First Week Finito!

We have survived the first full week of being back to school/preschool and nursery. Woo hoo! Not only this but, I didn’t forget to pick any of them up (yet)! This is in spite of all the different finishing times.

Eldest seem’s to be enjoying P2 despite his initial reluctance to go back. I think being reunited with all his friends is the main reason. As per usual, my pleas of what did you today are responded to with his usual ‘why do you always ask that mum? How am I supposed to remember a FULL day?’. My sincere apologies son for taking an active interest in your life and your education. He also randomly had no homework all week. Whilst this should have been amazing, it caused huge confusion and fear to all us school mums who automatically figured that our kids just weren’t bringing it home. To be fair I’m happy enough to wait for bloody Biff, Chip, and Kipper. I’ve also noticed that his new teacher seems to have a laminating obsession. Which, in a way is good as I can keep them for him and they will stay in good condition, though I am left questioning if most of my school fund money is going purely on laminating sheets.

Middle has managed to keep his clothes on all week at his new preschool and not insult anyone. But, it’s early days. He did try to leave on his very first day with two toys smuggled up his jumper. Apparently they were now his as ‘I played with them the most so, I bring them home now’. He is also point blank refusing to call his teacher ‘Mrs’ and has decided she will be referred to as ‘Mr’ purely because he ‘hates girls’. I don’t know how I am explaining that one to her. So, I guess he can explain himself and she can realise what she will be dealing with going forward. I must admit that his nervousness and clinginess this week have greatly surprised me. He usually just gets on with things and is very independent. But, he has asked each day if I will be staying with him and if not, when I will be back for him. I have secretly loved this as I don’t normally feel needed by him. Today he even came up to me out of the blue and gave me a huge cuddle and told me that he ‘loved me’. This is all so alien but obviously appreciated. I have to remember it is only his first week and it will take some time for him to adjust and settle. I know he will eventually as he has already made so many new friends (boys solely).

Baby has also embarked on a new routine in preparation for me returning to a new role. Because of this, I have had to change the days I usually work and he will be staying much later than usual. On the morning of his new times, it was almost like he sensed a change was coming. He awoke at 5 am and started shouting ‘cuddles’ from his cot. I dutifully adhered. Then, before he left, he just sat on my knee cuddling into me for ten minutes. This led to me spending all day battling the dreaded ‘mum guilt’. I’m not going to lie, I may have sobbed twice because I missed him so terribly. If I had of had my car I would have been straight down to get him. But, it’s important he gets used to these long hours in advance. I wasn’t the only one pining for him either as both the boys constantly enquired as to his whereabouts. The second he came home we all fought to get to him first. You would have thought we hadn’t seen him in weeks (it felt like that). We all got some slobbery kisses, then he did his usual and started pointing at the fridge and demanding a yogurt. I have never known a child so obsessed with yogurts in my life. He would literally eat them all day if I let him.

It’s new and stressful times for our family and I do find myself getting very overwhelmed with everything I have to do each day (literally from the moment I wake up). I have tried to counteract this with CBT. But, in terms of routine, it’s just not possible. Being organised is the only way to get them all out of the door in the morning and I have to do that don’t I? One mum said to me at the school gate the other day ‘it’s crazy all this and I only have two!’. It doesn’t matter how many children you have, it’s all the same. The same stresses and worries, the same organisation, the same mad dash to the school run, the same dates to remember and, the same responsibility that probably falls solely on you. I don’t see any men reading the floods of letters that come home and dutifully writing all the important dates/times in the calendar. There’s so much for us to do each day that I’m not surprised we all have days when we want to lock ourselves in the bathroom and have a sob (and a cup of tea). Like I’ve said before, we are only human. I’m writing that across the calendar in capitals so I remember that as well as all the other important things I’m supposed to.

This also happened this week- no high chair! I’m so emotional about it. He however is loving life!

Preparing for Back to School Bedlam!

I have been putting off getting uniforms for weeks now. Mainly because I knew how stressful the last time had been with Eldest. This time I would also have to bring Middle too who, rather surprisingly, has obtained a pre school place (for free!). I think I may still be in shock as Eldest never got one. I’m praying that they don’t read this blog and rescind the offer. If so, I’m going to go bankrupt due to nursery fees.

I planned to brave all this tomorrow. But, had royally forgotten that I had another appointment all morning. I also have Eldest’s sixth birthday party to arrange for Sunday. Bar ordering food and party bags, I am very much failing at life with regards to that. So, today it would have to be. As always, I prepared the boy’s for the day ahead. ‘When we all get ready, we will be going to a shop that sells school clothes’. Eldest rolls his eyes and shrugs a bit too over dramatically. I turn to Middle. ‘Owen, you have to also get a nursery uniform for your new nursery. Therefore you will have to try some things on’ I beseeched. He turned from his toast and advised ‘I don’t like you mum’. What?? He continued, ‘because you are a girl and I don’t like girls at all. I also don’t like nanna or anyone’. Charming! I find myself becoming more and more of a feminist these days but, of the Beyoncé kind (more laid back and purely to placate myself). I replied ‘Girls run the world Owen. I will also remember that the next time you ask me for the numerous items of which you ask me for in a day’.

We get to leaving and all them loaded into the car, off we go. Eldest insists on bringing his Nintendo Switch and, because of this, Middle must also bring something of his. This takes TWENTY minutes whilst he decides. Baby just sits in his car seat awaiting departure. The shop we must go to passes a Mcdonalds. Cue an almighty rage from all them once we have to drive past it (Nanna always makes us lunch on a Monday to ensure I actually eat). As they all whine and wail in the back seat, I approach a not so great roundabout for someone who has zero faith in their own driving ability, let alone others. Near collide with a speeding taxi driver.

