This week I have mainly been….. a complete emotional mess as eldest start’s school!

I have been saying to anyone who will listen how much eldest was ready for school and how much I, as his mother, was ready to get rid of him for a few hours each day. I’m aware that sounds rather ruthless but, it’s been a LONG summer. I knew I would be emotional, he is my first born after all! I just had no idea how emotional I would actually be.

On Tuesday morning we met with his teacher for a chat. I couldn’t bribe anyone to mind eldest nor baby (middle at nursery) so, they all got dragged along.  The teacher asked him if he would like some pegs and boards to play with outside the room as we talked. I filled with immediate dread! He is attached to my side anytime we are together. “Yes, ok” he surprisingly responded. What?  We discussed his level of independence in terms of getting himself dressed, (when he can be arsed basically) any issues he has, (the feeling of certain clothing deeply distresses him) and, start times and finish times etc. It was at this point only that it hit me- the little baby boy I held in my arms only five years ago, was starting school in a few days time. I came home and immediately sobbed my heart out for an hour. I kept looking at him and thinking ‘I’m going to miss him so much’. He has been my little buddy since I took him out of private nursery, at Christmas, in order to give middle a go. If I thought Tuesday was bad, I had been wholly naive- as Thursday morning was to show me.

There was a minor drama about his school trousers, which I expected. But, on the whole, he was relatively excited to get dressed. When I eventually stood back and looked at my little boy, decked out in the togs that will define him, my eyes began to brim over. After the obligatory front door picture, we rather frantically set off as a family to deliver him to school. As he let go of my hand to walk into his classroom, I literally felt like my heart was breaking (I’ve started to cry again whilst typing this -fml). He turned back and gave me the biggest hug and kiss, knowing full well that it was harder for me than for him. “It’s ok mummy,” he said. “See you soon”. He really is so thoughtful and loving which, of course, made me want to cry even more. It was strange coming back home and it just being me, middle and baby. Middle was loving being able to play with eldest’s toys without them being taken off him immediately. This kept him quiet and not peeing everywhere- the only bonus! When I went to collect him at 12pm, a bundle of nerves, he had got on great! Since he has been able to talk, we have always spoken about the best part of our day and, the worst part. I got this from the Kardashians, not a parenting manual, ashamed to say. “My best part was all of it” he stated. “What was the worst part?” I enquired. “There was no worst part mummy, I had a good day”.

This is the beginning of a big journey for him. A journey where he may not like the rules set for him and, knowing him, will try and rebel against them. A journey that will teach him new and amazing things and, show him how intelligent I already know he is. A journey where he will make friends and, probably lose some along the way. I can only hope and pray that he never lets himself down, nor I for that matter. Because, ultimately, I am more nervous than him. I want it to be a great experience for him and one that helps shape him. I want it to be a happy time for him and, I want him to thrive. I also sincerely hope that he doesn’t send his poor teacher round the bend like he does to me all day.

To all the pessimistic, moaners who harp on every year about the endless start of school pictures. To you, I say this- do you remember the excitement, pride and nerves you felt at your child starting another chapter each year? Do you ever think that maybe it took one full hour to get that child into their uniform so, therefore, it’s more than a big deal? Surely all the above warrants a picture, never mind where it’s taken. If you can’t be bothered to even consider all those factors then best to avoid Facebook for a week. Thanks!

In other less passive aggressive news, middle is alternating from being the perfect, potty trained child to a rampant defecator on my floors. I am going to have to take shares out in Domestos at this rate. He is testing my patience ten fold.

Daddy had to get into the door pic! All ready for his very first day of P1

This week I have mainly been…… staycationing in Drogheda! What did we think of the D Hotel, Dublin Zoo, Tayto Park and Funtasia? Also, what I thought about being mum shamed…..

This year we booked not only a trip to Eurocamp in Nice but, a break to Butlins in Scotland. Each time it got closer, I got cold feet. I just couldn’t face the prospect of getting a toddler and a baby on a plane nor a boat for that matter. Coupled with hubby now running his own business and, being super busy, it just didn’t seem like we would ever make it away. But, after a stressful few weeks and, eldest starting school next week, we decided something had to be booked and fast!

