Saturday, 31 March 2012

I Blog Therefore I Am.....

..... Paranoid? Slightly mad? Losing it completely?

I THINK I have a Syndrome ... or a Condition... or a Rism, Sism or Chosis. There's definitely something, but I won't be going to the doctors...

Dr *peers over glasses, twirls moustache with nicotined stained fingers*: "And what seems to be the problem?"

Me *wrings hands together worriedly* "Dr, I think people might know I blog..." 

*Dramatic pause*

Dr: "Oooooooo...kay. NEXT!"

But I DO have some very worrying symptoms.....

Yesterday, looking around the gathered parents indulgently beaming at their little poppet's individual contribution to Class One's assembly, I was trying to spot the one gathering material to blog the experience. (I WOULD have missed my own little poppet's contribution if I hadn't have had my camera trained on the stage ready for that Silent Sunday shot. *Tuts*)

But there must be one, mustn't there? There are literally hundreds and thousands of mummy and daddy bloggers. I can't be the only one blogging away in the ENTIRE school, surely? *Looks around suspiciously*

And if THEY blog, do they know that I blog? 

And if they know that I blog, do they read it? Do they make JUDGEMENTS? Do they read my blog and make judgements and then stand around the playground sharing their judgements with the rest of the playground? *Paranoid face*

And when, at the Small Boy's parent's evening, the class teacher made a totally co-incidental reference to exactly the same thing I'd already written in a blog, it WAS a total co-incidental reference, wasn't it? WASN'T IT? *Scream face*

And sometimes, well sometimes, I feel like I'm walking around with just my pants on... *Shrieks and leaps behind a bush.* But to be fair, I felt like that BEFORE I started blogging.

I am not a particularly anonymous blogger, nor secretive. My family know I blog and, believe it or not, every post concerning the TeenTwins is read and approved by them before hitting the publish button. And theoretically I know that people are reading the blog because I check my stats and they say people are ... unless it IS just my mum reading each post over and over again :/

But I've yet to "come out," so to speak, to the schoolyard and I wonder if there's a dozen parents or so who will chime in with: "Oh, me too!" if I do. Or will there be an embarrassing tumbleweed moment while someone's grandma chunters on about corporal punishment ("No, I said I'm a BLogger not a FL...oh, never mind.")

*Starts wearing dark glasses and a large hat.*

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Gallery: Extreme Close Up

 I'm joining in with The Gallery, hosted by Sticky Fingers, this week the theme is Extreme Close Ups.

One of the delights of having an allotment is seeing just how much time that SHOULD be spent digging, planting, pruning and, er, stuff, can be frittered away on photographing the wildlife while someone else does the hard work.

Answer: Lots.

Check out everybody else's entries on The Gallery

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Listography, Top 5 Beauty Products

I'm not generally a make-up-wearing type of a girl as can be testified to (possibly with a shudder) by anyone who's seen me on the school run with a face still sagging with crumpled sleep creases and eyes that are just teeny, tiny holes in my skull.

It's not that I've got anything against make-up as such, I do have a respectably large and varied collection of cosmetics that mostly gather dust while I daily fail to find the time to wear any of them. Well when I say "fail to find the time," I MEAN can't be bothered to get up any earlier.

And, OF COURSE, as a woman of a certain age *coy look* I have enough creams, potions, lotions, unguents and oils to moisturise the wrinkles out of a walrus. I have used most of them once, failed to instantly look like a 18 year old and thrown them in the corner in disgust.

Nevertheless the Listography subject this week is Top 5 Beauty Products and so here are mine.

*Helpful face*

1. Witch-Hazel. In a bottle. From a Chemist.
Cost, a couple of quid.
I've used Witch Hazel ever since my hippy phase co-incided with my spotty student phase sometime in the 80s and I've used it ever since. An astringent Witch Hazel is commonly used on troubled skin, bruises, piles and perineum tears. So, um, fun for all the family.

