What are memories made of…….?

When you tell people that you have 4 children, there’s usually the stereotypical ‘wow you’ve got your hands full’ response.

Yet as they walk away you can hear the ‘what a shame, they must never get one-on-one time’.

Well they do so ner to the nay-sayers!

And its that thought that brings me to today’s point (yes these posts do sometimes have a point).

Its very often that you hear the phrases ‘precious family time’ and ‘making memories’ thrown around, especially in this age of social media.

But, it’s important to remember that the things that mean the most to children are not always things that can be explained in a Facebook post, or hash tagged in an Instagram snap.

An expensive day trip with added extras may seem like a massive treat from our perspective, but if a child has had a bad day at school the day before and is furtively hoping for a few quiet minutes to discuss it with you. Then this busy trip would not be welcome or appreciated leading to disappointment from both sides.

Having memories is wonderful and incredibly important. But looking back it suddenly becomes clear that the things that we, as adults, remember from our childhood are not necessarily the big events, but more likely snapshots of a funny moment or a treasured smile.

We don’t ‘make memories’ they make themselves. They are spontaneous and we may not know that they have happened until years later when we suddenly recall a random event that makes us smile or laugh or cry all over again.

Memories have the uncanny ability of turning up when they are needed, whether we appreciate their appearance or not. But they serve a purpose, without them we are not a whole person; a character that’s portrayed in a book needs a past, a present and a future to enable the reader to connect with them as a three dimensional being and the same is true with us.

I feel that I have the authority to make these points as the daughter of a lady who, through the need for medical treatment, lost the majority of her long term memories. She was still a character in her own story but she couldn’t flick back the pages of her mind to remind herself of details. She lost her past and the part she played in our past. Moments that could never be recaptured.

I think this is why when it comes to the Monkeys, I’m very much aware that the things they store away in their memories may not be the things I have planned and scripted as a ‘memory making’ exercise.

Take today for example.

Noodle has a new musical obsession which is out of the realms of most typical 6 year olds.

Because I am stingy I refused to pay the extortionate costs of downloading the tracks he wanted, so he suggested that we could go and look in the local charity shops and check through their CDs and I agreed.

CircusHusband needed to pick up a package in town so we all headed out and parted ways (in other words he bribed the remaining Monkeys with the promise of snacks at Gregg’s if they complied)

Noodle and I went off on our mission. The fun we had browsing through hundreds of CDs was ridiculous and the excitement when I found a compilation album with a track by his new favourite singer was unbelievable. I’ll leave you to picture a high-fiving session in the middle of Cancer Research!

It was a short outing. We spent precisely £3. Yet Noodle was so happy he was skipping down the pavement.

Those few moments right there. Just me and him. Will stay with me always and I know that he’ll remember the day we went and did exactly what he wanted. Just for him.

Yes I have my hands full but sometimes (as often as I can) I have two completely empty hands ready to support whichever Monkey requires one-on-one. Today it was Noodle and CD’s, next time will be something just as random yet just as vitally important in a child’s uncomplicated opinion.

I am a long way from a perfect parent and I don’t, in any way, profess to know the secrets of parenting (seriously, is it like the magicians secret circle or something? Is there a special handshake?). The only thing I know is that children are simple and they like the simple things, it’s only as we grow up that we start to make things complicated

If I could give a new parent one piece of advice, it would be;

Don’t waste so much energy forcing memories that you’ve none left to actually make the real ones.

Welcome to my world

Rx

Advertisements

Read all about it…..Hold the front page……

I am able, tonight, to share some very exciting news.

Monkey number 2 has decided to undertake a new business venture.

He is becoming Editor of his very own newspaper.

In case any of my readers are considering a career change, I’ll outline his proposal.

He will be Editor. He will employ ‘writers’. He will answer to Boss, Sir, Captain or VIP.

Writers will be required to live on his premises. They will be given the combination code to the gate for when they return from errands but it only works one way and there will be a really big fence so they can’t climb out willy-nilly. Writers are on duty 24 hours a day but are allowed an hour off on a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday evening to play a board game (a long as no big stories come in of course)

Writers will be provided daily with sweets and hot chocolate. Unfortunately if they don’t write quick enough this privilege will be removed sharpish. As Editor, Noodle will join them for sweets and hot chocolate but will also indulge in crisps (McCoys only, no Aldi ones) which he will ensure he eats in a room that’s three doors away from the workers so the crunching doesn’t distract them from their work.

Writers are allowed water as and when needed. The Editor, however, will require coca-cola in a glass. Slightly worryingly he originally planned to fool his writers into thinking he was also drinking water by putting gin in a glass because that’s see through (“you know gin mummy, gin with a g”).

