This week I have mainly been… potty training middle and being let down by eldest (again).

On Saturday, I rather impulsively decided to potty train middle. Why do I do these things? I stripped him bare, showed him the potty, got eldest to do a pee on it and, awaited the magic happening. He kept sitting on it every ten minutes, getting off and exclaiming “no pee mummy!”. The next time he called me, in between cleaning, I was quite blase. But, it turns out he had actually done one. “Well done Owen!” we all shouted. “High five!”. What a smart little boy I inwardly contemplated. He then did a poo on it and, several other pees. “This boy is a genius” I excitedly announced to hubby. Then he peed on the kitchen chair. “Maybe not” I amended. After this slight mishap, he resumed going to the potty. I informed nursery of his success and they advised that I just bring pants the following day as he was doing so well. I packed lots of pants and a multitude of change of clothes. I then went to pick him up on Wednesday full of hopes and dreams that he had done amazing. Well, he had staunchly refrained from going to the potty once there. Not only that, he had had so many accidents that, they had ran out of spare clothing so had to put a nappy on him! Way to make me appear delusional son. Once home, I stripped him and off he went to the potty peeing away, without even having to be asked. Why is he doing this at home and nowhere else? I then noticed him going out to the back garden. This is not unusual as it’s normally to grab a bike and bring it inside to torture me. I went out after him though as I just had a bad feeling. There he was, squatting on the stones and doing a poo. Just like our dog. I think this is almost worse than poo flinging gate. My poor neighbours! What will he do next?

In other news, on Wednesday I took eldest to see Incredibles 2 at the local cinema. My sister and nephew joined us. I drove us all and, eldest and nephew were having deep conversations in the back whilst I caught up with my sister. She is a midwife and was telling me about being back at work, following maternity leave and, performing her first stitching procedure after a birth. I started telling her about mine after baby and how a doctor had come in after to check it and, rather unexpectedly, put his finger ahem, up my bottom. I was asking her if that is the norm (it is). Well, didn’t eldest hear this? He then spent the rest of the drive shouting “doctor shoved finger up mummy’s bum” and laughing hysterically. Sister found this all very hilarious, myself too initially. That is until he proclaimed the same sentence to the ticket man at the front desk. He looked seventeen, if even, and is probably still utterly traumatised. I’m sure he is still pondering what type of relationship I have with my doctor. What do you do in situations like this? Do you even bother to explain the context? I decided not to and just stood there mortified, wanting the ground to swallow me up whole. Note to self that eldest is officially a parrot and to say nothing ever again in his presence. Can also never go back to that cinema again which is highly annoying. On the plus side, the film was very good.

Next week has got to be better!

This week I have mainly been… loving me some middle!

Middle has officially stopped ‘poo flinging’. I have never been happier to type that sentence! Who would have thought I would even have to type that in the first place? Kids…..

The other day I took all three boys to the local park as I had no petrol and, no energy to go far after musical beds with eldest the night prior. When we arrived lots of other children were there, mainly older boys and some younger girls. The boy’s presence served to make eldest retreat into his shell. Middle, however, took it as some sort of challenge. Off he strutted like some kind of peacock, yelling incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo and pointing at them. “Why is he doing that?” I asked eldest. “I don’t know,” he said shrugging and rolling his eyes. I left him playing at the kid’s slide and went to help eldest navigate his way to the fireman’s pole. As eldest was about to take a leap of faith, I look over and observe middle single-handedly pushing all the older boys on the roundabout. He has only just turned two, surely he shouldn’t even have the strength to do that? Once eldest was down the pole and, middle had ceased offering his pushing services, I instructed them to go make friends whilst I sat with baby.

Having only just plonked my arse on the bench, I see middle hurtling towards me at full speed with the whole of the park running behind him. He has only stolen and, done a runner with, one of the boys band sticks. I take it off him and apologise to the boy in question for my son being a rampant, shameless thief. Everything is calm. Not for long. Middle has now stolen their ball and is running around the park dribbling it like Ronaldo, whilst they all chase after him trying to retrieve it. FMAL! I leave baby again to join the ball chase. Either I am wholly unfit or, middle is a very fast runner. It takes forever but, I eventually get the ball back. Exhausted,  I instruct them to burn off more energy. They then spend some time being relatively well behaved. That is, until middle decides to keep opening the park gate and running away multiple times. “Right, that’s it!” I yell. “We are all going home as Owen is being a complete nightmare”. Off we go to leave. Middle suddenly doesn’t want to go. “Let’s just leave and see what he does, that will teach him not to follow orders” I inform eldest. “But I don’t want to leave him, what if he doesn’t come?” worries eldest. “Of course he will come, he will be petrified at the mere thought we have left him on his own!” I smugly respond. We leave the park and walk halfway down the path adjacent. I glance back, ready to witness middle realising the enormity of his bad decision making. But, there he was, entirely non plused, solo see-sawing and loving life! Eldest would have been scared witless at the sheer prospect of me leaving, I underestimated middle.  Off I went to grab him and escorted a kicking and screaming toddler back to the car.

