07 Nov 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Child, Cleaning, Husband, Mommy, Mother, Poo, School, Squidge, Toilet, Wee
- by Stefan
I am doomed. My child will have no friends. She will officially divorce me at the age of 12. I will scuffle about in an anorak with lots of cats.
Why? Because I am cursed with the affliction of bodily functions.
Some of you may remember my first attempt at a playdate a couple of months ago. By the end of the afternoon, a mere two hours later, I had been wading in wee, covered in poo, and delivered a naked child to her parents. Fortunately they have not yet sued.
This Thursday it was time to try again. Squidge’s best friend ever (her words, not mine) was coming for the afternoon. Squidge adores this girl and couldn’t stop talking about her the whole half term. This playdate had to COUNT.
Monday to Thursday I cleaned, polished, washed, scrubbed, tidied, folded, wiped and shone every single part of the house. G’s mother was going to come in to a home that gleamed and sparkled. I had cake. I had cookies. I had coffee and I had tea. This was to be the Ultimate Playdate.
Things went so well. It was lovely. G’s mother was a honey. Fun, brilliant, open and hilarious. I loved her.
I went to sort Squidge out on the loo and realised that somehow the toilet had become blocked. Not just faintly blocked. No. This was water up to the edges with revolting toilet paper sludge and unidentifiable colours, blocked.
HOW? HOW I ask you, did this happen? I could only stare at it in dismay. I don’t know how to unblock a toilet! (yes, is apparently epic failing).
I shuffled back to G’s mother and patently didn’t offer her anything else to drink just in case she needed to wee. Every so often I manufactured a reason to go back and flush the damn thing again and again. It stubbornly refused to play ball. It was hideous.
Then she asked me, “Where is the ladies?”
I was frozen. FROZEN I tell you. Then I confessed. Toilet blocked, utter disaster. I think my child dropped the entire roll in there. Many apologies.
She was very polite about it but then I heard her daughter ask if she could go to the loo and then a loud, “I don’t want to wee in this, it’s GROSS!” echoed down the hall. The ground didn’t even oblige me with some eating. Nothing. Just the mortification of them having to leave so G could go to a toilet she approved of.
Does this happen to other humans? DOES IT?
The Husband came home not ten minutes later and unblocked it in under 30 seconds.
Showing my face at the school gate on Friday was NOT easy. Fortunately G’s mother WAS there and actively came over to chat to me. My relief was tangible. Utter. Complete. She did not think I was a skanky, disease-ridden lunatic with hygiene issues.
Still. I did refuse to speak to the toilet for four days. Serve him right. The Bastard.
P.S. November 19th is World Toilet Day. Who knew?
02 Nov 2010
in Bedraggled Mum Tags: Child, Cleaning, Mommy, Nits, Squidge
I have to tell you there are few things more revolting than nits. Actually, I’m not entirely sure what could match them for sheer hideousness. Especially when you discover them about two hours before you have to leave on a week long half-term tour of the various in-laws and parents and friends.
The original nit shampoo I bought last year (in the midst of a suspected outbreak at nursery that we thankfully avoided) failed magnificently. In fact, the nits seemed to think it was me throwing them a welcome party. I swear they got bigger as I dragged my poor offspring from the bath, into her clothes, down the street and into Boots.
I could even be persuaded to testify that the little buggers were singing, “Swing low sweet chariot” or somesuch chemically induced ditty as we raced down the road.
So my Nit Tip Number 1 is this: Do NOT buy: Licenex
My second tip is to definitely buy: Hedrin
and: The Nitty Gritty Comb
Now, let me explain why I went off and imported an arty farty shampoo from the US of A. It was because it said you didn’t need to comb. My daughter has extremely fine and extremely curly hair. About two hours after I’ve brushed it, she has dreadlocks and looks as if she grew up in a hippy commune somewhere in Jamaica.
I am still nervously expecting social services to turn up and accuse me of bad hair management.
I ended up combing her hair with a fine, fine comb regardless. I did it while putting in that one-hour lotion from Hedrin, and these revolting goggas were falling out of her hair. I swear to god it was only pure iron will that stopped me from slapping my hands to my face Munch-style and running screaming from the room while scratching myself like a flea-bitten hound.
