she pulls up in the car park and ‘puts her smile on’ before getting out to fetch the kids. I tried that for a week and everyone kept asking if I was feeling alright. I must have looked constipated.  Hang in there. Only 12 more hours til their bedtime. I can do this. They’re good kids. What the hell is M screaming for now? Honestly, I don’t know where she gets it from…

Please God let this be the one morning where they brush their teeth and get dressed and make their beds without acting like it’s the first time they’ve ever had to get ready in the morning. Sick of yelling 300 times before even leaving the house. Actually I’m a bit calmer than that. 200 times. That’s right K, the least messy eater, you pick today – the day after I washed the floor – to throw the cereal all over the breakfast bar and floor and completely miss your mouth darling.

Oh no, the lunch boxes…I’m losing the will to live. Why do kids need to eat anyway? Can’t believe I used to get the lunches done in the evening before I’d even put the kids to bed…who the hell was that Prabs? Why does Hubster have to be away for work again? It’s so inconvenient. Doesn’t he know it really hampers the timely preparation of the lunchboxes now that he’s unwittingly taken over with that? Nothing in the cupboard. Nothing in the fridge. What am I going to give them? How does that women have the energy to run a daily blog dedicated to lunch box ideas when I can’t even dedicate the energy to making one freaking lunch box?

How is it possible to take SO long to get shoes on one’s feet? I should just put them to bed with their shoes on at night. I swear it would be less hassle. Jeez what has she got in this school bag? A ton of crap but barely a school book; it’s just a kids’ garbage unit on straps.

Right what’s the plan for today? In other words, what is the path of least fannying about and most productivity? Food shopping, cleaning, blog, cooking dinner, drinking cappuccinos? Let me just check my emails. Can’t I just hire someone to do that for me? Seriously, 5 email accounts, My poor brain can’t stay on top of it. I’m sure someone’s going to knock on the door with some kind of legal summons ordering me to immediately look at all 3490 of my unread emails. Right, that’s emails (kinda), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, some other blogs done. Okay, got to get on with morning errands. Wow, it’s lunchtime. Better eat something then.

No way! It’s time to go get them already?  So it’s 10 out of 10 for fannying about….aaaand a big fat zero for productivity. No wait, 3 points for blogging. Oh for goodness sake, who on earth gives themselves points?! But they should have a reward chart for mothers.

Homework. I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see it. But I did see it. Crap. Here we go. Another two hours of my life wasted. I suddenly feel the urge to go paint another chalk board somewhere. My brain just isn’t wired for homework help.

I still haven’t replied to that birthday party invite. Where’s her number? Crap, I threw the invite in the recycling bag. Of all the weeks to actually put the recycling bag out on time, I had to choose this one. I need to peel these potatoes and boil them; the oven’s already been on for ages. Ooh I should offer to make that choc dessert for that drinks party next week. Let me just quickly message her before I forget. No, I’d better do the potatoes. How important is it to RSVP to that birthday party? Oh crappimingus, I forgot to get back to my friend about meeting up – especially as her hubby’s away. Boy do I know what it’s like to be a work widow; could never go back to it again… Changing every nappy, doing every lunch box, cooking every meal, washing every dish, doing every school run, fixing every broken down thing, helping on every bit of homework, coping with every lonely weekend while everyone else has their family one… Wow the kitchen sure is hot…oh the oven’s on…oh damn, the potatoes! Haven’t peeled them yet.

Need to make a floral head dress for that party. It’s a Swedish thing. Man, do I have to? I really don’t ‘make’ stuff, apart from a big deal out of nothing…and the occasional cake. And I can’t wear a garden on my head. Can’t I just play the Indian card and say we don’t do stuff like that? Sodding potatoes are over boiled. I need to book the babysitter for the night of that drinks party. I can’t book her again for the following night for the Midsummer’s party though. Can’t we just superglue the kids to their beds and leave them home alone? No, bad idea. What’s wrong with me.

Please tell me I’ve got butter for the potatoes. Need to get that laundry in. It’s been on the line for 2 days. Going to get bitten by mosquitoes doing it though which is why it’s been on the line for 2 days. What am I going to do with these potatoes? They’re falling apart. Is it bad I’m giving them packet fish? The filling did look good and they’re so quick and easy to make. Definitely no E numbers or additives. It’s not THAT bad is it? Let me recheck the ingredients. Shit. Vegetable oil. They don’t say if it’s hydrogenated or not. Which means it blooming well is. Heaven help me, I’m slowly poisoning my family. Well actually Hubster doesn’t care.  So correction: I’m slowly poisoning myself and the kids. Just don’t know what to feed them anymore. Don’t feed them dairy cos of a hundred different reasons. Don’t give them meat cos of a hundred other reasons. Careful with fruit and veg and pesticides. Eat carbs but avoid gluten. If the food doesn’t kill you, the stress of what to feed them will. My brain hurts.

