Calling all grown ups!

Be honest, reading the title, did you immediately think I meant you or was there a slight hesitation, a modicum of doubt?

The reason I ask is that I’m still wondering when, if ever, I will feel like a grown up. When I was a teenager, I’d see woman of my age, and think that they were so sorted and that at some point, in your twenties maybe, something changed and you were magically transported into the world of the grown up where you felt totally different.

This is yet to happen! And I’m not alone. I have spoken to several friends and they feel the same, a sort of Peter Pan complex. Although outwardly, I’m responsible and can be pretty mature if needed, (people even trust me with their children!), inside, I still feel like a teenager most of the time. I’m quite happy getting down on the floor to play with my kids, I laugh at silly jokes, I snort when I laugh too much, which makes me laugh even harder and I still seem to repeat the same behaviour patterns of my teenage years, I stay up far too late and am tired and grumpy in the morning and don’t get me started on ‘just a few drinks’ on a night out!!! 😀

It leads me to wonder whether any of these women I used to believe were proper adults, felt the same. From what I’m starting to discover is that you always feel young inside, until something will shock you into realisation, like going on a night out and feeling ancient because everyone else is a child and the outfit you felt on fire hot in is, well, not fashionable in any way! Or looking too closely in the mirror and seeing how old your skin really looks, or get up from an evening watching tv and your hip hurts!

There are some women, however, who seem to have been given the magic key to this mysterious world. They just ooze adult-ness, you know they never loose the vital school letters, they’ve completed their christmas shopping in august, they know how to budget, and meal plan. They also run things. Voluntarily. In their spare time. Which they seem to have despite having lives busier then the prime minister.

It would be very easy to feel inadequete in comparison, I am generally regarded with slight amusement for my scattiness, my only form of meal planning is when I look in the fridge at four pm, I try my absolute hardest to avoid being in charge of anything, I’m not a big fan of organised things in general. I am however, quite a lot of fun. I may be permenantly late but I’m good fun when I do get there, especially if there is wine involved! And I suppose I am more ‘grown up’ then I realise in a lot of ways, I manage the accounts, run a business, I’ve kept two humans alive for five years and I even volunteer in school, and they trust me to run activities without any supervision!

So in conclusion, maybe I too give off the illusion of being a grown up to others, maybe every one of the woman I perceive to be ‘adultier’ then me, actually feels the same inside. I also wonder if I will ever pass over into this ‘land of the grown ups’ myself. As I currently have pink hair and wear tights like this…. IMG_6350

……I’m not sure it will be anytime soon!! 😀

I’d love to know what you think, does everyone feel young in their heads? How do you feel? And how do you think you are perceived by others?

fartglitter

 

 

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My top tips for flying solo with children!

1. Don’t.😂

2. Visit the doctors in plenty of time to procure some Valium for your fear of flying, only a white lie, it is genuinely a fear, just a fear of flying with children.

3. Pack plentiful snacks. The boxes of raisins will be tipped between the seats upon opening and the one thing they have always liked will be deemed disgusting after two bites. If you are really unlucky, they will be completely unable to swallow the warm and super sticky contents of their mouths and you will not have any tissues.

4. Pack suitable entertainment. Surprisingly, the felt pens in the specific travel wallet were not suitable. We all wish you well in your new life as a high flyer pen lid. You were appropriately, (and dramatically!), mourned for an inappropriately long time.

5. When the trolley comes round, do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the peace and order a hot drink. This will be the precise moment that pen lid-gate will occur. You will choke it down whilst attempting to hold your tray flat as small people batter it from underneath in their search for the tiny and round roll-y item.  There will be a lot of exaggerated crying and standing on each other, making it extra difficult to drink through the gritted teeth you now have.

6. Instead order two wines on the special offer, you can chug these straight from the bottle with no tray needed and minimal spillage risk. They will also help the Valium that you managed to wangle take maximum effect.

7. When booking seats, ‘accidently’ book the children into a row at the back of the plane and yourself at the front. These online booking systems are so complicated aren’t they?! Especially if you do it when testing out the Valium/wine combination at home, for research purposes of course. 😉

It was almost worth the extra grey hairs I now have to get these amazing in flight shots. Perfect for my instagram, where I post an awful lot more photos of my life, come and say hi!  😊

Thanks so much for reading! I’d absolutely love to know what you think and what your number one tips are for flying with children. Proper ones will be much appreciated as well, we have to go back still!!

dragon    

  

Dear neighbours.

