Monday, September 8, 2014

Sorry luv, too busy lookin' at mah smartphone to teach you good manners...

Excuse me, is this where I queue for a part in "Bod: The Movie" ?

It was one of those stupid things that's so insignificant and everyday but underlined one of the things that's guaranteed to press all my buttons in no time at all. 

Politeness. Manners. Words that, to the average six year old, are just words and have no basis or foundation in their lives. I always wondered whether me being a constant grump was just some genetic predisposition for being like my dad's side of the family (notably grumpy to a tee) or something more deeply rooted in what's going on in the world as a whole. 

The incident that triggered this missive was so low-impact that most parents will probably scoff, snorting "If that's the only type of problem you have in a playground, then you're lucky matey!" But it was merely this. Charlotte patiently waiting for her turn to go on a Playground ride (a zip wire). Two boys butting in, trying to shove her out of the way so they could go first (in fact one of the boys - probably no older than three or four years old, nearly clocked the thing right in the face because he insisted on running after her - even at the point where the zip wire contraption rebounded at the end of the run and nearly took his head off). 

We've always taught Charlotte to take it in turns, to queue, and to be polite - and she does this without question. But she's a sensitive soul like us, so when the two boys were trying to push and shove her aside, her natural instinct was to just let them get on with it. It took me wading in, and another thoughtful parent (who also saw what was going on - and headed it off by physically 'handing' the zipwire contraption to Charlotte rather than one of the rude little boys) to get the message across. At any given moment though we expected an angry parent to look up from their smartphone for the split second it would've taken them to murmur in a tired voice "Don't do that Gaston! Don't do that Renfrew!" or more likely, to come over and shout in a horrid mockney accent "Whatchafinkyoredoinktomykidddddaaaah". 

Queuing is just one of those things that us 'british' are supposedly so up our own butts about that the rest of the world finds it comically quaint. Half an hour at any Disney resort, or in fact any resort anywhere in the world will probably highlight just how low down everyone's list of 'basic human behaviours that won't result in you ending up in a fist fight' queuing is. Like an errant Marty McFly though, I can't stand queue jumpers of any description (kids or otherwise) so it was one of those instances where I was glad of some parental intervention from someone else who obviously didn't tolerate it either. 

"They don't teach manners or politeness in schools any more" is the sort of ridiculous newspaper missive you'd expect to read on something like this. Why the hell should they, what's wrong with parents know...parenting? We managed it so why the heck can't anyone else?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I am so proud of my daughter!

Princess C Rocks!
I know we all say we are proud of our child for this, that and the other. Some parents can go gushing on about the smallest thing. But my girl has given me the biggest smile, but tainted with a sad tear in my eye.

They changed a light bulb at work, the smallest thing but it annoyed me so much as it makes the room so bright that it brings on an epileptic seizure. I'm not supposed to have light sensitive epilepsy but for the last 3 months with no light bulb in that room I was fine. The day it was changed I had a  hellish seizure. I've blogged about my epilepsy before and should explain here that I have absence seizures that last from 10 second to a few minutes.

This happened just before home time, I still wasn't feeling great on the bus to school so as I got there early I took a seat inside and just closed my eyes for 10 minutes and felt a bit better. When Princess C came out I warned her what had happened hoping all would be fine from then on.  As it turned out, it was going to be one of the worst evenings I have had in a long time.

I had a seizure on the way home where Princess C had to stop me walking and hold onto me. I had one as we were opening the front door and I couldn't remember the alarm code straight away. I had countless more at home. In the end I tried to sleep on Princess C's bed while she played around me. I thought just lying down and resting would improve things as it often does.

Readitdaddy was going to be late home, a very rare thing, so I had to do dinner. Thankfully there was a microwave meal in the freezer so I could put that on for us and pudding was fruit, and a rare chocolate treat for Princess C for being such a star. I had another seizure during dinner where C had to take my knife and fork off me and place them on the plate.

We made it to bed with very few problems but I couldn't read her a book at bedtime so we picked out a nice book she could read to me, one that she knew all the words too so I wouldn't have to follow the words. She said "look at the pictures mummy and then you will be fine". Into bed she shot and 45mins later readitdaddy was home. I'm not sure I've ever been so pleased to see him.
I went to bed and watched tv, there was little else I could do with my evening, it was a struggle to talk or to think.

