Friday, 1 December 2017

Stranger Duvets

Night time. As Bjork once sang in her broad Icelandic drole,” It’s oh so quiet, it’s all so still.”  A time to sit down and relax. Pop the kettle on and make a cup of tea. Maybe indulge in an episode of Stranger Things or four. Go on, put your bed socked feet up and just ‘Netflix n chill.’ However, Bjork goes on in her joyful ditty, “All is peaceful until..” She obviously had a constipated, nightmaring Toddler when she penned her hit song. The night waking is still going on and is very much alive. Constipation can be a culprit but at the moment we have a new enemy in our midst:  the duvet or to be precise, kicking off the duvet. It can strike at any time.  An hour in, three hours in and then three or four times in the night. I have tried tucking her in like an over- zealous Victorian nanny but then she will scream as if she is being detained against her will. The sounds she makes are similar to those being made by Winona Ryder in many an episode of Stranger Things. It’s like she’s been taken by the monster and is being abducted to the Upside Down.

 My daughter could actually play the part of Eleven in Stranger Things. Eleven has telekinetic powers which means she is able to see people and find them with the power of her mind. My daughter must have these powers too as she knows exactly when I come in from a night out and the exact time I go to bed. I usually catch up on The Archers on Radio 4 before bed and I always play it very quietly. However, she knows, like she knows the exact moment my head hits my pillow that this is the time to wake up. It’s quite a skill. I can literally have just got into bed when the “Mummy!!” starts. And 9 out of 10 times at the moment it’s because of the sodding duvet. As soon as I put it back on she starts snoring. Put her in a grobag I hear you say! I think if I tried putting her in one of those things now it would be the end of days. We do have one big enough so I may well try one last attempt but I fear she will get too hot, panic or both. I fear it will all be in vain but then we are about to put her into a toddler bed so a grobag might be a plan. That’s right. The monster will be free to roam. I haven’t quite got my head around the fact that she will have freedom for the first time in 2 and half years. The cot is going to a friend of mine who’s just had a baby so my girl has been bought a very nice white bed by her Grandma. We live in a flat so the potential for her to get out and cause untold mayhem is infinitesimal. I am seriously thinking about putting a gate on her door but luckily she doesn’t have the strength yet to turn the handle on it. But I know once the feeling of freedom has been felt, there will be no turning back. She has only in the last fortnight discovered a love of climbing and I just know that the beautifully organised Great Little Trading boxes that I have lovingly put into categories including Craft, Vehicles and Dress Up/Make believe will be upturned and strewn on to the carpet to the blue light of her Angel care nightlight. The OCD in me is already starting to make my eye twitch at the thought. What if Duplo gets into the Megablock box? What if the farm figures end up in the Puppy park. No. Stop Harriet. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

 Anyway, Christmas is around the corner so the transition from cot, happily incarcerated to the freedom of the toddler bed will not be happening until the Christmas tree is long gone. I don’t want to hear pine needle in toddler skull in the middle of the night. The possibility for  toddler mischief in a house adorned with Christmas decorations doesn't bear thinking about. So we are going to wait until the New Year for that one. 2018: the year of even less sleep that we had before because our daughter is free. Pass me the Prosecco pronto.
 She is beyond excited. This morning she woke up to find a mini Christmas tree in her bedroom and she got to open her Paddington Bear advent calendar. Seeing her little face was priceless. That smile makes everything worthwhile. It’s beautiful. But I also know the smile she has when she’s done something naughty.  That cheeky smile which says,”. I’ve just pulled the Christmas tree over or pulled off tiny bits of the tinsel or peed all over the laminate flooring. No, we shall avoid ‘That’ smile until the New Year. The New Year in which I turn 40. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


Relaxing music plays in the background. She runs a bath and fills it with Jo Malone oils. She has a long soak, moisturises and puts on her fluffy white, warm, clean dressing gown. The drawer to her dressing table is open. She looks through the bottles of nail varnish, turning each one and gazes at the bright shades. Some shiny, like patent heels, others shimmery like a Christmas bauble. ‘Thigh High’- that’s the name on the bottle. Carefully, the colour is applied. Time is left between each coat, allowing it to dry. Once they are done the hair is coiffed, dress and tights laid out on the bed and so begins the trying on of high heeled shoes….(Sound Effect of record scratching to a halt) What a load of bollocks! Let’s turn off that soothing music, drain that bath and chip those nails. Dragging you back into reality kicking and screaming. Hang up that fluffy clean, white dressing gown and replace it with a slightly thread-bare one that’s in need of a damn good wash, as it is also used as a makeshift blanket in the middle of the night. For good measure, run a toddler’s nostrils down the front for a shiny snail trail. Et voila. Sexy mama is back. Those heady days when you had over an hour or even an afternoon to get ready to go out are long gone. Vanished into thin air along with your pelvic floor.

