Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

Basic Life Lessons

Evening all!

I have learnt quite a few valuable lessons this week which I will now share with you in the vain hope that I can save at least one of you from the abject misery which is sometimes my life.

Lesson 1) Your mum used to tell you to get your bag ready for school the night before for a very good reason.
It means that if you don’t know where anything is, or realise you don’t have something, you can solve the problem in time for it not to be a problem.

For example; if your husband is coming home on a Thursday night and you have promised him home made lasagne for dinner, it would make sense to purchase the ingredients when you are in town during the day.
NOT, totally forget and then cook a rubbish emergency dinner of prawn spaghetti.
Your misery will only be compounded when you realise that you are such an utter moron that the prawns are 5 days out of date and thus the meal is rendered in edible.
Cereal for dinner again!

Eg 2) if your child has a swimming lesson in Moreton at 10:30, it is not helpful to realise that the car seats are at Grandmas house at 9:45 so your husband has to go over there and get them immediately.
NB- Your marriage may be put in further jeopardy if you send aforementioned child to swimming with daddy in a normal nappy. Mr L was comprehensively reprimanded for being so foolish when in actual fact he had double checked its me before hand. Whoops.

None of this was an issue for me though because I was at my old school’s centenary open day.
You never know who you’ll bump into on such occasions so the idea was to double spanx it, trowl the slap on and really work the ‘what, this old thing’ in a brand new outfit.

What actually happened was- I was soooooo cross with myself for not packing the swimming stuff the night before, not realising about the car seats and generally being really upset with myself for not doing a very good job at this whole housewifery thing I had no time to put my face on etc so turned up looking like the real me. Sweet Jesus.

Lesson number 2…Even though it might make your life easier in the short term- don’t let your child play with something that one day you won’t want them to mess around with, like your Make up.
Playing with tubes, bottles and pots will keep babies entertained for ages, freeing you up to get yourself sorted BUT- once they’ve seen you putting on your slap a few times they will only want to try it themselves. This could result in 100 cotton buds being strewn across the bedroom floor.
I’m not Rainman or anything, I just know it was 100 as it was a brand new pot!
It may also lead to your bottle of Poison (perfume not cyanide) being smashed on the bathroom floor.

Anywho, we live and learn- back to the school open day thing-

As it happens, none of that mattered at all as I saw my brilliant old friend- lets call her Nic (because that’s her name) and her mum (let’s call her Nics mum) and we wandered around the school reminiscing and laughing our heads off. Ha ha bonk.
Baby B was with me and was a total dream, ambled around with her in the sling and she wasn’t even sick. Yey. Was slightly annoyed not to see a couple of old teachers there because I could have at least showed them that although I have no career to speak of, I at least totally ROCK at making beautiful babies.

So, Mr L collected me from school, took us all home and then took Baby B swimming. A mazing.

I decide that I will make a lovely dinner to show how much I appreciate him- which leads me neatly to…
Lesson number 3) Baked potatoes are very hot when they come out of the oven. Don’t touch them, you will burn your hand and you will drop them!

Nigella, your title will not be troubled for some time on recent form.

Oh, and final lesson of the day… If something in the bath looks like poo and smells like poo- it’s probably poo! Fetch me the sieve. ;-0

What catastrophes will befall me this week?! I dread to think. Have a good one all. Xxx

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The stupid things people say.

Having had two children, I have spent the last 3 years being subjected to the never ending conversations about being pregnant, childbirth and raising children, from absolute strangers, it doesn’t help that I am now a regular on the bus and, as I have a double buggy I am basically like a celebrity. I mostly don’t mind at all. It is really lovely that people want to compliment me on the girls and take an interest but it is the same conversation all the time and I am far too lovely and polite to shout BORE OFF at the top of my voice.
Perhaps I am inadvertently wearing a sign that says;
Please talk to me.
I am more than interested in how long you were ‘trying’, how sick you were during pregnancy, how tough your labour was and anything else that you want to get off your chest.
No no. DO go on, I am genuinely interested in what pregnancy was like in the 1900’s.

