I’m not the mother I thought I was going to be. 

When I was pregnant with Theo, I honestly thought I was going to turn into a modern day Mary Poppins. Every task was going to become a game, every trip to the shops an adventure and every new experience a fantastic learning opportunity.

I was going to be Supermum! I was going to do EVERYTHING by the book. I was going to exclusively breastfeed for at least a year, probably longer, and he was going to sleep in our room for the recommended six months. I was going to take him to every musical and sensory class going. He was going to become a child prodigy by the age of one. And I was going to wean him with the healthiest organic fruit and veg; he was going to dine like a king.
In reality I spent months beating myself up because I was no where near to achieving what I perceived to be Supermum status. I only managed to breastfeed for a couple of months. I really wish I could have done it for longer but it just wasn’t to be. I had a chart stuck to the fridge giving to me in a pack by a midwife when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy. It had breastfeeding milestones such as ‘if you exclusively breastfeed for four months your child will be less likely to develop asthma’. In my personal opinion, this list should be burned and wiped from existence. Even if these facts are true, this is the last thing you need to read when you are a sleep deprived, stressed out mum struggling to provide enough milk for her son. I wept for days when I stopped, knowing that if he developed some terrible condition it would be all my fault.
As for the sleeping situation, we managed an impressive five months with him in our room. We moved the wardrobe out and the cot bed in. We then spent a hellish five months (or 143 days, yes I counted) waking each other up every. single. night. Every grunt from Theo caused my blood shot eyes to ping open wildly. And Theo woke up screaming every time Zac or I so much as trumped in our sleep.
I spent £45 a week going to various classes. Try taking a six month old to an art class. In my opinion, it’s pretty shit. I spent the whole hour attempting to stop him eating the paint, and in return he screamed in my face and burst into tears. 
I also spent about 4,000 hours making EVERY RECIPE from the Annabel Karmel weaning book. Over half the freezer (I wish I was exaggerating) was filled with pots of healthy nutrient rich food. He ate NONE OF IT. That’s 4,000 fucking hours I will never get back. On my death bed I know I will look back and wish I could have perhaps developed a new skill with that time, like playing the violin or learning to crochet or something.
We soon stopped all our ridiculous groups. Instead we started going to toddler groups. I currently spend £3 a week going to these. You might even get a free cuppa and a biscuit thrown in if you’re lucky. But do you know what? He bloody loves it. He’d much rather be running around pulling tampons out of other mum’s handbags, and getting his chops around a germ infested fire truck, than be told to sit still wondering why the hell he’s being forced to stick cotton wool to a bit of card.
With the arrival of Daisy, I approached everything with a totally different view. I wasn’t going to be guilt tripped into doing something I wasn’t happy with. I’m a firm believer in ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’ (you’re welcome, Giovanna). I breastfed Daisy for two weeks, then switched to formula after struggling to feed her thanks to a nasty case of oral thrush (by no means an easy choice but I now have no regrets). She went into her own room at three months (I tried to convince Zac we should do it at four weeks, but he wasn’t happy with that so we compromised… I know the real reason was that he liked having the spare bed all to himself. Knob). She fits in around Theo’s toddler groups, and she has yet to lay eyes on a paintbrush. I’ve made up a few purees (half a freezer drawer full), and yesterday I purchased some jars although I’m debating taking the baby led route.
My two babies couldn’t have been more different. Theo obviously sensed my unease and stress and became somewhat of an arsehole. He cried a lot and never ever slept. Daisy has been a dream (thank fuck), which probably has a bit to do with the fact I’ve been a different mum to her than I was to Theo.
I only started to find real happiness in being a mum once I was able to let go of this obsession of embodying a Mary Poppins/Supermum hybrid. Mainly because I’m an actual human with very real emotions. I end up shouting at least once a day. Theo mainly lives off a diet of chips and nuggets. But after you catch your child eating his own shit, anything’s an improvement. All in all, they actually seem happy which in itself makes me feel pretty awesome. If I could go back in time I would tell myself to forget what everyone else thinks, forget Dr Google and do what feels right for you. I wouldn’t have listened of course. This was something I needed to learn with time.
Rather than focusing on being perfect, I’m perfectly content with being good enough, thank you very much. I want my children to see that it’s ok to have shit days, and it’s ok to not be amazing at everything you do. Im not a perfect mum, but in all honesty I don’t want to be. I’m happy to call myself a ‘good-enough’ mum, as long as that’s enough for my kids then that’s more than enough for me.


Tree top trail.