We had previously visited Drogheda when eldest was a baby and stayed in the D Hotel. The reason being that they had a great deal on in terms of bed, breakfast and trips to local attractions. The Tayto park is just a twenty-minute drive away and Funtasia Waterpark was just around the corner. On hindsight, eldest was much too young for all these places at the time. But, memories were still made and, what crisp addict doesn’t like visiting anything named ‘Tayto’? We decided that Drogheda ticked all the boxes. A few hours drive so, not overly stressful travel wise. Lots of places to visit with the kids, therefore they would be royally knackered. Win-win! We went to our go to hotel and prayed it wasn’t going to be too expensive. Three nights bed and breakfast in a family room, tickets to Tayto park, Dublin Zoo and Funtastia – £560. Not only this but, the hotel was now running a kids club 6pm-9pm. I have never been so excited to read a sentence on a website! This is what we thought about the hotel itself and, also, what we got up to whilst there. 

The D Hotel- Drogheda 

We picked this hotel mainly because we had stayed before, but, also due to the activities included in the stay. I have never stayed in a family room before, so I was slightly excited. Would there be enough room for all of us? Would we survive without killing each other due to the restricted living quarters?

Upon arriving, we were told that children would receive a kid’s pack and also ice cream. This didn’t happen. This may have been due to us having to grab our Dublin Zoo tickets and get there right away. But, it still didn’t happen even upon checking in. We had to ask later on that evening and were given the packs but, no ice cream. Our room was amazing, very spacious with a king size bed and two single beds. Also, a huge tv and rather swanky twirly grey chair that the boys loved! Although perfect space wise, the room itself was so unbearably hot. I am not even exaggerating. You could open a window sure, but the window was positioned right behind the single bed and, was six floors up. It also opened quite fully which made me a nervous wreck what with reckless, mad middle. A fan was provided and we had this on the whole time though, middle found it hilarious to turn it off continually whilst we all sweated buckets.

The hotel itself is totally geared towards children. This is a lovely touch. Because of this, you will see lots of other families around and your children will more than likely meet some friends. They have the kid’s club (which operates during the summer holidays) and they also show a different kid’s movie each night on their middle floor. I was slightly disappointed to discover that they no longer have their kid’s game room. This is advertised as part of their deal and proudly displayed in the lift. They need to change this as the boys were really looking forward to seeing round it. Breakfast was beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a hotel and eaten so much for breakfast! Continental options and, a full Irish breakfast option. Eldest loved getting hammered into the coco pops each morning and middle just loved eating everything in sight. Baby enjoyed his toast and also some yoghurt. Mum and dad had a massive fry everyday which was epic. We also ate in the restaurant one evening and, I was highly impressed. Hubby is very fussy and, even he said his was delicious. Service was slightly slow and, if we had been dining with all the kid’s, it would have been difficult to keep them entertained and quiet. But, overall we had a good experience. I do just think the hotel should specify that, for most of the attractions included, children under three usually get in free anyway. We were leaving places with tickets as middle didn’t have to have one anyway. So if you book, take into account the ages you are booking for as, the family package could end up costing you more. This is what we got up to:

 

Dublin Zoo- Pheonix Park (one hour drive from Drogheda) 

We arrived on Friday morning, grabbed our tickets from the hotel and immediately drove to Dublin Zoo. This was because the Pope was visiting at the weekend and the zoo was going to be closed for the duration. I have never been to Dublin Zoo before. I don’t know how I have reached this age and never been. Middle loved it. Everything was “animal, wow!”. It was easy to walk around- no huge hills, unlike Belfast Zoo. The animals were varied and their enclosures vast. They also looked very healthy. The tiger was the biggest hit. Middle royally lost his s#it at the mere sight of it! Some of the bigger animals, such as the giraffes etc were quite difficult to see through the glass. That would be my only complaint. The entrance fee is 18.00 euros per adult and 13.20 euros for over three’s. Kid’s under three get in free, which is good. Parking is a right nightmare. I would recommend parking just outside the Garda headquarters. We had been told this by a friend but, hubby being hubby, refused to listen as he assumed that was a fast track to getting clamped. But there were lots of spaces outside it and the zoo is a two-minute walk away. **Hubby made us park miles away when middle was surpassing his naptime- fab!**

Tayto Park- Ashbourne County Meath (20 minute drive from Drogheda)

