Friday, 24 September 2010

Fundraising Ideas: Recognition Express

Fundraising Ideas: Recognition Express

some good ideas for the fundraisers amongst us!

Please sir, can I have some more?

A good friend of mine has recently published this blog:

I can actually relate to what she is saying.

For all the talk and bravado, Hubby has never gone through with his 'promise' to have the snip following the birth of our third child.

During labour and immediately thereafter I was adamant. No More.

Three months later my mind was changed and Hubby admitted, whilst hideously pie-eyed at a wedding, that he too would love a fourth (I have witnesses!).

I'm not sure where we will go with this. I am sure I am going to give my body a break at least after all, 3 babies in four years is more than enough to put one womb through.

However, I sneakily suspect there is a possibility of having an addiction to having babies. I love them. I wanted to have them. I have had 3 very different babies, 1 of which was so immensely difficult (and still can have moments) that my marriage nearly broke down and my husband really did have a breakdown.

After all of that, I know I would still like to have another one! I love being a mummy. It is by far the best job in the world.

Maybe it's the thought of 'even numbers' or my own parents complete balls up attempt at raising me that makes me yearn to be better than them. To achieve the dream family that I always craved as a child. It might even be down to my being an only child. (Dare I even suggest it is anything to do with my undying love for my husband to eternally reproduce for him!) Maybe, just maybe, there is a hint of not being able to stop.

There are of course many factors that need to be taken into account. The first being that we would need to move house. Our 3 bed terrace is far from accommodating the five of us let alone when 5 become 6. This in itself is a huge stumbling block as financially this is totally unfeasible for a few years at least.

So unlike my friends sippy cup view, this option is still available to me. Given that I need to wait for my body to repair itself and for the financial stability to comfortably move home without bankrupting ourselves I wonder will I then be too old? Will my children be too old to comfortably accept a younger sibling given they are all so close together and tightly bonded and then would it have to be two more?

For the option to still be there I am very grateful but I'm also a little scared that enough will never be enough.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Help. Christmas is upon me!

Well, actually it's not quite as it is only September. However, the supermarkets are starting to dedicate an entire aisle to festive food and every other advert on the tele is focused on pester power by advertising all the new and wonderful toys and games that children will no doubt be wanting from the big white bearded man. Anyone would think this festive event was next month not at the other end of this quarter!

My problem with this is that we have only just celebrated the last of our birthdays. The birthdays in this household are Boo- June, Monster - June, Hubby - July, Big T - August and finally mine in September. Pester power in this house began before my birthday this year and I am actually already fed up of having to explain why they can't have 100's of pounds worth of new toys because they are there, thrust into my children's faces because they have only just had new toys for their birthdays.

We don't spoil our children, we provide for them. We realistically look at what they have before deciding if they need extra toys to add to something big (train sets, race tracks, little people etc) and we look at whether they need anything new depending on age and ability. We compile a list of what they would like along with things they need (clothes, slippers, PJ's, underwear, bedding etc.) and let people choose what they want to buy for them so nobody feels like they have to buy something for £30 or more when their budget is only £5. The children NEVER get everything on their lists. We have tried really hard to educate our children to be grateful for what they get and 9 times out of 10 they prefer the smaller, cheaper toys to the more expensive ones anyway!

I just feel really pressured this year to indulge and splurge and to prepare all of the present buying before I am ready to do so. Friends of mine are already doing (and completing) their Christmas shopping and I am still trying to get my head around the change in season and the start of a new school year.

I am all for being prepared and spreading the cost but surely this should be at a pace that I am ready to do so and not when all the greedy business men decide they need to boost their income.

Our situation this year means that we will not have a lot of money to indulge in gifts as the children were very lucky to receive quite a lot for their birthdays in recent months so we have opted to indulge in the experience this year by taking the children on a small UK holiday packed with lots of fun festive activities and create some wonderful family memories that we hope will last longer than the noisy, battery eating contraption that 'Auntie Edna decides to posts 3 months later than Christmas to avoid the Christmas rush' to them. (This is something else that really makes me cross. If you're going to give a gift at least get it there on time!)

