Friday, 19 August 2016

"'Toronna'...'Toronna'...I Love You 'Toronna"


So we're back in good ol' 'Toronna' (Toronto, Canada to those not acquainted with the sometimes local vernacular) for our annual summer trip back to visit family and stock up on North American baked goods (I kid you not, should Customs and Excise ever decide to pull me over I shall be accused of trying to open an illegal corner shop).

Due to logistics (and fairness - truth be told - especially in light of the husband's recent 8 day solo bike trip through the Alps) I have had the unique pleasure of being rid of any parental or spousal duties for the past fourteen days now...and oh, how easily and quickly I have adapted.

Perhaps due to having temporarily shed the mantle of responsibility for anyone but myself, I have shockingly quickly reverted into somewhat insolent teenage behaviour.

Case in point: the other day (in hindsight, rather rudely but not without humour) I donned one of my usually elegant Mums' outfits and proceeded to do an impromptu fashion show complete with comedy gait and pursed lips (Derek Zoolander would have been proud), clad in a boxy linen blouse and shapeless, calf-length denim skirt. I collapsed in giggles whilst my mother, raised eyebrows and all, tried to talk me out of wearing said outfit over to her condo as a dare, where my sister was going to meet us.
It's all in the stance...
Whilst admitting it to be a ludicrous get-up when viewed from the vantage point of spectator, my mum nonetheless defended her right to wear it for the sole purpose of dog walking.

Her inability to concede that it was a fashion faux pas on an apocalyptic level merely prompted a comedy walk down the hall, into her packed lift, into the car park, up another lift (all the while my mother nervously trailing behind, muttering under her breath, hoping we didn't run into anyone she knew) and into the condo where my sister satisfactorily roared with laughter. I then did an about face onto my mum's 19th story balcony and in a burst of admittedly childish rebellion, stripped off and chucked the whole sorry mess into the air and over the edge.
"One is not amused..."
Something about wandering these Toronto streets connects me back to my rebellious seventeen year old self, and prompts me to don bright orange nail polish, a trucker hat, oversized shades and storm the streets to my favourite spotify playlist, sucking on ice-lollies, chewing bubblegum and buying up vintage rock t-shirts. (Mind you, it's not like I sustain from this sort of behaviour ensconced in my middle-class London enclave...)
FYI this is how you do a bathroom selfie Kim Kardashian...
All this to say that it is with some trepidation (yet honest yearning and delight - I adore and miss those little monsters) that I anticipate the boys' arrival to downtown 'Toronna' from Mississauga tomorrow when the husband drops them off and likely scarpers - not to be seen until the departure lounge at Pearson Airport one week hence. I imagine there will be a slight adjustment period wherein I sternly have to remind myself that it's not a good example to have two glasses of Pinot Grigio and a family sized bag of Smartfood popcorn for dinner - nor is it acceptable to storm through human barricades of 'five abreast' tourists on downtown sidewalks in my hurry to get an iced-coffee, despite possibly causing bodily harm to the young and elderly.

And don't even get me started on the fear that accompanied the husband's final email to me last night regarding the recent regression of our four year olds toilet training habits:

"There is still an evil bag of shitty clothes awaiting me."  (fyi i'm pretty sure he means actual shit)

URGHHH.....


Monday, 27 June 2016

"Slummy-Single-Mummying It"

One of the last things the husband said to me yesterday before departing for his much anticipated eight day cycle adventure from hell (well, hell by my standards anyway...I get winded just pedalling my Brompton up the slight incline to our street) was this: "Remember, it's all about survival. Just give them what they want and make it easy for yourself."

He was of course referring to the monsters and the creeping dread I've had about 'single parenting' whilst he's away. For him, a typical afternoon jaunt with the boys in tow almost invariably ends with a protracted solo visit to the pub after dropping them back home, shaking his head in defeat and muttering something like, "I wasn't cut out for this," as he legs it out the door to my plaintive, "Well I wasn't either!...Hey, when are you coming back? You are coming back?....Please come back..." In other words, he gets it. He knows that by day three I'm likely to start panic texting him in the Alps (where he's cycling a gazillion kilometres up and down mountains from Geneva, Switzerland across to Venice, Italy with one of his 'besties' - another like-minded MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra), demanding he return AT ONCE or will have to collect his offspring from various temporary foster homes upon his return.