We visited here the following day and left straight after breakfast. The last time we were here, with eldest, there were a few rides, some animals and restaurants. Upon arriving, however, we were greeted by the sight of the biggest wooden roller coaster you have ever seen! Eldest was utterly mindblown and repeatedly screamed: “I cannot wait to go on that!”. The hotel had given us our entrance tickets before leaving. There was a separate queue for those that had tickets already or, had pre-booked. It’s definitely essential to do it this way as the other queue was colossal. Kid’s, and, queues to get in somewhere does not a good combination make. We were informed at the ticket desk that we could purchase wristbands for 17.50 euros. This would give us unlimited access to all the rides. We bought three, one each for us and one for eldest. We figured middle wouldn’t be able to go on as many things so we would buy some tokens for him just. This proved to be a big mistake. We began to realise this at the very first section of rides. Eldest was too small to go on any of them, even with an adult and, he definitely could not go on the rollercoaster. They should really state the height restrictions for everything before you get to the ticket desk. There was a section for younger kids in the park with a selection of rides. We weren’t overly impressed, however. Most had a twenty minute queue time at the least, only for you to go round once and be instructed to get off. Bearing in mind we had a toddler with us, I found it stressful trying to stop him running out of the queue when he got bored and restless. Kid’s don’t get the concept of having to wait either. We really should have researched the quietest time to visit- so entirely our fault. Other than the rides, the boy’s loved the big play park, the water play areas and the animals (yes, there are tigers, elephants and meerkats to name a few). Entrance price for Tayto Park is 17.50 euros at peak time and the wristbands are also 17.50 euros (adults and children). Children under three do get in for free but, you will need to purchase a wristband or tokens for them to get on the rides. My advice is if your child is under 1.2 metres tall, (this is the minimum height for the biggest and best rides) just buy tokens when inside the park. If all your children are under 1.2 metres tall, buy one adult wristband and tokens for children. You will need to accompany them on all the rides anyway. Also, note that at busy times, waits for the biggest rides and, even the kid’s car ride, will exceed an hour, if not more. Maybe you can bring wine to make it more bearable?

Funtasia- Drogheda 

This is a waterpark in Drogheda and a five-minute drive away from the D hotel. I didn’t get any pictures of this part. You can’t in swimming places anyways but, I doubt you want to see hubby in his swimming trunks! We decided to do this on the last day as we urgently needed a rest day in between activities as the kids, and us, were beyond shattered from all the walking we’d done. I decided to sit this out with baby. I knew from going before with eldest that, it is not a place for babies. There are lots of slides, even more water guns and also, a toddler specific area. The boy’s loved Funtasia unsurprisingly. They would have loved it even more if only I was in too and they could have driven me mental shooting me with water. It was slightly awkward for hubby trying to go down the slides with both. This three kids thing is proving to be a right hassle when we go to places like this. Hopefully it gets better once baby is up abit. Tickets for Funtasia are 12 euros per person. They do offer family packages however. Kids under two also get in free.

All in all, it wasn’t Spain. It was still highly stressful but, we had a lovely time and memories were made. Just to see middle’s excitement at having his own hotel bed, how elated he was to see all the animals and, hearing eldest say “this was the bestest holiday ever” made it all worthwhile. The only downside of my whole time away was a comment I read after posting this to my page:

I was told by a particular reader that ‘No one should drink alcohol while looking after children. In my opinion, it is irresponsible’. I appreciate everyone’s opinion and, we are all entitled to have one. But, what a mum shaming thing to say to someone? This is the exact reason I started this blog. Why can’t I have a glass of wine with my dinner whilst on holiday? Why can’t I unwind for thirty minutes after spending my whole day at an amusement park with my children, queueing for kid’s rides and looking like a right knob on a mini ferris wheel? Had I have asked hubby to take my picture whilst I sat with a full bottle of vodka and a straw, I would have accepted that comment entirely. When are we ever going to start building each other up instead of tearing one another down? This is why mothers feel that they are never good enough. Whether that is having a glass of wine with dinner or, not breastfeeding. Arrgghh! Deep breaths and move on. My children’s happiness and healthiness will always speak for me. I have also co-slept with all my three children until they were eight months old. So, everyone can lose her sh#t about that too!

This week I have mainly been….going school uniform shopping for the first time!

