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.
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.
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?
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…
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.
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?
Lovely Mumas and Papas out there, I need your help please.
You know how parents tend to preach that we should not under any circumstance tell other parents what to do, and offering advice is almost pukeish? Remember those dramatic blog posts stating loud and proud that nosy Mable should keep her ‘How to get your kid to eat veg’ ideas to herself? Well, my friends; forget it. Forget all of that, because I am asking, no actually, I am pleading for some advice today.
The situation is thus…
I have a 2 year old (who will be a threenager in Jan), who has just said goodbye to her cot this week (sniff, I loved the cage). She was beginning to climb out of it and so it just had to go. We have replaced it with a toddler bed. It’s oh so cute, we spent ages talking it up and choosing bedding lining up teddies on it, yarda yarda . ToddlerMonster thinks this is a right hoot, for all things other than sleeping on.
Over on the other side of the hallway we have Darcie. Our clingy-at-bedtime 5 year old. Darcie has only ever fallen to sleep with me in her bed, listening to story tapes after we have read together. This usually takes about half an hr!
Our bedtime routine is crucial to my state of mind as my husband works until 9pm every evening. Meaning Bedtime is my sole responsibility.
I used to settle Darcie in her bed with the ipad or in our bed in front of the TV for the 10 minutes it took me to feed a sleepy toddler her milk. I’d feed Lila in her own room before placing her in her cot. She was either asleep by now, or she would cry for a bit but as she couldn’t get out she would give up after a few minutes and choose sleep. This would give me the chance to then go into Darcie and do our reading / tapes / sleep routine.
It was like clockwork, a total dream, but ToddlerMonster is growing up and the dream is fading into a distant memory.
ToddlerMonster no longer falls asleep with a bottle of milk. She can now just get out of bed willy nilly choosing instead to make evenings a total shi*tstorm. Darcie, who is now in year 1 needs to go to bed at a reasonable time, she is grumpy and over tired at the moment. The problem is that I can no longer settle her because we have a ToddlerMonster on the loose.
For the past week I have been waiting until ToddlerMonster literally falls asleep on the sofa and then placing her into bed, this is has peaked at 10pm! Meanwhile Darcie has fallen asleep slightly earlier on the other sofa… This cannot continue- it not good for any of us.
You know the game where you whack a popping up head with a hammer and then another appears, and then up again comes the original head. I just cant get them both down at the same time! Of course the association between hammer and heads are just purely for your understanding, and will remain a mere figment of my imagination…
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
How do you put a wilful jack in the box toddler to bed? How do I ensure my 5 year old also gets to sleep, in her bed?
I am in desperate need of a new routine. I am appealing to you all for any tips that could help me out here. Remember I only have one pair of hands, this is a single handed situation, Daddy isn’t home until very late. Please don’t make me have to call Super Nanny.
Lot of love,
An exhausted tethers-end of a Muma.
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:
How about a few delights from the clothing range for the kids.
Hot bags… always wipe clean, always gorgeous.
Hands up Mumas who love a good set of PJ’S, bottom right….
So there you have it – a little taster of Miss Kidston’s genius new line. I’m in love…
Happy browsing y’all.
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?
Have you seen the incredible video that is sweeping the internet of the Brownlee Brothers?
Here it is.. just it case it has escaped you:
At the weekend, in Mexico, the world Triathlon Series was taking place. Temperatures soared to 33c, after a 1.5km swim and a 40km cycle under their belt, the 10km run was nearly over. But with just 1.5km to go Jonny Brownlee fell victim to the unbearable conditions, and was seeing his chances of pole position slip away.
In an act of heroic sportsmanship Alister Brownlee, is seen coming to the rescue of his younger brother, Jonny in a way that has led the likes of Gordon Ramsey to tweet that ‘it was a truly inspirational act of sportsmanship’. And it was.