Here’s a picture of me with Theo on a tree top trail at a local farm this morning. If I had put this on my personal page I would have written something like ‘had SO much fun climbing trees today’. But the expression on my face would make that hard to believe, and my one rule on this page is that I don’t do bullshit. 
I woke up this morning on a mission to become a more adventurous and fun mum. I decided I’ve been somewhat of a grumpy old bat this week and insisted on taking Theo up into the trees myself. I could see Zac looked a bit doubtful. So I suggested he walked with Daisy to the end of the trail and we would meet him there. Off they went. At this point I hadn’t realised the ‘end’ was 328 miles away.
Theo and I set off along the rope, with him creeping along at the pace of a comatose sloth, and I following shakily behind. He then decided halfway along that he couldn’t possibly go any further. So there I was, 80ft above the ground on a wobbly bit of rope the width of my little toe and a pissed off toddler. Well, shit. With difficulty I picked him up. I hobbled back to the start with a severely off kilter centre of gravity thanks to the two stone toddler screaming on my hip.
Zac was no where to be seen. Convenient.
When I got back to the start of the magical tree top trail, panting and embarrassed (I’d had to make twenty or so children turn around and go back to the start too because the rope wasn’t bloody wide enough to let anyone past), I noticed Theo was missing a wellie. Fabulous. I told him to stay put whilst I retrieved the wellie (tempting though it was to count my losses and leave it). I was really loving life by this point.
8 days later, Zac reappeared with Daisy, wondering why we hadn’t made it to the end of the trail. I calmly filled him in (I didn’t, I actually screamed in his face a bit).
Speaking of wellies, you may have noticed my rather fabulous Joules wellies in the picture. A Christmas present from Zac. Well they’re now buggered. I managed to catch one of the buckles on the netting and it pinged off into the thick thorn bushes below, never to be seen again. Brilliant.
Another highlight of the day was having my hands coated in sheep and goat saliva as a result of feeding them the unappetising dried granules we paid a fortune for at the start of our visit.
Next time I’ll be leaving the tree trails, soft play and zip wires to my darling husband. You’ll find me in the cafe.
HOWEVER, apart from the above, we actually had a pretty good time… I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do things like this with my little crew. Daisy and Theo were delighted and amazed by everything they saw (when Daisy wasn’t passed out in the buggy, and when Theo’s world wasn’t ending because I had brought the wrong flavour Ella’s Kitchen snack bar for him).
I’m realising more and more that there are no such thing as perfect days out when you have children. There will always be dramas, tantrums and ‘oh shit’ (literally) moments. But there will also be laughter, and a lot of it, if you learn not to let the rubbish bits get you down.



Toddler group.

I got sick of watching Peppa this morning so, on a spur of the moment, decided to dig out my inner Supermum (she’s getting increasingly difficult to locate, the pompous bitch), and took the little angels to toddler group.
Things went to shit before I even got out of the car. I managed to reverse into a telegraph pole (thanks, dear husband, for buying a vehicle the size of a small planet without parking sensors). After quickly checking no one saw and satisfied the telegraph pole was still standing (albeit slightly wonky), I went to haul the buggy out of the boot for Daisy.
I clipped her car seat in and went to retrieve Theo. He then had a delightful tantrum because he decided he would rather stare at a field by the parked car for all eternity than go to the toddler group. In hindsight, I probably would have preferred to do this too, but Daisy had just done a foul smelling shit so I hissed at Theo under my breath, telling him I was about to lose the plot unless he got a wriggle on. This didn’t work, obviously, so I tried to bribe him with biscuits. For some reason, this made him even more pissed off and red in the face.
This is when I lost it. I put both children back in the car, then threw the buggy into the back. I managed to close the effing boot after adjusting the position of the buggy several times, whilst emitting an unearthly banshee shriek in the process of doing so. I seemed to attract a lot of unwanted attention from other mums going into the hall with their little cherubs which was a tad embarrassing.
I then got into the car and sobbed. And screamed a bit. I think this moment had been building for several days. Theo is now in full on toddler mode, and Daisy’s been teething. My life is just one constant whinge from one or both of my children. I love them both dearly but my god sometimes they make me want to take one of Zac’s recently purchased power tools to my face.
Anyway, after a few minutes I managed to calm down a bit. I decided the least I could do was take them to the sodding toddler group as I had gone through the lengthy process of getting out of the bloody house. Plus I couldn’t face going home only to be subjected to more Peppa. Not just yet anyway. I gave both kids a cuddle and a kiss and told them how Mummy was sorry and that she loved them dearly, and promised never to raise my voice at them again. Ever.
I then had to face the seven or eight mothers that had witnessed my meltdown getting the buggy in the boot. I got a few sympathetic smiles which, of course, I returned trying to look as sane as possible.
After changing Daisy’s nappy, I sat down and overheard a couple of mums mention to each other that a ‘special guest’ would be joining us as it’s half term week. I thought to myself ‘oh how nice. See it was worth coming out. Perhaps they’ve managed to book Tom Hardy to provide us with another story about clouds’. 
To my horror, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The attached picture says it all. I took the kids out of the house to escape this monstrous bitch and there she is, waiting for me at bloody toddler group. A very terrifying, nightmare-inducing version of her. What next? Will she jump out at me from behind the baked beans when I’m in Aldi on Monday? Or creep in and take a seat beside me when I’m in the doctor’s surgery waiting room on Tuesday? Needless to say Theo couldn’t have looked less impressed, so I grabbed a handful of complimentary biscuits and got the hell out of there.
Tomorrow will be better. Happy Friday everyone!


