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Lockdown Update: Bittersweet

After nearly 2 weeks of LOCKDOWN, emotions are settling down, we are adjusting to our new way of life, and we are eating way more snacks than necessary. Here are some things I’ve realised in our Corona bubble in the last few days:

 

  • Went in too strong during the first week of “kid’s activities” and set the bar waaaaaayyyyy too high. Doing more now with them than I ever have??? Now one of the most asked questions is “what are we doing next Mummy”. Should’ve gone in low.

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  • I Have let myself go….already. Shaving is unshaved (you know when your toddler calls your armpit hair “grass” and tries to eat it, its BAD), plucking is un plucked, make-up is not made-up, hair is just outright bushy AND I’m not even bothering to speak as much, just grunt in a primitive type way. And If I’m showing my midriff and side boob before midday…WHO CARES!!!! Unless you nip out to put bins out and your’e spotted by postman (sorry and I really appreciate the work you are doing).

 

  • I have forgotten how to dress. My comfy house clothes game is TOP-NOTCH, however, on the occasion that I re-enter into civilisation, I actually can’t remember how to dress? How did I dress before all this? What goes with what? What is socially acceptable? Can I go out in slippers? How do I wear jeans? What are jeans? I am now finding that I am planning my weekly food-shop-outfit like it’s a red-carpet premier. Little things.

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  • I have become really adept to social distancing from my husband. Days are FULL ON, so once the kids go to bed I feel social distancing should be enforced to keep one’s sanity and marriage alive. I believe it is at least 12.5 meters from the living room to bedroom. Gold star. And god bless the garage. Not quite sure what goes on in there but god bless it anyway.

 

  • Don’t quote me on this, but I think DIY is a chance to escape from the kids??!

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  • I believe the weekly food shop outing has become a pleasure and almost a “chore” to fight over? Chance to break the cycle. Even though this is such a bazar experience in itself and a reality check outside of your isolation bubble.

 

  • Working from home is a massive juggle BUT (if the kids don’t find you) a lovely break.

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  • Using social media waaaaay too much. Maybe it’s because we can’t see REAL LIFE people, so we have to get our fix. Reassurance? But I am disgusted at myself how much I’m on it at the moment. I actually thought there was smoke coming out of my Instagram account the other day.

 

  • My tea drinking has become EXCESSIVE. It really breaks up the day, and it has become exciting to vary it between normal tea, mint tea, lemon tea and ginger tea. I fear that I may actually need a life. And how will I EVER go back to normality and acceptable tea drinking levels.

 

  • Carnage but calm, all at the same time. I can only liken it to the days when I had 1x baby and 1x toddler on maternity leave and not a single second everrrrr to myself. The days are just total carnage, so much noise and chaos constantly. But at the same time, I’m starting to feel quite calm??? No schedules, no plans, no routines, no clubs, no school run, no social commitments, no deadlines, no…….no nothing. Apart from the obvious elephant in the room (starts with C), I’m not worrying and stressing about life in general. Kinda like a long-extended Christmas holiday (festively plump) but without the tree? Hell, I might actually get a tree.

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  • YOU TIME-nope. zero. Although, I’m grateful to the kids for not giving me time to think too much. Evenings (apart from social distancing from husband) become the time to work out, wash, clean, eat, sit down, reply to messages, work, shave/pluck (maybe) DIY etc. I’m very aware that isolation must be totally different for everyone. On the other end of the spectrum, people doing this by themselves must be really tough in other ways.

 

  • Home-schooling isn’t for us. The first week I found really stressful as live stream school stuff we had to keep to, worksheets to get through, educational games to play, phonics to learn, writing to do. An overload of things to do and different options and I felt like I needed to do it ALL to be a good mum. But actually my 4-year-old was not interested or compliant and my 2-year-old was intent on putting a stop to anything remotely productive. So, the second week (technically Easter holidays so anything we do is a bonus), after reading lots of inspirational quotes floating around on social media, I relaxed the “rules”. I’m trying to go-with-the-flow-man (matches my hippy hair and hairy legs) and taking my 4-year-olds lead with learning. If he’s up for it, we seize the moment, if he isn’t, we do something else! But I can honestly say I think all teachers should be given an MBE from the Queen.

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  • Not lacking ideas, lacking time???! Seem busier now than ever, working my way through list of “fun lockdown activities to do with kids” and “stuff to get done in the house during isolation”….alternated with 3x meals a day, daily exercise, work, keeping house semi liveable and just generally keeping the status quo. Ironic, as technically I should have all the time in the world now.

 

  • Forgotten how to socially act. I don’t know how to talk to real people anymore. On the odd occasion I bump into someone in Tescos/ on walk/ leaning out of window, I can’t remember how to talk like a normal person? I stutter, high pitched, no banter, talk about the weather too much and nervous giggle (or was this me anyway???). I’m going to emerge from this a very strange person.

