CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Today we took Charlie sledging. We drove up to the top of the hill overlooking Holmfirth, which is where I used to go as a child, and it was exactly as I remembered it. I used to go up with my Mum and Dad every time it snowed. The car park always used to be full of other kids and their parents all scrambling out of the car with winter woollies on and sledges in tow.

Today when we arrived, we were the only ones on the car park, and I wondered if times had changed and people don’t come sledging anymore. I was proven wrong when a few minutes later another car arrived and then another until the car park was full within an hour. 25 years later and everything was still the same.

It was so cold and windy that Charlie looked like a ripe tomato within seconds. The snow was so deep that it came above my wellies, but the sky was so blue, and the sun was shining that it somehow felt like a summer’s day. I felt like we were in another world.  Reality hit when half an hour later Jorgie wouldn’t stop wailing and Charlie wouldn’t get on the sledge as he’d rather just pull it around the field whilst every other kid was having a ball actually sledging.

He probably takes after me. I remembered when I was younger, and I sledged down the hill but picked up a bit too much speed and couldn’t stop. I went right over the edge of a steep slope and when I landed, I genuinely thought I had broken my back. I cried and screamed which resulted in mass panic from my mum and dad. So, whilst all the other kids were having fun, I was being carried up a hill on a sledge as a makeshift stretcher ready for my mum and dad to drive me to hospital.

When we got back to the car as they were about to lie me in the back I asked, “Have you got any chocolate biscuits?” At this point they realised my injury wasn’t so serious after all and actually they had probably sustained more injury to their own backs by carrying me back up the extremely steep slope. The moral of the story is probably not to go sledging at all but where’s the fun in that?

After sledging until my bum was numb and I couldn’t feel my toes we got back into the car to go for hot chocolate and cake in Holmfirth. My underwear and leggings were so wet with snow that they were stuck to me and I hadn’t brought a change of clothes. Charlie made me feel much better when he said, “Mummy are you going to die soon?” and then “Is the next activity ice skating?” I replied with “No Charlie hopefully not and no we are not. What do you think I am? Elsa from Frozen?”.

We arrived at a coffee shop to be told that the coffee machine wasn’t working so Kyle and I had a milkshake and Charlie had an ice cream. The perfect winter warmer when you have been sledging for two hours on a hill that could be a perfect home to polar bears.

Later on, I went to meet my best friend for food and to watch Mary Poppins Returns at the Cinema. The film was really nostalgic and actually was quite emotional to watch. It brought a tear to my eyes at times.  I loved Mary Poppins as a little girl, and this carried on the story from when I was young as the children were the next generation from the children in the first film. There were lots of references to the first film and it was special when Dick Van Dyke made an appearance.

Although it was brilliant, I couldn’t help thinking that it would never beat the original and that Julie Andrews would always be the best Mary Poppins. But is that because this was a film I loved as a child so it will always seem better? Will Charlie and Jorgie grow up to love this new version and if another is released in 54 years, they will think that nothing will beat this version? Will I go to the Cinema many years from now as an old lady with my grandchildren to watch the latest one?

By pure coincidence we had watched the Lion King last night with Charlie and he loved it. I can’t remember the last time I had watched it but I’m sure it was as a child myself and it is weird how you forget bits. So, all in all its been a weekend of nostalgia and remembering how it feels to be a child and how you see things from a different perspective. It does make you think about the circle of life so to speak and how quickly time passes. You should make the most of every moment.

Birthdays – before and after kids

I’ve noticed some significant differences in the way birthdays are celebrated before and after you have children.

1.Before you have children, you get to leisurely open all your birthday presents, examining each item whilst stacking the pile up neatly on the table. After you have kids you don’t get to open any presents at all. In fact, they are no longer your presents. They become your kids. From ripping open the paper to excitedly throwing the gifts on the floor. They then take a shine to a particular present that they carry round all day. Of course, what 3 year old wouldn’t want a pair of size 5 adult hunter wellies or a New Look gift card?

2.You enjoy a girl’s night out before having kids. You look forward to it all week. After picking a new outfit, spending a few hours getting ready, you have a few drinks before hitting the bars. You party hard and roll in at 3am. Your lucky to even get a shower when you try to get ready with children. You spend more time taking make-up off them than putting it on yourself. You end up getting changed twice before you even get out the door due to vomit or food stains. Your make-up is slapped on within 10 seconds and your hair is a mere shadow of what it used to be. Once you get out you worry  about dealing with your little angels the next day, whilst sporting a hangover so you end up drinking 70% less than what you used to and are home by mid-night.