I have ordered a tee shirt that says:
2 Girls
No (they’re not twins)
Yes (they are close in age)
Yes (we do hope they’ll be close when they grow up)
Yes (it is a big pram)
No (its not a Silver Cross)
Blah blah blah blah blah…..

I do not yet know how to put either a bored face or a wry smile on a tee shirt but when I figure that out they’ll be on there too.
It is going to have to be a pretty massive tee shirt but that currently doesn’t pose a problem!!

Here are my top 5 of stupid things that people have said to me…

1) You really are massive aren’t you. We’re you quite big before hand?
I’m not going to lie, I WAS massive. Like a tank. I had polyhydramnios so I’m not just saying it for effect but still!
Obviously, after that I was on top of the world. Popped to Millets in my lunch hour and bought a tent to wear.

2) Randomer also on the 471 (different trip though!) Um, your daughters got a really gammy eye”.
WOW- thanks for that beautiful. Where were you when they were handing out tact?!
PS- you need to get your brows waxed. Pronto.

3) Another randomer on the bus (perhaps we should become a 2 car family) Gosh- they’re close in age. Was she an accident?
OMG are you kidding me.

4) Middle aged lady in West Kirby pointing at baby B in the sling; ‘She’s not starving is she’.
I’m sorry WHAT?!
Um no twiggy she’s not. Funny that, I was just about to amble over and say exactly the same thing to you except I realised that
A) I don’t know you and
B) I’m not that freaking rude.

But the question that I find more annoying than any of those is this:

5) Is she good?
4 people asked me that today. 4. And for some reason, it really, really pisses me off.

What do you mean is she good?
Well, since I’m not a Catholic and I don’t believe in the premiss of original sin, I suppose, yes she IS good. I have never spied her stealing or attempting arson. There has been some ABH but that mainly relates to scratching and gripping me when she is feeding so I’m going to let that go.

But, that isn’t what they mean is it. It is a loaded question about whether she sleeps, whether she cries whether she is hitting milestones etc etc etc. Annoying. (Am I possibly being a little over sensitive here?!)

So, here is my answer.
YES.
She is good at being awake.
She is great at letting me know when she is unhappy.
She is excellent at bringing up milk. Everywhere. All the time.
She excels at knowing when I’ve just reached the bed again and was about to hop back in for some shut eye.
But mostly she is good at being her and I totally love her so naf off with your ‘is she good’. She is absolutely perfect. 🙂

Love Muma Leary.

PS- I was perfectly happy to answer this question with baby A!!! Ha ha, not so smug now am I!

PPS- Maud from the 472 had dreadful piles right through both of her pregnancies. Horrendous they were. She has never been quite the same ‘down there’ since. Even though Bill- the youngest, is now in his 40’s. Tricky delivery to be honest and it left everything quite loose.
Wowzers- thanks for that Maud. Wasn’t prepared for that when I nipped into Heswall today!!

😉

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That sinking feeling.

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So, as I mentioned yesterday, we took the girls for their first Puddleducks swimming lessons yesterday.
It pretty much took over our whole day, in future we will be tag teaming it.

The lessons are held in a school in Moreton. The last time I went to Moreton it was to do my GCSE Geography fieldwork and I have to say, it hasn’t changed a lot in the intervening decade. Debonair Dogs was a highlight of the high street!!
Oh, also, if you know the butchers in Moreton, tell them that they can’t spell buffet properly.

Mr L and baby A took the first session and it went pretty well to be honest. There was one genuinely yummy mummy there- in a bikini/tankini but the rest of the parents looked pretty normal and the class went without a hitch until it is over and I sit baby A on my lap to dry her and get her dressed after the class. The picture at the top shows how I left the class.
I am such a muppet.
Drove home, the girls had a sleep and then it was my turn.

Changed into my swimming costume at home and caught sight of myself in the mirror.
Did a little bit of sick in my mouth at the sight before me and felt very sorry for my husband. Imagine if you will an off white body stocking filled with porridge. The vision was not helped by the fact that my costume has a frill. A FRILL. FFS. What was I thinking?! I am not 100.
Half way to swimming I remembered that baby B’s costume is still on the changing mat at home so we had to go home and get it. Oops.

