Friday, 30 May 2014

Morning routines

Since reading “What the most successful people do before breakfast”, by Laura Vanderkam, I’ve been wistfully aiming to get up early. This way, she says, you can get the important stuff done. Stuff that takes a back seat because there just isn’t time, such as exercising, reading, pet projects such as writing a book, and praying. Since I read it, two weeks ago, I’ve managed it twice. I got up early, went swimming and started the day with a fresh focus. It works, it really does. Unless you’re ill, or your husband is ill or you start a new job, or your child won’t get out of bed. All of these have happened in the last two weeks.

Today for example – can’t see Laura Vanderkam thinking much of this:

6.30am – MrM’s alarm goes off. He tells me it’s 6.30am and I curse at my phone for not going off at 6am. I pick it up off the floor, drop it onto my face and notice that it’s run out of battery. Which is interesting as it was on 53% when I went to bed. This is the phone that EE replaced with a faulty handset and I haven’t had time or enough battery power to call them about it.

7am After being woken up three more times, I creak downstairs and do the washing up and put the washing machine on. I make a cup of coffee which I spill everywhere. Run upstairs for more towels, as most of them are in the washing machine that I’ve just switched on.

7.15am Run the bath for the McBaby. He refuses to get up and groans like a teenager. Finally, he wraps his legs around his dad, like Ivy but I prise him away and get him into the bathroom. I turn around to get his toothbrush and find he’s gone. He’s got back into bed.

7.30am After much screaming from all of us, he’s back in the bath, but not happy about it.

7.45am I bundle him into the car. He has to be at nursery at 8am, so I’ll go and get his shoes and let him have a banana and some milk in the car.

8.02am I realise I forgot his shoes. We go into nursery in wellies.

8.03am I hear him tell the nursery staff “my mummy is doing a poo”. No time to dispute this, so drive to work.

8.04am Realise I have not exercised and work starts in 26 minutes. I haven’t prayed (well, not properly -don’t think ‘please, please, please can you make all of the traffic lights green’ counts), I haven’t written my book and I haven’t achieved any personal development goals. I do have half a banana and some milk in the car though.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Old School

It's been a crazy busy couple of weeks with a new contract that I've started recently so I nearly forgot about my school reunion to celebrate 20 years since we left.

What's that? I don't look old enough? Why thank you!

It was a lovely day and so wonderful to see people I'd not seen since we left, including three teachers who are still at the school. I had forgotten just how monumentally blunt one of them could be:

"Michelle, why aren't you married yet?"

"Juliet - you look like your mum now you're a bit older."

"Susie, you used to be brainy"

Anyway, the reason I mention this is that I have only just twigged just how important it is to select the right school for the McBaby. It seems like years away, but it isn't. And if 20 years ago seems like 2 years ago, then 2 years is going to fly by. I was so, so, so lucky that my parents worked hard to send me to a lovely school set in incredible surroundings with wonderful opportunities and the chance to rub shoulders with inspirational people that I need to ensure that the McBaby has the same. For sensitive souls like me and McBaby, it's vital that our shy personalities don't get lost in the system - rather than leaving things to chance, I'm avidly checking all of the options; Steiner, village school, home-school! Plus anymore you can recommend!

I nearly laughed my socks off when I met my Dad after my school reunion. He asked me how it went and about all of my old friends but in the meantime, he'd been working and had met a lady who had moved to Bolton from India to set up a hair salon. To which my dad asked: "What's Urdu for 'airdo?"

Being overtired has made me ridiculously giggly. When I collected my new parking pass for my new contract, a colleague asked if she could have one too.

"Have you got a car?"

Sunday, 18 May 2014


The McBaby was invited to a birthday party today by one of his fellow attendees at nursery so I took him along to the leisure centre, dressed up and with a lovely gift under his arm. It wasn't until we arrived that it occurred to me that I wasn't ONE HUNDRED percent sure what the girl who invited him looked like, so it was a little difficult to wish anyone a happy birthday lest we got the wrong person.

