Lockdown Log (Day three)

Well, I didn’t see that coming- not! Here’s how we have fared during the first few days of lockdown. Disclaimer: May have lost it more than once.

Day announcement made

Get up at the usual time and dress kids. Grab a cup of tea and proceed to homeschool. Eldest is highly receptive and enthusiastic- weird. Homework never goes as easy! Middle loves doing his worksheets but needs a lot of guidance. Eldest continually tells Middle that his effort at circling words is “absolutely rubbish!”. Middle begins to cry. Too early for wine? Yes, it’s not even 11 am (sigh). Morning work done, tablets permitted whilst I get ready. Any point doing your make up if you can’t go anywhere? What if there is a worldwide shortage of concealer? Decide to just leave it. Coronavirus doesn’t care if I have makeup on I’m sure. By the time I’m ready, the boys have started knocking lamps out of each other and are getting restless. Make lunch then head out for a walk. Every elderly person in the area has decided to do the same. FMAL. I have one flying mad on a scooter, Middle is on the Paw Patrol ride on and Baby is on a toddler trike and moving at the pace of a snail. Have to shout like a madwoman for them to pull in somewhere and keep a distance from others. All of us are coughing so I’m frightened one of them will cough in the presence of others. Seemingly no one knows the correct protocol for social distancing and we are all suddenly afraid of people. Very odd. Come home and have a wee sob. Is this real life even?

Official day one of lockdown

Decide to jump on the bandwagon and start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson as opposed to worksheets. Eldest attempts five minutes of said workout and begins to cry as he “can’t do it!”. Middle ignores all Joe’s instructions and has stripped off his jeans and pants and is raving in the corner. Baby is wailing due to my lack of yoghurt getting. It’s 9:10am. Yes, 9:10am! This bodes well. Get myself ready (finally) and prepare to do battle with something called SeeSaw Class for Eldest all whilst Middle’s teacher is sending work through for him to do on an entirely different platform. Resist the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. Having navigated both and, ready to lose the will to live, all are forced outside. Make a cup of tea and enjoy five minutes of peace and tranquility. Forget that the boys cannot spend five minutes on a trampoline without battering each other. Bring them back in. Tea goes cold as I run around getting them what feels like a million different snacks and drinks. In an effort to expel boredom, I try and get all of them to draw a rainbow to put in the window. Eldest adamant that instead of a rainbow, we should draw Mario from Super Mario. Try and explain the whole concept behind the rainbow drawing. No, still insistent on drawing Mario. Middle gives it a good go (see picture above). Possibly the worst rainbow in a window in the whole of Northern Ireland but, God loves a trier.

Day Two

Struggling to even get out of bed as my anxiety levels are through the roof from the second I wake up. Take a call from my mum who is in tears as two confirmed Coronavirus cases in my nan’s care home. I haven’t seen her bar leaving things to her door on Mother’s Day. Feel utterly helpless. I can’t hug her nor make her a cup of coffee. Even have a face to face chat to soothe her worries. She laments the fact she is missing the kids. They are missing her also. I am missing her more. Reality is setting in for everyone. Try and maintain the routine with boys but find it difficult as my head is all over the place. Get them to bed and pour a glass of wine. Read on Facebook that the NI Executive has declared that all off licenses should close with immediate effect. WTAF?! You can take away my freedom but you cannot take my wine. Arlene, have you been in lockdown with my kids? Just plain selfish! Discuss with a friend on WhatsApp about how we could do a weekly booze cruise to Dublin with her sitting in the back to socially distance ourselves. Feel placated and no longer worried about the lack of toilet roll.

Day Three

F#’k homeschooling. I will never ever again say anything negative about a teacher. The novelty has worn off. Meanwhile, I still attempt it as I am so worried about Eldest falling behind when he has a referral to Occupational Therapy in place. We may not survive this. Oh, stand-alone off licenses can now stay open! Maybe we shall survive after all! Middle appears to be taking the lockdown very seriously and has self isolated in his bed for most of the morning. That one loves his comfort! Up you get! Jesus Christ, Baby has started asking “why?” about everything going. Also, anything I try and do for him results in him screeching “I do!” whilst having a complete fit. If there is a God, is he there? If so, can you send a cleaner my way? Just realised my house has fallen to absolute pieces. Thanks!

To be continued. If I survive the next few days…..

Terrible Two’s Time……

I had totally forgotten this stage. You know the one were your cute little baby suddenly morphs into some kind of irrational dictator?

