Wednesday, 26 November 2008

"Ear Aches and Oranges"

I don't know what Egg's school must think. I call him in sick last Thursday, then Friday, he goes to school Monday, and then I call him in sick again Tuesday. Today I've sent him right back again, hoping that his 'play date' with a lovely little French boy isn't cancelled tomorrow, due to his mother thinking Egg is a walking time bomb of maladies. Two nights ago Egg (and Bacon) woke us up in the middle of the night with wailing about an ear ache, so in they piled with us in our bed and there they stayed, kicking and jerking and generally disturbing our sleep patterns for the remaining few hours until dawn.

I feel like draping myself in Kleenex, and i may as well, given that both boys are using me as a human tissue, and all my clothes are covered in mucus, dabs of peanut butter and original graffiti from Crayola magic marker swipes when I'm not looking. It is a shambles. I now pretty much stand about like a bored security guard at the entrance of the kitchen, broom in one hand, wet cloth in another, and a mop at the ready. It's all about damage control - forget 'Home & Gardens'. If only I didn't have high expectations of cleanliness (ask my mother - she remembers me as a three year old constantly sorting her shoe closet to make everything 'neat and tidy') I think i would find it much less of a strain to be living with three very messy big and two little.

Given that my husband isn't too bothered by potential rodents, and seeing as I find the very thought toe-curlingly horrific, that means that by default I am the one who has to do the final clean sweep nightly around our home, mopping up spills, wiping up crumbs and generally making sure we aren't inadvertantly advertising our domicile as a two-thumbs up destination for discerning yet ravenous rats.

Speaking of rats, little Dumps is now entering that fun stage of hiding various foodstuffs around our home. Satsumas can be found tucked away in the closet or on the stairs, perfectly positioned for an accidental 'splat' as a big person comes racing downstairs...half-eaten sandwiches turn up under the sofa....raisins mix quite happily with plastic airplanes in the toy box.

By the way, our television was delivered successfully last. No doubt my big note taped outside of our door, spelling out the need to press the doorbell firmly and wait more than 5 seconds before scarpering helped. I don't know if it was 'Dave' or not who rang the bell, but I gave him a pointed stare as I signed for the package and a slight lift of the eyebrows. When it comes down to it I guess I'm a bit of a coward and just can't seem to be rude to matter how much they deserve a telling off.

(Okay that's not technically true. Beware Indian telemarketers who ring randomly throughout the day, mispronounce my name and enquire as to whether I might be interested in health insurance. In those instances I find it quite easy to express myself in rather aggressive tones. Another pet peeve is trying to ring my bank and being put on hold for ages, then getting disconnected and having to start the process all over again. I'm never at my sunny best in those situations either.)

However all that aside, I'm in remarkably good spirits at the moment. Egg is back at school and not hyper-actively tearing the place apart in a state of frenzied boredom, Dumpie is having a nap (of the non-drugged up variety so I expect it won't be as long as it has been these last few days!) and I find myself with a few precious moments to spare. What to do? Wax my neglected legs or see to my straggly hair? Hmmm...the choices...

Saturday, 22 November 2008

"Let's Just Forget About All This Chocolate Business"

These were the words uttered to me this morning by Egg as I walked into the kitchen, bleary-eyed, and found Dumpie with full chipmunk cheeks, munching what looked like the last bits of ill-gotten chocolate. Egg explained that he and Dumps had polished off my supply of mini Kit-Kat's I keep hidden in the top shelf of the fridge for those moments when I need a late afternoon pick-me-up and a cup of tea just won't do. Sure enough I checked...and they were gone (sigh).

This morning started off poorly as I got into a slightly but not entirely irrational rage with a local delivery company when they failed to ring our doorbell properly or even knock and simply left a 'we missed you' card through our door slot. We were supposed to take delivery of our new tv which I was very much looking forward to setting up today and even paid extra for, for next day delivery. They were having none of it. Apparently 'Dave' the driver had deposited our telly back at the depot and raced off to meet his friends for a big weekend piss-up down his local pub (well that second part I made up but his name is Dave and I hate him and think he's an idiot who deserves to be fired. I told this to his boss when I called up to complain, but instead of apologizing on his behalf he went on to defend Dave and say, "Well Madame, Dave is one of our best drivers and ALWAYS rings doorbells"). URGHHHHH...

