Railway relaxation …


So I am on the train. I. Just me. Well and a train full of other people but none of them are my responsibility. There is just me and a classy can of G&T. 

I’m heading to meet an old friend, to go out for dinner, have a conversation (maybe even finish it) and generally relax. 

I have been excited about this for weeks and the really sad part is that I have been super excited about the train ride. Just a few hours of uninterrupted escapism watching the world go by, not being mauled, reading, listening and not actively being mum. I have planned this out, I booked a seat – forward facing and in the quiet coach, got my G&T, got my book, downloaded some podcasts. This should be heaven. 

Only it’s not. The train was 30mins late. No biggie, had a little lunch at the station. But then I have boarded the train and it’s gone downhill. 

I am in the right coach. Coach A. The quiet coach. It’s definitely not a quiet coach. 

Some overly affectionate youthful couple are canoodling while watching an episode of something on a phone, with no headphones in and the audio turned up antisocially high. Again – no biggie. This will not get me down. I will just pop my head phones in and ignore it….Only then I realise I forgot my headphones.  

I look for my reserved seat, hoping that it will be a suitable distance away from said couple. It is. Only it has someone sat in it.  

Now, this is sort of situation that makes me very British. Yes I reserved that seat. Yes I selected it especially for its forward facing window view. But no. I will not stake my claim. Instead I will sit on the only other vacant seat in the coach, just adjacent to said touchy-feely couple, which is also reserved. So I will not relax. At each station I will panic that the rightful owner of the seat that I am sat in will board the train and stake their claim forcing me to stand up – correctly evicted from the seat to find my own. 

My initial thought is that I will obviously just ask the person in my seat to move. This will be fine. It will be clear I am doing it only because I was forced in to it. However, I look more closely as the thoughtless, rude, seat thief and realise that no, I am just too British. I cannot evict the sleeping 5 yr old from my seat. 

Instead I glare at said child’s mother, who is also sleeping (I wouldn’t risk confrontation with a glare that might be seen) and resign myself to a journey of anxious unease resting on my derrière until I have to go stand in the smelly toilet vestibule. 

Damn children. Who’d have them?! 

Punctual, Proud and Peeing…


The Girl has started school. The school do a very gentle induction of half days for a whole week. Which is of course a total nightmare for childcare and for my child who is used to 10 hour days at nursery. It is somewhat painful all round.

Anyway, accepting this, Phil rose to the parenting challenge and took some annual leave. As did I, as I wasn’t missing the first day of school obligatory photo shoot either! But on the Friday I had a course to go on.  

So I swanned out of the house at 7.30am being a strong and independent woman, going to work and leaving Phil to have the Stay-at-home-dad experience. As we have long established, time keeping is not Phils’ strongest point so I left him fully briefed and and crossed my fingers. 

But I needn’t have worried. Phil is a new age independent man. He’d got this. And he really did. He dropped the girl off. He fed The Boy, he returned at lunch time to collect The Girl. He told me with great delight that he spoke to lots of the mums at the school gates, he tells me he was a proud dad and he didn’t stick out like the only dad at the gate, he did the school run and enjoyed it. In fact he was so on time that he managed to collect The Boy’s prescription milk (because cows milk makes his insides bleed) from the pharmacy before he went to the school. 

The Boy’s milk supply comes as 7 tins of formula. Which they kindly put in a box to make it easy to carry. 

So Phil went to the school gates and mingled like a pro with a huge, bright purple, clearly labelled, Tena lady incontinece pads box under his arm. 

Now when I realise that this has happened I have mixed emotions. 

Firstly I’m mortified that every parent at the school gates is going to think that I have incontinence issues. I’ve had two children, including a 9lb 1 chunk of a boy so it’s not entirely unreasonable that people would think this. But I actually don’t. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is a urologist and therefore kindly offered frequent reminders to do my pelvic floor exercises. Which to date have proved very effective in maintaining my ability to pee on demand. 

But then again. Why should I be so distressed that people are thinking my husband is collecting my incontinence pads? I mean what a guy to do that?! 

And, so what if I do need incontinence pads? What’s the big deal? It’s a common problem, why should I be embarrassed? Why shouldn’t we say it loud and proud “I carried 2 children and popped them out of my fanny. My body is amazing. So let’s cut it some slack and forgive it for being a bit leaky.”

Maybe Phil proudly chatting away with the Tena Lady under his arm will make someone else think. Maybe it will normalise this. Maybe it will encourage someone else to seek help. Maybe us ladies should stick together and breakdown the stigma. Maybe we can help each other out. 

And maybe we should all just do our pelvic floor exercises now. 

Right now!!! 

But maybe, just maybe, nobody noticed the Tena Lady box after all….

