Saturday, 7 May 2011


Monty, Summer 2009...

‘Ah, mum, it was soooooo boring’ was Monty’s reply to how his school outing went. He’d been at a Ballet with his class, and he’d been bored to tears the poor sod! I did tell him even though it was maybe not his thing, to try and appreciate it anyway. To which he just tutted and asked me if I liked ballet, I enthused and he rolls his eyes stating that that’s because ‘I’m a girl’. So there we go, the ballet was shizer and my son has just seen his first and his last ballet…

Look at 'em go....

Well, tonight there was my son’s ‘spectacle’ (‘show’) for the parents, long anticipated with terror, yes outright gibbering-wreck-of-former-self-rocking-in-dark-corner terror. First, a little account of last year’s, just to set the scene…Last year’s spectacle had begun but minutes before, and it was already worse than terrible. No one could particularly hear anything, and there was nothing they could do about it. The WHOLE school, all 3 years, sang about 8 million different songs each, and recited a poem in between each song too, which, well, at least it changed it up a bit. It was stiflingly hot Esmie had an accident on my leg which I could do nothing about as I was well and truly wedged in between other parents, apparently too proudly listening on to their child’s debut as a singer, to hear my ‘excuse me Madame, Monsieur, can I just…?’. They have their heads in ‘Oooh, she could be discovered from this you know, Roger’ ‘Oh absolutely, cherie she is absolooootely fabulous, I can see it now……’ So there you go. I was stuck, now covered in wee, stinking hot and unable to comprehend anything, as I cannot even hear the constant droning of the same ‘gnar gnar gnar gnar gnar gnar’ songs which carry on reagardless. In reflection, maybe it was actually just that, one song, the longest song ever in the whole of human ages to have ever been written. But, honest to goodness, what I had to endure, I would not have wished on my worst enemy mummy (that could be an interesting blog to write….who is my worst enemy, and a mummy?.....hmmmmmm) let alone any other mother out there. I realise how harsh I am being, but I just cannot stop myself, the performance was 1hr 45 minutes too long last year, with younger brothers and sisters crying, and asking over and over when it will end. Parents internally pleading with the teachers and children to make it stop too. So this is why I say that this time round, the spectacle was far from eagerly anticipated. DREAD, is the word, hardcore dread.

I was right next to the emergency stop button, think it sets off the sprinklers. I had managed to subconsciously position myself right next to it. But, you know, whilst I’m there…I bagsied myself, by myself to accidentally fall against it before the point of no return to Cryingwithboredom-Boredsville, crashing into near death, by your very own child singing, experience. The weird guilt this puts on you too, until afterwards you have a little chat with other mums, testing the water, fully preparing yourself to ‘big up’ the outstanding performance by Fred…when in reality, every other mother in the whole place have eyes streaming with boredom, thank f**k that is over for another year, tears of joy running down their faces.

This year was obviously greatly re-jigged, the pain on the parent’s faces from last year had been registered, as it was over and done with in 30 minutes, and I got a little clip of Monty-just so you can appreciate my point of view. In fact I have spared you, this is a clip but seconds long…enjoy!

Oh, firstly Monty is the one in the red T-shirt at the front right-hand-side. He throws in a little Michael Jackson pelvic thrust, to the 'cha cha cha' bit at the end to jazz things up a bit, well I was amused!!  the song is the funkiest one they've ever done...Here you go...I have spent all day trying to upload the video, to no avail-so you have to click on the link I'm afraid before it sends me dooolally...

See you all tomorrow!

Tamsyn x

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Too deep and flappy.

