Muma: The Unsung Christmas Hero

Cheers Mumas.

Here’s to you, the puppeteers’ of Christmas.

The makers of the magic.

Without you, there would be no tinsel-tastic hollabaloo.

Cheers to the Mumas who come up with a new trick for that creepy little elf each evening.

And cheers to those that have chosen not too.

Cheers to the Mumas who are busy needle and threading nativity costumes.

And cheers to those Mumas who Amazon Primed theirs.

Here’s to the Mumas who boss the sparkle all on their own.

And here’s to the Mumas who navigate the web of family celebrations.

To the Mumas that no longer have their own Muma here, to help and to encourage.

To the Mumas that light a candle for their sleeping babies.

Here’s to the Mumas that are frantically trying to make ends meet,

and to those Mumas who have plenty, but worry about spoilt brat syndrome.

Cheers to those Mumas that proudly plaster Jimmy & Jane’s every December waking hour over facebook,

and to those who don’t.

 A bottle of Bolly to the Mumas who trudge the freezing high street, in search of the perfect gifts.

Hats off to those that are trawling websites, waiting in for parcels and single handedly keeping Paypal afloat.

Bravo those Muma’s who credit Santa and his Elves for everything. Just to keep the magic alive.

And to those Mumas who’s teens no longer believe, enjoy the ‘thank yous’.

Here’s to the Mumas that decorate their Christmas tree daily, thanks to a Bauble-loving Toddlermonster,

and here’s to the Mumas that have sacrificed a catalogue tree in favour of displaying homemade one-of-a-kind loo roll angels and pipe cleaner snowmen.

Here’s to my Muma that still displays that loo roll angel 30 years later…

Cheers to you, the unsung Christmas heroes; Battling to win a Tesco delivery slot, attend the carol concerts, plays and recitals, with a highly flammable hot flush inducing Primark Christmas Jumper which has become your reluctant December uniform.

All the while, you keep that smile, and remember to savour those bright believing eyes, before the magic dies.

Here’s to our forever babies, and the copious Prosecco deals, which somehow make this manic month entirely worthwhile.

 

 

 

Witching hour: The Script

My sister rang me today.

She rang during witching hour.

I shouldnt have answered, I should have known better. But I momentarily forgot that I am an owner of 2 batshit crazy anti-humans come 6pm.

I thought I might share with you a snippet of the transcript from that call.

Me: *hurried voice* “Hello, hello”

Sister, “Oh hello dearest, how are you?”

Me, “Terrible, we’ve had The Nits. Darcie stop chasing her, you are NOT hunting.”

Sister, *laughs* “Is this a bad time?”

Darcie, “Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy”

Me, “God no, well yes. But there hasn’t been a good time in 5 years. Girls up the stairs now… go. Hang on. No, not you, you go up the stairs, keep going. All the way. Right, tell me about your promotion, I’m dying to hear.”

Sister, *hesitant* “Okaaaay, if you’re sure?”

Me, “I’m sure, quick. Tell me. Wow you did it in the potty! That’s amazing!

Sister “What?”

Me, “Sorry, Lila wee’d in the potty. We haven’t been promoting the potty at all! Well done. Yey. Mummy loves you. What a clever girl.”

Me to my sister – “It’s an effing miracle.”

Darcie, “what’s effing?”

Me, “oh shit”

*Holds phone between shoulder and ear, takes potty full of wee and disposes*

Sister, “Are you sure I shouldn’t call you back?”

Me, “No, tell me, tell me about the promotion now… Girls get into this bath”

Sister, “It was so unexpected, I’m now a Senior…”

*Deafening screams*

Me, “Stop the screaming, give her back her Guitar now. No? Not a guitar? Ummm (tries to pacify blood curdling screams, AND decipher a 2 yr olds diction) guitar… guitar… Car? CAR! Ok, give her back her car. It’s her car and she wants it now Darcie.”

