I want to be the Mum that let’s them decorate the tree

The trouble is…

I love my perfectly perfect pastel themed Christmas tree.

With soft lighting- you know, the glowey yellowey kind.

Carefully chosen tree trinkets hang at equidistant intervals, the pale pink is never next to a pale gold, is never next to a pale silver.

You feel me?

Yup, I’m basically Monica Geller come December 1st.

This has become a problem since having the kiddliwinks.

Because

I want to be the Mum that lets them decorate the tree.

Honestly I do.

That Mum that endorses excessive use of Tinsel inbetween the homemade Santa hat and snowman masterpieces a la nursery school.

But I love my pastel hew.

I love clearing away the family photo frames on the top of the mantel piece and selecting which of my over-priced, over-sized wreathey long foliagey things should take pride of place that year.

I want to be the Mum who, as Sarah of Unmumsey famously put it, shouts: “The theme is Christmas!”

And it is.

-In the toy room, behind a nice big closed door.

I have learnt that Christmas is allowed to throw up its sickeningly tacky, heart wrenching sentimentality in this room.

We used to go over to ‘Granny’s’ as the girls came to call her, and Christmas-up her living room every year.

We loved it.

I think she loved it too.

Our toy room now has Granny’s tree in pride of place.

And on this tree goes all of the homemade offerings that have been painstakingly crafted, not at home, over the years.

Scraps of paper with stubby bits of cotton wool hanging on for dear life are shoved into the centre of the tree with all the precision and delicacy of a hammer-throw.

Constrictor style tinsel sucks the life blood from this psychedelic fire hazard, with baubles that spell out Harrods 2010 (how posh!) stick men Santas and too many clashing baubles for my brain to process:

Shiny Red next to sparkly red next to cracked red under red tinsel with some of that purple, foiley, whispy stuff statically-stuck to every.bloody.relic.

Lines and lines of coloured lights, some even in the shape of trees, struggle to shine through the offensive layers – wrapping Granny’s tree all up in a firefighter’s nightmare.

But.

I’ve grown to love letting the kids loose in this room.

Mostly because I can close the door on it.

But occasionally I gaze at it when the kids are in bed and think ‘this is what Christmas means to them.’

Colour, chaos, and no equidistance.

How it should be?

Probably.

But Christmas.

Unattainable ‘Magazine-shoot’ Christmas.

It doesn’t exist.

It’s happiness. It’s noise. It’s finding the green triangles have all been eaten when it’s finally your turn at the quality street.

It’s squeals of delight as hoards of Poundland tat slowly take over the lounge.

It’s cheap crackers and shoddy jokes. It’s queens speech and Slade.

It’s Merry December to us, the grow-ups: the overworked, knackered elves of Christmas.

What a beauty…

The Sweet Spot of Parenting

Did you know I have a 6 year old? I wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t realised: my writing is so heavily dominated by the antics of my ToddlerMonster, that my ‘big’ girl hardly gets a mention.

Well this one is for you my dear Darcie, in the week you have turned 6.

I am a parent of 2 halves; half of me is riding out the Toddler years in all of their warped glory. The other half is enjoying what can only be described as ‘the sweet spot’ of parenting.

You see, age 6 really is the holy grail of parenting.  I have been thinking for a while now that my mini-me and childhood doppelganger is at a golden age, and I don’t want it to end.

I couldn’t count the amount of times I have been told variations along the theme of ‘It’ll be over in the blink of an eye’, and I have muttered (not quietly) That it’s not effing quick enough, as the smell of the latest missed-potty-poo explosion still lingers on my fingers.

Perhaps those ‘well wishers’ were meaning that THIS bit will be over in the blink of an eye: The Sweet Spot, age 6. Ahh, that makes more sense…

An age when an innocence prevails, and that naked trampoline time won’t get you arrested.

An age when a Saturday night means X factor and popcorn with dead pan discussions over who Simon should have sent home, instead of performing Ninja-rolls out of a darkened bedroom.

