Saturday, 20 November 2010

how do you explain what I was about to do to a 4 year old? An unsuspecting 4 year old who is just about to have her mummy put something up her bottom hole?


This morning I was woken at; 3.30am, 3.40am, 4 am, 4.20 am, 4.50 am, and at 5am I nearly threw the effing mobile phone across the street……Alex’s surfing alarms. He often goes for ‘dawnies’, it’s quiet, calm, no one around etc etc and he is an early bird. I, however, am NOT. And I was furious from 3 am right the through till 5, when I realized I could in fact make the alarms stop. Again, another super early start chez us……..wonder what today will bring??

I didn’t need to wonder for long, as at 6.30, when the right alarm went off, I nearly threw up with tiredness.....nearly. Raining still, grey still, 4 kids, yep, still there, yep on full form, and yep, wanting their porridge……..up I get. School run done (although this morning I thought it would never end) I take Mitzi to the drs. I have a V.I.P pass now, and will soon have board and lodging for the winter months. Mitzi has had a few problems with her ears, infections that sort of thing. The doctor informs me this time that, no, I will not be giving injections again, praise be, but……..worse……suppositories.! (although thankfully not to Alex!) “But I am English” I say to him.,“We don’t do that sort of thing where I come from.” I realise I am whispering with the embarrassment. Anyway, it has to be done, so I start to prepare myself mentally, gazing lovingly at Mitzi who has no idea what is about to hit her.

The whole experience was, well, successful in that I presume I achieved what I was supposed to. I sat Mitzi Joy down just before I carried out the task and looked at her, “what, mummy?” I imagine by the vibes she was getting from me she was expecting to hear me tell her we were all about to be eaten alive by bears….how do you explain what I was about to do to a 4 year old? An unsuspecting 4 year old who is just about to have her mummy put something up her bottom hole? It felt all wrong, AND it is a course for 5 days……..Finally I accomplished what I presume I was supposed to after quite some time dilly dallying and working out the best position. Deed done, I suggest we have a little cuddle as I think we were both a little wierded out by the whole thing! The French give out suppositories like they drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, it’s just part of their culture, accepted, normal. It’s funny the differences between cultures, we British are notoriously ‘anal’ and ‘cold’ (I quote my french friends!) and the French are notoriously ‘ooooo la la’ and ‘shoving things up their bottom happy’ (I refer to suppositories, I cannot pass comment on the anything else….!). Or maybe it’s just me? Frankly, I’d rather my bottom hole was left well alone…………

I am looking forward to the week end, but for now, I am on another Esmie  Rose hunt.......Following the trail of orange peel bits, I finally discover her sucking down Satsuma like I starve her as a rule…..she is a little tealeaf, she is always stealing food, what ever she can lay her hands on. Sometimes it is not worth the fight, and I turn a blind eye frequently. But sometimes I do insist out of principle that she spit out the half chewed, almost nonexistent now, fragment of whatever it was she stole, and is now dribbling on and crying over! I feel mean, but at the end of the day, I AM the boss (sometimes…..).


Friday, 19 November 2010

I have some Duct-tape under my pillow that I plan to stick all around him when he shuts his eyes……

Hoorah, I get my husband back tonight. That’s if he shows up at the airport and hasn’t rerouted his flight elsewhere…..!

The terrible twos are going well, in that Esmie Rose is well and truly displaying all the behaviours she is supposed to, paddying at every verse end and pouting with arms crossed with a ‘humph’ dramatically throwing herself on the floor. It’s great! I will not however give in, you never ever give in to a paddy, one of the first rules of parenting! So each time she kicks off because I have told her she cannot have a biscuit for example, she throws herself to the floor crying like I just poked her, hard, in the eye. The other kids are pretty much through this stage now, but each time she has her ‘moments’ I hear a chorus of voices going “go, on mum, give it to her …pleeeeeaaase, just make her stop, why won’t you just give it to her?” I once caught Lola her older sister slipping her a biscuit on the sly to shut her up!!! Which meant for me that the next time I say ‘no’, she has a tantrum, she now goes to Lola and ends up in negotiations with her!

