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!

 

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… unable to write anything though loving the two new additions to our family

Don’t worry reading this title, I haven’t popped out another two sprogs (that would literally push me over the edge). I also just couldn’t for the life of me write this week which, is highly unusual. I kept attempting to, but, was unable to formulate any kind of brain to webpage function. This is my tenth attempt so, let’s see how I fare. Maybe it’s the increase of dosage in my tablets? Who knows.

This week my sister in law’s welcomed the most beautiful little twin girl’s into our family. A family that, up until now, has been dominated by my three boys. My very boisterous ones at that! They are so utterly beautiful and, more importantly, I now have another two little humans that I can buy pink for and that will hopefully bother their arses to visit me in a care home one day (preferably with smuggled in alcohol). My sister in law’s journey to parenthood wasn’t as straightforward as mine. Sometimes you forget that other people face challenges and hurdles just trying to become a ‘mum’. Ultimately it is a title all us girls grow up assuming we will have. Just thinking that had already put things into perspective for me. What put things more into perspective is, how we are all just the same when introduced into this new whirlwind adventure. We are frightened, exhausted and, we will never think we are doing a good enough job. But, you are. No one can ever prepare you for those first weeks home but, one day you will be wishing them back. One day the visitors will stop and you will be wanting company. It’s funny how this whole thing works isn’t it? It’s only when we get some more sleep and, feel more normal, that we understand that. You will feel normal again! I promise.

In the boy’s news, baby is teething at an alarming rate. On Thursday I was single-handedly dealing with his seventh explosion in a few hours. Where was it even coming from? Like how is that even possible?  I began to think it could only be one of the plagues the Bible forewarned me about. There could be no other explanation (I am being brainwashed, read on).

Middle is doing great on the potty though seems to have developed quite the aversion to doing a poo on it. This is leading to what I can only describe as a daily apocalyptic nightmare. I literally gag every time this happens. He laughs hysterically of course.

Eldest is still loving school though randomly keeps returning home every few days with the same picture coloured in of an ark. The first few times I was thinking “well, he is certainly getting better with the colouring, that’s something”. However, we are now onto what seems like the twelfth ark picture in a few weeks and I am seriously concerned that he, and I, are being subliminally messaged. I’m not sure who by exactly, Noah maybe? I have two words for you Noah, the first begins with a F and the second is off. We are led by science in this family and, the drive to be kind and good people.

 

This week I have mainly been…. admitting defeat but battling onwards and upwards

I never ever thought I would have to type this. I figured, like with eldest, I may feel this way but, would somehow overcome it. I tried everything. I sat and thought about why I felt how I did. I asked for more support at home, I tried to chase my dreams and, ultimately, I tried to hold it all together. That’s the thing when you are a mum- you are expected to. Every day involves putting other’s needs first and, it can’t be a surprise if one day you stand back and suddenly think “what the f#ck has happened to me though?”. A few weeks ago that was me. I was fully aware I was gradually feeling worse but, I am never one to admit defeat and tried to fix it myself. What I learnt was this, sometimes it’s impossible and, I don’t have the time nor peace to devote my energy into giving attention to my wonky brain.

Brain’s are funny things, aren’t they? Sometimes, the wiring just goes slightly haywire. I guess they are like little computers really. I’m fairly certain pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation can be the catalyst to making even normal wiring go off track. We aren’t robots after all. I wrote this piece when baby was four months old : https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/05/03/why-its-ok-not-to-be-ok/ . I wrote it in conjunction with Maternal Mental Health Week. I’m aware then, that I’m starting to go all not ok. I also seem to know that it’s ok to feel that way. But somehow in the midst of things, I seem to have ignored my own advice and just tried to bat my feelings away. I’m not quite sure how that occurred or why. Maybe it was due to so many changes going on, eldest starting school, baby nursery etc and I mistook my emotions for normalcy? The main thing is, I’ve realised now and am working on things to make it better.

Because it is totally ok not to be ok. Infact, I think you will find that most people these days feel not ok as opposed to ok. We are expected, as mothers, to work, be housewives and somehow remain sane. We beat ourselves up when it all gets too much and we yell at our children after they have pushed us for hours on end. We think we are ‘bad mums’ when infact we are just ‘normal mums’ who, like everyone else, has a breaking point. We are people, we are humans. We have feelings too. Sometimes a hug from your children can change everything but, sometimes some appreciation can change even more. Medicating and pumping some happy hormones into your system is one thing but, the thing’s that brought you to that point in the first place tend to stay the same. I think part of this process has to be working on that aspect alongside tablets. That’s why on Tuesday I shall be attending my very first counselling session. This poor guy has no idea what he has let himself in for! I really hope I don’t drive him insane trying to dissect my insanity- eek!