OMG that form the school sent home…eight drinks to choose from for the end of year school trip and seven of them were fizzy! Jamie Oliver would have a seizure. Ooh I must try that chicken recipe he did on TV the other night. 15 minute meals my eye. The man’s a liar. I’m a liar…Can’t believe I told that woman I was a former driving instructor just to shut her up when she drove towards me the wrong way down that street. Need to stop doing that. Told that argumentative unhelpful shop assistant I was a trading standards official too. Honestly, who does that kind of thing? (Well…there was that friend who posed as a police officer more than once…) Oh that’s just great: I wrecked the potatoes. How does anyone wreck potatoes? Bet Jamie wouldn’t. Man, I need a glass of wine. Only 2 more hours til their bedtime. Hang in there. Wait, where are they? They’re really quiet. I hope they’re still alive. I’d better go check on them. I’ll check in a minute. Just after had two sips of wine.

I Don’t Know How She Does It. No really, I don’t know HOW she does it!

This one’s for all the amazing mothers out there!

i-dont-know-how-she-does-it

A while ago, I had one of those busier than normal weeks. You know, where you wonder why everything has to happen at the same blooming time. Cheeky K and Dreamy D had birthdays 3 days apart…annoyingly this happens every year…beats me…;)  so I spent the week eyeball deep in baking, sleepovers and parties. You know how it goes. In the midst of this, I made my first ever appearance on radio (can you appear on radio?) and finally after much procrastination, launched this blog.  And frankly it was as much as I could handle.

It also led me to think ‘How do all those other mothers do it? You know the ones: they’re at your kids’ school or you’ve known them since you all met at antenatal classes or you bumped into them at playgroup or you met them at a birthday party or…holy Henry you’re ONE OF THEM! They work, they fundraise, they organise school events, arrange elaborate parties for their kids, chauffeur their charges from one activity to another and still find time to hit the gym and have a social life. Oh and did I mention? They’re usually reeealllly nice people too. Dammit. I swear, they’re everywhere.

Take my friend D for example. PLEASE, someone take her and shake some laziness and mediocrity into her. The woman is a machine. She works as a fitness coach, she has run marathons, she raises money for Inspire etc, she does tonnes of stuff with her two kids, she rustles up healthy meals for her familia and fits in a packed social life. (And there’s no under-achieving hubby ‘balancing things out’ in the background; he’s  an ultra-marathoner/Ironman type. Someone punch me in the face now.) Yet despite this jam-packed lifestyle, she still manages to get to bed by 10pm. Ah…maybe that’s the secret…but I’m sure if I did as much as her, I’d never even make it to bed.  I’d either fall asleep on the stairs trying to get there or wouldn’t have time to sleep in the first place.

Seriously, I’d love to say I only know a few uber-mothers like this just for my own self esteem (and Sliema Sexy aka Marilyn Munroe, don’t tell me off for that last bit). But no…the list just goes on and on and bloody ON. The world is full of them! These super mamas who fit several lives into one life and get more done in one day than I get done in a month.  Honestly, I practically high-five myself if I just make it to two supermarkets in one morning.  Actually, practically NOTHING. I do high five myself when that happens.

Then there’s my sis M.E.  She had to go back to work far too soon after the birth of her first child. It broke her heart. She had to put in 12 hour+ days producing conferences while trying to juggle everything including the shock of new motherhood (with a baby who also had health problems). When she found out she was pregnant a second time, she was up to her eyeballs pulling 3am sleeps because not only was she was working long days in an absurdly stressful job but she was also putting together a business by night! Add to that, going abroad for work and you have to wonder how the heck she still squeezed in time to  bake, do crafts and take her son to activities! There is some help from our mum when possible but she’s not nearby.  So it’s my sis and her hubby and the temporary relief provided by school/daycare as is the case for millions for parents worldwide. And yes her husband also wears XXL super hero pants. No, not because he’s big; but because his fatherly dedication is.

But this post isn’t about the amazing dads out there (sorry, fellas, I’m sure I’ll get round you at some point). It’s about the amazing mothers. Yay!

And whilst I may not be an uber-mama, I would just like to say that the other day, I did a big grocery shop, completed several laundry loads, tackled the growing mess on two of our terraces, did some cleaning, worked on the blog, did the usual  3 school runs, made waffles for afterschool  tea, did homework duty, made a fab photo-worthy fisherman’s pie for supper, found time to catch 15 minutes of sofa time hugs with the babies and a cup of tea and even got  them to bed on time. GO TEAM PRABS!  ActualIy, I thought the real me had been abducted by aliens and was reclining on a sofa being fed grapes by minions in an alternative universe while this uber-organised impostor got busy running a tight ship in my house back on planet earth.  Okay, so I may not have worked out a solution for the third world debt crisis but THIS was a very successful day for me!

Anyway, the point is, that’s not my typical day. My typical day? Well, it usually goes something like this:

– Crawl out of bed at not-early-enough o’clock, SO not ready to face the day.
– Endure the hell known as the morning routine which I guess most mothers can relate to where you literally sound like a broken record endlessly repeating the same set of requests and instructions (which FYI you’ll be repeating when they’re 18).
– Waste time hunting for the house key or the car key or my brain (or various combinations of all three).
– Accuse the four year-old of hiding the missing keys. “Prabs, why don’t you have a specific storage place for your keys?” I hear you say. We do. Thanks for asking. What’s your point?
– Find the keys.
– Apologise to four year old.
– By some miracle, get us all out the door for the school run (it IS a miracle which I aim to describe in anatomic detail in a future post).
– Drive like a mother****** (I mean drive like a mother) arriving at school, tyres smoking Starsky and Hutch stylie.
– Open my door, not before catching a horrified glimpse in the rearview mirror of breakfast still smeared on cheeks and unbrushed birds’ nest hair (and that’s just me).
– Drop off M and D, head to the second school and drop off Cheeky K and then finally drop off hubster at work.