A few months back, I did a translation for the local school bus driver. Just a letter from French to English, as a favour. Thinking nothing more of it, 2 weeks later he turns up with his wife and little boy at my door with a gift- a HUGE bunch of flowers, and 2 enormous chickens with thighs Mr World would have been proud of. They were from his house; he’d killed them and plucked them that morning for us. Usually this kind of gesture would be phenomenally kind- as it was, don’t get me wrong, but the irony here is that Alex and I are vegetarian! It was so very kind, and totally unnecessary, and when I got the chickens in the house I looked at alex and said “omg, wtf do we do?!” (I quite often speak in triple letters…..) It was a gift, and for us not eating it would have been worse karma, as, to turn back round to the lovely bus driver and say, ‘oh thanks for the thought, but you know what? We don’t eat meat' that would have been all wrong. So that night, chicken was on the menu…..little did I know that when I got them out of the bag their lil eyes would be looking up at me, yes they still had their heads in tact. Meaning I would have to behead them! You have never seen anything like it, I was determined to do it, but all our knives are blunt, like proper blunt, well we only eat veg, why do you need a sharp knife for chickpeas and lentils? I reached my arm out behind me, borking uncontrollably, and sporadically letting out little squeals, began the process, eyes squeezed shut, hacking, I would have made Henry VIII proud. Oooo god the tears are coming to my eyes just thinking back to it. It was a hideous life changing experience for me. But at least I could look him in the eye the next day and say ‘thanks, we ate well last night!’

Well with Alex back tonight I am looking forward to the bed feeling the right size again (although various children have taken advantage of the fact daddy is not here, and sneaking into bed with me!) however as Alex falls to sleep he has a tendancy to twitch…..not just little eye flicks or nose twitches, full on great arm twitches, as if his whole body is in some kind of flinging contest, I, thus, am victim to being kicked/whacked and the like, which does not make it too easy in my quest to sleep……still, maybe tonight will be different, I have some Duct-tape under my pillow that I plan to stick all around him when he shuts his eyes…….! Hmmmm, maybe he won’t be coming home after all………

Thursday, 18 November 2010

I replace the ‘f yous’ with – ‘boc boo, boc boc boooooos’ you see, I pretend that he is singing about chickens,

Unfortunately, our favourite song at the moment is (turn away dad) actually entitled ‘f*ck you’ by Gnarles Barkley. Unfortunate title for PG rating reasons. When it comes on in the car in the morning, I am instructed to “turn it up, mummy!” which I do, I cave in to the peer pressure…….and hurriedly sing along in my loudest singing voice EVER, with the biggest, slightly scary smile on my face, swaying in my seat, replacing the ‘f yous’ with – ‘boc boo, boc boc boooooos’ you see, I pretend that he is singing about chickens, and they genuinely (I think, although they are always looking at me with vague and slightly disbelieving faces) think it is in fact, a song about chickens!



Do you know what? I am sat here, having just made myself a hot chocolate (doubled up on the recommended choc quantity too) and chowing down on crisps. Well, when the husband’s away, and all that. All on my tod I reckon I deserve it, I need something to keep me going whilst in charge of all this lot after all….! Unbelievably, it is still raining, getting in the car proves amusing. The drill is as follows; I look out of the front door with my hand up- kids wellied and raincoated up- “wait, wait, wait for it….NOW!, GO! GO! GO!" I scream at the troops, they sprint as if their life depends on it. We make it to the car and quite often I- “sh*t, f*ck, sorry kids, forgot the keys, pull back, PULL BACK!” we retreat, and I start the whole process again, keys on my person this time. I am dreadful with losing/forgetting things. I tidy non-stop, I think that is half my problem. I have ‘special places’ where I put things. I remember thinking at the times I do it, “ this is such a random place to put (ie the keys) that I am bound to remember…..” and funnily enough, I never do. I rarely ever find the things ever again, as indeed, yes, the place I put them was so entirely random. Suffice as to say: anything that goes missing in the house, I am without doubt, the culprit. No ‘innocent till proven guilty’ in this house. Straight up, ‘guilty’, me, always. Even when I really am not. It reminds me of the time last year, before we got our 7 seater (a total necessity btw with all this lot), we needed to go out, highly and lowly we searched for the keys, 3 days later, when we had turned everything out and not left the house, literally, still no show. You can imagine how angry my husband was, at me! I really was so sure this time that it wasn’t me though. We had to have the car towed to the garage, the key series replaced at a vast expense. Whilst the car was in the garage, we asked them to give us a rough estimate on some work that needed doing, turns out it was more than the car was worth, and we had to write the car off, after having paid for the key replacements, the towing etc. That night I decided to change our bed sheets, and pling! The car key falls on the floor as I lift off the fitted sheet…….but you see, ha ha, it wasn’t my fault after all!