Alternative Peppa Pig…Daddy Loses His Glasses

Narrator: Daddy Pig wears glasses. He needs to wear glasses to see clearly. Sometimes Daddy Pig loses his glasses. 

Mummy Pig: Peppa, George, have you seen Daddy Pig’s glasses? The dickhead’s gone and lost them again.
Peppa Pig: No, Mummy.
Narrator: Peppa and George do not know where Daddy Pig’s glasses are. 
Mummy Pig: F*ck my life. I don’t know how the tosspot manages to wipe his own arse without my supervision. I feel like I have three sodding children to look after, not two.
Narrator: Without his glasses on, Daddy Pig cannot read his newspaper. 
Daddy Pig: This is ridiculous. I can’t see anything. Somebody must have put my glasses somewhere. 
Mummy Pig: Yes. It was me. I just thought ‘I wonder what would make my day more fun? Oh I know, I’ll hide Daddy Pig’s glasses so he can turn into an utter git because he can’t perve on the page 3 model in his bollocking newspaper’.
Daddy Pig: Calm down Mummy Pig, I was only asking. When I don’t wear them I always put them in my pocket. But they aren’t there now. 
Peppa Pig: Daddy, can we help find your glasses?
Mummy Pig: Good idea, Peppa. If you find them, Daddy will stop being such a pillock.
Daddy Pig: I’m not a pillock.
Narrator: Peppa and George are looking for Daddy’s glasses. They look in the bedrooms, the bathroom and even in the toilet. Peppa and George cannot find Daddy Pig’s glasses anywhere.
Peppa Pig: Oh. It’s too difficult. We’ve looked everywhere but we can’t find Daddy’s glasses. 
Mummy Pig: Fabulous. Looks like we’re going to have to fork out another £600 for a new pair of Christian Dior ones because you’re a pretentious prick who refuses to get the cheap ones. 
Daddy Pig: Or I suppose I‘ll just have to learn to do without them. If I move slowly I won’t bump into things.
Mummy Pig: What a fantastic idea, Daddy Pig! What about driving the car to work? I look forward to finding out you’ve been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter as a result of mowing down Zoe Zebra or, god forbid, Miss Rabbit, all because you can’t see the fucking road.
Peppa Pig: There they are. Daddy’s glasses. 
Mummy Pig: Fan-f*cking-tastic, you were sitting on them the whole time. I’m amazed your gargantuan arse didn’t consume them, the supermassive black hole that it is. You can crack on with the glamour models in your newspaper now whilst I clean the house, feed the children and lose my fucking mind.
Daddy Pig: Thank you, Mummy Pig. I might just do that.

Slug Day.