Dear neighbour,

You’re new and we don’t know you all that well so I couldn’t pop round and explain but I really really want to reassure you that Friday evening truly isn’t our weekly ‘torture the daughter’ event. All the screaming, wailing, begging, splashing and thrashing around, it genuinely wasn’t me trying to drown her.

Truth be told, I am awful, and mean, and so so unfair. I’m ashamed to tell you, this is very difficult to say, I feel like a monster but here goes……I washed her hair. Oh, and conditioned it too.

There you have it, I understand that you might feel you need to look the other way when we pass in the street, maybe we won’t get an invite back for coffee, but please just know that I’m not a a bad person, just a little clumsy, see the main cause of the particularly traumatic noise making was *takes a deep breath* some water went near her ear. It was emotional!!

Not to worry though, I am doing my penance and taking my crime very seriously indeed.

I am writing this from the naughty step.

Yours sincerely,

The Shouty One from next door.

2d204-bestandworstlinky

Things I have learnt about school so far.

1.The morning that you have everything laid out ready and perfectly prepared your children will wake up ridiculously early so you have far too many hours to fill whilst keeping the uniform spotless because changing routine to not get washed and into uniform the minute you get up will result in a total anarchy and confusion and resistance.

Then there will be tears.

Yours.

And you will be very nearly late.

2.The morning that you don’t set your alarm because your children are always up so early will be the morning they enjoy a lovely long lie in. This will also be the morning you discover that school child has taken her song book out to sing to her teddies, put her spelling book down ‘somewhere’ and has a whole list of places she thinks the bag itself may be, each place in a completely different part of the house to the one you are in.

You will end up very hot.

Will be near to tears.

And very nearly late.

3.If you are being ‘phased in’ as we are, you will suddenly find yourself with whole mornings to fill with a not too tiring activity that they will get really really into right before it’s nearly time to go and the then the ‘battle of the bottle greens’ commences. (Getting them into their uniform.)

You will end up being very stressed.

Probably near to tears

Oh, and very nearly late.

4.When you sit down, all peaceful and relaxed, maybe with a cup of tea for you and a snack for them to ask them what they did that day, they will have nothing to tell you. When you are on the phone to the tax man, whilst cooking dinner, with cbeebies blaring in the background, they will suddenly have lots and lots of information to volunteer. The other time they will want to talk in depth about what they have been up to is when you are trying to get them into their shoes and coat on the way out of the door.

You will end up very flustered.

Close to tears and…..

You guessed it, very nearly late!!

5.You will realise with a somewhat sinking feeling that this whole palaver is something you will have to repeat every single day. Oh, and discover that the old adage you’ve always heard really is true, the ones who live closest to the school really do end up being the latest!!

In conclusion, it has been a few weeks of tears, indoor and outdoor shouty mummy and some serious rushes through the school gates!

What I imagine we look like every single morning!

All (semi)-joking aside, it seems to be going very well once I get her there and she has learnt so much already. She looks so grown up rushing out of the doors when I pick her up.

That is hands down my favourite bit. When she is scanning the sea of parents anxiously and then the moment she spots me, the massive smile that lights her face up like sunshine and the way she runs into my arms, ponytail and book bag swinging totally melts my heart!

Here’s to many more sunshine smiles and hopefully a lot less tears in the coming weeks. I’m not sure I can bear to hear myself parrot repeat ‘You have to have your hair brushed’ one more time. It feels a bit like deja vu!! 😀

How is everyone else getting on with school? New starters settling in ok? School returners dealing with the routine again? I’d love to hear how much better it gets. (Crossing all my fingers and toes that it does!)

2d204-bestandworstlinky

The 5 simple signs that your child is overtired.

If lots of eye rubbing isn’t present to help you work it out, here are my five handy signs that your child is suffering from overtiredness. Or maybe that should say that you are suffering from your child’s overtiredness!!