Arrive just in time for the lesson to start. There is only one other person in the class and it is a dad so no need to feel so mortally ashamed of my toenails that look like they need some serious ‘curanail’ action. (In actual fact, I was just too lazy to have my shellac soaked off so I picked it off and my nails are now wrecked- I know, I am gross).
Baby B starts bawling her head off about 3 minutes into the class and, as there is just me and the dad, there is no possible confusion over whose child is making the racket.
The teacher is really calm and kind and shows me a position which might make her calmer. This is her facing me with her feet on my tummy. Works like a dream and she is very chilled and happy. Meanwhile, the other baby starts crying. Ha ha, don’t feel so smug now do we. Control your child please, we are in the zone over here.
Baby b wriggles about a bit and I look down to see both boobs out and on display. Cracked nips and all. MORTIFIED. I have to ask teach to hold baba so I can rearrange myself.

Mr L is told off for taking pictures.

Only 11 sessions to go. I think I might have to return in a disguise!

Have a good week all. 🙂

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Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail.

My mum is organised, a planner, and it frustrates the hell out of her that I am so chaotic. I am getting better but I am a LONG way off being anywhere close to organised.
Now I am a mother of two- exactly as she was, I am beginning to appreciate why she is so organised, she has had to be- it is a survival mechanism and it makes life such a lot easier.
My dad passed away suddenly when I was 7 and my sister was 8. My mum had to raise us on her own, miles away from her family, relying on the help and support of her friends and neighbours (many of whom she made on the school run).
She didn’t have the luxury of being anything but organised and so our lives were governed by routine. I think it helped to rebuild our lives making us feel safe and secure. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t militant or anything it just allowed us (and mum) to know what was what and manage day to day.
Read more about the benefits of routines for children here; http://www.lowershoreccrc.org/routinesarticlemelkins.htm

When baby A was born we swore by the Gina Ford ‘CLB’ routine and, she really has been a contented little baby. It has worked like an absolute dream and I would thoroughly recommend the principals to anyone. **word of warning** it is not for you if you are going to get totally neurotic about doing things to the letter. You will end up in a secure facility with a pretty white coat on, BUT, if you can use the timings and principals as a guide and take the really strict bits with a pinch of salt, you might find it really helpful.
I am trying to use the baby and toddler guide now…it is a work in progress!!

So, I am a bit confused as to why I haven’t translated this routine and order to the rest of family life… And then I recall that when I had some counselling a while back, Pat (the lovely, lovely councillor lady) got fed up of me being late or screeching onto the drive with seconds to spare and asked why I couldn’t ever arrive in good time. With a little bit of talking and digging I figured out that I am afraid of being boring. I hate the idea of a dull, average life and it subconsciously brought a bit of excitement into the everyday to have to speed to get somewhere or to think eek- am I going to make it etc. Pat asked me to be on time in future and, I always was. It didn’t make me boring and I honestly think that the sessions I had with her saved my life. (Maybe not literally, but I am certainly far more calm and happy than I ever have been).
Perhaps the fact that I am now Mrs Average in many ways is bringing this to the fore for me again and, leaving the house with two kids and no nappy bag is my subconscious way of adding a touch of Russian roulette to the days! It never feels quite so exciting when I am wiping a nose with my own sleeve though, so I am re-educating myself into planning and being ready for any eventuality.
I tested the planning this week end with a trip to Liverpool One on a Saturday with my sister and two of my oldest friends- none of them have children so the pressure was on.