Lila, “My pecial Gui-tar” (She has never seen this car before. Possible kinder toy reject from 1999 or shameful cracker ‘gift’, suddenly this pint sized piece of plastic crap gets the promotion of its life to Favourite-Toy status.)

Lila, “I hate you Dar”

*Dar sobs, not quietly.*

Sister, “Is X still in the hospital? Is everything resolved with the school-run police situation? Have the nits gone?”

Me, *Gulps wine* “Yes, yes and yes. I’m going to have to call you back before one of them drowns.”

Lila “Ha ha ha me do a poo poo”

Me, *head in hands*

This is actually my life. This perfectly sums up my life right now.

No swanky job for me. I am a toilet attendant, who specialises in high level negotiations. Occasionally I am promoted to launderette owner and chef, but let’s not get too carried away.

*Mutters, “I hate my life”*

*Realises I don’t hate my life. Feel instantly guilty for uttering those words*

*Turns on some calming music.*

“Mum, mum, MUM, what’s a Gansgta’s Paradise?”

 

Mummuddlingthrough

 

 

 

 

 

 

The way of the world: according to my ToddlerMonster

  1. The louder you scream the more you shall achieve.
  2. The word Me should be included at the beginning and end of each sentence reinforcing ones importance.
  3. Eat with your hands: it’s quicker and you can lick them later for a little dinner reminder.
  4. Only Paw Patrol should be on the television. Anything else is simply an oversight by management.
  5. Pasta & grated cheese IS the ultimate dinner. Don’t be cute and mix it up: you cannot improve on perfection. I will only feed it to the dog. And smear it up the wall.
  6. Washing hair is an unnessesery torture occurring right in the middle of the most fun part of the day. Scream & then scream some more: Chase is surely on the case.
  7. The Park is the single most important destination goal of each day. Do not rest until you have been on the Weeeeeeeeengs.
  8. Closely followed by soft play: Nothing beats seeing management spat out by the foam rollers.
  9. Run, don’t ride. Why would you want to sit in a buggy when you could be running everywhere so much faster. Efficiency is key.
  10. Teeth are the most successful persuasion tool we have. especially on siblings.

Thank me later- I’m off to update the memo board on the back of my bedroom door – with management’s eyeliner.
DomesticatedMomster

DomesticatedMomster

Toddler’s eye review of Las Iguanas Brighton

 

alternative cover

Bravely going where we have never gone before: A restaurant…on a Saturday evening…with the kids! Ok, it was 4pm. But in my little girl’s world they were OUT OUT.

 

I LOVE eating out. It’s probably my favourite extracurricular activity actually. Date nights, girls nights… But never really managing to combine the offspring element successfully. To be honest we have had our fair share of car crash restaurant attempts in the past. All of which ending with hubster and I stressing out over the mayhem we are causing, and eating in shifts while the other ‘entertains’, sorry, CHASES the girls as they flee like ants in opposite directions. On the whole it’s been a waste of money: and not just on the amount of wine I have to buy on the way home to compensate.

ToddlerMonster is now the grand old age of 2, and Darcie is school age so we are going to give dining out another go… We are embarking on a bit of an Odyssey I think I’ll call it, this Spring, in an attempt to find the most toddler friendly food haunts near to where we live in East Sussex and hopefully start over on the family dining front.

The key to this will be finding REAL family friendly restaurants. Not just the ones that claim they are but actually once you are over the threshold discover that they have an aeroplane sized loo with change facilities that wouldn’t look out of place in the Trainspotting film, have zero space for your buggy (they cost more than some cars, I will NOT be leaving it outside), together with a limited and overpriced kids menu.

So, first up is Las Iguanas in Brighton. On this occasion we were given something towards our bill BUT I will be assessing with completely independent toddler eyes!

cover Las igs

The Review

We were off to a good start, the restaurant was funky, bright, spacious and yes there was plenty of room for the buggy, a double would have coped. Actually they stored it in another room which was really helpful. We were shown to a huge round table with banquet seating – ideal for the kids to sprawl themselves over apparently. (It may be an insignificant point to make to some, but size matters: and the size of the table was perfect; Plenty of room to have the sippy cups, wet wipes, toy car, books and Frozen mobile phone alongside the other more standard paraphernalia. No constant juggling for space- it’s all in the detail!)

