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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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!

Leading Baby to Taste Sensations with Baby Led Spreads.

You might not know this but, in July, I became a MyBump2Baby favourite blogger, whoop! Because of this, every month they send me an email advising of new products that are out there. BabyLed Spreads was mentioned in their last email. I’ve never contacted a company before but, in this case, I felt I had to. I was intrigued. There’s nothing worse than forcing full jars into babies when they obviously don’t like it. There is also nothing worse than having to slog over doing that. With baby I have been doing jars, homemade blended things and, bit’s of food I know he won’t choke on. He is my third so, I am mega relaxed about trying a bit of everything with him and figuring out what works best for us both. The main reason being, I in no way want him to be as fussy as eldest! I had the same attitude when weaning middle and he will eat everything under the sun, notably my dinner after he has eaten his.

The first thing that struck me, when my neighbour brought these over, was how beautifully packaged they were. Steve Job’s has made us all think aesthetically. It was so exciting even opening the package and observing all the lovely flavoured jars inside. So, the question is, was baby led?

I know he loves pasta, he is his mum’s son after all! So, I decided to use the sweet potato and red lentil jar with some pasta. I cooked it all up on the hob, added some water and blended. He went nuts for it!! I can’t even lie here and pretend I didn’t eat some when feeding him. It was so lovely! I actually wonder will they make huge jars for adults. Please?

There are so many beautiful flavours contained within this pack:

Green pea, rocket and dill and, spicy chickpea and pumpkin to name a few. Baby especially loved the spicy chickpea one on some Crackerbread. This is a much cheaper alternative to buying those branded flavoured snacks. These jars are also 100% natural and, I double checked the ingredients to ascertain this which, I’ve learnt, you always have to do. It’s always a plus when you are saving some money doing the family shop. Middle was also able to eat these on some toast, which I found to be a huge bonus. He also kept stealing the Crackerbread of baby, so it must have been nice. Eldest wouldn’t even venture to try any. But, one can hope that in the future he will pluck up the courage. He did say he hated fillet steak until he tried it, then, was demanding steak every night for dinner! Yeah, nice try son.

BabyLed spreads retail at £6.50 per 9x jar packs. You can also buy bigger packs and, dairy and non dairy ones also. Check out their website here: https://www.babyledspreads.co.uk/ and be prepared to introduce your little one to some new tastes and, ones that will stand them in good stead going forward. Ain’t nobody got time for fussy eaters- trust me!

 

 

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.

Netflix Picks of the Month For Kids and Parents- July 2018

Myself and eldest didn’t do this last month, mainly because he said he didn’t want to. I’m not about forcing my children to pander to me, therefore we refrained from doing it. This month, however, he asked me. Because, and I repeat, “I have been watching so many great things this year” (I think he means weeks). So, as is tradition, here is what he has been watching and, what myself and hubby have watched. As per usual, he will be dictating his and I will be typing it as he does and trying to keep up with his many ramblings!

The Kids (dictated by eldest) 

Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh- Four season’s 

This is a cartoon about that film we watched before. You know the one about the alien that was a bit stupid? So it’s after the film and Tip and Oh are best friends and things but, Oh is still stupid and silly. Like the one with the hot dog hat and he thought picking your nose was a game (what the actual? I have no clue what he means!). I just like it because there are loads to watch but, it is funny because of Oh. Because he is an alien, he doesn’t understand what earth is and what he should do. He get’s confused and Tip has to always explain things to him. It’s like Owen when he keep’s peeing on the floor and I have to tell him that you don’t do that. Isn’t it? Why yes it is, however he mainly laughs instead of correcting him. There is a lot of singing in it and, I mean A LOT. Sometimes this is good but sometimes it’s really annoying. Only girl’s like singing, like you. It’s annoying when you sing too (such a charmer- not!). 4/5