That’s the most productive part of the day.  Then it usually goes downhill, a bit like this scene from a couple of months ago:

After drop off, I went food shopping and got home to discover one of the grocery bags was missing and had to drive back, finding it in the supermarket carpark (that’s nothing; I once had to go all the way back to the airport to try to find a baby buggy that I’d managed to forget (see 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama).

Of course this was on the same day where I skipped packed lunches in order to take them pizza later (a plan which doesn’t always work out too well as described here). I’d lost so much time with the ‘bag recovery mission’ that I barely had time to do anything before it was time to leave again to go drop off the pizza and their rainwear. So how did I wisely use my time? Yep, by running around like a lunatic trying to find my keys for the bazillionth time in blind panic; they get a measly 15 minutes to eat their lunch at my kids’ school so delivering it even a couple of minutes late is bad news.

I finally found the keys in the wrong bowl and pulled them out with a huge sigh of relief. Crap…they were just the house keys…still no car key.  ‘No problem. I’ll call it’, I thought to myself (you know the way you call your cellphone from the landline when you misplace it and DON’T tell me you never do that). I then spent what felt like an age trying to figure out why my key wasn’t ringing in response to my call. No, I didn’t make that up. I really called my key from my home phone.

Then I realised I a) have clearly had way too many kids so b) have way too few brain cells left and c) I seriously need a voice-activated Prabsmobile, no damned key required.

Eventually, with the lunch bell already having rung at school and me still stuck at home (actually shouting obscenities at myself in mind-bending frustration), I called my lovely friend Baker Lady who thank God lives around the corner from me and who generously (translation: insanely) let me borrow her car. Seriously, I wouldn’t let me borrow my own car given this track record of scattiness.

I climbed in, looked round to make sure there was a car seat I could use for Cheeky K only to find the back seats down and a ton of unmoveable stuff in the back, said my prayers about driving someone else’s car in the rain and decided not to worry just yet about where I was going to put K. One mercy dash to school in the pouring rain later (not even gonna say what time I dropped off the pizza), it was time to head to the nursery to fetch my youngest (whose face was a picture when she noticed a lovely 4×4 instead of mummy’s heap of metal).

I crawled along dodging the ‘pools’ that form on the roads here when it rains, weather which seems to bring out the most excellent driving skills among the people of this island. Honestly, it’s like all that other dumb-ass driving they do (stuff you wouldn’t even believe) is just a rehearsal. You know the expression ‘to save something for a rainy day’? Well here, they save their really bat-shit crazy driving for a rainy day.

Anyway, where was I headed? To the car hire people to fetch the spare key AGAIN.  I tell you, it’s a good thing we drive a hire car here instead of our own because there would be nobody to bail us out if we (I mean I) lost the key to ours. I’ve done it so many times that I’m surprised they don’t just lock the door and hide under their desks when they see me coming. I’m not even going to try to describe the look on the manager’s face when I suggested I keep the spare to avoid me having to go to their office each time I misplace the original.

Finally, most of my day wasted, I drove a nerve-wracking drive home (tense partly due to the thought that I may have to stump up a daft amount of money for a replacement key if I didn’t find the original and partly due to the number of geniuses overtaking on bends or pulling out suddenly from side roads IN THE RAIN. I honestly don’t remember how many times I reversed down narrow roads to let drivers through, all of whom can grip a steering wheel with one hand and yet none of whom can use the other hand to effing thank someone who reverses all the way down a road IN THE RAIN for them. Mind you, it is hard to thank another driver when your ‘free’ hand is busy holding a phone isn’t it?

I dropped the car back at Baker Lady’s house and then walked home with Cheeky K both of us getting wet in the rain, only to find my own key in the very bag I didn’t bother looking in as there was ‘no way the key would be there’.  By now, I literally had one hour left to eat and do jobs before heading out to fetch M and D.

Now, we get to the bit where I honestly considered lying about what I managed to do next. I collected them both, got back in my car and started off down the road. No sooner had I turned the corner from the school than the car ground to a halt. I had three hungry kids in the car, was in the middle of a quiet residential road where I knew nobody and couldn’t call hubster for help as he was thousands of miles away on a work trip.

Why did it grind to a halt?  Yep…you’ve guessed. No petrol left in the tank.

I could describe the look on the face of the car hire company manager when he turned up…I honestly think he wanted to strangle me…but I think I’ve said enough. My work is done here.

So, long story long, if you ever see me, feel free to think “I don’t know how she does it. No really, I don’t know HOW she does it!” Then cross the road and quickly walk away from me before you catch scattybrainitis.