I am pretty angry at my chickens at the moment, I don’t mind saying, well I hear they can’t read so….. I have been nurturing them for over a month now, loving them, welcoming them, building them homes, protecting them from kids/animals alike, and I still, still have no eggs. It feels a little weird being angry at chickens, but all the same, surely that’s what they are there for? Tomorrow’s another day, as they say, now I’m off to bed, what a day………!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

(after breastfeeding 4 kids, I was hardly claiming that my boobs belonged to Pamela Anderson…..).

I watch Stevie Wonder at his finest on youtube; “he is always so happy, it’s lovely”,  I comment to my husband, Alex- “Give him 4 kids, that’ll soon wipe the smile from his face…..” comes the retort. Fair enough I suppose……!

Today was a nightmare day. These days seem endless at the moment as I spend every waking minute of my life (my one and only life), tackling French paper work. I do not even bat an eyelid now when the till assistant (as I go to buy a bra, my first new one since uni, I graduated in 2000…you get the time scale) asks me to prove my bra size by bringing in a medical certificate verifying my boobs are a) my own and b) their size…….(after breastfeeding 4 kids, I was hardly claiming that they belonged to Pamela Anderson…..). Ok, so that didn’t exactly happen, but you get the picture as to how extraordinarily anal they are regarding paperwork and proving your very existence. I trail around buildings, personnel departments, I am shunted from pillar to post, and 5 hours later, I have still conquered absolutely sweet F.A. and am now hopelessly late for the kids. Esmie, my 2 year old, is patient, I guess she is used to being carted around whilst mummy seeks to defeat the wolves who challenge her as only Anneka Rice ever has been, to gain my rights in France, seemingly because when I open my mouth they hear my accent and immediately pretend to have no knowledge of their job, or how they may help. Of late I have made it a little further on the upward struggle of trying to get health insurance cover, and various other things. However I am not fooled anymore, and until I have the right papers in my own hands, I believe no one now, not for a single second. The battle continues. ….. woooopie!

Although Esmie is 2 now, she is carried everywhere. Whether this is because she likes it, or because she has no choice, I no longer know! I think part of it is because when I need to get from a to b; I am not that patient with the in betweeny bits, I just want to be there, at b, now, and a 2 year old will slow you down a whole lot! There is also an aspect in the fact the kids are so numerous (well, 4, but you show me a mother who grows an extra arm every time she has a kid to help her in her quest…..). I crossed into a different parent-land when I decided to have more kids than I have arms. Foolish. In fairness, I should probably have stopped at 2, an arm and a hand for each child. But I, slightly irrationally, continued to 4. As it is illegal to muzzle children and put them on leads, (although I shall ‘google’ that….) head counting in busy places can prove too big a task at times (it really is difficult to count to 4), and so, at least, if I know one is in my arms, I have that one contained. I often put them all in the supermarket trolley, and at my insistence that they ‘stay there!’ nearly kill myself in attempts to push them round the supermarket, legs bowing under the strain, head down, concentration face, red, perspiring and panting quite loudly at times too…….not much room for shopping either!

