Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Fashioning the 'Birthday Breakfast Table' for Dumps Thursday night now feels like a distant memory!
It's nearing midnight and I sit here tentatively typing on my laptop in bed - the baby breathing heavily beside me and the husband on the other side of him also having a troubled sleep.

I am petrified that I have ahead of me a repeat of what occurred last night.  I'm still in shock, still certainly traumatised, and doubtless still reek of the carnage of the past twenty-four hours.  Literally.

But let me back up a notch.  Last I wrote I was frantically preparing for Dumpie's 6th Birthday Party.  As it turned out, I pulled it off - more or less - but just barely (and certainly wouldn't have without the help of my sister 'Auntie Kenz' and her lovely ex-flatmate who came over to help fashion a riot of six little boys into some semblance of a party).

Suffice it to say it was HARDCORE though I did learn a few things about giving a birthday party for little boys which I thought might be helpful in case anyone is interested:

1.  DO NOT host the party in your home if it is a domicile you intend to keep living in after the party (however if moving vans are already parked in the drive and it's your last night before moving into new digs - then go for it - why not!)

2.  DO NOT give water guns as a party favour in the goody bags.

3.  DO NOT start the party serving up all manner of chocolates, treats and sweets on the heavily laden birthday table (ditto filling the 'pass the parcel' game with layers of cadbury's chocolate buttons)

4.  DO NOT allow the children to leave their seats using whatever means necessary during meal and snack time, thereby lessening the likelihood of finding remnants of popcorn, red velvet cake and apple juice smeared in carpets, mirrors and under sofas for days to come.

5.  DO NOT have the party last for more than an hour and a half.  Two and a half hours is just upping the likelihood of you offing yourself after the last messy little guest leaves.


6.  DO NOT have boys.

At any rate, I've made it through the birthday circuit for another year and Thursday night is but a hellish memory (I was up till 3am fashioning cupcakes and 'letter biscuits') now superseded by what occurred LAST night (sigh).
Thirty-Six (count 'em) Homemade White Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes 
I had just turned the lights out and was desperate to pass out given that i'd had but three hours sleep on Thursday night, and same again on Friday night given that the baby had spent from the hours of 2am until 7am projectile vomiting all over himself, me and the bed due to some sort of sudden viral onset.  Nightmare.

Having been relatively okay the rest of the weekend, I wasn't prepared for the sudden burst of what appeared to be enough pancake batter to feed a family of six issue forth from the baby last night.  I lost it.  I wanted to cry.  I cried out to the husband but he wasn't there.  He had alreadybolted to the toilet, dispensing with what sounded like an entire keg of beer being emptied into the bowl with great force.

I started to laugh manically (this is what happens when confronted with double pukage on 'no-hours-sleep' two out of three nights in a row.

Mopping the sick off myself, the baby and our bed proved a hateful task - almost resulting in a sympathetic puke by yours truly, and by that time the husband was back in bed, moaning with nausea and groaning in agony.

Before I could jump in the shower and clean myself off, I heard a great wail from downstairs, which had gone stereo by the time I finally raced into the boys bedroom to find Egg sat upright in his top bunk, projectile vomiting down through the ladder onto a horrified Dumpie who had been awoken by the heavy stream of puke raining down on his hair, face and whole person.

I started laughing like a maniac again.  How could I not?  It was utterly absurd.  The thought that I was stuck in house with everyone compulsively vomiting at the same time was just too much to mentally digest.

I didn't even know who to help first.  I decided that Egg still had some way to go in the vomiting olympics so I grabbed Dumpie out of bed and attempted to calm and change him.  He was of course by this point hysterical and now fully awake - the horror of what had happened hitting him with each new discovery of vomit on his body.  Poor guy.  j

Anyway I shan't bore you with the details.  I'm sure you can imagine how the night went, how I went, how this house currently smells (despite a whole day spent scrubbing, laundering and de-chunking...) and what my current mental state is.

Obviously the husband and children did not - could not - go to work or school today, so I played day nurse and basically devoted myself to the equivalent of cleaning the loos at Glastonbury.  All day.

I cannot say why I am the only one who didn't succumb to this nasty onslaught.

Oh wait a minute - yes I can.  Somebody has to clean up the mess.
The Birthday Boy and the 'Birthday Brudder' pre-pukage onslaught

Thursday, 15 November 2012

"Oooh...I'm Wicked And I'm Laaaaaazy" - David Byrne (...and 'The Husband')

*Notice how the L.W.M. (lazy wife and mother) blends into her natural habitat :)
I just looked down at my wrist to see what time it is and discovered that today, for some inexplicable reason I'm wearing two watches.

(True...it's better than wearing two bra's at the same time - though come to think of it, there is much to be said for a firm bust line for a woman of my advancing age.)

Perhaps I'm subconsciously trying to eek out more time during the day so as to make even a tiny dent in the never ending list of daily errands I have breathing down my neck.

Or maybe I'm just so bone tired and at the end of my rope so as to not even be aware of such things anymore.

Perhaps by wearing two watches my subconscious is trying to (albeit stupidly and pointlessly...mostly the former) trying to give me twice as long today, to get everything done that I need ready by tomorrow - Dumpie's 6th birthday.

For tomorrow around 3:30pm, a gaggle of five and six year old little boys are going to descend upon our house for a birthday party.  Between now and then I have to not only bake thirty cupcakes to bring into Dumpie's class tomorrow morning, but wrap all the presents, clean the house, prepare party games and goody bags, blow up a ton of balloons, decorate the house, do the laundry, prepare a big meal in advance for the half dozen or so guests descending tomorrow night for 'Dumpie's/Dada's Traditional Shared Birthday Dinner Party', AND summon enough energy to conjure up the now traditional 'birthday breakfast table'.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Which might explain why I jumped down the husbands throat this morning when he had the audacity to look up calmly from his breakfast porridge and declare that he'd come to the conclusion that he and I are both (wait for it)...LAZY.

I suppose he may have a point in one respect.  If I hadn't been feeling so 'lazy' this morning I believe there is a very good chance that one of us - or more likely the both of us - would have ended up in A&E.

As it was, I was too tired and disheartened to do more than admonish him for this totally untrue and demoralising statement.  Worst of all, I think he truly believes it.

There is nothing for it but for a fairy to come down right now and do a 'Freaky Friday' on us.

I would love nothing more than to suddenly blink my eyes and find myself sitting in some boring meeting right now, dealing with difficult employees and despairing of the work day ahead of me.

And the husband could:

a) change the dirty nappy the baby has festering at the moment
b) clean for the next four hours alongside the cleaner who has just arrived
c) do the laundry
d) race on foot to the mall half an hour away with cranky/bored/hungry/screaming baby to do last minute grocery/party shopping
e) come home and bake thirty cupcakes, a birthday cake, homemade birthday biscuits, a giant lasagna for tomorrow, and sort out dinner for tonight
f) wrap a dozen presents
g) blow up thirty odd balloons
h) make up the goody bags
i) fetch the children from school
j) clean up the boys bedroom and put away the mountain of clean clothes rising like Vesuvius in the middle of their carpet
k) etc...etc...etc.

For you see, at some point today the husband will get to leave the office and wander off somewhere in Soho to clear his head and get some lunch. And after work, he's meeting a friend for a drink.  Or two.

Not me.  Even as I type this, it's over the prostrate body of a nursing baby on my lap.  And make no mistake: alongside all the tasks listed above, I will be nursing, bathing, feeding, playing with and generally keeping out of harms way the aforementioned baby.  While I carry out all these tasks a chubby nine month old infant will either be on my lap, trying to climb my leg, or hanging off one or both nipples.

With enough coffee and a whole lot of determination I could probably get through the next 48 hours with my sanity intact.  But with the added handicap of a 9 month old joined-at-the-hip baby (who, I might add, has just entered that period of 'making strange' - meaning I can't even venture out of his sight or he'll go mental) I feel like a contestant on one of those crazy Japanese game shows...for which there's not even a decent prize if you win!