The only way I would have any chance of being a permanently enthusiastic, go-getting supermum day in and day out would be if I developed some sort of class A drug addiction. Obviously this isn’t financially, legally or morally possible, therefore I have resigned myself to having the occasional ‘slug day’. This is a term I use to describe the days I just can’t be arsed with life.
Sometimes I will wake up in the morning and spring out of bed. I will feel in control of my life and welcome the day with open arms. I’ll quickly get dressed whilst the children are just waking up, then skip into their rooms and scoop them up out of their toasty beds with a cheerful smile on my face. I’ll change them both and dress them whilst merrily singing a nursery rhyme. Then we might go on an adventure to the shops or, if I’m feeling particularly wild and daring, a trip to soft play. I’ll get a delicious and wholesome meal on the table in the evening and greet my husband with a welcoming embrace when he comes through the door. Understandably these sort of days don’t happen very often. Why not, I hear you say? Because I’m not Mary fucking Poppins. And I’m not on crack.
I know when I’m going to have a slug day from the minute I wake up, usually because the first three words I utter are ‘fuck my life’. I spend the day feeling like I’m wading through treacle and looking like a fat slug on the sofa whilst I google fantasy holidays and search for the most expensive houses on Rightmove, plotting what to spend my imaginary money on.
On these sorts of days it’s nearly always raining, meaning going out of the house is far more effort than it’s worth. But by 2pm I’ll be tearing my hair out from watching Peppa Pig on repeat so I’ll have no choice but to face the world. After spending approximately four hours getting ready to go, I’ll realise I haven’t eaten anything yet and will swing by the drive thru at McDonalds just round the corner. We might then venture off to Tescos to pick up some formula and donuts before trudging home.
I’ll then put poxy Peppa Pig back on and sit in a zombified state on the sofa for a while before realising I haven’t started getting dinner ready. With only half an hour to go I’ll have no choice to settle on beige freezer food (nuggets, pizza, chips, fish fingers..). My husband will walk in from work and, if he’s lucky, I’ll just grunt at him. But if it’s been a particularly bad slug day he normally gets something thrown at him by me (i.e. his dinner) and lots of tears.
Slug Days seen to be becoming more frequent for me. I put it down to having two children under three at home with me ALL THE TIME. The eldest starts nursery two mornings a week in September, so only seven months to go. Woop.
I love my children to pieces, but being a mother is bloody hard some days. There’s no such thing as pulling a sickie. Some days you just have to go into survival mode. Ok so it’s not ideal sticking them in front of the TV and feeding them beige food all day, but at least they are happy (most of the time). I call that a mum win.
I whisper ‘sorry for being shit’ to them when they’re peacefully snoozing away in their beds in the evening of such days. And I’ll mentally keep my fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow.

Mixed Up Mum’s Manual: The 6 Stages of Sleep Deprivation.

For the first eight months of Theo’s life, the longest stretch of sleep I had was two hours. I think I was partly to blame for this. I rocked him or fed him to sleep and spent what must have amounted to approximately 5,000,000 hours pushing him around the living room in his pram trying to get him to drift off (being careful to avoid all eye contact of course). I don’t feel I’m solely to blame though, it didn’t helped that Theo was generally just a bit of an arsehole. I’m fairly certain I’m in the majority here. Find me a mother who didn’t pander to their first born.

I was lucky enough to be blessed with a husband willing to help with the night shifts on weekends (and even on the occasional weeknight when I had my meltdowns on the landing, ensuring I was within ear shot of his cosy, silent little nest in the spare room). But I breastfed Theo until he was four months old, which always resulted in Zac feeding Theo expressed milk in the main bedroom, with me sobbing into my breast pump in the spare room desperately trying to avoid the indignity of exploding boobs. Even after we made the satisfying move onto formula, I still woke on my nights off whenever I heard the slightest noise from Theo. It didn’t help that he often woke with a blood curdling scream with no prior warning, causing both of us (and probably several of our neighbours) to leap from our beds and shit ourselves in the process.
There’s a reason sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. It’s utterly horrific, and probably the main reason I’m set on not having anymore children.
I’ve actually blocked a lot of those dark day from my mind. I would go so far as to say I found sleep deprivation to be worse than the pregnancy and birth combined. I remember googling ‘can you die from sleep deprivation’ because I was so concerned for my well being (I also googled ‘how easy is it to get your baby adopted’; apparently not very easy at all).
I experienced an interesting mental, physical and emotional journey during that time, and can pretty much categorise my slow descent into total defeat in six clear stages:
1. Shock & Panic

For the first couple of days of my wonderful new baby’s life I genuinely didn’t notice being too tired. I put this down to the insane adrenaline rush from finally being united with my gorgeous little bundle of loveliness. But after a while the visitors and gifts started to dwindle and it hit me that this is now my life. This increasingly fussy tiny being wasn’t going anywhere and I was solely responsible for keeping him happy. By about night five I started scaring myself by consulting google on how long it takes for babies to sleep through the night. Don’t do it if you haven’t already. The results are hideous. I laughed at my former pre-child self; I thought I knew what tiredness was but actually I had no fucking idea. Suddenly being woken four, five or even six times a night is a huge shock to the system, and I started to desperately wonder if I would ever sleep properly again. Oh yeah, and the colic and reflux didn’t help.
2. Anger & Denial

