Remembering Our Furry Friends Amidst The Madness

It’s no secret that the boys provide me with endless material. Their weekly antics are usually enough to fill multiple pages, let alone one. But, not only I am mum to three, boisterous boys, I am the proud owner of the only other female in my life- Mad Molly (as one groomer named her- whoops!). Molly was there long before the boy’s and, even long before the husband. That little white, ball of fluff has been present during all the monumental stages in my life. Through breakups, makeups and breakdowns. I can’t even detail all the occasions she has lay on my lap whilst I sobbed into her hair and offloaded all my woes. It was me and her against the world.

Then, eldest arrived. Nothing much changed, albeit I had less time. She got walked the same amount as before and, doted on even more so. From the second we arrived home with our blue, bundle of joy, Molly was in love. She adored him and, as he grew, the feeling was mutual. Then something happened. That something was the walking madman that is middle! He didn’t respect her space, despite repeated telling off’s. He mounted her daily screaming “giddy up MoMo!”. In the end, Molly became wary of him and, rightly so. Now she also has a baby to contend with who loves nothing more than tipping her water bowl over his head. The dog deserves a Victoria Cross for patience alone.

Whilst becoming increasingly exasperated, I stumbled across a series of books. Zara DogDog promises to teach children how to act around dogs and, read their body language. Middle loves books at the minute (Peppa and Paw Patrol one’s mainly) but, he became completely absorbed in the story. He also loved the illustrations and we had lots of fun pointing out the dog on every page. I read this to him three nights in a row and there was a marked change in his behaviour around the dog. It was almost like he suddenly respected her, in as much as middle respects anything. These two pages resonated with me, as a mum:

When I’m not running late in the mornings, Molly usually accompanies us on the school run. Kid’s are drawn to her. As a West Highland, she shouldn’t have floppy ears but does. She is an adult puppy essentially.  Kids can’t tell nor, understand that she is thirteen and doesn’t like certain things. They swarm around her and dispense a multitude of affection, of which she can tolerate in small doses. This book (one of a series) will make your children stop and think before approaching a dog and realise that they have their own boundaries and feelings too. There is no better lesson in life than to respect our non-verbal family members. You can purchase the book I reviewed here: https://www.zaradogdog.com/. Not only this but, you can also register for their club and receive tips to help both you and your children going forward. It’s so easy to become submerged in daily kid’s shenanigans and forget how much our furry friends are dealing with. We love you to the moon and back doggies!

Poor Mad Molly!

When kid’s get sick…. FML

Baby has been ill from the weekend. Infact, it has been a royal barf fest for days now. Not only that but, he hasn’t slept. As always, when they are sick, responsibility seems to fall to one person and one person only- mum. Whether you are a single mother or, have a partner, chances are it will be left up to you. Mainly because they want you and, only you but, also due to the fact that men can magically sleep through hours of high pitched screaming and projectile vomiting. Do you think that’s an evolutionary thing or a purely can’t be arsed thing? Answers on a postcard!

Being two nights minus sleep doth not bode well for anyone but, it especially doth not bode well for a day full of terrible two navigating/defusing and school runs. As hubby sauntered off to work wishing me good luck, I wanted to scream. After a night spent on the sofa, blissfully dreaming, he positively skipped out ala Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Arrgghh!!!

He had no sooner stepped out the front door when middle who, I had somehow managed to dress despite being half asleep, decided to remove every item of clothing, bend over in my face, smack his belly then, his bottom and yell “belly, belly, bum, bum!”. The view was most certainly unpleasant, I can assure you. What is wrong with him? I decided the only way forward was some lazy parenting. Paw Patrol and Netflix it would have to be until I managed to get baby resembling some kind of presentable human being. Middle settled, I bathed baby. Five minutes after removing him from the bath and, dressing him, he simultaneously managed to barf and explode at the same time. Why God, why? Refill bath and repeat process. Right, one clean baby (for now), maybe I am winning again. Attempt to dress middle again only for him to remove all the items as fast as I put them on him. “Be naked then, I can’t face it anymore!” I wail to him. His response? Maniac laughing followed swiftly be the new, standard saying, “you stupid mummy!”. Naughty step it is (repeat this ten times). Like where are you Super Nanny? How do I apply? Deep breaths….