When I was in LABOUR I was looking at my husband and going, “Oh god, what if she gets NITS!!??!”
I was also asking him whether she would like me when she was a teenager but I swear that was the influence of the drugs.
So that was how my half-term started. Vomit on the Wednesday night and nits on the Friday morning. I proceeded to scrape her hair every day for four days, and reapplied the one-hour nit shampoo on the seventh day as a final stamp.
I have to say that, while she was utterly miserable the first time I did it, she was an utter champion for the rest of the week. Her fine hair had to be dragged through a fine tooth comb (hur hur) for hours every day. It snagged and caught and pulled at her little scalp and there was not a word of complaint. I am SO proud of her I could just burst.
Oh and Hot Tip Number 4 is from all my lush ladies that I met up with for a faintly alcoholic mums dinner while on my Half Term Tour.
“Comb her hair with conditioner once a week anyway”
Apparently that will keep those nasty buggers at bay.
P.S the Licenex did come in handy as a washing powder. I used it to wash all the sheets, towels, clothes, and blankets that came into contact with us. I also spent an hour vacuuming every inch of every bed, carpet, pillow, duvet and cushion. Shudder.
21 Oct 2010
in Bedraggled Mum Tags: Child, Cleaning, Mommy, Mother, Vomit
When vomit comes a-knocking it’s never during the day, it comes at night when on your bed you lay.
It comes when you’re snoring and ever so asleep, when they cry out at night and start to weep.
It goes over the bedclothes and into their hair, frankly that shit goes everywhere.
It drips and congeals and stinks and cloys, while you stagger in the dark and trip over toys.
You get it on you, there’s nothing to do,
You just have to deal with it because, honey, there’s only YOU.
You hold your poor child in the warmth of your arms, ripping off clothes and bringing them calm.
They cry and they choke and then they say the fateful words, “Mommy, it’s coming, erug” all over your clothes.
You wait for it all to come to an end. You clean and you tidy and you change the bed.
You set a spare bowl beside her and snuggle up close, you’ve washed, you’ve tidied, you’ve rinsed with a hose.
Three times in the night you wrestle with vom, until you wake in the morning and feel like Death’s bum.
For 24 hours you wait and you pace, for in 24 hours you’ll know if your next.
We are on hour 18. Fingers crossed we escaped this one unscathed….
27 Sep 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Slightly Insane Tags: Child, Cleaning, Mommy, Squidge, Vomit
It seems almost fitting that, after Heidi’s briliant post, I would once again come into contact with vomit.
I am not a fan.
Vomit would be ok if it didn’t smell, wasn’t chunky, didn’t look like what I just ALSO ate and didn’t turn cold the moment it hit my hair, neck and skin.
Last night, after a weekend of ill child, ill me and increasing familial crankiness my daughter rounded off the weekend with a scene that would have made the special effects genius of The Exorcist pack up his bags, go home and take up square dancing.
Not only did she manage to cover the entire bathroom floor but she also got my shoes, my hair, my ears, my neck, and down the front of my chest. Which was, considering she was facing AWAY from me, an impressive feat to say the least. I am starting to believe that the whole head turning thing is like the whole touching your toes thing – something all kids can do until their muscles lock up at 22.
So, there I was in the bathroom, covered in sick and holding a dripping child. There was an undigested leek on my toe. I don’t like leeks.
Fortunately there was also an already run bath. Wahey! So I plonked her into the bath, clothes and all, only for her to start screaming even louder, “Is HOT Mommy! HOT!”.
The Husband, now alerted to the fact that things weren’t necessarily all well in the house, appeared. Like a Man Genie. Poof.
“I haven’t put all the cold water in there yet!” he said.
I instantly whipped her out, checked her legs, and panicked about boiling her alive while sick slid happily down my chest.
The Husband continued to sign his death warrant, “You should always check the temperature of the water before you put a child in it,” he said.
The expression on my face would have stopped a lesser man but he calmly ambled off to fetch a bucket and mop while I opened the cold tap with somewhat more violence that it deserved.
It got worse.
You see, because I had dumped my poor child into the water, most of the undigested lentils, leeks and other items from the chicken soup we’d just eaten, had slipped gaily into the water. There they were, frolicking with gay abandon in the water and, wait for it, BRUSHING MY HAND as I washed the water along.
