Sunday, 28 November 2010


"I can't wait until I'm grown up Mummy."
"Why's that Pickle?"
"Because then I can tell children off."

I think I'm reasonably horrified that he thinks that's what we do although maybe it's no bad thing that he knows who's in charge!

Wotsit's words are also coming along - "Daddy, stop stroking Mummy".  (He was only massaging my shoulders).  And, the sentence I've heard most this weekend "It's mine actually".

God, I love these boys.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Skirting around

I like skirts (although recently dresses seem to have overtaken even skirts -   bizarre really given I actually spend most of my time in trousers).  Anyway, I have quite a few.  A lot of which haven't fit me for quite a long time (I've shrunk) but I've felt strangely fond of them.  And now, I'm finally having a sort out (well, I have to make room for those dresses somehow) and it turns out I'm more attached to them than I thought. 

In order of memory:

There's an a-line, just below the knee bluey-green number with a chiffon underskirt (nicer than it sounds) - my husband bought it for me for Christmas, the year I had Monkey.  Along with some knee high black boots (which he chose himself).  I'd had almost 6 months of swollen ankles and gained 4 stone during the pregnancy.  So, 6 weeks after the birth, I was still quite a bit bigger than my pre-pregnant self with nothing to wear and a New Year's Eve dinner with friends coming up.  We'd popped to the shops, I saw the skirt and it came home with us...  We had a lovely evening, Monkey joined us for much of the meal and we asked our guests to be Monkey's Godparents.

Then there's a full length, floaty brown skirt with a couple of ra ra layers and a small pink rose print (also nicer than it sounds!).  I was with my Mum when I bought it, looking for a skirt to wear to Monkey's Christening (she's come over from Australia for the Christening of all 3 children - to be honest, it's a big factor in them being Christened - with no more babies, not sure when she's next coming...).  I teamed it with a casual pink top and some brown sandals (I am not a fashion queen).  It was a good day.  Lots of friends and lots of family.  Monkey managed not to vomit in church (something he had done spectacularly the week before).  I was quite emotional and felt strangely comforted for having had him Christened.  There are lots of pictures of an 8 month old Monkey having lots of cuddles that day.  I remember my sister feeding him, Monkey not settling for his sleep and my Mum drinking lots of wine.

And then there's a black work skirt, knee length, a fine red strip running diagonally through it - straightish with a bit of a kick at the bottom.  I wore that when we went to Manchester to talk to the lawyers who were developing a case for us in relation to Monkey's birth (a story for a different day).  My Mum was over (Pickle's Christening) and she looked after the boys for the day with a friend of hers.  She was really nervous about having them, about being able to care for monkey properly, doing his medication and lifting him.  I'd left a few instructions.  They got on fine although Mum was exhausted when we got home and said even if she did live in this country she didn't think she'd be able to help with Monkey on her own.  I had a lot of mixed feelings that day in Manchester - good news in that they felt they had a case.  Bad news as inevitably that meant that something could have been done differently when Monkey was delivered. 

And now - now I've written it all down - I can feel better about keeping those memories safe whilst the skirts make their way to the charity shop.  I can give away skirts, but not memories.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

An old fashioned birthday party at home...

Pickle has just turned 4.  We bucked the trend amongst his friends for hiring a village hall and instead invited 10 children to come for a bonfire birthday party.  Whilst we're lucky enough to have space, we couldn't invite the entire nursery so Pickle had to choose his friends.  All boys bar one, because he needed "someone to be Gwen"!

We only had one response in the first 2 weeks and I was worried about my son's popularity.  We had to chase down a number of responders but ended up with a full house (my apologies to all those parents who I haven't replied to swiftly in the past).

I hadn't specified whether parents could drop their children off or stay with them and expected most to stay (as they don't know us and we don't know their children that well).  But I was surprised that most children came with 2 parents and both stayed.  Think they must be only children and some had to travel a distance to get here.  Anyway, it didn't do much for my nerves!  I'm shy and whilst perfectly capable of making a fool of myself in front of 12 kids, not quite so good with all their parents.  My husband had been briefed to keep them all in the kitchen with wine and beer but he was still setting the fireworks when they arrived so they trooped through to a very crowded play room.

Pickle was also quite shy and extremely tired.  He struggled with wanting to be centre of attention and wanting to sleep in equal measures.  The pizza decorating was a little ambitious.  Pass the parcel was safe (although nearly let Wotsit win which wasn't the done thing).  Other traditional party games were fine but hadn't really thought through the winning strategy and didn't have any other prizes lined up.  Sleeping lions was going the same way (i.e. nowhere) when I whispered in my sister-in-law's (ex-primary school teacher and music whizz) ear 'can you do sleeping bunnies'.  Which was swiftly followed by very excited sleeping crocodiles, lions and monkeys (although Pickle at this point was mostly just sleeping). 

Finally tea was ready.  Only one child didn't like pizza.  And most couldn't eat a whole one.  Clearly my children are just gannets.  I was only midly embarrassed during tea when one of the children knocked a painting off the wall (no-one was hurt) to expose a huge hole in the chimney breast my husband had drilled a few weeks earlier.  I'm starting to see why people go to a Village Hall...

By far the biggest success, sitting outside with glow sticks waiting for the fireworks, the fireworks themselves (I was in the shed with the scaredy cats (including Pickle)), and then running around the garden afterwards in the dark.  Pleased to report no injuries, just lots of mud.  Oh and the party bags were pretty cool too.

I think they all had a great time.  And I'm sure Pickle did.  I spent a lot of time worrying that none of the parents like me (but it's hard to break a habit of a lifetime).  And the tidying up wasn't too bad.

The day ended with me bathing 4 children and Pickle going into complete meltdown - too tired to hold it together any longer.  He fell asleep as we read his bedtime story and I have to say, I wasn't far behind him.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Six wishes for your sixth birthday

I wish that you could have some cake
I wish your brothers could hug you (and maybe jump on you a bit)
I wish we could snuggle
I wish I could take you swimming
I wish I could buy you a balloon
I wish you were here