Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The horror...

What is the worst line you can ever hear?

'It's not you it's me?'
'We need to talk...'
'Hello, this is your bank manager calling - about your overdraft...'


The worst line is always uttered from the tiny mouth of some kid playing with your kid - sans parent. The line goes like this 'I need a poo.'

You point the kid in the direction of your loo - at which point Sproglet offers to help and you point out that maybe said kid would like some privacy, while you wish harder than you have ever wished for anything in your whole sorry life, that the kid can wipe it's own ass. Sometimes, like today, the kid will say 'No Sproglet, don't come in, it gets smelly.'

You gag and open a window, showing the kid where the toilet roll is before bidding a hasty retreat, while Sproglet talks about throwing poo out the window or the like. Then you hear the next worst line: "Hello? Can you wipe my bottom? I can't."

There is nothing quite as vile as having to rub off poo crud from a kid's ass, when said kid isn't your own. Even your own kid's aint great - but another kid - HELL ON WHEELS. You flush and flush and bleach and flush. Which is all well and good - but try flushing the whole scenario from your mind? Impossible. There are reasons why you only have other peoples' kids for short periods of time: 1. because you can't really tell them off, so the shorter the time, the less likely you'll want to string 'em up. 2. they are like locusts and will devour everything in your cupboards and fridge within an afternoon - within an hour they might only get through two biscuits, a banana, some crackers and a pack of raisins if you're lucky 3. Most importantly, the less chance they'll need to take a dump, ergo less chance you'll have to do the wiping thing.

The horror. The horror.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Gwyneth, a frog and a moral in the tale.

So I wanted to tell y'all a story about a little frog and his big adventure and how I ended up in his big adventure - and trust me it is a cute story. But I'll get to it in a moment. My head is all a-blaze with other stuff first.

You see today I took Sproglet with me to meet my old work buddies to snatch a quick coffee in their lunch hour. It felt a bit surreal to have Sproglet trying to avoid eating his cheese sarnies whilst coveting a huge chocolate muffin in the same place I used to trundle to for my daily caffeine fix. It was so great to see these guys, my buddies, the folk who have been my day in day out tribe for so long. But no matter what, something invisible has shifted and it's not the same. I still feel the same way about them and they still look exactly the same - but our mutual frames of reference are all out of kilter because they are still involved in world that I'm not. They are invested in something that I no longer am, they still have to work together, they're still a team. It wasn't anything they said, or anything any one of them did, it was just there, wafting between the toasted paninis and frozen coffees.

Then I took Sproglet for a haircut - and he continued along his theme of being the cutest, best behaved boy I know. As a pink/red haired lady snipped away and he made faces at himself in the mirror I grabbed a VOGUE magazine to flick through. Somehow I landed on Gwyneth Paltrow's interview. It was all black and white pics of her perfect abs and talk of her perfect ass, and perfect kids, and life and marriage and business and body (did I already mention that? sorry, it is just this article did - once or twice) and to top it off it there was her friend being quoted as saying 'Gwyneth's relationship with her Husband is 90% physical.' Good to know that Gwynnies great butt is probably a result of her swinging from the chandeliers with her veggie rock star husband. She's bringing out a cook book and has a blog that tells you the best places to eat (if you are a millionaire) and how to cleanse your bowel and film tips from folk you might of heard of like er... Spielberg and music tips from a Ronson. Now I've got nothing against this woman and her sculpted body and all her great culinary tips - but oh my god, could I have felt more inadequate as I raised my 10 pounds-over-my-ideal-weight-lard-ass off the sticky seats to pay for Sproglet's chop?? That's a no. Tonight I got an email from the local education board telling me that I'll find out if Sproglet gets a place at the school that I want him to go to (and he wants to go to) on Thursday and I caught myself thinking 'I bet Gwynnie doesn't have to worry about crap like this. Like proper, keep me awake at night worry...'