This week I decided to bite the bullet and finally take eldest school uniform shopping. I won’t lie, I had been putting this task off for as long as humanly possible. Firstly, I had the irrational fear that he would grow a size up in the mere space of a month. Secondly, he is so fussy about every type of clothing (see previous post: https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/07/10/this-week-i-have-mainly-been-worrying-about-eldest/). What better day to do it than his birthday when he was so distracted by all the new objects he had been gifted. I also figured the threat of taking them all away again could work to my advantage- result!

Off we went to the local supplier with Yoshi in tow. This was my very first time ever school uniform shopping. What I learnt was, kid’s hate trying stuff on. Also, uniforms come in very weird sizes and are insanely expensive. Five to six was a good fit but, they have to do him all year. The next size up was seven to eight. What? I instructed him to try the bigger size on. “But I’ve only just become five today, I’m not seven!” he protested. “You needn’t think I am spending all this money for you to grow out of them in a month, try on the bigger size now!” I thundered. He begrudgingly obliged. Well, they were huge on him. The frugal side of me was thinking ‘meh, that’s ok, he will grow into them eventually’. The motherly side was thinking ‘it’s his very first time going to school and trying to make friends. Best not to have the clothing wearing him instead of the other way around’. I went with the five to six knowing full well that I will be frequenting the same shop in a few months time to buy the seven to eight version of everything. We purchased anything that had the school logo emblazoned on it but, I was not buying his trousers etc there. Instead, I dragged him to Tesco’s. Two pairs of grey, reinforced knee, trousers for £7! I bought a few sets, some shorts also, his school bag and lunch box. I was hair swishing like Beyonce around Tesco’s just knowing how well I had did with the uniform financial management!  I had socks in my hand too but, decided to leave them back and go to M and S for some seam free ones. I already know he will go insane at the roughness of the trousers each morning so, I have to make it easier for us all somehow. I am going to cry so hard on his first day then, probably get over it relatively quickly when I am not running around getting him things every two minutes. FREEDOM!

In other news, his party went well. It was a lot calmer than any party previously has been. I imagine this was mainly due to my sister in law coming early to help hubby with the cooking. The only issue was when hubby thought it would be a right laugh to put magical candles on eldest’s cake. He quickly blew them out then, decided he would like to remove them for better access. They then re-lit! I have never ran so fast in my life. We have also both been tortured to build all the Lego sets he received. “What was your favourite present?” I enquired the other day. “The special coin great grandad got me” he responded. So a limited edition Paddington Bear coin is much more riveting than Lego, games or anything else? As hubby said, it will be excitement overload when great grandad gifts him some stamps at Christmas!

Middle is being a complete angel with the potty training one day then, the next day, having numerous accidents. I am currently at a crossroads as to whether I continue or, give up entirely. I never faced this with eldest as he just seemed to get it. Middle does get it, he just get’s distracted easily. I’m going to adjust my attitude, be more relaxed and, see what happens. I have to think how he thinks!

Baby is just loving life and being happy as per usual:

I took him swimming for the very first time on Wednesday. He had a little sob to begin with then proceeded to conk out in the swim seat for the whole duration! I must take him swimming daily if it has that effect.

This week I have mainly been…. party planning and getting exasperated by middle

Eldest is going to be five years old on Tuesday. I cannot believe it! Where has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday that he was a baby and I was pacing up and down the hall thinking “oh my god, what have I done!”. Obviously, I wouldn’t change a thing. I just wasn’t expecting everyone to be correct about the whole lack of sleep thing. I actually thought they were all exaggerating- duh!

“What do you want to do for your birthday?” I asked him last week. I will admit to being thoroughly disorganised this year what with having three of them now and potty training one. “I would like a Super Mario party in the house” he replied. Oh bugger! There is nothing quite worse than a kid’s party let alone a kid’s party in your house. The tidying up of middle’s second birthday party is still ingrained on my memory as it was only in May. “Um, ok then” I said, “I guess we did that for Owen so, if that’s what you want to do, we will do it”. I set about ordering a few Mario related paraphernalia off Amazon in a panic. Party bags, a load of crap to put inside them, banners and paper plates etc. When the party bag pruck arrived, I decided to finally be organised and set about sorting them. Could I find said party bags that had arrived a few days prior? No, I could not. “You opened them on the top of the stairs” I said to eldest, “so where are they?”. “I don’t know!” he replied. “What do you mean you don’t know? I specifically said to you not to open them as they were for your friends!” I wailed. Having searched the whole house and, being unable to locate them, I gave up. What arrived the next day? The fu#king party bags! I mean, what in the name is going on in my head? I can vividly see myself opening them and eldest doing a runner with them. I am seriously losing the plot and, any wonder! This is almost as bad as that time I put my mobile in the fridge and spent two days trying to find it.

