This week I have mainly been….. surviving Christmas and becoming demented with middle!

We officially survived Christmas- yeah! Even with me being in charge of cooking the Christmas dinner. Winning! This was the very first year we have stayed at home with just us. No rushing about trying to get out the door with presents and various items of food to bring to others houses. The boy’s got to spend all morning playing with their toys and we got to set our own pace for the day. There was a slight hiccup on Christmas Eve when middle decided to keep getting out of bed. This resulted in me staying in with him until eldest woke us at 7 am by flying into his room and yelling in both our faces that ‘Santa had been!’. Rude awakening if ever there was one.

Since Christmas Eve, however, middle has continued his sleeping shenanigans. I don’t understand where this is coming from. He was always my dream sleeper. Infact, that was his most redeeming feature what with the no fear and recklessness. Now I put him down and, two minutes later he has come back downstairs. I don’t even look at him and march him straight back to bed. He cries then, repeats the process. The whole thing is made worse by the fact that before you even bring him to bed, he looks at you then, rather seriously states, “me don’t get out of my bed all night”. So, he knows fine rightly what he is doing. The night before New Year’s Eve he was actually quiet for 45 mins before eldest went to bed. Weird. Upon trying to put eldest to bed, however, it became clear that middle was at the bottom of eldest’s bed. Not only this but, he had ensconced himself under the actual mattress protector and fitted sheet to best avoid detection! How does he come up with these ideas? On New Year’s Eve we must have put him back down at least thirty times before 12 pm. At one stage he snuck downstairs, raided one of the cupboards and, emptied a whole bag of desecrated coconut all over my kitchen floor. I imagine the scene that greeted me was not unlike a normal day at Pablo Escobar’s house. I didn’t even realise I was in possession of desecrated coconut. What do you even need that for?

These antics have continued to get worse and we really have tried everything. I’ve been manically scouring Netmums at all hours and trying every bit of advice I can glean. Nothing will break him- nothing! I am now dreading him going to bed each night as the fight can go on for four hours (like last night). Even at that, he went over until 3 am then immediately resumed his earlier antics. This of course served to wake up the whole house. I am slowly losing the will to live here. On the other hand, I’ve come too far and been too strong to back down now. Anyone any tips?

More of this please middle and less of the opposite!

On a lighter note, upon me explaining to eldest that Christmas was now officially over and, there would be no more presents from relatives as he had seen them all, he looked wounded then said: “I am so excited for Easter now then”. Oh to be five!

 

This week I have mainly been….. nativity attending (the joys!)

Aw the annual nativity. What can I say about the annual nativity? Well, with your first, each year of the nativity brings something new and wonderful. The first year they sit there looking both bewildered and petrified, the second year they clap sporadically, the third year they know the words to songs and, the next year they may even have a speaking role! Eldest followed all these stages. My particular favourite was his third year at the nursery nativity. He was a camel and sat right at the front of the stage. His dad couldn’t attend that year as he was in Dublin with work but, we figured he wouldn’t be missing much judging by the previous year. Well, how wrong we were! Eldest took his role as the camel that year tres seriously. Dancing to every song and singing his heart out. All we could see from our seats was the camel head he was wearing thrashing up and down as he headbanged to songs about Mary and Jesus.

This year was middle’s first nativity. All he needed for it was a Christmas jumper. Assuming I probably had one somewhere, I didn’t buy one. On Friday I realised that whilst I did have one, it was aged two to three. Now middle is two but, his build ensures that he fits better into eldest’s clothes than even he does. It would have to do. Off we went with him looking like some kind of Christmas attired Daffyd Thomas from Little Britain- belly and all! He is off with me on Friday’s so I would have to bring him beforehand to join his classmates. With eldest this handoff never went well and he was always raging he couldn’t stay with me. Middle couldn’t have cared less at all and sauntered in without even glancing back at me.

We had really good seats as we had arrived so early. Nanna and papa were in attendance too. Now, I’m not sure if they just did not trust middle (no surprise really) but, he was placed at the very back and, in a corner. We could not see him at all. I tried moving to the back, the front and, still I couldn’t see him. Eldest who hadn’t given a s#it for the whole performance asked to go see him at one point. When he realised that he couldn’t see him no matter where we stood, he began to cry hysterically. Baby had been due a nap and was quite restless throughout. No sooner had the last song finished and, the place was quiet for a second, he blew the loudest raspberry I’ve ever heard. It literally echoed off the walls. Que a whole room of parents looking at me whilst I turned all spectrums of red! In his defence, it was a totally honest review of what we had just witnessed.

