Summer Highs: July Round-Up

‘Sunny days, everything’s a-okaaay.’ July has been a rather lovely month. It’s a shame then that schools were still in for the first three weeks and August isn’t meant to be as nice. Boo’s birthday in the park could be a rather soggy affair. Here’s hoping otherwise though, otherwise I’ll be squeezing 30 kids into my house for TinkerBell fun. Please let the weathermen be wrong!

But anyway, this happened:

So, we’re sat in the sports centre café after baby gym, watching Mr Bloom on CBeebies.

20140731-234753.jpg
The credits scroll…and into the café walks the actual real life Mr Bloom!!! ‘Heya, Tiddlers!’ My kids now think the telly can come to life at any moment! Surreal moment of the year.

20140731-221821.jpg
Felix earned a sports day sticker.

20140731-222050.jpg
The purchase of front row tickets for Dance Til Dawn at Christmas. I am obsessed. It’s official.

20140731-222225.jpg
Boo for No Added Sugar. Got to wait til spring 2015 to be able to by the dress though. #notgoodatwaiting

20140731-222400.jpg
When it did rain, boy, did it rain! Massive puddle on the way to dancing. Trainers are very much NOT waterproof.

20140731-222547.jpg
Everyone LOVES Noodles’ new Pantone Colours book. Turns out there are a lot more than 100 colours, Dove. Mind you, in the small print in the ad, Dove admits that they tested the deodorant on 120 colours, surely implying it left white marks on 17% of your clothes. Not good, Dove.

20140731-223413.jpg
Ah, you can’t beat driving in the countryside in summer…except for the agony of caravans spoiling it all.

20140731-223724.jpg
Noodles wasn’t overly impressed with the concept of the party hat.

20140731-223846.jpg
Google, your guesses at what I’m after are just SCARY! (I wanted to know if women could compete in the Tour de France.)

20140731-224250.jpg
Boo, about to play Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk at the school summer fiesta.

20140731-224617.jpg
Teddy meets the next-door neighbour’s grandson.

20140731-224737.jpg
Having fun on the spinning tea cups.

20140731-224940.jpg
Pah to thigh gap.

20140731-225355.jpg
Lovely words from Boo’s headmistress.

20140731-225643.jpg
One proud little girl at completing her reading challenge at school.

20140731-225846.jpg
One proud me, having completed the Race for Life

20140731-230018.jpg
See what happens when you make families feel unwelcome?

20140731-230352.jpg
Boom, Disney!

20140731-230615.jpg
July’s Noodles selfie.

20140731-230705.jpg
Mmmm, paella.

20140731-230801.jpg
Look who made it onto Badminton
UK’s website! 😊 You can read it here (my original post) or here (on their website).

20140731-234140.jpg
Paddling pool fun.

20140731-231759.jpg
I got there before you, Jade Jagger! I take it, with Teddy of similar age to his Uncle Noodles, I am officially cool?

And talking of Teddy:

20140731-231958.jpg
Too cute. Man, he loves that monkey. (Eve, I think you’d better buy a spare in case the original gets lost. Just remember Jemima Puddleduck! Don’t put yourself in that situation of utter despair!)

20140731-232243.jpg
I wish Eve knew how to make the clothes she designs.

20140731-232343.jpg
My lucky Monsoon sale bargain dress. Getting to chat with the big BIG boss at work (with no warning!) resulting in an invitation to a day at the Park Lane offices in London AND doing my first viewing with 20 minutes’ notice (with big BIG boss sat in front of me!) I was incredibly glad I chose to wear it yesterday.

20140731-232655.jpg
Making chocolate brownies.

20140731-233320.jpg
Yum!

And incase I haven’t bored you with my photos, you can now find me on Instagram.

20140731-233655.jpg

Inner Circle of Hell: the Inter-House Gym Competition

Last night England took all three medals in the ladies’ individual gymnastics something-or-other. Well done, ladies!

20140731-114151.jpg

I watched with baited breath as they flung themselves around before nailing landings. How do they do that? How do they make that first, literal, leap that allows them to have the faith that they can FLY, whilst turning somersaults and flips and so many many shades of what-the-heck?!!!