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  • Daily exercise is weird. You become nervous to bump into people (how can you get kids to social distance?), but then excited at the same time but restraining from big hugs and licking them all over (oh no, I AM weird). You become an expert at pavement swerving (2 meters), but then you don’t know whether to say “good morning” or avoid eye contact?? You feel like you’re being watched (probs are….is this your second exercise for the day??), people don’t trust you (have we got it), you don’t trust people (have they got it). I feel like when this is all over we are all going to have social anxiety and be mega odd and twitchy. Main thing is you can’t pet lovely happy dogs anymore! If they bound up to you, you just hold your hands in the air and sorta pet them with your legs? Just me??

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  • What’s the etiquette now? When you drop food to friends/ relatives? Do you just drop and run? Can you stop for a chat? When you walk passed a friend’s house do you try and catch them at the window or do you just scuttle passed quickly and avert eyes? Can you stop and have a snack? Can you sit on a bench? Can you talk to the postman? Can you accept food made by other people? Can you go around to pick stuff up from people’s front gates?

 

  • Feeling guilty about online shopping?? On one hand, supporting small businesses and helping people keep their jobs etc. On the other hand, I’m making people sacrifice time with THEIR family and exposing them to germs just because I want some new cosy house clothes?

 

  • Every little cough, every little sniff, feeling hot (just ran up the stairs), I think is Corona.

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  • Neighbourhood watch. They might as well sign me up. Curtain twitcher??? Often the highlight of my day when the bin men come.

 

  • Kids are having a WHALE of a time, its only us that worry.
  • Really feeling content by the little things these days. Loving discovering beautiful hidden spots moments away from our house that we would have never discovered otherwise. Saw some Daffodils the other day and cried.

 

Really Hope everyone is ok out there x

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My Stages of Understanding COVID-19

The Beginning Stage

2 weeks ago I was seriously deliberating whether I needed some new pink snowboard mittens to match my pink goggles for my snowboard/work trip……fast forward 2 weeks and everyone is more or less house bound, people are separated from loved ones, kids no longer go to school, parents can no longer work…..and there is no loo roll!

COVID19 has escalated so quickly its unreal. Everyone has their own struggles and horror story to tell and its impacting everyone’s lives. I feel so trivial for wanting pink snowboard mittens (although they were lovely). I realise now this is far more than a missed snowboard trip.

 

The Schools Out for…..ever (??) Stage

I’m ashamed to say I really think I buried my head in the sand at the start. I’ve always had this amazing technique that when bad things happen, I can put them in a box in my head, put a smile on and get on with things. Nobody would ever know. Then on Friday, it was my sons last day of reception class….say whaaaat???!! For some reason it really hit me like a brick wall what an awful/ crazy/ surreal/ unexpected world we were living in. Ironic that the last blog on here I wrote was about my son starting school.

Seeing my sons little face saying goodbye to his teacher, seeing how his teacher was trying so hard to be so happy and smiling but was really trying to hold it together so well for her little comrades, knowing that that was his last day of his first year of school that was supposed to be all about fun and exploring, his little friends, his new world that he had just grown to love, his little brain that was just starting to click…….this broke me. It just seemed so unfair. It wasn’t meant to be like this.

Just to add here……my son really didnt know/understand what was going on and he was just more excited to get his “end of school gingerbread man” and get to watch way more TV everyday!!!! Just his mum that was a blubbering mess…..”hay fever”

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The Awareness Stage

The first time I was probably aware of COVID-19 was probably only a few weeks ago? I’m not an avid news watcher (sorry I know I should be), so probably just saw something on social media. But it seemed like one of those things that happened far away in distant lands and didn’t really affect us (sorry that seems awful too). I heard all about China, and then Northern Italy. People began to talk about cancelled ski trips (I work in the snowboard industry), and it began to dawn on me that I may not get to go to France snowboarding. And even if I did, there was a possibility of getting stuck there…away from my kids (although catching up on 5 years missed sleep did sound appealing…and did I mention the hot tub?!). It started to become more serious in my mind.

Then they locked down France. Needless to say, the snowboard trip was cancelled

 

The Denial Stage

For the next week, I’m sure like many others, I didn’t really know what to think??! Was this Coronavirus bad? Were people just making it out to be bad? Was the government just trying to scare us? Should I be going out? Should I be seeing people? Should my dad still childcare for me (he’s 73)? Should I be going to work? Where was “acceptable” to go? Should I still go to the gym? Should I be buying toilet roll???!! (silly people). I was so confused so just kinda bumbled a long like semi normal, many others seemed to be doing the same. And when we finally had a beautiful sunny spring day, it was hard to feel like there was anything was wrong at all.

The Confusion Stage

There seemed to be so much information out there and everyone had their opinions on what was right/ wrong. This almost seemed to divide people and cause judgement and anger if others did differently. I really didn’t want this to turn people against each other. Some had gone into isolation, some had pulled their kids out of school already, some were still going out drinking and for meals……I wasn’t quite sure what “camp” I sat in, torn whether to keep some normality for the kids OR to go into lockdown??? It still almost didn’t seem real. So, I just sort of just did a bit of both, but mainly just bumbled a long in some weird sort of daze looking a bit cross eyed? All I know is that for that week, Corona was on everyone’s mind and was all anyone could think/ talk about. Sometimes I found myself getting completely over-it and needing to switch off totally and watch Friends on Netflix (happy place).