3.After previously getting spoiled on your birthday with breakfast in bed or a candlelit bath, this is no longer possible with kids. You are still a mum which means poo explosions, vomit, tantrums, mess and general chaos. Instead of going for a nice meal you end up picking an activity to do which they enjoy (park or play centre). This ends with a visit to McDonalds on the way home. You lucky human.

4.Gone are the days of blowing the candles out on your birthday cake. Remember it is no longer your birthday cake. It is your children’s, as is the huge box of luxury chocolates you have been given as a present. You then have the joy of dealing with your toddler as they act like a drunken maniac tearing around the house like a super charged duracell bunny. This is due to the sugar overload they have just indulged in. So much fun.

5.You end the day feeling like you have won the lottery when your husband runs you a hot bath and offers to do the bedtime routine. Although birthdays have changed, you do get to spend them with your favourite little people. It is by no means relaxing, but it does make you smile and laugh for most of the day with your little ones whilst thinking back to what your birthdays used to be like.


Work Choices after Maternity Leave

After having my first child, Charlie, I was ready to go back to my job working as a Finance Business Partner for the NHS. Charlie had been born 5. 5 weeks early and unexpectedly so I always felt like I had started my maternity leave with unfinished business and uncompleted tasks.  This probably affected my entire time off, as I found myself looking forward to going back to work after 6 months and wanting to get stuck in. I don’t think I ever really switched off from work during my first maternity leave, which is something I regret.

There were other factors that contributed to this. I had Charlie towards the end of October. This meant dark nights, cold days and bad weather. I didn’t get out of the house so much and hardly any of my friends had a baby at this point, so I didn’t attend any baby groups or socialise. I was still very career focused. I enjoyed having a break from work but still felt I had some milestones to reach in my career and so I went back full time.

Fast forward to now and I feel entirely differently. I had time to think and plan during my second pregnancy with my daughter Jorgie. I finished work on the day I had planned to and I had tied up all loose ends and completed all ongoing projects. I was ready to have some time off and spend quality time with both Charlie and my new baby.

I had Jorgie in April and the weather was glorious and stayed that way for several months. I enjoyed trips to the park, days out to the zoo, Gulliver’s world and time spent in paddling pools and gardens. Quite a few of my friends had babies around the same time as me including my cousin, so I did some baby classes and met some of them for coffee. I also spent lots of quality time with Charlie and that time is priceless and something I will probably not be able to experience again, or ever forget.

Some significant life events also happened around the time I had Jorgie. My Grandad died, and my husband’s Gran died all within a 4 week period. We moved to our dream home and I began to view life slightly differently. Life is so precious and short and can literally change for the better or worse from one minute to the next. My children are only going to be little for a short period of time and I want to be around to see them grow and watch as many big milestones in their lives as possible.

This is when I began to think about trying to go back to work part time. But this raised a lot of questions. Could I afford to go back to work on less hours? With increasing childcare costs, mortgages and bills to pay would it be possible for me to do this? I want to give my children the best life I can, make sure they have nice clothes, toys and annual holidays so would it be a mistake to give up some hours? What is more important – material items or my time, or both? Could I do my increasingly demanding job in less hours? If I didn’t go back part time how on earth would I fit in housework and laundry?

After juggling these thoughts in my head for some time, I concluded that actually spending some time with my children whilst they are young is more important than being able to buy them absolutely everything. I would still earn a decent wage and be able to comfortably manage. My children would definitely not go without anything. I could always go back to full time working later in my career and I had achieved everything I wanted to at this point in my life.

However, I realise that for other mums and parents they may be faced with a different outcome. They might not be able to afford part time and may feel that they have yet to still achieve some goals in their careers. I do think that working parents have so many competing demands and a lot of pressure and stress in jobs these days and particularly since the recession hit. This resulted in job cuts and remaining employees picking up additional work and in some cases this resource has never been replaced.

I have now met with my Manager to discuss my return to work and have put an application in to work 3 to 3.5 days a week. I am hopeful for it to get approved and I go back to work at the end of January.

There is no right or wrong answer in this debate and every parent will come to a different decision or be forced into one. However, I do think some companies and the government could do better at supporting working parents to assist in making these decisions. I recently read an article regarding childcare support in Sweden and maybe the UK needs to take a leaf out of their book. They heavily focus on supporting both mums and dads with both maternity/paternity leave and nursery costs, albeit at the cost of higher tax payments but that is another debate.