Christmas, for me, is about families. It is about watching my child in their Christmas production, getting up early and going to church, spending time with those that you love not about how many gifts are under the tree. It is about giving to others. It is about creating memories. It is about eating too much and playing silly games and taking photo's of each other dressed in your best (or worst hand knitted jumpers!) or slouched in your jammies all day watching movies. As long as we are all together and happy I don't really care who bought what. I just want to see the beautiful smiles of my children as we laugh and have fun as a family.

Most of all it is about creating a family memory. So thank you very much Mr Shop-Owner but this year we will not pressured by your consumer targeted marketing pressure to buy tons of plastic tat and spend our whole budget on crap we simply don't need. We will already have the best gift of all and it won't cost anything. We will have each other and that is what we will be celebrating and be thankful for this year!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Sleep and deprivation

A little while ago I can remember being able to sleep. I could sleep in until whatever time I liked or I could stay up all night out of choice.

Oh how the tide changes.

In a heartbeat my sleeping abilities changed. Drastically. Almost overnight if you like!

Once pregnant, I was uncomfortable and hot. Once my little T arrived, sleep was for the weak. Many a night we spent up doing the night-shift together. Taking it in turns to change the moses basket after my little darling threw up most of his feed (this now has the tag of "reflux" which wasn't a term in vogue when he was born!), or our bed as we were so bleary eyed it got pee'd on! I would feel guilty that the baby woke daddy and he would feel guilty that I should have to do it all. So we both did. Fair's fair.

As luck would have it by 4 weeks old we could get him to sleep an 8 hour shift. By 3 months we could get that 8+hr shift going through the night and then we were laughing. Even teething didn't really seem to disturb him too much sleep wise.

Until just after his 1st birthday that was. Baby number two had sent us a little blue line message and then the fun and games with pregnancy insomnia started pretty much immediately. Working part-time left me flat out exhausted and day time naps were a delight. Night time brought a new realm of uncomfortableness.

We introduced lots of pillows into the bed. The largest was nicknamed "Pedro" by my husband as it took the place of him in the bed!

The most difficult pregnancy comfort wise was followed by a baby that just wouldn't sleep. Colic was the bain of our lives and our marriage took a serious dent. This child was breaking us. Or was it the sheer lack of sleep? At 12 weeks we prayed for the day our child would sleep, wind free, throughout the night. It never came. I was broken through being up nearly all night with a baby that wouldn't be soothed by his father and up all day with my now toddler energised eldest son.

When J was only 4 months old, we had another blue line event. Yes I was pregnant with our third child. Not just a little bit pregnant either. Working back, baby 3 was conceived when J was little more than 8 weeks old. How we had time to do THAT I'll never know. The opportunities to sleep were far outweighing the need for any other nocturnal activities!

My third pregnancy was a little bit of a revelation. Not only did my second born suddenly accept and bond with his father, but my mind and body slept through the discomforts of pregnancy. I'll never know if either had a choice in the matter or if the over exertion of 2 lively little boys left me with no choice but a coma-like state at the end of each day.

I have debated in the past that perhaps, just perhaps, the hormonal differences between carrying boys and girls may have had an effect on the different pregnancies I experienced. During this pregnancy, however, I didn't care. I got to sleep. My second son didn't, and neither did my husband.

When baby no 3 arrived, a girl and named V. She came home the following day and low and behold my second born slept. through. the. night. OH HALLELUJAH!

So did she. Well, until 5 am but who's fussy?

So the subtle differences in baby's sleeping habits certainly realm at different ends of the spectrum. It is evident that no 2 babies are alike. The waking habits are also very different. My eldest is up with the lark, day in, day out. Nothing can make this child sleep in.

Four years on, nothing has changed. Apart from one small but significant factor. He now asks to go to bed when his is tired. This is certainly a revelation on my part having battled them all into bed for most of their tiny little existence. My lovely daughter will happily indicate that she is tired or fall asleep on a clothes line, idyllic springs to mind. My boys need constant stimulation and activities and still never tire. Until now.

I love school.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Seriously. Just go away!

I don't know what it is about my neighbours. They seriously have their heads stuffed up their own backsides.

I live in a bog standard, 3 bedroom, mid terraced house in suburbia. It doesn't have many frills, and barely keeps us dry.