For me, the anger really hit when Zac went back to work after his paternity leave. We were fortunate enough to have a spare room, so he skipped off there every week night. Bastard. And I was stuck with a tiny screaming beast in a Moses basket in what was fast becoming known as ‘the shit room’. A lot of my anger was directed at Zac. He was in the army at the time and went away on exercise when Theo was three weeks old for a month and a half. This did not help my general grouchiness. My favourite night was when Zac asked if I could remember to turn off the hall light after getting my usual 3am packet of biscuits because it was keeping him awake. I won’t repeat what I said to him but I may or may not have googled ‘how long will I go to prison for if I murder my husband’ once I got back to the shit room. There was definitely more anger felt at night, but during the day I spent a lot of time in denial. I would try and reassure myself by pretending Theo was just going through a ‘phase’ and that ‘tonight would be better’. It never bloody was though.
3. Caffeine & Positivity

After a few months of feeling very angry and hard done by, I started to develop coping mechanisms. When Theo was about three months old I stopped breastfeeding and took this opportunity to up my caffeine intake. I drank enough coffee and cheap Aldi energy drinks to kill a small horse on a daily basis, but it provided me with a small lift and gave me the illusion that I was regaining a tiny bit of control. I started to feel a bit more positive about the situation and convinced myself that I was lucky to have so much time, night and day, to bond with my son. Looking back I think I was possibly having some sort of delirious mental break. I started talking to myself a lot more and laughed at things that I never used to find funny (I found that robot in Justin’s House frickin hilarious). The positivity came and went in waves. When I wasn’t trying to stay upbeat I experienced overwhelming feelings of…
4. Desperation

This was when I started ringing the health visitor in tears two or three times a week. I also bought a couple of books on sleep training. I recorded sleep charts, religiously noted down everything he ate and when, and the colour, consistency and frequency of all of his shits. All in a desperate bid to make sense of the hell I was living in. We tried giving him a teddy bear and a top that smelled of me, white noise, hungry infant milk, changing his formula brand, weaning early and various other little tips and tricks from a plethora of sources. Nothing worked. Obviously.
5. Confusion & Numbness

After several months of poor quality sleep, one will naturally experience difficulties carrying out tasks which were previous second nature. Things like having a conversation with someone, preparing a cup of tea, going to the toilet or driving a car. I feel thankful that all I lost was a wing mirror. I really don’t think I should have been driving at all, but I challenge anyone to stay indoors all day everyday with an increasingly mobile seven month old. 
6. Defeat

You sort of get to the point where you resign yourself to the fact that this is your life now. People will keep telling you ‘it will get better, I don’t know any 18 year olds that wake up every 2 hours at night’. I actually believed that Theo would be the one teenager that does this.
Then suddenly, a miracle happened. Somewhere around eight or nine months, he slept through the night! I felt like utter crap for the whole of the following day. It was such a huge shock to the system I felt as though someone had shoved a chainsaw through one ear and out the other. All my limbs ached and the taste in my mouth suggested I had swallowed something along the lines of a dead badger in my sleep. But I felt something I hadn’t felt for months… hope.
Needless to say it took another three or four weeks for Theo to repeat it, but things slowly started getting better. I started to see the world with a little bit more clarity and was able to participate in proper conversations with other grown ups.
Then just before his first birthday he had a random week of sleeping for FOURTEEN HOURS STRAIGHT each night. This was when I got pregnant again, the complacent fools that we were. And now we’re back to square one. Although I have to say Daisy has been a dream in comparison, thank god. I’m not going to gloat though, karma being a bitch and all. I’m sure she will be providing us with plenty of interesting challenges in 12 to 13 years or so…
So for anyone in the midst of any of these stages, I want to reassure you that it really will get better one day. I realise we got off pretty lightly compared to some of the horror stories I hear about. I found the greatest comfort wasn’t anything I had read about in any of the books, but rather imagining the joy I will feel seeking revenge when my two teenagers are fast asleep, and I decide to hoover the landing or hang a picture at 7am on a Saturday morning in 2031.

