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I'm mid thirties, two smallish children, one delightful husband, one car and one mortgage kinda lady. We left the big smoke some time ago and live in one of the most charming places in England.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The price of sleep

Overworked husband living up to his moniker, catches a train at 0600 everyday. Youngest munckin gets up most days at 0530, so the day starts early in middle England. She’s snuggled in the ‘Mummy Daddy bed' chatting and playing by 0531. I am vaguely aware, but basically still asleep and she always seems well occupied.

But recently we have been given a respite as youngest has started having a lie- in… till 0605. That means I’ve heard the headlines on Today, the headlines are immaterial, but it is a useful to be told what day I’m embarking on. First thought is usually, shit no bread and two pack lunches, arrgh! We have done a Tesco run before school and yes I have made sandwiches in the car in the tesco car park. Just don’t tell overworked husband, he’d be horrified.

Anyway youngest stomps into the room the way small children do.  Is Daddy here is her first question. No darling you just missed him I reply. Then the sobs are uncontrollable. I’m now fully awake, 0606.  

I try the usual; Shall we call him, he gave me a big hug and kiss for you… nothing works and then we get to the bottom of it. The sobbing, the world meltdown for 3 year old munckin is because… Daddy has taken his ipad. ‘I want the ipad’ is now the hysterical voice emerging from the sobbing mass of blonde. I want to watch Mr. Foxy (Fantastic Mr. Fox has been downloaded onto the ipad).

She’s three, I don’t have an ipad and I’m late thirties. Anyone got a spare ipad, it could buy me an extra 20 mins in bed every morning!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

ENT Clinics ???

I must admit prior to having children I’d never heard of ENT clinics either ( Ear, Nose and Throat for the uninitiated).

It all started with eldest munckin, overworked husband and I conducted the most scientific home hearing test you can do…asking a five year old, quietly if she wanted a marshmallow. She didn’t hear us so 48 hours later we were at the doctors having a hearing test.

The equipment used is similar to kit used by opticians, in that it all looks like a relic of the old Soviet era. It’s the combination of colours and bulkiness/ugliness I guess. Anyway, imagine my emotions when after the test, I enquired of the jovial doctor if my daughter was going deaf. His reply; 'No, she is not going deaf, she is deaf'. 

Slightly shocking news on a Thursday morning, my face must have said it all. He then bounded around the room, telling me it wasn’t a problem, as it was that well known ‘Reversible deafness’. Really well known…I’ve still a lot to learn about living in middle England obviously.

Now this was a while ago and since then, we have had two trips to the local hospital to the ENT Clinic. The service there has always been exemplary, staff, doctors and nurses are kind, polite and knowledgeable. It was a moment of minor fascination, when the doctor skillfully removed a 1cm2 of wax, from eldest munckins ear.  I really am grateful for the NHS. So we have to wait a bit for the appointment. So when we get there the clinic is in what must have been temporary 1950’s accommodation. So it has paint peeling. So the door frame nearly fell off on our last visit. But who really cares, when all we need is to have good professional and qualified care and we get it.

If we think of all the places in the world where medical care is a rarity, our local ENT clinic however decrepit the building, would be warmly received. So how come when ever I mention ENT the first thing everyone mentions is the building…really who cares, it’s reversible neglect, unlike so many other ills.

If a close family member or friend suffers with deafness at any level, I wish them well and hope there experience of the NHS has been a good one.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Everyone's a winner

As soon as the cross appeared on the wee dip stick and I realised I was pregnant, I marched overworked husband down to our local bookshop and bought 4 or 5 baby/pregnancy/parenting books. I'm a big believer in whatever you want to do, someone has written a book, to tell you how to do it, kinda person.  I remember reading them all cover to cover. Eldest muckin arrived and I then can't remember ever having the time to read them again, or ever really using already acquired theory, in my extreme sleep deprived practical parenting state.Whilst most stuff is instinct, no one mentioned negotiation being a key parenting skill.

Until recently, both munckins used an empty baby bottle with teat, at night to aid sleep. Most children have something. This was a hang up from being a working Mum who needed sleep, I used to give in with milk/bottle in the middle of the night. Eventually, we gave up on milk, but the empty bottle stayed and it worked. They'd be asleep within minutes. Empty bottles became an essential.

Obviously, it looked a bit odd, but it worked, everyone was happy. But how was it going to end? That is where negotiation came in. The munckins embarked on a joint campaign to go to Legoland. If you love it there, great, but it is not our cup of tea, we think. Although we have never been, our minds flood with unsavoury images of queues, expensive snacks and plastic rain ponchos, not ideal. But they went on and on, other parents in Middle England had obviously given in before us. The munckins believed they were missing out.