1. Severe Unreasonableness.

An overtired child will disagree with you about everything. This can include the colour of the sky above you, whether they ate shreddies or weetabix for breakfast and even what their name is. (This stems from a genuine full day argument I had with my daughter when she changed her name to Hello Kitty and refused to answer to anything else. I am equally stubborn and refused point blank to call her anything but the lovely name I had given her. This was mainly because she had been exhibiting signs 1 – 5 for days and I had really had enough!)

2. An inability to walk.

This will be especially irritating if you are in a hurry. There will be feet dragging, exaggerated sighing and much eye rolling and huffing.

Pointing out that the energy they are wasting on their silly behaviour could be better put to use just walking quietly, will just make you feel extra annoyance because you will realise that at some point you have actually morphed into your stereotypical idea of a nagging mother and fun pinterest mum, the one you aspire to be, is in a corner of your subconscious, making sandwiches look like picnicking teddy bears and making under-the-sea mobiles out of toilet roll cores whilst shaking her head and tutting at you.

It will also have naff all effect on the walking ability of your child, which will only serve to add to your irritation and chiding, they will delight in watching you get more and more wound up.

3. Mutinous glares.

These will be frequent and if you’re anything like me at the end if a long week, come from both child and mother.

4. Tantrums.

As in the terrible two style melt downs but in a child who is much past that somewhat forgivable young age. A child who now has an acute awareness of what really embarrasses you and has hit on the winning formula of screaming at full, shrill volume over and over and shouting, ‘Stop Hurting Me Mummy!’, when you go anywhere near her, following up with sly glances around at disgusted looking passers by and triumphant, ‘whatcha gonna do?!’ stares at you when no-one is looking.

This just results in making you think that a smacked bottom would be very much in order right now, but having to make do with wild threats made through gritted teeth, things like throwing away every toy they have ever owned and banning tv FOREVER. They will remain totally un-phased, knowing that a) there is no way that you could cope without the back up of c-beebies when you are cooking and b) that their birthdays will replenish the toy stocks, either that or a plaintive call to a sympathetic grandparent.

5. Excessive crying.

About everything and anything. Including dragging up past events that were genuinely upsetting, like grazed knees or times when they lost privileges for being naughty and how mean and unreasonable their parents are.

I suppose it’s like the adult equivalent to watching a tear jerking film when you’re going through a bad break up. Only FAR. MORE. ANNOYING!!

It doesn’t need a number but the obvious sign that beats all of these hands down is when you find yourself in the fridge.

Reaching for the wine.

At 3pm.

On a Monday. 😀

2d204-bestandworstlinky

Train journeys with kids v train journeys alone. How one is so much better than the other, can you guess which?!

I have compiled this handy comparison for you in case, like me, it has been a very long time since you have had the pleasure of travelling solo, and have forgotten what it can actually be like and are starting to loose all hope. (Hint; it’s sooooo much better & you will get to do it again one day, even if it really doesn’t feel like it now!!)

Pre- journey preparation.

With kids: Arrive at the station a few minutes before the train is due to leave even though you were up at least four hours before, this is down to things like last minute clothing debates, (whether they need them on), hair brushing, (see previous post!) and a battle to fit all the travel ‘essentials’ into one bag that isn’t a massive suitcase.

These ‘essentials’ include but are not limited to, wet-wipes, four different types of minimal mess snack, more then one drink as you can’t all share one, (and really don’t want to, toddler snack backwash anyone?!), a selection of sticker books, toys that will be abandoned within seconds of being seen, special teddies and blankets and various other tat they absolutely promise to carry themselves despite all the evidence to the contrary, (every other journey ever plus the fact that you are already trying to stuff them into your bag!), oh and a few bits for you like the tickets, the money that will be with you precisely until the trolley pulls up next to you and relieves you of the lot, and a phone to call up everyone you know and live-share the trauma of the journey.

Without kids. Pop your laptop, a magazine and a few other bits into a bag. Kiss your kids goodbye and trot perkily to the car, revelling in not being the harried mother chicken for once, coaxing her reluctant brood out of the house by means of chocolate buttons.
Have a nice leisurely journey full of adult conversation with your lovely Dad, using full sentences and really enjoying an opportunity to listen to his answers for the first time in about 5 years, also not getting the ‘car journey neck crick’ that comes from attempting to sort things out in the back every 3 minutes.
Feel as if you have gone back 10 years. Get out of the car and walk to the platform, be shocked and amazed that you are actually 20 minutes early and have more time to chat, not for you the last minute flurry of desperate wees, lost teddies and hair tearing, edge of panic attempts to stop anyone going on the track/getting in the drivers carriage/escaping.

