Thursday, 31 July 2008

"We're All Going On A...Camping Helliday"

What's a blog for if not to moan? It's 1:30 pm and this is the first time I've sat down or stopped to take a breath in...oh, about five hours! Flavia our Brazilian cleaning lady is due here at 2pm, and like a maniac I've been doing the old 'cleaning for the cleaning lady' thing. Only I didn't realise how much there was to do and here I sit hours later, out of breath, having not eaten a thing all day nor even brushed my teeth, and to think that it all started with a simple load of laundry this morning...(sigh)
Of course I partially blame Flavia for the state that this place has gotten into, as she has been off for several weeks and dust bunnies have begat dust bunnies, stains have solidified and acquired new topiary stains, and of course our carpet must harbour goodness knows how many bits of cracker and bread crumbs. My children have now taken to eating crusts of bread....quite literally They raid the breadbox on a daily basis and can often be seen munching quite happily on day old bread. Night after night as I bin dinner after carefully prepared dinner, I often ask myself why I bother when the rug rats would likely be just as happy with random scraps...?

Part of the reason for my mad scrambling today is because we are going camping tomorrow (FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH CHILDREN...urghhh!!). Our friends from Australia are meeting us at 'The Big Chill' (check it out:, a huge weekend music festival extravaganza held on stately grounds three hours or so away in the English countryside.

Now if just Jay and I were going, I'd be choosing mad outfits, putting together a survival pack (bubblegum, lipgloss, mobile phone, comedy head wear, etc.) but as it stands I'm having to imagine worst case scenarios (puking in car, wee accidents, freezing to death in chilly valleys at night, scorching and dehyrated during day, etc.) for two little ones....oops - which reminds me, that typically to form i have indeed packed my Dr. Pepper lipgloss but as of yet have not packed any nappies for Dumpie...uh-oh. Better go do that now!

Ok I'm back. If nothing else I will not be publicly humiliated again by my loving husband for not remembering nappies ( happened one night in Turkey when with horror we realised that although my handbag contained all manner of items, any nappies were conspicuously absent. Perhaps due to too many Turkish beers before dinner or a genuine disgust, Jay made a big scene in front of our friends and many interested local Turkish merchants selling their wares in the town square. Not a fond memory, but one that has hastened me to go and pack them forthwith.)

You see it's not like i'm absentminded per fact I'm rather proud of my mega multi-tasking abilities, and it's not uncommon to see me sewing up a denim mini whilst arguing with a bank manager on the phone, whilst flipping through the channels to find Egg his beloved cartoon, whilst rustling up dinner for six. I think the problem lies in my perception of who and what I am. Although Egg and Dumps are at the centre of my are a lot of things. Unlike many of my (normal) peers, the word 'mother' isn't necessarily the first thing that pops in my brain when I consider who and what I am. That term fights for space with musician, writer, most excellent cookie baker, sweetie-addict, wife, daughter, sister, friend....

Anyway let me just veer myself swiftly off this tangent before I go down a K hole here. Bottom line is I am both dreading and anticipating this weekend festival in equal measures. As we don't own a vehicle, (being inner-London dwellers) we've had to rent one and so tomorrow is going to entail taking a train to Victoria to pick up the car, installing two troublesome car seats, packing the too small vehicle up with our too-many possessions, and then hightailing it over to our old flat to meet the builder and discuss last minute renovations, dropping in on Auntie Kenz to avail ourselves of any/all necessary festival gear (I'm thinking air mattress), and then crawling out of London in stifling Friday rush hour traffic, only to pull over about half an hour later for the first car puke of the day.

My motto is "Expect the worst and if it doesn't happen you'll be ecstatic, and if it does then you will be more prepared than those 'happy-go-lucky's' who see life as a Disney movie."

Speaking of Disney movies, let's hope this weekend doesn't end up a warped version of 'Finding Nemo'...wherein little independent Dumpie takes off out of the tent when we're all passed out, wanders around until he finds a merry band of pranksters and is discovered in the early hours of the morning passed out around a campfire from a marijuana cigarette given to him by a hapless retard who assumed he was dwarf.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Things That Go Cluck In The Night

Things That Go Cluck In The Night...

The "Stinky Chicken" (aka Dumpie) and I are joined at the hip these days. Where I go he goes. Where I sit...he sits. In fact he even goes so far as to take my arm and wrap it around his ample little belly when he's perched on my knee. I have become very adept at conducting most of my daily household tasks one-handed, and been developing great tone on the left side of my body from supporting the chicken on one hip, where he expertly clasps onto my side with his little muscleman thighs in a vice like grip.