Writers will be paid monthly at a rate of £10 each. There is no time off for a cold, they’ll just have to be brave and bring tissues. Time off will be granted for a broken leg, this time will be charged to the writer at a rate of double his earnings. <His explanation of this had me in actual floods of tears. I asked what would happen when the writer had been to hospital and he replied “well they’d come to work, presumably the doctors had successfully fixed the broken leg, that is their job after all is it not.” I explained that broken bones take weeks to heal, he had a think and said “well I guess he could come back and put it on a stool……or he could stay at home and miss out, and anyway unless he was trying to climb the big fence however did he manage to break his leg anyway.”>

The main role of The Editor is to choose what the writers will write about, to read what they’ve written, to argue with what they’ve written and ultimately make them change what they’ve written.

Newspaper production happens daily. Any writers who do not perform effectively will be dismissed (but if they’re really sorry they can pay to come back). Once someone is sacked, then the combination lock code is changed for safety. There was some talk of a cane but I think I managed to negotiate him away from corporal punishment for misdemeanours and he decided shoddy workmanship would be dealt with by the removal of board game privileges.

Each daily edition costs £2.99 but customers are expected to pay more and will not receive change as that money is needed for the Coca-Cola (or gin apparently). Each edition will have 3 stories, a puzzle page, an interview and adverts.

Issue number one will focus on polar bear danger. It will helpfully inform the readers in quite graphic detail about why polar bears are not as friendly and cuddly as they look. It will explain that if you find yourself in an area inhabited by polar bears then you should panic as polar bears are meat eaters and food is scarce, thus anything that enters their local vicinity is considered lunch. It will also touch on their cannibalism tendencies.

Apparently the next story will be funny so as not to upset readers too much that they don’t buy the paper the next day.

The highlight of issue 2 will be an article about Space Debris. Followed by a StarWars noughts and crosses/sudoku hybrid puzzle.

Exactly who will be interviewed is yet to be determined. His heart is set on some Russian astronaut that he’s discovered but he’s worried about the translation issues. He may decide to interview Donald Trump (no he can’t say that without sniggering) as he’s developed an interest in American politics and last night shared with me the three rules that have to be followed to allow you to become president. These are long and complicated rules with many numbers in relating to age and heritage and citizenship. It amazes me that the child reciting them to me is the exact same one who only ever knows the location of one glove. Or he may just interview himself, he is Editor after all.

So I’m sure you’re now all desperate to come and work for Sir Noodle Sugar, he’s awaiting cvs of potential candidates as we speak but I really wouldn’t put it past him to have some sort of recruitment process in the style of Total Wipeout. I truly fear for anyone that ends up working for him in the future because let me tell you I do it on a daily basis and he is a slavedriver.

But anyway this business proposal completely brightened up my evening, especially when he was so into that he was following me round to explain his next strategy to me. That boy will go far, I have no doubt.

Welcome to my world

Rx

While you were gone…

It’s been a while since a blog post materialised so I thought an interim Circus roundup might be in order.

Froo is away on a residential trip with school this week so I have taken the opportunity to perform a clutter exorcism in her room. In seemingly unrelated news I have discovered the whereabouts of 15 (yes one five) drinking receptacles that I had written off as ‘items lucky enough to leave the madness alive’. So I will now either be incredibly popular and showered with eternal gratitude or……. not. But hey at least I’ll have something to drink from while I wait to find out.

The other drama today involved Pickle’s interactive dog toy. We spent a good while barking instructions at it while it ignored us (yes the irony was not lost on me). Only for Noodle to return home from school and announce “oh yeah that’s probly cos I changed it’s name to {insert name of obscure russian astronaut here}”. So us bellowing ‘Katie’ at it was a complete waste of time and energy.

On the subject of astronauts, Noodle has had a rethink regarding his future career (the plan was to be a police officer during the week, a spaceman on weekends until he was crowned king). However, he learnt today that when you’re on a space mission the most uncomfortable part is re-entry when the temperature increases dramatically. He doesn’t really like being hot so he’s going to be a scientist instead.

Welcome to my world

Rx

Life’s little annoyances.

I like to think I’m a fairly patient person. I’m probably wrong but it’s my blog so we’ll go with it.