Currently I am nursing my ever-present toothache, dressed up like an 80's reject from 'Flashdance' and contemplating waking up our sick 2 year old in order to get out of the house and do some local errands. Personally, I just want a double-strength skinny wet latte with chocolate sprinkles...that will do me. I am going to have to re-think this whole recent 'wine therapy' thing in regards to my teeth as I am likely to turn into an accidental alcoholic long before I even get my longed-for medical referral. Nevertheless, our wine rack bulges with newly-purchased wine (none of which I imagine has a hope in hell of making it to Christmas) and I wonder whether a late mediterranean luncheon might be out of the question. Somehow with some cheese, olives and a bit of this and a bit of that, wine can be elevated from a mere 'painkiller' into an civilized accompaniment. Or so I am trying to persuade myself.

At any rate duty calls. The sun is already beginning it's habitual descent, a thousand surfaces cry out to be rescued from the leftover souvenirs of grubby little fingers and my hair looks like the before picture on a head n' shoulders ad - all lank and in dire need of some TLC. My teenage self would be disgusted if she could see me now, and would insist I grab my handbag and hightail it out the door to the nearest salon and 'get myself sorted.' I miss my teenage self (sigh)...

Friday, 21 November 2008

"I Won't Be Coming In Today"

Right now I'm breathing a sigh of relief as I sit at the kitchen table sipping a mug of extra-strong Italian roast cappuccino (which my husband so kindly left for me before cycling off to work...what a's that kind of care and consideration that makes you love your man). Anyway, currently I'm relying on two little men ("Big Cook & Little Cook") to keep MY two little men at bay. The jumping, leaping off sofa's and screaming I heard earlier has subsided and they appear to be firmly ensconced in their cartoons - which is great. I rang Egg's school earlier to say that he wouldn't be coming in again. Truth be told he probably could handle it, but his cough is still bad, he's only 4, and I obviously come from the breed of mother with pushover tendencies.

I am however dreading the rest of the day because I still have my killer toothache (which shows no signs of going away, and which my dentist seems unable to diagnose) and it's worrying me greatly, and because for some reason Egg, when he's ill, gets EXTREMELY hyper and runs around like he's on speed or something. I swear, at one point yesterday he appeared to be foaming from the mouth and I literally couldn't get him to sit still for a moment to talk to me. (The fact that our cleaning lady was witnessing this chaos was just an added bonus. I can only imagine what she thinks or tells others about us sometimes.) Of course Dumpie is delighted to have his partner in crime back in the homestead, and will not only copy what he does but try to out do him in terms of naughtiness in order to gain his approval. If this means making a kitchen avalanche of hundreds of markers and crayons, so be it. If it means taking black marker and scribbling on our pristine white walls, then so be it. If it means shaking a carton of juice and spilling it over both their heads for amusement, then he will consider his punishment well worth the hysterical giggles it elicits from his older brother

Speaking of older brother, Dumpie just padded into the kitchen in his pj's, demanded not one but two oranges and then toddled back out to the front room. As I have witnesses many times previously, he has already taken up his role as 2nd sibling with willingness and efficiency, and will happily do Egg's bidding - especially if it involves food or snack procurement. So likely Egg has nudged Dumpie and said something along the lines of, "Dumps, go and get us some oranges..." and Dumps has grunted his agreement and come to do his bidding. Of course, this sometimes backfires as if the snack is too yummy to resist, it is not uncommon for Dumps to take the long way back and hide out in the dining room to finish off both snacks before turning up vague and empty-handed. Little scamp.

Yesterday as I was getting them ready for bed, Egg turned to me and said, "Mama, I was a good boy today wasn't I?" I paused, thinking about how to phrase my answer without scarring him for life (I mean you can't exactly say, "No Egg. Today was utter hell. I had fantasies of fleeing you all and wanted to tear my hair out and cry for a million years and fear my life has disappeared amidst a mountains of dirty nappies and plastic toys!"....can you?) So instead I said, "Well for the most part you were Eggie." He seemed to accept this, then came back with, "Well Mama, if you forget about all that craziness in the afternoon then I was a good boy wasn't I?" I had to agree with that. If afternoon hours constitute say 11am-5pm then yes, he was a rather good boy.