Eldest let me off entirely lightly with the tantrums. I still remember the two times he had one. Mainly because one of them focused purely on me having the audacity to enter the living room when, according to him, “you stay in the kitchen!”. Sexist much? I now realise however that he has always struggled with expressing certain emotions. He has more tantrums now through frustration than he ever did when younger.

Middle had a delayed reaction to the terrible twos and decided to embrace them precisely at the moment he was turning three. He would throw utter fits anytime we left soft play, the shop or any other establishment he was enamoured with at the time. It got to the stage where I would just say “that’s fine then. I’m going home. If you want to act that way, you stay here”. I would then waltz away expecting him to get up in a panic and run after me. He never did and instead lay on the floor until I had to forcibly remove him. Never underestimate Middle, as I always extol.

Baby is my only one who gets jealous. I don’t even understand why as he actually gets the most attention out of all them (especially as I spend most of my time getting him yoghurts and cleaning him up afterwards). Even Eldest cuddles and kisses him which is primarily an honour reserved for me only. But if any of them dares to mention the word ‘cuddle’ or ‘kiss’, he is straight over to me like someone has just shouted: “Tesco just got more hand sanitiser in!”. So the dramatics were always apparent and I really should have thought I would be in for trouble. I just didn’t factor in how much. This weekend alone he has gone off on an almighty wobbler for the following reasons:

  1. I dared to make him hold my hand when crossing a road. So infuriated did he get, he threw himself down in a rage and into a massive puddle. He then proceeded to get more raging because his clothes were “wet”.
  2. I refused to let him bring three teddies out with him. Looking after three boys is stressful enough without having the extra responsibility of Peppa (f ing) Pig, Mickey Mouse and Nelly the elephant! So outraged was he, he deployed the stiff as a board act whilst I tried to put him in his car seat. I’m sure most of you ladies are familiar with this one. It’s as big a fight as trying to get a Conservative MP onto Good Morning Britain to placate the nation.
  3. I had the sheer nerve to ask him if he wanted a banana. When he said yes and I handed him said banana, he then decided he didn’t want one and went into a kicking and screaming fest on the kitchen floor. This mama left him to it.
  4. I opened his yoghurt lid halfway to make it easier for him. What a savagely cruel person I am.
  5. I put him in the bath. Pretty sure the neighbours thought some kind of murder was occurring the way he was getting on.
  6. I confiscated half my cutlery drawer off him that he somehow thought was acceptable to walk around brandishing. This caused a breakdown of Britney proportions (I can say that as I’ve been there, minus the hair shaving).
  7. He asked for “uce” (juice) and when I dutifully adhered to his request, he then decided he wanted “mulk” (milk) instead. Cue him flinging said juice on the floor, the cup then opening and my floors becoming a sea of diluted orange.

So I hope I have prepared/reminded some of you of what lies ahead or what you have finally escaped from. I mean, he’s still cute and all that but dear god he is driving me bonkers. Someone keep the hair clippers out of my reach….

Pre School Peeves, Homework Hell and Hair Disasters!

Middle is STILL settling in at his preschool. We are coming up to week five and he is only in until 11:30am as opposed to the 1:30pm he should be. It doesn’t seem to be solely him either but, lots of them! I’m finding myself getting envious of other mums whose kids have settled in and all. Not only this but, I think their process is just drawing things out when there is no need. He is used to being in nursery for longer than their standard day (at his private one). In saying that I have no idea how he, as an individual, is getting on each day. The app I check daily never seems to be updated. Is anyone else having the same issues?

Upon picking him up on Monday he bounded into my arms and gave me the biggest cuddle. We then went to change his shoes (they wear pe shoes when in class). Upon getting to his peg, he was enraged that a little girl was sitting under it getting her shoes on. “That girl is at MY peg!” he bellowed. “Aw it’s ok, she is just getting her shoes on then you can sit there” I placated. “No, it’s mine and she is a girl so, she move now!”. What a way to ingratiate yourself to other parents son. The girl having vacated ‘his spot’, off we went to the car. I quickly glanced back at the snack menu to see what he had eaten that day. It informed me that he had had peppers, apple and muffins.

