Tag Archives: children

Centerparcs – at home (Super Scrimper holiday)

I recently realised that I had accumulated quite a few days holiday at work and with Pickle starting school much later than everyone else is (she starts on the 19th September) we thought it would be a good idea for us to do something as a family for a week.

We hadn’t been to Centerparcs since I found out I was pregnant with The Monster (20 months old now) so I thought it would be lovely to do that.  However I discovered that the cheapest price I could get for the accommodation  we wanted and a 4 day stay was £549.  (We once stayed in a comfort plus lodge which was so grotty we vowed to only ever go to the Woodland Lodge ones from then on).  Anyway, back to the cost!! £549!!!! I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend that much money on accommodation that I’m only going to sleep in and occasionally eat in.  Bearing in mind that this only includes access to the roads, the forest and the swimming pools.  We would still have to buy food, eat out, pay for activities, hire bikes etc..  Incidentally, I looked up the date of half term and it would cost £1149. A week later it’s £419.  I know you parents with school age kids have been moaning about this for a while, but I now get you.  I really get you.  Daylight robbery.  Any way I digress.

So we sat, sadly, thinking about what we could do. As hubby is working on the Tuesday we couldn’t consider going overseas.  After some though I then hit on a brain wave.  I wrote down all the things about Centerparcs that I like so much and then put together a list of activities on every day of the week that we could do that we would have done, had we been there.  We also chucked in some other activities that we would not have been able to do if we had been there.   I did some research, figured it all out and then wrote and email to my hubby with all the info on it.

I won’t share every days activity, because I’m thinking I may do a quickie blog daily about it, but here’s parts of that email that helped make some of the decisions.

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Next weeks “Centerparcs at home”

What do I like about Centerparcs and do we achieve it next week?

1.         We have a home nearby TICK

2.         We cycle as a family TICK

3.         We go swimming TICK

4.         The kids can do creative things TICK

5.         Mummy can have a treatment. NO TICK

6.         Daddy can do something new NO TICK

7.         We can eat out a lot TICK

8.         We can do softplay TICK

9.         We can see some nature TICK

What else can we do that we can’t do at Centerparcs?

1.         See a movie on the big screen

2.         Go to a museum with dinosaurs

3.         Go to Legoland

<The itinerary, which I’m leaving out for this post>

What should the rules be when we are at home?

1.         No excessive tidying or cleaning in the house.

2.         Glass of wine to be poured at every opportunity.

3.         No clothes washing unless absolutely necessary

4.         Kids can stay up late

5.         We should watch some new movies on DVD together

6.         Easy meals……..either out or quick to cook.

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So that is now our challenge.  To stick to my plan on each day and try to have a fabulous and partially stress free week as if we were away and living it up in Longleat.

What do you think?  Are we being too ambitious? Something you would consider doing (or have you already done it) or does it sound like hell on a stick?

Who is your favourite?

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I’ve seen a few articles recently, mostly tongue in cheek ones, writing about whether parents have a favourite child. I’ve always maintained that you have different feelings, concerns and love for each child, it’s a particular shape of love that’s different for each one. However, I need to flip this on its head and ask: “do your children have a favourite parent?”

I only ask, because if my children preferred me I’d probably not be writing this post. It seems perfectly natural for children to lean towards their mother, the nurturer and I wouldn’t want to write a smug post about the trials and tribulations of being the “chosen one”. I’m writing this post, because I’m not the favourite parent and it’s really hard to take.

Clearly I made some of the bigger sacrifices (I think I did). I went through IVF, I went through pregnancy, birth (or 2 emergency C-sections after 16 hour labours). I gave up work for 10 months, I bought the nursery/children’s furniture, ALL the baby paraphernalia, I worked out the routines, enforced the rules, learnt the techniques, bought the clothes, researched the activities and classes and booked them all, did all the baby weaning blah blah blah blah. This, apparently, counts for nothing when you are a young child. Daddy is the man!

It’s not even that we have a traditional family life and they see me more. Quite the opposite. I know some children look forward to seeing their working daddy because they often don’t all week and mummies are often (I’m doing a sweeping generalisation here) stay at home mums or working part time. I work 30 hours a week. I have 1 weekday with the kids but their dad is self-employed and is often around and he looks after them 2 days a week himself. He’s also pretty strict too, almost as strict as me.