When the train arrives you push the button yourself and serenely alight the train, wave a relaxed and happy goodbye, find a seat and sit down.

The journey itself.

With kids. Attempt to find 3 seats together. Whilst dragging an overstuffed bag at the point of explosion, a reluctant toddler who just wants to see the outside of the train and a stupid folded up buggy because you missed the rack on the way in.
By now you are slightly sweaty and a bit shouty. But public shouty. Which is more through gritted teeth then home shouty, which is just loud.

Once the seats have been found and the arguments resolved about who sits where, the multiple seat changes carried out, the repeated recriminations about standing on the furniture dished out, you endure several hours of frantically attempting to point out interesting things out of the window while silently loosing the will to live when you faux cheerfully/ near hysterically attempt to draw their attention away from the other passengers and their funny hair/big tummies/weird eyes, (why does sound carry so much in a train carriage, I bet the person who had the life hack idea of using a pringles tube as a speaker

Real thing see!!

was a parent who had just got off the train with their young hyper-observant and very stridently voiced children!!), and alternate between opening and distributing snacks, retrieving toys with wheels from either the front or back of the train, depending on the incline, and trying not to let them drink from your water bottle with a mouthful of crisps healthy organic wheat puffs without offending them or damaging their self esteem by allowing your disgust to show through.

Without kids. Settle into your seat, open your laptop and feel slightly amazed that there is a plug socket right next to you. Consider for a moment how handy that is.
Start writing a brilliantly funny 😉 post about your journey and intersperse it with small breaks to admire the stunning scenery, read your magazine and listen to a quite frankly hilarious conversation between a mother and daughter that renders you unable to keep from actually laughing out loud, (instead of just abbreviating it), and joining in their friendly banter.

Exchange pleasantries with the person opposite you and feel a pang of guilt that you got the last tea from the trolley and your neighbour would have to wait half an hour for the next chance to have one, on a train in Britain to run out of tea seems unthinkable! Put your hot beverage on the table next to you and leave it to cool down a bit, then leisurely drink it at optimum tea temperature.

Plan your 45 minute wait at your change station with glee. Think about what lunch you will have and flick through your magazine to see if there are any clothes you like because if your foggy memory serves you rightly, there are some shops there and with just a tiny handbag and your laptop bag, you can easily pop in and browse.

Breathe a contented sigh!

The change.

With kids. Gather together all of your things, and their things, and the things they have somehow accumulated, which CANNOT be thrown away. Like the stirrer from the tea you bought but ended up having to hold in the air above your head until it cooled down enough to not cause any injury if, (when!), it was inevitably knocked over .

Herd the children to the exit, reclaiming the buggy on the way as you finally found a space on the luggage rack to wedge it, first removing the 8 suitcases that are pinning it down and using your foot to hold small boy against the wall so he doesn’t get shut in the automatic doors/off the train when it stops.

Realise that 45 minutes is either very long or a really really short time to be on a station depending on how the mood is. Look at the very cross and tired small boy attempting to release himself by biting your ankle and sigh becuase you know that it is going to feel like a very very long time but will seem impossible to get everything done in the time and you will end up late, running and shouty. Miss the train shouty, which is very loud, very panicked and draws a lot of attention from everyone but your own children who are busy looking in a shop window, getting their trunkis entangled and trying to get on the escalator going to the wrong platform.

Try and find the hidden lift as there is no way you’ll get everyone up the escalator safely, look round for someone to give you your prize when you eventually get to it, after all, every other place we visit seems to issue prices for making it to the end of a very long and frustrating mystery trail involving lots of cryptic clues and arrows that seem to lead you further and further from the place you need to get back to.

Referee the button push wars outside and in the lift, and try to stop buggy tipping over now that your overflowing,  seam straining bag is on it and small boy point blank refuses to get in it.

