The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Friday, September 30, 2005

I think we're alone now...

Well today has been a laugh and a half, and it hasn’t even been the kids fault this time.

Friday is college day, so after dragging Mstr A (can I run? Jump in the puddles? Meet you at the end of the road?......), LMB (I’m going to refuse to walk anywhere now), LMD (it’s ok as long as we don’t stop moving), my bike, my college bag, LMB’s Dora bag, Mstr A’s school bag & water bottle, LMD’s bag, food & milk and half the contents of my house, off to school, then to pre-school (feed the baby, settle LMB down, walk away to sounds of LMD screaming in anger), I jump on my bike & cycle to college.

It’s only a mile or so (although I think it was longer today than last week!), then a nice relax in class.
“you’re very perky for a Friday morning” comments one of my class-mates, so I gently explain to her that this is down time for me. I see the look of disbelief spreading across her face & give up trying to explain.

I had a great lesson. The debating style of the sessions suits me perfectly, as I’m always happy to spout off my “if I ruled the world” scenarios & opinions (I must blog about those sometime). Then just before my lunch break, my mobile goes off. Oops, I quickly cancel the call & switch it silent. It immediately rattles itself off the table with another call. I put it back in my bag.

Beep Beep

It’s a text message “call me, urgent”.

Slightly worried, I excuse myself & call Mr A at work, only to be told Bristol hospital has just informed him there’s a bed available, but he must be there by 3.30 today or it will be given to someone else.

Now, Mr A has severe Psoriasis which has not responded to home treatment for years. So when we saw the dermatologist on Monday, we agreed that a in=patient stay was necessary now. The Dr assured us that there was no telling when a bed might become available, but there’s a fair number of people waiting, so “it won’t be tomorrow or anything”. The treatment will be over three weeks (probably), so we said November would be better for us, to give us some time to clear our diaries etc. So this phone call was a bit unexpected, but you can’t refuse a bed when it’s offered – there’s no telling when they may decide to give you another chance;-)

This gave Mr A exactly 3 ½ hours to clear three weeks worth of work from his diary, speak to his boss, Drive home from work, pack his stuff, collect me & all the kids so we can drive him back into Bristol to claim his bed. I leave college in the middle of explaining why heroine & alcohol are treated the same in my utopian world, & collect many children, Mr A & make it the hospital at 4pm.

Fortunately, they hadn’t given his bed away, and we settled him into a nice side room with his own tv & air con! By the time we’d all trecked back to the car it was 5.30, so I mistakenly went home via the M5, thinking I’d stop at the services for something to eat. Bad move! Note to self, never try to leave Bristol at 5.30pm on a Friday, & drive south.

We slowly crawled along, & finally made it home at 8pm. Kids to bed (well, not LMD yet), and a quiet evening in alone (I hope). Balls to work – they haven’t paid me my expences AGAIN, so I think I’ll go on strike.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pushing the boundaries

LMB is definitely two! She is well into the stage of pushing th boundaries & finding out how far we'll move.

We've had some minor disagreements for the past few months, over bed time, turning the TV off, eating dinner and all the normal mundane ones, but now shes found a doozy to work on. She's currently trying to find out if she can make us let her get out of bed whenever she feels like it. this means she puts up some resistanc whn she first goes to ed, which we deal with reasonably easily. However, she has recently worked out that she can wake up in the middle of the night & really push the boundaries!

She's tried it a couple of nights now, usually waking up around 11/12 & whinging that she wants water/a cuddle/nanny etc, but last night she woke at 5am and decided it was morning. "I 'wake" she told me when I went to find out what the shouting was about, "go downstairs. My television".

In vain did I explain that it wasn't morning, it was dark, everyone else was still sleeping. In vain did I put her back in her bed. repeatedly. I tried being nice & re-doing her going to bed routine. I tried being nasty & telling to stay in bed. I tried ignoring her. Nothing made ny difference. She screamed non-stop at top volume.

After 30 mins or so she woke LMD, who cried, fed & refused to sleep again. Mr A gave up at 6am & went off to work. I refused to let her out of her room till 7am, which is getting up time, but can't say anyone actually got any sleep, or even rest.

What's even more annoying is that she doesn't even seem tired today. She's actually been quite well behaved & has just completely ruined my attempt to be in a bad mood with her by telling me she wants a wee, getting the potty out, taking her own trousers & nappy off, having a wee then congratualating herself in the most disarming manner possible. Not bad at 25 months.

however, once again it's not een the most successful day for me. I got my college work done, and shouted a lot at my IT dept, but haven't done any of the paperwork that I've been desperately trying to do all week. It may have been alright for Douglas Adams to claim "I love deadlines, I love the sound they make as they go whizzing by", he was accepted a s a genius - I don't think my employers would find it quite so amusing or acceptable if I tried the same line!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Smoking & choking

The great David Hockney speaks out against banning smoking in public (enclosed) places. Now, whereas I've nothing against the man, or indeed his work, I hardly think that the fact that someone can paint pretty pictures qualifies him to appear on National TV as an authority on current legal issues.

Also, his argument is: yes smoking is dangerous, but no more than alcohol (a statement I have heard many, many times in local pubs), and that the evidence we are currently being bombarded with about alcohol leading to various terminal illnesses & violent, sexual & abusive crimes proves this. However, surely that argument just means we should ban alcohol too?

Considering the law he is moaning about specifically bans smoking in any enclosed area that encourages families or serves food, his argument is spurious as he is welcome to continue smoking his way to lung cancer while drinking himself towards liver sirrosis in any pub in th country.

As a parent, I'm all for the ban. As an ex-smoker who gave up using will-power alone I get to be as intolerant as I like. As an educated person, I am able to read the law & have informed discussions about the likey impact of the changes. Unlike David Hockney, I don't go on national TV & talk about "our choice as adults". We have the choice to take individual risks, not social ones. Hence cliff jumping is legal, but heroine is illegal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A lazy Tuesday, not....

