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The curse of the school holidays

Posted by Slummy single mummy
Slummy single mummy
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on Monday, 25 March 2013
Imagine if you will a small piece of string. Imagine that you cut the piece of string into two pieces and keep the shortest piece. Then cut this in half and in half again. Fray the ends.

This piece of string represents my patience, one day in to the Easter holidays.

It is quite pathetic really. It’s not even that Belle has done anything particularly annoying, or that work is terribly busy or anything – it is more of a gut reaction than that. The second the holidays start, I inexplicably want to punch somebody in the face.

It is a bit like going on a diet. Even if I’m not at all hungry, the minute I use the word ‘diet’ I immediately feel the urge to eat a pound of uncooked cake mixture and a tube of Pringles, and I don’t even really like Pringles. I really don’t like being told what do to, even by myself. It’s why I never diet. All it ever leads to is weight gain.

Unfortunately I can’t decide just to give up school holidays in the same way that I’ve given up dieting. Apparently it is frowned upon to just leave your children at school outside term time. One day into the Easter holidays then and I am already ranting and raging at the slightest thing. Belle is scampering around looking scared, and appears almost to flinch when I talk. It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the holidays.

Perhaps it’s time to whip up a batch of cake mixture…

A good mummy moment

Posted by Slummy single mummy
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on Tuesday, 26 February 2013
I had one of those moments yesterday where you remember what being a parent is about and why you love it.

It’s not that normally I don’t get all the kicks I need out of making packed lunches and hoovering, (oh no, hang on...), but sometimes it’s good to have a little reminder of why exactly you bother to do all those things that actually you find tedious, things like sitting through an hour and a half of Monopoly and pretending you’re having fun.

(To be honest, in the case of Monopoly, it’s normally the other members of my family who aren’t enjoying themselves. I can’t help it if I have a gift for property.)

Yesterday I took Belle to see Oliver. She played Nancy in a recent class rendition of the musical, so she knew all the words to all the songs. It was extra exciting as it was a last minute ‘we happened to be walking past the theatre on the last day of its run’ type of occasion, so what would normally be weeks of simmering nervous tension (‘only 16 more sleeps!’) had to be condensed into ten intense minutes of squealing and shopping for snacks. (Belle was pretty excited too.)

It was a great show, but two thirds of the way in, when I was beginning to wish Bill would hurry up and put Nancy out of her misery so we could do the same and get off the bench seats, I happened to glance over at Belle.

In the half darkness, you could see her wide eyes sparkling, glued to the stage. She was sat forward a little bit on her seat, her neck long, and her hands held in her lap. She was mouthing the words as Nancy sang, and smiling. As the song finished, she clapped as loud and as fast as she could, bouncing a little bit on the red velvet covered bench.

I watched her.

As the clapping died down, I leaned over and whispered “she wasn’t as good as you.” “I know,” she whispered back, her smile broader than ever, and turned back to the stage.

Am I a bad Mummy?

Posted by Slummy single mummy
Slummy single mummy
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on Monday, 19 November 2012
I sometimes wonder if I might not be the greatest Mummy in the world.

I try my best, but I’m easily distracted, have a terrible memory, and sometimes just forget that there are things that mummies are supposed to do.

The problem has been eased significantly by moving Belle to a school with no school uniform, (because of a house move, not just laziness), but despite no longer having that weekly Sunday evening panic attack, racing against time to get uniform dry on radiators, I still find myself rather lacking.

Monday mornings are particularly bad. This Monday, making Belle’s packed lunch, (a job I loathe), it occurred to me that I didn’t know where her lunchbox actually was. I looked in the cupboards, around the kitchen, but to no avail. I eventually found her schoolbag in the downstairs toilet and there it was, three day old sandwich crusts and all.

I felt bad and hoped nobody was looking. Isn’t this something a Good Mummy would deal with on a Friday afternoon? I rummaged in her bag, and pulled out a scrunched up letter, requesting cake donations for the previous Friday, and a set of maths homework. I felt worse. I looked over my shoulder guiltily, even though I knew no one was there. Checking for letters and homework is definitely something a Good Mummy does regularly.

Ah well, at least this way I give her a new excuse. “No Sir, the dog didn’t eat my homework, I just have a hopeless mother.”

We can’t all be perfect can we?

Keeping up with my ten-year old

Posted by Slummy single mummy
Slummy single mummy
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on Monday, 12 November 2012
It’s 9am and I’m on my third breakfast – yogurt, a pancake and two slices of watermelon. We’re in Disneyland Paris for the weekend and I am making the most of the breakfast buffet.

Despite falling asleep last night before Belle it seems to be taking me rather longer than her to wake up. “Come on!” she says, bouncing up and down in her chair. “We’ve got to go, we’ve got to be at the front for Crush’s Coaster!”

Ah yes, the rollercoasters. I’d sort of forgotten about them, focused as I was on getting best value for money at the buffet. Belle has eaten just half a sausage and one mini pain au chocolat, yet is full of beans already. (Figuratively only unfortunately – her baked beans remain untouched).

“OK, OK,” I say, trying to stop thinking about the pastry selection, “ready when you are!” “Yesssss!” she says, doing a little air punch. She’s up out of her chair, clutching her fast pass, before I can take one final swig of coffee.

I take a deep breath, mentally preparing myself for another high-energy day and hoping my stomach can hang on to all three breakfasts on the rides.

Outside the hotel, Belle takes my hand. “We wasted loads of time eating,” she says, “we’re going to have to run,” and she breaks into a trot, dragging me along with her.

Forget the rollercoasters, my pancakes have got to make it to the queue first…

Patience is a virtue?

Posted by Slummy single mummy
Slummy single mummy
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on Monday, 22 October 2012
I am not a patient person.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re born with a finite amount of patience, or if perhaps we are allocated a certain amount along with the birth of each child, and that I have simply used mine all up. “Congratulations,” the midwife says, placing the sticky, bloody bundle of joy on your loose, scarred stomach, “it’s a girl! You have 1,824 hours of joy and 2,782 hours of patience. Use them wisely.”

If your child is an adorable angel who sleeps through the night and shuns sweets in favour of raw carrot sticks and hummus dip, then you’re fine. You may even find them tolerable into their teenage years. If you have a more ‘sensitive’ baby though, then beware, 2,782 hours isn’t much.

When Belle was a baby, she hated being in the car and screamed at the mere sight of the car seat. The only way to soothe her was to sing the chorus from Agadoo.

“Agadoo-doo-doo, push pineapple shake the tree…”

You know the one.

It’s annoying enough just thinking about it isn’t it? Imagine singing it over and over and over again, accompanied only by grizzly baby noises. It’s a little wearing to put it mildly. Then imagine that when you go to bed that night, that you are woken up every hour by a wriggling baby, rooting incessantly, quiet only when they are chomping on your boob.

2,782 hours really doesn’t stretch that far.

Which is more than can be said for my boob.

For more from Jo Middleton go to www.slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com


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