Or maybe I'm just lazy :)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

"Come On...Hook A Brother Up!"

Nine months old and proud (yes, I am aware he looks like a toddler)
It's nice when you're reminded periodically throughout your marriage, exactly why you chose the partner you did.  Last night was one such time.

Already incredibly good natured about the twelve odd pound Squit who has been bunking down in the marital bed for nine months now (gulp), I am amazed that the husband can still keep a sense of humour when all about him, others are losing theirs (ahem...).

With all the chubby cuteness, precocious comedy value and squidgy fat cheeks to pinch (all the live long day) it is easy to forget that having a(nother) baby means that you willingly forego uninterrupted, delicious sleep for the foreseeable.  And this can make you cranky.  Especially in the middle of the night when said twelve pound squit is slapping you upside the head (why do all my baby boys do this??) demanding to be put back to sleep...courtesy of le nipple.

So, last night I just ignored the plaintive whining, covered my exposed facial parts with a forearm and tried to fall back asleep.  The Squit wasn't having it.  Nor was the husband.

"Come on...hook a brother up," the husband muttered.

I ignored this.

The husband repeated himself, this time with a plaintive tone creeping into his voice.

"Come on...hook a brother up!" 

It was all I could do not to snort out loud, but being bloody exhausted and half asleep, all I could manage at the time was a responding snuffle as I pulled the Squit close and made good on the request.

This morning I reminded the husband what he had said, and he barely remembered it - claiming he had probably been dreaming.

I daresay a new family catchphrase has been born.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

"Email Egg"

Egg hard at 'work' in the dining room :)

The other day an email arrived in my inbox from my eldest son Egg, who was sequestered away in the dining room on his computer.  I thought he had been doing his homework but clearly he was dealing with more important matters:  his 'Christmas Wish List'.

Copy and pasted at the top of his email was this picture:

...and the following message:

dear mama and dada this is my favorite toy can we dicuss this one together.


Bless.  It made me laugh out loud and I immediately forwarded it to my family for their amusement.  (Particularly endearing was the hopeful exclamation mark after his name.  A nice touch.)

Shortly after, Egg mooched on into the kitchen and sidled up to where I was still tapping away on my laptop, keeping one eye on the baby who was busy practising his Houdini skills by repeatedly wriggling and writhing his way out of the leather Abercrombie restraints I'd fashioned around his high chair.

"Umm Mama...did you get my email?" he enquired with a huge grin.

"Yes Egg.  It was very sweet.  I promise to think about it."

He yelped with glee then ran out of the kitchen without a backward glance.

Sometime thereafter I received another email from him, this one with a plethora of attachments.  Apparently he had been very busy online shopping and narrowed his wish list down to a manageable forty six attachments.  

Last night however I received this latest.  Best one yet if you ask me.  (Though clearly taking after his father he appears to have dispensed with any opening formalities):

this is actully what i want for christmas. TIP:you can get it from toys- r -us. 
i like it becuase it has 6 legs can shoot 3 different types of amo and can do a full 360 degree turn.


How very thoughtful of him to have provided this 'tip', included the price, and of course explained exactly why the best part of seventy quid should be dispensed with in these recessionary times for an object which will undoubtedly join all of the other broken remote-controlled has-beens in the corner of his bedroom.  

I have yet to fashion a response to Egg, but secretly am rather impressed with his computer skills.  Nice move blanking out the background.  I'm not even sure I know how to do that.  When I brought this up to the husband in bed last night, a proud smile danced across his face and you could tell he was secretly gloating that his amazing computer wizardry skills have traveled down the gene pool into our eldest.  I just better hope that he doesn't one day get hold of one of my credit cards and figure out the missing link between desire and wish fulfilment by way of Mastercard (sigh).

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

"Fergie Eat Your Heart Out"

Many moons ago, long before she became an Oprah Winfrey regular, the former Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was involved in a toe-sucking scandal which decorated the broadsheets for eons.

At the time, the published photos revealed a somewhat ecstatic young woman getting a now infamous 'Toe Job'.

Whatever.  I think the whole thing was overblown - and I speak with some authority given that I receive these on a daily basis thanks to my chubby baby.
"I'm going in..."
They're no big deal really.  Of course I can't speak for the erotic quality of your garden variety 'Toe Job', since in my case they are being administered by a (albeit enthusiastic) baby as opposed to say, a wealthy Euro playboy - perhaps it's not comparable?
"...Got it!"
In the same way that nursing is not the least bit erotic (sorry boys but it's not - having a voracious infant suckle greedily and try and pull out the last non-existent dredges of milk from your oh-so-tender-and-overused nipple whilst clamping onto your tender breast with tiny but surprisingly strong little fingers in need of yet another nail clipping) so is having yet another 'toe job' whilst trying to exercise - terribly annoying.
That's the problem you see.  In trying to regain some semblance of my old body, I've come to the realisation that I must:

a) exercise EVERY day
b) lay off the refrigerated KitKats (surprisingly effective meal replacements...unless one overindulges)
c) continue nursing for the foreseeable (it burns an extra 500 calories a day...so...um...yeah)

Anyway, the baby does not like me exercising.  Or maybe he does.  After all he delights in climbing on my poor tummy while I try to do already excruciating sit-ups using my deeply buried abs.  And try doing a weighted side leg lift with a grinning extra 12 kilo's plopped lazily on your ankle.  Not good.

But try I must.  And persist I do.  And I suppose that's why the chubby baby can't help sucking my toes.  When I have them painted the most delicious (limited edition OPI pink) candy colour - how can he not pop a toe in his mouth on the odd chance it tastes of cotton candy (it doesn't).

So I continue to persevere...lifting, pulsing, bending and stretching...trying to keep my toes out of harms way.  Sometimes I succeed sometimes I don't.

But as a result the chubby baby and I are getting that little bit too intimate with each other and I'm gong to have to draw the line somewhere.

Pretty soon this toe and nipple smorgasbord is putting up its shutters and closing for good.  Watch this space.

"Beware The Burga-lers"

I can't decide whether I'm just one of those supremely lucky individuals or supremely stupid (or more likely - a little of both.)

It's either that or by some great twist of fate, I happen to live in one of the safest neighbourhoods in all of London (a touch ironic given we were a stones throw from those horrible riots last year - but a fair point nonetheless).

You see yesterday, through some incredibly massive oversight (though I would swear to the contrary - and am continuing to do so) I must have left our door unlocked when I hustled my three little boys out into the lacklustre Sunday afternoon drizzle to head to our local Pizza Express for a late lunch.

The husband was away on some punishing six hour cycle race (he's clearly insane) and I had promised to take the boys out for lunch as a treat.  Plus, after a whole morning spent inside I knew we'd be in danger of heading into tantrum territory and a potential freak out (and that's just me).  So off we went.

The strange thing is that I vividly recall locking the door and staring at said locked door, given that Dumpie and I were engaged in a battle of wills over the fact that he refused to put his little rain jacket on and I threatened to go back inside and cancel the whole excursion until he relented.

Anyway, a few hours later, after a long and leisurely lunch (where the most exciting thing to happen was a free piece of fudge cake being proffered to Egg by our overly flirtatious Italian waiter), we headed home the long way, stopping en route for groceries and general browsing.

Upon arriving home I was excited to see that the husband had arrived back safe and sound, as our front door was wide open.

Sticking my head in to surprise him I found the entrance empty and no sign of a cycle.  Strange.

Then it hit me.  My husband was NOT home...so why was our door wide open?!

So much for being the calm cool voice of reason in a crisis.  I freaked out, pulled the pushchair back outside into the rain and demanded the boys stay outside while I checked things out.

"Mama is there a 'burga-ler' inside?!" Dumpie asked terrified  ('Burga-lers' are his biggest fear these days.  Unlucky.)