Okay, so I'm sounding a wee bit dramatic as the boys are not exactly terrors per se, but when the planets align such that they ALL kick off at the same time, and I've not had much sleep, and Squit has wet not only his bed again but my bed as well (having snuck in for a cuddle in the middle of the night) and Dumpie has lost the power cord for his ipad (the only thing keeping him from staging an impromptu coup just for the fun of it) and Egg has just discovered a plastic Sainsbury's bag under Squit's bed containing a multitude of plastic pieces which in its previous form was a beloved limited edition Japanese speed cube...well, you get the picture.

Now to be fair, I must confess that for the next few days Egg is away on a school trip, so at least I'll only have the two to contend with. That means I don't have to wake and fall asleep to the persistent sound of lightning fast creaking cubes being relentlessly twisted into submission and can temporarily remove the not insignificant number of sweets and biscuits I've been forced to stash in my wardrobe (the most recent hiding place, for it changes weekly given Egg is a renowned sugar junkie and if left to his own devices would devour every E-number in sight until falling into a diabetic coma). On the other hand, neither Dumps, Squit nor my good self are what you would call 'morning people.' Egg however can be reliably counted on to 'wake and cube' starting round about 6:30am daily. There is no danger of sleeping through an alarm on a school day when he's around. So to that end, I have about five alarms set for tomorrow morning and as a further precautionary measure am sleeping with my blinds open, so on the odd chance it's sunny I'll be woken with a jolt of migraine-inducing rays. Well that's the plan anyway.

Going to sign off now. Watching Coldplay close Glastonbury on the telly is proving rather distracting. The worst dressed man in Rock is currently doing some hardcore autistic piano bench rocking and incorporating some rather confusing high kicks into his stage choreography. If I didn't know any better I'd say that he was attempting the first ever Hokey Pokey on the infamous Pyramid Stage. He's sporting such a crazy grin that I can only assume that he's either on the best drugs ever or has recently joined Scientology and is having a major Theta moment.


Friday, 17 June 2016

"Which Came First...The Boy Or The Egg?"

Tomorrow my darling Egg turns twelve. And that people, is Egg-xactly how fast life goes.

One minute you're in agony in a hospital overlooking Big Ben as your husband feebly plays around with his new camera in the background (purchased with the sole purpose of catching such a life-changing moment - but instead proving such a giant distraction that his old school chum is almost allowed to charge right into the birthing room and witness your most vulnerable moment ever as a human being...but i digress).

The point is, I recall the agony, the stupendousness of giving birth to my first, to dear little Egg, as if it happened yesterday. That twelve whole years have passed since then is almost inconceivable, and I shudder to think how quickly the next twelve are going to whip by (I for one, am SO not ready to be twelve years older than I am now...if I think I have facial contouring 'challenges' cropping up now...goodness me).

Anyway, as is my tradition, thanks to a vile film I saw years ago starring Uma Thurman (the ONLY good thing about it, and I do mean ONLY, is how in the film she has a tradition of taking a picture of her children as they sleep, the night before each birthday) I have taken the prerequisite picture, filled his room with Happy Birthday balloons and put a few 'Breakfast Pressies' on his dresser for when he wakes up.  I grew up in a family where birthdays were magical in every way, and I've tried hard to carry on that tradition with the monsters. To that end, I've been studying for hours online, the best way to try and create a Rubiks Cube Lemon Poppyseed Birthday Cake from scratch.

Why Rubiks Cube you ask? Well, let's just say that the boy is obsessed...and no, that is not too strong a word. In the preceding months he has collected around 26 cubes of varying shape, size and difficulty, mastering them to the point of insanity (14 seconds anyone?!) and started his very own Youtube channel with almost as many subscribers as I have for my blog. I kid you not.
Am I proud? Hell yeah - but more on that some other time.

For now, I just want to make a public declaration about how lucky I feel to be a M.O.E. (Mum of Egg). He is truly unique (and at my ripe old age I totally appreciate how rare that really is) in that his amazing brain has not relegated him to wallflower nerd status as one might suppose, but rather the boy has surprised us all the past few years with his amazing athletic prowess - no thanks at all to his rather un-athletic and somewhat oblivious parents.