So to the frog. While my good friend Hannah and her family were here, my boy and her boys decided to play ball in our small but cute garden. The ball inevitably wound up falling down the grate outside our basement window - so Hannah's husband had to go downstairs, take off the blind, open the double window and hoke out the ball. He called up to us and announced that way down there, outside the dark window was also - a frog. Quite a big frog. And beside the frog was the lid to our re-cycling box that we have long neglected to retrieve. Inside the lid was rainwater filled with bubbles of frog spawn. Steve reached the lid up to us and we all poured over the life budding outside our dingy basement window. Then the frog managed to escape from Hannah's son's hands and leapt to safety behind our large cabinet in the kitchen - which holds every glass we own. We subsequently had to empty said cabinet of every damn glass and somehow manage to lift it and poke out the froggie so he could spring off to a life in greener pastures. This took a mere.... hour or so! Anyway, froggie hopped off and we have been left with all her little babies, waiting to hatch from their jellyish cocoons. There is something so wonderful about the fact we live nowhere near a pond or a stream and yet somehow this little frog, who fell into a dark window ledge and couldn't get out, still managed to birth her babies in water - she still found a way.

Life always finds a way. There is always a way through everything. So I guess when I'm having my 'not feeling a great as Gwyneth' moments I should think about the little olive green slimy frog. And how she survived, against all the odds.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Grass is always Greener....

Husband says I am never satisfied.

He has a point. This morning he got Sproglet breakfast and crawled back under the spare room duvet cover declaring he was ill - stuffed to the gills with a cold. As he reached over meekly for my hand, hoping for some sympathy, I found him mildly irritating. He had after all, been at a swanky dinner with all his HODs last night - one no doubt filled with fine wines (including dessert) and mouth watering dishes courtesy of an Alan Yau restaurant. Must be tough. I'd sent him a text asking him to hang out some washing when he trundled through the door, as I'd put it on and then realised I was too bushed to wait up for it to finish. Did he do it? No.

So I treated him to a long tale of CM's completed chores from yesterday. He looked amused as I eked out every tiny mundane activity that I had slaved through. Sproglet finishes at school at 3pm (he no longer goes to his nursery as the Easter hols are over and I am no longer at work) and has been banging on for weeks about wanting his Mummy to pick him up, like all the other Mummies. Yesterday I proudly strolled towards the gates,(no other Mothers there - think I was early) imagining a scene not unlike the beach one in 10, where Sproglet would run at me, arms wide, a face filled with love.He ambled towards me, handed me his lunchbox and promptly went back inside again. Great.

Now, post job, post Easter hols, post nursery life, I've got 4.5 hours each day with Sproglet to fill before bath time - which I know this is a good thing. Something I wanted. Craved even. But why now does it feel like the clock has permanently stopped and I'm running out of fun! Ideas! To! Do! and it is only day 3 of CM's new routine...

Plus there is the whole deal of what to cook every night. Sheeshhh - when did Sproglet get so fussy? Can a child survive on pasta, fish fingers and peas for the rest of his days? Hope so... Then there is the lunchbox trauma. 'Mummy I want jam sandwiches.' Sure you do. But I want you to have teeth by the time you are 5 - so jam once a week only. That leaves 3 days (he is in lunch club 4 days a week) of cheese. This morning - you've guessed it - he announced he doesn't like cheese anymore. Then there is the whole minefield of - what will the teachers think if I add in a frube? Are they good for a kid, or 'pretend good' and are actually full of more fat and sugar than a McD's milkshake? My own Mother used to tear her hair out trying to work out what the hell to feed me every day - was I a veggie this week, or back on the tuna that week? Now karma is having it's revenge. Roll on next year when I can stick Sproglet in hot meals club. He is gonna love them even if I have to go to the school and shovel it into his wee gullet myself.