2. Rosewater and Glycerin. Also in a bottle. Also from a Chemist.
Cost, NEARLY three quid.
I also started using this in my dim and distant youth. It's a skin cleanser, a skin toner, a skin softener ALL in one bottle. It even smells nice.

3. Candles. Of Wax. From Anywhere.
Cost, variable.
There is NOTHING that improves a woman's looks more than candlelight. NOTHING.

4. Someone Who Loves You.
Cost, negligible.
Love is blind, which sometimes can be a blessing.

5. Benefit Eye Bright. From varying suppliers.
Cost, £14
The one, the only, the best ever beauty product that I could not and would not be without. A soft pink pencil designed to give eyes "that young, wide-awake look." I carry it with me AT ALL TIMES just in case I run into Dave Grohl in some bizarre shopping incident whereupon I will rush into the ladies and emerge eye-sparklingly young and attractive. *Looks doubtfully at pencil* Well, um, I like it anyway...

(Disclaimer, some of these beauty products might not be actual beauty products)

Please check out the other Listography posts at Kate Takes 5

Monday, 26 March 2012

An Utterly Shameless Attempt To Become a Morphy Richards Innovator...

Those lovely people at Tots 100 and Morphy Richards have teamed up to find bloggers that can become Morphy Richards Innovators ....Ooooh. *wide eyed face*

Now I love a good kitchen appliance as much as the next woman, I like them all the better if they mean I don't have to be in the kitchen loving them ALL THE TIME. Unfortunately the terms of the Morphy Richards Innovators challenge is to share either Top Tips for Housework *guffaws,* Making Family Chores Fun *snort* and Domestic Disasters .... of which there are too many to count and I still bear the scars from that hot oil incident 12 years ago, thank you very much *wipes brow.*

So, in the face of this challenge, I offer you My Top Tips for Housework because EVERYBODY knows Making Family Chores Fun is just something that happens in Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons.*Tuts.*

(Tried and Tested Over Sixteen Years)

This one...
1: Read instead:
Read books, magazines, newspapers, adverts and cereal boxes. Some of the best advice concerning housework has come from things I've read. For example the phrase: "Cleaning the house while children are growing is like shovelling show while it's still snowing" which was written on a fridge magnet. 

(I would at this point have a picture of the fridge magnet, but it WAS on the fridge and then it wasn't and now I don't know where it's gone *looks around vaguely*)

But there ARE these equally profound magnets with equally valid messages:
And this one...

And as an extra bonus, the reading of cereal packets can be done WHILST moving said packets from table to cupboard after breakfast so you ACTUALLY looked like you cleared away to distract any suspicious spouses who are running their fingers along the picture rails of an evening...
"But darling, I did clear the breakfast things." *dramatic sweep of arm*

(Please note: the Dramatic Arm Sweep is designed to attract attention to the clearness of the table and not the crumbiness of the floor. Please check your angle of sweep).

2. Have children. 
Have quite a few children and space them four or five years apart. *Nods wisely* It takes patience, careful nurturing and occasional threatening to with-hold their pocket money but EVENTUALLY you WILL end up with someone totally capable of loading a washing machine or hoovering a floor and dusting a shelf.
AND if you space them a few years apart at just about that point when the eldest is getting independently minded enough to throw the washing up into the sink from 5 yards, the younger one is just longing to be able to plunge their hands into the suddy bubbles. *makes an And-here's-one-I-prepared-earlier gesture.*

3. Explore History.
And give the housework a back story. Children are sooo much easier to co-erce into unpleasant housework tasks if you can sit back while they do it and share your own treasured memories of slaving over YOUR mother's housework tasks when you were young. It gives them a sense of belonging (or something):
"AND your Grandma made me brush down the stairs EVERY WEEK. Never did me any harm." *sip long cool drink* *point* "You've missed a bit."
(Note: Doesn't necessarily have to be true).