Alistair, already a 2 time triathlete champion saw his brother struggling, looking disorientated and ready to duck out of the race. Instead of speeding past him, he takes his brothers weight and runs part carrying, part dragging him the 1.5km to the end. So just to clarify, he did this after 20km of swim / cycle / run. Is he super human?! He then stops just short of the finish line before pushing Jonny in front of him, to finish in a triumphant silver medal position. What a total hero! what a sacrifice! Brotherly love at it’s peak.
Who is this Muma that has raised siblings to not only achieve incredible levels of athletic ability but also instil the Family-First values at the same time? I want to shake her by the hand. Muma – I salute you.
It got me wondering, how do we ensure that our children would ‘do a Brownlee’ if the situation should ever present itself? How do we ensure that our own children grow together with a sense of impenetrable comradeship?! They shared a womb, but that doesn’t mean will automatically like or respect each other.
It’s a point I haven’t really given much thought too since becoming a Muma. I seem to be far too wrapped up in our girls as individuals rather than encouraging them as a team. The 2 year old likes to bite the 5 year old. The 5 year old doesn’t want to play with the 2 year old because her ‘play’ is more like ‘steal all precious items’. I think its an age thing, but The Brownlee Brothers have most definitely got me thinking about togetherness.
Here’s to sibling love, and here’s to Muma Brownlee.
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…
AUTUMN HAS LANDED! *Cartwheels around the room*
So my secrets out, as much as I love the Summer – and I really do, I have a secret love burning deep inside for Autumn. Do you know why? I have an addiction to coats, boots, and bags. Basically outerwear! So I am eyeing up my old faithful boots, my beloved coats and big wintry hard core leather bags while it rains for the first time in like, a gazillion days.
With this obsession now at the forefront of my mind I thought it might be fun to trawl the internet and share one of my favourite pass times with you:
Behold the autumnal essentials ‘Add to Cart’ game. (Rightmove & fantasy holiday shopping being a close 2nd / 3rd)
First up is…
(I included the links, y’know for just in case…££ )
- The school run, cover ya bum, no harm done jobby and laugh in the face of a full on deluge, January style.
- The oh-my-god I need this in my life NOW coat. Ok, so it doesn’t look particularly warm, it doesn’t have more than 2 buttons on it for goodness sake. But my word, leopard conquers all for me right now.
3. Are you ready for some coat candy. Yeh?! Ok then, here goes… (I mean, we could just cancel Christmas and let the kids stroke the coat right?!)
This is where my fantasy ‘Add to Cart’ game is a wonder because let’s face it – boot shopping can be hell; Especially with my pint sized assistants in tow. In one tantrum they can zap all of the fun out of my favourite sport. Life can be cruel.
- I have been searching for the perfect Chelsea boot (like y’do) for an age. I think I may have finally found it this season… sigh.
2. Now, my husband would utter that this next beauty is the same as the Chelsea above – Good grief how wrong could he be!
Well, an elegant western, who knew!
3. Who doesn’t love a black knee high. A staple… ok I don’t actually own a pair YET. But I have been a good girl this year Santa…
And lastly, can we all have a good laugh at these please?! Think of the rain, how would we jump in muddy puddles?!! Topshop, how could you? *Shakes head, folds arms*
I can not forget my favourite of all the outerwear garments: THE BAG. Here are my 3 faves for Autumnal-bliss. I’ll go in price order here…
- A throw it all in delight – Mmmmm with those black knee highs… I might add that it also has a long strap. Totally dressing it down: 2 bags in 1, so actually only about £44.50 per look. BARGAIN.
2. Swoon* Grey, my one true love. and isn’t she pretty…
3. You know how I mentioned that this was a FANTASY cart, well here’s the fantasy:
See, I wasn’t going to let you down. This right here is a proper bit of bag porn Mumas. We like? We likey a lot? And how practical is it I hear you ask… wipe clean, check. Room for wet wipes & nappies? Check! This is totally Muma proof. There’s just the teensy tiny question of the price tag. ” Cha ching cha ching… ”
So there you have it: my Autumnal round up.
