Hey! People! Leave My Vagina Alone!

‘Oh my fucking god’, were the words that flew out of my mouth when I read about ‘Babypod‘, this years must-have bit of parenting kit being flogged to the newly pregnant.

According to the website, ‘Babypod’ is: ‘…a device that stimulates before birth, through music.’, but what this enigmatic tag-line fails to elaborate upon is where the stimulating takes place.

The fact of the matter is that ‘Babypod’ is a music system which you stick up your chuff. You pop a speaker up your two by four which is attached to a lead that you can plug in to your smart phone, and share your music with your unborn child. If you want to share the experience with your baby (of hearing music being piped into your vagina?) you can also connect your headphones to the lead.

There are so many things wrong with this, that I don’t know where to start. That was a lie. I really do. Strap in.

1. ‘Thanks to Babypod children begin to vocalize in the womb’. Are you kidding? Really? To me this basically says that you want to encourage them to start making noise even earlier than they do. Gurgling and laughter is about 10 % of that. The rest is screaming, crying and chuntering on about a load of old bollocks. I currently live with a 5 year old that has to narrate everything. It’s like living with a small Morgan Freeman that’s obsessed with everything bum.

2. Leave our vaginas alone! Seriously though, BACK OFF FROM THE VA JAY JAY. Whilst pregnancy and childbirth are, indeed, miraculous and wonderful, the amount of indignities that you suffer are numerous. We really, really  don’t need any more thanks ‘Babypod’. If you have any inhibitions, then this will be the time that you shed them. At any given pre-natal appointment somebody, anybody  could be wrist deep in your magical garden. Very often it’s someone you never met until they walked into the room 2 minutes before, snapped on surgical gloves and asked you to spread ’em (and how do you do?). Also, you will shit yourself giving birth (Yes, yes you will. Best get used to that idea now. To be honest, when the time comes it will be the least of your worries. That and birth plans involving candles, music and massage).

3. Being pregnant and / or a mother seems to rub out everything you were or achieved before you decided to grow a smaller, less coherent version of yourself, and this is an extension of that. Once you get pregnant you are not the important one, the child is. Which means everything must be done for the benefit of the child, regardless of how uncomfortable, stupid and expensive it is for you. You are now a vessel, a receptacle that carries new life, therefore you become something that stuff is done to, as opposed to a real person. If I died in a terrible accident and it was reported in the local paper (I realise I’m flattering myself here) I can guarantee you the headline would start with the word ‘Mum’ and not mention any of the other things that I also am.

4. Step away from the foetus! Is there not one bit of childhood that we can’t stop messing about with? There are numerous books on how best to raise your child in to a motherfucking genius (I’m paraphrasing here) that advise you to feed them certain foods (Avocados. It’s always avocados.), play them certain music, take them to certain groups etc… and now it’s about piping music directly in to the womb. Leave them in peace and security for the short time that they’re there (Not. Short. At. All). There’s so much pressure to make your child in to the best child it can be but, you know what? When they finally arrive they already have their own little personalities that don’t care about any of these things. For all the music groups and messy play sessions that I took my darling too, and all the frigging avocado and salmon that I fed her, she still licked bus windows. I mean, how intelligent is that? Take a chill pill baby mama.

5. It’s pink. Fuck off.

 

 

Reasons To Have Children – Part 3

To be a parent or not to be a parent? That is the question. With world resources dwindling, is it responsible for the human race to go on reproducing like E. Coli? To help you decide whether you want a tiny, inarticulate, angry version of either you or your partner, I’ve drawn up a list of fully comprehensive arguments for and against.

Reasons To Have Children

Nature’s Alarm Clock. Have difficulty getting up in the morning? You won’t when it sounds like someone’s being murdered in the room next to you.

Personal Valet. Children are great at telling you when you smell / have bogies / have made up yourself to look like a clown. If you can train them to tell you this before leaving the house, even better.

To get out of doing something you don’t like / can’t be bothered to do. ‘So sorry about missing the 10K Mum Fun Run – Little Quentin was poorly.’

If you like going to the doctor’s / hospital. Bingo bango baby! You’re going to be there A LOT.

If, like Margaret Thatcher, you only operate on 4 hours sleep a night.

Someone to laugh at farts with.

You like standing outside in the freezing cold making repetitive arm movements.

You hate fine dining and peaceful afternoons walking around art galleries.

