Sunday, 25 November 2007

Millennium Housewife the eco warrior

I do try really hard to be an eco warrior. Sometimes though it seems that everything is against you and the trudge up Mount Saintliness to the pinnacle known as Carbon Neutral Point is littered with disallowed bottle tops and yellow pages. We do eat organic though which I am always very proud of at the supermarket counter, especially as I load it all into my reusable jute bags and then into my (relatively) environmentally friendly Honda (they have a carbon neutral plant you know).
We even use ecologically friendly toothpaste, soap and household cleaners which further boosts my own estimation of myself where being Earth friendly matters. The problem is it seems that it's the chemicals in the non eco products that actually cause the stuff to work. If I'm really honest my teeth/hands/house aren't really that clean. Well only as clean as half a lemon can get them. In fact if being honest is the order of the day here, whenever friends are due to stay, I give the house (and my teeth and hands obviously) a good going over with every non eco product the corner shop stocks (but I didn't use the car to get there so there's some saving in it). So Husband always loves it when people come over, in fact all he'd like for Christmas is a bottle of Cillit Bang, not least to try that 1p cleaning trick they do on the telly.
I even treat the children with natural remedies, giving them a good go before resorting to the doctor. They seem to work too, I think, although I'm not sure whether it's the remedies or that most things tend to get better after a week. In fact Jack has had a gammy eye and a snuffly nose for the last four days and I have been adding lots of lemon and garlic (incidentally the ingredients in my toilet cleaner) to his purees. It's cleared up today which I was very pleased about until Husband pointed out that Jack had managed to get hold of the furniture polish and had had a good old sniff. It had seemed to do the trick.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

I am making it up as I go along

I am making it all up as I go along. Not this blog, life. Full stop. I admit it, hands up on all levels I haven't a clue. I'm not sure at all if anything I do, especially where my children are concerned, is the right thing. In fact I'm doing many many things that I said I would never do; I bribe them shamelessly, I reward them with food, I buy them things to keep them quiet, I shout because I'm the one in a bad mood, I'm sitting here right now with my trousers rolled up and my three year old painting my leg with her make up (which I vowed I would never buy).

The problem is all these things work. They do keep quiet if I give in, food is a great reward, shouting makes mummy feel much much better and Isla is quiet and letting me write because I'm letting her paint my leg. And Bribery? Well bribery should be up there with sliced bread, crikey I can get them to do anything with bribery.


Isla has been going through an appalling sleep phase for about the last 3 1/2 years. She's rubbish at it, she's never clicked that night time is for sleeping not shouting and spends most evenings concocting reasons for us to attend to her. The only thing that has ever worked and given us a few precious hours of sleep is bribery.


We've done every bribe known (and unknown - ever heard of the 'I'll pretend to be a giraffe and chase you tomorrow' bribe?) but obviously the best is the honourable sticker chart - though it depresses me that I get my hints and tips from super nanny. So Isla has a sticker chart; collect all seven to win the prize. But she was quite naughty last night appearing in our room about 4.30am wanting a plaster. She then worked through various requests from insisting the sun was up despite all evidence to the contrary to wanting a bath and her toes washed. None worked though and the result is no star today.

I blame myself really, I jinxed it by buying her Saturday sticker present on Friday, confident she'd get her full quota (I was deranged by sleep deprivation). Her dearest wish is for a 'rectangle and a bread roll'. I hid the rectangle (actually just a small box with a picture of a kitten on it) in the wardrobe and she ate the roll today with her soup non the wiser that it was her present roll. But don't despair, bribery really is the best thing going, it's got us two whole, uninterrupted nights sleep in 3 1/2 years.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

What do you do all day?