"Umm...I'm not sure Sweetpea" I hesitated, a sick look of panic crossing my face.  "If you guys hear me scream just yell for help okay?" I instructed (in hindsight perhaps not the wisest thing to utter)

With that I quietly began my ascent upstairs, waiting for some 'hoodie' to jump out brandishing a knife - my laptop in one arm and the husbands Rolex in another.

Speaking of the husband, I thought it only fair to alert him to the fact that his wife might soon be potentially raped and murdered and that he may be looking at single parenthood if things didn't pan out well, so dialed his mobile and scared the heck out of him as the line inexplicably went dead mid-conversation.  Ooops.

All the while, as I flung closet doors open, slid open our balcony door, peeked into showers and behind doors with baited breath, I could hear the hysterical cacophony of Dumpie and Egg wailing and sobbing in panic downstairs. Screaming my name, they were getting increasingly wound, not hearing any response to their wails, and as I was too busy trying to stealth my way around our home, I couldn't exactly answer back so who could blame them for imagining me dead upstairs in a pool of my own blood?

Long story short, no knife wielding 'hoodie' was unearthed, no laptops were harmed or stolen in the telling of this story, and despite living in Central London, it would appear that in some areas at least, it is absolutely A-Okay to leave ones door open for several hours and return to find ones valuables untouched.

Go figure.

Postscript:  When I later relayed the story to my father he didn't sound as perplexed as I imagined he would.

"Remember the time you took Eggie to school when I was visiting and must have thought you locked the front door but didn't and I found Dumpie on his scooter on the sidewalk outside?"


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

"Kamper Van With A 'K'..."

Yep...this...um...baby is ours (gulp)
Well the husbands really gone and done it now.  Catapulting us straight into the realm of (albeit fictional) Chevy Chase and his 'Wally Wagon', he's only gone and purchased an 80's VW Campervan with retro racer stripes and - you guessed it - the word 'Kamper' scrawled jauntily across the side.  Nice.

Now I realise that there are many women out there probably thinking 'Right On!" and who might envy me my impulsive husband and his solo purchase.  You know...the 'open road' and all that.  And I understand, I really do.  Many many moons ago, the husband and I happily careened round the Continent in a bright yellow VW Camper we nicknamed 'Mellow Yellow'.  But that was
'BK' (before kids) and when I possessed the kind of youthful bounce-back looks which made showers/makeup/ mirrors merely optional.

In those days I could crash out after wandering the streets of Amsterdam and awake the next morning with unbrushed hair, pop a breath mint and slip on a pair of jeans and be pretty much good to go - looking none the worse really. These days however, the thought of being trapped in a vehicle with four 'fragrant' males, no toilet, (one of whom soils himself hourly), and no chance of a lie-in, fills me with dread.

Nonetheless a few weekends ago we convinced some friends to come and join us on a 'last of the season' (ie. 'before it gets too bloody freezing so much so that you'll want to die') camping trip.

Dare I say it?  It was fun.  A lot of fun.  The baby stayed in his brown Gap fuzzy bear outfit pretty much the whole time, crawling around like he was part of the habitat.
Anyone seen the little brown bear indigenous to these parts?
Egg and Dumpie kept jumping into the creek, soaking themselves on an hourly basis, and showing off in front of the little girls who made up the rest of the eight strong kiddie crew (including one aforementioned little baby brown bear).
Our Merry Crew of Campsters In the Green Fields of Grinstead 
But the real fun was to be had round the ever constant campfire and the many bottles of warming Red wine we'd had the good sense to pack amongst the marshmallows and baked potatoes.

Now I know how 'Wino's' got their moniker.  Even the cold shivery nights ain't so bad when you've got enough booze blundering through your veins.

So long as one of you stays sober enough to remember to whack the passed out other one in the head upon crawling into bed and discovering that someone (ahem) has inadvertently left the gas stove a-blazin' (in, I imagine, a well-intentioned desire to heat the bloody van up) and is gearing the family up for a Sylvia Plath moment in the wee hours...

But I stand (somewhat) corrected.  The van isn't all bad.  It is kind of amusing...so long as no one I know ever sees me riding in it through London, in a totally non-ironic way.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

"Handy Uses For An Abercrombie Belt (Or Fifty Shades of Wired)"

Babies and Coffee Grinders Don't Mix?! (ahem)
In much the same manner as one would depict a sudden 'Eureka' moment hitting - say a village idiot - did it dawn on me mid-afternoon yesterday, that the reason my eight month old baby boy won't nap during the day is entirely down to me.  (Or rather, down to my coffee
connoisseur of a husband who recently decided to gift me with my own amazing espresso maker AND cafe grade home grinder. And a kilo bag of espresso coffee beans.)

How could I have been so stupid you ask?  Beats me.  All I know is that it has taken this long for me to realise that being wired and nursing don't exactly go hand in hand (sigh).  More's the pity.  (And here I thought I was doing so well with this whole 'new mother' thing.  I guess a fair amount of caffeine administered in such a way as to give the fastest, hardest, most potent hit throughout the day is responsible for my amazing tirelessness and the newly pronounced bounce in my step.  Ah well.)

As for the baby (who for some inexplicable reason I am calling 'Boo' these days), I don't know whether it's the caffeine or merely the propensity for a heavy metal vocalist career if he wants it - but he's discovered his voice these past few weeks and delights in scream-yelling his way through the day...a huge grin plastered across his face.

Of course, being alone just the two of us, I do get lonely and yearn for someone to converse with, so have now taken to 'scream-yelling' back at him, parrot fashion, with a huge matching stupid grin on my face.  (I realise I'm not doing much to dispel the village idiot likeness here.)

It's a pleasant enough way to pass the time I suppose, and sure beats dealing with the realisation that the bulk of my life is currently being spent in the kitchen:  preparing, feeding, wiping, cleaning, cajoling and mopping.  (And you can add human drain to that - given that our sink carburator  has recently packed up and until it gets replaced I have to manually drain a giant saucepan of water under the sink into the nearest toilet bowl. This needs to happen on average, oh, about three times an hour.)

So, I'm not so thrilled with things at the moment.  And I'll tell you what else I'm not thrilled about.  The brand spanking new, rather expensive high chair I decided to get for the baby.  It's turned into a death trap.  If only I could go back to the moment of purchase when the gormless young Asian clerk sold the baby set to me.

Me:  Do I need a harness with this?  Won't the baby be able to climb out?

Him:  How old is your child?

Me:  Eight months

Him: (smiling patronisingly) No.  You're good.  You won't have to worry about that until he's around a year old.

Me:  Are you sure??

Him:  Yeah.  Absolutely.

Me:  (dubiously) Fine.  Here's my creditcard.

And so within the first week of having it the baby learned how to use the wooden foot bar to hoist himself up and out of the chair.

So the husband lowered the bar.

The baby quickly figured out how to stand on his tippie toes and hoist himself out of the chair.

The husband lowered it further still, completely out of reach.

The baby learned how to cram one chubby little leg back up through the opening and thereby gain  necessary leverage needed to - you guessed it - hoist his entire frame once again, out of the chair.
I silently cursed the clerk.  Especially I went back to the store to bawl him out.

Me:  I need that harness after all.

Him:  (Incredulous) You do?

Me:  (Holier-than-thou) Yes I do.

Him:  (looking up with a grimace)  Sorry.  We're out of stock. Indefinitely.

Me:  (Exiting the store with a giant 'Harummph' and trying my best to flounce out in my  haughtiest manner, marred somewhat by my huge fat baby in sling clawing my face, yanking my hair and 'scream-yelling'.)

And so I've solved the problem temporarily by using my expensive dark brown leather Abercrombie belt to wince him in.
The belt is getting trashed, and I'm still no further to locating a harness, but at least he stays in.  When I remember to tie him in.  When I don't, this is what happens:  I'm turned round at the sink doing the dishes and glance over my shoulder to see this (sigh).

