Be wise, immunise

I hate taking my kids for their jabs. The look on their little faces when they realise what’s happening… gah. But a grown-up’s gotta do what a grown-up’s gotta do.

This morning, I made the mistake of explaining to Eva why we were going to the doctors – her pre-school MMR booster – as we were heading to the car. I thought she might appreciate the heads up.

Having managed to extract her from the garden where she’d run off to hide, I carried her, sobbing, to the car. Getting into the doctors’ surgery was even more interesting as she elected to put off the inevitable by lying on the ground in the car park screaming, meaning I had to hand Alex over to a stranger while I prised her off the tarmac. Alex, unimpressed by being shoved into the arms of an enormous bald gentleman he’d never met, also chose to proceed down the tantrum route.

So far, so fun. Eva’s jabs brought on tidal waves of tears from both kids but we did it. Look at my brave little pin cushion. Somebody’s getting an ice cream later.

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….aaaand I’m done

Not blogging! Babies. Why give up something that you only do once a year? Oh, hang on a minute…

When I say I’m done with babies, I don’t mean that I’ve finally decided not to go and pick them up from my mum’s house and move into the Travelodge by the station (a long-held 3am fantasy). I mean that, at the age of 40 and three quarters, well into my heavy eye cream years, I think I’ve finally given up on the notion of having a third baby.

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Sympathy for the devil

I wasn’t feeling too great tonight and flaked out on the sofa for a galvanising five minute breather.

“Are you feeling poorly, Mummy?” asked Eva, looking concerned.

“I am a bit,” I replied.

“Don’t worry Mummy, I’ll be your mummy.”

“That sounds lovely, thank you!”

“Now, stroke your own hair and talk to yourself.”

Wot, no Calpol?

The cocoon

It was never my intention to update this blog all the time, or turn it into a ‘thing’, chiefly because that would’ve entailed finding out what a ‘thing’ is, and then doing it. It’s more a place for diarising life with young kids (because I am extremely forgetful), sharing the funny stuff (because I don’t have colleagues), and venting (because I usually do that quite angrily and out loud while I’m having a shower and I’m not sure if the neighbours can hear me through the wall – this is quieter).

I’m finally sitting down to write this post about life as a stay-at-home parent slash freelance journalist slash can you be a stay-at-home parent with a job slash no not really. It’s been percolating in my brain for a while and, unlike any notions I’ve had over the years to get tattoos, hasn’t gone away. It’s about the overwhelming blanket of nothingness that can drape itself over you when you stay at home with kids, and what it feels like to be under it.

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Coping/not coping

There are certain moments in life that come with their own handy phrases and clichés, and it’s only when you live through them that you realise how apt they are. Heartbreak, for example, is a throwaway term until you’re jilted, sobbing and clutching at your chest thinking, ‘Ouch, bloody hell, they weren’t joking!’ Even when the physical ache dies away, the conviction that your poor heart has been stomped to pieces can linger for years.

There are plenty of jolly little clichéd phrases, images and expectations around motherhood, too. Fraught mum reaching for the booze or the meds – mother’s little helper! Frazzled mum with banana in her hair, mum putting her purse in the fridge, calling the children by the cat’s name, mum reversing the car into a post box, wiping baby spew off her best blouse before a party and hoping nobody notices. Mum on a spa break having her ‘me time’ with cucumber slices on her eyes, mum in her mumsy bra and big pants with her ‘mummy tummy’ and ‘wobbly bits’, sobbing at NSPCC adverts and nativity plays, whooping with delight because her toddler did a poo in a potty then sending little Jimmy off to school with his sister’s ballet bag instead of his PE kit. Mums!

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A likely story

Eva, like most two year olds, has a fluid approach to fact and fiction and a slight tendency towards melodrama.

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Every bump, real and imagined, requires the immediate attention of a doctor (‘a REAL doctor’) and a ‘sticker plaster’. As she sorrowfully repeated to anyone who’d listen for a week after I used the wipers and screenwash to scrape bird crap off the windscreen, our car was ‘broken’ because ‘a magpie did a poo on it’.

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