This is what I have done today:

  • Talked to Barbie on the phone
  • Had a shower for three experience (it was a squash)
  • Spotted the missing weetabix on the ceiling
  • Mopped up the weetabix with an upside down sweeping motion
  • Cleaned the mop stain from the ceiling
  • Bought paint to paint the ceiling
  • Swept up a fake eye, a tiny shoe and a nodding puppy
  • Shouted Whoosh! Whoo hoo! Eight times at the bottom of a slide
  • Sung Daisy Daisy three times
  • Discussed at length and in some depth a cheese sandwich
  • Pushed a dolly in a tiny pram bent double all the way to school
  • Carried a dolly in a tiny pram all the way home from school.
  • Made a caterpillar
  • Made five cups of tea, drunk one of them. It was cold.
  • Jumped up from behind a wall growling again and again for fifteen minutes
  • Made: broccoli puree, root vegetable puree, goats cheese sauce, four fish cakes, ten gingerbread men, tomorrow's sandwiches, elegant supper for two (not yet served)
  • Eaten: half a tin of cold baked beans
  • Made a chamomile tea poultice
  • Been to the shops for princess plasters
  • Run 5 Km
  • Gone back to the shops for forgotten Princess Pull Ups
  • Run a toy monkey up and down the checkout making the appropriate sound
  • Donated twice to the charity at the door of the supermarket out of guilt
  • Did a rude sign to the old man in the parent and child spaces who had no child
  • Explained to three year old why we should never do rude signs
  • Asked three year old never to repeat rude sign
  • Put three year old on the naughty mat
  • Heard about possible dangers of sausages and banned them from the house.
  • Defrosted sausages in the freezer and ate them to avoid waste
  • Recycled
  • Composted
  • Switched off all the lights I left on this morning
  • Turned the heating up, then felt guilty and turned it down again
  • Wore my coat indoors
  • Petted a cow
  • Caught a hamster
  • Wished for a cleaner and a nanny

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sink or Sink

I'm not a competetive mother, and if I was ever going to be no one would know about it and I'd do it very very quietly. I did recently become aware however of a few children learning to swim who were about Isla's age. Obviously this didn't bother me a bit. Not one tiny bit. But it did get me to thinking about how bright Isla is and how I should offer her new challenges as often as possible. So perhaps an occasional swim might do her good. The communal swimming lessons offered at our local baths probably wouldn't push her quite as hard as she enjoys so I decided to take on the challenge myself. Something for us to bond over in later years; mummy and daughter time in the pool. Yes, that's it, quality time with my daughter is just what I, and she, needs. Excellent, swimming it is.
It's been a reasonable success, obviously Rome wasn't built in a day (though if it could have been I'm sure my children would have figured out a way). Isla began by insisting on trying to swim straight away without her armbands, she's quite advanced. Although it soon became apparent that she had absolutely no clue as to what swimming actually is. I wasn't surprised what with her nose always in those six-year-and-up text books. She could do a fairly good impression of breaststroke on the side (the stage it is then), but the translation into the water tended to result in drowning. She appeared from under the water with a big grin on her face though so I was encouraged, as was she. She has also insisted on dolly attending every class to learn to swim herself (dolly is plastic and floats so does have some advantage). Dolly comes complete with robe and knickers and while madam is busy learning to drown it is left to mummy to undress her and swim her around looking like she can't wait for another baby and is getting in some practise with a doll.
So to get her started on the correct strokes rather than floating, I decided to introduce one of those jackets with floats inside to free up her arms. I made the mistake of showing her how the little floats inside come out one at a time to help her gradually take her own weight. But it's gone the same way as her armbands and we now have a floatless jacket which she much prefers to the armbands and that she proceeds to wear while drowning. I think perhaps more literary persuits may be the way she's headed.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Things I have said to my husband today

  • Under the bed
  • Our bed
  • At the back
  • It is there I put it there
  • I didn't think I needed to say it was in a plastic bag, it's the only thing under the bed
  • Salad
  • Chicken
  • No, no steak
  • What are you looking for?
  • The fridge is warming up
  • The contents won't change just because you're staring at them
  • No there's no steak
  • Chicken and salad
  • Could you flush the chain please?
  • And put the seat down
  • Spray the freshener
  • What do you do about the toilets at work?
  • Oh I see
  • It's over to your right
  • The cupboard on the right
  • Right
  • That's left
  • I've put the children's clothes out for them to wear today
  • I know but it really clashes
  • See all the stripes on her tights? They clash with the dots on her shirt
  • And the tartan on her skirt
  • Yes it's lovely that you've dressed Jack as a rugby player

I Have a Difficult Mother

I have a difficult mother. Well not exactly difficult, wonderful, loving, helpful, dotes on my children, but yes, actually difficult. We're too alike. We have the same car (although hers is a newer, posher one) and same phone and -get this- same ring tone. Oh dear, I am my mother, and I am difficult which makes her difficult.

