Over and Out for 2015.

I am in my PJ’s supping vino with 2 out of 4 kids in bed (Achievement!). I am about to put the remaining two to bed, eat some stir fry, and go to bed by 9pm. That way when those inconsiderate enough to forget the hell that is infant parent night times start blasting fireworks at about 11pm to 1 am, I may have the energy to get up and comfort the kids and the cat, or give up and have a midnight feast with them, before re-settling. 

My final message of 2015 is that I have actually started to vaguely be able to use Twitter. Address is @4kids1chicken. I have no bloody idea how it all works, but people seem to be talking to me (Weirdly rewarding!), and we are having quite a laugh, so please do join in. Otherwise, have fun, stay safe, drink wine, sleep through the night, and lie in past 6am and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Love me, Mel, 4 kids, 4 chickens, 2 dwarf Russian rescue hamsters, 1 cat and a soon to be puppy (unnamed as I want to call it Moggy the Doggy but Mel says no!) xxx💋 

 

15 Un-Yummy Mummy New Year Resolutions.

1. Try and respond calmly and patiently to the children instead of yelling.

2. Win a competition for a Mercedes Viano (new or second hand, don’t care as long as it goes. It’s hard to squidge 4 kids an au pair, a husband and a bugaboo donkey into anything less, but my budget doesn’t even begin to stretch).

3. Spend more quality time with each child, supporting their learning

4. Put my family before work.

5. Plant a vegetable patch and actually get round to watering it so the plants grow instead of dying in a heap like last year.

6. Obtain a Valium prescription and take the family for another two week camping trip in France (last year I swore I would NEVER camp with the family again).

7. Learn how twitter works and manage to actually tweet within the word limit.

8. Get followed on Twitter and Facebook by The Unmumsy Mum, Just a normal Mummy, and Mummy of Boy Girl Twins to name just a few of my very favourite bloggers.

9. Inherit a Dobby style House Elf which cleans, sews and generally maintains some kind of household order.

10. Manage to get all 4 kids in bed before 8pm.

11. Persuade the kids to stay in bed until 7am.

12. Make sure the new puppy doesn’t eat the cat.

13. Sleep for a whole 8 hours in a row.

14. Lose several stone while still consuming ample quantities of gin, wine and cheese. 

15. Win the lottery and retire. 

The Un-yummy mummy’s Frozen lyrics

This is for all you parents out there who thought to yourself Frozen wasn’t too bad the first hundred or so times your kids watched it, but having spent the entire holidays with it blasting at you, have changed that view. Lyrics should be sung to the tune of ‘Let it Go’. I would sing it to you, but basically, I am a crap singer! Enjoy!

The mess is a fright in the kitchen tonight, not a clean patch to be seen. A household of destruction and it looks like I’m the Queen.
The twins are howling and the others have run outside. Can’t stop them now, Heaven knows I’ve tried.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the Mummy you always pretend to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.

Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go, don’t fight them back anymore. Let it go, Let it go, grab some gin and slam the door.I don’t care what they do to that chair, and the carpet never bothered me anyway.

It’s funny how some gin makes the mess seem a little more small, the state of my kids bedrooms doesn’t bother me at all. It’s time to see what I can do to hide from them as they chase me. They’ve smashed up all the baubles on the tree!

Let it go, let it go, I am at one with the gin and wine, Let it go, let it go, you will often see me cry. Here I’ll hide drinking gin and wine. Let the kids rage on, the curtains never bothered me anyway.

My despair flurries through the air and into the ground. The kids are running like crazy animals all around. One thought crystallises in a silver pool, when will it be time for them to go back to school?

Let it go, let it go, and I will rise at the crack of dawn. Let it go, let it go, I mean it’s not like I want to sleep on! Here I stand in a mess so grand, let the kids rage on. My home never bothered me anyway!

The Un-Yummy Mummy’s Day at the beach.

Despite suffering from grim colds and feeling generally pretty sorry for ourselves, Mel and I could take no more of the endless bouncing off the walls, bickering and colouring in of various soft furnishings with the new Crayola felt tips some thoughtful adult kindly gifted the infants for Christmas. We reckoned a 40 minute drive to Bournemouth beach and lunch out should do the trick.