Turns out he's a proper sportsman with a wicked arm for bowling in Cricket and such a natural when it comes to table tennis that he recently at a festival remained undefeated for hours against a growing crowd of adults cheering on the unbeatable 11 year old and queuing up to have a go themselves. Recently on school photo day, he apparently had to scramble into seven different uniforms for all the pictures - ridiculous I know. But that's Egg you see: whatever he is 'into' he is 'really into'. He has always been that way. First it was Maths...then remote-controlled ANYthing...then...well you get the picture.

But all of that matters not a jot really. What makes me truly proud is the absolute kindness the boy inherently possesses. He certainly didn't get it from me or the husband, that's for sure. Egg has always possessed a genuinely beautiful and gentle soul. When he was a toddler that manifested itself in spontaneously hugging and kissing other little ones on the playground (me chasing behind in his wake, trying to explain to parents and their sometimes bawling offspring that he meant no harm) and now manifests itself in generously often giving all his money away to those less fortunate than himself and keeping local newsagents in business by buying bucket loads of sweets for all his mates. He is generous to a fault, and sensitive in a way that brings tears to my eyes - and his at times.

He is also very funny...and sweet...and has the most expressive dark rimmed green eyes with lashes to die for, which - if lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them through the silky blond hair he still insists on wearing way too long - have the ability to make you melt in an instant.

Simply put, I adore this boy. I love him to the moon and back, and getting him as my first, my eldest son, remains one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I know we don't deserve him, and that probably out there somewhere is a Professor and his wife puzzled with their brute of child, who grunts and plays video games 24/7 while scratching at a never ending itch on the nether regions who would have done wonders with a boy wonder like Egg. Instead Egg has been allocated two flawed but well-intentioned parents who have often stood by with a mixture of wonder and confusion (and sometimes annoyance - I shan't lie - imagine the sound of energetic and constant 'cubing' as the soundtrack to your life) and thought, "How on earth did we birth this boy?!"

Egg, we salute you...all twelve years of you. You are an amazing person and we can hardly wait to see what you do with your life. We know that you want to leave home and go off to Uni already (or in your more frustrated moments stage a Drew Barrymore-esque emancipation petition) but stay with us awhile longer please...years in fact. We love you and couldn't be prouder of you, and until you're unleashed into the world and no longer our precious little secret, we intend to enjoy all the madness and joy that you bring into our lives.

I Love You...
Mama x

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

"The 'Nammie Man' Has Left The Building"

It's been a pretty big month round these parts. Firstly, a few weeks ago, my 'baby' Squit turned four to much fanfare and a bright red ride-on mini Ferrari. The first thing he did was run over the husbands foot and then reverse into his 18-month old cousin. To be fair he was fairly jubilant and likely high on the giant wedge of Red Velvet birthday cake he'd just scoffed...but still.


A few days after this momentous day, I had parent teacher meetings and it was gently suggested that given Squit was now four and showing no signs whatsoever of giving up his beloved nappies, I might want to seek professional help.

That was it.  I think it triggered some form of primal parental shame which had puzzlingly remained intact up until this point.

I strode home and marched straight up to Dumpie - who was so focused on one of his 'addictive as crack' video games that he let me stand there like a moron for a few minutes before bothering to even acknowledge my presence.

"Make Squitty go on the potty and I'll give you twenty quid."

He glanced up, only mildly interested.

"Fine. But you don't have to pay me that much money. I'll do it, but can you buy me some more gold coins for my game?"

"Done," I said, and with that, he led Squit into the bathroom, firmly shutting the door, and proceeded to work some manner of goodness knows what manipulative magic on his adoring little Mini-Me. A short while later, he emerged, triumphant and victorious, yet entirely nonplussed.

"Okay. Buy me the coins please."

Bish bash bosh. And that, people, is apparently how it's done. What has taken me years to totally fail at, Dumps managed in ten minutes.

And so thus ends yet another era, another parental milestone crossed off the list: the 'baby/toddler' stage dispensed with sans fanfare and ceremony (save the special thrill of permanently deleting nappies from my online shopping lists and realising with a small burst of joy that my weekly spend on 'nammies' can now be used in the purchasing of a fine bottle of Rioja. Nice one.)




Saturday, 6 February 2016

"Squitaliscious"


So I'll officially never be the parent of a three year old again.  And honestly, I'm going to miss it.