The romanticised idea…
I prepare everything the night before so we are ready for our departure at 10am, I will hop aboard the bus with ease looking like a yummy mummy and when I’m told that I looking amazing will coyly say- ‘what, this old thing, I’m sure I look a mess!’.
I will illustrate that life with children doesn’t need to be any different than it was before, we eat lunch and sip wine. Everyone will have a wonderful day and my children will be picture perfect dreams…

The slightly grim reality…
Baby B does not get memo re being an amazing sleeper and showcasing my A1+ parenting skills so I am up and down all night like a fucking brides nightie and am shattered before the day even starts.
Jump in the shower and realise too late that it is freezing so get out looking like a drowned rat rather than the groomed, serene mother I was hoping to showcase.
Pack pram to soundtrack of screaming from Baby B and feeling frazzled head for the bus. Have the obligatory 30 second panic attack as I manoeuvre the buggy onto the bus. Toy that I have packed (planning for boredom) gets trapped so I am marooned between driver and buggy space. Attract the totally wrong type of attention and am mortified.
The rest of the bus journey is perfect. Babies attract lots of oohs and ahh’s and I feel very smug that I am so prepared that they are both fed on the journey. I rule at this organised, yet fun, grown up malarkey.

Arrive at Liverpool One and sister asks Baby A if she wants to get out…NO!!! This should be saved as a treat for later. Once she’s out she’ll never want to get back in. Planning disaster one- reins at home on kitchen work top, Not to worry, my lovely sister carries her. Venture into Disney store and immediately she wants to get down so I spend my time with my heart in my mouth looking for her and imagining that she has been snatched. She hasn’t. Or is breaking things. She isn’t.
Bending down is killing me so buy a brilliant butterfly backpackfrom Mamas and Papas. Which has a built in rein attachment. Result. Get one.

Planning disaster two- have not booked a table for lunch and everywhere has a waiting time of 45minutes plus. Even John Lewis cafe is full. When I have to use the lift for the hundredth time I remember why I have always ALWAYS said that parents who take their kids shopping are idiots and no one gets anything out of the experience. I call Mr L from the homeward department and lament my utter stupidity. I am the woman who was crying just beside the Sophie Conran display with a bright red double buggy- very inconspicuous.

Finally get a seat in Carluccios which is fab. (Great food, quick service, friendly staff, room for the buggy etc. I would thoroughly recommend.)
Order Baby A’s food secure in the knowledge that if there is a delay I have snacks in my bag. Ha, back on track. 🙂 Have a glass of procecco to celebrate and show other diners that it is possible to be a mother and a fun, carefree individual. Baby B is cute as a button sleeping in the pram. A couple of people comment on how lovely the girls are- OMG, I might be pulling this off. Swish my yummy mummy cardigan over my yummy mummy sling and beam.
Baby B is sick all over my lush cardie and as I pretended it was ‘this old thing’ can not share my utter devastation.

Stressing that I am spoiling the day for everyone with my humongous (but beautiful) buggy means that I fall between two stools, don’t actually feel able to do any shopping or entertain the girls properly. Boo. Ah ha- the mum guilt kicking in again. Lovely.

Set off for home and as we step off the bus the heavens open. Obv.
I figure out that it will take as long to work out how to put on the rain covers so leg it back home abandoning my friends and breathing out of my arse. I am not the woman I once was.

What have I learnt from the day?!

There is NOTHING to be gained from taking babies shopping. I knew this before but somehow imagined that it would be different for me.
Don’t take your kids shopping, especially in a double buggy, on a Saturday, in the rain. Definitely don’t take them if you want to actually try something on or buy anything. DEFINITELY DEFINITELY don’t take them if you are trying to show that being a mum and a normal person is plausible.
No,seriously, I did have fun. My only recommendation would be to book a table for lunch in advance. If you don’t need it, no harm done but, if you do, it is there and you will feel chuffed with yourself for being so damn organised 🙂
The planning bit worked well, I had everything I needed to be a miserable, stressed out old bag and thank god I did as two full changes were needed!!
Perhaps next time I should opt for a more child focused activity, I will try one this week and let you know how that works out!

XxxX

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What makes a ‘grown up’?

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that my idea of what a grown up is, or should be, is light years away from the life I lead and the way I behave. Sometimes I feel like I am still 15 and have absolutely no business living in a proper house with an actual husband and 2 real life babies for god sake; on other days I can hear myself saying something like ‘we really need to sort out the insulation’ and wonder if I have by passed grown up all together and am sliding towards old age and eventual death without even touching the middle bit.

I would define a grown up as someone who regularly does the following;

1) Irons clothes even if they are not going out in them imminently.
The ultimate grown up may even use fragranced iron water but this is simply ridiculous in my eyes.