I will have another day of it tomorrow too, bureaucratic bullsh*t, and I will be husbandless to boot, no he has not left me (praise be and a quick hallelujah) he has had to go back to England for a couple of days…….that is what I am lead to believe, until I receive his postcard from the Bahamas that is…….!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I gave up on road rage when I had the kids, to be fair I gave up on most things when I had the kids, but that’s another story……


Ok, so the lights have literally just turned green. I have been watching and I know that green means go. I am, however, unable to predict the precise second that this will occur, and hence be ahead of the lights, and be gone before they are green. I am bibbed, as I seem to be roughly 5 times a day in France, as if to remind me that green means go, when 15 years on the roads means that I have, in fact, got this, I have this one covered. "Yes, you w*nker, I KNOOOOW” check self for 2 reasons: 1) use of vulgar language in front of kids (again, not surprising I have a 4 year old with bad language problems….!) and 2) road rage/unresolved anger management-related issues. I gave up on road rage when I had the kids, to be fair I gave up on most things when I had the kids, but that’s another story……I decided that after observing my only son, Monty Buster (now 7), wide eyed and terrified in the baby car seat after witnessing his usually, or sometimes (!) gentle mother, yelling with gay abandon a stream of rude words and gesticulating, as only the French normally can, at, admittedly some idiot who had done something inappropriate on the roads, but to be fair who probably did not warrant the abuse he got through the windscreen. Although my voice was obviously muted by the windscreen, I have no doubt the poor s*d got the gist! Anyway, deciding from that moment that this behaviour was entirely inappropriate to be demonstrating to kids, I am now road rage free, and hope to stay this way. There are occasions when I am pushed to my limits by French drivers, but generally I am calm as a cucumber these days…..!

The French feel indicating is a useless activity, and they decide to not bother with their little orange lights that aid others on the roads in discerning their intentions. I do not know if the French have some kind of mutual understanding, or a secret wink, but to my mind it is ludicrous and highly dangerous to not use your indicators. Around roundabouts people gaily float off in the direction they choose to follow regardless of me, for example, who has to sit in the lane guessing at their intentions, wondering whether to chance it, or risk the shame of staying put and being bibbed at non stop till finally you have to rev, rev, rev and take the plunge. It is as though you take your life in your hands and inside prepare yourself mentally to, on a count of 3 sometimes, just GO! GO! GO!......To date, we have all survived, I am pleased to say, but when there are 5 roundabouts in the 5 minute school trip I do 4 times a day, it means I encounter one roundabout every minute, and by the time I reach school I am a nervous wreck. (Not just caused by motherhood of 4 lil kids!!).

As I sit writing this, I have a bowl of flour, yeast and water between my legs, no not some herbal/natural pregnancy prevention (I do believe my husband, Alex, when he tells me he will leave if I go on any more about having the 5th…..!), rather the mixture for bread is having to be hand mixed, as I have no electric mixer. Everyday I spend a lot of my time mixing and kneading bread dough…..it is time to get myself an electric mixer me thinks……

Monday, 15 November 2010

‘no Esmie, we do not put pennies up our front bottoms, it is neither sanitary nor ladylike to try and slot things into our ninnies…..’

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Sitting on the top of the stairs Lola (who should be in bed) shouts down…’muuuuuuum?’, ‘yeeeessss’, ‘isn’t tart juice not very nice?’. I honestly have no idea what she meant, and am still left a little baffled…..

Ever since I had the kids, with each one in turn it seems to me that I agreed to swallow a horse-sized dose of ugly pill. This x 4 = not a good look. With this in mind today, I decide to tackle a few personal hygiene issues- my toenails. Absolutely the last place I ever even think to look, especially in sock season. My toenails have been neglected I realise since I got dolled up for possibly the first time in a year for Rachel and Jamie Bennett’s wedding on September the 4th of this year. At least it was this year, but still a wee moment has past, and the shocking results of neglect stare me in the face. Toenails tackled, I wonder where Esmie is (my 2 yr old) she had just been in the bath with me, and had obviously got tired of the sanitizing toenail session, and decided she had better things to do…….I call her, and finally find her with her concentrating face on, I look down to find out why……she  has found better things to do, she is busy trying to slot pennies in her front bottom…..time to intervene, I am all up for self exploration, however, it is another thing when it ventures into the potentially highly harmful realm. I take the pennies from her saying ‘no Esmie, we do not put pennies up our front bottoms, it is neither sanitary nor ladylike to try and slot things into our ninnies…..’

in fact, we struggled for ages finding the right word for girls’ bits……after Monty at 19 months noticed that his new born sister had not got the same going on in the nether region as he had. We finally settled on ‘ninny’ and that is our word….! And with 3 girls in the house, well 4 including me, 10 including various animals, a word had needed to be found.