Swimming Pool

We went to the swimming pool this afternoon. The obvious option when it’s bloody snowing. I suggested Zac take Theo in the pool whilst Daisy and I sat in the cafe. I carefully calculated the times of her morning and lunchtime naps so that the afternoon one would coincide perfectly with our visit to the cafe, giving me a very rare hour of peace and quiet. I don’t know why I got my hopes up.
Once we arrived at the leisure centre car park, I plonked Daisy’s car seat on the wheels. She was starting to look sleepy as she contently chomped away on her dummy. I asked Zac to push Daisy in whilst I got Theo.
Inside, Zac told me the dummy had fallen out of Daisy’s mouth but that it was under her right arm in the buggy. The boys went skipping off to the changing rooms and I wheeled Daisy to the cafe, grabbing a huge cappuccino and a slice of carrot cake the size of my head, before settling into one of the comfy chairs.
This is where it all went tits up. Daisy started to grizzle as predicted so I looked under her right arm, as advised by my helpful husband. The dummy wasn’t there. I checked under her other arm. Not there either. Long story short, I couldn’t find the bollocking dummy anywhere. 
Somewhere between the car and the reception desk, Zac had managed to lose it. Getting Daisy to fall asleep in her buggy without it is near to impossible. Lucky me. At this point in time I had a better chance of being seen sitting on Tom Hardy’s knee for the entire CBeebies Valentines Bedtime Story than I did of getting my daughter to sleep and enjoying my sodding cake and cappuccino. My plans were totally and utterly buggered.
I then proceeded to spend the next hour with a bright red face alternating between entertaining my four month old with enough enthusiasm to rival that psychotic Milkshake presenter, and attempting to calm her down when she started getting angry at me. Meanwhile, from my vantage point of the pool I could see Zac and Theo busy putting the Waltons to shame with their father and son bonding display. Just to rub it in, Daisy furnished me with a nice trail of vomit starting at my shoulder and travelling all the way down to the back of my shoe. I was too pissed off to give a shit.
Daisy fell asleep two minutes before the boys reappeared. I necked my room temperature cappuccino, and shoved the whole piece of cake in my mouth.
The moral of the story? Take more than one dummy out of the house with you, I hear you say? No. It’s don’t trust your husband with ANYTHING. He even had the audacity to suggest it was I who lost the dummy. Needless to say, this did not wash well with me. I know I should be grateful to have such a lovely husband who wants to take his child swimming but right now I’m just too annoyed to think clearly. We currently aren’t speaking. Dick.

The Chicken Nugget Challenge

My husband doesn’t notice mess. I could get the overflowing bin from the kitchen and empty the contents onto the living room floor and he wouldn’t bat an eyelid. He might comment on the smell and asked if I or one of the children had farted but that’s about it.
A typical start of an argument would go something like this:
Me: Argh!! Why am I always the one picking up after everyone else?!

Zac: What’s there to pick up?

Me: Erm oh I dunno, what about Theo’s turd (in a nappy bag) on the coffee table? Daisy’s empty bottle over there? Your crumbs from breakfast on the sofa? Need I go on?

Zac: Calm down, I’ll clear up in a bit.

