1. I am STILL running in the mornings. (I know!) Despite an innate hatred for anything cardiovascular and a propensity for remaining 'earthbound' (this claim having been made (un)lovingly by my amused husband for many years now)...I continue to surprise myself and my other half by hauling myself out of my divinely cozy bed at 7:30am most mornings and propelling my resistant body around the giant Common, until it has either been half an hour or I feel on the verge of a heart attack - which ever comes sooner.
(This activity has several advantages of course: it should it all likelihood soon render me 'in shape' both internally and externally. Though with a history of heart disease on my side being the initial motivating factor, the outward manifestations on my somewhat neglected bottom half haven't gone unnoticed - by either me or the husband. As any woman will admit, however superficial, a shrinking bottom and jeans that actually fit do wonders for ones self-esteem...and make one feel a little less of a tit when running around in the freezing cold mornings like an idiot instead of snuggling or sipping a cappuccino and munching on toast in a cozy kitchen)
2. Now...whilst I have been whittling away at my thighs, the husband has thrown himself into a new 'hobby'. Collecting bicycles. Big ones. This latest passion should have ideally been nipped in the bud some time ago - before it got out of hand - but for reasons which shall become clear later (ie. DUMPIE) I have been otherwise preoccupied. In hindsight of course, it does feel like I have been taking delivery of an inordinate amount of packages arriving almost daily, for some time now.
First thing the husband does upon arriving home each day is to check eagerly for new arrivals on his tragically over-piled desk in the dining room. Slowly it has dawned on me that he is having his latest bike purchase delivered piece by piece, so as not to have me freak out in one big go. Clever - I'll give him that. Unfortunately, this means that not only is yet ANOTHER bike going to hang precariously from our already overcrowded front entrance hall (we have four bikes and counting), but whatever scant attention the husband reserves for his wife and progeny is now spent lusting after bits of steel and leather on his laptop. It is getting tiresome. Though I have now banned said laptop from the bedroom, it doesn't stop him going on about bikes and bike parts like a crazed devotee the other 98% of the time (sigh).
3. Egg is quietly and quickly becoming something of a Mathematician it appears (or should I say, "Magical Mathematician'). He mutters numbers under his breath in the mornings as he skulks about the place. "One thousand one hundred and five....One thousand one hundred and ten...one thousand...." etc.
I do wonder whether he is getting any sleep what with all his obsessive counting of sums, but he seems happy enough. And perhaps his meditate chanting makes him less of a target for the Dumps who is always on the prowl for a good ol' wrestle. I do wonder what his teacher is making of this constant counting, though it would appear to be positive as yesterday he arrived home with a giant certificate proclaiming him 'Star of the Week'. (Though the certificate states that he excelled at 'bench work' in P.E., Egg insists that it was the only certificate left and that really it's for doing such brilliant counting all week and being the bestest Mathematician in the class. He even claims to have been the recipient of a handshake from the Deputy Head for his achievements. As one would expect, he has been justly rewarded with a multitude of hugs and kisses, several Jaffa Cakes, a celebratory chocolate bar and two shiny fifty-pence pieces to deposit in his newly acquired globe piggy bank. Bless).
4. DUMPIE. Well, where do I begin? Do I mention how the other day around 5:30pm I found myself hunched naked and shivering on the bathroom floor with bobby pins and tweezers, trying to get the door unlocked? I had tip-toed upstairs for a quick bath while the boys were watching telly, and Dumpie must have sensed that I was indulging in the first spot of relaxation I'd had all week. Having just slid into the hot, fragrant bubbles, he came charging in and proceeded to throw all his manky toys into my nice bath. Then he picked up his hated plastic potty with bits of dried urine on it, and chucked it into my bath as well. I lost it. Egg heard the ruckus and came upstairs to investigate.
Soon both boys were fighting (a common occurance these days as Dumpie has turned into a mini 'Goliath') and the potty was being hurled about with some vehemence from me in the bath and then back in again. One of these times it skimmed the right side of my temple and I screamed out in pain. I tried to kick both boys out but Dumpie was a touch faster and ran quickly to the door and broke the handle off. I kid you not. He yanked off the ancient white knob and poked through the rest of the handle with his chubby little finger before I sussed what was going on and could grab him. He then turned triumphantly toward me while I registered the muffled 'thunk' of the other handle falling out of reach on the other side of the door, and lifting the knob high in the air, added insult to injury (literally) by lobbing the heavy doorknob into the bath as well.
I was livid. Even moreso when I realised that we were now all trapped in the bathroom. I didn't have my mobile on hand to ring for help, and being that it was merely 5:30pm, at best, the husband might be home by 7:30pm. It's amazing what ingenuity surfaces when one is desperate. It was this frame of mind which saw me master - in the longest half an hour of my life - the handy art of picking a lock. (Of course, should I ever become destitute I can now add 'burglar' to my list of possible career options if necessary.)
At any rate, we got out. I caught a chill and was in a foul mood for the rest of the night, but what do you expect? It wasn't until yesterday that Dumpie outdid himself on the naughty front. In fact it's yesterdays antics which have earned me a few scant minutes of peace sans kiddies today, as I sit here typing (venting?!) as the husband takes it in turn to run the monsters round the neighborhood for a change.