When we got to the car, I enquired as to what he had eaten that morning. He looked positively fuming. “We had some orange thing mum. It was disgusting (yelled). I don’t like it at all” he said whilst gesticulating wildly with his hands. “Aw, well, at least you tried something new. I guess we all like different things. Did anyone else try it and like it?” I ventured. He rolled his eyes then started mimicking his teacher. “Mr T (he is point blank refusing to call any of his teachers Mrs) said ohhhhh it’s sooooo yummy”. With this he mimicked her putting it into her mouth. “But, it so wasn’t mum. She tells lies” he added with annoyance. You can’t win them all I guess ‘Mr T’.

In other news, Eldest is finally receiving homework again. Although I dreaded it starting back up again, I have been impressed with how easy he is finding it. I can totally see a difference between his work in P1 and now. The amount has definately ramped up however and it is hard to get him to sit down and focus on it no matter what time I attempt to do it.  His behaviour the last few weeks, when at home, is also driving me to distraction. I’ve had to introduce strict new rules and be rigidly firm with him. I’ve began to notice that when he is bored, all chaos breaks out. Middle is crying and Baby too. He invades their space and begins to lash out for no discernable reason. This continues until one of them obliges him and stops what they are doing to muck around with him.  Arrgghhh!

Some of you may have saw that I decided to home bleach my hair last week (I know, I shouldn’t have done that). I lasted a grand total of a few months dark! Obviously it went very badly, very badly indeed. I drove to the local chemist and all they had was a silver hair dye so, I reluctantly purchased it. I mean it couldn’t have gotten any worse could it? Well, it actually turned out ok in the end. I am loving it and may now become a professional colourist (just kidding). I find that the level of  depression I am dealing with makes me quite impulsive and do things without thinking them through. Normally I would weigh up the pros and cons whereas now I just go for it. I guess I’ve went from being Eldest to being Middle. In some ways this is a good thing as I’m not worrying as much but, it has it’s downsides. Mainly with hair decisions……..

Clip Climbing And Sliding At High Rise NI!

Yesterday the three boys were invited to test out a new indoor activity centre in Lisburn. A venue that boasts a whole clip n climb section, a soft play area, cafe, and the piece de resistance- sensory rooms!

When we arrived, Middle and Baby set off with my mum to the soft play area whilst myself and Eldest got ready to do some climbing. I hadn’t expected to have an active role in this part but, it looked like too much fun to say no to. We were provided with a safety briefing first and foremost. Eldest was chomping at the bit by this stage but, it’s so important that they know what they are doing (as I later established). We got adorned in our harnesses and off we ventured. I cannot tell you how huge these climbing walls were! They were literally to the roof! Before they can just speed off attempting everything, they must first complete a practice run. Once this is done, they are free to roam and climb their little hearts out. There were so many options that Eldest was running manically from one to the other, completely unable to make a decision. When he finally made one, there was always an attendant on hand to strap him in and supervise him at all times. This placated me and I felt confident that he would be safe at all times.

Then, this mama decided to have a go! Not wanting to be outdone by my firstborn, I decided to climb nearly to the top of one at breakneck speed, glance down and totally panic as to how high up I actually was. I hate heights, why did I even do that? In my moment of sheer terror, I totally forgot the protocol of getting back down. So, I just kind of flung myself down and hoped for the best. I imagine it was not dissimilar to Bridget Jones when she does that piece to camera from the fire station. Entirely ungraceful and highly embarrassing to all who witnessed it. See why the safety briefing is so essential? I would say I have learned a lesson but, there’s no point at all.

Middle and Baby loved the soft play area whilst I was nearly breaking bones. I don’t think my mum knew if she should be watching them or me by this stage as I was being so reckless. There was a baby/toddler area that Baby thoroughly enjoyed dandering around and twirling things and building foam blocks. Middle was running about like a mad man going up and down the different tiers, crawling through tubes and flinging himself down the slide. He didn’t shut up about the slide the whole way home infact.

Just before leaving, I asked to be shown the sensory room. I know that a lot of my followers have children who are autistic and this was important to me before writing any review. They led me to a sensory stimulation room. It was dark to begin with then, gradually made more colorful. This is essential to avoid kids becoming overstimulated. There were things on the floor that children could stand on or touch that looked like paint was splodging, items on the wall that they could play and interact with, a projector, a vibrating plate and lights that they could feel and touch. There is also a separate quiet room. You can pay to use the rooms for an hour or if you would prefer your child/children to be fully alone, you can hire the rooms for the hour too. I think this is such a great approach and shows the level of thought and understanding that has been put into all aspects of this place.

