Winner of the December 2008 Best of the British Mummy Bloggers Carnival!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Super-sized shades

Paul gave me a lift to the station so I could catch my train to work this morning. It was on his way to the supermarket for the daily run. Ava and Nath were strapped in in the back. They were singing, "Hello, hello, how are you?" a theme from some cbeebies programme which they are both addicted to. Don't ask me the name of it. Paul would know. The sun was shining. Eden had got to school on time and the chaos of the morning routine had been relatively insignificant by the usual standards. Paul was chirpy, in one of his 'in-control' moods. All seemed right with the world. It was going to be a good day. As we pulled up at the station I picked up my coat and bag from my lap and reached for the door handle. I looked behind me to start saying goodbye to the kids. But then Ava's face crumpled. She threw her head back and she started to cry. No, scream. Her face turned bright red and her fists clenched and huge tears started to plop onto her cheeks. "No, Mummy, no go!" she cried. I got out of the car and opened the passenger door. I leaned across Nathan towards her and tried to kiss her cheek but she pulled away from me. I kissed her anyway. And then my face crumpled, too. I went from equanimity to emotional wreck in the space of a nanosecond. Paul said lightly, "She'll be fine. Hurry, you'll miss your train. Don't worry!" I pulled on the super-sized shades and walked briskly away from the car towards the station, tears rolling down my cheeks. I carried on crying half the way to work. I hate it when that happens.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Cheerio sanity!

I pick my way over the brightly-coloured miniature fairy dolls lined up against the edge of an empty cereal packet in the middle of the kitchen floor, scowl at the stickiness of the kitchen tiles and head towards the caefetiere for my second cup of coffee. It is 7.30am. Loud screeches emanate from the living room and I put my head round the corner of the door to shout, "Nathan, get off Ava please! She is *not* a donkey!" Ava peeks up at me and gives me a winning smile, rolls out from underneath her brother and toddles off towards the plastic play piano in the corner of the living room. As she starts banging out a tuneless noise, I notice that one of her socks is dangling from the end of her toes, about to fall off. I only put her socks on five minutes ago. She is chewing something, although I haven't yet given her any breakfast. I wonder in passing what she has managed to scavenge from the floor. Hopefully it's not too many days old, whatever it is.... At the same time I see out of the corner of my eye that Eden is hopping around the room, half way into her knickers and trying to eat a cereal bar at the same time. The crumbs are falling everywhere. She has already eaten breakfast but has obviously decided she is still hungry. Her appetite constantly astonishes me. Nathan has started dive bombing on to the sofa from one of the arms. He is naked from the waist down. He is shouting, "I want Scooby Doo!" Very loudly. Cushions are scattered all over the floor. I turn to look behind me to where his potty is, tracing where his clothes might have dropped so that I can reunite him with them. It is then that I realise he has rather mistargeted his previous wee. Unfortunately it looks like he has then trodden gleefully through the puddle on the floor to leave a trail of wet footprints in his wake. I start to talk to Eden about her homework, still uncompleted from the night before, as I wipe the floor vigorously with some kitchen towel. It is nearly time for me to leave and I haven't put my make-up on. At that moment I notice that the trail of wee leads to an enormous pile of Cheerios next to the coffee table. "Argh!!" I shout. "What's happened here?!" My eyes focus on the coffee table and a plastic bowl which has clearly been massively over-filled with Cheerios. A forlorn cereal packet is next to the bowl. I pick it up and shake it to see that it is almost empty. I grab the dustpan and brush and sweep up, shouting behind me at Nathan that he's not to help himself to cereal in the mornings. Nathan is still yelling, "I want Scooby Doo!" very loudly, but now Eden is also shouting, "Mummy! I need you to help me to do twenty six take away twelve! Hold up your fingers!" I stand up and shove Scooby Doo into the DVD player. I start counting down from twenty six, holding up my fingers to show Eden and simultaneously backing into the downstairs cloakroom to put my make up on. Ava totters in after me and starts to investigate the very attractive pink loo brush. "Don't touch that!" I screech, and hastily draw some kohl liner onto my eyelids. I scoop her up and plop her into her highchair, run into the kitchen and pull toast out of the toaster, scrape on some butter and marmite, hurriedly cut it into soldiers and deliver it back to her. "Yummy toast! Eat up!" I dash back into the cloakroom and slick on some eyeshadow. It's time to go. "Mummy!" wails Eden. "I can't do this one!" I am pulling on my jacket, coaching Eden through another sum, shouting to Paul (who is quietly and sagely avoiding the scrum by clearing up in the kitchen) that I am leaving. Ava throws a piece of toast over her shoulder and stands up in her highchair and starts leaning precariously towards me wailing, "Mummy! Mummy!" as soon as she sees me in my coat. Nathan starts singing, "Roary the Racing Car" in a raucous, tuneless fashion whilst racing through the living room in my direction. Two and a half stone's worth of small boy careers into my thighs, chubby arms are wrapped around my white suit trousers. "What have you got on your hands?!" I shout, noticing that they look worryingly sticky, wriggling free and trying to hug him without incurring any further damage (Why am I wearing white trousers? Well might you ask). Eden is almost in tears. She hasn't finished her homework yet. "I have to go; you'll have to do the rest with Daddy", I implore, pecking her on the forehead and lifting her chin so that I can give her a reassuring smile. "Right. I really am off!" I yell breezily. Delivering a kiss to Ava's head I turn and race into the hall, picking up oyster card, keys and phone en route and grabbing my bag. I unlock the front door and turn to see Nathan and Eden chasing me down the hall. "Bye!!" they squawk in unison. "Bye!" I reply and wink at them both. I shut the front door behind me "Have a great day!" I say through the letterbox at their grinning faces. I walk up the front path and on to the street, heading for the station. It's been another ordinary morning in the Lloyd household. I used to describe things at home as 'organised chaos', but this isn't organised in any shape or form. This isn't even chaos. It's sheer bloody madness. Nothing at work can be as challenging as leaving the house in the morning on time, in one piece, relatively clean and with one's sanity intact.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Ava finally gets off her bottom

Ava is walking. Finally. Just as the so-called specialists and doctors had put the very fear of God into us, just as I had almost driven myself mad with the thought that I was a delinquent and neglectful mother for not noticing something was wrong with her legs, she chose last Friday to get up, in the middle of the room, with nothing to hold on to, and to walk, slowly, with a staggering, tottering kind of motion, all the way across the living room. Just like that. Of course, I was busy nattering to a friend on the sofa at the time and was only alerted to the situation by another friend saying, 'Sara... Look! SARA!!! ....SAAAAARA!!' I was aware that I looked possibly quite foolish as I stood up, with my hands to my mouth, my eyes wide with disbelief and a big, gloppy tear rolling down my cheek. But I didn't really care. It was sensational. This minor miracle that must occur millions of times on a daily basis around the world but still succeeds in feeling so special and unique every time. My baby was finally up on her feet! She may be No 3 but she certainly knows how to pause for dramatic effect. Yeah - about a 6 month pause. That's my Ava; whatever happens, she'll always fight to get noticed. And boy, do I feel relieved. Phew. Now, what do I need to worry about next? ;-)