Plus - all this new afternoon time means I have more time for Sproglet to hang out with mates - but we are still at the stage where I then have to hang out with the Mums too. All are lovely - so why can't I just relax around most of them?? I feel like some awkward teen meeting my date's parents - trying to find something to say and sounding odd, stilted, idiotic. I comb over every subject I know we have in common: kids. Packed lunches. Kid's parties. Other kids. Nit scares. Kid behaviour. Then I'm all out of material. I have been known to start chatting to Sproglet to fill the gaping silence, as I've run out of stuff to say. Me! Motormouth CM - run out of stuff to say! Impossible, but true.

All the while I feel my palms sweat and my mouth go dry and I flail around like a fish out of water - scared I'll swear. The summer stretches out before me as one long awkward conversation. I was so desperate for this and now... well, the writing is great. I actually feel that typing here now - I'm having an affair with my blog, when I should be banging away at the book. But it is a lonely old business - staring out of a window, wishing for inspiration. Lighting candles and creating an ambiance - which I am sure will make all the difference to my creativity...

I always want what I can't have. The grass in my world is always greener on the other side. I don't miss my old job for one second - the people and general chat - yes. Job - no. On my leaving card there were about 10 comments about 'we'll miss your stories/chat/tales in the office' which made me realise how little work I did - and how my main objective was doing the rounds with folk, nattering away. Now there is no-one to natter to. A cursor blinks at me as if to say 'hurry the fuck up.' There are meals to plan, activities to sort, laundry to do. I must get writing! I must get writing! Every second counts! Hurry - hurry - write, write, write!!!

Enough of my procrastinating. Back to the book. It'll be 3pm before I know it and I've got an awkward teen to turn into.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Ultimate Fear.....

I'll let you in on a secret. What I fear more than anything else (almost as much as birth and cockroaches)? Other mothers. When I walk into a group of women with babies I want to turn on my heel and run away faster than Linford Christie. The worst ever is when Sproglet gets invited to a party and I have to take him. Not one of those fabulous 'drop off parties' - no, the kind you have to supervise your kid for the next few hours. Except your kid fecks off to play and you are left sipping cold tea/weak juice and looking like Norman no mates, smiling inanely hoping someone - anyone - will take pity on you and engage you in conversation. Except when they do you wish that they hadn't...

My toes curl and I crave more than anything a large vodka in my hand (Grey Goose if you're asking) so I could at least flirt with a dishy Dad - if only there were a dishy Dad to be seen. But it's just a sea of clucky women and sugared to the eyeballs kids bouncing off the padded walls.

I try - I really do. I sidle up to a lonesome Mum and make small talk. But frankly - they bore the pants off me and I find myself wishing that I had the Hermione Granger ability to magic myself to another time zone - one where the party is finished - or that Sproglet will break into spontaneous tears and demand to go home. Sadly neither has happened yet.

Thing is - the kid thing (well I love Sproglet more than life and am so digging the age he is right now more than any other time) - dare I say - can become so monotonous. Would I rather be counting the minutes while some Daily Mail reading Mum harps on about nipple shields or would I rather be in a beer garden necking bottles of ice cold Corona with my old schoolmates?? I have come to accept that I just don't do motherhood that well. Sproglet doesn't seem to mind bless him. He is well fed, watered and clothed. He gets daily - almost at 5 min interval - hugs. He goes to zoos and parties and parks and movies and plays and runs and climbs. We eat cake for breakfast on birthdays. Or just because. We have fun. He is the happiest, least aggressive kid I know.

Still I feel somehow - odd. I've found a few like minded souls where I live - my new writer buddy is amazing and she is a Mother - so that gives me hope. But it really is like a club - one that I seem to abuse/break the rules the minute I talk about A. loving my job (or used to) or B. That I never want to be a stay at home Mum. I don't even say the C word and somehow they know - that I am different. And probably they sense I really don't want to be them. I don't judge anyone for what they choose to do - hell if it works for you - rock on. Ok, maybe I judge those breast feeders who are still lopping the remainder of a nipple into their 5 year old's gub - but apart from that I am judgement free.