Three remains one of my favourite ages as little ones possess just enough chubbiness to hang tentatively on the precipice of babyhood, but are clever enough to start using language in unintentionally hilarious ways.  Age three has always epitomised 'Munchkinhood' and a part of me will from this day forward be in mourning for that sweet baby smell (garnered from the back of the neck or the forehead in a pinch) and the sweet cherubic smiles and silly eggbeater-esque running gait (or maybe that's just Squit...in fact, I'm pretty sure it is).

At any rate, Squit turned FOUR(!) on the weekend and as usual, we celebrated with balloons, cake, too many pressies and plenty of boozes for the attending adults.  As a special treat, this year Squitty had his beloved Grandpa in attendance - who good-naturedly put up with the insistent birthday menu request of Domino's double cheese and pepperoni pizzas and diabetes-inducing million-calorie Red Velvet Cake smothered in rich vanilla icing and covered in about 500 Smarties.
(To be fair it was divine and the next day the remains were fought over bitterly, with yours truly pathetically indulging in deliberate subterfuge with the under-twelves in order to secure the biggest piece.  Oh, the shame.)

But the highlight was the 'yes-we-know-it's-disgustingly-indulgent-but-it's-our-last-little-one-so...' miniature bright red Ferrari motorised car (sigh).  Thing is, I've ALWAYS wanted one, ever since I was a little kid around Squit's age, and snuck off in a huge mall and sat hiding for hours in a toy car just like this one, whilst my parents and store detectives stood wringing their hands, on the verge of calling in the police to report an alleged kidnapping.

Obviously Egg and Dumpie were writhing with envy, and who can blame them? We were forced to drag out the husbands scale and weigh Egg in order to prove that he was WAY over the 25 kilo weight limit of the little car (38.5 kilos to be exact) even though he had somehow miraculously managed to wedge his pre-teen lanky frame into its confines.  Even Dumps is a touch too heavy (26.5 kilos) but adores it so much that he has managed to take possession of one of the ignition keys and has claimed it for his own.

And so proper boyhood beckons for our littlest fella and it's bye-bye forever to the Fat Baby. And in a few months or so when the monsters have managed to trash the little red sports car (I'm calling a head-on into Dada's precariously constructed 'DJ Booth') we'll also have a giant piece of recyclable junk which we'll probably never manage to dispose of properly and will sit out back in the garden slowly rusting and becoming a world class hotel for wayward snails.


Sunday, 31 January 2016

Housewarming Hullabaloo...


In a life filled (mostly) with the mundane (ie. childcare, domestic tasks, bills, blech blech blech...) I think it's important to carve out moments where you make memories that will amuse for years to come.  Memories which will sustain you when/if you end up drooling under a blanket, being spoon fed jello by disinterested  care workers in ill-fitting blue uniforms somewhere in Slough.  Everyone past the age of 70 says the same thing:  they dine out on all their good memories forever more, and you can never have too many - because I mean, the same few will get a tad boring after a while non?

Last night we finally had our long-awaited Housewarming Party.  We felt we absolutely needed to mark out a proper celebration for what has essentially been two years of utter hell and disappointment and delusion.  Third time lucky we turned out to be, and are now ensconced in the perfect house FOR US.  (That's the important bit...sometimes the house finds you and pulls you in...and sometimes it's not the 'dream home' you had imagined but something infinitely more suited to you regardless.)

Last night, looking around at all the smiley faces, dancing like teenagers, making way too many cocktails and basically being entirely too silly for anyone over the age of 25,  I realised that we not only have a great mass of amazing mates who span twenty odd years, but even some new ones who seemed to fit in seamlessly with our old crew.

My darling 81 year old father surpassed all levels of amazingness by taking not one but all three(!) of the monsters off our hands for a sleepover last night...without any help! I hope I'm that cool when I'm his age. As a result, we were able to be really loud, really silly, and not fear the plaintive 3am cry of 'Muuuuummmmy!.....DaaaaaaaDaaaaaa!' (a sound which will put the fear into the heart of any parental type).

Much amusement was had by guest number 7 and onwards, when our giant wall-mounted coat rack fell from the wall under the weight off too many coats, and from thenceforth, all coats were relegated to Eggie's bedroom.  The husband can program the heck out of any computer, but is not terribly anal about the outcome of any haphazard DIY work, so it's to be expected I guess.  I'm not much better I suppose.  It became pretty obvious last night after umpteenth comments, that I've somehow transformed out home into something more resembling an exclusive members club - than any semblance of a practical home.  The place is littered with fairy lights, mood lighting, candles, and giant fluffy pillows. Elegant it may not be, but it's cozy to be sure. So there.

