Nightmares

Last night the kids were sound asleep and I had just settled down to take my make up off (after tidying up their carnage). Suddenly I heard a familiar sound. Footsteps up above. Footsteps that for someone so small, should resemble a ballerina pivoting on a cloud yet sounded like an elephant trapped in a jumper. They all have their own sounds and I can tell who it is immeadiately by footstep sound alone. Middle was up!

Upon his descent from the stairs, it became apparent that he was highly upset. “What’s wrong I asked?” whilst scooping him up into my arms. “I had bad dream” he informed me through sporadic sobs. “Oh no! Come and tell mummy” I soothed. He sat calmly on my knee and began to divuldge his dream. “A really bad guy was trying to freeze me mummy!” he advised. “He turned off all my lights because he was so bad” he added. This is quite apt as he has spent two weeks now turning on every light in the house no matter what the time and I have found myself yelling “it’s like Blackpool illuminations up here!”. Yes, I have become that kind of mum. “Dreams aren’t real Owen” I reassured. “They are just your brain playing tricks. Plus, mummy would never let anyone hurt you let alone freeze you” I added whilst cuddling him. He gave me a kiss, looked at me square in the eye and said “the only way to defeat the bad guy was to throw cake at him. So, I think we need to get cake tomorrow mummy”. Um what? “You know, incase he comes back” he stated seriously. Nice try son!

Meanwhile Baby has morphed into a complete and utter nightmare himself. His new thing is throwing every book we own down the stairs, many of which are unfortunately hardback. I’m no sooner bending down to pick them all up when he’s lobbed a Pokemon encyclopedia back down, near knocking me out in the process. No amount of telling off is working as he finds the whole thing hilarious.  His only redeeming quality is the fact that he has started asking to hold Middle’s hand and the two of them dander away together. So cute! There’s nothing better than seeing them actually be loving towards each other. Whilst Middle brings out Eldest’s less serious side, Baby brings out all of their loving/caring sides.

This week and next, we are nativitying. Going by my kid’s past record with these, I can only but hope that all of them pass without any kind of drama or embarrassment. Eldest is highly annoyed that he has been cast in the role of shephard again, Middle is point blank refusing to sing the songs he has been taught as he wants to sing exclusively about tacos and Baby will probably spy me and cry the whole time. I will of course keep you updated on how we fare.

Baby Baby Baby Oh/Mad Middle/Toy Car Gate

Yes I have used a Justin Bieber song lyric as a blog post title. The shame! But it’s totally fitting (I promise).

It was 2am on Tuesday morning and Baby had awoken from his cot. As usual, I gleefully transferred him into my bed for lots of cuddles and kisses. As he lay there, greedily guzzling some milk, I stared lovingly at him. Come 3am I was still staring at him (stalker much?). He looked like a proper little boy and not a baby anymore. I found myself getting all emotional and sentimental. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding his little 6lbs frame in the same bed, glaring at him in disbelief that he was finally here. Where has the time gone? I can’t be dealing with this!

If there was a pause button I would hit it right now, at this exact stage. I love it when their personalities are starting to shine through and they still need you but are becoming more independent. He won’t let me open anything for him these days and insists on trying to dress himself (all of which have varying success rates). He is becoming highly vocal also and his dictation is clear and concise, mainly when voicing his extreme displeasure at his brothers “NO, bro bro!”. This is the worrying stage however as it’s when you start to consider another. How bad could it really be? I imagine very very bad indeed if I end up being a mum to four boys, which is exactly what would happen.