The thing that puts me most off having another kid is having to go through the whole happy clappy sing songey group thing again. I would rather eat my own eyeballs in vomit. I hated them when Sproglet was small. Firstly, I sing like a man - which is very unnerving to a group of soprano women. Secondly a little bit of sick rises in my mouth every time a Mother shares her 'birth' story like a badge of honour. Thirdly Sproglet slept soundly through them all so I paid a fiver to be humiliated and listen to folk talk about their ripped apart vaginas.

The first year I found really relentlessly hard, I was lonely, unsure and insecure around other Mums. Do I want to do that again? I ended up on the happy pills which I am sure wasn't just down to my lack of work and Husband's crazy hours. Everywhere I go there is the fucking pressure about having 2 kids. Why?? If I did I'd pray for an Oasis to appear from nowhere - where Mums go to talk about good TV drama, premium vodkas, what's going on in the papers, how to invigorate one's sex life post kids, how hot Chuck Bass is and frankly anything other than kiddy related activities. This post is I am sure a carbon copy of many before. For that I apologise. Christ I bore myself, so I hope I aint boring you guys. I just came from a kid's party and had to vent. As I left I almost wanted to shout loudly 'Sorry I have to dash - have to see my coke dealer before my toyboy gets here for our weekly dildo-filled fuck fest. Saturday night rush and all!' You'll be pleased to hear I didn't.

Secretly - I wish I had.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Luck be a lady...

So I turn *whispers* 37 tomorrow. Normally I tend to begin my birthday celebrations a week before the actual event and string out as many cake infused/ cocktail drenched activities with as many friends as possible.

But this year I'm a bit mehhh about the whole thing. I guess the day I left my script editing job was filled with cards and cake and presents, plus Sproglet seems to go to a party weekly - so I'm kinda birthday'd out. Husband is taking me to Nobu to feast upon some great sushi in the evening and has been warned I'm expecting cards in the morning from him and Sproglet when I wake up. I may pop to the cinema to see 'Whip It' as I'm a sucker for Drew Barrymore and anything to do with a 'coming of age' movie. I'm hoping for a writing breakthrough (had a peek a fellow writer's first novel today and some others for inspiration and felt like 'why am I even bothering to attempt this?') and maybe a take-away coffee in the morning. And y'know what? That sounds perfect to me.

Since I've left work I've had more time to mull over stuff and lately I've been dwelling on luck - and why some folk have it in spades and others seem to never get a break. I once read a book called 'How to be lucky.' I tell you that the fecker that wrote it certainly was - the whole book boiled down to one simple line 'to be lucky, think lucky.' He managed to inflate it into a book and sell a ridiculous amount of copies. Thing is, I've seen some majorly positive folk - glass is brimming over, let alone half full - go through some really awful life changing events recently. People who deserve nothing but unabated happiness but have had to endure all kinds of woe. I won't betray my friendships by giving any examples here, but they have made me wonder why life can sometimes be so unfair.

So... without coming over all self-help book like, I've been reminding myself every day to be grateful for what I've got - rather than dwelling on what I don't have. So tomorrow, when Husband scrawls a card just as I'm getting up and I hear him call Sproglet to do the same, and when he apologises for not having had time to get me a cake and then showers about 5 minutes before we're due at the restaurant and when the day passes in a fairly similar chore-laden way to any other - it'll suit me just fine.


Vote - go on!!

If you fancy nominating me or any other fantabulous bloggers in the UK for a blogging award - please go to this site and do so accordingly:


I thank you lovely readers. Sorry for my shameless plugging.


Sunday, 11 April 2010

Could I be?

It was a Thursday - a rip roaringly sunny Thursday. One of those days when only good things happen. The night before one of my oldest friends and her family had arrived to stay for a few nights. They'd risen early and disappeared into London for a day of sightseeing, with all of us planning to go to the zoo on Friday. Sproglet could barely contain his joy at having two big boys to idolise - he practically didn't say two words to me the whole time Noah (8)and Sam (5) were here. Why talk to boring Mummy when there are so many other more interesting options?