Reasons Not To Have Children

Unconditional love and appreciation. Are you fucking kidding? Only if there’s biscuits involved and then for the exact length of time it takes for the biscuit to be snatched out of your hand.

To have a tiny version of yourself. Really?! If you genuinely think this is a good idea to procreate, take a opinion poll of your friends and family to see what they think. You might be surprised.

To make your parents proud grandparents  – until they remember all the shit that goes with babies and suddenly find that they forgot to tell you about the new interior design course they just signed up for that lasts 18 years.

If you’re bored of your job. Your job may be boring, but believe me there is nothing more boring on God’s green earth than playing the same imaginary game over and over again, with the person you’re playing with chuntering on about a load of old bollocks.  Your job allows you to have hot beverages and meal breaks and does not make your vagina look like roadkill. These are things to seriously take in to consideration

It’s because it’s what everyone else is doing. At the risk of sounding like your Mum, if everyone else thought it was a good idea to jump out of a plane with no parachute, would you do it? WOULD YOU?

They don’t do the ironing.

You have mirrored furniture and white carpets.

It should surprise no-one that my decision making process about having children involved New Year’s Eve, fizzy alcohol and some fancy drawers.

No Sleep ’til Bedtime

You’ve had a wonderful day with your little one – cleaning felt tip pen from the wall, picking up bits of discarded lunch off the floor and witnessing a really fun hour long tantrum in the supermarket because they’re not allowed to take all their clothes off – and now it’s time to settle them down to sleep so that they have the energy to do it all over again tomorrow.

Bedtime can be such a fraught part of the day. You’re all tired and sick to the back teeth of one another, so here are 13 easy steps to help you get the best out of your child’s bedtime…

1.     A soothing bath is a great start to the bedtime routine, so spend 10 minutes trying to get them in the bath and another hour trying to get them out. They will eventually get out when close to hypothermia and you are soaking wet.

2.     Attempt to dry and dress a constantly moving object. Turns out perpetual motion does exist.

3.     Time for an enjoyable bedtime story. How about…um, oh you know…the one that you’ve read every night for the past year. Just one more. Just one more. Please? JUST ONE MORE I HATE YOU.

4.     Say ‘Sweet dreams darling’ before you RUN quietly away.

5.     It’s about this point that I usually crack open any alcohol I can find have a    soothing herbal tea.

6.     Shout GO TO SLEEP up the stairs.

7.     Shout IF I HEAR YOU OUT OF BED THERE WILL BE TROUBLE.

8.     Shout DON’T MAKE ME COME UP THERE.

9.     Take a fortifying swig of booze tea and pause Wolf Hall / GBBO / Strictly.

10.    Go up there.

11.     Ask in your best passive/aggressive voice what the matter is.

12.     Have a 20 minute conversation about why your jumper is stripy, what day is today and why your name is Mummy.

13.     Continue until you cry or see dawn break, whichever happens first.

My Bloody Valentine’s Day

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Ah, St. Valentine’s Day! The religious festival that celebrates drinking warm fizzy wine, rash-inducing cuddly toys and overpriced set menus. £25 for three bits of Tapas? Fuck off.

Now, Valentine’s Day has always been a bit of a mixed bag for me. It has ranged from being absolutely desperate to receive a card, something, ANYTHING to show that I was considered attractive to somebody else (WHYDOESNOBODYLOVEMENOPARENTSYOUDON’TCOUNT!!), to sneering at it because I was far too cool to lower myself to be involved in this organized tack (I still never received anything, but it now it didn’t matter because I was far too cool *cough*).

When my husband and I first got together we thought we were so young and hip. Valentine’s Day? Hahaha! Please! Oh, how ironic and casual we were. We didn’t care, because it didn’t apply to us. We didn’t need a prescribed day to show love. We were in love ALL THE TIME. We went to the cinema to see ‘Hot Fuzz’ and bought each other ‘The Wicker Man’ sound track.

I know. Totally insufferable.

Obviously, things have changed somewhat. We can’t even be witheringly hip any more. It’s gone from purposefully ignoring it / doing something ironic, to sort of remembering to get a card from the garage because we happen to be in there buying 2 litres of milk anyway.

Valentine’s Day now mainly involves picking up assorted crap off the floor, wiping bums, and shouting ‘GET DOWN FROM THERE’.