Later on that day, I was sitting on the sofa struggling to stay awake after the disastrous trip that was the park and the stresses of dressing eldest that morning. Middle saunters in, climbs up beside me and, out of nowhere clearly says, “love you, mummy!”. He then asks if I would like “a cuddle”. I felt tears welling in my eyes as this is the very first time he has ever said those things and, it really did come from nowhere. The day’s fuc#ery had now been replaced with the best memory ever- his first I love you. It’s amazing to me how stressful days can be but how, a cuddle, kiss and even some thoughtful words, can make it all worthwhile. My boy’s drive me bonkers but there are no other people I would rather have doing so. Especially as they give the best cuddles going! I’m going to try and remember these moments when they are putting me through the FML moments. Try being the word.

 

 

Well I tried to chase my dreams. Did I succeed?

Following on from my following my dreams post a few weeks ago:

https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/07/05/this-week-i-have-mainly-been-following-my-dreams-i-dont-know-if-i-succeeded-but-it-doesnt-matter/

Did I manage to succeed? Well, I found out today after what seemed like a forever wait. And……………….I have been placed on the reserve list. I won’t lie, I was devastated and utterly deflated to begin with. But now I see just how much of an achievement this is, considering how many went for it. I did myself proud and I hope I kind of did Belfast proud by getting this far. Now all I have to do is hope that someone can’t make it for whatever reason. Send me all your good luck vibes and please keep your fingers crossed for me that this happens. I mean, I don’t want anyone to get hurt so that I can go in their place. Maybe just a broken bone or something!

To everyone who took the time to read the above-mentioned post and congratulate and encourage me, I want to say a huge thank you! You made me feel so proud of myself that I cried everytime I read one of your lovely comments. That’s what I call girl power! We should all encourage one another whether that’s as mum’s or in other capacities. Thank you all once again. I hope I have some good news for you with this one day.

decision email
When I cheekily asked where I am on the reserve list ha ha

Cooking Up A Storm With Annabel Karmel

Prepping our cocktail sausage casserole.

I’m going to level with you all. I am not the greatest of cooks. Infact, I would even go as far to say that hubby is much better when it comes to the cooking in this house. It’s not that I don’t try because, I really do. I just don’t appear to be that successful at it. But I was a little bit excited when the guys from Bluebird Books sent me Annabel Karmel’s new kid’s cookbook- Real Food Kids Will Love. I don’t know if you are familiar with Annabel and her work but, if you aren’t, you better get acquainted and fast! Annabel is a cookbook author, focusing exclusively on meals for babies, toddler’s and families alike. Not only does she have all these things under her belt but, she also has an MBE. A huge seal of approval if there ever was one! I have tried a few of her recipes now and, despite my lack of cooking prowess, find them easy to follow (so they must be easy!).

When we received our new cooking bible, we sat down as a family and went through all the recipes. Eldest and middle loved looking at all the bright, scrumptious pictures contained within the pages. I asked them which recipe sounded the yummiest. Eldest quickly responded ” the cocktail sausage casserole. Because, we like the chicken one and, cocktail sausages are mine and Owen’s favourite”. It was a done deal. Off we went to Tesco’s, ingredient list in hand. The boy’s picked all the stuff we would need themselves- onions, peppers, garlic and carrots. I mean, they got distracted by the weighing and sticker machine multiple times but, we got there eventually. We then went home and I put the cocktail sausages in the oven.  We pulled some chairs up to the kitchen counter and they observed as I began chopping our newly acquired, colourful veggies. This completed, we added them and, some tinned tomatoes into a pot, then took it in turns (amidst them fighting over whose turn it was) to stir. When the cocktail sausages were done, we placed them in our mixture and I transferred it over to the slow cooker. The slow cooker part I did of my own accord. Mainly because I find it so much easier focusing on one cooking aspect at a time, come dinnertime. As a woman, I should definitely be better at multi-tasking. Maybe they run courses on that or something?