Just a few things squeezed in to today. I had my interview in Bristol this morning. As it was not untill 11.30am, I kindly allowed Mr A to take the car to work & took the bus to Bristol. Knowing that I needed the 10.00 bus to bve sure to get there on time, I got to the bus stop in time to catch the 9.30 one. This eventually arrived at 10.10, so we all clambered aboard, me , LMB, LMD, the pushchair, their bag, my bag, LMB's brand new Dora backpack, which she wont let out of her sight... While wearing a suit & stupid shoes, & trying to keep the snotty baby away from my nice white shirt.

Anyhoo, got into Bristol, & reversed the fun of getting on the bus - nobody offered to help, obviously. The interview went quite well, considering I could not access my email, so only had a vague idea of what job I was being interviewed for, then did the whole thing again to get back home. I always swore that I wouldn't have kids until I was no longer reliant on public transport, but what can you do?

Made it home just about in time to go fetch Mstr A from school & meet his teacher to discuss his behaviour, our priorities & his IEP then dragged the kids back for a quick supper, bath (during which I got the phone call telling me I'd wasted my time, as I hadn't got the job), & bed, before nipping out for a PTA meeting. I managed to avoid definitely volunteering for any additional duties, then pissed off the chairman by vetoing a request from the headmaster for us to partially fund the repairs to the school roof. I stated that I didn't think this was what PTA funds were for, and that should come out of the schools capital budget, and did not buy his argument that if we fund £1000 for the roof, that would free up £2000 school funds (due to match funding) for equipment/books etc. I pointed out that capital & revenue budgets are completely seperate, at which point we agreed to disagree.

Otherwise it was quite a good meeting. Loads of stuff planned for the year, only about half of which I've agreed to do.

I'm off now to try to find something to eat as I'm starving. I might actually get some work done tomorrow:-)

Normal service will resume on Tuesday

Sorry there've been no posts for a couple of days - I've just been too knackered to be honest. Sunday was the last day of the Gymnastics Coaches course I've been running. It went well, & I'm fairly certain they will all pass the exam in December. There were only two candidates that were a bit iffy, but they both have good mentors, so they should improve enough in time. LMD was really good again, mstr A was sick again so stayed at home, but it was just really bhard physical & mental work for 9 hours, so by the time I got home, I couldn't find the energy to start the computer up:-)

Monday was supposed to be a catch up day, but LMB caught the horrible cold that's being going round the family, & spent the whole day whinging, moaning, cuddling or crying. I didn't get anything at all done, and by the time we finally managed to get her to bed I'd had enough & needed some quiet time. Fotunately Mr A goes off to college for his spanish class on Monday's, so I used the time to do some of the work & stuff that I'd intended to do all day.

Unfortunately, my work computer if F*****d, due to the imbecile called our IT dept not knowing his arse from his elbow. No matter how many times I tell him whats wrong with it, he doesn't fix the main problem (presumably cos he doesn't know how), but nor will he give me administrator access, so I've spent the week with no email access, which is a painas the interview I'm attending today sent me all the job info by email, & I was hoping to revise a little! Oh well, I'll have to wing it. I'm not sure that I'll take the job even if offered anyway.

On the plus side LMB hasn't even mentioned her dummy for more than 48 hours. Horaay, we won! Also, Mstr A has been really well behaved all weekend. It's like a little switch suddenly clicked in his brain! Lets hope it continues. Of course, Sods Law says I'm meeting his school tonight to discuss his "Individual Education Plan".

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Clowning around

A nice day today, which is good considering it was an awful night. LMB woke up around midnight & just would not accept having no dummy. Her screaming woke up LMD, who was confused about being awake at that time of night & also wouldn't go back down. Between the two of them I finally made to bed about 1.45am (I can't sleep through their crying, however much I want to). Of course LMD still woke for her 4am feed, and LMB still got up before 6am, so all in all, I didn't feel in tip top shape this morning.

We went down to watch the Clowns International Parade down Weston High Street, as they have been holding their annual meet here for the last few days. It always makes Weston fun for a few days, as clowns of all shapes, sizes & nationalities converge on us, but this is the first day we've had the time to see them this year. Mstr A proved how grown up he's getting, when I pointed out a very tall clown, & he told me that he was "on stilts, silly", and when I looked down to ask him if was sure I realised that he was as tall as my waist already!

LMB didn't ask for her dummy at all today, & only cried for 15 mins when she went to bed, so we're slowwly winning that fight. Mstr A made it through the whole day without being told off once, which was fantastic! I think he's finally worked out that he will have a better life if he can conform to social mores, and is learning how to do that in many situations.

I'm working again tomorrow - the final session of the Gymnastics Coaches course in Street, so here's hoping for a better nights sleep!

Friday, September 23, 2005

New Beginnings

It was the first day of my new college course today. Administratively a complete shambles (I still haven't filled out any exam board forms, paid any money, that kind of thing), but the course seems to be well enough taught & reasonably simple so far. I don't think I'll have too much trouble academically, although time may be a factor:-)

I also got invited to an interview for a full time job today. The job's spot on, being just down the road in Bristol, good money & back in the work ethos I understand, but it's only for 6 months, so I'm going to have to think long & hard if they actually offer it to me. One the one hand, I'd be back at work, which I really miss. On the other hand the kids would have to go into FT care, which I'm not good at. The money is really needed, but then again 6 months isn't very long, and most of it would be swallowed in child care costs. I haven't talked to my current boss yet, so not sure if I could take unpaid leave for 6 months & have a job to return to at the end, or if I'd have to leave & risk being unemployed again next April. Knowing my employer though I'm not overly hopeful. the interview's on Tues, so I've got the weekend to think about it (except I'm working).

LMD has definately made a dramatic u-turn in her policy. She was as good as gold for Mr A, having a nap, eating her lunch & playing happily - until the moment I walked in the door when she screamed her head off, naturally.

