Saturday, 4 December 2010

Practical it may be, but trendy, it is not……


It was proper cold yesterday morning, although not as cold as England. I hate the cold. I spend my whole time looking stupid (too many clothes, hardly able to move arms, they stick out at my sides, and I look a total wally), shivering and dreaming about summer……….Alex is worrying he will get trench foot from doing his deliveries in the rain…..Yesterday he had holes in his socks, AND the plastic bags on his feet! We have a visitor who comes round at 7pm, perfect, wind down kids bedtime time. But it’s fine, it was brilliant to see our friend, even more so as he is self contained, no not well mannered, he has a caravan (I may rob him in the night and make my escape). As I get the kids upstairs, and finally settled, a huge thunder and lightening storm hits, and the electricity cuts. This sends the kids into panic, and they all start up again, tears, hysterics, the works ‘we can’t see, we are TERRIFIED mummy’. I fumble around in the dark, falling over things, rummaging frantically trying to find where I had ‘tidied’ the candles and the matches. Finally after a lOOOOOOONG ten minutes, bedlam upstairs with panic-stricken kids, believe me even 3 seconds is long, matches and a few stubby candles are found. I feel like the lady with the lamp as I light up the house -no, not set it alight- and walk upstairs (never run with fire, or is that scissors?), to calm the kids I have to put a lantern on the landing, instructing them to go nowhere near it etc etc how important it is not to, how dangerous etc etc, and there is also an alarm on it so mummy WILL know if you’ve gone near it and so forth (it was out of reach, but you never know). I go back downstairs to cook for the guest. Forgetting there is no electricity, bollocks, no dinner tonight. Then he comes in through the front door with one of those head torches on……..my dad has a head torch, the day I have a head torch is the day I know that I finally do not care ANYMORE what others think of me….! Sorry dad…! Practical it may be, but trendy, it is not……it turns out it was his caravan that blew the electrics, and I suddenly smell burning hair…….I hurl myself up the stairs like a bat out of hell (you should have seen me….) fearing the worst, something had actually caught alight, I run up shouting to the kids to check their heads, to make sure their hair is not on fire…! Thankfully, it just turned out to be a weird smell, happens frequently in this house, and all is well.

The kids got the school bus home yesterday, I was out and about doing more French paper work and such like, if they get the bus it gives me ½, an extremely valuable, hour’s worth of time. Much needed at times. The hail is frantic and the size of small snowballs, (it hurts like hell, seriously) so I decide to drive to where the bus stops- the bottom of my garden, just in front of our gate! I throw the little 2 in the car, and back out of the drive trying not to take out the chickens who are seeking shelter, and lost their home, again. I wait at the bottom of the drive, and get out to collect the kids, bundle them in the car with them asking why I had driven 4 yards to pick them up………They’ll understand one day. Job done for one day, well in some ways. I have 7 loads of washing to do tomorrow, the kids asked me to make their beds smell nice, cheeky buggars, I do it  every weekend anyway……..expectations, tut…!

Friday, 3 December 2010

I will be putting a nappy on a dog


It is that time of year now when the butter does not spread, it comes off like chunks of cheese, you’re in your thermals (well I damn well am, and proud of it!) and 2 pairs of socks do not even take the edge off the chilblains……. But we are all expected to persevere nonetheless, and this is what we do. It is funny, in summer I just have to be outside. Everyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that summertime for me is living in the garden time. As a child I was dragged around on family walks ‘fresh air will do you good’ I heard, lots…! And now, it has come to play, that I say and I do exactly the same to my lot. Yesterday, it was raining, and I actually kicked them all out into the garden, I didn’t care anymore. They were going stir crazy in the house, the gluing and pasting had obviously run its course, and they needed to run, like they have never run before. I accompanied them for the most part, but I still had to collate, and darted back in frequently for shelter, cups of tea, and to collate…….Then all hell broke loose, I have no idea how, but they had been ‘that way out’ all day (bored no doubt, pushes anyone to the edge) finally I yell (to combat the noise of 4 young-lings and 'firm voice' just wasn't cutting it), “Right, that’s it, everyone, in the car now”, they look at me and ask ‘Why?’ Whereupon I explain to them that I have had it, we are going to ‘Mummysrus’ shop to buy a new mummy. All the time I feel horrendously guilty, but to my mind, they need to appreciate the fact they cannot be as unruly as they just have been for the entire day. They look at me astonished, aha, they had been previously unaware of this shop! I bundle them all in the car and set off…..silence….then Monty, my eldest pipes up ‘Er, mum, where is the shop? And do we really need to buy a new mummy?' Then the calm breaks, and they all burst into tears with; we’re sorry mummies, we will be good mummy, we will eat all our tea, mummies, and I regain a bit of parental power…..woooohoooo! Mummysrus shop outing success. Thank goodness I did not have to follow through with it….How can you follow through with that? thankfully, I was not busted. I could have taken them to a women's wrestling competition, that would have shut them up!

