30 March 2007

Chic Chick

It seems Chickie is becoming more sophisticated. It started with the purchase of his new 'robe'. Check him out strutting around with his matching grippy socks, looking every inch the dapper English Gentletot. I put the pipe away for the photograph. The following morning, he could be found sipping a ‘Babycino’ with his girlfriend under the alfresco canopy of Costa Coffee.

A spot of luncheon followed later at Chickie’s new table with specially selected pink chair for his lady friend(s). It was eerily quiet as they sat side by side, eating like responsible toddlers. No spitting, no stroppies, no smearing, no splatting, no screaming. I looked at LucyWucy in disbelief, an incredulous Wuce looked back. Could we have finally cracked it after a year of fussy, messy, stressy toddler mealtime hell? Neither of us dared utter it out loud for fear of jinxing whatever magic spell the £7.60 worth of plastic Tesco furniture had cast.

We’d both dreamed of a mealtime like this. If your child opens his mouth, chews food and then swallows it, you won’t understand. Granted, you may think you do because you've endured the odd case of totty teatime rebellion but, unless you suffer daily histrionics, your dining room rug is 40% sisal and 60% dried food particles, you have spaghetti hanging from your chandelier and your little poppet uses his yoghurt as shampoo, you really don't get it.

Luce and I get it. We’ve strategised and researched, we’ve chopped, mushed and pureed, we’ve approached creatively, methodically and desperately, we’ve scrubbed, washed and hosed down and we have no choice but to come back every day, three times a day, praying it will be different and, if not, that the multivitamins will ward off potential bouts of scurvy.

Naturally, as the mother of a reluctant eater, you wonder where it all went wrong. Did I wean too late, too early? Did I miss the healthy eating window or did I give him one jar too many? If I’d given him a raisin just that little bit earlier, would it all be different?

However, what’s done is done and it’s most probably my fault as the mother is always to blame. At least the bribery option should be available to me before long. Once Chickie can understand, no dinner - no pudding, I’m confident this will all turn around.

29 March 2007

Sugar and Spice And All Things Bob The Builder

It’s time for a rant. I haven’t had one for a while so here it comes.


From t-shirts, to wellies, to watering cans, to footballs, mummies of little boys have to venture far and wide to buy anything for their child that doesn’t have Thomas the Tank Engine, Winnie the Pooh, SpiderMan or Postman Pat and his Black and White Sodding Cat irremovably emblazoned across it. If, by some fluke, a cartoon has-been from 1928 hasn’t found it’s way onto the front, they’ll colour you out of the market with such garish combinations as lime green and aqua blue.

By contrast, the little girl’s stuff goes on for aisles. Beautiful spotty pink wellies, stripey t-shirts, flowery watering cans, Rosebud dolls houses and wooden pastel kitchen sets - all cartoon and comic strip free. Little boy mummies have the choice of Nuts the Monkey, Doc Tox, Doom Warriors and Balaur the Three-headed Dragon.

Whilst I accept that boys lean towards the toxic, aggressive and mutated, I can’t believe something manly yet tasteful can’t be produced for those parents who have to actually dedicate visible areas of their homes to displaying those toys that just won’t squish into any trunk no matter how hard you try. I spent three long years researching, planning and decorating my home to achieve a calming New England backdrop to my domestic life which is now interspersed with fire engine red, the primary-est of blues and the brashest of yellows. Luckily, I have come to love the bursts of colour Chickie and his toys have brought to our life.

I promise, should Chickie love Thomas, Bob and Pat when he’s older, they will be welcomed into his toy trunk with open arms but, until then, I demand alternatives.

28 March 2007

Who Said Being a Housewife is Dull

Being a good housewife, in pursuit of the best grocery deals available on the South Coast, I took an unprecedented and daring break from routine and left the dishwasher unloaded to drive the eleven miles to our nearest ASDA supermarket to see for myself whether their customers really do pat their bottoms with glee over their low, low prices.

Ten minutes to park the car was excessive and gave me ample time to work myself into a strop with all other shoppers. Eventually securing a lone trolley, I was thrilled to discover why it was abandoned as it pulled me in the opposite direction to which I had intended on going. Unable to face Chickie transfer, I wrestled it into the supermarket with gritty determination.

I’ll admit, the prices were peachy and I was quite excited as I heaped my defunct trolley with all sorts of handy, ‘don’t actually need but must buy because they’re such good value’, items. A vase, roasting tins, a potty, spoons, crayons, aprons and socks were just some of the essential items not on my list.

One hour and one very full trolley later, I was too pooped to rub my bottom. A ‘Carry to Car’ sign caught my eye and left me wondering, if I asked nicely, whether some nice shop assistant might just fling myself, Chickie and all our bags over his shoulder and deposit us back at the car. Probably not what they had in mind, but there lies the danger of being non-specific.

