A Family Portrait For July

Oh well this is a crap iPhone job to be honest. I just got a passerby to take a quick photo, the littlest is asleep and the older one isn’t looking at the camera. I considered going out to take an alternative but it depicts such a lovely day that i wanted to use it anyway.

We are so lucky to live where we live but sometimes we whinge about the house prices, tiny garden and the bloody seagulls waking us up at 4am (even when i am asleep i dream of conducting a mass seagull massacre with machine guns); still when we can draw ourselves out of our own misery we remember that life is good, very good at that. We also remember how good it is to spend a bit of time being tourists again…

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Hell hath no fury like a kid who prefers someone else’s spade

It’s summer and it’s a good one. Well I say good although its starting to feel a bit bad, because it’s getting rather relentless, It’s too HOT all the time. I’m sorry. How terribly British, to get a wonderful burst of weather and complain about it.

But you see It’s like being on holiday except all the best bits have been removed –  no pool, no cocktail of the day and no kids club conga to come and take the small ones off your hands for a couple of hours.

Just lots of hot and lots of kids. And kids + hot = hot kid rage.

You try to do something nice like take them down to the beach but everywhere you look there is rage – sun cream application rage, someone else has a better bucket rage, hat rage, inflatable envy rage, sand in mouth rage, stone in Croc rage, someone holding your head under water for 20 seconds rage and flying ant landing on your arm rage (ok that one was me but!!!! get off my arm).

It always amazes me how many parents persist in negotiating with the rage, ain’t no body got no time for talking in this heat. Best to just stand well back and repeatedly hurl ice-cream until everything goes silent.

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My top 10 irritatingly useless baby purchases

Before giving birth i did what most expectant mums do – scour the internet in a frenzy finding lists of ‘what to buy a new baby’. It was a stressful time, there were so many lists and each was slightly different to the last. How were you meant to know which one to trust?

So I did what any normal person would do in such a situation and compiled my own all singing, all dancing super spreadsheet, amalgamating every item on every list. I then colour coded the cells for what i has already bought, ordered or still needed to get. Yes i did do that. I really, really did.

When i emerged from the hysterical, hormone induced fog and realised that retail outlets do not all immediately shut down following the birth of your child, i came to see that it is possible and even recommendable to buy things as and when you need them. There is very little that you do actually need and quite a lot that you really rather don’t. In particular: -

1, A teeny tiny pair of flip flops for a 6 month old – I did buy these. I am very, very ashamed of myself. Guess what – 6 month olds do not walk and even if they did cute flip flops are certainly not the ideal choice of footwear to learn in.

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Should we be worried about baby milestones?

You can find a million and one web pages and books dedicated to listing what your baby should be doing and by what age. It’s almost as if people spend more time reading about milestones than they do actually trying to teach their kids the required skills to achieve them.

Mum: I’m panicking, I’m panicking! he should be clapping by now!
Other person who talks sense: Don’t worry all babies do things at their own pace.
Mum: But people are going to think he’s stupid!
Other person who talks sense: Well what does he do when you show him how to clap?
Mum: I don’t know because I spend all day on BabyCentre freaking out. Surely they just learn it from cbeebies anyway? They never seem to stop bloody clapping on that (true).

What i don’t get is why people are so concerned with all the boring, run of the mill milestones anyway. Yes clapping’s nice but I’d much rather have a timeline of events detailing when they might start to f*ck me over.

To be honest I couldn’t give a rats arse when my son masters the pincer grip, how about someone tells me when he will start nicking money out my handbag?

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Are you a bad mum if you don’t buy Clarks shoes?

I have a confession to make, we don’t always buy Clarks shoes for our kids. Do you think badly of me?

I haven’t always been so wicked. When son one started toddling I took him down to Clarks without even considering the alternatives. Did i do it for the fear that all other shoes would damage his tiny precious feet, despite them being about 90% fat? Or was it because I thought other people would look down on me for going against the grain? To be honest It wasn’t even really a decision, you just DO get your kids shoes from Clarks…don’t you?