20140731-115112.jpg

It makes my palms sweaty with nerves just watching.

But maybe this Pavlovian sweaty response is also due to something more personal. To an experience deeply routed in my adolescence. The INTER. HOUSE. GYM. COMPETITION.

Oh my God. I feel sick just thinking about it.

Imagine it. You’re 14. You’re at that age where your body is doing weird shit: sprouting and sweating and just not being what you want it to be. Your face is pimply, your hair a disaster of a dodgy perm (in my defence it was the late-80s, plus my mum was still 100% in control of my hair since she was paying for it) and your mind hates it all. Why couldn’t I be more like Emma Calloway, with nice hair, a pretty face and boobs? What had Emma Calloway done to weather the puberty storm so well?

But my strategy for life, to get through puberty and school and all of the hideousness (including some merciless bullying for being so very far away from cool, but not so far – ie with enough attitude – to pull my quirkiness off as uber-who-wants-to-be-mainstream-anyway-cool) was to keep my head down and not draw attention to myself.

So it wasn’t great when I got a request to go to see the head of my house. I wasn’t sporty. The inter-house competition was roughly 99% about sport. It wasn’t going to be good.

Oh, but there are layers of not-good. Being on the netball team I could just about manage, although for a non-contact sport netball can be vicious. But netball season was over. Tennis maybe? Again, I had the skills (in that I wouldn’t spend most of the lesson just trying to hit the balls out of the tennis court and into the road) but I had no competitive spirit. I’d be crucified. Besides, it was a bit early to be hauled in for that one.

No, it was worse. Worse even than the swimming gala (swimwear, lack of boobage, but plenty of unwanted hair, spectators, but at least most of the time you were underwater). It was the gym competition. Lycra, lack of boobage, but plenty of unwanted hair, spectators and NOWHERE TO HIDE!

20140731-114436.jpg

Plus there was my complete inability to do gymnastics. A fairly major detail.

But there was a space on the squad. Someone had seen sense and pulled out and thanks to my gobby, sports-friendly friend, the head had been made aware that I danced, which was the ability to prance around more than the cooler girls had. Damn and blast not just hanging around the bike sheds with a fag in hand. There’d be practice sessions. It’d be fine.

Except it really wasn’t. Despite the practice by competition day I still couldn’t pull off a handstand, never mind tumble my way to glory. I could – would – probably tumble my way to disaster, but not with the gravity-defying acrobatics they’d want; more the clumsy, uncoordinated arse-over-tit tumbling of your worst nightmares.

Up in the changing room I put on my red tap leotard, minus the leggings. Instant sweat patches under the arms. And the need to raise both arms in the air to make my entrance onto the floor. Great.

Still, at least the dark patches under my armpits might detract from the stray hairs down below. At least until I’d have to cartwheel. Seriously, what mad man invented gymnastics? What perv then decreed the outfit choice?

Then I clocked Emma Calloway. Oh my God, so it’d be the sort of perv who envisaged all teenage girls look like that. I could sort of see where they were coming from. She was Jessica Rabbit meets a bit a Lycra.

20140731-114908.jpg

And we walked out into the gym hall and OH. MY. GOD!!! So many people. All around the perimeter of the floor area. People. Boys! Teachers!! All wearing clothes. My armpits started to flow like rivers. My hands clammed up (for heavens sake, who invented sweat?!). It was a nightmare made real.

I took my place and watched. There were some amazing routines. There were others, like me, just there to make up numbers. I couldn’t fathom out why they needed two girls per house per year group when most obviously weren’t gymnasts. I suspect that Suzanne Collins may have had to take part in her school’s gym contest too, but wanted to write about something comparable but less cruel in The Hunger Games. The weak were definitely fodder to make the real gymnasts look even better.

By turns I’d feel better, then sick to my stomach, then better, then ‘Holy Cow! I shouldn’t be here!’

They called Emma Calloway’s name. The theme to Howard’s Way started (late ’80s, remember). She glided around the floor. She executed each move with grace and precision. She flipped and cartwheeled and looked amazing. She didn’t have any sweat patches. What deodorant was she using?!