Mstr A woke up compliaing he was sick today, so I dosed him up with medised, and sent him off to school (cruel, evil, uncaring mother that I am). In retribution in vomited all over the classroom & fell asleep at service (I'm sure I'd fall asleep at service too, if I ever went to church), so got sent home! Poor Mr A had to cope with all three kids for 5 hours (I bunked off early promising to complete my assignment at home).

LMB is still complaining about her dummy. But less. We'll get there eventually.

All in all, not a bad day, but I don't think it ranks up there as perfect yet:-)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

BBC English

I worry about the state of our mother tongue. In the past 10 minutes, BBC Points West has offered the following stories:

"Shepton Mallet Maternity Hospital will be stopping mothers having babies there for the next two months"

Pythonesque visions of civil servants standing outside the doors insisting that "you can't have that here madam. "
"stop pushing right now"
"shove it back in"

"Two local athletes will be running up Mount Everest without guides, tents or oxygen"

Does anyone else see the problem with running up Everest or elsewhere, or even walking, sleeping & breathing without oxygen?

It had me & Mr A belly laughing out loud, which is not that common while watching the news!

finger lickin good

Mstr A has just returned from his weekly swimming lesson. Following a number of stern lectures, he managed to listen to his teacher and actually do the same as the rest of the class at the same time, and to wait at each end almost perfectly! As a reward, I bought him a bar of chocolate, and while unwrapping it, some melted onto my fingers.


forbidden fruit never tasted so good.

BTW LMB is currently cying her eyes out in her room. I feel so cruel.

Going Cold Turkey

Following our spate of giving up in the grown up world of the Aginoths, we have decided to make LMB follow suit. We have finally, & determinedly taken away her dummies. That's it, no more dummies at all! She screamed all morning, but has forgotten right now. I'm not looking forward to bed time though:-)

With Mstr A we were much more organised. At a year we started cutting down, at 15 months it was for sleeping only, at 18 months we took it away once he was asleep, at 21 months we took it away for naps, and by the time we reached 2 years it dissappeared with little to do. In theory we were going to do the same for LMB, but somehow, what with LMD making herself felt before LMB was even a year old, it never quite happened. We started & gave up, or made commenets but didn't act on them, or put it off till a more convenient time. But now she's nearly 25 months, and I just think they are awful once children can talk.

So that's it. This morning we threw them all in the bin. LMD won't take them so there is no need to have any in the house. She'll soon forget all about it, but I'm expecting a good 4 or 5 days of hell first.

Ho hum. The job of children is to make their parents life hell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

The perils of children overhearing the most innocuous of comments.....

"Mummy, you have too many children" asserted Mstr A while I was trying to get them all strapped into the car this morning.
I answer him a bit distractedly, as I fight LMD into her straps, "do I darling? What should I do about it then?
"Get rid of one" he confidently answers
"oh" say I, slightly taken aback, "who should we get rid of? You? you are the oldest & maybe I should keep the newer ones around a bit longer"
"No mummy, get rid of (LMB). I don't like her. She kicks me at breakfast time when you're not looking"
"umm, where would we put her, she needs a mummy and daddy to look after her"
"give her to the people next door. They think she's cute"

you can't argue with his logic or reasoning!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

All bosses are idiots!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. All bosses are idiots. Now I know this is a generalisation, and I have in my time been a boss (although I am quite sure my employees considered me an idiot on occasions), but it is still true.

My particular bosses are not only idiots, but idiotic in many ways too. I've been employed by them for just over 18 months, and during that time I have had a number of disagreements with them over employee relations, staff loyalty and mutual respect, and reasonably often, employment law, and how they are breaking it. However, none of it seems to make the slightest impact.

I'm still debating whether it's worth actually taking them to an industrial tribunal regarding the fact that they won't provide me a car, despite providing one for all FT employees.

We have previoiusly had arguaments regarding my right to breast-feed my babies, and to bring (at bmy own expence) baby & baby-sitter with me when they decided to include two day meetings as part of my role. I officialy won this one, getting permission in writing, so now I just get snide comments!

Their latest attempt at pissing me off was to send back my expence claim for last month with the assertion that I can not claim for "family meals", by which they mean any meal where I did not eat on my own. Now I have never claimed for more than my meal (indeed, often for less as I can only claim £5 for lunch & £7.50 for supper), but I do not see what business it is of theirs whether I chose to eat alone, with friends/family, with clients, or with some bloke I picked up off the street!

As my job basically involves driving 100's miles, chatting to people & driving back 100's miles, my expence claims are often higher than my wages. They are currently three months behind in paying me. Do they really think I'm just going to turn round and say "oh, ok then, don't worry about paying half of it"? I don't fink so!

I've sent them a very curt letter saying "pay me now", plus another one accusing them of harrassment due to my family situation. The thing that really annoys me is that I was absolutely honest in my interview, explaining that I was taking a PT job, well below my level of ability because I had young children, and that I was still feeding (LMB) at the time they offered me the job.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Vomit, Cars & Courses

Yesterday went well - apart from the minimal sleep, the revolting cold Mr A has kindly given me, and mstr A making me feel really, really guilty for dragging him to work with me, just for him to feel unwell! He spent the morning alternately curled up on a mat on the floor, whimpering, or cuddled up on my lap while I tried to lecture in a professional manner.

I thought it would be nice for him to come along & join in the practical sessions, but it was not to be. I called Mr A mid-morning to come collect him, but as he couldn't get to me till the afternoon, & mstr A said he was hungry at lunch time, I fed him a good lunch of pasta and flavoured milk. Unfortunately, there was just enough time for it all to mix together nicely in is stomach before he was put in Nanny's car to go home, and naturally, on the way home it all came back up. All over him, all over LMB & LMD, all over the car, all over everything! The joys of parenting.