However there are a few things in this world that really bring out the irritable side of me, let me share:

  • Pay at Pump – it’s called that for a reason. Rocket science it is not. Insert card, insert pin, insert fuel, insert self back into car. It is not; faff at keypad, take so long that an attendant is alerted, attendant explains that if you’re using cash you need to press ‘pay at kiosk’, insert fuel, fumble in car for purse, wander into kiosk at a pace akin to a cautious turtle, return eventually and smile at waiting car, retune stereo, double check seatbelt, check reflection in mirror, stall car, exit forecourt.
  • Registration inputting machines – I do not know their official title but you know when you’re in a supermarket and you have to key your registration number into a machine to qualify for free parking? Yes those. I have a mind like a sieve, an actual sieve. I cannot be expected to remember: everything I need to buy, whether I’ve remembered my reusable bags, what my PIN number is, and then my registration number. It ain’t gonna happen. The pin machine gets my reg number, the car park machine gets my pin, neither work and I remember why I prefer online shopping.
  • Shops that don’t have prices on display – I find something I like but, low and behold, there’s no price attached. What do I do? If I ask for assistance there’s that uncomfortable moment when they tell you a price way out of your desired budget and you’re forced to resist the sharp intake of breath and screeching “how much???” and instead remain straight faced and calmly respond with “hmm, thank you, I’ll just pop it down and have a little think, I’ll maybe pop back later.” Shop owners listen up, if you want to sell me something I need to know what it costs. I am not psychic.
  • USB charging cables – Why on earth is it necessary to have multiple different shaped usb cables? I want to charge my IPhone….. I can only find a Samsung charger. I want to charge my Kindle……I can only find a lightening adaptor. It’s just madness. It’s a means of transferring power from one source to another so why the need for variety? And then you find the one you actually need, turn around for a second and someone’s stolen it. I swear chargers have legs in The Circus, they stumble off at free will. There’s probably a chargers meeting corner somewhere where they all hang out and plot their next escape.
  • Companies who pay good money for signage on vehicles/buildings/advertising but don’t bother to check it – there’s nothing worse than looking for a plumber and discovering one who ‘value’s there customer’s’, ‘is perfect for pacific jobs’ or “no’s you’re needs ect” It’s just unprofessional and sloppy. When CircusHusband and I were planning our wedding, I dismissed many discos and florists because of blaring grammatical errors on their websites and I regularly vow to carry tippex with me to eradicate errant apostrophes. Yes, spelling and grammar can be tricky but in this technological age there is no excuse, spell check is your friend.
  • People who pull up at the drive-thru windows and have no idea what they want – ok so this one is quite specific and I may be personally biased as CircusHusband is a nightmare for this. He can examine the menu board, eventually make a decision, reach the ordering machine and then have sudden amnesia and not have a clue where he is , who he is or what the hell he wants to eat. It’s equally frustrating and hilarious the amount of times I have to take over and holler orders from the passenger side.
  • Cutlery – yes I know you’re already slightly baffled about what could possibly be the problem with cutlery. Let me explain. The cutlery lives in a drawer. The drawer is segmented to make life orderly and easier. The order of the cutlery is set in stone, there are no variations, it’s not a random pick and mix. It goes: Knives. Forks. Dessert Spoons. Tea Spoons. Always has, always will. It is not funny to muddle the spoons and forks. Neither is it amusing to turn all the teaspoons so they face the wrong direction. It is not a whimsical quirk to allow the dessert spoons to become bedfellows with the kebab skewers (which have their own designated area). Knives. Forks. Spoons….Knives.Forks.Spoons.

I could go on……and on…..and on. But we’ll leave it with those for now.

Please feel free to share your irritations, let me know it’s not just me.

Welcome to my world

Rx

Practically Perfect isn’t always Perfectly Practical.

Well hello.

So, first blog post of the new year and it comes with a resolution to make creating new posts a more regular occurrence so if there are things you would and wouldn’t want to  read about in 2018 please leave feedback.

We had the ‘back to school’ rigmarole last week. Always fun after 3 weeks holiday. It baffles and amazes me how it is possible to lose one shoe/one plimsoll/one trainer/ between taking them off and requiring them again.

Inevitably followed by the words “well that’s where I left them, someone must have moved them”,

Yep those pesky fairies have a lot to answer for.

Then, of course, there’s the ‘new term bag packing’ which this time I fortunately didn’t leave until the morning of return. Why fortunately? Well, because otherwise I wouldn’t have found the Christmas card Noodle had lovingly created for us yet forgot to deliver, and I wouldn’t have found the homework he was so adamant he didn’t have.

Back to school seems to indicate the end of the Christmas season. The time to put a more sensible head on. The time to swap pyjamas for some semblance of daywear. The time to not wake up in a cold sweat at 2am because you haven’t moved the god damn elf. The time to actually check that it’s at least the afternoon when someone offers you a drink. The time to start drinking said drinks out of proper, civilised receptacles (and this is brought to you by the person who spent Christmas and new year drinking from either a disco ball with a straw hole or a hollowed out chocolate reindeer). The time to eat something with actual nutritional value.
And it’s on that last note that I decided just this morning that the Christmas season is definitely over thanks to a conversation with Pickle.

