Toddler Love

Pre school run this morning. First time in two weeks. 

The Girl: Mummy, I feel a bit sad. 

Me: That’s a shame, why?

We have just established how very excited she is to see everyone at preschool and she has rehearsed saying “Happy new year” for an entire 10 minutes…

Me: Will you miss me? 

The Girl: We have had a lot of time together over the holidays. 
Me: Yes so it will be sad to be apart again? 

The Girl: Mummy…it was a lot of time. 

I know, I know, it was indeed a lot of time…

Willies and Tinklers

Whilst getting ready for bed The Girl walks in on Phil in the shower this evening. 

The Girl: Daddy, I can see something dangling…

Me: Yes, that’s Daddy’s willy

The Girl: No. Not that. Look behind. 

She tries to move closer to get a better look while Phil and I look slightly alarmed as she is clearly speaking of his scrotum… 

The Girl: That there, that funny bit.

Phil and I both respond simultaneously:  “Balls!” “Testicles!”

This had not been discussed in advance. Unlike ‘willy’ and ‘tinkler’ (our chosen nouns for male and female bits) which had been discussed at length, friends questioned and tentative google searches performed. 

Suggestions ranged from the slightly horrific ‘penny slot’ to the more common ‘sixpence’, the too frequently used in everyday language; ‘bits’, and suggested by one of our more well-spoken friends; “personals” (which whilst a perfectly reasonable suggestion, I found it disproportionately hilarious) to describe the female anatomy. 

For us ‘willy’ was a simple no brainer and therefore further discussion regarding the surrounding area was not had. If it had been we would have had a simple and united front with which to respond to the ball sack question. 

However, Phil being a urologist clearly thought “I have got this. This is my area” (not only anatomically speaking) “I can answer any question she’s got. Bring it on!” 

And then took it upon himself to elaborate further, explaining that girls wear their balls on the inside… 
At which point I put an end to the discussion and usher The Girl out. There is a time to be a urologist and a time to be a Daddy. That was not the time to combine the two and explain the embryological development of genitalia to a 3yr old.  

We have already explained to preschool that Phil “deals with willies and wee” to hopefully contextualise any questionable remarks our rather astute 3 yr old may make. But “girls wearing balls on the inside” was one step too far. 
Now to fit a lock on the bathroom door….

What Lies Beneath…

Getting changed today while The Girl is in my company.

“Mummy, why are your nipples all the way down there?” 

Trying very hard to promote body confidence in my daughter and normalise breastfeeding, whilst secretly weeping and mourning my once (semi) pert knockers, I reply: 

“Because they are amazing and made milk which you and your brother both lived off for 6 whole months before you could eat. Ace isn’t it?” 

There follows a loaded silence whilst I await my next question, and the opportunity to further demonstate my respect for the human body …

“Mummy, you should put your bra on.” 

“Right. Thanks. Will do” 

Or perhaps I won’t bother and will just tuck them in to my jeans…

The Mum Cold 

The Girl got a cold. She attended preschool which is just an enormous incubator for germ proliferation.  The children were then released, the perfect vectors for disease, swarming in to their native environments to share their overflowing Petri dishes. 
And share she did. 

Her affectionate cuddles were just a snot smearing exercise, her attempts to cover her mouth when coughing did nothing but create a wind tunnel to direct phlegm towards the uninfected, and her sneezes were like a glorious fountain of misery. 

Phil succumbed first. So he was banished to the spare room for a night in an attempt to isolate and limit the spread of disease, as well as to facilitate a good nights sleep in an effort to rid himself of the lurgy ASAP. It didn’t work. But did mean that I had a night of responding to both children’s needs and guaranteeing that I was so run down I also contracted the disease. 

So, now the household is riddled with disease. Phil has taken his to work, filling his surgical mask with snot while operating (fear not, the operating field remained sterile). The Girl, after a few days off, returned to the incubator to no doubt pick up another one to follow. The Boy, is producing such vast quantities of snot his cot sheets need changing like nappies, his dummy gets fired out of his mouth with each cough and the battle of the dummy vs breathing ensures that sleeping is nothing but a pipe dream. 