Fitbit Failure…


Unfortunately Phil picked up on my very subtle hints regarding my desire for a Fitbit and as such I was the lucky recipient of one on my birthday. Alas, Phil had forgotten how target driven I can be. And had not considered how irritating that would be for him. 

For those unfamiliar with a Fitbit it is like a watch which records your activity. You can then check on your phone how active you have been and see if you are meeting the suggested targets, like 30 mins of exercise 5 times a week, 250 steps an hour and 10 000 a day. When you hit such targets the Fitbit will flash and vibrate on your wrist and you feel an enormous sense of well being and pride.

So, in order to hit my 250 steps an hour I frequently jump up at 10 mins to the hour to pace on the spot or run a lap of the kitchen (I should point out the kitchen is not large it adds about 17 steps, max, and subsequently I get quite dizzy trying), I have been known to cycle rather than drive and there have been occasional evening constitutionals to get my step count up. So it appears to encourage some healthy changes. There have however been a few moments when I have questioned such a device…

1. Marching on the spot in the lounge while eating a packet of crisps. 

2. Deciding to take a smaller portion of chocolates from the naughty cupboard, thinking that at least I will get some extra steps in when I return for my second helping. 

3. The Girl having a tantrum on the walk home because I was walking too fast and I genuinely wanted to make her understand that I had targets to hit otherwise the tiny computer on my wrist won’t flash and vibrate to reward my success. 

4. Realising that it had taken me over 2000 steps to put the kids to bed. This was confirmation of a tough evening and legitimised a large glass of wine. 

5. Realising that when my alarm went off at 6am I had already managed 267 steps since midnight simply by attending to my snotty little darlings. 

6. The one that has really made me question my commitment to such a device and wonder if in fact the Fitbit is the work of Satan. It flashing up on the screen to tell me……”The average Fitbit user wakes up 23 mins later than you on a week day and 1 hour 10 mins later than you on a weekend.”

1 hour and 10mins. Why? Why would I need to know this? I know I haven’t had a proper lie in for 4 and half years. I know I get woken up every morning by a not-so-small-anymore child, (who has seemingly spent the night sharpening her elbows and knees) clambering over me to get in to my bed. I know that any time after 5 am is fair game for The Boy to start hollering for his morning milk and stand in his cot shouting at me until I deliver him his cup of milk, and good god if I don’t get there quick enough I know he is going to throw his little self around that cot in a hungry rage. I know that even when the day starts with an S, I still get up and have a full of day of “work” ahead of me. I know that there is no option of rolling over and going back to sleep. I know that I am permanently sleep deprived. I know how much I would love to sleep for an extra 10 mins, never mind 70 mins!

So why, oh why, does my phone need to tell me how crappy my sleep is and how everybody else does it better? Damn you stupid Fitbit. You can take your statistics and shove them where the sun don’t shine. I’m done. I’m out. 

Although I do quite like the party on my wrist when I do 10 000 steps… 

Age is But a Number…


Last week The Girl made me a birthday card at preschool and presented it to me. 

Me: Oh thanks, that’s…. interesting

The Girl: It has got an eighteen on

Me: Yep, I see that….How old am I now? 

The Girl: You’re 32. But I thought you would like an 18 better. 

On another note, she also opted to leave the inside of the card entirely blank. 

#winning #sheknowsmesowell #thatwilldonicely #ifihadafavouritechildthiscouldswingit #cardrecycling 

What’s Up Doc? 


I’m trying to do some e-learning in my lunch break at work. The computer doesn’t seem to have sound. I click on the speaker icon a couple of times and acknowledge that’s the extent of my technological skills and I call IT.  

“What’s up Doc?” They ask. 

So I explain and in response they send down the new, young, awkward (dare I say it, stereotypical) IT guy to my room. He comes in, makes very little eye contact and attaches some cables. There is no small talk or pleasantries.  
“That should work now. I will just press play” 

Which he does. On the screen is a role play scenario between a clinician and a patient. I had however, ramped up the computer to full volume (when it didn’t work instantly for me the first time) and  sure enough he has fixed the problem so the consultation comes booming out of the speakers: 

“I just can’t get it up doc, we kiss and cuddle but then it all goes wrong…” 

The module I’m studying is psychological sexual dysfunction. The man (or maybe ‘boy’ would be more accurate) hurriedly clicks pause- several times in his panic- resulting in a stop start continuation of the audio torture. He is mortified. Horrified. He can’t speak and appears to also not be able to move as he is still lunging over the desk staring at the screen in dismay. He remains this way whilst the awkward silence continues.

“Thanks! It sounds like its working” 

I say in an effort to bring the most awkward moment of this poor geeky IT chaps life to a close. Then before I can stop myself I continue:

“Although thats not what he was saying eh?!” Pointing to the computer screen while internally screaming ‘why why why did I just say that?!’.

My effort at humour did not help the situation. He blushed an even deeper shade of red, developed a panicked sweat and literally ran out of my room without saying a word. 

