Bad Hair Day

I have decided that the fate of the whole day can be dictated by how my hair goes up in the morning. This morning it went badly: pony tail secured, lump of hair on top, undo, redo, pony tail too low, undo, redo. Time is running out, daughters need lunches and a tight war is erupting in the background. Re do, make do – something I’m always telling daughters not to do: don’t make do, aim high. I hit my elbow on the banister on my way downstairs and my tea slops onto the carpet. I growl. Tight war stops for a moment, as participants are momentarily distracted by mum’s bad hair day.

In the office, partner shows number 1 friend the blogo (blog logo) he has designed for me. But she looks too frazzled, she told him. She just doesn’t look like that. Partner remained silent, while I beamed. Partner and I get in the van to go and teach a taekwon-do class. His bum had hardly hit the seat when he said: she just doesn’t see you frazzled.

At the ladies taekwon-do class, post-class conversation inevitably turns to kids and specifically kids afternoon napping: those who do, those who don’t any more and the bitter ladies whose kids never did. Even on a 12 hour journey to France my two didn’t sleep, hassled mum says. Crikey, I think, I’ve taken my babies on laps of the Tescos car park at midnight in days gone by, but France seems a little extreme…

Cheap Shoes and False Economies

Dog 2 has eaten daughter 2’s £50 Clarks school shoes. She had only worn them for a term. The dogs had been quiet. Daughter 2 came in to partner and I, brandishing a photo on her phone: look at the dogs, don’t they look cute. I glanced at the photo, then back to the tv after a quick acknowledgement of their cuteness.

Once we discovered the chewed shoe, I ask to see the photo once again. I zoom in. Dog 2 clearly has the tassel of chewed shoe in his mouth. Cute my arse.

I try to convince her that the shoes are still wearable, as one shoe is entirely untouched. She’s having none of it. She face times her friend for support and she too is having none of it. I don’t stand a chance. You’ll have to go to Tescos mum, for some cheap shoes. With so many children with feet, Tescos was the only place I used to go, until daughter 4 developed a foot problem that the doctor said required a ‘proper shoe’. Since then, all the girls want ‘proper shoes’ .

Determined, I search the charity shops for a replacement that isn’t Tescos and success! A brand new pair of brogues from Jones in Oxfam and at £15 they are more expensive than Tescos. They are almost her size – bingo!

A week on I have spent a further £7.50 on special blister plasters, £5 on insoles and £6 on new tights. I am still falling into the trap of false economy.

Mr Motivator

Daughter 1 is on a health drive. Not borne out of any particular desire to have a New Years resolution, but merely based on the fact that she ate too many weetabix minis. She is trawling the Internet to find workouts and healthy recipes.

She is excited about a workout she has found and wants me to do it with her. The trainer is American and half naked, but we’re peering at her I phone and so all gratification is lost. He is unusually casual in his approach and misses out an exercise in round two, but it doesn’t seem to matter to him at all, he just carries on with his crazy assault of motivational crap. Keira, who is positioned behind him, is supposedly representing those who cannot quite cut it at the front with their t shirts off. Keira has stopped! He shouts, don’t worry if you have to stop! Then later on he exclaims: oh my god, even Keira is doing the full press ups now! Poor Keira, daughter 1 says and we spend the rest of the workout feeling sorry for Keira. By the end of the workout the trainer cannot control his excitement: you’ve completed the workout of professional athletes, he booms through the tiny speaker. Except for Keira, daughter one says, as she looks at me, sadly.

Daughter 2 isn’t impressed with daughter 1’s new exercise regime. You’re going to make yourself anorexic, she told her. Apparently, according to daughter 1, just bananas and oats mashed together and flattened into small pancakes on a piece of grease proof paper and cooked in the oven for ten minutes, are healthy. She has so far subjected us to two batches. Can’t you leave out the banana, daughter 4 asks her. I hate bananas. That would leave just oats, daughter 1 exclaims indignantly and they wouldn’t taste right! Daughter 2 is shaking her head, worried that we are all going to fade away.