The Yummy mummy would of course have packed the night before, ensuring adequate beach tools, towels for the inevitable wave incidents, supplies of snacks and drinks, and spare clothing. Undoubtedly these would have been packed in individually labelled Cath Kidston bags packed neatly ready for departure. On the contrary, we ran round like headless chickens shovelling bits randomly into the car boot while yelling at the kids to get dressed for the beach. Car filled, we turned to find Lucy (aged 3) dressed in her Peppa swimsuit, and Patrick (6) in his shorts and T-shirt having thoughtfully packed the swimming noodles for himself and his brother and sisters. Cue 20 minutes of screaming as we tried to explain we would not be swimming. Eventually I found a bag of Haribo which resolved that problem. 

The Yummy Mummy would leave at say 9.30 am to allow time for play and a nap before lunch. We rocked up in Bournemouth at 12.30, all four kids pleading starvation. We went to our favouritee Rodizio. It is our favourite  for several reasons:

1. Kids eat free.

2. It is a buffet so we can immediately start shovelling food into the kids without suffering the endless paper hats, crayons and colouring books while you wait for food.

3. It is usually quite quite, so we only ruin lunch for a small number of other diners.

4. The food is great.

5. They don’t give the kids balloons which cause arguments for the rest of the day.

Things went well to start with ( when the kids were shovelling in tomato, cucumber and chips). The first mistake was asking if anyone needed the loo. Everyone did, so we negotiated the steep spiral staircase to the basement. To be fair, they did all go, but as soon as we reached the top of the stairs again, the twins insisted they needed to go again. After the third consecutive trip it became apparent that  

 the draw was the stairs, and the silver glittering toilet seats. 

To try and get peace to finish my meal, I suggested they dance to the music. That was before I had seen the pole. It’s not what you think, it was just a supporting pole. However, the rabble of 4 quickly started spinning round it as a group yelling and shouting with glee, aswell as occasionally crying when one fell over. I suppose I am pretty used to a high decibel level. It was when I saw our Xmas holiday au pair staring at the kids and visibly shaking her head slowly from side to side in utter disbelief that I realised how far from normal my family must be. The kids were promptly encouraged to climb under the table to make a den. Still, the staff were professional enough to greet our departure with a polite ‘Hope to see you again soon’, or perhaps it was just meant to be ironic. 

Anyway, the beach went relatively well. Not being a yummy mummy, I had entrusted the 6 year old with packing the beach toys. He had packed one spade, one rake, one bucket and one sand mould. As you can imagine, after a while, this led to rather a lot of tears. When this reached an unbearable peak, we packed up. The kids were, of course hungry again. Luckily, as the car is such a tip, I managed to locate various biscuits and breadsticks strewn about which did the trick. 

So does it really matter? No. My kids don’t expect well packed bags. They accept our total disorganisation. The 6 year old is learning responsibility at an early age, and the fact is, despite the challenges we face in doing so, we still brave taking all 4 kids out for lunch which they thoroughly enjoyed (even if our fellow diners didn’t). Who knows, perhaps the yummy mummy only does picnics with homemade quinoa or even better, a Waitrose ready prepared family picnic lunch. Ours was definitely better! 

#Number1 Most Embarrassing shopping experience, brought to you by the Unyummy Mummy.

It is Sunday, it is wet, and the house is a complete and utter shambles. It is less than a week until Christmas, the arrival of relatives and the unwrapping of a heap of further coloured plastic. Cue frantic nesting type instinct which involves trying to straighten out the house and dispose of all the coloured plastic from last Christmas. This is, as you may imagine, an arduous task while trying to supervise 4 kids, 3 of whom are pre-schoolers. As I polished windowsills, sanitised bathrooms, tripping over children with what seemed every step, I issued orders about ‘putting your toys away in your own room’ all of which fell on deaf ears.

At one point I was flapping sheets and duvet covers trying to make the beds when I saw Ben watching the cat curiously as it cleaned itself. I explained to him that the cat licking itself was the cat ‘having a bath’. I went to the airing cupboard and came back with my clean sheets to find a totally bemused cat lying on one side watching in astonishment as Ben licked his way up his back.  After 3 hours of sorting and cleaning against the tide of 4 infants promptly unsorting in the name of ‘playing’, we decided to give up, feed them lunch and go out. 