In other news Middle has me entirely exasperated this week. I picked him up on Wednesday from preschool and he was more subdued than usual. He also looked quite sheepish in hindsight. I buckled him into his car seat and off we set for home. “How was your day?” I implored. “Um it good” he replied whilst fiddling with the bottom of his trousers frantically. “What are you doing?” I asked. He threw me daggers then dissolved into giggles. “Me have a car” he replied whilst wielding a black toy car that had seemingly emerged from the bottom of his trousers. “Where did you get that from?” I replied alarmed. He looked at me like I had just uttered the most stupid question ever. “I took it from nursery because I want to play with it at home in my room”. Oh dear god! I pulled the car over and tried to explain the concept of stealing to him. Whilst doing so, he continued to retrieve a further eight cars from every crevice of his trousers! “How many do you have Owen?” I yelled. “Lots AND me have more in my jumper too” he answered proudly. “You can’t just take things from nursery Owen, that is wrong! The other children need to play with them. How did you even manage to smuggle so many up there?”. I asked this for a reason. Mainly as he hadn’t placed them in his pocket like a normal person but had blatantly shoved them all up the bottom of his trousers. “I wait until no one looking and I just put them up there one by one” he answered matter of factly. Surely this was the least inconspicuous method he could have deployed? His trousers are cuffed at the bottom and super tight! How no one managed to observe his shenanigans is beyond me.

Upon returning home, I confiscated his contraband and hid them. I then had to message his teacher and advise that she has a thief in her midst and one of whom was showing zero remorse for his actions. Whilst reprimanding him he kept repeating “but where my cars so I play with them?”. He was not receiving the message at all that what he had done was wrong.

This kid- he literally dances to the beat of his own drum all whilst I scramble to fix the situations he gets himself into. I am also having to strip search him before we leave nursery now as I don’t trust him one iota. So I reckon three kids is more than enough and Baby can stay as my baby. Imagine trying to keep on top of two Middle’s? Um, no thanks!

F You Eczema!

I have had eczema for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories involve eczema. It has been the bane of my life for so long now. The only hope I ever harbored was that the kids wouldn’t get it. Mainly because I know how much of a detrimental effect it has had on my life.

Then something happened last year. Middle got sick. During his illness, I started to notice sporadic patches of dry skin all over him. No need to panic I thought. It’s just related to his viral infection. It will disappear the second he gets better. Flash forward to today and his eczema is more severe than mine ever was.

Like I said, some of my earliest memories revolve around eczema. The fact that my siblings could just get out of the bath and put their pj’s on whilst I had to stand for a further twenty minutes getting smothered in various creams is one of them. Another is being plied with Piriton most nights just to enable me to get some sleep and stop tearing shreds off myself. My parents tried everything to make it better for me. At one stage they even paid a fortune for some Chinese herbal pill that promised to cure me immediately. That’s how desperate they had become. But it was to no avail (unsurprisingly) and it continued to worsen. As I became a teenager it made me highly self-conscious and upset. Whilst all the other girls would discuss what dresses or skirts they would be wearing to the school disco, I knew I’d be wearing my usual- trousers. Because my legs were so utterly covered. I dreaded PE every Wednesday due to the fact we had to wear skirts. It filled me with so much fear that I used to just dander home before the lesson started as it was the last class. It took them forever to cotton on to this fact too! I guess they didn’t figure that someone would be so brazen as to do that. Never underestimate me! This brings me to Middle….

He is covered from head to toe with it. This is not even an exaggeration. His eyelids, his neck, wrists, arms, legs, and even his ankles. I now have to do to him what my parents did to me. It breaks my heart every day to see him itching away and getting so frustrated. I can’t even tell him not to as half the time I’m doing the same thing! It wakes him up numerous times during the night and by morning, his bedding is covered in blood. We have tried various creams, with little to no success. It’s got to the stage where I’m going to have to prepare for a fight to get him referred. I didn’t get anywhere with my doctors until I was sent to a private dermatologist, at six months pregnant with Middle (this was due to the hospital list being too full). So appalled was the derma who saw me, she offered to see me again for free. I walked away from her practice with a prescription for eleven different items, one of which was bandages. Now I am free from eczema everywhere, bar my hands. It started on all my fingers whilst working for Calvin Kline spraying perfume. A year later it transpired that I was allergic to perfume (and hydrocortisone oddly). Now, it has calmed down on them and moved onto my palms. Nothing I do will shift it- nothing. I’ve switched to nonperfumed products with everything and it is not for f ing off. It gets so bad on occasions that I can barely lift things. I can’t tell you how many plates and cups I’ve accidentally broken. It’s like a bar mitzvah in this house weekly.