Eldest has his nativity on Wednesday. Yeah- not! First he was a bird then, a sheep and this week he is saying he is a shepherd. I have no clue what he is actually going to be. Maybe he was so bad at being a bird then, a sheep that he has been downgraded to the shepherd role? According to him he is the only one not speaking. He is also not feeling his costume either as, it is ‘stripey’. When eldest doesn’t like items of clothing he disregards them without care or thought as to who is there. I can only but hope he keeps them on throughout and doesn’t go all Magic Mike on me. If there is a God, he will surely spare me any further nativity embarrassment.

Baby is still crawling in that weird one-legged way. I don’t know whether to start being concerned now. Obviously it was a right laugh to begin with but, even when I move him to the proper position, he reverts back. He can move surprisingly quick this way and is maybe just being lazy like the rest of my brood. This morning he spoke for the very first time. Did he say “ma ma?” No, he referred to himself and “ba ba” was his choice of first words. It’s going to be fun having three of them blabbering on about utter nonsense from the second they wake up. Much preferable than the remote control thrown at my face, however. Got to find positives.

This week I have mainly been…. attempting to get into the Christmas spirit!

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year according to Andy Williams. Well, Andy, I bet you didn’t get inspired to write that whilst trying to put your tree up with a crawling baby pulling down everything you’ve just done and a toddler and five year old running around the living room knocking lamps out of each other with sections of your tree. In my humble opinion Mr William’s, Christmas is the most stressful time of the year.

To be fair we have had quite a festive week. On Thursday I brought the boys to the local garden centre which has the most amazing Christmas displays. I was under the impression that middle wasn’t really getting any of it. Upon arriving however he went absolutely bonkers screaming at every Santa decoration “me want a fire bike!”. Guess he does get it then. The same cannot be said for the concept of an advent calendar, however. Had I of known the number of meltdowns I would face every morning when trying to explain he can only open one window, I wouldn’t have bothered. “Me open another one mummy” he states matter of factly. When I tell him he can’t, he falls to the ground screaming “more chocolate!”. Give me strength. On Saturday we also went to the local council’s nativity play which is always a cheap day out before tackling the Christmas decorations:

Middle ten minutes into putting the Christmas tree up. In hindsight, he had the right idea.

I’ve started to ramp up the threats of calling Santa anytime one of them misbehaves too. Namely with middle who has taken it upon himself to remove his pull up pants and pyjama bottoms halfway through the night. As you can imagine, this is resulting in him yelling for me that he has wet his bed at all hours. “We do not remove our pull up’s at night, we call mummy and tell her we need to pee!” I have been begging. Now the second I even mention ‘bedtime’ he is pointing, shaking his head and saying “me don’t take my pants off again”. He then proceeds to still do it. First poo flinging and now this! This child really does dance to the beat of his own drum. Eldest never did any of the above and wouldn’t even have contemplated doing so. I have no idea how to navigate this one, he really should have come with a manual. He has cut out his afternoon nap now too and is finding it rather hilarious to sneak up the stairs when baby is having his and waking him. FML. His only saving grace this week has been his highly cute rendition of Jingle Bells accompanied by some rather unsuitable headbanging. I’m thinking this is what he will be singing at his nativity on Friday which, should be an experience.

I feel like I’m ready for it to be over and it’s only just begun. My bank balance reflects this mantra with three of them to buy for this year. Bah humbug!