Hubby arrived home at six and we set about trying something new as a family. To say it was a hit would be an understatement. I have never witnessed eldest eat so many varied ingredients. If you knew how fussy he was, you’d realise that Mrs Karmel deserves more than an MBE! I think it helped that he had not only chosen what he wanted to make but, prepped it also. The fact it contained their favourite thing on earth (cocktail sausages) helped matters too. What kid doesn’t love them? I cannot wait to try some of the other recipes and, sooner rather than later. It will just be difficult picking which ones as they all sound to die for. Look at this fab idea for Christmas even :

How cute!

*Real Food Kids Will Love is out on the 28th June and retails at £16.99.

Toys My Boy’s Adore (and ones that keep them out of my sight)

I thought I would do a little post about the toys of which my boys love to play with. Toys that they will happily play with for a long time and thus, keep out of my way (whoop whoop). I wish I was doing a post filled with Barbie dolls, nail polish, and unicorns. But that’s just not a part of my life and, never will be. I’ve had no choice but to master the art of building things, getting drenched with water pistols and kicking a football about, unfortunately!

Lego 

What is it with boys and Lego? It’s like catnip to them. My boys will happily spend ages building insane, haphazard items with Duplo. “Look at my spaceship mummy!”, “Look at my house mummy!”. They never resemble a spaceship nor a house, but I hear it’s wholly frowned upon to inform them of this. They love the little Lego sets you can buy that come with (the highly confusing, in my eyes) instruction booklets. I will never forget my first attempt at one of these when eldest was allowed one as a treat, after successfully potty training. Daddy was at work and he was not patient enough to wait so, I eventually gave in before I lost the will to live. It was like looking at something in an entirely different language. My brain is in no way wired that way. I ended up getting so frustrated that I couldn’t do it for him, I took the hump and began to cry. This should have been the point my Lego journey ceased to continue but alas, more things needed built when daddy was gone so, I trained myself to do it (begrudgingly.) You know what? It is actually a great mummy win when you manage to build your first one and see your child so ecstatic. We now spend time as a family building sets with eldest when middle and baby go to bed at the weekend. Although middle much prefers the the Duplo for his building escapades, the Creator sets are eldest’s favourite. You can make three different things out of all the pieces and, they aren’t expensive. Beware though, this means three sets of instructions- arrggh! Downside: Standing on the little buggers! Worst pain imaginable (excluding labour obviously).

Marble Run

Oh Marble Run, how I hate thee! How you doth taunt me with your need for logical thinking in order to be purposeful! Daddy (sorry, Santa) got this for eldest one Christmas when he was two. I think this was more of a present to himself considering that, for a year, he quite happily played with it alone whilst eldest ran around ignoring it. The boys, including hubby, will spend hours with this, making different types of towers, flinging marbles down them and congratulating themselves on their building prowess. As much as this is my nemesis (the marbles too which seem to be everywhere in my house) it is educational and encourages them to try different directions and different pieces in order for the marble to successfully navigate its way around. They especially love all the little accessories that come with it. There are different pieces that you can place on that make the marbles spin, change the direction it will go in and even a little bell that once the marble contacts it, will ring. I found that this was great at helping middle learn his colours, as was Lego. Even saying the colour and pointing to the piece you need, helps them begin to associate. Downside: Marbles, marbles everywhere. A plague of marbles will descend on you and your house.

Magformers 

I thought I was bad at Lego until I encountered these things! Mental they are! But the boys really like them. They are building shapes which contain magnets. Middle’s greatest pleasure on earth is waiting until eldest has built something using all the pieces, then, silently creeping up behind him and wrecking his creation. Little s##t! You can get lots of different and crazy sets- ones with wheels and even ones that light up. Downside: Some of the objects the makers have built with the pieces, and dipicted in the guide, are highly complex. Eldest is a stickler for rules and this sends him into a meltdown when he can’t recreate them by himself. Also very expensive. A starter pack of thirty pieces will set you back £29.99.

Cars- of any kind, any shape, and any colour!

The boys are bonkers for cars and have amassed quite the collection. This is what happens when the pound shop starts selling Hot Wheels and eldest has realised that Nanna is a complete pushover! Middle will line them up, quite methodically, then race them down the car garage he got for Christmas. They also enjoy racing them up and down the hall to see who wins. I love cars for this reason mainly. It’s nice every once in awhile to see them playing together good as opposed to battering each other. This is the only time this happens as they are too engrossed and focused on trying to win the race. Downside: Before the calm, there are always multiple arguments over who owns which car and who will race which one. Also the fact that I have to put them all away afterwards (why are there are sooooo many?)