You can just see the forsaken highchair left out of shot
I give up.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

"Gonna Party...Like It's Me Birfday" (innit)

The top ten reasons why it would appear to be my birthday today:

1.  Brekkie in bed (check)
2.  Two kisses planted on my cheek in the early hours by two little monsters whispering 'Happy Birthday Mama' (check)
3.  The baby whisked off downstairs by the husband whilst i get to sleep in awhile (check)
4.  Not one but two 'Baileys-dosed' cappuccino's hand-delivered to my bedside table by a grinning Dumpie (check)
5.  Giant birthday tray full of pressies, cards, and treats brought up to bedroom amidst singing and lit candles (in this case votive tea lights - the hubby couldn't find the others!  but somehow even better for their originality) and including my all-time favourite breakfast treat:  a freshly baked 'Palmier' from Paul's Patisserie (check)
6.  everyone's being REALLY nice to me :)
7.  the rustling downstairs of several hands attempting to fashion a birthday cake from scratch (I could have chucked a boxed Duncan Hines their way but where's the fun in that?!)
8.  a multitude of texts, emails, calls whizzing my way to say, essentially, "Hey, you're alright.  Right on for making it through to another year." (check)
9.  My mum ringing first thing to sing happy birthday to me over the phone...as she has done every year since i can remember....despite it being the middle of the night for her.  BLESS xx
10.  I'm wearing a new pair of knickers (another family birthday tradition.  don't ask.)

So on that note I'm off to indulge in a post-brekkie bath (i know!) assuming of course I can manage to keep it a W.F. ('winky-free') one and beg the boys not to strip off and clamber into the hot soapy suds with me (I'm giving it 50/50 odds).

Then, I'm going to contemplate my third cappuccino of the day whilst getting dressed in my new gear, wearing my new cosmetics, smelling of new scents, and revelling in the fact that at long last i'm back to wearing my old, PRE-BABY sized clothes.  Wahey!

If that's not a reason to celebrate I don't know what is.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

"Today Was A Two-Bra Day"

Before you assume that I'm referring to a pair of heaving, milk-laden breasts which needed to be hoisted into a double bra scenario in order to be suitably contained...rest easy, I'm not.

No, I mean it was literally a 'double bra day' for me today.

As in, when I begged/pleaded/cajoled Egg and Dumpie into playing with their almost 8 month old baby brother after school this afternoon so I could jump into a quick bath and soothing my aching, spasmodic back, I found that I was wearing not one but two bras.  Seriously.

First I thought I was just tired (i was) and couldn't undo the straps properly (I couldn't).  Then I realised that there were 8 straps and two different sets of hooks and...oh nevermind, I'm sure you get the picture.

That's when I realised how I shouldn't beat myself up over all my current shortcomings (failure to blog regularly at the moment being up there) because if I'm not even capable of getting dressed properly - and clearly I'm not - then surely I have bigger problems than I initially assumed.

Today I literally found myself unable at one point to pick up 'the fat baby' (as he is lovingly and jokingly sometimes called by us lot these days) as my back spasmed into an internal shape so horrific I cried out in pain and dropped him unceremoniously on the floor whilst clutching my back like a tragic pensioner.

So what did I do?  I let the baby play with my treasured glass mirrored Moroccan candle holders - gleefully smashing them from a great height onto the (thankfully carpeted) floor while I looked on with a pained (literally) smile and wondered what drugs I might have to hand to alleviate the agony.

In the end I wasn't successful on that front, but I did manage to distract myself with a long call to my creditcard customer service line where I was told that although I have proof of fraudulent activity on my account I'll have to call back in the morning because apparently fraud which is reported after 5pm doesn't warrant immediate activity.

So I have that to look forward to tomorrow.  Oh, and the horror of discovering that I'm doing the school run knicker-less perhaps?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

"Will The Mother of the Filthy Baby Please Stand Up?"

7 months old and already a curtain twitcher!
This morning at the pharmacy as I mentally wrestled over the difference between two cans of dry shampoo (one of which promised extra root volume in small letters, and the other in large letters - but costing 50p more?!) I was jolted out of my reverie by a kindly older black woman.

"Aw, just look at your baby...that's how babies should look!"

I wondered idly whether she might be referring to Bang-Bang's green eyes, or his cute smile or even his wacky wavy hair.  But no such luck.

She continued, "Never mind all them babies that look so perfect...what you want is a baby with  big ol' cheeks and enjoying his food!"

I sighed, and peeked over into my Phil & Ted's to confirm that yes, my baby was absolutely filthy - as was his pushchair.  The remains of a newly smuggled back from Canada, super gooey, Arrowroot biscuit were covering Bang-Bang's cheeks, hands, blanket and pushchair in general.

I smiled graciously (I am, by the way, terribly good at that) and said, "Yes, well...he loves to eat.  So..."

I got the heck out of there, wondering vaguely whether it would be pushing it to do the school run later without changing or bathing him, or whether I even cared.  I decided I didn't.

You see, I have bigger things on my mind.  One of which is my utter inability to "catch up to my life" since having a baby.

A week ago we got back from a summer spent in Toronto, Canada visiting family on our (up until now) annual visit back.  It was exhausting, but nice.

You might ask how I never managed to write more than one measly blog post the whole time I was there, but I assure you, it just didn't (and couldn't!) happen.  There was ALWAYS something that needed doing, someone who needed visiting, an email that needed to be written, a bill that needed to be paid, a baby that needed to be fed/bathed/cared for.

And so it is with some trepidation (and a lot of shamefacedness) that I humbly ask you, my blog readers (assuming there are any of you left?!), whether you will forgive this gigantic lapse, and allow me the pleasure of continuing to vent/complain/share/generally moan about whatever it is I am want to go on about, and pretend like I haven't just been a stereotypical 'new mum' - totally obsessed with new motherhood third time around, and things like the bowel movements and chubby toes of a newly hatched little Squit.

In the coming days I will attempt to bring you up to speed on life as I (now) know it, as well as a few of the more torturous/humorous tidbits from our summer abroad.  And yes, they probably paint me in a bad light.  But I'm okay with that.

But now I have to decide whether to:
a) go and see whether Egg is still watching the baby or has lost interest and now watching Scooby-Doo
b) unpack, sort and fold the clothes from our trip, languishing for over a week now in our guest bedroom
c) make my 3rd cappuccino of the day on our new, recently purchased 'old school' chrome espresso maker (bliss)


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

"Serving Hungry Customers For Over Eight Years..."

Grandpa and the Chubby Chicken watching Olympics on telly
Well we made it.  And I have to start with a very public apology to the monsters who, despite every indication that things would go pear-shaped en route the 747 to Toronto, proved me wrong (for once!) and were absolute angels during the journey.

There was no vomiting, no wrestling matches between aisles, no tantrums and no public humiliation (unless you count the very loud and very candid announcement to all passengers waiting to disembark, when Egg declared in response to a passenger's admiration to my good self for bravery in flying solo with three children, "My Mum told Grandpa that as soon as she gets home she's going to go lock herself in a room and drink a whole bottle of wine!"  Gulp.)

It's been a big adjustment departing Britain's soggy shores for the sunbaked streets of Toronto.  Despite boiling hot weather I'm finding it a daily struggle to wrestle Egg out of his jeans and hoodies and make him put on shorts and a t-shirt.  He's just not having it (poor boy is weather-scarred).

Grandpa is once again playing host to our crew, and has generously looked the other way on several occasions, pretending not to notice blueberry stains on the pristine white carpet, biscuit crumbs ground into his computer keyboard, the sliced wires on his skype headphones, and the bathroom flooding which occurred three nights ago after the boys acted out a rather protracted war game involving rubber ducks and water shooters (sigh).

