A Sister for an Only Child

I am an only child. I think I fit all the stereotypes of an only child; I’m spoilt, I like my own way – I don’t like to share and I adore my own company. I never felt sad about being the only child in the house. I never felt lonely. I never felt as though I was missing out. At Christmas I had a hundred presents under the tree and I got my mum’s undivided attention. All was pretty good in my life – I had no complaints.

But I did have a cousin. Her name is Ellie. Unless she’s in trouble – then it’s Eleanor.

I’m on the left

She had long straight blonde hair like the princesses in Disney films – while I had untamed curls in a boyish cut. She wore beautiful dresses while I ran about in shorts and she was confident while I was painfully shy.

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When we were little we spent pretty much every single weekend together. I stayed at her house and went to church with her on a Sunday morning. We ate mountains of Ice cream and watched Beetlejuice till we knew every line. We could re-enact the whole of The Lion King. When we went to the beach she would sit on a rock and sing “Part of Your World” in the style of Ariel – I was Flounder.

probably talking about a little mermaid

We were obsessed with East 17, Disney and singing and dancing. I played on her Nintendo and we belted out “You’re so Vain” on her karaoke machine. When she stayed at my house we would giggle so loudly at night that my mum would constantly shout whisper at us “The neighbours! The neighbours!” which made us howl even more. We used to steal my dad’s letter opener and pretend we were Indiana Jones.

We used to believe that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were real and below every drain we saw. We repeatedly watched Tremors and ate bon bons. We went swimming and pretended to be French in the changing rooms nattering in our made up Allo Allo gibberish, “Regarde les bibliotheque couson Ellie!”

oh to have this figure again

We watched Romeo and Juliet again. and again. and again. We talked about boys.

We went on holidays together to Keycamp in France nearly every summer. We took her to Greece and my uncle and auntie took me to Greece too! Every single October half term her parents took us to Devon where we stayed on a Stoney beach trying to terrify each other for Halloween. We always dressed up   – it was the tradition.

As we grew up I started to become overwhelmingly jealous of her. She probably doesn’t know this to this day. To me she was always the pretty one. Boys liked her, reader: they did not like me. To give you a sense of how pretty she was, once in Greece a boy drove ACROSS Kefalonia (an entire island) to track our car after looking at her. My mum ran around shooing men away from her; “She’s fourteen! Get lost!” No one noticed me.

I wished I could be just like Ellie. The only thing I was better at was eating everything off my plate – something I’m still great at to this day.

As we got older, got boyfriends and went to University we drifted apart and she settled in Leeds. Of course we saw each other at the Christmas do – or on our birthdays – or for her wedding – but we weren’t as close as we were.

When, five years ago, my now husband and I wanted to move from Birmingham – I picked Leeds. “Ellie is there” I thought!

Over the next five years we saw more and more of each other and I finally feel like we are back to where we were. I love her with all my heart. I can tell her anything. She’s the most generous person I know and also completely potty in the most endearing way. My little boy idolises her. Special Auntie Ellie.

So even though I never got a sister – I sort of did. Ellie is my sister – and she always will be.

Yesterday she took me out for birthday drinks, because now we drink wine on roof terraces and talk about adulting. Underneath we will always be those two girls, drinking Ice cream soda singing the song from Beetlejuice, making up dance routines to ‘We are Family’.  I’m so thankful this only child got a sister after all.

my wedding day

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Phonetics, The N word, The C word and my two year old

mummy's writing darling

We thought we had it bad with our first child when he started grappling with the English language. We thought we had it bad when truck became cock, and clock became cock, and socks became fucks, and fox became fucks. Oh how we cringed. But WAIT! Enter second child – or as we call him “If we had him first we wouldn’t have had any more.”

He is three next month and is at the fully fledged stage of “make noises that sort of sound like coherent words but not quite.” We were completely prepared for the embarrassment – here comes the cocks and fucks we thought.

Oh no – this child is a game changer.

He has two words of choice. The first is – The N word.

The actual N word. Now we are pretty sure he hasn’t got Tourettes.

We are pretty sure he hasn’t learned it from us – or grandma – Great grandma could have been an option – but he’s only met her once and she’s not a massive racist.

We also haven’t been letting him listen to NWA – “Fuck the police” and all that.

We can not for the life of us figure out what he is actually saying. For a while I thought it might be “New Car” – but he keeps shouting it whilst looking at his brother. And he doesn’t work at we buy any car.com

It’s pretty much the first thing he says in the morning. He walks out of his room – sees his older brother and shouts the N word at him. (If you have any clue what he might be saying please send your answers on a postcard – before social services get hold of us).

Pretty much the worst thing he could say right?

Well – enter his second word of choice. Which generally immediately follows the N word – THE BLOODY C Word – C#NT!!!

Now it might be that he’s saying “can’t” like this Alan Partridge episode :

But in which case – why is he continually screaming at us “N word C#nt!” what can’t we do? And why are you being racist towards us? NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE.

I can’t take him in public for God’s sake. It sounds like I’m growing a tiny angry racist Danny Dyer.