My neighbours mostly have the same. Give or take, mid/end terrace.

So why oh why do they insist on keeping up with the Jones'??

We all have a modest living. We all live on the same road. Yet I am the only one who is relatively down to earth.

Get over yourselves.

Don't get me wrong. We are lucky to own our own home, albeit falling down around our ears and in desperate, constant need of decoration/restoration/demolition (delete as applicable). Some of us manage it on a moderate household income with 3 very hungry little mouths to feed. But we don't think ourselves above this area or everybody else.

We bought our home because it was in the right catchment area for the school we wanted our son to go to and because at the time it was big enough for our little family to grow in. (2 children in 3 years later we have now outgrown it!) Surely, at that stage that was an educated decision for the best of our child?

Never have we thought of ourselves as better than anyone else in this area but you (plural!!!) all think you're above and beyond it.

Neighbour A lives next door. We are adjoined. They are really noisy and inconsiderate to us having small children. They have just got married in a big lavish affair which they have borrowed money to the hilt to pay for and will have to pay off for at least the next 10 years. Their home is fully decorated (albeit bodged by the half wit husband who does stuff to get her off his back.) She made him redecorate their WHOLE house to accommodate some friends they had met on holiday coming to stay FOR ONE NIGHT.

Might I remind you neighbour A that the house that you live in, in the area that you constantly put down, you have in fact lived in since you were 11. When it was a council owned property that you were housed in. Your parent bought it when the 'right to buy' scheme came about for a MINIMUM amount. Not the premium we paid for ours at the height of the housing boom.

And neighbour B lives 2 doors away (the other way), They bought this home as their first property together when he moved here from Australia.  This woman also wanders around with her nose stuck in the air like her poo doesn't stink and actually thinks herself a better parent than I. (I don't profess to be better than anyone in the parenting stakes, I just parent my children in the best way possible which I believe will nurture my children in level headed adults.) You see neighbour B had her first child as I had my second born. You could see the mocking looks at my struggle to deal with 2 young children, leaving the house not caring if I had straightened my hair, ironed my jeans or bothered with mascara and completely exhausted with a newborn with severe colic and as I found out later I was pregnant when he was only 8 weeks old so no wonder I was so bloody tired. She left the house almost perfectly manicured, hair always done, attended all the mum and baby groups and breastfeeding in public wherever she got the opportunity while looking down her nose at me bottle feeding my child. I will never apologise for it. I have been the mummy of one and yes, having a child is NEVER easy. The adjustment from 0 to 1 is possibly the most difficult as you have to relearn things about yourself and come to terms with your previous selfish ways and adapt to being selfless. It is far easier to get out of the house when there is only two of you to get ready.

When my 3rd child arrived. Oh she had a field day.

Then she announces that she is pregnant with her second.

Oh yes, you can imagine that I allowed myself a small smug smile.

Needless to say, the second pregnancy was difficult. She did not bloom as she had with her first (who does!) and found it more and more difficult with an effervescent 2 year old to run around after. It's not easy is it.
She never admitted that she had been wrong.

What really has got my goat is that both of these neighbours are now moving house. Both are moving to the same road. 3 doors away from each other (again!) and both still look down their nose at my home, life, children, car, appearance with the same level of disdain. They both know that we cannot afford to move at this time and they rub our noses in it at every opportunity.

To you both I would like to say: Life is too short to worry about what my house, car, appearance look like. I live my life to the fullest for my children. We have fun together as a family and we have more love in our lives than you can ever hope to achieve. It isn't false or on the pretence that it is better than anybody else. It is real, honest love. It is love that makes this world go around not money. Or borrowed money for that matter. You really shouldn't judge other people based on appearances. Neither of you knows what happens in our home when our door is closed. Neither of you have understood when you made your judgements what it is like to walk in my shoes. Neither of you has the right to belittle me and my family for our monetary capacity.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


I do not live in a typical domestic bliss.

My life is organised chaos.

I have 3 children. It has to be.

What I really do not understand is when the shift in the balance occurred?

Ok fair enough. Women burned their bra's for equality and to be able to vote, own property, inherit etc.

I can accept that this was a necessary protest in order to change the ways of the world.