Another job we do, although it is very sporadic, is to look after other people’s animals when they are away, we ‘anisit’…..I did not come up with that, just for the record! This is fine, usually, apart from the fact that our dog is gay, not in the old fashioned sense of the word either, but quite literally bats for the other doggy side.. We have had bitches on heat, and he shows not a blind bit of interest. A dog comes through the gate on the other hand, well you’ve never seen anything quite like it, he is trying to hump them before you can say Dale Winton. It’s really quite embarrassing at times, without going into too much detail! We have another dog coming in a few weeks, a 17 year old husky who actually wears a nappy at night. I will be putting a nappy on a dog, I am hoping the owner does not pack terry nappies for him…..eeeeewwwwww. Bad enough using terry nappies with kids, I think this is the reason my washing machine keeps committing suicide. Electrical appliances do not last long in this house, I quite frequently do up to 5 washes a day, so I guess they get tired quickly, and give up…..if only I were an electrical appliance….!

I now must go and see to the floor covered in multicoloured dots, it looks ever so pretty, but I must teach Esmie (2) that paper is for painting on, not floors………

Thursday, 2 December 2010

I did something awful today..........


My the kids grow quick…….blink and you’ve missed it. Mitzi, my 4 year old is pretty small for her age, bless her, but even she is growing (!), as I keep elbowing her in the head. She is obviously at that right height! As there is no school on Wednesdays in France, which is extremely cruel when there is rain, rain, and more bloody rain, indoor activities are endless, and I try to (although not that successfully I imagine) entertain the kids whilst collating shops’ publicity at the same time. Never an easy one, and I usually end up burning things; I heat milk up for coffee, always burn it, forget about my rising bread and leave it for hours, rather than just a half, I forget where I’ve put things- I found my car keys in the fridge after an hour and a half of looking for them- what a waste…..! And on opening the bin, I found I had also thrown away 4 socks and a pair of knickers. Lucky I chuck bits of stuff away 5 thousand times a day……..

I did something awful today, I left pooh on the shopping trolley. To be fair, I had no choice. One of the kids was on the rail that goes round underneath, and had obviously trodden in pooh. I noticed as I was putting the trolley back, my dilemma was that, short of using my coat or my bare hand to wipe it off, I had nothing to wipe it with, and I do draw the line somewhere. I rammed the trolley in, grabbed the token thingy and with my head down, which is my posture anyway at the moment with the rain that is endless, I sprint back to the car. Sorry next shopper……. The next time you find pooh on the bottom of your trolley, think of mums like me, and forgive us!!

As we get back to the house, I realize 2 things, 1. I left the oven on, (how bad? luckily there were just burned potatoes in there.....could have been worse) and 2. I locked Alex out in the rain. He was in the house however, I reckon he has a secret tunnel in the garden, he has possibly been digging this for months without me knowing, as one day…one day, he will be able to make his escape………(lucky b*stard)! Well I cannot, there is no return for me (I try not to take up position in the corner rocking forwards and backwards, forwards and backwards…….). This rain, were it to go away, would definitely make my life a whole lot easier. I was cheered up though today, as first thing this morning the kids come down the stairs shhhhhhhsing each other, Monty comes in first and announces he has something for Alex and me, and for the girls, whereupon he pulls out an envelope, takes out the card he has made, one for us, one for the girls, and proceeds to read what he has written. One of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed as he addresses the girls, ‘dear girls’ and tells us all he loves us so, so much …..! He is potentially prepping us for a list of Christmas presents he wants, but even still, how cute!!!

Well Monty is learning Spanish at school too at the moment, and I find it all rather worrying, he was coming out with phrases at the table, teaching the girls, and I was lost……not a good thing your own child being able to speak a language you can’t, not that I am a control freak or anything (?!)…..but it definitely is a handy starting point to understand the words coming out of your child’s mouth…….!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Oh the shame........