Well over the last few years I’m afraid I have become disillusioned with Clarks for various reasons: -

  1. I resent the fact that they often cost more than my own shoes.
  2. They make them in half sizes and with a half size of growing room. If they have a half size of growing room then i don’t get why you can’t just buy them every other size. I have presented this conundrum to shop assistants before but they just look baffled.
  3. Another key selling point is the variable width fitting. According to their website less than a third of children fit standard width shoes. Sounds convincing huh? Yep until you go in and they are out of 4G’s but an H should be ok – or they are out of 7.5 F’s them they guess an E would probably cut it.foot_n
  4. Where have the huge foot measuring machines gone? You know the one they used to have when you were a kid, where the metal bits would slide in surrounding your foot making you feel special and scared in equal proportions. On reflection they were pretty comical but at least you would feel like you were getting more bang for your buck.
  5. The size provided seems to vary by geographical location and day of the week. Who’d of thunk it, but it is even possible to drop a half size instead of grow it!
  6. They have recently launched ‘a radical new measuring device that combines over 270 years of shoe fitting heritage with state of the art design innovation’ - basically you stand on a thing with an iPad shoved in it. This is a bloody ridiculous abuse of technology – can you do anything without an app these days?! It also goes against one of the key rules in our house which is not to stand on the iPad.
  7. Where have the rocking horses gone? :(
  8. I don’t like going anywhere that you have to get a ticket to wait to be served unless it results in the acquisition of nice cheeses. There are no nice cheeses in Clarks.
  9. I don’t even like their shoes.

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I’m glad you’re blocking my baby’s facebook photos

To the guy who recently wrote ‘I’m Blocking Your Baby’s Facebook Photos’,

Firstly don’t worry; I’m sure none of your friends with children would have a grievance with your decision to block them. If it were me on the receiving end I would only be disappointed to have approved your friend request in the first place – because I thought you might be interested and proud to see the smiling faces of my kids? I count them as a pretty big achievement you know, I thought you might get that too.

I guess it must have been pretty liberating editing people from your life. Fair play, your choice. One thing that confuses me however is your need to do it so publicly. Is it not as much fun if you don’t tell everybody else? Are you trying to guilt trip us all into following suit? Is it all just a big screw you to facebook and instagram, do you think they would actually care?

I wonder if you would prefer we all post miserable photos instead, perhaps then we could all feel downbeat together? I am all for honest parenting and sharing the bad as well as the good but unfortunately there are no prizes for having the most difficult kid. I wish my children would do what I say but I’m afraid I am all too frequently the guy you describe in your article…

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What will he be when he grows up?

I was watching a TV documentary the other night and it started to reel off a list of personality traits that seemed oddly familiar: -

  1. Unconcern for the feelings of others
  2. Unnecessary risk-taking or impulsive behavior
  3. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt
  6. Marked readiness to blame others
  7. Superficial charm

I repeated them to J and asked him ‘Does that sound like anyone to you?’

‘Yep sounds like F – why?’

‘Those are the personality traits of a SOCIOPATH!!’

[Laughter]

‘He’s 3 – most 3 year olds are like that surely?’

‘I guess so but do most 3 year olds ask stuff like…

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A Family Portrait For June

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Things lately have been hectic but lovely with lots of trips and visits in June. With the World Cup wanderer now returned we had a day out at a national trust place (Nymans) on Wednesday. It was our first full day as a family of four for quite a while and we were blessed with more wonderful weather.

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A world cup widow

11 days of emptying bins, crawling out of bed at every waking and taking 2 minute showers whilst hoping nobody tries to kill themselves.

11 days of emptying the dishwasher, figuring out why the TV keeps buzzing and eating cereal for my dinner.

11 days dragging two wayward children out on the banana/yoghurt/milk run and 11 days with no one to pour me a glass of wine after a hard day.

[I am lying here a bit because i had my lovely friend Janie stay with me for 3 nights and also a child free night away in London but that makes it all sound a bit less melodramatic and if i'm honest i have enjoyed playing the 'woe is me' card on and off. I have also enjoyed the only farts in the bed being mine]

But it was still 11 days without J and If that was a long time to me then it felt like half a lifetime to a 3 year old. There were 11 days of questions asked; ‘How many sleeps until daddy comes back?‘ and obviously the more important ‘and he is going to get me a really, really big present right?’

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Our football pizza party

From time to time mummy gets asked to review things on this blog, usually she can’t be arsed. Her policy is to say yes to alcohol, food or holidays so when Domino’s contacted her and asked her to hold a football pizza party she was all like ‘great that will be one dinner i don’t have to cook then.’

The biggest worry when you get take out is always – are you sure you got enough?!

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Lets get stuck into the kronie then!

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