I consider myself a challenge, but really that's double speak for difficult. I'm really hard work, pretty unreasonable, cry easily, never the right temperature, slightly unhinged around the chocolate aisle, hate walking (unless it's to the pub) but want to do the Three Peaks challenge,and it's all because of hormones. Apparently. Hormones are great, ace, let's all cheer for hormones. They get me off the hook time and time again, I can do anything! Anything! Well, most things, and blame hormones. I can get fat, thin, eat doughnuts, cry (a lot), shout, cry some more, want a baby, never want a baby again, throw tantrums over chocolate, always get the last chocolate, refuse to get up, refuse to go to bed, imbibe ice cream like it's water, hog the duvet, hog the bed, hog the chardonnay (you may add your own things to this list if you'd like, I'm always up for trying some new ones out).

But the problem is, hormones run out - yes! I was worried too. You get one, big, last bash at being Very Difficult Indeed called the menopause and then wham, you're out. No more excuses, no more understanding. And that's where my poor long suffering husband will find out my secret. It was never hormones to begin with. I'm just difficult and plan to be for the rest of my life. Life's so much more interesting when you're difficult. This is why I have a difficult mother. She's had her last bash of hormones and now we're all settling down to the twilight years and dawn of just-being-plain-difficult and I'm loving it. She's fab, she's strong, she's reliable, she's fun (she's likely to be reading this blog), handsome even in her difficultness, fiercely protective of her right to need no excuses. She'd warned my dad that she was apt to be difficult at certain times and he'd accepted the hormone line meekly and without complaint. But she did warn him and that should be enough. I warned my husband too, expertly sandwiched between steak pie and sex, he appeared to take it well. I'm not worrying too much at the moment, I've got lots of hormone fuelled years ahead of me. But this stands as a warning, proof in fact that people have been warned. I am difficult and so is my mother.
My one certainty is that if ever Isla writes a blog, she will also entitle one of them I have a difficult mother, and that will be me and she will be difficult too and I will be so proud. And I'll tell her about sandwiching the warning.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Getting Rid of the Dummy

So we're getting rid of the dummy. A momentous occasion, a sign of the growth and maturity of our three year old. Let battle commence.
In fact battle commenced at the beginning of the week, primarily because I took Isla to the dentist last Thursday and he suggested she gives it up because it was affecting her bite. He said this with such a breezy, devil-may-care, I've never had children or a lost-dummy-sleepless-night that I nearly affected his bite. He thinks I smiled at the suggestion but it was actually a silent growl and a mental note to move Isla in with him during the weaning process so she can shout at him at 2am about her lost dummy.
Nevertheless we began straight away with 'no dummies in the car', which went really well especially with the sweetner of a small toy from the toy shop. She chose a ring which she promptly lost. Daytime is progressing nicely but night time is proving the sticking point, despite the dentist's claim that she's settling well.
So Husband has bought out the big guns and suggested a pair of shoes as the reward (shoes are to Isla as a big oil field is to George W). We were promptly stung for a pair of Lelli Kelli shoes complete with 'make up watch' and a 'bag to match'. Lelli Kelli shoes if you haven't heard of them are the latest advertising success. Pink twinkly girls advertise pink twinkly shoes with a pink twinkly free gift to boot. This time it's a make-up watch which turns out to be a bit of coloured petroleum jelly stuck in a plastic strap. Iain could have made it at home as he so wisely counselled us.
Anyway, Isla still doesn't know her alphabet song properly but she can sing the lelli kelli theme perfectly and proceeds to do so whenever we pass a shoe shop, complete with a rather complicated accompanying dance. It's done the trick though and she's been dummy free for a few nights now. She's due to come back from the dentist's house any day.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Oh Chocolate

Oh chocolate you're not fooling me
With your glossy outer shell,
I know that between your sweet sweet lips
The fat and calories dwell.