I walked away feeling very impressed. Even more so as it is a social enterprise. So, 100% of their profits go back into helping working families. I think this made me feel much better about buying them a load of drinks and snacks afterward. Because, whatever you spend, you are ultimately helping others. All whilst having fun and, hopefully, some peace and quiet whilst they play!

High Rise NI is based in Blaris Industrial Estate Lisburn. Prices are as follows:

Clip ‘N’ Climb– Adult £12 and Child (under 18) £10, Soft Play– Baby (under 2) £2 and child (up to 8) £5, Sensory Room– Baby (under 2) £2, Child (under 18) £4, Adult £4, Parent or carer £1. Check their website out here: https://highriseni.org/

Yes, this 34 year old scaled one of these!
Always know the price of tea and coffee before you go anywhere….

An Ode To My New Best Friend

My name is Grace and I am a hoovering addict. There, I said it! With three boys and a one-year-old who throws every item of food he is given, is it any wonder that I am? So for my birthday, I asked for one thing and one thing only- a robotic hoover. My reasoning was simple, if it even managed to keep my kitchen clean on a daily basis it would be worth it.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting much and this was despite the great reviews on Amazon. I know my standards and they are high! But, for the first time ever, I will have to admit to being wrong.

I’ve been setting Deebot, or Dee as I affectionately call him, (I’m unsure as to why I have decided that he is male) to go on every morning and he works away downstairs and upstairs. I can set him to ‘corner’ mode so he tackles all the corners of a room, I can set a timer so he just works away at the same time each day and, I can set him to ‘spot’ mode when the boys have made a mess in one particular area. As if all that wasn’t amazing enough, I can instruct him to do all these things remotely via an app on my phone! I’ve gone all power crazy with that function I can tell you!

He manages to pick up so much, even gobbling up my bobble the other day! So confident have I been in his abilities, I didn’t hoover downstairs or upstairs all week, bar today. I just couldn’t settle knowing that my skirting boards hadn’t been hoovered to oblivion and obviously he can’t navigate stairs. Henry the hoover was also looking all sad and neglected.

There are only two negative things that I can say about my new best friend. The first being that he sometimes gets stuck under my sofas as they are so low but, I can control him to avoid there or maneuver him out easily via the remote. The second thing is that Baby is in one part fascinated by him and the other part utterly terrified!

I just wanted to share my experience as I think personally, it’s making my life easier. I’m aware I have a flooring obsession and therefore it’s managed to take that one stressor off me. It may seem expensive at £209 but I definitely think it’s worth it. I’ve since discovered that you can get laser ones that map out your whole house and even mop (putting one of those bad boys on the Christmas list). I’m all for taking things off the to-do list these days as opposed to adding to it! This is the one the boys got me: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07F3Q25LJ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B07F3Q25LJ&linkCode=as2&tag=gracebunting8-21&linkId=7263218c0482be02a6b0fcea4c506dce 🙂

Looking For A Hand Washing Hero? Look No Further And Meet Rufus!

I don’t know about you but, I really struggle sometimes getting the boys to wash their hands. It drives me utterly bonkers! Eldest needs continually yelled at to do it and Middle, after going through an obsessive hand washing phase, has now decided that he can take or leave the whole process. Arrggh! That’s why I was super excited to learn about Safefood’s new handwashing initiative aimed at children up to five years old.

There’s a reason it’s vitally important that they wash their hands. I’m not just nagging for no reason at all (unless it’s to hubby). That reason is harmful bacteria and how easily it can spread, most notably E coli. Did you know that children under five are more vulnerable as their immune systems aren’t yet fully developed? I know I didn’t!

That’s why I love the idea of Rufus and all that he represents. Safefood (with input from Early Years) have created a pack that they have distributed to 350 childcare providers in Northern Ireland already. The pack contains a book, sink poster and sticker set that all promise to make handwashing fun. Not only that but, it clearly outlines the five key steps of handwashing: Wet, soap, rub, rinse and dry. There’s also a catchy song to help them remember!

Keep an eye out for these at your childcare provider and try to encourage it at home. I know I am so sick of kids getting sick in this house. That’s why I am going on a handwashing nag-a-thon! Brace yourselves boys!

For more information on the campaign and resources for childcare providers visit http://www.safefood.eu

Summer Summed Up

Well it’s official. The summer holidays are very nearly over. Whilst it has been fun (on occasions), I am ready to get to grips with our new routine. A routine that will involve three drop offs and pick ups at different locations and, at differing times. I’m almost certain I will forget to collect one of them at some stage!