She finished to massive applause. Arms raised, serene smile, her forever legs stretched her back to her place, hips wiggling, boobs just perfect. Why couldn’t I just have her boobs? Or, right now, her ability to do a handstand into a backwards walk-over?

And then I heard my name. My name? Right after Emma Calloway?! They were kidding right? It’s shit before shovel after all, isn’t it?!?! Is it possible to throw up at the same time as fainting?

God only alone knows how I made it onto the floor. I stepped forward, raised my arms – the burgundy patches on my leotard were so large now they could be mistaken for a badly conceived leotard design. A metaphor for my badly conceived inclusion in the competition. I pulled out a wedgie. How could my leotard set out to humiliate me in so many different ways?

20140731-115247.jpg
Not a soggy pit between them! It’s witchcraft, I tell ya!

The music started. The theme tune to All Creatures Great and Small. So very far away from cool. The next 2 minutes of my life was a blur of ‘please don’t make this worse than it already is’ and ‘how could it possibly be any worse than it already is?’

20140731-115455.jpg
I very much didn’t look like this.

But I got through it. I finished without falling on my arse or wetting myself, both a distinct possibility. A heartbeat later (or in my case 100 heartbeats – I was racking up some serious BPMs, to an extent normally only observed in the drug-induced) the music finished.

I think there may have been some applause. Maybe only the polite ‘we’re glad that’s over too’ kind, but at least it wasn’t stunned silence.

I was done. Although, I still would have preferred not to have done it.

My score was mediocre, but I wasn’t last. I can’t tell you how grateful I was for that. I must have scored mercy points, the judges aware that I didn’t need to suffer further indignity by coming last.

Emma Calloway picked up a medal. But of course she did.

At school the next day – because the organisers didn’t have the good grace to allow us competitors to run away and hide over a weekend, the gossip of the competition replaced by whatever party had got out of hand on Saturday night – I got some kind comments. There wasn’t even any bullying, the bullies surely realising that they couldn’t do any worse to me than I had done to myself.

And because I’d been a sucker that year I got instantly roped in the following year. I still had sweaty armpits, issues with pubic hair and a distinct incompetence at gymnastics.

My biggest relief was when the school sports hall burnt down. My first reaction was ‘Great! No gym competition!’ I don’t know if they ever caught the arsonists responsible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a reluctant gymnast with a desire to avoid social suicide behind that lit match. Whoever it was, I really couldn’t thank them enough.

I’m sure I learnt some important life lessons that afternoon. Finding the right deodorant matters, perhaps? No matter what life throws at me I could never feel as self-conscious as I did at that moment? I’m not quite sure. But I do know I can’t watch gymnastics without some kind of post-traumatic stress response.

So well done, Claudia Fragapane et al. I admire your ability to fly. But I admire your ability to even step out there with dry pits even more.

20140731-122835.jpg

3:12am Questions

20140728-034046.jpg

How can a toddler’s batteries be charged so quickly? How do they not understand the concept of ‘if it’s dark you sleep’? (Which, to be honest, should be the easy part when you’ve also got to convince them to still sleep even though ‘the sky is awake,’ to coin a term from Frozen. Can I get Elsa as a nocturnal babysitter? I’ll put up with the house turning to ice if it means I can sleep.)

20140728-034932.jpg

How can I convince a perky Noodles that it’s not time to watch Cut the Rope demos on YouTube* or flick his way through his books? Without waking the entire house and most of the neighbours with a meltdown so terrific it would probably register on the Richter scale?

*What compels grown man Zach Scott to make YouTube videos about app games anyway?

How naive am I to believe that he wanted a banana (which now sits on the little table, untouched)?

Is it ok to snooze on the sofa whilst he wears his batteries down? How fucked is his sleep pattern going to be tomorrow? How am I going to not look like death at work? Why hasn’t the contact lens I lost in my eye worked it’s way out yet? I’m going to look like I’ve been to a one-person party with Hack Daniels as my drinking buddy, aren’t I?

