Insanity in a potty

A cheeky Thursday throwback to the pottying years and the flagrant misuse of Cadbury’s chocolate buttons… 


“It’s been 3 months and the weeing on the floor hasn’t stopped. Neither has the occasional poo-poo on the carpet (why is it always on the carpet that they poo?? There’s a perfectly nice, wipe-cleanable wooden floor just over there!) We started off all eager and organised. Wall charts and coloured stickers for wee-wees, butterfly stickers for a poo-poo. But then they didn’t seem that bothered by the stickers and it cost me more energy trying to get them interested in the stickers than they were worth: they weren’t stopping them weeing themselves anyway. So we gave up on the stickers and just carried on with the positive encouragement. Well, most of the time. When your child jubilantly announces at the top of her voice “Wee wee!!” as she spreads her legs and sprays her wares everywhere and then gaily shouts out “Never mind!” when she’s done you start questioning whether you should at least show some sign of annoyance. The other day“… 

https://hoveringclosetoinsanity.com/2014/10/30/the-power-of-the-giant-chocolate-button/ 

(Poo)#hoveringclosetoapotty #butnotinit #onthewallsinstead #cavemanart #twins #hoveringclosetoinsanity #makementalhealthgreatagain

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Insane zoo trip

The next time I suggest going to Whipsnade Zoo in sub-zero temperatures can someone hold up the ‘INSANE’ card please? Along with about 3 other people, we battled through horizontal sleet trying to catch a glimpse of a cheetah, tiger, elephant before taking a warm but very smelly respite in the hippo enclosure and then giving up on the outdoors, we tried to see every other animal from the confines of our very warm car. 

I was surprised to see that River Cottage now have a restaurant there, selling very tasty but poncy fare way flashier than is required by your average zoo punter (a group of three blokes came in, looked at the menu, laughed and left). For my part, I made good use of my newly decided thick winter coat keeping it zipped up so I looked like Kenny from South Park. I then devoured a delicious beetroot based River Cottage lunch only to find hours and several conversations with strangers later that a large proportion of my face was still stained bright purple. Thanks goes to husberk for neither noticing nor alerting me. 


As for the kids, they turned their noses up at the high class kids bread, houmous and veg sticks, deeming the rainbow carrots and other unusual root vegetables “not yummy”.#hoveringclosetoinsanity #makementalhealthgreatagain

Diary of a Mother trying to have a nice relaxing bath while Granny watches the children

Mummy: I think i’ll have a nice relaxing bath
Frank: Sounds great! I’ll join you
Mummy: No Frank, you help Granny build a tower and when it’s really big I’ll come down and we can knock it down together
Frank: No, I’m pretty sold on the bath idea
Mummy: OK what about helping Granny with the washing – can you help find all your clothes and put them in the machine
Frank (red faced): WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA WANT MY MUMMY
Mummy: OK you can come into the bathroom with me but you can’t come into the bath, ok?
Frank: Great.

[Mummy and Frank enter bathroom]

Frank: Ok, you settle into the tub, I’ll just quietly play with my aeroplanes over here
Mummy (gets into lovely warm bubbly tub): Mmmmm…
Frank: NEEEOOWWWWWWMMMMMM [splosh!]
Mummy: Hmm
Frank: It smells nice in here Mummy
Mummy: Yes that’s my Elm Pure Organics bath salts
Frank: Nice but it could do with something a little extra. Tell you what, I’ll do a big poo in my pyjamas
Mummy (to self): OK I’m just going to ignore it for now and concentrate on relaxing

[Mummy takes deeps breath]

Mummy: OK that’s not going to work

[Mummy gets out of bath]
[Frank gets into bath. Mummy spends 20 minutes showering off poo from most of his body and pyjamas and then the shower curtain, shower, bath, bath toys and herself which somehow the poo has managed to ricochet onto]
[Mummy leaves the bathroom smelling pretty badly of poo]

Frank: That bath bit boring Mummy

Knee-cap Sweat

Hi there. Yes it’s me! Do you remember me? I’m that person that occasionally used to bother you to tell you about how I was doing some pre-dawn skipping in the garden after eating too much cheese, or telling you that it’s ok not to be perfect, or that we shouldn’t feel guilty because our children aren’t olympic snowboarders by the time that they’re two (although it would be nice – I might get to meet Des Lynam!). Anyway, sorry about the writing hiatus (I know, you’ve all been inconsolable). We moved house you see, and in doing that took away all free time for the next five hundred years while we unpack cardboard boxes onto shelves that we need to make ourselves (because gosh! aren’t handymen carpenter types expensive) in the 5 minutes free time we get a week when our children aren’t pulling at us so hard that our shorts fall down. Which brings me to the job in hand: Knee cap sweat. Ok so it’s absolutely nothing to do with shelves or cardboard boxes. But maybe slightly more to do with demanding children. And very definitely to do with this unfathomly (but I guess seasonal) hot weather we’re enjoying at the moment.