On that note, I'd better be off. No doubt as I sit here quietly typing away on my beloved Macbook (which bears all the marks of having been tampered with on multiple occasions...the blue electrical tape holding together my power cord where it's been chopped in two places...the gammy 'f' key which has had too much orange juice spilled on it to be well and truly functional anymore...the bottom right-hand side which has had the plastic covering picked at...) the boys are busy staining my expensive soft throws with bits of sticky orange, and wiping their sticky fingers across our 'dry cleaning only' cushions.

My time is up. This twenty minutes constitutes all the 'me' time I am likely to get today. I wish I could call in sick for myself...only I don't know who I would have to address that call to.

"Hello? Yes, this is Natasha speaking. I'm afraid I won't be able to function in any normal capacity today. So I'm just ringing to say that I shan't be coming in. I shall frankly be lying in my supremely comfy king-sized bed, attacking the growing pile of library books I never have time to open, and might even indulge in a soppy rom-com later today if I fancy it. Okay? Thanks ever so much for your understanding. Bye-bye."

Thursday, 20 November 2008

"Are You There Natasha? This Is Your Life Calling You...Would Like A Word"

You know, there is a good reason I call this blog 'MoaningMum'...a very good reason. I often wonder whether I will one day read back all these accounts of my (non) extraordinary life and think wistfully that they were the best years (many people tell me so). Alas, if indeed mankind ever invents time-travel then i'm sure that the future incarnation of myself will try and come back and alert me to this truth so that I can make the most of it and not squander away whole weeks and months in ill-disguised despair and utter lethargy. But until that happens, I'm going to stick with my story: life as a mother is hard, hard, hard, and if you are the sort of person who desires - indeed requires - 'alone time', then you are buggered.

This morning I awoke to the song, "You've Got the Love" on our DAB radio alarm clock. It's a great tune - a catchy and upbeat, yet soulful lament to the difficulty of life and needing some supernatural help. If the makers of "Sex and the City" hadn't pinched it for the theme song of the last episode ever, then I think I would have tried to claim it for my own. Now however, visions of a fictional 'Carrie Bradshaw' strutting through the streets of New York in Manalos bears so little resemblance to my pained everyday shuffle that it kind of ruins it for me.

This morning I had yet another emergency dental appointment (I am thinking of just buying shares in the place as at this rate I am fast becoming 'patient of the month' and I expect there to be a newly instated state of the art plasma tv and sound system courtesy of moi when they get done with me (sigh). Anyway, Egg was off from school with a bad cold and Dumps was his usual adorably naughty self, and I once again had no choice but to leave them, unsupervised, in the waiting room with three disgruntled older men and a harassed-looking receptionist. They made such a din that they could be heard over the drill and the hygenist slammed the door shut with impatience mid-way through the treatment. For my part, I just lay there like a slab of poor-grade meat and contemplated all the problems I am facing right now. (They are too numerous to mention and being of little interest to even me - merely an annoyance - I can't expect anyone else would find them even mildly interesting.)

Nonetheless, I can't whinge on about it now as our cleaning lady is here and I can hear screams of delight from Egg as he gleefully unplugs the hoover for the millionth time - causing work to come to a standstill yet again and me to exhale with fatigue. You know that expression 'climbing the walls'? Well Egg is literally doing so. He has mounted the wall radiator and is whooping from the top near the ceiling yelling for me to help him down.

He better hope I do so before the central heating comes on as otherwise it will be a nasty surprise. And of course now Dumpie is climbing alongside him, trying to show off for his brother and I am glumly staring at the floor wondering exactly how hurt they would be if they fell off. Currently I am so shattered and burdened that I want nothing more than to curl up in bed and fall asleep...for days. The bonus would be that not only would I awake revitalized and ready to tackle my headstrong little monsters, but I'd also be skinny as a rail and could delicately pick my way down the street with an insouciance that might make me resemble more a creative artist than an ad for someone who shops at Iceland.