20140728-041001.jpg

When will he finally get the hang of sleeping though the night? What if he never does?!

Dear Saturday Night Out

Dear Saturday Night Out

Hello. You might remember me. You and I used to be on close terms in my late teens and early twenties, but to be honest it’s been a while. With two small kids who have to be babysat and a Husband whose pretty much rubbish at said ‘babysitting’ (is it technically ‘babysitting’ when it’s your own children?) I don’t get out much of an evening.

Which may be why I had such a rubbish time as things have changed – and when I say ‘things’ I really mean mostly ‘me’. But it’s so why I’m so completely disappointed that I had such a rubbish time. When I do go out I want it to be special.

Maybe I just wasn’t feeling it tonight. It used to be that I could spend the whole of Saturday getting ready for a night out. There’d be a new dress, hours spent on hair and make-up whilst watching Blind Date and drinking a few Diamond Whites before hitting the bars and clubs. I’d be part of a gang, we’d know other people when we were out. We’d stumble back and stay up til the small hours and chat about God-knows-what. It may have only been a small town, but we felt like we owned it.

Today it was an afternoon spent at my mother-in-law’s, a delayed bus and dash into town for a birthday present (work + small children + shop opening hours = last minute panic). Then back to cook for Husband and kids, but NOT myself as the smallest was mid-full-blown tantrum and had to be distracted into eating his cheesy mash.

Getting ready was with an audience of the children, the youngest distracted with my phone, me keeping one eye on him in case he got delete-button-happy with my photos (it’s been known) whilst shaving my legs, using Husband’s razor and hair conditioner as my own razor has gone missing (thanks to eldest daughter ‘borrowing’ mine). Meanwhile youngest daughter laughed hysterically along to Peppa Pig, whilst demanding things. ‘Mummy. Mummy. MUMMY.’ Still, I applied make-up for you. I put in contact lenses for you. Needless to say, I ended up running late.

By the time I’d been ripped off with my taxi fare, to be fair, I wasn’t really in the party spirit.

The Pimm’s had already been quaffed by the time I’d arrived. I would have loved a Pimm’s. Not being a regular drinker, I don’t have the skills to negotiate the most suitable drink for the situation and went for my default of gin and tonic. I can only drink so much gin before I lose the will to stay awake.

But never mind. It was my friend’s birthday. I could suck it up. It was pleasant, all of us sat together outside as dusk fell. It’s just a shame someone invited the gnats along to the party.

We were driven inside. Not a good move. When I go out I like to talk – I haven’t caught up with these people in months. There were no small children around for once. We could talk in full sentences. So I don’t want to be drowned out by a mobile disco. I accept that that puts me in the ‘old’ category, but I didn’t intend to have to spend the evening shouting to the person sat next to or nodding along to words I can’t hear just to be polite. My friends are witty people. I want to hear what they have to say, not the cheesy DJ with the mic.

20140727-015411.jpg

I also don’t necessarily need to watch people ram their tongues down someone else’s throat, become vicariously involved in someone’s domestic argument or have hotpant under hang in my line of vision all night.

Plus I’ve become too used to my comfy shoes to be tripping my way to my friend’s house in heels once time has been called. Still, at least I avoided the extortionate cab fare home.

So I guess I don’t mind that we won’t be seeing each other again for a while. I’m actually quite happy with my pyjamas and an early night as my regular Saturday night routine.

I know it’s not you, it’s me. You’re just there, doing what you’ve always done and will always continue to do. The things I’ve come to want out of a night out have changed. Maybe I need to shake things up a bit. Start going to more mature venues with an emphasis on food rather than booze, ambience rather than tinnitus-inducing-tunes. Maybe, Saturday night out, I need to accept that you’re not for me any more.

And now I have Gloria Gaynor whirling in my head…which really proves that I’m too old.

At first I was afraid I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
Thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
And so you’re back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second you’d be back to bother me
Go on now go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no not I. I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive! Hey, Hey!

Thanks for the good times, but I’m moving on.