I never thought I’d say this, but to be brutally honest, I’d bloody give anything to be whisked away to an over-priced restaurant, drinking tepid prosecco, looking in to the eyes of my other half, surrounded by dead-eyed couples doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING. It beats picking stir-fry up from the floor and trying to coax a 4 year old out of the bath using the promise of being able to watch Peppa Pig.

I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing*

‘Oo, enjoy every moment of it! She won’t be little for long!’ Ah! The mantra uttered by those with 30 years of space between scraping shit out of tiny, white sandals and popping to a café to have a civilized conversation with friends.

I love my daughter very much, but that does not mean that there are things that I will be sorry to see disappear over the horizon, never to darken my life again.

Things I will not be missing:

Opening Public Toilet Doors

I can honestly say that I will be very glad when my little darling stops opening the doors in public toilets when I am in the middle of powdering my nose. I daresay the poor people in the queue for the toilets will also be equally pleased.

 Social Commentary

Yes, I know the man behind us is fat. If anyone were ever in any doubt of it, then you screaming the fact at the top of your lungs has clarified it for us all. Yes he does have a willy *sigh*

Car Seats

Some people have daily mantras that help them deal with their lives / the world, and very lovely they are too. ‘There are blessings hidden everywhere; it is up to you to find them’, or ‘I will impact on people positively today’. Mine has become ‘TURN AROUND AND SIT DOWN’. Now that she is 4, she’s a little too big to strong-arm in to the car seat – unless you particularly want to get kicked in the tits, so I have to rely on good parenting methods. Namely, cajoling, bribing and shouting.

 Vomiting Noises

I’ve got a feeling that this just might be something that pertains to me and my shadow, but who gives a shit?! I’ll still be glad when it no longer happens. When I’m eating food that she does not like, she makes vomiting noises. Make vomiting noises over your own food. Knock yourself out, but leave me alone. It’s not for you, as unbelievable as that may sound. I don’t openly retch when you scoff Peppa Pig shapes in tomato sauce on toast (Pasta on bread. They tried to include more carbs, but potatoes wouldn’t fit in the tin), so let me eat my disgusting spinach in peace.

 Coat Windmill a.k.a. Getting Dressed

Just before I start shouting at my lovely one to get out of the house, she needs to put her coat on. So we do the ‘Coat Windmill’ in which she puts one arm in the sleeve and then slightly walks ahead of me, but in circles. Truly Laurel and Hardy stuff. This counts for a lot of getting dressed to be fair.

 Wiping Bums, Poo and Combinations of Both

 ‘Cor!’ you think as you change the nth nappy of the day, ‘I can’t WAIT ‘til they’re potty trained. It’ll be SO much easier then.’ Ha ha! Ahahahaha!…*sigh*.  When you’re potty/toilet training, nappies will seem like halcyon days. A rose-tinted, bygone era containing little bags of effluent. At least you know where the poo is and you don’t have to second guess whether they need to do one or have, indeed, already done a great big one that is currently languishing behind the wendy house (yup).  Any time that I’m about to eat is also apparently an opportune moment to curl out something that resembles a river dwelling mammal.

 No Realistic Concept of Time

She’s 4, I know! Next week it could be Christmas again, for all she knows. Time is irrelevant, there is only now. Children are so in the moment and that is a wonderful thing. Apart from when you need to get them somewhere else at a certain time – like nursery, or a half-an-hour class you have shelled out for and if you’re more than 15 minutes late then what is the point?

‘Time to go darling.’

‘La la la la let it go, let it go!’

‘We have to go now or we’re going to be late.’

‘I just need to get somefin for my bag la la la.’

‘I’m going now. Right now. We’re going to miss nursery. Do you understand?’

‘Hm mm mmmm I just need…’

‘GETOUTOFTHEHOUSERIGHTNOW’

‘Waaaaah!! You shouted at me!! Mean Mummy!!’

*sits on doorstep and weeps*

 Yes! No! Yes!

 Oh the contradictions!  An example being, not wanting to talk on the phone to her respective Grandparents and then totally motherflipping out when I have said ‘Goodbye’ and put the phone down (put the phone down? Where am I? 1993?).  ‘But I wanted to talk to theeeeeeeeemmmmmmmaaaaaaaaargh.’ This category, is also closely connected to ‘The Sky Is Not Blue If I Say It’s Not, Alwight?’

