Category Archives: Children

NOT losing it

I’m not the most patient of people.

I’m also not very good at hiding my true feelings.

So I struggle with not losing it with my children.  This is especially true when I’m feeling the pressure from work, rushing around, meeting deadlines or just fed up.

Today, however, was my daughter’s 7th Birthday.  It coincided with a particularly tricky day for me as well.

In order to watch her open her presents this morning, I had to go into work late and I decided to mark my calendar as being “at the doctors”.  I dashed in, attended 7 meetings during the day and then had to get away by 3pm.  Mr40 had a casting today and TM had been booked in for an extra day at nursery and Pickle had to go to the nursery after school because I wouldn’t be back in time. I then thought I’d “work from home” for a bit and then take Pickle, TM and one of her school friends out for dinner as a birthday treat.  It meant leaving work at 4.30pm (1 hour early).

I picked them up at 3.30pm though, full of smiles.  I refused to get cross about anything.  I didn’t want to ruin her birthday.

TM fell asleep when we got home, I didn’t get cross.  I bribed him to wake up and stay awake.

His clothes were caked in mud and it dropped all over the floor.  I didn’t get cross.

I needed to log on to work but couldn’t for over 30 minutes. I didn’t get cross.

Pickle and her friend took way to long getting changed to go out. I didn’t get cross.

All of them took too long to get in the car. I didn’t get cross

I ended up going inside about 3 times to get things I’d forgotten.  TM refused to eat the meal at the restaurant.  He cried a lot and had a few hissy fits.  Pickle hurt herself on a straw and cried far too long.

I was like Mary Poppins!

So I thought I’d post on here about how I’d managed to hold it together and why I couldn’t do it more often.

However, whilst writing this, Pickle popped up on the stairs and I told her to go to bed and not mess about because I’d been very good today and hadn’t lost it.

“yes you did” she cried.

“No I didn’t” I replied.

“yes, when you had to do my seatbelt at nursery”.

Sigh.  I had been a teeny weeny bit exasperated, but hadn’t raised my voice or got cross or said anything bad.  I’d just said that it would be nice if she could do it herself.


There is no hope for me.

Christmas Eve Baby

Christmas Eve is special for me and my family not just because it’s when the big man delivers all the gifts (no, not my husband) but also because The Monster (TM) turns four this year on Christmas Eve.

We have the tricky task of managing the day by trying to keep a lid on the Christmas festivities and ramping up the excited “It’s your birthday” ones.

TM will wake up in the morning and be given about 3-4 presents to open. His “big” one and a small one and one from his sister. Just enough to keep him going for the day and not to dilute the excitement of opening gifts on Christmas day.

We will then head off after breakfast to a soft play centre. This would usually be my idea of hell, but they are always a little quieter on Christmas eve so this will be the 3rd year we’ve done it with a smile on our face. We’ll spend a few hours here whilst TM offloads a tonne of energy running about with his sister and generally revelling in the excitement of being at a soft play (I’m such a mean mummy). We may have something to eat there and just when it starts to get a bit busier we will head off again.

In previous years we usually head off home for birthday cake and after dinner we officially put an end to birthday celebrations and start ramping up the excitement of Father Christmas. This year I have finally agreed to go and see family in Berkshire who aren’t around on Christmas day so they will get a cake and have a mini afternoon celebration for him before we have a traditional Christmas dinner. Our family is very geared up for festive birthdays as my niece is fifteen on Christmas Day, we’ve had a lot of experience of splitting up that day.

I’ve been quite adamant though, that on Christmas eve we will leave by 7pm to be home for 8pm so they are both in bed ready for the excitement of Christmas morning.

TM will then have the rest of his birthday presents on the morning of his birthday party (the 10th of January this year), effectively experiencing two birthdays and then have the excitement of having friends over for a Pirate party and more cake.

Sharing your birthday with a festive holiday can be brilliant and awful in equal measure but I’m determined to work everything around it to make his birthday as special as I can. In years to come he can dictate what he wants to do on the day and I will have to learn to cope with the loss of my traditional Christmas Eve excitement and bask in the joy of my little boy as he gets older.


Biff, Chip and Kipper – Where are they now?

This was the question posed to me  a week or so ago by an enquiring follower.

She got a few sensible responses (they are still about; my daughter still reads them) and a few not so sensible.  I think I suggested Biff had become a scientist (know it all), Chip is a drug addict and Kipper was dead…..

It’s ok…nothing of the sort has happened. They are still the same and haven’t aged a bit!  I was being mischievous.

However I did get the opportunity to try out the new apps for Biff, Chip and Kipper which was perfect timing as I had just had a little panic attack about the fact The Monster still can’t say his name properly and he’s starting school in September.