Yesterday Grandpa was left in sole charge of the monsters for a few hours, and I returned to find him shell-shocked and expressing deep admiration for me and 'how i do it' with three boys.  (I didn't think it a good time to fess up to a weekend martini habit or the genius of earphones and Radio 6 when all is exploding around me...let him think i'm Supermum.)

Sharing a bed with the baby continues to leave me bleary-eyed and exhausted the next day.  It's like bedding down with an insatiable and relentless lover night after night, who also happens to be a heroin addict and is prone to vomiting all over your chest afterwards.  Nice.  Nights consist of proffering myself up to the hungry munchkin whilst cricking my back into technically impossible shapes in the hopes that I don't have to full wake up and feed him from a proper armchair like a normal mother.

At any rate, I shouldn't complain.  It's lovely to have a change of scene, and my MacLaren and I have already traversed the streets downtown several times, taking in the sights and revelling in the novelty of a properly hot summer.  Bizarre!

If I dress him up cute enough, Grandma is willing to babysit whenever...result!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

"The Skies Are Calling...And I'm A-Quaking"

Baby Bang-Bang at 24 weeks 

There is nothing like the raw terror of contemplating a transatlantic journey through the skies in a few days hence, as lone accompanying parent of three boys (one of whom is nearly a six month old), to get me up and blogging again.

I know I've been lame...mega-lame in fact.  These past few months have flown by in a flurry of childcare, domestic drudgery and the odd bottle of wine while crashed in front of lame tv - or more often than not passed out ridiculously early in bed, sighing ecstatically as my head made contact with the pillow.

But now the school year has ended, the angelic 'Auntie Ba' has departed from these shores, and it's time once again to journey to the homeland of our forefathers ('Oh Canada') and pay our annual visit to friends and relatives alike.

And I'm looking forward to the upcoming journey later this week like a hole in the head.  No, make that a root canal without anethsesia...in India.  (I actually did that one, many years ago, so I know what I'm talking about.)

If I can get past the likelihood that definitely one - but more likely all three - will projectile vomit en route, have tantrums, get themselves locked in a too small an board toilet, soil themselves, spill the entire contents of their meal trays on their laps, have a wrestling match over the last remaining Nintendo with battery power, and scrap over which movie to watch on MY ipad (which i guarantee won't get a single look in by me)...well then I'm sure that our flight aboard a notoriously horrible charter airline will be just peachy keen.

(And by the way NO, I most vehemently do not give a damn that my misery will most likely result in good blogging fodder.  I've already had the pleasure a few years back of being contacted by a site called 'Flights From Hell' or some such who asked if they could feature my blog on their site - so horrific was my journey.  Been there done that.  No, give me Virgin Upper Class, a nanny and nothing to report but 'the runner beans were a tad undercooked' and I'd be a happy girl.)

On that note, I'm off to pack:  attempting to cram a summer's worth of clothes and accoutrements for myself, a baby and two boys into three measly bags.  My summer footwear alone needs a bag of its own - poor Steve Madden jewel encrusted gladiators crying out for a proper showing given that the Great British Summer thus far has been about as inspiring as an glass of insipid fruit squash.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

"And Then Egg Turned Eight..."

Excitement not hampered by a 5am wake up (yawn)
Egg at his Birthday Breakfast table...
Bless his little cotton socks.  Egg has been up since 5am this morning (sleep??..when presents and a birthday boy breakfast table await??..never!)...which means that I have been awake since 5am this morning.  And this, despite having to host a big Olympic Birthday Party Extravaganza (well that's what the invites promised anyway) for 11 excited little boys (one of whom is technically a girl...aka a 'tomboy') in a few short hours.  Oh, and did I mention that the Aunties and I were up till 2:30am last night doing party prepping?  (You can imagine the glares that passed between us lot in the early hours of the morning when the husband stumbled in, several hours late from a wedding he'd attended solo, rendering himself utterly useless and henceforth completely out of commission after having apparently passed out on the train and missing his stop.  Ahem.)

Anyway, another day, and a giant cappuccino later, I'm going to soldier on and attack the masses of jobs which still cry out to be done:

*Make a homemade lasagna for ten (Egg has requested that all his 'Relatives' - aka all of our bestest adult mates who have attended practically all his birthdays since year one) come and celebrate later...

*Organise all the games (we're having eight olympic events and I don't think the spreadsheet I made earlier, outlining everyone's roles and responsibilities, has been taken seriously, let alone fully read by all participants

*Make homemade icing in a variety of flavours for the five homemade cakes and twelve cupcakes I laboured over for 4.5 hours yesterday with a screaming baby hanging off my breast...Betty Bloody Crocker just ain't gonna cut it after that ordeal - no way

*Blow up twenty five giant (and I do mean giant) party balloons, and string various bits of bunting in swathes across the big birthday marquee which has yet to be assembled in the Common down the lane. (Starting to feel mildly apprehensive about the husband's role in all of this today...should have maybe vetoed the wedding and kept him upstairs working on the birthday music playlist whilst force feeding him healthy protein shakes methinks?)

*Make a giant tray of various assorted sandwiches and nibbles

...and on...and on...and on (sigh)

Little Egg is currently whizzing around the house (it's 8:30am) high on sugar from his birthday breakfast of blueberry muffins, his specially commission homemade giant chocolate chip biscuit, and the bag of percy pigs which somehow made it into the mix.

Dumpie on the other hand is in his bed snivelling.  It's all too much for him apparently.  (He wasn't too pleased that I caught him trying to snag Eggie's birthday five pound note earlier - nor that I made him give his 'Birthday Brother' present back too.  We have a family tradition whereby the 'Birthday Brother' also gets a pressie on the day.  However Dumpie has been so naughty this week that he's lost his present several times over and hence took matters into his own hands the other day by snagging said present beforehand.)

Anyway, I'd love nothing more than to witter away the next hour or so, sipping elegantly on my cappuccino and musing about this that and the other - but I have barefaced baked goods screaming out for a good slathering.  And a hyper eight year old charging through the place, clad only in pj top and bright green pants, waving aloft his Mensa quiz book and clutching his framed Thomas Edison portrait, whilst quoting random historical facts from the History Timeline book he received this morning.

...And that pretty much sums it all up.
An Auntie present...specifically requested by 'Inventor Eggie'

Friday, 11 May 2012

"Mama's Magic Nipples"

Yesterday Egg brought one of his classmates home to play after school - a lovely little French boy with impeccable manners.

I was understandably apprehensive given the general chaos of our home and worried that Egg might attempt his 'party trick' of smothering the poor boy to death by way of over affectionate hugs - or that Dumpie might shoot him in the eye with one of his long range toy rifles.

My morning admonitions must have worked though, as Egg was on good form and fairly chilled for the duration.  Even Dumpie toned things down somewhat and agreed not to hijack Egg's little friend as he is often wont to do.

However, when tea time came round I was presented with a challenge. How to feed this merry band of pranksters when our little guest was used to gourmet French fare (as evidenced by the remains of a lovely stuffed pepper dish I spotted on the table when picking Egg up from his house a few weeks ago).  Clearly mini pizza's and fish sticks weren't going to cut it.  I was going to have to channel my inner Oliver and stay clear of any Kerry Katona Iceland-related tat.

Auntie Ba cleverly suggested I go Mexican and serve taco's.  She even agreed to whip them up given my utter ineptitude for meat handling (that's 17 years of vegetarianism for you...I wouldn't know my way round mince if you paid me).

At the table a short while later, as the meal wound down, the subject turned to Dumpie (as it often does) as he was caught sneaking biscuits, slyly claiming that his tummy was actually a giant cookie.  (He's probably not far off in terms of composition.)

"No Dumpie you have a magic tummy remember?" I said, reaching over and lovingly stroking his tiny but protuberant tummy.  (It's true, since he was born we've teasingly referred to it as such as it's so 'Winnie-the-Pooh'-esque...tiny but proudly high and round, garnering not a few indulgent tummy rubs.)

