This week I have mainly been…. contemplating selling middle on Ebay to recoup the money he has cost me with his YouTube obsession!

I hosted a Halloween party for twenty-eight adults and kids on Monday evening. I’m not quite sure how this happened as it was my sister’s turn (I did it last year). I had all three kids on the day in question as it’s half term. Baby had also been up most of the night screaming and I was shattered. I knew I had to somehow find the time and energy to clean my house, make a chilli and, keep them all alive. At 9 am, I got to work cutting all the ingredients for the chilli. Two minutes later I turn around to observe that middle has taken off his pj’s, is brandishing a plastic sword and yelling “I be a crazy boy!” all over the place. The day was obviously starting as it meant to go on.

Baby proceeded to cry all morning whilst I tried desperately to complete my to-do list. I would clean one room only to re-enter a while later and realise that eldest and middle had trashed it again. By 2 pm I was losing the will to live and my sanity. I finally got baby and middle over for a nap, handed eldest his Nintendo DS and, was able to get stuck in. I had all the decorations done at the weekend (to make things easier) but hubby kept going on about putting colour changing light bulbs in the hall. I had no idea what he was going on about until I switched on the lights and realised he had them set to red and my house now resembled the red light district in Amsterdam. Not only this but, the front door has windows all around it . Welcome to a brothel kiddies!

The hordes arrived at 6:30 pm. I got so overwhelmed with all the cooking, I forgot to put the cocktail sausages on, of which I’d bought 70 of! Considering this is the main thing kids want at a party, utter fail on my behalf. Crisis amended, everyone fed and watered and, the men away with the kids trick or treating, I rewarded myself with a few glasses of wine! This was the first time all evening I had been able to sit down and actually talk to anyone. A few hours later and everyone was away and the kids asleep. The house got wrecked of course. Why do us women feel the need to clean hysterically when people are coming round when we know we will just have to do it all over again when they leave? Baffling. The following day had to be better surely?

Well, upon checking my bank balance on a whim that morning, I was confronted with the fact that I was now £108 overdrawn. What?!! After some investigating, I discovered that it was Vodafone who had emptied my remaining funds. “This must be a mistake!” I kept repeating to eldest. “My bill is only £23 a month usually”. So I called them and, a mistake it was not. Middle had managed to rack up £83 in additional data charges during the period 23rd September to 1st October!!!! Considering I have 4gb of data included in my monthly allowance, this is some kind of epic achievement. Our broadband had gone off for three days during ‘the storm’ that week but, how he managed that extortionate amount is beyond me. The guy at Vodafone was very sympathetic as I had an utter nervous breakdown at the realisation it wasn’t a colossal mistake on their part. He advised that they couldn’t do anything as it had been paid by my bank but, he would give me an additional 5gb of data a month for free, until the end of my contract. My kind friend also advised that he would put a block on the data so I could never go over it (they should do this as standard surely?). ‘Shout out to middle who has cost me £108 in data charges watching YouTube’ I raged on Instagram. My dad then comments under it ‘I remember my eldest girl doing the exact same thing’. Oh dear. Why yes, I did do this. I once ran up a £120 phone bill at his house voting for Brian Dowling to win Big Brother. I mean, I don’t understand what his problem was. That was obviously a legitimate cause and not a cost acquired from watching f#cking baby shark and daddy finger. Why are these kid’s so like me?? I need to think carefully about what else I’ve done and be prepared for the karma to hit me square in the face. The karma, it just keeps on coming 🙁

** I have ended up spending all day in hospital with baby due to his breathing. Not even hand, foot and mouth related. Wheezing and very laboured breathing. After five hours, nebuliser’s and steroids, they finally got it under control. What a week (as always)**

Welcome to the new Amsterdam, right in the heart of Greenisland

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)!

 

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… loving me some middle!

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

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

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

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

 

 

This week I have mainly been…. worrying about eldest

When I went to my interview last week, I had to leave early in the morning. My mum gallantly looked after the boy’s whilst I did so. There was only one thing I didn’t do before I left- I didn’t dress eldest. There was a very valid reason for this. I didn’t dress eldest because it is the most stressful part of my morning routine. I couldn’t face it and, also, figured maybe my mum should finally see why I am so stressed just getting out the door each day. He has an issue with every item of clothing! His socks don’t feel right, his shorts are too tight, change to jeans and they are too loose, his top doesn’t feel right and finally, his shoes aren’t right either! Some days I will be on my third clothes change with him and ready to lose my shit. I dress middle and baby first, daily, because I know how long eldest will take me. I can tell from watching middle that something is not right here. I have felt so for a long time. My husband, however, thinks I am overreacting. I’m not, obviously (us women are always right).