Before the party I had sat the husband down and explained that since I had not had time to clean all the boys bedrooms etc. that he kindly refrain from showing people around last night.  He sort of nodded and appeared to agree, but then I found him conducting group tours a-plenty throughout the evening...so much so that to my utter bewilderment/amusement, I found our albeit large but old fashioned and Moroccan inspired en suite turn into the pop-up VIP room of the night.  No comment.

So to all those who came, I thank and salute you.  To those who were not able to come...c'est dommage.  And to our new home:  You officially rock.  We thank you and intend to enjoy every last little corner and crevice of your ancient creaking form.

And to our neighbours:  Please don't hate us.  We are so so sorry.











next morning carnage

close up carnage

Friday, 18 December 2015

"Must NOT Step On Pet...Must NOT Step on New Pet"

Ok so it has been awhile...but 917 boxes of unpacking are a force to be reckoned with. Believe me.

We FINALLY moved into a new home...OUR new home.  Two years and as much headache ended with us taking possession of a brand-spanking-new set of keys three weeks ago to the day, to a domicile avec garden in SW London after two long years of hardship trying to acquire said domicile. Of course this momentous occasion couldn't go down without some sort of incident, and in our case it was the shrieking loud burglar alarm which went off for a good twelve minutes which alerted our new neighbours to our arrival.  Clearly the husband and I were not paying enough attention during the instructional run-through of our new place to make note of the CORRECT four digit sequence to stop the alarm.  (Not unlike our wedding when we publicly displayed our utter disregard for the previous nights rehearsal, and blithely led bridesmaids and groomsmen outside of the church during the wrong hymn, a good ten minutes before the service had concluded.)

The initial euphoria has morphed into something resembling mild panic and exhaustion as we have come face to face with the fact that we are hoarders.  (The husband would of course refute this, but I stand by the fact that although I confess to have somehow acquired enough shoes, handbags and jeans to stock a small L.A. boutique, his bike paraphernalia and tools and boxes and bags of random, miscellaneous crap takes up WAY MORE SPACE.  End of.

Anyway, all this to say:  To those who continually ask us, 'How are you getting on in your new home?' I have this to say: "Umm...it's cool and we love it but Dumpie has been wearing the same pair of socks for days now."

In such a rush to move out of our old flat, we (and by 'we' I mean 'I', as I am a mother, a female, and hence apparently in charge of all things hygiene and domestic related) neglected to pack intelligently.
In all fairness, we were so beaten by life at the point of move, that we splurged on the 'all-inclusive-we-will-pack-all-your-belongings' option, in the hopes that it would negate a one or both voluntary admission into the Priory come January.

Unfortunately, our (mostly Serbian) movers became fairly unmotivated to shift our millions of mirrors/picture frames/vases/etc. by the second day, and instead were discovered taking selfies on their phones in our (former) bedroom by the husband.  I kid you not.

All this to say, for the first week after we moved in, the boys were having to wear the husbands' hole-ridden Rapha socks to school, and I was forced to wear TRACK PANTS in PUBLIC(!) for going on five days, for the simple reason that we could not locate our essentials among the millions of boxes littering the landings and bedrooms.  After a week or so of manic unpacking I have completely given up, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of 'stuff' I never knew I had (thanks to not one but two storage units) and have adapted to my new environment of chaos and just about manage to muddle through most days.  Just about.

If that weren't enough, I desperately attempted (and succeeded) in winning the opportunity to bring home Squitty's nursery pet (a giant tortoise named 'Lightning') for the holidays.  Lightning is FAST. (Hence the name.)  He's also big into exploring, and has already been lost once in the six odd hours he's been at ours. I'm desperately afraid that either Egg or the husband will accidentally step on him at some point given their predilection for being 'otherwise mentally indisposed' at various points throughout the day and have even half-composed my apologetic grovelling rant to the Nursery teacher should it indeed come to pass (sigh).

At any rate, we've had him for a mere eight hours thus far, and the husband has already managed to torch the instructions thanks to an over-eager four-wick candle on the kitchen table. Nuff said.