  I think it’s fair to say that I don’t go out much, in fact I go out rarely, so when my agent who is also my mate offered me comps for the musical ‘Kinky Boots’ I said Yasssss please! However, it’s never quite as simple as saying a simple yes, is it? Oh no. The problem was that we couldn’t get any childcare last minute so one of us needed to stay at home. I won the going out card that night so whoop! A night off. How lovely. But it’s a never a night off is it? The evening out was reliant on all of the planets aligning which involved my husband getting home from work on time and him not being too ill to look after the small one. So, during the day I had cleaned, tidied, made a casserole, oh did some childcare, made sure the cot was ready, bit more childcare, pyjamas out, bath ready for running and at some point, putting some slap on my face to cover up the lines, bags and general wear and tear.
Sadly, the day before some bastard had broken into our block and burgled two of the upstairs flats so earlier on in the day I had been on the phone to the management company to organise a locksmith to come round. Now he arrived at 4:15. My ETD was 5:30. He was there for nearly an hour, checking outside locks and trying to get the front door to close properly. He left at 5:10. Whilst he was talking to me I was trying to edge back in the flat, making sure that my girl wasn’t up to mischief and put the oven on for the casserole. I also had the small task of getting ready! Finally, he went and I ran into the bedroom and tried to do something with my knackered visage. I then put rice in a pan, set the table and finally hubster got in at 5:25. He looked like death warmed up and promptly fell on the bed asking me what time I was heading out. I replied, “Now” and he groaned. As soon as my daughter saw me put heels that was it. My cover was blown. Proper ploppy tears ensued, followed by lots of,  Take me with you! Don’t leave me!”. Kids are great aren’t they?
 I had four minutes to get ready. I put on a dress which I’d never worn before and when asked how I looked my husband half looked at me, and said, “Oh? Erm. It’s fine. “ Now we all know that this is code for “That dress does nothing for you. Why did you press confirm purchase on ASOS? “ Great. So, I left the house looking less than average with a screaming toddler and an ill husband. I felt frazzled and guilty as hell. As I walked down the street I could still hear my daughter wailing, I had Mum hair and bare nails. I texted my husband on the train and was promptly told that my daughter took ages to console and was refusing to eat the ruddy casserole. I looked down at my shit dress and felt a ruddy winner, I can tell you.

 As I arrived at Waterloo, I ran into the big Boots and bought some nail varnish, hilariously called ‘Thigh High’. The only thing that was thigh high was my self pity and massive guilt. I found somewhere to sit and managed to apply two coats. I used the walk across Waterloo Bridge to dry the buggers. It’s amazing how resourceful one becomes as a parent. Oh, I was so busy sorting out everyone else that it dawned on me that I hadn’t had supper. Sarnie and a packet of Percy Pigs from M&S will have to suffice. This was washed down with a medium glass of overpriced Merlot at the theatre. However, taking everything into account, I had a brilliant night and Kinky Boots really is an astonishing musical. Damn, those drag queens can dance! Nothing like a bloke in a pair of heels and covered in sequins to lift one’s spirits and boost your day.
Afterwards, I turned down after show drinks and whizzed home to a dark house. Husband and daughter were fast asleep. I took off my mediocre dress and put on my pyjamas. Bliss. That night, my girl unusually slept through and woke up bouncing the merry shit out of her cot. I was greeted with a big hug and a kiss. Pathetic I know, but I had missed putting my girl to bed.

 Anyway, one place that is going to benefit from my night out is our local Fara. There’s one leopard print dress coming your way. Every cloud, eh?