And if you don't know who the birthday girl is, then it's hard to know which one is her mum. I greeted the lady I thought it was and vaguely offered to put the present on a chair. She asked what the McBaby's lunch order was and indicated the bouncy castle so I think I had the right person.

The McBaby took a lot of persuading to bounce up and down and wrapped his legs around me like an octopus so that I had to get on there as well in a maxi dress. After 15 minutes of non committal bouncing from the McBaby, before he got into it and started flinging himself down the slide, we were told we could go into the soft play bit, which meant of course he created an equal fuss about getting off the damn thing.

He needed a bit of coaxing to get onto the frame, but then spent ages running up and down and shouting while I slunk into a corner, noticing that I was definitely one of the older mums. I haven't yet been asked if I'm the McBaby's grandmother, but it's only a matter of time and if I can hide from the question under a bit of soft play matting, then I will.

Besides, the only other parent I recognised was a father who I'd admonished for nearly rear-ending me on the dual carriageway. He kept his distance today. If he'd done that on the main road then there wouldn't have been a problem, but I digress.

After a lot of soft play, we headed upstairs for the party tea. Weirdly, it was in the room where I usually do yoga so it was hard for me to steal one of the McBaby's chips with that in mind, but what the hell, I did anyway, almost exactly on the spot where I do my downward dogs. I try to bag the very corner of the room as it's the coolest spot (as in there's a bit of a breeze - there's certainly nothing cool about me trying to do a warrior pose). Through the door and you come to a room full of equipment and beyond that is a fire escape that leads to the outdoor pool. After eating his food and refusing any juice, the McBaby went into the equipment room and started playing with a broom, rather than any of the other children.

A few followed him in there, and as the door was shut, I didn't worry too much. However, when I looked up a split second later, the McBaby was nowhere to be seen. I burst through the door and found he had climbed down the fire escape, leading a charge of four more toddlers that I had to bring back in. The staff then gave me a pained look and locked the door.

It was nothing to do with that, but the birthday girl then started howling through our rendition of 'happy birthday' - much like I did on my last birthday. There's something incredibly cute about watching a table of toddlers eating party food but not quite grasping why. We left the building clutching a party bag and a slice of Peppa Pig cake and bumped into MrM on the way out who'd been working out at the gym. Who knew all of us could have so much fun at the gym at the same time?


Friday, 16 May 2014

It's all perception

For the past few months, I've been attending a motivational group once a fortnight where we discuss our goals, lives and businesses. Each session is a brilliantly inspiring motivational workshop. We set goals, spur each other on and share our dreams. This week, we were discussing the gap between our lives and our dreams. Are you working towards making your dreams a reality? If you plan to earn £1m next year, then the way we do that is to break the goal down, get there incrementally and reward yourself along the way. The same goes for weight loss. You might want to lose weight and go from an 18 to a size 8, but have you changed your diet? Do you exercise?

If there's a disconnect between what you're aiming for and your current life, why is that? The analogy we received was that we know how our cars work and how they should run. If you're putting your foot on the accelerator and you're not progressing in a forward direction - what is it between the pedal and the engine that's not working? You have to break it down and make sure everything works. If you work in sales, it may well be that the problem is that you have not quite got the right mindset. And if you start doubting yourself, that comes out in your interactions with people and starts to become a self-propelling prophecy.

One big problem that affects many people is of course the fear of what other people think. And so, we were told that it is actually possible that nothing is real anyway. It is possible that you are nothing more than a brain in a jar, imagining everything around you. In which case, sod what everyone else thinks and focus on what you do well! It's yours for the taking if you believe in yourself.

The reason I mention this, is that I quite often wonder if everything is real (even the motivational session - particularly when someone in the group said; "Ah, so THAT'S why cats have nine lives" which confused me no end, followed by my eyes getting so tired that I started thinking the stripes on the carpet were dancing around). The reason I wonder this is that my life simply seems designed for my own entertainment. I can't seem to do the things that everyday people do without it going wrong and making me think I'm either in my own head or in a sitcom.