If you or your little one are suffering from this and, nothing is working, please push to get them referred. I’m a firm believer that doctors just don’t know enough about it and prescribe the same old creams in the hope that one of them eventually works. I even had one prescribe me a mixture of two hydrocortisone creams mixed together when it was all over my notes that I was allergic to it. Sometimes you need a specialist. I intend to push for this with Middle. If they refuse, I will have no option but to take him private. Maybe we will get a two for one deal? A mother and son discount? Eczema can F right off.

Pre School Peeves, Homework Hell and Hair Disasters!

Middle is STILL settling in at his preschool. We are coming up to week five and he is only in until 11:30am as opposed to the 1:30pm he should be. It doesn’t seem to be solely him either but, lots of them! I’m finding myself getting envious of other mums whose kids have settled in and all. Not only this but, I think their process is just drawing things out when there is no need. He is used to being in nursery for longer than their standard day (at his private one). In saying that I have no idea how he, as an individual, is getting on each day. The app I check daily never seems to be updated. Is anyone else having the same issues?

Upon picking him up on Monday he bounded into my arms and gave me the biggest cuddle. We then went to change his shoes (they wear pe shoes when in class). Upon getting to his peg, he was enraged that a little girl was sitting under it getting her shoes on. “That girl is at MY peg!” he bellowed. “Aw it’s ok, she is just getting her shoes on then you can sit there” I placated. “No, it’s mine and she is a girl so, she move now!”. What a way to ingratiate yourself to other parents son. The girl having vacated ‘his spot’, off we went to the car. I quickly glanced back at the snack menu to see what he had eaten that day. It informed me that he had had peppers, apple and muffins.

When we got to the car, I enquired as to what he had eaten that morning. He looked positively fuming. “We had some orange thing mum. It was disgusting (yelled). I don’t like it at all” he said whilst gesticulating wildly with his hands. “Aw, well, at least you tried something new. I guess we all like different things. Did anyone else try it and like it?” I ventured. He rolled his eyes then started mimicking his teacher. “Mr T (he is point blank refusing to call any of his teachers Mrs) said ohhhhh it’s sooooo yummy”. With this he mimicked her putting it into her mouth. “But, it so wasn’t mum. She tells lies” he added with annoyance. You can’t win them all I guess ‘Mr T’.

In other news, Eldest is finally receiving homework again. Although I dreaded it starting back up again, I have been impressed with how easy he is finding it. I can totally see a difference between his work in P1 and now. The amount has definately ramped up however and it is hard to get him to sit down and focus on it no matter what time I attempt to do it.  His behaviour the last few weeks, when at home, is also driving me to distraction. I’ve had to introduce strict new rules and be rigidly firm with him. I’ve began to notice that when he is bored, all chaos breaks out. Middle is crying and Baby too. He invades their space and begins to lash out for no discernable reason. This continues until one of them obliges him and stops what they are doing to muck around with him.  Arrgghhh!

Some of you may have saw that I decided to home bleach my hair last week (I know, I shouldn’t have done that). I lasted a grand total of a few months dark! Obviously it went very badly, very badly indeed. I drove to the local chemist and all they had was a silver hair dye so, I reluctantly purchased it. I mean it couldn’t have gotten any worse could it? Well, it actually turned out ok in the end. I am loving it and may now become a professional colourist (just kidding). I find that the level of  depression I am dealing with makes me quite impulsive and do things without thinking them through. Normally I would weigh up the pros and cons whereas now I just go for it. I guess I’ve went from being Eldest to being Middle. In some ways this is a good thing as I’m not worrying as much but, it has it’s downsides. Mainly with hair decisions……..

Clip Climbing And Sliding At High Rise NI!

Yesterday the three boys were invited to test out a new indoor activity centre in Lisburn. A venue that boasts a whole clip n climb section, a soft play area, cafe, and the piece de resistance- sensory rooms!