Whatever parents decide I’m sure that it will be putting their child at the forefront of their decision, where possible. All we can do is our best and hope that it is good enough.

CHILDCARE CHOICES -WHY I CHOSE MY MUM

Assessing my options

I started to think about childcare whilst I was still pregnant with my first child, Charlie. Who would look after him when I returned to work? Nurseries are so expensive so could we afford to pay the costs full time? Would a child minder be better? Would a family member be more appropriate? Could I use a mixture of all these options? It was going to be hard enough to leave him at all when I went back to work. I wanted to make sure that he was as happy as possible.  I also needed flexibility in my increasingly pressured role.

My mum was working as a part-time Assistant Cook in a school kitchen when I fell pregnant. I had a discussion with her around whether she would be willing to give up her job to look after Charlie when I went back to work. We would pay her although it would be slightly less than what she was earning. My mum agreed that this was an option she was happy to consider.

Weighing up the pros and cons

I looked at the cost of putting Charlie in nursery full time. I realised that this was ridiculously expensive. Although nurseries are a great environment for children to develop social skills and interact with other children, putting Charlie in a nursery at 7 months did seem a very young age to do so. He wouldn’t have one to one care. He probably wouldn’t benefit so much with interaction and development as a baby, as he would do when he was older. I completely realise that this is the only option for some parents. I have no criticism of nurseries at all. However, we decided that this wasn’t the right option for us at this time.

I spoke to some of my friends who were using child minders to look after their children. This is definitely a cheaper option than nursery. Although Charlie still wouldn’t receive one to one care, the ratio of carer to child is far better than nursery.  He could still interact with other children but on a smaller scale and in a more informal environment.

We also considered reducing my hours to part-time or my now husband’s, but with a wedding to pay for that year and both of us still having goals to achieve in our careers, this was not an option. My husband is a trainee Paramedic and has very sporadic shifts that we would find child care difficult to work around.

After assessing all these options, my mum looking after Charlie was the best choice for us. Charlie loved her, and it enabled her to spend more time with her grandchild. She had a very physically tiring job working in a kitchen, and although looking after a child full time is absolutely mentally and emotionally exhausting, it would give her a physical rest compared to what she was doing.

It is a cheaper option for us and provides my husband and I with flexibility if we need to work extra hours and go in earlier or finish later. I could return to work confident that Charlie was safe, happy and secure and had one to one care all day. Who better to look after your child than someone who loves and adores them equally as much as you do?

Lessons Learned

For anyone considering grandparents as an option for childcare there are a few tips I would suggest making sure that this agreement works:

Treat the agreement as a business one when it comes to payment. We set up a direct debit to my mum for an agreed monthly amount to be paid on the same day each month. Money is not mentioned now, and we don’t have any issues.

Understand that your mum/dad is doing a paid job that is very hard work. It doesn’t harm to show them how much you appreciate them once in a while. Understand that they will get tired and stressed from time to time as it is an emotionally exhausting job.

Set out any specific requirements that you would like your parents to try and adhere to.  I wanted Charlie to try and interact with other children, so my mum attended lots of playgroups and toddler groups and play centres. I also wanted to keep sweet treats to a minimum.

We adequately supply my mum with nappies, wipes and food for Charlie to cover the day. I see this as our responsibility and this is only the same as what some nurseries and child minders require.

Prepare to ask other baby sitters to look after your children if you want to go out at weekend. I’m not saying that we don’t ever ask my mum, but we try to avoid it to give her a break.

A note to my mum

The best decision I made was asking you to look after Charlie. He has such a close relationship with you and has made lots of new friends because of all the groups you took him to. Sometimes we disagreed on things, but this turned into healthy debate and was needed to progress things forward. As you know I am nearing the end of my second maternity leave and you will be looking after our little girl Jorgie-Mae with the same love, care and attention that you did Charlie. Charlie started nursery during maternity leave and will continue when I return to work as he needs to prepare for school and give you a break. Looking after two kids would send you to the brink as it would me! We are incredibly lucky that we have you as an option and your support is invaluable.

I hope you look back on this experience as a positive one. Remember grandparents who babysit their grandchildren tend to live longer and feel younger! You are an example of a young and cool Nanna!

Dear Charlie…….on your 3rd Birthday

Dear Charlie,

It’s your birthday tomorrow and it’s been a big year for you so I want to write you a letter, so you can read all about it when you are older. Lots of significant things have happened. You started nursery, moved to a new house in a new area and gained a beautiful baby sister, Jorgie-Mae. It was a lot for your little brain to process, but you managed to take it in your stride and tried your best to cope with it all.