What I don't get is why when women are now socially equal (as long as you don't compare salaries) we are still expected to raise children including all the socialisation and early years development that is required to raise a 'normal' child, run a house including basically doing all the housework, deal with all the paperwork, deal with all the money, do the DIY, be an active participant in all the voluntary parent organised events at EACH of the schools/clubs/community groups that your children attend as well as be expected to work to earn money and not be allowed the opportunity to moan about feeling a little bit tired.

Don't get me wrong. My husband works. Hard. And does long hours as well as overtime and 24 hours shifts to help make ends meet. (and they don't often meet!) but he comes home from work in the evening and sits on his bum from when the children go to bed until I nudge him to wake up and tell him to go up to bed and sleep.

While I run around like a lunatic cooking, cleaning, sewing, repairing, painting, fixing, ironing, cleaning out the 7 pets that we own, washing, drying, emptying bins as well as checking the children, tending to them if they cry, doing all the paperwork, paying bills, shopping, learning and working until I collapse into bed aching from top to toe.

When did that become equal?

THE 3 R'S - Read wRite and Remember

My lovely little man is not the kind of child to be sit and 'shown' how to do something. He is quickly becoming a real 'boy'. All action, adventure and running, bouncing and jumping!

His second week of school has been traumatic to say the least. I have had to peel him off my leg each morning as he runs through a list of excuses as to why he can't stay there without me.

So, for him to sit quietly with his "little drawing cards" as he calls them and actually sit and write over the the pre-dotted lines in the shape of letters and declare "look mummy, do you know what that says? It says train!"

And he is right. He has actually sat and written over the dots and written the word "train" and is very proud of himself.

I am ever so very much proud too!


My role in society has somewhat changed over the years and it has left me wondering where I really fit?

As a child I was always a target for bullies. I was moved around a lot. I didn't finish any stage of education at one particular school, it was always split between at least two. I never had any real friends. I didn't fit. Anywhere.

As a teen I started to make acquaintances. No real 'best friend' though. ' Best friends came and went.

Then I met Mr X. He became my world. I don't think he particularly like me either. I know his friends hated that I got to spend so much time with him. It didn't last.

After Mr X. I started to find my own sense of self. Developed my own (albeit flawed) personality. I discovered who I was, what I liked and my freedom. I learned to love myself.

It is only really then that I started to make 'friends'. Not necessarily the right sort of friends mind you.

Almost certainly damaged by past experiences, I found it difficult to hold onto friends. Mostly because I am overly analytical about everything!

Moving away helped. A lot. Funny that something that I regarded as hindrance as a child was now my saviour?

Having my children has helped open up a new spectrum of people to interact with. Many of whom I would not have considered worthy before.

Are any of these people friends?

At what stage does someone become a real friend?


Dear Son,

I understand that my leaving you at school to go home with your brother and sister is difficult for you as you think we are off to do fun stuff without you. It breaks my heart to see you getting so upset.

Please do not try and escape from school again. You actually enjoy it once I have gone, so no more tantrums and tears at the school gates. 

Education is very important and will bring you fabulous rewards as you learn to read, write and interact socially with your peers.

It is really hard for me to leave you too.

I love you more in the whole world with chocolate bar eggs and more.

Mummy xxx

Friday, 3 September 2010

School Uniform *blub*

There comes a time in every mothers life when their child prepares for their first day at school. I thought I had this covered seeing as I have done the 'first day' thing at nursery and at two preschools!


It seems that I am set for a big melt down come Monday when my eldest boy has his first day at big school.

Today, for the first time, I managed to get him into the WHOLE uniform. I am not ashamed to admit that it brought tears to my eyes!

He looked adorable and VERY grown up all of a sudden.

I'm not sure if the impending sadness is just of heart swelling pride though. I genuinely believe this could have something to do with my losing my child into 'the system' and the inevitable changes that he will go through of which I have little or no control.

I know he is ready for school. I know he needs to learn. My concern is the unsupervised access to other peoples complete little sod's who irrevocably will have an impact on my child's personality.

He is a sensitive lad. He is not dry completely. He still has a sleep through the day. He turned 4 a week ago and is the youngest child in the whole school from Monday.

How does my maternal protection instinct extend to during school hours without making a complete nuisance of myself or committing social suicide on behalf of my child?

