Thursday, 27 October 2011

"Teeth, Tantrums and Roman Soldiers..."

Poor Egg.  His play date has been hijacked by Dumpie.  
So as his school mate and little brother play upstairs, he watches a movie by himself in the front room...having been comforted by a homemade peanut butter cookie, a bit of a cuddle and a knowing sigh from Mama.

We're on half-term holiday at the moment - which would be tolerable were it not for the evil cold that has decimated me for the past ten days.  All I want to do is crawl into bed with a box of tissues, a good ol' cheesy movie from the 80's ('Father of the Bride' will do...) and some extra-strength cold and flu Nurofen.  Sadly, my up-the-duff state renders the last option impossible - but then again three boys under seven currently trashing the bedroom upstairs at the moment renders the first two laughable.

On the domestic front we've had big news this past week.  Egg finally lost his other front tooth (for which i was mightily relieved as it's crooked, hanging stance made him look like he'd just washed up from a farm in Iowa or something...I almost yanked it out myself several times in a stylist intervention.)  Fortunately, his lifelong belief in the tooth fairy was salvaged by the sudden last minute recollection early Saturday morning of yours truly, that Dada and I had forgotten to place the requisite £5 note under his pillow and nick the tooth.  Oops.  So I nudged Dada awake and grabbed onto Egg's leg, tickling and distracting him for the better part of five minutes while the husband did the deed.  Whew.

In other news, besides having belted a fellow student only days before, Dumpie surprised us all by bringing home a coveted bright green 'Achievement Award' signed and presented to him by the head teacher in assembly.  I had to double check the name and make sure he hadn't swiped if off another kid (as he has inexplicably been bringing home his best friend's artwork for several days now) - but was his.  Go figure.

The day before school broke up for half-term holiday, I overheard one of the mothers in the playground saying that she had spent her only day off that week looking for a costume for 'Roman Day' for her son.  I of course had not.  Foolishly I had taken the husband's enthusiasm for 'Roman Day' the previous week to mean that he was not only going to sort Egg out with a costume, but magically morph into a super-stylist designer to boot.  

That would explain why Friday morning saw us snapping at each other while I tried to fashion some red wrapping paper and a bin lid into a formidable shield, and the husband tried to sew a silk red pillowcase onto one of my Bali shirt dresses - the thing hanging limply off his shoulders like a tragic afterthought.  

We got there in the end.  We always do somehow.  And the teacher even congratulated him on his 'inventive' costume, posing for a picture all the while shooting me a look which seemed to convey the fact that she knew that I had not, like my friend, spent a whole day sourcing an authentic gladiator costume.

Fair enough.  I suck at costumes - my fashion know-how does not, unfortunately extend to children's dress up.  (I got through university costume balls by doing what every other girl in residence did - dressing up like some sort of barbie doll, middle class hooker....).

Anyway, I had better go and explore what's happening upstairs.  It wouldn't surprise me if Dumpie had tied up Egg's friend in the bathroom or something and was lording it over him with a sword or a foam dart gun.  It truly wouldn't.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

"Beyonce My 'Pregnancy Twin'...Blech!"

Before I go off on yet another pregnancy-related tangent (sorry - but if you were growing an ever inflating beach ball which not only hindered approximately 78% of your mobility and rendered 92% of your wardrobe a no-go zone - I'm sure you'd forgive), I have to say one little thing about yesterday's post re: Little Man Dumps.

If you saw him go to bed last night, zipped up into a tiny blue fuzzy all-in-one pair of pj's, you'd understand how ridiculous it felt to even harbour thoughts of potential 'thug-dom' for a moment.  Moreover, the feedback has been overwhelmingly in favour of Dumps (no biases there then!) so perhaps I should step back a bit, stop fretting and worry about something far more potentially disturbing:  Beyonce the pregnant superstar.

Okay, here's the problem.  Every time one gets pregnant, there is undoubtedly a slew of pregnant 'celebs' also expecting, and I always joke that you get 'paired up' with whichever celeb happens to be sharing your due date.

By this I mean that said celeb is plastered across all manner of digital media, magazines, telly, and even billboards sometimes (remember Demi Moore and her infamous preggie nudie shot?), regaling the 'miracle' that is their pregnancy.  They are (inevitably) 'glowing', 'blooming', 'radiant', 'excited', and 'blossoming'.

I on the other simply...expanding.  I do not feel any of those things (except maybe the excited bit - can't wait to meet the newest member of our family - poor guy doesn't know what he's in for). Moreover, I do not have a coterie of make-up artists to plump my sallow face into something resembling a glow.

I do not have hair stylists ready to weave luxurious extensions into my hair - thus turning me into a modern day fecund slippers replaced by towering Louboutins, upon which I can perilously wiggle my way from one glamourous restaurant to another.

No.  My reality is more beleaguered housewife circa 1950 (minus the killer retro wardrobe).  I traipse (who am I kidding...more like trudge) through various supermarkets on a daily basis, arms weighed down with over-priced produce which will get turned into meals which the monsters will later refuse to even try.