Your sister adores you. Her whole face lights up with a smile if you so much as look at her. You accepted her with no fuss. You have your jealous moments “mummy do you think we should throw Jorgie in the canal?”. This was a one-off comment and overall you took on the role of protective big brother from the start. I’m sure your bond will only develop as you both grow up.

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You hated nursery at first and it took you a little while to settle in but now you are enjoying yourself. You like painting pictures for me, Daddy and Nanna every day. For the first few weeks you refused to eat your lunch at all but sometimes you now eat two lunches!

At first you missed your old house but now you love your new house. Although it will forever be known as “the new house” even though we have now lived here for 6 months.

You lost some people this year. Great Grandad Keith and Great Grandma Sue died, and this made you very sad. You asked lots of questions about heaven and you can’t quite understand where they have gone. All I can say is that they loved you very much and you will see them again someday.

We had the hottest summer on record for a long time, and this was very unusual for the North West. We had several weeks of sunshine and the moors near to where we live set on fire. This absolutely fascinated you for days. Football nearly came home (well kind of). I’m sure maybe it will be the closest that England will get to winning a cup in your lifetime. You took great pleasure in singing “Football’s coming home” wherever we went. Prince Harry got married, Prince Louis was born, Toys R Us closed and the NHS (where mummy works) finally got a pay rise.

The ‘Baby Shark’ song took over the world and you loved to dance around the living room to it. You have started to develop a taste for music and all we have heard you repeatedly sing this year is ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis and ‘In my Feelings’ by Drake which has driven Daddy and I slightly mad. You went to your first festival ‘Y NOT Festival’ and loved sitting on Daddy’s shoulders and bopping to the Libertines and Catfish and the Bottlemen.  It was your first experience of camping and it was amazing to watch your excited face at staying in a tent whilst the wind howled, and the rain pounded down outside.

You were lucky enough to go on two holidays. We stayed in a caravan in Brixham to scatter Grandad Keith’s ashes and we went to America to see Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. Now we are back you keep asking me “Mummy when are you going to order America again?”. You had an absolute ball.

You’ve grown up so much this year and started to form real friendships, particularly with your cousin Macy and developed such a strong bond with our dog Tia. You understand now that she is blind and can’t see and tell everyone we meet. We have had some challenging times this year. You’ve started to get your independence and with this comes pushing the boundaries and seeing how much you can get away with. I’m trying to teach you right from wrong and so sometimes we clash, and I have shouted at you a bit more than I wanted to.  You are still finding your feet in this big world so sometimes Mummy needs to understand this and let you find your way. I don’t know how many times I have warned you “Santa doesn’t deliver presents to naughty boys” in the last few months.

I constantly worry about you and for you. How you will cope when I go back to work as you have got so used to having me around? I worry for the future about you starting school and making friends.  Anxiety kicks in that the world isn’t like it used to be when I was a little girl. Terrorism and Terrorist Attacks are now very real. War which once seemed unthinkable now seems possible and crime just seems to be on the increase.

However, I have faith in you. You are a funny, loving, inquisitive and clever little boy. As you grow up I want you to carry on developing your own identity and just be you. Then you can’t go far wrong. I want you to do what makes you happy and enjoy your little life as much as possible. The world is full of endless possibilities and I hope that when you read this when you are older, this is how you see the world.

So that summarises the year leading up to your 3rd birthday. I can’t wait to see you open all your presents tomorrow.

Lots and lots of love,

Mummy x

Back to reality…….

Have you ever had a really shit week? I had one last week. I thought every day it would get better, but I just faced different crap on different days.

It’s always a hard week the week after your return from a holiday. Kyle was on nights, and I was left to deal with both kids and the dog on my own. I put Charlie to bed at 7pm only for him to shout me for two hours and not go to sleep until gone 9pm every night. Wonderful. The reasons for this got more creative as the week went on.  “I’m scared of the sharp shadows, I’m scared a shark might get me, I need another bath, I need to sing you a special song.” It was when he said “Can I come in your tent? I’m a bit scared and I need you Mummy” that I realised this was actually a camping scene from Peppa Pig that we had watched earlier that day. That pig has a lot to answer for, and if anyone can explain to me what ‘sharp shadows’ are, I would be very grateful.

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Meanwhile, Jorgie screamed like a wailing banshee from 6pm to 8pm every evening because she was tired and randomly decided that she was going to need a bottle at 11pm every night, something she hasn’t done since she was a few weeks old.  I was like a walking zombie by the time Kyle came off the night shifts on Thursday.