Friday, 3 November 2017


Long time. No read. There just haven’t been enough hours in the day. All parents suffer from this but sometimes you go through a few weeks when you don’t know your arse from your child’s elbow and you barely have time to sit down and drink half a tepid cup of tea. The last couple of weeks have been a bit like that. Works been mental, my husband’s work has been mental, we’ve been away and I’ve been working out of town a lot. Can not complain though. Being busy to a freelancer is a truly great thing. Christmas and the tax man are a comin so I’ve been voice overing shed loads.
It seems that this year there has been a bit of an epidemic. An epidemic of multiplying and procreation. Basically, everyone is ruddy pregnant, trying to get up le proverbial duff or has just had a baby. Many of them are second or even third babies, and some are fresh new ones with just Mummy and daddy and their entire extended family to dote on them and spoil them rotten this Christmas with things that they don’t really need. Take it from me, do not go overboard with gifts on the first Christmas. They are small, they won’t remember it and you will be so knackered and emotional that you probably won’t want to remember it either. I remember my girls first Christmas. I slept on the floor of my mother’s study with one bap lobbed over the side of the sleepyhead as it was the only way to get some sleep and get her through the teething from hell. There were enough presents to set up a competitor to Hamley’s as friends and family had gone berserk with presents. I shit you not, it took all day to open them. Myself and my husband bought her 6 presents thinking that was a top idea. Everyone had been so generous but I found it all too much. Teething, sleep deprivation and lots of presents for a child not yet one was surprisingly over whelming.

However, I digress. About seven of my friends are pregnant or have just had their second or third baby. We are also expecting another addition to our  family in the shape of “baby cousin” as my sister in law is pregnant. My small one is beyond excited and thinks that baby cousin is growing in her tummy. I’m getting a lot of “Sssssh Mummy. Baby cousin is sleeping. In my tummy.” Ok. We’ll just go along with it for now. Bit early for “the chat”. There is a lot of baby joy and excitement going down all around. And with this comes the age old question of, “You going to try for another?” . This then goes into, “Why aren’t you having another?” to “It would be a bit cruel if your daughter was an only child.” Boom. Just like that. We’ve gone from “When are you getting married, to when are going to start a family to when are you having another one. Maybe I’ll be asked next when are you going to die? Well, it’s possible. So, I always feel I have to defend our decision to have one child. And yes, we are having one. One and done they call it. I am secure with my decision. As I pack up my daughte’rs old baby things and pass them on to friends and family I have no pangs in the womb, no “what ifs”, no weeping because of my empty tummy. I feel grateful for what I have and pleased that these things will get used again. Fara kids certainly don’t need anymore stuff from us. We want one child. End of. I was an only child. I was very much loved, not particularly spoiled and happy. Our decision wasn’t come to lightly. We’ve spoken about it at length but we are just happy. Three people in this family works. We don’t have the spare cash to comfortably bring another life into the world, we don’t have the space and my career is such that I would find it difficult to juggle work and two kids with no family on the doorstep. But the simple answer is, “We want one child.” I have no wish to go through the baby stage again as I had such a lovely time with my first. I’m enjoying each new stage with my daughter and as my dear friend Julie says, “It just gets better and better.”

I’m thrilled for friends who want lots of children and have them. I am thrilled for those who have tried for years to conceive and have had one and decided to just have one because of fertility issues. I’m also thrilled for my child free friends; those who have decided parenthood is not for them. When it comes down to it, it’s your choice and your decision. Sometimes things happen in life which means you don’t have a choice. You know, I’m going to be the big 40 next year. And I might not be able to conceive. Also, statistically I am more likely to have twins which quite frankly scares the shit out of me. Double buggies frighten me.

I am so lucky to have my daughter. There was a point when we thought we might not be able to and that made be very sad but then I got pregnant and this small, blue eyed girl turned up and changed my life and brought a lot of happiness and light along with her. She makes me laugh, she makes cry, she makes me want to be better and she sometimes makes me wonder about my parenting skills as she has such an affinity with fruit and veg that she wants them to be her friends. I’m trying not to worry too much. Maybe she’ll become a greengrocer. We could do with one near where we live and she’s a real people person. Anyway, whatever she wants to do it will hopefully make her happy and it will be her choice because, let’s face it, that’s all that matters really in the end.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Accept and build.