And here came the question that all parents are faced with at some point or another. Do I empty the tub and start again while my child shivers in sick or do I throw her in the sort of clean water, scrub her off fast and get her clean?
Pop quiz, hotshot. WHAT DO YOU DO?
20 Sep 2010
in Guest Post Tags: Blog, Child, Cleaning, Guest Post, Guilt
Heeeeeere’s Heidi! This hilarious, brilliant and ever-so-accurate blog comes from the mind of a mum whose sense of humour has me rolling in the aisles on a daily basis. Don’t forget to catch more of her brilliance at Mums Rock.
A mother’s love knows no bounds.
I’ve just wasted an entire morning trying to find out who said that, to no avail. Of course, had I thought about it properly, I’d have realised that there’s probably no living record of the sucker who uttered such unfathomable nonsense.
They were probably hunted down by mothers across the globe and tortured to death. I envisage coven-like cackles as they pinned him down (it had to be a him, right?) and screeched “Feel the bounds of this, sunshine?” as they stuck pins in his eyeballs and laughed while he cried for his Mummy.
Phew. Did someone unleash the Kraken in here this morning? Sorry. Mama needs a little more caffeine to start her day with a smile instead of the fury that comes so naturally.
My point is this: the idea that a mother’s love knows no bounds? Well, it’s just that – a lovely idea – but I just don’t think it’s true. What’s more, it’s Stepford-style brainwashing like this that leaves many mothers so wracked with guilt about their perceived inadequacies that they can’t stop weeping over their failings for long enough to recognise that their charges are alive and not in jail, ergo: job well done.
I can say all this with some confidence because only last week this mother was suddenly confronted with the very real limit of her love. Faster than you could say Wow-that-scene-from-the-Exorcist-was-actually-pretty-true-to-life, every shred of maternal instinct upped and left my body.
Yes, my son was parted from the contents of his stomach in an abrupt manner on the drive home from school and yes, I did run screaming from the car and hide in the bathroom whilst trying to figure out what to do.
See? No sign of boundless maternal love here. Now don’t get me wrong. I would take a bullet for this kid, and have happily endured seasons of great heartache and anguish sometimes purely because I had his best interests in mind. He’s my first baby and to this day I don’t believe a more beautiful baby was ever born (except for his brother, who is his perfect match in the beauty department thing).
He’s funny, bright, kind and wise beyond his years, and a heartfelt hug from him is like nothing else on earth. I love him with every fibre of my being. I do not love donning wellies and rubber gloves to wade through several inches of his regurgitated lunch as it sloshes around in the footwells of my car.
I should have seen it coming and if I’d had the fortitude to encourage him to barf at the side of the road before getting in the car, perhaps I wouldn’t have encountered such an epic fail in the motherly love department. I was greeted at the school gate by the sight of him clutching his teacher’s hand, his face so pale it was practically blue and see-through.
“He says his tummy is sore,” she said, with the empathy that only a fellow mother can convey. I guided him gently to the car and deduced from his uncharacteristic silence and stillness that all was not well. Literally. Even the requisite after-school snack failed to rouse him but at no point did he say he felt like he might pebble-dash the back of the passenger seat or leave partially undigested strawberries lurking in the seat pocket.
And so it was that just as we reached the top of the road, the noise I fear most in all the world erupted from the back seat. For a split second I looked to the skies, and then to the ocean on the horizon, convinced that only a tsunami could be preceded by such aural horror. I glanced in the rear-view mirror and had to do a double take.
His brother started screaming in terror as he beheld the traumatic sight beside him and realised that his toy wrestler, which he’d accidentally dropped moments before, was about to be swept away. All the while I uttered soothing sounds of comfort, assuring my son that I would stop the car in a matter of seconds and rush to his aid. Except once we were stationary the first thing I did was remove his stunned brother from the scene of devastation.
It was like one of those gut-wrenching movies in which a mother has to choose which child to save when faced with impending disaster. The solution was surprisingly obvious to me. Take the one you don’t need full body armour and a nose peg to pick up. I placed him just inside the front door and as I returned to the barfmobile I was hit by – well never mind that’s probably way too much information but suffice it to say my own lunch threatened to make an exit in solidarity with my son’s.