So a deal was struck, we'd go to Legoland, we'd love Legoland, if the munckins together, did a week without the empty bottles. Rules were discussed...if one broke then the deal was off etc, You tube videos of Legoland were visited daily.

The result, we no longer use the empty bottle as a sleep aid, we chucked the lot. We will never have the panic of forgetting the empty bottle agin, job done. Smug parent moment. Well not quite, as we are now going to Legoland. So we will leave our cynicism at home, we will embrace the queues and if raining we will get the family pack of rain ponchos.

Munckins have the trip, we don't have the empty bottle and Legoland gets to fleece, I suspect, another middle england family - everyone's a winner.

Monday, 9 May 2011

The curve ball of children

I had this blog mentally written yesterday and was all set to write when the children were in bed today. It was going to follow the usual frivolousness of my world and I wanted advice on busting my 6 year old muckin when I saw her attempting to apply make up before school.

However, children have a habit of doing and saying stuff that can change the best laid plans, or in this case blogs. Walking home today, eldest muckin asked if I'd heard the story of the girl called Madeleine. Before she could continue, I knew she meant the story of little gorgeous innocent Madeleine McCann. I said I did and asked how she did. Apparently a few of the girls in her class had been discussing it at break time. Madeleine is now playground folklore.

Eldest munckin went on to tell me a school playground version of the case. The girls had been looking in bushes in the playground trying to find Madeleine. Eldest then looked at me and asked with big wide eyes, what happened in the end. If only I could have told her... they found her.

Should I be honest with her, it's no point changing the subject, she's too tenacious for that. So I told her the case, as we all know it. But now she's sad about Madeleine and now she can't sleep and now she's drawn a picture for Madeleine. Where ever you are Madeleine, I hope you are not sad, I hope you are sleeping and I hope you are drawing pictures.

Maybe I should have lied, but the world can be a nasty, mean place. What would you do?

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Loving being British.

If asked I would never describe myself as particularly patriotic but something strange and slightly inexplicable happened on Friday 29th April...I felt really proud, really smug...to be British.
If completely honest, I've still got a little glow about it 72 hours later.

The last Royal wedding in July 1981 we went to my Grandmothers, as we didn't have a TV. I spent the whole day feeling very jealous that no one had asked me to be a bridesmaid. This time round I was a little jealous of the Middleton Mum and Dad, for being so strong, so collected and so stylish, surely I'm not the only mother of girls who dreams of them living out their Princess fantasies. But I couldn't summon the same amount of envy for the Middletons as I had for Clementine Hambro ( the youngest of Charles + Di's bridesmaids).

I watched this wedding at home with family and best friend, maybe wearing my own wedding dress and veil was a little much, but it was definitely the best choice at the Street party. This was no ordinary street party it had a programme, a running order that started at 10am and finished at 11pm and I'm told a photographer from a national newspaper. I could almost emphasise with the Duchess of Cambridge.

Their was food, flag weaving, games, face painting, pageants, bands, cakes, it was brilliant and it all went without a hitch much like the Middletons day. But I wonder if behind the scenes for William and Kate they had a few of the issues that the Street party organising committee had. These were another reason to be proud to be British.

The committee was led, not always by group consent by 'Mr + Mrs Lived here for ages,  know everything and everyone. ' Committee Lieutenants included new residents  ( those who had lived more than 5 years but less than a decade). One couple, who were very dedicated lieutenants, made the mistake of booking a holiday, two weeks before the party returning  2 days beforehand. In their absence they found themselves demoted from the role as official ticket sellers. They complained to  'Mr + Mrs Lived here for ages,  know everything and everyone' everyone apologised, apparently a 'terrible misunderstanding'.

Good lieutenant wife then stayed up till 3am the night before baking and icing individual cup cakes for the party, for each table. She then, naturally enough distributed them post lunch, but crucially 1 hour before the advertised VIntage Tea. During the party if you looked closely for 5 mins at 3pm you saw two very well dressed ladies have a tug of war with a silver tray of freshly baked cakes, arguing about when they went on display.

True to form by 11pm everyone had drunk enough that everyone was tearful about this being the best street to live in. We'd witnessed dodgy dancing from the man at number 16, a impromptu bit of Britney from the Dad at number 27 and a very drunken snoring from the always so posh lady at number 6.

Was the street party more traditional than Williams and Catherine's day?