We were offered a highchair and told for every adult main ordered, a child can eat the Niño’s (child’s) set menu for free! Result: no need to stress about them ordering something they weren’t going to eat as it was the bargain price of FREE. My favourite. This was shortly followed by the bloody brilliant news that it was 241 cocktails on a selected 25 drinks to celebrate Las Iguanas 25th anniversary. This is going to be offered ALL YEAR! I’ll drink to that. And I did: 241 Caipirinhas. Despite this offer they hadn’t scrimped on units, I wouldn’t even let Darcie dip her finger in!

cocktails

The girl’s menus had colouring and activities on it as well as a big selection of crayons to draw all over the table with. Darcie was occupied with that, while Lila perfected the art of putting ice in and out of her mouth. This meant her source of volume was quiet so who were we to stop her…

We were spoilt for choice over what to order: the menu was as funky looking as the room we were sat in, literally bursting with that Latino feel. It was great to see a kids menu which didn’t just have the standard pizza & chips type combo featured too. Although that’s exactly what Lila wanted to have. The kids deal is £5.90 which includes a main course (7 options to choose from) a dessert, and a drink. Darcie played it safe and doubled up on carbs with Macaroni pasta and chips. Each of their mains came with a little side salad all cut up very small, perfect for little fingers.

The really friendly waitress suggested the girls has their main courses at the same time as our big bowl of nachos starter. This turned out to be a great strategy and once we were ready for our main event the girls we shovelling away chocolate brownie and ice cream. Result.

The Nachos portion was generous and came fully loaded with the sour cream, salsa, guacamole and jalapenos, just as you would expect. Delicious.

We decided to give the new additions to the menu a go. I had the Havana Club & Jerk glazed pork ribs with sweet potato fires. I love ribs, and these were delicious. Plenty of meat on them, really addictive dipping sauce and just the right amount of fries.las igs food

Dan tucked into the revived Chili Con Carne, which was served in a rustic bowl, complete with a lid. It looked lovely, and very homely. (Not that I have ever served anything with such style at home!) I managed to taste a bit before Hubster polished it off: I need the recipe. There were succulent pieces of beef which totally appealed to the carnivore in me. Thumbs up.

Darcie ate her entire plateful which isn’t the norm for her, this in itself is a reason to come back. The kid’s portion sizes were spot on it. The desserts were dented but the girls were beaten, it was a tough job, but I had to finish them off. Great brownie, and a lovely vanilla ice cream.

I must mention The Facilities, you can’t go out with small children and not pay them a visit. The cleaner the better and on some occasions they have been enough to put me off returning somewhere. So, the make or break was The Pit Stop. There was a separate baby changing room, it had plenty of space to host the toddler nappy party. And it was clean: hurrah. The main loos were also clean and would have had plenty of space to wheel the buggy in there had I needed too.

To conclude, we actually enjoyed ourselves as a family. Together. Out out!

The food was on point and is perfectly positioned to entice the family market. The staff are well versed in little people: buggys don’t scare them nor did the odd scream. There were plenty of menu options including gluten free and vegan, the food quality was great. The girls seemed occupied, happy and the prompt service meant boredom didn’t sweep in until Bill time. The meal came to £55 for the 4 of us, 2 courses each and drinks- including my boozy beverages.

Thank you Las Iguanas for showing us that we can socialise with our girls in public, and not just at the soft play café. We will be back.

Las Iguanas Brighton

7-8 Jubilee Street Brighton BN1 1GE

Tel: 01273 573 550 brighton@iguanas.co.uk

Opening Hours

Mon-Sat 12-11pm Sun 12-10.30pm

The pressure to ‘MAKE THE MOST OF IT’.

“You better make the most of it, they grow up soooooooo fast”

Cue wistful glassy eyed look from ‘well wisher’ as I peel toddlermonster up from aisle 5 in Tescos. Are you fucking kidding me?