Me: Define ‘in a bit’? Is that before or after your hour long morning poo?
Basically I’m fed up with always having to point out the mess which is so obvious to me. To prove a point, I invented ‘The Chicken Nugget Challenge’.
The idea popped into my head yesterday evening. We had been out all day so decided to have a McDonalds in the evening. After we had finished I was sat on the sofa and from across the room spied a lone chicken nugget under the dining table by Theo’s chair. I was about to leap up but decided instead I would see just how long it would go unnoticed by my lovely husband.
(Its worth saying here that I realise I rip into Zac a lot in my posts. He’s actually a very useful person to have around a lot of the time. And as much as it pains me to say it he’s far cleverer than I am and is more sensible with money. Sorry Zac).
Anyway, The Chicken Nugget Challenge is now complete and the results are in:
Sometime around 5.15pm – the nugget has landed.
5.45pm – I locate the nugget from the sofa and ignore it.
6.05pm – it’s starting to annoy me so I ask Zac if he can clean the dining table and Theo’s seat whilst I wash up. He obliges which is nice of him.
6.10pm – I return to the living room and subtly check under the table. Nugget is still there. Bollocks.
7.20pm – the kids are in bed. I decide to let Zac have the comfy sofa space, providing him with the perfect view of the nugget.
8.10pm – Zac goes to the toilet. I plant my phone under the dining table about 20cm from the nugget.
8.35pm – Zac returns from the toilet (I’ve birthed a baby in less time).
8.40pm – I started complaining of a bad back. Zac pretends to look vaguely concerned.
8.43pm – I pretend to spy my phone under the dining table. I tell Zac I must have dropped it at dinner and ask him to get it for me as my back is hurting. Being the chivalrous gent he is, he complies. I get my hopes up. He brings me the phone. The nugget is still there and I know if it had hands it would be giving me the finger. Bastard thing.
9.35pm – I go up to bed feeling a bit defeated.
10.20pm – Zac starts talking in his sleep about Star Wars. I’m wide awake thinking about the nugget. Pathetic I know, but this is how small my world is. Eventually I fell asleep.
2.10am – I hear Daisy stirring on the baby monitor. I can’t help but think about that fucking nugget again. How has my life become so pathetic? I start to worry about Theo finding it before Zac does and eating it. I’d then potentially find myself in hospital with a toddler with food poisoning. Somehow I eventually fall back to sleep.
4.05am – Daisy wakes for her feed. As I’m giving her a bottle the nugget creeps back into my thoughts. It’s funny how the littlest things seem so important in the middle of the night.
4.20am – I decided enough is enough and, after Daisy is back in her cot, I go downstairs to retrieve the nugget. I trudge through to the kitchen and get to the bin only to realise I have nothing to put in it. I feel sick when I realise I have a distinctly chicken-y taste in my mouth. I’ve only gone and eaten the damn thing on the way to the kitchen in my sleep deprived state. Well it looks like it will be me who will be getting food poisoning. I debate making myself throw up, whilst wondering how on earth I’ve gotten to this stage all for the sake of trying to prove a point to my husband.
4.35am – The Chicken Nugget Challenge is over. Zac won by a mile without even knowing it. I’m probably going to die from eating a dodgy day old McDonalds Nugget. I always said I wanted to go out with a bang.
It’s now several hours since the competition ended and, as you can tell, I’m still alive although. I told Zac about The Chicken Nugget Challenge and I could tell he feels like the luckiest bloke in the world to be married to me. I invented The Challenge to test him but, ironically, I feel I have learnt an awful lot about myself. I think next time I’ll just shut up, clear up the mess myself and move on.



Valentine’s Day

I’ve enlisted the help of Zac for this post. With Valentines Day just around the corner we found ourselves reflecting on the journey we have been on together over the last 8 years. I’ve attached a photo of us on our Wedding Day. Look how naive and untroubled we look. So young. So innocent. So… rested.
I originally thought we could create a list of all the wonderful and romantic things that we have done for each other over the years. But no one wants to read that crap so, rather than get all soppy, we thought we would write about the things that have happened to us as parents to a toddler and a newborn. Happy Valentines Day Everyone!
Top Top 10 Most Horrific Things That Have Happened To Us Since We Became Parents.
10. The day Theo ate his own poo.
9. The time Daisy projectile vomited in Mummy’s open mouth whilst playing aeroplanes.
8. The day Mummy and Daddy heard a crunching noise in the garden. Theo had decided to eat a snail, evident by the small piece of shell on his chin. He seemed to like it though, more than anything Mummy has ever cooked.
7. When Daisy’s bowels detonated at the weigh in clinic covering every item of her clothing in shit. Because Mummy was just ‘popping out’ she had left the nappy bag at home. If it weren’t for the kindness of a stranger in the waiting room giving Daisy a spare baby grow, she would have gone home wearing a dress made from two muslins in the middle of January. Lesson learnt.
6. The time Mummy took Daisy to baby gymnastics and over exerted herself during stretches to ‘Wind The Bobbin Up’, causing her to very audibly trump in a room full of twenty or so mothers and babies. She blamed Daisy. No one believed her.
5. When Daddy found Theo rubbing his bare arse on Mummy’s pillow just before bath time in an apparent attempt to give her conjunctivitis. Daddy didn’t tell Mummy for a few weeks because she had pissed him off that day. Luckily she came away unscathed.
4. The afternoon Mummy walked into the living room and Theo had got hold of the remote and managed to somehow get one of the adult channels on the screen and was avidly watching a half naked woman writhing around on a leopard print bedspread.
3. When Mummy laughed at something Daddy said in the middle of the paint aisle at B&Q and peed herself. A lot. 
2. The day Mummy lost Theo at the Aquarium. 
1. And finally, Mummy’s personal favourite; the night Theo sharted in Daddy’s mouth. It’s came out with such force it travelled a whole foot and a half during a nighttime nappy change.
I have noticed a theme here. The most troubling events that occur in the first couple of years in a child’s life seems to centre largely around bodily fluids. We are fully aware the best is yet to come seeing as neither of them can talk yet and only one can walk at this point in time. God help us.