I’ll be honest, it doesn’t bother me as much 2nd time around as it did first time with my daughter. With my daughter it felt like someone was stabbing my heart every time she asked Daddy to do bedtime or give her a cuddle or read a book. I was gutted. However, she goes through phases and in the last year she has requested me in certain circumstances which has been lovely. I really have learnt to live with the favouritism, she’s not doing it to be mean, she’s just exercising her agency and making decisions on how she feels at that moment. At any rate, there is little I can do about it apart from be there when she needs me.

I was quite pleased to find out I was having a boy second time around. Boys are proper mummy boys (so everyone told me). Sadly that hasn’t proved correct either. He is 18 months and completely obsessed with his father. He will see me and turn around to chase Daddy. I’ve reconciled much quicker this time around. I am hoping that much like my daughter he will eventually work out that I’m useful for some things. However, although he has greatly improved since I wrote the post here about not enjoying his age, it isn’t all bad, because there is little I can do about him hanging on to his daddy’s leg and it’s nice that I can walk away sometimes.

This wasn’t intended to be a moaning post at all, I’m a big grown up lady and shouldn’t be acting like a child in the playground, but none the less, it’s there and it’s sometimes hard to take, but I’m probably learning one of the biggest parenting lessons – they may be my children but I have no control over their needs and wants.

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Me. Losing it.

Losing it!

Me. Losing it.

When you listen to your 18 month old cry and scream for the 2nd hour whilst your 4 1/2 year old asks you if they can do their sticker book, over and over and over again.  That!

I love my children. I really do.  I fought hard for both of them.  My eldest was eventually conceived on our first attempt of IVF.  We were very lucky indeed.  My youngest took a while to come too, due to not knowing if we could conceive naturally and also I was having a major flare up of an inflammatory condition. I went on medication in the April and conceived him in the May.

My eldest girl was very collicky. I refused to admit it at the time (no official medical term exists for colic) but she cried and cried and cried, all day long and all night.  Hubby and I argued a lot and spent a lot of time sobbing ourselves.  He told me once that we mustn’t get so upset about it, we asked to have her and fought hard to get her.  I now know that that was a mistake. We were just as entitled to moan about it as the next person and the extra guilt should never have come into it.

My son was a dream baby. Slept well (still does) and we barely heard a whimper. He’s now very different, very frustrated and very vocal.  I’ve blogged about his frustrating age here.

To top it all of, I’ve recently realised that I am a very highly strung, anxious person.  I know most people don’t adapt to change very well, but I don’t even more so. I rarely manage more than a few minutes of calm searching for something, before losing it, raising my voice, loudly asking rhetorical questions or swearing. I get very angry with other road users too. More so, when I’m under pressure to get from work to the nursery in good time.

The trouble is, although I consider my tolerance to be better than ever, because I think I would have literally exploded if I’d kept up with the way I’d handled things 4 years ago, I still can’t seem to hold it together very well.  All it takes is for 1 or 2 things to go wrong on top of me being in a bit of “funny mood” and I’m so ANGRY.  I have no idea how to manage this anymore.  I do take myself up to my room to rage in privacy as I don’t want the kids to see it and thankfully they don’t so much anymore, but I just wish I could be one of those cool, laid back kind of women who takes issues in her stride and copes.

I am being hard on myself, because I’ve been in some pretty horrendous situations of constant children crying and managed to cope, provided I’m in the right frame of mind.  I’ve also recently discovered that my tolerance level lowers if the place is a mess.  So I’m much more tidier and cleaner than I ever used to be.

Maybe, however, it’s time for me to find some better techniques to coping with the anger.  I don’t think it’s very nice for my kids to see me stressed and I remember being really scared of my mum and her moods.  Where do I look though?  Has anyone got any suggestions?

The arguments (and the not talking) – where to go from here.

Things haven’t been great for a little while but I think we are quite disappointed in ourselves that this is the case.  I think we were a little naive to think that having 2 kids wasn’t going to have a massive impact on us, but it has surprised us just how much.