As I sign off, I vaguely wonder whether I care enough to wait until the cleaning lady leaves for a medicinal glass of wine. I decide i DO care and so shall herd the rugrats into another room where they can set about undoing any benefit that having a cleaning lady affords.

Feeling hugely sorry for myself, this is 'Moaning Mum'....signing off.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

One Of Those Days...

I am having one of those days where life just seems TOO hard (sigh). I just went into our downstairs loo, and sat down on a soaking wet toilet seat (Egg refuses to lift the lid up and doesn't deal with the inevitable spillage) which hasn't improved my mood any. To make matters worse, Dumpie clearly thinks I'm an idiot as twice today I've raced out the door for the school run and he's been screaming and pointing at his feet and I've realized in dismay that I've forgotten to provide footwear for the little one...and it's the middle of November.

To make matters worse I'm still in (dental) pain and can only eat on the right side of my mouth...and only soft foods. If it weren't for the fact that a lot of soft foods happen to be calorific (Ben and Jerry's anyone?) I'm sure I'd lose a ton of weight with such horrid dietary measures imposed. Alas, my dentist (though I've been assured she is the best in the area) seems at a loss about what to do with and for me. I'm telling you, the dental practises in this country would not be out of place in the industrial age and lag around third world status...I'd be better off getting my mouth taken care of in India when we next go - and that's saying a lot

At my last appointment the other day, my lovely young Asian dentist and I stood looking at each other, sighing in dismay, when she half-heartedly offered to book me in for a deep cleaning of the gum surrounding the trouble area. Then she readily admitted that it was unlikely to do any good and suggested she refer me to the hospital. Lovely.

I still have yet to make any lasting friendships with the local school moms. I'm just not the 'chatty mom' kind of person who can network on behalf of her child in the playground whilst chasing balls that her two year old whips from the pushchair mid-conversation. It is all we can do to get to school as the bell is going, and at the end of the day, confronted with all the cooped up children suddenly on the loose, I just want to grab my beaming Egg and get the heck out of there. No time (or inclination) for niceties...

Maybe by the time Dumpie goes to school I'll be better versed on the unwritten rules of 'mom-speak' and 'P.P.P.'s' (Parental Playground Politics). Maybe by then i'll be hosting weekly 'Mummy Coffee Mornings' and be elected class representative by my fellow 'Mummies'.

Who knows, by then I may have entirely given up on any pretense of a life (ie. making music/writing/fashion) and may have a social calendar filled up with Baby Gymboree classes, Library Reading Groups, and consider Marks & Spencer to be fashion forward. Huddled in a shapeless parka I'll be pushing coaxing two toddlers down the road, looking world-weary and vacant-eyed...wait a minute - that is me now.

Monday, 17 November 2008

"The Day After"

Awoke this morning with the following: a) a killer hangover b) a home littered with balloons, balloon remnants, and various small pieces of children's toys underfoot c) a vague recollection of having hosted a wine and champagne-fuelled birthday party for a 2 year old and a significantly older-than-two year old the night before (which may correspond with a).

A newly-minted two year old came toddling into our room this morning and I was awoken with the not unpleasant sensation of a sideways slobbery kiss as Dumps leaned over my head from behind and smooched me awake. He remains, as ever, a very happy boy. He always smiles, giggles and when particularly amused, rewards with a dirty little laugh which never fails to make me laugh. He's a cheeky chappie to the nth degree and has a brilliant sense of humor. He is already (as I never fail to tell Jay) much cooler than us and despite his mad scientist chicken-fluff hair, on course to be quite a looker.

He seemed to take all his presents and the attention last night on board in his characteristic way. The party started at 3pm and by 4 he and Egg had already locked themselves in the food and sweet-laden dining room, and were scoffing rainbow brownies in delight on our expensive (and now worthless) creme Habitat sofa (sigh). Sadly, I seemed to spend most of the party in the kitchen organizing trays of food, cleaning, wiping, arranging, and even getting the odd glass of wine down me throat.