I've no personal chef to ensure I'm getting a healthy balanced diet during pregnancy - no one monitoring my sometimes obscene intake of jaffa cakes, diet pepsi and sour skittles.  Just little ol' me staring daily down the barrel of an endless to-do list which mocks me at every turn, ensuring my days are spent in the most pointless, meaningless way possible...with very little that is tangible to show for it.

Meanwhile Queen Beyonce is papped in various cities around the world, strutting her long brown legs in obscene mini skirts which only she and Naomi Campbell can get away with - due to the nature of their limbs ('exotic' versus 'skanky').  Her 'bump' is draped in finest designer wear, with just enough give to prove she's not doing the 'buy a baby by surrogate' trick (thereby ensuring a lifelong enjoyment of trampolining and enjoyable intercourse with no vaginal reconstructive surgeon waving scary implements in ones nether regions...but i digress).

Despite going down mother nature's route, there is absolutely no sneaky peeking out of blubbery tum for way.

On top of it all, she is parading around with what I like to call 'F.T.M.S.' (First Time Mummy Syndrome).  Gauging by the unconcealed delight she exudes at having proven fertile enough to begin personally populating the Mega-Jay-Z-Beyonce Empire, one would think she and her mega-mogul hubby had just invented the act of procreation due to their superstar genes exploding in a cacophany of life-giving wonder.

And the worst of it is that she is due in February as well.  So that means that for the next 3.5 months I have no choice but to compare myself with a young, fabulously rich, super-fit incarnation of Tina Turner (let's call it what it is), and come up unfavourable each and every time (sigh).

Me?  Bitter?  Huh.

But I'll tell you what: I bet at night, when she's holed up in some posh hotel and she strips off the sequins, the wigs, the drag queen make-up and rips off the bustier...she's just a bloated, sweat pant suited, matted (real) haired, varicose veined lass...tucking into an heaving room service plate of nachos (extra cheese) and root beer floats.

I guess it could be worse.  It could be bloody Gywneth-the-Princess-of-Goop and her mawkish macrobiotic twig limbs mocking me from the front cover of Heat Magazine each week...

Monday, 17 October 2011

"Dumpie the Destroyer..."

It was really only a matter of time...the husband knew it.  I knew it.

Picking up Dumpie from school today (overlooking the fact that he was the second last child of thirty to be collected - damn that huge queue at the supermarket and the idiot woman in front of me who kept dropping her fresh produce on the floor and demanding new items) I knew something was wrong the moment I saw the teachers face.

"I'm afraid we had an 'incident' today" she told me, her face scrunched up and so unlike her usual happy demeanor.

I knew it was one of two things:  either Dumpie had wet himself (or worse, done a numero deux in his school issue trousers) OR he'd been involved in a punch up of sorts.

A year ago in India, at only age three, we watched some kid who foolishly picked on Egg, be bombarded by a charging Dumps - racing across the sand and shoving the older child with the words, "You leave my 'brudder' alone!"

We were amazed.  Not only at his courage but at his innate protectiveness of his older brother.

Moreover, a few weeks ago, on the way home from his third day of school, Dumps broke some news to me.

"Mama, I have good news and bad news to tell you...which one do you want first?" the cheeky chappie enquired.

"Uh...the good news" I said.

"Well, the good news is that the teacher gave me a sticker for good behaviour."

"Cool" I said.  "Where is it?"

He looked disdainful.  "I don't like stickers.  They're stupid.  I threw it away."

"Oh" I said.  "Okaaaay, so what's the bad news Dumps?" I asked, somewhat tentatively.

At this he looked up sadly with his big brown eyes.  "Two boys tied me up with skipping rope and pulled my hair".

I stopped in my tracks.  Nothing like a child being bullied to get ones hackles up.  "That's terrible!  Did you tell the teacher?" I asked.

"No."  He paused briefly.  "I punched him in the face."

"Um...okaaaay...then what happened?" a sickening feeling spreading throughout my gut.

"The boy fell down," Dumpie said matter-of-factly.

"Then what happened?"

"Well, he got up and said 'Is that all you got?'"

I was almost afraid to ask, but ask I did.  "So then what happened?"

"I told him that I'd punch him again if he didn't leave me alone."

What to say?.  On one hand I was kind of proud and relieved that my little man could take care of himself in the playground (which let's face it, will no doubt translate later into real life).  But on the other hand, it was only his third day of school...ever...and well....ummm...

Should I have been more concerned?

Turns out yes.  Yes I should have.

For today, his teacher told me that the 'incident' in question involved another classmate giving Dumpie's best friend a hard time.  Apparently Dumpie responded by issuing the offender with a brusque hand slap to the face.

For this (I am told) he was taken to the teacher's staffroom and made to sit cross-legged in a corner for five minutes.
(To hear Dumpie tell it, he was granted a privilege of sorts, and everyone was very nice to him in there as he amused himself by counting until his teacher came to collect him.)

What's the moral of the story?  I'm not sure.  But I am left somewhat bewildered.  Is my youngest son a hero of sorts?  A miniature Robin Hood defending the rights of those unwilling or unable to stick up for themselves?

Or am I raising a little thug?