Now a question for the blogging-world - how come the driving test is more difficult to pass now than ever before, yet so many people on the road still have no comprehension of the rules of the road? The theory test has been compulsory for over a decade now, but simple things like using your indicator, going round a roundabout, turning on your lights when it's dark, seem beyond the majority of drivers! So, in the vain hope that someone might stop & think, here's some general rules to think about:

When it's dark or raining, turn your lights on
When its foggy, turn your fog lights on
When it's not foggy TURN THEM OFF
When intending to turn, or change lanes use your indicators
ONLY use your indicvators when intending to turn, or change lanes
We drive on the left, stay in the left hand lane

I mean, these are not difficult rules to follow are they? I expect people to drive like imbeciles
(I rode a motorbike round London every day for 9 years, and never had a serious accident because I assumed everyone else on the road was a homicidal maniac, out to get me personally), but sometimes even I get caught out.

OK, rant over. For now.

On the plus side, I finally heard back from my college - I start the course on Friday (the course started last week, but they weren't organised enough to let me know I was on it!). Looking forward to using my brain again, and meeting some adults:-)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

How do they know?

How do babies know when the worst possible time to do something is?

As you may have noticed from this blog & various comments, my babies are not great sleepers. Both Mstr A & LMB were a year old before sleeping through the night, LMD looks all set to follow suit. However, one thing I have always managed is teaching them that night is night, & when it's dark, we don't do anything other than sleep, feed & sleep again. We go to great lengths to ensure we can make their rooms dark, so they know when it is night-time sleeping pattern, even if still bright sunshine outside.

So why did LMD suddenly decide last night that she was not going back in her cot after her 4am feed? Not no way, not no how! She screamed the place down from 3am through till 7 when we had to get up. The only way she would quieten down was if we cuddled her, but that's not how it works! Babies sleep in their own rooms, in their own cots. It's something I really need.

Now obviously, while LMD is screaming, I don't get any sleep. As her room is just accross from LMB's, LMB woke up a number of times too! As I was working all day today, & Mr A wasn't, I insist he wakes up to help at least a few times. So no-body got any sleep (except Mstr A, who didn't notice anything all night!). So how did LMD know, that I was working, Mr A was ill & last night was a really bad time to suddenly change her habits?

Still, on the plus side, she was apparently very good for Mr A during the day, sleeping through the morning (it's alright for her), and playing nicely with LMB in the afternoon, and hardly screamoing for me & my milk at all. Now that really is a first!

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Oh yes, if you want to see pictures of the Delica meet, etc, go to Mr a's Blog. I can't be doing with reproducing his work!

cars, beaches & colds

A nice day spent at the beach today. We all went en mass down to Weston beach for a Mitsubishi Delica Owners Club meet! Thats the car (well, big, gas guzzling people carrier thing) we bought a few weeks ago, and the thing that Mr A has been spending all his time & money on recently.

I mean, a member of the owners club for a car! I ask you. It's a mode of transport. It gets us from A to B. I only bought it because we all fit inside & it can cope with the milage we do, while being £1000's cheaper than the Toyota Previa, which is what I wanted.

Still, it was a nice relaxing day. Mr A looked at other peoples cars & thought about what else he can spend his money on, Little A's played happily all day, and even Mstr A managed the whole day without any real problems. If Mr A hadn't given me his lurgy (a really nasty cold) I would be dead happy!

Not particularly looking forward to 9 hours of work tomorrow feeling ill, but we'll have to see how it goes!

All the children are now bathed & sleeping soundly after their energetic day, so we're going to treat ourselves to a pizza - the first take out of the month, as we're on a cost-sutting spree at the moment.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A quiet day

A moments peace in a hectic world is infinitely more rewarding than a quiet life!

I've just had 10 minutes completely to myself: Mstr A is at school, & both LMB & LMD are sleeping. At the same time! Of course it was not enough time to actually do anything, as LMD thinks that 10 mins sleep a day is plenty, but nice to sit and think and hear nothing, just for a moment.

Nothing of note happening today. I took LMB swimming this morning, which cheered her up no end. she adores the water "wimming, wimming" she shouts, bouncing around the car park as soon as we arrive. I've finally managed to get everything sorted for the course this evening - even more child-free time, lucky me! So I'm just playing with LMD & waiting for LMB to wake & mstr A to get home. I suppose I could do some housework, but that just wouldn't be any fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

scary thoughts

I've just been checking my stats, and apparently I've been hit by someone searching msn for "naked mother-in-law"

scary thoughts in every way possible

Things I'll never say

When I was a child, my mother was constantly saying the most ridiculous things, & I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "when I have children, I'll never them".

Now I've got kids, I'm constantly saying ridiculous things to them, and I'm sure they are thinking to themselves "when I have kids, I'll never them"

Nothing changes.

"just because" in answer to "but why?"
"while you live in my house, you'll follow my rules"
"you asked for it, you will sit there and eat it all!"
"I'll just be a minute"
"Because I said so"
"Stop asking silly questions" (I know, this is unforgiveable in our PC world)
"If Johnny jumped off a cliff would you do the same?" (after "but everyone else is doing it")

I'm sure there are loads more that will creep up on me as the darlings get older. Suggestions welcome

My problem kids

I so need some chocolate. It's been a long day, and there's more to go yet.

I've been at work again today. A quick trip down to Callington in Cornwall to meet with the sports college people there. They are great, and really help me look like I'm doing a wonderful job. Well, actually I do a wonderful job, mostly because I'd been doing the same job at much higher levels for years before dropping out of the career thing & looking after kids for a few years. So when this job came up, I found it simplicity itself to do the expected work, and have time to do a bit extra and to "bunk off" whenever the kids need me:-) Still, it's nice to have partners who work really hard & who are on the same track as me too.

However, it was a bit fraught as I had to squeeze it around the school day, and it's a 2 hour drive each way, plus a two hour meeting, so I only just made it. LMD made nanny's life hell after 30 mins or so, as thats about as long as she'll play without being able to see me! LMB was pretty horrible to leave as she refused food from anyone else, but at least she only cried when she got hungry, LMD cries on principle as soon as she realises I've gone, and wow can she get angry!