 

The Realisation Stage

When the schools closed, it hit me. This was BAD. I became scared. Yes, the virus itself was AWFUL but the repercussions of it were equally terrifying. My mind began to think of my brother and his pregnant wife in NZ, my old (sorry mum/dad) parents, my uncle with COPD, my friends with new-born babies, friends separated from their loved ones, friends stuck on islands whilst travelling, teachers with no pupils, cancelled weddings, cancelled operations, cancelled holidays, cancelled house moves, friends having chemo, businesses going bankrupt, people having to now home school multiple kids whilst trying to work and provide food, people no longer being able to work at all…..this was going to affect absolutely everyone in some way. I know it’s not the war, but I did start to think maybe this is how a war begins?? People were doing silly things. People seemed angry, at each other, at the situation, at people’s reactions, at the government, at the lack of toilet roll. It would be easier to deal with if we knew an end stage? Was there an end to this??? Let’s just say my mind went into over drive, I just felt for everyone so much and their battles. The flood gates had opened, pass me the chocolate.

I also realised there was now a shortage of Mini Eggs.

 

The Obsession Stage

Constantly watching the news, googling it, researching it, thinking about it, talking about it, dreaming about it, worrying about it….

 

The Corona Etiquette Stage

Myself and everyone began to have a crash course in Corona Etiquette: no touching each other, washing hands, no licking each other (kids are gross), avoid crowded places, use anti bac obsessively, wipe things down before and after use, don’t shake hands, avoid old people, “go-off” Chinese food and Corona Beer, avoid pregnant people, social distancing, don’t stretch over someone in Tescos to grab the cheese, be cagey if you have been to Italy, don’t pet peoples dogs, don’t go into peoples houses, if you cough say “it’s not corona”, if you sneeze say “it’s not corona”……and 100% don’t choke on own saliva in school playground and have coughing fit!

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The Total Panic Stage

The next stage for me was panic. This started when I realised that I would have to semi educate my wild 4-year-old??!! My son’s future was in my hands! My Mummy Watsapp groups were going CRAZY with the end of school. So many ideas, and schedules and resources, all amazingly helpful but really started to freak me out. We are not even going to have time for alllll of these???? There were SO many things on offer, too many, I really didn’t know where to start or what was best? Maybe outdoor adventures alternated with TV wasn’t going to cut it after all?!

 

The Retail Panic Stage

Next I started to panic that I needed to get stuff to fill our days….commence-writing long extensive shopping lists of arts and crafts, things to do in the garden, DIY in the house, educational things, new “house clothes”, vegetable planting stuff, garden chickens, garden cow, new trainers/ home gym equipment, scissors to home haircut, make up stockpiling (delivery men), home waxing, home baking, home classroom, home slippers………Even though I felt many were “essential”, it dawned on me that if we were unable to work we might need to save money on “new home shoe rack”, to like…eat???!!! So decided to save some dosh.

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The Panic Eating Stage

This was a weird stage (still in it) of being torn between eating absolutely EVERYTHING, including kids left overs and neglected out of date chocolate gateaux…..and trying not to eat anything to “save the supplies”. Also (sorry very superficial) very aware that could end up looking like 10-tonne-Tesse by the end of all this if stuck in house with food and no gym.

 

The Let’s-Do-This Stage

Then I became more positive-helped by a bit of sun. It’s going to be ok. This is temporary. Our ancestors have been in way worse situations and our world has survived. We are in this together. I began to feel a real community feeling, everyone helping each other out and everyone looking at each other (whilst social distancing) with knowing/sympathetic/ reassuring looks. This could bring us together rather than tear us apart. So many families have travelled to be back together to isolate. It’s quite lovely! A few months in the grand scheme of things is nothing, and we will be a better world once its over.

I also decided to embrace this time to get stuff done (in hindsight there will be 2 crazy boys swinging around my legs dismantling the house and sh*ting on the floor and it will be all I can do to stop them trying to use each other as human hand grenades)…..but here is my “Isolation To-Do List”:

 

Re-start neglected Megamum.com blog- writing seems to be my therapy?

Become domestic goddess

Go Make- free and look 10 years younger by the end

Catch up on Netflix series

Grow armpit and leg hair (not sure about this one)

Sack-off straighteners…Monica

Get shit loads of stuff done in the house so looks like Ikea show home

Become a gardener

Become a chicken keeper

Read a book!

Potty train

Save money (if can work from home and don’t spend money on “house clothes” collection)

Feel “self-less” buying shit loads of things to support small businesses

Have a non-pressure zero commitment type of life

Become all zen and stuff

Become a home-work-out queen and get a six pack

Make up for 5 years of lost family time due to work

Clean house

Get mega sun tan

Catch-up with friends on skype/ Facetime

 

To be honest (as many mums do) I have felt like I’ve been on some crazy hamster wheel of life and can’t get off for the last 5 years. So will be nice to have a breather *if that makes sense. What an amazing opportunity.