The rain was torrential and options were, therefore, limited. We decided to go to an outdoors store then a DIY store to stock up on some hamster sawdust (yes we get to look after the little vampires while Anna enjoys a peaceful Polish Christmas), some hamster chew treats, and some door hooks. 

Arriving at the outdoor store, we immediately began to suspect that we had made a grave error. The level of energy was far too high to allow us to safely contain the kids even in an outdoors type store. We made our way as quickly as we could to the hamster section. Feeling relief that we had managed to make it there with all 4 kids in close proximity, Mel looked at the sawdust while I tried to ascertain which of the vast collection of cereal like treats were suitable for Hamsters. And that, that, was the critical error. As twin parents, we know that one parent should always supervise the infants while the other does the job in hand. We relaxed and dropped our guard. As I examined some Carrot nibble sticks, I heard Mel exclaim…’oh no, they’re not’. As I turned my gaze, I could only reply ‘oh yes, they are.’ 

Sited about 4 metres down the aisle sat 2 two year olds, sadly both belonging to us, with their trousers round their ankles sitting upon get yellow plastic dog bowls. As we approached, they got up, pulled up their drawers and proudly announced ‘Look, we did potty’. 

Mel and I have a kind of ad hoc system that works out roughly fair. I knew without asking that today was my turn. I tentatively carried the brimming dog bowls to the tills. After waiting my turn in line I calmly explained that my twins had mistaken the dog bowls for potties. The till operator looked so horrified that I quickly  added that I would be happy to clean them out if he could direct me to the facilities. An emergency tannoy appeal was launched, and I was duly escorted into the staff quarters and presented with a loo, a sink and some antibacterial hand wash. 

The deed done, I returned the bowls to an embarrassed member of staff who said that at least it was a story we could tell at the twins 18 birthday party. When I told Mel this, he just laughed and said, by next week, they will have outdone this little incident. You know what, I fear he is right!  
#funnykids #pottynightmares #funnymummy

 

8 Top tips for surviving a family Christmas

This time of year inevitably sees a surge in Facebook posts from demented mothers frustrated about family snubs, inequalities and logistical nightmares.

I avoid these problems by imposing my very own set of rules. These rules aren’t for everyone, but may help some. My family have learned that if they want to spend Christmas with us, then my rules apply. This has really reduced the seasonal stress levels. Here are my rules:

1. Following the birth of my first child, I reversed the ‘kids go home for Christmas’ rule. The new rule is that I have kids. I will not spend 10 hours on the motorway shovelling junk food into the kids, mopping up vomit and supervising potty visits on the hard shoulder. If you want to see us for Christmas, you come to us. Stand firm with this rule, and you will soon find you don’t have to make the dreaded Christmas journey.

2. Rule 1 brings an added benefit – your house, your rules. I hate bloody Turkey, so Turkey is banned. I cook Christmas dinner. It will be festive and have stuffing, sausage, bacon and poultry, but it won’t be Turkey. The relatives aren’t cooking it so the choice is yours. They do the childcare while you cook (and probably sample the wine!)

3. You have kids, you have a house to keep, possibly a job, a husband, partner, responsibilities, life etc. No, I haven’t pre-ordered my goose or whatever. Get your own back on Waitrose and visit at around 3.30 pm on Xmas eve. Basically, it seems that there are a number of spoiled grow ups who order their Waitrose Christmas dinner, pay for it, then fail to collect it. Waitrose then sell these delights at cut prices last minute. (This constitutes my annual Waitrose visit!)

4. It is faintly possible that you may fail in your Xmas eve mission, so have something in the freezer in case. Simple recipe for a fab meal is streaky bacon laid in a horizontal row along silver foil. Bash some chicken breast and lay it on the bacon. Put some cranberry stuffing in the middle and roll the foil to make a roll. Double wrap with foil, and oven at 180 degrees C. When it is nearly done (around 1 hour 30 minutes) smother in honey and open the foil for 30 minutes. You can prepare these rolls and freeze for use any time. If you don’t get a reduced bird, take out of the freezer (freeze raw) on Xmas eve, and it will be defrosted to cook as a Christmas delight.