2) Knows the dates of their friends and families birthdays AND actually acts on this information in advance by;
a) picking an appropriate card from their ‘useful card box’
b) writing the card- possibly with a grown up pen- ie not a bic which is running out so that you have to trace over what you’ve already written in a different pen.
c) some days before the birthday, they post the card. (If the recipient is local this may be accompanied with a tasteful potplant or perhaps a homemade cake)
NB- in order to do this successfully the grown up will know all necessary addresses and have stamps in their wallet-always.

3) Has frozen meals in the freezer just incase of emergency.
A grown ups idea of a frozen meal is one which they have cooked and frozen themselves. Not my idea of a frozen meal which is fish fingers and waffles- maybe with beans if I am wanting to jazz it up.

4) Wakes up an hour before their child/ren in order to have a bit of time to order their mind, prepare the breakfast and get ready for the day ahead.

5) Has a capsule wardrobe so they can leave the house looking presentable whatever the weather or occasion- their children do not tip out their make up bag daily due to the hour before the rest of the house is awake. In fact, it is possible that the children don’t even enter their sanctuary of a bedroom.

6) Has an up to date diary so they do not get into a situation where they can knit a duvet from excess body hair. When they go for a wax/ haircut they book the next appointment before leaving the salon.
NB- if they wanted to knit a duvet, they could because they have the time due to their insane levels of organisation.

In comparison, this tends to be the way I roll- definitely room for improvement…

I last ironed a pile of clothes circa 2006 I reckon, to be honest, even this is a guess as I am more of a sniff, fabreeze and wear kind of gal.

I usually send a birthday text when FB reminds me that it is my cousin/friend/mothers birthday. This is accompanied by a very sincere and real intention to take over a card and some flowers which fades and dies over a period of 24-72hrs as other, more pressing tasks take over.
The other day I actually stooped so low that I put a crayon in my right hand and did a little scribble in my Grandmothers birthday card because there wasn’t time for baby A to do it! The shame.

At the moment, getting up even a minute before the baby is a challenge and, when the evening comes I am so bloody knackered, it is unlikely that I’ll even have the ability to load the dishwasher from dinner. Clearly this leads to a chase the tale situation. Aaarrrggghhh.

My capsule wardrobe includes leggings. Jesus. Shops should not sell leggings in sizes over a 14 to be honest. If they are there, it makes people think that it is ok for them to wear them.
It isn’t.
If you have a fat ass, chunky thighs or cellulite they are not for you. I know that they are easy to pull on and go but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I MUST STOP THIS.

Don’t even get my started on the wax sitch- I felt I had to explain myself to the gyne consultant at my last appointment as I was sooooo mortified. I raised the ‘more hair than a barbershop bin’ issue with him prior to getting undressed (out of my leggings FFS!), he was obviously petrified as he went and got someone else to see me instead. I have never been so embarrassed!!!

Any who, now I am aware of my flaws (some of which were helpfully highlighted to me by Mr L following a sleepless night of feeding and clearing up sick, where he occasionally leant over to give my arm a little stroke- basically the husband equivalent of David Cameron saying ‘We’re all in this together’) I will be doing what I can to address them. To this end I have booked a personal shopper, make over and spa day, and I’ve bought myself a Jo Malone room fragrance. It’s tough but someone’s got to do it.
I hear they’re all the rage with grown ups.

🙂
XxxX

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Thanking my Lucky Stars

I was just about to post a blog entitled ‘Wonderful wonderful Wirral’ when I received a notification saying that someone had liked my blog and suggesting that I should have a look at theirs. Being a new and keen blogger I did and you should too; it is called Pregoandtheloon
It is basically a blog about a very brave lady who is rebuilding her life after fleeing domestic violence.

My post was going to be an update of the brilliant week that I have just had with my family but now I have read Pregoandtheloon I want to wait a little before posting it and rather than regaling you with hilarious anecdotes about what Mr L does to wind me up, my day to day catastrophes and my most recent incident when I nearly killed the in laws dog, I will simply say this;
I am a lucky, lucky lady.
I have two beautiful daughters, a loving family and a wonderful husband who I adore. So, if you fall into my camp, say a little thank you tonight. If you fall into prego’s, please keep being brave and strong and believe that things will get better.
Not all men are bullies, not all men will treat you badly so don’t give up hope and know that people are thinking of you and hoping that things get better soon.