 

This week I have mainly been…. trying to split myself into three (which is just not possible)

This week middle suddenly decided he likes me and, that I am not so bad after all. He has gone from quite blatantly ignoring my presence (but not my phone) to being permanently attached to me and bestowing me with a multitude of hugs on random occasions. At first, I figured he must be sick. There could be no other explanation. I awaited the hand, foot and mouth spots making an appearance (baby did have this last week). Nothing. Huh? I have tried to break this kid with love and affection for two years now and he has adamantly brushed me off. He has actually been known to scream “Nooooo!” when I try to even hug him. I can only put this 360 in attitude down to that fact that I was away for one night last week. It all started then. Maybe he thought I would never come back? In his defence it was considered, albeit briefly. On Monday night he awoke in his bed screaming for me. I ran in. “What’s wrong O O?” I enquired. “Me need to do huge pee” he honestly responded. “That’s ok, let’s go to the big boy toilet” I said. Off we went. Upon finishing, he demanded that I get into his bed with him. He has never ever asked me to do this. Although chuffed, I figured I could do the standard wait until he is asleep move then, slip out. This idea was all well and good until I realised (for the first time) that he sleeps with both eyes half open. Whilst seriously disturbing (when you look at someone in the dark who does this), it’s also quite difficult to decipher whether they are actually awake or asleep. In the end I gave up and ended up cuddling him the whole night long.

The next morning eldest arose from his slumber in an absolute fit of rage and resentment. “I don’t want to talk to you” he proclaimed. “Um, why?” I rightfully asked. “You weren’t in your bed this morning when I came in. That is just soooo rude. Daddy said you were in with Owen. That’s not fair!”. Not only was this reaction entirely unwarranted but, he seems to have forgotten that last Friday he had a sore ear and asked that I stay in his bed with him all night. I dutifully did as instructed. ” Sometimes your brother needs me too” I soothed. “When you needed me at the weekend, I stayed in with you” I added. “Well, how is it fair that he got huggles (his way of saying cuddles since a toddler) and I didn’t?” he demanded.  I looked at him, then began to cry. I cannot physically be in two places at once. What does he want? I may have three of these utter mummies boys to contend with but, I am very fair with my affection and making sure they all feel loved. I’d no sooner stifled eldest’s rage when hubby emerged from our bedroom, rubbing his eyes wearily. “Baby was an absolute nightmare last night. Then Aden came in, turned on all the lights and proceeded to have a nervous breakdown that you weren’t where you should be at 3am! I tried to calm him but he took a right huff and marched back to his room, slamming his bedroom door. Why weren’t you there?” “Sorry I wasn’t with baby, sorry I wasn’t with eldest and I’m sorry I stayed in with middle for once” I exasperatedly replied. Can I ever win? I am but one woman here guys! Also, a woman who is seriously outnumbered. Aren’t us women supposed to be the needy ones?

In other less headbanging of a wall news, eldest came home from school yesterday with a note advising when his Christmas nativity play would be. Two showings apparently (optimistic). “Oh, what is your role?” I excitedly asked. “I am a bird” he confidently responded. “A bird? What do you have to say then, tweet tweet tweet?” I enquired. He looked at me like I had five heads, then stated “don’t be stupid mum, obviously the birds talk in it”. Sooo sorry! Of course they do! I don’t know whether to be intrigued as to what he will say or, concerned as there is actually more than one bird cast. I don’t recall any birds being present at the birth of the baby Jesus but hey, creative license and all that! Guess you have to add some twists and surprises into an age-old story in 2018. Should be interesting if anything! Have your kids been cast as anything weird this year? Tell me in the comments if so.

This week I have mainly been…. realising how in for it I actually am – EEK!

This week I suddenly had an ‘oh shit’ moment. A moment when I realised how hard things are about to get for me. Don’t get me wrong, three kids are mega hard work but, up until now, I’ve felt relatively in control. After all, I had thought one child was hard, two even harder but, when baby came along I didn’t notice a vast difference. Ok, admittedly it added an extra five minutes of getting in and out of the car which, was already a rigmarole. I was also thrown back to the days of being up all hours feeding with no hope in hell of a nap to recoup. I also mustn’t forget the whole getting three boys dressed (when two much prefer to be starkers most of the time) thing either but, baby couldn’t move anywhere whilst all this was occurring. He was also extremely quiet most of the time despite the other two going bonkers around him. This week that changed. After him being sick all last week and, hospitalised on Friday, he’s been feeling much better. Back to his usual self, smiling continually and giving me lots of big, slobbery kisses. He also appears to have acquired his energy back, much to my detriment.