4: Quote great literature.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," They say and for once They are right. They are also right when they say: "If you can't see it, it doesn't hurt you." 
If you wear glasses. Take them off. 
If you don't. Find some to wear.
It's remarkable how much of a stuff you can fail to give about dust if you don't notice it's there. 

5: Hide.
NEVER invite anyone at all to your home OR if anyone shows the remotest interest or unhealthy curiousity in your shambolically untidy house (which OBVIOUSLY is just arty and, ahem, lived in) you can use the tried and tested "I'm sorry, we're soooo busy renovating the house at the moment" and fluff a bag of flour (preferably wholemeal for verisimilitude) under their nose in a Dust Confusion Episode (Warning: MAY require specialist training).

So, I'm sure we all agree, these are both excellent and thoroughly appropriate housewifely tips and Morphy Richards are probably gagging at the mere prospect of enlisting me as one of their Innovators. 
*Happy sigh*

Disclaimer: Mothers and Mother-in-Laws will completely rumble you. Yeah, sorry about that.

My Week in Tweets.

I'm joining in with an original idea from Slummy Single Mummy called A Week in Tweets which is telling your week in, ahem, tweets.
I'm cheating a bit because there's TWO tweets on Tuesday. *Hangs head in shame* And if you don't know what tweets are, you're obviously not on Twitter. *Tuts*

Monday 19 March:

I have gardened AND then remembered it's parent's evening in half an hour. *turns up covered in mud* #makingagoodimpression

Tuesday 20 March:

The Small Boy to 10yo's friend who has come for tea:"No-one here likes you, you know?"

The Twins are having a considerable re-think about what you should and shouldn't say in front of a 5yo

Wednesday 21 March:

Sometimes the need to disco dance is both overwhelming and inappropriate *sigh*

Thursday 22 March:

They should have a checkout just for mums late for the school run where the checkout girl wears ear plugs and protective clothing #NOWbitch

Friday 23 March:

I REALLY hope that this gin + tonic glass is NOT the same glass that the teen caught a spider in *eyes glass**shrugs* *drinks it anyway*

Saturday 24 March:

I am currently proving beyond all doubt that I will watch any old crap if it has Tom Jones in #TheVoice

Sunday 25 March:

My iTunes is just a land of mystery these days ... David Guetta? DAVID GUETTA?... *goes to get axe* #bloodykids

Check out everyone else's Week in Tweets at Slummy Single Mummy's blog

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Dragon Slayer..

The Dragon's Door
Ever since the TeenTwins were ToddlerTwins many, many moons and stories ago, The Dragon has lived behind the imposing large blue doors of the city's police buildings that we walk past when going into town.

The Dragon, so *cough* "folklore" will have it, was captured many hundreds of years ago by the good people of the town and imprisoned behind the blue doors where it lives on a pile of gold and is fed unwary toddlers who are having a bit of a strop at having to do a bit of shopping.

The Dragon has other good points too. At night it protects the city, flying the skies chasing away the terrors of the night, ghosts, monsters, aliens and, er, moths.

The ToddlerTwins were what I like to call "imaginatively suggestible," - though most  other people would call it absurdly gullible - but they loved the Dragon Tales. EVERY time we went to town we would tip-toe past the doors and they would strain their ears for a distant dragon noise.

But as they couldn't tell what a dragon might actually sound like, the distant revving of an engine and an industrial clank could quite happily pass as a bit of dragon restlessness within the walls.

When the ThirdGirl arrived, it was only a matter of time before the Twins - five years older than her ... shared the secret of the Dragon's Door. The ThirdGirl was equally entranced but thoroughly skeptical. She asked A LOT of questions....

    WHY a dragon?
Why not a dragon? You've got to keep a dragon SOMEWHERE.
   And what does it DO all day?
It sleeps because it's out frightening MOTHS all night. Obviously.
   Why can't I hear it?
Well maybe if we wait a little while...
*waits a little while*
   I STILL can't hear it, doesn't it snore. Dragons probably snore. And the gold would clank. If it moved. I can't hear it. How do YOU know it's there *doubtful look*
I do because, er, I do. Now *brightly* let's go SHOPPING! *big smile*
   BUT ...
*drags by arm*
Oooh, let's go buy sweeties. Yes?