So I have discovered that kneecaps can sweat. You see, trying to put up shelves, dig new gardens and deal with tantrumming twin two-year-olds all hours of the day would cause even the most bone-dry person a little moisture. But for me, it’s coming in rivers. I’ll admit it. I’m quite a sweaty person. There, I’ve said it. Nothing much I can do… I experimented with ‘Dryclor’ about a decade ago and it worked temporarily but probably didn’t do me much good into the bargain. Since then I’ve given up on the hope of being sweat free. I just stick to the more forgiving of garments, and colours there of, and just hope to be smell free instead. The latter I hope I achieve most of the time (but feel free to tell me if I don’t).

But since when did kneecaps sweat? My theory: Since spending so much of the last couple of years crawling around on the floor aggravating their very existence. You’d think that they would have hardened up, but maybe it’s activated some sort of sweat gland to keep them cool during their daily workouts instead. Because certainly at the moment I’m doing a lot of that crawling stuff again. Tantrumming twin two year olds demand a whole big fat lot of attention and I find it’s best to try to get down to their level. As in literally.

And the heat? Well that’s just adding a whole new barrel of laughs isn’t it. You see, never along the journey of family planning did anyone mention (well, a lot of things, but also) that when the temperature gauge goes above 25 degrees do children stop going to bed at their normal (ish – i don’t really manage that routine thing) bedtime. No. When it’s so hot that you want to stab your eyes out just on the off chance that the blood on your face might be a little refreshing, that’s exactly when your smallest compadres decide it’s time to rave. And rave they do until about 11pm. That’s 11P-fucking-M people! Approximately 1 hour after my ideal bedtime. And 4 hours after theirs (or 3 if I’m being honest). So it’s back crawling around the bedroom for me. Crawling around chasing them back to their new ‘big girl/boy’ beds (whose bloody clever idea was that?), crawling around picking up their toys that they’ve been using as glow sticks, bongos and fire torches and whatever, then tossed away as they continue on their hedonistic night out. Then crawling out, spent and sulky once they have finally hit the deck – “my no sleep! my no sleep! my no sl..zzzzz”. And there I finally stand. Hands on hips at the top of the stairs as my ‘evening’ begins. And then I notice it. The sweaty knee caps. Just another place for me to develop a character-building sense of humour. Well I’m not laughing. (I’m sweating.)

I have a great new game. It’s called ‘burning the shit out of my right arm’.

Mega Burn

Mega Burn

It has become clear that my sub-conscious doesn’t see the point in teaching my children health and safety on a theoretical basis. Instead it chooses to make use of practical demonstrations. To this end, I have (to date) burned my right arm no less than three times to demonstrate the lesson that the oven is hot. I would say that the message had been fairly well engrained in the off spring after the first mega-burn, but it seemed that my sub-conscious thought it was worth a further two demonstrations to make sure that the message really sank in. The result? Well the plus side is that the tinies are now petrified of the oven and won’t go near it, the downside is that I’m possibly permanently scarred. But surely that’s a small price to pay for the health and safely of the smalls. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t decide to take the same approach to teach them that you can drown in the toilet.

I have a confession: I’m not perfect

Until recently I had been of the opinion that if a job was worth doing, it was worth doing well. Indeed this phrase rings out in my mind on an almost daily basis. I usually hear it in my Grandma’s voice .. I have a memory of her saying it to me when we were both younger and it was something that her mother had said to her too, a little family ideology if you will. And I find it useful. It helps me to do all the washing up at the same time rather than adopting a (never-ending) one-batch-at-a-time approach. It allows me to wash it all properly with hot, soapy water rather than allowing the last quarter to be washed in the previous three-quarter’s tepid grease. It makes sure that I soak and scrub the laundry rather than just bunging it all in the machine and crossing my fingers that my washing liquid will do the job on the paint, poo and pasta sauce that has come to dominate my (laundry) life. It means that the bees I paint on the kiddlies’ bedroom wall1 are actually quite passable in comparison to my first mediocre attempts that turned out just that little bit shit. Yes, all very helpful. Makes me more productive and at the end of the day I’m glad that I got those things done: there’s little to no smell of rotting food or dirty undercrackers in the house, the plates aren’t greasy and the bees look lovely.