Saturday, 7 November 2015

"Moaning Mum Lives Up To Her Namesake"

If there's one adage I have never paid attention to it's : "If you can't say something nice, then don't say it."

I mean, that's the whole point isn't it?  Saying something not nice is ofter funnier, definitely bitchier, more therapeutic and infinitely more interesting (if unkind) than being all hippy dippy happy and 'Everything's great man'.

I've been warned numerous times by certain family members that my constant moaning about our seemingly never ending house woes are not unlike ones' dreams and holiday pics: no one but yourself is ever interested.

And then there is the fact that much of the world is in turmoil at present and being preoccupied with what is essentially a first world problem is, I understand, off-putting at best. But if we have to sit through ridiculously sappy Christmas commercials on telly in early November, then maybe there is a place for the odd self-obsessed rant here and there, non?

At any rate, I've been unable to blog for a week now because everything I have to say is 'house hell' related and going to be horrid and mean and denigrating to those in question (our evil and hirsute freeholder and useless and curmudgeonly solicitor for example).

But just now I was forced to drop everything and sit down and type out this 'totally going to regret it tomorrow' blog.  You see if I don't, given what I've just learned, means I'm either going to suffer a massive heart attack (brought on by sheer rage and a rather unhealthy wine dependancy as of late) OR I'm going to send an unedited, completely emotional and ultimately destructive email to certain unsuspecting parties, bringing this whole hellish house on wheels nightmare to a grinding halt.

I almost don't care.

Next week is on course to be the most stressful week of the year.  It is the culmination of two years of house viewings, two broken hearts over two dream homes lost, and two very at the end of their ropes people who are probably technically perfect candidates for divorce.

Next week we are juggling three transactions (two sales and one purchase) and I have just been informed by the husband (who has passed Upset, not collected any Good Humour, and is hovering around Old Kent Road ready to figuratively knife someone...or maybe that's me) that our utterly lackadaisical solicitor has booked a weeks holiday to Italy - get this - NEXT WEEK!!!

There are no words. Part of me wants to be all "What will be will be, Man" about it and just chill the heck out.  That is 1% of me.  The other 99% of me wants to scream, run naked through the streets, and get picked up by mental health services, before being pumped full of enough calming narcotics to knock out a horse.

As it sit here with scowling resting face (take that, bitchy resting face) swinging my leg in a manner not unlike a soon-to-go-on-the-rampage-mental-patient, I can take solace in the fact that we've this week finally exchanged on one property, and are thus therefore 1/6th of the way there.

On the other hand, tomorrow we have to haul three kids back to our old flat and spend the day packing up tons and tons (and tons) of crates of old belongings and furniture and nostalgic items from our 'yoof innit' (the whole reason I can't just chuck the whole lot out...nostalgic sucker that I am) then spend hours ferrying the whole mess back to our already heaving home, where it will sit until we move.

If we move.

URGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!


Sunday, 1 November 2015

"Holloween"

Jason eat your heart out...
So Halloween (which for the sake of posterity shall be known as 'Holloween' this year) was both a raging success and an abysmal flop.

Weeks ago Squitty and I came across this great picture on the internet of a kid dressed up as a piece of Lego.  We decided there and then that it simply had to be his Halloween costume.
The picture which inspired...
(It was likely post-wine-watershed, when Mama, flushed with a growing sense of possibility, quashed any niggling doubts, and infused with a false sense of belief in her non-existent crafting skills, promised her cheeky cherub that he would be transformed into a piece of Lego on the 31st of the month.)

But then the weeks rolled past, until finally last weekend, thanks to an overzealous Auntie and a can of red paint, we found ourselves journeying back 45 minutes on London Overground armed with a giant red cardboard box, complete with cut-out arm holes, and a breezy, "You guys can take it from here, no?"

Apparently we could not.  The husband washed his hands of any of it, and so this afternoon after a trip to the cinema with Egg and Dumpie, followed by a leisurely layabout, darkness fell, and with a start I realised that we had to leave for Trick or Treating in half an hour.

