Sunday, 23 March 2014

The disbelief

Things have changed pretty radically for OH and I in the last two years. As we approach our 18 year anniversary (18!! Sweet Baby Jesus where has that time gone?) I tend to view our relationship as a line on a graph. Get me OH and my mathematical aptitude - I am referring to something maths-based in my blog! Don't tell me ever again that my maths GCSE was ill-awarded. Imagine if you will: time across the x axis, life events up the y. There's a small spike on 12 April 1996 (our get together date); then pretty much no change until 2003 when we move in together; another spike in 2008 when we buy our first house; and then nada significant as we trundle along living our life together, peppered with holidays and triathlons and lovely food and nights out and city breaks. And then bam! Two kids in the space of two years. The line on the graph has gone mentally upwards - we've gone from just normal people to "responsible" adults in a very small stretch of time. We're off the scale on the y. If my mathematical brilliance is too much for you, then please look at it this way. Our relationship is like the evolution of the universe, the big bang being our 12 April 1996. The arrival of our children is just the teeny little bit of the cosmological timeline that is inhabited by humans. It's a very strange thing to get used to.

But why should I find it a thing so strange to get used to, given that many zillions of people have children and that doing so is a completely normal thing to do? Why do I still freak out in the middle of the night when I wake up and remember that I have progeny? I think it's basically because I am essentially still a child myself, in mind at least. (Not in body of course, that would be outright weird). How could it possibly be that I am responsible for two other actual humanoids when I still struggle to look after myself? When left to my own devices, I eat cheese for tea. Just cheese. I might add in a bag of crisps if I wanted to shake things up, culinarily speaking. Only tonight did I have to ask OH where China was on the world map (he was somewhat disappointed/distressed/dismayed by that and no doubt wondered why he had chosen to link genetic material with someone so intellectually challenged). I only learned how to make scrambled egg this year (when I rang OH at work to find out - nothing if not resourceful, me). I still think it's a freaking miracle that metal planes make it off the ground and yet metal ships don't sink on water. I am not able to comprehend the size of the cosmos. As I type this, we are listening to a Ministry of Sound album from the actual nineties. I am a parent! I should not need to hark back to my days of old skool house. Why am I not listening to Wagner or Radio 4? I still sob uncontrollably at The Railway Children and Goodnight Mister Tom. Generally speaking my bedroom is a tip. I moan at having to do the washing up. I could go on - the list is endless.

And yet, here I am, kiddlie-winkles attached to my apron strings looking to me to provide them with everything they need to stay alive. My god. That is scary. I am not qualified. I don't have a permit or license. It's bonkers to me that I'm not able to drive on the roads of this country without a license (not that I have ever actually read the Highway Code - see! I'm not an adult!) but can spring forth little beings from my loins and be expected to provide for and guide them through life. What have I done to the poor poppets?

The other thing that makes me laugh about this, is the fact that other people treat me like a parent. I get letters addressed to "the parent or guardian of...." and I open them. Other people assume that I am qualified to look after these kids. Hehehe. Well the joke is on them because little do they know that I still swig from the orange juice carton and have a secret crush on Harry Styles. I felt like a massive fraudster a few weeks ago when the Headmistress of MD's new school greeted us at said school's open day like we were the adults in the family. Can you imagine it? Me and OH as the adults! He, dressed in his triathlon hoodie which I'm almost certain had tomato sauce spilled down the sleeve, and me, feeling naughty by the fact that I was wearing jeans to go around the school. In my day, jeans and denim of all kinds were forbidden on school premises. In fact, I suspect my inner child made me wear jeans just to flout the now non-existent rules. How puerile is that? Answer: very. Anyway, I was mindful of my p's and q's. I walked down the left hand side of the corridors and laughed politely at the small talk I made with the teachers. Shockingly, all of the evidence pointed to the fact that I was acting like a parent. The disbelief.

But hang on, maybe I am giving myself a hard time here. I mean, I had the foresight to actively contact a school before I had to and get us on the open day invite list. My children are always in nice, clean (but definitely not ironed), clothes. They get three proper meals a day. I make them brush their teeth and read them bedtime stories. So maybe I'm not all that bad - maybe I am getting there as a parent. But wait. Nah. Who am I kidding? I just had to check where China was. They are doomed.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The TT

No, not Time Trial. And for once in my life I might be sad to be saying that. Because if the subject of this post was time trial, then it would mean that I would have no cause to write about the Terrible Twos. But I do. As over the last few weeks we have somehow wandered, seemingly under the radar and overnight, into this Bermuda triangle of nightmares. My Dear God. My little MD has gone from being the most well behaved, sweet-natured child to a mini-diva of epic proportions.

I may have been a little sceptical before becoming a parent about those mothers who talked of the TTs. I just didn't really believe that the phenomenon really existed and that obviously any poor behaviour in the children was obviously a result of poor parenting and why didn't those said parents just make their children be quiet with a swift clip round the ear? Of course, now I'm here, it's easier said than done and I'm the one desperately shushing my child as she screams like a nut-job for no apparent reason other than to make the whole world stare at me and ask why I'm such a useless parent.

