Thursday, 9 October 2014

Ballet socks and tantrums

Angel and Delight have started ballet.
Whilst Angel listens intently to everything Miss Ballet, their patient teacher, says and executes it with desperate precision,  Delight thinks nothing of sitting on the floor in the middle of the lesson roaring at me because her plait is too fat.

I shall begin with the morning of ballet day. It had been a standard rainy, thundery, sizzling sunshine September day. I dropped Angel and Delight to their respective lines in the playground resplendent in their freshly pressed and boiled uniforms, ballet after all is on a Monday so we look particularly smart and have even managed to get there before the bell rings. Star for my clever mummy chart.

Poppet is hanging off me drooling teethy grins and waving weetabix encrusted hands at anyone who shows her attention.  Delight joins her friends and swiftly swaps to an American accent, they all stand there pretending to chew gum with one hand on their hip.  The pride I feel.

Delight is less easily persuaded to join her friends as she must stand practically on top of me, but at the same time I am to 'go awaaaaaay'.  I settle this by planting a loud and dramatic kiss on her cheek and pushing her into line. The new mothers are horrified, the ones who have done this before smirk and give me the ( it was me last week) look. 

Five minutes later it seems and I am back at the school gate to collect my charming children, having accomplished I'm not quite sure what other than coating Poppet in yet more layers of crusty food.  I am no longer embarrassed by this.  I lock eyes with Angel who is waiting patiently for me to collect Delight but as I scan the playground I cannot see her.  At this moment a bedraggled little thing with hair sticking up everywhere, face splattered in mud wearing a dress three sizes too big wanders into view, She sees me and grins " I got so muddy I even had to change my knickers" she says lifting up her dress for the whole playground to see, she is clearly very proud of this accomplishment.  Her teacher looks at me apologetically and hands me a bag with clothes that are now only fit for the bin. " she found some muddy puddles, she's quite energetic isn't she!" Ah the tireless diplomacy of teachers. I smile at her and hope that she reads this as " it's ok, the very fact that you have managed to persuade her to get dressed into some clean clothes and not to wander out in just her pants wins my vote"

So off we go, I manage to remove the mud from Delights face and get her changed but she has decided that she likes the grey socks that she had to borrow from lost property and informs me that she will be keeping them on for ballet. "Fine" I say
"I need to do your hair again though" I get the scowl. I continue anyway. I manage to neaten her up to the best of my ability and send her into ballet only to be summoned ten minutes later by Miss Ballet who has motioned for me to come to the door and watch my children.
I peek in, pride and despair merge as I witness Angel leaping gracefully about whilst Delight in pink tutu and long grey socks sits in the middle of the hall floor yelling      "my plait is too fat, I can't do it with a fat plait" 

On our way I home I put some music on for the girls, a little bit of frozen, more stars for my fabulous mummy chart. I  loose myself in the music and start belting out 'let it go' I am just working up to the key change when Angel taps me on the shoulder. Looking very serious she says " mumeeee, I don't mind you joining in but could you please lip sync!" 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

World Book Joy

I have had an email from Angels school.  Please can your beloved child dress up as a character from a book this Thursday. Last year I found out by accident the day before, this year I was ready, I wasn't prepared, I just knew it was coming and was waiting for divine inspiration that never came.  Fortunately for me Angel came home with her mind made up. She will be going to world book day as Jasmine from Aladdin.

I am at my mothers and moaning about how we have been unable to agree on a proper character from an actual book when my mother without a word or any glance in my direction simply raises an eyebrow.  This small facial manoeuvre speaks volumes, I shall interpret. " honestly darling have we taught you nothing, the buck doesn't stop with Walt Disney, these stories and folk tales have been around for hundreds of years, for goodness sake there is a library across the road if Google is unable to assist you"
I stand corrected and satisfied that I am not going to make an unnecessary blundering apology about Angels costume my mothers eyebrow returns to its rightful position.

We now have the problem of the gaping midriff .. It's not a simple case of a little peak at the belly button every time she reaches her little hands to the sky, the top finishes just under her ribs and the trousers barely cover her hips .  "Teacher says if you say it's ok then I can wear it"  I look at her, my eyebrow is making an involuntary climb, I have obviously inherited the answering without speaking capability of my mother but Angel is choosing not to notice, she folds her arms and puts her foot slightly forward and taps it on the floor "well?" She demands.  I am horrified by her attitude and both eyebrows make a reflexive leap almost off my face.  Angel realises she has gone too far. She quickly retracts the foot and uncrossed her arms " fine" she says.  "uh?" I say "sorreeeeee" she says.  We finally agree that a leotard under her costume would be a sensible option not to mention a slightly warmer one.

