This week I have mainly been…. attending my very first parent/teacher meeting and being mortified afterwards!

On Tuesday we attended our very first parent/teacher meeting. A meeting that served to update us on how eldest has been getting on in terms of learning and socialising. Since he started in September, I have beseeched him with questions the whole way home from school each day. “How did today go? “what did you learn?” “what letter did you learn and how does it sound?” “who did you play with today?” and, finally, “did you behave and listen well?”. Each day he replies in the same manner, “I can’t remember a WHOLE day mummy, I don’t know!”. Ok, forgive me entirely for assuming you could at least regale me about one moment of your day. A day that generally involves some learning, knocking the crap out of each other in the playground, eating lunch and then going home. Sorry for even asking.

As usual eldest had to accompany us. Just like last time, he sat quite peacefully and well behaved outside the door. I now know why. His teacher (who is so lovely) told us what he was doing well at and, the areas he needs to improve on. Phonics mainly which, I will admit, is entirely my fault. He understands most of them but, the ones he doesn’t, I don’t either. Everyone has told me to look up ‘Jolly Phonics’ on YouTube which I would do if middle wasn’t constantly watching f ing Steve and Maggie and Baby Shark on my phone/laptop. He is doing very well with numbers and counting which, does not surprise me as he is very logically minded, like his daddy. To this day I still do not have my Math’s GCSE though A stars in anything English. My mum even sent me to night classes at the local tech two years in a row and, I still couldn’t manage it. I ended up betting her that I could learn Chinese in the evening and pass quicker than I ever would at maths. She obviously knew this was true so, wouldn’t bet me. I did always have a penchant for languages, especially those of the swearing variety.

All was going so well. I felt so proud of eldest and his achievements. Then she got to the not so good things. He can be quite ‘silly’ apparently. “The other day he spent the whole art lesson, sticking his work to his face for, and I quote, ‘a right laugh” she said. This would explain why his face and, also hair, was covered in glue when I picked him up on Monday. “He also likes to make his presence known by randomly poking anyone he is sitting beside whilst they are trying to concentrate” she added. Ground and swallow sprang to mind. On hindsight, this doesn’t actually surprise me as we have always had problems with him shouting in other kid’s faces etc. He doesn’t seem to understand that everyone is entitled to their own personal space. Mortified. Other than that he is conscientious and socialising well with everyone.

Later on that night I called my mum. ‘”Who sticks their artwork to their face for a ‘right laugh’?” I asked. She paused, then continued “Grace, when you were in P3, you got so annoyed at the artwork you had been working on for weeks on end that, you just started cutting someone’s hair off instead”. The moment she said it, I remembered. We all had to sit in a circle and cut cardboard for what felt like hours. Every Friday. People got so bored and numb, they ended up changing positions and sitting with their backs to some people. I really wanted to be a hairdresser at the time (some relative had bought me a Kylie annual that year for Christmas) and, the person beside me had changed position to put her back towards me. So I got bored and I gave her a new ‘do’. It looked marvellous from what I recall but people were more than raging. Alas, my hairdressing dreams ended here. Surely I was just way ahead of the times and had single-handedly invented my own Peter Mark training academy in a primary school? Maybe art and the ensuing boredom it brings is just not for me nor eldest. I will literally die if he cuts someone’s hair though. My poor parents.

Part of this parenting journey is recognising yourself and your traits in them. Then trying to navigate it. Because, when you stand back and try and remember, maybe they aren’t so different from you as what you think. Should I tell the school he shouldn’t have scissors? Maybe I will stifle the next Nicky Clarke if I do that though?

Baby is now on the move, albeit in a rather weird one-legged crawling way. I feel like my life had been quite easy with him until now.  I had totally forgotten how bonkers it is when they can actually move. Arggh! I now have another one to try and keep from flinging himself off things. Challenge accepted (begrudgingly)!

 

This week I have mainly been…. succeeding at potty training middle (finally) and confronting a school bully!!

How long have I been at the whole potty training middle thing? A few months? Maybe so but, to me, it feels like a few years. With eldest he just got it. He then randomly transgressed at one stage but thankfully reverted back. Middle is a completely different child, however. I don’t know why you expect to get two the same but, you do.