There was nothing for it. I turned on my heel and fled. In my son’s hour of need I momentarily abandoned him. Wretching, I ran to the bathroom where I battled as I have never battled before, desperately drawing on every shred of decency I could muster to arm myself to return to the carnage that awaited me.
Within seconds, with new resolve, I ran to the kitchen like the firefighters in Backdraft returning to face down certain death in the name of saving humanity. I grabbed my Marigolds and silently thanked my mother for insistently bringing a pair with her whenever she comes to visit. And then, in a scene reminiscent of Lord of the Rings when the eagles swoop down to rescue Sam and Frodo, clutched from the jaws of death-by-volcanic-lava, I swooped upon my son and freed him from the confines of his car seat.
Stripping him of his clothes in the front garden, I carried him aloft to the bathroom where I hosed him down and showered him with love and comfort before dressing him in fresh pyjamas and making him a nest infront of the telly.
And then I spent an hour and 45 minutes squished in the back of my car where I wept as I confronted my greatest fear.
This mother’s love knows its bounds. That’s not to say that I stop loving my child when he’s dripping with the contents of his partially digested lunch, of course not. It’s just that my capacity to be a loving mother when faced with the v-word is drastically reduced.
Ok, totally compromised.
And if love is a verb – a doing word, as we learned in school – then being loving is what love is all about. It’s not very loving to weep with horror at the sight of your child demonstrating what a powerful muscle the stomach can be.
Give me those newborn nappies full of inhuman tar-like stuff that you practically have to scrape off with a scalpel any day. I think it all stems from a childhood experience when my cat puked in my lap and then preceded to walk in circles around me, continuing to be desperately unwell, until I was trapped inside a ring of steaming nastiness, squealing weakly for help.
It took some time for someone to rescue me, so at least I’ll be able to empathise with my son when he’s in therapy because of the time he was left alone in a putrid mess of his own making in the car while his mother momentarily contemplated running for the hills.
Joking aside, I do really think that image of boundless maternal loveliness is pretty unattainable. I also think its to blame for everything from the sense of creeping guilt that cripples some poor mums, to the manic sense of rivalry that leads others in a relentless quest to outdo their peers in the maternal perfection stakes. I’m not proud that I’m practically phobic about puke but I am proud that I’m getting better at compensating for my shortcomings.
No-one tells bedtime stories quite like I do, and I choose to believe that my kid is going to recall those magical made-up stories long after he’s forgotten the time I panicked in the face of projectile puke. Forget boundless maternal love that pretends it doesn’t occasionally curl up and die just a little bit – the ability to compensate for one’s shortcomings is what makes a mother truly awesome, in my books.
13 Sep 2010
in Parenthood Tags: Child, Cleaning, Husband, Squidge
What is it with this house and bodily functions? Do other people have as many encounters with IFO’s (Identifiable Floating Objects) as we do?
Fortunately this isn’t a cringe-worthy story. This is something that made me laugh so hard I snorted tea out my nose, and it STILL makes me chuckle as I write. Oh, man, did I laugh.
Last night The Husband was bathing our darling daughter. I was knitting my Rocky Horror Picture Show cushion cover and watching rubbish on TV. All was well with the world.
Every now and again I would hear a giggle and a laugh from the bathroom as Squidge played with her toys. As far as I could establish, she was Jessie and she was rounding up the boys and telling them off for being naughty. Then it happened, an almighty scream.
“GET IT AWAY!! Daddy! Daddy! It’s coming at me! Don’t let it get me!. AAAAAARGGH!”
I dropped my knitting and raced (hobbled) to the bathroom to find out what on Earth was going on and saw the most hilarious sight. Squidge was practically climbing down the back of The Husband who was dripping with water and trying to calm her down, while trying to stop her from making him even wetter. And there, boldy going where it bloody well shouldn’t, was a poo. In the bath.
I’m sorry. I know this probably means I’m a terrible mother, but that was me. I sat down and cried with laughter. I howled. It was the combination of the words she chose for her scream and the expression on my very damp husband’s face that did it.
Oh, being a parent is just funny.