Eldest is back to school on Wednesday and is not one bit happy about the prospect. ‘Are you excited to head back to school this week?’ I enquired of him the other day. ‘Of course not, school is boring and I hate it’. P2 bodes well. I have enjoyed spending time alone with him though have found it difficult to keep him entertained at times. I resorted to arranging play date after play date just so he had company. What I’ve learnt is, play dates with five year old’s are stressful. One minute they are playing nicely and the next they have monumentally fallen out over something stupid like a tv programme. ‘But when I’m at his house he just watches whatever he likes so now he’s at mine, I’m going to watch what I want’. Yeah, that’s not how it works son. I realised, probably later than I should have, that it was best to take them out somewhere and away from the house.

We’ve visited lots of fun, local places this summer. Notably, Hillsborough Castle for a tour, a week in Ballycastle exploring/swimming/non swimming and yesterday we went to the Shoreline Festival. All was going so well until eldest pleaded to go on the bumper cars. One minute in and he was crying profusely. All I could do was yell in a panic (baby on hip) for him to get to the side as I had no way of getting to him through the throng of cars. He had badly hurt himself and was frightened when people kept bumping into him. Once the ordeal was over, he was reflective in a way that only eldest can be. ‘Those adults should not be allowed on the bumper cars mum. It’s like they’ve spent their whole lives going on bumper cars and still crash into kids. Which isn’t fair as for some kids it’s only their first time on one and it’s scary. I don’t think it’s fair or thoughtful of them’. In his defense I do this when on bumper cars too. The kids are much more fun to bump into and sure, it’s only a laugh. But, point taken on board son.

Middle’s last day of his private nursery is Wednesday before taking up his free pre school place next Monday. I feel all emotional about it as he has come on leaps and bounds at it and I am worried about how he will deal with the transition to a new nursery. As you all know he does not lack personality and is also in pocession of a rather rude vocabulary. I am just praying he avoids using it for the first few weeks at least. ‘hello poo face’, ‘I hate girls ‘ and ‘you stupid’ will not a good impression make! He has also spent most of the summer randomly falling out of his bed each night. I don’t know why this is happening as nothing about his bed has changed. We all just wait for the thud now, roll our eyes and run upstairs to reposition him.

Most of all, this summer will be remembered for baby finally walking. Something that I longed for and worried about only to realise what a fool I had been. My life is now more chaotic as he danders off slowly then makes an absolute break for it running at surprising speed. For the first time with any of them, I am going to have to purchase some reins as he just cannot be trusted. He has also started to say ‘hello poo poo’ this week too. Which will further add to my embarrassment when in contact with fellow humans.

After writing all of this, I’m thinking getting rid of them for half a day everyday will be a good thing. The summer holidays were good whilst they lasted but, the fun and games are over. See ya kiddos!

** I am still working on the podcast idea and learning what I have to do. I also have to somehow get my sister free to do it**

O School, School, Wherefore Art Thou School?

Are the school holidays over yet? Seriously, how long have they been going on for? I feel like they’ve been ongoing for decades now. I am starting to lose the will to live on all fronts. The only part of me not wishing them to be over is the dreaded cost of the school uniform shop. I have yet to pluck up the courage to undertake it. I really must do that as I have two sets to purchase this year. Maybe next week eh?

Eldest is driving me bonkers trying to keep him entertained over the whole summer. He hates soft play now as, ‘it’s for babies and boring’. Fantastic, considering most of the summer has been a complete wash out. To remedy this, I have been arranging play date after play date. Each play date has descended into utter chaos however due to bloody Pokémon cards. At one stage he tried to swap ALL his cards (200) for ONE card his friend had. Um, hello? I am the one who’s bought them all, I don’t think so! When we got invited to a beautiful day out at Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday (the Queen’s residence whilst staying in Northern Ireland) and, I was explaining to him all the activities we would partake in, he responded ‘this is just a way to expel my energy. Like, that’s what adults do. Just try and expel kid’s energy’. How does he even know the word ‘expel’ at five? Also, how does he get that that is in fact what we do? In the end he had the best day ever, as I expected he would. I highly recommend bringing your kid’s there during the rest of the summer holidays. The scenery was vast and breath takingly beautiful and the tour of the castle itself was so interesting. Goss: The Queen’s living room smelt of stale smoke. So maybe she likes the odd cigar whilst lounging on her sofa when she’s over here. I can see her now in her dressing gown, watching Gogglebox and puffing away! **Don’t sue me Liz**