Egg piped up.  "What do I have Mama?"

"A magic forehead of course!" I replied.  (Egg has a lovely high rounded forehead, which though permanently eclipsed by a thick dirty blond fringe, has none the less been the recipient of a multitude of kisses over the years as countless pretend wishes have been made...)

The sweet little French boy then piped up that he reckoned I had magic legs.

"Well you gave birth to three boys and you can still walk, so you must have magic legs".  Quite.

Dumpie put his fork down, sat up straight and proudly declared, "No...my Mama has MAGIC NIPPLES!"

I nearly choked on the carrot I was eating.  Then I had an uncontrollable urge to giggle.  And then I caught sight of the uncomfortable look on the little French boys face.

Dumpie didn't let it go.

"Mama has magic nipples that dance like this" (at this point he sat up even straighter and wiggled his little chest like a belly dancer)

"...and they can even squirt milk!" he announced proudly, standing up on his chair, placing two trigger fingers on his chest and pretending to shoot an imaginary army with a round of live ammunition.

So there you have it.  I officially rock.  I have magic nipples.  You heard it here first.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

"Bump-Her Cars"

I woke up this morning with a start - stared at 'Bang Bang' on one side of me (who we now call fondly, 'The Squit' - more on that some other time) and the husband on the other.  Then I blurted out, "I almost got hit by a car yesterday!"

It's true.  I had forgotten.  Somewhere between the wee, the poo, the vomit, the squealing for attention, the crying and the endless laundry, I had forgotten my near escape.

Returning home from the supermarket, arms laden with fairly healthy foodstuffs, I was just crossing a side street (my right of way I might add...ahem) and suddenly out of nowhere a big grey people carrier driven by what looked like a Somalian taxi driver on acid (his face as he veered by resembled nothing so much as Edward Munch's 'The Scream') brushed my leg as it careened around the corner - causing me to lurch in a panic onto the sidewalk to safety.  Bloody hell.

(You should have seen the face of the blond woman in the back who had ceased talking on her mobile to shriek in panic as she realised she might be spending her morning at the police station instead of at her desk drinking Starbucks).

Anyway, alls well that ends well, and luckily I had my wits about me (for once) and jumped away in time, but it was close friends, it was close. And it got me thinking about how your whole life can change in a second. And it also got me thinking yet again about how lucky I am.

Believe me, there are a million things I would change (AM going to change - I swear. "Do you HEAR me skinny jeans?") but for the moment I am pretty grateful with my lot.

For one thing, three nights ago little 'Squit' (aka 'Bang Bang' my youngest son) slept through for the first time all night (well from midnight to 6am, which these days constitutes a whole night).  I nearly cried with joy when I awoke and it was morning.  Hurrah!  Then the next night he did it again!

Okay, so last night he woke up in the middle of the night, but it was just once, and it was only because he wanted a cuddle in our bed.  Fair enough.  But still, is that a shard of light at the end of the tunnel?  Might the period of severe sleep deprivation, tights and dirty t-shirts at the school gates (trust me, NO amount of lipgloss and dark shades can hide the truth that you've totally given up...i mean totally given up) and being grouchy 24/7 be nearing an end?  (This morning, dressed in a skirt for once, as I dropped Dumpie off, a friend commented, "You look great!" I didn't, I might add.  I just didn't look like I'd wandered off a really bad channel 5 afternoon movie.)

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, in the words of the behemoth rock gods 'U2', "It's a beautiful day...don't let it get away".  So I won't. Out to skip about the streets doing errands with a drooling chubby baby between rain showers today.

Looking both ways of course.  You never know when danger might be lurking round the corner.  (And for the record, I am not referring to the death trap of a VW Campervan the husband seems intent on purchasing and I seem intent on letting him purchase...)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

"Dating...Daytona Style"

'Bang-Bang' the giant baby
Last night, my first date in awhile ended in a threesome.  Seriously.

You see the husband and I went on a date...well sort of.  'Bang Bang' (the baby's current nom de jour) had to accompany us as there was no way in hell my father ('Grandpa') was going to be left with three boys on his own.  And who can blame him?

We're currently holidaying in Daytona Beach, Florida, staying at Grandpa's condo on the beach and stuffing ourselves silly with ice-cream sandwiches and delicious fresh fried fish sandwiches.  The boys have already decided that they would like to forego a formal education in favour of staying here with Grandpa indefinitely.  And fair play to them.

A few days ago Dumpie came up to me at breakfast and whispered, "Can you PLEASE change our tickets so we can stay with Grandpa for at least forty more days?"  And this morning Egg crept over to me as I awoke, took off his specs, wiped his eyes and told me that he woke up with tears because we only have four more days left here with Grandpa.  Bless...

Anyway, back to the date:

My father had kindly offered to watch the two elder boys, Eggie and Dumps, while the husband and I went out for a night out on the town and enjoyed a nice meal together.  (Avec 'Bang Bang' but still...)

As sole breastfeeder (hey the husband is welcome to give it a go), I was nominated designated driver whilst my martini-marinated hubby sat in the front seat and shouted out directions which eventually led us to Daytona Beach's premiere Sushi Bar/Japanese Restaurant.  It slowly dawned on me that despite being asked where I would prefer to sup, we were always going to end up there anyway.

Still, it was lovely.  Some ice cold chardonnay and several veggie sushi rolls later saw us happily munching across the table at each other, banging away at our favourite subject ('How on earth do we become independently wealthy so as to engender a future of limitless travel and creative opportunities'....blah blah blah....we'll let you know when we figure that one out).

Despite having a two month old harnessed to his front, and being forced to eat his second course standing upright whilst animatedly jiggling about in the dimly lit romantic restaurant (it was a total date trap - even the loos had mouthwash and breath mints lined up for later snogging opportunities) the husband looked gleeful to be spooning raw fish into his mouth whilst sipping sake for England.  Good on him.

After a bit of an after dinner cruise in the car, I pulled impulsively into a late night local pharmacy for a late night comedy trawl.  The husband declined to join me, pushing his seat back for some spontaneous shut-eye (all that solo sake wreaking its' revenge I reckon) shoving a twenty dollar note at me and instructing me to come back with some treats and a pack of clove cigarettes for old times sake.

Having carte blanche like that it was no wonder that I happily perused the aisles for quite some time, picking up crazy products in wonderment ('Lazy Blanket' anyone?), finally scooping up a family sized pack of Coconut M&M's (weird) as I made my way to the counter to pay.

"A pack of clove cigarettes please" I requested from the lanky haired, slightly podgy young girl behind the counter.

"What are they?  Don't think we have 'em" she stonily declared, looking bored out of her mind.

"Umm..." I said, leaning across the counted and pointing them out.  "Over there in the brown pack."

She swiped a pack off the shelf and slowly started reading aloud, scratching her head and remarking, "I never heard of these before."

Tempting as it was to stay and educate this young lass on the merits of clove cigarettes versus your local garden variety cancer stick, I had a passed out infant and a shitty husband (sorry, I meant passed out husband and shitty infant) waiting for me back in the car and I had been gone waaaaaay too long already.

"When's your birthday?" she barked.

"October 7th" I replied, handing over the money and tapping my foot impatiently.

"I mean what year were you born?"

I grinned.  I nearly split my face open with the effort.  I wasn't hallucinating - the girl was honest to God, actually enquiring whether this bedraggled mother of three, was OLD ENOUGH to be purchasing cigarettes!!!

Talk about best night ever.  Best date ever in fact.  Even the husband's response ("It's probably because you broke out" - it's true - damn those old magazine make up samples I stupidly slathered on my face the other day) did nothing, and I mean nothing, to dampen my euphoria at having been mistaken for someone too young to buy smokables.  ("What?!" she had exclaimed when realising how old I was, "Does that happen to you a lot?" she asked stunned.  "I thought you were my age.")