So to recap, we have had a family debate about the history of books, how to correctly select the appropriate costume for world book day and a quick lesson on manners all with our eyebrows and a monosyllabic grunt.  I'd say that's at least 2 stars for my chart.

Friday, 28 February 2014

To read or not to read

When we introduced our newest daughter, Poppet, I told the girls how lovely it would be for her to hear them reading, and even if they couldn't yet read they were to use their imaginations and look at the pictures to make up a story.
Yes, thank you I shall put a gold star on my clever mummy chart.

Last week as I put Poppet in her chair I asked Angel if she would like to read her a story.  "Oh yes please" she replied and chose  Thumbelina.  My heart swelled as she described in detail the clothes the characters wore and the different voices she used.
The next day, not to be outdone, Delight asks if she might read the same book, thrilled that she is showing such an interest in both her baby sister and in books I rush off to get Thumbelina.  As I return to the front room I can hear Delight, sans book, animatedly retelling the story Delight style "then the frog got out his gun, bang bang, but she wasn't deaded, just her foot was, and there was blood everywhere!" Delightful Delight.
"What are you doing sweetheart?" I ask, "using my madge nation " she replies proudly.  "Oh I see, and what about the guns, where did you see those?" I enquire mentally flipping through every film we have ever watched. Delight goes silent and feels she is being told off.  "You are telling a lovely story darling, but perhaps without the guns and blood" I encourage.  Delight is cross and Poppet who seemed to be quite enjoying the story throws me what can only be described as a frown, she's five months old! Brilliant.
I change the subject, "how about a DVD." I say enthusiastically. Delight has forgotten she was cross and asks "can it be the one with the dinosaurs and the blood?"  Angel adds that she doesn't feel it is appropriate ( her actual words) she is more a Mary Berry fan.  We flick through the different titles, no one can agree until I see it lying dusty at the bottom of the pile.  Usually Dora the Explorer is banned in our house because I can't stand her irritating whiney voice and it makes me physically cringe when the girls say "oh maaaaaan", but after Angel told me she had learnt all about the Great Wall of China from her I have decided to give her another go.  Delight is quite happy and Poppet is about to be fed again so it's similes all round. Now where did I put my ear phones?

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Jellyfish in the Cotswolds

It was a rare moment between putting Poppet to bed and sending Angel and Delight up to get changed and brush their teeth.  If I'm honest I knew that they would be doing neither but I took the opportunity to sit quietly on the sofa and catchup on Facebook.
After fifteen minutes and much thudding and laughing they appear red in the face and wincing ever so slightly.
Without prompting and looking almost proud they lift up their tops to reveal their soft little tums covered In what look like jellyfish stings. I only know this because I saw a documentary on jellyfish recently and I'm almost certain that we do not have any floating about in the bathroom of our house in the Cotswolds.
"What have you been doing?" I ask completely intrigued but not really sure if I want to know either.  "Watch this" says Angel as she again lifts up her top and stands back.  I then hear an almighty roar as Delight, who wouldn't be out of place on the battle scene in Braveheart, comes charging towards her with a sink plunger in her hand. As she makes contact she immediately pulls away again and Angels tummy goes shloooop! they both fall about the floor in fits of giggles.

I picture myself explaining these strange markings on my children to the school, "you see her sister was running at her with a plunger" I mentally reach for my wine. My glass seems bigger than it was yesterday, I am pleased that even in times of mental parental strain my imagination remains in tact, I put another star on my imaginary clever mummy chart. When I fill my chart I get a bottle of wine.  I have had fifteen stars today and I only need ten to fill the chart so that means 1.5 bottles of wine, but if I'm really in need I'm sure I can borrow some stars from tomorrow's fabulousness! The children don't know about my chart, they would consider my achievements trivial and star allocation unfair, for example, open one eyelid, one star, open the other, one star, successfully distribute breakfast to the right mouths, one baby, two little people, one cat, three goldfish - two stars and so on.

I remove the plunger from them, I think they are secretly relieved, they rub their little tummies and make their way upstairs.  Ten minutes later, teeth brushed and they are fast asleep, exhausted from their new game.  I look at the time 1857, that's 3 gold stars!

