This week I have mainly been… date nighting in Fermanagh!

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

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

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

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

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

This week I have mainly been…. realising how in for it I actually am – EEK!

This week I suddenly had an ‘oh shit’ moment. A moment when I realised how hard things are about to get for me. Don’t get me wrong, three kids are mega hard work but, up until now, I’ve felt relatively in control. After all, I had thought one child was hard, two even harder but, when baby came along I didn’t notice a vast difference. Ok, admittedly it added an extra five minutes of getting in and out of the car which, was already a rigmarole. I was also thrown back to the days of being up all hours feeding with no hope in hell of a nap to recoup. I also mustn’t forget the whole getting three boys dressed (when two much prefer to be starkers most of the time) thing either but, baby couldn’t move anywhere whilst all this was occurring. He was also extremely quiet most of the time despite the other two going bonkers around him. This week that changed. After him being sick all last week and, hospitalised on Friday, he’s been feeling much better. Back to his usual self, smiling continually and giving me lots of big, slobbery kisses. He also appears to have acquired his energy back, much to my detriment.

Having finally managed to potty train middle, I am thankfully back to only having one in nappies. This has been amazing and I had been feeling rather smug (I won’t lie). That was until baby decided he was going to roll continually whilst I attempted to diffuse his up the back explosions. “Stay still!” has been my new yelled saying this week, followed swiftly by hysterical shrieking of “it’s going everywhere!”. Why has he decided to move suddenly? We had a much calmer relationship when he adhered to the proper nappy changing etiquette. He is also now into everything and, I mean everything! Namely middle’s potty. It’s almost like he lies in wait until middle does a pee, appears out of nowhere and empties the whole thing over himself and my floor grr! For someone who gets about with a weird, one-legged crawl, he can move surprisingly stealthily and quickly. I am at my wits end entirely with his potty shenanigans and, back to bleaching my floors continually. His voice has also made an appearance this week, which has resulted in him and middle having what can only be described as constant scream off’s. Said scream off’s tend to occur  (quite loudly) at 6 am every morning. This is generally followed by baby throwing both my phone and the remote control at my face. Who need’s an alarm eh?

As if all that wasn’t trying enough, eldest has now decided that he wants nothing to do with baby. So, when he suddenly appears in our room, (like something from the exorcist) at 2am, he is refusing to lie beside him. Instead, he insists on lying horizontally at the bottom of the bed. So on one side I have a baby punching and kicking the living shit out of me and, a five-year-old at the bottom continually scratching his nails off my legs. If my mum tells me one more time how bad a night’s sleep she had the night before, I may seriously lose my shit.

In conclusion, if you have two children and are toying with the idea of a third, DON’T do it. It’s all well and good until the last one decides to become mobile. After that, it’s just utter craziness and f#ckery. You were warned.

 

This week I have mainly been…. 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…. succeeding at potty training middle (finally) and confronting a school bully!!

How long have I been at the whole potty training middle thing? A few months? Maybe so but, to me, it feels like a few years. With eldest he just got it. He then randomly transgressed at one stage but thankfully reverted back. Middle is a completely different child, however. I don’t know why you expect to get two the same but, you do.

I should have known it would never have been as easy with him. I managed to keep all eldest’s clothes and shoes for him as he was so careful and they were all pristine. Within a few weeks of wearing any hand me downs, middle has annihilated them to oblivion. Jeans, shoes, you name it. The latter is due to the fact that he is usually deploying his feet as brakes. This is because he much prefers to travel by Paw Patrol ride on than on foot (rolling eye emoji). He is also rather reckless in that, whilst eldest would have weighed up the pro’s and con’s before making a decision, middle will just do it and consider the consequences as an afterthought. Is it safe to jump off the sofa, who knows? Let’s just do it! Is it safe to scale a large fence? Who cares? Let’s just do it! Will I be able to stop myself when hurtling down a steep hill on a plastic ride on? Who gives a toss, survival of the fittest and all that. I hope you can see what I am dealing with here. It should have been obvious from the outset. I know we are all more laid back with the second one but, it’s not like I just abandoned him to raise himself. He would be dead by now if I had of.

Potty training with him started off quite successfully to be fair. But this was merely a ruse. Nothing is ever straightforward with middle. We went from great days to bad days. Day’s when I wanted to give up entirely. But, this week it just clicked. This week he has been in pants everywhere and asked to go no matter where we are. Pees and everything else. I am so incredibly proud of my little madman. Between this milestone and his speech- winning! The endless questions are rather exasperating, however. **bangs head off a brick wall**.

In other news, I just wanted to recount what happened to me on Thursday. I was somewhere that I would have reason to be on a daily basis. And every day for months, I have been confronted with the sight of an old school bully. Not just a ‘normal’ bully but, a bully that pretended to be everyone’s friend but was rather unpleasant daily. A bully that led a group of friends with a mixture of intimidation and fear. A person that turned fellow girls against their best friends quite often. I walked away from secondary school and, I walked away from her (gladly)! This was obviously quite traumatising for her. That no one cared about her and were happy to cut their losses (all of us) seems to have weighed quite heavily on her. This person could not let it go. When Facebook first became popular I had so many messages from her asking why I didn’t like her. Why the need for reassurance? I blocked her so well on Facebook that she literally does not exist to me, even to this day. She then messaged my bestie a few months ago asking why we don’t speak to her. Yesterday, she asked me the same thing, face to face. I was with my beautiful ca ca (nephew) and, he is so sensitive. So I knew I would have to mind my tongue. I’ve been waiting for this moment for months because I could almost sense she wanted to confront me. She swaggered towards me. Why don’t you like me? It’s been twenty years and, why don’t you like me? I looked her square in the face and asked why it even mattered to her twenty years later? Really? I have no interest in her life and I don’t see why she has an interest in mine. I’ve observed you for months, did I want to waste my breath on you? Not at any point! My boys have been told all about bullying and the many forms it takes. Bullying is a horrible thing and, the second it happens to any of mine, I will be knocking it right on the head. To that person, you know what I know. I will not stand for any kind of bullying in my life -mum shaming included. This blog is honest and not sugar coated (unlike what some like to portray).

Just wanted to end by saying that I’ve decided to start a monthly book club (check me right out). I think it might force us all to take some ‘me time’ and get away from the daily grind. I did some research (googled Richard and Judy’s book club because who doesn’t trust those legends? Judy did accept an award once with her tits on display so she is totally up there in my opinion). The link is at the bottom! If you want to join in on this but are struggling to get a copy, message me. The sisterhood will help out. Always x

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…. 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.**