I am speed typing again today, as I want to get outside-I plan to plant myself in the garden with a pot of Russian caravan tea and honey, and see what grows. Well, OK, I’ll be a drinkin it, and in fact, I plan to be folding my piles and piles and piles of self-generating laundry in the same manner I tried waxing my legs with for the first time the other day (which by the way is just self-harm, glorified self harm, and as for those who opt for a Brazilian-WTF is that all about?) with gusto, anyway, is the word I was getting to, and whilst Esmie has a nap-she slept practically not at all last night…*grabs at coffee, misses as bags under eyes too deep and flappy, spills it on floor*

mmmmmmmmmm CUP OF TEA

After school the other day on the drive home, 2 young boys sprint out in front of the car, I am forced to break, I do not drive like a plonker, I am careful, it’s too much responsibility, 4 kids in the car and usually the dog too, but it means breaking was not a complete emergency stop, like in your lessons when you’re little (younger, I should say, really showing my age there!) and the driver instructor WHACKS the dashboard to indicate you have to emergency stop. And it’s all very disturbing. Mine used to pre-empt it with ‘and there’s an old lady in front of you’ WHACK ‘aaaaaaand….STOP!’ Or other such obstacles that you must never hit. Then I dutifully ‘de-clutch’ and ‘break’ in sync and most times succeeded in running down imaginary old women crossing the road, b******s…But there you go. This time however, I stop, pull over, get out the car and chase after the boys. Puffing, red in the face (as I am when I’m angry) yelling after them, looking like some maniacal mental patient that had been ‘let out’ into the community for the day…I lost it with them. Well, wouldn’t you? So bloody dangerous, my kids looked on in horror, my son was hoping they were not kids from his school! But I didn’t care, I imagine I had no impact, my English accent when I speak will always stay with me, and I guess this is amusing to some…well, you know what? You just say it back to me in English then…I am that clever with my insults.

that's it...nearly there love, just a li'l bit further 'creak, creak'...

Something did happen to me though this week, a very big random coincidence, that I was so happy about. A year or so ago I gave someone every last baby thing I possessed, clothes, beds/highchairs/poushchair, (a typo, but it looks posher, so I’m leaving it) you name it, I gave it away. For 2 reasons, one, I hate clutter (messy house, er, messy head?) anyway, and two, this person needed stuff for her new born, so I much prefer giving stuff to a good home, than it going to waste. Months later, I started to regret the fact that I had not even kept one pair of booties or any little keepsake (clothing wise I mean, I have other mementos) from the girls. But I’d done it, so there you go-worse things happen at sea. I went to the Brocante (the French equivalent of a second hand shop) and had a wander round, in the clothes section there was a basket, a basket with 6 pairs of baby girl shoes in, the 6 pairs of baby girl shoes I had given this girl. The 6 pairs that were initially Lola’s in fact; still in perfect condition. I picked up my favourite pair, and bought them back for 1€ as a keep sake!! Can you believe it? I have now mislaid them in the house somewhere, but they’ll show up!

Now I really do have to get on, I have to try and source some bigger than baby stick insects for my son. We had an unfortunate turn of events back in the half term holidays. Monty volunteered to take home the baby stick insect pets from school. He killed them on entry. He created a very glamorous water park for them, and it turns out, they don’t like sliding down toilet tube water slides into yoghurt pot swimming pools, they die. And then if you place a tiny towel on the one surviving one to dry him off, he’ll die too, from towel rubbing squishy death. Anyway, to cut a long one short, I though we’d got away with it, when the other day after school there’s a note to say they’re all bringing the stick insects back into school for observations and growth and development updates (a few kids had brought them home). Well, there ain’t been no growing or developing here love, just squishy deaths I’m afraid. So I am going to have to source some now, they’ll never know….mwahahahahahahah.

keep looking-he's in there!

Yey! Now I get to go outside! and get that sloshy noise in my tummy you get when you drink too much, tea, in this case, I see the doubts.

Tamsyn x

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Now, I have heard of this on Jerry Springer...

I was having one of ‘those’ days yesterday- one of ‘those’ days when every time you attempt to have a cuppa, you for no apparent reason start choking and it dribbles relentlessly out your nose. No? You don’t have days like those? Well I do. Often, and dribbling tea out your nose on regular occasions makes you appreciate the fact you are not working in an office-being responsible for seeing others, or just a presence in any public place really. If I worked in an office, I tell you this, you should all be thankful that I live in France.