Having finally managed to potty train middle, I am thankfully back to only having one in nappies. This has been amazing and I had been feeling rather smug (I won’t lie). That was until baby decided he was going to roll continually whilst I attempted to diffuse his up the back explosions. “Stay still!” has been my new yelled saying this week, followed swiftly by hysterical shrieking of “it’s going everywhere!”. Why has he decided to move suddenly? We had a much calmer relationship when he adhered to the proper nappy changing etiquette. He is also now into everything and, I mean everything! Namely middle’s potty. It’s almost like he lies in wait until middle does a pee, appears out of nowhere and empties the whole thing over himself and my floor grr! For someone who gets about with a weird, one-legged crawl, he can move surprisingly stealthily and quickly. I am at my wits end entirely with his potty shenanigans and, back to bleaching my floors continually. His voice has also made an appearance this week, which has resulted in him and middle having what can only be described as constant scream off’s. Said scream off’s tend to occur  (quite loudly) at 6 am every morning. This is generally followed by baby throwing both my phone and the remote control at my face. Who need’s an alarm eh?

As if all that wasn’t trying enough, eldest has now decided that he wants nothing to do with baby. So, when he suddenly appears in our room, (like something from the exorcist) at 2am, he is refusing to lie beside him. Instead, he insists on lying horizontally at the bottom of the bed. So on one side I have a baby punching and kicking the living shit out of me and, a five-year-old at the bottom continually scratching his nails off my legs. If my mum tells me one more time how bad a night’s sleep she had the night before, I may seriously lose my shit.

In conclusion, if you have two children and are toying with the idea of a third, DON’T do it. It’s all well and good until the last one decides to become mobile. After that, it’s just utter craziness and f#ckery. You were warned.

 

This week I have mainly been…. contemplating selling middle on Ebay to recoup the money he has cost me with his YouTube obsession!

I hosted a Halloween party for twenty-eight adults and kids on Monday evening. I’m not quite sure how this happened as it was my sister’s turn (I did it last year). I had all three kids on the day in question as it’s half term. Baby had also been up most of the night screaming and I was shattered. I knew I had to somehow find the time and energy to clean my house, make a chilli and, keep them all alive. At 9 am, I got to work cutting all the ingredients for the chilli. Two minutes later I turn around to observe that middle has taken off his pj’s, is brandishing a plastic sword and yelling “I be a crazy boy!” all over the place. The day was obviously starting as it meant to go on.

Baby proceeded to cry all morning whilst I tried desperately to complete my to-do list. I would clean one room only to re-enter a while later and realise that eldest and middle had trashed it again. By 2 pm I was losing the will to live and my sanity. I finally got baby and middle over for a nap, handed eldest his Nintendo DS and, was able to get stuck in. I had all the decorations done at the weekend (to make things easier) but hubby kept going on about putting colour changing light bulbs in the hall. I had no idea what he was going on about until I switched on the lights and realised he had them set to red and my house now resembled the red light district in Amsterdam. Not only this but, the front door has windows all around it . Welcome to a brothel kiddies!

The hordes arrived at 6:30 pm. I got so overwhelmed with all the cooking, I forgot to put the cocktail sausages on, of which I’d bought 70 of! Considering this is the main thing kids want at a party, utter fail on my behalf. Crisis amended, everyone fed and watered and, the men away with the kids trick or treating, I rewarded myself with a few glasses of wine! This was the first time all evening I had been able to sit down and actually talk to anyone. A few hours later and everyone was away and the kids asleep. The house got wrecked of course. Why do us women feel the need to clean hysterically when people are coming round when we know we will just have to do it all over again when they leave? Baffling. The following day had to be better surely?