Bee painting addiction

A close to perfect bee

What I hadn’t banked on it doing, however, and what I hadn’t really even noticed until recently, was that it has stopped me from completing a variety of things that have been in the offing for a good decade or more. To start with there are those piles of photographs from a travelling adventure in 1999 that are still waiting to be put in an album because the album is ‘worth doing well’. Now I’m a bit of a photograph album perfectionist, so for me ‘worth doing well’ means that it has to have hand-drawn maps of the locations that the photos were from, excerpts from the diary that I wrote along the way and maybe the odd little sketch of something relating to the pictures at various stages (all beautifully scribed in metallic pen, of course). In summary, it has to be nothing short of a work of art. And it will be in 2078 when I finally get round to doing it on my death bed (I’m hoping for a 102 year innings).

Now photograph albums are one thing, but what if we’re talking about me applying for the job of my dreams? In this situation it is easy for most of us to put off applying for that challenging career catapaulting job by convincing ourselves that we don’t have quite the right qualifications. And sometimes this is true. I’m not going to run for President of the USA just yet, for example, as I haven’t read a newspaper in months, have very little aptitude for diplomacy and, most importantly, still haven’t got round to deleting all those offendingly compromising ‘Uni Days’ photos that some kind soul put on Facebook. (I’m also not American.) But sometimes we don’t apply or don’t apply yet for a perfectly achievable (if challenging) job just because we can find excuses not to; because it’s a little bit scary, or the job is too perfect that unless I’m perfect myself there’s no way I’m going to get it. So in the same way that I have put off doing my perfect photo album I start finding reasons that this perfect job isn’t for me: I only have the 1 year’s experience in a particular skill rather than the 3 they ask for in the job description. I start doubting my abilities.. “I’m just not good enough”, “I’d feel like a fraud”, etc. I’m just not the perfect candidate. Well here’s a thought. What if no-one else is either? The consequence of this situation is not only that I don’t get my dream job but also that the person that does get it is possibly not as well qualified as I am. And all because I was waiting to be perfect. Well maybe it’s time to stop trying to be perfect and settle for good enough instead.

Even Mary Poppins had a day off

Even Mary Poppins had a day off

Ah-ha so now that we’re banding around phrases like ‘good enough’, suddenly the concept of not trying to be perfect becomes a bit more familiar to me. As a mother of a wriggling, jiggling, giggling, squawking, food throwing, howling handful of twins, one of the earliest lessons I learned was that I needed to adopt a ‘good enough’ approach to being their Mum. Fortunately some clever soul thought to tell me this right at the beginning of the twin Mum fun-ride as it is physically and mentally impossible to strive for ‘perfect parenting’ with twin babies. So although I still did try to do some baby signing, baby led weaning, baby massage (when do I bloody get one?), baby swim-swim, baby silver service and cocktail waiting, etc. I did, and do, just about manage to remind myself periodically that just because I’ve had to push them around in an enormous Titanic monstrosity of a pram rather than have them all aesthetically slung around my body; just because I gave them puréed food rather than starting them off on organic beef wellington with a rosemary jus it’s just, just possible that they will still develop into perfectly fine, happy, functioning adults.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not dissing the benefits of all those things I’ve listed and I do still find myself drifting towards the unnecessary where things like handmade play dough is concerned., but I’m also perfectly aware that whatever I do I’m still going to completely screw my children up. That is inevitable. Can you show me an adult human being with absolutely no insecurities or other character flaws? Even Mary Poppins is only practically perfect in every way and she can fly, slide up bannisters and make a flight of stairs out of a puff of smoke (and manage not to punch Dick Van Dyke in the oh so un-cockney mouth for two hours). So my point is, that we shouldn’t and mustn’t allow ourselves to worry constantly about how imperfect we are, whether as parents or otherwise. It is okay not to be perfect. In fact it is advisable not to be. So let’s all say it out loud. I am not perfect. But I am perfectly good enough.

1 I have a small addiction to painting bees on my childrens’ bedroom wall. I am seeing someone about it.