Tights

Tights are going to send me to prison. Their very existence is going to force me into committing a murderous act. Four girls, five schooldays a week, same size, same colour – you get me? Daughter 1 bought her own tights. They have a special name with special features, but unfortunately they look exactly the same as all the other pairs of black tights that hang on the airer like grim reapers, waiting until they are dry enough to create merry hell in our house at 7am every single morning.

Daughter 1 has special tights, daughter 2 likes tights that aren’t too thin nor too thick, daughter 3 likes tights she can do the crouching down test in (?), daughter 4, being last on the heap anyway, is least fussy with tights. But they all look the same!

Under the tights they wear socks. Is this new or did I have my head stuck in the sand during my schooldays. So not only do we have tight war every morning, but occasionally sock war too.

On school day mornings, partner’s hiding place is the shower. He only appears as the girls are disappearing out of the door. He misses out on the wars. I try to ignore the wars.

Within seconds of tights finding a person, they hole. We need a second mortgage for tights in this house….and tampax for that matter. I think you should roll your own, partner says (from the safety of one of his hiding places). Where’s that weapon…

Image result for tights images

I’ve been shortlisted in the Best Writer category for the Mumsnet Blogging Awards! Please vote for me by clicking on the link below – it takes literally a millisecond. Thank you 🙂

http://www.mumsnet.com/events/blogging-awards/2016/best-writer

A Touch of the Menstrals…

Having five girls is a constant source of joy, irritation, fun and frustration.

Two pre-menstrals, three menstrals and one peri-menopausal make mood swings in our house like a Newton’s Cradle. Daughter 2’s mood swings are like a huge pendulum coming crashing towards you, that you either slip to the side of or take full on, depending on your own mood. But as quickly as it hits, it will swing back happily the other way and she’ll have us all laughing again.

The four males in the house: partner, dog 1, dog 2 and fat cat, all look on with amusement and despair – depending on their moods.

When we got dog 1, scaredy cat was never to be seen in public again, whereas fat cat takes the dogs on. He wears his big ginger status with pride. Scaredy cat now has special hiding places where she lives. I have noticed that partner is starting to develop a similar pattern of behaviour: current favourite hiding spots when Newton’s Cradle in full swing: toilet, our bedroom where his two guitars are, tv room as we have free sky sports for three months due to Talk Talk cock up, garage which is now an office.

He has bought us (himself) a pressure washer, which I feel he is overly excited about. It came in several parts – all of which arrived separately and all of which had to be delivered to our neighbour as we were out. Part one: the pressure washer itself. Left neighbour knocked at 10pm. He looked weary. The box had been taking up his entire hallway since 2pm. I apologised profusely. Next came the small brush. He dutifully brought it round – more apologising. Then it was the large brush (when I say ‘large’ I mean HUGE – like a stingray) So I don’t have to do as much brushing, partner said gleefully. It was delivered, yet again, by left neighbour. I’m sure there can’t be any more bits to this pressure washer, I said to left neighbour, in a vain attempt at lightening his mood. Then partner got an e mail: the cleaning liquid will be delivered tomorrow, it read. Left neighbour lobbed it at us from his front door as we returned from work that evening, narrowly missing fat cat, who is inclined to lounge on the pavement outside our house, seeking love from anyone susceptible.

Pressure washer, now complete. Us, now struck off left neighbour’s Christmas card list. A week later, boxes still stacked, unopened in living room. Ah well, I suppose it gives partner something to hide behind.

OMG!

Daughter 2 is dyslexic. Once we got over the screaming sessions that resulted from her never picking up book to read, and the mess she makes of the shopping list, we often find it hysterical.

Daughter 1 was off to work this morning: Matt , ICS Matt, started work at the leisure centre yesterday, she was telling me. Omg! Dyslexic daughter 2 exclaimed, he’s a member of ISIS! No, daughter 1 said disdainfully, he’s doing the international citizen service.

Daughter 2 puts her porridge into the microwave. How long mum? Two minutes on high. She peers in half way through, as the porridge is bubbling over the top of her overfilled bowl. Omg, I must have used self raising milk! Omg….