The thrills and spills just kept coming as I maximised my time during Chickie’s two hour nap by replacing my roasting tin collection which also included a forty-five minute grease scraping session to salvage my favourite ‘crispiest roast potatoes in the world’ tin.

I’ve noticed recently that whenever I buy something new, I have to throw out or reorganise the old (most recently tupperware) before settling my latest purchase into it's new home. I think the root lies in my obsessive compulsive tendencies but I now sit here strangely fulfilled at the thought of my pristine pastel roasting tin collection which also prompted a light cleaning session followed by a Chickie vest recategorisation by sleeve length extravaganza.

Will the fun never stop!

27 March 2007


There are many things in this world that are just plain delicious. According to Chickie, Mummy’s homemade flapjacks aren’t one of them as, for the first time in his life, he actually spat something high in saturated fats out of his mouth. Trying to chisel the quick bonding oat flakes off of the floorboards was not easy. Granted, I may have slightly overdone them but they definitely have potential.

Anyway, back to deliciousness. Here’s something that really is. My sister’s 40th birthday. Sadly for my sister, she is the first-born. The worst part for her lies in the fact that the fabulous second-born (me) arrived a whole decade later and, naturally, being a sweet girl, takes each of her birthdays as an opportunity to gloat at her advancing years.

The celebratory dinner was at Glam-Nan’s who, dismissing Sister’s idea of a take-away as just plain lazy, took it upon herself to go the extra mile for her daughter by preparing a banquet for thirty people. As there were only eight of us (inclusive of 3 children although I should mention one of them was Gloops) and Glam-Nan was fading fast under the stress and strain of cooking for three days, it was up to the men folk to eat as many of the chicken legs, corn on the cob, spare ribs, fajitas, bread rolls, pizza, salad, lasagne, potato wedges, cheese straws, dip, chocolate mints, maltesers and a home made and shop bought birthday cake. Even Gloops, whose greediness is generally assured, was struggling by Fajita No. 4.

Yes, Glam-Nan may have bitten off more than she or we could chew and, yes, she may now understand the beauty of the take-away, but in terms of effort and calories, Sister can be in no doubt that her mummy loves her special ‘wecial 40 year old baby.

Chickie thoroughly enjoyed his buffet and the excellent entertainment provided by his two older cousins who he holds in the highest regard. When they threw their food, so did Chickie. When they kicked each other round the head, Chickie watched on in admiration. When they popped the balloons, Chickie squealed with delight. Yes, the Chickie sponge was soaking up everything his two cousins could teach him about becoming the ultimate pain in the arse. Proving that irrespective of their age, boys remain a pain, Brother-in-Law got the biggest telling off of the evening for encouraging Chickie to throw maltesers at Snowy.

23 March 2007

A Nappy To Remember

It may be a double standard, as kindly pointed out by the lady behind the tea counter at playgroup, but it was a double standard I was perfectly comfortable with. My opportunities to gorge on biscuits are becoming fewer and farther between as Chickie monitors all carbohydrate consumption to ensure all distribution is equally apportioned. Therefore, as far as I was concerned, my hiding behind the counter ramming as many of the children’s malted milk biscuits into my mouth as my cheeks could store, whilst Chickie was momentarily distracted, was nothing short of brilliant.

When Mummy Hamster reappeared, Chickie was clueless. Admittedly, eating five at once is a less enjoyable and a slightly higher choking risk than my usual savouring every crumb approach, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

It was all going swimmingly and Chickie was merrily playing in Happy Land oblivious to my stealth munching. That was until another mummy appeared with a handful of biscuits. Without so much as a cursory glance in my direction, she handed one to Chickie. As he’d already had one and it was nearing lunch, he wasn’t supposed to be having anymore. Trying to remove the biscuit from Chickie’s vice like grip wasn’t easy and a monster tantrum ensued causing every head to turn in our direction. As I sat there covered in crumbs and with cheeks swollen to mumps proportions, I realised it may have looked a tad hypocritical of me to reduce my baby to tears over one shortbread finger.

Hours later, I knew Chickie was still traumatised following the forced separation from his biscuit, as he whinged and whined his way through the rest of the day. We were also navigating our way through the treacherous 7-10 day post-MMR period that I’d be warned about. As the day progressed, Chickie’s mood deteriorated and his cheeks crossed the line from rosy glow to crimson tide. I was left flummoxed as to whether it was biscuit, inoculation or toothy peg related so out came my trusty paracetamol laced friend.

The next morning, all became clear as I changed Chick’s morning nappy. Luckily, whilst approaching week four of my non-specific viral infection, I’ve received a complimentary snot top up leaving me unable to smell. It was the most satisfying nappy I’ve ever had the privilege to change and the biggest deposit Chickie’s made at the Botty Bank since he opened his account. The laxatives had finally overridden Chickie’s lockdown. He's now chirping since dropping his own body weight in poop overnight.