“Mummy I’ll cook for you in my kitchen, what would like for breakfast?”
“Oh I don’t know, what would you recommend?”
She stopped what she was doing. Turned to look at me. Cast her eyes up and down and declared:
“Maybe just lettuce………………………………”

Ok. Resuming normality followed by a Slimming World reunion it is then.

During the aftermath it’s easy to look back over the season and dwell

on things you wish you’d done slightly differently; different food you could have cooked, different presents you could have bought, the pile of cards you should have posted (just me?) I think this may be the first year that I am not partaking in the value of hindsight and that alone means this Christmas was an unrivalled success.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this and you may be surprised to learn that I am rubbish at Christmas.

Complete rubbish.

I lost my mum three days after Christmas a few years ago and try as you might, it’s not easy to disassociate the two things (although I obviously try for the Monkeys). It means I try to overcompensate to the point of striving for perfection, an idealism that will never be reached and therefore becomes a disappointment. I take on everything and overthink everything until the fun becomes a chore and it’s a slow road to burnout. Someone said to me recently, that I am far too bothered by what other people’s impressions of me are. To a point this is true, but sometimes the opinions you hold of yourself are ultimately the most damaging.

I came up with my own personal catchphrase related to this

PRACTICALLY PERFECT ISN’T ALWAYS PERFECTLY PRACTICAL.

But. Proudly I can say this year was different. This year was more fun than chore. Each element was enjoyable and there wasn’t the inevitable anticlimax. I think what I have learned is that there is no ideal. You do what works for you. And you don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. You surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are, not with those who constantly expect more than you can comfortably give.

It is what it is and that’s all it needs to be.

So. Christmas has been and gone and New Year is but a distant memory, so let’s conclude these ramblings with some of the funnier festive goings-on in The Circus.

  • The turkey that was left to defrost was scavenged and mauled by a wild yeti (or possibly a local nosy cat – the jury’s still out).
  • The replacement turkey took nigh on the entire twelve days of Christmas to cook.
  • This resulted in the infamous words “I’ll just whack the temperature up for a bit”
  • This resulted in the infamous words “Erm, why exactly is the oven on fire?” (thank god it’s not long til Mother’s Day as the new black hue of my oven gloves really doesn’t complement my kitchen)
  • The baby seemed to have rather deepseated issues with the Christmas tree. The poor thing was subjected to light saber attacks, somewhat vigorous shaking, and my beautifully co-ordinated tree decorations wouldn’t look out of place in an earthquake reconstruction.

So. That’s it really. We survived Christmas. Everyone was mostly unscathed.  I use the word ‘was’ as the day before yesterday saw us holding Noodle’s first ever proper birthday party. He was extremely lucky and received many wonderful gifts and some money. Money that I irresponsibly said he could spend on things of his choosing……

A Nerf Gun…..and SpongeBob Squarepants Walkie Talkies

So normality is finally restored, just as long as you avoid the SAS secret missions corp which lie in wait with foam bullets while sending and receiving undecodable messages through a bright yellow talking sponge of course.

Welcome to my world.
Rx

Organising Chaos.

22195742_1848407581840851_7232007669874407984_n

So, in case this is a scenario that has plagued your mind recently, I would like to share something I discovered yesterday.

Q. When is it ok to not really fancy reorganising the pantry (oh don’t worry it’s not a posh pantry, it’s a cupboard with shelves to make up for having no kitchen units)?

A. Well pretty much all the time really. I mean, it’s boring, tedious, time consuming and, let’s face it, you can guarantee that ten minutes after you’ve finished someone will single handedly undo all your hard work while searching for; peanut butter (Pickle)/ ‘bibbits’ – biscuits to the rest of us (Wombat)/ sweets he claimed he got in a party bag that he most definitely hasn’t eaten and therefore someone else must have (Noodle)/my slimming world friendly tins of mackerel that she’s taken a liking to and I’m forced to covertly hide (Froo)/the meaning of life (CircusHusband).

Q. When is it not ok to not really fancy reorganising the pantry (still a cupboard with shelves)?

A. Erm, unfortunately shortly after emptying the entire contents of aforementioned pantry over the entire kitchen in a method that could be accurately described as ‘haphazard’.

Now I’ve imparted this wisdom let me set the scene.

It’s a Tuesday morning. I have successfully delivered 2 children, 2 backpacks, 1 lunchbag and 1 guitar to school. It is not a nursery day, it is a ‘stay at home with Mummy day’ for Pickle. We have returned home, we have played, we have ‘done jobs’. Pickle and Wombat have requested crackers for a snack (he didn’t know about the existence of the bibbits at this point, he now will not entertain the mere thought of a cracker) and I have announced naptime for the baby, imagine my astonishment when the 3 year old also expresses the desire for a nap (I argued hard….I promise).