GSM x

Gluestick Tips for the Race for Life

20140724-150751.jpg

On Tuesday night I lined up alongside 2099 other women to ‘run’ through 5km of the country estate of Houghton Hall in aid of Cancer Research. I know it’s now Thursday, but I’m not kidding when I say that it’s taken me that long to recover (and, actually, my backside still aches).

The aches and pains, the fact that I was pretty much convinced I was going to die before the finish line and the abundance of cow pats that covered the course were all worth it. The atmosphere was amazing – more than 2000 women all kicking cancer’s arse – I would strongly recommend that anyone take part if given the chance. The friend I roped in at the last minute is already gagging for the next race, so there must be something in it.

20140724-151841.jpg

But if you should feel inspired, here are some top tips for how to approach the race. Needless to say, I didn’t necessarily go about it the same way. Which may explain why it hurt so very much.

1) Before signing up for a race, pick your venue carefully. The closest may not be the best.

20140724-152725.jpg

The stately home may have looked wonderful, but the terrain was very much cross country and comes with additional cow pat issues. As someone who took Latin at GCSE as it got me out of PE and who flinches at mud, to find myself not bothered by the situation was a surprise however.

2) Train

20140724-153013.jpg

And by ‘train’, reading an article on what you should do and thinking about it is NOT sufficient. Starting to train but then ignoring your trainers for 3 months is also not clever. And two last-minute power walks won’t cut it either. And I wonder why I ache!

3) Prepare other things in advance too.

20140724-153353.jpg

I sort of did well here. I had the t-shirt. I found my running leggings. I bought proper socks. I took time over the inspiration sign for my back.

20140724-153721.jpg
(The poem is the one I wrote on the card on my mum’s funeral flowers. It always makes me well up.)

However…

I didn’t eat properly all day. Not unless uncooked cake mix is recommended pre-race food, as I spent a large part of the afternoon baking so Boo would have pre-birthday cakes to take into school for the last day of term the next day.

20140724-154226.jpg
At least one cake down due to my love of cake batter. Oops.

I also underestimated how long it would take to get to the venue. Leaving at rush hour wasn’t clever. Forgetting about the roadworks en route didn’t help either. It meant that my friend and I mostly panicked our way there.

4) Rally the troops.

Nothing makes the run easier than having familiar faces pop up along the route.

Unfortunately none of our supporters could be bothered to join us. I thought it best to leave Noodles at home (cow pats and toddlers NOT being a great combination), Husband was in London and at the very last minute Boo decided she’d rather play on her DS. My friend’s husband fell asleep in the sofa just before we left.

Still, this proved to be a good thing later on, as you will find out.

5) Wee before you leave home.

Because a) queues and b) portaloos.

Although, still possibly better than having to climb a fence and risk scaring the wildlife with a sneaky wee in the woods mid run. Which I did see one middle-aged woman do.

6) Lose your inhibitions. (Although maybe not as much as the weeing-in-the-bushes woman.)

20140724-160543.jpg

Be prepared to whoop, holler and cheer in the company of Adam Newstead, because a) 2000 woman aren’t to be messed with and b) CANCER, WE’RE COMING TO GET YOU!

Also be prepared to cry in public as testimonials are read out. I was especially proud as a friend took to the stage to share her cancer story. In fact, one of my favourite moments was catching up with her once I’d finished and giving her a big hug. She’s amazing.

20140724-161248.jpg

7) Warm-up properly and stretch.

Shin splits are nobody’s friend.

Unfortunately, because my friend needed a wee, we missed out on most of the organised warm-up. Thanks, buddy.

8) There’s nothing wrong with a bit of optimism.

20140724-161733.jpg

Which is how come we decided to start the race amongst the joggers. Whether we finished it with them remained to be seen.

9) Pace yourself.

20140724-210309.jpg

At 7 o’clock the klaxon sounded and amidst a sea of pink we were off! I bounded over pat and divot like a gazelle.

‘If you want to go ahead that’s fine,’ my friend said. So off I went. I felt amazing, completing my first kilometre in just over 6 minutes.