22 March 2007

It’s Murder on the Dance Floor

In honour of Salsabum’s ‘momentary loss of bowel control’ at Salsa last night, I have reworded Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s classic dance anthem as a tribute to her dancefloor clearing ‘accident’ that left me and twenty others, gasping for air. The moral to this story is twofold. Don’t salsa whilst on a daily diet of prune juice or with a friend who writes a public blog.

Oh, I know I know I know I know I know I know
About your wind
And so and so and so and so and so and so
My nose hair has been singed

If you think it’s going away
She will prove you wrong
It’ll take your breath away
God, what is that pong?
hear me when I say

It's murder on the dancefloor
Coz Salsabum killed the groove
It's murder on the dancefloor
The stinker should be removed
She’s gonna burn this goddamn house right down

Oh I know I know I know I know I know I know
There may be others
And so and so and so and so and so and so
I’ll just have to pray

If you think it’s going away
She will prove you wrong
She’ll take your breath away
The odour is so strong
It’ll blow you all away

21 March 2007

How To Get The Most From Your Home Help

Motivation is a key ingredient to any successful working relationship. Achievement, recognition, personal development and status are just some of the factors that are used to stimulate employee productivity. If they don’t work, there’s always holiday, home time, coffee breaks, extended toilet breaks and payday.

As a Domestic Volunteer, plucked from a world where money was plentiful, recognition was a yearly occurrence, coffee breaks were regular and home time was guaranteed, being stripped of all benefits and left in a permanent state of home time with my newborn was nothing short of shocking. Seventeen months later, home time no longer holds the same appeal it once did and I’ve had to carefully reselect which of the available carrots were going to help me through my day.

Firstly, following some on the job training, the Mummy Mission Statement was drafted:

To keep baby and husband alive and the house clean and tidy whilst incurring the least amount of aggravation/noise/hassle/screaming/squealing/squirming/tantrums

This is not easily accomplished and involves the employment of varied and innovative tactics. The more experienced the mummy, the larger the arsenal of munitions available. The most coveted of outcomes during daylight hours is that baby takes a long, long nap. At nighttime, that baby sleeps soundly for twelve hours plus. You’ll notice that unconsciousness is a major player in the minimisation of aggravation/noise/hassle/screaming/squealing/squirming/tantrums. For those times when consciousness is unavoidable, you ideally want baby to be engrossed in a calm and peaceful activity for many hours.

Sound easy? Well, don’t be fooled. It’s a perilous undertaking fraught with danger and potential obstacles. There’s hunger, digestive discomfort, mood swings, bowel movements, tiredness, lack of fluids, constipation, vaccination reactions, lack of attention, illness, lack of stimulation, too much stimulation, the want want gimme gimme’s, too hot, too cold, boredom, falling asleep at the wrong time/place and not going to sleep at the right time/place, oversleeping, disrupted nighttime sleep and unexpected noise during light sleep stage, to name but a few. Any of these factors can upset baby’s delicate constitution and result in a series of nightmare situations incurring aggravation/noise/hassle/screaming/squealing/squirming/tantrums.

For those days that do just go horribly wrong, the housewife may not have such glamorous motivators as holiday, money and private medical insurance to keep her going but she can always make time for a coffee break. She may be sipping her Nescafe to a backdrop of brain battering screaming whilst being slapped around the head with a stacka cup, but the caffeine will work it’s magic nonetheless.

20 March 2007

The Chickie Diet

Some people think that being a full-time housewife is an occupation best suited to the idle woman who gets all the mental stimulation she can handle from her daily dose of Diagnosis Murder - but that’s a whole other blog! My point today, however, focuses on the unspoken challenges that we face every day. Take today for instance:

Such was my craving for some Bourbons, I made a special biscuit trip to the shop to get some. Chickie came along on his trike. He has a selection of four different footrests on his deluxe tricycle but naturally chose to drag his overpriced cruiser shoes along the pavement instead. Ten separate stops to reiterate ‘no’ and reposition his tootsies on the footrests. On the way home, it started snowing. Perfect. I thought Spring had sprung but, in typical British style, it’s bleak midwinter again. The promise of my sofa, Deal or No Deal and my Bourbons dunked into a hot cuppa spurred me on.

Fifteen minutes later, the scene was set. Propped up by five fluffy pillows, I sat back and took a big slurp of tea and sunk my teeth into my first Bourbon of many. Chickie, much like his mummy, has a built in antenna for all things sugary, and within seconds was stood before me, puppy dog eyed and open mouthed. Drat. With only half an hour until his din dins, Mummy had a dilemma.