Oh chocolate how come you speak
In breathy almond tones
Of orange cream and truffle fill
And sugar overload?

Stop toying with me chocolate
I hear you rustling still
Deep within your velvet box
A writhing sensuous thrill.

I know, I'll just peep at you
Let you breathe a bit
Lift the lid and let in air
Don't tell me you don't want it.

It's just you and me now chocolate
Standing eye to eye,
Nestled, glistening, sugar sweet
Soft as a lullaby.

I think it's time we told the truth
To our friends and to each other,
But if you can't commit to me
I'll tell you not to bother.

Oh Chocolate, you understand me
Let's snuggle up together,
You and me against the World
Battling stormy weather.

Let's meld, let's mingle
Come over here to me,
We'll never fight it chocolate,
we were meant to be.

Come chocolate hither, you saucy minx
And sit upon my hips,
And as you go, all I ask
Is a moment on the lips.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

To Snip or not To Snip?

Let's all hear it for contraception -hurrah! Single handed emancipator of women, fore runner of the sexual revolution, answer to overcrowding (and possibly even damp problems). It kept us child free when we wanted to be and whoop de doo, out the window it goes when you don't want to be - what's to complain? I'm not. It's just that no one ever told you that post children contraception becomes even more of a debate than before. Before you could entertain the idea of 'what one would do should one find oneself unexpectedly pregnant' with various romantic and decidedly unromantic endings to the scenario. Post children the unromantic answer seems - to me anyway - a lot harder because you have in front of you the results of a possible split condom/missed pill/eighth glass of wine, oh go on then zambuca, and you LOVE them so. But you LOVE them so to the point of never ever wanting another (or until the memory of the birth, stitches, breastfeeding - do not delete any as appropriate - fades). So an 'accident' holds so many more implications surely because you know what you're letting yourself in for whatever you do.
So really the best option is to leave it to him and no I don't mean the male pill; the temptation to swap it at the doctor's for Viagra "just to see what it felt like" would be too tempting, thus tripling the chances of an unheralded pink line moment. So a vasectomy, of course seems to be the simplest and most long-term pain free answer.

Obviously I'm aware of and even a little sympathetic to, a man's preference for an intact vas deferens but if being intact/undamaged is the competition here we've got them licked (and not in the way they like). I've even pointed out its distinct advantages; should something ever happen to me and Iain dared to move on it could prove to be a very effective chat up line: "Do you know that I've had my vas deferens detached? Means no bother for you ladies" wink wink (perhaps even a click of the tongue here?). Husband unhelpfully pointed out that if he ever was to move on it would be with some whipper snapper who would be young enough and free enough to perhaps want children (though she never has any so the fantasy goes). So detached plumbing would not be quite the tag line he'd like to be associated with. Especially as childless women of a certain age tend to be very adept at trying to re plumb you - if you get his drift. I assured him I did.
Either way, this is the way we are going, I have the assurance of our local (and cheap) vet that he can do my and my sister's husband for a two-for-one deal. Providing they don't mind a few publicity shots.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Things I have said to my three year old today.