Try to look at the screens to prepare yourself for which end of the station you need to be on for the next leg of your endurance test journey, this involves not loosing the children on the concourse while you try and locate your destination on the giant screens that take up half the wall, not having a clue where the end of the line actually is, and so needing to read the rapidly scrolling text of every train on every station platform, going to the whole of the UK.
[Top tip. Most of my blog is tongue in cheek but we’ve not made it this far unscathed(ish!) without picking up a few pointers on the way, (the big ones like; never leave the house with a baby and no nappies or spare clothes. No mater how many times you changed their nappy that morning, there can always be more, and it will go ‘up the back’, and probably the front and out the sides to boot!), another more relevant one is; in a busy crowd situation, I get a child to hold on each side of the buggy which helps me know that they are close and safe. It will also keep them fairly occupied checking that the other isn’t letting go so they can tell on each other. It is a really good tip and works fine if they are both in an acquising mood, you don’t need to fit through anywhere narrow and they don’t engage in a battle over who gets to hold the carrying handle which is only on one side, very low down and really not that interesting!]
Then it’s lunch, where you attempt to find somewhere with enough room for all your -rubbish- valuable stuff, has food that everyone will eat, is near your platform and won’t require a bank loan to pay at the end.

Enjoy a usual meal of cutting up other people’s food, picking bits out of things and scrubbing everyone down with a wet-wipe before they touch you.

Find and board the next train, trying to keep everyone and everything upright, un-squashed, together and happy, and repeat journey with kids section above.

Arrive home in need of a good cry and a cup of tea. Secretly high five-ing yourself on your amazing ability to survive just about anything life can throw at you and idly considering putting yourself forward for the next Bear Grylls survival show because compared to that, it looks like a doddle…..plus it means several un-contactable weeks in the peaceful jungle. Ahhhh, bliss!

Without kids. Glide over to the information boards, find your train easily and note your platform, pick anywhere you fancy for lunch, even with limited access, spicy food or….stairs! Gasp! Then have a leisurely stroll round the shops, and mooch to the platform in plenty of time for your train.

Repeat journey section without children as described above, and arrive home chilled, relaxed and with another blog post under your belt, ready to kick back and enjoy the rest of your day, or in my case, have an hour to turn around and get back out for a wedding photography shoot, (behind the lens this time!), and off to a hotel for a frankly hilarious and brilliant murder mystery evening in a castle. Yes a real castle!

Slightly hungover attempting to emulate a creepy-as gargoyle!
Slightly hungover attempting to emulate a creepy-as gargoyle!

More on that to follow soon. Next time I have a long uninterrupted journey somewhere! 😉

Is the supermarket actually some sort of time vortex?

So yesterday evening we lost around 2 hours in a well known large supermarket! I mean, it has happened before, one of my besties and I genuinely lost 4 hours in a supermarket several years back! We had no idea how, I think it’s because we lived in a village with no big supermarkets nearby and so a trip to visit one was a whole day event. I don’t even think we left with very much and doubtfully any food, probably just a pizza if anything!

Anyways, this was not one of those times! This time was just me and two under fives! A trip to the toy shop preceded the supermarket, and so we started out with far too large toys in hand. We had already spent 20 minutes sitting in the toy shop car park attempting to rip all the packaging from the toddler Aurora doll, (Even her hair was stitched to the box! This is weird no?!*), and building this flimsy spiderman heli-seat that shoots some sort of harpoon thing and falls apart way too easily.

We’d negotiated the very heavy traffic that had built up in the time we’d spent in the car park, with small boy under strict instructions not to harpoon the driver or his sister, and parked up at the supermarket.

After a good five minutes of collecting together all the bits and climbing back in and out of the car enough times for the car wash guys to ask us three times if we wanted our car done, thinking we were new arrivals, we finally made it into the shop, albeit minus a section of the heli-seat/weapon launcher.

First stop toilets. Of course. Which had some sort of hideous damp problem and smelt far worse then usual. Which the kids were keen to take great notice of with lots of exaggerated nose holding and dissolving into hysterical giggles each time one of them declared at top volume; ‘POOOOEEEEY’, much to the amusement of all the people that came in and out in the ridiculously long time it took us to get small boy to wee, wash hands, dry hands and leave.