 

*children will still be there (can’t help but feel like self-isolating would be bloody wonderful if it was kid free???!!)

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The Reflective Stage

I’m really not sure why COVID-19 has happened, maybe I’m being all hippy-jippy but feel it was kinda Mother Nature’s way of getting us to stop destroying our beautiful world for a little? Allowing us all to have a break and to spend some family time together and become DIY experts. And when Mother Nature’s ready, we can get cracking with life again

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And the home schooling thing…..I need to remember that he’s 4….in other countries they haven’t even started school yet. I missed over a year of school age 8 (v.poorly) and watched TV all day everyday, and I’m (semi) fine (cough cough). Yes we will do some proper school stuff, but as an when its fits* My son will be focusing more on the school of life and a gap year of travelling to secluded places around Budleigh/ Exmouth/ back garden for “exercise” whilst practicing social distancing. My main concern now is how I’m going to spend that much time with my husband???!!! True Story.

 

Joking aside (think it’s a nervous thing?)  I really hope everyone stays safe and heathy, Coronavirus looks truly horrendous and I’m definitely going to do everything I can to help. We are all in this together.

 

*After day 2 of “home schooling” I have now extinguished any desire to be a teacher and realised education may go out the window as it is all about survival. If kids are fed, semi clothed and semi clean at the end of the day it’s a win. Please scrap most of above “Isolation To-Do List”.

 

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School Mum

 

I really wanted to write this before I become more involved with being a “school mum” and cant really write about it anymore! It a whole new world

Almost as big as Christmas, on Tuesday 3rd September, Arlo started school. There had been lots of preparation for this so the kids would settle in smoothly. However, I had not been given a booklet on “How To Be A School Mum”, do they not do these???!! (Who do I stand with in the playground? What do I wear to “create good impression”? Do I wear gym gear to look like i’m really active and fit?! Do I need to befriend the teachers on FB? Do I need to be on the PTA? Do I need to bake cakes and read the Dictionary for fun…..etc etc).

My feelings aside, it was all rightly all about Arlo. He was ready. I was ready (champagne at school gate after first drop off would be wrong yeh?). I still had a couple of moments of “aw he used to be a little baby and now he’s starting school” tearful moments, but on the whole I was excited for him as I KNEW he would love it. He needed so much stimulation and exercising each day that I could give him, I knew school would be able to provide that. And he LOVES learning stuff, teachers are way more equipped to explain “Mummy, why does snot come out of your nose and not your ears?”

I’m still 100% sure that Arlo actually realised he was starting school?!

 

First day

The night before I cried into Arlo’s baby album. In the morning I was feeling excited but then cried approximately 5 more times (school uniform going on, when husband got cross because of state of car, seeing Arlos friends in their school uniform, waving goodbye, seeing other mums cry). But then I was fine and binged on chocolate for 2 hours until I picked him and haven’t looked back since.

Arlo was totally fine, oblivious to everything like normal, just preoccupied with the fact that everyone has the same jumper as him. What are the chances

 

Teachers
I remember in one of the pre school meetings one of the teachers said that If your child comes out last it might mean they need to talk to you. Every day it’s a nail biting wait to see where Arlo comes out….he has been last a few times now for “incidences”. I dread that beckon over. I wont go into all of said incidences, but there was the day of the “protest wee”….

Poor tired Arlo had not enjoyed PE that day. So later on he was spotted having a stand -up “protest wee” on some of the toys in the corridor…….(
I accidentally responded to teacher with “oh fuck”……well if thats who the parents are)

And the day of the frilly socks…..

Arlo was very tired again today. He has unfortunately gone through 4x changes of clothes and finished the day in shorts and girls frilly socks and slip on “pumps”

To make light of the situation I tried to make a joke about how Arlo calls his little brother “Tit” instead of Kitt. (must-stop-trying-to-be-funny and perhaps bring raw carrot snacks and eco friendly arts and crafts school pick up). This was also the day Arlo went in with a black eye from the coffee table.
Etiquette

So much school mum etiquette…..I’m still figuring it out

First of all, will who you stand with now determine who your school mum friends are for the rest of the decade??! I want to make sure I talk to everyone. Everyone seems super friendly so far. And when its raining, is it a case of “hood up. eyes down, get the job done”?? Do you hang around after to chat? How long? Is it rude to dash off after if you have to be somewhere? Do mums get there early to chat to people/hang out? How long before you friend request your new mum friends on FB?! How “free” should you let your younger pre school child be in the big school kids playground? Kitt seems to be the most free so far.

Parties….do you invite the whole class? Just boys? Do you just “drop off” the kids? Could mean you end up with 30 kids ALL BY YOURSELF. How much do you spend on presents (say £10…thats £300 for the year!)