  • Don't touch that please, actually do touch it and put it in the bin.
  • The bin is the big grey thing in the corner.
  • There's no bag in the bin, please just put it back on the floor where you found it.
  • Mind out please, that's Jack's sick and you might slip on it.
  • What would you like in your hair today?
  • Well you're getting pig tails.
  • These hairbands match, pink doesn't match red
  • Barbie does not wear red and pink together, I think you made that up
  • OK Barbie does wear red and pink together
  • Barbie would be ever so pleased if you wore the red hair bands
  • The rain comes from the clouds
  • The clouds are leaking because they're full
  • Full of rain
  • It's like a big bag of rain
  • Water floats up through the air until it reaches a cooler atmosphere, there the gaseous water (vapour) condenses and cools to form droplets which cling together to form a cloud
  • God makes the clouds cry and that makes rain
  • Please don't put daddy's gel in your brother's hair
  • Abby's mummy probably knew the secret word that opens the sweet shop
  • No, I don't know the secret word
  • Yes, perhaps we can ask Abby's mummy for the secret word
  • No, I can't message her on facebook
  • When we get to pre-school please don't mention that Jack weed on mummy's trousers and mummy didn't change them
  • Oh ha ha ha Isla, you're such a joker, of course Jack didn't wee on my trousers
  • Tell the teacher it was a joke
  • Could you just say you need the toilet rather than explaining exactly why?
  • Because no one wants to hear that
  • Fingers aren't for eating with, a knife and fork is for eating with
  • Ok except carrot sticks
  • And hamburgers
  • And humous and pitta bread
  • And sandwiches
  • Ok only eat with your fingers when I say so
  • Ok eat your bolognese with your fingers, that's exactly what I was going to suggest anyway

Monday, 12 November 2007

A Big Duck Day

Today Isla saw a Big Duck. It was a goose actually, but try telling her that. There is no one else in the World that can make me feel like an imbecile even though I know I am right. It was a goose!
She announced today that when she grew up she was going to become a lamb (we aim high in our family). I gently suggested that perhaps as she was a little girl this might not be possible. Cue 30 minutes of tearful counter argument until for the sake of her sanity (and hydration), I agree that she might become a lamb. See mummy, I told you I could, she announced with such contempt that I was embarrassed (embarrassed!) at having been so wrong.
So here was this annoying Big Duck, waddling away the day oblivious to how its genetics had caused such friction - why can't they look completely different to a duck, why does it have to be just (admittedly) a bigger version of one? Why can't it have pink wings? Two heads? Talk?! Anything that distinguishes it from a duck? Isla is looking at me distrustingly, after all if mummy can't tell a duck is a duck what else has she got wrong (apart from the ability for a little girl to grow to be a lamb).
So today has been a Big Duck day, mummy is wrong, everyone else is right, I am to hang my head in shame at my ignorance as Isla regails her friends with my delusions about What It Is Possible To Become (her best friend wants to be an iron).

Millennium Housewife, or How Did It Come To This?

If you didn't even know housewives existed today, then you're not alone, I didn't even know. Until it dawned on me this morning, marigolded hand down toilet, skinny(!) jeans covered in rusk and a pair of knickers holding up my hair, that this is exactly what I've become.

It's time, I thought in one of those eureka moments that you always hope will happen somewhere glamourous with at least a photographer there to record the moment, but actually happened half way down the u-bend, that someone admitted that they were doing this, rather than constantly pretending to a) have a cleaner/perfect cleaning husband b)have a job that pays money c) have a phantom resident that miraculously does your cleaning/cooking/shopping while you go to the gym (or Starbucks, delete as appropriate)

Why aren't there more of us, or at least why don't you know any? Because we lie.
We go under various ambitious and slightly embarrassed headings; 'being on extended maternity leave' (although your youngest is eight and already buying makeup/shaving foam), 'home with the children' (you're kidding no one), or under our last known job title (even though we can barely remember what it was let alone how to do it).

So here we are, or rather here I am I'm not sure anyone is actually reading this, but hey it beats emptying the nappy wrapper (Husband can't do this as it makes him gag). Shall I stand up and shout with pride that I have become (albeit in stealth like stages) a housewife, or shall I hide behind a nice annonymous blog bigging it up for the masses my own way (read: in a cowardly and slightly pompous manner).

Whatever you think this is it, the diary of a Millenium housewife. Possibly the only one out there, especially in her (early) thirties. But that's only because the others are in denial, or perhaps chartered accountants who stay at home every day.


Maybe I should introduce the characters that revolve around the fulcrum that is this housewife (it's important that we are the most important) I wanted to retain a semblance of anonymity for my family so husband is imaginatively called Husband (see what I did there?) and the children have names that I would like for future children, although I'm not sure I have the energy. I give you Isla (3) and Jack (6months).

Let us begin. (or rather the sterilizer needs emptying so I'll begin in a bit)