Here I am, staring into space with that zombified, morning look on my face. I stare at my laptop. What am I going to write today? I am sat on the train going to work, plugged into my podcast, one bircher muesli down and reluctantly swigging from a berry smoothie as I didn’t have time to get a coffee. The world is a slower, darker place if caffeine has not been ingested by 8:10am. Let’s just say, that sleep is not plentiful at the moment. We have entered into the magical world of monsters. A good old fashioned nightmare, teamed with constipation and you have one heck of a night. Two nights ago I admitted defeat and got up to make a cup of tea at 4:30. Little one then wanted milk so the day started until the little bugger decided, that yes, she was actually tired and spread eagled in our bed until 8. Other reasons for waking have been as follows:
1.Duvet has been kicked off during nightmare/ mad moment. Duvet needs to be replaced by Mummy and hand must be held.
2. Cold because of lack of duvet.
3. Husband has gone to bed late and put bathroom light on which starts the sodding fan which sounds like a Boeing 747 taking off.
4.Trapped wind
5.Lost muzzie
6. Trouser leg of pyjama has ridden up causing acute anger.
7. Just missed me.

Luckliy, compared to the sleepless nights of old, we can cope with one or two wake ups. As long as she goes back to sleep quickly and I can go back to sleep quickly, equilibrium will be achieved. Hmmm- as long as I can go back to sleep….now, that’s the problem. I am now getting back into bed and looking at the clock. Then I lie staring into the darkness. Come on. Let’s get some zzz’s. Nope. Ok then. Let’s have a quick shufty at the news. Oh Christ, some horrific terrorist attack has occurred. This will prompt more sleeplessness and lying there trying to work out how I can still go into town with my girl but avoid open spaces and the tube. I can cope with a little bit of broken sleep but if I am awake for longer than an hour, then a lot of concealer has to be applied in the morning and a lot of coffee has to be put into my system. But, it’s something that I am now used to. Also, my running is really helping. I used to be a dreadful mum after a crap night. Very emotional, unable to cope with menial tasks. Unable to think clearly. But running has been an absolute life saver. I have got myself back. My brain is clearer and more active and I can breathe deeply and walk up our hill without getting out of puff. I have even run up our hill which was one of my goals when I started running again. I am well proud of myself. The only down side is that exercise makes you hungry and I don’t think the amount I am exercising warrants the amount of carbs going back in. But sod it. I feel good and my legs are coming back too. Bring it.

 I have also been continuing my odyssey of retraining/ studying/ adding strings to my small bow. I had a long chat with my Mum. One thing you need to know about my Mum is that she’s A. Awesome but B. Nearly always right. She sat me down and said, “Look, you love what you do. Why don’t you work with what you’ve got and don’t reinvent the wheel.” She’s right. I love my job. I am so lucky to do something creative, something that changes weekly, often daily. I am also the luckiest girl in the world as I get to work with my best friends. Yes, I’m, self employed. Yes, it’s not a secure profession but I’ve lived like that all of my working life and I am used to it. There are tough times, especially at the moment with childcare costs and mortgage but the childcare is worth every penny and I love our new flat and where we live. I keep telling my daughter how lucky we are. And that’s just it. It’s very easy to take things for granted and get bogged down, always looking for the next big thing, the next potential job, more money, more whatever it is. It’s a bit of an actor thing, to constantly look ahead rather than just accepting one’s lot and being truly happy with it and being happy with now. It’s taken me a long time but I am happy. I’ve got a great job, lovely family, I love being a wife and Mum and yeah, I worry about cash but everyone does. Things ain’t bad. In terms of my career, I’m going to stick with what I’m good at and enjoy and I am looking at doing an MA but not straight away. I don’t want to put pressure on myself or my family. I will do it when it suits us. Just one small hurdle: getting accepted on a ruddy course but we’ll tackle that when we the time comes. In the meantime, I have a day off, sans work, sans small person. I am typing this, I am going to put several washes on. I will spend the afternoon chasing that sodding squirrel out of our garden and I will go for a run in our beautiful local park. Oh, and I’ve got a tub of M&S mini chocolate mini rolls. Life is good.

Monday, 25 September 2017

All change please.