Yesterday we were in a department store. There happened to be a great sale on and I found myself with a huge handful of clothes, queuing outside a crowded fitting room. Dumpie chose this moment to fill his nappy with a giant stinking mess, but having waited so long I thought I could just hurry in and try the stuff on before changing him. No sooner had I hauled the pushchair, clothes and my stinking toddler into the tiny change room, when Dumps crawled under the door and escaped. In my bra and pants I had no choice but to call "Dumpie?" tentatively and hope that he responded. He didn't. After several more (increasingly louder) calls he finally did crawl back in but not without accoutrements. He was bearing four big white plastic air fresheners which he had somehow procured from various other cubicles. (I wondered vaguely whether anyone had noticed a chubby little hand reaching under and snatching it while they changed....but that is neither here nor there)
It wasn't until I was trying to quickly get dressed and shuffle myself out of there that I noticed that my son was again missing. And so was my bra. Jeans on, and completely topless I again called out, "Dumpie?" and of course got no response. After several more attempts I got wise and yelled, "Do you want a sweetie Dumps? Come and get one!". Immediately I heard the faint shuffle of his little slipper shoes before my second-born once again appeared from under the door and stood obediently before me. I noticed that he had procured another two air fresheners. As he added them to the pile in the corner, I realised that despite the sheer number of air fresheners now occupying my cubicle, the scent of nappy rot was overwhelming and likely making everyone else feel ill as well.
I put on my most serious face and bent down to look him square in the face....terrified but yet desperate for the answer.
"Dumpie...do you know where Mummies bra is?"
His eyes glinted and he giggled, shaking his head. "Anywhere!" he declared triumphantly, arms widespread to encompass the entire universe.
Bloody hell. I knew it. "Dumpie! Mummy needs her bra and I need you to go and find it for me NOW?!" I hissed desperately. "If you do I will take you out and buy you the biggest treat EVER. So please go and bring it back from wherever you put it okay?"
Out of greed or sensing my encroaching misery (it WOULD have to be my shitty beige, worn bra I was wearing that day...) he scurried back out under the door and after a long wait of several minutes he returned, holding my bra triumphantly aloft, PAST the huge queue of waiting customers, and screaming out, "Here you go Mama...me got it!"
I was mortified. Utterly. If only it could have ended there. But no.....having rushed so quickly out of the store in an effort to put as much distance between myself and all those who now knew exactly what sorry state my undergarments were in, I failed to notice until we were standing on the street that in all my haste I had left my sunglasses inside. Urghh!!
Now there is dignity and there is common sense. I wasn't about to sacrifice one for the other, so back up in the lift we went (you will be pleased to know that I had at least shuffled my putrid-smelling son into the toilets to change his foul smelling nappy moments on the way out). As I shamefacedly retraced my steps, avoiding the somewhat familiar faces of those still in the fitting room queue, I failed to notice that Dumpie had mysteriously escaped and that I was indeed talking to, and pushing maniacally around, an EMPTY bright red push chair. When at last I miraculously located my beloved aviators hooked onto the string of the bikini top I'd tried on, my joy was short-lived when I realised that I had no idea where or at what point I had lost my son.
Let me cut to the chase. The next ten or so minutes were spent speeding round and round the now fairly busy first floor of the department store, calling, 'Dumpie!....Dumpie!...Dumpie!" and making a spectacle of myself. Some other mothers noticed my panic stricken face, and taking pity, joined in the search. "Dumpie?.....Dumpie?....Dumpie?!" we were all calling, peering up and down aisles, behind mannequins, looking for a naughty little midget...but to no avail.
Just as I started to get that really sick feeling deep in the pit of my stomach (though in retrospect, Dumpie is probably one of the least likely potential kidnapping victims I would imagine) a lady from the far end of the store called out, "Ooh...over here!"
About five of us rushed over (my 'lost child' had become a storewide event) and peered up on our tipee-toes into a tall rack of coats. Clutching onto the silver pole in the middle like a little monkey/pole dancer was my Dumps. That would explain why we missed him and couldn't see his feet. I didn't know whether to throttle him or cover him in kisses. But for the benefit of the assembled mothers I chose the latter, and wearing a slightly crazed grin, plopped him inelegantly into the push chair and barreled us into the lift before anyone knew what had hit them.
And so there you have it. But a little snapshot of the goings-on in my shambolic household these days. Perhaps the time I used to spend blogging is now being spent, hands shakily holding a much-needed cup of Earl Grey and recovering from Dumpie's latest shenanigans. I kid you not. There are many stories I could tell, but it would take a whole books worth to catalogue them all.
So I'll bow out now, and leave you with the so not endearing vision of my youngest last night, scrubbing down our wide-screen telly in the front room with the filthy toilet brush from the first floor bathroom. I scooped him up under one arm, yelled for Egg to come upstairs with us for bath time, and grabbed my mobile with my one free hand.
One can't be too careful these days...