I just hope he never has to be the patient in that consultation. Although I fear I may have traumatised him so significantly he might be…. 

Shhh, Shhh, Shower…


I thought I had showering sorted. I finally thought, 16 months after birthing The Boy I had eventually got to grips with the process of showering, while also parenting the 4yr old drama queen and the tiny destroyer. 

The approach involves confining them both in The Boy’s room (the least hazardous room in the house), locking the child gate, leaving the bathroom door open and speed washing. 

Now, on this particular day – The Deputy, (my friendly but very over involved retired neighbour) rang the door bell. The kids are restrained, I have negotiated the terms of The Girl’s release, I’m naked and literally stepping into my hot running shower. So I ignore it . 

The first time. 

The second time. 

And on the third time it crosses my mind that maybe he isn’t disturbing me to offer me vegetables (he intentionally grows an excess of lettuce so that he can constantly disturb the entire street to share his produce). So I do a naked dash to my bedroom window and spot The Deputy’s wife watering her back garden, and decide that there is no medical emergency and my shower is back on. 

Just as I get myself into the shower and dare to breathe a quick deep relaxing breath. Then the shrieking begins. 

“Mummy!!”  

I ignore it. Just 1 more minute. 

“Mummy!!”

Deep breath. Just one more minute.

“Mummy!!” And she is in there in the bathroom. Right there, just one minute in to my shower. 

Now, The Girl is 4 years old. We have negotiated this, every non work day, for the past few months. She knows the rules. She does not leave the bedroom for fear that The Boy will immediately make a run for the stairs through the, then open, gate and I will have to do a mad mid shower gallop to grab him. 

So I’m not that happy right now. 

“Mummy!!” 

“Right…” and I’m ready to give her some stern words. 

So I turn to look at her. Obviously if I’m going to tell her off I’m going to be an A+ mummy and make eye contact with her……but then I notice something on her face. A big brown streak across her forehead and down her cheek. 

“Erm, What is that on your face?” 

“I thought it was peanut butter Mummy but it came out his nappy when he crawled over my head….Mummy I think it’s… POO!!!” 

There we are. All I wanted was 5 minutes in the shower. 5 minutes alone (admittedly with the door open and my ears on).  

Instead, I got 2 mins of doorbell ringing (it turns out because The Deputy needed to tell me the window cleaner was here-like I wouldn’t have noticed myself), 1 min of shrieking and the grand finale of my daughter having a faeces face mask courtesy of her little brother. 

Yep I got this down. 

Back to the dry shampoo. 

Diarrhoea Despair… 

Firstly, it needs to be said I share the following delight of an experience, not in a search for sympathy but purely for light hearted entertainment. The episode has now passed and I can look back and laugh heartily – with a much more acceptable risk level of soiling myself. 

I got ill. I got the mother of all stomach bugs. I had explosive, incapacitating, diarrhoea. And of course it struck when Phil was on call.

I called in to work sick, for the first time in years. I did get sent home sick once while The Boy was a passenger, because I was definitely sicker than some of the patients, but had attempted to do that typical doctor thing of not wanting to let down colleagues – actually I probably just spread the lurgy, in hindsight it was a bad decision and I should have known better. In this case there was no doubting the sick call had to be made. 

Being that I hadn’t left the toilet since 3am and my bum was clenched and burning, Phil called a colleague to say he would be late and took the kids to nursery. I waved them off from the confines of my bathroom and proceeded to let nature take its course. 

By mid morning I had managed to leave the bathroom – stocked up with toilet roll from the airing cupboard supply and got myself a glass of flat lemonade. I went to bed cuddling a bucket to cover any top end mishaps. 

I tried to nap. The belly cramps were slowing down but a pump was still a very risky business in the white bed linen, so frequent trips to the loo continued. 

Unfortunately mid afternoon came and there was no sign of things letting up. I contacted Phil but of course he was on call… 

Nursery pick up time was rapidly approaching and I was still experiencing torrents of diarrhoea. 

Now in this scenario I decided my options were as follows:

1. Abandon the kids at nursery and let social services bring them home. 

2. Call Phil, demand he returns home at once. If someone has a testicular emergency he will need to explain that he is AWOL and the testicle is to be sacrificed so the surgeons wife can maintain her dignity and not crap herself in public. 

3. Get one of The Boys nappies, nappy up, wear a long top to cover up the bulging underwear situation, clench, get to the pharmacy buy a truck load of Imodium, take immediately, have the most terrifyingly tense drive to nursery, apply alcohol hand gel copiously, grab both kids and return home (driving in an assertive but safe manner) and immediately hide in the toilet again while CBeebies keeps the kids in one place.

All undeniably appealing options. 

Clearly, I went for option 3, and whilst doing so, mentally prepared a business plan for an emergency Imodium home delivery service….