At school the children had to make a promise for the term and hers was to look after mummy better when she has a seizure. We had discussed this a week before as I said she looks after me so well, but she felt sad that daddy often takes over and doesn't let her help more. She's only just 6 so she shouldn't be looking after me, but she doesn't understand that.

At school this morning we had a chat to her teacher to tell her about the day before, her teacher also told her how proud she is of her and how grown up. I was almost in tears.

Because of my epilepsy C and I seem to have a very strong bond and she will often look out for me and check I'm ok, there are moments when readitdaddy and C at the same time will both ask if I'm ok.

So I am happy to shout I am the proudest mum ever, even with a tear in my eye.

smiles all round

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Sometimes in life we come across things that make us think and evaluate life and make serious changes. We are going through one of those at the moment.

My Dad had a heart attack, was rushed to hospital and 2 weeks later is still in hospital and waiting for heart bypass surgery. Only a few years before my mum had a stent put in for a blocked artery. They were both just over 65 when this happened and as it has happened to them both, the chances of my brother and I also suffering increases.
Neither of them are overweight, drink excessively, eat badly and they both get lots of exercise. My dad has seen the dietician in hospital but aside from a slightly higher salt intake it can't be linked to anything specific.

lots of veggies with xmas dinner
There have been a number of programmes on tv recently about salt, fat, sugar levels in food and this got us thinking, but what has happened personally has made us change things. We have never been that unhealthy but small changes can always be made. As one tv programme said, what used to be occasional treats are now becoming every day things. So out go the biscuits and swapping shockingly high levels of added sugar in yoghurt for low fat ones and adding our own fruit. We are having whole wheat pasta and rice and it actually taste nicer. We have had a look at what makes a portion of fruit and veg, sometimes its more than you think so we have tried to up our veggie portion sizes. We all drink water so getting rid of juice isn't a problem. We were surprised to see added salt in a pesto pasta salad that Charlotte often eats, so we don't buy that any more.
We are stumbling a bit with cheese, as we do love cheese, but slowly making changes there when we can.
Charlotte says she is missing some of the old foods (think she means chocolate), but I think over time she will get used to it, and its not a complete ban on the bad stuff its just going to become the odd treat. This will benefit us all over time, this is for our futures.

who doesn't love candyfloss, occasionally
Charlotte gets load of exercise at school, they do PE almost every day and swimming once a week. We walk home from school, at work we walk round the park every lunch time. Weekends we always try to go swimming and even if we don't go out for a walk (something else we love) we pop a dance game on the wii and have a bop.

My brother and I have both been to the doctor to get our blood pressure checked and a blood test taken to measure cholesterol levels, we are now going back every year to get these checked.

Who knows if these changes will make a difference, but at least we have tried.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy New Year, now where the heck did the time go?

The girls and a sling. Probably not practical for 5 year olds then!

Happy New Year! Where on earth did the last year or so go? More importantly, when did we let this blog slide so badly? We've had a hectic year and 2014 is shaping up to be no different. Though work has changed and Princess C's school time cuts into everything we do, we still find lots of time to do fun things. 

My wife's blog over at Can I Walk Mummy still details all our comings and goings, and we've had some fantastic days out despite the horrible weather. 

We're still reading lots and over at ReadItDaddy we've been having fun mummifying Barbies and reading all about history. 

Hope you've had a brilliant christmas and are enjoying a crackingly brilliant new year. But where does the time go? Does anyone know?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The loneliness of command

"I didn't get where I am today at the behest of a stupid electronic calendar!"
Oh dear. I think I realise now why I've avoided management positions for so long. Taking on a new job has hammered the crap out of me over the last month and a half. Doing the job because I was forced to, then being stupid enough to properly apply for it when it came up was probably one of the daftest things I've ever done.

Being in a position of authority sounds great in principal, right? But when you're the sort of person who does a mindless and dull job for two reasons - one to pay the bills and two, because it leaves your imagination enough wiggle room to soar once you cast off the shackles of work and come home at the end of the day, sometimes you find that work leeches into your home life and undoes all that careful planning and forethought.

Being a manager actually sucks. It's not the added level of responsibility so much as inheriting someone else's messes constantly, having to unpick the equivalent of a huge ball of crap-covered string with no fingernails while in a dark room, being badgered by crocodiles. OK that's a poor analogy, but the bit about inheriting someone else's mess is spot on.