I’m argumentative anyway. I’m no martyr and if something upsets me or annoys me, I just come out and say it.  The upside is that my husband doesn’t have to do any guesswork about how I’m feeling and I don’t get any seething rage, bubbling away for days on end.  The downside is that when we come up against issues like a teething 15 month old and a 4-year-old that cries at the drop of a hat in amongst the usual challenges of home, I have to say something – a little dig, a moan or a sarcastic comment, but I’m doing it every 20 minutes.  It’s not all me, though. He’s doing exactly the same.  Put on top of that two people who are always (and have always been) hyper sensitive and you’ve got a real recipe for disaster.

So we argued a lot on Friday. Poor old 4-year-old is so used to it now, she took herself off to the lounge room with the iPad to get out of the way.  I’m not proud of arguing in front of her and we usually nip most arguments in the bud before they escalate to a level we think is inappropriate to do around her.  I do think it’s important she witnesses arguments (hubby’s parents rarely argued and he used to freak out a bit when we did, bit like Chandler from Friends), just wish they were a bit more infrequent.  On Saturday he was out for the day and that helped a lot.  Sunday we had visitors and were much more tolerant of each other.

I believe it’s just the age the kids are that is making life difficult for us.  Both are demanding our attention, we get no time to ourselves and lots of tasks, errands and jobs are not done as a result.  With each new phase with the children, we have to learn a load of stuff all over again and that puts a strain on our relationship.  That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.  We are pretty open with each other and I just see this as one of those bumpy roads for now.  I’m not sure he sees it the same (re: my comment about Chandler) and I imagine he has safely pocketed “Relates” number and will be discussing it at some point soon. :)

Where do we go from here.  I’m not entirely sure.  I think just for the time being I need to put one foot in front of the other and relish those moments we do get a chance to giggle or chat or complete a house task.  I know I need to be a little more of a martyr.  I need to stop criticising everything (it may be true, but it doesn’t do us any good) and I think I may secretly note down all the things he does in this house so I can refer to it when I’m in a bit of a “Why do I have do everything!!!” ranty kind of mood.  Maintaining a relationship with the demands of small children may be a walk in the park for some, but clearly it is something we need to work on.

 

My (not so) lovely lady lumps……check em out!

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Errrr, actually forget that, because I have lady lumps where they are not supposed to be and none where they should be. Let me paint you a picture: (and don’t log off at this description. It was hell. And even if it’s not hell now, that body has long since left).
In High School I was often called “The Anorexic” or “The Ethiopian”. – lovely huh? Kids are so kind. So, yeah, I was reeeally skinny, an incredibly fast metabolism. The downside was that in the 80’s being skinny wasn’t seen as the holy grail, you had to be just right and to top it all off I was incredibly flat chested (still am).

So fast forward 25 years and I’m here in my 40th year, still with no lady’s lumps up top but, partly due to having 2 children and my age, quite a lot of lumps in my upper thighs, bottom, waist (if you can call it that), in fact those three areas have kind of merged.
I mention this because I recently had to attend a party and I had purposely ignored its impending arrival because I had no idea what to wear. I don’t go out very much so I don’t buy clothes FOR going out because they’d just sit in my wardrobe. I used to care about what I wore, I’d spend weeks planning an outfit for a big night out, but I’m so disappointed with the final product these days my enthusiasm has waned (along with the space for thinking which is now focused on other things, like working out how I keep a 15mth old entertained when it rains, or how to fit in a toy box in a small bedroom).
I’ve now going all Gok Wan on myself, trying to cinch in the non existent waist. I’m sticking an elasticated 2 buckle belt on every outfit in the hope of getting some shape. No amount of belting will bring back my pert bum though.
In the end, I did cobble something together. A dress I hadn’t worn since my sister’s hen party 4 years ago (which I’d bought to hide said new lumps but realised I looked hideous in all the photos)’ cinched in with my Gok Wanish belt. I had some Bridget jones “suck in knickers” on and support tights over that. the dress was too short, but the pattern on it was lovely and the belt helped a lot to my shape. Needless to say, the joy at removing these layers at the end of the night only compares to finally having a wee after hours of bursting to go.
I really need to shop for a smart going out dress rather than leaving it to the last minute. So once I’ve bought some new work tops, that’s next on my agenda.
As for the lady lumps. I guess I’ll just have to live with them. Be more careful in my purchasing and accept them for what they are – the shape of my life. I can’t turn back time and a definitely wouldn’t change having children so embracing them seems my only option. What do you do?