19 April 2009

Fatty Bum Bums

“Your bottom seems to start a lot higher up these days” commented Accountant, as I bent over to pick something up off of the floor. I pinged upright and scurried off to the mirror, glaring at him as I flew past.

Bottoms are always tricky to properly assess without being able to rotate your head around like an owl (or Chickie, mid-tantrum). I got as far as my spine would allow but still couldn’t see properly.

Turning side on, I hoiked up my shirt for a better view. I looked up to find Accountant’s eyebrows telling me what I didn’t want to admit. I seemed to have a second bottom growing out of the top of my jeans.

I suppose I had eaten quite a few packets of Party Rings during Chickie’s latest “challenging" phase. Plus the odd Martini, everyday at 7pm sharp. And all those easter eggs everyone kept buying Chickie. But then it was a mother’s duty to protect her child from excessive cocoa solids wasn’t it - what choice had I really had?

I wandered into the kitchen and stared dreamily at the nine remaining Easter Eggs I’d planned to spend that evening with. Now they were forbidden, the longing became deep and chocolately.

But wouldn’t it really be sensible to start a diet with a clean plate? To remove all temptation? Yes, I decided - it definitely would and began plans to eat the contents of the ‘yummy’ cupboard immediately.

A week later, engorged and looking slightly pregnant, the diet began. No mid-morning packet of Jammy Dodgers with my tea, no scrumptious butter lathered on sweet waffles, no dastardly mayonnaise. Just boiled rice with boiled peas and boiled fish for dinner.

The weight loss initially was encouraging. A 4lb bag of sugar was stationed, like a bodyguard, in front of the cracker cupboard - my usual stop after the 'yummy' cupboard. It obstructed entry and served as a reminder that the equivalent weight in blubber just wouldn’t fit into my jeans no matter how vigorously I tucked.

It was going well, my resistance strong, until today, when, for the second day running, I was a 1lb heavier. Where that pesky pound had come from, I didn’t know but I hated it and it needed to be punished.

After making a serious effort to eat my "Weightwatchers" tomato and lentil gloop that evening, I could take no more. Scrumptious wafts of Accountant's 456 calorie four cheese pizza bubbling in the oven wafted up my nose. I floated towards it, carried along by its vapours. Four slices of pizza and a Bart Simpson easter egg later and the diet was over. High from the sugar rush, I felt an odd mixture of elation and shame.

But then, perhaps having two bottoms wasn’t so bad? At least I’d have a spare if anything ever happened to the first one?

16 April 2009

Happy Families

Lying in bed, I looked on top of the wardrobe where the yummy, leather weekend bag I’d bought years before now resided. A gentle sprinkling of dust had settled on the soft taupe leather with its silky, striped lining and studded feet.

I remembered buying it, imagining the pair of us, gliding into glittering hotel foyets in all the major cities across the world. I was wearing heels and ‘Jackie O’ sunglasses. I had a substantially smaller bottom and my boobs were still pointing in the same direction as when God had designed them.

I clambered out of bed to give it a quick buff and a cuddle but it was out of reach. I tried my bounce and grab approach which had served me well in the past but, like a sulking friend, it evaded my advances.

I traipsed back to bed as Accountant wandered into the room.
“Well?” he said.
I pretended not to understand.
“Have you found anything?” he nodded at the 'Siblu' holiday brochure that lay on my bedside table.
“Erm, no, not yet” I replied.
“What’ve you been doing then?”

Deciding not to tell him I’d been fantasising about luxury luggage, vast marble bathrooms, shimmering crystal chandeliers, fabric lined walls and 24hr room service, I made my excuses.

“Just readjusting my expectations, sweetheart.”
Accountant’s face set to one of deep disapproval so I cautiously reached for the brochure, grimacing through the effort. Accountant settled down beside me as I opened to the first page.

Screaming children, primary colours, a slithering entanglement of waterslides, banana boats, caravans, lilos, outdoor sports, tents... I shut the brochure with a decisive snap.

Feeling Accountant’s eyes boring into me, I declared myself exhausted and turned off the light. Before I’d shut both eyes, the light was back on and, apparently, Accountant was keen to chat.

“What’s your problem?”
It was more like problems, really. The biggest one being my husband.
He went for the jugular. “Chick will love it.”
“I know he will but where am I going to plug in my hair straighteners?”
Accountant growled.
“How do people even wash?”
“It doesn’t have to be a tent, we could have a mobile home” he said re-opening the brochure to illustrate his point.
A shiver ran down my spine, “I can’t spend a week with those curtains” I whined.

An icy atmosphere settled in the room as Accountant began muttering about how inflexible I was. I turned away. Compared to three years ago, I had more child-friendly features than ever but still it wasn’t enough. They wanted my very soul.

I went to sleep guilty. Guilty I wasn’t ‘outdoorsy’. Guilty for hating Aqua-parks. Guilty of loving pastels and gingham, mints on my pillow, toilet paper folded into a ‘v’ and miniature toiletries.

The next morning, brochure open in front of me, I dialled the number slowly.

“Siblu– French for happy families” the cheery voice answered.