And then The Small Boy came. And The Small Boy heard the same old tales from his twin sisters and his sister. The Small Boy too was entranced. The Small Boy too asked questions.

Then The Small Boy got on his knees and ..HE ... LOOKED ...UNDER ... THE.... DRAGON'S.... DOOR


And he got to his feet and dusted his grubby hands off in exactly THAT way that a mechanic does just before he sucks his teeth and gives you a quote.

He said: "There's not a dragon."
   Well, it's probably sleeping somewhere.
There's not a dragon. There's just road. What's a dragon need road for?
   Erm, well, you know like a heli....
There's not a dragon. There's a road. AND people AND cars. There's no dragon. *stomps off*

One Dragon: Dead.

The Reading Residence
I'm linking this post with #TheThemeGame over at The Reading Residence
Check out everyone else's entries there

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Listography ..5 Reasons I Know I'm a Mother of 4

1. EVERY time we leave the house as a whole family, I automatically default to "Sheepdog Setting, " ... I would SO win One Man and His Dog if only it was called One Woman and Her Four Children.
*Waves Umbrella above head*
*Shouts a bit*

2. The washing machine never, ever, EVER stops washing except for the bits when I'm mending it .... I AM the Washing Machine Whisperer..... because it's collapsed of nervous exhaustion (again).
Shh some weekends, I actively encourage Pyjama Days in a bid to lower the washing pile *hangs head.* (Please note, this never works. Having investigated thoroughly I have reached the conclusion that dirty washing is capable of breeding independently).

3. I thoroughly believe one of the greatest iniquities of mankind is the "Family Ticket"  Ha! Really, just Ha! ...... *grinds teeth.*

4. Buying Christmas presents in the January sales like an organised person. Finding a hiding place so impenetrable as to outwit the machinations of the Fearsome 4. AND then forgetting doing that and panic-buying a whole load more in December only to find everything bought in January on Boxing Day. *Sigh*

5.KNOWING that the most ridiculous thing I ever said (and I've said some damn stupid things) is; "Well, another one isn't going to make THAT much of a difference." .......

*wibbles insensibly .... opens the gin*

This week's Listography theme is "Five Reasons I Know I'm A..." brought to you from an original idea by Fab 40 Foibles. Check out the other Listography entries at Kate Takes 5 lovely blog

Monday, 19 March 2012

Picture Perfect (Not)

Mother's Day is technically the one day in the year when a mother can make a request of her children which they feel duty-bound to fulfill. And my request this year SEEMED simple enough ... a photograph of the four of them together.
So after the grumblings and mumblings and the complaints and the hair-tweaking and the refusing to be hair-tweaked and "I'm not going to put a top on," I took the photo ...

Yes, well. Ahem .. not quite what I was looking for 

So I had to take a few more - seventy seven more to be precise because ... well, see for yourself.

The Can't Pose for Laughing Pose

The Suddenly Distracted Pose

The I'm Getting Bored Now Pose

The We're All Falling Off the Bed Laughing Pose

Perhaps a change of position might help...

And then again it might not....



*Praises deities untold for the invention of the digital camera*

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Becoming Katie Price ..

So Katie Price - aka Jordan, aka Her-Who-Broke-Peter-Andre's-Heart aka How-The-Hell-Did-She-Pull-That-Argentinian - is Celebrity Mum of The Year..... *sadly puts away bunting and pricks balloons with a pin*

Admittedly this competition was held under the auspices of Foxy Bingo and the winner's trophy looks like something you'd put on display in the attic, BEHIND a collection of porn and dismembered body parts but really, Katie Price? In the words of the greatest tennis player of all time: "You cannot be SERIOUS."

Thursday, 15 March 2012

An Exercise in Diplomacy

THERE is no other social occasion that I dread more, nor one I endure with teeth gritted or one that leaves me more deeply depressed than The School Coffee Morning.