Started off quite well this morning (surprisingly), had put a wash on, one out to dry, fed the chooks, unleashed the balrog (our soppy, gay dog’s nick name, comical), got 4 kids dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed (through screams and tears and taunts of you are mean mummy, and such like), all in the car, full tummies, unburned porridge! And ready for the off, finally strapped in their seats (strapping them in their various seats is like crystal maze some mornings, and it invariably tips me over the edge frequently). For all my trying I cannot just plug the little bit in the right little other bit and no amount of huffing and puffing and expletives and deep breaths/counts to 10 save me. Then I climb into my seat, we have a car which does not lock at the moment, and sometimes the only way to get to my seat if the unlock button in the car does not work, it’s temperamental, is to contort my body into positions previously unknown to gymnasts, let alone a mother of 4, to get into my seat, trying not to kick kids in the face as I do it. Finally, all in? Good. I start the car……which does not start, 5 minutes later, and now late for school, it is still going nowhere. ‘Right everyone out!’ I try not to scream it…… (this ‘everyone out’ also includes the dog, as when I leave the house he looks so wan, that I have to get everyone in the car, then him. And he doesn’t jump in on his own either, oh no, I am obliged to lift him, trying not to touch his bits (eeeewwww) as I do it). I now have to swap all car seats in to the other car (thank god it is not raining too, for once) swap all children, transfer nearly safely made, I carry Esmie still strapped in to her seat and nearly slip in the mud, going a*se over tit, all that is left of the garden these days is bog and mud. Finally everyone is in, but the strap for Esmie’s seat is not working, so I have no choice but to abandon her, throwing her at Alex, opening the front door yelling through the door with a brief explanation as to why Esmie cannot come this morning. The ironic thing is, I was going down to the garage with the car this morning anyway, to try and establish and sort out the car’s weird noise.

Then I get in, I quickly check in the mirror (note to self: do this BEFORE you set off in future), what I see is white stuff under my nose, around my nostrils and on the top of my lips. Fantastic, I have just taken the kids to school and looked as though I had been snorting drugs for breakfast. Great! My lips get awfully dry in the winter and the nivea cream I had obviously applied in a somewhat too slaphappy way, I had gone to some extent, overboard. No time to really address the implications, as It is time to organise however, then, yes you guessed it, collate. I have a doctor’s appointment to make with my doctor who is rarely there, I have to go and see the doctor just to make him do some paper work for me. The French authorities have informed me it is not good enough that I tell them on a signed document with a blood seal, who my doctor is, oh no, HE has to date/sign/attest to the fact that he is indeed my doctor, and that I am not making it up for fun. Oh, and another thing, the woman in the pharmacy (who has an intense dislike of me …) would not sell me Vaseline today, when asked what I intended to do with it, I replied I wanted it for putting on my lips in the winter season. She tuts at me, and replies that it is ‘too greasy’ and she wouldn’t get me any…..! I ended up pleading with her, she finally consented and flung it at me, rolling her eyes and looking in the opposite direction holding out her hand for the money. How rude……! But I think I probably still had a white line under my nose and now she too thinks I breakfast on drugs……..

Well the trials and tribs continue, I am nowhere nearer a DR appointment (his holiday week) and I now am going to be ‘tssssst’ at and a motherly outcast, due to the fact that I look as though I take drugs for breakfast……..let’s hope they can see the funny side……!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

‘Stop it now mummy, you’re scaring us’

when there were 3.....
another little one came along....
and then there were 4....(2009)



Last night, there was an almighty storm. The dog, terrified, curls up on the sofa in our room to sleep, the cats are hidden in cupboards (that is when they are not on the stake out for corners to pooh in), the chickens quite literally going boc wild (sorry, had to get that in!), and the kids waking/sleeping intermittently.  My eldest daughter, Lola, 5, informed me this morning that at one point she had come down the stairs, couldn’t rouse Alex or me, so took herself off to get a drink (still unsure what she drunk….), to find some socks and a jumper all by her little self and get herself tucked in and back off to sleep. This would be extremely cute and very self sufficient, which it is, but at the same time it is also a wee worrying. My 5 year old gets up, dressed and serves herself to a drink, potters around, then goes back to bed, without me stirring……this is not good. I will now vow to taking a thermos of coffee to bed with me, and lie awake all night, couple of espressos as stimulant, just in case……..One normally thinks, ‘ooooh wouldn’t it be nice if every time they wanted something in the night, they could just not wake us up and make us do it, they could do it all for themselves’ and then the minute they actually do that, now, there is noooooo way you are going to sleep ever again, for fear of the house catching light as they get midnight munchies and try to cook themselves something…….! The mind races.