Now, I think this is where the problem started you see. I was floating so high from the sheer dizzy novelty of a shared naptime that I got carried away. Instead of making a coffee and watching Jeremy Kyle (I use it like therapy, it reinforces that whatever may be happening it could all be much, much worse) I decided to tidy the pantry to allow me to make the best use of my new spice rack; sorry I should have warned you previously about the excitement level contained within this post, do feel free to take a moment before continuing.

I decided that the best approach would be to clear the shelves so I could see what was what to make reorganising easier. This seemed best achieved by relocating things onto the kitchen table and kitchen worktop. Simple.

This probably would have been a relatively good plan had I not forgotten to take into account that I had a grocery delivery due imminently. Before I knew it I had a weeks worth of groceries for six people piled on top of the pantry contents. Still I was undeterred, at least now I could put everything away at once (in fact while I was at it I should empty and clean the fridge before putting the chilled groceries away – I AM NOT JOKING…I DID THIS)

Approximately 4.6 minutes later I lost the will to live; I was ankle deep in random cereal that had skydived from boxes, Ryvita dust was flying from every angle, the contents of a tub labelled basil smelt suspiciously like sage. I was contemplating tying together the 5628 plastic bags I’d unearthed and attempting an escape, Rapunzel style.

By now you’re probably thinking well at least nothing else can go wrong.

Wrong.

The baby woke up.

Yep an eighteen month old in an already somewhat chaotic situation.

You can surely imagine the rest.

Long story short; the pantry was finally refilled and reorganised thanks to an obscene amount of plastic baskets and my trusty labelmaker. The spice rack was put to use, although I may need to stock up after disposing of some curry powder that predated my eldest child. And I filled the tub that is festooned with the word ‘Haribo’ with slightly misshapen Ryvitas so that should be entertaining.

So to sum up:

Negative points –

  • That’s a couple of hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
  • I’ll never know if the strange toothless man is the father of his sister’s aunties next door neighbour’s lollipop ladies’ chinchilla. (can you watch Jeremy Kyle on catchup?)
  • The hoover may never be the same again.
  • I still don’t completely trust the basil/sage ‘freaky friday’ saga.

Positive points –

  • The pantry in the kitchen finally matches the pantry in my head.
  • The baby didn’t need lunch after spending the best part of an hour foraging.
  • It was all done before the three year old woke up and ‘helped’.

As an added bonus I’m pleased to announce that should this country ever need to succumb to rationing and you find yourselves desperately short of anything, then you’re welcome to come and see me and we can come to a deal. However I may need to restrict some products to one per customer as I’m personally down to my last 7 boxes of dried lasagne sheets and worryingly my last 49 sachets of fast acting yeast. I apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.

Welcome to my world
Rx

 

Lyrically Speaking.

The circus is always noisy. Probably not helped by the fact that there is music playing almost continuously, quite often from more than one source.

For example; Radio 2 is nearly always on in the kitchen (who doesn’t love Ken Bruce?! plus I have to brush up on my PopMaster skills), if Circus Husband is home then you’ll be treated to anything from Blink 182 to The Stereophonics streaming from ‘The Office’ (we squeezed two desks into the playroom). As you head upstairs you will invariably be met with a cacophony of melodies, maybe Taylor Swift from one room and some 90’s classics from another (oh yes, Noodle has unearthed all my teenage years albums and can be found wandering around chanting about a boot scooting baby who’s driving him crazy, his obsession from a western, his dancefloor date…..followed by a change of tempo to accompany an enthusiastic rendition of Cotton Eye Joe) and of course, someone, somewhere will be attempting a mashup of Let It Go from Frozen fame and Moana’s You’re Welcome.

So, yes, all in all music is quite a large part of our lives. Fortunately the Monkeys have inherited my ability to not have any idea what day of the week it is but can recall every lyric to a song they’ve heard fleetingly on the radio. I am obviously viewing this as a sign of intelligence even if it does lend itself to slightly awkward conversations; Noodle went through a phase of being obsessed with Bruno Mars, he had the hat and everything, his favourite track was ‘The Lazy Song’ which on the surface seems fine………until you listen properly and have to try and convince a then 3 year old that the lyrics actually say “I met a really nice girl, she had some really nice specs….”

Pickle is the same, loves music, remembers lyrics…………latches onto inappropriate songs! Her favourite is ‘Don’t Marry Her’ by The Beautiful South, fortunately she has only heard the album version but I am not looking forward to the day when she enquires what ‘Sandra Bullocks’ are, there’s also a few minutes panic when she launches into song in the supermarket, the scene goes:

Toddler singing: “You gotta wash the car, take the kiddies to the park, don’t marry her…”

Everyone in earshot: stops, turns and prepares to judge

Toddler singing: “HAAAVVVVEEEEE MEEEEEEE”

Everyone in earshot: wanders off disappointed.