Dilemma One: Pump The Baby Full of Biscuits ?
Mummy gives in to cute expectant baby and lets him eat biscuits so she, herself, can binge as planned. However, she is assured a nightmare teatime situation when trying to follow biscuits with the less popular Spaghetti Bolognese. Tantrums, spitting and tears will follow. Mummy will ultimately pay the price.

Dilemma Two: Withhold The Biscuits ?
Chances of successful outcome to teatime situation greatly improved although not guaranteed. However, tantrum still anticipated at the point Mummy denies baby biscuits. Most importantly, mummy unable to tuck into biscuit selection, whilst watching Deal or No Deal, as baby will make all attempts at consumption impossible, no matter how devious. Mummy will still pay the price.

The outcome to my no win situation, as anticipated, was tantrums. First Chickie’s, then Mummy’s.

19 March 2007

Glam-Nan's Midnight Feast

If nothing else, Glam-Nan’s lively rendition of ‘Jesus is the Lord of the Way I Feel’ had stunned Chickie into momentarily forgetting he was a sizzling three degrees hotter than his usual 35.6. Stripped back to his undies and forcefully resisting all efforts to mop his brow, it was a case of waiting for The Lord or 10ml of Calpol to do something. The debate continues as to which came through for Chickie but half an hour after a dose of each, Chickie had perked up.

Sister was waiting at the café, happily passing the time with her fruit scone companion when we arrived. I gave her my new book to read, ‘Hatched – The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood’ by Sloane Tanen, which had arrived this morning. The reality of motherhood hysterically depicted by some fluffy chicks (coincidentally). It's brilliant.

Later that morning, Glam-Nan bought Chickie some Chocolate Chickies in readiness for Easter. By 10pm that evening, the Chocolate Chickies were working their way through Glam-Nan’s digestive system. How could you Glam-Nan? How could you?

With Mother’s Day looming, I had decided not to remind Accountant. I did have a few gift ideas (soundproofing for Chickie’s room, impenetrable ear plugs, a full-time nanny) but had finally accepted whatever I received would likely be wildlife related irrespective of my reiterated disinterest.

When Sunday morning arrived, hopes were set to ‘less than low’. That’s why, what Accountant delivered, was an unexpected delight. A two course lunch at a posh hotel! Admittedly, Accountant had help but, nevertheless, it was an excellent idea to accept it. The whole affair reeked of Craddicus, Super Husband to Simmie Six-Pack, who I'm hoping to retain as ‘Gift Consultant to Accountant’ on a permanent basis.

The rest of the weekend was spent undertaking Phase One of “Operation Alfresco Chickie”. Six hours of vigorous weeding and squealing at every wormy encounter later and I cast my eye over the teeny weeny patch I’d cleared. Whilst it looked great, completion has been moved to Summer 2010.

16 March 2007

Baby Bear In Porridge Shocker

MMR does not stand for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. It is secret medical code for Meltdown MonsteR. Chickie is upstairs now spending some quiet time rethinking his attitude.

This morning, frustrated beyond reason, I ranted to Glam-Nan. Baby Bear had spat out all of his porridge, snubbed my fig and apple puree and was now screaming like a loon from his highchair.

I’m aware it’s “just a phase”, “he’s unlikely to still be doing it when he’s 18” and I should “stay calm” but trite advice was doing little to suppress my urge to stick a funnel into his mouth and pour in the porridge. Her perky melodic finale of “tra la la” designed to lift my spirits was a “tra la la” too far. However, redemption was just around the corner when she offered to take Chickie out to play. An instant spirit lifting solution.

Chickie’s toilsome diet change was an experiment intended to ease botty problems. Whilst he’s enjoyed smearing, splatting and spitting every last freshly prepared morsel around the dining room, little has actually reached his stomach.

Fearing Mummy’s affections were waning, Chickie took to his feet and strutted into my folded arms. Unable to maintain my “I’m in a strop with you” face, I conceded and allowed myself to bounce around the room in celebration of his accomplishment. Chickie knew he was back in control.

Most days are now spent undertaking repetitive exercises in futility. Whether doing my daily transfer of Accountant’s tie from banister to wardrobe, tidying Chickie’s toys up continuously, changing a nappy that’s destined to make my eyes water again within two minutes, washing and ironing clothes that will be stained again within one or preparing meals to be used as playdoh, being there as Chickie does his stuff makes it all okay.

15 March 2007

This Little Piggy Made Roast Beef, But This Little Chickie Had None

This morning was a scene of domestic bliss with Mummy Bear and Baby Bear eating their porridge together in oaty harmony. Mummy Bear enjoying an additional splash of maple syrup and Baby Bear freshly pureed fruit. What the nursery rhyme didn’t mention was that Daddy Bear had to go to work to finance Baby Bear’s extravagant lifestyle and underhand measures were still being employed by Mummy Bear to get Baby Bear to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

As laborious as Chickie’s new liquidising regime is, it has left me feeling exceptionally virtuous as I lay my freshly prepared offerings before him thrice daily. Couple this with my new 7.30am rise time and the fact I had bathed me and baby, boiled and blended (not me and baby), dishwashered and put a load of washing on, all by 9am, and I was struggling to imagine a more efficient housewife could exist.

