Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lice are Nice

No, really, they are. I’ve decided not to get hysterical about the hopping, crawling creepies that have festooned themselves in our household hair (my husband’s rather bald head notwithstanding). Instead, I’m going to rack it up as one of those ‘oh the joys of motherhood’ things and focus on the positive. Yes, like I tell my daughters, if you look hard enough, you’ll find the good in everything. (I so much prefer ‘do as a say, not what I do’ but hey ho, here goes)… the positive points of our family infestation.

1. We now all have really clean hair. Seriously, this stuff actually KILLS things..
2. The lice comb finally got out the three month old tangle in Daisy’s hair (it wasn’t really screaming, it was more wild whimpering on her part…)
3. I now feel like a ‘real mother’ with proper child-rearing experiences
4. It is preparing us for other such cringy creatures (“Just wait till they get worms!” my sister-in-law laughed helpfully)

Dear God, is there no end to the disgusting digressions our children take us on? As a little aside while I strain my brain for more lice positives… here’s my top 5 grim gross-outs:
1. lice (despite being nice, honestly… see above and below)
2. worms (even the anticipation of them is enough to make me wretch)
3. poo – everywhere, always, and inescapable. In nappies, on the floor, in the pants. It really is shit.
3. Vomit – on me. Everytime.
4. Snot – 6 months of the year. The height of horror when Daisy wiped her green goo away with my new Boden skirt. Actually wiped her snot on my skirt…

Anyway, I return rather hurridly to my positive points. Now where was I? Oh yes, number 6.

6. The shared experience brought us closer as a family (ok, nobody else would hang out with us…)
7. I can now advice other naïve mothers on what to look for, what to buy, and how to hide away
8. Our hair is really clean… oh, I said that already. But it really is VERY clean..
9. Even lice are nature’s wonderful creatures and must be loved. Even if that means loving killing them.
10. Oh Sod it. I can’t do it! Lice are NOT NICE! They are horrible, harrowing, creepy, dirty, nasty creepy creatures and I have exterminated them!!

Now bring on those worms.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's a Number's Game

Here was my day:

Number of miles walked taking Daisy to school – 6
Number of shopping bags carried home from supermarket – 3 (one a rucksack on back, two in pram squashed behind a crying Poppy)
Number of cottage pies I made? – 8 (2 large, 6 small)
Number of vegetables chopped for above Cottage Pie – 4 carrots, 2 onions, 4 courgettes
Number of buns made (for play date tomorrow) – 12 (with a strawberry on top)
Number of rooms hoovered – 11
Number of corners cut – 23
Number of toilets cleaned – 3 (plus one bath and 2 showers)
Number of trousers ruined by toilet bleach – 1
Number of items arrived from Boden (Hip hip Hooray) – 1
Number of nappies changed – 6 (3 of which would be biologically referred to as rancid)
Number of loads of washing – 2 (including emergency load at 4am after Poppy puked over everything in a 3 foot radius)
Number of emails sent – 5
Number of proposals sent – 1 (number of times checked for spelling – 17)
Number of items not ironed in basket – 63
Number of phonecalls made / taken – 5 (this includes 3 (yes, three) from my mother)
Number of apple pies made – 1 (didn’t want to but had to use last of apples from garden)
Number of rows knitted – 8 (had to watch Land Before Time with girls as they were scared)
Number of ‘I love you’s’ said – 5
Number of jigsaws assisted with – 4
Number of times I shouted at my girls to go to sleep while I wrote this – 5 (not sure if the last one would be classified as a shout or a scream)
Number of blogs written – 1
Number of Gin & Tonics I plan to have now – who’s counting?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Killer Food

I’m lucky to be alive. Really. I’ve had so many death-defying experiences in my life, it’s a wonder I’m here at all……. Or so you’d think if you spent time with my mum. The funny thing is, I don’t actually remember these calamitous childhood horrors, and I don’t appear to be traumatised by my early dances with death. But to hear my mum hover (yes, she hovers so intensely you can actually hear a soft hum) over my children, it would seem that life is one long list of dastardly death traps just waiting to happen.

It all began when Daisy was about two weeks old. I’d (so stupidly, obviously) placed her Moses Basket downstairs close to the table, where, lurking ominously a few inches away was ….. the Murderous Melon. Now being a new mother and all, I had never heard of killer fruit, and for all my voracious reading of baby bibles had never come across this phenomenon. So there I was, gazing goo goo at my little wonder, when I was scared out of my skin by the shrieks of my mother.
“What are you putting her there for? Move her away! Move her away!”
As I frantically looked around for the man-eating tiger, all I could see was the fruit bowl.
“There, there!” she yelled as she pointed towards the (very innocent-looking, it has to be said) fruit bowl.
“What??????” I screamed, fearing some exotic South American tarantula was somehow crawling towards my baby from the depths of the pears.
“There. There… the melon! It might roll off the fruit bowl and fall on her head!”
And thus the legend of the Murderous Melon began.

Over the last couple of years, the Most Wanted List has included the Dangerous Door (dangerous because it opens, you understand), the Terrible Tricycle, and the Sly Step to name but a few. As for letting them out of my sight in a shop…. my mum practically ties Daisy’s top to her handbag. My favourite however, has to be the Killer Crust. One day I’d cut the girls a slice of crusty loaf and pulled off the round hard edge to give them the soft bread in the middle. Daisy, ever the girlie, placed the semi-circle of crust around her neck as a necklace.
“No, No Daisy, don’t do that! It might strangle you!”
“It’s a piece of bloody bread mum!” I shrieked in exacerbation. “Relax!”
How on earth did I grow up to be such a well-adjusted (ahem..) adult – surely if this was my mum, I must have been cocooned in a cotton wool straight-jacket? But I wasn’t. I remember going off to play with my friends in the old deserted railway track and turning up back home when I got hungry. I must have played with dangerous doors and sat next to murderous melons with no ill affect. So why has my mum become scared of my daughters’ shadows?