Right so now you understand the full importance of music in the circus, I’m sure you will be just as astounded as me to find out that IT IS NOT FUNNY OR HELPFUL if I answer questions in the form of song lyrics. Nor, apparently is it amusing if I interrupt them speaking to carry on with a lyric that they’ve inadvertently uttered (I know, it’s shocking right?)

For example these are some conversational interactions recently that have been classed as ‘annoying’:

“Mummy, you’ll never believe what happened at school today”

” I wasn’t expecttttting that”

“Mummy, How….”

“Do you do that thing that you do to me……I wish I knew”

“Thank you”

“What can I say except you’re welcome”

“Stop….”

“in the name of love”

“right now, thank you very much”

“wait a minute, fill my cup, put some liquor in it”

“collaborate and listen”

“Mummy, where should I start?”

“Let’s start at the very beginning, that’s a very good place to start, when you read you begin with ABC, when you sing you begin with Doe Ray Me”

and so forth, I’m proud to say I have many back catalogues worth of these witty comebacks for them to enjoy for years to come. Although Pickle (3) got her own back the other day, she had had a toileting accident earlier in the day then yet again didn’t quite make the toilet, she looked at me and sang “oh my gosh, I did it again, I weed myself, it keeps happening” Look out Little Mix, the next generation is on it’s way!

And that brings us to the less positive side of constant exposure to music. Earworms. You know, when you have a piece of a song spinning on loop in your head for hours. Sometimes, it’s a recognisable part of a well loved song, other times it’s simply random lyrics that you never recall hearing before in your life. You spend all day humming the same tune and trying to block everything else out while you work out what the hell the song even is (or you realise it’s a theme tune to a CBeebies programme and decide to keep that information to yourself.)

I suffer with these a lot. And I have recurring earworms, that can be brought on by the mere mention of a song. I spent three weeks once with the lyrics “where’s your head at <boom boom boom>” taking up all the space in my brain, I came out the other end relatively unscathed but every so often Circus Husband will mutter those words and that’s it, groundhog day. I quite often wake up with songs already etched into my psyche like I’ve slept in an erratic jukebox, this unfortunately means I’m prone to singing short bursts of the song in question out loud at inopportune moments (sorry monkeys!)

If anyone’s curious, my current earworm is the lyrics “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you”, I know the song but I don’t know where I heard it for it to be imprinted in my brain. But, nevertheless, round and round it goes just waiting to be overtaken by the next ready and waiting track of randomness.

Oh and if anyone has never experienced earworms first hand then do let me know, I’m very willing to share, because of course, I cant feel my face when I’m with you.

Welcome to my world

Rx

Straying from the normal posting path…

Today’s blog post is slightly different to the usual, but today is a difficult day in The Circus and this blog is supposed to be an unfiltered look at circus life. So please bear with me and normal service will be resumed soon.

Today my Mum should be celebrating her 62nd birthday but in my head she will never be a day older than the age at which we lost her nearly 11 years ago.

Grief is a very personal and individual emotion and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it, this is what has prompted me to post this today (believe me, by the time you read this, it will have been typed and deleted multiple times before I plucked up the courage to press Publish). I’m not one for sharing my emotions as those who know me will testament to, but if my words, however clumsily presented, can aid even one person in realising that whatever feelings they are experiencing are justified, valid and perfectly acceptable then I will consider it worthwhile.

Please, please share this with anyone who might need to hear it; anyone who’s ever felt pressured to put a time frame on their grief.

The Greatest Healer’s Flaw.

Some days exist to simply prove,
that time; it must go on.
Time doesn’t heal, it merely masks,
the scars are never gone.

When loved ones die, you lose a limb,
through metaphor at least.
Though lives and minds are straightened out,
your heart’s forever creased.

People watching from outside,
assume which days are worst,
but it’s not always the ‘special’ days,
that cause the tears to burst
.

Yes, it’s true that certain dates,
make staying strong quite hard,
birthday gifts you’d want to buy,
nowhere to send a card.

The day that marks each year of passing,
is known so you prepare,
you spend the day safely cocooned,
with those for who you care.

The days that prove that time won’t heal,
expand both far and wide.
The days you need that person’s ear,
to talk to, to confide.

When something lovely happens,
a thing you’d love to share,
the person you’d most love to tell….
…..simply isn’t there.

When you lose a parent,
quite early on in life,
before you become somebody’s Mum,
and someone else’s wife,
you also lose the wisdom,
advice to be passed down.
You lose a proud companion to choose a wedding gown.

It’s simple things, and silly things,
that really break your heart,
a memory not quite recalled,
will always miss a part,
there’s no one there to fill the gaps,
to make the thought complete.