I did that and it's had a direct impact on the blog (now I have to spend even more time in the evenings ensuring that our ReadItDaddy reviews don't suck). It's turning me into a grumpy bugger (which I REALLY hate more than anything else about the job) as my line managers constantly lump more and more work onto my plate because I'm too willing to just sit there and take it like a loon. Worst of all is the feeling that though stress is great for the diet (no, it really is - Being in a high stress situation completely knackers your appetite, trust me on this - as does not having 5 seconds in any given day to actually sit down and eat your sodding lunch before someone else drops another pile of steaming crap on your desk).

So moan moan moan (see I told you it turned me into a grumpy bugger).

And wife and daughter are still brilliant, and though they're the main reason I was stupid enough to do this in the first place, I know they're always there to back me up, to make me laugh and smile (and of course in the case of Princess C - to tell me to sit down, read a book with her and instantly  feel like someone's applied a soothing balm to all the stress and horse-crap from work). If I've come across as snarky on the blog or on Twitter, I definitely apologise. As one of my wise sage colleagues keeps reminding me - "One day you'll look back on all this and laugh!"

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Sleep Thief

Counting these doesn't help. Trust me on this.
Poor Princess C. When she gets a cold or a chest infection, she gets it - and how! She does seem susceptible to them, and that means that (like recently) we end up with a coughing braying sea-lion replacing our daughter until the bug clears up.

Recently she contracted croup (I never realised that 5 year olds could get this still) which took the night-time coughing to a whole other level (we no longer use the baby monitor but it doesn't matter, when she coughs it's still like being in the same room as the aforementioned performing seal). Splitting duties as we always do, this meant that both of us were running up and downstairs, haven't had an uninterrupted night's sleep in a couple of weeks, and feel like a pair of zombies (no fun when my other half relies on a good night's sleep to get through the next day seizure-free).

Lack of sleep filters into every aspect of our lives. It makes me particularly rubbish at work, it makes my other half suffer, and of course it means that poor Princess C bursts into tears at the slightest thing as her tiredness takes hold.

Colds and flu suck, chest infections really suck. Sympathies to anyone else in the same boat at the moment.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Legoland fairies and the seventh layer of hell

The Legoland Fairy. Not sure why she's got a ripped dress but et la!
We decided to descend on Legoland yesterday - forgetting lots of key things about the place like the fact that you really need to arrive within a smidge of it opening to avoid the traffic, the queues to get in, and the queues for the rides (basically if you ever want to go - and go on everything - don't go at weekends or at half term!).

The single most annoying moment of the day for us was queueing up for over an hour for a ride which subsequently broke down just as we were getting to the end of the queue.

The second single most annoying moment of the day was hearing a mother shouting at her son (something she was obviously well practiced in). Her exact words..

"Will you stop (bleeping) prancing around like a (bleeping) fairy!"

I have a couple of issues with this statement. One: the inference that little boys should not show any signs of glee or enjoyment (certainly not by prancing around and jumping up and down with excitement) and two: the use of the word "fairy" - in this instance used in a semi-homophobic way by a mum who probably has quite a few 'fruity' views on subjects you really wouldn't trust her views or judgement on.

It stuck with me for the rest of the day, distracting me from the fact that - as a very expensive leisure destination - Legoland is a bit poo really, and for the entry cost, the cost of some of the "extras" and if you're crazy enough to eat there (you really would have to be insane not to take your own lunch - and Legoland know this, which is why it's nigh on impossible to find anywhere to enjoy a picnic that isn't a gigantic sodding wasp magnet) you could probably buy some seriously expensive sets and sit at home having a fabulous day building them. It even distracted me from those people who barge to the front of the queue, offering up a weak "excuse me, can I squeeze past" without finishing the sentence with "I haven't got a Q-Bot pass or anything but at the end of the day, to be honest, I will punch you repeatedly until you lose consciousness if you try to stop me jumping the queue? D'ynarwhatimean? By the way I have an IQ that's less than your shoe size and I can't get it up any more so this is my compensatory default behaviour."

My wife has visited Legolands elsewhere and said how amazing they were, and how different. We get the scabby offspring here in the UK, quelle surprise - but for all its faults and for all the petty little annoyances yesterday, that one incident with the mother and her boy p*ssed me off more than anything else - even the queue-jumpers and wasps.