The thing that has shocked me the most though is that it really has just switched on. Last month she was mostly quiet and unassuming; with a bit of a cry and moan if she didn't get her own way. This month she has started to perform fully-loaded, teenager-style hissy fits, accompanied with either the most high-pitched screech known to man, or the whiniest, droniest whinge similarly known. If one teeny tiny teeny tiny thing doesn't go her way, then she is off. It's bonkers. One minute we're playing nicely with the ball thing that the washing powder liquid goes into (I know, we are such a fun household), and the next, bam! Absolutely terrifying piercing scream fills the house, accompanied by stamping feet, bright red cheeks and pummeling fists. And for what, I hear you ask? What can be the terrible, treasonous act I have committed to result in this meltdown? I turned on the washing machine. That was all. Imagine if I did actually do something truly awful. It would be like the apocalypse.

Yesterday's major fit was similarly crazy. MD had been eating her lunch for hours. One piece of pasta every ten minutes and it was getting to the point where she would still have been eating lunch at the same time I was preparing her tea. So I asked her if I should put her pasta in the fridge, so that she could finish it at tea time? Yes, she said, smiled sweetly and started to chatter about eating her pasta at tea time. So I took away the bowl. Cue first installment. Screaming, huge red tears and leg kicks so pendulous I thought the high chair was going to rock off its stand. OK. OK MD, you can have it back, I say, if you think you want to eat it. Yes yes, eat it, comes the reply. So another twenty minutes later, nothing more eaten. I go through the above again, with the warning that this will be the last time. Yes, yes, she agrees, she wants out of the high chair anyway. So I take it away again. And like a mentalist, she goes ballistic. Proper nuclear missile ballistic. In fact, she goes so mad for so long (without me being able to calm her down at all, despite intervention of Lindsay Lohan proportions) that I end up filming her doing it. Full on hysterical tears, with hyperventilation in between each breath - you know the type. Maybe ten minutes later again, she finally calms down with the advent of Cbeebies on the tele and an eventual cuddle from momma. And then she's fine. It's like an explosion in a firework factory but without the Health and Safety Inspectorate coming in afterwards to identify the cause of the bang. There's no one making recommendations on how to avoid similar gaffes in the future. She just gets back to normal and can't tell me why she was so stressed.

The twist in the tail with this saga is that this morning she found the video of herself, during her "iPad time". She honestly must have watched herself screaming and wailing maybe 15 times. Each time it ended, she looked at me in disbelief, as if to say 'who is this freak you have recorded here Mother? I know it looks like me, but it's certainly not me. You need to control her better.' Man. My own baby is now looking at me wondering why I'm such a useless parent.

Friday, 7 March 2014


First, some background. This blog used to be called 'Triathlon Widow': basically because that's what I was and I was in desperate need to share my burden with the world via social networky means. Since the last post in December 2011 (the shame), there have been a number of fairly significant changes in my life so thought I'd better update the title and what-not to reflect that.

So, the deal is this:

February 2012 - produced our first child - a wonderful, blonde haired, blue eyed beauty who is essentially a miniature version of her father. I'm going to refer to her as MD (mini-daddy).

January 2013 - returned to work after first maternity leave and promptly got pregnant again - the people at work *love* me. Curently on second maternity leave.

October 2013 - produced our second child - another amazing little girl (although not so little given her 10lb 4.5oz birth weight), brown haired, brown eyed and a miniature version of me. I am therefore going to refer to her as MM (yep, you guessed it, mini-mummy).

March 2014 - realised that my brain had officially turned to mush when I put Topsy & Tim on series link and began to skip forward excitedly to see what was going to happen in the next episode (Topsy gets chicken pox, incidentally. Sounds like it's going to be a 'not-to-be-missed' installment). So I decided I had to do something to get the old grey matter flexing again. Stand aside Woolf and Mrs Gaskell! This blog is back in business and I'm sure will be as inane and ground breaking as it always was. Not. Given that I have pretty much forgotten how to type and spell and form a sentence I'm thinking that the great women of literature will be safe. Probably turning in their graves, more like.

Of course our trusty old friend Triathlon has been a steady constant in my life throughout these changes; except now the bikes don't have their own bedroom but are parked up somewhat annoyingly in my dining room and guest room. OH still refuses to put them in the garage. Fatherhood has brought OH much joy but he still has a very warm and fuzzy place in his heart for swimming, cycling and running. And lycra. And inner tubes and pedals and that weigh 0.0001 of a gram, and stretchy laces and Strava, and protein shakes and the rest of it. So I guess what I'm saying is, that despite my best efforts of giving OH sleepless nights with our nocturnal babies, and putting all sorts of triathlon-shaped obstacles in the way, he's still sticking with it and so therefore, am I.

Lastly, given that it's nearly 10pm and that is my official/total/desperately-need-my-bed, bedtime, I just wanted to explain the new blog title. For the time being at least, my role is mum and housewife (of course the irony that I'm not actually a 'wife' is not lost on me) - and so I thought I might write about that for a bit. The 'not quite' refers to the fact that I'm pretty hopeless at it. And knowing OH's OCD about such things as tidiness and cleanliness and orderliness - and my non-aptitude for tidiness, cleanliness and orderliness, I suspect that the 'revenge' bit of the new title is fairly self explanatory.