What will he do when he has to independently dress for PE lessons at school? I’m not going to be in attendance to change his kit multiple times! What will the other children think when he has a monumental breakdown that his socks are ‘hurting him?’ I love him so much and, I am worried about him. He is generally overly sensitive about everything and, I find this mostly endearing. Just not when I have to dress him and be somewhere for a specific time! Arrgghh!

Personally, I think there are sensory issues going on with him. I have ‘google panicked’ it and came to that conclusion. So now I have to figure out how best I can help him going forward and, try to be more supportive (and less ready to kill him). I plan to raise this with his new teacher by way of pre-empting any breakdown that may occur. I also plan on discussing it with the health visitor prior so she can either set my mind at ease or think I’m a neurotic mess! I can’t just do nothing for fear I am overreacting. To do so is a disservice to eldest. He has always been the most loving, intelligent little boy. Before middle arrived, we were literally joined at the hip. I wonder what is going through his wee head right now and why even clothing seems so daunting to him? I hope anyone who knows’s us reads this and realises why I can be so stressed with him from the get-go. I literally endure hours of stress just getting him dressed each day. There is always a reason for losing your shit daily and, never forget that. Have kids they said, it will be fun they said- yeah, it’s a right barrel of laughs! Someone shoot that messenger (with a pretend gun obviously, I’m not a Trump supporter).

This week I have mainly been… drowning in bills and realising eldest is no longer a baby

I owe my window cleaner £28 in missed payments. You would think the fact he has accidentally seen me naked a few times should wipe this out as standard. Mind you, maybe the sight of my stomach after three kids has, infact, added to my bill! This is the third bill to land on my doorstep this week alone. How am I paying these? I have gone from feeling like an Independent Lady a la Destiny’s Child to feeling like a Gold Digger a la Kanye West (in saner times). I had baby four months ago and at this precise milestone for him, I lost my financial independence. I’m used to earning my own money and here I am suddenly having nothing. Add three kids to the mix who all need things at different times, and BOOM- broke as a joke!

On the plus side, well in spite of the above, on Wednesday we visited eldest’s new primary school. This was to enable him to meet his new teacher, fellow classmates and see around his classroom. We were the first parents there, due to my nervous energy mainly. Eldest was shown to his classroom and went straight in with no bother whatsoever. The teacher explained that we were to leave him there and make our way to the assembly hall for a ‘parents talk’. I felt so emotional leaving him, it was such a big deal to me. But he seemed settled enough, so myself and hubby sneaked out (his scooter in hand as bloody always!) and made our way to the hall. We were provided with an overview of his start and finish times (during the settling in period), a list of items he will need (more money- great!) and the tasks he should be capable of performing before he starts on the path to being a fully fledged ‘big boy’. The Vice Principal was highlighting how important it is that they can use the bathroom independently and without assistance. She then said, when she first started working at the school, a primary one boy had emerged from the bathroom and unashamedly proclaimed “who does the butt wiping round here?”. I don’t know if you read my blog post a month ago, (https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/05/06/this-week-i-have-mainly-been-dealing-with-a-regressing-four-year-old-and-toddler-tantrums-someone-shoot-me/) but, eldest all of a sudden decided to regress and began demanding that I ‘wipe his bottom’ for him. Oh dear, he is going to be that kid, the one they use as an example, I thought to myself! FML! Fifteen minutes later and, school uniform price list in hand, we were back to collect him from his classroom. He was sitting quite peacefully building stickle bricks with his ‘buddy’ Pierce. The school operates a buddy system were all primary one’s are paired with a primary seven pupil who looks after them during their first year. Pierce seemed rather underwhelmed and thoroughly pissed off with his new job role but, was being a good sport nonetheless. We said goodbye to his teacher and off we went to walk back home with scootering eldest.

During dinner that evening, I enquired as to how he had got on once we’d left him in the classroom. “It was so good!” he replied. Phew, I thought to myself. “This bad buddy Luke told a massive, huge lie to the teacher. We were playing with a ball thing and he smashed it, so I did it too. Then when the teacher asked who did it, Luke said it wasn’t us!” he continued enthusiastically. Myself and hubby looked at each other in shock. “Smashed, as in broke something?” hubby asked. “Yes!” returns eldest, with not a hint of regret. He was there fifteen minutes, fifteen! Dear god, what a first impression he must have made to the teacher. I sincerely hope this isn’t him starting as he means to go on! I also feel for Luke’s poor buddy who may find themselves in lots of trouble going forward, what with having that kind of mentor and all! Thinking I would scare the shit out of him, a few minutes later I was pretending the headmaster was on the phone saying that Luke had told him what had happened and he wasn’t happy at all. “Well, it’s not like I have properly started yet” was his rather blase response. Roll on September- not! I’m going to have to stockpile wine to give his teacher as gifts to say sorry! If he doesn’t drive me to drinking them all myself that is.

Scootering to school