Ends are always left untied,
death is never neat.

Grief; it has no ‘best before’.
No date of expiration.
It comes.
It goes.
It ebbs.
It flows.
Depending on occasion.

You learn to live your life again.
You learn to carry on.
BUT.
Time it does not heal wounds.
Those scars are never gone.

 

Sending love, empathy and support to anywhere it is needed

Rx

Reading between the lines.

I love books. I love to read. I believe that most things that you need to know to succeed in this world can be learned from books.

Unfortunately life in the circus does not generally lend itself to long periods of quiet, so I don’t get the chance the chance to read as much as I might like.

That’s not to say I don’t read at all; I have at least 15 of the ‘Free Kindle Bestsellers’ list on the go at any one time, though admittedly I generally read one page and get distracted mentally writing an email to the author outlining the various spelling, grammar and punctuation issues followed by a rundown of what I believe are the major character flaws and helpfully point out any holes in the plot. You know what they say; those who can do – those who can’t………..criticise.

My daily reading list also includes the back of various cereal boxes as the monkeys shuffle through the boxes declaring their dislike of each and every one. Including, of course, the one they definitely, adamantly, absolutely needed from the supermarket that they faithfully promised they would eat religiously every day without fail. If I was ever to appear on Mastermind, I would probably choose as my specialised subject “The fibre content and nutritional information of every cereal known to man” (except cocoa pops because only nice mummys buy cocoa pops.)

So, with all this is mind, I have decided that I shall take my parenting hints and tips from the books I do actually get to read. Bedtime stories in the circus are wide and varied and range from the sublime to the ridiculous. So in my search for parental role models I have researched and discounted:

  • Odin king of Asgard – I’m sure he meant well, but I’m really not sure that banishing one of the children to another realm until he can lift a hammer is really going to help.
  • Big Nutbrown Hare – Sure, trying to outdo everything your child attempts sounds like fun on the surface. But, do you really want to get into a competition with a three year old with boundary issues, no embarrassment filter and questionable morals?!
  • Dilys Price – All my children so far have gone through a Fireman Sam stage, so I have been forced to watch and read about this woman’s delinquent son more times than I care to remember. I think he is the one exception from my ‘no banishing children from realms’ rule.

But finally I have seen the light and I have found a couple of books that really helped me with a few things and I admire their sheer cunning and genius. Let me share with you some of my new found parenting advice.

Picture the scenario:

You’ve had one of those days. You haven’t cleaned the house, you haven’t been grocery shopping and you can’t be bothered to make supper.

Here’s what you do:

You will need a small child; preferably one who loves to play pretend and will go along with things willingly. Firstly you will need to prepare a very simple tea (small sandwiches, a few biscuits and a pot of tea will suffice). Whilst the tea is brewing, you will need to locate the water stopcock. Once found, turn to the OFF position. Next, explain to small child that you’re going to play ‘who can mess the kitchen cupboards up first?’ don’t worry, small child will like this part so no effort needed from you.

Next thing is to ensure that anything that could potentially be turned into supper should be removed (call it ‘reorganising’ if you like), outbuildings and airing cupboards are useful here.

Now, to be able to carry this through is going to require complete dedication (I would suggest sampling any beer that may be cooling in the fridge).

So, the table is laid and now to coerce your sidekick. Tell small child (extra points if she happens to be called Sophie). “Small child, wouldn’t it be hilarious if, while we were sitting here eating our small sandwiches and biscuits, the doorbell was to ring. Wouldn’t that be funny? Because, as you, know it wouldn’t be the milkman because he came this morning, and it wouldn’t be the boy from the grocers as this isn’t the day he comes. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Daddy because he has his key.”

You might need to leave this to sink in for a moment, children can be annoyingly cynical.

Next. “You know what would be even funnier small child? If you opened the door, found a tiger and invited him in. I wouldn’t be cross because he must have been hungry to ring our doorbell, mustn’t he? Wouldn’t Daddy think that was funny, if we told him that the tiger ate all the food in the cupboards and drunk all the water out of the tap?”

The next part is crucial. Small child needs to be wearing nightwear (perhaps the tiger might like a sleepover?). Unfortunately the OFF position of the stopcock means a bath just aint happening.

Right as soon as you hear Daddy’s key in the door, prompt small child to relay the hilarious tiger story to Daddy. Small children can be incredibly convincing, especially when they mention that the tiger drunk all the beer too.

Poor hungry, unbathed child. Poor (slightly tipsy…shhh!) wife traumatised by the mess left behind by the feline visitor.

Daddy steps up and suggests a nice dinner out.

I’m sure you’ll agree this is the perfect (if somewhat convoluted) get out clause of a ‘can’t be bothered day’.  Thank you Judith Kerr.