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Friday Frolics

Make Yourself At Home: Tidy My House

The mess. Oh my good grief. THE MESS IS TAKING OVER MY HOUSE. Seriously, if you read 10 Lessons This Mama Has Learned, you may recall that I said if burglars turned up to do a number on our place (no laughing matter as we were in fact burgled six days after moving in) they would take one look at the mess in my house, decide they couldn’t work in such conditions and tidy up first.

If you thought I was exaggerating (yes I have been known to do that) take a look at this pic of my kids’ playroom:

 

 

 

Can’t see anything?

That’s because I’m not dumb enough to show it! It’s just too embarrassing.

Same goes for:

– the cloakroom where we keep the shoes, coats, hats and er…spare batteries and light bulbs…hang on…shouldn’t those last two be in the storage room?

– the storage room: IT equipment/cables and chargers, kids’ sports gear, bikes, all manner of beach equipment, office stationery cupboard (I could list everything that is piled high in this cupboard but a book on Marxism would be less painful to read), gift-wrapping accessories and everything but the kitchen sink…actually…no I think I did see a kitchen sink in there…

– the laundry room: what a joke…’laundry’ items make up only half of what’s in this room,

and

– the under stairs storage cupboard: Christmas tree & decorations, vacuum cleaner, mops and buckets and other cleaning equipment, picnic accessories, a dead body…no not really, I was just checking you were still with me.

You could be forgiven for thinking “Wow Prabs, it sure sounds like everything is neatly organised with a storage place for everything in your house”.  Ha! Let me give you an example of why that is so laughable.

My eldest has (among other similar things) a 4-drawer accessories/trinkets organiser, a lovely item that she received one birthday. I think I was more excited than her when she unwrapped it in front of her friends. I may even have let out a high-pitched squeak of joy as I mentally fast forwarded to the thought of how neat and tidy her crap (up til now all squeezed in one basket) could, no would, finally be. Sorry, I tried to think of a more polite word than ‘crap’ but ‘crap’ is accurate. Let’s stick with ‘crap’. “Ooh”, I thought. “She can put her hair clips in one drawer, soft hairbands in another, hard headbands in another and sunglasses/watches etc in the last one.”  Furthermore, this organiser is on her own shelf which is part of a 6-shelf unit. Pretty close to neatly organised  right? How does she store her hair clips, hairbands etc? She dumps them on the shelf right in front of the organiser. I mean, you can’t even open the effing unit because it’s obstructed by all the crap that is in front of it!

Then there’s my kitchen. Oh God, the kitchen. It always looks like I’ve just had the whole neighbourhood over for lunch. How ironic. I CAN’T INVITE ANYONE OVER FOR LUNCH because the place is such a flipping mess.

My entire upstairs is worse than a hotel laundry section even though, like most Maltese houses, our place actually has a dedicated laundry room. Apparently it’s dedicated to a shocking amount of mess.

I have to say in my defense that I have not had a cleaning lady in over a year so it comes down to a choice between the routine day to day cleaning or sorting out all of the above-mentioned storage areas and guess which one wins?

And the playroom…the bane of my life. Honestly, it is such a scene of utter devastation that the toys are about to come alive and tidy themselves up. Oh yeah…I could not be happier that I literally wasted days – actually it’s probably weeks all told – of my life endlessly organising and reorganising that room, painting a blackboard onto the wall, hanging up every flipping art and craft artefact, sticking posters on walls only for them to fall down in the heat, screwing decorative plaques onto doors, setting up shelves etc etc.

I have tried:

1) the misty-eyed guilt trip approach (ah…all those years of watching Hindi movies as a kid sometimes come in handy) with the “Do you have any idea how lucky you are to even have a playroom?” talk

2) scare tactics via the “You do realise Summer’s coming which equals cockroach season and the sheer number of layers of mess in this room will provide them with the perfect home, right?” talk

3) bribery by offering the playroom up as an individual bedroom to my eldest if she gets her act together and tidies it. You’d think the prospect of her own furniture, bunk bed, girls’ den and all that privacy would have been enough for her to stay up all night for an entire week and sort out the damned room. But no. After a mile-wide smile indicating apparent delight at the idea of finally having her own room, she then skipped off to do something else, presumably totally put off at the thought of having to DO something to earn said individual room.

and finally

4) good old threats with the “If it’s not tidied and sorted by the end of the month, it’s curtains. We’ll turn it into an office for your dad” talk.

Hmmmm, interestingly, none of these four approaches can be found in any reputed book on raising kids. Weird; I thought guilt tripping, scare tactics, bribery and threats formed the four pillars of effective parenting. Oh so what? This is a How NOT to guide to parenting and domesticity, remember?

Of course, the fifth approach is intimidation: I thought of throwing a stick of dynamite at the room but I figured there’s probably a law against that. Also that’s not intimidation. I think  they call it arson.  Please don’t say “Why don’t you do it Prabs?” (about the tidying, not the dynamite) “They’re only kids after all.” Forget it. Please refer to above comment about amount of  time I’ve already spent in that room.