I truly wanted to kiss her...take her lanky hair in my hands, pull her over the counter and place a big smackeroo on her lips.  Bless her.  That innocent question did more for my self-esteem than have all the daily beach runs I've been punishing myself with since I've been here.

That night, cuddled up to the husband on one side, and a mewling, slightly too-big-for-his-stage newborn on the other (he looks six months - honest), I found myself in a cozy threesome.  Now if that isn't the best result one can hope for from a date night I don't know what is.

Grandpa and Bang Bang

Dumps and Bang Bang holidaying at Grandpa's in Florida

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

"Sleep Glorious Sleep...Where Art Thou Sleep?"

How fast the time flies...

What began as a twinkle in one of our eyes, is now a great luscious chunk of baby.  And an alert one at that.  Must confess however, that I am feeling somewhat gypped by the lack of any real 'newborn stage' as this little guy is already sleeping on his side, can almost turn himself over, and easily raises and holds his head up for long periods with no trouble at all.

As the trauma of birth fades with every waking day, so too are the sleepless nights piling up...making minced meat of my brain.

Honestly if it weren't for my sister (the angelic 'Auntie Ba') I think there's a good chance I would have thrown myself off our fourth floor balcony by now - leaving behind nothing but a pile of mini easter creme egg wrappers and some soiled nappies.

The thought of a night of uninterrupted sleep has taken on such epic proportions in my brain that there is almost nothing I wouldn't do to try and get it (well it's a toss up between that and having a 24 hour ceasefire on breastfeeding from my insatiable infant - who in hindsight probably wasn't the best candidate for 'demand feeding').

Still, though I complain, let it be said here and now that I am hopelessly in love with my 9 lb plus little man with the piercing deep blue eyes and comically stern visage.

Babies rock.  They seriously do.  On a good day they are the most adorable creatures and so precious that your heart almost breaks when looking into their eyes as they nuzzle deep into your chest.

But after 14 hours of near constant feeding, the urge to don a metallic breast plate and lock oneself in a room with a cozy bed and a few valium is pretty overwhelming.

Just sayin'....

Saturday, 25 February 2012

"Baby Brain"

Auntie giving a cuddle (while Mama wanders vacantly through rooms  with no sense or purpose)

Baby brain.

That dreaded state of mind wherein you are forced to operate with the mental acuity of a baby chimp...with learning difficulties.

I found myself giving myself a severe talking to the other day whilst calmly observing my right hand pouring water from an ice cold jug into my newly made mug of tea.  Given that I was juggling a sleeping newborn in one arm at the time (you try it and see how painstakingly slow the process becomes) I don't know which bothered me more:  the fact that my brain thought it was milk OR the fact that I'd have to dump it and begin the whole process again.

That's not all though.  I find myself throwing dirty laundry in with freshly laundered clothes...adding eye make up remover to my bath...and wandering aimlessly around rooms wondering what on earth I've come in for??

Nearly three weeks in and the lack of proper nocturnal slumber is starting to have an effect.  Whereas with our first (and occasionally with our second) child, the husband would jump out of bed to the sound of relentless crying and deposit a weak with hunger infant to my breast - now, he somehow manages to sleep through all the racket (or he's doing a bloody good job of pretending) and it's up to me to answer the call of the never satiated mini-wildebeast.

But what a darling little beastie he is...and so enthralled with the delight of having a newborn around again, I scarcely mind.  But talk to me again in three months and it may be a different story.

Egg and Dumpie are devoted and adoring brothers.  Dumpie religiously gives the 'Nu-Guy' a kiss every morning before he slips off to school, and Egg is always asking to hold him - and even sticks his beloved bear Bacon in his arms for a cuddle now and then.

This morning at breakfast they even beseeched their father for 'one more baby' - a request that was met with a blank and frozen stare from Dada and a chuckle from me.  However, the conversation as an entirety was shortly curtailed forthwith when Egg asked whether, during the process of the sperm shooting seeds into the egg, it 'hurt' a lot.  Gulp.

Anyway, I'd best sign off and go and do something which I know is very important and which desperately needs to be done.  At the time of this writing, it's true, I have no precise idea what it is that I'm meant to be doing, but am confident that a quick spin through the downstairs rooms will clarify my purpose and 'refresh' the page my stuttering brain has frozen on.

I hope.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

"Rings Of Joy"

13 days old...
There are few things more likely to put the sparkle back in a new mother's eyes, than being flirted with by a young man behind the latte counter who has no idea that a week and a half ago you resembled a dying cow and were groaning in agony while being virtually torn apart.

Having been housebound with a nasty infection for the past several days, I had no choice but to venture out this morning sans newborn, given that I had an important interview at the passport office which I could not afford to miss.

Having nearly failed the question/answer period (I had to come clean about being awash with hormones, as there was no real excuse for why my mind went blank and I could not name a single mortgage company we've been with in the past ten years!) I decided to indulge in a celebratory non-decaf latte at the station on the way home.

The young man behind the counter at Pret went to take my money, then did a double take, smiled and said, "You know what?  This one's on me" and refused to take my proffered twenty pound note.  With a spring in my step, I exited the shop, secretly pleased that despite three children, I had clearly still not succumbed to either the dreaded 'Mum-Bum' or the matronly, hard put-upon air that trails so many new mothers.  Result!

And so to celebrate that massive boost to my lately faltering ego, I decided that nothing short of a dozen (okay fine - a double dozen) Krispy Kreme Donuts would do.  Further justification was not needed, but had it been, I silently told myself that me and my still bruised undercarriage deserved a wickedly sinful calorific treat - as did Dumpie whose play date got cancelled today and shares his mother's affinity for anything sugar-coated.

Of course the irony is that if I polish off too many of those uber-sweet rings of joy currently waiting patiently for me in the kitchen, then I shall likely never ever get given another free latte or free anything for that matter.

What the heck.
rings o' joy...calories be damned

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

"Guy Nouveau" (Or 'Big Red' as I like to call him...)

So I've officially been a mother of THREE BOYS for one week now, and so far, so good.  Saying that, the new guy (hence the husbands tres amusante moniker of 'Guy Nouveau') is hardly any trouble at all...and if he is, well we don't notice as we're too busy cooing over how adorable he is and documenting his many comical facial expressions.

Yep, we're smitten.  Utterly and totally.  He is everything a new baby should be:  scrumptious, sweet smelling (well, most of the time), gurgling and cuddly.  The vast majority of his life thus far has been spent cradled in various arms, being passed around from auntie to auntie like a much desired pass the parcel present.

If his first week's behaviour is anything to go by, we've possibly lucked out.  He only gets annoyed when he's:

a) cold
b) getting changed (and hence chilly)
c) hungry

When this happens he turns bright red (hence my nickname) and does this sort of arpeggio squeak which climbs two octaves and for all intents and purposes sounds like Sesame Streets' 'Count Dracula' "Ah-ah-ah!"

He wakes only once in the night for a post-bedtime snack, and then will sleep happily till at least 8 a.m....what's not to love?

But if you're thinking it's all been smooth sailing and I'm the luckiest girl on the planet, let me assure you that it's not been completely textbook.

Turns out my body decided to repeat it's trick performance of crippling me with a painful uterine infection several days after a fairly straightforward birth.  Saturday night found me cajoling the cash strapped NHS into making a home visit to determine whether I needed to be hospitalised for what I was realising was a fast developing infection.

A doctor who very much resembled the musician Seal came into our front room and found me prostate on the sofa clutching my lower abdomen and pleading with him to prescribe me antibiotics because there was no way in h___ I was going to check my newborn and myself into hospital on one of the coldest nights of the year and be strapped up to an infernal I.V. (NO BLOODY WAY I might add, given the whole reason I have put myself through the torment of natural birth three times has been due to my pathetic needle phobia!)