When we arrived, Middle and Baby set off with my mum to the soft play area whilst myself and Eldest got ready to do some climbing. I hadn’t expected to have an active role in this part but, it looked like too much fun to say no to. We were provided with a safety briefing first and foremost. Eldest was chomping at the bit by this stage but, it’s so important that they know what they are doing (as I later established). We got adorned in our harnesses and off we ventured. I cannot tell you how huge these climbing walls were! They were literally to the roof! Before they can just speed off attempting everything, they must first complete a practice run. Once this is done, they are free to roam and climb their little hearts out. There were so many options that Eldest was running manically from one to the other, completely unable to make a decision. When he finally made one, there was always an attendant on hand to strap him in and supervise him at all times. This placated me and I felt confident that he would be safe at all times.

Then, this mama decided to have a go! Not wanting to be outdone by my firstborn, I decided to climb nearly to the top of one at breakneck speed, glance down and totally panic as to how high up I actually was. I hate heights, why did I even do that? In my moment of sheer terror, I totally forgot the protocol of getting back down. So, I just kind of flung myself down and hoped for the best. I imagine it was not dissimilar to Bridget Jones when she does that piece to camera from the fire station. Entirely ungraceful and highly embarrassing to all who witnessed it. See why the safety briefing is so essential? I would say I have learned a lesson but, there’s no point at all.

Middle and Baby loved the soft play area whilst I was nearly breaking bones. I don’t think my mum knew if she should be watching them or me by this stage as I was being so reckless. There was a baby/toddler area that Baby thoroughly enjoyed dandering around and twirling things and building foam blocks. Middle was running about like a mad man going up and down the different tiers, crawling through tubes and flinging himself down the slide. He didn’t shut up about the slide the whole way home infact.

Just before leaving, I asked to be shown the sensory room. I know that a lot of my followers have children who are autistic and this was important to me before writing any review. They led me to a sensory stimulation room. It was dark to begin with then, gradually made more colorful. This is essential to avoid kids becoming overstimulated. There were things on the floor that children could stand on or touch that looked like paint was splodging, items on the wall that they could play and interact with, a projector, a vibrating plate and lights that they could feel and touch. There is also a separate quiet room. You can pay to use the rooms for an hour or if you would prefer your child/children to be fully alone, you can hire the rooms for the hour too. I think this is such a great approach and shows the level of thought and understanding that has been put into all aspects of this place.

I walked away feeling very impressed. Even more so as it is a social enterprise. So, 100% of their profits go back into helping working families. I think this made me feel much better about buying them a load of drinks and snacks afterward. Because, whatever you spend, you are ultimately helping others. All whilst having fun and, hopefully, some peace and quiet whilst they play!

High Rise NI is based in Blaris Industrial Estate Lisburn. Prices are as follows:

Clip ‘N’ Climb– Adult £12 and Child (under 18) £10, Soft Play– Baby (under 2) £2 and child (up to 8) £5, Sensory Room– Baby (under 2) £2, Child (under 18) £4, Adult £4, Parent or carer £1. Check their website out here: https://highriseni.org/

Yes, this 34 year old scaled one of these!
Always know the price of tea and coffee before you go anywhere….

An Ode To My New Best Friend

My name is Grace and I am a hoovering addict. There, I said it! With three boys and a one-year-old who throws every item of food he is given, is it any wonder that I am? So for my birthday, I asked for one thing and one thing only- a robotic hoover. My reasoning was simple, if it even managed to keep my kitchen clean on a daily basis it would be worth it.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting much and this was despite the great reviews on Amazon. I know my standards and they are high! But, for the first time ever, I will have to admit to being wrong.

I’ve been setting Deebot, or Dee as I affectionately call him, (I’m unsure as to why I have decided that he is male) to go on every morning and he works away downstairs and upstairs. I can set him to ‘corner’ mode so he tackles all the corners of a room, I can set a timer so he just works away at the same time each day and, I can set him to ‘spot’ mode when the boys have made a mess in one particular area. As if all that wasn’t amazing enough, I can instruct him to do all these things remotely via an app on my phone! I’ve gone all power crazy with that function I can tell you!