Anyway, I was talking (i.e. moaning) about the general mess to a friend of mine who totally related and declared that she has given up trying to control the mess in her house. She said she has so much ‘stuff’ despite hardly ever buying anything.  Meanwhile, we both know people who spend their lives shopping online at home decor, furniture, clothing and ‘department store’ sites and yet their homes are uncluttered and immaculate. However, my friend also says she never throws anything out. That’s the thing I don’t get: I do! In the last two years I’ve got rid of so much stuff. Toys have gone to the orphanage. Kids clothes have gone to a friend in Germany and my sis in Holland. Baby equipment has been sold or gone to charity and actually just this morning, I took a load of stuff to help refugees here in Malta. But you would never think I culled a damned thing. I swear it’s made so little difference that if you came over to my house you’d think “What the heck did you cull Prabs? The air?”

So at the start of the year, I decided enough is enough. I couldn’t stand it a minute longer. “I’m taking control of the mess”, I thought. “I’m going to go all Ninja and put in a serious Ikea order.” I was talking the works: those fab Trofast units for toy storage, Expedit for toy and small items storage, Algot for the laundry room.  But then we decided to spend our money on more fun stuff (you know like paying bills and school fees and shit).

Then I finally realised, for the time being at least, there is nothing else for it but to accept I just can’t manage it all: the kids, the housework, the cleaning, the school stuff, the cooking thing, the running and pilates and tennis (she said sounding a bit Beverley Hills Housewife), running this blog etc. Something’s got to give. It won’t be my exercise regime (um…I haven’t done pilates or run in a month…) and it can’t be the blog. So, it’s the mess. And instead of avoiding playdates because I’m just too embarrassed at the mess in my house, I shall embrace it.

And anyway:

 

10 Ways To Tell Kids About Sex

REVISED AND REPUBLISHED.

You know your daughter is growing up when you walk into your kids’ bedroom and instead of finding the usual charming collection of cute soft toys on her pillow, you stumble upon Ken getting all cosy with his Monster High harem. I mean, just what the heck, Ken?

Ken and Barbie harem

 

Then as if that’s not bad enough, later that same day, you come across this:

barbie what are you doing

 

Seriously…just what the eff, Barbie??

I don’t know about you but personally, when I see something like this on a young child’s bed – no scrap that – when I actually saw this on MY child’s bed, I thought:
1) Oh no, she isn’t a baby anymore
2) Crappity crap, we’re out of vodka
3) That’s it. I have zero coping mechanism right now
.

This was followed by a churning in my stomach and a dry feeling in my mouth (presumably because of the lack of frickin’ vodka). You know why? Yep…cos I knew even worse was yet to come. I knew the time was approaching when I’d need to have the talk. Yep THE talk. Yes, yes! THAT one! Explaining sex to kids. Groan.

Oh for goodness sake, would someone purleeese go find me that vodka?

Now, here’s the thing:

Coming from an Indian background, I was never given THE talk when I was growing up. Asians just don’t do the sex talk. It’s so completely taboo. In fact, when I was growing up, I kind of wondered if Asians even had sex because nobody acknowledged its existence. Showing any form of physical affection towards a spouse or member of the opposite sex was frowned upon. Actually, my parents were an anomaly because occasionally they would – HOLD THE FRONT PAGE – hold hands! I know right? Shock horror, and so on. And the western concept of romance? (Yep, it’s seen as a Western concept) was a total no no. Seriously, if there was even a tiny possibility that a couple were about to kiss on screen, a certain family member would swoop in with the remote control and change channels. I cannot count the number of times Alexis Carrington was about to get down and dirty with Dex Dexter (that name!) or some other random guy on Dynasty, when all of a sudden, the news or weather would miraculously appear on the screen.

If you’re of Indian, or in fact any form of Eastern origin, then that probably sounds slightly familiar… I’m so sorry. Let’s all hold hands.

I guess, in the general scheme of things, it’s no big deal and we grow up unscathed and manage to figure out how it all works. Put it this way, evidently this lack of knowledge-sharing by our parents/elders does not affect Asians too much because there are just a few of us on the planet which means a lot of us figured it out…

I am convinced, however, that this general view of sex by Eastern cultures as shameful and not for discussion most definitely has its consequences. However, that takes us into all sorts of serious territory and a) serious is currently on holiday b) you could literally write an entire book on that and c) actually, I don’t think it’s just an Asian thing. A Maltese friend pointed out that the same is true of Catholic cultures and to be honest, I doubt my ‘white Western’ friends got sat down when they were x years-old and given a Power point presentation by their parents on fornication (mainly because Power Point didn’t exist back then).

Anyway, back to Ken and his harem. Fast forward several decades (eek) and here I am, a mother myself, having a mild panic attack (suffering from cold palms, waking up with night sweats and feeling a general sick sense of dread…so nothing major) at the mere thought of having to do THE talk. Ah….there they are….those consequences I mentioned… See? I don’t have the faintest idea how to go about it.

So I’m wondering if I can just make light of the whole thing (well I did say serious is currently away folks) and use one of the following

10-ways-to-tell-kids-about-sex-featured-frame to explain things to Musical M and – when the time comes to it (like when they’re 30) – her siblings:      

1. Go with “First there was Adam. Then there was Eve…and there was no TV…blimey were they bored! Oh and here’s a diagram I drew earlier. I’m not very good at drawing. If you want to know anything else, Google it”.

