Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I have actually finished a bag of salad!

Last night I felt virtuous. Dinner comprised warmed sweet potato falafel, couscous and salad, and I actually finished the bag of salad.

Usually I buy a bag from Waitrose, with as many dark leaves as possible, possibly with betroot, and then after a couple of sarnies, the remainder of the bag festers in back of my fridge, only to be thrown away on the next bin day... all green and brown slimy slug-like. But no, this bag produced two main meal salads for myself and OH, along with two lunches of pastrami, picallily and salad bagels, which I took to an indoor play area for myself and Broccoli Boy's mummy, as it was my turn to provide lunch last Monday.

I really enjoy reading Diary of a Frugal Family and I do share a love for a bargain (I get this from my Mum, the Professional Shopper - and Returner).

My Mum and I like to play these games:
  1. What is the cheapest meal you can make? I won once with "Curried leftover Sunday roast vegetables". An ex-boyfriend lived on two meals - porridge and "Rice and onion fry-up". I think he's still alive today!
  2. How many meals can you get from one chicken? Sunday roast for two adults and a child, chicken'n'chips the next day, sarnies the next, and of course stock for soup. (I learned to freeze the carcass along with your veg peelings if you don't have time that day to make the stock!) Of course you don't have to use chicken, you can use a joint of beef (roast beef, then hand-mince it for cottage pie - my mouth is watering already).
I challenge you, fellow bloggers with hungry mouths to feed, to answer the above questions. I look forward to picking up some tips!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

'I'll never be a Proper Mum' - competitive crapness

I have just read the crappest article ever. And it was in the Guardian, which I usually buy on Saturdays (mainly for The Guide I have to admit). barenakedmummy wrote (on the same blog template as me, spooky to read) that she isn't an alpha mummy and doesn't care, in response to the Guardian article 'I'll never be a Proper Mum'. Barenakedmummy's article was funny and I identified with it. But the Guardian article? Now I don't mean to diss the writer, in fairness it was well written and it did keep me entertained, but I don't for a minute believe it is true.

The article precised into a couple of lines - and I'm paraphrasing here:
I am not a proper mummy, you know those mummies who turn up to nursery/school in their Cath Kidston wellies with organic lunch boxes, I hate playdates cos I hate the other "proper" mums, when I see a proper mum I feel 13 again and inadequate.

Where did all this competitive "I'm crap"ness come from? When I was studying for my O levels, it was cool to say Oh I didn't revise at all for that exam, having actually crammed every night for the past two months. It wasn't cool. So these must be the same mums. The mums who hate NCTers and mumsnetters.

The proper mum they talk of is a myth... the true Alpha Mummy from The Times, hilariously written ... GOT TO BE tongue in cheek.

So here are a couple of comments on why yes, you are crap:
  1. If you don't like your child's friends parents, then you messed up somewhere. I can think of nothing nicer than playdates with my son's friends' mums.
  2. If you can't remember to buy a chocolate egg before you are supposed to, how did you manage to hold down a job? We all forget things from time to time, but you must always have been like that.
  3. If you have to fish a uniform out of the laundry basket, don't crow about it - we all do it, that's why they invented Febreze. We just keep quiet about it. It's called daily life.
  4. If you can't continue the Baby Signing Class because everyone else has progressed further than you, then don't choose to do something based on how it looks to everyone else, instead choose something you'd actually like to do with your child, or heaven forbid, that your child might like.
The write asks "What am I trying to prove to myself?" - only that you're way crapper than everyone else. Well done, you've certainly showed that to me! Enjoy life, calm down a bit and stop competing about how crap you are. Why not go and make a papier mache pig? You might actually enjoy it.

Friday, 26 March 2010

My perfect Fun Day Friday

It hit me today, Elf goes to school in six months time. SIX months. SIX? I keep thinking it's at least nine months away, but of course it's creeping up. Like David Bowie sang - turn and face the change. Changes ...
  • Bye bye group of pals at nursery as only he is going to his school
  • Elf's "working week" will be longer - not just Tuesday to Thursday
  • My working week will be longer too - I'll have just Fridays off instead of Mondays and Fridays now
  • Our perfect Fun Day Fridays will change and this is the hardest thing to get my head around.
Elf's best friend is Woody, and ever since our evening NCT meetings when heavily pregnant, his mum F and I have been joined at the baby hip carrier. Preschool has since restricted our playdates together but Fridays are still our Fun Days. Our club du jour is trampolining on Friday mornings (and I am about to feel even more of a mum as Elf got Badge Two this week to sew on!). An hour of bouncing, tucking and star jumping, followed by horse-vaulting into pits, they love it. I however do not, having yet to trampoline without wanting to wee!