Jay pipped about here and there in his fancy new cravat (a present from a dear friend), a goblet of vino in hand at all times and a pretty content grin plastered across his birthday face. I think he enjoyed himself :)

If it weren't for my foggy head and blistering toothache, I think i'd be in a rather good mood today. I have vague recollections of inviting various assorted guests to ours for Christmas lunch, and I think I even promised one interested party that I'd wrangle some sort of bird into my vegetarian oven (and I don't mean that in a kinky, dirty way).

At any rate, I have an insistent Dumps at my side, toy drum in hand, appealing for some play time and 100% of my attention. Poor fellow. I don't even think I have a fraction of that up for grabs. (Ah, to be able to crawl back in bed, take a painkiller for the mouth and sleep for absolutel hours....ahhhhh)

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Happy2nd Birthday Dumpie!!

So today was little Dumpie's 2nd Birthday and by all accounts it was a success. A variety of 'uncles' and 'aunties', friends and family, hangers on and all manner of random guests were invited to the 3pm Double Birthday Party of Jay and Dumpie. Two years ago I remember being so anxious that my child not be born on Jay's birthday as it would be completely overshadowed as a special day when he was young, and a complete embarrassment when Dumpie was older :)

So I got up at 8:50am today (with Jay MIA on a mystery early morning bike ride), found Egg dazed-eyed and watching cartoons in the front room and Dumpie sitting cross-legged on the far kitchen counter, happy as anything, contentedly munching 'Bilar' (sour Swedish candies Jay brought home from a work trip recently) and motioning frantically for me to get out of the kitchen. (There was of course apple juice glued sticky and sweet on the kitchen floor and all manner of mess decking out my formerly spotless kitchen.)

I Worked 9 hours straight out today concocting the following (all homemade I might add): one marble dark and white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry coulis, one double fudge crumbly chocolate cake with french vanilla icing, 32 'raspberry blondie brownies', one platter of 16 feta/spinach filo rolls, two giant bowls of pasta salad, and a giant 16-piece asparagas and camembart tart. (whew)....On top of that, countless bottles of red wine were consumed, some cigarettes were smoked (not me!) and much fun was had by all.

Now sitting here at my kitchen table with Jay doing the post-mortem at 11:30pm I am a) exhausted b) happy/content c) about to throw up from all the chocolate cake I've ingested.

I guess those 'thighs of steel' are going to have to wait for another week :)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Rainy Grey November Daze...

Everything in life has a price. That's just the way it is. This morning, the price of Jay and I getting a 'lie-in' until 9am (oops!) was a total demolition of our kitchen....yet again (sigh). We kept dozing off you see, and our bed is so extra comfy after having purchased a criminally expensive underlay which makes reclining on our multi-springed bit of heaven, akin to lying on the softest of clouds.

Once again we were alerted to the disaster by Egg who entered our bedroom clad only in Thomas the Tank Engine briefs and nothing else. He looked mildly concerned but resigned as he informed us that there was a 'big problem' which was actually a 'disaster' downstairs in the kitchen. When pressed he admitted that all of the 'coffee chocolate' (ie. my gourmet cappuccino sprinkles), peanut butter and raisins had been eaten, and that he had tried to clean up but had lost the cloth in the sinks garbage disposal unit.

That was the trigger of course that had me leaping out of bed and downstairs where I came careening into the kitchen to find my almost 2 year old sitting atop the counter, covered in chocolate powder, peanut butter smeared in his blond wispy chicken fluff hair and grinning from ear to ear. I carried the giggling little gnome straight upstairs to Jay, deposited him in his bedroom and told him to keep them up there until I could change the kitchen from disaster area to something resembling normality.

With such a great start to the day it goes without saying that things could only get worse...and they have. After five major clean-ups of the kitchen (I refuse to continue counting for today on the grounds that it will make me too depressed and feel marginalized as a 'domestic slave' and cliched feminine object of pity), two loads of laundry, and homemade oatmeal raisin muffins concocted, my day has gone from lame To make matters worse it has been an utterly horrible day outside and much too wet and cold to venture forth with two hyperactive and bored little boys.