An age of sitting and concentrating on colouring, beads, painting, sticking and all things crafty without looking quite like a glitter yetti by the end of it.  However, maintaining a strong intolerance for clearing up doesn’t change. 

An age when I’m still a mummy shaped hero who can solve the worlds problems through my daughter’s eyes.

An age when Mummy still, just about, knows best (even when I absolutely have no idea what on earth I am talking about). Hanging on my every word, this gullible innocence is priceless.

An age where school means just school, and homework is weekly but minimal. We don’t argue over homework- it’s not yet important enough to warrant such effort (Sorry Mr T!). In fact we very often don’t even remember to do it. There are no consequences for a 6 year old. 

An age where their enthusiasm is infectious. The squeals of delight as the days are counted down to a holiday, birthday, or the Xmas bomb make the copious planning and pounds worthwhile.  Nothing is more important to a 6 year old than fun, the age of truly letting the good times roll.

When the going gets tough with the ToddlerMonster I have to remind myself that I won’t always know the dry cleaners weekend plans as I see him on an almost weekly basis to wash yet another wee-soaked pure wool sofa cushion.

It won’t always be like this, the magic 6 is waiting just around the corner.  I tell myself this on a loop. Well, a 3 year corner, gulp: better pass the Woo Woos.

Our prize for weathering the sleepless nights, the unauthorised co-sleeping, and the many many demonstrations of ‘spirit’ – (usually made at the Lidl check out where we all know there isn’t enough time to so much as right a wedgie in that bagging area let alone pacify the ‘Arched Back ‘n’ Kick’ sequence.) The Prize, is age 6.

Darcie, I wish I could capture your imagination, that infectious dark laugh and bottle your needy cuddles. I know age 6 is once again, ‘just a phase’, and I will miss it when it passes. For now though, let’s just build dens and be silly: growing up can wait a while longer.

 

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Child-free zones at 36,000 ft.

We are living in an age where we can run our entire lives from our phone, listen to music via headphones sans wires, and enjoy processco literally on tap in some of our favourite bars.

But until last week we were still living in a world where grown ups doing adulting, grown ups doing parenting and kids doing the kid thing were all mixed up like a badly organised wash pile every time you dare to board a plane.

Well not anymore, not if you travel in India! IndiGo has adopted a ‘quiet zone’ policy which basically means if you are 12 or under you aint getting in.

HURRAH! It’s 2016, but we got there in the end! We have been enjoying air travel for over 80 years, but finally, FINALLY an airline has engaged brain and realised that Little Tarquinn, age 3, doesn’t like to fly. It makes his ears pop and there isn’t room for him to stand on his head while he sings the theme tune to Paw Patrol at levels that only dogs should be able to hear. This makes Tarquinn cry, he dissolved into full blownn Sh*tbag mode. This makes Tarquinn stamp his feet and kick the seat in front. It makes Tarquinn throw his crisps into the lap of the tight lipped passenger next to him -not Muma… she’s swigging Gin on his other side. Tight lipped passenger begins to tut, gradually the tutting turns to the intake of breath followed by loud breathaliser sounding sighs.

Sorry Easy Jet
Mumas no longer need to mutter “I hate my life” or “I’m so sorry” and “send me the dry clean bill” on a flight anymore! Because guess what – the passengers that really minded being sat next to the little Tarquinns of this world have paid a few quid extra to escape this particular endurance test. So long, huffers and puffers. So long, Muma-guilt. IndiGo, I salute you.

It seems it’s not just me that feels this way either. The concept of the Quiet Zones has been praised by both Adulating Adults and Parenting Adults. I asked a few of my fellow bloggers their thoughts on the subject (I was concerned I might be having a very unmumsey moment rejoicing at this idea!). Surprisingly it was almost unanimously positive feedback. There were some suggestions for other zones which I thought might have legs too. Kate Tunstall of Refined Prose suggested an area reserved for inconsiderate adults, after all, it’s not only children that can be irritating! I see where she’s coming from! While Alana Perrin of Baby Holiday did make a good point, and one that will probably have the air stewardesses drawing straws to man bucket class over at IndiGo; Imagine how noisy it will be when all the babies and toddlers kick off, because of their proximity it will be like a chain reaction… Ear defenders for the long suffering parents?! Frankly, the mind boggles. But that still wouldn’t put me off casting a vote for this genius division.