This is my least liked phrase as a Muma, and by far the one I hear the most.

I am TRYING to make the most of ‘it’. I am assuming ‘it’ is what these ‘well wishers’ are referring to as The Early Years. I haven’t quite worked out what the cut off age is for when we are supposedly meant to have made the most of it by. I’m assuming it is when we get to burn the car seats?

Here’s the thing, The Elders (by this I mean parents with older, more civilised children) don’t seem to realise that pure panic shoots through me when I am reminded to make the most of it.

I begin to ask silent questions. Do you not think I am making the most of it then? Are you trying to scare me into becoming SUPERMUM so that I can better squeeze every last inch of life out of my girls before they turn into pumpkins at midnight. What more can I possibly do…

As a Muma I have good days, when my invisible cape is flapping in the wind as I single handily plough through soft play complete with genuine smile, chasing 2 hysterical under 4’s. I do make mental snapshots of these moments and hope that my sieve like memory will somehow hang on to them.

But if I’m being honest I probably have more of the mundane days. Where a coffee / wine combo sees me through the trails of raising a ToddlerNinja and MiniMadam. Where feeding them, getting them dressed and then distributing them to school, or nursery, or some kind of happy clappy group is more the order of the day. Am I supposed to savour this too?

Other than the occasional God given weekend away I haven’t missed a beat. Not.a.beat. I’m sure that’s the same for the majority of Mumas, of course work commitments and hobbies are factored into life. But on the whole, Mumas are there day in day out. Surely we are all trying to make the most of it. We cannot make time stand still, so why do these ‘well wishers’ want us Mumas-of-the-youngest, to dread a certainty? Yes our children will grow up, (god willing) in the same way that you and I will grow older, saggier, and greyer. Do we really need to be reminded?!

Within a split second of those ‘Treasure it’ variety of words being uttered I do an emergency scan of our lives: do I play enough with them? Do I take them out enough? Do I read with Darcie enough? Maybe I should take them out to more exciting places? have we taken enough photos, enough video?  Have we celebrated birthdays / Christmases / Easters / Halloweens /sodding Pancake days enough? Have I squeezed enough out of everyday?! Probably not…

Make way for: Muma Guilt.

Jesus I hate this feeling. Do we play outside enough? Do they go to enough clubs and classes? Do I shout too much? Do I listen enough? Do I make them happy? AM I MAKING THE MOST OF THEM?!

As Darcie is getting older – the grand old age of 5 next month, I feel this pressure weighing down on me even more to MAKE THE MOST OF IT. Time is ticking. Every day she is getting older.

But, dare I ask, might that be such a bad thing?! Can’t I enjoy watching my children grow, leaving nappies and those bloody dummies as a safe distant memory?!

I usually conclude that short of stringing them around my neck and swinging them for ear to ear, I honestly don’t think I could savour them anymore than I am desperately trying too!

The last 5 years have not flown by for me. It doesn’t feel ‘fast’. I have felt everyday. I’m not saying I have disliked each of those days, I am just saying I have definitely lived them, in all of their vomiting, pooey, snotty, tamtruming glory. So far I have not questioned where those years have gone, or how quickly time has flown. You can see where they have gone in the many new lines surrounding my eyes, or the deeper grey that has set up residence underneath them.

Perhaps I am just a bit worn out after 5 years of The Under 5’s Movement.

I often wonder why I am reminded to savour a moment in my life where I am treated as a personal milking machine, am ignored for the majority of daylight hours, used as a human climbing frame, must second guess broken sign language, have an honorary degree in poop management and simply do not operate as fast as my two mini-masters would like. Oh and of course all the while being not quite as popular as Daddy.

No wonder that when I hear those Make The Most Of It words an irrational anger bubbles up inside of me. I try my best ‘oh yes, I’m trying’ face. I Force a smile.

In my mind I have handed over the tantruming two and wished you luck, my friend.

Make the most of that.