I was relieved to have Kyle at home on Thursday night, but I questioned this after tea when all 4 of them wanted me at once. Jorgie was screaming for a bottle but wouldn’t let Kyle give it to her under any circumstances, it had to be me. Kyle therefore took the opportunity to complete a Volkswagen car claim form, only there was no point in him completing it as he spent the entire time asking me questions about what he should put and asking me to read through it all for him. At the same time Charlie was repeatedly begging me to play ‘hook a fish’ and crying when I said he would have to wait for 5 minutes and Tia solidly cried for an hour straight for her tea until I fed her dog food. I despair.

On Friday morning, Kyle took Charlie to playgroup, so I decided to take the dog for a walk with Jorgie. I got the pram out of the car only for the wheel to fall off and after 15 minutes of trying to screw it back in and numerous swear words I grabbed the baby carrier instead. Trying to strap it on to me and then get Jorgie in it with no help, is like trying to complete a challenge for the cube. I was sweating and red faced when I eventually got through the door and then Tia was just like a tearaway dog the whole walk. When I got back I realised that I had put Tia’s raincoat on when I went out, but it wasn’t on now. During her little runaway adventures, she had clearly managed to lose her coat somewhere, so if anyone finds a three peaks coat you are welcome. Please keep it. Never have dogs and babies. It is hard hard work.

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On Saturday I took Charlie to the park and he kept asking me if “I had ordered America” as he wanted to go back. I think what he meant is had I booked it again. No Charlie. I’m still recovering from the last trip. He wanted to push me on the swing which I told him was a bad idea, but he persisted. This resulted in me nearly knocking him into space with my fat arse which he took great delight in telling people “mummy just knocked me over and then she did it again” and my niece told me “I’m not pushing you, your far too heavy”. Thanks kids. You sure know how to bring on that feel good factor of a weekend.

I spent Sunday morning trying to get Glastonbury tickets with two laptops and a phone whilst enduring the kids constantly needing me every 3 seconds and the dog humping my leg. I didn’t get any tickets. Surprise surprise. I ended the week with a trip to Heaton Park. It was a crisp, sunny, autumn day and it was disastrous. Charlie needed a wee and couldn’t make it to the toilet so he wee’d against a wall when Tia decided to run underneath him so he wee’d all over her head. Her floppy ears were soaking wet.  Then Charlie and my niece wanted to walk along the edge of a wall, so my mum went with them. Tia was barking to get off the lead, so my dad let her go. Even though she is blind she is usually very good at finding her way around. Not this time. She shot off and we all gasped as she ran straight over the wall. Luckily her stupid head popped up over it a few seconds later and she was fine.

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I got back to the car with the kids and the dog when Charlie informed me he had poo’ed. I was nowhere near a toilet or bin, so I stripped him down and used half a pack of baby wipes trying to wipe his bum. I had to put the loose baby wipes and his pooey pants in the car, so my car smelled of poo all the way home. Far stronger than the two air fresheners I had hanging in the car.

The kids had fallen asleep when I got home so I transferred them from the car to the house, brought the dog and all the bags in and left the pooey pants in the hall to deal with later. Half an hour later I went into the hall to deal with them, to find the poo had miraculously disappeared leaving just a brown stain. As the dog scuttled past me I realised with horror what had happened. The dog had eaten his poo. I have no words.

So that was my really shit week involving lots of literal poo and other crap. Hopefully next week will be better but never a dull moment!

BOOZY BIRTHDAYS……. OR NOT

Birthday celebration cake

I turned 34 last weekend and I had 4 days of celebrations planned. On Thursday I went to see the Arctic Monkeys with my work friend, Michelle. It was also the same day as Jorgie’s third lot of injections. Unfortunately, they were at 4pm, so straight after them, Kyle was dropping me off to meet Michelle. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car. Jorgie just cried non-stop after her injections and Charlie decided to join in “Mummy I don’t want you to go out. Can I come too? I need you to come home with me.” I replied “No Charlie. Although a difficult decision, Arctic Monkeys just pips the post over playing lego bricks, painting or playdough with you. It’s not like I have been waiting since May for this and really need a break.”

After going out for tea (a treat enough in itself for me) we headed to Manchester Arena. I have already returned to watch a gig since the 22nd May attacks happened, but it still feels sad when I go there after everything that went on. We had managed to get standing tickets and it was interesting watching the crowd around us. It only seems like five minutes ago that I was a drunken 22 year old (and thin) watching gigs week in week out here, with hardly any proper responsibilities. Now I am a married mother of two. Life moves too quickly.