I wonder if IndiGo might be interested in a little ‘idea development’? Children’s entertainment packs? Disney channel on a big screen? Hell, how about a kids entertainer (Mark Warner are you listening?!) And while we are at it, a loo facility which actually allows the task of nappy changing to take place. One last life changer please airlines, could the Mumas have reserved seating in said Quiet Zone for the duration of the flight, along with several large bottles of Processco. Pretty please.

I am sending a plea to UK airlines to adopt this genius and absolutely nessesery Quiet Zone initiative. Please don’t let tourist space travel happen faster than this, the most basic of travel needs. Come on Branson – lead the way!

What are your thoughts? Would you be offended if an airline offered the option of a ‘Quiet Zone’ for 13+? Or would you breathe a sigh of relief?

Cuddle Fairy
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Two Tiny Hands

Cath Kidston introduces Winnie the Pooh *squeals of delight*

Drum roll please…

Something extremely exciting, and not at all life changing has happened today: Two of my favourite brands have collaborated: Cath Kidston does Winnie. So to speak.

I thought I should give you the low down of the collection, and of course, the highlights- according to moi! There are clicks throughs if you can manage to get your hands on this gorgeous collection before stocks sell out!

First up, something for squidgy newborn baby bundles:

 

newborn-winnie
Newborn Starter kit £30.00
newborn-blankey
Pram blanket & rattle set, £20.00
How about a few delights from the clothing range for the kids.

pjs
Hundred Acre Wood PJ set £20.00

unnamed
Hundred Acre Wood jumper £35.00
skirt
What a skirt! £40.00 – bit pricey, but a Primark top wouldn’t be noticed with this ballooning bunch below it!
Hot bags… always wipe clean, always gorgeous.

bag
Medium backpack, £25.00
Hands up Mumas who  love a good set of PJ’S, bottom right….

 

aaaaaa
Muma PJs £50.00
So there you have it – a little taster of Miss Kidston’s genius new line. I’m in love…

Happy browsing y’all.

Check out the entire range

Toddler- led potty training: it’s totally a thing.

I wanted to share something with you, possibly it’s a little bit controversial- I know: Me, controversial, surely not..?! 

This is the story of why we are not potty training our  nearly 3 year old. 

Lila is potty training herself; you’ve heard of baby led weaning? Well this is the toilet version. I’m not sure if this is an actual thing or if I am just breaking out of the Muma- society mould here, I’m sure you’ll let me know…

                                    ***

She stood in a puddle of wee, in the middle of the park, sobbing; Wet knickers, wet leggings and wet shoes

It had been 1 week since we declared ‘potty training’ had began. this is back in 2013, and I am talking about our eldest daughter Darcie. She was exactly 2.5 years old, and numerous ‘experts’ (Butty-in elders and judgemental Gina-ford types ) had been surprised that Darcie wasn’t potty trained-

“What with the baby on the way…”

I was panicing that the world would stop spinning as I knew it with ‘the coming of baby No.2’, and decided that we should of course get cracking with this potty training lark.

We lasted 1 week before I couldn’t bare to see her wet herself and struggle anymore.

I had listened to other parents tell me of their potty training antics – us Mumas have great chat, right?! MONTHS some of them had spent watching their toddlers wet and poo themselves. In public, in the car, at home: you name it.

I just couldn’t do it. It just strikes me as a bit demeaning really. I would HATE to Wee myself in morrisons, so why would I think it ok to have my child do this? Why would I make my daughter wear knickers day after day standing by while she poos herself, looking helpless, telling her “she’s almost there”. Nah, that’s not my style. So we made the decision to avoid putting pants on our kids, until they ask.

I know using that word demeaning in association with potty training is probably going to get some backs up. I know that it’s all about personal choice and we all want what’s best for our children. Of course we do- that’s a Muma’s mantra. I also realise that using the loo and making that leap of faith from nappies needs to be taught, and learnt. But do we really need to force a round peg into a square hole here?