20140724-211226.jpg

And then my lungs decided I’d better walk. The second kilometre felt significantly less amazing. Kilometre three was mostly walking and at 31:45 minutes it was a happy sight to see the sign to say I’d reached 4km.

20140724-212228.jpg

10) Let the tunes carry you.

20140724-212735.jpg

I decided that if I could sing then I could run propel myself forward. Especially if singing about running, hence a lot of Bruno Mars with Runaway Baby and Natalie:

Watch out ‒ she’s quick
Look out for a pretty little thing named
Natalie ‒ if you see her tell her I’m coming
She better run.

Particularly appropriate as:

20140724-214045.jpg

My singing may also have propelled several of my other competitors forward in order to escape me. Sorry about that, ladies.

But I also had a little boogie with one of the marshals as she said she needed some tunes.

11) Set yourself a goal.

Last year I completed the course in 55 minutes. It has been scorchingly hot and Boo, who wanted to race too, decided she very much didn’t want to any more, so for most of the course I carried her on my back.

20140724-215455.jpg
Completion of last year’s race.

So I was determined to beat last year’s time. Given my lack of training I thought 45 minutes would be a decent target, so had that in mind on my way round.

But sometimes you need something more immediate to get you through too. I’d pick people out and set my mind on overtaking them. Bonus self-satisfaction points if they were younger/skinnier than me. And then I got over-taken by my nemesis:

20140724-220154.jpg

A dog?! No way was that bitch going to finish ahead of me. So the dog – named Dill, so possibly not a bitch – and its owner unknowingly played a game of leapfrog for the 3rd kilometre of the course before I managed to pull ahead. (I can only assume that Dill needed to stop for a poo.)

Did I hit my target? Well…

12) Push for the finish.

The last kilometre was hard work, but my goal was in sight.

My body really wasn’t my friend though. I was hot, tired and aching. I didn’t have anything left to give. But you can’t walk through the finish line, can you? Besides, the sooner I got there the sooner I could stop!

I must have just had my phone on as I pushed on and the resulting pictures seemed to reflect my physical and mental state.

20140724-221555.jpg

Everything was rather swirly.

But the end was there. It was RIGHT. THERE! I pushed forward, overtook someone I went to school with (Ha!) and crossed the line!!!

20140724-221809.jpg

According to the official time I’d finished in 41:24 minutes, on my phone’s stopwatch (allowing for the time it took to get to the start line, but not allowing for the shakiness of my hands as I crossed the line) I’d done it in 41:06. Either way I’d done it!

20140724-222150.jpg

Elation!

20140724-222243.jpg

13) Utilise that feeling of good will.

Lots of smiles and congratulations and hugging. I met up with my friend who hadn’t finished too far behind me at 45 minutes. When the announcement came that three women – Julie, Dani and Bliss – needed a lift back into town as they had a flat tyre we nominated ourselves as good samaritans.

See, it was fate that our lack of supporters meant there was room for them in my car. We all chatted away about our experience.

‘Oh, I suppose I should check that you’re not actually mad-axe murderers,’ Julie asked.

‘Well, now you mention it, I was about to take you to a cabin in the woods.’

We chatted and laughed the whole way home. It turned out that they originally came from near Husband’s home town in Hertfordshire. And that they live in the village where we’ve just taken on a new property at work. I’d given out directions to the village so many times the day before I could get there in my sleep.

Which is how come, the following day, a woman showed up at the office with a bottle of wine, box of chocolates and thank you card.

‘Oh, who are those for?’ I asked, thinking they were for selling a house.

‘For you,’ she said, ‘for the lift yesterday.’

20140724-224038.jpg

I have such a bad memory for faces. But in my defence she had been wearing a bright pink wig the night before. Nevertheless, it made my day and the buzz from the race continued. It definitely offset the ache in my legs.

14) Impress everyone with your medal.

Boo was still up when I got home. I flashed my medal at her.

20140724-224547.jpg

‘Oooh, it’s silver this year,’ she cooed.

‘Yes. I came second.’

‘Did you?! Wow!’

It seems you can fool some of the people some of the time.

15) Rest.