And me, I have The Mum Cold. The snot is torrential and my time is spent trying to catch it before it lands on a child or soft furnishing. Tissues are always slightly out of reach to me- but obviously not to The Boy who is frequently found trying to get a snot rag into his mouth. 

The cough is guaranteed to happen just as The Boy is falling asleep and will therefore startle him ensuring he will be awake for another hour, making sure that I maintain my sleep deprived state, prolonging the agony. At this point I’m grateful to be married to a urologist who has been only to happy to remind me to perform my pelvic floor exercises, and back up his “friendly” reminders with tales of incontinence and intimate medical investigations. So at least I’m not peeing myself too- bonus. 

The main challenge of The Mum Cold is the lack of day off or recuperation. Phil has delivered me a honey and lemon (pretty sure this is not evidenced based medicine) and toddled off to work. I drag my aching carcass out of bed to get breakfast which turns into some sort of porridge and snot wrestling championship, and get The Girl to preschool. The cupboards are barren, there is not a vitamin in sight and the only paracetamol has decongestant added to it, which was great for The Man Cold but apparently not ideal for my lactating knockers. 

So we venture to the supermarket, without a list or a meal plan and my current state of mind means that I spend a fortune – on nothing much and far too many “treats”. The diet is screwed but that’s a worry for another day. Right now I need to work out what I’m feeding the children, how I’m going to clean up the kitchen and remove the porridge which had been sprayed so liberally on the walls it looks like we have textured wallpaper, and how I can possibly create a team nap environment this afternoon. 

There is no team nap. Instead we are all sneezing so vigorously our sofa resembles the bellagio fountains, in a sea of snotty tissues, with a cough ensemble backing track. 

Phil is welcomed home to the disease ridden house by shrieks of joy from The Girl, and a huge snotty grin from The Boy (a welcome but brief pause in the whining) and me, un-showered, stinking of Vicks and olbas oil and wearing clothes covered in snail trails of snot. 

Phil looks at me and clearly my face says it all. He knows his working day is not done, he has done 12 hours but there’s another 12 in the day. He has returned to 3 more patients. Phil is clearly still not feeling great but makes a great decision. Without out me saying a word he, decides on balance that struggling through bath time (without his surgical mask, so improvising with tissue shoved up his nostrils) is far preferable to the exhausted, hormonal, diseased, has-spent-all-day-being-mauled-by-children, outburst that will follow if he even sneezes in a manner suggesting he isn’t going to immediately take on full dad and husband duties.

Honestly he really is quite perceptive sometimes. 

So yes, I’ve got The Mum Cold. But Phil, well he has The Dad Cold. You know which is worse?

We’re in it together, knee deep in snot, more fatigued than we thought humanly possible, both spending our days dealing with bodily fluids, our evenings wallowing in cold and flu remedies (of absolutely no benefit), snapping away at each other, firing out passive aggressive comments and willing the other one to get out of bed and respond to the child this time.

This is the side of family life they don’t warn you about, it doesn’t get put on an NCT leaflet, it’s not the front cover of a parenting book, it’s not reminisced over by parents across the land. This is the dark side. But this is what happens when you decide to breed sexually transmitted parasites. This is parenting reality, and we are lucky to have it. Although it might not feel like it right at this specific moment…

Yesterday’s News…

I have once again found an unintended series link on my TV. Not sure which incompetent remote user is guilty. The contenders are:

1) The Girl (3 yrs old) most likely would have been done while using remote as a phone. 

2) The Boy (9 months old),most likely would have been done with his mouth, or a vigorous pelvic thrust. 

3) The Grandad (68 yrs), most likely would have been done while trying to change channel and refusing to give said remote to a more experienced user. 