My dental visit yesterday has (as I had pessimistically but accurately predicted) left me with MORE pain in my mouth and luckily my sister donated two extra strength but expired mystery painkillers which she obtained in her travels in Southeast Asia sometime in 2002. They have been some relief. But then, so has the half-bottle of fine rioja I imbibed last night waiting for my work burdened husband to return home.

Now of course it is dark outside, the children have trashed the front room (I know this from not having gone in there but seeing that one of the sofa's is now in an entirely different position and blocking the entrance...not a good sign, and right up there with the frantic outbursts of giggles issuing forth from yonder, which fill my lethargic heart with dread. Jay of course has been on his computer all day preparing for a big presentation he has for work next week in Sweden. My one half-hearted plea for him to spend a little time with the children today was met with a barely audible murmuring about putting roofs over ones heads and all that. It was enough to send me fantasizing about seeking out our largest saucepan and whacking him over the head with it much like a reinactment of a 'Looney Toons' cartoon caper scenario. Having calmed down a little while later I ressurected this particularly shameful fantasy when my husband casually mentioned that he shall be attending SOLO a big all-night birthday bash of a mutual friend in a few weeks time.

When I pointed out how unfair this was, he said that he had been asked all the way back in June, and that if I wanted to come, much like Cinderella, I had to find a babysitter (one that would be happy to stay here all night and possibly through the next morning, with no criminal record, who our children would feel comfortable with, and not terrorize with their kitchen hijacking antics). He and I both know that to be highly unlikely, and so with a dejected air I have retreated to the space in which I fruitlessly spend most of my waking hours scrubbing, scouring, wiping, mopping, sorting, loading, etc. to console myself with some temporary peace. (He is in the dining room which is next door to the front room and therefore first point of call for the disaster which awaits us in the front room where the boys have been 'playing' unsupervised for over half an hour...). Ah well, nothing that a homemade rice krispy square can't fix.

Sunday, 2 November 2008


Ouch ouch ouch. I have the most HORRENDOUS toothache which is really putting me in a bad mood today. I have put off going to the dentist for the past week however because a) I thought it might go away (childish avoidance techniques have somewhat surprisingly worked for certain things in the past...albeit not medical scenarios) b) I didn't want to inflict the monsters on the already stressed receptionist while I went in for an exam c) last time I went to a British dentist over a toothache, she picked up a scary looking instrument and suggested it might be cheapest and easiest to simply 'pull it out'.
So I've come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to go first thing tomorrow morning, barge in without an appointment and get some sort of medical opinion - and likely a procedure of some sort (I am quaking at the potential horror of a root this country they are about 50 years behind in dental techniques and general skill and I have yet to not regret a single dental procedure I've had to succumb to for emergecy reasons.) Egg is back at school tomorrow, Jay has an early meeting, and so it will be Dumpie and I who barge in there in the morning and I guess he'll have to sit on my lap whilst I moan and open wide (sigh). Not looking forward to it.

This morning was a wash out in terms of Sunday School. Egg and I go each week together and this morning, as usual, there was the usual palaver of running about, missing shoes, whining and flustered threats, and as a result we were so horribly late that we had to turn back and stopped en route at Costa Coffee for a compensatory cappuccino. Jay and Dumpie rolled up on Jay's bicycle not long after and we sat defeated as the boys proceeded to spray muffin crumbs around, dump raisins everywhere and generally make a pig-sty of our area. (Yet another establishment I'll have to stay away from for the next little while until they hire new staff...)

We spent the day yesterday putting up several new mirrors which add a certain flair to our home. I've perhaps gone overboard on the mirror front, but in a dark and dreary place like London in the winter months, any reflective light and pretty things never go amiss. Plus, there is the added benefit of making the place look even larger, and it will be fun for Jay and I, guessing which one of the expensive additions will be the first to break during the next indoor ball game.

I didn't go for another band rehearsal today simply because I am still working on the music I recorded from the guys last week, didn't fancy getting potentially mugged today while returning home from crack-heaven in the dark, and because I'm still deciding whether or not this is the band for me and whether I can do them justice and they me. I realize more and more that being in a band is a young persons game. I reckon 18 is the best age for doing it, when shopping for cool clothes in vintage shops, living off cheap tins of beans and dried pasta, and sleeping on mate's sofas are all possible and indeed relished as part of the 'artists suffering for their art' thing...