2. Give her a dot to dot book with ‘relevant’ pictures and wish her luck.

3. Put all three of them in front of a DVD. Yes, THAT kind of DVD. And then get M to explain it to the other two.

4. Say “There was a stork. I have NO idea what happened next but I’m sure you can figure the rest out, you’re an intelligent kid.”

5. Buy her a load of Rihanna/Nicki Minaj/Robin Thicke. Surely it’s enough?

6. Say “This is a picture of the male body. This is a picture of the female body. This – ooh, who wants to play on the Wii?”

7. Walk past her room, lob an ‘informative’ book (see below) at the bed while she’s got her headphones on and run away.

8. Tell her “You start with a kiss. Ok, that’s it for lesson one. Shall we go to McDonalds?” I  would rather run down the street naked with nothing but a Man U scarf around my neck than take my kids to McDonalds but I reckon feeding them junk food would be less painful than doing THE talk.

9. Just let her loose on YouTube. Sooner or later, she’s bound to come across something useful. You can learn a lot from YouTube.

10. Just ask her dad to do it when they’re both sat at breakfast.
And then run away.
Again.

Come on…one of those has to work right?!

And if none of them do, you might want to try one of these:

 

 

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Why It Never Pays To Be A Smug Mother

Why it never pays to be a smug mother

Last night my children – all three – said “mummy we don’t want to watch TV, we want to draw”. I stared at them, barely able to understand the words coming out of their mouths.

This evening, they asked me to put on my favourite classical music piece while they did their homework. I swear, I almost fist pumped the air in smug admiration of what are surely the results of my own amazing parenting skills (remember, if  you’re new here, sarcasm is served up in LARGE doses). Then, still basking in the warm glow of my own fabulous mummy-ness, I absent-mindedly came a centimetre close to pouring the cheese sauce I’d prepared for tonight’s lasagne (the cooking of which I had to psyche myself up for in the first place because I’d rather give birth to triplets than go through the arse ache of making a lasagne) straight into the bowl of batter I’d made for my brand new waffle machine (the purchase of which is the absolute highlight of my month…seriously, it’s actually slightly disturbing how in love I am with this new gadget). Oh and then I realised I’d forgotten to hang that laundry load out again. And poof! Just like that. The smugness was gone.

It made me think this is not entirely new: feeling like I’m getting it right only to realise I’m so not.

There’s the time I dropped Dreamy D off at school, beaming at his teacher because I KNEW I’d remembered everything this time: the school trip money, the homework, the PE clothes, the spelling test. Let’s bear in mind this was during a period when hubster was away for two months in a row in California, only coming back to see us for one week at a time, so quite honestly it was a miracle I was still sane/able to remember my own name/not in need of heavy sedation, never mind anything else. I triumphantly declared D had everything, only for his teacher to say ”Did you remember his library book?”.

I can now relate to the phrase ‘her face fell’.

My face fell.

At which point, D’s teacher followed this up with “Oh bless, shall I move in with you?”  (Straight up. No word of lie.)

There’s the time I got us all out the door on time for a birthday party…oh mercy me…ON TIME…smart clothes on, bows neatly tied, not a smudge of Weetabix on the cheeks (mine I mean), gift beautifully wrapped (heck, the kids had even made a home-made card for the birthday princess) and so on. You know, the sad thing is there are friends of mine who will read this and not believe I was on time. We arrived, parked, got out of the car (anyone reading this who doesn’t have kids is wondering why I feel the need to specify that we got out the car; anyone who does have kids knows it’s an effing mission getting them all out of a car in under thirty seconds so it jolly well deserves a mention), schlepped up to the house, rang the bell, rang it again, paced around, huffed and puffed a few times, called my friend, found out I was at the wrong house, walked back to the car, got them all back in the car, endured a thousand berLUDDY questions from three confused kids…you get the picture. At least this is only half as useless as the time I did the whole get-them-out-the-house-bows-and-all thing and turned up at the birthday kid’s house on the wrong day. KL, I lower my head in defeat. You were right the other day: I’m not the most vigilant.

There’s the time my tennis instructor paid me a series of amazing compliments saying I’d made the most incredible progress, only for me to turn up the following week for my lesson and play like a total twat who’d never seen a racquet in her life.

But you know what? For a few minutes this evening, my family thought I ROCKED! Yes folks, I did just use capital letters, italics and an exclamation mark just then….I know…I’m living on the edge. Just let me enjoy a few moments of feeling smug though. Why? Because I fed mia famiglia THE vegetarian lasagne to beat ALL veggie lasagnes that ever went before (no we’re not vegetarians but I’m not overly wild about giving my kids red meat) followed up by waffles for dessert, made in aforementioned brand new waffle maker. Talking of which, sorry can’t help it. Here’s a pic of my new best friend. It is absolutely no different from any waffle machine you’ll have seen before but please say hello. I think I’ll call it Freddie.

waffle machine

It’s totally and utterly brilliant that women finally moved out of the kitchen and away from the ironing board several decades ago to start achieving greatness and amazing careers of their own. So it’s probably a sad state of affairs when this feminist chick sits at the table in the year 2014 mentally high-fiving herself when her husband, who is not usually easily impressed or particularly demonstrative at the best of times (and no honey I’m not having a dig and I love you loads but I think you were more excited over tonight’s lasagne  than the birth of our first child) exclaims more than a few times that she has just made the best lasagne ever.