Lately the poor munchkin has been having the odd nightmare, and wakes screaming, disoriented, clasping onto my neck sobbing, staring up at me with unknowing, glazed eyes. He's been known to scuttle backwards on the floor like a little crab when this happens and all you can do is cuddle him tight, gently try and wake him, then hold him close till he settles and finally falls asleep again. Given that he's the most delectable little bundle of soft flesh these days it's a task I don't mind at all.

Auntie Mo texted out of the blue asking if she could take the boys out for lunch today. you even have to ask?! So here I am sat, boys dressed, waiting at the top of the stairs (yes I'm almost that pathetic) for the doorbell to ring and a few brief hours of peace.

Oops there goes the doorbell now! "Hello Freedom - nice to meet you! I'm Natasha...remember me? We used to hang out a lot several years ago..."

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

'Eggie Crocker'

I've just noticed two sticky cheerios hanging off the side of my grey jersey ra-ra mini skirt (which to be fair probably wouldn't look out of place in a 13 yr olds wardrobe). This does not surprise me given that an entire box of cheerios has just been displaced randomly but spasmodically around the whole downstairs level of our home.

To be fair, I did notice Egg rushing past a few times with what I now realize to be the cereal box, and there was much conspiratory giggling issuing loudly from the Dumps, so ergo, I was once again victim of 'Cheerio-gate'. This has happened before and it has taken many months to locate all of the cheerios, as the pesky little buggers can hide in the tiniest places and will not be seen again (until of course pest control are called in for an excessive fee to locate the reason behind a new infestation of rodents...).

The stage was set for food flinging when Dumps this morning stood up from his little table, glanced up at Egg to make sure he had an audience, then looked over at me to see if I was clocking him (i was) and before anyone could stop him, tipped the contents of his huge bowl of cereal over the kitchen floor and watched the liquid crazily rush to meet the walls. Egg was of course delighted, and only a hoarse scream and the truly scary look in my eyes stopped him from following suit as I scrambled for paper towels, rags, and anything else I could find to stop the deluge! There are now sopping wet cheerios underneath our cupboard units, the mammoth fridge and stuck to various chair legs, furniture and cushions, etc.

This morning started on an ominous note when Jay and I were awoken by a small but urgent whisper from Egg, "Mama...Dada...I'm afraid there has been another 'accident'. I was trying to make peanut butter cookies but it has spilled in the sink and there is a big mess."

He was not joking. Downstairs he had concocted a fairly decent representation of a peanut butter cookie mixture (he's baked with me a fair few times and has pretty much committed the recipe to memory), even going as far as to remember the baking soda and get out the super powerful Dualit hand mixer (thank God it wasn't attached properly or we might have been looking at raising a fingerless child).

Fortunately Jay managed to clear most of the mess before I made it downstairs. Unfortunately what was left had congealed into a paper-mache like consistency which incidentally dries to form an edible cement (trust me - there is no scrub brush that is going to dislodge the stuff!)

In all fairness he did warn me last night, for after being sent to bed a little hungry (as he didn't finish his dinner), he whispered that he was going to make peanut butter cookies when he woke up in the morning. Stupid Mama thought that if he even remembered, that it would take the form of paper, glue, tape, straws, etc. I never dreamed that he intended to get all Betty Crocker on me. I suppose I should also be pleased that the endeavor didn't reach the oven stage or we might have had a real dilemma on our hands.

The boys are now tucked up in bed for their daily nap as I write and once again i must rush off and make the most use of this precious time i have. Jay is out tonight so it's just little ol' me, two extremely conniving little monkeys and list of errands and tasks that is frankly laughable. Thankfully it's overcast today and not as humid as yesterday, but I'm still suffering from a horrid cold, still have no voice (though i've graduated to a croak from a tortured whisper) and would kill to be tucked up in bed with a hot lemon drink and a library book (sigh).

As it stands I'm surveying a house that wouldn't have looked out of place in 'The Exorcist', bags which have given birth to other bags under my eyes, cheerios as far as the eye can see, and have nothing to look forward to today but a long call with our mortgage advisor and a date with Mr. Muscle. Oh joy oh bliss.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Whispered Threats

Blogging is a very appealing prospect this morning given that my voice is still in absentia. Jay now has a valid excuse not to listen to me or respond when I try and tear him away from his beloved online chess game, and both little monsters have failed to take any of my threats seriously. (Who can blame them? An emphatic whisper fails to illicit anything more than momentary amusement, and then they go right back to what they were last doing...this morning that would be emptying the dirt from our houseplant into the dvd player.)