Get to the school uniform shop and all enter calmly. Fabulous. Baby has even walked from car park to the front door by himself. Why was I worried? Get upstairs to the uniform part. We are the only ones there- perfect. I know what I am here for. Anything with a logo ONLY. Tell this to Sales Assistant. Off she scurries. I am trying so hard to watch that baby doesn’t head towards the stairs when I then realise eldest and middle are having an absolute field day with the shoe display. Deep breaths. This is going to end up like the vets I think. Sales Assistant returns with everything. Both boys refuse to try anything on and instead disappear into a whole display of trousers. I can’t actually see where they are. It’s like Narnia. Baby has also followed. I’m left ranting and shouting like some kind of mad woman. Out they come laughing eventually.

Eldest knows he is now at the point of no return so, tries on his uniform dutifully. Middle has to be straddled due to observing a whole display of school bags before we’d opened the clothes and trying to make a break for it. Meanwhile, a male has entered the shop with three girls. We look at each other and nod. The nod of understanding that the school shop is hell. We are in this together. As I watch him slowly loose the will to live whilst his girls try on multiple skirts and determine ‘they aren’t right Dad’ I actually think he has it worse. My boy’s just think everything is grand. I wave adieu whilst Middle shouts back ‘I hate girls, you are poo poo faces’.

Now I am sitting stamping their names onto all them. Well, what I have as, some of Middle’s will take ten days to arrive. Please don’t sew anything and look at http://www.stamptastic.co.uk . You order the ink pad and, your child’s name and stamp on all their clothing and belongings. It has lasted Eldest all year and I’ve washed all his uniform pieces daily. I also still had the ink pad and Eldest’s stamper so just had to purchase Middle the name stamp. Don’t make life anymore stressful than it has to be. I’m saying that and I’ve only managed to do the ‘logo shop’, I still have the trouser shop to do. I think I will do that one alone! I also have to try and navigate all the different hours they will all be in. Especially during Middle’s settling in period. Did I even mention the naming of the pencil case items? Arrgh, one worry at a time.

This week I have mainly been…. trying to split myself into three (which is just not possible)

This week middle suddenly decided he likes me and, that I am not so bad after all. He has gone from quite blatantly ignoring my presence (but not my phone) to being permanently attached to me and bestowing me with a multitude of hugs on random occasions. At first, I figured he must be sick. There could be no other explanation. I awaited the hand, foot and mouth spots making an appearance (baby did have this last week). Nothing. Huh? I have tried to break this kid with love and affection for two years now and he has adamantly brushed me off. He has actually been known to scream “Nooooo!” when I try to even hug him. I can only put this 360 in attitude down to that fact that I was away for one night last week. It all started then. Maybe he thought I would never come back? In his defence it was considered, albeit briefly. On Monday night he awoke in his bed screaming for me. I ran in. “What’s wrong O O?” I enquired. “Me need to do huge pee” he honestly responded. “That’s ok, let’s go to the big boy toilet” I said. Off we went. Upon finishing, he demanded that I get into his bed with him. He has never ever asked me to do this. Although chuffed, I figured I could do the standard wait until he is asleep move then, slip out. This idea was all well and good until I realised (for the first time) that he sleeps with both eyes half open. Whilst seriously disturbing (when you look at someone in the dark who does this), it’s also quite difficult to decipher whether they are actually awake or asleep. In the end I gave up and ended up cuddling him the whole night long.

The next morning eldest arose from his slumber in an absolute fit of rage and resentment. “I don’t want to talk to you” he proclaimed. “Um, why?” I rightfully asked. “You weren’t in your bed this morning when I came in. That is just soooo rude. Daddy said you were in with Owen. That’s not fair!”. Not only was this reaction entirely unwarranted but, he seems to have forgotten that last Friday he had a sore ear and asked that I stay in his bed with him all night. I dutifully did as instructed. ” Sometimes your brother needs me too” I soothed. “When you needed me at the weekend, I stayed in with you” I added. “Well, how is it fair that he got huggles (his way of saying cuddles since a toddler) and I didn’t?” he demanded.  I looked at him, then began to cry. I cannot physically be in two places at once. What does he want? I may have three of these utter mummies boys to contend with but, I am very fair with my affection and making sure they all feel loved. I’d no sooner stifled eldest’s rage when hubby emerged from our bedroom, rubbing his eyes wearily. “Baby was an absolute nightmare last night. Then Aden came in, turned on all the lights and proceeded to have a nervous breakdown that you weren’t where you should be at 3am! I tried to calm him but he took a right huff and marched back to his room, slamming his bedroom door. Why weren’t you there?” “Sorry I wasn’t with baby, sorry I wasn’t with eldest and I’m sorry I stayed in with middle for once” I exasperatedly replied. Can I ever win? I am but one woman here guys! Also, a woman who is seriously outnumbered. Aren’t us women supposed to be the needy ones?

In other less headbanging of a wall news, eldest came home from school yesterday with a note advising when his Christmas nativity play would be. Two showings apparently (optimistic). “Oh, what is your role?” I excitedly asked. “I am a bird” he confidently responded. “A bird? What do you have to say then, tweet tweet tweet?” I enquired. He looked at me like I had five heads, then stated “don’t be stupid mum, obviously the birds talk in it”. Sooo sorry! Of course they do! I don’t know whether to be intrigued as to what he will say or, concerned as there is actually more than one bird cast. I don’t recall any birds being present at the birth of the baby Jesus but hey, creative license and all that! Guess you have to add some twists and surprises into an age-old story in 2018. Should be interesting if anything! Have your kids been cast as anything weird this year? Tell me in the comments if so.

This week I have mainly been…. 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.