I occasionally feel the need to hover above my life, look down and get a perspective back……(I do not actually suspend myself from the ceiling, I am speaking metaphorically). There are moments when I am so completely drowned out by noise, children, dogs, cats, chickens, rain…….! That I definitely feel that were I to rise above it all, I will then be able to regain my mental strength….! My ritual when the house reaches this level of turning even Florence and her knightingale (!) mental- seriously, a saint would flip- is to turn to the computer. No not to strap them all in seats to watch a DVD (although it has been known…..!), it is my intention to drown out the noise and settle the equilibrium by putting Stevie on, or reggae/bit of Bob, Jack Johnson/Jackson five- we like rocky robin a lot!- also often feature in my DJ sets…! Where there is music, there is a volume control, and I set it to max and sing, I imagine, somewhat scarily and dance even more scarily, to little kids who watch me in stupor with occasional pleas to ‘stop it now mummy, you’re scaring us’. But you see, it worked! They stopped their noise! There was a song on the radio for ages that Monty sang his heart out to. He was under the impression that the songwriter had written a song about socks. Well, they write songs about chickens, a boc boc boooo…..! (see earlier blog if you need an explanation, I am not being that random!) So Monty used to sing  “maybe there’s a sock in the water……”, which does not have quite the same ring as the actual lyrics “maybe there’s a shock in the water….”. Close, but it entirely changes the song’s meaning. There are some songs which are played that are highly inappropriate for my little ones’ ears, but the French gaily play them anyhoo. There is no restriction on language or of content. Thus my adapting lyrics, Gnarles Berkley sings about boccing chickens, Lily Allen is very grateful to her ex-boyf, ‘thank you, thank you very, very muuuuuuuch’, replacing, cleverly, the f yous with thank yous. But the favourite song of Mitzi (4) is entitled ‘she wants it’ she loves the song and sings enthusiastically ‘she wants it, she wants it ooo, she wants it, you’ve got to give it to her’ and my jaw drops. Radio channel switched, to a news station…..!

Hovering finished (note hovering, not hoovering, still got that to do!) I am well and truly placed firmly back in reality as a poorly Esmie is starting to cry upstairs, ‘twill be a looong night me thinks……..

Monday, 29 November 2010

Maybe I could exchange my kids for a small monkey farm??? I am well equipped!


Saturday lunchtime, using up stale bread time, I was on eggy bread duty for hours. It seemed endless. But in this house, the kids eat as if they were locusts. The second I set the zillion pieces of eggy bread down at the table, they are marmited up and scoffed, in one fell swoop. Futile task cooking for these lot, it goes unnoticed, it is so quickly eaten. That is apart from Lola Grace (5). I have literally spent HOURS of my life waiting for Lola to finish. She is a real dreamer, always a huge smile on her face, happy with everything and every one generally, but soooooo slow when it comes to eating, but how can I be cross? It’s not deliberate; it’s just a pain, when I still have to get on with my life! Esmie, at 2, is too big for a high chair, but too little for the table, she has one of those in-between seats, but as I got it form the Brocante (France’s equivalent to second hand shops) it is missing the strap, so it is honestly like trying to train a chimpanzee at mealtimes with her. In fact I reckon that’d be simpler, they can not answer back with ‘don’t like it’, ‘want no more’….. Maybe I could exchange my kids for a small monkey farm??? I am well equipped!

I have spent the most part of this weekend, making 6 loaves of bread, cooking lots, tidying NON STOP, cleaning, washing, moaning, collating, collating, whilst trying to entertain the masses (animals and children included in that) and braving the outside only for seconds as the rain is still a pouring. Some days I really get the impression that were I to be picking up ants on a knife and placing them in half walnuts and teaching them to row, that I would have an easier task! My weekends and Wednesdays (there is no school here on a Wednesday in France), my good friend Jennie O’ Grady remarked that only a man could have made up that rule!! Are never boring.

Still in nappies at night, (noooo, not me, Esmie!) I am responsible for sloshing the rehydrated raisins, and the many, many satsuma pips (like a fruit farm in her tummy), down the loo before I wash the nappies. I have not lost it that much that I wash disposable nappies; they are the nappies that are meant to be washed. Although now, my toilet poses a problem, we are no longer able to do what normal people do and flush loo roll down the toilet, as after having to have the septic tank  pumped twice already in the 6 months we have lived here, we had to take measures. It got a little much having to bundle everyone in the car for number 2 trips to the local public toilets……..We have survived the tale, even though an adaptation to our living style had to be addressed, no more loo roll down the toilet………worse things happen at sea, or so I am lead to believe. Sh*t happens, as they say!

As I am now aware of being nearly suffocated by the overwhelming smell of cat pooh, I am back in reality and off on my umpteenth cat pooh sniff out hunt of the day, Lucky me…………I should get myself sponsored for doing it……..