At any rate, it's a gloriously hot, perfect summers day and I'm sitting at my dining table looking out onto our terrace and contentedly munching a huge bowl of homemade fruit salad (blueberries, melon, pomegranates, blackberries, strawberries, pineapple...) Truly I am a fool though as I should really be using this time to better advantage given that it's my ONE break of the day. Both Egg and Dumps are upstairs having a wee nap listening to classical music and clutching identical plastic rubber balls, occasionally shouting with glee when one manages to whip it across the room.

More and more these two are developing into a tag team with a mission to seek and destroy (or ransack and plunder). Dumpie has now developed his fearless climbing ability to such an extent that he can clamber up onto his own change table in a matter of seconds...therefore our high, formerly out-of-reach kitchen counters are child's play to him. This means that nothing is out of bounds, and the consequences of late have been grave. Fruit, tin cans and flour containers have been hurled down jubilianty these past few weeks and our kitchen floor now sports semi-permanent stains which were certainly not evident when we first moved in!

It's funny how different the boys are though. Egg is a rather sensitive creature and just the other night after he was tucked into bed, I heard quiet sobbing and found him perched on the stairs. Hugging him I asked whatever was the matter and he explained that the idea of 'heaven' was causing him great concern as he wanted to make sure that our house could be in heaven too as he loved it so much. Having gotten past that hurdle he then became distraught about how big and tall everyone would be in heaven because he equates age with growing taller and to him I imagine he conjured up an 100 year old giant stomping up above in the clouds..homeless no less!

Egg also loves nothing more than crafts. He'll make imaginary structures (future engineer peut-etre?) out of pretty much anything he can get his hands on: egg cartons, straws, phone bills, sentimental name it. Armed with only scissors and tape he'll happily spend an hour concocting ridiculous but endearing 'things' which we of course are obliged to put out on display for public appreciation.

Dumpie on the other hand is happiest when climbing, balancing precariously on a small object high in the air, or tumbling off sofa mountains he has built from the many cushions and pillows which litter our front room. He owns several balls as they are his favourite thing in the world right now, and whether big or small he loves them all and is rarely seen without one on his person. He has no qualms about being in a park and stealthily rounding up stray (or not so stray) balls, and depositing them in the bottom of our pushchair. This may partially explain his vast collection.

Speaking of stealing, I caught him with a chocolate bar in his lap the other day coming out of Marks and Spencers. He must have grabbed it when i was paying at the till. Usually though his tactic is to wait until (he thinks) no one is looking, then go around to the other side of the table, pinch Egg's cookie or treat and quickly scamper back to his side, sit down, eat one quickly and look the picture of innocence moments later when Egg is wailing about his lost treat (sigh).

Well must be off. I have exactly one hour (give or take) in which to: exercise, have a shower, send some emails, pay some bills, tidy the house, order a tent for our camping expedition this weekend, reserve a rental car, wax my legs, and fold about 5 loads of laundry. Piece of cake :)

Sunday, 27 July 2008

It's All A Matter Of Perspective

So I'm sitting here at my kitchen table, it's 9:15 a.m. and in a few hours I leave for an all-afternoon brand practice (where my alter ego 'Rock Star Babe' gets to pretend she's a carefree singer and not a harassed mother of two increasingly naughty monsters). The problem of course is that I've completely lost my voice. Yep. I can only manage a whisper and am stuffed with cold wondering how I'm going to pull this one off.

Last night Jay and I hosted an impromptu garden party with a few friends, and many 'Vodka Red Bulls' were ingested, and somewhere between drink number 2 and 3 (or was it 3 and 4?) I started croacking like a phone-sex worker before eventually graduating into 'crack-whore' status. By the time our last guests arrived all I could manage were pathetic sounding whispers....oops. Jay valiantly suggested that this was only a temporary affliction and that my voice would be right as rain by today...(he later changed his view to a 60/40 bet that I'd be okay and then this morning after I croaked 'good morning' he just shook his head sympathetically).

Egg and Dumps are in top form today depending on how you look at it - as naughty as ever. Dumpie has just discovered how to climb up in the dining room, extract the terrace keys from their hiding place behind the picture frame and unlock the metal security bars, letting he and his brother out silently like cat burglars. Speaking of burglars, I wonder how this bodes for future potential break-ins?

I don't know whether it's the fact that I'm now pretty much sole caretaker for these two that is perpetuating such constant antics here at home lately, or whether I just notice it more. The other day I found Egg and Dumps carefully transferring the contents of a full carton of freshly-squeezed orange juice into a half-empty milk carton...the overflow directed onto a cascading puddle in the middle of the kitchen floor. Then of course I found Dumpie using my kitchen mop to 'mop up' our dirty garden terrace and soaking himself in the process. Whilst all that was going on, Egg took the kitchen scissors (no matter where we hide them he always finds them) and meticulously sliced up my expensive sheet of designer wrapping paper I had just bought.