I'd finished the massive clear out cull. It was day 29 of my cycle. Period due. Sore chest? Check. Dull swollen stomach feeling? Nope. Wanting to kill Husband and tear out his eyes to fashion into earrings? Nope. Hmmm... It had been month 1 of trying for baby no 2. Could it have happened that quickly? It did with Sproglet, but really? I know I'd peed on sticks and whooped when the smiley face had signalled all systems GO GO GO! But I wasn't convinced. I nipped to the shops and bought a pack of cheapie tests.

Did the obligatory weeing and waited. Nothing. 3 mins passed and then - a line! A faint pink line. But 3 mins had passed. So... what the hell does that mean? Quick google search revealed that it could just be a fake sign - through 'evaporation.' So - I did the whole process again an hour later. Book was was forgotten in my quest to know for sure. I rang Husband. I could be pregnant. But maybe not. 'Call me when you know for sure.' I could tell he was shaking his head at me.

Second test - oh - hold on. A pink line again. At two mins, but even more faint. Must have been about two mins, or was it longer? Is it evaporation again? No it must be right. Two sticks - two pink lines. Still I wasn't convinced.

After I picked up Sproglet from nursery I bribed him into coming to Waitrose with me and after purchasing his Ben 10 magazine, I bought a digital-no-messing-about-will-tell-you-in-no-uncertain-terms-in-black-and-white pregnancy test that cost a small fortune. By this stage I barely had enough pee left to take the damn test. As Sproglet splashed about in the bath the sign flashed up less than 30seconds in: PREGNANT!

When the flashing finished it stated I was 1-2 weeks preggers. Early days. I was thrilled. I couldn't resist sharing it with my buddy when she got back on a high from her day of touring - having met friendly folk along the way, yes, even in London.

So now I have a secret. One I can't share for another 8 weeks (fingers crossed that all goes well). I'm excited, nervous, thrilled and weeing for Britain already.

It was a sunny Thursday, when only good things happen. And they did.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Spring clean madness

Shedding is my new addiction. I can't stop. Everywhere I look there is something to be taken apart, de-cluttered and re-ordered. I am like a woman possessed and it feels amazing. For two years I have been working my guts out, with every second away from work devoted to Sproglet, seeing friends, trying to run a home - all the usual. So I have put off unpacking the last ever box underneath the basement stairs from our move. Yes, the move 2 years ago - almost.

But with no full time job - there are no excuses - the time has come for the de-junk. Drawers I haven't opened in the spare room since we put them there have been emptied and the contents pretty much binned. Many spiders are shaking their tiny little fists - all 8 of 'em at me as I have upended their snuggly homes in my utility room. 6 bags of junk went to the skip yesterday. More to follow today. Sentiment has all but gone as I ruthlessly chuck everything - including Sproglet's first b'day cards. I mean why keep them? His first pair of shoes yes, but cards? All my files upon files of me struggling to get presenting work - lists of folk who barely returned calls and their addresses (in the days pre email!) old coats, magazines, notebooks (how many notebooks can one person have??)all dumped. Feels liberating.

Once this streamlining has been achieved I can jump into book land. Clean house, clear mind and all that. Gotta run - laundry cupboard is calling me. Who knew life without work could still be rewarding?!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Hung up

So my Dad hung up on me this morning. In his usual childish manner he terminated a conversation because he couldn't express how he was really feeling. Same old same old.

I haven't really written about my relationship with my Father on my blog - I don't know why. Perhaps because it would involve me wading through such murky muddy waters that I hope to have long crossed and made my peace with.

Regular readers might remember this post: http://crummymummywhodrinks.blogspot.com/2009/11/first-time.html (wish I could do that thing where I just say 'this post' and it comes up all highlighted and you just click on it and away you go - but I am technologically brain dead - so any help on this - WELCOMED) about when I married my Husband for the first time... When I blogged about this event - for the second time -- it occurred to me that this news might somehow filter back to my Father, and so decided it was high time I told him the truth.