Trikes, Bikes and Scooter’s

Anyone who reads my blog will know that these will be the death of me. Between avoiding them in my kitchen to having to lug them around everywhere we go! The boys are obsessed. The whole point of the things is to use them outdoors. My boys, however, love nothing more than shouting “ready, steady, go!” and racing them up and down the hallway. This makes the dog go bloody mental as she scampers out of their way barking her disapproval. Anytime we have attempted to go a family walk and, brought all these things with us, it has been utter chaos. They will cycle or scoot on them for five minutes then abandon them to roll down hills and get positively bogging! The only plus side is that they expel lot’s of their energy. Downside: Health and safety hazards when dragged indoors and you will be forced to carry them around when you bring them anywhere outside.

Thomas Trackmaster 

Eldest was positively obsessed with Thomas when he was a toddler. Our whole living room became a dedicated Thomas shrine. Middle has recently inherited his old Thomas toys and, at present, this is the new ‘thing’ in our house. Eldest has reestablished his love affair with them and can now teach middle how to build the tracks. They will quite happily do this for a while until middle stops following orders and eldest loses patience. Downside: The trains for it run on batteries and tend to find their way under your sofa. I can’t count how many times I’ve been able to hear one chugging away and not locate it! It’s happened so many times, I can hear the sound in my sleep. I call this ‘Thomas Tinnitus’.

Nintendo Wii and XBox

This all started when my sister in law purchased hubby a Nintendo Classic for Christmas. We were shoving the boys to bed as early as possible so that we could relive our youth and play some Mario. Eldest noticed and asked to have a go. After a few wobblers over not understanding the controller didn’t operate like a tablet, he was a little pro. I class Mario as quite harmless, maybe others disagree. But it’s not like he is playing Grand Theft Auto or anything (one of the best in its defense. The Daily Mail would disagree however as that’s seemingly the cause of all youth violence.) After becoming bored with it, my MIL gave him her old Wii. He then progressed to playing the rather trippy ‘Kirby’. Finally, hubby has now dusted off his XBox and myself and eldest have taken to playing Lego games on it. These are quite good as you have to figure lots of puzzles out and really think about what you are doing. We have played Harry Potter Years 1 -4, Marvel Superheros, Indiana Jones and The Lego Movie game. Downside: It has become apparent that myself and eldest share the same competitive streak. This has led to us shouting at each other for ‘casting the wrong spells’ and resulted in hubby banning us from playing for a full week! So unfair- wasn’t even my fault!

 

 

 

This week I have mainly been…. worrying about eldest

When I went to my interview last week, I had to leave early in the morning. My mum gallantly looked after the boy’s whilst I did so. There was only one thing I didn’t do before I left- I didn’t dress eldest. There was a very valid reason for this. I didn’t dress eldest because it is the most stressful part of my morning routine. I couldn’t face it and, also, figured maybe my mum should finally see why I am so stressed just getting out the door each day. He has an issue with every item of clothing! His socks don’t feel right, his shorts are too tight, change to jeans and they are too loose, his top doesn’t feel right and finally, his shoes aren’t right either! Some days I will be on my third clothes change with him and ready to lose my shit. I dress middle and baby first, daily, because I know how long eldest will take me. I can tell from watching middle that something is not right here. I have felt so for a long time. My husband, however, thinks I am overreacting. I’m not, obviously (us women are always right).

What will he do when he has to independently dress for PE lessons at school? I’m not going to be in attendance to change his kit multiple times! What will the other children think when he has a monumental breakdown that his socks are ‘hurting him?’ I love him so much and, I am worried about him. He is generally overly sensitive about everything and, I find this mostly endearing. Just not when I have to dress him and be somewhere for a specific time! Arrgghh!