At School Coffee Mornings, there's no space to escape as at the school's Summer and Christmas fairs and, tragically, there's no stall happily doling out Pimms or Mulled Wine, as season dictates, set up in the corner. There ARE some school desks in the school hall with some school chairs that are just entirely the wrong height for anyone over the height of 5ft to sit on. I, by the way, am 5ft 9.

There IS a stall set up in the corner but this stall is selling what is purportedly the results of the entire school's population of mothers fondly slaving over a hot stove. Generally this turns out to be a selection of lopsided, improbably coloured iced buns that have actually been genuinely homemade (by several Grandmas after fraught phone calls at 20 past 9 the night before), some glamourously bouffanted confections (bought at a tiny bakers in a village 30 miles away and passed off as homemade), some scones that look like biscuits, some biscuits that look like stones, 300 tonnes of chocolate-soaked rice crispies and a suspiciously large array of Mr Kipling's finest, those extra added sprinkles fooling no-one.

And that's basically the School Coffee Morning .. a choice of coffee or tea, though both are tepid and largely undrinkable, and cakes, a percentage of which probably contravene health and safety laws. And it's all packaged up in a large assembly hall with appalling acoustics and noise so overwhelming, you're almost completely unable to hear what the person next to you is yelling in your ear.

Oh, and it's 9.30 in the morning. *scowls*

AND they want you to buy a raffle ticket for yet another set of plastic badminton rackets. Why is the raffle prize ALWAYS a set of badminton rackets, WHY? *shakes headteacher by the lapels*

MAYBE it's because I don't drink coffee and the tea is always the same colour as Katie Price and twice as thick. Maybe it's because I don't do cake, not even especially not bloody cupcakes, .. *Sobs a bit*

MAYBE it's because I've been going to the same coffee mornings at the same school since the year 2000 and am destined to go to the same coffee mornings at the same school for another FIVE years .. *Sobs a bit more* ..

MAYBE it's because I'm on the wrong side of 45 and, in this particular school year's crop of other mothers, I'm the same age as The Small Boy's best friend's GRANDMA ....*wails*

OR maybe the reason I utterly loathe the School Coffee Morning is because after 11 years at the schoolface, woman and, er, woman, I've have had enough of the inane and sometimes insane chatter that passes for conversation between women whose only relationship is grunting at each other on the school run.

I don't want to know that your dog sits in your pants when you're on the toilet. No really, I don't. Or that you have family gatherings in the bathroom when daddy is sat on the loo. What? Really? Really? Nooo ..... I DON'T WANT to know.

I DO want to know which one of you buggers has the child that calls all his friends "Mate" in mock cockney because now my child is doing it too, ALL THE TIME. And I want to know which one of you has STILL got The Small Boy's PE kit stashed in the cupboard at home, do you never look at nametags *tuts*

And you, yes I AM speaking to you, I do want you to know that if YOUR child goes and pushes MY child over in the playground on purpose just one more time I'll, well I'll i'll ........ *cough* shut up now.

*Glowers a bit*

*Tries to get cup of tea past knees to lips*

Monday, 12 March 2012

Girl's Inhumanity to Boy

The Small Boy came home from school with a strange mark on his face today. He comes home from school with strange marks on his face most days to be honest, but generally they turn out to be paint, glitter, pen or the remains of his packed lunch's yoghurt.

Today's strange mark looked oddly like a burn; red and blistered but strangely elliptical.

And, unless the teacher IS having a restorative fag mid-lesson to assuage the trauma of teaching 32 headstrong six-year-olds (and frankly I wouldn't blame her), it wasn't a burn.

"How did you do that?" I asked and, after a hugely, hilariously, thigh-slappingly funny 20 minutes *grinds teeth* of the Guess Who game, I guessed who. Not that I'm rubbish at Guess Who obviously, I'd already said the culprit's name at least 20 times *tuts.*

Anyway, he had been wounded, not just on the cheek, but in the heart. By A GIRL. The favourite-girl-in-the-whole-wide-schoolroom girl. A little, blond *rolls eyes* girl.