Next I began to think about food. Kid’s are easily pleased at parties. Cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, pizza- the usual. But, what about the adults? I quickly decided upon a chicken curry. Bung it in the slow cooker in the morning, cook some rice- job’s a good un! “That doesn’t really show a lot of effort” hubby moaned. “It’s a kid’s party, what will people be expecting? Some kind of A La Carte menu? They should just be happy they aren’t getting a bowl of super noodles” I responded. “I will make a curry from scratch then” he countered. “That’s grand, just don’t be complaining to me when it’s Sunday morning, we are trying to get three kid’s bathed and looking presentable, cleaning and, you are trying to cook with madness ensuing all around” I stated. It remain’s to be seen how Sunday will go, but, I imagine all the above will occur and, as always, I will be right. Men never listen and we will no doubt be like that Father Ted couple come guest’s arriving. “You fecking arsehole!” “Awk hello Mary how are you?”.

Middle is also becoming less of a baby by the minute and, this week, managed to go to nursery in pants and have zero accidents. This did not, however, continue when home. Instead he decided to wet himself at every opportunity. Didn’t I say he likes to surprise me? Two steps forward, five steps back. I will have to ask nursery what, if anything, they are doing different there that is ensuring no accidents. I cannot believe I have to do all this again with baby in a few years time. I really thought middle would be the last one I would have to potty train. FML. I am being quite harsh obviously as he has done so well considering he is so young.

In other news baby is back to normal and sleeping through. This deserves a party in itself! I also got my hair done again last night and, have decided, that this is going to be the norm from now on. I had three cup’s of tea whilst getting my colour on and, I think the girl was ready to throttle me. She probably thought ‘I’m only asking out of courtesy, you don’t have to keep accepting’. But, I had been let out for the evening so, why not! Upon getting my hair washed, I realised that this had been a very bad idea indeed. What with the bladder issues after having three kids. The hairdresser was spending forever doing a relaxing indian head massage with the conditioner and all I could think of was “I am about to wet myself right here and right now”. After she had finished, I ran like Forrest Gump to the bathroom and checked my phone whilst there. This is what confronted me:

I had been away one hour by that point! This is why I never leave them. Keep you all posted on the fu#kery that is the party on Sunday!

Becoming the next Bradley Wiggins with Biky Biky!

My track record with cycling is not good. I can sum it up quite simply by saying that, when I was nine, I decided it would be a great idea to cycle around our street, close my eyes, take my hands off the handlebars and see what would happen. What happened was that I hit the nearest kerb, flew into the air and rather badly damaged myself. What did I expect would occur? Luckily, eldest doesn’t appear to have inherited my complete lack of brain cells and utter recklessness when it comes to cycling. At least not yet anyway!

Myself and hubby have been debating taking his stabilisers off for a while now. Mainly I have been too afraid to but, hubby has been all for giving it a go. It’s a huge milestone getting your stabilisers off, isn’t it? I equate this to him not being a little boy anymore. Coupled with him starting school in September and, I am an emotional wreck! The other day I succumbed, however, mainly because the lovely people at Biky Biky sent us this rather nifty safety jacket:

I loved the sheer simplicity of this product the moment I set eyes on it. Why didn’t I think of this? Essentially, it is a jacket with a handle on the back that you use in conjunction with removing their stabilisers. You put it on your child and, you can walk behind them holding the handle and ensuring they stay balanced. It also saves you hunching behind them, walking like some kind of eighty year old, whilst you attempt to keep them upright. In the case of near crashes, you can also pull them up and off the bike in one swift swoop. The jacket comes in four different colours (blue, pink, green and purple). They are safety tested to hold up to seven and a half stone and, they are machine washable. Anything machine washable with all these boys gets a high five from me!