Personally, I think there are sensory issues going on with him. I have ‘google panicked’ it and came to that conclusion. So now I have to figure out how best I can help him going forward and, try to be more supportive (and less ready to kill him). I plan to raise this with his new teacher by way of pre-empting any breakdown that may occur. I also plan on discussing it with the health visitor prior so she can either set my mind at ease or think I’m a neurotic mess! I can’t just do nothing for fear I am overreacting. To do so is a disservice to eldest. He has always been the most loving, intelligent little boy. Before middle arrived, we were literally joined at the hip. I wonder what is going through his wee head right now and why even clothing seems so daunting to him? I hope anyone who knows’s us reads this and realises why I can be so stressed with him from the get-go. I literally endure hours of stress just getting him dressed each day. There is always a reason for losing your shit daily and, never forget that. Have kids they said, it will be fun they said- yeah, it’s a right barrel of laughs! Someone shoot that messenger (with a pretend gun obviously, I’m not a Trump supporter).

This week I have mainly been…. following my dreams (I don’t know if I succeeded but, it doesn’t even matter)

When I went off on maternity leave this time around, I told myself I was going to make it count for something. Yes, I would spend my days drowning in nappies and cleaning up barf but, I promised myself I would pursue my dreams in between. Because, contrary to belief, us mums can have dreams too. We can also chase them and feel ok about doing so. Our job titles can transcend just being a ‘mother’. We are Superwoman daily so, why not?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve longed to be a writer of some kind. With this blog, I guess I kind of am. But, I mainly wanted to be a journalist. Alas, this was not meant to be for me. I fell in love with a man (boy, it turned out) who was ten years older than me and we set about creating a home together. Homes require funds and, to get funds you need a job. So at twenty, I abandoned my dream and entered the Civil Service, just like my mum before me. Don’t get me wrong, I was lucky to secure such a job. A job that is safe and has also allowed me to work part-time. But it’s not where I ever intended to be- nevermind ten years later! The boy-man who made me abandon my dreams is, thankfully, no longer in my life. He is probably breaking others dreams currently.

One evening I  happened to be on Twitter and saw the BBC tweet about something called ‘The Network’. When I looked into it, it sounded amazing, if not daunting. It’s essentially a four day, paid for, working trip ran in conjunction with the Edinburgh Television Festival. The programme is jam-packed and you learn so much in a short time frame. There are also lots of big, TV industry people there that you can hope to impress. So I thought, f#ck it, I will apply. I mean, why not? The specification said no experience was necessary so I should give it a shot. I filled out my application, coming up with a TV show that I called ‘Trouble’ and pitched it as a mockumentary style comedy set in the Troubles. I spent weeks finding the time to complete it. Weeks! I had to keep dipping and delving into it around the kids and their needs. But I was finally able to hit send and, quickly forgot all about it. Then I got an email at the end of May saying I had been shortlisted. Oh dear, I was NOT expecting that!! Cue panic but, the panic of a mother of three (which is just panicking whilst having no time to do anything about it). My group assessment would be on the 4th July, followed by an interview. FMAL, what have I done?

As you all know, in the utter f#ckery of last week, eldest got Scarlet Fever. Now baby has it. I can only imagine middle hasn’t contracted it as he was either the bearer or, is just so independent he cannot be arsed interacting with the rest of them. Anyways, this did not a good situation make for my interview prep. Come the day in question, I was a nervous wreck. I vomited once and, very nearly twice. How was I going to do this?

When I arrived at the venue, it became clear that I was the oldest one there. They were all energetic, young things and, they actually looked rested (I can’t remember the last time I ever looked ‘rested’). This was not boding well for me. But I was there now so, no going back. We were put into teams and told to pitch a TV show idea. I found myself taking command of things in a way I have been too shy to do my whole life. What was going on? When we had finished our discussion, we had to pick someone to pitch it in a minute. No one wanted to do it. “I’ll do it then” I heard myself utter. I got all our points across in just under the minute and, they seemed impressed with our work. First stage completed- phew! We were told to switch groups and get ready to talk about which TV channel we felt should win TV channel of the year. Well, I would not shut up! All these amazing thoughts seemed to be flowing freely from me. The others sat there looking at me, slightly baffled and afraid. If I could have looked at myself the same way, I would have.

Last thing was the interview. I was feeling quite pleased with myself by this stage, not going to lie. But I detest interviews and generally fall apart during them. This time I held it together. I spoke about my children and how I want to show them that you can follow your dreams at any age, with some hard work and determination. I sold myself more than I ever thought I could. I left that building feeling so proud of myself. So proud infact, that I had a little sob. I am not just a mum. That is one very important part of me but, there are many parts of me (saggy ones mainly). Don’t be afraid to chase your dream, mum or not. Maybe you will get somewhere, maybe you won’t. Maybe you will just surprise yourself and that will be more than enough. I will keep you posted on what happens- eek!