Regardless, I can safely say I will not be keeping “The News at 10” to catch up on at a later date. 

Parenting is One Thing, Pets Are Another…. 

“Mummy we need to talk about Santa”

It’s November, The Girl is 3.5 years old and just like in the film Love Actually, Christmas is indeed all around us. So, unlike when this was suggested to me in October, I agree to engage in the discussion. 

“I would like a pet please mummy” my heart sinks. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of other people having pets and completely understand why people do, but it’s just not for us. Phil and I just aren’t really animal people. 

We tried. We once had a house rabbit called Clive, he lived in the dining room of our pre-baby house. He was fab, he was toilet trained and would jump in to his cage when the bell was rung. 

He also chewed everything in sight, malted hair everywhere, grew viciously long claws that were impossible to cut (it was definitely easier to anaesthetise a person than to snip his talons) and would sprint into the back corner of his cage the instant you tried to show any affection toward him. 

We put in the effort, I read every book about caring for animals, I googled house rabbit questions like a new mum googles “how to make my baby sleep” but Clive just didn’t want to play. All in all, perhaps not the most rewarding of pets. 

When the Girl was about 8weeks old, I was upstairs trying to feed her in to a milk induced coma when Phil comes in and in a panicked whisper says “I think Clive is dead”. 

“What do you mean you ‘think’ Clive is dead?” 

“Well he isn’t moving, breathing,responding or opening his eyes” And there speaks a doctor, someone who can confirm human death with certainty but stands in front of me questioning the vitality of our 4 yr old rabbit despite all the signs suggesting, with absolute certainty that Clive is dead. 

So our ‘dwarf’ rabbit who was nearly 2ft long when stretched out, with his feet behind him and his ‘hands’ in front (his favourite position to be in) had died. In said position. Meaning he was twice the size of a shoe box and the small animal carrier, and bigger than any other box we happened to have in the house. We didn’t know what to do, we had never before been in this position, we didn’t know what to do with a dead animal. 

So we called Clegg. Our friend who lived about 200 yards away and is some sort of animal whisperer (although not once they are dead it turns out). With her history of having had several rabbits who have lived and died she was the woman we needed. Phil explained the predicament of an appropriate vessel to take the recently deceased Clive to the vets in (and the fact phil was freaked out by dead Clive and didn’t want to touch him) and Clegg came to the rescue. With a large box. A box to transport our enormous, dead and fully stretched out rabbit, to the waiting room of the vets. The waiting room which would be filled with passionate animal lovers and their very much alive pets. So Clive’s final journey was in a Kenwood food processor box complete with pictures of raw meat on the side.

I don’t think Clive would have minded- sure he was a vegetarian and sure, any contact with a food processor in his living days would have been some sort of terrifying torture situation and clearly not the path he was meant to take, but I like to think he was fairly open minded and ultimately a box is a box. Or that’s what we told Clegg as she heroically volunteered to take him to the vets, as I was only just capable of leaving the house with The Girl, never mind The Girl and an oversized food processor box containing dead Clive. 

So with this experience in mind I know The Girl is going to be disappointed as Santa will not be bringing her a pet, but I entertain the discussion for a little longer asking what sort of pet she would like…

“A crocodile mummy, and if I can’t have a crocodile then 3 caterpillars please” 

Well, unexpected options but perhaps possible, and she did say please….

Domestic Bliss

It’s Sunday morning. Phil is on call and hasn’t been seen since Friday at 7am (although the evidence suggests that he did make it home to reheat his dinner on Friday night at some point) and it is November. And, being the domestic goddess that I am, I know that we should make the Christmas cake.

During the week I bought some ingredients I could remember we needed but it’s going to be a bit hit or miss. The problem is that I have said to The Girl that we will make our Christmas cake, therefore it needs to happen. And it needs to happen now. Right now. 

So we get out the Delia Smith complete cookbook. This is the only recipe I have ever made from this book and I have done it 3 times before. It seems to have worked in previous years so I persevere with the same one. 