Monday, 17 February 2014


0602 Angel appears by my bedside, she looks a bit peaky. "I feel funny" she announces. I look at her, squinting through morning eyes and my motherly instinct tells me she is telling the truth.  During this 3 second evaluation I have already clocked that she has not put on her slippers (Angel is fastidious about having cold feet and will always ensure that appropriate footwear is worn). Unlike Delight who  is like a crazy cave girl, happy in bare feet but if she must she will begrudgingly put on flip flops or maybe those plastic princess shoes that are 4 sizes too big and have a heel.  I have mentally run through her school day, no spelling tests, no P.E in the wet and cold, I also note that she is actually an interesting shade of green.  I lift up my duvet and she flops in.  I lie there and feel her little warm  body thinking how nice it is to have my first born in my arms.  This precious moment lasts about four seconds.  The familiar thud of delights quick and determined stride breaks the peace.  "Why is Angel in your bed?" She demands, I put my finger to my mouth to signal silence, we have different interpretations for this signal.  I think it means 'ssssshhhhhhhhhh' Delight thinks it means 'repeat at  volume'.  " your sister is not well" I say.
I can almost hear Delights mind whirring, she has clocked her sister, is furious that she has slyly sneaked in and secured a warm spot in mummy's arms, she clutches her throat and her knees begin to buckle. She sounds like she has swallowed a hippo, she grunts and gargles, she barks out the best  fake cough I have ever heard. I look at her straight in the eye and say "you are going to preschool".
Delight is distraught but I don't have the time for her tantrum as Angel has started vomiting all over my bed.
At this very moment I hear Poppet screeching out in Poppet language which sounds like a cross duckling having a squabble. "I have woken, I am starving, I am tiny, feed me at once".
Shit! A vision of a large glass of wine pops into my head, I mentally and gently move it aside and store it for later and the triage begins.
An hour later and Angel is washed and sleeping, my fabulous sister in law has collected Delight and  Poppet is cooing happily.  I decide to call the doctor as Angel has been getting worse and her temperature climbing. I mentally prepare myself to battle with the receptionist, this particular one has clearly attended the 'advanced patient patronisation and obstruction technician course' I like to call it (APPOT) and she "doesn't have anything".
There is little point locking horns with this powerhouse, I opt for complete submission, a little grovelling and throw in a compliment about handling so many requests every morning, it seems to work, we are in.
Angel had a nasty virus and after 27 hours of being sick every time she moved is  now fine. Delight was delighted to stay at her cousins for a sleepover and requested to stay there for another five days, Poppet, still a poppet but a very hungry one and not so much duckling as baby bear! Oh and my washing machine..I certainly got my money's worth out of it!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The catch up.. it's been a while!

Six months after my last blog and how life has changed.  We have added another ( the last says hubby) girl to our clan and she has settled in well. For the purpose of this blog I shall call her Poppet.  We have had moments that have caused us to laugh so hard that our bellies ache, heart stopping moments, cringe worthy ones too, I have been proud, embarrassed, staggered, bewildered, and gob smacked, and that was just yesterday!

I have smiled sweetly at those who have tilted their heads at me and pulled a face on discovering we had another girl and held my tongue when asked if we will try one more time 'for the boy'.
Poor hubby is now officially out numbered, although cat has stepped up his game and has started to attempt to eat twice his body weight, possibly to make his presence known, I suspect the sensible thing is simply fattening up to save himself from yet another pair of sticky grabby little hands.
The theme of this blog however is the impact that the television is having on the girls.  I am quite staggered by how much they actually absorb and hold onto.
Angel has become body aware, at nearly six we have had to have a serious chat about weight and the fact that she does not need to be thinner.  When I questioned her on why she feels that way, she replied she wanted to be like the pretty lady on my workout DVD.  All my work out DVDs are now officially in room 101 along with Dora the explorer, Rasta mouse and most of the idiots who prance about and currently grace the sleeve of Now 674 or wherever we are up to. She has recently requested that I introduce her to the musical talents of One Direction so that she might join in talking about them in the playground. Imagine my delight.

Adverts are also the topic of the day and on top of informing me that "Mummy you need a Wowcher" Angel appears by my side the other day and proceeds to tell me about these new pants I should get that hold in all my wobbly bits "You mean Spanx!" I exclaim, "That's it, you should get some" she says casually ands wanders off.