5. Don’t bother with dessert. Everyone will be too stuffed to eat it.

6. Do not get over emotional about Xmas. There is a lot of pressure on parents, families and pretty much everyone to achieve. Xmas is a day to celebrate Jesus birth with your family. Even if you don’t believe, that is the purpose of the holiday. If it causes stress, distance yourself from the stressful elements. It’s just a day. We will all survive it, it happens every year, and no-one will remember a culinary mishap. Don’t allow yourself to be stressed. My position is that it’s my kids Xmas, I will welcome all, we will do it as I want, but if anyone wants to contribute and add or change anything, that’s fine. They are more than welcome.

7. Remind your kids of the real meaning of Xmas. It’s a powerful message about respecting humanity, whether you believe or not. It’s not about whether your kid got the best presents. It’s time at home, with family. Go for a walk, share interests and learn more about each other. Go ice skating, go for a walk, learn a skill from a parent, look up recipes on the internet even if you don’t normally cook. Just be together.

8. The most successful parents this year are the ones who appreciate that they aren’t on trial, sod the rest of the world, and just be a family.

Happy Christmas from the Un-Yummy Mummy! 

#mummy #family Christmas #humour # 

 un-yummy mummy

The Unyummy Mummy’s cat.

Some of you may remember my acquisition of 2 guinea pigs and 2 rescue dwarf Russian Hamsters not so long ago. This was basically my reaction to my husband repeatedly saying I couldn’t have a cat. 

Guinea pig gate lasted 2 weeks after which point my husband exclaimed in frustration that if I got rid of the rodents, I could have a sodding cat. I quickly palmed the hamsters off on the au pair who has lots of them in her homeland. She really likes the little creatures. Personally I think they are little shits and can fully see why they were up for rescue, not least because every contact results in a bite significant enough to elicit a scream and cause bloodshed. 

The un yummy mummy would not find herself in such a predicament. She has probably been on the waiting list for a Burmese blue since before her little darlings were born. She probably signed up at about the same time she put her unborn foetus on the waiting list for the local private pre-prep. 

Undeterred, I contacted the local cat rescue centres. It took about 3 calls and 5 minutes to establish that as a family with a 5 year old, 3 year old and 2 year old twins, I was about as low down the adoption eligibity criteria as you could get. In fact I think after the ‘kids question’ they stopped filling in the form and politely found the quickest way to get me off the line. I turned to gumtree.

I found an advert placed by an obviously genuine family seeking a home for their 3 year old Hungarian Tom cat. I felt a glimmer of hope when I saw that the reason was that the third child, a baby, was allergic to him. Clearly, he could deal with kids. After a brief email exchange, we went straight over, and there we met one of the most beautiful cats we had aver seen. I don’t mean that in a ‘Crufts for Cats’ kind of way. What I mean is that his personality shone through as this great golden purring bundle of fur greeted us as though we were lifelong friends. He was comfortable around children, and we fell in love immediately. In the following 5 minutes, Purcy was duly adopted, Hungarian passport transferred, and cat parcelled off to his new home. His family were clearly very sad to see him go. We agreed that they would come and visit the following week.

Thrilled at my stroke of genius and very good luck, I worked hard on settling Purcy into his new home. My elation was short lived. It was on day 3 that one of the twins managed to open the door and let Purcy out. Cue 45 missing cat posters, endless treks round the neighbourhood and a staple gun. I phoned all the vets and was advised to post on Facebook. Here in lay the dilemma. I have just taken a beautiful cat from a loving home, had it 3 days, and lost it. I had, however, become Facebook friends with his old family so I could post regular updates to assure them he was safe and happy. This simply wouldn’t happen to the yummy mummy. Mind you, they probably have a Waitrose ‘Lost Pet Retrieval Service’.

I decided to bite the bullet and post. Thereafter, there were lots of messages to his family assuring them I wouldn’t give up, each one inducing a further feeling of guilt and inadequacy. After 3 days of putting food out (which got eaten) calling 3 times a day, and having endless conversations with an unknown cat in the back garden hedge, I forgot to top up the food bowls outside one evening. Purcy apparently enjoyed the great outdoors, but not enough to hunt his own food. He meowed at the front door until we let him in. He hasn’t looked back since. He has a cat flap, lovely food, and rather likes my bed.

Now for stage 2 of the plan. Purcy’s family had no pet, and we had too many. When Purcy’s  family came to visit, we had lots of guinea pig cuddles. To cut a long story short, they left with the pigs. Subsequent posts show that the guinea pigs have landed on their paws, even munching on homemade Hungarian cakes with added vitamin C. 