At 10am Chickie and Mummy arrived at Playgroup in matching cropped trousers with accompanying goosebumps. Chickie made a confident entrance which he managed to sustain throughout the morning. The handful of biscuits he grabbed on arrival had much to do with it.

Unfortunately for Chickie, something nasty laid in wait and he was extracted from his happy Lego peppered world to be transported to a room so familiar he can point to all his favourites features (fan, clock and lights) at speed. At 11.45am, Chickie was sat, cropped trousers round ankles, as the two previously nice nurses at the Doctors suddenly turned nasty and jabbed him simultaneously in each leg. Chickie was not impressed and wailed loudly to indicate his dissatisfaction. Super Mummy swooped the stand-by dummy into the screaming hole with lightning speed. Wailing continued to leak through the dummy into the waiting room, at which point, the back up Cheerios came into play. Punctured thighs forgotten, he crawled off to point at the ceiling fan.

After a three hour nap, more wailing and more Calpol, distraction techniques were deemed necessary and he was strapped into his stroller. To encourage Chickie onto his feet, as his relaxed approach to walking is now becoming embarrassing, I held his hand as he tottered down to the shore. As I crouched down beside him on the sand, he could not have looked sweeter, his little face full of wondrous delight as the sea lapped at his feet.

I replayed that memory in mind an hour later to remind me that magical moments do happen and that must be the reason people temporarily forget times like now and do it all over again. Surrounded by the pots, pans, blenders, utensils and mess that had all been involved in the preparation of his beef dinner, I was beyond upset that Chickie was so unappreciative of my efforts that he refused to even open his mouth. Tired and despondent, I scraped it into a Tupperware pot and gave him yoghurt for tea.

14 March 2007

It's Worse Than I Realised - Apparently

Clinging onto Salsabum’s bingo wings as she span me round with the patience and force of a Category 4 Hurricane, I felt I may have slightly underestimated the time required for my convalescence. Every time I attempted to collapse, my arm was wrenched up from it’s socket and I was pulled upright again by my now borderline abusive partner.

As Salsabum has employed the help of a personal trainer to get her into shape, I fear this situation can only deteriorate as her energy, fitness and body strength increase at the same rate as mine don’t. She did kindly offer to share her session with me as I stretched out my five rolls of stomach. If only she’d stopped there. “You should come along. We’ll do the same workout as you’ve got the same problem areas as me – hips, inner thighs, outer thighs, upper arms, back fat, bottom and stomach”. Well ain’t that peachy? There was me just focusing on my stomach when, clearly, I should have been concentrating on everything. Thanks Salsabum for pointing out my shortsightedness.

Resisting the urge to stamp the collective weight of my ‘problem areas' onto her jazz shoes, I opted for some chesty coughing instead. I could tell my fellow boppers appreciated the raspy tones of my fully matured cough which drowned out the teacher’s instructions and most of the music. Their initial sympathetic looks swiftly turning to “shut the hell up, I didn’t pay £5 to listen to you cough your guts up”.

When the teacher started writhing his way into my view to beckon me into the centre to be his demonstration dancer, I couldn’t quite believe he’d breached the ‘we buy you drinks, you leave us be’ agreement. At that precise moment, I decided to cough up a retching performance worthy of hospitalisation. His retreat was instant.

Despite being bullied into headlocks, breastlocks and bumlocks, I still enjoyed my evening. That’s because the bit I really love comes afterwards. Armed with a Coke and a Kit Kat, we sit and watch the ballroom. I love watching people (in a non stalker kind of way) and find the dance floor to be a swirling feast of deliciously intriguing characters. The Posers, the Hopeless (me), the Fabulous and the Adorable. I have favourites in every category who amuse me for hours.

Exhausted, I was unable to last until the very end so was driven home in Salsabum's 4x4 with heated seats. I do love a warm botty so but was running out of excuses to stay in the car. I eventually let her leave and transferred myself to my toasty warm bed.

13 March 2007

I Don't Want A Hula Hoop!

A dramatic start to the day that found me ambidextrously speed dialling to secure this week’s doctor’s appointment. There’s nothing like blind panic to perk you up of a morning. Actually, I remained relatively calm when Chickie’s lips turned navy blue following his bath. It was the second time this week and I had attributed the first instance to the cold. This time he was wrapped up tighter than a baby fajita.