Thanks so much for the lovely messages of support that I received after my last post. I read it back to myself and it was a tad wingey but hey, we all gotta winge sometimes. To give you a Constipation update, well….. (drum roll)…..Poo Patrol are on a roll! We’ve nearly cracked it. Just lifting her up every time seems to be helping. Two movements in two days. Boomshackalack!
Anyway, Christ. I’m boring myself. Poor kid will be so embarrassed in years to come that I aired her problem to the world. Anyway, during this dark time we had to purchase prune juice. Now, I had forgotten just how much I love prunes. As a kid, I was first to the prunes at the hotel breakfast buffet. Only once in my life have I had my daughter’s recent affliction. I have only ever had to have Milk of Magnesia once and that was enough so I count myself lucky. Well, she had a couple of the Ella pouches but wasn’t enamoured with the juice. Our lovely childminder tried putting it in a syringe and pretending it was medicine. Old Sherlock  was one step ahead. She spat it out immediately. So, I thought I would sample the juice and see what all the fuss is about. I had one glass with lunch and got a bit of a taste for it. I had another glass and then another. 19 minutes and 21 seconds later and all hell broke loose. I couldn’t move quick enough. I had the same feeling of horror that you have when you reach into the glove compartment on a long car journey and you’ve run out of  Percy Pigs. But worse. I nearly took my foot off on the kitchen side board as I ran. The irony is that as I ran to the bathroom about to “release the kraken” ,as my poor, owled small one was having a bath. Our toilet is next to the bath. I apologised profusely and asked her desperately to “not look Mummy in the eye.” In the words of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, “it was coming out of me like lava.” I looked at the loo roll holder. Down to half a roll. Luckily my phone was in my jeans pocket so I texted my husband,’ Bring loo roll. Had prune juice. Nuff said.’

 I’m not proud of what I’ve done and I probably haven’t sold the whole prune juice thang to my daughter but if only she would drink it. Things would be outta there like a 20 year old man in a cafĂ© full of breast feeding mothers. I mean, the hype is completely justified. Prunes clear you out and no mistake. They had the same effect on me as a Mexican (the cuisine, not a gentleman of South American origin). I was going to go for a run that night but thought better of it. I played it safe and remained in my own home, close to my bathroom. Me and my childminder thought about starting up the “Prune Cleanse”. A new diet for the yummy mummies of South West London. With results like that, we could be on to something. I’m sure I would have been a size 8 after attempting the diet if I hadn’t consumed half a packet of Oreo’s.

 Anyway, whilst my mind has been elsewhere and having to deal with the heady, glamorous world of constipation I have been taking a long, hard look at my career. I have been in acting and voice over for nearly 18 years. It has not been an easy road but in voice over I found my niche and I have been relatively successful at it. However, as with all things that involve a face, a voice or occasionally a well, worn body, there is a shelf life and after the age of 40 the work sadly starts taking a downward spiral. This isn’t immediate but in time, the work just starts to diminish. I am under no illusions that I am immune to this. I have a couple of very successful cartoons under my belt, recently been part of some great computer games but I need to future-proof myself and my career for the inevitable. But what to do? It’s the nightmare of all actors and voice artists. The realisation that you have no transferable skills and haven’t been in the real world of work for some time. I also have a complete lack of confidence in myself and my academic ability. I used to be quite bright but many of the skills I used to have ie. reading music, writing essays, reading a book and retaining the information, the use of the English language, have all faded into the ether. Can they return? I ruddy hope so.

 So, the arduous task of getting another qualification begins. I am looking at a broad spectrum. From Forest school and Primary Teaching to going back to teaching drama to little people, nursing or even starting up my own business. It’s scary stuff but I am also excited by the challenge and the potential for change. I am the only person stopping me at the moment. I have a bit of a lazy streak but I am also spurred on by my daughter. I want her to be proud of me and I want to be proud of myself. At the moment, the teaching is in poll position but I am not rushing. I am 40 next year so I don’t want to be messing around. Hopefully exciting things are on the horizon, if I don’t get in the way of myself.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Crap Mum

The last couple of weeks have been a little trying. The Chicken Pox finally got us and, even though there was a dearth of spots, my little girl felt very unwell and it’s taken a good 10 days for her to get back to full battery. We’ve had some crap nights and now the constipation has come to ahead too. Initially,I was trying to find the “brighter side” of constipation especially when my girl stopped in front of courting couples and had a good strain but it’s been going on too long now and I’ve lost my sense of humour over it. She’s now so sore around the rump that its painful for her to sit and she will only go to the loo in the bath or when she’s in bed. She is potty averse. But something’s got to give as it’s affecting the everyday and she is truly miserable because of her affliction. I’m quite emotional at the moment. A. because my girl is in pain and B. because I’ve gone back on my pill and I’m waiting for my hormones to calm the hell down.