My second go-to for parenting advice is slightly different. I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old so we watch quite a lot of a programme called Bing, and repeatedly read the associated books.

bing

The excitable bunny on the left is ‘Bing’. The slightly bizarre looking, knitted thing on the right is Flop. For reasons unknown, Flop is Bing’s guardian (despite being half his size). But what Flop is lacking in size he makes up for in patience. Seriously, his patience would make Mother Theresa quake in her boots. His favourite phrase is “it’s no big thing”. He says it for everything from too many bubbles in the bath, to a broken and hidden mobile, to a shoplifting incident.

He never raises his voice. He never rolls his eyes. He never threatens to summon a policeman (god knows why I thought that threat or that phrasing would be effective). He never evens counts to ten while frantically figuring out what suitable punishment will be enforced by number ten.

He is actually a knitted saint and I hold the upmost respect for him. Thus now when faced with a parenting decision I follow the code of WWFD? (what would Flop do?)

I do hope that me sharing what I’ve learnt from books has been helpful to you.

Welcome to my world

Rx

Great Expectations and Little Rewards.

One of the many plus points of having a larger-than-average family is that you are forced to lower your expectations and be grateful for smaller accomplishments.

For example;

I’ve seen many times people joking about the joy of finding the bottom of the laundry basket.

Me? I do a little dance if I manage to unearth the laundry basket from under the children’s latest attempt at dirty washing Tetris.

People get all hung up on matching socks.

Me? I’m just happy if every little pair of feet is covered with two socks of any description for at least a proportion of the day. The exception, of course, being the baby who views socks as an enemy that require chewing, throwing, repeatedly pulverising and, as some sort of sinister punishment (either to the sock or to me!), removing from his feet and hiding in any available space. This is usually at other people’s houses, meaning we have quite a lot of visitors who turn up brandishing one or more baby socks. The favourite visitors are the ones who wash them before returning (see above point about laundry!)

You also have to become pretty good at having a reason (most definitely not an excuse of course) for every thing that may raise questions.

For example;

  • “Isn’t this the third time this week that we’ve had pasta?”

Quick as a flash

  • “Yes, the children have a very busy weekend coming up, I’m carbo-loading them….obviously”

Phew.

  • “You haven’t hoovered in here today?”

Quick as a flash

  • “Ooh no, I was a little concerned about the baby’s eyesight so I’ve devised a test to see how far away he can spot crumbs. It’s medically recommended….probably.”

Can’t argue with that.

  • “Mummy, where are our biscuits?”

Quick as a flash

  • “Oh don’t tell me the grocery delivery man forgot to bring biscuits AGAIN. I shall send a strongly worded email.”

  “Mummy what are you eating?”

          “Hmm?? Ermmm??? Mushroom  and spicy stuff, oh what a shame you don’t like mushrooms or spicy stuff and yes it is funny how they smell like biscuits. I shall send a strongly worded email.”

Ha foiled.

I’ve also decided that adulting (yes that is a real word, I’m just trying to convince autocorrect!) needs to be more rewarding.

And I think I’ve figured out the answer…….drum roll please……

STICKERS

Children will do anything for stickers;

  1. I ate all my lunch and got a sticker,
  2. I read my reading book and got a sticker,
  3. I remembered what my name was and got a sticker,
  4. I managed not to need an accident report form today and got a sticker (I’ll admit the last one may be specific only to my five year old who seems to spend a high percentage of his school life in ‘first aid’ with an ice pack applied to various limbs.)

So the obvious way to make adulting (ha didn’t argue that time did you autocorrect) more fun is to introduce stickers.

I shall start the ball rolling:

  1. Today, when I stubbed my toe the only word I said was ouch, where’s my sticker?
  2. I remembered to remove the washing from the machine before a ‘refresh’ cycle (or 3) was required, where’s my sticker?
  3. I took on board the famous words from Bambi and chose the ‘say nothing at all’ option, where’s my sticker?
  4. I asked nicely for cooperation in a Mary Poppins voice at least 7 times before resorting to the Miss Trunchibald persona, where’s my sticker?

I’m sure you will agree that this is definitely the way forward, maybe even with a reward issued for collecting so many stickers. You know, just something simple; like maybe going to the bathroom by yourself, or managing a whole meal without someone needing to sample your meal (of exactly the same food as them.)

You’re right, we should probably be more realistic. After all a three legged, rainbow striped, bilingual unicorn wearing a beret would probably be more attainable.

We’ll call it a work in progress for now…………….but if I happen to flick the telly on and find someone pitching stickers on Dragon’s Den, especially if I hear the word ‘adulting’ (ha it’s in my phone’s dictionary now.) I shall be expecting a cut of the profits!

Welcome to my world.

Rx