All my love. XxxX

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That’s life!

I had planned on starting this blog when we moved to the Wirral, so I am a little behind schedule.
So; just so you are all totally up to speed on my life since we got here- I have written a brief synopsis divided helpfully into two parts; Romanticised expectations and the slightly grim reality…

Romanticised expectation-
Mr L, child A and I experience a stress free and utterly delightful family Christmas with the in laws before moving lock stock and barrel to Irby.
I glide through all festive social occasions looking glowing, serene and, dare I say it, even a little sexy, my bump causes no dramas and remains exceptionally neat so I continue to look like a perfect size 10 from behind.
We rock up to our perfect new home on Boxing Day.
Everything has been unpacked by the professional moving company exactly as per my floor plans and emails.
Even the beds are made.
The Jo Malone room defusers make the place smell like home straight away.

A few days later, I feel a couple of twinges- suggest to Mr L that we head up to the hospital. (It goes without saying that I am waxed, shellacked and made up in a natural beauty sort of a way).
I sneeze out child B and am able to leave hospital a couple of hours later with whispers from the midwives about how amazing I was, no pain relief or anything. What a woman etc etc.
(Obv- I am leaving in my pre-pregnancy clothes as my figure has snapped back to that of a virile 17year old).

Husband and I get home and introduce child B to child A. A immediately takes to B and they are a perfect picture of happiness. They also sleep through the night. Straight away.

One day, whilst clearing out my wallet, I find a lottery ticket. It is a winner and therefore any concerns about returning to work are immediately removed. Perfect.
NB- All of the above happens with a brilliant soundtrack in the background, imagine all of the emotional journey bits of X factor- Elbow, Coldplay etc.

The slightly more grim reality-

Mr L and I decide to book professional removers to reduce the stress of the move. But, because we are idiots, we sort of half pack, half leave it, so feel in a total mess when moving day comes. Mr L is in Bristol, I only have half a day off, it is utter madness and I leave our first home for the last time on my own a sweaty, stressed out, pregnant mess.
The moving company are utter crap. (Yep, I am referring to you Bisley removals) and send different people to pack, drive the van and then kindly subcontract the unpacking at the other end so everything is not where we requested. My amazing, colour coded floor plans are probably used as wrapping paper. Twats.
We don’t own any room defusers so that was always going to be a none starter.
Christmas however was very lovely. Lacking in wine but otherwise fab.

Ah- on to the labour and birth of baba B… (This will, in time, get a blog post all of it’s own, it truly deserves it. I am hoping that time really is the healer that everyone says it is because I do think that it will be a very funny/ excruciatingly embarrassing story. I have already called it ‘A stitch in time’; read into this what you will!)
Suffice to say the words Texas Chainsaw Massacre were used by the midwife, I was in hospital for several days and am still open to the consultant- literally.

I did not leave hospital as a sexy size 10- this is highly likely to be down to the fact that I was not one previously. Sad times indeed.
I did not find a lottery ticket so now spend my evenings Ebaying my kidneys etc and checking my William Hill account (I am down to my last 19p thanks to a poor result at the national today)
Important to note at this point that our heating also broke and our shower has leaked into the utility.
Brilliant.

The soundtrack to these events are the sort you might hear in a circus tent.

Happily baby A did immediately take to baby B! She loves her and kisses her at every opportunity. It makes me melt and I love them both completely.

So- here we are in April….and the journey to becoming a grown up starts now…
I think that the beginning of becoming a fully fledged adult begins when you realise that your life infact is not a film, does not have a soundtrack and will sometimes be chaotic, confusing and pretty freaking messy, I am beginning to come to terms with this but it is a slow burner 😉
What do you think are the signs of being an adult? I have some thoughts which I will share with you next time but I’d love to hear yours…

Have a great week, catch you Friday!

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