12 Sep 2010
in Bedraggled Mum Tags: Cleaning, Turning 40
Yesterday my lovely parents came to visit and, as is always the case with us humans, such a visit required that the home be polished up a bit more than the usual. So yesterday morning we bustled about doing vacuuming, dusting, cleaning, tidying and hiding.
As I bent over to throw some rubbish into the kitchen bin my back went out. Completely and utterly out. For the rest of the day (and today) I walked about like someone had put a carrot up my behind.
And the results of this extremely scientific test?
1. Housework is bad for your health
2. I am an old git
08 Sep 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood, Slightly Insane Tags: Child, Cleaning, Mother, Poo, School, Wee
Today I took another child home with me.
No, I didn’t abduct her and, yes, her parents and teachers were all ok with this. No, you can’t phone them and ask them what the hell they were thinking.
I wasn’t hugely OK with it, though. Not in a “urgh I don’t want to look after their child” way. It was a “oh god what if she falls down or a car hits her on the way home and if she cries and eeek” kind of way.
My paranoia apparently has no bounds and has happily expanded into the realm of child care and babysitting. Great.
(wipes sarcasm off screen)
It all started out wonderfully. These two adorable little girls held hands all the way home, laughing and skipping and having a fabulous time. We got home without any accidents, mishaps or rogue out-of-control getaway vehicles accidentally running over us while racing away from the police. Brilliant!
I began preparing their lunch (school is STILL finishing at a ludicrous hour) and heard a quiet little voice from the loo, “Squidge’s Mommy? Can you help me?”
I innocently ambled over. There was wee everywhere. And our bathroom slopes a bit (old house) so it had run into the laundry basket, the toilet paper holder, the wall, the toilet cleaning supplies and the bath mat.
This was ok. I’ve dealt with this before. I am a Pro Wee Wrestler. I have considered making a badge. Soon the damp was done, the clothes in the laundry, the child cleansed and wrapped in a fluffy bathrobe, the floor smelling of fresh pine disinfectant. It Was All Good. Anything that isn’t asparagus wee is a Good Thing.
I managed to feed the children. Clothe the children (in matching outfits obviously – thank god for gym clothes). Feed myself. Tidy up.
At this point I was already quite tired.
Then came the playdough. How it got out of its confines (a sticky drawer that’s a bugger to open) I will never know, but when it got out it did it properly. The walls, the rocking horse, the floor, the bed, the school clothes, the laundry. This stuff is like some kind of ectoplasmic life form. I swear the people who invented it are crying with laughter right now.
After bending into positions that a woman of my age finds spectacularly hard to do (I creak) I got most of that dastardly stuff tidied away. The girls were happily playing with dolls (aaaaah) and I collapsed onto the sofa.
Oh. What. Now.
“Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooom! I need some help.”
I will never know how my daughter managed to get poo on her shirt, her shorts, her legs, her hands, her hair, the toilet seat, the toy mirror, the floor and the walls. I’m not entirely sure I want to know. THIS was a New Situation.
Now,I am not good with New Situations. Well, I am, but not when they involve bodily fluids. Seriously. Wee I can deal with. Vomit is sort of ok. Poo Is Not. Baby poo – yes. Child poo – no.
I approached the poo covered human that was once my child with the same zeal as I did the wee, except this demanded a bath. Taps on, disinfectant out, clothes off, tissues out, wipe away poo.
However, this had set. Like cement. Cement poo. It refused to budge off my child. Seriously, what do you do when faced with a stubborn poo? Here, I’ll tell you.
You leave your child sitting naked on the toilet while the bath runs. You abandon her to ensure the other child hasn’t been utterly traumatised by the entire affair. You return to the bathroom and replace your child on the toilet. You clean all non-human surfaces with hot hot hot water. You grab a cloth that you will NEVER use again, smother it in soap and remove the poo from her skin.
You throw BOTH children in the bath because, frankly, there’s been way too much poo and wee to comfortably hand a child back to its parents without worrying about giving them a rare disease.
AS you put both children in the bath you hear the doorbell ring and realise that you missed a text from the aforementioned child’s parents saying, “We’ll be there in ten.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
31 Aug 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Slightly Insane Tags: Cleaning, Husband, Squidge
You know when you get that itch? The one that says, “tidy up and do something about the house now or I will actually unzip myself and climb out of my own skin“? That one. Yeah.