I'm really not sure how to begin to process any of this mentally.

I am sitting here indulging in the last few days of my little boy before he begins his journey into a young man. I hope his caring, gentle, adventurous, sensitive, loving, cuddly, smoochy, yummy demeanour stays in there. Somewhere.

He has the ability to blossom into a wonderful young man. I hope nobody undoes all of my hard work.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Birthday Blues

It's the day before my 29th birthday. A somewhat anticlimax.

Birthdays are inevitably full of disappointment.

A grand total of 4 birthday cards will arrive on time. My husband, my children, my husbands aunt, and my father. You will get to know each of these people well over the coming posts.

I am, today, restrained to waiting in for the delivery of a birthday gift from my husband/children. I have been told that if I don't sign for it, I won't get it in time for my birthday and invariably as my husband does not drive (can't drive, won't drive) would have to go and pick it up from the delightful courier depot 20 minutes drive away from my house in an area that smells so bad I need to wind the windows up as I near it.

So, here I am. Waiting.

I woke up this morning to my middle child, aged 2, thrusting my mobile phone into my face with the dummy inhibited declaration of "mummy! phone!". This is the norm.

My morning has consisted of juggling my 3 preschool aged children's eating preferences, staring at the mound of washing up that requires loading into the dishwasher, left over from last night when I was out 'working' (I will explain the use of inverted comma's later.) until 11pm. Husband was in charge of bedtime and tidy up time. Children got put to bed, nothing got tidied and I had to cook myself and him a meal on my return. Hmmm.

It just so happens to be a gloriously sunny day outside. One that I would have loved to have taken advantage of before my eldest starts school next week. The summer has been shockingly bad weather wise this year (and every other wise which I will also explain later!) and it might have been nice to get out down the park, the marina, the beach, ANYWHERE apart from being stuck in the house.

Depression levels are already rising.

My father has requested the company of my husband this evening so it looks like I will spend the evening battling my children into bed and if I am feeling generous, wrapping my own gift.

You see, my birthday is often out shined for a number of reasons; years gone by I was always packed off to my grandparents house for the summer holidays and if the new school term didn't start on my birthday I would get to share it in the warmth and comfort of two people whom I loved deeply, unconditionally and who always made me feel like the most special person in the world. I miss those years and I miss those people.

Sadly my grandfather passed away 10 years ago and my grandmother has never really recovered. Part of her died with him.

In later years, my then partner would make the effort to make me feel special with gifts, but at the price of being deceiving and manipulating and generally treating me like rubbish for the other 364 days of the year.

My parents are unique to say the least. My mother lives abroad. She has done for many years. Divorced from my father since I was a tot, it is clear that she should never have had children.

She never remembers my birthday (or my children's for that matter).

As a child gifts would often arrive late at the blame of air mail. As an adult, I don't even receive a card or a phone call or even a text.

Strange that the mothers memory of a 36hr labour on the 3rd September 1981 wouldn't trigger the reaction of posting a card or even making a call.

My father, well where to start. I will receive the obligatory cheque for my being related to him by blood. I won't see him. Ever since he met his partner of 9 years I have never seen my father on my birthday. Her birthday is the 1st and takes precedence.

In fact, everything else seems to take precedence over my birthday when it comes to my parents. It doesn't really stop at just my birthday.

So. The burden falls on my husbands shoulders to make the celebration of my birth special.

He is crap with birthdays.

The knowledge that there is even a gift arriving in anticipation is an improvement on the past 5.

For the last 5 years he has never prepared any gift in advance of the day itself. Normally dashing out in the morning to grab the first thing that comes to hand, regardless of whether I will like it or not. And normally something that he would like.

My children are too young to understand but 2 of them able to say "happy birthday mummy" tomorrow will be all that I expect from them and it will no doubt fill my heart with joy and bring tears to my eyes as I will feel like the luckiest mummy in the world to be able to enjoy that moment.

Am I wrong to expect the slightest bit of fuss to celebrate my birthday or did my grandparents set me up to fall with notions of feeling special and it being 'my' day?

This evening my husband will return on the last train stinking of booze and probably leave something on the train. The last trains arrives at 1am ish and that is how the big day will begin....