However saying that, the mood i'm in today as a result of my tooth, is most conducive to belting out some Sex Pistol's style music. Give me an electric guitar (the hair is crimped today and looking ridiculously out-of-control so have that part covered), a mic and give me one sec while I peer out into the landing where the boys have stained the carpet with Welch's purple grape juice, and I reckon I'll have a few things to scream mindlessly about. It may not sell records but I reckon it will win me a few fans in the form of all those other 'pissed off Mama's' out there. (Or am I the only one....?)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

A Scary Halloween Fringe and the "Nay-Nay" Monster

Last night just before dinner, I was in the kitchen with Dumpie and Egg walked in. I didn't quite register anything at first glance - just that his little face looked cherubic and bright and...and big! My little Egg stood smiling before me, his little fringe ('bangs' to all you North Americans reading this) hacked off in an uneven line about an inch long. I didn't quite know what to say...or do. So I did what I do when such calamities present themselves - I got immediately onto ichat with Auntie Ba to get her verdict on how bad it was.

I could tell it was pretty bad by her sympathetic noises and tender pained smile upon seeing the devastation my eldest had inflicted upon his beautiful little self. "What are you going to do?" she asked me, and for once I had no answer. I frantically rang Jay at work but he was in a totally different head space and I don't think he quite understood the situation, so I rang off with the ominous words of, "Well just wait until you see it!"

The worst part about it is that when he goes back to school on Monday all the mothers and teachers are going to (naturally) assume that Egg's Mummy spent the half-term soused on a big bottle of vodka and drunkenly took the shears to her child's head during one particularly harrowing session. That's what it looks like. Social services might even get called in. At the moment I'm contemplating putting some hair dye in and a few more random chops and presenting it as an uber-trendy 'Hoxton' creation. (At the moment he could be the poster child for the 'Dumb and Dumber' Jim Carrey movie)

Last night being Halloween, and this being Britain, (which adopts many North American traditions yet scorns others) there was no 'trick or treating' as such - even in our child overrun neighbourhood. Instead it was all the parents who were out, crowding the local bars and pubs whilst celebrating the Pagan holiday. So as we've done in previous years, we did our own family version of this high holiday of sweeties...

In previous years we've had three 'Auntie's' joining in and really giving the atmosphere a sense of fun, but this year it was merely Jay and I. First we dressed them up (Jay took the reins on this one this year and Egg was dressed up as a tennis player and Dumpie a one-slippered Christmas elf - well it was Friday night after a long week of work and Jay did an admirable job given his energy level and the general lack of props). Then Jay hid out in the front room downstairs and I in the guest bedroom upstairs - each of us with a big bowl of sweets. The boys went up and down the stairs knocking on our respective doors and were rewarded with more and more candies and chocolates.

The utter glee and joy on their faces - especially Dumpies - made the exercise more of a treat for Jay and I than even them. Dumpie calls candies 'Nay-Nay' and kept shouting it all night like a mantra. When they'd leave each door the utter delight on Dumpies face was magic to behold and he'd maniacally wave and shout 'Bye bye!' as he kept peering into his jack-o-lantern candy bag, not quite believing that this huge bag of contraband "Nay-Nay" was really his to keep. Poor Dumpie was so upset when the game was up that he tried to make me go back into the room, gesturing wildly and emphatically, trying to push me back up the stairs. However the arrival of a yummy pizza put and end to that and the four of us enjoyed a gooey cheesy feast in the kitchen with the sleepy but excited boys crashing soon afterwards - leaving Jay and I to watch the thriller/horror 'Cloverfield' on dvd.

At any rate, we've just finished a huge breakfast of homemade pancakes, maple syrup and freshly whipped cream (calorie hell) and I vaguely noted that the boys disappeared into the front room about 20 minutes or so ago, and although Jay sits here beside me on his laptop, oblivious as usual, I realize with a sinking feeling that they have probably ingested most of their treats already and it's only 10:30am.

This means we are going to have two sugar-fuelled gremlins on the loose and are going to pay ever so dearly for it today. So on that note I'm off to hide all my power cords and all scissors.