Monthly Archives: April 2014

Boys…in multiple



It takes a woman of a certain disposition to mother boys (that is supposed to be plural, I am sure one gorgeous specimen is generally a breeze).  This might come naturally to some but if it doesn’t you will soon learn to adopt it – or suffer I fear.  If you were a Daddy’s Girl growing up or are the lucky sort of female on whom men bestow compliments and favours (and I am neither), your journey might be even more tricky as boys do not treat their mothers with the reverence and adoration I was led to believe.  Despite what I was assured by a great number of older ladies when the boys were small, I am not treated like a queen, in fact, many is the time I have had cause to exclaim with gusto, ‘this isn’t a bloody cafe’ and even ‘what did your last slave die of?’ The latter was actually a conversation stopper as the boys vacillated between wondering guiltily whose demise they had in advertantly caused and pondering whether they were, in fact, allowed a slave (resulting in my initial point being lost entirely).

Even for those of us with brothers – who fought madly with brothers no less and would proudly claim our lack of princess-y qualities – the sheer physicality of boys, especially when they are in plural, is astounding.  Mine at least seem quite incapable of watching TV, playing Lego, playing in the garden without poking and prodding and just physically winding each other up.  The testosterone seems to be more concentrated as the number of brothers increases too; does anyone else find they get more and more boy-like?  Edward might as well have entered the world saying “put your dooks up” or in Scrappy-doo speak “lemme at ‘em”, the ‘em’ being his big brothers.

 A new friend of mine from the US recently shared with me, as we watched our boys rolling about on the ground after football training, that she had been told this is how boys fill their love buckets.  My sons have numerous buckets and they are all bloody overflowing. 

There is nothing subtle about my children (though in my experience there is nothing subtle about most men so I don’t know why I’m surprised by this).  What you see is what you get, which lots of people tell me makes them more straightforward than girls but also means that every emotion is writ large; things are either awesome or the absolute end of the world.  ‘I hate you’ is unfortunately heard often, directed at a brother for pinching a toy or a parent for suggesting teeth brushing.   I have, thankfully, developed great fortitude in this area and manage, mostly, not to take it personally.  It does also mean I am treated to sudden explosive (and often physical, I have been knocked to the ground by a joyful hug) outpourings of love which I wish I could bottle since the feeling it creates beats any other high.

The knock-on effect of this un-subtle way of being in the world is the offence or worry caused to others.  I have had a lovely old dear in our local supermarket (which a friends mum has nicknamed God’s waiting room on account of the demographic of the customers) say to me “I was really worried about that little boy”, as I browsed a pop-up clothes stall while Edward stroked the handrail on the escalator (shocking, I know).  I’m not even sure she knew he was mine, I think she just needed to share her concern with the closest person.  I’m sure she was quite horrified by my casual, ‘oh, I’m sure he’s fine’ in response, expecting I suppose to galvinise me into action being a younger and possibly responsible person.  I probably disappointed her in that, but I’ve developed what I like to think of a knack for knowing when to intervene with my boys, which perhaps doesn’t always come across so well.

Yesterday they did me proud though as we spent the entire day hanging around Willoughby shuttling from swimming to park to swimming to indoor play centre to train station to collect Andrew and then back to swimming again (yes, the boys were very weary).  They barely fought (I had planned like a demon and had many distractions and much food) or complained as we pinged in and out of the car.  They probably did have rather more sugar than usual (travel sweet game anyone?) but when, being the last to leave Wizzy World they took it upon themselves to tidy the whole of the baby area, I thought I would burst with pride (whether filling the house up with balls and jamming as many soft blocks as possible to the climbing structure is the usual method employed by staff I wouldn’t know).  What I would like to know is why, having demonstrated their outstanding skill in housework, I am still their slave.


For my next trick…

Happiness is...

Happiness is…

One year ago today I started this blog, then called ‘me without sav b’. It marked the beginning of a month of abstinence while I trained to run the Mothers Day Classic four weeks later. I raised over $1000 for a boy called Darcy (who is the same age as William on whose birthday Darcy’s treatment began), who was undergoing treatment for the awful childhood cancer neuroblastoma.  I would like to think that people sponsored me to run – I am no runner – but, truth be told, it was probably as much about my forgoing of alcohol as the exercise. Recording my month ‘off’ ensured I was accountable. This in turn helped make the venture much easier. For this reason, among others, I have decided to ‘go public’ with my latest undertaking – a twelve month stretch off the booze. Here’s why (stop reading now Mum):

Following a particularly vile hangover, details of which I won’t inflict on you, I came to the realisation that I was missing too much of life to carry on in this vein. I have been stressed, crabbit, disorganised, forgetful and only just managing to keep up with the day to day tasks of managing a family of five. Everything was last minute, I thrived on pressure, – or so I thought – all mothers of young children need something to help them cope with the daily grind, the expectations, the sheer bloody monotony that accompanies this choice. And yet a few months before I had begun a fledgling career as a writer, people paid me for words, one of the things I love most in the word. But it seemed that the more I drank, the less the words refused to flow. And the early mornings stopped, and the unhappier I became, and the greater the need for that ‘witching hour’ snifter became and with it the loss of another evening.