Now I’m off to get back into my Primark jeans before I hit the nursery run. Keeping it real chicks, keeping this shizzle real.
Let me know what you think…
There is SO much baby crap out there, all gleaming and shiny just waiting for unsuspecting adoring (petrified) new parents to splash their cash on.
Sharing is caring, and with this in mind I thought I’d divulge our top 5 parenting purchase nightmares with you… It’s not pretty.
1)A rocking crib.
What a seriously bonkers invention.
This at No.1 because it is without doubt the most rookie of all the bad purchases we made as parents in-waiting. The helpful teen at ‘Babies R us’ swore blind a rocking crib was a new born essential (I’m sure she knew best). Jolly good; we’ll have one of those then.
The first time I attempted to put the baby-that-did-not-sleep into the rocking crib proved that this ‘essential’ was in fact the polar opposite.
Into the crib she went milk-drunk. I looked just like a member of bomb squad edging nearer and nearer to the crib with the armed device, armed with this sleeping new born. One. False. Move… of course the rocking crib did just that– it bloody rocked all over the place. Bam and that was it: baby rave time, mummy cry time.
We tried it a few more times before we chopped it up and used it to re-board our fireplace
Desperate times call for desperate measures. And we were just that. Our 2 year old had never slept through the night, and never in her own bed. We were trying everything and anything to try and achieve just one night’s sleep before baby No.2 made her appearance.
Make way for The Gro-Clock. Promising that toddlers will obey its creepy sun face.
The Gro clock should come with a warning that you will only be able to figure out how to program the bloody thing if you have the IQ of a frigging genius. I don’t.
It is not simple to use. Even less simple if you are heavily pregnant, sleep deprived and quite literally a Muma on the Edge. When we eventually did get it working our daughter LAUGHED at it. We basically spent £25 on a night light.
Fu*k you Gro clock.
3) Skirts n headbands: Baby Accessory Gate
Ok let’s get this straight-
Skirts: They ride up. They look awkward. They show off the nappy to its optimum. And it looks SO uncomfortable.
Headbands: I tried, I really did; to dress up my baby’s wispy bald head. I was always paranoid the gypsy-style headbands would slip down and we’d have a horrific ‘strangled’ situation on our hands. More often than not she would rip it off her head and chuck it overboard. (She clearly has more taste than I do!)
Why did I bother?!
Baby No.2 escaped the wannabe Doll phase, onesies forever.
4) Holiday with a baby
(Ok this isn’t strictly an ‘item’ but I just felt I couldn’t leave it out of this Rookie list.)
Just why?! If it isn’t hard enough to look after a sub-1 human at home with the entire contents of Mothercare at your fingertips, how do we convince ourselves that a holiday will ever be just that?!
We were so lucky to go away with my parents and sisters when Darcie was 3 months old. A ratio of 7:1 is the ONLY way I would ever recommend a holiday with a baby.
The heat was too hot for her, the cot was too netted for her, the pool was too cold for her, the air was too airy for her, she wouldn’t sleep OR she only wanted to sleep.
How is that a holiday?! That’s just normal life thrown in with a touch of nightmare.
5) The baby sling
It was awkward. I swore. The baby cried. We gave up: Back to ebay it went.
I have seen serene ‘Baby Carriers’ in the real so it must be possible to front tie, back tie, strap up and pop the bambino in. I however found it impossible: frustrating and confusing in equal measure, and frankly a complete and utter bloody mystery.
I tried again and again to get to grips with Slinging. I tried different brands with ties, & knots to clips & Velcro. I ended up looking like id been subjected to Mummification; Wrapped up in endless cloth with a screaming baby hanging out of the front of me.Bugaboo I salute you.
So come on- spill the beans on your useless baby impulse buys…!!????