Or, if you’re me, stay up til 1:30am catching up on all the things you should have done that evening, such as sorting out thank you presents for teachers and icing about a million cakes. Still, despite the gradual nagging from my legs (‘what did you do to us?!?!’) I was still buzzing. Hitting the mattress was utter bliss though.

Now, from the epic length of this post you’d better pray I never run a marathon. I mean, in the world of running 5k is nothing. But on an evening estimated to have raised £95,000 for cancer research it’s very much NOT nothing. Well done on finishing this post. You probably feel much like I did on completing the run. And not through my evocative writing style so much as the effort you’ve invested in getting to the end. If you’re feeling happy and generous can I ask that you drop a couple of quid/dollars/yen/whatever in your preferred charity box so that this post (which has taken longer to write than the race took to run) can do just a touch more good in the world. Thank you. Xx

The ‘Joys’ of Parenting: Nocturnal Vomiting

20140722-101440.jpg

19 years and four children. From the first meconium poo onwards there’s a lot of bodily fluid that needs to be mopped and wiped and washed from bedding. And most of it I can handle. Blood, sweat and tears? Not a problem. Poo? As long as it’s my own child I don’t even blink. And the stuff that goes in isn’t always much better (which is why in pretty sure I’ll never be one to jump on the juicing craze). Nevertheless I’ve shovelled all sorts of concoctions into the mouths of babes (and there after wiped it from their faces, hands, surrounding area) without so much a flinching.

But there’s one thing I still can’t handle: VOMIT.

It’s an easy route to personal gagging and retching…which isn’t great when faced with a sodden, crying, spewing child who needs comforting and sorting out.

20140722-101607.jpg

But even then, some situations are worse than others. Baby spew is pretty easily adjusted to. It’s frequency and non-offensiveness make it easier to deal with. It’s when things have chunks it becomes harder.

Nevertheless, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on in-car travel sickness, thanks to the omni-presence of a plastic Disney bucket and baby wipes. Plus, mercifully, Boo (whose most likely to suffer) is very good at giving just enough advance warning and then aiming accurately enough that we don’t even necessarily have to stop the car immediately although Indy, who last time found herself in charge of the bucket whilst I drove to the nearest layby, would probably argue that it’s still not great.

Definitely the WORST though is the unanticipated spewing.

Strike that. The very absolute worst is the unanticipated nocturnal spew.

So it was with shock and horror that I walked into Noodles’ room last night to find him in his bed, crying, choking and covered from the back of his head to his bedclothes in summer-fruits-squash-and-chocolate-buttons vomit (diced carrots an essential addition, naturally).

I got him out of bed, his little arms trembling, stumbling around the room whilst I ineffectively dabbed at his top with baby wipes. What evil designed the consistency of vomit? It wasn’t making the situation any better and that and the smell made me want to join in the barf-fest.

20140722-102229.jpg

I wanted to hug him tight and comfort him (and stop him from covering his room entirely in vomit)…but at the same time he was covered and Eeeew, no way you’re coming near me buddy! there were practical matters to be dealt with.

The not-so-rapid response team – ie Husband – eventually showed up and helped change the bedding (failing to wipe the mattress first or to have any understanding of duvet covers) whilst I mopped and dabbed at Noodles some more until he no longer smelt repulsive. Not easy when it was embedded in his hair.

But even once cleaned up and settled the traumas still weren’t quite over. The early hours of the morning isn’t the best time to be doing laundry, least of all laundry that needs stain treatment. But the cold light of day doesn’t make it any more appealing. And there’s the fear of a repeat experience. Every stomach churn, every gurgle, even once Noodles was back to sleep had me on tenterhooks, worried that there are only so many bedding options. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep.

Mercifully toddlers are resilient and bounce well in so many different ways and so it was that once rested Noodles is back to his normal buoyant self. It’s me whose been left traumatised. But you know, as they say, a trauma shared is a trauma resolved (and etched into the fabric of family disaster to be laughed about at a later date). So thank goodness for blogging, otherwise I’d possibly still be sat in the corner retching.

So what’s your parenting deal-breaker? What’s been your worst vomit-related incident? How do you cope?