Eldest became quite enamoured with the jacket the moment we put it on him. He is so fussy with any kind of clothing so, this was a huge plus. He said it was comfortable and he liked how brightly coloured it was. Hubby took his stabilisers off and away we went out the front for a trial run. Middle joined us and, randomly wanted to bring the ride on he had when he was one. Although shaky at the beginning, eldest picked it up relatively quickly. It was so easy to hold onto him with the jacket on and, more importantly, in a way that was comfortable for us both. As we were cycling outside our house, on the footpath, I liked how the brightly coloured jacket alerted neighbours to his presence. Check out this video for how we got on: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmMBbVaHR9y/?taken-by=youandmeplusthreex

I would highly recommend these for both would be learners and would be trainers. Biky Biky vests retail at £24.95 and you can find them on their website here: http://www.bikybiky.uk. Good luck to you and your little one on their road to independence!

He did it!!!

This week I have mainly been…. dealing with chaos. Potty training, sick babies and attitude problems to name a few!

This week has been insane. I am still in the throws of potty training Middle, the baby has been sick and, eldest has suddenly morphed into a teenager, including the misplaced attitude problem!

Although Middle hadn’t been doing too well last week with the dreaded potty training, this week he has surprised us all. I was ready to give up on Monday when he had peed on my carpet three times, the hall twice and even in the Lego box. “Mummy, look me did pee- yeah!” he excitedly exclaimed all day. Only to point at where he had done it and, it not to be in the potty. I’ve pushed him too soon and he is in no way ready, I thought to myself. Guess we try again at a later date. On Tuesday I sent him to nursery, packed pull up’s and a change of clothes but, expected nothing. However, when I went to pick him up he had gone to the potty all day there, even off his own accord. I am noticing this boy likes to surprise me either in great ways or not so great ways. It must just depend on what mood he wakes up in! There and then I made a decision, I would stick at it. I have and, he has been doing great. We haven’t quite mastered pants just yet but, he is in his pull up’s and pulling them down and back up again once he has gone to the potty. I cannot tell you how much of a difference not having two kids in nappies is making. I was beginning to feel like a one-woman nappy changing machine and wondering could I get into the Guinness World Record book in acknowledgement. I will do a post on what I found successful through all this if, and when, I make it out the other side.

In other weekly occurrences, baby has been sick or, is teething. This has served to transgress me back to those early days of him being up squealing every hour. He had been sleeping through and I was beginning to feel like a normal, rested person. I am now back to resembling a Zombie and, scaring the postman every morning. I had also fully committed myself to watching all five seasons of Power on Netflix and have only made it to season two. I will hopefully refocus my efforts on this once he stops being a wailing nightmare all evening. Ghost await’s me.

As if those two weren’t stressing me out enough, Eldest has decided to test my patience more than usual this week**. It’s almost as if he cannot bear to watch the others driving me bonkers without adding his input also. He all of a sudden is acting like Harry Enfield’s character Kevin (a la Kevin and Perry). Everything I ask results in an “awk, mum!” and a dramatic shrug of the shoulders. “Don’t even look at me” was another one he uttered this week. He must put himself to bed now (although I am permitted to brush his teeth) and, I am no longer allowed to enter his room. “I need to clean your room though!” I pleaded on Thursday. “I don’t want my room clean, I want my room to be dirty and, the dirtier the better. You aren’t allowed to even open my door now mum” he responded. Isn’t this stage meant to occur at a much later date? I am in no way prepared for this. I am also thinking it is karma as I vividly remember sitting in the car with my mum when a teenager, and telling her “you are so annoying”. “Why?” she rightfully enquired. “Because you are breathing and, like, existing and all” was my rather unfair response. What goes around comes around, I guess. I am in for it seemingly. Send help!

**Eldest also told sister’s mother in law, at my nephew’s third birthday, what the doctor did to mummy. So he was already in the bad books!**

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

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

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

Next week has got to be better!

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Cooking Up A Storm With Annabel Karmel

Prepping our cocktail sausage casserole.

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

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

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

How cute!

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

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

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

Lego 

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

Marble Run

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

Magformers 

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

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

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

Trikes, Bikes and Scooter’s

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

Thomas Trackmaster 

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

Nintendo Wii and XBox

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