Prepared for a long wait, I took Chickie’s Weetabix along in one of my newly rearranged Tupperware pots and was marvelling at my illusion of the perfect ‘got-it-together’ mummy. Two minutes later, I was scooping the lot off of the floor with a wet wipe whilst the Comedian next to me kindly pointed out it was going to be my day. Oh, tee hee hee. The Doctor could find nothing obviously wrong with a now rosebud lipped Chick who sat like a statue throughout his examination.

From the Doctor’s to Flying Fortress to play with Poff and Sydders. The Singing Lady had changed her repertoire and ditched my favourite, “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain”. To stop me sulking, I was given a hula hoop to play with but it wasn’t the same. Chickie then went on his first bouncy castle. 50p for 5 minutes. Or, in Chickie’s case, 50p for 5 seconds and to wibble wobble back to mummy screaming in terror.

His afternoon nap assured, my attention turned to domestic matters, specifically, the garden. The time is ripe for creating the adventure playground I vowed I’d never have to enable me to lounge my way through the summer sipping coca cola whilst Chickie is busy doing outdoorsy things. Excavation and some serious landscaping is crucial for my masterplan to be successful. Calls have been made, quotes are awaited.

It’s salsa tonight so must conserve the energy I’ll need to get through an evening heavy with gyration.

12 March 2007

Housewives Were Made For Days Like This

Two years ago, this nose would have been pressed up against the glass of it’s tinted office window, pretending to be working on something window related whilst dreaming of early retirement.

Instead, it was taking in long, snotty sniffs of sea air, making a delightfully refreshing change from the sprouty odour that has followed me around on toxic turbo since the doctor prescribed Chick laxatives last week.

The bright sky, glistening sea and warm sunshine made my 62 hours of labour seem all worthwhile. What’s three days of agonising horror when you’re left free to skip down to the seaside and eat ice cream whenever you please?

The promenade lights were getting a fresh coat of paint, the pyjama clad granny was energetically waving from her balcony to a non-reciprocating Chickie and I was filled with the smug satisfaction that Summer was coming and I was unemployed. How fabulous. My only potential concern being how to disguise tubby tum tums without the protective cloak of winter layering.

However, even that wasn’t enough to squish my gleeful mood, nor the can of Sprite exploding in my face at the Spar shop whilst the bloke next to me pretended not to notice as big blobs of lemonade dripped out of my nostrils.

My mood only got sweeter when Chickie threw caution to the wind and finally took some steps. Hallelujah.

10 March 2007

Watch It Shorty

My precious, unsuspecting little Chickie learnt one of life’s harder lessons today. Children are mean. It took all the restraint I could muster not to push the tiny thug that had just repeatedly mushed his hand into my little boy’s beautiful face, to the floor and sit on him until he rued the day he messed with my baby. As I was the adult and he only came up to my knees, I was forced to settle with a ‘sorry’ from his minimally remorseful mother.

We had popped over to Brighton to see what was hip and happening at the playground and, instead of coming away with inspirational style ideas for Chickie’s Spring wardrobe, I walked away with a heavy heart and battered baby.

Whilst I contemplated the viability of hiring a 24hr Chick Surveillance and Protection Unit, I looked on in horror as Chickie proudly showed Mummy and Daddy the new trick he’d just learnt. Pulling back his hand like a catapult, he pinged it around a much larger boy’s face. Unperturbed, the boy very sweetly turned the other cheek and spent the rest of his morning stalking Chickie. That’s his face poking through the hole - scary!? My faith in children semi-restored, I left vowing to blame all future acts of violence on Thug Tot.

The rest of the day was spent reorganising my Tupperware Collection.

09 March 2007

P is for ...

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter ‘P’. Primarily Pee Pee, Poopies and Purees.

This is solely due to my acceptance of the following facts:

1. It was time to aerate Chickie’s bottom
2. It was time to liquefy Chickie’s food

I’ll deal with Point 1 first:

Bottom Aeration

Chickie’s had a red mark in nappy valley for ages. The Doctor dismissed it with a wafting grunt. I’ve tried Sudacrem, Doublebase, Eumobase, Vaseline and Savlon. None have worked. I knew, deep in my heart, the best solution would be to allow Chickie to pee alfresco but, with it being a tad cold out at the moment, thought it a bit unseasonal to leave him outside commando. This only left one option. I knew, deep in my obsessive compulsively disordered mind, this was the worst possible scenario for someone like me but I’d run out of ointments.

Encouraged by Chickie’s unusually enthusiastic offering yesterday evening, I felt the bottom was ripe for further exposure and it might be just what we needed to get the bowels in motion. One collection jar, copious amounts of kitchen roll, my trustee antibacterial wipes and one buff little bottom later and I was distinctly uneasy. Taking a moment to enjoy my sofa without wee wee stains, I stood by Chickie’s side, ready to pounce should the need arise. After 45 minutes, I was getting tired chasing Chickie and the Giant Peach around the house and decided what will pee, will pee.