 Willy Willy Bum Bum

 ‘Look at my bum! Look at my foof! Do boys have willies? Do Daddy have a willy? Why don’t I have a willy? Look, I can do a standing up wee like a boy!’ I don’t think that I need to qualify this any further.

So, those are things that I will not miss. What about you? Have I missed anything that you will really be glad to see the back of?

 *Disclaimer: Yes, yes I do.

I HATE ART AND CRAFT

 

I HATE doing art and craft with my daughter.

There. I said it.

I want to love it, I truly do, but that will take about a pint of something that contains 18% abv and I don’t think that’s allowed.

When people come round with arts and craft kits, my heart sinks a little bit.

Every now and again I upbraid myself. What a mean parent you are! All that fun you’re denying your lovely daughter. She’ll resent you in years to come and will be emotionally stunted as a result of your selfishness. She’ll probably begin to torture small animals for kicks and start spitting at old ladies. WHATKINDOFMOTHERAREYOU?!

Now, this makes me sound like a neat freak. Which I am almost certainly not. When I get undressed for bed I still just chuck everything on the floor like I have always done. I very often just pick it up from the floor and put it back on again the next day. I don’t faint when I see mud on a shoe or an errant piece of clothing somewhere around the house, ergo cutting and sticking should be easy.

SO, feeling the guilty weight of all the future little old ladies with flob in their hair and cats with no tails on my shoulders, I get all the sticky, glittery, stainy stuff out of the highest cupboard that I put it away in from the last time that I thought it was a good idea.

My daughter is SO EXCITED. WE’RE GOING TO DO STICKING!! We start well. ‘See?’, I think. ‘You underestimate her. Look how much she’s enjoying it. You need to take a chill pill baby mama.’ Or something similar.

Then the descent in to madness begins…

‘I just need a bowl.’

‘What for?’

‘For mixin’

‘Yes, but we don’t need to mix the glitter. We sprinkle it on, okay?’

All that you need to know is that from this point onwards the prime objective for my daughter is to cover her hands in glue and glitter. Nothing will be stuck on paper. She just wants to empty out every pot of glitter that we have in to a bowl, add as much glue as she can physically manage and then smear it on to every available body part. This is soon followed by an almighty tantrum when I put everything back in the very high up cupboard.

I don’t hate it because of the mess. It’s…it’s… gah…it’s because she doesn’t do it properly! I know, I know! She’s only 4. Of course she’s not going to do it properly.

‘Oh look Mater. I have completed the glittery rocket in under 20 minutes with clean hands and it looks EXACTLY like the picture on the box. Shall we do some maths next?’

And it’s knowing this that makes me hate myself because I want to be all cool and ‘Hey! We just do art whenever we like, yeah?’, but I can’t be. I am a knob.

So please understand the half-smiling, pained grimace that splits my face open when we are gifted the next ‘Make Your Own Fantasy Unicorn Kit – Complete with Glitter and Glue!’.

My Twelve Days of Christmas

 

On the run up to Christmas (or ‘The Last Judgement’ by Hireonymus Bosch, as I like to call it) our aural cavities are assaulted by festive tunes a-plenty. Loads of church-y ones from days of yore; pop-y, tacky, tinselly ones from Christmas charts gone by, and ‘Stay’ by East 17. They’re all great, and ramp up the feeling of yuletide cheer/panic beautifully (if you’ve finished your Christmas shopping, please go away and be smug somewhere else). However, I feel that there’s nothing that directly represents life at Christmas as I currently know it. So. Move over Slade. This is MY Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
A snotty hanky

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Six more hairs greying
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
A tantrum about going swimming
Six more hairs greying
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
An awful sinking feeling
A tantrum about going swimming
Six more hairs greying
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Nine arguments about Christmas financing
An awful sinking feeling
A tantrum about going swimming
Six more hairs greying
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Ten weeks of no sleeping
Nine arguments about Christmas financing
An awful sinking feeling
A tantrum about going swimming
Six more hairs greying
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Continuous bum wiping
Ten weeks of no sleeping
Nine arguments about Christmas financing
An awful sinking feeling
A tantrum about going swimming
Six more hairs greying
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve gins a numbing
Continuous bum wiping
Ten weeks of no sleeping
Nine arguments about Christmas financing
An awful sinking feeling
A tantrum about going swimming
Six more hairs greying
GASTROENTERIIIIITIIIIIIS
Four new swear words
Three refusals to count to ten
Two turd-y gloves
and a snotty hanky