Happy families...Monty 2, Lola 6 months...feeling the luuurve
My pet ostriches are still growing, not dying like poor Meg R.I.P Meg. I notice they are pecking frantically at something out in the garden. They are going flapping bonkers for it as well, I panic that it is in fact a child, and run over, faster than you can say 'stop pecking my children to death you b*****d chikens’…which is pretty fast, FYI. Thanking god in his heaven (lucky dude) and the angels in their thongs, it was not, but do you know what it was? It’s almost worse, it’s old raw chicken that I left outside in the bin, and then forgot to take the street’s bin over to the new public bin, the other one I burnt down, accidentally, but the whole region’s Fire Brigade came over to put it out. Ooops, is all I shall say about that (although you can read about it here The chickens were actually eating their own relatives. Now, I have heard of this on Jerry Springer, well, you can credit this to Americans…JOKE! All you lovely Americans, before I lose you all to other blogs…but never in real life, British France (no we’ve not gone all Napoleon in reverse, no takeovers here, well except by the ostriches) chez us. How rank’s that? It’s not even fresh, in fact, I’d got it out to defrost to cook for the cats, then forgot about it, realised too late and had to bin it. Terrible crime, I HATE binning food, such a waste, but there you go. I rescue the semi-masticated, pecked beyond recognition chicken bosoms, and arm outstretched like something giant and very erect, I take it directly over to the bin.  A few *hand sterilisation frenzy* moments later, I start to panic. I spend the whole night freaking out that the chickens are going to self-peck themselves to death, or turn on each other and peck each other to death, in some hideous chicken ‘first one pecked to death wins’ contest. Luckily, the next morning, on close inspection, they are still 3, and still whole, no breasts/legs/barbecued thighs missing. Phew.

I am actually watching Sleeping Beauty snuggled up with a poorly Lola, whist Esmie has a nap. And would you believe it, did you know she’s actually got a name? I thought she was called Sleeping, and her surname was Beauty, and it was all just some terrible, unfortunate coincidence that that actually happened to her. Her real name’s Aurora apparently. So it’s now all clear, and there was no name coincidence at all. God forbid your name determined your destiny-well, depending on your name. We’d all be calling our kids ‘Rolloverlotterywinner-Junior’ names like ‘Jesus ‘ would be a thing of the past…
Lola 4-years-old.
 Right, I had best get on, Wednesday, no school for kids in France day fast approaches, and I am up to my eyeballs in clothes to stitch, socks to match, towels, that were freshly dried and put away, that were ALL got out to soak up the toothpaste, yoghurt, water, leaf, twig and camembert swamp, which the girls made a while back, to wash…and the list goes oooooooooon.

See yas all soon

Tamsyn x

Monday, 2 May 2011

Negotiating with toddler-Hitler is not fun.

loooong loong time ago, when there were only two bugrats to feed to the goats...

I hand the phone to Esmie, my 2 and a half-year-old, ‘it’s for you…it’s Keno’ Keno is her best mate, she drags her around when she sees her, ‘cuggling’ and ‘kibsing’ the life out of her. Keno is gorgeous, and loves Esmie back, thankfully. And is thus never too disturbed by the carting around and ‘attack’ cuggles. Esmie looks at me, like I have just ripped my own head off, and asked her to eat it. ‘Mum’, (please note the grown up dropping of the ‘my’ ie mummy) ‘it is not keno, the phone is not real’ with that, she turns on her heels, and looks for more grown up means of entertaining herself. Like cutting her own hair, the house pot plants, last night, she had managed to get herself out of the bath, and ‘snipped’ in the directions of the other kids, chopping a lock of Monty’s hair off. All before I could get to her and prize the scissors out of her teeny chubby wet hand. Guffawing with glee, and struggling like a Suffragette, as I prize the scissors from her hand, negotiating with toddler-Hitler is not fun. It’s a terrifying experience, one that would test even the skills of Mother Theresa. ‘Better entertainment’ Esmie style consisted tonight, at the table, of her stripping off from the waist down, she’d spilled food on them, she hates being dirty, and proceeding to bend over, smacking her own little chubbly bottom cheeks, and singing ‘look at my bum-bum, looook at my buuum-bum’ ‘Errr, no thank you Esmie’, I chastise ‘it is not nice to show our bottoms at the dinner table’. ‘Does that mean it’s OK to show them at other times?’ Mitzi, 4 and a half, asks. To be expected really. My children are usually the ones that start the water fights, finish the water fights (sending other whoosy kids, who ‘don’t like getting wet’ off sobbing to sympathetic disapproving parents), getting naked, at every available verse end. In fact, no I’ll get to this in a minute. Esmie obeys, and promptly turns around going ‘look at my ninny’ (girl front bottom, after spending months of deciding on a name for it, well with 3 girls in the house, it was a necessity. Funnily enough, it was Peter AndrĂ© who gave us the name, reading an article once upon a time about the birth of his baby girl, he said it was weird, he’d ‘never seen a minny ninny before’. Wise words, and the name, evidently acceptable in Peter AndrĂ©’s eyes, became our word for it.). So there you go, she wins-getting your front bottom out is far ruder.