For example, the jabs. I couldn't face telling MrM (although I have now and he laughed like a drain) that the McBaby did not have his jabs this week. We returned on Tuesday to find the nurse on duty didn't know how to do vaccinations and then returned on Thursday to find that we'd been called in too early and that his jabs aren't actually due for another 9 months. We still got a "I was brave at the doctors" sticker though.

How about shopping? I went into Aldi today and got mistaken for a member of staff as I had come from the gym and was in my sportsgear. I then went to pay and found that my bank card wasn't in my wallet. Perhaps I should have checked after I caught the McBaby tipping out the contents of my wallet yesterday. On my drive to the cashpoint to get cash using my CREDIT card, I had to flag down an old man driving past me with his wallet and shopping on the roof of his car.

When unloading the shopping from the car, a funeral cortege went past, inches from my boot. So I bowed my head in respect. But was it respectful to be holding a can of chickpeas in my hand?

What about meeting a friend for coffee - who else would have to leave a café because their child is running up and down and rolling on the floor and shouting. Our friend was coming with her newborn and was 45 minutes late, so I made my excuses and left as her toddler is impeccably well-behaved and I don't think she would have reacted well to the McBaby's naughtiness. Of course, we then bumped into her in the street when the McBaby felt it would be a good time to smack me in the face.

This all took place in the space of less than two days. Oh to be normal.


Monday, 12 May 2014

The jabs

Not only have I failed as a mum today, but I also failed spectacularly at being a decent human as well.

Last week, I got a text inviting me to book the latest jabs for the McBaby, which I duly did for 11am today so we could head to the surgery directly from our swimming lesson at 10am. Then over the weekend, one of our sinks started leaking (we live in a new build, and when we moved in, I pointed out to the builders that it was leaking and that it was causing a damp stain on the paint. They repainted over the stain.)

So of course the plumber says he will come between 10 and 11. I tell MrM that we have jabs and he agrees to drive back from work to wait in for the plumber. So we miss swimming and we head to the surgery after MrM comes back home under a pile of paperwork saying that this has put his day back tremendously. I have a bag of fudge ready to feed the McBaby after he's been perforated.

They have no record of our appointment, so I ask if I can make one for tomorrow at the same time, which we did (they later called back and said the nurse on duty tomorrow doesn't do jabs so it's now going to be Thursday).

So rather than tell MrM that we've totally wasted his time, I find a plaster in my handbag and affix it to the McBaby's arm. it doesn't stick terribly well as it's been in there since I got my wallet in 1997 and it's also covered in biscuit crumbs. The McBaby creates as much fuss as I expected for the actual jab.

I tell MrM he's been very well behaved and MrM says he'll get a treat for him on the way home. I'm hoping that the treat is going to be a sink that doesn't leak. Now I've got to go through the whole rigmarole for real later this week and this time I won't get any sympathy. Or fudge.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Who is Peter?

Most mornings I do not find an elderly gent in the car. Although once when MrM and I lived in Chesham, we found a drunken old man asleep in our porch.

However, this morning, en route to Eddie Catz soft play, I found this bloke in the car. The McBaby tells me he's called "Peter". Incidentally, the picture below is the 91st I took as the McBaby found it mind-blowingly hilarious to turn "Peter" on his head every time I took a photo.

Does anyone know who he is or what set he might be part of before I return him to nursery?

On another note, the last time we were Eddie Catz, the McBaby stopped halfway down the slide, meaning I had to climb up the inside from the bottom (after lecturing him about the dangers of going UP a slide) while two little girls also climbed up behind me, meaning that I was effectively unable to go up or down. Not going down is a little difficult when you have gravity doing its work.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fruit machine

Fruit machine

in a pub

Fruit machine

at home - a boy who eats two pears at once.