She has also demonstrated an exceptional ability to take me literally, I have realised that at five and three quarters she cannot be expected to understand sarcasm, and I should not use it on her, but show me the mother who never says something she shouldn't! We were in our road early one morning loading our car for Christmas and in her excitement is talking loudly and animatedly about something " Angel" I say.. " do you think you could be a bit louder I don't think the neighbours can quite hear you" she looks at me and smiles " ok mummy" and bless her, she says it all again but much louder! Serves me right.

Delight has taken to smuggling. Each night I find under her pillow makeup, nail clippers, chewing gum, my jewellery,  you name it my little tea leaf has it. I must also have 'eye of the hawk' when out shopping because frankly if she gets to the car with it and I have unloaded her, Angel, Poppet, all the shopping, wrestled with the trolley pound slot device in the pouring soggy rain then I'm not going back.  Of course I remove the acquired item and firmly reprimand her, she understands she can't have it, if it was a little family shop I would march her right back in but nine times out of ten I find myself having a little free snack courtesy of one of the big four. Outrageous aren't I.

She also has a boyfriend (she is nearly four) and they are going to get married and she is going to have a seed in her belly ( like mummy did) and they will live in a castle and occasionally go to Paris to eat ice cream  and bonjella.  Yesterday Angel and Delight were acting out this scenario. Angel "I'm the mum and I'm having twins" Delight" I'm the dad and I'm called Alan".

This morning they both arrived in my room sucking on crayons pretending they were smoking having just seen the news about e cigs.  Perhaps BBC could show a glamorous woman tidying her room, you never know!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

One liners

Angel and I have recently been talking about the new NSPCC advert on radio about the underwear rule.  I am a huge supporter of the NSPCC and felt it prudent to make sure that Angel starts to understand what is appropriate and what is not.  This however has led to a flurry of other questions, comments and general statements  all relating to knickers and their contents including but not limited to, ‘but it is ok if I show Poppy *(no real names used here thank you very much) the unicorns on my pants because she has fairies on hers’.   
However my personal favourite this week has to be when Angel asked me “Why do grownups have hair there?”.  Now occasionally in a bid to secure an extra five minutes of peace I will fire back an answer containing words that I know she doesn’t understand because nine times out of ten she will go quiet and walk off to ponder my reply. “Because it is hygienic darling” I respond. Not today, Angel turns and looks knowingly to Delight and announces in a loud whisper “That means it is from China”. Happy with this imparted pearl of wisdom Delight simply nods and walks of muttering to herself and Angel, very pleased with herself for teaching her little sister something important smiles at me and leaves the room.  I simply don't have the heart or the inclination to correct her. 

Now it is my turn to ponder and it led me to thinking about all the sentences that I have said over the past few years that I never imagined I would, such as “Why is there cheese in the toilet?”, “Delight darling please take the sausage out of your eye”, “Angel do not put your sister in a headlock” but my firm favourite was not my own, a sentence that a young girl said in the supermarket to her mother’s friend.  On being ignored by her mother who was trying to have a conversation, the child innocently (I think not) tugged on the friends arm and announced in a louder than necessary voice “mummy shaves her bottom”.. brilliant.

 Angel’s one liners continue to amuse me when later in the week whilst watching her and Delight playing princesses beautifully in the garden, I casually suggest that perhaps she tries being a different princess. 
Picture if you will, Angel has been playing Sleeping Beauty for some time now, which consists of her lying on the grass on a towel with a pillow under her head having a snooze whilst Delight leaps about like an idiot, sweating and getting dizzy from circling Angel, singing songs and dropping what are supposed to be petals, (we have no flowers in the garden so I suspect it’s a mixture of weeds and mud) over her.
  Having been rudely interrupted Angel sits up and crosses her arms.  I sense I have just destroyed the game.  She scrunches up her little nose.  I can see the rage bubbling inside her “mummeeeeeeeee” This elongated name calling alerts me to the fact that I am indeed unwelcome in my suggestion.  “It was just an idea sweetheart” I offer meekly “but mummeeeee ,this is the only move I know!” Well hubby and I almost fall off our chairs laughing. 
Angel is not amused and Delight, still hopping and skipping in circles simply chooses to ignore the commotion and starts skipping around her Ken doll who is wearing nothing but knee high boots.  It does appear to be a running theme in our house that all Ken and Barbie dolls remain in a permanent state of undress. Obviously no one has told Ken the underwear rule, not that he has anything private going on, something that has always baffled me.. don’t get me started on the semi androgynous state of Ken conversation, it’s a whole other blog!