If we have a third GOD knows what he’ll be screaming at the top of his lungs in a few years time as they seem to be getting progressively worse. “This is our third son, say hello!”

Cock Fuck C#nt N word twat wanker shit goo goo ga ga BOLLOCKS!!!!

Send help!

 

 

 

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Ten reasons why children’s parties are shite

Adult parties (I mean parties as an adult – not orgies or anything) are great.

I hear.

I don’t get invited to any – but what I imagine is that there’s usually prosecco in fancy glasses, nibbles (not nipples) from M&S, no cringe worthy party games and great talking points. I imagine people stand around getting pissed, some classic George Michael plays in the background and there is intelligent natter about Brexit and Love Island.

Children’s parties, on the other hand, are the worst. The absolute worst. They’re shite.

  1. First off when you arrive you realise you know no one. The kids run off together screaming towards the soft play and there you are with a GROUP OF STRANGERS. You might have nodded to them in the playground before but you don’t know anyone’s names. You need name tags – you know the kids but you can’t rock up and say “Hi Teddy’s mummy! How was your journey?”
  2. You have to mingle and try to think of acceptable things to talk about with these strangers that will make you terribly interesting and worthy of friendship (because you’re so lonely) but can’t think of a single thing to say. My poor husband could only think of the following opener with another dad “how did you find parents’ evening?” What have we become? The most boring mo fos to ever grace a soft play? Me – I have word vomit. Within about five minutes I was talking to a stranger about how racist Super Ted was. Why? I can’t tell you.  I really can’t.
  3. There are no lubricating tools – no prosecco, no wine – you’re basically thrust into an awkward social situation with name tags and no alcohol. You’re at an AA meeting in a f#cking soft play.
  4. There are no nibbles – there are only nibbles for the brats. And even though the nibbles are chanting your name – cocktail sausages, frazzles etc – you can’t touch them! Because the other parents will look down on you – for taking food off babies and all that.
  5. There is cake snobbery afoot. You have to have made it yourself to even consider yourself being called a mum. It has to be a great British bake off masterpiece. A fucking rainbow unicorn three tiered ensemble. If you can’t do that then it has to be bespoke made by a professional; a hundred tiny handmade sylvanian family members on the top. Mine was from Sainsburys.
  6. The blowing out of the candles is bloody terrifying. There are twenty kids sat around in fabric with the same flammability as a pringle – Pirates and princesses that could go up at any second. Open flames are not, I repeat, not a good idea.
  7. The party games are barbaric and only serve to make children cry. They are also the most excruciatingly dull things to watch. Have you sat and watched OTHER PEOPLE play pass the parcel? There is literally nothing in it for you. Like – nothing. And sure enough your child won’t get a haribo or a crayon or whatever and will come to you screaming that it’s not fair. If pass the parcel isn’t bad enough – musical statues is horrendous – it’s where you repeatedly point at kids that move and say “you’re out.” causing tears and misery. Who invented these things?
  8. They drag on forever. Two hours feels like two days. You have absolutely nothing to pass the time other than idle chit chat about the snow or recycling and watching your kid doesn’t catch alight.
  9. There are dozens of them – the invites keep coming in an ongoing relay of terror that YOU started by inviting a whopping 18 kids to your child’s birthday and now they will forever repay the favour. You are going to spend a lot of money on presents – until they’re probably twelve. All eighteen of them.
  10. You finally get to take home a bin bag full of presents that you then have the pleasure of seeing your child rip through the next day – and what do you get? A bill. And another invite to the same bastard soft play the next weekend.

Do you know what – I’m 36 this year. I think I’m going to have an adult party of my own (no orgies!) – I will invite all the school mums and none of the children. I’ll have a bespoke cake made with Idris Elba on the top of it. There will be Prosecco and NO PARTY games. I want eighteen presents mind. I’ll dress up as a normal functioning adult.

I realise I have used the following words in this post: Idris Elba, lubrication, adult parties, orgies and thrust – so I may meet some like minded mums due to Google search. 

 

The Grandparent – Toddler Handover Notes

Usual Disclaimer: Gee…I sure am lucky to live so near to my parents! We are so lucky my son has his grandparents in his life. I sure don’t know what we would do without them.

But I could do without the handover notes.

Which usually go a bit like this:

Toddler is thrust back into the house, after our much needed time off, looking rosy cheeked and full of gusto with a new attitude of “well now I know who’s really boss”.

Grandparents give me a carrier bag of half eaten brioches, soggy biscuits and a cup of squash that looks like it has been dragged through several puddles of manure.

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And the Toddler Grandparent handover notes commence:

1. First and foremost – we are told how much our son did not want to come home to us in any way, shape or form. We are told how miserable he is at Departure Grandparents, Arrival parents; You know – the ones who look after him 24 hours a day and the woman who barely survived a three day labour.

We are told that he started protesting and weeping merely at the thought of coming home to us when he reached our block – as soon as he saw the familiar streets leading up to this house – well, he had a breakdown. The poor soul. How awful for him.