I should have known it would never have been as easy with him. I managed to keep all eldest’s clothes and shoes for him as he was so careful and they were all pristine. Within a few weeks of wearing any hand me downs, middle has annihilated them to oblivion. Jeans, shoes, you name it. The latter is due to the fact that he is usually deploying his feet as brakes. This is because he much prefers to travel by Paw Patrol ride on than on foot (rolling eye emoji). He is also rather reckless in that, whilst eldest would have weighed up the pro’s and con’s before making a decision, middle will just do it and consider the consequences as an afterthought. Is it safe to jump off the sofa, who knows? Let’s just do it! Is it safe to scale a large fence? Who cares? Let’s just do it! Will I be able to stop myself when hurtling down a steep hill on a plastic ride on? Who gives a toss, survival of the fittest and all that. I hope you can see what I am dealing with here. It should have been obvious from the outset. I know we are all more laid back with the second one but, it’s not like I just abandoned him to raise himself. He would be dead by now if I had of.

Potty training with him started off quite successfully to be fair. But this was merely a ruse. Nothing is ever straightforward with middle. We went from great days to bad days. Day’s when I wanted to give up entirely. But, this week it just clicked. This week he has been in pants everywhere and asked to go no matter where we are. Pees and everything else. I am so incredibly proud of my little madman. Between this milestone and his speech- winning! The endless questions are rather exasperating, however. **bangs head off a brick wall**.

In other news, I just wanted to recount what happened to me on Thursday. I was somewhere that I would have reason to be on a daily basis. And every day for months, I have been confronted with the sight of an old school bully. Not just a ‘normal’ bully but, a bully that pretended to be everyone’s friend but was rather unpleasant daily. A bully that led a group of friends with a mixture of intimidation and fear. A person that turned fellow girls against their best friends quite often. I walked away from secondary school and, I walked away from her (gladly)! This was obviously quite traumatising for her. That no one cared about her and were happy to cut their losses (all of us) seems to have weighed quite heavily on her. This person could not let it go. When Facebook first became popular I had so many messages from her asking why I didn’t like her. Why the need for reassurance? I blocked her so well on Facebook that she literally does not exist to me, even to this day. She then messaged my bestie a few months ago asking why we don’t speak to her. Yesterday, she asked me the same thing, face to face. I was with my beautiful ca ca (nephew) and, he is so sensitive. So I knew I would have to mind my tongue. I’ve been waiting for this moment for months because I could almost sense she wanted to confront me. She swaggered towards me. Why don’t you like me? It’s been twenty years and, why don’t you like me? I looked her square in the face and asked why it even mattered to her twenty years later? Really? I have no interest in her life and I don’t see why she has an interest in mine. I’ve observed you for months, did I want to waste my breath on you? Not at any point! My boys have been told all about bullying and the many forms it takes. Bullying is a horrible thing and, the second it happens to any of mine, I will be knocking it right on the head. To that person, you know what I know. I will not stand for any kind of bullying in my life -mum shaming included. This blog is honest and not sugar coated (unlike what some like to portray).

Just wanted to end by saying that I’ve decided to start a monthly book club (check me right out). I think it might force us all to take some ‘me time’ and get away from the daily grind. I did some research (googled Richard and Judy’s book club because who doesn’t trust those legends? Judy did accept an award once with her tits on display so she is totally up there in my opinion). The link is at the bottom! If you want to join in on this but are struggling to get a copy, message me. The sisterhood will help out. Always x

This week I have mainly been… unable to write anything though loving the two new additions to our family

Don’t worry reading this title, I haven’t popped out another two sprogs (that would literally push me over the edge). I also just couldn’t for the life of me write this week which, is highly unusual. I kept attempting to, but, was unable to formulate any kind of brain to webpage function. This is my tenth attempt so, let’s see how I fare. Maybe it’s the increase of dosage in my tablets? Who knows.

This week my sister in law’s welcomed the most beautiful little twin girl’s into our family. A family that, up until now, has been dominated by my three boys. My very boisterous ones at that! They are so utterly beautiful and, more importantly, I now have another two little humans that I can buy pink for and that will hopefully bother their arses to visit me in a care home one day (preferably with smuggled in alcohol). My sister in law’s journey to parenthood wasn’t as straightforward as mine. Sometimes you forget that other people face challenges and hurdles just trying to become a ‘mum’. Ultimately it is a title all us girls grow up assuming we will have. Just thinking that had already put things into perspective for me. What put things more into perspective is, how we are all just the same when introduced into this new whirlwind adventure. We are frightened, exhausted and, we will never think we are doing a good enough job. But, you are. No one can ever prepare you for those first weeks home but, one day you will be wishing them back. One day the visitors will stop and you will be wanting company. It’s funny how this whole thing works isn’t it? It’s only when we get some more sleep and, feel more normal, that we understand that. You will feel normal again! I promise.