In other news, Middle’s behaviour is becoming worse by the day! He seems to be so well behaved in nursery yet his behaviour is utterly appalling when home. No amount of naughty step is working. He seems to get a kick out of any punishment, laughing in response to me losing my sh#t. He is also up half the night nearly every night. I’m exhausted and have come to the conclusion that it’s an attention thing. Yet I am unsure what to do as all them get equal attention. I maybe need to spend a day with just myself and him, make him feel special? I also have to try and get him to stop calling people ‘poo poo face’, telling people ‘mummy pees everywhere’ (no, that’s all you son) and stripping in the garden and trying to expose his winky to all and sundry. He cannot be left unsupervised for even a second. But, he is too young to end up on any kind of register. For that, we can only be thankful. Hopefully he adjusts ok with the change in nursery come September. I pray that it won’t serve to make him even more cray cray.

Baby is walking completely now. You all know how worried I was about how long it was taking. But, he has gone from 0 -100 the minute he knew he could do it. He danders from room to room now causing utter carnage. This week, unbeknownst to me, he turned the washing machine off. He also turned the oven down two days in a row, thus resulting in our dinner not being ready on time. Arrggh! The stairs are his new playground now as he has realised he can get up and down them with ease. Much to the detriment of my nerves! I brought him to the park yesterday, without him having a nap, and he went absolutely mad climbing up everything and going up and down the slide like he had been doing it his whole life. I honestly thought he would be my easiest one when really I am beginning to realise that he may be the worst. Because, he is watching both of them and emulating their behaviour (the good but, mostly the bad). So, forget the naughty step (it clearly doesn’t work) and forget reward charts (they only work for a short period of time), this Mama needs to come up with a new plan. Do military boot camps exist for kids? Please summer holidays, will you just be over already?!!

Looking like he just knows he rules the roost
Eldest at Hillsborough Castle

Bereavement and the Boy’s- trying to find some humour amidst the sadness

I have never felt more nervous in my life having to break the news to eldest that Molly was no longer here. Knowing that with a few words, I would send his world crashing down. That, for the first time, nothing I would say or do would make it better for him. I couldn’t bring Molly back for him, nor myself.

We sat at the kitchen table, after the others were in bed, and I broke the news to him. ‘Molly was very sick and the vet’s could no longer help her. She’s passed away and is now in heaven’. He looked confused. ‘What does passed away mean?’ he enquired. Arrgggh I was trying to get out of saying the ‘d’ word. ‘It means she died son’ I replied in between sobs. He looked at the floor and calmly asked what she died from. I had decided the best and most simplistic way, was to say her heart just gave out. ‘Her heart just stopped working son’ I said whilst cuddling him. ‘She had a heart attack and is now no longer in any pain’. At this, he started scratching his head. ‘Are you ok Aden?’ I asked. This was going much better than I ever imagined. ‘You had a heart attack that day in the vets when they told you the price of the vet’s bill and you were ok’ he ventured. Oh sh*t! ‘Um, that was just a turn of phrase son, I didn’t literally have a heart attack but unfortunately Molly did’. This is when things changed. He dissolved into floods of tears and refused to even let me console him. I have never felt more terrible in my life to see him so utterly heartbroken. He cried for nearly an hour. ‘Molly wouldn’t want you to be sad, let’s talk about some good memories we have of Molly instead’ I offered.

We then discussed the varying humorous things she had done over the years and he calmed down considerably. Phew. ‘Can I get a new dog for my birthday?’ he asked once the tears had subsided. Um, no!

The next day was Middle’s turn. The second he awoke, I was straight in to tell him before eldest could break the news in an insensitive manner. ‘Owen, I have something to tell you’ I said. ‘Ok, what you want say?’ he responded. ‘This is very sad for mummy to have to tell you but, Molly has died. She was just too sick’. I looked at him for any sign of emotion. None. ‘That’s ok’ he finally said. ‘Me go to do huge poo now!’. Off he sauntered, zero f’s given as usual.