This Little Girl asked The Small Boy to marry her. But, even though she is his favourite girl in the whole damn playground, The Small Boy (showing remarkable sense and maturity, I think) said he didn't want to marry her just yet.

And then the Little Girl nipped his cheek. Really, really HARD.

The Dinner Ladies sorting out the ensuing mess invoked Playground Punishment, first offence, and made The Small Boy Stand Against The Fence when OBVIOUSLY ..
....well ... *cough* ...

The Small Boy was heart-achingly baffled by such events and even more affronted that the Little Girl promptly went to ask The ArchEnemy to marry her instead..... AND he said yes.

And the moral of this story is ....*scowls at all blondes*...... if anyone was thinking..... *rolls sleeves up*..... to start messing......*spits on hands*...... with MY boy romantically...... *curls lip*.... I would think again if I were you


Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Best Mother's Day Present Ever .... ?

Well, I'm glad you asked because it's this:

Press the Arrow

It was made by the then TeenTwin 1 for Mother's Day 2009 and it only took her a couple of hours (after she had secretly purloined a selection of family photos from the albums) to put together on the laptop. Then she magicked it on to a DVD and presented it to me.

A simple idea; cheap, cheerful and fantastically personal. I loved it and I still do.

So kids, feeling uninspired and a bit skint this Mother's Day? You've got a week to do make your own for your mum. You can thank me later.

By the way, the soundtrack is The Foo Fighter's DOA, one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands, and possibly not entirely appropriate but hey, I'm a cool mummy so no schmaltz allowed :)

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Prom Diaries, Part 5b ... THE Dresses

Earlier Prom Diaries are herehereherehere and, um, here.


We have found THE dress ... well, two THE dresses actually, one for TeenTwin 1 and one for TeenTwin 2 *faints.*

TeenTwin 1 found her own dress, without fuss or faffing, after a couple of hours of not so much surfing the net as stomping on it. At no point in the process was anyone else involved or consulted. The listing details of the dress include the words "Goth, Victorian and Bride" but that was only to be expected. And *relieved sigh* it's actually a very beautiful dress and "Very Her," if you know what I mean (contains skulls).

And TeenTwin 2 has also chosen THE dress with a reasonable amount of fuss and a certain amount of faffing. We've had several Very-Nearly dresses, one I-Need-It dress and quite a lot I-Wouldn't-Be-Seen-Dead-In-It dresses. We've even had the Have-A-Bit-Of-A-Sulky-Strop-In-A-Debenham's-Changing-Room Dress.

TeenTwin 2 belatedly discovers dresses have price labels
(Disclaimer: This is not THE dress)

Strangely THE dress is just entirely, completely and exactly the opposite of the dress she was looking for in colour, cut, shape and design BUT it is very definitely THE dress. A respectful silence fell on the dressing room when she tried it on. There might have even a little bit of caught breath...

So basically ..... Hurrah and, verily, thank f*ck for that.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

On Parenting Gnus ...

Some top parenting gnu or other has written yet another parenting book *sigh* because there just isn't quite enough parenting manuals in the world already obvs.

This parenting gnu - it is gnu, isn't it? *innocent face* - is causing consternation wide and far with her new book by sticking her oar into the bedroom .... telling new mothers they should be jiggling around the bedroom in fur nipple tassles within weeks of giving birth apparently.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Food Glorious Food ....

*Hangs out bunting*

*Does victory lap of the dining room*

*Pops champagne cork*


(Oh alright then, SOME Shepherd's Pie)

But let the celebrations commence anyway.....
*glugs from champagne bottle*

Once upon a time the Small Boy had a healthy appetite and a healthy diet but that was before he developed opinions on what he would and wouldn't eat. Two of the older children had gone through similar phases when they were four or five years old of being "funny about food" though. I've been there, done that, got the baked beans stains on the wall. Thanks.