In the boy’s news, baby is teething at an alarming rate. On Thursday I was single-handedly dealing with his seventh explosion in a few hours. Where was it even coming from? Like how is that even possible?  I began to think it could only be one of the plagues the Bible forewarned me about. There could be no other explanation (I am being brainwashed, read on).

Middle is doing great on the potty though seems to have developed quite the aversion to doing a poo on it. This is leading to what I can only describe as a daily apocalyptic nightmare. I literally gag every time this happens. He laughs hysterically of course.

Eldest is still loving school though randomly keeps returning home every few days with the same picture coloured in of an ark. The first few times I was thinking “well, he is certainly getting better with the colouring, that’s something”. However, we are now onto what seems like the twelfth ark picture in a few weeks and I am seriously concerned that he, and I, are being subliminally messaged. I’m not sure who by exactly, Noah maybe? I have two words for you Noah, the first begins with a F and the second is off. We are led by science in this family and, the drive to be kind and good people.

 

This week I have mainly been…. admitting defeat but battling onwards and upwards

I never ever thought I would have to type this. I figured, like with eldest, I may feel this way but, would somehow overcome it. I tried everything. I sat and thought about why I felt how I did. I asked for more support at home, I tried to chase my dreams and, ultimately, I tried to hold it all together. That’s the thing when you are a mum- you are expected to. Every day involves putting other’s needs first and, it can’t be a surprise if one day you stand back and suddenly think “what the f#ck has happened to me though?”. A few weeks ago that was me. I was fully aware I was gradually feeling worse but, I am never one to admit defeat and tried to fix it myself. What I learnt was this, sometimes it’s impossible and, I don’t have the time nor peace to devote my energy into giving attention to my wonky brain.

Brain’s are funny things, aren’t they? Sometimes, the wiring just goes slightly haywire. I guess they are like little computers really. I’m fairly certain pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation can be the catalyst to making even normal wiring go off track. We aren’t robots after all. I wrote this piece when baby was four months old : https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/05/03/why-its-ok-not-to-be-ok/ . I wrote it in conjunction with Maternal Mental Health Week. I’m aware then, that I’m starting to go all not ok. I also seem to know that it’s ok to feel that way. But somehow in the midst of things, I seem to have ignored my own advice and just tried to bat my feelings away. I’m not quite sure how that occurred or why. Maybe it was due to so many changes going on, eldest starting school, baby nursery etc and I mistook my emotions for normalcy? The main thing is, I’ve realised now and am working on things to make it better.

Because it is totally ok not to be ok. Infact, I think you will find that most people these days feel not ok as opposed to ok. We are expected, as mothers, to work, be housewives and somehow remain sane. We beat ourselves up when it all gets too much and we yell at our children after they have pushed us for hours on end. We think we are ‘bad mums’ when infact we are just ‘normal mums’ who, like everyone else, has a breaking point. We are people, we are humans. We have feelings too. Sometimes a hug from your children can change everything but, sometimes some appreciation can change even more. Medicating and pumping some happy hormones into your system is one thing but, the thing’s that brought you to that point in the first place tend to stay the same. I think part of this process has to be working on that aspect alongside tablets. That’s why on Tuesday I shall be attending my very first counselling session. This poor guy has no idea what he has let himself in for! I really hope I don’t drive him insane trying to dissect my insanity- eek!

Hopefully, this post helps even one person to realise that they aren’t alone. That seeking some assistance is a positive thing instead of drowning. It may be a short-term solution or maybe even a long-term one. But, if it gets you through, it gets you through. As mums, that’s all we are trying to do on a daily basis. Bonus if the kids are still alive by the end of it also! If anyone is feeling the same way, please do not hesitate to message me and we can help each other overcome this with mutual support. Onwards and upwards!

I was thinking to get out of this headspace, I would do a funny survival guide about going from one child to two as that’s the main question I get asked in messages. So, if anyone has any reminders for me, send them through. I can only remember the f#ckery of going from two to three these days.