After school I took Mstr A to his swimming lesson. This is always embarrassing as Mstr A does not do social interaction, so he can not work within a group. One to one he is perfectly able to execute a number of difficult things, but put him in a group situation and he just wanders off & does his own thing, or worse, fights with all the others in the group. Today was a mixture of the two, and I left wondering if it's worth persevering with group lessons.

This behaviour has been becomming increasingly worse over the last year or so, and we have finally come to the conclusion, in discussion with his school, that it is not normal. So now I am starting on the long, slow and frustrating process of trying to find out exactly what is not normal, and if there is anything that can be done. However, his first appointment with the dr isn't till Wednesday, so for now, and probably for some years to come, we just have to try to manage his behaviour as best as possible.

I've also promised to get back to taking LMB swimming on Fridays, as she adores the water, and swimming is a vital skill for all children to learn - especially if like mine they live near the sea, a few lakes & plenty of rivers. Unfortunately I'm tutoring a course in Somerset in the evening, so I'm going to have to spend tonight writing lesson plans & most of tommorrow sorting out equipment as well as going swimming & looking after the girls.

LMD is still awake, active and demanding, despite it being past her bedtime, as she slept in the car to & from Callington, so my short relaxing time is being eroded as we speak.

When I first told her I was pregnant, my mother told me that being a mother means going to bed feeling guilty every night. At the time I thought she was being melodramatic, but now I know better.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

How did this happen?

Wednesday again. Horaay, two children dutifully left with the professionals for the day, & LMD stuffed full of milk & playing on the floor, eating all the rubbish that I haven't tidied yet. Some time to myself (almost).

I have an exciting day planned today. I thought I might have a shower (yes, even these things need planning in advance in my world), then wander over to the supermarket to replenish our empty kitchen cupboard, then maybe have a bit of a tidy up so that I can at least see the carpet in the front room, and catch up on all the washing, and maybe sort out some of the kids old clothes to either be sold (LMD), packed away (Mstr A), or moved onto the next childs wardrobe (LMB). Inbetween feeding/changing/playing with LMD & clearing all my work emails.

Fun huh?

How did this happen?

Once upon a time I shared my life. We went to work, we went out socialising, we did the housework, we went shopping - I washed the clothes, but he cooked, so that seemed fair. We decorated & DIY'd and discussed gardening (we didn't actually do it, but we discussed it together), we bought furniture & we talked about life, the universe & everything.

Then I got pregnant. I was devestated, he was delighted. We both had plenty of experience with kids, having much younger siblings, and having both worked in the periphials of the child-care industry. We were both sure that a child would be an addition to our current lifestyle. He even said how much he'd like to be a stay-at-home dad if the opportunity arose, and I was confident that it would only be a small deviation in my expected career path.

Then I had mstr A. To be honest, in the first few weeks I would have happily given him back, but soon my hormones/instincts/emotions betrayed me & I felt maternal. Despite a number of attempts, I came to the conclusion that most of the child-care duties would fall to me. Partly because I breast-fed him, & no-one else can do that as well as me! Partly because soon after he was born, Mr A was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and so was still learning how to balance his insulin levels which meant he didn't wake at night, and was often emotionally volatile. Partly bexause Mstr A was demanding, and liked to be with me all the time. But mostly because I felt responsible for him.

However, once he was a few months old, I went back to work, and our lives went on. Following a slightly different route, but still on track.

Then I had LMB. While on maternity leave I worked out how much it would cost to put two children into full time care, and realised that it would be about 80% of my salary. Once you add in petrol/parking and general hassle we decided there was no point (even if we could have found a place for her), so I left employment and set up my own company, working fom home. I soon supplimented this with a 1/2 time employed job based at home too. Which is the position I'm still in now. But gradually, this has meant that I've taken over all domestic duties. Now, it's me who does all the cooking, cleaning, housework, washing, shopping, child-care, decorating, gardening etc, as well as the two jobs & looking after the kids. Mr A now goes to work, gets home from work, has dinner cooked for him, & watches TV/plays on the computer all evening. And I wonder; how did this happen?

I don't remember ever deciding to become a mum & a housewife. Or even agreeing to be one. Where did the other me go?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Men home alone

Oh yeah, guess what. In his four days alone, with just mstr A to look after (Mstr A is amazingly self sufficient now, expecially if allowed to play on the computer all day), Mr A managed to complete exactly NONE of his tasks, as written out in great detail before I left.

He didn't even pretend to start them, & come up with some excuse as to why something far more important came up.

Does anyone know why we bother keeping them around?

Silly Scilly's part 2 - drop outs & opt outs

Well, Friday on the Scilly Isles, a place where approx. 85% of all income comes from tourism, but apparently not if the tourists dare to bring children with them.

I have never, in my life, visited, or even heard of anywhere that hates children quite so much as the Scillonians seem to. I should have been alerted by the difficulty I had trying to book a room a few weeks ago. Most of the hotels had a no children policy, a few allowed children over 12 years, and one let them in if they were over 6 years old. No good to me then, with two under two! However, I did find a couple of B&B's, so thought it was just the smarter places trying to stay smart.

No, once there, we discovered that the majority of the places to eat did not allow children in, none had childrens meals (not even the horrible sausage & chips that every restuarant here offers, although I prefer my children to have smaller versions of the adults menu), almost none had high chairs, and those that did only had one for the whole place. The pavements were very poorly maintained, there were no dropped curbs for wheelchairs or prams, the shops did not stock any clothes for children under 5 years old, the cars drive as though there are no pedestrians, and the people ......

The people were the rudest, most intolerant, ignorant people you can imagine. If they saw us coming with a pram, they would deliberately spread out across the pavement to ensure we couldn't pass. We actually had complaints about the fact that my children cried when strangers snap at them! The Islands appear to have opted out of the whole of the 21st and indeed the 20th century, and still believe that children are an embarressment that should be hidden away from society at large until ready to be married off.