The other morning Jay walked into the kitchen to find that Egg had pretty nearly finished slicing a small granny smith apple into little segments with our giant stainless-steel chopping knife(!) and nearly hit the roof. I've had orange juice spilled on my computer keyboard (which luckily survived the assault), my gold vase broken in the front room from an impromptu game of catch, and last night I dejectedly surveyed my three large planting pots which had formerly held three young rose bush tree stems and now sat sinisterly empty thanks to the Dumps.

It just never ends I lose valued possessions, spend the greater part of your life repeating mindless, pointless but necessary domestic tasks in an effort not to live in a dump, and then by the time you get through the 'tough stage' you either get accidentally pregnant again or look in the mirror and realize that youthful glow has all but disappeared and staring silently back at you is a spent looking, middle-aged stranger with tired eyes.

Today however my life still holds promise and hope. I still have time to fool myself that everything is going to work out the way I want it to and that life is long and full and that the insistent midget currently poking me in the side and dirtying up my new skirt with buttery muffin-coated hands is not just about to wipe his streaming runny nose on me, and has not just deposited a whole plate of muffin crumbs in the newly hoovered front landing...

Saturday, 26 July 2008


This morning Jay and I woke up to a tearfully perplexed little Eggie perched on the side of our sumptuous Queen-sized bed, imploring us for details about 'heaven'. Apparently our little talk about death the other day left him with more questions than answers (doesn't it to us all?!) Anyway, once establishing that most people die around 100, (please don't be at all surprised if Egg suddenly expresses grave interest in knowing your ages, so as to ascertain how close you might be to visiting heaven on a permanent basis), he was keen to understand exactly what people do in heaven, and when he could come back out and fly back down to London when he was bored.

Of course this phenominally important conversation was conducted with a mumbling half-asleep Dada and a croacky-voiced Mama, both of whom were sporting a mild hangover from last nights solo pizza and red wine indulgence. We watched a great film (Jay was THAT tired that he actually consented to watching a film...i know..mad!) called 'This Is England' and got a wee bit tipsy and listened to our neighbours conduct an outrageously loud party next door. Sipping wine on our back terrace we actually felt rather civilised watching the proceedings which spilled over onto the street, and for once it was nice to be on the other end and not being the ones creating the chaos.

I haven't had a chance to blog in the last little while (a situation i intend to rectify) due to our crazy but fun recent schedule. We got back from a lovely weeks villa holiday in Turkey on Monday night with our friends from Australia and their two little ones. Four adults and four children...on paper it seems manageable, but in reality it was at best amusing and at worst tiring!

Although the children got along brilliantly for the most part (Egg 4, Mia 3.5, Dumpie 19 months, Finn 13 months) our trip did start with young Mia sporting identically matching red welts on both pretty little cheeks from where Dumpie had flirtatiously bitten her on two separate occasions. I say flirtatiously as he adored Mia and could as often be seen hugging her spontaneously, rubbing her arm gently or giving her a sloppy unwelcome kiss, as pulling her hair, scratching her or shoving her to the ground. I think it was his way of making her notice him for the player than he is and not a diaper-clad baby!

At any rate, there were several incidences where Jay and I would hear our friend Lee moan in horror as she discovered Dumpie's latest assault on one of the kiddies (Egg was by no means exempt, but Mia did take the brunt of things i suppose). Nonetheless, walking into the room you would see a beaming Dumpie, arms behind his back, rocking on his little heels looking rather pleased with himself, calmly observing a sobbing Mia with a mark on her arm where he had administered another 'love bite' (sigh). Early flirtation ritual or possible beginnings of a life of crime...?

The villa itself was a four bedroom four-level paradise set on the Bay of Kalkan with a storybook view and a deliciously picturesque setting from each of the four balconeys. We had a private pool, air-con and a local market a few steps away...what was not to love? Well there was the constant fear of one of the kiddies drowning, the hard marble non-child-friendly staircases, the constant and unrelenting rounding up of four energetic midgets under four who were always on the hunt for snacks, attention, baths, games, get the idea.

Nonetheless it was a wonderful holiday, and barring the last full day when both 'Dada's' took off for what appeared a casual swim in the sea and just never returned for over an hour and a half (leading Lee and I eventually to tears, assuming both had died in a tragic drowning accident), it was perfect.