It was beautiful today, the sun was shining, and a trip to the beach and the park proved fairly successful. There was a moment, 3 and a half minutes actually, whereupon I was panic stricken and could hardly move I was so terrified, which was not useful as I had Esmie to look for....she had wandered off the minute I had turned my back to do another headcount at the busy park, ‘1, 2,3…..sh*t’ sheer blind panic kicked in. Parks are so stressful, my heart cannot stand the pressure in busy parks, it’s too much. Next time, I will put them all in reflector jackets, numbered reflector jackets  at that. Finally I see her, after managing to move at last,  flinging myself round slides, climbing things, swingy things, bouncy things, looking in peepholes screaming ‘Esmie!’ and being greeted by scared little children’s faces, wondering what on earth this mad woman was on, and equally being ‘tssst’ by French mums for being an incompetent mother who had lost her daughter and was now just scaring people. ( I found her on the slide, so did go home with 4 kids....thank god).

Bring on tomorrow……

no one likes to hear 2 year olds coming out with the ‘f’ word, however funny it may be in secret!


I messed up big time last night: whilst falling into bed, I set the alarm on my 'brick' (my phone’s nickname, in case u didn’t get it) for 4am. I have no idea how it happened, and I am still cursing myself. I busied myself, putting the porridge on (in magnanimous portions, 4 hungry kids, eat very much food), the bowls out, as usual, clearing up the cat pooh out of corners – I have to sniff it out, actually sniff it out – can you imagine at 4am I was actually on a cat pooh sniff-out trail?? Who else’d do it???! I was about to call the kids and hoover, holding my breath because the dog Driver we are looking after for a friend (a so-called friend) has spent the night shedding; I fear that were I to breathe, I would get a hairball stuck in my throat, or that the hairs will wedge themselves up my nose and I will school run it with black dog hairs hanging out my nose looking as though I forgot to pluck this morning. It is strange that the kids are not up before me....wondering why, I re-check the clock I couldn’t see at first this morning as my eyes were like the proverbial ‘wee holes in the snow’ at 4am. Omg! 4am? Well, 4.30 by now. I nearly weep, but don't, and crawl back into bed. I didn’t manage to get back to sleep again as I was panicking I would not hear the reset alarm at 6.30am……..

Early start, which for me is always difficult. I suppress the fishwife screaming to get out who wants nothing more than to ‘gggggrraaaaa’ in everyone’s general direction regardless of size/age/status. I manage - the 4 cups of tea keep me in a mellower place. Out of the door and to school via feeding chickens and letting them out of their house to freedom. I am almost used to the faint smell of chicken pooh that follows me round now, however I am unsure if everyone at school is.

Of late I have had to check myself for using vulgar language in front of the kids: no one likes to hear 2 year olds coming out with the ‘f’ word, however funny it may be in secret... maybe that’s just me? And nothing reminded me of this more than hearing Mitzi my 4 year old bellowing out of the back window “ slow down you wanker!” to a dude who decided it would be clever to overtake me in a built-up area around a corner. It was a fair comment, but somewhat wrong coming from a 4 year old. I repress a giggle and let her know that even if at times she hears mummy using words like that, mummy is naughty for using them, and shouldn’t. “So does daddy put you in time-out, then?” comes the response…….! Priceless!

The rain is still torrential, and Monty and Lola both now have holes in their fairly new wellies, due to over-wearage. I put plastic bags on their feet, despite their protests, and send them to school like it! Mean mummy, but I let them know that it is in fact the supermarket’s fault for not being open early enough. I hope I got away with it, and I hope they still like me…….I would definitely not like to have my kids not on my side, that would suck!!