Lunchtime beckoned at Woody's house - sandwiches made by the kids earlier were name-tagged and placed in the fridge. The babes were shattered after the gym collapsing on the sofa to watch a couple of Peppa Pigs.

Then it was off to meet Miss T, head girl in the making, and her mummy S at our local indoor play area. We always have a wet and dry plan and the weather was playing games with us. With the benefit of hindsight, we probably unwisely chose to stay indoors but at least it was quiet in there.

Whilst best of friends, Elf and Woody tend to wrestle which inevitably ends up in a war wound or two. Today Elf had a carpet burn on his elbow, of which he seemed very proud. Miss T tends to report what really went on, so we get the proper story of who started it!

Two hours later, off we trekked to Pizza Hat (as Elf calls it, because you get hats to colour in silly). As Elf's daddy is off enjoying himself in Estonia for a few days, it's only fair that we enjoy ourselves too. Luckily Miss T and Woody'n'Jessie joined us too.

Dodging the late rain, we rushed indoors at 6.30pm. Both shattered. Both having had a great day. Me already lamenting the perfect Fun Day Fridays ending in August. Me promising to enjoy every sunny day we can before Big School.

Thank you to my friends for our Fun Day Fridays - these are of course our play dates too.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The curse of the Novelty Parent going out

Daddy is Novelty Parent. With Mummy, moan whinge whine. Door goes, in walks Daddy and the mood lifts immediately. (Elf's not mine!)

My OH usually works late-ish 7.30pm I consider to be reasonable so he can do bath'n'bed (I hate bathtime, something to do with my straightened hair being splashed and going curly I think). I won't do a Poor Me here, I have friends whose OHs are out all night (working I might add!) and others whose OHs finish at 4pm to cook the family dinner, but then work bank holidays. I'm probably middle-of-the-road Poor Me.

(And don't let's revisit the arguments that start "So how come you can finish early to go out with your mates, but you can't finish early for a family dinner?".)

OH's work (and stress level) is building up and home times this week have been around 9pm. I have also had a case of mummyflu this week (that's where you are ill but you still have to get up to take your child to nursery so you may as well go to work). Result - I'm tired. Last night OH went out with some old work friends, that's not a problem as he doesn't go out that much and I went out on Monday night to see a gig (get me, New Young Pony Club, I'm so down with the kids).

The problem was that Novelty Parent put in an appearance ten minutes before bedtime to change his clothes.

7.30pm Start bedtime.
I want Daddy.
Daddy's gone out, we said Bye to him just now.
I don't want to sleep on my own. I want to sleep with you and when Daddy comes back I'll get out of his bed.
Well all children sleep on their own.
Woody doesn't as his baby brother is in the same room as him.
Hmm (I'm caught out there.)
Why doesn't Daddy build another bed for you in the bathroom (BATHROOM?) and I'll sleep with him.
Mummies and daddies sleep together. You know you asked for a sister called Melon the other day? Well that won't happen unless we... oops.
What Mummy?
Never mind. To bed!

8.15pm He calmed down by this time. I collapsed on the sofa.

8.20 - 9.00pm Repeated trips upstairs to a sobbing boy who wanted his daddy. What could I do? Nothing but hug him. He was sobbing his heart out so much, I had to turn his pillow over. These were not the I Want My Own Way crocodile tears. Real I Miss My Daddy tears.

Does he ever play up when Daddy puts him to bed? No! Does anyone else find that their children's behaviour changes when the Novelty Parent is away for a while? Sometimes it's just better when Novelty Parent doesn't put in a short appearance.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

My first photo meme - a deconstructionist at lunch

Thanks to London City Mum who tagged me for my first meme ever. I am a bit nervous doing it, is there a rule that you don't do memes on a Wednesday as it's a wordless day or something? Anyway I'll just muddle along...

The instructions:
1. Open the first (oldest) photo folder in your computer library
2. Scroll to the 10th photo
3. Post the photo and the story behind it
4. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread.