School run completed, homework done and, dinner on, I eventually calmed. Baby was napping, the sheets were all washed and, I was finally in control again. Thirty minutes later baby was awake and crying. Upon retrieving him, I was confronted by the sight of my freshly washed sheets re-barfed over. Fan-f#cking-tastic! By the time hubby came home, I was getting to the rocking back and forth stage. “God, why are you so moany?” he implored. BIG MISTAKE. “Why? Why?. Maybe because I haven’t slept in days yet still had to do everything I normally do. Maybe because I’ve spent all day dressing a toddler only for him to get on like he is auditioning for the Full Monty every thirty minutes. Maybe, because of this, I’ve had to stare repeatedly at an arse all day whilst being declared ‘stupid’. Even after all this, I am now making dinner for you”. “Sorry I asked, I just won’t talk then” he responded terrified. Acceptable answer.

I decided I would go bath baby for the third time but, get in with him to try and force myself to relax and unwind. Ten minutes later the bathroom door flies open and middle dives bombs head first into the bath with us. Maybe not then………………

 

Today baby turned one! What I’ve learnt during his pregnancy and this year, has been invaluable…..

My random little one-legged crawler (still ongoing) turned one today! I can’t believe that this time last year I was in the hospital being induced with him. An induction that worked swiftly and resulted in me having him in a grand total of 38 minutes! It’s taken me longer to drink a cup of tea at home!

I thought I would do an honest post as it may help someone out there. I promised I would be honest, didn’t I?

I never set out to be a mother of three. Infact, after lots of hospital visits, I was told it wasn’t on the cards. I accepted this readily- two was enough and, to be honest, I never wanted to experience giving birth again after middle and that head of his! Flash forward a few months later and I was having to pull my car over and be sick into my handbag- classy! Weird, I thought! Having not been regular at all in a year and, after what I had been told, I never ever thought I could be pregnant. The more I thought about it however, the more panicked I became. I decided the only way to stop worrying was to purchase a test. I had no idea how much that little plastic stick and it’s glaring plus sign would serve to flip my world upside down.

Three kids- three! How would I ever cope with three kids? I was just about managing with two, bonkers boys. How do you even get three out the door each day? This was not good, not good. I and hubby spent the next few weeks soul-searching and having sometimes heated discussions. It was not a nice time. I was thinking emotionally and he was thinking logically. Although deeply worried about the financial ramifications, my heart won out.

The pregnancy was difficult. I was beyond tired and highly emotional. The two boys were relentless and I was working in a stressful, new job. I worried incessantly each day as to how I would cope and adapt with three. Even more so when I found out it was another boy. It was just a different experience to my other pregnancies. Then something happened, he was measuring small and, the hospital was concerned. Eldest was 8lb 3oz’s, middle 8lbs 8oz’s. This baby was measuring 6lb’s and I was at the finishing line. Having battled with my feelings and guilt the whole pregnancy, suddenly I realised how irrelevant that all had been. What if something was wrong? That would be my fault surely after all the feelings I had had? The sonographer spoke to a doctor and it was decided they would induce me the next day if possible. That brings me back to my first paragraph…

After I held him in my arms, I felt like the most awful person ever. He was beautiful and utterly perfect. Small at 6lbs but, amazing! He had to be monitored all night after his heart rate dipped so low during labour but, when we arrived home the next day, the boys positively doted on him. Another boy in their gang! Another one to teach the traditional bathtime, winky dance to! Over the following weeks, I became utterly obsessive about his weight and, him. He was gaining weight rapidly but, that didn’t stop me worrying. I wanted to hold him all the time and make sure he was ok. I drove myself insane. That’s mum guilt for you, no matter what guise it takes.