Spare clothes……do you take these back if your kid comes home in a new outfit?? Or you just acquire bonus clothes?

DO WE GET TO KEEP THE FRILLY WHITE SOCKS??

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PTA
Do I want to be a PTA mum??? I wasn’t sure I was up for the job as I would 100% buy cookies from Tescos and pass them off as mine. However, having seen the PTA mums at various pre school meetings, they look like a hoot!! They sit at the back and drink!! (obviously do lots of stuff for the school too). I want to be friends with THEM!! Need to figure out how to work the oven first though. I do enjoy being a school mum, feel like I’m part of a community?! I have a purpose! But a PTA mum I think might be a little too full on?! Sure they wouldn’t steal frilly white socks
First REAL Friend
So far Arlos friends have been basically MY friends that have kids the same age. So a few days ago a mum came up to me and asked if I was Arlos mum??!! Uh ohhhhhh…..but she said that her son and Arlo play together and her son (lets call him *Garry) are friends. And not only that, Garry thinks Arlo is really funny!! (dread to think). Its official, Arlo has a real friend that he’s made all by himself! I felt quite emotional about it all. I fear I may have gotten so excited and scuppered Arlos chances as came on rather strong to the mum. Going to play it cool now

 

What The F*ck Do You Do At School???
Do any school mums actually know what their kids do at school?? I think the expression is “water out of a stone”. I want to know everything (who did you play with? What did you have for lunch? Did you eat anything that wasn’t beige?! Who’s your favourite teacher? What did you do? Did you learn anything today?). So far the most I have got out of Arlo is that him and another boy *Alan go to the toilet together because they are both scared of hand driers?! I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall during the school day.

*his name isn’t Alan

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Blank Canvas
Someone once told me that teachers like it if you send your child in as a “blank canvas” when they start school. That way they don’t have to un teach bad habit etc. Well I can reveal I have well and truly sent Arlo in as a blank canvas. I have tried to teach him to write/ recognise letters/ read etc but he was just not interested. So we have just played for 4 years. One totally blank canvas for you reception teachers. Star points for me?!

 

School Pick Ups
This is honestly the best time of day. I get so excited to see his excited face when I pick him up. I go all weird and squeaky and really enthusiastic when I say hello?! He normally falls over on his run to me (I bought school shoes to big “to last him”). He once bought home Tidy Up Trevor (or was it Terry?) for good tidying. After questioning if he had “stolen” Trevor, I then nearly cried because I was so proud/ disbelief. Trevor had seen better days, but emotional all the same. I’ve gone soft (er)

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New Chapter
Kitt now gets to do classes JUST FOR HIM and its lush to spend time with him, and my days are A LOT more mellow. I can blog again! Although, he has really found his voice in Arlos absence and become rather feisty no longer living in Arlos shadow. We both miss him though, its very very very (lovely) quiet. I’m sure I’m more lazy now I’ve just got one during the day, or maybe I’m just not used to not having to do things at a million miles per hour all the time.

Arlo is now so exhausted when he comes home that he SITS DOWN and “chills”. He’s almost become better behaved? Its like he was so wild because he was bored and needed more stimulation. Plus he does love a routine. He now also looks 18 years old. Obviously there has been a few hairy moments (needed staples to fix handbag he made at school but I couldn’t find any staples etc) and a few emotions (he wanted roasted potatoes not boiled), but in general school has been a success. Sure the novelty might wear off when he realises its for the next 12 years??!

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School also warrants earlier bedtimes

Winning

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ps. There is a grey area where you are still technically allowed to take children out of school until before their 5th birthday……. #travelling

pps. How many times do school mums day “put your shoes on” every morning????

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The Philippines- FINAL PART

We arrived back encrusted with puke onto mainland Bohol.

We purely picked the next accommodation because it had a slide (although sure my husband picked it because it was called Mario…..Super Mario???). Weirdest place ever. Was sort of like a building site with random scuba divers walking around? I cant even describe it really! Slide was a hit though, the kids liked the slide too

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It was only one night and it was actually the cleanest place/ insect-less place we had stayed so far. Once we all got bored of the slide, we made an executive decision to go OUT OUT and sack off any type of bedtime routine (kinda been the go since we got to the Philippines). We got a trike down to the “main strip” which was buzzing. Again, I actually felt like I was a (younger) backpacker again, I bought some “tat” (essential holiday jewellery to make me look more travelly) and had a last ditch attempt to let Rich allow me to get some henna and get my hair braided. If anyone has been to Thailand, it was kind of like Koh San Road, but a waaaaaay smaller scale. I LOVED it!

Next morning we had one last swim in the pool. We had remained accident free most of the trip, but on my way to the toilet I FULLY wiped out. Not just a little fall, like a full blown wet jelly fish blubbering around on the floor. Literally couldn’t get up, everytime I tried I just slipped again. Im not sure what the floor was made of. About 4 men ran over to me to try and help the “poor white british wanna be backpacker damsel in distress” wallowing on the floor. Massive cut on my leg, but I told everyone it was a shark attack. Not fall on pissy bog toilet floor.