Hopefully, this post helps even one person to realise that they aren’t alone. That seeking some assistance is a positive thing instead of drowning. It may be a short-term solution or maybe even a long-term one. But, if it gets you through, it gets you through. As mums, that’s all we are trying to do on a daily basis. Bonus if the kids are still alive by the end of it also! If anyone is feeling the same way, please do not hesitate to message me and we can help each other overcome this with mutual support. Onwards and upwards!

I was thinking to get out of this headspace, I would do a funny survival guide about going from one child to two as that’s the main question I get asked in messages. So, if anyone has any reminders for me, send them through. I can only remember the f#ckery of going from two to three these days.

This week I have mainly been…. sending baby to nursery and having no clue what to do with the free time!

Baby officially started nursery this week. He will attend on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s alongside middle. This should have been cause for a major celebration because, for the first time in years, I would be on my own on those two days. Eldest is in school until 2 pm and they are in the nursery until whenever I want. Surely bliss? You’d think that but, on Tuesday I was an emotional wreck. I paced my downstairs sobbing, missing my baby and beating myself up that he should be at home with me. I tried to go back to bed, after all my moaning in the last post about napping, only to toss and turn and be unable to switch my brain off. I ended up getting up and calling the nursery, frantic with worry. I was told he was doing great and had had a fantastic morning. Playing with toys, pulling other kid’s socks off and flashing that smile that he always does. This should have placated me. Well, it didn’t. Why didn’t he miss me? The others had cried for days when they first started. Had I not spent enough time with him playing and having fun because I had eldest off with me since he was born? Arrgh! It seems you cannot win when you are a mum. I started to contemplate why I felt so upset this time around. Was it because his pregnancy had been so different from the others? The fact that, I cried for most of it wondering how I would ever cope with three? The fact that when he then got here, I felt so guilty from the get-go for even worrying? I think this is a huge part of it. I only really got to spend time with him alone when eldest started school and, for weeks, he was only in until 12 pm each day. I tried to pack in eight months of neglected activities with him in the space of two weeks as I finally had the time to do so. He is also such an easy baby, rarely upset unless sick and unbelievably contented. I wasn’t ready to let him fly off just yet. Coupled with the fact that he is the youngest in the baby room, this served to make me feel even worse. It shouldn’t however as, I can already see, they all dote on him because he is the youngest. On Tuesday I picked him up just after lunch. I think I did ok to last four hours. They were the most drawn out four hours of my life, I can assure you. I’m thinking the empty nest stage does not bode well for me.

The following day, I pushed myself to make the most of it. I dropped eldest to school and got back into bed with my jumper and jeans still on! I set my alarm for two hours later (there’s too much to do around here) and, I slept for two hours. I got up and got stuck into my washing and cleaning. Once I had finished, I wondered what else there was to do. So I did what any crazy mum does with time on their hands…. I went and got my children from nursery so I could refill my hours. I got to wake baby from his nap in the baby room and he looked so content and comfy. I dressed him and off we went to the other room to collect middle. Upon seeing us, he proceeded to wet himself. “MUMMY yeah! Uh oh, me did pee in pants!” he proclaimed whilst cuddling me tightly. This is the first accident in weeks he has had there. “Owen!” I said “where do we do our pees?”. He looked at me, pointed his finger aggressively then, screaming like a banshee said: “NO!!! You do pees in potty!”. The exact exasperated way in which I yell it at him- thanks son! Also, the other day, whilst I was changing baby, he disappeared out the front to pee on my welcome mat. As you do! Welcome indeed, the whole house smells like a urinal anyways these days, come on in. Reason’s why not to pick your kids up early- it always seems like a good idea at the time.

He has also become quite savvy at sneaking my phone away and calling my poor mum. She is demented as she is always my last dialled call. “Hello nanna, how are you?” “What you do nanna?”. He then proceeds to ask her numerous questions all whilst she is trying to do something important. Welcome to new found parenthood nanna, lest you should forget!

This week I have mainly been….. going on a date night and basically sleeping through it!

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

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

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

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

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

This week I have mainly been…. 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.**