This attitude could be seen in the school while I was tutoring the course. The school is completely inaccessable to anyone not in the peak of health, the only out of school clubs are run, voluntarily, by parents, the facilities are basic - there is not even a swiming pool available for their use anywhere on the islands, despite the fact that swimming is on the National Curriculum, and that they are ISLANDS! surrounded by water. The biggest hobby is boating. And half of them can't swim!

Six people were booked onto the course, but only 4 attended. One was ill, and did let me know, but the other just didn't turn up! The children came & went without any supervision, medical/contact forms (much to my disgust, as I'd actually sent forms out weeks ago), and the only people who came to find out how the course was going were a couple of interested parents - not the course organiser, teachers or even the council, who were footing the bill.

Still, the course went well. I'm sure all 4 will pass their exam in Feb, the children had a wonderful time, and I think a club will be started soon. I'm really pleased that I got to see some of the Scilly's. Especially that I got to see it for free considering the circumstances, because I would have been seething if I'd paid £1000's for such bad treatment. However, having said that, it's a fascinating place - I'd be happy to go back for a walking holiday when my children are up to walking 15 miles a day!

Silly Scilly's - Part 1: Travelling Hell

Phew, home at last. It's been a busy time (no change there then).

All the tickets did arrive on time - just - so off we all set on Thursday evening leaving a long list of duties for Mr A to complete over the weekend. As we climbed into the car, the rain started, and by the time we reached the motoway, visibility was down to about 5m. It was too early for the girls to sleep, so the first half of the journey was fairly noisy. When the motorway ran out, we stopped for supper & changed the girls into their nightwear thinking it would be a quiet run from now on, only to discover a thick fog covering the land by the time we returned to the car. The second couple of hours was spent trying to navigate along dark, foggy, unknown roads!.

However, we got to Hayle, where we were staying overnight without incident, and unpacked all children & stuff in the pouring rain & plonked them all into the room. Unfortunately, both girls felt that this was a good time to wake up & play, whereas I & Nanny felt it was time to sleep, so it took a while to reach any agreement. This was aggravated by the fact that the room was at least 32°C the whole night, so none of us actually got much sleep.

Breakfast was simple, but reasonable. Slightly marred by rude staff, undrinkable coffee and a lack of fresh fruit or fruit salad (it was "out of stock" apparently), but pretty much what we expected in these places, so we were only 15 mins later than I'd hoped in leaving. A slow trawl behind the local commuter bus got us to Penzance a mere 30 mins late, but I found the car park without difficulty,which is always an unexpected bonus in my world!

We almost had a problem at the car park, as the booking form hadn't arrived by the time we got there (the good old post office - sent 1st class on Tues am should guarentee a delivery on Wed am), but fortunately the post arrived while we were sorting it out, and my booking was in it, so no problem. Off we trot, with one buggy, three suitcases, two babies, and a bag full of nappies/drinks/food/change of clothes etc. No problem then.

We made it onto the ferry with 15 mins to spare (as I am neurotic about being late, and always leave a spare hour to get anywhere), and settled everyone down. The weather was still fairly awful, being wet, foggy & windy, so the three hour trip was pretty choppy. LMD didn't even notice (I suppose it wasn't that long ago she was floating around inside a load of fluid), but LMB was very miserable, and couldn't understand why she felt bad.

Still the trip was all on time, so we got to St Mary's (the largest island) at 12.15. Now the fun was really going to start.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I'm so not ready

I am so not ready for this weekend. I'm off to the Scilly Isles (Have I mentioned this before?) to tutor a course for three days. It should be a great jolly, except for a few problems:

1) This is quite a new course, & I've never taught this particular syllabus before, so I'm slightly stressed as to what to do, when & how long it will all take
2) It's a three day course, so I have to be organised enough to take absolutely everything with me on day 1, rather than coming home & quickly photocoying/googling/collecting notes etc each day
3) The Scilly's are along way away, so I'm leaving tomorrow, & won't be back till the early hours of Tuesday, so I need to have everything arranged at home for Mr A to look after himself & Mstr A, including arranging childcare around school time, ideally without paying too much, cos I'm skint
4)LMD is too young to leave for 4 days, so she's coming with me, so I need to pack everything she will need, in a bag small enough to take on board the ship.
5)As LMD is coming, and therefore nanny is coming to look after LMD, LMB has to come too, as there is no other care available to her. Ditto the above reason, but for LMB.
6)my tickets haven't arrived yet!

No worries then.

Check in on Tuesday for an update.

My poor legs

Work day today. i had a meeting booked in with a prospective new club that was only a few miles away, so i thought I'd be good & cycle there.

Stressful & painful, but ultimately very self satisfying.

Slight problem that the meeting was at 9.30am, and I had to walk Mstr A & LMB to their respective schools then go straight off with LMD on the bike. Now my mornings are not the most relaxed in general, so when I got my bike out at 8.15am to find two flat tyres, it was slightly stressful. The stress levels increased while I went to find the pump, then grappled with making it fit on to my tyres. We finally leave the house only 5 mins late, and I make LMB run all the way to school, which is a bit much when you've just turned 2.

Two children down & LMD falling asleep on her seat, I jump on my bike & start cycling. 1 mile & two railway bridges later, I'm not so keen on the idea! I make it to my meeting at 9.25, which I reckon is pretty good going. Then 2 hours later, I have to cycle back again.

By the time I get home, my legs are feeling all warm & wobbly. But I feel pleased that I've saved the taxi fare (the bus couldn't get me there in time - atrocious, as I'm talking about going from the centre of town to the edge of the same town), and been healthy to boot.

An afternoon of acetate printing beckons now. What fun

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Just a quickie

Bit of a late posting today, sorry. It started off like a normal day, but kind of got busier as we went along. Nothing in particular, just stuff.