This year however, The Boy introduces a new dynamic, he is “dairy free” – not because it’s trendy, but because if he eats dairy (including through my breastmilk) then he poops blood, which even as a trained medic I find somewhat alarming. So, I’ve introduced a “baking block” – a generic non-milk based butter alternative – something I am 100% sure Delia would not approve of…Much like my lack of fresh nutmeg would no doubt not go down well, nor would the lack of orange rind (which I have rather cunningly substituted with slightly ‘past it’ satsuma skin  who knew it’s not that easy to grate the skin of a satsuma? It just sort of peels itself). It also turns out my candied peel’s use by date was last year and my eggs are not large. 

I could, and perhaps should, nip to the shop but it’s 10am, I was up 3 times in the night, none of us are dressed and I can’t be bothered to take the gang to the supermarket (this would also mean my trip to the butcher’s yesterday to buy the most expensive chicken in the world “it is grain fed and free range” was entirely avoidable as I could have bought one at the supermarket for half the price). So I don’t, I crack on with the cake baking, with all of us in our PJs. Well, I’m in my bra and dressing gown as The Boy did some sort of epic projectile vomit down my PJs before we got out of bed this morning, and I’m yet to locate some spew free clothing. 

But it all goes rather well, The Girl sneezes, narrowly missing the mixing bowl and The Boy requires 2 nappy changes mid-bake. At one point The Girl describes my slightly curdled butter, sugar, and egg mix as “looking like a nappy- but smelling nicer” which I accept as a charming compliment.  

She does however temporarily bamboozle me when she informs me that the treacle “looks like Mike”. The only Mike we know is Caucasian with mousy brown hair and a fairly solid rugby player type, so I’m unable to see how she is making this association. But with further discussion “it’s Mike that daddy spreads on toast”. Marmite. She means Marmite. 

Anyway after an hour and a half of prep (with a very much preheated oven, as at Delia’s request we turned it on at the start of this venture) the cake goes in, and half a day later comes out resembling a fruitcake. 

A fruitcake which is now going to be heavily laced with booze for the next 6 weeks to disguise its short comings, a fruitcake which is definitely not chocolate flavoured (despite what The Girl is insisting) and a fruitcake which is not to be eaten for the next 6 weeks. A concept that The Girl is having significant trouble understanding. 

Next year I’m just going to brave the supermarket, buy a reasonably priced free range chicken and a ready made Christmas cake. In hindsight, the better option. 

Speeding and Spider-Man 

Phil and I are good law abiding citizens. In fact our criminal dealings extend to once having to report my parents number plates being pinched from their car (parked outside our house),and occasionally patching up individuals involved in a fracas – obviously in our line of work, not freelancing out of the garden shed or anything.  In fact we are such law abiding citizens when our retired neighbour John knocked on our door within 24 hrs of us moving in to our house, asking if we wanted to join the neighbourhood watch scheme, we jumped at the chance to hand over an email address and send him on his way. 

Until today. Today we got a letter stating criminal proceedings were being commenced against the driver of my car. My car was photographed speeding in a 30mph area. 

Clearly being the type of person I am, my palms are sweaty and I need an urgent loo break, but I continue to read and realise with great relief that it’s not me! No, it’s not me. It’s Phil, Super -cautious-occasionally-critical-of -my-driving-and-frequently-reminds-me-that-he-has -4-years-more-driving-experience-than-me, Phil. 

Immediately I get on the GMC website to see if Phil will be struck off (meaning I will have to give up my maternity leave and resume normal life) and upon realising that this is not the case, I breathe a sigh of relief and proceed in my role of “supportive wife”, sharing the news with Phil, without even a hint of smugness. It’s starts along the lines “Phil! Your in trouble with the police…” 

The Girl is watching me like a hawk but says nothing while I chat to Phil. However, later on in the bath, the conversation goes like this;

“Mummy, is Spider-Man a goodie?”