It’s a Dog’s Life

Our dogs have their own voices. Dog 1 had his voice and when dog 2 arrived it was hard to know exactly what his voice should be, so for a few weeks dog 2 sounded like a husky Frenchman. That isn’t right, the girls would exclaim – he doesn’t speak like that. I got tetchy and defensive – he does speak like that I insisted. Three months on, however, dog 1 and dog 2’s voices have merged into one, as has fat cats. Partner and I will have whole conversations as dogs. I wondered how normal this was until our dog sitter arrived for the first time – she started talking like a dog – but in her own style. I have stopped myself from worrying that the dogs will get confused.

Daughter 4 is learning a great deal about male parts and sex from the dogs. Mum he’s got his lipstick out again! Mum, what are they doing? Don’t worry darling, I reply in a husky frenchman’s voice, it’s natural.

The dogs have taken to humping more in front of certain people, certain men to be precise. I’ve given up apologising. Take it as a compliment, I say. You are bringing out their hormones.

Happy Campers

I’ve booked a break for the Easter weekend. A tent?! Daughter 2 exclaimed, both to me and her FaceTime friend. I’m going to be in a tent while you’re in Spain. A tent?!, her friend repeated back, somewhat incredulously. Yes, I said, a little irritated by this double assault on my choice of holiday, it’s called glamping and we can take the dogs – as if either of these two pieces of information were going to reduce her and FaceTime friends horror.

Will there be wifi, asked daughter 1. No, it’s about relaxing and switching off, I tried to explain, beginning to wonder whether this was the best choice for a break with 4 tweenage and teenage girls, two dogs and partner.

We got to the book now part of the form. £595 for a tent! Partner exclaimed. We’ve got a tent in the shed! I sighed, but the trip advisor reviews say that the duvets are more comfortable than a five star hotel and there’s a proper toilet and lanterns, I reply somewhat weakly and they’ll let us take the dogs. He nodded and reluctantly clicked; priorities have changed.

Toilet Troubles

I have dropped my phone down the toilet…again. The first time was due to a hiccup, both literally and metaphorically speaking, catapulting it out of my hand and dumping it down the u bend. This time It was wrenched from my hand by an unknown force and dropped down the khazie. Despite partners valiant attempts at rice and airing cupboard treatment for 48 hours and it, tantalisingly, coming back to life for a day, it burnt itself out (I was using it as a hand warmer until I actually engaged my brain and told myself that a hand warmer is one of the few claims Apple doesn’t make of its phones).

All of which puts me in the unlikely position of now being envied by my four children, as I have replaced phone disaster number two with an I phone 6. This prompted daughter 1 to open her negotiations: if you have step dad’s phone and step dad has my phone then I can have your I phone 6 mum.

Every time I get my phone out it is met with words of awe and appreciation of its colour, it’s form and complete incredulity that I don’t want to use the thumb print device. It is caressed and handled by the girls as if it were a work of art; which, I suppose in 21st century terms it is. The I phone 7 is coming out soon, daughter 4 informs me this evening, as if hoping to dent my pride in owning my piece of history. Or perhaps she’s just hoping for another hiccup.

Failed!

Number 1 friend seems quite surprised that I don’t know the name of my daughter’s head teacher. Oh I don’t even know the name of her form teacher I said adding, is that bad? She’s visibly shocked so I turn back to the permission slip I’m completing and continue in silence. I’m racking my brains for her form group. I knew it once I chide myself. I’m feeling the pressure. Eventually I give in and turn to friend one, she’s 7 erm….oh my god she exclaims. Another failure to me, except the very nature of our friendship and her number one status is that we don’t judge. We go back too far and know too much. Well, I continue defensively, the whole year 7 induction process burnt me out. Plus I have too many children to worry about details: too many parent portals, too many systems, too many codes. At my kids’ school there are several heads, my no 1 friend continues, seemingly recovered from her disappointment in me. Too many heads…. Life is just so complicated now.