 In days of yore I would have listened to friends with children and taken note of the trials and tribulations of everyday parenting but only half listened. That wasn’t relevant to me and surely they’re over exaggerating? Aren’t they? Surely a child not being able to go the loo is a minor problem and you just get them to eat fruit, drink water and voila. Done. The End. Oh no. How wrong I was. I thought that once all of the teeth were through that would be it. No more major probs. Sleep and plain sailing. Ha ha. We went to a BBQ with our wonderful NCT gang this weekend. My gal was running round with her friends, balloon dancing and playing kitchen. I, on the other hand was stressed out that she wasn’t eating and kept checking her nappy, nagging her to try and eat something. If my arse was red raw then I probably wouldn’t be that fussed about lunch either but I kept persisting. I irritated myself. It meant that I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I should have done and I sounded like a mother who constantly fussed and flapped around their child. Watching your child squat in the middle of a room trying to poo onto a hard floor with eyes watering whilst her friends play merrily around her is quite distressing but unless she was asking to be changed or calling for me I kinda should’ve just left her to play.

 Her sleep is broken too because of it. Last night she kept calling out for me so I just brought her into our bed. Three in a standard double is a bit of a squeeze, especially when the smallest member has the wing span of an albatross but we all snuggle quite happily. Except for last night which was unsettled to say the least. She woke up in quite a good mood. We stayed in bed to have her milk and then we got up, dressed her in favourite Paw Patrol hoody (I can not stop singing the sodding theme tune).  Anyhoo, then came the time for teeth. Well, it was a battle that was never going to be won this morning. The only winner was the toothpaste which got in her hair, my hands, my black leggings and also somehow, my hair. But the shame of it is that rather than just admitting defeat I tried to persist. And I shouted at her. I then walked away and threw the toothbrush in the sink. I then cried. Great. Well done Harriet. If you really want your daughter to get into brushing her teeth then this really is a fabulous way of putting her off for life. I felt so damn guilty that I hugged my girl and held onto her, weeping through my apology. She looked at me and said, “Mummy crying.” Yes, my sweet. Your mother has lost it and is indeed, crying like the silly cow that she is.

 I am currently on a train feeling guilty as hell. Never mind run fat bitch run but run stupid bitch run. I was going to go for a run this morning and probably should have done but felt so unbelievably terrible. I want to pick my daughter up, bunk off work and run away to Peppa Pig World to say sorry. (Actually, anywhere but there. That’s a shit idea.) Anyway, I have treated myself to a Pret Smoked Salmon sandwich, not that I deserve it and I am trying to take stock. The poor kid has a sore arse, had had a crap night’s sleep and has a cold as she refused to wear her coat in the park yesterday. Give the little one a break dag nammit!

I feel like the crappest mother on the planet today and worry that my emotional outbursts, of which there have been a couple this week, will have a lasting impact. I never thought that I would cry so much over a sore bum and a child with trapped wind. It’s emotional stuff. Who knew? But when you have a small one, you don’t want them to be in pain, uncomfortable or sad and I know that she’s been all three over the course of the past couple of weeks. Poor thing. When I get home tonight she is going to get the biggest hug and a copy of the latest Peppa Pig Magazine. Crap Mum? More like Crap and Guilt ridden Mum. They may be small but they have a huge impact on our lives. I didn’t know I could love anything that much. They’re pretty amazing aren’t they?

Friday, 1 September 2017

The Devil wears toothpaste.