Here is my little(r) Elf aged two and a bit, two years ago. He is having his lunch in our dining room. Do I spy an Easter card behind him?

I must firstly admit that this isn't the tenth photo, but the 11th. The correct one was unsuitable for this posting; my friend Hannah (a still superfit ex fire fighter) was breastfeeding her second daughter whilst we were having lunch in a cafe. I'm sure she wouldn't mind the photo showing her feeding, but in it she's got a tiny (and I mean TINY) bit of tummy hanging over her jeans! She'd be mortified! I, on the other hand, am just jealous.

So back to the picture. Elf likes to deconstruct his sandwiches. Here he is tucking into egg mayonnaise, deconstructed. Half the time I give him just bread and butter and he's happy. Sometimes he even thinks that thickly-spread butter is cheese! Poor Elf.

It took him ages to get used to eating sandwiches. While friends' children were happily tucking into bread-based lunches (even peach jam ones, you know who you are), Elf would turn up his button nose at them. I travelled laden with tinned ravioli. (Ooo tinned food, that's another one for my future post of Things I Though My Child Will Never Do/Eat/Watch etc".)

Thank you LCM for tagging me and I hope you readers enjoyed my story. Now I am tagging you guys:

And I'm worrying that I've not checked back and cross-referenced enough - what if you guys have already been tagged?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I feel like a real mum now because I sewed my first badge

Last week, I felt like a real mum. OK so I've got a 4 year old boy, of course I'm a mum. But sometimes I catch sight of myself in a shop window holding his hand, and I think How did I get here? Now I sound like a Talking Heads song, but you get the drift. Do any of you feel like that ever?

The first time Elf called me Mummy was a defining moment in my new mummy status. When I went back to work after my year's maternity leave, I was seen differently by new and old colleagues, as I was now a mum.

But last week, my mum-o-meter hit new heights - I have finally made it. And why? I sewed Elf's first badge on his hoodie! No it wasn't his first ASBO; I dealt two of those out at the tender age of two, and there was no corresponding badge.

Elf achieved Badge 1 for Trampolining. Woody and Jessie achieved theirs too. I sewed it on a bit wonky and half way through, I asked my Other Half if the badge was in fact and iron on one! It wasn't.

The proof was in the pudding - he looked as proud as punch at his last class. He's now working for Badge number 2!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The great fish tank in the sky

Recently in my mummy group, all the kids have been asking about death. I have to admit that with my Elf, it's more a case of Mum, why does Darth Vader die? than What happened to your nana and grandad? I heard two funny stories this week from my group and just had to blog them for your amusement.

The great fish tank in the sky
Elf's best friend, Woody, had a fish tank for Christmas. Woody's mum said he hadn't noticed that three fish had already died in the last few weeks, but when the fourth one had the misfortune to go belly-up, she thought she'd approach the subject with Woody. In the meantime, Woody's dad had, he thought discretely, flushed it down the loo.

She tried to console him by explaining that his fishie had been poorly. Woody was in floods of tears at this point, being a sensitive soul. Wondering why she'd gone down the route of trying to explain death to Woody, his mum said yes his little fishie did die, but he was going to the Great Fish Tank in the Sky and that he would be happier there.

Woody repeats, So he's gone to the great fish tank in the sky? Yes, says his mum.

No,his little sister pipes up. He's gone down the toilet!

Elf's friend T, a 4 and a half year old girl, wanted to buy two bunches of daffs in the supermarket, one for them and one for her nanny and grandad.

No we can't, says her mum. Nanny and grandad aren't coming down for a few weeks, and they'll be dead by then.

Nanny and grandad are dead? wails T.


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

How can the BBC have got it so wrong with 6music?

The BBC announced today that its digital radio station 6music will be axed some time next year. This news was leaked last week, and I have to admit I felt sick when I heard it. I don't want this post to be a rant about how political the BBC have become, or how they are pandering to commercial pressure... But I feel the need to explain my sick feeling.

I discovered 6music when I was on maternity leave in 2006. Then 35, I was too old (thank God) for Radio 1, but daytime Radio 2 wasn't quite my scene (although I am a TOG). 6music, in particular the then daytime DJ from 10 til 1pm, Gideon Coe, stole my musical heart. He had every track in my fantasy back catalogue. I felt the DJs were speaking to me; to use that awful word, I connected with them.