“Yes he is”

“So does he help people?”

“Yes that’s right”

“How mummy?” 

“Well, if someone is in trouble he will try and help them”

“So will Spider-Man help Daddy to get out of trouble with the police?” 


Where is Phil to help me explain this one? Oh yes, driving at the speed of a golf cart on his 30 mile commute.

“Yes. Yes, Spider-Man will sort it all out”…. if only Spider-Man could write us a cheque….

Trick or Treat – Please!

Phil bought a pumpkin for “us” to carve (because it’s not like I have already carved one this year and have a to-do list as long as my arm or anything). 

The Girl demanded a witch then lost interest so I have dutifully carved said witch and put it in our porch – to tempt trick or treaters to visit (in the hope they will clear out the sweet treat supply in our house and save me from myself). 

Needless to say, living on a cul-de-sac of retirees it’s not really attracting a big crowd. 

Good Morning…

It’s 5am and after listening to the 7month olds “singing” for 20 mins I give in and enter his room, knowing my exit attempts will be more challenging than an automatic lock in on the crystal maze. The offer of a dummy is met with grinning and laughing in my face so I succumb and give him an early first breakfast of boob milk, in the dark, being entirely silent in the hope of inducing sleep again. It works for one of us, despite the thumping of my chest with his tiny fists I doze in fits and starts until finally I’m released by The Boy doing an excellent impression of a sleeping baby. I attempt the transfer of said tiny person to the cot and sneak back to bed. Immediately I hear the baby chat starting again, but then, just briefly, there is silence.

So of course, the alarm goes off. It’s 6am, so it’s Phil’s “first alarm”, the alarm that says “you don’t actually have to get up yet, just letting you know that in 20 mins you do. So I’m just going to trade some of your restful deep sleep for lighter broken sleep accompanied by sighing and tutting from your wife because she is pretty hacked off that you insist on setting the alarm unnecessarily early and really wishes you would just set one alarm and get the hell out of bed”

But before I can begin to vocalise my already well known (but ignored) feelings, I hear through the walls, the dulcet Brummie tones of our angelic 3 year old – “I need a wee!!!! Why is my clock not yellow?!! Mummy!!!! Daddy!!!…. I need a wee NOW!!!”

So, with the alarm already having gone off and bearing in mind I’ve only just got back into bed I think it would be reasonable to assume that Phil will spring out of bed to attend to our little darling, but instead he waits for me to huff and sigh and roll over (in a manner suggesting I’m about to get up – but actually have no intention of leaving the bed as this one is definitely all his) before he finally takes the hint, gives in, and heads out the door.

I hear the negotiations taking place to convince The Girl to get back in to bed – trying to get those extra 5mins out of her. It’s futile, we all know who’s winning this one. Of course this process also ensures that The Boy is wide awake and ready to play. So within moments my attempted slumber is well and truly destroyed as The Boy is delivered to the bed and makes an immediate attempted to crawl off the side (again), The Girl marches in (complete with blanket, metallic and fluffy unicorn, clucky ducky and a pasta necklace) and just to really guarantee we are all wide awake Phil’s sodding alarm goes off again.

Phil, realising his presence in my company is entirely unwelcome, busies himself getting ready for work, delivering me a guilt cuppa and heading out of the door. Once at a safe distance he reminds me he has clinic this afternoon which reliably doesn’t finish until 7pm and there is, for the 4th time in as many days, zero chance he will be home to see the kids or assist with bath time.

So I am abandoned, with the 3yr old screeching for my phone (to play the CBeebies game on) and the 7m old practising crawling by humping the metallic and fluffy unicorn with such vigour he proceeds to vomit on the freshly changed bed linen.

Good morning everyone it’s 7am, and in the most grateful way possible, I’m counting down to bedtime, or to my return to work, or to gin.

Mainly the gin.

Definitely the gin.

A metallic and fluffy unicorn; A welcome addition to any bed I’m sure you will agree…