Mixed Up Mum’s Manual: 10 Ways to Diffuse a Tantrum

Theo has only just turned two so I’m fairly new to this arena. But we all know tantrums can occur well before ‘the terrible twos’, unless you are lucky enough to be blessed with a ‘unicorn child’ (a rare and mystical being with a consistently calm and appeasing temperament. It’s hard to know the exact number of children with this condition, but research shows your child is estimated to have a 1 in 645,000,000 chance of having it).

From the little experience I’ve had so far, I have compiled a list of techniques that I’ve developed in a desperate attempt to maintain sanity and survival. I have also provided a helpful success rate figure for each one.
1. Ignore them. 

Success rate: 20%

The chance of this working is in direct correlation to your determination and stamina. Eye contact is proven to ensure total failure of this method of working. It’s also common for this method to have a higher chance of working if you are in your own home at the time the tantrum detonates, as you are less likely to be subjected to disapproving stares from strangers as your child does their best impression of the witch melting in the Wizard of Oz in the middle of the Cereal aisle at Tescos.
2. The Naughty Step.

Success rate if child respects the step: 85%

Success rate if child sees the step as a game: 3%

Enough said.
3. The Bedroom.

Success rate: 60%

I’ve used this method a couple of times, and it tends to work. However there are, of course, a lot of distractions in the average child’s bedroom. A bedroom with a stair gate or a door handle they can’t reach is helpful. 
4. Remove yourself from the situation.

Success rate: 55%

Take cover, run and hide. Preferably somewhere with a lock (i.e. the toilet or, even better, the garden shed). This one is a wiser option if, like me, you are terrible at ignoring them. Obviously not one to be used when in public. To my knowledge, I believe it’s still frowned upon to abandon your children in the middle of the street (tempting though it is). However, this one should come with a warning; be prepared for your living room to potentially get trashed in your absence (who needs wallpaper anyway?).
5. Use the TV as a weapon.

Success rate: 35%

No, I don’t mean throw it at them. You will only regret it when you want to watch Netflix that evening and there’s a massive crack in the screen. I meant try putting on their favourite programme. It really depends how far into the tantrum they are. If you are too late you may end up with a screaming child AND Peppa Pig in the same room, resulting in you wanting to shoot yourself in the face, which isn’t going to help anyone. Except you maybe.
6. If applicable, get Dad involved.

Success rate: 1%

I’m not really sure why this is on the list but hey ho. This one is obviously only relevant if Dad is around at the time, which is probably quite unlikely seeing as my husband spends most of his time in the toilet on the rare occasions he’s in the house. Chances are, if your child isn’t listening to you then they aren’t going to give a tiny rat’s ass what Daddy has to say. Although this one deserves a small success rate of 1% because I know a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend whose brother’s sister-in-law’s uncle managed to subdue a tantrum circa 2005.
7. Ring your Mother/Grandmother.

Success rate: 40%

These women have experienced potentially billions of tantrums and SURVIVED. In theory they should have enough tactics to dispel even the most thermonuclear ones. In practice that’s not always the case. You see most mothers, mine included, will develop a mental block resulting in them conveniently forgetting how fucking awful these few years are. I for one will welcome this amnesia with wide open arms when the time comes. A good tactic is to put Granny on the phone to the screaming child. Children have an inbuilt urge to want please grandparents and great grandparents. They can’t resist it, it works in the same way as my inability to refuse cake, biscuits and chocolate (and a Marlboro Light if it’s waved in my face for long enough).
8. Shout back.

Success rate: 70%

The chance of this one working is in direct relation to how closely you can get your voice to resemble Batman’s. You want to find a balance between ensuring your voice reaches a higher decibel than the little turd in question, without alarming your neighbours enough to prompt them to contact social services.
9. Threats.

Success rate: 65%

Once again, this one works better the sooner you can deploy it. Ensure you are careful with what threat you choose, I obviously wouldn’t condone anything too sinister… The threat to confiscate a popular toy is a good one. And don’t be too outlandish with your threats, because if the tantrum continues you will have to carry out the threat to show who’s boss (for example, perhaps don’t tell them you will send them off to live with the crazy lady who you keep catching having a rifle through your wheelie bins. This person actually exists in my life. Although once again, this might actually be a desirable solution to the problem).
10. Bribe with food.

Success rate: 98%

This isn’t one you often see suggested by the Super Nannies of this world. Why? Well I’m guessing because you are basically rewarding them for being a dick and encouraging an unhealthy relationship with food. Blah blah blah. It bloody works though! My motto is: if all else fails, bring out the donuts.
Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favour.