I still feel smug though. Sue me.

14 Things Not To Say To Kids…

 …because there’s just no point!

things not to say to kids

I sounded off at Musical M last night and said something I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have said.  Oh if only I could channel my inner Mother Teresa in such moments.  (Problem is I don’t HAVE an inner Mother Teresa to channel.)

After they’d gone to bed, I got to thinking about this apparently never-ending pattern of behaviour where I come out with comments I simply wish I hadn’t, in dealing with my cherubs.  Honestly, sometimes I could bang my head against our crayon-adorned walls in shame because I have a feeling I’ll be paying therapy bills in a few years.

So if you recognise yourself in the list below (although I probably own the franchise on saying this kind of stuff), firstly thank God I’m not the only one and secondly here’s hoping these words only cross your mind and not your lips.  (As for me, hopefully one day, I’ll actually practise what I preach.)

1.

everything with you

Yeah right. You know you’re getting out of that car at least three times (and that’s just to fetch the things that YOU forgot).

 

2.

father home

So he can do what? Swing them around in the air, roll around on the rug with them and then hand them over to you to do the bedtime routine while he falls asleep on the sofa?

 

3.

last time

Who are you kidding?  You know damn well you will be saying whatever ‘this’ is until the day they leave home.

 

4.

how many times

They take this question at face value and stand there confused and desperately trying to work out how many times you have actually told them…

 

5.

maid

Erm…not sure how to break this to you…(and at least she gets paid).

 

6.

laugh

Go ahead.  I’d love to see you try.  And so would your kid(s) who’ll be thinking ‘Awesome! Can you do it in front of my friends…pleeeeeze?’

 

7.

answer your name

Yes.

 

8.

clothes onI’m a big fan of this one but apparently you’re not meant to use sarcasm on kids.  (I didn’t get the memo.)

 

9.

do everything

What do you think?

 

10.

on floor

Because the floor is a storage device?

 

11.

shoes

You know what? The more you ask, the slower they get.

 

12.

leave your beaker

Seriously?  Considering most parents can barely remember what they did five minutes ago, how can we expect a child’s memory to be any better? (Unless of course required to recall every single toy and game advert ever shown on TV.)

 

13.

lunchbox

Don’t even go there, especially if you’ve managed to lose an entire bag of shopping, a baby buggy, your sanity… [see 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama]

14.

Last but not least:

dessert

Don’t really need to say anything here do I?

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Miss Conception and the Birthday Blues

cb2265983ddd45dd42e8505fe727edffMid November.  It’s that time of year again.  I can feel a cold sweat forming on my back and I’m sure my right eye is about to start twitching with anxiety.  Yep, Cheeky K and Dreamy D both have birthdays coming up in a few days…just three days apart. Doh! So…do we do two parties?  Shall we just do yet another cinema trip with just the boys?  Can I get away with not mentioning her birthday to our youngest?  Do I have to invite all of Dreamy D’s class?  Cake, invites, gifts, theme, catering, groan.

No I’m a not a working mother with a gazillion balls to keep up in the air.  Yes I’m ‘just’ a stay-at-home mum whose main achievement is erm, um, I’ll get back to you on that one actually…but somehow every flipping year, their birthdays suddenly appear from around the corner and catch me unprepared.

“Hang on Prabs,  HOW on earth did you manage to have two of your kids three years apart and yet only three days apart with their birthdays?”

What can I say? TV’s crap in March 🙂

Famous Australian TV Chef Causes Lunchbox Envy!

Muffins

There’s a certain female chef on TV…I won’t say her name cos I’m too damn chicken…she’s Australian though.  I can’t decide whether I love her or hate her.  I think it’s a bit of both.  I love her for the yummy oh-so-simple peach and almond tart she’s introduced into my family’s lives.  I quite liked her red fruit millefeuille and Thai fishcakes but I aged about 20 years watching her slow-roasted lamb recipe (and quietly wondered if Australians don’t actually have to pay electricity bills as they seem rather obssessed with slow roast dishes which take two days to make).

Hubster recently went to Australia on business and his business contact invited him for dinner and made a roast lamb dish that took about seven hours to cook.  If I roasted something in my oven for that long, the Maltese Electricity Board would hunt me down as I’d have single-handedly caused an energy crisis.

Rottenecards_4860191_9yfw965xwnAnyway, just as I was warming to this Australian female celebrity chef whose name I’m still feeling cowardly to reveal (all I’ll give you is that she wears a lot of white), she embarks on a blueberry muffin recipe with the opening line “I love this recipe as I can make these while my kids are still sleeping so I can get lovely warm muffins in their lunch boxes by the time they’re ready for school”.

Let me tell you how the mornings go down in my house: I run around like a lunatic with wild hair trying to dress myself, reminding three kids to brush their teeth and wash their faces etc like I’m saying it for the first time each and every bloody time, locating missing library books, rolling my eyes while they take forever to eat breakfast, raiding the fridge and cupboards for vaguely healthy lunchbox ingredients and generally losing the will to live.