Miniforce- one season, billion’s of episodes 

This is actually much gooder (better, son) than even Home. It’s about lots of different coloured, cute animals but, they can actually transform into robots and fight baddies! I didn’t even believe it myself, but they do! I guess they are like Transformer’s, aren’t they? There is one called Volt and, I am NOT even joking, he can run faster than the speed of light. I could probably run just as fast if I tried really hard. The girl one has magical powers, but I can’t remember her name. You would like her as she is pink. Callum (his cousin) would probably like her too what with him loving Frozen and all. One has super strong powers too so, they all work together to sort out the bad guys. Do you need to have powers to feat (defeat, son- again!) the bad guys? Or can you just like punch them hard? Do humans have magical powers or just cartoons? (fml). 5/5

Matilda- Film 

You put this on because we were reading the book at bedtime. I didn’t want to watch it AT ALL. But, and, don’t tell daddy, it was really good. How many times have I watched it now? (about ten, dear god help us!). Matilda’s mum and dad are baddies. Her brother is bad to her too. Even at the start of the movie they don’t even strap her into the car and she is just a baby! She nearly flies out of the boot! That is what will happen to Owen if he keeps taking his buckle off in the car seat (yes, that’s why I am always going mad son! This show’s he does actually listen on occasions). All Matilda want’s to do is read books. She even just walks to the library herself. Can I do that too? (NO). Miss Trunchbull is the biggest baddie I have ever saw (seen). She even throws kids out the window by their hair. She actually throws kid’s mum!! What people don’t know is, that Matilda has magical powers. So, she can like move things and hit people with them. That was the bestest (best) part. I liked how there was a happy ending. Can we just watch films instead of reading books? Films are much funner (more fun and, no). 6/5 (what?).

The Rent’s 

Power- five season’s 

As some of you may know, from a previous post, I had fully committed to watching all five season’s of this in quick succession. This was wholly optimistic on my behalf. Did I forget I have kids or something? It has taken me much longer than anticipated but, I have finally succeeded in watching them all. Thus, I feel that I can finally review and, potentially receive some kind of award ( i will await the parent, watching tv, equivalent of the Victoria Cross). I will not lie, there is a reason you will keep watching this. Ok, the storylines are good but, HELLO GHOST! This man is so utterly beautiful, rough, strong but ultimately loving. He is like a buffer Mr Grey! That killed me to type that as, I am a devoted Jamie Dornan fan (nearing stalker level. Um, not really in case he or his solicitor ever reads this). I can’t spoil anything with this so, have to be careful. Just think gang’s, gun’s, perception and forbidden love. It takes a few episodes to get hooked but, once there, you will be having severe withdrawals if you can’t watch it. It is no Breaking Bad but, I don’t think anything ever will be. It’s so good to know you can watch an episode each night when the kid’s are asleep. The TV is so awful lately. The only downside is that I am now speaking like a total gangster even though the only gangster thing i do is sometimes send the 100 emoji. Don’t hate, celebrate! 5/5

The Staircase- documentary- thirteen episodes

Sometimes I get a bit nervous when I decide to venture onto Netflix at the weekend when there is nothing on. Show’s like The Staircase is the reason why! I actually stayed up until 2am on a Sunday morning watching this. God, did I pay for it the next day with the kids. F#cking Netflix and, not my lack of self-control obviously! This documentary follows Michael Peterson, a man whose wife, unfortunately, fell down the stairs, resulting in her death. But, was he responsible? Each episode aims to show if he was or not. There are so many twists and turns that you cannot help but watch on. See, all Netflix’s fault! It did take a few episodes to get into but, I am all for murder and espionage. I had my own thoughts on whether he was guilty the whole way through and, despite everything shown, this never differed. If you’ve watched, what did you think? I can’t spoiler anything, so watch and see what you think.

** coming up next, Orange is the New Black season six review. I have cleared my diary and, these kids better cooperate. I want no sickness, no bedtime f#ckery and, no nonsense! This mamma has some ladies of a different persuasion to catch up with (hopefully)**

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!