We moved in February and our adaptation of our current premises into something we like has taken a very long time. Time and funds have to be carefully managed each time. It was on Friday that I finally snapped. We had faffed for long enough.
The lounge looked terrible even though I’d just done a major tidy and dust. Squidge’s bedroom looked as if a tornado had farted in there – stuff was just seeping out of every corner. And that’s AFTER a big clean.
That. Was. IT.
Saturday we went to Northamptonshire to visit family and friends. Yes, I also thought that they could all have chosen to live somewhere like the South of France, but instead we went to Milton Keynes.
After a fabulous day with lots of fabulous food we awoke on Sunday morning at The Person’s house. It was tidy. It was neat. It reminded me that I had to go home at some point, and that my itch was still there. Imagine my delight when my Person said to me, “I feel like going to IKEA.”
“Oooh,” I says, “YES! Me tooo!”
Disclaimer: I am aware that my thinking a day at IKEA is the most fun ever is extremely disfunctional. However, as someone who spent 90% of her life in South Africa, a gigantic warehouse full of furniture that’s low cost and endless, is still a huge novelty. I’m not sure what My Person’s excuse is though.
It was heaven. We got Squidge a wardrobe (you can see it below), we got a cabinet for the lounge, we got storage thingies (you know, those awesome little doodads that you put in drawers to organise socks and knickers. Ooohhh – LOVE them!), we got a painting I liked. I know, a painting from IKEA seems quite sad but I rather liked the duck.
Which brings me to my title. The lounge ate me.
At 7am I was up. By 11:30 I had sorted Squidge’s toys out completely. They had been totally mixed up and were all over the place. My daughter has this adorable (yet messy) habit of putting different toys into containers and secreting them about the house.
I even found the lid to the Lego box in our poof with cups, saucers and raisins. How she even opened the poof I don’t know. And when did she do it?
Anyway, the storage doodads were sorted. Dolls in one place. Electrical toys in another. And so on. Then it was on to the lounge. We eventually stopped at 6pm last night and the Husband found me wedged between the large orange (yes, it’s orange. It’s a happy colour. So there) sofa and the wall going, “meep“.
I was shattered but ecstatic. The itch was sated. In its place sat a smug, satisfied feeling that said, “yeah, baby, yeah.”
This morning I walked downstairs and purred as I went into her room. Purred as I saw how far the lounge had come. The lounge may have eaten me but damn, I am glad it did.
Next weekend…the itch returns with PAINT!
P.S. Just by way of explanation – we had no wardrobe for her so all her clothes were in one chest of drawers and her toys were in an open storage thingy. Now all her toys are in chest of drawers (only one toy group allowed out at a time), nothing is in the open, and her clothes are neatly packed into her wardrobe.
P.P.S That pic of Squidge is her wearing the castle inspired mesh that we put above her bed to turn it into a little fairy palace for her. Please excuse the photo quality at the moment. I’ve been using my phone.
24 Aug 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Slightly Insane Tags: Cleaning, Dust
Today I was wiping down the kitchen counters and sweeping crumbs off the floor, again, when the old story about the Elves and the Shoemaker came to me. Do you remember it?
In this tale a rubbish shoemaker on the verge of bankruptcy is saved by the helpful kindess of two elves who create incredibly beautiful shoes while he is sleeping. People see these amazing shoes, buy them in droves and he gets fat and rich.
Each night he leaves out the materials and each morning he awakes to find fabulous shoes (think Schuh) lying on his work bench. One night he sneaks a peek into his workroom to find out who is doing this for him and discovers two elves dressed in tatters (or naked, depending on which version you’re reading).
So the shoemaker and his wife make these two helpful evles some clothes. The elves reward the couple’s kindness with good luck and prosperity.
What I would give for a pair of those elves. They don’t have to make shoes. No. I’ll leave all the cleaning stuff out for them and they can do the dishes and the dusting and all that stuff that makes me cranky, and I’ll get them new clothes. Hell, I’ll get them a smartphone, a netbook and unlimited credit with Marks and Spencer for that.
I reckon cleaning my little housie is far easier than making 20 pairs of shoes anyday. Although I don’t want the fat and prosperous bit. Thin and prosperous, yes. Thanks.