One year later and he is the happiest and, biggest baby ever. I literally cannot get a pair of jeans over his chubby legs. He finds everything hilarious and has the most beautiful personality. So loving, peaceful and, can give those brothers of his a run for their money even now! They are mad about him and he is the first person they ask to see each morning. I got a feeling one day, late on in pregnancy that, he will do something special with his life. He is already doing it now with his positive attitude and personality. I look at him, and think, one day I will be back to feeling that happy. And, I will. Because I will do it for him. Sometimes things don’t happen at the right time. Sometimes you feel like it is the worst timing in the world but, sometimes it’s maybe the right time, even if you don’t see it then. Is anytime the right time after all? Three are total hard work but, I wouldn’t be without any single one of them.

Happy birthday to my wonderful, inspiring, little man. The boy’s all won out on the name Ethan (sob) but, you will always be my Ethan Ellis (and Ellis purely when they can’t hear me- our secret).

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!

 

An open letter to the mum shamers

Dear mum shamer/would be shamer

Middle was up so many times on Saturday night. Not only did he awake repeatedly, he took the most monumental of tantrums and cried himself a river (a la Justin T) everytime he did so. This is not middle. He doesn’t make a point of doing this all the time infact, he values his sleep. I went in, cuddled him, told him it was all ok then left. I repeated the same process a few times. By 12pm I had royally lost the will to live and, was concerned he would wake up the other two boys. I brought him downstairs for some cuddles on the sofa. He asked that I put Paw Patrol on. I posted a video to my page of his attempts at speaking to our Google Home which, I found quite hilarious considering the stress I’d dealt with for an hour. After a few Paw Patrol episodes, we went to bed. I brought him into our bed because I was too tired to argue by this stage. Shoot me!

I awoke on Sunday morning to a comment under that video. A comment that basically asked why my toddler was allowed to watch Paw Patrol in the first place and not put back to bed instead. This is the second such comment I have received from this stranger. I burst into tears. I felt so awful. Infact, I felt like a bad mum.  I replied to that comment in a way that wasn’t a true reflection of how I felt. I didn’t want to upset that person the way in which they had upset me but, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. This person was not just attacking me (as the comments proved) she was attacking every other mother that reads my blog and appreciates the honesty contained within it. THAT, I have a problem with. Let’s get some things straight going forward:

  • We are all on the same journey here. The wonderful/stressful journey of motherhood. If I choose to go visit a country, I might choose to travel to it via a different route than another person. We will still end up at the same place though, right?
  • You do what works for your own, individual family and their needs. Maybe one of your kids needs a proper nights sleep otherwise they cause chaos the following day, resulting in everyone being miserable and a day ruined. Maybe it’s been a long day and you just do not have any energy left to give. Every night is different with children, as is every day.
  • No child is the same. Funny that but, somehow they all seem to have their own personalities. We adjust our parenting technique with all of them because we have to. They all have their own individual needs. For example, eldest needs utter routine, middle thrives on chaos and baby hasn’t decided what his mould will be. When he does, I will adjust to that too. That is my job as their mother- to understand their individual needs and react accordingly. No matter what age they may be.
  • I don’t judge others and, never will. How you choose to raise your children is nothing to do with me. At the end of the day, all that matters is that your children are happy. All I am doing is sharing my side of this journey. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.
  • We are all entitled to our opinions. Free speech is what makes us question things after all. What I don’t like is someone using that freedom in a negative manner. That comment was read by everyone on Sunday morning. Maybe even someone who had had a worse night than me with their kids. Single mothers up doing it all alone, mums with newborns and probably mum’s up with sick children.
  • This blog was started mainly as therapy. I used to write individual books for the boys each week about what they had done that week. This made my life easier and, my hand less cramped. I also felt it important to share the not so perfect side so fellow mums knew they weren’t alone. Society feeds us a certain image of what we should be like and, what we should do.
  • I want this blog to be about uplifting each other, celebrating surviving another week and discussing what disasters we have encountered that week. What I don’t want is someone who deems it acceptable to drag others down. We are all just doing what we can to navigate all these stages.
  • Speaking of stages, we are all at different ones. Maybe some of us have older kids, others younger ones. Each stage brings its own set of problems. How you deal with them is up to you as a parent. I can only share what I am going through now.