I’d decided to get them dinner out as I quite frankly could not be bothered to cook, we had, (still have!), no food in and hubby is away and so not here to nag about wasteful spending!

(Please don’t judge me when I tell you that they had a pasta and sauce dish with microwave steamer veg in for dinner the night before, (which they wolfed down actually!), and cheese slice toasties for lunch. I promise to get my act together! Next meal we will be having 8 veg stew with homemade dumplings. Oh fine, that is rubbish, I will just try and take them somewhere healthier! 😉 )

So we headed for the cafe. The food was actually really nice. The children ate well, but then the silliness kicked in half way through eating. Singing songs made up of random rude words, (luckily these are not actual rude words but ones they have invented, so only I knew how naughty they thought they were being!), snorting, blowing raspberries, showing off for the next table as they had  made the big mistake of laughing at something they did. Which I’m sure they regretted deeply about 10 minutes of annoying children behaviour later!

After food we went to get a basket. It then became apparent that we would not be able to get any food in the basket with big girl’s armfuls of stuff occupying it. Then small boy needed one for his toys, grotty napkin and half eaten apple. So we began our shop with 3 baskets. Which they couldn’t carry, and were also using to crash into each other.

Finally made it to the kiddy clotheing aisle and had just started flicking through the sale rack when small boy announces that he needs a poo. Now. So back to the toilets we go. With a repeat of the nose holding palaver from before obviously.

On our way back to the clothes, small boy is struggling so much with his basket that he is dragging it across the floor with some extreme huffing and puffing sound effects. A very kind man on the tills offers to put the baskets back for the kids, he isn’t even phased by the grotty napkin and apple, offering to bin them for us. (It turned out they weren’t finished with however. Small boy decided to finish the apple on his walk through the shop, depositing the core in the basket to get sandwiched between the new school t-shirts I’d picked up for big girl, ok and a few other bits for them, they were soo cheap, ready to roll out on the conveyor belt later on, much to the horror of the poor check out lady.)

Big girl had a pretty fierce battle with her inner stubborn streak but eventually decided to hand over her basket too, the overwhelming discomfort beating her need to not admit that I may have been right and it was too heavy for her to carry round. So I ended up with one basket, full of both kids’ toys, an apple core and soon a pile of few clothes.

Once we’d negotiated our way back across the store, touching things, looking at toys, stopping dead in front of each other, singing, dancing and generally doing everything they were asked not to, I resume my browse of the vital school items. (Ahem, read; beautiful sale items at such good prices! 😀 )

After approximately 30 seconds, big girl looks at me in a certain way and I know exactly what is coming.

‘Oh no!’

‘But Mummy’

‘No!’

‘I’m desperate’

I was not having it, I know it sounds mean but please consider the fact that in the toilet not ten minutes before, I had asked her no less then three separate times if she needed to go. Each time I was met by a resounding no. So my sympathy was a little low, my temper a tad frayed and my patience was already out sitting in the car in a strop.

Despite this, I am not evil so I did abandon the clothing idea and rush us off to get the milk and bread we actually needed. Although I then had to return there to put back the clothes items she had ‘thought I’d wanted her to have’, loosing small boy in the process. Luckily he was magnetized to a rack of superhero dvds and fairly easy to find, mostly because he was bellowing his sister’s name repeatedly and incredibly loudly as he wanted her to admire the spiderman film he’d found.

On the way to the milk aisle, small boy managed to trip over nothing and fall landing on his forehead. I have no idea how he manages these things. So I’m carrying him wailing, a red lump forming already, a large basket overflowing in the other hand with a daughter bouncing along beside me telling me earnestly how if a little comes out in her knickers it is ok. However, whenever we pass anything that is interesting to her, like cake, she miraculously forgets all about this so called sudden urgency!

Finally we get to the till, we pay, after apologizing profusely about the apple, get to the door……and big girl remembers about the toilet. Back we go, more nose holding hilarity ensues. Finally we can leave, lucky we had to go back really, considering we’d left a vital component of spiderman’s gyro thingy at the checkout and the lady called us over on the way past to return it. Very kind of her really, not holding an apple related grudge!

Thankfully the chocolate buttons I’d bought for ‘pudding’ worked as a fantastic bribe and we all made it back to the car in one piece with no tears, me leading the way, shaking the packets in front of them to keep them moving forward.