those greasy dreads- FIT!
So, back to that anecdote I was about to tell you all,  years ago, when Lola was a bun in the oven, and Mitzi but one of the twinkles in her mum and dad’s eyes, we went to see friends in St Albans in the U.K. We stroll along the river on a very hot day. Monty was 15 months old, he’s hot, and LOVES water, we say it’s fine for him to strip off and splash about in the stream a bit. Well of course it is…However a couple also strolling along with 2 slightly bigger kids watch on in disgust. Their kids see Monty having fun, and want to join in. ‘no, darling’ is the response the girl is met with when she asks if she can do what that other little boy is doing. Now those of you who do not know St Albans, this is a very affluent area, and I guess some of the people who live there (as you find else where, yeah yeah, but I am talking about right there, right then) are snobs. There I said it! This is exactly what these parents were. Do you know how she justified her daughter not having a bit of harmless fun? She tells her that ‘that is what we call a ‘nature-child,' darling’. A nature child? Come on, you can do better than that. A bloody nature child. Well, if he is that, then good. I would rather that than he miss out on self exploration, and splashing about having ages of fun in the stream in hot weather. Needless to say I told her I’d show her nature, whipped off all my clothes and dove in, screaming and flailing my arms about like a headless chicken. Alright, I just said in a very loud, purposeful voice ‘poor little girl’. And left them wandering on, sad, non-nature-child in tow.

Talking of nature, my Landlady is a great woman, really fun and we get on really well. She was the one who offered up the advice to leave ‘knobs of butter’ on my toddler’s face to try and get rid of the black irremovable paint that she had decorated her face and ears with earlier on that day. She had thought it would be a better solution to the white spirit I had planned on using ON A TINY COTTON BUD, to remove it with. She stayed like it for a week afterwards, as she put the fear of god and his army of ninja monkeys into me. She has a tendency to do this. Overreact, some might say, I call it ‘typical French’. Another example of this is when she sees Mitzi about to blow one of those blowy dandelions (in real life, what are they called the blowy dandelions? I’d love to know ‘blowy dandelion’ does the descriptive trick, but technically, I would like to not appear as ignorant, thanks horticulturists in advance) my landlady dives at Mitzi, and with her giant grown up woman hand, snatches the dandelion from her little child-hand. ‘ooooo, no, no blowy dandelions for you’ she turns and looks at me, explaining futher that if she has ‘allergies’ then this is singlehandedly the worst thing I could ever give an allergic child. An innocent blowy dandelion. Mitzi is left bamboozled and a wee bit upset, understandably, so I tell her I’ll pick another one for her when the landlady’s out of sight. The things I am forced to do when people are out of sight. Dandelion blowing is now firmly on that list, for if she sees me carrying on this type of behaviour, I will be looking like an extraordinarily unfit-to-be-a-mother, mother. Life’s so unfair. Yesterday afternoon she popped her head up over the fence (they live next door) and remarked on the fact there were only 3 chickens. ‘yep, one died, dropped dead very suddenly’ ‘oh, she’ll have been bitten by a venomous snake’ she says. Just like that, now I am afraid of blowy dandelions AND venomous snakes biting us in or own garden. See what I mean? Scaring the bajeezas out of me?