So... On Xmas evening, when we had all had one drink too many and were in fine spirits, I admitted to my Dad that Husband and I had indeed married twice. Once to stay together and once for real. He seemed to take it well - understanding our issues and why we trod the many wedding'd path.

Or so I thought...

My Mother called me this morning and having had an unfortunate conversation with my Dad earlier in the week - (they are divorced, she only rang him to find out the phone number to the local chopped log seller and no, that isn't a euphemism) she explained that he felt 'conned by me' and has decided to write me out of his will. Born of a materialistic family, of an upper class Mother and working class Father, (who educated himself into a higher class) my Dad has long believed that money holds the greatest power, ergo the greatest wound to inflict. Money, however, whilst it makes life sure as hell a lot easier - has never motivated me to do anything in my life, so being left out of his will doesn't phase me at all - but the thought that he felt conned by me did.

I immediately called him. Upon being challenged, he used the classic cliche: 'I have a right to my own opinion' - sure, but about what? I explained in a calm steady voice that me and Aussie boy had very little choice but to get hitched back in 2002 - yep, it has been a while - with his expiring visa and all... That we told NO ONE, that we pretended it never happened as we viewed it as simply a legality in getting to stay together on the same soil and then we got married full and proper and everything - for our friends and family and for us - to embrace and enjoy. I wondered if deep down my Dad was just pissed that he had spent money on feeding my guests (80 of them) on my wedding day - so offered him his cash back.

Back in 2004 he had initially told me he wouldn't attend my wedding if I invited my Mum's ex boyfriend to it (the man who had taken more interest in me than either of my biological parents and who I lived with at weekends from the age of 14 - 21). Then he told me he wouldn't make a speech - even as Father of the bride, and that he would leave early. It wasn't his 'thing.' I remember my angry tears as I raged at Husband-to-be that all I wanted was a 'normal' day - just one day in my life where my warring families would put aside their differences and instead simply focus on me. This after all, is the same man who didn't attend my Uni graduation as 'it cost too much for a flight.' (From Belfast to London, not fucking LA to NZ).

His catalogue of disappointing me goes so far back it would take ten years to list it - but I am the only bride I know who on her wedding day expected to pay for it all - until after the meal when I was wandering between the tables chatting to all my beloved guests, and my Dad sauntered up to me and proclaimed that he would in fact pay for the food and drink. Finally he had offered to contribute. On the actual wedding day - half way through it in fact. Which is lovely - having refused to be in a single photo with my Mother and I - yes, but oh my god, it was so hard planning a wedding and trying to achieve my little vision of the day, when I had no idea if he would help out or even attend.

And now - now that I have admitted to him that Husband I did the deed twice and are still together - 9 years on, with a beautiful child - he has an issue!!! Well I have an issue: that I have lived in London for 19 years and in all that time he has never once visited me. From Belfast to London is an hour long flight - and we live 20 mins from the airport. That true enough, we used to live in a flat too small really to play hosts to my Dad and step-Mum - but we have moved - 2 years ago almost - to a proper house, and still he has never once visited Sproglet - yet he has had my step-sister's two kids to stay EVERY fucking weekend since they were born. They are 14 and 9. I could deal with his lacklustre attempts to be in my life; his negligence coupled ironically with the egotistical need to be the 'big man' in my eyes; but I cannot tolerate it in my son's life. You are either in, or you are out.

My childhood is thankfully long gone - I have moved on. But in one swift phone call I can be back there. Bullied by a man who picks and chooses his responsibilities and flits in and out of my life like a butterfly on speed and all the while expects me to hold him in the greatest esteem. I love him. I really do. Which is why after all this time he still can hurt, he can still bruise.

So he hung up. Last time we fought on the phone was when I had gathered him and my Mother together to talk about my wedding plans, again, way back at the start of 2004 - each not knowing the other one would be there. My Mum took it in good grace - my Dad went nuts. He rang me that night claiming I had set him up. I told him to grow up. And he hung up.

He feels conned. Well hell, that makes two of us.