As I learned tonight, half an hour is decidedly not enough time to glue 12 plastic red cups upside down onto a piece of painted cardboard and expect the cheap white hobby glue to set and harden in time. And so we departed somewhat late, with everyone trying not to bump into Squitty so as not to dislodge the cups.  We gingerly wove our way through the streets, stopping every few minutes to pick up little red dixie cups as they pinged to the ground, at first trying unsuccessfully to adhere them back on, then later giving up completely and binning them as we went.
Who needs cups on the back anyway?
Eventually, after ringing several doorbells, and being knocked into by various ghosts, goblins and princesses, we conceded defeat and removed the rest of the cups from the back (the side that had been glued last) and instead basked in the glow of being with the most imaginatively costumed child for miles.  Holding the hand of a giant toddler-sized piece of Lego garnered much attention, and Squit became quietly enthralled with all the attention he was getting, as people commented openly on his costume, declaring it to be the best of the night.
Trust me it looked waaaay better from far away (ahem)
"Ha!" I said to the husband triumphantly at one point, who thanks to an earlier visit to the pub, hadn't been able to contain his (un)constructive comments about my lack of artistic skill and the fact that he would have used tape instead of glue to stick the little red cups on.

So you see, even though Squitty had the dodgiest outfit ever, which deteriorated quite literally as the night wore on, he also had the best outfit too.  And frankly it made his night, being fawned over like a celebrity by everyone who came across him on the streets (drunken twenty-somethings being the biggest fans).

Dumps unfortunately declared that this was the worst Halloween ever in the history of his life. This was fair enough as he returned this evening with the most meagre haul of sweets ever, due to the fact that most doorways lay dark this year, and of the few homes which were participating in this seasonal sugar orgy, only one in ten had any sweets left by the time we strolled up to the door.
Dumpies haul...too paltry to even pinch :)
(Note: Now it has to be said that folks over here in England still don't seem to get the gist of Halloween: buy a TRUCK LOAD of sweets for the millions of rugrats roaming the neighbourhood, whose Halloween you will totally ruin, should they encounter dozens doors in a row, sporting the ubiquitous 'No more sweets sorry' sign taped up on the outside of the door. Actually, worse than that are homes where they feel so bad that they've run out of sweets that they've turned over the place and unearthed what they mistakenly believe will suffice in the absence of proper real treats... feebly pawning off stale Christmas sweets, old football cards (I kid you not), and the piece de resistance - a single personalised skittle with the name Marcus on it.)

For the record, Dumps was clad in all black, wearing glow-in-the-dark skeleton gloves and a bright gold pirate skeleton mask which his Auntie found for him last weekend at a hipster market in Dalston.

Eleven year old Egg decided to roam with some of his school chums and I have yet to see him clad in his 'Mad Scientist' outfit (consisting of a pull-on fabric Dr. Jekyll mask and his way too small, bespoke, ancient lab coat we had made years ago in Goa when he became obsessed with the film, 'Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs').

As for me, I smeared on purple lipstick and donned a platinum wig which made me look like Rita Ora (if she had rocked up to a Poundland staff costume party, having never 'made it').
"Hmm...maybe I should have given the blond thing a proper go?"
The husband merely chucked on a Captains hat which he had ordered for a costume party months ago but had arrived too late to wear. Waste not want not.

So there you have it people.  That's how we roll.  Shambolic to the core.

Friday, 9 October 2015

"Beware The Parents Evenings..."

Thank God my iphone was charged, 
Thank goodness his was too.
Thank heavens he carries a Swiss Army,
Or who knows what I would have had to do...

Last night was a fairly important event. It was a chance for all the parents in Egg's class at his new school to meet each other at an evening mixer. Everyone knows that once established, first impressions are hard to dislodge and as such, I was determined that the husband and I make as favourable a one as possible by presenting ourselves as 'normal' - for Eggie's sake.

For the husband that meant that ripped jeans and RAPHA were banned, and for me, an embargo on anything leather, Rock Chick or glittery. As we waited for our Uber to arrive, first Egg then the husband cast a disparaging glance down at my footwear and suggested I reconsider.  (For the record I was wearing a magenta dress and elegant, dark brown knee-length boots with a camel coloured cashmere cape...an outfit which wouldn't have looked out of place in Kate Middleton's wardrobe.)

"You look good Mama but don't wear those boots. They say, 'Look at me I own the place,'" Egg said.

"Yeah," mumbled the husband in agreement. "You don't want to wear those boots."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, incredulous. "These boots are what make this look. It's understated and elegant. Black ankle boots would be inappropriate."