The one way to ensure full attention is on you and your hideously behaved offspring is bubblegum pink hair by the way! Guaranteed that people will remember you and grin when they pass you in the aisles after having seen your children doing very extreme arm waving in the loo with pinched closed noses and at one point lying on the floor playing peekaboo with their sister as she sat on the toilet. (I am not normally so easy going with hygiene but this was third visit, we’d been there so long I’d lost all track of time and by now I’d totally given up! 😀 )

*Afterthought re the doll packaging, I really wish now that I had left her crown stitched to her hair after the four billionth time of having to put it back on her head, usually when I am right in the middle of doing something that needs both hands!!

'Peekaboo'
‘Peekaboo’

Such a poser sorry!

WIN_20150808_145024

2015-08-07 07.01.06
Such a poser sorry!

Holidays with children. Aka how to bring on a nervous breakdown!

Sooo, after my last post about how wonderful things were between our two little monsters, I’m pretty gutted to tell you that normal service has been resumed, (although it does make for far better blogging material, silver lining in everything!), and arguments abound, along with moaning. Arguing. Fighting. Talking back. Screaming. Shouting and a whole lot of crying. If I tell you that yesterday on the ferry when I had to listen to see if it was our stop, that I said to big girl, ‘hey let’s listen to the man sweetie, we need to see if it’s our stop’ and she promptly put her hands over her ears and stared me out, does that convey the level of defiance I’m up against?!

She is really really stubborn and it annoys me so much as I know she got it from me…..who got it from my dad…haha sorry dad! (I know he gets email alerts on my blog…possibly not again now!!) 😉 So she will  match me obstinate stand off for obstinate stand off, just as I did as a child with my dad. (Sorry again about my bedroom door by the way, those hinges took a real hammering!) Small boy has so far been slightly easier going, although it looks a little as if he is going the same way now if the last few weeks have been anything to go by!!

It amazes me the things they find to argue about.

Aside from the usual, who sits where on the sofa, who gets to sit in the highchair, (yes really, almost 5 and big girl wants to be in there too it got so bad now there are 3 of them after it, we’ve had to remove it altogether!), we currently have a few holiday extras.

Who gets to hold Hermes the lizard being the big one. I have to admit that I get involved in this too. We are not cruel lizard catchers or anything, it’s just that two days in a row now this teeny baby has needed rescuing from the pool and warming up on a hand in the sun before he is able to move around again. It’s just whose hand gets the privilege of being a lizard sun lounger!

2015-07-24 12.28.47
Hermes, our new pet!
Everyone wanted a chance to warm him up.
Everyone wanted a chance to warm him up.
He liked hiding under my Garmin running watch.
He liked hiding under my Garmin running watch, (just in case you thought I liked giant watches)

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Who gets what colour spoon in their icecream. Who has the most mosquito bites. Who can swim better. There have been debates about just about everything you can imagine actually. I think yesterday probably took the biscuit though for crappy holiday behaviour though. Or took il gelato!

We have been on boat trips across lakes with the most dramatic mountains plummeting down to meet it’s shores, picture perfect villages tumbling down them to greet some of the most beautiful towns I’ve even seen. We’ve sat eating delicious ice creams in front of breathtaking vistas, eaten fresh hot pizzas topped with amazing things, like chips, (for the kids), and calamari, (for the grown ups), all topped off with lashings of delicious chilled prosecco, (for the kids…..haha, not, as if we’d waste it on those grumpy mini humans!! 😉 )

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They have had swims in the pool, in the lake and been spoiled rotten by our lovely kind neighbour, their Nonno Italiano, (Italian Grandfather), yet still they behave like they should be in an episode of Super Nanny, the one where Super Nanny turns to drink would be apt!!

Yesterday, as we sat on the ferry, returning from an idyllic island with gardens that made me dream of doing something with our scrubby lawn, peacocks, normal and albino, a palace filled with wonders, I posed the genuine question to Mr PB and my lovely friend who has come to join us for a few days with her small human, big girl’s friend, ‘do you think parenting can cause post traumatic stress disorder? Will we be in our 60s and plagued with flashbacks of this day?’