2. Secondly – we are told a list of information about his bowels. If he has gone, when he went, what the poo was like! Shape, smell, consistency. What they did about it – never a straight forward: “Oh we simply changed his nappy, like you do 76 times a week.” No, no, always something elaborate because there was some sort of shit based disaster that meant he had to be hosed down in the bath like an incontinent Rhino.

“And you know, there’s something wrong with those nappies you gave us, or we might have put it on backwards and inside out – or on his head – we just can’t figure them out.”

3.  Accompanied by something they have ‘spotted’ while he has had his clothes off that is a major cause for concern. A pimple or a red raw arse (according to them) or a jutting out bone or a scaly patch.

“Have you seen it? I really think you should have seen it? Do you ever look at his body? And we are sure he needs to go to the doctors asap about it, or A&E. Are you bathing him enough?”

4. A detailed description of how much he ate while he was with them – Veg! Yogurt! An adult portion of Fish and Chips! Juice, more juice! And pudding (“although you know, I want to get him some vitamin C supplements because of the tone under his eyes and how he obviously doesn’t get what he needs when he’s with you”) and

“we can’t understand what you mean when you say he will only eat egg! He seems to eat everything when he’s with us. Ha … Ha…. Ha.”

5. A list of perfectly easy and simple things they couldn’t do when they were out with him.

“We just couldn’t fold down that pushchair after all, so we have had to leave it at the train station in Scarborough. We couldn’t figure out how to fasten those reigns….that nappy…that coat. We couldn’t figure out which shoe went on which foot. We couldn’t adjust the car seat so your Grandfather just held onto him for the journey!” (no of course the last one is a joke)

6. A detailed description of how much he achieved when he was with them. “He was obviously just in the best environment for personal growth”.

“I know you say he can’t walk, talk, read, count… but when he was with us today he ran ten metres, said Grandma and Grandpa repeatedly and counted to eight in Russian.”

7. A detailed description of how much fun he had with them.

“You know dear, I don’t think I have ever, in my life, seen him so happy! It’s such a pity that you can’t do things like this with him all the time! Such a shame he has had to come back to you – look how upset he is! Poor Sod.”

And they leave.

Us waving and nodding at the door, and promising that we will give him another bath to get rid of any encrusted poo, we will get that spot checked out, we will feed him more broccoli and have more fun with him.

“Take him out in the fresh air every single day and play with him. Don’t just neglect him! Poor bugger!”

They drive off happily.

Toddler screams and wails and stamps whole body onto the floor. I gear myself up for the long evening counting the minutes before I can put him to bed and have some rest.

Once in my bed I close my eyes and hear the tick tock of the clock counting down to the next time he can go to his grandparents.

Repeated Disclaimer: Gee…we sure are lucky to live so near to my parents. Grandparents are the best and we don’t know what we would do without them.

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Are you hoping for a girl? Are you hoping for a slap?

On Sunday morning I asked my husband from the comfort of my bed to fetch me our youngest for a big cuddle, (eldest was at Grandma’s). He was surprised – rightly so. He asked why, slightly afraid. The reason was I had just been reading a post on Instagram about a lady who had had a little boy who was born sleeping. It had made me cry. It had made my heart ache for her and my arms eager to squeeze my boys with gratitude. My two boys.

On Sunday night I read a tweet that questioned why people would want more than two children – it must be because they are really hoping for a different gender. This isn’t something that is new to me – as a mum to two males. I have been asked numerous times if I would have preferred a girl.

When I have broached the subject of maybe having more than two children I have had numerous questions, straight away, about “would you want a girl?” “would you hope for a girl?”, and one comment “you know, if you did, don’t get your hopes up for a girl.”

I always kindly say “no, boys are great.” and close the conversation. I know people are just making conversation. Maybe it’s a question I would have asked pre children; pre two boys. But ideas that IF I had a third baby, it would only be an attempt for a different gender are just offensive.

It’s not boys that are great (as I say to them) – it’s that babies are great. It’s that children are great. Yes – sometimes I want to rip my ears off to avoid hearing “mummy, choo choo choo choo mummy” for the hundredth time that day – and it’s inevitable that we can’t cherish them all the bloody time – but being able to have children and being a mother is a privilege that I am reminded nearly every day is like winning the lottery for others.

Through being immersed with other bloggers / writers – mums and dads – and reading daily about loss, pain, only last week – ectopic pregnancies and stillborn children and their incredibly brave parents – as well as a little boy battling cancer – do you really think whether their children are male or female warrants a rat’s arse thought?

Do you think, when I snuggle my two beautiful boys that I’m secretly entirely disappointed with their genitalia? Do you really think that my two boys are identical flat pack males who have a football in one hand and a spanner in the other? Do you not realise I have two polar opposite personalities who are mine. Who give me more joy than I could ever have imagined?

Do you think if we had a third boy we would say “This is Albert – our third – we are shockingly disappointed.”

If I should have a third child I am hoping not for a girl – not for a boy – just for a heartbeat and for health. Their gender is absolutely irrelevant – and if you have ever been on the cold leather bed at hospital praying for a heartbeat you’ll know this whole “are you disappointed it’s not a girl / boy?” is a load of bollocks.

Stop.

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