I’ve decided it’s just one of the many funny foibles of grandparenting. Like taking twice as long to do everything, it’s just one of those annoying things - that bug us mums to the point of murderous intent - that we have to accept (along with all the free childcare and hugs). You see, I’m too close, too frenetic, too hassled, too frazzled, too preoccupied with the next ten minutes of tasks, I don’t have the luxury of languishing in worry about rolling melons and dangerous doors. My level of worry only extends to the main criminal characters – The Road, The Stranger, and The Dog Next Door. Maybe when I’m a step removed too – with all the love and little of the responsibility – I might just be afraid of the Murderous Melon too…... that is, if Daisy or Poppy haven’t thrown it at me first! Now there’s a thought that would make my mum laugh in satisfaction…. My melon demise. You can just read the headline now… “Grandmother felled by Murderous Melon…”
(PS. Sorry mum, you know I love you!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's good to talk...

A weekend of sleepless nights, high emotion, and hugs and happiness. Just another weekend with the girls…. Only this time it was my girl-friends

Four ragged mums decided it would be beneficial to all concerned (our kids most of all) that we step out of the fray for a couple of days and rejuvenate the batteries. That was the official line anyway. The less-tactful truth was we needed to escape the neediness of our daughters and sons, and embrace the solidarity of our sisters by putting on some sassy lippy and abdicating our responsibilities. Oh yes, and drinking copious amounts of Merlot. So off to Donegal we went, a four hour road trip suddenly an opportunity to talk rather than a challenge to survive; loud singing to Abba rather than the Wheels on the Bus; hang when we get there rather than beating the clock before the children implode.

Do I feel well-rested? Do I hell. I feel absolutely wrecked, and delirious with weary exhaustion. Do I feel better? Abso-bloody-lutely. We laughed, we cried, and sometimes we even cried laughing. We walked along a deserted beach, we ignored the kitchen and ate out every meal, we sunbathed (yes, we sunbathed. In Donegal. In September. In bikinies. Not a fleece in sight.) We confessed, we consoled, we provoked and we absorbed. But most of all, we talked. And talked, and talked and talked. And after all that copious amount of busty red wine was drunk? Oh then we really talked. And then some.

I haven’t stayed up to 4am without a baby in my arms for over 5 years! I missed my little girls of course, but I needed – for a little while at least – to be surrounded by these big girls, great, strong, vibrant women, of which it was life-saving to be reminded that I was one.

I’m as tired as I ever was in those endless weeks of nocturnal nurturing…. But I’m as happy too. Girls weekends are great – whatever the size those girls are. Now if only my hubby would agree to let me sneak off for a couple of days to recover…..

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to school

With much wailing, knashing of teeth and beating of breasts, the time has come to acknowledge that summer is finally over. School is starting and the depression has sunk in. I’m talking about me of course. Daisy is fine… my little ray of sunshine actually told me the sun was shining inside her tummy she was so happy. It was me that was wailing and knashing and beating. My long lovely summer of lazy mornings in bed (reading to the girls I hasten to add, lazy mornings in bed by myself are a long lost lament..), lazy breakfasts in our pyjamas, picnics in the park, playdates and playgrounds has drawn to a chilly conclusion, and this morning’s early alarm clock declared my rude awakening that autumn is here and routine has come home to roost.

But it seemed there was another reason I was in my reluctant to return to school mode… I trussed her up in her new clothes and with one final lingering hug I tried to reassure her about her new playschool. “Come ONNNNN mummy!” she yelled impatiently and she struggled from my strangling hold, “I want to go, I want to go, I’m starting a new school!!” I washed over the table top again, I had another toilet trip, I tried to put the washing out …. “Come onnnn” she said through gritted teeth as she hurried me out the door. She skipped down the road and I dragged me feet. “Come Onnnnnnn mummy, I want to meet all my new friends!” I hung my head in dread. I was beginning to realise that this wasn’t the way it was meant to be playing out. Wasn’t I meant to be the happy one? Wasn’t SHE meant to be dragging her feet?

I had to finally acknowledge that it wasn’t just my fear of her starting a new playschool – my chats over the summer to explain that she wasn’t going back to her old playschool because we’ve moved house obviously doing the trick because she didn’t have one millisecond of doubt about starting all over again with new friends. With a shock I realised it was MY reluctance at having to make new friends all over again. It’s ME that has to make new friends with all the parents, remembering their names, their children’s names, their children’s sibling’s names, their husbands (wives) names – not easy when I can currently barely remember my cat’s name! It’s ME that has to look like a good calming, responsible parent rather than the chaotic, holding-it-together-by-a whisker wreck I normally am so that they will trust me with their children. …… so that I can leave MY children with THEM! You see, if I don’t make friends, then I don’t get to arrange playdates with like-minded good-parents-in-disguise, I don’t get to watch my child flourish in fruitful friendships, I don’t get to build those essential “can you pick Daisy up for me, I’m stuck in town” relationships that make life bearable! She’ll be a looser with no friends and it’ll be my fault and she’ll blame me for ever, and never speak to me, and end up putting me in a home when I’m old and frail. Forget exam pressure - parental pressure is much worse! Anyway, can’t hang about writing this. Must have a bath, wash behind my ears and go to bed early. It’s a school night.