Well i'd love to go on as there is much to tell, but I shall pace myself and post again tomorrow as there is a great hullabaloo coming from the front room and I fear another of my gold vases is about to be broken. Must dash.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Eggie Scissorhands

The other day we had our urgent remortgage application ready to go, sitting out of harms way on our kitchen counter. Or so we thought. Jay came down for breakfast to find the head on my passport photocopy rather neatly cut out and lying next to the loaf of bread. Egg has been manically wielding large green kitchen scissors with glee and cutting anything and everything in his path.

Cereal boxes have fallen prey to his snippity-snip and now have no tops...designer pillowcases have had their tags haphazardly cut off, and various unlucky garden plants have had their leaves and flowers trimmed beyond all recognition. It doesn't matter where we hide them, Egg magically finds the blasted scissors and at this point I reckon we just have to resign ourselves to living in a constant state of origami until he tires of it.

As for the state of this household, we've had it punctuated by sorrow and joy within the space of 24 hours. Beloved 'Auntie Ba' finally took her leave of our shambolic commune on Tuesday. There were many tears all round, and watching the cab pull away was a gut-wrenching moment if ever there were one. Egg promptly burst into tears and climbed the stairs sobbing, unconsolable, muttering, "Mama, what can I do to make me feel better? I am so sad..."

If he were a few years older I could have suggested we go and open a bottle of vodka and drown our sorrows that way, but as it stood he had to make do with chocolate cake and homemade cookies. Dumpie took the departure equally as hard, and has been beseeching me at every turn, 'Ba? Ba?...", hands upturned and quizzical look in his eye. Many a time I'll find him forlornly surveying her old room and looking perplexed. Her name is still the first one he calls when awaking from his nap and I know he misses his 'best friend' desperately.

On a positive note, our friends from Australia arrived late last night - having travelled 34 hours across the world to hang with us for a bit. Maniacs! Egg promptly commandeered Mia (a sweet little girl 6 months younger than himself) and taking her hand, escorted her upstairs and didn't stop chatting her ear off for the next several hours. They are now thick as thieves, bestest of friends, and doomed to cause no end of havoc once they realise we are outnumbered.

Baby Finn is also 6 months younger than Dumpie, and i think Dumps is pleased to be able to slightly lord it over another 'baby', though last night he was all charm as he secretly fed him peanut butter cookie (Finn is allergic to several foods and the yummy morsel was promptly disengaged from mouth once discovered).

Anyway, I best be off. Four babies are on the loose and with the parent to child ratio severely in jeapardy (jay is walking out the door to work, Lee is in bed and I am suffering from a severe hangover after just a teensy bit too much red wine last night and a bedtime of 3 am, I have to keep my wits about me. But it's a sunny day, we're off to a villa in Turkey for a week on Monday, and i'm munching gorgeous ripe raspberries...for now at is good :)

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Return of Dada

So late last night, Dada walked in through the front door after five days at a music festival. He was sunburnt, grinning, and hadn't showered in days...I haven't seen him looking so happy and relaxed in a long time.

Egg had long gone to bed, but Dumpie had been allowed to stay up for the homecoming, as he had been utterly distraught by Jay's departure and had asked a million times a day where 'Dada' was. He somehow intuited that Jay was at last coming home, and spent 45 minutes bouncing excitedly in the hallway landing, and peering anxiously at the door. Bless.

So aside from a huge load of laundry to wash, and a much messier bedroom (sigh) things are back to normal...well relatively. Tonight is parents meeting at Belleville School to discuss Egg entering Year 1 next year. We'll also be ordering his school uniform which consists of grey shorts/trousers and white shirts and blue jumpers and blazers...very cute. If i were any other parent I'd be sighing with relief about not having to choose what he wears to school each day, but given Egg's spectacular wardrobe choices and abundance of clothes i find myself thinking 'what a waste!'

On another note, over this past weekend Auntie Ba finally bribed Dumpie enough to say 'Mama'. So I guess I should be pleased. First he learned 'Dada', then 'Ba' followed by 'Bob the builder' and pulling in the rear was 'Mama'...nice one.

Dumps has a really bad cold and is currently sitting on the kitchen floor with a gigantic OPEN box of sunmaid raisins, slowly making his way through it...nibbling a few and tossing the rest happily in the air. Egg has discovered his father's loud festival horn and is marching through the house randomly blowing it.

As for me, well I'm okay. More than okay. At the band rehearsal I went to the other day, four hours flew by in what seemed like minutes, and turns out they are really nice guys. Given that the feeling seems to be mutual, and they liked my songs and my voice - looks I'm in a band now :)

Goodbye dirty nappies hello screechy guitars...