Now Molly’s ashes have been returned, it’s restarted the grieving process. Eldest will not let me bury her at all! He has been attached to the box and wants to bring her everywhere with him. At first I thought it was so sweet and loving and, it made me happy to see them reunited again. But, I have to draw the line when, the other day, Molly accompanied us to the pound shop, all around the town centre and also the barbers. I watched eldest get his hair cut mortified whilst the poor barber kept glancing down at the little box resting on his lap nervously. Did he know it was a pet? Did he think he was lugging a relative around? Who knows! I also had to beg him not to bring her into Burger King! Imagine. Middle is handling her being back home much differently. On the day she returned, as my nephew came in the door to visit us, he brazenly walked up to him and stated ‘Callum, you will never see Molly ever ever again. Molly is dead’. When asked to say something nice about her whilst we all said a few words, he responded by turning around, putting his bum in my face and blowing a raspberry. To be fair to him it dispersed the sadness we all felt. Only middle!

School Reports, Staycations and Stressful Situations

Eldest has officially completed primary one! Not only that but, he managed to do so without getting spotted battering another classmate. Hooray! On his last day he came bounding out with his school report in hand. I glared at the envelope for a long time before finally plucking up the courage to open it. When I did I was pleasantly surprised. It declared that he was good with numeracy and logic (no surprise there), that his reading and writing could do with some improvement and thus, he will need support going forward (no surprise with that one either) and that he interacts well with other children, especially boys (defo not a huge surprise). As a treat for a year well done, we decided to go to Ballycastle and stay in a caravan (my idea of hell). But, it was cheap and close. Plus, it would take everyone’s mind of losing Molly.

I don’t know what I was expecting but I was shocked when we got to the caravan and it was actually spacious and modern. I had an image of one ingrained in my mind from a Father Ted episode. You know that one were Graham Norton keeps river dancing all the time in a caravan you couldn’t swing a cat in? The site also had an indoor pool and kid’s disco running every other night. Who need’s Spain eh?

Having left our things off, I took the boys swimming. This was the first time since the utter madness that was the local pool: (https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/04/25/the-nightmare-that-was-going-swimming-alone-with-the-boys/ ). Eldest gets in no bother and heads straight for the huge slide, without the slightest hint of fear. Middle leaves the changing room and swiftly declares that he will not be getting in the water as ‘it’s too scary’. Great! Maybe I will have more luck with baby. Upon entering the water with him on my hip, he screams blue murder. To the point everyone was looking at me like I was forcing him into a pool of acid. The swimming attendant goes to get him a swim seat. This seems to make things worse. Middle has not left the steps during this whole episode and is sitting crossed armed, dipping his feet in. ‘Come in Owen!’ I shout whilst wielding gurning baby in a huge, yellow float. ‘I not’ he staunchly responds. FML- what is the point? After 30 mins, baby was still crying and middle was still rooted to the same spot so, out we all had to go.

Next we tried the park which was covered in sand. Middle runs off to have fun, yelling at random children ‘what your name is?’ and chasing girls with his standard sex pest line of ‘Hi girls!’. Eldest refuses to go in however, as apparently, he ‘hates sandy parks’. It’s only day one and I have already lost the will to live. How do you please them all at once? Hope that maybe the kid’s disco will be something everyone enjoys.

Get to kid’s disco with eldest moaning profusely that he ‘will not dance as that’s stupid and only girls do it’. Tell him that’s fine then, he can just watch. The guy running it is aptly named ‘Rob the Beard’. He seems to have a great way with all the kids but, baby is having none of Rob nor his beard and proceeds to cry anytime he even glances in his direction. Not even an offer of a sweet quells his fear of poor Rob. He spends the whole proceedings sobbing. Middle gets up and follows all Rob’s moves to every song. Giving it stacks and living his best life. Eldest observes his enthusiasm and decides to join in. Ten minutes in and eldest is throwing shapes I didn’t even know he had in him. He is also having, shock horror, FUN! Two out of three isn’t bad I guess.

All in all, the boys had such a great time in Ballycastle. Visiting farms, parks, eating the infamous ‘cloud’ ice cream and torturing girls. Middle eventually embraced the water on the last day and ventured further than the steps! Baby I couldn’t win over swimming wise but, he did start fully walking. I only saw him Gollum crawl a handful of times when he was tired and being lazy. In the end eldest finally came around to the sand also. The only downside was the boy’s sharing a room. Utter bedlam each night and routines all over the place. I am home more knackered than when I left! Aw well, it’s all about the memories and replacing the bad one for them that happened last Monday. I hope it’s worked. I am still crying every time I see anything white, sheep included. Miss you Molly x

Chilling in the caravan after a day at the amusements

Soft play fun on a rainy day

No more sand fear!