Flight up to Manila was a breeze with semi well behaved children. Ran them ragged in the airport before so think that helped. Landed into the big smoke of Manilla. Such a change from the little remote island and rickety villages. This was a proper big city. Actually nice to have a change. The people of Manilla seemed totally unaffected by the earthquake a couple days ago, felt rather silly carrying my “evacuation bag” (just like normal bag but with more snacks). I did feel a bit uneasy about staying somewhere so high with a roof top pool after all the videos I had seen on the news with a roof top pool during the earthquake. But I soon got over it when I had a dip.

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Ventured out to a mall that evening, it seemed to be the thing to do?! Then we had the age old crisis of trying to buy nappies and wipes again, not easy in a mall either. Rich went off to try and find some, I stayed with the boys in the “soft play” (sofa department). Arlo announces he needs a poo (you get 5 mins warning before it comes out), so queue me running around shopping mall like a crazy women trying to find a toilet and realising we have lost rich and no phone signal

Toilet found, poo deposited, Filipino sanitary towel bin opened a million times, anti-bac applied, husband found, nappies purchased then back to the hotel for our last night in the Philippines. I cannot describe how much I didn’t want to come home. Arlo mainly enjoyed standing naked in front of our hotel window.

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The flight home was SO much better than the way out. We got the bulk head seats…together….so the boys had their own little play bit down by our feet (obvs still wanted to jog up and down the aisle). We got offered a sky cot for kit, even though he was too big for it really, I forced him into it. To not have a kid on your lap for 14 hours was so much nicer. I even managed to go to the loo a couple times! Sleep was still minimal and Arlo still puked, but Rich and I didn’t want a divorce at the end so it was a success

WE MADE IT!!!!!! Backpacking in a crazy Asian country with 2 children!!! I felt quite proud of our little family. I also realised (well I kinda knew anyway, but this trip had just confirmed it) that THIS is want I wanted to do with our lives. I want to be one of these cool backpacking families that travel the world, giving their kids the best life lessons ever and best memories ever and realise there is a whole world out there to explore. I am going to do everything I can to make this possible, new life goals

And I 100% found it easier than being at home….
1) No housework- your staying in hotels/ beach huts/ home stays and you don’t have to clean woohooooo
2) No cooking- you end up just eating out for all your meals as its so cheap and don’t have cooking facilities anyway
3) No Routine- no school run, no deadlines, no packing school bags, no toddler groups, just your own time all day every day
4) Extra pair of hands-normally at home I’m on my own, whilst travelling I had an extra pair of hands every day
5) High spirits- everyone is generally happier as don’t have the stress of every day lief to argue about
6) Less life shackles-you literally have everything you need in a couple bags. It liberating. Don’t need Tezza the Turtle, toy frying pan and weird one-eyed squeaky fish thing after all.

7) We were happy! It felt easier to be happy without all of the above!

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Arlo still talks about the Philippines now (Uncle Janice and Aunty Jamie, bless him, he gets confused), but mainly about the boat and the plane??!

We have started talking about the next trip…VIETNAM BABY!!! (my husband bought me the Lonely Planet to Vietnam so he must mean it??). We’ve agreed that we will go when Kitt is out of nappies and doesn’t run away so much and Arlo doesn’t want to shit in the sofa section of shopping malls….2020/21???? I will be shaving my head for this trip

I really thought my backpacking days were over, but they really aren’t. They have become VERY different but way better! Its almost like more fulfilling with kids and more exciting and rewarding. Also slightly harder work than drinking your way round Asia when you’re 18 AND there is a hell of a lot more luggage. There are lows, there are highs (way more highs) but travelling with kids is so much fun…in a “travelling with kids” kinda way

The world is your oyster boys….and your mum might just come with you!!!

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I Have Never…..

Is it just me, or when you become a Mum you become almost feral in your behaviours? The following may/ may not have been me…..

I have never…..

…….caught my childs poo with my hand rather than let it go on the floor

……..eaten what one thought was a raisin off the floor when in fact it was not……..

…….in the dark depths of the night taken a massive gamble and slid my finger into my childs nappy (rather than turn the light on and wake them up) to see if they have/ have not done a poo. The results are varied

……..had to prise my toddlers willie out of the hands of my baby after protests (on both sides) from my toddler claiming that it was “the babies toy”

…….turned a blind eye to my child eating dog food (pick your battles)

……eaten childs left overs as it was closer to your mouth than the bin

…….eaten childs left overs off the floor purely because you’re feral

………taken refuge in the toilet to eat (stolen from the kids) chocolate

……disposed of potty full of piss in various places including pretty flower beds, underneath cars, beaches, alley ways, gardens and drains outside people’s houses (sorry Helen)

……used various items of clothing (including socks/ own sleeves/ dirty pants) to wipe various forms of baby/ toddler grunge from child