Well, upon checking my bank balance on a whim that morning, I was confronted with the fact that I was now £108 overdrawn. What?!! After some investigating, I discovered that it was Vodafone who had emptied my remaining funds. “This must be a mistake!” I kept repeating to eldest. “My bill is only £23 a month usually”. So I called them and, a mistake it was not. Middle had managed to rack up £83 in additional data charges during the period 23rd September to 1st October!!!! Considering I have 4gb of data included in my monthly allowance, this is some kind of epic achievement. Our broadband had gone off for three days during ‘the storm’ that week but, how he managed that extortionate amount is beyond me. The guy at Vodafone was very sympathetic as I had an utter nervous breakdown at the realisation it wasn’t a colossal mistake on their part. He advised that they couldn’t do anything as it had been paid by my bank but, he would give me an additional 5gb of data a month for free, until the end of my contract. My kind friend also advised that he would put a block on the data so I could never go over it (they should do this as standard surely?). ‘Shout out to middle who has cost me £108 in data charges watching YouTube’ I raged on Instagram. My dad then comments under it ‘I remember my eldest girl doing the exact same thing’. Oh dear. Why yes, I did do this. I once ran up a £120 phone bill at his house voting for Brian Dowling to win Big Brother. I mean, I don’t understand what his problem was. That was obviously a legitimate cause and not a cost acquired from watching f#cking baby shark and daddy finger. Why are these kid’s so like me?? I need to think carefully about what else I’ve done and be prepared for the karma to hit me square in the face. The karma, it just keeps on coming 🙁

** I have ended up spending all day in hospital with baby due to his breathing. Not even hand, foot and mouth related. Wheezing and very laboured breathing. After five hours, nebuliser’s and steroids, they finally got it under control. What a week (as always)**

Welcome to the new Amsterdam, right in the heart of Greenisland

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….. going on a date night and basically sleeping through it!

I don’t know how it happened but, somehow I turned thirty-three on Wednesday. I feel like this is the perfect stage to begin lying and knocking a few years off myself. So, from now on, I am thirty years old (forever). I feel much better now I’ve made that decision.

When hubby asked me last week what I would like for my birthday, I asked for one thing and one thing only (no, not that- please!). What I asked for was a meal in peace. A meal that I didn’t have to prepare and cook myself, a meal that wasn’t interrupted numerous times by a crying baby or, middle and eldest battering each other, a meal that someone else was responsible for tidying up after and, most importantly, a meal that I got to eat whilst still hot! That was the only thing in the whole world I could think of that I didn’t just want but, needed. How times have changed! I also told him that I wanted no part in arranging childcare or anything and, he would have to do it all. Men can plan things without thinking about the logistics of who actually cares for your children whilst you do what they’ve planned.

He managed to rope his two sisters into looking after them (thank you E and S). We debated going hardcore and heading into Belfast. On the day in question, however, we had been up all night with two coughing, barfing kids. So we decided to head down the road instead for an Indian meal and some drinks after. Two hours before freedom and, I was having a breakdown. So many things to organise and do. Make them dinner, PJ’s left out, baby changed, bottles made in advance and, I somehow had to find the time to look presentable. I got halfway through my to-do list and was questioning if free time is even worth it. When someone is doing you a huge favour, you want to make life easier for them in any way that you can.  I started to get the dreaded ‘mum guilt’ also. What if one of them was sick again? How would they react to someone else putting them to bed? What if baby missed me?

We headed out at 7 pm for our meal after I had staged a huge hissy fit over having nothing to wear (this wasn’t even dramatic, I literally have nothing to wear). We got to our table and, I suddenly realised I had nothing to talk to him about bar our children. Nothing! All our conversations revolve around them and their day. It’s almost like we have lost ourselves in the daily stress fest. But, sometimes you need to be shown that so that you can work to amend it. Free time can highlight many things.  In the end hubby ate so much that he felt ill the rest of the night. He also started drifting off at the bar at 10 pm. I wasn’t for going home as I knew the kids were settled and asleep. I ordered a cocktail. Then I started to feel sleepy. Come 11 pm we were debating whether we should move tables as one had a sofa and we could maybe go a nap. “Should we just go home? I’m wrecked” hubby begged. “But it’s freedom!” I implored. “Freedom is all well and good when you are rested and up for it, I just want to go to bed” he replied. I thought for a second then, had to concur. I was royally knackered and no amount of Red Bull would ever fix it! Kids! Maybe next time we get a night out, we can just nap. Forget date night, nap night is the future!

When you have children their every need and want consumes you. You get so used to being ‘mummy’ that you can lose you. I do everything for my kids and, enjoy doing so. But, somehow I have to get ‘Grace’ back. I’m not quite sure how I go about that. But, I’m working on it. Does anyone else feel this way or is it just me?

This week I have mainly been…. back to losing my shit (again)

I haven’t had a week like this week in a long time! Maybe some kind of zen-like calmness had descended upon me previously and, now I have just reverted back to normal? No matter what, it’s safe to say that I am back to royally losing the plot.