But The Small Boy is not just funny about food, he's bloody hilarious *deadpan face*

To be fair, he DOES eat. He eats lots ... with relish, with enthusiasm and with *deep, deep sigh* not just puddles, but vast, ornamental lakes of tomato ketchup. Get fish and chips and he's there, with bells on, brandishing a small wooden fork like a victorious army falling on the spoils of war.

Fishfingers and chicken in breadcrumbs, either homemade or made by Mr Bird's Eye (though never bought in Iceland), will be tolerated. Occasionally he WILL have a dippy egg and toasty soldiers, but then he eats the soldiers and ignores the egg entirely.

He firmly believes that a sandwich should only contain one of two things, either Dairylea or strawberry jam. Not any other kind of jam. And it shouldn't have lumps in. His packed lunches are a veritable smorgasbord of excitement (not).

And apples. He loves apples. Sometimes pears and the odd plum and, given the opportunity, strawberries. But apples always. He even has favourite types of apple; Pink Lady is his current favourite after a torridly passionate affair with Granny Smith.

Since the low point of Christmas 2011 when his entire Christmas Day fare consisted of three chipolata sausages and some apples, we have made achingly slow progress towards introducing more foods back into his diet. And these days he will eat, um, sausages and Yorkshire puddings and, when the stars are aligned favourably, roast chicken or "chicken without his skin on" as he calls it.... presumably believing that farmyards the country over are populated with gaily clucking bread-crumbed chickens.

But vegetables, ha, as if. 

And it's not as if we haven't tried from the root up. He's planted potatoes on the allotment. He's watered potato plants on the allotment. He has helped pull up the potatoes on the allotment and marvelled at the potatoes that he has grown. But unless they comes deep fried and dripping tomato sauce, he won't have them on his plate.

I mean mashed potato for f*cks sake, how can you not like mashed potatoes? The Small Boy doesn't EVEN if you try to convince it's really just a chip without the skin on. Damn.

In retaliation I have learned the art of the perfect roast potato and I KNOW a roast potato is basically just a big, fat chip but in some sad, obscure way it makes me feel better anyway.

But today there was hope, a small victory in the continuing Battle of Shepherd's Pie 2010 to 2012 and  symbolic of a continuing accord between our two nations. *Waves piece of paper in the air* 

Ok, so maybe I'm getting a LITTLE bit carried away but he did come into the kitchen while I was cooking THE Shepherd's Pie...

*Sleeve tug* ..."Mum, I AM going to eat some mashed potato today."

Boy Eats Mashed Potato Shocker
(and of course I took a photo *tuts.*)

AND HE DID. Really he did. And then he got ever more adventurous and tried some of the, um, Shepherd too.

Cue, angel's singing, fluttering bluebirds, exploding fireworks and a brass band marching down the street.

Though he didn't like it much to be honest.

But at least he tried.

*Goes to Iceland*

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Prom Diaries, Pt 5a... The Dress Shop

Earlier Prom Diaries are here and herehere and here.

Yesterday was The Big Day for TeenTwin 2 ... not the actual Prom which, quite frankly, seems to have receded in importance as opposed to The Dress for The Prom, which has become all vitally, all-consumingly, EARTH-SHATTERINGLY important.

On Saturday we trotted off for the appointment she'd made at one of the city's bridal shops which offers a prom dress service. When she made the appointment she had been told to make sure when she returned that "the person who will be paying" would be coming with her.

Now, I can't help it but I can sniff a hard sell out from at least a mile away and coupled with an aversion to salespeople that can only come from once being married to one of the buggers, I was not, shall we say, looking forward to the experience. TeenTwin 2 was, with huge enthusiasm, and by the time we'd got 300 yards from home we'd already had three arguments.