So we waited. We waited months, and months, our new baby arrived, and we celebrated Darcie’s 3rd birthday. STILL IN NAPPIES. 

And then it happened; one spring afternoon, down the stairs she came with her Peppa Pig knick-knocks on.

Darcie never put a nappy back on again. From that moment she used the toilet, not the potty. She was old enough to tell me when she wanted to go, she was old enough to sit on the toilet without having to lug a potty EVERYWHERE with us.

Darcie is now 5 years old, and we have never had to remind her to use the loo before we go out. Nor do we check if she needs it when we are out and about. I leave it up to her.

Her accident record is Zero.

I’m not saying that’s purely down to the approach we used, that, we’ll never know. But I am sure that never making a big deal out of all of this toilet related stuff has helped her.

So now it’s Lila’s turn. When she wants to wear knickers she does. When she wants to wear a pull up, guess what: she does! Sometimes she likes to use the loo, and other times she doesn’t. But you know what, more and more she is opting to use to use it. I have checked that nursery aren’t pushing her with toilet training and they have been very supportive of our choice to let Lila decide when she is ready to ditch the nappies- and start saving us a fortune.

I suppose the point of telling you all of this toilet related goodness is because I wish I had read that you don’t have to potty train like its a military operation, and you don’t need to label it:

WE ARE POTTY TRAINING”  *like a declaration of battle*

Just introducing the potty n knickers combo and offering those things,  rather than pushing them is enough. 

They will get there eventually. It’s not a race. 

I felt a huge pressure to succeed at potty training. And for what?! To gloat like a Gloatey McKnob that my daughter is wearing knickers before she’s learnt to pick her nose?

Our nearly 3 year old has enough on her plate- she is learning to speak, to form opinions, deal with frustrations, realising that book cases make great ladders, and all the while, brewing her next UberTantrum.

She doesn’t need this kind of shit in her life right now: literally.

I’ll keep you posted on how the Toddler-led toilet training is going- I know you’ll all be on the edge of your seats awaiting this update…

Until then, I’d love to know if anyone else has had a similar experience to me and has used, or is using this method?

Xx

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10 reasons why being a Muma rocks

Welcome to my nifty fifty blog post!

To celebrate such a grand total of waffle I decided to turn the world on its head, and tell you why I think being a Muma totally ROCKS. (I’ve delved deep, and I’m ignoring the fact that I gave in and  fed my 2.5 year old daughter a bottle of milk at 2am last night – yep, I’m a sucker.)

So without further ado, I give you: 10 reasons why being a Muma rocks

  • Love: yes, I’m starting with a belter. That little voice that first says “I love you” has the power to move mountains: or at least make me immediately forget that my Chanel lipgloss has now become an abstract motif on my new wallpaper. LOVE ROCKS!
  • Endless supply of great big fat cuddles – even when you are on the loo! No boundaries here, just hug away, literally ANYWHERE.
  • You get to eat fish fingers beans and chips on the regular, and sometimes I treat us to  those alpha-bites (ohhhh I hear you gasp, you badass) occasionally I turn uber Bad-Mom and leave hubster a naughty word on his plate: scandalous! oh the endless laughter to be had…
  • The buggy / Trolley. No gorilla arms for me, I just load up: not sure if you need a coat, iffy weather? No need to ponder that big question – Just pop it on the buggy! The fact that my children no longer ride the buggy is irrelevant. I’m not letting go of my trolley. I’ll never let go…
  • Christmas. I thought Christmas was good as a kid, but having kids at Christmas is a whole other ball game. I love scouring the shops – and internet, mostly internet for little things I know they will love. Different little surprises and other ways to make it all magical. There is no such thing as OTT at Christmas time in our gaff.
  •  The excuse. Our little charges are actually little sources of some of the most watertight excuses you can find. Don’t want to go to that party? NO PROBLEM, flip the no babysitter card. Running late? NO PROBLEM, last minute nappy changed held me up… I mean 9 times out of 10 these are legitimate reasons, but for all of those times the lack of babysitter or lateness has seriously got my goat, I pay back with the occasional white lie… don’t hate me.