He manages to pick up so much, even gobbling up my bobble the other day! So confident have I been in his abilities, I didn’t hoover downstairs or upstairs all week, bar today. I just couldn’t settle knowing that my skirting boards hadn’t been hoovered to oblivion and obviously he can’t navigate stairs. Henry the hoover was also looking all sad and neglected.

There are only two negative things that I can say about my new best friend. The first being that he sometimes gets stuck under my sofas as they are so low but, I can control him to avoid there or maneuver him out easily via the remote. The second thing is that Baby is in one part fascinated by him and the other part utterly terrified!

I just wanted to share my experience as I think personally, it’s making my life easier. I’m aware I have a flooring obsession and therefore it’s managed to take that one stressor off me. It may seem expensive at £209 but I definitely think it’s worth it. I’ve since discovered that you can get laser ones that map out your whole house and even mop (putting one of those bad boys on the Christmas list). I’m all for taking things off the to-do list these days as opposed to adding to it! This is the one the boys got me: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07F3Q25LJ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B07F3Q25LJ&linkCode=as2&tag=gracebunting8-21&linkId=7263218c0482be02a6b0fcea4c506dce 🙂

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!

Bereavement and the Boy’s- trying to find some humour amidst the sadness

I have never felt more nervous in my life having to break the news to eldest that Molly was no longer here. Knowing that with a few words, I would send his world crashing down. That, for the first time, nothing I would say or do would make it better for him. I couldn’t bring Molly back for him, nor myself.

We sat at the kitchen table, after the others were in bed, and I broke the news to him. ‘Molly was very sick and the vet’s could no longer help her. She’s passed away and is now in heaven’. He looked confused. ‘What does passed away mean?’ he enquired. Arrgggh I was trying to get out of saying the ‘d’ word. ‘It means she died son’ I replied in between sobs. He looked at the floor and calmly asked what she died from. I had decided the best and most simplistic way, was to say her heart just gave out. ‘Her heart just stopped working son’ I said whilst cuddling him. ‘She had a heart attack and is now no longer in any pain’. At this, he started scratching his head. ‘Are you ok Aden?’ I asked. This was going much better than I ever imagined. ‘You had a heart attack that day in the vets when they told you the price of the vet’s bill and you were ok’ he ventured. Oh sh*t! ‘Um, that was just a turn of phrase son, I didn’t literally have a heart attack but unfortunately Molly did’. This is when things changed. He dissolved into floods of tears and refused to even let me console him. I have never felt more terrible in my life to see him so utterly heartbroken. He cried for nearly an hour. ‘Molly wouldn’t want you to be sad, let’s talk about some good memories we have of Molly instead’ I offered.

We then discussed the varying humorous things she had done over the years and he calmed down considerably. Phew. ‘Can I get a new dog for my birthday?’ he asked once the tears had subsided. Um, no!

The next day was Middle’s turn. The second he awoke, I was straight in to tell him before eldest could break the news in an insensitive manner. ‘Owen, I have something to tell you’ I said. ‘Ok, what you want say?’ he responded. ‘This is very sad for mummy to have to tell you but, Molly has died. She was just too sick’. I looked at him for any sign of emotion. None. ‘That’s ok’ he finally said. ‘Me go to do huge poo now!’. Off he sauntered, zero f’s given as usual.

Now Molly’s ashes have been returned, it’s restarted the grieving process. Eldest will not let me bury her at all! He has been attached to the box and wants to bring her everywhere with him. At first I thought it was so sweet and loving and, it made me happy to see them reunited again. But, I have to draw the line when, the other day, Molly accompanied us to the pound shop, all around the town centre and also the barbers. I watched eldest get his hair cut mortified whilst the poor barber kept glancing down at the little box resting on his lap nervously. Did he know it was a pet? Did he think he was lugging a relative around? Who knows! I also had to beg him not to bring her into Burger King! Imagine. Middle is handling her being back home much differently. On the day she returned, as my nephew came in the door to visit us, he brazenly walked up to him and stated ‘Callum, you will never see Molly ever ever again. Molly is dead’. When asked to say something nice about her whilst we all said a few words, he responded by turning around, putting his bum in my face and blowing a raspberry. To be fair to him it dispersed the sadness we all felt. Only middle!