This woman gets up and BAKES MUFFINS.

It’s a good job she’s in Australia.  It’s too far for me to go just to punch her.

10 Signs of The Scatty Mama

frazzled momI’m a scatty Mama.

There, I’ve said it.  I wish I wasn’t. But then I guess there was never much hope that the girl who was a confirmed absent-minded daydreamer in her childhood/youth would grow up (using the term ‘grow’ very loosely here as I can just about make it to 4foot 3 in heels and hairspray) to be one of those uber-organised supermums (you know, the ones who get up at 5 a.m. to bake their own bread, have made an assortment of breakfast items by 7 am that would rival the buffet at a five star Hotel and who’ve planned the entire refurb of their kitchen on an A3 sketch pad by 8am).

Here’s how to tell if you’re a fellow scatty mama:

You:

  1. regularly leave your housekeys in the front door
  2. ditto your phone in the car
  3. ditto your wallet in a different bag from the one you have with you
  4. have fetched one child from school and got in the car before remembering the other one
  5. forget to go grocery shopping or leave your groceries in the supermarket carpark
  6. repeatedly turn up at the supermarket without the shopping list (assuming you actually make a list…)
  7. often turn up at the gym without your gym kit (assuming you go to the gym ‘often’ but who am I to judge?)
  8. have actually managed to LOSE a baby buggy
  9. end up rewashing laundry, that you forget to hang out, so often that you wonder if you are actually any use to your family
  10. have been known to drive off with a car door open

Don’t worry.  If you recognise yourself in some of the above and are feeling a bit deflated, let me ask you this: Have you thrown your kid out of the buggy because you forgot to close the straps?…

No?

Well, I have. So you can relax because I just made you feel like the BEST mother in the world.

You’re welcome.

Honey I Forgot To Feed The Kids (things celebrity mums don’t do)

You know you haven't got this parenting thing right when you shriek "**** I FORGOT THEIR SCHOOL LUNCHES!". Celebrity mums just don’t have days like this.

You know  you haven’t got this parenting thing right

when you decide not to send them homemade lunches today, in favour of buying them hot pizzas at lunchtime.  And then later you sit in your favourite cafe writing a post called 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama  mentally patting yourself on the back for spending quality time with your youngest (when in actual fact she’s occupying herself with jigsaw puzzles, colouring for three hours and sipping babyccinos while you work on your blog).

And then you head off late to the grocery store

and as you’re salivating over the baked goods section and putting doughnuts into a bag as an afternoon treat for the kids, you shriek “**** I FORGOT THEIR LUNCHES!” so you grab some sorry-looking pizza slices from the bakery but you can’t call the kids’  teachers to let them know you’re on your way because you left your phone at home that morning (again) and you feel sick to your stomach at the thought of your other two kids sitting at school wondering where the hell their stay-at-home-mum is while everyone around them eats food lovingly prepared by proper mums, some of whom work and who don’t forget their kids’ lunch.

So you end up flying around the store like a lunatic

literally throwing stuff into the trolley at breakneck speed with your three year-old in the front seat firing nonsensical questions at you and then you line up at the ‘under 10 items checkout’, realise you have 11 items, line up at the correct checkout, literally throw everything onto the belt at breakneck speed like a lunatic, throw it all into shopping bags, run to the car, get to school way after they’ve all gone back in after lunch, endure hurt looks from your kids and faintly disgusted looks from their teachers and learn that some of the teachers scrambled around for food for your son who was crying.

Afterwards, you rush home and throw the food into the freezer

and fridge, grab your phone, nuts and chocolate (yep I really did say you grab your phone, nuts and chocolate), head off an hour late to your amazing baker friend for her help in grinding them up for a dessert that you promised to make for a fundraiser the next day because you bust your own food processor the week before when you made the same dessert.

Then your husband (who never questions your parenting)

calls you and questions your parenting…and you feel so deflated at your rubbish mothering skills that you end up gratefully accepting your friend’s invite to stay for lunch when you should really be heading home to put your toddler down for her nap and hang out that laundry load.  And later when you’re going to school to get the kids, you think how celebrity mums like

Angelina, Gwyneth and Victoria just don’t have days like this

(how would they when they have an entire army of childcare and domestic employees helping them fake the image of  the hands-on-mum?) and you get to school so late that your kids have gone back into the school building…and then you get your husband from work and he drops you back at your baker friend’s house but turns up again a bit later because on his way back to work he discovered you’d left your phone in the car.  Then you go home, finally prepare dinner, get the kids fed and get everyone upstairs for bedtime but as you’re bathing them, you think

“Oh crap, I don’t have eggs or sugar for the dessert”

and you realise the local store will close before you’ve finished bathing the youngest.  So your eldest has to change back out of her pyjamas and run to the store to buy some and as she’s leaving the house, she discovers the house keys in the front door and it’s at that point that you realise how fitting it is that you wrote 10 Signs Of The Scatty Mama just that morning…

…and that you need to borrow one of those employees from Angelina, Gwyneth or Victoria…