I have signed up to do a 12 month HSM through Hello Sunday Morning, an amazing and inspiring organisation which aims to ‘change your relationship with alcohol one Sunday at time.’ You can be as active or passive as you like once you have completed a short profile – there is real support from people of all walks of life in many countries and at various stages on their personal journey. You can set yourself goals, large or small and tick them off as you go. Checking in, monitoring progress would not be for everyone but I find it invaluable.

I am claiming my evenings back, and the early mornings, sometimes featuring a walk with friends in whom I have confided and who are my cheer squad. The fog is lifting. I am still forgetful and disorganised but some things I might have to admit are just me (I’ve always joked that I was born to be blonde after all) which I can live with.   What I can’t live with is the knowledge that I am failing to do everything in my power to live a happy and fulfilled life, thereby hopefully passing on positive examples and ethos to my children. There is no doubt that even in the 13 (count them!) days since ditching the vino I am a nicer wife and mother. I have oodles more patience and I’m simply enjoying my family again, laughing at their foibles, giving them more time.

Lorna Jane (a trendy exercise-wear shop for those of you not familiar) featured a slogan in their window a couple of months ago that I read every morning on the school run: ‘Be the best version of yourself you can be.’ I can now say proudly that I am trying.





Warning: this post may make you itch…


Image  Even SJP can’t escape!  Luckily I work from home!

As mentioned here before, I now have Thursdays and Fridays to myself, sans offspring. I have got into a routine after enjoying a coffee at The Source post drop-off. On Thursdays I try to catch up on the housework (I spent almost an hour yesterday simply walking around the house returning things to their rightful homes before I could even see huge areas of the floor, getting distracted by facebook and daydreaming about the work I will do on Friday, mostly failing to write it down so that, come Friday I can’t remember any of the brilliant ideas I intended to work on. So on Fridays I try to work – and end up procrastinating by writing a non-earning blog post such as this (sponsorship always welcome though NOT related to this post…).

Last week I had a break from the norm: I had a treatment. ‘Ooh, lovely’, is what you’re thinking now isn’t it? You’re imagining white fluffy towels, unctuous lotions, warm flowing water – am I close? Tick, tick and tick, BUT, add in a vicious metal-toothed comb, the tell-tale pong of tea-tree, and my head upside down in my own (not very clean) shower and suddenly it’s a different picture altogether. Yes, you’ve got it – I self-administered a nit treatment.

I have forced Andrew to check and re-check but all that resulted from his devoted ministrations was a belt around the chops after he dared to step into the danger territory that comes with a mention of greying. (Even my five year old has more sensitivity in this area – while tidying up Lego the other day he told me my hair at the top was lovely and ‘sparkly’ and what woman of a certain age doesn’t want to be described as sparkly?) I have even braved the hairdresser – though not for a while obviously – ready to be discreetly shown out the back door with nary a foil near my poor root-ridden bonce, but no, the lovely Katrina gamely persevered and also found no evidence of blood sucking critters. But still I was not convinced – something was causing the agonising itching.

Most nights, at some point, I wake up beside, not my dear snoring husband, but my angelic-looking youngest son. He creeps through in the wee small hours and snuggles down really really close to me, showing me such love and devotion that his many daily misdemeanours are nightly forgiven. However, it suddenly dawned me that perhaps it was his nightly misdemeanour I should be worrying about, being a lot stealthier, a lot more insidious, and, for a change, utterly innocent.

So last Friday I went for it, bravely gritting my teeth as the comb ripped my hair from my scalp – ‘it will all be worth it’ I told myself. I was almost looking forward to seeing the evidence, to proving my theory correct and showing those who had checked previously wrong (though common sense would suggest that if there was anything – or indeed anyone – to tease-out then getting a full-head of highlights might be the way). I remember the first time I de-loused Sam, the sense of accomplishment was so addictive we sat through a whole Ninjago DVD while I hunted the buggers down and banished them from my precious child. I began with the same gusto last Friday, not allowing myself to become disheartened when the prodigious tugging produced no results. But by the end I had to admit it, all I had succeeded in doing was thinning my hair (helpful perhaps given the damp weather we’re having) and making myself smell like a health food shop by engulfing myself in a fug of tea-tree.

I have since checked all three boys and none has nits (we have not yet ruled out Andrew though!). I should of course have started there, and probably tried changing my shampoo. I’ve now done that and it seems to have done the trick, hallelujah!  Sometimes the solution – pun intended – is staring you right in the face.

My apologies if I’ve made you itch! Wishing you all a fun, bug-free weekend.