The husband, stuffing the last few bites of curry in his mouth shrugged and said, "By the way Egg, the word you're looking for there is 'dominatrix.'"

Begrudgingly, I changed my boots, glanced in the mirror and confirmed that I now looked like I was headed to a London fashion week party and not a subdued middle class gathering of parents of privileged progeny. So I quickly switched back again.

"Why do I even listen to them?" I thought.  Why was I taking fashion advice from an 11 year old boy and a cycling cap aficionado?

We arrived at the venue, and armed with a glass of wine and a pint respectively, proceeded to make small talk with strangers. The husband managed not to make any off colour jokes, and I managed to be friendly without putting forth any strong views which might offend. An hour in and I was feeling rather proud of us.

"We can totally pull this off," I thought. I began to feel silly for having worried that we'd do something to embarrass Egg and turn him into a social pariah for the remainder of his Secondary School career. 

Then I excused myself and disappeared off to the loo.

The toilets were located a level down in the otherwise deserted club house and I took the chance to have a breather and check my phone for messages. I used the facilities and then tried to exit the cubicle.

The door wouldn't open. I twisted the lock the other way, heard a satisfying click, but it still wouldn't budge. Annoyed, I put my phone back into my purse and tried using both hands to manoeuvre the lock. No luck.

It was then that I noticed this sign:
Oops.

Panicking, I peered up, and with a sinking feeling realised that despite having taken up running again, unless I could somehow morph into an anorexic spiderman, there was no way I'd be able to climb the slippery tiled wall and slip through a gap no wider than about a foot.

Totally screwed, I rang the husband, praying he'd answer. Meanwhile, starting to panic, in the likelihood that he didn't answer, a string of potential scenarios began to play out in my head - each one more horrific than the last:

Scenario 1: I attempt to contact a school employee out of hours, interrupting someones dinnertime whilst I try to explain who I am, where I am, and how I need to be rescued - and could they please not call emergency services...

Scenario 2: I scream myself hoarse, disrupting the quite calm in the upstairs clubhouse, causing a stampede of parents to thunder downstairs under the assumption that they are about to bear witness to the first stabbing in the history of the school.

Scenario 3: In desperation I remove my brown leather boots and try and use my now heavily perspiring bare feet as suction cups to grip the tiles, making it to the top before getting just my head wedged through the top gap - where too ashamed to call out, I remain until the end of the evening, until rescued by an incredulous and slightly inebriated gentleman relieving himself next door.

That's as far as I get when husband suddenly answers. Never was I so happy to hear his voice, though to be fair, I would have appreciated a slightly less outrageous guffaw when I explained my predicament.

"Shhhhh!! Don't say anything," I begged. "Don't make a big deal, don't let anyone know, and just slip out and come save me...NOW!" I hissed, in case he harboured any intention of finishing his current pint first.

Moments later I heard the husband whistle to make sure the coast was clear, then he strolled into the otherwise empty bathroom and attempted a cursory unlocking attempt.

"You're stuffed," he said. Three pints in, this struck him as rather funny, but I was quickly losing my sense of humour.

I started to whimper and beg. Luckily he's a resourceful fellow and for as long as I've known him, has been in the habit of carrying around his beloved 'Minichamp' - a small swiss army knife, which he magically produced from his pocket and began jamming into the lock with determination. My love knew no bounds. After a few minutes of quiet tension, he triumphantly set me free and strolled out as casually as he entered - like a 'Banksy-esque' version of James Bond - leaving me to compose myself and breathe a sigh of relief.

Within moments of joining the upstairs gathering again, I'd been swallowed up in a riveting conversation about kitchen extensions - no one the wiser about the near disaster which had just been averted. And shortly after that, we met Egg's teacher who, predictably, commented upon our eldest sons' inability to see through the worlds' longest-ever fringe. I then admitted (possibly regretfully in hindsight) to trimming his fringe in his sleep, and on that bombshell Egg's teacher quietly excused herself and the party began to break up.

All in all I suppose it was a fairly successful evening. However for Egg's sake I reckon that moving forward, it's probably best that the husband and I make like Victorian children of old: seen but not heard. Actually, not seen and not heard is probably better. It's only a matter of time before we justify driving our 'Kamper Van with a K' to a school function and mortify Egg for all eternity. I'm calling it now...