In conclusion, from here on in, I will defend my followers when things like this happen and not just stand back. Because I started this blog to counteract all this perfection and show parenthood warts and all. We may not agree with the choices other’s make but, if it works for them so be it. In future, if you have free time and want to troll, I suggest the Daily Mail comments section. Always some mum bashers/bashers of everything on there. Check out the featured image, at the top, to be reminded of exactly what is important. Please share this so we can eradicate this mum shaming. x

Regards,

Grace (You and Me Plus Three)

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… date nighting in Fermanagh!

Don’t you just love Wowcher and Groupon? If it wasn’t for them, I doubt I’d ever get to go anywhere. You can’t deny someone a bargain stay after all! We booked a deal to stay at Lusty Beg Island about four months ago then, did our usual and forgot about it. It was only when we received the ‘warning, your voucher is due to expire’ email did we finally get our arses in gear and book it. Booking is the easy bit, finding someone to look after three, mental boys for the night is the hard bit. As usual, eldest and middle had to be split up in order for us to sell the idea of babysitting them for a night. Once anyone has looked after them both together and, witnessed the obligatory 6pm-8pm battering session, they refuse to do it ever again. Eldest was packed off to my sister on the promise of a ‘sleepover’ with his cousin and the other two stayed with nanna. Freedom beckoned. But first, a cheeky Nando’s because, why not?

We arrived at 3 pm, drove the car onto a little ferry and, were transported to the most beautiful little island. So picturesque. After checking in and obtaining our key, we went to explore our room. It was perfect, even if it only had a shower and no bath. Is it a mum thing to want to have a bath in peace once you get away from your sprogs or, just a Grace thing? I’d no sooner sat on the bed when I received a Whatsapp from my sister advising that eldest had been awarded ‘star of the week’ at school. I burst into tears. He has wanted to get star of the week ever since he started school. Every week he has become increasingly frustrated when he hasn’t. “Maybe you would get star of the week if you refrained from glueing your artwork to your face?” I helpfully offered last week. Either something clicked or, she is just running out of children to award it to but, he did it! Trust this to happen the one day I don’t pick him up from school. I know how excited he would have been to tell me. Mum guilt began to set in. Only one thing for it- wine! After a few glasses, the guilt subsided. I could always make it up to him the next day. Off we went to play a game of pool in the hotel’s game room. After a few vinos, the game was rather one-sided I’m ashamed to admit.

We had the most amazing steak and dauphinoise potatoes for dinner, overlooking the lough. Perfectly relaxing. Next, we headed back to our room for a few more drinks (yes, we are that broke these days). Come 10pm the two of us were royally merry. “Let’s go to the bar and ask if they will make me a big bowl of dauphinoise potatoes” I demanded. “At this time?” hubby replied. “Yes at this time! When a girl want’s potatoes, she wants potatoes! Failing that surely they will have Tayto”. Begrudgingly, hubby retrieved his coat. We entered the bar, approached the barman and, asked for some potatoes. “Um, the kitchen closed at 8pm” he responded dumbfounded. “We have Tayto though”. Some people just get it. Tayto in hand, we found a table. It appeared we were the only ones there. That is, until I heard a lot of giggling and four girls came hurtling around the corner. They then joined our table. We got chatting and,  they were all fellow mummies and fellow mum’s on tour. I shared my Tayto and they shared their fishbowl gin. Hubby sat there quite obediently whilst not just one, but, five women proceeded to talk utter shit to him. I have never drunk gin before and, now I know why!

Waking up the next morning to check my phone, I was confronted with a smashed screen. “What the? When did I do that?” I panickedly asked hubby. “I have no idea, I don’t even know what time we came back to the room at” he replied. “You may also check if you have your engagement and wedding ring as I vaguely remember trying to stay awake whilst you repeatedly emphasised how your finger has got fat this week and they no longer fit” he added. I had been thinking that all week in fairness. I leapt up to begin the search. No wedding ring. Gin 1, Grace 0. Eldest may have been bestowed star of the week’ but his mum has been titled ‘twat of the week’. Middle has also disowned me upon returning as my phone is ‘broken’. All my worries that he loves my phone more than me, have just been proven. Never again (until next time I get some freedom).

Star of the week- this would happen the one day I don’t collect him from school!

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…. 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)!