Tis morning. The sunlight peeks through the blinds and I hear the faint birdsong underneath the sounds of the Heathrow flightpath. I look at the monitor. All is still. I look at the clock. 7am. I turn over and snatch another couple of peaceful minutes under the duvet. I drift off back to sleep. Then, suddenly the bars of the monitor start to judder. “Peppa Pig World. Dinosaur. Dinosaur too angry.” These are the morning utterances of my offspring. Peppa Pig World was a big hit. (With her, not me. I am still in recovery. The glockenspeil playing in the background and the bright colours give it a tinge of ‘The Shining’. I left there traumatised. Plus, spending over a hundred quid to queue for 35 mins to go on a ride that is as fast the London Eye urks one’s gizzard.) Then suddenly she shouts at the top of her lungs, “Mummy!”. Up gets Daddy and brings a small person in ladybird pyjamas, who has recently been visted by the hair fairy into our room. She is deposited in the big bed for a bottle of milk and a morning snuggle. After this scene of serenity the day must begin and boy, does it start with a bang. First, you have to get clothes on them. When they’re babies and can’t move, life is simple. Nappy, babygro or whatever is clean. Et voila. Then they start to walk, talk and get opinions. It’s really irritating. My daughter has taken to having a say in what she wears. If I don’t comply then she grows horns, her eyes turn red and she starts frothing at the mouth. I never knew that wearing the wrong colour trousers could provoke such wrath in one so young. Sometimes I wrestle her into clothes, with her moving off the mat or trying to run out of her bedroom door. But, other mornings it’s all good. Fine. No arguments. Just put on the mouse trousers and be done with it.

The dressing of the toddler is just the start however. Then one has to brush their teeth. I’m relatively strong and have until recently been the main brusher. But of late, things have taken a turn. If you wanted to get on with breakfast, get out of the house or get to work on time then I’ve got news for you. This is war and it’s a war I am willing to fight.The war of the teeth. I have had sleepless nights and sore nips becuase of those buggers and we ain’t losing them.
I cover myself in protective armour: a white Egyptian cotton towel. My weapon of choice is an AK- Sainsbury’s dinosaur toothbrush. Standard issue. My amo is Sainsbury’s Kids toothpaste. Mild Mint. (Any other variety has been banned under toddler UN sanctions. I enter the battle ground, code name Lion’s den at 0800 hours. The battle is tough. There is wrestling, flailing arms and much aggressive movement from the enemy. The jaws are sharp and there is risk of finger loss or at worse, a whole hand. I look down. My towel has been compromised and my black jersey top has been placed in danger, right in the line of fire. I stand on the front line, the enemy frothing at the mouth. The enemy is now trying to combat roll out of the situation and I go to grab them but it’s too late. Mouth and Jersey top are face to face. The battle is lost. The war is over until the next time. The Jersey top is covered in Shrapnel.

 By the time I have to go to work, I am exhausted. I usually drop the small one off at childcare, covered in toothpaste: her face and my clothing. On occasion she looks like she’s a decorator, off to paint someone’s living room. Once I am on the train, I look down and see the trail of Mild Mint, 0-2 years covering my person. The Health Visitor said to brush for 2 and half minutes at the 27 month review. 2 and a half minutes! My husband tried that and nearly lost an arm. It’s dangerous stuff. In the evenings we try brushing in the bath. It usually works a lot better as there are distractions but sometimes she moves around the tub like Shamu and we can’t catch her. The thing is, everyone has worked towards those teeth with a hellish two years of teething so we are ruddy well going to look after them. Fall out they shall not.

 So, last week as I typed, all was calm and I had a glass of red to hand and Fleetwood Mac: Greatest Hits (of which there are many, I might add) was a playin in the garden room. The scene is oh, so very different this evening. I am in bed with a hot Ribena and a throat that’s on fire. I have bed socks on as I am shivering. I have tonsillitis. This affliction on its own is bad enough but my girl is also ill. With Chicken Pox. It’s been a fun filled couple of days. My dear Mum has been an absolute ruddy star and dropped everything to look after her Granddaughter for two days. On day one I returned home early from work. The good stuff had been saved up for Mummy. She really has quite a scream on her even when she’s feeling like utter shit. We had to get out of the house so we attempted a walk in the park. It was a hell of a lot hotter than my weather app had said so once small person had been in peaceful slumber for about half an hour we decided to take off her shoes so she didn’t get too hot. Well, knock me down with a feather. That was a crap idea. She had a tantrum to end all tantrums. She tried to get out of the back of her pram and as her face was crushed against the netting I was reminded of scenes from The Exorcist. I think the lesson here is to let sleeping toddlers lie. Don’t take their shoes off as a gesture of good will. Nay. Keep them on and let them sweat. And as for brushing for two and half minutes? Well, if you can do that then you are truly a brave warrior.

Stranger Duvets

Night time. As Bjork once sang in her broad Icelandic drole,” It’s oh so quiet, it’s all so still.”  A time to sit down and relax. Pop the ...