By the time we got to the shop we had reached an accord: TeenTwin 2 was JUST trying dresses on; We weren't going to buy something there and then; Or agree to buy something there and then; We were not in anyway to show any excessive enthusiasm; At no point was a lip to be stuck out, a foot stamped or the words "Muuuuum, can I have...." uttered

Fully briefed we met with Grandma, invited as the extra eyes and an extra barrier of resistance against the hard sell (I'm nothing if not prepared), outside the shop. And TeenTwin 2's friend (teenagers can't go anywhere without another of their number in close proximity) and her mother. We met as all mothers meet everywhere, a roll of the eyes and an exchange of gossip; this particular gossip centering on all the negative things anybody had ever heard about the shop we were just about to enter.

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Cursing Cursive Writing

The Small Boy has not appreciated his time in Class One so far (see here) but in recent weeks his attitude has improved. He might not enjoy going to school - getting, as it does, in the way of some serious track building, train-chuffing and Dr Who watching - but he HAS accepted he has to go there.

So the two hour brawl to get him into his uniform and the twenty minute drag (that should be a ten minute walk) to the school are (mostly *touches wood*) things of the past.

And he has also, belatedly, realised that if he learns things at school they WILL stop going on at him quite so much. Every morning he asks me the day, the date and the year because he NEEDS to know it when he arrives at school. I'm not sure they actually pin him to a wall with a light shining in his eyes, but he makes it sound as if they do.

And then there's The Spelling Test, once a week and six words to learn. The Small Boy would dearly love to be a big shot in The Spelling Test and we learn them words, goddamn it. We learn them so damn much that by Wednesday I've developed word blindness and have absolutely no idea what any of the words mean, just how they're put together.

We read the words. We write the words. We spell the words out in lettered beanbags. We write them out again. We have mock tests and finally, on Wednesday, on the way to school, instead of playing our own particular brand of I Spy -  the Distraction From Walking To School version when you CAN I Spy a Dalek or a Cyberman *sigh* - we play The Spelling Test.

And sometimes, at the classroom door I have been known to give him a shoulder rub and send him into the class with a my own version of Henry V's inspirational speech ringing in his ears. It's not as if we don't try or anything.

So it hurts (like a dagger through the heart) when every Wednesday home time he tries to look determinedly cheerful as he emerges from the school door waggling his spelling test in his hand because he does not do well. Once he got four right and that was a grand day with celebratory celebrations and extra Dr Who, but mostly he doesn't do well at all.

I'm blaming the new fad, because fad it is *rolls eyes,* of teaching the kids to read in print and write in joined-up, or in cursive writing as grown-ups call it.

I don't even write in joined-up and I'm marginally older than Methuselah but I remember doing constant O loops and L loops when I was 8 or 9. The 16 year olds and the 10 year old started with printing and moved on to joining-up in Class 2 but between then and now, someone, somewhere changed some educational rules or guidelines or some such *tuts*

The Small Boy knows his letters, he can read - with a bit of spelling out and concentration (even without the aid of a bored sister giving him a nudge and telling him the word). His joined-up writing, though, leaves a lot to be desired. If you want a Dalek (complete with inner octupus) exploding in a thousand scribbles, he's your man. You want him to write six words in joined up writing, you might as well drop a spider in an inkwell and play it some loud disco.

And I have a tendency to get teeth-gnashingly annoyed with the teacher's marking of The Spelling Test, because I, doting mummy that I am, can read his joined-up writing (just like I can read The Man's illegible writing AND my father-in-laws which looks like knitting). And I can tell that the Small Boy's 'ur' is a 'w' because he hasn't quite got his head around how to join a 'u' and a 'r' yet ... and that sometimes an 'e' looks like an 'a' because he gets lost on the way there .... and that sometimes he will put three or four 'o's in a word because he just forgets where to stop.

But a big fat 0 out of 6 does not cheer his little soul, nor does it inspire him to try harder and he gets a little bit bewildered when what he knows in his head won't reach the paper in one piece. I try not to despair too much though, if his writing doesn't improve he could always become a doctor...

*Proud mummy beam*

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