Mstr A seems to be getting on better in year 1. I think reception was just too laid back for him. He needs the dicipline, and to be honest he needs to learn to do what he's told, when he's told to do it. After his first few weeks at swimming lessons last year, I asked the teacher if she wanted me to withdraw him, as he seemed to completely ignore everything she said. She was very nice about it & pointed out that he did listen to her, he just preferred to try it out in his own time, so it looked like he was doing the opposite to the rest of the class, but was in fact rather like Eric Morcombe playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.

I've been putting up with a withdrawal headache all day too, which is a bummer, especially as I can only take straight paracetemol cos I'm still feeding, and that doesn't do alot for me. Still, I got a fair bit of work done this morning before it got too bad.

Mr A was late home today, cos he's very busy doing something boring and I'm sure fairly pointless at work, so I had to do the after school snack, play, cook supper, bath all on my own. Although come to think of it, I reckon it might have been easier today than normally:-) Once they were in bed I went back to my stationary store & tried to buy all the stuff that I wanted yesterday. As I had been assured by my head office that the bill had indeed been paid weeks ago, and that it was all sorted out, and I could definitely use the card today, I confidently took my purchases to the counter, only to have it refused again. Do you think I was happy? I Don't Fink So!

After another 30mins on the phone to the store's credit dept, I managed to persuade them to make an exception just for me, and got my stuff, but then had to come home & send more rude emails to my boss. Since then I've been trying to get some work sorted out for my meeting tomorrow morning, and the course I'm teaching on the Scilly Isles this weekend.

Oh yeah, oh yeah, one all expences paid trip to the Scilly's, one of the most expensive places to get to, and somewhere I've been wanting to go for years. However, I have to be really organised, cos I can hardly pop home for anything I forget, & I'd like to look dead good so they invite me back again.

Well, I've given up working now, because if you write lesson plans when you arebored, they invariably make boring lessons, so I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Just another day

Just another day in Castle Aginoth. Up at 6am (well up at 12.30, 4.30 & 5.30. I know LMD doesn't really need all thoses feeds, but its easier to feed her & go back to sleep than put the effort into changing her habits. I'll find a quiet week to do it in one day, I promise). Mr A goes off to work, so LM Blond wakes up, & asks Mstr A to come & play.

I was organised enough to sort out Mstr A's school bags yesterday, so it's just a matter of finding his new uniform, giving him a (unheeded) lecture on looking after his new stuff, and how he's one of the grown up ones now (he's in year 1) & has to watch out for & help the little ones, feed & dress all three little darlings, & head off to school. a short walk later (Yes, we do walk to school, there are very few primary school age children in the UK who live more than a 20min walk to school, but only 1 in 10 walk there. And we spend £millions trying to work out why our children are becomming fatter, more sedentary, asthmatic, diabetic, dependant on their parents......), & we wave bye bye to Mstr A.


A slow stroll into town to post some ebay items, & pay in LM Blonds birthday money, picking up a few essential items in the local supermarket & come home for a quiet day catching up on admin. £pm comes very quickly, and it's back to school to collect Mstr A, then back down to town to attend a trail stagecoach session. This comapany teaches drama, singing & dance & I thought it might be a good outlet for Mstr A. He did seem to enjoy it, behaving really well for the first half, and kind of doing as he was told even in the boring singing bit (he does have difficulty joining in with group activities). He came away quite interested in going again. Then I looked at their prices.

This is a class for 4 & 5 year olds, and it works out at nearly £15 per session. I feel that is extortionate, especially considering they have 15 to a class (now I know that's against the Child Protection Act legal ratios, which are 8:1 for under 8 year olds), and requires no equipment. Compare that to say, swimming at approx £3-4 per session (requiring a swimming pool, teacher & lifeguard as a minimum) for a max of 8 children in a class. Or Gymnastics , also at £3-4 per session (requiring loads of expensive equipment and exetremely well qualified coaches) with normally 6 in a class. I can even send him horse riding for £7.50, and that's near enough 1:1, and needs space & horses! Needless to say, Mstr A will not be joining. But there must be 1000's of parents being taken for mugs across the country.

Of course, in some ways it helps that a) Mstr A is completly rubbish at all sports, having neither the co-ordination, inclination, dicipline or listening skills to do well, and b) I am the antithesis of the pushy show-biz parent. I have seen far too many children, often with great talent, being encouraged to spend their lives in a particular sport, only to eventually realise that life really ought to be more than an endless round of training, competitions and stress. Many of them have lost their whole childhood, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, certainly not my kids.

Anyway, by the time we get home we are all flagging, Poor mstr A was falling asleep in his dinner, and tempers are running high. We all narrowly avert rowing by eating supper & as poor mstr A was falling asleep in his dinner, we put the kids to bed early.

Ah good, time to write some really abusive emails to my employers, who haven't paid their stationary bills, and therefore I haven't got any paper/ink etc to do my work on!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Gonna have to face it.....

A new school term & a new school year starts tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to returning to normality, although September is a busy month for me work-wise. Just in case I feel bored though, I've applied to do a college course one day a week. I need to pass an interview, as it's for a law course (I studied Law aged 16-18, and was badly advised not to take it any further, so would like to pick it up again, even if it's just for fun), so here's hoping.

As it's a time for new starts, I have also decided that it's time I gave up my secret addiction. I'm going cold turkey as from when I go to bed tonight so, look forward to some grouchy posts in the near future. I have done this before, but marrying Mr A , who quite enjoys partaking of this pernicious substance, started me off again, and it's slowly built up over the years.

What terrible addiction do I have, you may ask? well before I enlighten you, let me describe the symptoms: I want this substance at all times of the day, every day. If I do not have it one day, I will look round the house, opening cupboards & drawers in case some has hidden away there un-noticed. I will make special trips to the shops to buy it. If the real item is not available, I have been known to make do with sub-standard substitutes. I find it difficult to walk past a shop selling this item without going in, and impossible to buy something different in the shop, without also purchasing some of this substance too. I know that it is damaging my health, yet continue to give in regularly. I make excuses for when it's OK, and doesn't really count. Generally, all the signs of addiction.