First of all we tried out Level 3, 4 & 6 for my (not quite) 7-year-old.  She read her little brother one of the books and seemed to enjoy it.  She especially liked that some pages were different and zoomed in and out whilst the text stayed the same.  She then complained they were too easy, but I think she’s now used to more words on the page, I have no doubt she’ll be back reading them again.

Next we tried Level 1-3 for The Monster (TM).  We started on the Level 1: Getting Ready to Read books.  I read one story but Pickle started fidgeting so I decided to keep those for another day and we headed down to the lower bookshelf on the app and selected Kipper’s Alphabet I Spy.  Now, this was right up TM’s street.  Actually Pickle thoroughly enjoyed doing this as well.  He not only had a go at writing the letter (following the dotted lines) but he got to choose which objects on the right hand side started with the letter.  We all had great fun working our way through this and it was a great opportunity (I don’t get many) to get TM to try saying words and listen to the start of them.

Biff and Chip app

We then tried Chip’s Letter Sounds which worked some more on tracing the letters but, most importantly, spend a lot of time saying the sound.  They then got to find objects in a picture starting with that sound.  Both of them loved this.  TM started by finding the 5 easiest ones (with help) and then Pickle would find the other 5 (or not — a few tricky ones were in there).

Needless to say the books have gone down a storm in our house.  TM gets excited at the prospect of using the iPad and then happily sits down to practice “my words” and I get (vaguely) excited that I’m actually putting some effort into trying to get my son (and second born) into some sort of acceptable state for school in September.

I would thoroughly recommend them (especially for younger children) as a good introduction to phonics and reading.  They have been a very welcome addition to our iPad.


This is NOT a sponsored post.  I was offered a free version of these book apps with no obligation to write a post (honestly – happy to drag the email out for you if you want).  I have written this post by choice as I liked them.

The apps are available for £4.99 each




I’ve Been Loved A Lot

This is what I used to look like. Fluffy and soft. Full bodied.  I used to sit up right without slumping.  I looked amazing.

toy dog before

 I’ve been living with The Monster now for nearly 4 years and this is what I now look like.

toy dog after

My fur is straw like, a few too many cuddles, being flung about, dropped on pavements or grass, washed several times a year because I was a bit smelly or had been sicked on (I’ve always been there in his hour of need).  I’ve been loved a lot.

My paws are a bit flatter because they’ve been sucked quite a lot in moments of anxiety, in thoughtful contemplation or when things have been a little tricky.  I’ve been loved a lot.

close up of sleepy dog

My face is squished thin a bit. I’ve spent a lot of time pressed into a toddler bed with an arm around my head. I’ve been loved a lot.

My body has become a bit dumpier, the stuffing has dropped down from being squeezed too many times.  I’ve been loved a lot.

I’m not as beautiful as I once was but…..

I’ve been loved a lot.

Sleepy Dog before and after

* This post was inspired by me finding my stashed supply of Sleepy Dog when one of TM’s dog’s went missing.  When he started sleeping with it I had to get another 2 for emergency and ended up spending a fortune locating them in Australia.  Over the years he has got used to having 2 at his disposal so by losing one, I finally had to get the last one “off the bench”.

Was I Like Her?

Me :  “Okay …4 times 5.  Let’s count up in 5’s using the blocks.  Five….”

Her : “Ummmm. 10……….and ummmmm” *sticks finger in her mouth and stares at ceiling.

Me : “Come on, we’ve just counted up when we did 6 times 5.  It’s 15.   Let’s do it again”

Her: “5, ummmmm, 10, ummmmmm, 15…………………………………………………………*shouts* 34″

Me: “come on, we’ve just done it, you know it’s not 34″

Her: *baby voice* yes it is.

Me:  “Right, lets take you to bed I can’t do this anymore”

Her: *starts crying* “but I neeeed to do my homework”.

This isn’t isolated.  She mucks about, she doesn’t concentrate, she purposely says the wrong answer, claims she doesn’t know things she has just said.

To be honest, I’m starting to see something familiar going on and I can’t but wonder whether  this familiarity harks back to the later 70’s and early 80’s when I was attempting to grasp the basics with maths and english.

I have no firm memories but sometimes I feel like I’m talking to my younger self.

So bloody frustrating.

How do you stop yourself from getting annoyed?

I know she’s capable.  I know she’s like me, above average capability but lacking confidence, concentration and interest.

Get me on a good day, I am cheerfully persistent and kind and try different things to engage her, but get me on a bad day and I really struggle with not getting very very cross.

Is this it for ever more?   Am I going to be punished for my own lack of enthusiasm for learning by experiencing the difficulty of myself through my daughter?