 

  • Friends. I’ve made some of my very best friends through my children. That immediate understanding between Mumas is a bit like a secret club. We nod and smirk at each other as our kids run around playgroup with their skirts above heads, only stopping to steal a scooter from a minor. Having kids has opened up so many opportunities to make some incredible new friends, and for that I shall be forever grateful.

 

  • Pride. More and more I am feeling a sense of pride. Especially as Darcie, our 5 yr old, is growing up. When I see her being kind, or cuddling her friends I literally burst. She has never been a huggy sort amongst her girl-click, preferring to stand back and observe. When I see her being affectionate now to her friends it makes my heart leap!

 

  • Kids days out: Who doesn’t enjoy a fun fair?! Days out, kid style, are pretty awesome. Zoos, farms, theme parks, fun fairs – fire engine open days…. y’know. Day trips rock – even with the tantrums and copious amounts of crud we lug around with us all day.

 

  • I am their Muma. The person I hope they will always be able to rely on. The person who will always be there for them. Their constants. Us Muma’s are someone’s rock, and that in itself is the No.1 reason why being a Muma is the greatest privilege I’ll ever have.

 

There we have it, 10 whole reasons why being a Muma rocks – I admit I struggled after the first 4!

Let’s have a few more… leave your “Being a Muma rocks because…” answer below.

I’ll be referring back to this when I am playing the go to sleep Toddler game later. Muma rocks, Muma rocks…

Mummascribbles

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Marriage. Whose idea was that?

If you think about it, the idea of Marriage is actually quite absurd.
Meet a boy, fall in love, have adventures, lazy Sundays; Make memories. Get married, settle down, throw a Toddlermonster or 2 into the mix and before long you can barely recognise yourselves.
“I really fancy you with poo on your neck, said no spouse, ever.”

What can prepare us for spending a lifetime with one person? What if your parenting styles don’t match? There’s no way you can possibly try before you buy on that front.
What if your career aspirations take you in totally different directions? What if one of you turns out to be a miserable sod? And what about those little foibles we all have? Be it a nervous cough, or the inability to cook, or a Dad-joke back catalogue which sees you cringe into your Daquari. All of which were sweet at first, but now drive you to the edge (or the Bacardi bottle).
It sort of like this: finally getting your hands on a once in a lifetime vintage Chanel bag. It’s gorgeous, frankly it’s love at first sight. It sleeps next to you, accompanies you to the best of occasions, you are frankly inseparable. You wear it proud on your arm, but the years roll by, and although it’s still your best most prized precious, the novelty has worn off. It’s been with you as you puke up in the bar loos, realising you are not 21 anymore and cannot drink more than a few glasses of wine. It’s been there during laughs and heated debates. It’s seen your best and worst, but now you have kids and their stash of essentials no long fits into your beloved Chanel. Weep.
Clearly there is only one thing for it: time to invest in a bigger and better, but I’m still in the marriage analogy, and upgrades are not part of this deal.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that being parents, AND keeping your marriage alive and kicking is hard. Really bloody hard. Navigating our way through life, raising humans and doing it together in perfect harmony is surely an unrealistic goal.

Maybe we should all get married in our mismatched PJ’s, 3-days-post-hair-wash and a seriously sadistic case of PMT. This realistic approach would set us up for the institution of Marriage a lot better than a beautiful unstained gown, a face of professional make up, a room full of people who are being kind and complimentary, all washed down with free flowing booze and food that has not been microwaved.

***

As my husband says ‘Teamwork always pays off’. I guess if you can still raise a smile to each other after 5 years of sleep deprivation and somehow fancy each other (occasionally) despite the extra pounds and hairy legs. If you can bring yourself to still be kind even when you really just want to drop the C bomb. If you can bite your tongue rather than criticise the way they staked the dishwasher. If you can still high-five the hell out of life…
If you can, then that’s good enough. That’s Love.
That’s my marriage with kids.

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