Now, if this substance were tobacco, I would have help thrown at me (and as I live in the UK, with the NHS, it would all be free). I could have individual or group councelling, nicotine patches, gum or tablets. Anti-depressives and drugs to combat the withdrawal syptoms.

If it were alcohol, I would again be offered councelling, individually tailored programs, and drugs.

If it were heroin or other illegal drugs I would be offered a residential de-tox programme & lifelong support.

Unfortunately, I can only look forward to laughter and a number of deliberate attempts to de-rail my wagon, as the substance I am talking about is chocolate.

See, I told you there would be laughter. But really, it's not a laughing matter. All of the paragraph above regarding addiction is completely true, yet I know that within a week I will have had at least a couple of people tell me "one wont hurt", "go on, it's a party", or "but it's low calorie, it's ok". If you said those things to an alcoholic, it would be considered unacceptable, but despite the scientific evidence of the addictive qualities of chocolate, and of the ill-health effects of over-indulging (it is actually a poison you know), society does not see it in the same light.

Ho Hum. I'll just have to grin & bear it. As I said, I've done it before. I shall just repeat my mantra to myself: I don't like chocolate, I don't like chocolate, I don't like chocolate, I don't...........

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Busy, Busy, Busy

Another busy day. Off to day two of the traing course first thing today. It's a shorter day, so no LM Dark, which is better, but also no sleep, which is worse:-)

Day two is tough. All the rest of the 1st aid course syllabus, plus tutors guidelines & assessment protocols, guidelines & practise. Then, after lunch I have to take e four part exam - three practicals & a theory paper. The practicals never get any easier, no matter how many times you do them. However, having begged & pleaded with all the other candidates that I be assessed first, I shoot through the practicals, with only a couple of minor mistakes & pass easily. The theory is no problem, I'm pretty certain I got 100% on that, so I grab my stuff & race out the door at 1.30pm.

1 hour drive door to door. Party starts at 3pm. No problem.

It's Saturday afternoon. In Devon. On the M5 heading North. All the schools in the country are back on Monday. Approximately 50% of Englands car population are also on the M5 heading North. It takes me 2 hours to get home. The party is in full swing, but it's only a few two year old girls, so they are sedately playing in the garden. What a difference from Mstr A's party a few weeks ago - 12 5 year old boys. And it rained, so they were in the house!

Anyway, the part went well. children played, parents chatted, food was eaten, no major upsets, everyone went home. All in all, you couldn't ask for a better birthday party.

Time to chat with my sister about how awful my mother is (they took all the kids to the beach this morning, and ended up having a row about how mother treats mstr A - she's not keen on boys & is downright rude to him most of the time, then she gets cross when he's rude back to her!). We all love her dearly, but she really p's us off too. Then bath the kids & wave bye bye to visitors. Kiddies in bed, & a quiet evening in for myself & Mr A. Luxury.

Training time

Oops, another day missed, but I do have the excuse that it has been a busy couple of days. Yesterday I was down in Exeter on the first day of my 1st Aid tutors update course. Exeter is just over an hours drive away, & the course was 9-5, so that = 10 hours out the house. LM Dark is not good at being left, and won't take bottles, so she get's dragged around the countryside with me, with Nanny along as baby-sitter. This sounds like a clever solution, and works well enough, but is very stressful for me, as I can hear her screaming all the time I'm concentrating at the course!

It was a busy course as it's two in one. The tutors update, and a 1st Aid requalification, so the first day consisted of speeding through the topics normally covered in the first three days of a 1st aid course, plus each one of us delivering a session. As I rarely teach the full 4 day course, I was pleasantly surprised at how well my knowledge compared with some of the other tutors there. Although slightly worried at the lack of their knowledge in some arears sometimes too.

Anyway, by the time I got home, & put the kids to bed, my day really started. I had to go shopping for all LM Blonds birthday party food, wrap the pass-the-parcel, make beds up for my mother, sister & niece, tidy up the house (a little bit), meet, feed & chat to said mother & sister when they arrived.

Finally off to bed at 11pm whereupon Niece being put to bed wakes up Mstr A, who wakes up LM Blond as they are all sharing a room while the adults are visiting. After chatting, fighting, crying, chatting, playing & generally keping everyone awake for an hour, I give up. Niece goes into bed with her mother, LM Blond comes into bed with me & Mstr A is under strict orders to be quiet & still.

Problem solved. 30 mins later LM Dark wakes up for her feed. Determined to punish me for cruelly leaving her for hours at a time during the day, she continues to wake every two hours until I give up at 6.30am and get up.

Hmmm, feeling refreshed and raring to go for day two of the course - not!

Friday, September 02, 2005

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Another lazy day

A quite day at castle Aginoth today. Mstr A didn't even get out of bed until 9am! I think he's finally worked out this lie-in lark - just in time for school to start next week.

Not that it made any differnece to me - LM Blond was wide awake & chatting at 6am. I think she may have been hoping for more presents:-) However, she's been quietly playing with her weebles all orning, so i cn't really complain.

Nothing much to write about really. I've finally managed to get my letters written, so hopefully i won't get sacked. Started the tidying up, but thought updating my blog would be more interesting:-) Fed the children. Worried a bit about the course I'm on tomorrow & Saturday (Tutors update to allow me to continue teaching for the next three years), but not alot cos I'm not actually going to revise, so whats the point in stressing?

Next job is to work out what I need to buy for LM Blonds party on Sat, as I'll have to shop tonight, & leave instructions for Mr A to get everything ready, as my course finishes at 3pm, and her party starts at 3pm, and it's an hours drive away (I'm hoping to get away early). My mother, sister & family arrive tomorrow evening too, so I'll have to tidy up enough of the house so that they have somewhere to sleep!

Still my sister has a daughter only 11 weeks older than LM Blond, so they should have a good time, and I can trust her to keep an eye on the kids better than my mother!

Back to work now....