To all of Chickie’s little friends who are coming round on Monday afternoon, you may want to give the Poo Pit (I can actually think of an even better rhyme but Snowy wouldn’t approve!), previously known as the Ball Pit, a wide berth. Also, the rug in his bedroom, the rug in my dining room, the floor by the kitchen stair gate, the kitchen floor by the yummy cupboard, the floor by his toy chest and his highchair. Oh and his sheepskin rug is a write off. Yes, I had a lovely day wiping up after the human stain who enjoyed his first paddle, just not in the sea.

Puree, Puree, Puree

I concede. Chick wins. As much as I try and get Chickie to eat solid pieces of fruit, they all get the same ‘spit it out’ treatment. I have stubbornly refused to puree them up until this point in the belief that I would be catering to his laziness. However, as botty concerns are mounting, all attention has turned to his diet. My cries of, “I’ve tried giving it to him, but he just won’t eat it” are beginning to lose the sympathy of the judging public and it seems I’m expected to stoop to any devious, bad habit forming depths to get him to digest his five a day.

So look what I did. I hope everyone's happy now.

Just don’t come crying to me, Chickie, because your friends are all on solids.

08 March 2007

Chickie's Log

I was parenting solo. The safety net of the ‘Parenting Predicament Intervention Team’ had been disbanded and I was left holding the very bouncy baby. Chickie must have smelt my depleted energy levels as he’s never been naughtier or faster.

The day began with my trying to secure a doctor’s appointment for Chickie. A hellish undertaking which requires the determination and endurance of a Duracell Bunny thanks to my surgery’s policy of not allowing pre-bookable appointments. At 8am, the lines open and the quickest bunny off the blocks gets the doc.

At 7.56am, I was armed and ready. Mobile in left hand, landline in right. Left hand “The Practice is now closed”, redial. Right Hand “The Practice is now closed”, redial. Left hand “The Practice is now closed”, redial”. Right hand. Engaged tone. Redial Left hand. Engaged tone. Redial.” Fifteen minutes of redialling to finally get told my doctor was fully booked and fobbed off onto another doctor.

It was a tiring morning chasing Chickie around the waiting room as he did a meet and greet with all those seated and having to convince the doctor that I really do give him his medicine dutifully every day. I REALLY DO!

Chickie spent the rest of the day being exceptionally naughty and concluding every act of defiance with a roguish grin.

Whilst I stood running his bath this evening, an au naturel Chickie took the opportunity to revel in the wind around his bottom cheeks, crawling manically from room to room like an ant on speed. As he entered the bathroom grinning, holding up his hand to me, I noticed he was holding something.

Something small, brown and stinky.

“Oh God Chickie, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

07 March 2007

Green Eyebrows - A Bad Sign

Saving my blog under 30 February 2006, colouring my eyebrows in with turquoise eyeliner and going to bed at the same time as my baby were clear indicators that I was feeling less than top banana. However, the dough ball, otherwise known as my tummy, has finally got some exercise from the relentless stomach crunches my breath replacing coughing fits have demanded of me.

I am especially gutted that I was rendered too squirmy from my aching joints to feign healthiness so had to ring Natalie up to tell her that I couldn’t come to her ‘Chocoholics Evening’. Not an easy phonecall for a Chocoholic to make. The mothership was calling me home and I was indisposed.

Further activities got systematically cancelled as the weekend and my virus deteriorated into a haze of menthol scented misery. As I read the instructions on my ‘Benilyn Chesty Cough’ syrup that Accountant had dutifully bought and deposited at my bedside, I was pleased to note that it would make my cough more productive. If I was going to have a cough, it may as well be a productive one. It’s first task would be to clean up the mess downstairs that I knew was awaiting my recovery.

Whilst Accountant was on one of his many jaunts to the chemist, the doorbell rang. Without my Home Help to get the door, I reasoned it would be worth the effort to answer it as it could be Glam-Nan – The Home Help of Choice. Cautiously descending each step, one white sock after the other, I finally opened the door. A visibly shocked Chimp took in the flu ridden Hypochondriac in her leggings with fluff on top.

When I eventually caved and bought my first pair of black leggings since 1985, it was on the understanding that they would only ever be worn with bottom covering garments. Even Accountant hasn’t been allowed to see me in them without my protective smock. This is why my horror was far greater than Chimps as my two chunky, lycra encased thighs introduced themselves. Reversing back up the stairs, I barked that Chimp should make himself at home as me and my unmasked thighs had to go back to bed and Accountant would be home soon.

When Monday came and I was still not feeling the best, clinging to Accountant’s leg as he readied himself for work and pleading for him to stay with me and Chickie, had no effect whatsoever. The prospect of what lay ahead was chilling.