…….been in a situation that has resulted in the dog eating your childs poo……visa-versa

…….left a nappy in the boot of the car for a few days (weeks)

……..used air freshener on child

……..used wets wipes as a legitimate form of cleaning…..on baby puke, shit stains, snot stains, toddler stains in general, dusting, shoe shining, armpit freshening, dog cleansing, window cleaning, toilet dribbles (boys), carpet cleaning, as a replacement washing machine, make up remover, baby teether, cutlery washer, high chair cleaner, shampoo/ conditioner/ dry shampoo, fly squatter and ear cleaner

…….picked my child’s nose and found great satisfaction in doing so

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Potty Training Perils

The Lost Nugget
For days and days you can smell shit in the house. You’ve looked everywhere, followed your nose, but to no avail. You just KNOW a nugget of poo has slipped through the net somewhere along the line. Days, maybe even weeks later, you find said nugget of shit. It’s now hard, almost like a little bullet, crusty, with a layer of dust on top. You will never know how/ why it ended up where you found it (in the toy kitchen, was he trying to cook with it??), but at least you can sleep at night now knowing that the little brown bugger has been disposed of.

The Pink Eye
Shit induced conjunctivitis is a real thing. Whilst receiving some beautiful engagement news over Skype, your “potty trainee” has shat on the landing (not unusual). He has then proceeded to smear poo on the head/ side of face/ into eye of your poor helpless baby. Your baby however is just glad of the attention……until the next morning he realises that he has fallen victim to Pink Eye.

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The Brown Eye
At the start of the Potty Training Camp 2018, it’s best to just go balls out at home: face the training head on in your birthday suit (NB: trainee not trainer). This often means the postman might catch a glimpse of the “brown eye” pressed up against the window as he delivers his letters. Unsuspecting guests might find themselves looking head-on, straight into brown eye itself whilst the trainee bends over to pick up a one-legged robot off the floor. As a potty trainer leader, you will become quite familiar with the brown eye, often at close proximity.

The Plan Canceller
When potty training strikes, you have to go with it. Often sacrificing the best laid plans. As far-fetched as it might sound ” We can’t come to the park this morning as my trainee hasn’t had his morning shit”….or “sorry we have to cancel the dentist appointment as we can subject ourselves to a shit in the car…….”, are totally legitimate excuses to use. Who knew!

The Dog Whisperer
Behold, yet another shit on the carpet. As you hot-foot it into the kitchen to gather the required shit-cleaning-equipment, the dog has hot-footed it into the living room, seizing an opportunity. As you re-enter the scene of the crime, the turd is nowhere to be seen. But the white fluffy dog is looking most pleased, satisfyingly licking her (brown) lips. One can only speculate what happened.

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The Utensil User
Once they get the idea that they have to do their business into something, you must be careful of open containers/ crevices / spaces/ holes/ boxes/ cupboards etc…….Stickers MUST still be rewarded for wees in kitchen saucepans that are then covered with the correct sized lids.

The Squirter
I tell you, those little hose pipes can project a long way. Devastating for anything/ anyone that gets in its path. Even in the safe confines of your living room, there are still casualties. As quickly as you try to grab that little snake and wrestle it to the toilet, the force of the yellow liquid can still squirt through your clasped fingers and soak a poor unsuspecting train set (this time……)
NB: different for girl trainees

The Improviser
You are still in the dark beginning stages of potty training but starting to see some light. You want to leave the house (which is covered in shit) and re-enter the outside world. But you aren’t quite ready to do this with no nappy. You almost need a half-way-nappy? Inspired by some old potty training pads a friend once gave you, you decide to make excellent use if those sanitary towels in the back of the cupboard. The maxi ones, with wings. Hey presto. They give you confidence, and the potty trainee confidence. Not to mention that “fresh feeling for up to 8 hours”.

The Go-Cart
The potty trainee has finally got the hang of it (hurrah!!). So much so they have taken themselves for a shit on the potty ALL BY THEMSELVES. But why oh why is there brown skid marks in a north-easterly direction all over your beige carpet?? Unbeknown to you, whilst you were momentarily distracted (Instagram), your potty trainee has dragged their bottom along the carpet, legs out to the side for full bottom-carpet contact, to clean off the residue of the solo potty turd. You can only liken this movement to that of a go-cart/ dog with worms.

The Public Shitter
This could be in a shop/ restaurant/ al-fresco….but when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. And that poo comes FAST. Thank god you take the potty everywhere you go. But it does however mean the public cheering of potty poo “well done, clever boy, big poo etc” , and loud trainee interpretations ” mummy I’ve made a snail”, can be marginally embarrassing. Then what on earth do you do with clever potty poo??? After leaving the public place in disgrace, you rest the potty (plus snail) on top of push chair and walk head down as fast as you can (but not too fast, careful now) back to the car. Then drive the clever poo home for disposal, avoiding speed bumps.

