Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I Wish I'd Never Asked...

Earlier today, Gertie and Gilbert were gallumphing around the kitchen on either end of the feather duster.
"What are you doing?" I was foolish enough to ask.
"We're playing the willy game!" came the reply in unison.
Right...I don't think I even want to know the rules.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Restless Pillow

Sleep has become a problem in our house.  Gilby's very much in the Virginia Woolf frame of mind in relation to bedtime, seeing sleep as 'that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life' though of course he doesn't express it quite so articulately.  Here are his top five reasons for not going to bed.

  1. "I'm not tired."  This one is particularly favoured after a long, busy day of lots of physical exercise and will be accompanied by enough tears, tantrums and general misbehaviour so as to suggest that 'tired' is exactly what he is.  This is my favourite since it usually means that he'll be snoring inside ten minutes.
  2. "I don't like rooms."  This one's a bit trickier.  We moved him from his own room into sharing with his big sister a few weeks ago, because it began as "I don't like my room". When he persists with this one I usually offer the garden or the shed as alternatives.
  3. "My duvet's not on straight."  There's enough OCD in this household to ensure that a not-straight duvet is extremely problematic for getting off to sleep.  Much fuss and smoothing over.  Calmly. Easier said than done.
  4. ""There are people walking round and they're talking about trying to get me."  This one makes my heart hurt as I remember my own irrational night terrors.  It requires cuddles and headstroking and the promise of leaving the door open.
  5. "There are monsters in here." As for 4.

Good night.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Pushing the Boundaries (or not)

I have self-diagnosed a severe case of bad parenting.  I have one 'ailing' baby at the boundaries of the weight chart, one explosive three year old in reference to whom the phrase, 'pushing the boundaries' can only be used as a polite euphemism, and an angelic eldest child who wouldn't know how to push a boundary if it bit her.

Gilby's behaviour is deteriorating exponentially, if that is possible.  Added to the tantrums (now indescribable) is the refusal to sleep alone, or, in fact, go to bed at all.  This then impinges on 'grown-up' time in the evenings, which is an absolute requirement for maintaining sanity.  If you see me on the front pages of the County Times on a murder charge, you'll know instantly that I am guilty.  I could cheerfully throttle him fifty times a day.  (Rhymes with a book I'm reading...)

At the other end of the spectrum is Gertie.  We went shopping in the village the other day and she wanted to bring her bike (stabilisers on, of course).  She was very good at sticking to the designated areas whilst I went into each shop.  My careful boundaries, "So - you can cycle round between here and here but not go up to the road, Ok?"  were met with an obedient, "Yes, Mummy."

Peering over the counter at the post office to check that she was in the right place, I noticed that she had confined herself to a thin sliver of pavement and was riding up and down on that, even though I'd offered the whole of the pedestrian end of the precinct.

"What was wrong with over there?" I joked, as I came out.  She pointed to the blue plastic National Lottery pointy-finger by the window. 

"But Mummy, the sign said, 'play here', so I did."

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Olympic Champions

Yesterday was our day at the Olympics, and the children were the champions.

I had been so excited eighteen months or so ago, when we made our first application for Olympic tickets, only to be disappointed in both the first and second rounds of the ballot.  Having been initially determined to ensure that all three children had experience of London 2012 (trying to buy tickets for Eddie even before he was born), I rather lost interest having been through what seemed to entirely unfair a system.  Anything that there did seem to be tickets left for after that wasn't being offered at the Young Person's price, and the difference between £5, £3 and £1 for Gertie, Gilby and Eddie and the full price for, say, the 69kg weightlifting class, exciting though it undoubtedly was, at £50 a pop simply couldn't be justified.

I'd all but given hope of getting anything, but when tickets went on general sale I managed to secure some seats at Wembley for a Group B football match.

Imagine our...delight...when we discovered some months ago that the Group B match would be Gabon v Korea (whilst Team GB were busy playing in Cardiff).

No matter: an Olympic event it was, and off we went.

Well, Boris and Seb, I have to say that London looked shiny and fantastic, and more than that, it worked.  What I mean is that all public transport ran smoothly, the Olympic decorations and signs everywhere looked great and were highly effective, and all the volunteers we spoke to (and with our three children and a heavily laden buggy trying to negotiate across London we had to speak to quite a few) were engaging, friendly and extremely helpful.

You weren't supposed to bring a bag or a buggy to the football.  Right.  Explain to me how were supposed to negotiate that, exactly.  But in the end it was all fine, and much fun was had by all at the 0-0 game. Gertie particularly enjoyed the frequent Mexican waves. I was totally impressed on my first visit to the new Wembley and my first international football game. Korea qualified from the group and will play Team GB next.

Two things marred our day: The first was how long it took to get out of Wembley and back into London.  (About two hours.  We were at the back of the 77,924 people who had attended the game as we had to go and collect the forbidden buggy from the pram park.)

The second was the fact that our tickets did not get us in or indeed anywhere near Olympic Park itself. What a shame, though we did try.

We fell home, exhausted at about 11.15pm, with two out of three children still going strong.  Only the baby had fallen asleep at about 9pm.  They were all absolutely impeccably behaved, all day long, in spite of much travelling, walking, tube and escalator negotiation.  Gold medals for my little Olympic champions.