The doctor looked dubious but agreed that I could probably get away with home care and instead prescribed me two hardcore antibiotics which in conjunction with painkillers, might get me through the worst of it.

So here I sit, at home, still not 100%, but infinitely better than I was on the weekend, and contemplating a 'dry' Valentine's Day.  So much for a lusty glass of dark red wine over dinner.  It's going to be strictly water for me I'm afraid, but given that the alternative might have been a reheated ready meal in a busy ward - I'm not complaining.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, and may today see your respective others showering you with well intentioned trinkets (which do NOT include teddy bears, 'petrol station petals', or cheesy sex cards....), a nice meal, or a proper cuddle.

As for me, I suspect Valentine's Day 2012 is going to consist of a three-way cuddle with the new guy - who despite our best efforts - refuses to spend even a minute in his moses basket and instead sleeps contentedly night after night, with the husband and I.  A position I suspect he's not going to give up without a fight :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

"With a Stitch-Stitch Here and a Stitch-Stitch There..."

In hindsight, it was probably my insistence on clearing out the entire giant pomegranate display at Sainsbury's yesterday morning after my midwife appointment that was to blame.  The midwife had shaken her head ruefully after probing my swollen belly and declared, "Only 5% of babies actually arrive on their due date...I'm going to book you in for a sweep in one weeks time because this baby hasn't moved all the way down yet".

So after struggling across the common with three heaving bags on the half hour walk home (silently thinking how in trouble i would be if the husband or one of my sisters saw how much i was carrying) it's safe to say that the last thing I imagined I would be doing later that day would be squeezing out an 8 lb 15 oz(!!!) baby from a place nothing that large should ever exit from.  Nuff said.

Late afternoon found me in a bath, over confident that there was no way this baby was coming anytime soon.  Then the weird little inside pains started...and I began to wonder.  So infrequent were they, and so varying in length, that I felt a little stupid mentioning them to my sister.

"Call your husband and tell him to come home" she demanded.

"No" said I.  "These are FALSE labour contractions - I'm sure of it."

"But ON your due date?" she quizzed skeptically.

So against my better judgement I rang the husband, disturbing him mid-meeting, and mentioned that he might want to think about coming home a tad earlier than normal.

To his credit he returned in record time, noting with alarm that I was by this time having somewhat regular contractions but yet still in full denial that it might actually be the real thing.

Luckily my sister had her sensible head on and insisted I finish packing my hospital bag and call a cab.

We didn't get there a moment too soon.  The 25 minute cab ride was spent bending and twisting the husbands hand out of shape whilst clenching my thighs in panic and trying to ignore the Sikh cabbie who was making lame small talk and driving a touch too slow given the circumstances.

As we stormed into the hospital at 6:40pm (I recall clocking glorious Big Ben) I was finally beginning to accept that the likelihood of me being turned away due to false labour was decreasing at an exponential rate. Yep...this was happening.

Ensconced in a birthing pool an hour or so later, sucking for dear life on a tube of gas and air, I found myself in the depths of hell, feeling for all intents and purposes as if I were being crucified from the inside out (anyone who has gone through natural labour will wince in acknowledgement).  Yes I was in a birthing pool, but let's face it - that's about as useful as skydiving with a broken parachute when it comes down to it.

At that point I had no idea that I was about to give birth to an oversized baby with a giant head.  Several agonising stitches later, whilst high as a kite on gas and air would put paid to that but at the time I just remember thinking that death would be blessed relief.  Thank goodness it was relatively quick...my sweet wonky midwife with her bowl cut and a toothy grin had just enough time to deliver the little guy before her shift ended at 8:20pm.

So bish-bash-bosh.  A day which began with a pomegranate binge and ended with me sipping sugary tea in a private room overlooking Big Ben and gazing adoringly at the sweetest little boy in the world...who would have thunk it.

Welcome to the world little man...x

Friday, 3 February 2012

"An Angel Descends..." (Or 'Auntie to the Rescue')

Some might question the wisdom of undertaking major home renovations a mere three days before the supposed birth of ones third child...but not us.  Nope...despite our lounge and dining room currently resembling a building tip (dust sheets, dust, nails, screws, paint, wood...you get the picture) our hearts are light.

Why you ask?  Well my sister, the monster's much adored 'Auntie Ba' arrived from Canada yesterday, and descended like an angel for the next several weeks, to lay selfless love and much needed help on this shambolic household.  Egg and Dumps have been besides themselves with glee over the impending visit, and we've had to endure a daily 6am countdown of "Auntie Ba is coming in _____ more days!"

On the way home from school yesterday Egg even did an exuberant countdown of "100 more yards...", "70 more yards..." etc. until we reached the door and the boys went running into her outstretched arms. It was like Christmas all over again...bless.

I was even able to indulge in a half hour uninterrupted late afternoon bubble bath because the monsters were sequestered in the guest bedroom with their auntie, refusing to leave her side for even a minute and fighting for her attention.  I peeked in, clocked Dumpie emptying the contents of his little pockets on her bed, and ducked out unseen.  Better her than me.

As for telling my sis before she came what she was walking into (ie. attention-starved little boys and a dodgy building site) okay fine, maybe I neglected to mention anything.  But frankly, the current horrendous cold spell has left more of a negative imprint I reckon than even the 12 hours a day of banging hammers and smell of paint fumes.

It is so cold it hurts and I found getting out of bed this morning an exercise in sheer determination.  Auntie Ba is of the opinion that the new baby is going to freeze in here, and she may be right.  I blame the four stories, high ceilings and killer drafts.

At any rate, I have at least found a purpose in life aside from crazy pregnant lady cupboard cleaning.  I now spend my days making endless cups of tea, snacks and meals for the workers.  They are incredibly grateful, and unlike the monsters who grimace and groan at mealtimes, these fellows extoll the virtues of my domestic projects (yesterday it was a homemade pistachio and almond cake) and I get to while away the time indulging in one of my favourite pastimes without ingesting great amounts of calorific treats - which let's face it - at this point are only going to ensure that I give birth to a giant round mega-baby topping 12 pounds or something.

Anyway, I'd best be off.  Auntie Ba requires fortification in form of an extra strength cappuccino to prepare for the arrival of the monsters, and my builders are about to be treated to a batch of my infamous gooey dark choc chip biscuits.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

"It's STILL not here yet?" (No...it bloody well isn't)

I am in the unenviable position of having to not only cart my heavily pregnant self out in public (trying my damnedest not to waddle or do that cringe-worthy ridiculous lope of the 'close-to-birth-brigade'...you know the one) but also to fend off enquiring eyes being raised every time I show up at the school gates STILL not with child (on the outside that is).

Maybe I brought it on myself by saying that I thought I'd pass my due date with nothing happening save dire acid reflux and up to a dozen loo visits a night.  But secretly, yes, I still hope that every twinge is 'it' and that I'll soon be facially impaled upon a gas and air tube at the hospital.

At least I've finally managed to 'almost' pack my hospital bag.  I don't know why I'm deliberating.  Part of me can't be bothered, half thinking there is every chance that I might give birth in the bathtub here at home or in the back of a minicab en route.  Or maybe it's just sheer exhaustion brought about by the senseless need to purge every single crammed cupboard in our home in an attempt to put the place to rights before the baby comes.

On Sunday I spent 8 hours (well I am a beauty product junkie) sorting through the contents of three huge cupboards in two bathrooms, doing an organisational job that would have had Martha Stewart weeping with envy.  As a result I've spent the past few days blithely flipping open medicine cabinets each time i pass, just to observe the beauty of my handiwork.  What?  You think I've lost the plot?  Oh bugger off you're just jealous.

Speaking of which, I have a kitchen cupboard just begging for a 'pregnant lady seeing to'...in fact it's taunting me behind my back...I can feel it.  There is every chance that when I open the doors, the contents will come cascading all over my head.  But then again, the shock might bring on labour.  So bring it on I say.