Thank God for the Cavalry. They collected a Chickie deemed unsympathetic to Mummy’s condition and whisked him off to a germ free environment where’s he enjoyed first class treatment. Our brief reunions over the last few days were unemotional for him as he reached out his arms to Glam-Nan. My sixteen months of slavish devotion obviously stand for nothing. Typical man.

Anyway, on the plus side, I’ve gone and lost myself 5lbs! How fabulous is that.

05 March 2007

UnPaid Sick Leave

I'm too busy coughing up my ribcage to write my blog so apologies to anyone who is desperate for details of my now upgraded non-specific viral infection. All the gruesome details to follow, I promise.

02 March 2007

It's A Good Job You're Cute

“Door!” Chickie exclaimed, excitingly pointing to the latest deposit into his memory bank. Shocked that his latest linguistic accomplishment hadn’t been met with the usual rapturous applause, he tried again, “Door!”.

A chesty cough and a slurp of Beechams Cold and Flu was all I could muster by way of congratulations. What Chickie didn’t seem to be grasping was that it was 3am, mummy didn’t feel well and was coming very close to placing him on e-bay after spending many hours concentrating on not coughing for long enough to fall into much needed unconsciousness thanks to the three week sleep deficit and ticklefest in her chest cavity, all compliments of the Chick.

As he bounced around on our bed, oblivious to the undercurrent of exasperation, I checked the maximum Calpol dosage had been administered by the ratty Accountant. He grunted his confirmation and, re-alerted to his presence, Chickie turned his attention to restyling Daddy’s hair using a new grab and pull technique for that dishevelled night-time look. I took the opportunity that this temporary shift in attention provided to cough and wallow in some serious self pity.

I knew this day (actually middle of the night) was coming. When you want to resign as Mummy and be Baby again. When you want your Mummy to look after you and make the screaming stop.

As I peeled myself from the cosy sanctuary of my bed again, easing myself into the chilly darkness, there was nothing at that precise moment I would rather have been doing less. A seemingly fine Chickie was pleased to see his Mummy and that his screams were as effective as ever. Mummy was not so pleased to see Chickie.

Stood in the darkness, cuddling ‘His Yumminess’, I realised that the day my waters broke, my cushy days may have been washed away forever. It was now Chickie’s turn to enjoy the security that I had enjoyed as a child, knowing that no matter what, my Mum would always be there to make it better.

At thirty, I am slightly older than the ‘average’ baby, but not in Glam-Nan’s eyes. She’s now sat at the café with a disgraced Chickie, to allow her baby girl some rest and recuperation.

A stark warning that, just because your child is a mummy herself, it doesn't mean your days of 'making it better' are over.

01 March 2007

A Labourious Point

I realised today that there’s a question I don’t like being asked because, short of lying, there’s no good answer. The question in question is, “Do you want any more?”.

For information purposes, my answer will always be yes to the following:

· Chocolate
· Tea
· Sleep
· Money

However, when asked this at a Mother and Toddler Group, the only thing they’re interested in is your stance on reproduction. Before answering, bear in mind this enquiry is loaded, as most questions relating to motherhood are.

Just for the record, my most hated question from my pregnancy days was, “Was it planned?” I’m not one to shy away from matters of a personal nature but you have to ask yourself why they want to know.

“Yes it was” – tick for the ‘they kept that quiet’ box.
“No, it wasn’t” – cross against the ‘impulsive minx’ box.

Anyway, as I stood discussing my thoughts on family planning with a complete stranger, I considered potential responses. I could say “yes”, but that could technically be classed as lying. I could say a straight, “no” but usually a little expansion is considered polite or “I’m not sure because the Chickie extraction process has left me mentally disturbed”. The latter is the truth but you may as well say, “Hi, I’m Liz and I’m a little bit odd”. Something I prefer new acquaintances to find out on our second or third meeting.

The other problem with the truth is that, once you mention the word labour, it can be taken as an invitation for the dreaded ‘birthing story’. A topic I like to avoid with new people at all costs but something many are eager to divulge. And that’s exactly what happened today. A two dayer with minimal intervention and a natural delivery.

Not to brag, but my labour would have won the “Much Longer and Worse Than Yours” award forceps down. I know labour isn’t a competition but it can sometimes feel a bit “I see your epidural and I raise you an induction and emergency c-section”. I exited the conversation promptly, taking my story with me.

I do appreciate it’s a perfectly normal question, that I’ve asked others myself plenty of times but, being one to reflect a little too long and hard, I suddenly stopped to wonder why I ever asked it.

To my family and friends who have had to endure my obsessive and repetitive ramblings about my labour, I’m sorry. Thanks for listening and all your counselling and I’m resolving to move on x