06 April 2009

JUST a Housewife

To my dear friend (obviously a male) who kindly enquired how I was finding JUST being a housewife, I've rustled a little something up by way of an answer, in a format that you'll hopefully understand:

Job Title: JUST a Housewife

Job Overview:

A lifetime contract, reporting to a three year old male, you will be solely accountable for his development and wellbeing. He can be prone to mood swings, unreasonableness and constipation so a strong will to survive is necessary.

Key Skills:

Problem Solving:

You will need to think creatively in order to apply innovative and entertaining approaches to gain co-operation in the undertaking of any basic daily task. Previous experience as a Children’s Entertainer/Puppeteer would be beneficial.


Sound evaluative skills are required to assess and avert threats, tantrums, accidents and medical emergencies. First Aid training is essential.


You must possess the ability to remain calm and rational whilst your patience is being tested beyond all endurance. Previous acting experience would be useful in order to appear nonchalant and relaxed, especially in public, when really you’re frenzied and about to cry.

Communication Skills:

You must be a top level negotiator, able to resolve bitter disputes with outcomes agreeable to all vested toddlers.


You must be adaptable as anything planned, especially if you’re looking forward to it, is going to be cancelled.


Basic numeracy would be useful to ensure alternating dosages of Calpol/Nurofen do not exceed maximum limits.

Strategic Thinking:

Forward thinking and able to anticipate potential issues before they arise, you will intuitively steer your child around those triggers that may result in increased stress levels.


Responsible for the management of a hectic diary, you will possess excellent planning skills. Child must approve all activities and be briefed at the start and end of each day on all forthcoming events and changes to the pre-agreed schedule. Previous experience of contingency planning would be beneficial.

Other Requirements

Applicants with Psychology, Nutrition and Medical Degrees are preferable.

You must be as energetic as a Duracell bunny and require minimal amounts of sleep.

Familiarity with The Health and Safety at Work Act, particularly, COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health), would be useful as you will be in daily contact with dangerous deposits.

Understanding of the Bristol Stool Chart would be beneficial but not essential as on-the-job training is provided.

There will be heavy lifting and dragging involved in this position.

Please Note: Anything you say or do will be held against you for the rest of your life should you be saying or doing it wrong.

Remuneration and Benefits:

No Holiday, No Pay, No Lunch Hour, Overtime Expected.

Ear Plugs and Marigold gloves provided.

No training given.

Further Reading

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child
Family Medical Guide
The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook
Lose your Mummy Tummy
Budgeting Basics

02 April 2009

Make It Stop!

“I love you Liz, I always have”
“I love you too, George” I whispered, leaning into his chest, lips puckered, eyes closed.

“MUMMY! It’s 20 o’clock! We’ve got to go NOW!”
“Er” I whimpered, disorientated. I cranked an eye open. Chickie was so close, it was like viewing him through a magnifying glass. I jolted back into the pillow.
“Mummy’s dreaming – go and play in your room for a little bit” I mumbled, anxious to return to George Clooney’s lips.
“You smell yucky mummy. Can you play with me?”
“Sweetheart, it’s too early for mummy, just go and play in your room for a few hours”
Chickie began singing. “Silent night, ho-ey night, round yon mergin mother and child, sleeping, sleepy, sleep, never sleep”

Unable to open both eyes at the same time, I viewed Chickie through a small crack in my right eye. He looked so awake. My eyeball crept over to the clock. 5:59am. God, it was still night.

I groaned and slid under the duvet. Chickie climbed on top and began bouncing up and down. I turned over and toppled him onto his father, before quickly rolling away.

It seemed God had giveth and God had taken away. Finally, after a year of night waking, Chickie was sleeping through. And our punishment was that he now woke up at 5.59am every morning.

Later that day, I patted myself on the back for showing such enterprise. ‘That should do it’ I thought as I practiced locking the new gate on Chickie’s bedroom door. All his toys were in there so I could see no reason why he shouldn’t happily while away those pesky twilight hours playing with Buzz Lightyear instead of mummy.

I grunted in shock. “What? Erm?” I floundered in confusion, lost between sleeping and waking.

“OUT NOW!” Chickie reiterated loudly.
“Just play.. wiv.toys....” I mouthed into the darkness.
I opted to ignore him, confident the futility of his efforts would soon find him lost in a world of imaginative play.
A strange scratching started. Then a pinging noise.
“Stop it” I shouted. It got louder.
I scrambled out of bed just as a car flew over his gate and down the stairs.
“Sorry mummy” he said, grinning at me from behind the bars. “Can I come in your room now?” he smiled smugly.

As he burrowed down the middle of the bed, he placed two ice cold feet on my bum, I yelped. Then followed a sharp blow to the back. “NEE NAW NEE NAW”. Chickie off roaded his ambulance down my spine.

“Give daddy cuddles” I suggested, trying to roll Chickie over to face Accountant.
Accountant rolled him back, Chick’s nose now pressed up to mine.

“It’s 20 o’clock, Mummy. Are you getting up?”
“Yes” I groaned, accepting yon merging of mother and child. Sleepy, sleep, never sleep.