On that note, I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow, and I need to finish the mopping, as after I had done it, the muddy dog decided to make his entrance. He will not be doing that again, never get in the way of me and my ‘looks like a long haired dancing lady on a stick’ mime tool, I’ll getcha!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Bags like the Titanic’s safety rings...

last summer see-saw fun...
My fringed face is growing on me. Seriously, it’s already getting in my eyes, and it can keep on going…I’m getting the fringe out of here, bailing on the self-help attempts to hide winkles which, whilst going on the principle that ‘whatever takes the emphasis off my face’ I gaily chopped away and cut for myself (with the toe nail cutting scissors I may add, sensible).

Tonight, sweeping up outside, because some weird beaver style flying rodent with big flapping wings and giant hooves has been tap dancing like a nutter on my gutters, and clearing out at regular intervals muddy, stinky loads of leaves. Anyway, that’s why I was sweeping. Margo comes up to me, and I greet her (my animals actually respond to me, which is why I prefer conversing with fowl than infants…! Not entirely true, but they do listen, here’s the proof…) I ask her how’s she doing? Whereupon she cocks her head, looks at me with her beady cocked eye, and ‘booooocs’ in reply, then s**ts and nonchalantly wanders off. Women!

Today was beautiful weather, we went up to the mountains for some fresh air. And I relived one of my most vivid childhood memories. We pulled up in a huge open space on the mountain, with grass up too our eyeballs. All the kids frolic around, it’s like a blissful scene from Little House on the Prairie. However, within seconds, Lola is coughing and sneezing and eyes streaming, her body covered with hives (those blister type enormous spots that itch like buggery). When I was exactly the same age, 5 and a half, going on 6, we went for a family walk through fields full of grass that to me looked like trees. I ended up in exactly the same state as Lola, and it is one of my most vivid childhood memories. She obviously suffers from hay fever, and some antihistamines bought from the chemist and a cold bath when we got in sorted her out. But hay fever sucks. It seems only like yesterday it was me, covered in hives and red-eyed (a look that has never left me, spotty and red-eyed, spiced up a bit nowadays with bags like the Titanic’s safety rings and wrinkles you could lose your left arm in). It makes me think again of how quickly life passes you by, and you are left thinking you are still little/vulnerable/young, when in actual fact you are now supposed to be ‘big’ ‘strong’ and old. I was glad we had to leave, as in my head I just had the ‘doo doo doo doo do doo dooo doooooooo do do do do do do dooooooooooooo’ of the theme tune from Little House on the Prairie…doing my head in.

Remember this??? No, oh well, never mind then.

Somebody’s Birthday at school the other day meant one of the kids brought home a huge bag of bon bons (sweets) from their birthday friend. As is the case in France, on any of the kids birthdays, I provide the school with 30 party bags of sweets to give to the class mates. Esmie was in heaven, as they have to share them obviously, share and share alike (‘nother crap expression, who even says that?) as it was full of banana sweets and egg sweets. Eggs, and bananas are absolutely her most favourite foods, along with tins of sardines and olives. In fact, we even gave her a bunch of bananas wrapped up for Christmas! She was overjoyed! She didn’t just get that, I might add. She then picks her 2 (the sweet allowance!) and sticks them on her eyes, walking over to me going ‘look I’ve got no eyeses’. Talented child.

Monty has a crazy headache as her goes to bed tonight, and so I tell him I will cuddle it out of him. Holding his head (not a head lock, but close) and shhhhhshing him, his breathing slows down, and he relaxes, I freak out for a second or two that I accidentally strangled him, but all’s fine. I feel in my element. It is an awful thing to say, but when the kids are ill, the whole mother instinct kicks in, and I, apparently am great in a crisis! Well, a headache scale crisis. I just love it when they’re poorly, they are so cuddly, and I am like Mary Poppins on prozac tending to their every need. The cuddles, their little ways that become so needy of mummy and a dependency that they still think only I can fulfill…they’ll learn! It is horrible when they’re ill, but at the same time, the cuddles and the dependency on mummy, make it all worthwhile, for ME!

Bit of a serious one tonight, but Esmie couldn’t care less, I have left her in her bed doing roly-polys tonight. Well, whatever wears them out!

See you real soon!

Tamsyn x