So now, I just have a Purcy cat.  Today, I was extremely amused to watch his totally Unyummy interaction with the next door neighbours Tom cat, Norman. Apparently, cat etiquette is very different in Hungary than in the UK. Today, I heard an almighty deep growing from Norman. looking out an upstairs window, I saw Purcy sitting in Norman’s garden, looking at Norman slightly bemused. Norman gave it his best arched back, hiss and spit, and growled. Expecting Purcy to get totally beaten up up (Norman being significantly larger) I intervened as any good Mummy would, by yelling at Norman to scram, and re-assuring Purcy. Apparently, Purcy didn’t need re-assured. He just looked at Norman’s performance as though he had no idea what was going on, and looked up at me as if to say ‘Hi Mummy!’.  Norman gave it another couple of goes with his best intimidation techniques before apparently concluding that this new weird next door neighbour was alarmingly unaware of expected behaviours and ran off. Good one Purcy, glad you are keeping up family appearances! You are officially the un-yummy mummy’s cat.  

 

The Un-yummy mummy’s birthday

Today is my birthday. I don’t have particularly high expectations. It was always a difficult one being precisely two weeks before Christmas. Every year during my childhood, the second weekend before Christmas would herald a flurry of visiting relatives with presents for my brothers for Christmas, and  a ‘joint Christmas and birthday present’ for me. The joint Christmas and Birthday present is an abomination which should not exist. I may have been a kid, but I wasn’t stupid. In the maths department, I was able to establish from a very early age that I was getting a pretty shitty presents deal. 

The situation did not improve any when my first baby, due towards the end of January 2010, decided to make an impromptu arrival (requiring ambulance intervention) on the 18 December 2009, 1 week to the day before Christmas. In order to try and make his day less of a flop, it has sort of been moved to my birthday. 

My work colleagues are a pretty fab bunch. We had a lunch, and I was given a very appropriate litre of Bombay Sapphire and a box of Thorntons. When they asked me what I was doing on my birthday, I replied, “drinking gin, eating Thorntons and firefighting my 4 offspring, 4 chickens and a cat until such time as my husband returns from his Xmas cocktail party.”

I wasn’t joking. The au pair has escaped to someone else’s house for supper. Husband has been ordered not to return without an Indian takeaway, but the timings are anyone’s guess. I am drinking my Bombay Sapphire and blogging.

The yummy mummy would never find herself in such a predicament. A December birthday would prove no hurdle to her. She would, undoubtedly, have got it together enough in advance to notice that husbands work do clashed, organised a sitter for another night, booked a romantic restaurant (or made appropriate suggestion to husband) and actually had a meal where conversation could pass between parents. 

I did suggest rather last minute to husband (by email while he was at his work do) that we could have supper out tonight. Obviously forgot to check with the au pair who already had plans. Takeaway for one, whenever it may come, it is. 

Meanwhile, I have put in place a couple of birthday parental exemptions/rules.
1. Unless there is bloodshed I will not intervene.

2. If you have “an accident” Daddy can clean it up when he comes home. After all, I wouldn’t want to disturb Purcy cat, who has finally braved the child zone and is sitting on my knee.

3. Yes, Benji has knocked your picture off your wall because I might accidentally have left all the doors in the house open, giving you free reign, therefore maximising my likely down time. Daddy can totally fix this when he gets home. 

4. The 5 year old is being unusually helpful in meeting his siblings requests..this is being encouraged through the “poor mummy, nobody loves her” campaign. 

5. Daddy has just messaged to say he will be home around 8pm. Bedtime tonight will be around 8pm! 

Does it matter? No, it does not. Because while I have been firefighting, my eldest has just spent 20 minutes writing me this ‘phonetically plausible’ birthday card which I will treasure forever more. (Anyone not “Into” phonetics, this says “Happy Birthday Mum Love from Patrick”). I don’t need to go out. I am with my children whom I love, and who love me. My home is safe, my dinner will come at some point, I have a card of sorts, not to mention a litre of gin. So no matter how un-yummy mummy my birthday may be, it’s mine, and it’s special because I have work colleagues to buy me gin, a husband to bring me an Indian at some time or other, and 4 kids to drive me to distraction until my husband comes home.