Letters from eldest’s school seem to be materialising in his school bag at the same rate owls first brought letters to Harry Potter at Privet Drive. Every time I open it, there is an avalanche of them! I am running out of room on my calendar for all the events and activities I am supposed to remember. Don’t they realise I am still suffering from baby brain and teethingitis? My lack of memory became quite apparent this week when, I completely forgot that there was a parents curriculum talk on Tuesday evening at his school. Had I not have overheard two other parents talking about it on Tuesday’s afternoon pick up, none of us would have been there. I frantically text hubby- ‘Bugger, curriculum talk at school at 6:30 pm tonight. Must have missed it in the billion’s of letters. One of us will have to go as surely a shit parent alert will trigger if we don’t’. He came back saying no worries, we will sort it out. I text him that at 1 pm. Come 6:30 pm, I was still waiting on him returning home from work. He had forgotten all about it! Cue a mad dash to the school to hear all about what amazing things eldest will be learning about. Phonics, mainly. Wtf are phonics? They sound like a highly confusing method and one that is certain to drive me around the bend (more than usual).

Crisis avoided on the talk front, I diverted my attention to the physio appointment I had to attend at the hospital on Wednesday (mother, eldest and baby in tow). I had been referred the day I was discharged after having baby. Apparently, my stomach muscles have come apart. I hadn’t even realised this if I’m honest. What I had realised however was that, since middle, I have had a rather attractive hernia right at my belly button. Where there used to be a pretty, sparkly, belly bar after eldest, I now sport a bulging lump of my abdominal wall. Rawrrr! As much as I am making light of the above, it does make me highly self-conscious. Especially, as middle loves nothing more than pointing at my tummy and proclaiming “eugh!”. Charming. Upon attending my appointment, at Antrim Hospital, I met with the most amazing Physiotherapist. She explained every little detail before even examining me. She described how us superwomen’s bodies take such a battering during childbirth. How, like breaking an arm, things take time to heal. It made me think about how us women tend to beat ourselves up about how our bodies aren’t perfect after carrying and, giving birth to babies. Because put simply like that (using a broken arm as an example), it would take us years and years to fully recover! Celebrities have a lot to answer for this and, mainly the Kardashians. Don’t you ever find it strange how they all disappear for ages after having kid’s then, reemerge even slimmer and better than ever? When do they ever disappear otherwise? Oh, to have their surgeon! Turn’s out my stomach muscles are actually quite strong (I don’t know how) and, my main issue is the hernia. Now I find myself questioning, do I put myself through surgery (which eldest seems quite fearful of when I explain it) or, do I embrace the reminder kids have left me with? I  went through my teens with stretch marks galore and, a doctor told me, ‘it would only get way worse when I had kids’. I, fortunately, didn’t get many. So, my hernia is almost like my tiger stripes. It takes a lot to harbour a baby and, even more to birth one. There is a reason why we, as women, are the chosen sex to do this. We may not get equal pay ladies, but we can have babies, bear the scars and, still be gorgeous! Maybe it’s time we embrace the bodies childbearing left us with? All we have to do is look at them to see that the sacrifice of our bodies, was a small price to pay (when they aren’t being little shits, of course!). I think it is vitally important that our generation sticks with the girl power theme. The Spice Girl’s didn’t work that hard nor, flaunt all that flesh for nothing (sarcasm).

In other news, upon picking eldest up from school on Friday, I observed he had his trousers on fully back to front. He had PE that day so, had to dress himself afterwards. “Why are your trouser’s back to front?” I asked. “Are they?” he replied, “I did everything you said and put the label to the back mummy”. I rolled my eyes, out of his vision of course. When we got home and, I removed the trousers, it became clear that Tesco’s had decided to place the label at the front of the trousers. My bad son! Why Tesco’s, why?

Middle also insists on more bonkers outerwear every day that we pick him up. The other day he had to wear eldest’s coat (three sizes too big) and a helmet. He also had to bring his ride on bike (again). I cannot deal with the tantrums anymore, so he can wear whatever he likes and look as insane as he likes.

Baby is now capable of feeding himself and it is utter carnage! Food all over him, up the walls and all over the dog. I forgot about this messy stage arrgghh! See featured picture for the evidence.