I felt like one of the oldest in the crowd. Some of the younger girls wear such weird clothes yet manage to look like super models. If they wore bin bags they would probably still look cool. If I even attempted to wear some of their clothes, I’m pretty sure people would look at me like I was a stark raving lunatic or weirdo. After having 1 ½ pints of cider and blackcurrant (and feeling a bit giddy) and watching how amazing Arctic Monkeys were on their comeback tour, we retired home and I was in bed for 11.30pm. Rock and Roll.

On Friday I went to Slattery’s in Prestwich (a chocolate shop with a restaurant), with Kyle, my mum and the kids. For every drink you order you get a free chocolate. Four drinks down and Charlie was like a giddy excited puppy. He’d ‘claimed’ every chocolate as his own. It was easier to give them to him than to face the wrath of the tantrum we would encounter if we said no. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have given in, but this was a posh place and there was no way I was leaving without having a slice of chocolate fudge cake (yes this is probably why I haven’t lost my excess baby weight).

Charlie had chocolate all over his face and jumper when we finished and headed down to look at the shop. He wanted every item on view in the shop and I couldn’t keep track of his fingers as he tried to grab everything. I casually tried to hold his hand like I was in control, but he was like an escaped convict from the local prison, tearing around the shop like a mad man. We left shortly after that before we were asked to leave.

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On Saturday it rained all day. I was woken at 6.45am when Charlie came in and jumped on the bed. Kyle had gone to work so I fed Jorgie whilst Charlie was watching TV. After a few minutes Charlie started to wretch and then puked up all over the duvet. Jorgie followed shortly after, all down my PJs. What a fun and entertaining start to a Saturday morning.

I was going out to Manchester with the girls on Saturday night, so we had a more chilled day, so I could have some time to get ready. I was going out at 7pm but Kyle wouldn’t be home from work until 6.30pm which meant I had to try and have a shower and get ready with the kids. If you ever have to attempt to do this, I have just two words. Don’t bother.

Jorgie fed and changed and Charlie on the bed watching TV and I tried to have a shower. They were like a tag team. Every time I got in Jorgie cried or Charlie needed a wee. I was in and out that many times that I forgot where I was up to. My hair was half washed, one leg was shaved, the opposite armpit shaved, one armpit and one leg not shaved, when I gave in and got out. Then came the make-up. Charlie very helpfully decided he was going to assist me by removing every item of make-up from my case and throwing it across the room. I looked like a clown by the time I’d finished. Jorgie burped and milk came up all over my shoulder resulting in a change of dress.

My friend Steph was staying at our house, so when she arrived we bundled the kids into the car and Kyle drove to drop us both off in town. A repeat of Thursday night followed with Charlie saying “Mummy please don’t go out. Your always out. You went out last night”.  I literally have about 1 night out every 3 months but if anyone overheard him you’d think I was never at home!

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We met three more friends in town, Jane, Saira and Sonya and after some food and a couple of cocktails we went to a bar with live music. Much as I’d love to say we stayed out late, downed shots, drank copious amounts of gin and danced on tables, much to your disbelief, that did not happen. Steph (who has a young baby) and I spent the night convincing ourselves of why it would be a bad idea to do those things when you have the kids to look after the next day and we were home and in bed for midnight. Rent a crowd we are. Everyone would want us at a party.

Sunday was my actual birthday and I was glad of the decisions I made the previous night when Charlie walked into the kitchen and deposited five neat piles of vomit on the kitchen floor. Happy Birthday to me. Oh, how I did enjoy scrubbing that floor on Sunday morning on the day of my 34th birthday. I went shopping in Manchester in the afternoon where Jorgie was sick all down my top and I had to walk around town looking like that all afternoon. Winning.

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My day ended with Charlie opening all my birthday presents and eating all my cake and chocolate whilst Jorgie screamed and the dog took great delight in humping my leg.

Birthday over and it was back to normality (if you can ever call it that). We popped in Tesco’s on Monday and Charlie had a free piece of fruit to eat walking round and picked a banana. After a few minutes he needed the toilet, so we walked in where he proceeded to throw the banana down the toilet and then cry for half an hour because I wouldn’t get it back for him. I’d like to apologise now if I am responsible for blocking the toilet system at the Tesco Droylsden Store.

So now I’m another year older but most definitely not wiser. There’s always next year……….