Although I was half joking, I sort of wonder if it is indeed possible to be traumatised by days out with your children?!

I think we were all wondering actually. Having spent much of the day trying to keep it together as the children took turns in the tantrum relay, passing the baton of tears at regular intervals, (I actually think there were times when they were fighting over that!), we looked like survivors of some hideous ordeal. I think it came very close to us all in tears actually! It was so bad that we actually went looking for alcohol at lunch time. We didn’t find it sadly, but the intent was there! 😀

I’ll just hit you with a few highlights.

  • When I went to get the tickets, although my italian is pretty passable with simple things like that, the guy in the ticket booth took enormous delight in pretending to misunderstand me as the ferry was there waiting and a large queue of disgruntled people was building behind me. I left there clutching the tickets and literally sweating!
  • The kids were so crazy on the ferry that a breastfeeding mum got up and moved as they were so distracting to her child.
  • We sat down for a drink in between boats and small boy who was somehow still covered in last night’s ice cream attracted a bee. Who told another bee. Who gave the shout out to the hive! I like bees a lot so we were careful not to hurt them but they were very persistent. It was so bad that when small boy went inside to help Mr PB pay, he literally had a trail of bees behind him. Which was actually pretty funny, luckily none of them are scared of bees!
  • We had one buggy. Which small boy refused to go in, preferring instead to career around reminding everyone of that one friend that always peaks too early and needs carrying around for most of the night. Unfortunately, both big girls did want to go in. Resulting in a lot of tears as we refused to let either go in. Especially as big girl is so big her feet trail on the floor when in it.
  • We decided to walk to a restaurant to have lunch as there was a queue to get into the palace and gardens. Once we’d fought our way to a table through the packed room, we sat down and realised that it was just a very expensive restaurant doing just big meals. There was another cafe on the island. The other side of the island. We decided to head for that one. Once we’d battled our way out, carried the damn buggy back up all the steps and cajoled, bribed, shrieked at and generally bullied our kids across the actually pretty big island, we were all pretty near tears!
  • We then found a table of older english  holiday makers who picked up on our obvious woe and started chatting to the kids to give us a break. The wailing tantrums were soon replaced by some very silly behaviour, including trying to make them smell their stinky shoes, putting their grubby little feet on their trousers and generally being very very silly and annoying. Then the people very sweetly made some spurious excuses and got the hell out of there! (Just to clarify, we didn’t just let them behave like that, we were admonishing and restraining but it was having very little effect as they kept saying it was ok!!)
  • A race through the palace allowing precisely zero seconds to actually look at anything, apart from the very large, very graphic room containing the puppet theatre that must have been used to depict hell, prompting endless fascination and awkward questions about the flames, skeletons, devils and general torture!
  • A forty five minute long tantrum when I revoked big girl’s ice cream rights due to bad behaviour. It was epic and was purely directed at me, the snotty, can’t breathe, can’t be out of your face, can’t leave you alone physically or verbally sort. It did however, result in us getting an entire section of the ferry all to ourselves, every cloud and all that!

Luckily today has been a much better day. I think carrying through my threats of no ice cream and no visit to Nonno for treats has had a dramatic effect on big girl’s behaviour and a chilled out, laid back day has calmed everyone down. Probably the trip to the toy shop for a few extra barbie dolls have halted the war too!

Hopefully for the rest of the holiday because I’m not sure I’ve ever drank so much and so regularly for years!!! 😀

Isola Madre is pretty amazingly beautiful! A few of my photos from the gardens. I particularly love the frogs showering in the fountain!

Scroll on down to the bottom for a little extra section. 🙂

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Also, I had so much fun doing my Allergic to ‘E’ Challenge, I’ve decided to turn it into a bit of a series and will be writing a sentence omitting each letter of the alphabet in turn at the bottom of each of my next 26 posts, just for fun really. So we shall start where all the best stories start, at the very beginning.

No ‘A’, No Way!

It feels impossible to write without this letter. Oh, but it is indeed possible to complete. I scribe referring to sunshine, swimming, drifting on lilos, wonderful birds doing flying jumps through the cloudless sky. Difficult though it’s been, I’ve finished, I’m feeling good, it’s not frightening like big smelly bog trolls one teeny little bit. 😀

Best of Worst