This week I have mainly been…. adjusting to new routines and observing, then ignoring, school gate etiquette.

Eldest is loving school. Not only that but, he has actually been so excited each morning that he is dressing himself! We are still having slight meltdowns over his trousers and how rough they feel but, on the whole, he seems content with his uniform. The seamless socks I purchased from M & S (after a lovely reader advised) have been amazing! I wish I knew they sold these years ago. Maybe the majority of my sanity would still be intact then? Who am I kidding!

The new addition of the school run has served to add slightly more stress to my days though, a few hours peace admittedly. Getting all of them out of the door for a specific time is proving slightly mental. Middle finds the morning and afternoon run, the prime time to deploy a tantrum about anything and everything. He has learnt to use the word ‘no’ in context. So now anything I ask results in a crossing of the arms, stamping of the feet and, a yelled “NOOOOOOOO!”. The afternoon run is around his nap time so, this one is particularly hell-raising. Trying to get him to walk the five minutes it takes to get to school is, well, head melting. It also usually takes fifteen in the end. Baby is all out of his routine too and now proceeds to scream all morning until right as I begin the afternoon pick up. Of course, everyone at the school gate then thinks he is the most amazing baby, always sleeping soundly- yeah right!

This leads me quite seamlessly to the school gate and, what I have observed. I might go all David Attenborough here as I think it’s warranted. In the vast landscape that is the school gate, there are two types of species. The ones that prey on everyone for a good old chinwag and, the ones who prefer to be lone wolves. The landscape is dominated by females mainly, with a few males stalking the perimeter. Said males seem to be of particular interest to the aforementioned chin waggers. It is important to note that they don’t seem to care for the attention nor, the intrusion. Appearance varies wildly. On one side we have the species that views the daily ceremony as a catwalk and, those that just don’t give a flying toss and rock up whichever way they want. And, why not say’s I (sorry, Attenborough).

I have fallen, rather unintentionally, into the lone wolf category. I am unsure as to whether this is because, on day one, I forgot to put the brake on babies buggy and it rather aggressively hurtled into a yummy mummy. She was in no way amused. This may have been the catalyst to my ostracising from ‘the pack’. I also usually have a pint-sized dictator in tow who, on numerous occasions, has plonked himself across the gate horizontally in a rage, thus preventing other people from gaining access. No matter how much I say “hello” or smile, no one wants to know. That was until the afternoon pick up on Tuesday when a fellow lone wolf decided to take me under their wing. Patricia is a sixty-two-year-old grandmother who picks up her grandson every Monday- Wednesday from the gate. We have struck up quite the accord. As in one where I can’t swear as she was a Girl’s Brigade leader in her formative years. I am so thankful to Patricia for chatting with me and, making standing at the gate alone, like a knob, that little bit easier. I am also highly thankful that it doesn’t appear that she heard me on Wednesday when, upon leaving our street, myself and baby were very nearly run over by a speeding car up the lane beside the school. This old man gets out, like the exemplary person he is, and, accuses me of being in the wrong. Considering he was flying up a lane that school children generally walk up, driving up one side of the lane and, the fact I couldn’t possibly have seen him until I exited the path I was on,  has cemented his status as wa#ker of the new school year. ” How was that my fault?” I assertively screamed back, shaking. “Just, um, because it was” he intelligently responded. “I sir, am I pedestrian” I added, “who couldn’t see you from where I was due to the hedge. Maybe if you hadn’t been speeding, you might have seen me”.  He did not take kindly to this reasoning and began swearing and gesturing rather madly. “F#ck you!” I suddenly yelled! Mainly out of pure anger that he may have wiped out my third born. I then turn around to witness his shock at this little woman responding to him in the manner in which he spoke to me, only to see five parents dandering down the lane looking horrified. Look’s like this mama and Patricia will be school gate buddies for life! I actually wouldn’t have it any other way. Patricia rocks!

Before we nearly got run over
How he rolls on the school run

**I want to dedicate this blog post to the beautiful and amazing Rachael Bland who tragically passed away the other day. Her blog, Big C. Little Me. was an inspiration to many and sharing her battle so openly will have helped others. Not only now but, in the future also. This is why we have to be honest- to help others.**