The Foot Plunger
If you are unfortunate enough to be mildly clumsy/ unlucky at time, at some point you may well find yourself ankle-deep in a potty full of piss. You can only rejoice in the fact that it wasn’t the brown stuff. Now that would have been catastrophic in flip-flops.

The Tail
You’ve really cracked it, so much so you decide to go to a soft play (what were you thinking). All is going swimmingly, until you realise, to your horror, your potty trainee now has a tail. Not a lovely little fluffy dog tail, but a turd tail. A distinctive bugle around the bottom area. The potty trainee is about to set-off down the slide (which would no doubt end in a squishy disaster ), so with the speed of light you grab your new “doggy” and whip them into the toilet before any little brown balls slip down the trouser leg and into the ball pit.

NB: One must be very careful eating crumbs/ bits of “food” off the floor

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To add to this blog post, if you actually want to potty train with success and not fall victim to any of the above scenarios, this is a REALLY good blog on how to do it properly. Just follow the link……..

https://www.thinkbaby.org/how-to-potty-train-boys-girls-quickly-easily-potty-training-tips.html

 

 

 

 

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10 Things NOT To Say To Your Sleep Deprived Wife

Disclaimer Part 1: My husband is AMAZING during daylight hours, he just doesn’t hear anything at night??!! (see point 9)

Disclaimer Part 2: Inspired by my husband but not all of them ARE my husband….

Disclaimer Part 3: Good job my husband never reads this blog as I may come across a little bitter?

1) “I’m tired” Number one on the list. Literally NEVER, I repeat NEVER say this to your sleep deprived wife (or make ANY noise that remotely suggest you’re tired ie: yawning, stretching, groaning)….who has been up allllll night feeding/ rocking/shushing/singing/ jiggling/ patting/ trying not to make eye contact/ stroking/ dodging squeaky floorboards/wet wiping/ burping/ white noising……whilst YOU slept through. I can guarantee that you are not even half as tired as she is. In fact, she is the most tired person in the world ever. And don’t sugar coat it by saying “ahhhh Daddys tired today”. It will make your wife want to stab you……in a non violent loving way obviously.

2) “I understand what Sleep Deprivation feels like…..that one time when I was travelling/ drunk/ on a stag do/ staying in a hotel with an uncomfortable bed/ away for work”….you definitely don’t understand what sleep deprivation feels like (unless you have been tortured whilst in prison?), SHE is the only one in the world that knows what it feels like (and other Mums of non sleepers). You understand what a few rubbish nights sleep feels like whilst you still got to sleep BY YOURSELF.

3) “I can tell your tired”……basically saying that she is not her spritely/ loving/happy self….and she is maybe a little tetchy/ grumpy/ sensitive??!! Its on the same level of saying to a girl when she’s on her period “I can tell you’re on the blob” Just don’t say it.

4) “Oh you had a lie-in this morning”….when his alarm (yes a real alarm, not a baby) wakes him up at 7, he rolls over and sees you are “still” snoozing. Problem is, she has only just got back to sleep after being up at 11/12/1/2/3/4/5/6. Glorious lie in though.

5) “It was a good night last night”……how the f*ck do you know?? In fact, it was up there with one of the worst nights ever. You were just to busy snoring (see point 6) away to notice. You didn’t even notice when your wife was angrily huffing and puffing and muttering under her breath “I’ll fu*king get up then shall I?!”.

6) “Snoring”…technically not saying anything, but still a noise coming from your mouth. If you make any kind of noise whilst you are peacefully sleeping whilst your wife again is feeding/ rocking/ shushing/ burping/ pacing/ Googling sleep aids….she will want to punch you. I’m sorry.

7) “You look tired babe”….no shit!! She hasn’t slept since YOUR children have been born. Sorry she’s not the hot pot you thought you had married. Sorry she now looks like a shrivelled up old granny prune that’s aged about 50 years. Sorry she only has make up on one eye as she didn’t have time/ remember to do the other (not that make up will help her face at the moment anyway). Sorry she has forgotten how to dress as she’s too tired to remember what people in the outside world wear. Sorry she sprayed air freshener in the garden and tried to wash the bread as she was so confused. Sorry she talks about the Unicorn she saw coming out of the wardrobe last night. Sorry she calls you by the dogs name. Yes, she’s a little tired.

8) “I don’t hear anything in the night”…..hmmmmmmm that old chestnut (but actually true, its been tested it by strategically placing a screaming baby by your head at 3am). Although, you have heard enough to be able to move the pillow over your ears??? And check your phone…..yes she saw you.

9) “Why don’t you just get an early night tonight”…….pahahahaha she already goes to bed with the baby at 7.30pm.

10) ” I don’t know what you spend the money on all those sleep aids, they don’t work”……Obviously they don’t work. But DON”T try and take these away from her. Yes she may seem a little crazy but the white noise toy/ lavender spray/ special sleeping cream/ stuff in cot that smells like her/ muslin with milk on/ lucky sleep-suit/ lucky sleeping bag are the only things of “hope” she can cling onto during those long dark lonely nights.

NB: Im working on my resentment issues.

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